Glossary

We've put together a quick reference guide to deepen your understanding of health, longevity and the science behind it.

Acetylation

A chemical process in which proteins are stripped of their positive charge by adding an acetyl group.

Amino Acid

The chemical component of proteins. During the reaction, various amino acids are strung together to form a chain that folds to form a protein.

Amygdala

Corpus amygdaloid, or tonsil core; part of the limbic system in the brain; involved in learning and memory; considered an “anxiety center.”

Antioxidants

Free radical scavengers. These are molecules that intercept or neutralise free radicals by giving their electrons something to bind to. Examples of antioxidants include glutathione (GSH), ubiquinone (CoQ10), polyphenols (found in tea) and vitamin E.

Apoptosis

From Greek. apoptōsis = the fall off, e.g. of a leaf

Apoptosis is a strictly regulated physiological process in the form of “cell suicide”, which plays an important role in the development, maintenance and aging of multicellular organisms and in which individual cells are eliminated in a planned manner.

Autophagy

From ancient Greek αφααγоs autóphagos 'eating oneself. '

A normal and orderly process of breaking down and recycling damaged cell components.

Biological Age

Biological age is the age of cells in the body, which is determined by various properties and biomarkers that correlate with aging and decay in research.

Biomarkers

A specific substance, physical characteristic, gene, etc. that can be measured to indicate the presence or progress of a disease.

Biotracking/Biohacking

The use of measuring devices and laboratory tests to monitor the body to make decisions about diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits and to optimize the body. Not to be confused with biohacking, the do-it-yourself method of body optimization.

C-reactive protein (CRP)

“C-reactive protein” (CRP) is the most important blood laboratory value for identifying and monitoring inflammation in the body. CRP is a protein that is produced in the liver. (https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/labor/laborwerte/infektionen-bakterien/crp.html)

CRISPR

An immune system found in bacteria and archaea that is used as a genomic engineering tool to cut DNA at specific locations in the genome. CRISPR, the abbreviation for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” i.e. short palindromic repeat sequences, is a section of the host genome that alternately contains repetitive sequences and snippets of foreign DNA. CRISPR proteins such as Cas9, a DNA-cutting enzyme, use them as molecular “mug shots” when they detect and destroy viral DNA.

Carcinogen

carcino, Greek = cancer; gene = produce

Carcinogens are substances and radiation that cause cancer or make cancer more likely. This can happen by inhaling, swallowing or absorbing substances through the skin.

Cell

The basic unit of life. The number of cells in a living organism ranges from one (e.g. in yeast) to quadrillion (e.g. in a blue whale). A cell consists of four important macromolecules that enable it to function: proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. Cells can build and break down molecules, move, grow, divide and die, among other things.

Cellular Reprogramming

The change of cells from one type of tissue to an earlier stage of development.

Cellular Senescence

The process that occurs when normal cells stop dividing and start releasing inflammatory molecules, sometimes caused by telomere shortening, DNA damage, or epigenomic noise. Despite their apparent “zombie” state, senescent cells remain alive and damage neighboring cells with their inflammatory secretions.

Chromatin

Strands of DNA wrapped around protein scaffolds known as eureromatin. Euchromatin is open chromatin that allows genes to be switched on. Heterochromatin is closed chromatin that prevents the cell from reading a gene, also known as gene canceling.

Chromosome

The compact structure in which a cell's DNA is organized and which is held together by proteins. The genomes of the various organisms are arranged in a different number of chromosomes. Human cells have 23 pairs.

DNA

Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule that encodes the information that a cell needs to function or a virus needs to replicate. Forms a double helix that resembles a twisted ladder, similar to a zipper. The bases, abbreviated as A, C, T, and G, are on either side of the ladder or strand that run in opposite directions. The bases exert an attraction on each other so that A sticks to T and C to G. The sequence of these letters is known as the genetic code.

DNA Methylation Clock

Changes in the number and locations of DNA methylation marks on DNA can be used to predict lifespan and mark the time from birth. When an organism is epigenomically reprogrammed or cloned, the methyl labels are removed, reversing the age of the cell.

Ellagic acid

English: Ellagic acid

Ellagic acid is a polyphenol. As with other polyphenols, ellagic acid has been shown to have a cancer-preventing effect in some animal models and human cell cultures.

Enzyme

A protein made up of chains of amino acids that folds into a tangle and can carry out chemical reactions that would normally take much longer or would never take place. Sirtuins, for example, are enzymes that use NAD to remove chemical acetyl groups from histones.

Epigenetic clock

A type of DNA clock that relies on measuring natural DNA methylation levels to estimate the biological age of a tissue, cell type, or organ, such as the Horvath clock.

