None of us are getting any younger, but men are aging faster than women, according to new research. A study out of Finland finds that men are biologically older than women, and by the time they’re in their 50s, men are as much as four biological years older than women of the same age. But the gap starts much younger and is already seen in men in their 20s.
The study investigates if there are differences in biological aging between the sexes and if those potential differences can be explained by lifestyle-related factors. Researchers did a “rare study design,” comparing how quickly men and women in opposite-sex sets of twins age. They split the twins into younger (ages 21 to 42) and older (50 to 76 years) groups and found that most male siblings were around one year biologically older than their sisters.
To measure their biological ages, researchers used several epigenetic clocks, which use algorithms to come up with an estimate for biological age in years using DNA from a blood sample. Participants’ health - including their body mass index, smoking, drinking and exercise habits - were also assessed and may partially affect the speed of their aging. More frequent smoking among men explains the gap in aging in older, but not younger, twins. Men’s larger body size also explains part of the gap in both age groups. Study authors say the difference may also be explained by sex differences in genetic factors and the beneficial effects of the female hormone estrogen on health.
Source: NY Post