Exceptional longevity has been a topic of fascination for generations, prompting scientists to examine the factors that help certain people live up to age 100 or more. In a new study, researchers examined the blood profiles of centenarians and found some common traits among them.

People who live to 100 years have lower measures of creatinine, glucose and uric acid in their blood compared to those with a comparatively shorter lifespan. The differences in blood biomarkers could be seen from the age of 65 onward, according to the study, published in GeroScience.

Researchers analyzed 12 biomarkers in 44,636 participants from the Swedish registry, between 1985 and 1996, and followed them up until 2020. All the biomarkers had been linked to aging or mortality in previous studies and were indicators of inflammation, metabolic, liver and kidney function, potential malnutrition and anemia. They included uric acid and creatinine as measures of kidney function; alanine aminotransferase (ALAT), aspartate aminotransferase (Asat), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), alkaline phosphatase (Alp) and lactate dehydrogenase (LD) to measure liver function; glucose and total cholesterol for metabolic function; iron and albumin for anemia and nutrition respectively.

Out of the total participants, 1,224 lived up to 100 years. The proportion of women was higher in centenarians (84.6%) when compared to non-centenarians (61.2%). Congestive heart failure was the most frequent cause of morbidity among the participants – its rate was 8.7% in non-centenarians and 2.6% in centenarians.

Centenarians had an association with all biomarkers except two factors.

"We found that all included biomarkers except for ALAT and albumin were predictive for the likelihood of reaching age 100," the researchers wrote in the study. "The differences in mean values between centenarians and non-centenarians were most pronounced for creatinine and uric acid, however, not statistically significantly different in all age groups."

Centenarians rarely showed extremely high or low values of the blood biomarkers. The difference in blood biomarker values between centenarians and non-centenarians from the age of 65 onward indicates that genetic, as well as modifiable lifestyle factors, may play an important role in exceptional longevity.

"Higher levels of total cholesterol and iron and lower levels of glucose, creatinine, uric acid, aspartate aminotransferase, gamma-glutamyl transferase, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase and total iron-binding capacity were associated with reaching 100 years. Centenarians overall displayed rather homogenous biomarker profiles. Already from age 65 and onward, centenarians displayed more favorable biomarker values in commonly available biomarkers than individuals dying before age 100," researchers wrote.