It is now becoming more apparent that the immune system undergoes age-associated alterations, known as immunosenescence, which accumulate to produce a progressive deterioration in the ability to respond to infections and to develop immunity after vaccination, both of which are associated with a higher mortality rate in the elderly.
However, we are also learning that age alone is not the determinant of our body’s response to infections or immune resilience. Factors such as general baseline health, overall well-being, functional status seem to be more determinant for your immune resilience than age alone. In fact, your biological age may be more important than your chronological age to guarantee you a healthy and happy life.
What is Immune Resilience?
Inflammation, although an essential component of the initiation phase of an immune response, when poorly modulated can become persistent and compromise the immune response itself. The presence of excessive inflammation has been linked to the lung injury seen with COVID-19.
Stress and aging-related chronic disease have both been linked to increased inflammation. In fact, the link between aging and decreased immune response appears to be related to increased baseline low chronic inflammation, called inflammaging, and the deterioration of the immune response known as immunosenescence.
Chronic stress is much more than a risk factor for lifestyle conditions such as obesity and heart disease.
It is also the common culprit of low-grade chronic inflammation associated with accelerated aging, decreased immune resilience and age-related degenerative conditions, such as arthritis, dementia and even cancer."
Ivel De Freitas, MD
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- Papadakos PJ, Haitsma JJ. Cytokines: the tomb markers of the ICU. Chest. 2004 Jun;125(6):1980-2.
What is Immunosenescence?
Immunosenescence is defined as the natural reduction of the immune system response due to age. This age-related phenomenon leads to a progressive reduction in the ability to trigger effective antibody and cellular responses against infections and even vaccinations.
Several factors have been found to influence the individual’s degree of immunosenescence, such as nutritional status, exercise, genetics, and previous exposure to microorganisms.
The presence of excessive immune-senescent cells or dying immune cells has been found to actively compromise the immune system capacity to modulate inflammation, causing a state of low chronic inflammation. Inflammation causes immune dysfunction which leads to more immunosenescence, and that feeds right back into inflammation and aging, today’s known as inflammaging. Which becomes a never-ending loop.
Senescent cells produce pro-inflammatory signaling, compromising the body’s inner chemistry and natural regenerative pathways. The body’s inner chemistry is swinging constantly between survival and recovery mode, inflammation and healing mode. As more senescent cells accumulate in every organ, their inflammaging signals prevail, causing aging-related organ deterioration contributing to the development of chronic degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, dementia, arthritis, and cancer. increased baseline inflammation.
Telomeres and Immunity
Telomeres sit at the end of strands of DNA, like the protective caps on shoelaces. Aging and stress will shorten those caps, making it more likely that cells will stop dividing and essentially die.
As telomere shortened cells get into the senescent stage, so all senescent cells have short telomeres.
For years you’ve intuitively known that your lifestyle impacts your internal biological clock, making you feel as you are aging faster or slower depending on your eating, fitness, and mindfulness profile.
The Nobel Prize-winning discovery of telomeres came to answer the questions of how this happens. Telomeres act like your biological clock, as they become shorter and shorter throughout your life story, at a faster or slower speed depending upon the quality of your lifestyle choices. Your immune system goes through the same process as any other cell of your body. That means that what affects your telomere, affects your Immunity, determining your immunity resilience and immunity age.
What is Immunity Age?
Immunity Age is a term we use to define what age your immune system “acts” like it is. Calculated using an advanced platform, immunity age is based on mathematical algorithms I have created founded on telomere research and the novel concept of immune resilience.
Just because you are a certain age, does not mean your body and immune system respond and act that way. During COVID-19 we have learned that aging healthily seems to be a protective factor for complications and mortality.
We are finding through our early prototype validation phase, a strong correlation between immunity age and telomere length. The younger the immunity age of a person is, the longer its white blood cells’ telomeres are, correlating with cellular and biological rather than chronological age.
In our next phase, we are adding advanced immune cell count and immunosenescence index as a continuation of our efforts to complete our Immunity Age Algorithmic Calculator Validation Process. ONOGEN Patient Portal launching soon.
We envision this tool to become a practical, easily scalable, and accurate way to monitor patients’ immune resilience and implement therapeutic strategies to enhance immune response.
Today’s medicine, dramatic public health measures, new vaccines and treatments, and perhaps natural attenuation will presumably beat back COVID-19, but we all know that a more fundamental solution is needed.
Immunosenescence seems to be the most important factor that can make us susceptible not only to COVID-19 but also to influenza, pneumonia, countless other infectious diseases, aging-related degenerative diseases such as dementia, atherosclerosis, heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer, through the common factor of increased inflammation.
Unless we develop tools to diagnose and monitor immunosenescence in a powerful and scalable way, it will continue to plague us long after we’ve contained this particular pandemic. Fortunately, we have more advancement in medicine and biotechnology than ever before. We also have new digital health technologies that can enable more efficient, larger, and more definitive clinical trials – better science – than ever before.
By combining hard work, dedication, and love for humanity with the best of science and technology ONOGEN team, guided by me, Founder and Chief Biohacker, is developing a novel tool that we envision might help us to find better, intuitive, and innovative ways to identify and monitor in real-time immunity age, immune resilience and immunosenescence and create treatments that could enable us to bring more advanced and creative diagnostic and therapeutic options with the final vision to provide healthy longevity to all.
Every single question of the ONOGEN Immunity Age Calculator Quiz assesses parts of your lifestyle that have been proven to impact your cellular health, (the deepest layer of your body) and cellular aging.
The goal to age well is to opt your biology to a stress “proof” state. So, you can overcome the negative effect that stress has on your biology and telomeres.
In fact, when the body, mind, and soul are well prepared to face stress, stress itself might become a positive challenge and impact your mind, body, and spirit in a positive, enduring, and constructive way.
Learn more: Chronological vs Biological Age
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