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Decoding Biological Age: The Secret of Ageing

Biological age vs chronological age: what's the difference and why it matters? 

Your chronological age refers to your calendar age, or in other words, the number of years that have elapsed since you were born. Biological age, on the other hand, considers your biology and factors related to how efficiently your body functions. As a result, your biological age can provide a better understanding of how well your body is ageing and is influenced by a number of factors, including:

  • Chronological age;
  • Genetics; 
  • Lifestyle: such as nutrition, exercise and sleep; and  
  • Diseases and other conditions

Interestingly, while chronological age increases at the same rate for everyone, biological age does not. This is because the speed of your body's ageing process is determined by both your genes and, more significantly, your lifestyle choices.

Why is knowing your biological age important?

Knowing your biological age is an essential first step in understanding your underlying health and is just one of the measurements the WellBeing test uses to assess your general health and wellbeing.

It is important to note that you can track how your biological age is changing over time. This will highlight how the changes you make to your lifestyle are impacting your body's age. Different habits will affect your biological age in different ways. So the only way to know what works for you is to track how your habits and biological age change over time.

You should also keep in mind that your biological age covers only one aspect of your health assessment. Your WellBeing blood test results and in-depth lifestyle assessment provide a broader and detailed picture of your current and possible future health. The 3 key areas of the WellBeing test include;

  1. Biological age assessment measures the pattern of age-related biomarkers in your blood and compares it to the expected pattern for someone of your chronological age.
  2. Lifestyle assessment is based on your daily habits and assesses the quality of your lifestyle. Improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to slowing biological ageing and improving future blood test results.
  3. Blood test scores are based on blood biomarkers used to indicate your levels of health for the core pillars of wellbeing, which include Energy, Sleep, Stress, Inflammation, Fitness and Body Fat Composition. 

How does Drop Bio Health calculate your biological age on your WellBeing report? 

The WellBeing test analyses six blood biomarkers associated with ageing to calculate your biological age. Our scientists selected these blood biomarkers based on their ability to predict an individual’s age and their relationship with healthy ageing.

If you are younger than your biological age, your blood biomarkers levels for this specific assessment align with people chronologically younger than you. 

If you are older than your biological age, your blood biomarkers levels for this specific assessment align with people chronologically older than you. 

What biomarkers does the WellBeing test use to calculate my biological age?


Chemerin is a molecule produced in fat tissue. It plays a crucial role in immune function and regulating insulin secretion. This blood biomarker is positively associated with ageing. Fat tissue plays a pivotal role in age-related metabolic dysfunction, insulin resistance and longevity.

Growth/Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF-15)

GDF-15 is a protein that regulates inflammation, cell repair, growth, and ageing. The ageing process is accompanied by the gradual development of low-grade systemic inflammation; higher levels of GDF-15 are associated with reduced physical function and worsened metabolism. 

Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 (ICAM-1)

ICAM-1 is a protein involved in cellular functions, including inflammation, immunity, and wound healing. Ageing is associated with low-grade inflammation and ICAM-1 can be used as an indicator of biological age.

Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL)

NGAL is involved in regulating the immune system, heart and kidney function. This blood biomarker’s levels increase as heart and kidney function deteriorates.

Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 (PAI-1)

PAI-1 is a protein that regulates blood clotting. PAI-1 levels increase with age and impair core biological processes such as fibrinolysis, cell migration, and cell deterioration. 

C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

CRP is produced by the liver and measures inflammation in the body. A long-lasting pro-inflammatory status is a pervasive feature of ageing. This blood biomarker is also associated with ageing-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and kidney disease. 

How can I reduce my biological age?

The best place to start is reviewing your WellBeing lifestyle assessment in your secure online account and determining where improvements can be made. Making small, positive changes to your lifestyle is an easy way to improve your future health and reduce your Biological Age. The lifestyle factors that can have the most significant impact include diet and nutrition, physical activity, stress, sleep and smoking:

Diet and nutrition

Eating a nutritious diet and avoiding low-quality foods such as soft drinks, processed meat and fried food is a great way to improve future health. Whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are loaded with powerful nutrients and compounds that fight inflammation, which is a major cause of cell damage and ageing.

A healthy diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight and can improve the biomarkers in your blood that are associated with ageing.

Physical activity

Staying active is a great way to build and maintain muscle, improve our cardiovascular health and increase life expectancy. Studies indicate that regular physical activity is associated with an increased life expectancy of 6.9 years


Excessive amounts of stress, particularly oxidative stress, can increase the rate at which we age. Oxidative stress is caused by the over-production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can damage various tissues and accelerate the ageing process. Chronic psychological stress is also believed to stimulate pro-inflammatory cytokines release, thus contributing to the ageing process. Using methods to reduce our stress levels and become more resilient to stressful situations may help reduce the adverse ageing effects of stress.


Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can cause your brain to age faster and increase the risk of age-related conditions such as cognitive decline and dementia. This process occurs due to a build-up of B-amyloid protein fragments deposited in the brain. The accumulation of this substance degrades synapses (the connections between cells and neurons) and eventually leads to nerve cell death. 

Some people might pride themselves on surviving with just a few hours of sleep a night, but it's essential not to fall into this trap to avoid ageing your brain too quickly! So instead, make getting a good night's sleep a top priority in your life. 


One area where smokers will notice accelerated ageing is in their skin. Smoking increases matrix metalloproteinases or MMP levels, which leads to the degradation of collagen, elastic fibres, and proteoglycans, suggesting an imbalance between the production of molecules or biosynthesis and degradation in dermal connective tissue metabolism. Despite these and other well-known health risks associated with smoking, quitting can be a daunting challenge for many. We recommend attempting to quit smoking and under what happens in your body when you stop smoking.

Where to from here? 

While we all age chronologically at the same rate, we biologically age at different rates. 

Our WellBeing Test will help you understand and track your Biological age, as well as your lifestyle and blood biomarkers over time. 

If you haven't already, signup to take control of your health today!


Aging genetics and aging

Protein profiling reveals consequences of lifestyle choices on predicted biological aging

Chemerin regulates formation and function of brown adipose tissue

GDF15 as a biomarker of ageing

Growth Differentiation Factor-15 in Immunity and Aging

ICAM-1: A master regulator of cellular responses in inflammation, injury resolution, and tumorigenesis

Association Between Plasma Neutrophil Gelatinase‐Associated Lipocalin and Cardiac Disease Hospitalizations and Deaths in Older Women

Role of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 in Senescence and Aging

Source of Chronic Inflammation in Aging

C-reactive protein and ageing

The Effect of Nutrition on Aging—A Systematic Review Focusing on Aging-Related Biomarkers

The impact of physical activity on healthy ageing trajectories: evidence from eight cohort studies

The Link between Chronic Stress and Accelerated Aging

Sleep Quality and Aging: A Systematic Review on Healthy Older People, Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease

Smoking, health and ageing

Does Physical Activity Increase Life Expectancy? A Review of the Literature

PTSD patients show increasing cytokine levels during treatment despite reduced psychological distress

Sleep quality: An evolutionary concept analysis

Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging

Smoking, health and ageing

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