RSSDiet primes metabolism for longevity

Posted on Mon, 26 Sep 16

Diet primes metabolism for longevity

By mapping dietary & metabolic markers a research group have revealed dietary influences that may explain good health in some of the world’s longest lived people.  

While studying healthy centenarian’s scientists have previously found that certain metabolic characteristics and dietary influences could play a strong role in extending health-span, and life-span. 

However, few studies have tried to identify how diet could be influencing the metabolic health of long-lived people. So to test their hypothesis that diet could influence the longevity metabolic “fingerprint” a research team looked for correlations between nutrient intakes, mineral analysis and biological metabolites in elderly people, including healthy centenarians from Bama county China, a famous longevity hotspot.

They discovered a number of metabolic markers unique to the centenarians, including significantly higher levels of total short-chain fatty acids including acetic acid, propionic acid, butyric acid and valeric acid. Mineral analysis also revealed higher levels of manganese, iron, copper, cobalt, zinc and selenium, as well as lower levels of lead.  

There were a number of dietary correlations with metabolic markers, but the most significant was a positive correlation between dietary fiber intake and butyric acid and other short chain fatty acids. Dietary fiber is metabolized by gut bacteria to produce short chain fatty acids. 

“…these results confirm the original research hypothesis that there would be distinctive features of metabolites and element profiles in healthy centenarians from the longevity region, and that these would be associated with nutrient intake,” said the scientists. 

The elevated short chain fatty acids from fiber, minerals and other dietary influences on metabolism could all mechanistically help explain health and longevity, they point out. “These findings will provide new clues for future research on nutritional metabonomics and element (mineral) metabolism in healthy elderly people, which will provide precious information for future human metabolism and longevity studies,” they concluded. 


Cai D, Zhao S, Li D, et al. Nutrient Intake Is Associated with Longevity Characterization by Metabolites and Element Profiles of Healthy Centenarians. Nutrients. 2016 Sep 19;8(9).

Tags: Diet, Longevity, Blue Zones, Fibre, Digestive Health

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