NUHS Faculty, ND Student Publish Results from Cohort Study on Female Centenarian Longevity
In Healthy Aging, a special May 2022 supplement to Natural Medicine Journal, National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) faculty member Lorinda Sorensen, ND, LAc and seventh trimester naturopathic student Tessaundra Sidden reviewed and published the results from a retrospective cohort study in Endocrine and Nutritional Relationships in Centenarians.
It is anticipated that very soon there will be more elderly individuals in the world than ever before. As such, health care practitioners worldwide are expecting an increase in the incidence of age-related conditions including: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthrosis, among others. Not surprisingly, researchers and clinicians are seeking evidence-based ways to slow the aging process to reduce age-associated health problems. The data are increasing, and among the elderly, one population of particular interest are the centenarians: the oldest of the old.
In this study, data collected from the China Hainan Centenarian Cohort Study was reviewed to explore links among such markers as sex hormones, bone turnover, abdominal obesity, nutritional status and centenarian longevity in the oldest females. The study compared women more than 100 years of age to those younger.
The information learned through this review provides an opportunity for women to begin establishing a preventative lifestyle through ensuring adequate mineral and vitamin status, hormone levels and proper nutrition. Long-term female health is at stake.
Dr. Sorensen said that she had read about osteocalcin as a bone biomarker, but didn’t realize there was significant research that it had endocrine activity outside of the bone, most importantly metabolism. This includes support that it can regulate insulin – showing that the more we use our bones, for example in exercise, the more efficient our metabolism will be.
“While diet gets a lot of attention, it works best with exercise and movement,” she said.
For ND student Tessaundra Sidden, one of the most important findings from this review was that the oldest of old females had decreased levels of Vitamin D. “Another significant finding was the fact that this group exhibited decreased abdominal obesity and increased sex hormones.”
For Dr. Sorensen, a key finding was that women tend to live longer, and this gives some information on those who live to 100. “This is just another factor in recognizing that it is important to have less inflammation and more resilience–which benefits all,” she said.
Ms. Sidden noted that one of the key benefits she learned from this experience was that writing abstracts and commentaries that add to the naturopathic field should be encouraged, because it tests a student’s limitations, and then pushes that student to utilize research skills acquired throughout the naturopathic medicine program.
Another key benefit for participating in scholarly activity regards mentorship. Having a faculty mentor work alongside students can create higher-quality research and could appeal to other students and faculty alike, who may want to write on a topic of interest.
“In the field of naturopathic medicine, it is important to contribute to the scientific community and to demonstrate the fact that naturopathic medicine is evidence-based, and the tools utilized are research-based,” Ms. Sidden said.