There Are Four Types of Aging, New Research Suggests

Why are there people for whom time doesn't seem to pass? On the other hand, why do some who are still young, have worse health and a poor appearance. The answer lies in their ageotypes.
There Are Four Types of Aging, New Research Suggests
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

It’s like a mystery, an enigma of genetics that some people seem to age so well. Maybe, like Dorian Gray, they’ve sold their soul and have a painting in the attic that’s aging instead of them. However, it seems that science now has the answer. They claim that there are four types of aging and they’re mediated by ageotypes.

The term, ageotype, defines the way in which each individual suffers the action of this molecular and cellular decline. There are certain genomic markers that determine the process of aging, which usually begins in our 30s. This is when the metabolism slows down. There are hormonal changes and the blood carries less protein.

Depending on your type, you’ll age in one way of four ways. They’re like genetic pathways, triggers that tell you what processes will kick in and dominate the slow decline of aging. What’s interesting is that these processes aren’t irreversible.

Therefore, if you knew your ageotype, you could employ more appropriate strategies to slow down aging. You could also improve your health and reduce risk factors such as heart attacks or liver dysfunction.

We all have molecular variants that biologically determine our aging.

man exercising symbolizing the four types of aging
People who lead active lives, both socially and physically, cope far better with aging.

Growing old is more than just extra birthdays

Getting older is a process that no one can escape, but that we could all slow down. Ageotypes determine four types of aging orchestrated by different molecular patterns. That said, none of them explains whether we age faster or slower, they only define the triggers.

The fact that there are people who appear to be  50 when they’re only 30 and others who are 60 who are more like 80 is due to multiple factors. In fact, beyond our chronological age, is the physiological age, which is influenced by our lifestyle and genetics. These two elements determine factors that range from whether we possess a stronger bone structure to a more active metabolism.

Variables such as a good diet, an active life, and good management of daily stress mediate the production of telomerase. This is an enzyme that protects telomeres, the sequences embedded in the ends of chromosomes that protect them every time they divide.

Taking care that this part of the chromosome doesn’t break is key to maintaining health and youthfulness.

The four types of aging explain the trigger that determines this process. Knowing it can allow us to take measures to slow down the impact of time on our bodies.

The four types of aging

A study published in the journal, Nature claims that there are four types of aging. Each of them is marked by a specific geotype. This research, conducted at Stanford University (USA) analyzed the aging of 106 people between the ages of 29 and 75, over decades.

The results they obtained were extremely revealing. They identified four molecular patterns that determined, on the one hand, aging itself and, on the other, associated diseases. Each of us can possess one or more geotypes.

1. The immunological ageotype

Colds, infections, exhaustion, feelings of weakness. There are people who, from an early age, already show a weaker immune response.

This may be a molecular trigger for the body to start slowing down. Also, to start inflammatory processes and hormonal changes.

For example, the immune ageotype can lead to the eventual development of rheumatoid arthritis.

2. The metabolic ageotype

This is the most common of the four types of aging. It’s connected with the fact that older people have a tendency to develop type 2 diabetes. It’s due to hormonal and metabolic alterations. These factors are extremely important.

Our eating style is key to activating our type of metabolic aging. Factors such as obesity, cholesterol, or hypertension are triggers for us to be affected early by the passage of time.

3. The nephritic ageotype

How do you take care of your kidneys? Drinking plenty of water and avoiding processed foods or those with too much salt will mediate the proper care of your kidneys. In fact, these organs are key to your well-being: they eliminate waste, and maintain a correct balance between salts, water, minerals, etc.

Poor kidney health is also a silent trigger for premature aging.

4. The hepatic ageotype

As we well know, poor liver function is a risk to health and well-being. According to this study, not only does it orchestrate human aging, but also, poor lifestyle and eating habits can be fatal.

This reaffirms, once again, the importance of a correct diet to promote the proper functioning of our organs.

There are four types of ageotypes: hepatic, metabolic, immunological, and nephrotic. Getting to know them will allow us, in the near future, to design personalized drugs for each one of us.

Elderly people having a coffee symbolizing the four types of aging
We age as we live. Good daily habits mediate the opportunity to reach advanced ages in better condition.

Aging well and healthily

Knowing the four types of aging and their associated ageotypes is an advantage. It’ll allow us, in the future, to design more specific and personalized guidelines for each one of us. There’ll be drugs that’ll prevent the development of various diseases early. Furthermore, we’ll have more individualized and less generic types of medicine and the strategy will be prevention instead of cure.

The fact that medicine is advancing in this field is responding to a social urgency. We’re an increasingly aging society and we all need to reach the autumn of our lives in better condition. After all, it’s no use having an improved life expectancy if our health doesn’t improve accordingly and we don’t have therapeutic strategies that allow us to feel good. We want to keep enjoying life.

Aging healthily shouldn’t be a privilege, but a right in which science and society must be our allies.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.