Researchers are on constant search for therapies that can extend human life and help us remain healthy, active and indepedent as we age.
One important new study reveals that an extra 70 years of healthy life may be attainable and not just pie-in-the-sky thinking.
The research suggests that we could potentially live up to the age of 150 if we can figure out how to maximize one important human trait. Let’s take a closer look…
Anti-aging researchers look to biological age as a strong indicator of a person’s health status – and hence how long one’s likely to live – over chronological age, or the number of years since we were born.
What is unknown however, is how quickly biological age changes over time in any individual, and how to distinguish between transient fluctuations and a genuine change in the bio-age trend that could impact our long-term health and longevity.
A team of experts from Gero, a Singapore-based biotech company, and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, took up the challenge to find an answer.
The Importance of DOSI
The research team performed a highly detailed analysis of over half a million people across the U.S. and the U.K. They examined complete blood counts and physical activity levels which were recorded by wearable devices.
The researchers were interested in one key measurement: the time it takes to recover from any form of imbalance or stress in the body, which they termed resilience.
Resilience, together with age, illness, and lifestyle factors, was incorporated into a single variable called the dynamic organism state indicator (DOSI) to predict life expectancy.
DOSI values rise or fall with decreased or increased life expectancy, respectively. After completing their analysis the researchers found healthy people are very resilient, but added, “DOSI…predicted the prospective incidence of age-related diseases and death, and was elevated in cohorts representing typical life-shortening lifestyles, such as smoking, or exhibiting multiple morbidity.”
The good news is that if someone gives up an unhealthy behavior, DOSI values can be reversed. However, the researchers wrote, that “long-time stresses may cause hard-to-repair damage to the specific tissues and thus produce lasting effects on the resilience.”
In other words, some damage appears to be permanent. What’s more, you don’t need a specific stressor to increase DOSI; aging itself increases DOSI. In fact, in terms of recovery rate, the average 40 year old has a recovery rate of two weeks, which rises to six weeks for an 80 year old.
This slipping away of resilience is directly related to our mortality and, in the end, puts a finite number on the years we can live regardless of illness.
There’s an Upper Limit to Lifespan
The researchers believe the results of their analysis puts the upper limit on human lifespan at between 120 to 150 years of age.
“…[T]he loss of resilience” they write, “cannot be avoided even in the most successfully aging individuals…” and therefore “no dramatic improvement of the maximum lifespan and hence strong life extension is possible by preventing or curing diseases without interception of the aging process, the root cause of the underlying loss of resilience.”
That’s why, commented co-author Andrei Gudkov, from Roswell Park, “even the most effective prevention and treatment of age-related diseases could only improve the average, but not the maximal lifespan…”
David Sinclair, anti-aging expert and professor of genetics at Harvard, described recovery rate, or DOSI, as “an important signature of aging…”
So what can you do?
Until there’s a way to “intercept” the root cause behind loss of resilience, you should do everything you can to remain stress and disease free. Adopt healthy lifestyle strategies available to you through diet, nutritional supplementation, exercise and stress management techniques. And, as you’ve heard me say many times, getting good quality sleep is also important.
Who knows, with a dose of good fortune you might be able to celebrate your 120th or even your 150th birthday.