Epigenetic structures

“Scaffolding” that is anchored to the DNA in our chromosomes. Epigenetic structures help determine which genes in a cell are switched on and which are switched off, so that the same total DNA can be used to create cells as diverse as liver, heart, and kidney cells.

Epigenetics

From ancient Greek π epi 'to, moreover, 'and genetics

Refers to changes in a cell's gene expression that do not involve a change in the DNA code. Instead, the DNA and histones around which the DNA is wrapped are “marked” with removable chemical signals (see demethylation and deacetylation). Epigenetic tags tell other proteins where and when to read the DNA. This is comparable to a post-it on a book page that says “Skip.” A reader will ignore the page, but the book itself hasn't been changed.

FOXO3

Gene associated with longevity that is responsible for the production of a transcription factor of the same name.

Fasting-mimicking-diet

English Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD)

A diet plan designed by researcher Dr. Valter Longo, which is intended to have the same effects as pure water fasting, but with the simultaneous consumption of food and the supply of essential nutrients; the calorie intake of the 5-day cure is between 725 and 1090 kilocalories, with the macronutrient content being selected so that it imitates pure water fasting but the micronutrient content is reduced to a maximum supply of nutrients aims.

Free radical

Unstable molecule that can cause cell damage.

Gene

A section of DNA that encodes the information needed to make a protein. Each gene is a set of instructions for making a specific molecular machine that helps a cell, an organism, or a virus to function.

Gene Expression

A product that is based on a gene; may refer to either RNA or protein. When a gene is activated, cellular machines express it by transcribing the DNA into RNA and/or translating the RNA into a chain of amino acids. For example, a highly expressed gene makes many copies of RNA, and its protein product is likely to be abundant in the cell.

Gene therapy

The introduction of corrective DNA into human cells as a medical treatment. Certain diseases can be treated or even cured by incorporating a healthy DNA sequence into the genomes of certain cells. Scientists and doctors usually use a harmless virus to introduce genes into target cells or tissues, where the DNA is incorporated somewhere into the cells' existing DNA. CRISPR genome editing is also sometimes referred to as a gene therapy technique.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

An organism whose DNA was deliberately altered using scientific means. Any organism can be manipulated in this way, including microbes, plants, and animals.

Genetics

Science of heredity and genetic variation.

Genome

The entire DNA sequence of an organism or virus. The genome is essentially a huge set of instructions for making the individual parts of a cell and for controlling the entire process.

Genomics

The study of the genome, the entire DNA of a particular organism. It includes the DNA sequence of a genome, the organization and control of genes, the molecules that interact with DNA, and how these various components influence cell growth and function.

Gerontology

from ancient Greek γων Géron, German “old man”, as well as lógos, German “teaching”

Gerontology, also known as aging science, is the science of the process of aging and old age as a phase of life. It investigates aging processes from biological, medical, psychological and social aspects, and looks at the phenomena, problems and resources associated with aging.

Glucose ketone index

A biomarker that records the ratio of glucose and ketones in the blood as an individual value.

Glycation

Sugars are bound to proteins; can damage cells but helps the body's immune system.

Histone

The proteins that form the heart of DNA packaging in the chromosome and are the reason why three meters of DNA can fit into a cell. The DNA wraps around each histone almost twice, like pearls on a string. The packaging of histones is controlled by enzymes such as sirtuins, which add and remove chemical groups. A tight package forms a “silent” heterochromatin, while a loose package forms an open euchromatin in which the genes are activated.

Homeostasis

Ancient Greek μо́́́shomoiostásis, German 'equality'

The condition that results from maintaining a controlled environment within cells, which is regulated in part by hormones produced by the endocrine glands. As far as humans are concerned, this is the stable state in which our bodies are in balance.

Hormesis

Greek: suggestion, impetus, engl.: adaptive response

The idea that anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. A level of biological damage or adversity that stimulates repair processes that promote cell survival and health. Originally discovered when plants were sprayed with diluted herbicide and then grew faster.

Hormone

Chemical messenger that controls various bodily functions

Horvath's Clock

Horvath's Clock (clock) is the epigenetic aging clock developed by Dr. Steve Horvath. He used human samples to identify 353 biomarkers that correlate with aging. This study modernized biological age measurement and has remained the standard for biological age determination ever since.

IGF1

Insulin-like growth factor 1; growth factor that influences cell growth.

Inflammaging

Inflammatory aging (the English term inflam-aging or inflammaging is also widely used in German-speaking countries) refers to the increased release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and associated chronic diseases in older people.

Information Theory of Aging

The idea that aging is due to loss of information over time, particularly epigenetic information, much of which can be recovered.

