Those Lucky Haplogroup H Bearers

Mitochondria are the power plants of the cell, working in herds to produce the energy stores that power other cellular processes. They are the evolved descendants of symbiotic bacteria and as such the blueprints for some of their protein machinery are encoded in their own DNA, separate from the DNA in the cell nucleus. This mitochondrial DNA is inherited wholesale from the mother, and numerous common variants known as haplogroups are distributed among the world's cultures and population.

Mitochondrial damage and function appears to be very important in the aging process and many common age-related diseases. In recent years evidence has accumulated to suggest that some variants of mitochondrial DNA are just plain better than others, but linking these genetic variations to damage and function remains a work in progress. Still, the genetic lottery we all participate in very definitely applies to the mitochondria we inherit, and not just our nuclear DNA. So far the widespread variant known as haplogroup H looks like a winner:

Variations in Human Response to Calorie Restriction

Before 1920 there is no significant difference between the longevity of individuals in haplogroup H and U. During the caloric restriction of the Great Depression, 1920-1940, haplogroup H shows significant increase in longevity compared to haplogroup U [with a] mean difference [of] 2.6 years.

Mitochondrial Haplotypes Correlate With Dementia Risk

Participants from haplogroup T had a statistically significant increased risk of developing dementia and haplogroup J participants experienced a statistically significant 8-year [cognitive decline], both compared with common haplogroup H.

Here is another paper demonstrating a possible facet of the superiority of haplogroup H mitochondrial DNA:

Increased intrinsic mitochondrial function in humans with mitochondrial haplogroup H

It has been suggested that human mitochondrial variants influence maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). Whether mitochondrial respiratory capacity per mitochondrion (intrinsic activity) in human skeletal muscle is affected by differences in mitochondrial variants is not known. We recruited 54 males and determined their mitochondrial haplogroup. Haplogroup H showed a 30% higher intrinsic mitochondrial function compared with the other haplogroup U. There was no relationship between haplogroups and VO2max.

Interestingly, we are moving into an era in which wholesale replacement of mitochondrial DNA throughout the body is a practical possibility. This was accomplished in mice via protofection eight years ago, and since then numerous research groups have achieved mitochondrial DNA replacement in cell cultures via other mechanisms. In the future you will have optimal mitochondrial DNA, periodically replaced to clear out any damage that might have occurred.

But it is of course that damage that is the important factor here, not the details of your mitochondrial haplogroup. We age in part because our mitochondrial DNA becomes damaged, that being the start of a long chain of cause and effect that leads to dysfunctional cells, floods of harmful reactive compounds, and eventually fatal manifestations such as atherosclerosis. So work on mitochondrial DNA replacement is important because it will lead to a way to mitigate and reverse one facet of degenerative aging, not because you will be able to have an athlete's mitochondria as the result of a simple clinical procedure.


Nobody ever mentions haplogroup W4. So I don't know how my mitochondria measure up.

It's not as simple as one haplogroup being better... If you are an endurance athlete, you want efficient mitochondria. If you are a couch potato then efficient mitochondria will give you obesity, heart disease, vascular dementia, etc. Also sprinters and quick power athletes want haplogroup F.

Also... It's not really the haplogroup that's important, it's largely the short repeats that aren't included in the haplogroup definition because they frequently backmutate.

One thing haplogroups can control is how the complexes are linked together into supercomplexes. The old diagrams of the electron transport chain, even from sens, aren't really accurate.

BTW, how did you know they meant cognitive decline? I couldn't work out what that abstract was saying.

Posted by: Carl at November 5th, 2013 11:01 PM

thank you for this analysis. seems very balanced and thought provoking as i went from being proud/happy i am Haplogroup H to considering 'It's not really the haplogroup that's important, it's largely the short repeats that aren't included in the haplogroup definition because they frequently backmutate.'
so thank you

Posted by: jem at March 20th, 2018 8:21 PM

Liz Sem
Today at 3:36 PM
Report | Delete
Through 23andMe I have discovered that my maternal haplogroup is H1u, and it traces back to a woman who lived approximately 7,000 years ago.

From 23andMe:
That's nearly 280.0 generations ago! What happened between then and now? As researchers and citizen scientists discover more about your haplogroup, new details may be added to the story of your maternal line.

H1u is relatively uncommon among 23andMe customers.

Today, you share your haplogroup with all the maternal-line descendants of the common ancestor of H1u, including other 23andMe customers.
1 in 1,100
23andMe customers share your haplogroup.

I am looking for my "Clan"!!!

Let me know if you are also, H1u


Posted by: Liz Sem at March 4th, 2019 3:40 PM

I too have just discovered through 23 and me that I am H1U

Posted by: Jane Levinson at March 10th, 2019 3:56 PM

I'm a H4a2 per 23 and me uncommon not much of anything I found out here yet Anyone know or are also H4a2?

Posted by: Ida Dutton at April 7th, 2019 2:04 PM

I, too, am H4a2 per 23 and me. Where can I find some information on my maternal line?

Posted by: Karl at April 20th, 2019 6:35 PM

I'm H1u as well. (Actually, 23andme showed my haplogroup as H1, but my mother, half of my maternal cousins with the same maternal grandmother, are H1u). Apparently, there's a "no call" threshold which is why some of us are H1 and others H1u...but it basically means we're all actually H1u but that mutation was in the "no call" threshold for some of us.

H1u is very rare and supposedly originated in Armenia during the Bronze Age. I can't find much more info about it, possibly because it's so uncommon...

Posted by: CP at April 20th, 2019 9:59 PM

I'm H4a2. Can't find out much about it

Posted by: CMC at May 15th, 2019 5:11 PM

I am H1n as per 23andme, is there a way to find the subclade?

