Researchers discover four different types of aging
Not all people age the same
Some get old and sick faster, others are still enviably fit for their age – we all know this from everyday life. In fact, there are apparently at least four types of aging in humans. This is what a team of doctors from Stanford University in California (USA) has found out. In a study, they identified four different ways in which the human body changes and grows old in the course of life. If you know your ageing type, your lifestyle can at least to some extent influence how quickly you get old.
Scientists find four types of ageing
The geneticist Michael Snyder and his team of scientists from Stanford University published their study in the journal “Nature Medicine” in January. They investigated the aging of the body using biochemical methods and came to the conclusion that there are at least four different types of aging and how the human body changes in the course of life. Each ageing type is linked to a specific organ or process in the body:
For study leader Michael Snyder, knowledge of one’s own aging type is an important insight for taking countermeasures in good time: “It can help individuals to precisely identify risk factors for their health and to identify the areas in which they are most likely to have problems later on,” says Snyder. “The most important thing is that our study shows one thing: it is possible to positively influence the course of aging.
With people like cars, some parts wear out faster than others…
The researchers found the different aging variants after regularly examining 106 women and men aged 29 to 75 years over a period of several years, who had no previous illnesses at the beginning of the study. Later, Professor Snyder and his team concentrated on 43 of the subjects. The scientists regularly analyzed samples of blood and stool, and even examined bacteria that settled in the noses of the study participants. In the end, they had countless data on genes, blood proteins, metabolites and microorganisms from each subject and observed how these data changed over time.
Professor Snyder and his colleagues initially identified four ageing variants among the test subjects. Some showed changes in metabolism, others in the immune system, liver or kidney function. One metabolic aging person developed a certain haemoglobin in the blood, which can indicate the development of diabetes. In test subjects of the immune aging type, on the other hand, signs of inflammation accumulated in the body.
Michael Snyder likes to draw a comparison with cars. “As your car gets older, some components probably wear out faster than others, such as the transmission or brakes. And these are the parts you need to know how to repair, ideally.” However, not everyone can be automatically assigned to one aging type, and there are mixed types.
Eight ways to stay looking young for life
- Protect yourself from the sun.
- Relax your face & stop scowling
- Sleep 8-9 hours a night
- Eat whole foods, not processed junk.
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t drink excessively
- Consider topical vitamin A
Some subjects lived healthier lives and became biologically younger
What helps to stay healthy with increasing age has long been recommended by doctors: don’t smoke, lose excess weight, do a lot of sport and exercise, eat healthy food with lots of fruit and vegetables. The Stanford physicians see the benefit of their study in the fact that everyone can take specific action against the individual risks of their type of aging, for example by testing the organs that are particularly at risk – everything to stay healthy for longer.
Recipes for a healthy and balanced diet can be found here.
By the way, some of the test persons changed their lifestyle during the study period. They changed their diet, lost weight or started to exercise. The result: the age-related changes in their bodies reversed – they became biologically younger!
Even the head of the study now does more workouts!
Professor Snyder also took part in his study as a test person. Until then, he actually always considered himself to be quite athletic. But the analysis of his data showed him that his body is biologically not younger than his age group. “I was a little disappointed to see that I was getting old quite normally,” Snyder recalls. “From that point on, I started weight training. I’m very interested to find out next year if this will affect my aging process.” Research into ageing types is just beginning. According to Michael Snyder, more studies are needed, with more test subjects and measurements – so that more people than ever stay healthy and fit into old age.