Live longer: High-fat low-carb diet could be key for carriers of longevity gene APOE2

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Certain genes, namely the APOE4 gene, are considered a strong risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. However, different variations of the same gene, like APOE2, may promote longevity by protecting against cognitive decline. Researchers believe that people born with either one of the genes may benefit from adhering to certain dietary rules.

There is evidence linking various genetics to longevity in older adults, but the three most widely recognised are APOE, FOXO3 and CETP.

Medline Plus explains: “It is estimated that about 25 percent of the variant in human life span is determined by genetics, but which genes and how they contribute to longevity are not well understood.

“A few of the common variations (called polymorphisms) associated with long life spans are found in the APOE, FOXO3 and CETP genes, but they are not found in all individuals with exceptional longevity.

“It is likely that variants in multiple genes, some of which are unintended, act together to contribute to a long life.”

READ MORE: Herbal tea may activate ‘longevity gene’ seen in centenarians

In essence, the APOE gene provides instructions for making a protein that combines with lipids in the body to form lipoproteins.

These molecules are responsible for packing cholesterol and other fats, as well as carrying them through the bloodstream.

Maintaining healthy levels of the compounds is critical for the prevention of disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

They are primarily expressed in the brain and liver, and according to MedlinePlus, three major variations exist.

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“The major alleles are called E2, E3 and E4. The most common allele is E3, which is found in more than half of the general population,” explains the health body.

In fact, the prevalence of E3 alleles in the general population range from 48 percent to 94 percent.

Moreover, while the E2 allele may shield against Alzheimer’s disease, the E4 variation may predispose the brain to neurodegeneration.

In fact, the APOE4 gene is present in nearly 50 percent of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

READ MORE: Herbal tea may activate ‘longevity gene’ seen in centenarians

According to the website GBHealthWatch, research studies have consistently confirmed that E4 carriers of the gene benefit most from low-fat, high-carb diets.

APOE2 carriers, who enjoy longer lifespans, appear to benefit most from high-fat, low-carb diets.

Scientific experts suggest the protective effects of the protein against Alzheimer’s disease risk confound its effects on longevity.

In other words, it is believed that APOE2 promotes longer lifespans by shielding against the accumulation of amyloid and tau in the brain.

In 2022, the BMC journal of Molecular Degeneration demonstrated that the APOE2 allele promotes an immune response, cellular migration and lipid metabolism in response to brain injury.

Research published in the journal Elife in 2020, however, demonstrated that the association between APOE2 persisted irrespective of a person’s Alzheimer’s disease status.

Though those who bear the gene may benefit from eating more fats, it is important to make a distinction here between healthy oils, and unhealthy ones.

Oils rich in omega-3s (like olive oil and fish oil), are associated with longer lifespans, as science suggests higher omega-3 blood levels are associated with an increase in life expectancy of 4.7 years.

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