Insulin

Pancreatic hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

Ketogenesis

The production of ketone bodies in the metabolic state of carbohydrate deficiency.

Ketones

Chemical compound that is produced as a product of burning fat during fasting or a ketogenic diet.

Klotho gene

Gene involved in the regulation of aging.

Metabolite

Metabolites are substances that are produced as intermediates or as breakdown products of metabolic processes in the organism.

Metabolome

The entirety of all metabolic products of an organism.

Metformin

A molecule derived from French hellebore that is used to treat type 2 diabetes (senile diabetes) and could be a medicine against longevity.

Methylation

Chemical change in the DNA that affects the activity of genes.

Microbiome

Greek micrós mikrós “small”, Greek βoos bios “life”

All microorganisms and their collective genetic material found in or on the human body or in any other environment.

Mitochondrion

Mitochondria are often referred to as the cell's powerhouse and break down nutrients to generate energy in a process called cellular respiration. They contain their own circular genome.

Mitophagy

From ancient Greek μmítos, German 'thread' and ancient Greek φαγεν phagein, German 'eat'

Mitophagy is a process by which damaged mitochondria are removed from the cell, which promotes the growth and maintenance of healthy mitochondria.

NAD

Nicotinamide adenine nucleotide, a chemical used for more than five hundred chemical reactions and for sirtuins, which remove aceryl groups from other proteins, such as histones, to turn off genes or give them cell protective functions. A healthy diet and exercise increase NAD levels. The “+” sign that you sometimes see, as in NAD, indicates that it has no hydrogen aroma.

NMN

NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) is the immediate precursor of NAD+, an essential coenzyme and important metabolic partner that is found in every cell in the human body and is involved in over 500 different cell reactions. NAD+ is synthesized by the cell through various pathways, some of which are more complex than others. The primary route of NAD+ synthesis involves the conversion of nicotinamide (NAM) to NMN and the subsequent conversion of NMN to NAD+. As an immediate precursor to NAD+, NMN is a highly efficient precursor that requires the fewest steps and the least amount of energy to convert to NAD+.

Nucleolus

From Latin nucleolus “kernel”; plural: nucleoli

The nucleolus is located within the nucleus of eukaryotic cells and is an area where the genes of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) are located and where the cellular machines for assembling amino acids into proteins are assembled.

Pathogen

A microbe that causes illness. Most microorganisms are not pathogenic to humans, but some strains or species are.

Polyphenol

Polyphenols are secondary plant substances and are found exclusively in plants. They are found in the outer layers of fruit, vegetables and grains.

Protein

A chain of amino acids folded into a three-dimensional structure. Each protein is specialized to perform a specific task so that cells can grow, divide, and function. Proteins are one of the four macromolecules that make up all living things (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids).

Proteolysis

From Greek lysis, “solution, resolution”

Proteolysis is the enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins by peptidases, i.e. the breakdown of proteins. Autoproteolysis is when a peptidase breaks down itself. Proteolysis can be inhibited by protease inhibitors.

Proteostasis

The term proteostasis comprises various interlinked processes that control protein activity at the cellular level.

RNA

Abbreviation for ribonucleic acid. Transcribed from a DNA template and is usually used to control the synthesis of proteins. CRISPR-associated proteins use RNAs as a guide to find suitable target sequences in DNA.

Rapamycin

Rapamycin, also known as sirolimus, is an active ingredient with immunosuppressive effects in humans. It inhibits the activation of T cells and B cells by reducing their sensitivity to the signaling molecule interleukin-2. Extends life span by inhibiting mTOR

Regenerative Medicine

Latin Regeneration “New Development”

As a relatively new field of biomedicine, it is concerned with healing various diseases by restoring dysfunctional cells, tissues and organs both through biological replacement, for example with the help of cultivated tissue, and by stimulating the body's own regeneration and repair processes.

Seneszens

Latin senescere “getting old”, “aging”

The process of deterioration with age.

Senolytics

Senolytics are agents which can induce apoptosis of aged (senescent) cells and thus potentially reduce signs of aging

Sirtuin

Enzymes that control longevity: They are found in organisms ranging from yeast to humans and require NAD to function. They remove acetyl and acyl groups from proteins to instruct them to protect cells from adversity, disease, and death. When fasting or exercising, sirtuin and NAD levels rise, which could explain why these activities are healthy. The SIRT genes (Sir2 homologues 1 to 7), which are named after the SIR2 gene in yeast, play a key role in protecting mammals against disease and decay.

Somatic Cells

All cells in a multicellular organism with the exception of germ cells (egg or sperm cells). Mutations or changes to the DNA in the soma are not passed on to subsequent generations unless cloned.

