In terms of biological aging, the body appears to phase shift three times during our lifetime: at 34 years, at 60 years, and at 78 years .
In other words, there is evidence that aging is not a progressive process that moves at the same speed throughout our lives, but is punctuated by peaks (or rather, valleys).
Protein levels in the blood: the proteome
The research has been published in Nature Medicine , and it has also presented a new way to reliably predict people’s age using the levels of protein (the proteome) in their blood.
The team analyzed blood plasma data from 4,263 people between the ages of 18 and 95, studying the levels of around 3,000 different proteins .
While these protein levels are often held relatively constant, the researchers found that large changes in multiple protein readings occurred around young adulthood (34 years), late middle age (60 years), and old age (78 years).
According to Tony Wyss-Coray of the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center:
We have known for a long time that measuring certain proteins in the blood can give you information about a person’s health status, for example lipoproteins for cardiovascular health.
The researchers were able to set up a system whereby the mixture of 373 selected proteins in the blood could be used to accurately predict a person’s age , within about three years or so: when the system failed to predict too young an age, the subject was generally very healthy for his age.
Another finding from the study offers further evidence for something long suspected: that men and women age differently . Of the 1,379 proteins that changed with age, 895 (nearly two-thirds) were significantly more predictive for one sex compared to the other.
These findings could help us better understand how our bodies begin to break down as we age, and how specific age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease or cardiovascular disease, could be better addressed.