Functional Age: Do You Feel Younger or Older Than You Are?

Jul 19, 2023 12:00:00 PM

Written By:
DaVinci Healthcare Expert

functional age

Did you know there are other, arguably more informative ways of measuring your age than simply counting the years since you were born?

While chronological age gives you a sense of how long you’ve been alive, it’s a limited way of gauging your energy level or wellbeing. Functional, or biological, age also considers how external modifiers—often, lifestyle choices—have slowed or hastened your aging process.

Your birthday card might say “Happy 40th!” but if your functional age report shows that your body is functioning more in the 50-year range, it’s time to make some changes. With the help of a functional medicine or naturopathic doctor, you can learn concrete ways to better support your health and wellness.*

What is Functional Age?

Functional age considers your chronological age and several other qualitative and quantitative measures of health and vitality. While chronological age is just a number, the way you feel and how your body functions is often better represented by your functional age.

Your functional age can be higher or lower than your chronological age, addressing factors like physical fitness, cognitive ability, emotional wellbeing, and overall health.

Interestingly, there is an element of comparison between both measurements. Comparing your health data to that of your chronological peers is one way naturopathic doctors establish your functional age. Are you more mobile than most other 60-year-olds? How does your cognitive function compare? These differences can either raise or lower your functional age.

An individual’s functional age can differ significantly from their chronological age.  While most people seeking lab work to discover their functional age are surprised by the results, the encouraging news is that it can be shifted in a more promising direction.

Once you know your functional age, you can work with your integrative doctor to make changes to your food choices, exercise routines, and overall lifestyle that will improve your health and functional presentation.

How can you look and feel 20 years younger? Find out by exploring our aging  protocol.

What is Chronological Age?

Chronological age is simply the number of years since you were born. Instead of the multifaceted picture of overall health, vitality, and longevity provided by your functional age, chronological age is just one piece of information.

While it offers a limited assessment of someone’s overall wellbeing, chronological age is an easy, straightforward way to measure age and categorize people. For example, only individuals over a certain age can legally buy alcohol. Only those under a certain age can renew a driver’s license without retaking the driving test every year.

When selecting the appropriate healthcare course for elderly women, previous health-related conditions and individual fitness are as important as her numerical age—so functional age is a critical component of determining the right path. While chronological age is an adequate way to organize society and establish basic rules for safety and order, it lacks the depth necessary to measure an individual’s health and wellness.

Which Age Matters More?

Chronological age is an important part of one’s identity, but it doesn’t provide much insight into a person’s ability to function in private or public spheres.

Your chronological age demonstrates how long you’ve been alive, but your functional age reveals how you’ve spent that time. Genetics play a role in setting you up for cellular successes and failures, but epigenetics reveals how your environmental factors have swayed those predispositions.

Functional age matters much more than chronological age. Consider several factors—including diet, exercise, every day stress—as you start to compose the picture of your functional age and, as a result, your overall vitality and longevity.

How to Test Your Functional Age

Luckily, your functional age is easy to determine. A naturopathic doctor or MD can order a Complete Blood Count (CBC), hormone panel, and other related tests to obtain the qualitative data that starts to form your functional age.

Biomarkers commonly used to measure functional age include A1C, total cholesterol, C-Reactive protein, blood pressure, total homocysteine, triglycerides, fasting glucose, waist-to-hip ratio, creatinine, reactive oxidative species, and more.*

For added convenience, you can order at-home tests that collect saliva, urine, and blood to start getting your data now. Be sure to work with an integrative doctor to interpret these results and formulate a plan that includes food, exercise, stress management, and supplementation to address your specific needs.*

Your organs can have different functional ages, as they have been independently taxed by lifestyle choices, health issues, and environmental exposures. If your liver has aged the most prematurely, your wellness plan should focus on slowing that process. 

Read more about how to test your functional age here.



Everyone knows their chronological age, but it might be worth taking steps to figure out your functional age, too. Revealing much more than the year you were born, this fluctuating number can offer valuable insights about your health, vitality, and longevity.

It’s never too late to make the appropriate shifts to support your overall wellness and, in many cases, lower that functional age number.

Diets rich in dark green leafy vegetables, lean proteins, and flavonoids promote a healthy aging process and overall wellness.* Moderate, regular exercise supports the cardiovascular system and helps keep everyday stress at manageable levels.*

Connect with your functional doctor to discuss the appropriate tests to assess your real age—the one that matters most to your health and vitality!

Aging Protocol

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.