Scientists May Have Isolated The Secret To Staying Healthy Past Age 100
What’s the secret of people who live vibrant, healthy lives well beyond the age of 100?
Low levels of inflammation — the long-term overactivation of the immune response — may be the answer, suggests a new study of centenarians from researchers in England and Japan. People with lower markers of chronic inflammation also tend to be less likely to develop diseases, meaning suppressing inflammation could be the No. 1 key to not only living longer but to staying healthy longer.
“Centenarians and supercentenarians are different — put simply, they age slower,” Dr. Thomas von Zglinicki, a cellular gerontologist at Newcastle University and the study’s lead author, said in a written statement. “They can ward off diseases for much longer than the general population.”
Dr. Cheri Gostic, a geriatric specialist at Stony Brook University who has studied the effects of phsycial activity on inflammation, said the findings, which were published online last week in the journal EBioMedicine, weren’t entirely surprising.
“Research has demonstrated that chronic systemic inflammation is a key factor in the development of many common chronic diseases, including … heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease and most strokes,” Gostic told The Huffington Post. “Old age does not cause death; disease does. If one can minimize inflammation in the body and reduce the risk or progression of disease, then it makes sense that individuals have a better chance to live longer.”
In addition to low levels of inflammation, healthy centenarians and supercentenarians (people over 110 years old) also had longer telomeres, which are the caps on the end of DNA strands that protect the chromosomes from aging and poor health.