Spermidine

The body's own substance that supports autophagy; is found in mushrooms and wheat germ.

Stem Cell

Stem cells are the body's raw material — cells that give rise to all other cells with specialized functions. Under the right conditions in the body or in the laboratory, stem cells divide and form further cells, the so-called daughter cells.

T cells

T cells, which arise from blood stem cells, coordinate several aspects of adaptive immunity. In infancy and early childhood, naive T cells play a crucial role in the development of immunity against common antigens and pathogens. In adulthood, when there are fewer new antigens, T cells play a role in maintaining immune homeostasis. In later stages of life, the function of T cells decreases, which is associated with an increased vulnerability to infections, cancer and autoimmunity.

Telomerase

An enzyme in the cell nucleus that restores the end pieces of the chromosomes, the so-called telomeres.

Telomere/Telomere Loss

Gr. Télos' Ende 'and' Télos' Teil '

A telomere is a cap that protects the end of the chromosome from wear and tear, comparable to the awl on the end of a shoelace or the burnt end of a rope to prevent fraying. As we age, telomeres erode to the point where the cell reaches the Hayflick limit. This is the point at which the cell sees the erosion as a break in DNA, stops dividing and becomes senescent.

Thermogenesis

Ancient Greek Thermos (thermós, “warm”)

Derived from the Greek word thermos (or “heat”), thermogenesis is any metabolic process that produces heat. In mammals, the term thermogenesis is commonly used to describe the heat-generating process involved in maintaining core body temperature or burning excess calories (food-induced thermogenesis). Brown adipose tissue (brown fat) is an important source of thermogenesis and, when activated, increases energy consumption. NAD+ metabolism is essential for this process — increasing NAD+ levels with precursors such as NMN can help activate the thermogenesis of brown adipose tissue.

Virus

An infectious being that can only survive by abducting a host organism in which it replicates. Has its own genome but is not technically considered a living organism. Viruses infect all organisms, from humans to plants to microbes. Multicellular organisms have sophisticated immune systems that fight viral infections, while CRISPR systems have evolved to prevent viral infections in bacteria and archaea.

Xenohormesis Hypothesis

The idea that our bodies have evolved to recognize stress signals from other species, such as plants, in order to protect itself in times of impending misfortune. This explains why so many drugs come from plants.

Acetylation

A chemical process in which proteins are stripped of their positive charge by adding an acetyl group.

Amino Acid

The chemical component of proteins. During the reaction, various amino acids are strung together to form a chain that folds to form a protein.

Amygdala

Corpus amygdaloid, or tonsil core; part of the limbic system in the brain; involved in learning and memory; considered an “anxiety center.”

Antioxidants

Free radical scavengers. These are molecules that intercept or neutralise free radicals by giving their electrons something to bind to. Examples of antioxidants include glutathione (GSH), ubiquinone (CoQ10), polyphenols (found in tea) and vitamin E.

Autophagy

A normal and orderly process of breaking down and recycling damaged cell components.

Biomarkers

A specific substance, physical characteristic, gene, etc. that can be measured to indicate the presence or progress of a disease.

Biotracking/Biohacking

The use of measuring devices and laboratory tests to monitor the body to make decisions about diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits and to optimize the body. Not to be confused with biohacking, the do-it-yourself method of body optimization.

C-reactive protein (CRP)

“C-reactive protein” (CRP) is the most important blood laboratory value for identifying and monitoring inflammation in the body. CRP is a protein that is produced in the liver. (https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/labor/laborwerte/infektionen-bakterien/crp.html)

CRISPR

An immune system found in bacteria and archaea that is used as a genomic engineering tool to cut DNA at specific locations in the genome. CRISPR, the abbreviation for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” i.e. short palindromic repeat sequences, is a section of the host genome that alternately contains repetitive sequences and snippets of foreign DNA. CRISPR proteins such as Cas9, a DNA-cutting enzyme, use them as molecular “mug shots” when they detect and destroy viral DNA.

Chromatin

Strands of DNA wrapped around protein scaffolds known as eureromatin. Euchromatin is open chromatin that allows genes to be switched on. Heterochromatin is closed chromatin that prevents the cell from reading a gene, also known as gene canceling.

Chromosome

The compact structure in which a cell's DNA is organized and which is held together by proteins. The genomes of the various organisms are arranged in a different number of chromosomes. Human cells have 23 pairs.

DNA

Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, the molecule that encodes the information that a cell needs to function or a virus needs to replicate. Forms a double helix that resembles a twisted ladder, similar to a zipper. The bases, abbreviated as A, C, T, and G, are on either side of the ladder or strand that run in opposite directions. The bases exert an attraction on each other so that A sticks to T and C to G. The sequence of these letters is known as the genetic code.

