This Natural Product Might Be Key to a Longer, Healthier Life

Everyone aims for a long healthspan — this is, the number of years your body is healthy. And researchers have discovered a natural product that might be the key to slowing aging. Here’s what science has to say about living a longer, healthier life.

The average lifespan of humans

a group of seniors putting their hands together in a circle

As of 2016, the global average life expectancy was 72 years (74.2 years for women and 69.8 years for men), according to the World Health Organization. Between 2000 and 2016, the worldwide life expectancy increased by 5.5 years — its fastest gain since the 1960s.

Even though we’re living longer as a global population, researchers still debate whether there’s a limit to the human lifespan. One study from 2016 found the maximum age of death seems to have stopped increasing decades ago. This suggests that even though more people reach old age, there’s a cap to how many years we’ll live. The study placed humans’ maximum life expectancy at age 115 — with anyone outliving that being a fluky outlier.

But another study from 2018 doesn’t believe a limit exists. Researchers found the mortality rate increases with age but then plateaus after roughly age 105. Every year thereafter, a person’s chance of making it to their next birthday is about 50:50  — meaning statistically speaking they could live for many more years if the coin toss goes their way.

And now scientists might have changed the life expectancy game yet again with a chemical compound that shows promise in extending a healthy lifespan.

Fisetin: A fountain of youth?

Red Delicious apples on a tree branch

As we age, our bodies accumulate damaged cells. “When the cells get to a certain level of damage they go through an aging process of their own, called cellular senescence,” according to Science Daily. “The cells also release inflammatory factors that tell the immune system to clear those damaged cells.” In younger and healthier people, the body can clear those cells just fine. But as we get older, our immune systems aren’t as efficient. So the cells stay in the body, causing inflammation and harming tissue.

But researchers might have found a way to help the body eliminate damaged cells — using a natural product called fisetin. Fisetin is a flavonoid found in many fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, apples, onions and cucumbers. “It is reported to have neurotrophic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and other health beneficial effects,” according to an article from scientific journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling.

In a recent study, researchers treated older mice and human adipose tissue with fisetin and found even “late life intervention was sufficient to yield a potent health benefit.” Fistein was the best of the 10 flavonoids they tested in reducing cellular senescence and restoring tissue homeostasis. It also extended the lifespan of the mice.

Now, researchers at Mayo Clinic are holding a clinical trial to test the effects of fisetin on age-related dysfunction in older women. Someday, fisetin might become a common treatment for health issues due to aging. But in the meantime, there are several tried-and-true methods you can take to increase your healthspan.

How to stay healthy longer

Senior couple mountain biking on a forest trail

Unless you’re some immortal being, you’re going to age. And there are no guarantees that your body will age gracefully. “The greatest challenge facing us as we age is the prevention of physical disability and the extension of ‘active life expectancy,’” according to Cleveland Clinic. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to give your body its best chance at a long and healthy life.

Cleveland Clinic lays out some lifestyle choices that promote healthy aging:

  • Maintain healthy habits: This is basically a no-brainer. Exercise, eat well, don’t smoke or excessively drink and keep up with medical checkups. Years of unhealthy habits add up in your body, so it’s never too early (or too late) to think about how your lifestyle is contributing to your longevity.
  • Keep your body and mind active: Enjoy hobbies and social activities, limit stress, continue learning new things and maintain ties with family and friends. According to Harvard Health, loneliness can actually decrease your lifespan, so that’s as good a reason as any to fill your social calendar.
  • Control your finances: Start financial planning early, and carefully manage your assets to take care of yourself in the long term. Financial stress can seriously affect your life, creating conflict in relationships and even causing some people to put off health care, according to the American Psychological Association.
  • Plan your health care: Once you hit a certain age, choose a doctor who specializes in older adults. And make sure your needs will be met, especially if you end up requiring specialized care.

There’s no question that increasing your healthspan takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But to be able to live a quality life well into old age is a pretty decent payoff.

Main image credit: Kwangmoozaa/Thinkstock

34 comments

Jack Y
Jack Yabout a month ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a month ago

thanks

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John J
John Jabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John Jabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson4 months ago

Thank you.

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Victoria P
Victoria P4 months ago

Thank you ~♥~

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Marija M
Marija M4 months ago

thank you for sharing

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Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago

Thanks.

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Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

TYFS

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hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD4 months ago

tyfs

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