Lipid metabolism and diet: Possible mechanisms of slow aging

Annibale Alessandro Puca, Chryssostomos Chatgilialoglu, Carla Ferreri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to survive to an extremely old age is a consequence of complex interactions among genes, environment, lifestyle and luck. In the last two centuries, life expectancy in western countries has doubled, increasing from 40 to 81 years (79 for males and 82 for females). The candidate factors to determine such mortality reduction are reduced exposure to infections and the subsequent reduction in inflammatory responses, and to some extent, improvement in diet and nutrition. Among the people born at the beginning of the previous century, a small portion of individuals (1 in 10,000 born) have reached 100 years, surviving approximately 20 years more than the general population. The successful longevity of these individuals shows a familial component, possibly genetic, as underlined by the centenarian sibling's increased chance of reaching 100 years of age compared to the general population. Genetic studies on long living individuals have led to the discovery of potential genetic causes of extreme longevity. These discoveries have highlighted the role of lipid metabolism as a potential key player in the ability to survive to extreme old age. Additional studies on the longevity phenotype have confirmed the role of lipids and lipid-associated cell activities in the predisposition to longevity, from lower eukaryotes to humans. The main focus of this review is the appreciation of demographic survival data and changes in recent diet with the above mentioned genetic and phenotypic biomarkers of longevity, in order to elucidate hypotheses on mechanisms of slow aging and disease resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-333
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Aging
  • Fatty acids
  • Longevity
  • Metabolism
  • Mild stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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