Northwestern University published a study on 177 Amish people aged 18 to 85 in their community in Bern, Indiana. They found a recurring mutation that fights aging.

Amish family.
Amish family/Featured Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

A rare genetic mutation found in the Amish community in the United States explains their longevity and, in the words of Northwestern medical scientists, paves the way for the treatment of degeneration caused by aging.

“It is the first human genetic mutation that has been shown to have numerous effects on biological changes caused by aging,” Douglas Vaughan said, a representative of the School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.

What the study revealed

Amish young people.
Amish young people/Image by hifijohn from Pixabay

Of the 177 Amish tested, 43 people had a mutation in the “serpin one” gene that strongly reduces the production of the protein PAI-1. This results in better health and a life expectancy at least 10 years longer than people who do not have that mutation. Life expectancy in the United States is 78.8 years.

An international scientific team has proven that the “metabolic profile” of the Amish is healthier and that they are significantly less susceptible to cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. They are also more resistant to colds, injuries, fevers, and viruses.

Northwestern University also discovered that the telomeres of the Amish people’s antibodies are at least 10% longer. Telomeres are pieces of DNA at the end of each chromosome for protection, which shrink over time and contribute to aging. Plant-based foods increase telomeres and Amish people prefer to eat mostly vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts.

Amish carting hay.
Amish way of living/Image by OlinEJ from Pixabay

What do we know about Amish people?

The Amish are a closed, strictly disciplined Christian community of Swiss origin. The group migrated to the United States in the 18th century, and it is estimated that more than 250,000 Amish people now reside in the US. Most Amish have no commercial or social security and do not serve in the military. The emphasis is on church and family relationships. They usually run their own schools with one classroom each and stop their regular education at age 13/14.

They live “simple” lives, isolate themselves from others, dress modestly, produce food using ancient methods. Amish are an ecological and healthy community, rejecting modern technology and devices. A large percentage of people in the world make fun of them by saying that they are primitive and move backward. But they value rural life, hard work, and humility.

Amish living environment/Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The Amish sometimes eat dairy and meat products, but only fresh and organic, produced by their methods. We know that the rest of the world spends considerable time in front of mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Amish do not. They work hard, make their own furniture, build homes, and produce a variety of goods.

History about Amish and their language.

Horse and buggy.
Amish way of travel/Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The history of the Amish Church began with a split in Switzerland in 1693, within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as the Amish. In the early 18th century, many Amish immigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons, and today, the most conservative descendants of the Amish still speak Pennsylvania German, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch. Some Old Amish communities are dominated by a Swiss-Germanic dialect, especially in the US state of Indiana.

Membership in the Amish Church begins with baptism, usually between the ages of 16 and 25. It is a condition for marriage and once a person has already joined the church, he/she can only marry someone of that faith. Church areas cover an average of 20 to 40 families. The area is led by a bishop and several priests and deacons. The rules of the church, Ordnung (a collection of rules for living Amish) must be obeyed by every member and cover all aspects of daily life, including prohibitions and restrictions on the use of electricity, telephones, and cars, as well as regulations regarding clothes.

An Amish gathering.
Amish gathering/Image by emailamyd from Pixabay

The rules of living Amish emphasize family, a rural environment, faith, children, homeschooling, fasting, fresh air, outdoor work, gardening, more plant-based food, and producing their own food and furniture. They also stick to the genes and lineage inside the community. We don’t know if SERPINE1 mutation is emerging because of a factor in their unique lifestyle, a genealogical lineage happenstance, or a combination of the two.

Indeed they are unique and far different from the rest of the world. We can love them or hate them. We can respect them or make fun of them. But one thing is sure, they are healthier than others and they are persistent in their beliefs. We must all agree that resisting world trends and advancements is not a choice made lightly, but it may come with benefits.