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Unique theory on extreme longevity

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Hi, my name is David and I am new to the forum, and I have a somewhat novel (I think) twist on extreme longevity.

What if extreme longevity was actually caused by defective genes and epigentic changes. Some in response to a harmful environment.

Take the theory of George Williams and antagonistic pleiotropy, that what makes us our strong youthful selves, actually contributes to our coming apart as we age—————-

My possibly unique insight is that defective and or suboptimal genes and necessary epigentic changes as we age, can in some cases lead to extreme longevity. I postulate that unusually long life spans are due to NEGATIVE and somewhat harmful mutations present from birth,  and others due to epigentic changes to a harsh environment.

There was a recent study that survivors of the nuclear bombs dropped in Japan actually lived longer, (maybe survivor bias ?). Also male concentration camp survivors lived longer then men not subjected to that horrific experience. Again, maybe survivor bias ? But still very interesting. From an evolutionary standpoint extreme longevity is irrelevant, as it only benefits the individual, but does almost nothing to help future generations survive, and multiply. 

Now let’s say that an individual that is born with suboptimal genes for immediate survival and fitness is born and due to good medical care, nutrition, and parental care, manages to survive and thrive, but to a lesser extent then their cohorts. What if the early life and young adult defecits turn out to delay for the most part..........cardiovascular disease and susceptibility to cancer.

So those genes in the right combination..............That while reducing fitness in youth and during reproduction actually help delay deleterious effects of aging.

1) Extra flexible tissues (but not too flexible), heart,  blood vessels, skin..........while being disadvantageous at 18 years old, are actually ADVANTAGIOUS at say 78 years old and beyond......as hardening of the arteries is mostly delayed. This would weaken tissues such as skin, muscles and bone compared to like aged cohorts in youth. But cause these tissues to remain more flexible as one ages. Thereby preserving greater function into old age. (Note: look up Tenascin X deficiency and cardiovascular protection theory.)

2) And the mutations that cause people to be less suspetable to growth hormone.  Maybe they can’t get as big and strong in their youth, but maybe that adds to their hearts ability to function as they age. As their heart isn’t as susceptible to hypertrophy and becoming less efficient, as quickly as their more typical cohorts.

Again, maybe certain mutations and epigentic changes while making the organism suboptimal in its reproductive prime, could be responsible for extreme longevity.  This might mean that extremely old people instead of having mostly superior genes to survive into extreme old age, actually have that  right combination of genes that while not the most beneficial in early childhood and in their reproductive prime, BUT RATHER had mutations and genes that were not harmful enough to compromise their survival, while lessening their fitness at an earlier age, and paradoxically EXTENDING their life span due to mutations and epigentic changes. Like having a more flexible heart and blood vessel. More resistance to growth hormone, etc.

So while these people didn’t grow as big and strong as their cohorts earlier in life, they were still able to survive...........and yet possibly not “grow” old as quickly as their cohorts due to genes that slightly reduced their fitness earlier in life, to INCREASE their fitness later in life due to not showing equal signs of wear and tear. Also note that some centenarians had few or no children.

i think healthy habits and common sense might  someone live till say 75 years old in good health. But living till 100 or 110 and beyond is doubtful to be greatly influenced by just diet and exercise. I think you either need to be born with these beneficial changes that while detrimental in early life, however benefit survival later in life. Or somehow change your biology later in life with medical technologies that haven’t been invented yet, to mimic the suboptimal effects early in life that some people have, which are possibly the reason for their delayed aging.

Thanks for letting me express my theory even if no one agrees with it. Would like to hear feedback.


David (53 year old male with more than a few mutations)

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I generally agree with you.  A long held supposition about CR is that humans should not be subject to it as a child because it would likely inhibit full development into adult genetic potential ie smaller stature.  I have long held the belief that the stress of CR during childhood benefits the child in the long run with a longevity dividend.

As a child, I was calorie deprived for about 11years beginning at age 7after I was adopted from an orphanage, but I generally had adequate nutrition. I weighed just 80 pounds upon grade school graduation and 130ish after completing high school.

I am now 71 and have enjoyed remarkable health my entire life.  After 21 years in the Marine Corps my service health record consisted of just check in and check out entries as I transferred from unit to unit over the years.

I worked as a landscaper in my own business and still do.  My years in the Marines though were filled with extremely bad eating habits... excessive sweets, lots of booze.... for starters.  Luckily I had to maintain military weight standard and level of fitness in spite of my unhealthy lifestyle.

I discovered CR and began the practice at age 52 when I learned that I had high cholesterol...272.  Five months later I lowered it to 172 on CR.

I have zero health issues and can still outwork 20 and 30 year olds and feel no need to retire.  I am also a County Commissioner and very involved in State and local GOP.  Point being is that I am not only physically active but also mentally.

Interestingly, I am also a butterfly enthusiast and raise these and wild silk moths.  Several years ago I was experimenting with raising Luna Moths during late fall into early winter.  The caterpillars normally fully develop in about 4 weeks, but with much colder temperature and low quality food a availability, the caterpillars took almost 4 months to fully develop....a youthful life extension of 4 fold.  The adult moths did not exhibit any longevity since they survive solely on stored body fat from the larval stage.

That's my story and I am sticking to it 😂



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