Eating healthy and exercising helps people with the right genes more – Innovita Research

Eating healthy and exercising helps people with the right genes more

Over the past several decades we managed to increase the average lifespan of people. However, now scientists are more focused on healthspan – the duration of the time in your life when you are feeling healthy. Old age is still associated with frailty and cognitive problems. However, scientists from King’s College London say that some lifestyle changes might help, even though that depends on our genes.

Mediterranean diet and exercise will still help you maintaining better memory and cognitive abilities with age, but they will help people with the right genes more. Image credit: Karen Beate Nøsterud via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.5 dk)

There is no point in living a long life if your last years are going to be miserable. We have to find a way to stay healthier for longer so that the life would be more enjoyable. And we know some things that we have to do. We must eat healthy food, exercise more and maintain an active social life. But why is that some people remain sharper and healthier for longer, even accounting for those lifestyle factors? Scientists analysed performance on memory tasks in data from over 2000 individuals and identified ABTB1 and GRB10 genes as very important nutrient sensing pathways and memory.

Chiara de Lucia, lead author of the study, explained: “Our study shows that nutrient-sensing pathways play an important role in memory and suggests that the ABTB1 and GRB10 genes are likely molecular links for the association between diet, the ageing of neural stem cells and our memory ability.” Now that scientists identified what connects those three variables, they could try creating therapies, which would address those common problems with ageing. However, some might see some bad news in this study. It might seem like if you don’t have a particular set of genes, you cannot benefit from exercise and a healthy diet. But that’s not true.

Even if exercising and Mediterranean diet benefit some people more than others, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn't do it. It will still slow down the aging process, you will feel better and be healthier. Genes are just a part of the equation and it is up to you to do your part to live a healthier and longer life.

Scientists are already thinking about next steps for this research. They want to test these finding on a larger dataset. This would confirm whether this newly defined relation between genes, exercising, diet and memory are accurate. Hopefully, this will result in some sort of a therapy, which could help people who do not have those particular genes.

Mediterranean diet is regarded as one of the healthier ways to eat. It is filled with fish, green vegetables, some cheese and olive oil – it doesn’t have a lot of red meat or bad kinds of fat. Mediterranean diet is associated with longevity, mental health and other benefits. It also helps you keep your weight down and is absolutely delicious.


Source: King’s College London