Centenarians, once considered rare, have become commonplace in today’s society. The pursuit of understanding the secrets behind exceptional longevity involves unraveling the complex interplay of genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors throughout a person’s life. A recent study published in GeroScience has unveiled common biomarkers in people who live past 90, shedding light on how to live longer and age in better health.

This study is the largest comparing biomarker profiles among exceptionally long-lived people and their shorter-lived peers. It included data from 44,000 Swedes who underwent health assessments at ages 64-99, with follow-ups for up to 35 years. Of these participants, 2.7% lived to be 100 years old, with the majority being female. The study looked at various blood-based biomarkers related to inflammation, metabolism, liver and kidney function, malnutrition, and anemia.

The study found that centenarians tended to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine, and uric acid starting from their sixties. In comparing centenarians to non-centenarians, the differences in median values for most biomarkers were not significant, but centenarians displayed more balanced levels without extremes. While both groups had values outside of normal clinical guidelines, these guidelines are based on a younger and healthier population.

The study revealed that most of the 12 biomarkers examined showed a connection to the likelihood of turning 100. Lower levels of total cholesterol and iron were associated with a decreased chance of reaching 100, while higher levels of glucose, creatinine, uric acid, and liver function markers also reduced the likelihood. The differences in some biomarkers were small in absolute terms, but they suggest a potential link between metabolic health, nutrition, and exceptional longevity.

While this study provides valuable insight into the relationship between biomarkers and longevity, it does not draw definitive conclusions about the factors responsible for these values. Nutrition and alcohol intake are mentioned as potential influencers, and monitoring kidney and liver function, as well as glucose and uric acid levels, as we age may be beneficial. The study suggests that genes and lifestyle play a role in exceptional longevity, as evidenced by differences in biomarkers observed long before death.

The study of centenarians and their biomarker profiles offers valuable information on what contributes to exceptional longevity. By understanding the common markers associated with living past 90, researchers may unlock further insights into how to promote healthy aging and extend lifespan. While more research is needed to fully understand the role of genetics and lifestyle in longevity, this study represents a significant step forward in the field of aging research.

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