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How to Measure and Slowdown Aging: Essential Tests and Recommendations

Updated: Jul 6

As we strive to improve our health and longevity, it is crucial to understand the tools and metrics that can objectively measure aging. Understanding and measuring the aging process is vital for taking proactive steps toward improving health and longevity. Dr. Sumaiya's NutriCare emphasizes the importance of these measures in developing personalized health strategies. Let's explore the key biomarkers and objective measures of aging, leveraging the latest scientific insights.

What Are Biomarkers?

Biomarkers are measurable indicators of various biological processes happening in your body. Think of them as signals that tell us how your body is functioning and how it’s aging. These markers can be found in blood tests, physical assessments, and even through imaging techniques like brain scans.

Why Measuring Aging Matters

The saying "you can improve what you can measure" is very true when it comes to aging. By understanding and monitoring these biomarkers, we can get a clearer picture of our biological age, which often differs from our actual age. This knowledge helps us to take proactive steps to improve our health, manage age-related conditions, and potentially slow down the aging process.

Key Areas of Aging: Explained Simply

1. Latent Aging Processes

These are the underlying changes that happen in our bodies over time. They include:

  • Memory loss and thinking difficulties: Changes in how well our brain functions.

  • Physical abilities: Losing muscle strength, balance issues, and less stamina.

  • Metabolic changes: Issues like high cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure.

  • Cellular changes: Things happening at the cell level, like DNA changes and inflammation.

2. CNS (Central Nervous System) Aging Biomarkers

Your brain and nervous system play a crucial role in aging. Key indicators here include:

  • Cognition: How well you remember things and process information.

  • Brain health: Observed through imaging tests that look at brain structure and activity.

3. Blood-Brain Barrier Function

The blood-brain barrier is a protective shield between your brain and the rest of your body. Aging can affect its function, leading to potential issues like cognitive decline.

4. Peripheral Aging Biomarkers

These are indicators found outside of the brain, including:

  • Frailty index: A measure of your physical strength and resilience.

  • Clinical lab tests: Blood tests that check for cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and more.

  • Gut health and immune function: Changes in your gut microbiome and immune system that can impact your overall health.

Practical Tests and Interventions

Understanding these biomarkers means we can perform specific tests to track how your body is aging. Here are some examples:

Performance Tests

  • Memory and Reaction Time Tests: Simple online tests can measure your cognitive speed and memory.

  • Physical Strength Tests: Tests like grip strength and the 30-second chair stand can assess your muscle strength and endurance.

Subjective Tests

  • Health Questionnaires: Tools like the SF36 questionnaire help us understand your overall health and well-being from your perspective.

How Can You Benefit?

By monitoring these biomarkers and understanding the underlying processes of aging, you can:

  • Stay proactive about your health: Identify issues early and address them promptly.

  • Personalize your health strategy: Tailor your diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices to what your body needs.

  • Improve your quality of life: Maintain independence, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and feel better overall.

Recommended Tests for Aging

Based on the data provided, here are some of the key tests recommended for assessing aging:

  • Comprehensive Blood Panel: Includes tests for blood glucose, lipids, liver function, kidney function, and complete blood count.

  • Hormone Panel: Measures levels of key hormones such as thyroid hormones, sex hormones, and adrenal hormones.

  • Inflammatory Markers: Includes tests for CRP, IL-6, and other cytokines.

  • Genetic and Epigenetic Tests: Includes telomere length measurement and DNA methylation analysis.

  • Physical and Cognitive Function Tests: Includes gait speed, grip strength, memory tests, and attention tests.

Lifestyle Interventions

Implementing lifestyle interventions can significantly impact these biomarkers and measures of aging. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Diet: Calorie restriction, a plant-based diet, and reduced processed food intake have been shown to improve biomarkers of aging.

  • Exercise: Regular cardio and resistance training enhance physical function and reduce inflammation.

  • Sleep: Adequate and quality sleep is essential for cognitive health and overall well-being.

  • Medications and Supplements: Certain drugs like rapamycin and supplements like antioxidants may have anti-aging effects, but these should be used under medical supervision.

Table: Recommended Tests and Interventions for Aging

It's crucial to understand the various biomarkers and objective measures that help us assess our biological age and overall health. The table below outlines a range of recommended tests and interventions, including lifestyle modifications, diagnostic tests, and pharmaceutical options. Each entry highlights the modality, availability, key diagnostics or biomarkers, and a brief explanation of its significance in the context of aging. By incorporating these measures into your health routine, you can gain valuable insights into your aging process and take proactive steps to improve your longevity and well-being.




Best Diagnostics/Biomarkers to Determine Need

Diet (calorie restriction, plant-based)

Lifestyle Mod

Anyone can do it immediately

BMI, weight, waist/hip ratio, lipid panel, insulin sensitivity

Exercise (cardio or resistance)

Lifestyle Mod

Anyone can do it immediately

Fitness tests (widely available)

Ornish Program (low-fat, whole foods, exercise, stress management, social support)

4-Part Lifestyle Program

Anyone can do it immediately

BMI, weight, waist/hip ratio, lipids, cardiac events, etc.

