- Why scientists are wrong about this ‘cap’ on ageing
- A 177 year old revels her secret on how to live longer
- Some advice you probably should NOT follow
Jeanne Calment was born on the 21st February 1875.
At the time, Queen Victoria was on the throne.
This was a year before the telephone was patented by Alexander Graham Bell.
And the Eiffel tower hadn’t been built yet.
When the Boer War started Jeanne Calmet was 24 years old.
And by the time the First World War broke out she was already 39.
Well, here’s the staggering thing…
This French woman was still alive when Tony Blair won the election in 1997.
She was still alive when emails, laptops, mobile phones and the internet existed.
What a lifespan!
In fact, she lived for 122 years, which is the longest on record (although it could be that others have lived longer in countries that don’t record births and deaths so vigilantly).
The oldest giant tortoise (‘Jonathan’, from the island of St. Helen) is 184, and they’re famous for their longevity, so that’s some good going.
Quite often Jeanne was asked by journalists what her secret was, and she would change her answer all the time. One she said it was “laughter” and another time “”a stomach like an ostrich’s.”
It was assumed by many that Jeanne Calment was an extreme case…
You see, after a steep rise in lifespans in the second half of the 20th Century, they reached a plateau in the mid-90s.
Since then, nobody has lived for longer.
Much of scientific consensus has been that there is a limit to how old humans can get. It’s related to how many times our DNA and proteins can mutate before they become unfixable.
But two biologists in Canada say this simply isn’t the case.
As reported in The Times exactly a week ago, Bryan Hughes and Siegfried Hekimi, have written a series of letters to the journal Nature saying that these statistics are arbitrary. They aren’t proper evidence of peak age, they say, or that there’s a lid on how old we get.
Someone will beat Jeanne Calment’s record soon.
Plenty of people have got close.
For instance, in April an Italian named Emma Morano died aged 117.
Her secret of longevity?
Leave your husband and eat plenty of raw eggs.
Meanwhile in Japan there’s a woman named Nabi Tajima who was born in 1900, and has 35 great-great-grandchildren.
“Eat and sleep and you will live a long time,” she said. “You have to learn to relax.”
This is a strange ‘secret’ as everybody eats and sleeps.
But then again – how much of us sleep well?
She might be right. As I point out in this blog post, a Chinese study has found that men who had an hour’s nap each day kept their brains from ageing by five years! Click here to read my article.
Of course, It’s mostly women who get to super-old age.
But there was a First World War survivor named Henry Allingham who died in 2009, aged 113.
“Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women”.
NOTE: This is NOT official People’s Doctor advice!
So those scientists who believe there’s a natural limit to how long a human can live might be wrong.
For instance, in the journal Cell Metabolism on October 27th last year a study revealed that a natural compound called NMN stops the signs of ageing, restores energy and reverses metabolic dysfunction in the skeletal muscles, heart, liver and blood lipids. Click here to read my article.
Other research has suggested that when you cut down on calories it slows down the protein makers in your cells, known as ribosomes. This helps put the brakes on ageing process. Find out why…
Even 3 cups of coffee per day can cut your risk of premature death by 18%, according to this report here.
And finally, new research shows that many diseases associated with ageing are actually down to where and how you store fat.
A study in 2012 showed that cardiovascular deaths were 2.75 times higher for people of normal weight with big tummies compared to people with a normal waist-to-hip ratio.
While a study in March 2016 showed that each pound of fat around your middle is associated with high blood pressure, higher blood sugar and high triglycerides (which lower levels of GOOD cholesterol).
For more, please read this report.
The jury is out on how old we can get
Ultimately, new breakthroughs in the science of ageing at coming through, thick and fast.
We’re discovering more about what makes us age faster and what can slow down – or even switch off – the process.
As always, The People’s Doctor will keep track of what’s new and make sure you’re informed!
We all want to turn back the clock….
Of course, it’s also about the quality of life, not just the quantity…
So we’ll make sure we’ll also find ways to keep you feeling young, energetic and enthused by the world around you. This is just as important!
Until next week, then…
Stay healthy (and as young as you can),