Case Study of Jeanne Calment:
The 122 year, 164 day world record holder (1875.1997)
In terms of Science, anecdotal evidence that is supported by date constitute what is called in Law a material fact. Jeanne Calment had a valid birth certificate and there were many other material facts that support her death age of 122.3. And since we know that genes are not the key element in optimal longevity, we can only attribute Jeanne’s longevity to her lifestyle and longevity program.
Perhaps one of the most important elements of her program is that she didn’t have a longevity program, anti-aging medicine has not been that popular in France, especially during her time. Furhtermore, he daily cigarette habit corroborates what she thought about anti-aging programs. And if she did stop at 119 smoking cigarettes, it was less because of health reasons than finding the good conditions to enjoy a smoke, which was more difficult in the elder-care home she had to go in after lighting up her apartment with a kitchen fire.
So element one: Non attachment to outcomes and the attitude of unflappability. Second element: Believing in God and loving wine. “I’ve been forgotten by God. Wine, I’m in love with that.” Jeanne was indeed a daily drinker of red wine, one of the anti-aging component of which was resveratrol at 160 micrograms per fluid ounce, (90 mcg for non organic or poor quality red wines) abundantly found in red grape skins with a concentration of 50-100 micrograms per gram.
Interestingly the resveratrol molecule resembles a pair of old man’s spectacles [Images/trans-resveratrol molecule, Images/cis-resveratrol molecule]. It has remarkable anticancer properties and (like aspirin), prevents red blood cells from sticking together, warding off heart disease. It has also been shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation “the process whereby free radicals steal electrons from the lipids in our cell membranes, resulting in cell damage and increased production of free radicals”. Finally, resveratrol limits the expression of the ubiquitinated protein P16INK4A, which makes cellular senescence difficult to reverse.
As a Mediterranean lady from sunny Arles, Madame Jeanne Louise Calment liked her port wine, her olive oil , her chocolates, and got plenty of antioxidant lycopene from cooked tomato paste in her Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet deflecting cardiovascular disease is high-fiber and focused around fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, and fish, with reduced reliance on meat and refined carbohydrates.
She could observe that the “grey apes” ate the resveratrol-laden grapes, the fruit of the vine: a sloganeering signal concerning longevity from long ago, and that friends who ate chocolates, which contain .535 mg/gram antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids 4 times as much as in tea, tended to outlive those who did not.
Also, Jeanne’s chocolate contained pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), which improves mitochondrial biogenesis, tending to prevent aging damage to brain, heart, and muscles, and vasodilating arginine to improve circulation in the brain and thymus gland.
(To eliminate wrinkles, Jeanne rubbed extra virgin olive oil over herself, which restores proteasomes.) Resveratrol inhibits the accumulation of amyloid beta peptides (LifeExtension/amyloid_beta) and protects against Alzheimer’s disease according to recent research.
Furthermore cocoa promotes nitric oxide generation, which activates telomerase in endothelial cells [Images] of the vascular endothelium [Vasa, et al., 2000, Hayashi, et al., 2006], so that Jeanne Calment’s 122.3 years lifetime may be in part due to telomerase activation via nitric oxide generation from ingesting cocoa in chocolate.
It must also be true that telomerase activators and p16INK4A inhibition from her devotion to exercise) were an important factor, allowing her cellular telomeres to lengthen for additional cell divisions. Jean rode a bicycle for exercise until she was 100 years old.
Chocolate also improves blood supply to the brain for about 2 hours after ingestion, opposing senile dementia.
Resveratrol, too, promotes nitric oxide generation. Furthermore, reveratrol phosphorylates the hTERT catalytic component of telomerase in the cytoplasm via AKT kinase, enabling its import into the nucleus, where it enhances telomerase activity, although it does not increase the number of hTERT mRNA transcripts for the catalytic component of telomerase produced by transcription factor interaction with the hTERT promoter.
Furthermore, blocking caveolin-1 (gene CAV1) production by FOXO inhibiting transcription factors with AKT kinase works against cellular senescence, tending to reverse it.
For other details, see the Optimal Longevity Institute website.