Sleep (adequate)

Lifestyle Mod

Anyone can do it immediately

Sleep quality assessments, polysomnography

Rapamycin (oral)


By prescription or clinical trials

mTOR activity, immune function markers

Metformin (oral)


By prescription

Blood glucose levels, insulin sensitivity

Blood Panel (comprehensive)

Diagnostic Test

Standard medical test

Blood glucose, lipids, liver function, kidney function, CBC

Hormone Panel

Diagnostic Test

Standard medical test

Thyroid hormones, sex hormones, adrenal hormones

Inflammatory Markers

Diagnostic Test

Standard medical test

C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6)

Genetic and Epigenetic Tests

Diagnostic Test

Specialized labs and services

Telomere length, DNA methylation patterns

Physical Function Tests

Diagnostic Test

Widely available in medical and fitness centers

Gait speed, grip strength, balance assessments

Cognitive Function Tests

Diagnostic Test

Widely available in medical and psychological clinics

Memory tests, attention tests, executive function assessments

CBC / Metabolic / Lipid Panel

Lab Test

Widely available

Blood cell counts, metabolic health markers, lipid profile

DNA Methylation Test

Lab Test

Specialized labs

Methylation patterns on specific DNA sites


Lab Test

Specialized labs

Various biomarkers associated with metabolic and cognitive health

Fitness Tests (Gait Speed, Grip Strength, etc.)

Diagnostic Test

Widely available in medical and fitness centers

Gait speed, grip strength, endurance assessments

Cognitive Assessments (Memory, Attention, etc.)

Diagnostic Test

Widely available in medical and psychological clinics

Memory tests, attention tests, cognitive function evaluations


  • Diet (calorie restriction, plant-based): Calorie restriction and plant-based diets are associated with improved metabolic health and reduced risk of chronic diseases. Key biomarkers to monitor include BMI, lipid profile, and insulin sensitivity.

  • Exercise (cardio or resistance): Regular exercise improves cardiovascular and muscular health, which are vital for maintaining physical function as we age. Fitness tests like gait speed and grip strength are simple yet effective measures.

  • Sleep: Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining cognitive health and overall well-being. Poor sleep quality is linked to numerous age-related health issues.

  • Rapamycin: This drug targets the mTOR pathway, which plays a significant role in aging. It has shown promise in extending lifespan and improving healthspan in various studies.

  • Metformin: Known for its glucose-lowering effects, metformin also has potential anti-aging benefits, particularly in improving metabolic health and reducing inflammation.

  • Comprehensive Blood Panel: A standard blood test that provides valuable insights into various health parameters, helping detect early signs of diseases associated with aging.

  • Hormone Panel: Hormone levels fluctuate with age and can significantly impact health. Monitoring these levels helps in managing age-related endocrine changes.

  • Inflammatory Markers: Chronic inflammation accelerates aging and increases the risk of several diseases. Measuring markers like CRP and IL-6 helps assess inflammation levels.

  • Genetic and Epigenetic Tests: These tests provide insights into genetic predispositions and epigenetic changes that affect aging, offering a more personalized approach to health management.

  • Physical Function Tests: Assessing physical capabilities helps predict the risk of disability and mortality, making these tests essential for evaluating functional aging.

  • Cognitive Function Tests: Early detection of cognitive decline through these tests enables timely interventions, helping maintain cognitive health.

  • C

  • DNA Methylation Test: Specialized tests that assess DNA methylation patterns, providing insights into biological age and the impact of lifestyle factors on aging.

  • ProdromeScan: Tests for early markers of neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic dysfunction, valuable for early intervention and prevention strategies.

  • Fitness Tests: Physical assessments that measure gait speed, grip strength, and endurance, predicting the risk of falls, disability, and overall health.

  • Cognitive Assessments: Evaluations of memory, attention, and cognitive function, essential for early detection and management of cognitive decline.

Performance Tests

These tests assess various cognitive and physical capabilities. Human Benchmark tests are free online tools for measuring memory and reaction time. Grip strength and other physical tests like the 30 Second Chair Stand and One Leg Stand provide insights into muscle strength and balance, which are critical indicators of physical health in aging.


Name of Test

Retail Cost $

Notes About Test


Number Memory, Verbal Memory


Human Benchmark Human Benchmark


Reaction Time


Human Benchmark Human Benchmark


Grip Strength


Jamar Preston TEC Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer Max Force 200 Lbs/90 Kgs or better


30 Second Chair Stand



One Leg Stand


Timed, how long subject can stand on one leg with arms held inward. Same method each time.


Hang Time with Arms Curled


Using a pull-up bar, with arms fully curled so chin is above bar.


6 Minute Walk Test


Measure distance walked in 6 minutes, or number of roundtrips up and down a hallway.


Animal Fluency Test


How many animals or types of animals can you name in 60 seconds, not counting duplicates.

Subjective Tests

The SF36 Questionnaire is a comprehensive survey that evaluates overall health from the patient's perspective, covering physical functioning, bodily pain, general health perceptions, vitality, social functioning, and emotional and mental health.


Name of Test

Retail Cost $

Notes About Test

Health Assessment

SF36 Questionnaire


These tests and measures are invaluable tools for understanding and managing the aging process. By regularly monitoring these biomarkers and performance metrics, individuals can take proactive steps to enhance their health, maintain their independence, and improve their quality of life as they age.


Understanding and monitoring biomarkers and objective measures of aging is crucial for proactive health management. By incorporating these tests into regular health check-ups, individuals can gain valuable insights into their biological age and take informed steps to enhance their health and longevity. At Dr. Sumaiya's NutriCare, we are committed to providing personalized nutrition and lifestyle strategies to help you age gracefully and healthily. As your dietitian, I’m here to guide you through this journey, helping you make informed decisions to live a longer, healthier, and more fulfilling life. Remember, you can improve what you can measure, and it all starts with understanding your body better.

Let’s take these steps together to embrace healthy aging! If you have any questions or want to learn more about specific tests and interventions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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