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Thanks to the fact that the over-60s age group is growing faster than any other, research has begun to focus on how those living longer into old age can do so without succumbing to years of frailty and disability.
The idea is “successful aging,” and it’s about living better, longer — something we all want.
And now, researchers in Spain might have found at least one of the secrets to achieving that goal…
Less frailty, less disease, more life
Their research focused on centenarians — since closing in on your 100th birthday makes you the poster child for “successful aging”— and because this privileged group seems to be able to delay the onset of age-related disease, in some cases, even avoiding it.
Yet, what was unique about this research is that it didn’t just look at the centenarians themselves. It took things down another level…
It appears their may be a hereditary component to healthy longevity. So the researchers set out to see if the children of centenarians are less frail than those of non-centenarians and if a “centenarian genetic footprint” could, in fact, exist.
To do this, they recruited 63 centenarians, 88 offspring of centenarians, and 88 offspring of non-centenarians. To be considered the offspring of a centenarian, the participants had to have a living parent over the age of 97 and be between 65 and 80 themselves.
From there, each person’s frailty level was analyzed, looking at unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, weakness (grip strength), slow walking speed and physical activity levels.
And sure enough, frailty just wasn’t in the cards for kids whose parents were nearing the 100-year mark.
“Our findings show that the offspring of centenarians are less frail than their age-matched offspring of non-centenarians,” said study coordinator, Consuelo Borrás.
But frailty wasn’t the only benchmark…
“We also collected plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the sampled individuals and found that the gene expression patterns (miRNA and mRNA) of the offspring of centenarians were more similar to the patterns found in centenarians than in those of offspring of the non-centenarians, despite having the same age,” said Borrás.
In other words, if you have a parent who is a centenarian, you may have received a unique genetic endowment that may not only help you live longer but better.
Exceptional aging made simple
But are genes the only way you can age successfully?
If like me, your parents didn’t come near the century mark without falling prey to age-related disease, you shouldn’t count yourself out just yet.
We live in a time when there’s certainly no shortage of research into why and how we age, and the bullseye is on our mitochondria — tiny, bean-shaped structures that provide the energy our cells need to function.
Science says that it’s malfunctioning mitochondria that kick off aging. But, lucky for us, there are a couple of ways to support them…
First, there’s exercise. Just two minutes of exercise can be enough to boost your mitochondrial health when you do it right. If exercise is difficult for you, there’s an easier option…
Experts know that a supplement known as Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), has been found to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis while protecting cells from mitochondrial inhibition.
In other words, PQQ can help them renew and regenerate. So how can you get it?
PQQ is found in small amounts in papaya, spinach, tofu, fermented soybeans and parsley.
All of us weren’t lucky enough to inherit that unique genetic signature from centenarian parents. So don’t feel guilty about making up for what your genes missed out on.