New study shows how the blood of longest-living people is different

By Jurassic JennJun 21, 2024 13:37 PMScience
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The blood of longest-living people is different
The blood of longest-living people is different. Source: www.express.co.uk

The remarkable increase in centenarians, individuals reaching the age of 100 or more, has spurred great interest in unraveling the secrets of exceptional longevity. This pursuit involves studying the intricate interplay between genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors throughout a person's life. In a recent groundbreaking study published in GeroScience, common biomarkers that contribute to long and healthy lives were identified, shedding light on this complex subject. This is prepared by SSP.

Scientists have long been fascinated by nonagenarians and centenarians, as they offer valuable insights into extending human lifespan and achieving better overall health in older age. Previous studies on these age groups, however, have often been limited in scope and included selective populations, excluding those residing in care facilities, for example.

Our study represents the largest investigation to date, comparing biomarker profiles in exceptionally long-lived individuals and their counterparts with shorter lifespans. The study analyzed data from the Amoris cohort, which consisted of 44,000 Swedes who underwent health assessments between the ages of 64 and 99. These participants were then followed for up to 35 years through Swedish register data. Notably, out of the sample, 1,224 individuals, or 2.7%, reached the remarkable milestone of 100 years of age, with the vast majority being female.

The study focused on twelve blood-based biomarkers associated with inflammation, metabolism, liver and kidney function, malnutrition potential, and anemia. These biomarkers were chosen due to their previous associations with aging and mortality. Examples include uric acid, a waste product resulting from food digestion, as well as markers related to metabolic status (such as total cholesterol and glucose) and liver function (such as alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase). Additionally, markers associated with kidney function (creatinine), anemia (iron and total iron-binding capacity), and nutrition (albumin) were considered.

While the median values of most biomarkers did not differ significantly between centenarians and non-centenarians, there were notable differences in the extremes. Centenarians rarely displayed extremely high or low values for most biomarkers, which contrasts with their younger counterparts.

Further analysis revealed that all but two of the twelve biomarkers (alanine aminotransferase and albumin) were linked to the probability of individuals reaching 100 years of age. This association remained strong even after accounting for age, sex, and disease burden. Specifically, lower levels of total cholesterol and iron were associated with a decreased likelihood of reaching 100, while higher levels of glucose, creatinine, uric acid, and liver function markers also reduced the chance of becoming a centenarian.

Though the absolute differences for each biomarker were relatively small overall, they imply a potential connection between metabolic health, nutrition, and exceptional longevity. It is vital to note that this study solely identifies the biomarkers influencing longevity and does not determine the specific genes or lifestyle factors responsible for their values. However, it is reasonable to consider factors like nutrition and alcohol intake as potential influences.

Monitoring kidney and liver function, glucose levels, and uric acid as individuals age may be a prudent approach. While chance likely plays a role in reaching an exceptional age, the observed differences in biomarkers long before death suggest that both genes and lifestyle contribute to longevity.

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