Aging is a major risk factor for most chronic diseases and functional impairments. Within a homogeneous age sample there is a considerable variation in the extent of disease and functional impairment risk, revealing a need for valid biomarkers to aid in characterizing the complex aging processes. The identification of biomarkers is further complicated by the diversity of biological living situations, lifestyle activities and medical treatments. Thus, there has been no identification of a single biomarker or gold standard tool that can monitor successful or healthy aging. Within this short review the current knowledge of putative biomarkers is presented, focusing on their application to the major physiological mechanisms affected by the aging process including physical capability, nutritional status, body composition, endocrine and immune function. This review emphasizes molecular and DNA-based biomarkers, as well as recent advances in other biomarkers such as microRNAs, bilirubin or advanced glycation end products.
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