Posted by: JP at June 12th, 2019 8:09 AM

Through 23andMe i was labeled as just plain H, but through external sequencing, I am an H27e :)

Posted by: JLP at July 5th, 2019 7:10 AM

I've found out I've inherited Haplogroup H, specifically H1, H1a, H1aV1, and H4.

I've researched H1av1 and H4 apparently found in neothilic Spain specifically Basque region where my maternal lineage comes from (mum is o negative and irish ancestry, must have been from Basque movement into Ireland.)

Is funny because the maternal side of my mum's family have obviously inherited haplogroup H and they age really well, not much grey hair/wrinkles even into old age. maybe partly to do with the mitochondrial DNA.

Posted by: Charlotte at July 31st, 2019 5:24 PM

Hi !
I have recently also found out through 23&Me that I am part of the H1u Haplogroup as well.. I don't really know what to do with this new information...

Posted by: Deb Slade'Gorden at February 21st, 2020 11:40 PM

I am H1n per 23 and me. Cox, Griffin, Mackey, Hostettler. Anyone part of this clan?

Posted by: barbara at May 20th, 2020 6:22 PM

Barbara- I am an H1 from the Griffin clan. I took my mother's maiden name.

Posted by: Shannon M Griffin at June 9th, 2020 9:42 AM

I am H1h. Family names, Cox, Heath, Hutchinson, Medlin, Anyone out there with any of these family names and Haplogroup?

Posted by: Fay McQueen at July 29th, 2020 1:16 AM

I am H4a2 and wondering about it. According to 23 and me, my family is northwestern European in general, and about half from the British Isles. (I am O negative - there must be lots of us with O negative blood who wonder how it manages to continue since it is both recessive and uncommon.) Regarding aging, I am now 76 and continue to walk, bicycle, swim, kayak and exercise in other ways on a daily basis. Low blood pressure, no diabetes, no gray hair, some wrinkles. This is probably not because of mitochondrial DNA because my mother's family were not very healthy. I am curious to know if anyone has any information about where the H4A2 haplogroup originated.

Posted by: Martha Farwell at September 8th, 2020 3:32 PM

Hi Im from Haplo Group "H3c1"

Posted by: Kelly at September 12th, 2020 1:18 AM

I am also H4A2. I think I read somewhere it can be found in small segment of Polish and Irish populations. It's not super common. I look younger than I am. Not lots of wrinkles or grey hair but I have arthritis.

Posted by: CC at September 16th, 2020 8:26 PM

Im haplogroup H3b1b1 and although I am nearly 55 I have very few grey hairs and no wrinkles yet. I also have no symptoms of starting the menopause. People think I about 40 , My mother is in her early 70s and looks much younger too so it must be in the genes. I eat a healthy balanced diet and have always kept to a healthy weight which also helps to make you appear younger.

Posted by: Tracey Anne OBrien at October 3rd, 2020 4:01 PM

23&me have me as H1, Promeateus as H3 and others as European, either way i have 2% of Neanderthal, I was born in north Africa non Arab.

Posted by: Abdel at October 9th, 2020 10:46 AM

I am also H1u. Found out by 23 and me. It is a wonderful discovery.
It would be nice to meet H1U people as well.

Posted by: MARIA at October 12th, 2020 1:01 PM


If you are interested, I started a Facebook page for H1u persons. Just do a search for that and our page comes up. I hope this will help us find our mutual connections.
This is what I just posted:
If you found this page, there is high probability that your Haplogroup is H1u or H1.
I look at us as our, "Clan" our common background - family!
I'm not really sure what to do about it other than introduce myself. I live in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin which is between Milwaukee and Madison.
My H1u women line goes back to Kerry County in Ireland. I am at a total roadblock after my great grandmother, Julia Agnes O'Connor who was born outside of Erie County New York in 1863.
Please share with us where you live and how far back you have gone in your maternal line.

Posted by: Liz at October 29th, 2020 5:16 AM

I'm H1a1, mom was Irish and German.... we all look younger than we are, not much grey hair here either, and the arthritis.. ugh. and the autoimmune diseases....

Posted by: Nicol at May 20th, 2021 8:10 PM

Hi I too am H1A1. Myself & my sisters have all aged well in respect to late graying and very few wrinkles. I'm 54 but look like I am in my early 40's. I actually look like I am the youngest. Very little gray hairs and very few wrinkles and I am the oldest of 4. The arthritis is really something and I got the majority of autoimmune issues that are significant. We are mostly British/Irish/Scottish/Finnish/French/German with a few other things thrown in.

Posted by: Deborah at June 26th, 2021 5:31 AM

I am H1a1, my sister shows as H1a. I too have few grey hair and wrinkles for my 53 years, but many in my family have fibromyalgia, my aunt has lupus, great aunt had horrific rheumatoid arthritis. Dies anyone know why my sister and I differ slightly (H1a1 vs H1a)?

Posted by: Martha C Stewart at July 8th, 2021 6:00 PM

Hi my Haplogroup is H1h i have lupus. No one in my family look their age. I am 65 people are in shock, even with my siblings ages.

Posted by: Linda at July 10th, 2021 6:48 AM

I also recently finished a 23andMe profile and got my DNA test results back and it turns out I am in Haplo group H1. From reading these posts below, I am wondering if I am a true H1 or maybe another sub clade of H... My mother's family is from Great Britain and France so H1 makes sense, but I am still curious about the H Haplo group and all of the other sub clades because H1 seems super common....

Posted by: Alexander J. Nicosia at July 25th, 2021 8:38 PM
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