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Unlock The Fountain Of Youth With Your Genes

posted on 7/3/2016 Facebook Facebook

How old are you?—is a question most of us refrain from answering or often recoil at. In many cultures, it is even considered rude to ask someone’s age. However, having said that, age has been a very popularly discussed topic amongst scientists. The many ways to combat the signs of aging has received much attention in recent times. While there are many variables involved in how long you live—a healthy lifestyle followed by staying active and eating a nutrient- packed diet can help slow the aging process as well as keep age-related diseases away. A newer addition to these norms is the involvement of genes in preventing aging. 

Longevity Genes: How Your DNA Can Add Years To Your Life
A thorough genetic analysis of people who lived past their 80 ‘s was able to identify favorable genes that are associated with extended lifespan. Polymorphisms (variations) which give rise to this behavior are found to in genes involved in lipid metabolism and antioxidant system. The three main genes are:

1. APOE gene: This gene is primarily associated with transporting lipids such as cholesterol and fat (triglycerides), and fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, K through the body. The APOE gene has three major types: E2, E3, and E4. People with E4 allele have been observed to have high levels of cholesterol and therefore a high risk for heart disease, obesity and Alzheimer’s. Hence. E4 correlates to a shorter lifespan. On the other hand, those with E2 alleles have lower levels of cholesterol in their body and hence tend to live longer and healthier. Wondering what the E3 version does? Well, it looks like this is the neutral allele which is carried by about 65 to 85% of the population.

2. CETP gene: This gene encodes for an enzyme in the body which is involved in cholesterol exchange and can significantly lower the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body. Research has found that a genetic variation (loss of function mutation)  in this gene reduces the risk of heart attack amongst individuals and hence associated with longevity. 

3. FOXO3A gene: A master controller of cellular response to stress, the FOXO3A gene is activated under conditions of stress such as scarcity of food and exercise. The activation of this gene enhances the expression of other genes, particularly those involved in glucose and fat utilization and antioxidant production. Higher levels of sugar and insulin can reduce the activity of this gene and hence hamper your overall health. One can enhance FOXO3A levels by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy balance of sugar in the body. 

Things You Can Do To Live Longer
1. Do not stress too much. Stress is known to increase cellular damage and can therefore play with your lifespan. 
2. Exercise regularly. Staying active keeps you young by lubricating your joints, supporting detoxification, improving lean muscle mass, and building your cardiovascular health.
3. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and healthy fats are all necessary to slow down the appearance of those fine lines. Eat more berries (blueberries, raspberries), leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, beet greens, spinach) and healthy fats like olive oil, omega-3 rich fatty fish (salmon) etc. Avoid processed foods, dairy, refined sugar and alcohol.
4. Find out if you have these genes with the help of genetic testing. 

1. Vijg J, Suh Y. Genetics of longevity and aging. Annu Rev Med. 2005;56:193-212.Review. PubMed PMID: 15660509.
2. Dato S, Carotenuto L, De Benedictis G. Genes and longevity: a genetic-demographic approach reveals sex- and age-specific gene effects not shown by the case-control approach (APOE and HSP70.1 loci). Biogerontology. 2007 Feb;8(1):31-41. Epub 2006 Jul 29. PubMed PMID: 16896546.
3. Yang JK, Gong YY, Xie L, Yang Y, Xu LY, Zhang YP. Association study of promoter polymorphisms in the CETP gene with longevity in the Han Chinese population. Mol Biol Rep. 2014 Jan;41(1):325-9. doi: 10.1007/s11033-013-2865-z.Epub 2013 Nov 17. PubMed PMID: 24242673.
4. Pan XD, Mao YQ, Zhu LJ, Li J, Xie Y, Wang L, Zhang GB. Changes of regulatory T cells and FoxP3 gene expression in the aging process and its relationship with lung tumors in humans and mice. Chin Med J (Engl). 2012 Jun;125(11):2004-11. PubMed PMID: 22884069.
5. Wang Y, Zhou Y, Graves DT. FOXO transcription factors: their clinical significance and regulation. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:925350. doi: 10.1155/2014/925350. Epub 2014 Apr 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 24864265; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4016844.

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