You drank your kale smoothie today. You ate your avocado toast topped with boiled organic eggs, put on your activewear and practised some home yoga, lit the sage joss stick for meditation chants, and drank several glasses of cucumber or pomegranate-infused water — If you repeat these habits daily, do you think you will live longer?
Science has, for long, grappled with the question of whether genes or lifestyle impact our lifespan and the answer is, while several lifestyle factors do determine how long we live (more importantly, how healthily we do the living), scientific evidence suggests that we cannot discount the role genes play in ageing and human lifespan longevity as well.
According to a recent study, led by the University College London (UCL), a collection of genes plays a crucial role in determining human lifespan.
The genes had previously done wonders in extending the lifespan of smaller organisms, like it helped increase fruit flies’ lives by 10 per cent, but this is the first time researchers have been able to demonstrate its link to humans’ lifespan, according to a new Genome Research paper.
The study examined genetic data of previous studies involving 11,262 people who had lived an exceptionally long life – especially those who made it past their 90s. Co-lead author Dr Nazif Alic, while sharing the findings with Science Daily, said, “We have already seen from extensive previous research that inhibiting certain genes involved in making proteins in our cells, can extend lifespan in model organisms such as yeast, worms and flies. However, in humans, loss of function in these genes has been seen to cause diseases, such as developmental disorders known as ribosomopathies.”
However, he added that in the recent study it was discovered that inhibiting these genes may also lead to increased longevity in people, perhaps because they are most useful early in life before causing problems in late life.
The scientists discovered that the genes’ effects were connected to specific organs, including abdominal fat, liver, and skeletal muscle. However, they also propounded that the effect on longevity went beyond mere associations with specific age-related diseases.
The report at Science Daily said that the findings of the study prove that drugs such as rapamycin, an immune regulator, may be helpful to promote healthy lifespan.
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