2023 Centenarian Study
For years, scientists have been looking for biomarkers that may suggest longevity. The number of centenarians (people who live at least to their 100th birthday) has increased significantly and is expected to even quintuple between 2022 and 2050. Many factors play into longevity- genetics, lifestyle and even chance, but are there any common lab criteria we can use to help better predict longevity?
A Swedish study recently published in Geroscience discovered a few of these potential biomarkers. This study was a 35-year follow-up on centenarians’ labwork. One of the first things that stands out is that of the 1224 participants that lived until their 100th birthday- 84.6% was female! Of these participants, the researchers backtracked and looked at 35 years of lab work to determine any common trends.
The lab work that really stood out when these centenarians were compared to their non-centenarian peers are the following:
Lower levels of:
- Uric Acid
- Alkaline Phosphatase
High levels of:
- Total Cholesterol
One common factor of the “low labs” is that they can be signs of inflammation- whether directly or indirectly. For example, uric acid tends to increase with gout, but is also a nonspecific marker of inflammation. We know inflammation is a key component to many chronic health diseases.
The total cholesterol being higher contradicts many studies that demonstrate high cholesterol increases cardiovascular risk. Another previous study has shown that that in elderly age (>80) perhaps having a higher cholesterol is more protective against mortality.  Also in this study it was demonstrated that the better ratio of good to bad cholesterol is still associated with low mortality even in the >80-year-old population.
As more studies and interest in longevity continue, we hope to develop clearer blueprints of what contributes to human longevity. In the meantime, the controllable factors we can all focus on are stress reduction, eating a high-nutrient, high-fiber, high-protein diet, cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and staying up to date on preventative health measures!
- Blood biomarker profiles and exceptional longevity: comparison of centenarians and non-centenarians in a 35-year follow-up of the Swedish AMORIS cohort – PubMed (nih.gov) Geroscience, 2023 Sept 19. Doi:10.1007/s11357-023-00936-2. Online ahead of print. Blood biomarker profiles and exceptional longevity: comparison of centenarians and non-centenarians in a 35-year follow-up of the Swedish AMORIS cohort. Shunsuke Murata12, Marcus Ebeling34, Anna C Meyer3, Katharina Schmidt-Mende56, Niklas Hammar3, Karin Modig3
- Ding, M., Wennberg, A., Ek, S. et al. The association of apolipoproteins with later-life all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: a population-based study stratified by age. Sci Rep 11, 24440 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-03959-5