DNA Methylation Clock

Changes in the number and locations of DNA methylation marks on DNA can be used to predict lifespan and mark the time from birth. When an organism is epigenomically reprogrammed or cloned, the methyl labels are removed, reversing the age of the cell.

Enzyme

A protein made up of chains of amino acids that folds into a tangle and can carry out chemical reactions that would normally take much longer or would never take place. Sirtuins, for example, are enzymes that use NAD to remove chemical acetyl groups from histones.

Epigenetic clock

A type of DNA clock that relies on measuring natural DNA methylation levels to estimate the biological age of a tissue, cell type, or organ, such as the Horvath clock.

Epigenetic structures

“Scaffolding” that is anchored to the DNA in our chromosomes. Epigenetic structures help determine which genes in a cell are switched on and which are switched off, so that the same total DNA can be used to create cells as diverse as liver, heart, and kidney cells.

Epigenetics

Refers to changes in a cell's gene expression that do not involve a change in the DNA code. Instead, the DNA and histones around which the DNA is wrapped are “marked” with removable chemical signals (see demethylation and deacetylation). Epigenetic tags tell other proteins where and when to read the DNA. This is comparable to a post-it on a book page that says “Skip.” A reader will ignore the page, but the book itself hasn't been changed.

Gene

A section of DNA that encodes the information needed to make a protein. Each gene is a set of instructions for making a specific molecular machine that helps a cell, an organism, or a virus to function.

Gene Expression

A product that is based on a gene; may refer to either RNA or protein. When a gene is activated, cellular machines express it by transcribing the DNA into RNA and/or translating the RNA into a chain of amino acids. For example, a highly expressed gene makes many copies of RNA, and its protein product is likely to be abundant in the cell.

Gene therapy

The introduction of corrective DNA into human cells as a medical treatment. Certain diseases can be treated or even cured by incorporating a healthy DNA sequence into the genomes of certain cells. Scientists and doctors usually use a harmless virus to introduce genes into target cells or tissues, where the DNA is incorporated somewhere into the cells' existing DNA. CRISPR genome editing is also sometimes referred to as a gene therapy technique.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

An organism whose DNA was deliberately altered using scientific means. Any organism can be manipulated in this way, including microbes, plants, and animals.

Genetics

Science of heredity and genetic variation.

Genome

The entire DNA sequence of an organism or virus. The genome is essentially a huge set of instructions for making the individual parts of a cell and for controlling the entire process.

Genomics

The study of the genome, the entire DNA of a particular organism. It includes the DNA sequence of a genome, the organization and control of genes, the molecules that interact with DNA, and how these various components influence cell growth and function.

Glucose ketone index

A biomarker that records the ratio of glucose and ketones in the blood as an individual value.

Glycation

Sugars are bound to proteins; can damage cells but helps the body's immune system.

Histone

The proteins that form the heart of DNA packaging in the chromosome and are the reason why three meters of DNA can fit into a cell. The DNA wraps around each histone almost twice, like pearls on a string. The packaging of histones is controlled by enzymes such as sirtuins, which add and remove chemical groups. A tight package forms a “silent” heterochromatin, while a loose package forms an open euchromatin in which the genes are activated.

Homeostasis

The condition that results from maintaining a controlled environment within cells, which is regulated in part by hormones produced by the endocrine glands. As far as humans are concerned, this is the stable state in which our bodies are in balance.

Hormesis

The idea that anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. A level of biological damage or adversity that stimulates repair processes that promote cell survival and health. Originally discovered when plants were sprayed with diluted herbicide and then grew faster.

Hormone

Chemical messenger that controls various bodily functions

IGF1

Insulin-like growth factor 1; growth factor that influences cell growth.

Inflammaging

Inflammatory aging (the English term inflam-aging or inflammaging is also widely used in German-speaking countries) refers to the increased release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and associated chronic diseases in older people.

Information Theory of Aging

The idea that aging is due to loss of information over time, particularly epigenetic information, much of which can be recovered.

Insulin

Pancreatic hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

Ketogenesis

The production of ketone bodies in the metabolic state of carbohydrate deficiency.

Metformin

A molecule derived from French hellebore that is used to treat type 2 diabetes (senile diabetes) and could be a medicine against longevity.

Microbiome

All microorganisms and their collective genetic material found in or on the human body or in any other environment.

Mitochondrion

Mitochondria are often referred to as the cell's powerhouse and break down nutrients to generate energy in a process called cellular respiration. They contain their own circular genome.

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