A new study, published in the journal Genome Biology, suggests that despite a pre-disposition to a variety of health issues, Latinos age much more slowly than their counterparts of other races. This is partly due, scientists say, to their shared ancestry with the Native American population, who also age a bit more slowly than others.

This discovery came as researchers attempted to devise a biological clock. This method of aging someone would be much more accurate than a birthday, and instead could explain why some people seem to age faster than others, why some people tend to die young, and what impact chronic illnesses have on longevity.

Scientists also say that a better way to reveal someone’s biological age might help with the war on aging and assist with anti-aging remedies.

UCLA bioinformatician Steve Horvath has developed a way to analyze someone’s actual age in what he has dubbed an epigenetic clock. Horvath says that as people age, the process is predictable, but when these things happen are determined by switching on and off genes during a chemical process known as DNA methylation.

Horvath developed this process in 2013, finding that Latinos are most often genetically younger than their counterparts at any given point in their lives. According to his discoveries, Latinos have a 30% lower risk of dying at any age as compared to those of other ethnicities. [2]

To confirm his findings, Horvath then studied DNA samples from 5,000 people from 7 different ethnicities:

  • Latinos
  • East Asians
  • Africans
  • African-Americans
  • Caucasians
  • Tsimane, an indigenous people living in Bolivia who are closely related to Latinos.

Read: Just One Daily Tablespoon Of Aloe Can Reverse Aging

Interestingly enough, Horvath found that his results were not impacted by things like lifestyle and obesity; no matter what choices they make, Latinos are simply genetically younger and live longer.

Horvath also discovered that the Tsimane are genetically 2 years younger than Latinos, however, by the age of 35, their inflammation levels were through the roof and made them look much older than their actual ages despite their longer lifespans. [3]

It has also been discovered that men’s blood and brain tissue tend to age quicker than women. Additionally, Horvath notes that there is another paradox within the aging process: if African-Americans reach the age of 85, they are more likely to outlive their Caucasian counterparts.

While this study doesn’t quite unlock the fountain of youth, it does help researchers get ever closer.

Sources:

[1] Genome Biology

[2] Sci-Tech Today

[3] Science Alert


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About Anna Scanlon:
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.