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Living to 100: Secrets of Octogenarians

by Editorial Team November 20th, 2018 | Common Conditions
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Do you know anyone who’s over 100 years old? It’s estimated that over 300,000 individuals around the world are centenarians — and that this number will continue to increase over time. Many continue to thrive cognitively and socially with a good number of them claiming to have a unique secret to their longevity. Some may say it’s their daily habits, others may say it’s their positive attitude. These things may certainly be of influence. But there are also some specific and surprising natural molecules that are part of the secret to reaching the milestone age of 100. 

Klotho

Produced by cells throughout the human body — and in especially high concentrations in the kidneys and the brain — klotho protein slows aging by suppressing inflammation. Longevity often runs in families, but is it because of nature or nurture? Part of the reason that immediate relatives of people who live long may also live longer is lifestyle. People’s habits, what they eat, and where they live can all influence health, and these are all factors that some family members may have in common. But another part of the answer may be in genetics.

The klotho gene can instruct the body to make more or less klotho protein. And inheriting a klotho gene that codes for higher levels of klotho protein may make you live longer. Though you don’t choose your genes, researchers are working on developing a way to counteract age-related decline by supplementing klotho for individuals with naturally lower levels of the protein.

Omega-3

A comprehensive demographic study found that the country with the greatest number of centenarians is Japan. Over the years, many have speculated about what’s behind the long life and good health of the Japanese, and most theories point to their diet. The traditional Japanese diet includes plenty of fish, including fatty fish like salmon. Fatty fish tend to have high amounts of omega-3, an essential fatty acid. “Essential” means that this fatty acid needs to come from the diet — your body doesn’t make it — but omega-3 isn’t found in high amounts in too many different foods. Certain fish, flax seeds, and walnuts are the highest contributors of omega-3. Because fish is such a staple in Japan, omega-3 in the diet is not lacking. Studies have shown again and again that omega-3 benefits brain health, heart health, and more. Because poor heart and brain health are associated with aging decline, it’s not surprising that omega-3 counters these effects.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced by your skin when it’s exposed to the sun, and it’s also available in some foods. Interestingly, the most common food sources of vitamin D in the US are fortified foods — or foods to which vitamin D has been added — like fortified milk and breakfast cereal. But the same fatty fish that are good sources of omega-3 (like salmon, mackerel, and tuna) contribute high amounts of vitamin D as well. Why is vitamin D important when it comes to aging? It has long been known that vitamin D works with calcium to keep your bones strong. Given the impact of osteoporosis on many older adults, it’s clear why this vitamin would be important for health at an old age. But that’s not all. In more recent research, optimal vitamin D levels have been implicated in preventing many chronic and age-related conditions including cognitive decline, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

There may not be just one key to long life, but the molecules your body makes naturally and the nutrients you consume are definitely important contributors.

SOURCES:

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-centenarian-age-is-upon-us-history-will-now-live-for-ever-10092116.html

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150331-the-most-unique-supercentenarians

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25386976

https://draxe.com/omega-3-benefits-plus-top-10-omega-3-foods-list/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30244005

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30245517

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399494/

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods

Brought to you by our friends at klotho.com.

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