How to slow down aging: Blood iron levels may be the answer

Hyperaxion Jul 16, 2020

A new study explains why consumption of iron-rich red meat has been linked to age-related conditions such as heart disease.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Germany have identified some genes linked to aging that may help explain why people age at different rates – and the relationship between aging and blood iron levels. The study was published on Thursday (16) in the journal Nature.

How to slow down aging: Blood iron levels may be the answer
(Credit: Creative Commons).

By analyzing the genetic data of more than a million people, the researchers found that maintaining healthy blood iron levels could be the key to aging slowly and living longer.

The team identified ten regions of the human genome linked to life span, disease-free years of life, and longevity; and noted that sets of genes linked to iron were overrepresented in the analyzes of these three measures of aging.

Using a statistical method known as Mendelian randomization, the researchers found that the genes involved in the metabolism of iron in the blood are partly responsible for a long and healthy life.

Iron levels in the blood are affected by each person’s diet and abnormally high or low amounts are linked to age-related conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, and a decline in the body’s ability to fight infections in old age.

“We speculate that our findings on iron metabolism might also start to explain why very high levels of iron-rich red meat in the diet has been linked to age-related conditions such as heart disease,” said Paul Timmers, a researcher from the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh, and co-author of the article.

The study results may accelerate the development of drugs to reduce age-related diseases and prolong healthy years of life.

Related topics:

Aging

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