A study from the University Of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences reveals that Latinos age slower than other ethnicities. Although more research is needed, the findings could help slow down the aging process for others.
As stated in the study published in the journal Genome Biology, Latinos live longer than Caucasians despite having higher rates of developing diseases like diabetes. Lead author Steve Horvath, a professor of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine and a professor of biostatistics at the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA, describes this as the Hispanic paradox.
The researchers employed biomarkers, which also include Horvath’s own epigenetic clock, to help determine epigenetic alterations associated with aging in a person’s genome. Overall, they studied 18 sets of data on DNA samples taken from 6,000 people, which included African Americans, Caucasians, East Asians, Latinos and Tsimane, an indigenous group related to Latinos who live in Bolivia.
The team found that the blood of Latinos and the Tsimane aged more slowly than the other participants. It turns out that the biological clock measured Latino women’s age as 2.4 younger than others after reaching menopause.
The Tsimane even aged more slowly than Latinos, the researchers added. The biological clock revealed that their blood age two years younger than Latinos and four years younger than Caucasians. This could also help explain why these people have less risk of developing obesity and cardiovascular problems, which are too common among modern society.
“We suspect that Latinos’ slower aging rate helps neutralize their higher health risks, particularly those related to obesity and inflammation,” said Horvath. “Our findings strongly suggest that genetic or environmental factors linked to ethnicity may influence how quickly a person ages and how long they live.”
The team also found that women’s blood and brain tissue age slower than men. This could be the answer why women generally live longer than men. The next step for the team is investigating the aging rate of other human tissues and determining the molecular processes that allow a person to age slowly.