You could say science is in our DNA.
Science is the foundation for what we do. Recent scientific discoveries in animal models show that certain interventions can slow aging – and in some cases, even reverse it. Furthermore, scientists in the aging research field have reconceptualized our understanding of a cutting-edge benchmark for aging – biological age. We created Tally Health to bring decades of longevity science to the many, not the few.
What is biological age vs. chronological age?
Have you ever wondered why people age so differently? Why is it that some people in their eighties can climb mountains while others find it challenging to go for a short walk?
The answer lies in a concept called biological age. Unlike chronological age - which is important for celebrating birthdays - biological age tells a story of how slowly or rapidly your internal body is aging. Luckily, there are measurable indicators of biological age.
Our Next-generation TallyAge™ Test
While there are different tests that provide insights into aging on a molecular level, the gold standard is by measuring DNA methylation.
Methylation is a tool our cells use to control which parts of our DNA are accessible or restricted. By adding a small chemical called a methyl group (-CH3) to a specific DNA molecule, that region of DNA is now marked with a flag that can affect how much of a gene is produced. DNA methylation patterns change drastically over time and can be analyzed to make an age prediction.
We have created a next-generation test optimized for use in human cheek swabs. This modern test was built using an in-house dataset that includes over 8,000 people, spans a wide chronological age range of 18-100 years, and represents diverse demographic groups. This unique set of data represents the largest DNA methylation adult cheek swab dataset ever generated. With this data, we constructed TallyAge™ using a novel computational approach that maximizes reproducibility and incorporates lifestyle and health factors.
Below is a table which summarizes the strengths of our TallyAge™ Test:
|Attribute||TallyAge™ Test||Other tests|
|Tissue Collection||Non-invasive, painless cheek swab||Blood collection that is invasive and uncomfortable|
|Sample Size||Samples from more than 8,000 people||Much smaller set of samples (less than 2,500 for most clocks)|
|DNA Methylation Technology||Built using the modern MethylationEPIC array that measures ~ 850,000 DNA sites||Built using older arrays that only capture ~450,000 or ~27,000 DNA sites|
|Chronological Age Range||18-100 years||Less expansive age range often lacking individuals 90+ years of age|
|Diversity||Balanced number of females and males; significant ethnic and racial diversity||Unequal numbers of females and males; lack of ethnic and racial diversity|
|Test Reliability||Optimized to be reliable across repeat measurements||Exhibit high test-retest error rates|
|Model Type||Next-generation model that was trained using a novel method and to incorporate lifestyle and health factors||First-generation model trained to simply estimate chronological age|
Discover what we’re made of.
Provides a key metabolite used by mitochondria to produce cellular energy
Activates sirtuins, a family of proteins that help maintain the epigenome
Supports the immune system and aids in the removal of zombie-like senescent cells
Senolytic compound that removes zombie-like senescent cells
Potent inducer of autophagy, a process in our cells that recycles old proteins and other cellular junk
As we built our Vitality supplement, we came up with three strict criteria that must be met:
- There should be peer-reviewed, published data in vertebrate animal models – like fish, mice, and rats – that each molecule extends lifespan and/or enhances the period of healthy, disease-free life.
- There should be mechanistic evidence indicating that each molecule can mitigate established hallmarks of aging.
- There should be evidence from multiple double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled human clinical trials indicating that a specific dose is safe and well-tolerated.
The end result is a science-backed supplement formulation designed to target biological aging.
12 hallmarks of aging
The field of aging research has identified 12 hallmarks that represent common denominators of aging across different organisms.
Why does this matter? These established hallmarks provide a blueprint for what we might do to slow down the deteriorative process of aging.
These are our north stars as we look to develop and provide insights and tools to drive real impact.
As we age, our cells become less effective at talking to each other. This manifests in many ways, including a less capable immune system as well as disruptions in hormone levels and systemic blood factors.
Cells enter a state of senescence after dividing too many times or in response to things like DNA damage, oxidative stress, and mutations. Although senescent cells are no longer able to divide, they accumulate with age and secrete proinflammatory molecules that wreak havoc on their environment.
Alongside the accumulation of senescent cells and infectious pathogens over time, inflammation increases with age. This phenomenon is referred to as "inflammaging."
Across simple and complex animals, pathways that sense and respond to nutrients are consistent regulators of lifespan. The effectiveness of these pathways wane with age and this contributes to the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Autophagy, which declines with age, refers to a cellular recycling program that removes old and damaged cellular components, such as mitochondria and proteins.
The gut microbiome, which plays important roles in metabolite production, nutrient absorption, and immunity, undergoes major shifts with age. Key changes include a loss of ecological diversity and a decrease in the number of beneficial microbes.
Epigenetic changes are modifiable and can influence gene expression. Over time, the epigenome becomes dysregulated and this results in genes being turned on that should be off and vice versa. DNA methylation, a type of epigenetic modification, tends to globally decrease with age.
Our cells are constantly making and repairing DNA. While the machinery that enables this is incredibly efficient, errors inevitably occur and mutations build up with age. Some of these mutations are harmful, such as those that give rise to cancer.
In our cells, proteins are the workers that accomplish necessary tasks. In order to work properly, however, new proteins must be correctly folded and old proteins must be efficiently disposed of. With age and in different neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, proteins become misfolded and accumulate in harmful aggregates.
Mitochondria are the reactors in our cells that produce energy required for life. These cellular machines have their own DNA, produce free radicals, and can induce cell death in response to damage. Over time, mitochondrial efficiency decreases.
Stem cells have a unique ability to turn into many different kinds of cells. Because of this, they can replenish cells as they die off. However, the number of stem cells in our body declines with age and this leads to a reduction in regenerative capacity.
Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of our chromosomes that shorten every time a cell divides. When they get too short, cells become senescent and enter a zombie-like state.
Become a Tally member today to discover your TallyAge™ and get science-backed tools to unlock years of health and vitality.