There are lots of studies going on around the world trying to answer this question. Centenarian studies so far have not revealed any particular "thing" these old timers have in common.
Some centenarians are sweet, some are cranky. Some drink and smoke, some don't. Some exercise regularly, some are proverbial couch potatoes. Some have high cholesterol, some low, and some in the middle.
Genetic research has shed little light on the question, although it's assumed that centenarians have some mighty fine genes working for them. This is only an assumption at this point, though, and other factors play a role.
For example, relative to their advanced age, centenarians across the board tend to have:
An aside: If any one of the above is high, chances are the other two are high as well.
The key player is insulin - more specifically, insulin resistance. We haven't found the fountain of youth yet, but we have found the fountain of aging - insulin (as insulin resistance). If you have high insulin (hence insulin resistance) you have the basic ingredient in place to promote just about every chronic disease. And what are these chronic diseases? Symptoms of aging.
As we age, we become insulin resistant. That's a fact. If we age prematurely, it's because we are becoming insulin resistant too fast. Thus begins the cycle of chronic illness. No matter what symptoms of any chronic illness you may have, you can bet your bottom dollar that insulin is going have its fingers in illness pie.
Most people know that insulin is a hormone. They don't always know that it's an anabolic hormone, which means it "builds up" the body. It's a regenerative hormone. There are other hormones called catabolic hormones. These are degenerative hormones.
If you have too much insulin floating around in your blood, it's because insulin IS NOT WORKING. When insulin is working, there's not too much floating around - it's being used to do it's regenerative work as it should be.
Yes, insulin keeps blood sugar down by storing it. But that's just one little job it has. Insulin stores nutrients. If you have high blood sugar, one of two things is going on.
Your pancreas is worn out and cannot produce enough insulin. You have type 2 diabetes at this point.Or, your pancreas is churning out plenty of insulin, but your cells are not responding to it. Insulin moves blood sugar (glucose) into cells. If the cells won't listen to insulin and let that sugar in, then your blood sugar stays high and your pancreas keeps churning out insulin in response to all that sugar. You have insulin resistance.
Eventually, your pancreas will give up the good fight. It's exhausted and stops producing more than a dribble of insulin. So now you have gone from being insulin resistant to having type 2 diabetes.
If your cells are no longer responding to insulin to let blood sugar get into cells, then ALL the other nutrients insulin stores in cells are not getting in those cells either.
Let's look at one example of another nutrient: magnesium.
Insulin stores magnesium, just like it stores blood sugar and dozens of other nutrients. If magnesium can't get into cells due to insulin resistance, it comes out in your urine. How important is this?
Well, magnesium is used inside EVERY single cell for all chemical reactions that produce energy. Magnesium is also required for insulin itself to even work. Magnesium relaxes muscles and reduces blood vessel constriction (think blood pressure here). This is just a little sample of the hundreds of things magnesium does.
If you're not storing magnesium inside your cells because of insulin resistance, you're affecting every single cell in your body negatively. Insulin can't build up much of anything as an anabolic hormone because your cells aren't responding to insulin as they should. Indeed, insulin resistance is now increasing as the magnesium flows out in your urine.
There's so much more to say about the problems created with insulin resistance. A book can easily be written on the subject - and books have been written. I'll write more as time permits in our shared quest to SLOW aging.
Final thoughts: STOP EATING SUGAR. That's the first most important thing you can do to reverse insulin resistance and slow aging. That means, of course, taking your carb content very low for a while. Carbs are converted to sugar. Eat poultry, eat fish, eat red meat, eat cheese, eat any vegetable that's green, eat nuts, and go easy on the fruits.
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