Aging controlled by blood iron levels

Aging controlled by blood iron levels

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Healthy iron levels - a key to longevity?

People age at different speeds. The biological age of a person should reflect this difference between the years of life lived and the actual state of the body. With many diseases such as heart disease, dementia and cancer, the risk increases with increasing biological age. An international study has now revealed that maintaining healthy iron levels in the blood is delaying biological aging and could therefore be the key to a longer life.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging identified genes that are related to aging. From this, the team derived why people age differently. The international study, which analyzed genetic data from more than a million people, suggests that maintaining a healthy iron level plays a central role in aging. The study results were recently presented in the renowned journal "Nature Communications".

Iron in the blood affects risks of age-related diseases

Using the so-called Mendel’s randomization, a statistical analysis method, the researchers clarified that genes that are involved in iron metabolism can play a major role in healthy aging. The iron content in the blood is in turn significantly influenced by the diet. Both extremely high and very low iron levels in the blood are related to age-related ailments such as Parkinson's, liver disease and high susceptibility to infections.

Slow Aging Medications?

The results could accelerate the development of medication to reduce age-related diseases, extend healthy life years and increase the chances of living disease-free into old age. The team localized ten regions of the genome that are associated with long life, health spans and longevity. Gene sets associated with iron were represented above average among the genes.

The researchers believe it is possible to use active ingredients to influence the iron metabolism in such a way that the aging process slows down. Until then, further research in the field would be necessary. Until then, you should regularly include iron-rich foods in your diet, such as

  • Soybeans,
  • Lenses,
  • White beans,
  • Chickpeas,
  • Tofu,
  • Pumpkin seeds,
  • Pine nuts,
  • Wheat bran,
  • and millet flakes.


Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging: Blood iron levels could impact healthy aging (published: 16.07.2020),
  • Paul R. H. J. Timmers, James F. Wilson, Peter K. Joshi, et al .: Multivariate genomic scan implicates novel loci and haem metabolism in human aging; in: Nature Communications, 2020,

Video: Prevalence and causes of anemia in the elderly - Video abstract 61125 (December 2022).