In recent years, the number of centenarians has been steadily increasing, making them one of the fastest-growing demographic groups worldwide. It is a fascinating subject to explore, as humans have been intrigued by the questions of how long we can live and what factors contribute to a long and healthy life for centuries. Ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle pondered over the aging process more than two millennia ago.
The pursuit of understanding the secrets behind exceptional longevity is a complex endeavor. Scientists grapple with assessing the intricate interplay between genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors throughout a person’s life. A recent study published in GeroScience has shed light on some common biomarkers that may indicate a longer lifespan, including cholesterol and glucose levels in individuals who live past the age of 90.
Previous studies on centenarians have often been limited in scope and focused on specific groups, such as excluding those residing in care homes. However, the study discussed here stands out as the largest investigation to date. The researchers examined the biomarker profiles of individuals who lived to be 100 years old, comparing them with their shorter-lived counterparts. The data for this study involved 44,000 Swedes who underwent health assessments between the ages of 64 and 99. These participants were followed through Swedish register data for up to 35 years.
The study evaluated twelve blood-based biomarkers associated with inflammation, metabolism, liver and kidney function, nutrition, and anaemia. Among these biomarkers, indicators of inflammation, such as uric acid, showcased interesting patterns. The researchers discovered that individuals who reached their hundredth birthday tended to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine, and uric acid from their sixties onwards. Furthermore, centenarians rarely displayed extremely high or low values in these biomarkers throughout their lives.
The findings of this study indicated that most of the biomarkers, excluding two, were linked to the likelihood of reaching 100. The individuals with lower levels of total cholesterol and iron had a higher chance of becoming centenarians, while higher levels of glucose, creatinine, uric acid, and liver function markers decreased this likelihood. The absolute differences in these biomarkers were relatively small but still significant. These results suggested a connection between metabolic health, nutrition, and exceptional longevity. It is important to note, however, that this study did not identify specific lifestyle factors or genes responsible for these biomarker values.
While this study does not provide conclusive evidence, it is reasonable to believe that lifestyle factors, such as nutrition and alcohol intake, may influence biomarker levels. Monitoring kidney and liver values, as well as glucose and uric acid levels as one ages, could potentially be beneficial. It is worth acknowledging that chance may also play a role in reaching an exceptional age. Nevertheless, the fact that differences in biomarkers were observable well before death suggests that genes and lifestyle choices can contribute to longevity.
The secrets to living beyond 100 may lie within our biomarkers. This groundbreaking study has unveiled key indicators such as cholesterol and glucose levels that may contribute to exceptional longevity. While the study does not provide definitive answers, it highlights the importance of considering metabolic health, nutrition, and lifestyle factors in promoting a longer and healthier life. Further research is needed to uncover the intricate mechanisms behind these biomarkers and the specific lifestyle interventions that can positively impact them. Ultimately, understanding these secrets can empower individuals to make informed choices and potentially extend their years of vitality.