In the quest for eternal youth, explorers throughout history have scoured the globe for the mythical “Fountain of Youth.” But while that elusive fountain remains unfound, modern medical experts are uncovering intriguing clues to longevity that are much closer to home, within our very veins.
Recent research sheds light on a fascinating connection between long life and our blood. It turns out that individuals who’ve celebrated over a century on this planet share some interesting traits in their blood composition. The study, led by co-author Dr. Karin Modig, an associate professor at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, offers insight into the secrets of centenarians.
So, what’s the blood-based secret to a long and healthy life?
Well, the magic combination seems to be lower levels of three specific compounds: glucose, creatinine, and uric acid.
Centenarians, those who reach the remarkable milestone of a hundred years, tend to maintain lower levels of these three compounds from their 60s onwards. For example, very few of these remarkable individuals had glucose levels exceeding 6.5 earlier in life or creatinine levels above 125.
High levels of glucose can lead to diabetes, while elevated creatinine levels can indicate kidney problems, and uric acid is often associated with inflammation.
The research, published in the journal GeroScience, analyzed data from a whopping 44,000 individuals in Sweden who were born between 1893 and 1920. These participants had their health assessed at various points from ages 64 to 99, and the researchers followed their progress for up to 35 years. Remarkably, 2.7% of them reached the age of 100.
People with lower blood levels of glucose, creatinine and uric acid from their 60s and older seem to have a better shot at living to 100, according to Dr. Karin Modig.
One intriguing finding was that a substantial 85% of these centenarians were female. In addition to glucose, creatinine, and uric acid, the study also delved into total cholesterol and iron levels. Those with lower levels of cholesterol and iron had a lower likelihood of reaching the coveted age of 100.
While the study doesn’t prescribe specific lifestyle changes, it strongly hints at certain factors and biomarkers in our blood that could influence our lifespan.
Factors like nutrition and alcohol consumption might play a part in this longevity puzzle. Dr. Modig suggests that keeping an eye on kidney and liver values, as well as glucose and uric acid levels as we age, might be a wise idea.
Most centenarians are women, researchers have found.
However, it’s worth noting that a good deal of reaching an exceptionally old age could simply come down to luck. Chance likely plays a role in the journey towards an exceptional age, but the fact that these biomarker differences can be observed long before reaching the century mark suggests that our genes and lifestyle choices may also have their say in the matter.
In the end, while we may not have located the legendary Fountain of Youth, our own blood may hold some of the keys to unlocking the secrets of a longer, healthier life. It’s a fascinating field of study that reminds us that when it comes to living a fulfilling and extended life, there’s much more to discover.
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