For years, naturalists and alternative health experts have touted the benefits of living in nature, Earthing (walking barefoot on the ground) every day, and shutting off devices that emit electromagnetic frequencies (EMF). They claim that by doing so, diseases will be prevented and the average lifespan will be increased. Well, new research adds weight to those assertions, as it turns out the Amish have a genetic mutation that may add an extra 10 years to their lifespan.
According to the study, which was published in Science Advances, the Amish tend to carry a single non-functional copy of the gene SERPINE1. This gene is responsible for extending life for approximately 10 years. The Old Order Amish, based in Indiana, agreed to partake in the research.
As you might know, the Amish try to avoid all modern technologies, including electricity, cars, and medicine. To many, they are considered to be tools of the “Devil.” Said Dr. Douglas Vaughan, a cardiovascular specialist at Northwestern University and the co-author of the study, “They don’t take advantage of modern medicine in general, so the fact that the carriers have a median lifespan of nearly 85 is rather remarkable.”
The Independent reports that in total, 177 people were tested. 43 had the mutation. According to the researchers, finding a single mutation that is this prominent is unusual. Though fascinating, the finding complicated our understanding of aging. “There’s been an enormous challenge in identifying genetic predictors of a long lifespan.”
Reportedly, the mutation addresses many of the “symptoms” which accompany aging. Those with the mutation have increased protection against diabetes and improved cardiovascular elasticity. “We’re talking about something that appears to have an effect at molecular levels, at hormonal levels, at tissue levels, and plays out with people having a longer lifespan,” said Vaughan.
The mutation occurs in longer telomeres — caps situated at the end of DNA strains. Telomeres protect chromosomes, which is why shortening of telomeres has been implicated in the process of aging. This knowledge may explain the mutation’s life-preserving effects.
Intriguingly, those who have two copies of the non-functional gene have a higher risk of excessive bleeding following injury. The Independent reports, “As the peoples with two copies – so-called heterozygous individuals – are so healthy, it is unlikely their mutation would have been observed were it not for the homozygous individuals with two copies, who present with this obvious illness.”
Vaughan said that in the general population, similar mutations might occur at a rate of around 1 in 70,000 people. That offers perspective on how phenomenal this latest finding is. One theory that might explain the prevalence of the gene among Amish people is that they are more interrelated than the wider population. More research is needed to actually understand the phenomenon.
Vaughan is excited about future research. He said, “Looking at unique populations like this might be more informative than broad genetic studies in normal populations.”
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Source: The Independent