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Chronic Inflammation and a Longer Lifespan Don’t Mix


Chronic Inflammation and a Longer Lifespan Don’t Mix
  Aug. 24, 2015


In a new study published online in EBioMedicine, researchers identified chronic inflammation as the most important changeable factor associated with being able to live to 100 years of age. This was also the case for maintaining optimal physical and mental health along the way. The study included more than 1,500 people with ages ranging from 50-110. Nearly 680 of the participants were centenarians while 167 others were the centenarian’s offspring. The research team measured several markers associated with accelerated ageing such as metabolic rate, inflammation levels, liver and kidney function, and telomere length. Telomeres are protective components at the end of chromosomes linked to lifespan and susceptibility to disease (shorter telomeres = greater risk for mortality).

The researchers found:

  • Genetics has a major part to play in how long you live – the offspring of centenarians have the best chance of living longer and maintaining “youthful” telomeres for a longer time
  • Dietary and behavioral factors also are influential on how long you live – managing chronic inflammation, the primary modifiable behavior, had positive impacts on longer lifespan, mental acuity and functional independence

The results make sense in light of the association of chronic inflammation with major metabolic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer and various neurochemical maladies (issues in the brain) such as depression and Alzheimer’s. According to co-author Thomas von Zg linicki, a professor from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, “Our study showed that over a wide age range, including unprecedentedly large numbers of the extremely old, inflammation is an important driver of ageing that might be something we can develop a pharmacological treatment for”.

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