People always wonder what the key to living a long life is. While your diet, exercise, attitude, stress level, and sleep may play a part, a recent study identified another factor that could determine your longevity. According to the new study, a majority of people who live past 105 years old have this one thing in common. To find out what helps you live longer, read on, and to see what you can take to help extend your life.
People who live past 105 years old have genetic similarities, the researchers found.
A May 4 study published in the journal eLife took blood samples of 81 people who were 105 years or older from all over Italy. Then they did the same with 36 healthy people from the same regions who were an average of 68 years old. With their samples collected, the researchers conducted a whole genome sequencing in search of differences in the genes between the older and younger group.
“We chose to study the genetics of a group of people who lived beyond 105 years old and compare them with a group of younger adults from the same area in Italy, as people in this younger age group tend to avoid many age-related diseases and therefore represent the best example of healthy aging,” one of the authors of the study, Paolo Garagnani, PhD, said in the statement.
What they found was that people who live beyond 105 years tend to have some genetic similarities.
These genetic similarities are linked to reduced age-related disease.
The researchers identified a handful of genetic variances that were more often seen in people who lived past 105. The most common were linked to heightened activity of the STK17A gene, which is responsible for “coordinating the cell’s response to DNA damage, encouraging damaged cells to undergo programmed cell death, and managing the amount of dangerous reactive oxygen species within a cell,” the authors explained. This highly active STK17A gene helps combat the initiation and growth of various diseases, including cancer.
The researchers also found an increased presence of BLVRA among people 105 years old and older—that gene plays an important role in the health of cells.
The final common genetic trait was in the COA1 gene, which plays an essential role in your cells’ functionality, specifically how the nucleus and mitochondria communicate. Other research has shown that your mitochondria plays a key part in age-related diseases, specifically neurodegenerative ones, meaning the COA1 gene helps stave off this kind of deterioration.
People who live past 105 had accumulated fewer harmful genetic mutations.
The researchers found that people older than 105 had fewer mutations in the genes they tested. Mutations tend to negatively affect how your genes function in terms of stress and DNA repair. The researchers said the subjects they studied “appeared to avoid the age-related increase in disruptive mutations, and this may have contributed in protecting them against diseases such as heart disease.”
Other studies pinpointed DNA repair as one of the factors that promotes longevity in other species, senior author of the study Cristina Giuliani, PhD, said in a statement. “We showed that this is true also within humans,” she explained.
“Our results suggest that DNA repair mechanisms and a low burden of mutations in specific genes are two central mechanisms that have protected people who have reached extreme longevity from age-related diseases,” senior author of the study, Claudio Franceschi, PhD, said in a statement.
Previous research has shown that social and environmental factors can also play a part in whether you live to 100.
Genetics may be one element of your longevity, but your social life and environment can play a role, too. April 2020 research out of Washington State University’s (WSU) Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine found that living in highly walkable, mixed-age communities can help you reach that 100-year mark. “Aging has been attributed to be only 20–35 percent heritable. Social and environmental factors, such as high educational attainment and socioeconomic status, also significantly contribute to longevity,” the authors wrote in the study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
According to the study, people with a high probability of living to 100 tended to live in geographic clusters in urban areas and smaller towns with a “higher percentage of working age population,” defined as those between the ages of 15 and 64. In a statement, study author Rajan Bhardwaj, a WSU medical student, said, “These findings indicate that mixed-age communities are very beneficial for everyone involved. They also support the big push in growing urban centers toward making streets more walkable, which makes exercise more accessible to older adults and makes it easier for them to access medical care and grocery stores.” Urban areas also tend to help older adults feel less isolated and offer more community support.
So if you’re worried you’re lacking the genes to help ring in your 100th birthday, you might want to consider a location that could enhance the quality and length of your life. Want to know what other small changes you can make to add years to your life? Here are 100 Ways to Live to 100, According to Science.
Article by Allie Hogan
Photo credit: BestLife
Source of article: People Who Live Past 105 Have This in Common, New Study Says (msn.com)