Test How Fast You’re Aging – for Free

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by Nils Osmar. Feb. 10, 2022

Epigenetic tests are great for those who can afford them. (I’m hoping to take some myself soon). But for those who want a test that measures how rapidly you’re aging which costs nothing, one approach – odd as it sounds – is to take a look at how fast your fingernails are growing.

From One Study:

“The linear nail growth rate is a simple, inexpensive, noninvasive technique for the measurement of aging.

“The rate of linear nail growth decreases 50% over the life spans of both dogs and humans. In the beagle, which has a life span 20% that of man, the rate of decrease is 5 times faster than in man…. There are circadian and multiple-year biorhythms of the rate of linear nail growth. There are approximately 7-yr periods of slow decline that alternate with 7-yr periods of more rapid decline.”

In a Nutshell

  • Nail growth slows slightly over time.
  • On the average, fingernails grow about 3 mm (0.1 inches) per month..
  • By the time we reach the age of 25, the rate will begin slowing about 0.5% per year.
  • By the time we’re 85, your fingernails may only be growing 2 mm in length per month.

Confounding Factors

  • Of course other factors can also affect quality of, and rate of growth of, our fingernails.
  • Taking sulfur (as MSM) has been found to speed nail growth. So has taking collagen.
  • From a study about collagen: “Bioactive collagen peptides treatment promoted an increase of 12% nail growth rate and a decrease of 42% in the frequency of broken nails. Additionally, 64% of participants achieved a global clinical improvement in brittle nails, and 88% of participants experienced an improvement 4 weeks post-treatment. The majority of participants (80%) agreed that the use of BCP improved their nails’ appearance, and were completely satisfied with the performance of the treatment.”
  • So the “nail test” isn’t perfect, as it can be influenced by changes to your diet.
  • But if you notice yours are growing more rapidly (and looking better) after starting an anti-aging protocol, and you haven’t recently increased your collagen or sulfur intake, the studies suggest that it could (possibly) be an indication that what you’re doing may be working.

My notes:

  • I’ve been irritated lately that my fingernails have been growing so fast that I literally have to trim them every day. If I let them go for a week, they’ll be way too long. They never used to be that way.
  • Also, the ridges I used to have in my nails have vanished; they’re smooth now, and very strong.
  • This study suggests that instead of being bugged about, I could look at it as a (free) test of how I’m aging (particularly since I haven’t changed my intake of collagen and don’t take MSM).
  • Other indications that my protocol is accomplishing what I’d like for it to are that my energy is amazing; my mood is great; I’m gaining muscle steadily at the age of 69; I haven’t needed a new glasses prescription in several years; and my mind is as sharp at clear as ever. Those are anecdotal of course, and not a substitute for epigenetic testing (which I will be embarking on soon).
  • David Sinclair mentioned this phenomenon in a recent podcast. I’m not saying it’s as reliable as a test that would cost you a few hundred dollars, but it would be interesting to take one of those tests; take a look at your nail growth, and see if in your case there’s a correlation.

“Are You Serious?”

  • Kind of – but with a lot of caveats.
  • It’s generally accepted that the growth rate slows to a crawl as we age. So it could, in theory, actually turn out to be a useful (and totally free) test. As an adjunct way of testing, it has the advantages of being fast and free.
  • But it’s obviously not a substitute for a blood test to measure your rate and degree of methylation.


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