Good blood flow could be the secret to living a long and healthy life experts say.
Centenarians whose body could pump blood to the far reaches of muscles and organs had a circulation system as efficient as people 30 years younger.
Scientists found ‘SuperAgers’ who had good blood flow to the smallest blood vessels within the body – capillaries – lived longer.
Genetics, reduced calories, exercise and a Mediterranean diet all play a role in how long someone lives but scientists have been searching for biomarkers that may indicate longevity.
And now researchers at Italy’s La Sapienza University found microcirculation was vital to how long a person will live.
A good microcirculation is what makes marathon runners perform better
Professor Salvatore Di Somma, La Sapienza University
This is the blood flow that delivers oxygen and nutrients directly to cells while removing metabolic debris, toxins and carbon dioxide.
Blood pressure and body temperature is also controlled by the microcirculation through dilation or constriction of the capillary network that penetrates muscles, organs and skin.
If put end-to-end, the body’s capillaries would stretch twice around the earth and endurance athletes can have up to 40 per cent more than the average human helping them have better muscle perfusion, oxygen supply and performance.
Results suggested low blood levels of the peptide hormone Adrenomedullin (bio-ADM) are an indicator for such a good microcirculation.
Bio-ADM is a regulator of vasodilation and blood vessel integrity which both affect blood pressure.
Professor Salvatore Di Somma said: “Very low concentrations of this biomarker indicate a well-functioning endothelial and microcirculatory system allowing good blood perfusion of organs and muscles.
“A good microcirculation is what makes marathon runners perform better at the same heart rate than the average man or woman on the street.”
There are enough capillaries in the human body to stretch twice around the Earth
The Cilento Intitiative on Ageing Outcome pilot study looked at two groups that live in the Cilento region, located in the province of Salerno in southern Italy.
Women living in the Cilento region live to an average of 92, eight years more than the Italian average, while men live to 85, six years more than the average.
The first group consisted of 29 ‘SuperAgers’ with a median age of 92.
The second was made up of 52 younger relatives with a median age of 60 living in the same household who are expected to live just as long because they have the same genetic background and same environmental and lifestyle factors.
Marathon runners are an example of people with a good blood circulation
Blood analyses measured levels of the heart-function biomarker MR-proANP, as well as a marker for kidney function (penKid) and bio-ADM.
These were compared to a cohort of 194 healthy persons with a median age of 63.9 monitored over eight years in the earlier Malm?? Preventive Project.
As expected, low values of MR-proANP and penKid among the subjects in the two younger control groups indicated no signs of heart or kidney dysfunction.
In contrast, both biomarkers were elevated in the SuperAgers, possibly due to the process of organ ageing.
However, even though the older group had levels of the two biomarkers that were as high as those found in patients experiencing heart failure (HF) or acute kidney injury (AKI), they were in clinically good condition.
Surprisingly in the group of SuperAgers, the bio-ADM values – which are often pathologically elevated in HF or AKI patients – were as low as those in both reference…