Living to 100? Longevity and Genetics

Longevity Genes - check your 23andMe resultsThere are several genes known as “longevity” genes that increase your odds of living to be 100 years old.  This would be great to know for retirement planning!

There are few centenarians living today in the US, but the odds do increase dramatically depending on your year of birth.  Someone born a hundred years ago has less than 1% chance of being alive today.  In contrast, girls born in the past few years have a 33% chance of living to 100.   Here is a nice chart of your odds of living to 100 based on your birth year:

So if your odds of living to 100 are 20%, a gene that increases that by 1.5x or 2x is actually somewhat significant.  But while genetics does play some role in how long you live, there are many other health and lifestyle factors that are also important.

FOXO3A gene:
The FOXO3A gene (forkhead box O3) has been linked to longevity through several studies.  This gene is believed to regulate apoptosis which is necessary for cell death and can be thought of as a tumor suppressor.  For the SNP rs2802292, the G allele was found to be an indicator of longevity.  The odds ratio of living longer for GG vs. TT was found to be 2.75 in a study of Japanese males. Another study of Italians found that a proxy of the SNP above is associated with a 1.5x increase in odds of longevity.  But not all studies have come to that conclusion.

Check your 23andMe results for rs2802292:
GG: Longevity gene, possibly 1.5x – 2.75x odds of living longer
TT:  Normal type

Other FOXO3A polymorphisms have also been connected with a small increase in the odd of living longer.


Check your 23andMe results for rs2764264:
CC: Increased odds of living longer
TT:  Normal type


Check your 23andMe results for rs2802288:
AA: Increased odds of living longer
GG:  Normal type


CETP Gene:
Another gene related to longevity is the CETP gene (cholesteryl ester transfer protein) which is involved in exchanging triglycerides with cholesteryl esters.  One polymorphism that is related to longevity is rs5882.  The G allele is associated with a somewhat longer lifespan.  Heterozygotes (AG) and homozygotes (GG) are more likely to have a longer lifespan and have higher HDL cholesterol.  Homozygotes (GG) also have a .28x lower risk of dementia and a .31x lower risk of Alzheimer’s! [study]

Check your 23andMe results for rs5882:
GG: Longer lifespan, higher HDL cholesterol, .28x lower risk of dementia
AG:  Longer lifespan, higher HDL cholesterol
AA:  Normal

More to read:

Diet and Supplements:

  • The Okinawan Diet is thought to promote healthy longevity in part through affecting FOXO3


updated 5/2017

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