Scientists have found that simple blood tests in older people can predict which of them will become centenarians and live 100 years. We’ll tell you what these tests are.
The study by a large group of Swedish scientists was published in the latest issue of the journal GeroScience.
How the past predicts the future
The work of scientists is simply unique. It was carried out using a huge database, the so-called AMORIS cohort, which contains detailed information, including many analyses, about 800 thousand people. It began to be created in 1985 with the goal of looking into the future: to see what people’s health will be like many years later, depending on their tests done during this time. First of all, scientists intended to study diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
For more than 10 years, doctors have been harvesting scientific knowledge by analyzing the AMORIS cohort databases. The researchers compared the analyzes of 1,224 participants who had passed the century mark (84.6% of them women) and those who had not reached that age.
It turns out that those who at the beginning of the study had lower levels of glucose, creatinine, uric acid, AST (aspartate aminotransferase), GGT (gamma-glutamyltransferase), ALP (alkaline phosphatase), LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) and TGSS (total) lived to be 100 years old. serum iron binding capacity) and higher levels of total cholesterol and iron. Behind these tricky names are not super-expensive and exotic tests, but rather widely performed tests. After all, they were even made in those years.
In general, centenarians showed fairly uniform performance in these analyses. And from the age of 65 they already began to predict a more favorable prognosis in terms of longevity. Why is this so, what secret do these tests hide?
Why does it all matter
They indicate indicators that are very important for life expectancy. The role of glucose is easiest to understand. The higher its level, the faster the rate of aging of blood vessels, and the entire organism as a whole. This has been well studied in diabetic patients.
Uric acid tells more than just whether you have gout or not. It is also a marker of inflammation in the body, and if it is smoldering and not suppressed, this is clearly bad for life expectancy.
AST, GGT, ALP and LDH are the so-called liver tests. They indicate the health of this organ and how it participates in metabolism – this is the main laboratory of the body, in which a lot of things are processed and neutralized.
Creatinine is a biomarker of kidney function, the main organ for excreting many toxins. The better they are removed, the less their negative effect.
Indicators related to iron are very important – its level in the blood and the total blood pressure. They talk about the ability of blood to deliver oxygen to organs. This is very important in general, and in old age it is critically important. Plus, the amount of iron in the body depends on proper nutrition.
It seems paradoxical that high cholesterol levels are beneficial for long life. We are always told that it needs to be reduced. Not everything is clear here yet. But it seems that in very old people, lack of cholesterol is more likely to be harmful. There are studies on this topic. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be lowered in younger people, when it is elevated and dramatically increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Here you need to understand two things. First, cholesterol is very important for the synthesis of many hormones and for brain function. And secondly, not all cholesterol is bad, there is also good. And total cholesterol, which was assessed in this study, combines both of them.
From when can all these markers be important for predicting the future? The authors of the article give a specific answer: “Beginning at age 65, there was a difference in publicly available biomarkers between people who then lived to be 100 years old and those who died earlier.”