ANTI-AGING: THE PILLARS OF LONGEVITY

 

This article is intended solely for informational purposes. It is not meant to be taken as, and should not be construed, as medical advice. Any changes to your lifestyle or diet should be done in consultation with your doctor or health care professional.


What can we do to increase our odds of living long, healthy lives ––– and possibly even get ourselves to “escape velocity” (the point at which improvements in medical technology add years to our lives faster than the passage of time can subtract them)?

The current evidence suggests that it’s not just one thing, but that there are a number of  things it’s good to be tuned into, including:

  1. EATING RIGHT (Eating food that’s been correlated with longevity and life extension)
  2. DOING SOME FASTING AND TIME RESTRICTED EATING
  3. TAKING HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS
  4. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE
  5. OPTIMIZING OUR NAD LEVELS
  6. ACTIVATING OUR SIRTUIN GENES
  7. OPTIMIZING OUR BLOOD GLUCOSE AND INSULIN
  8. KEEPING OUR AMPK ACTIVATED
  9. ACTIVATING AUTOPHAGY AND APOPTOSIS
  10. UNDERSTANDING MTOR –– and keeping it under control
  11. PROTECTING OUR BRAIN HEALTH
  12. REMOVING SENESCENT CELLS FROM OUR BODIES
  13. GENERATING NEW STEM CELLS
  14. TAKING CARE OF OUR MITOCHONDRIA
  15. PROTECTING OUR TELOMERES
  16. UTILIZING HORMESIS
  17. MINIMIZING OUR EXPOSURE TO AGES
  18. DEALING WITH STRESS EFFECTIVELY
  19. HAVING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE
  20. OPTIMIZING OUR HOME ENVIRONMENTS
  21. PROTECTING OUR LARGER ENVIRONMENT

Let’s take a look at these in more detail:


  1. EATING RIGHT ––– I.E., FOOD AND DRINKEating a diet rich in the right nutrients, to make sure you get all the key vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are needed to support health and longevity.Whether you’re an omnivore (who eats food from both plant and animal sources) –– or a vegetarian (who eats plants in combination with dairy, eggs, and a few other foods); or a pescatarian (who eats the vegetarian diet I just described, plus fish and shellfish) –– or a vegan (who eats only plant-based foods) -––  or a carnivore (who eats only foods from the animal kingdom) ––– we all need certain nutrients.Many of us need higher levels of vitamin D, magnesium, and the B vitamins, than are found in most people’s diets. Our brains need DHA, found in algae and fish oil, to continue functioning properly.If you’re a carnivore or omnivore, you might look at eating organ meats for protein and B vitamins, and collagen or gelatin for nutrients your skin needs to prevent wrinkling. If you’re a vegan, you might look at taking brewer’s yeast for B vitamins and protein. Pescatarians tend to have diets high in healthy fats, proteins and omega 3 fatty acids.

    Whatever kind of diet you decide to eat, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients as the years go by. Micronutrient deficiencies can be invisible at first, then become manifest and visible as the years go by. They can be exacerbated by the next thing we’ll be talking about, fasting.

  2. MEAL TIMING AND FASTING ––– What we eat is important. But having stretches during which we’re not eating appears to be equally important for longevity. Animals fed low calorie diets or fasted in the lab experiences significantly longer lifespans than those who were free to eat whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.Intermittent fasting, and time restricted eating are both associated with both health and longevity. Occasional prolonged fasts of 3-5 days or more also appear to have profound health benefits from a longevity point of view.
  3. HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS ––– We can get our key nutrients from food. But some are more readily available from supplements.The truth appears to be that we can’t get everything we need, in the quantities we need to prevent or slow down aging, from a healthy diet. Many people in the anti-aging community are taking a range of different supplements hoping to keep their bones and muscles strong and keep their minds sharp, and keep their longevity genes activated.There are some important compounds (such as NAD and phosphatidyl serine) that are prevalent in the brain and body when we’re young, but drop to dangerously low levels as we’re aging. Supplementing is a far more effective way of getting adequate levels of them, than simply eating right. 
  4. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE ––– Getting the right kinds and amounts of exercise to keep our muscles strong and our cholesterol and triglyceride levels at a good balance. This may mean walking, jogging, running, bicycling, doing weight training, and getting both aerobic and HIIT exercise, all of which can slow down the aging process if one in the right way.
  5. NAD LEVELS ––– NAD is an essential compound responsible for mitochondrial functioning and DNA repair. NAD levels drop as we age.  There are both activities and nutrients that appear to help with maintaining high levels of NAD as we age. Many of us are taking NMN, NR, or Nicotinic Acid (Instant Release Niacin) hoping to restore our NAD to healthy young levels. Eating parsley, which is high in apigenin, keeps an enzyme in our body from destroying NAD as the years go by.
  6. BLOOD GLUCOSE AND INSULIN – It’s important to keep both within a safe range. Supplements such as benfotiamine, berberine and milk thistle can help accomplish this, as can doing aerobic and HIIT exercise.
  7. AMPK ––– AMPK is a fuel-sensing enzyme that can be activated or deactivated by what what do, our supplements, and the foods we eat. It’s one of the most crucial enzymes to be aware of. When it’s activated, we’re on the longevity pathway. Current evidence suggests that we want it activated most of the time. AMPK can be activated by fasting or eating diets low in methionine and leucine at least part of the time.
  8. AUTOPHAGY AND APOPTOSIS ––– As we age, waste products build up in our cells. When we fast, our body responds to the lack of nutrients by going into our cells and emptying the waste bins (looking for debris to turn into amino acids, since none are coming in through our diet). If we fast for days, this gives way to apoptosis, a process in which old, decaying zombie cells called “senescent cells” are cannibalized by the body, again to create amino acids. Some supplements can increase both processes. 
  9. MTOR ––– mTOR is the flip side of AMPK. It’s a different enzymatic reaction which helps build muscle and support our immune systems. We need some mTOR activation as we age, but for most people, mTOR is activated too much of the time. This puts us on the growth pathway… which can result in healthy muscle growth, but can also result in growing bigger and fatter, or in cancer growing in our bodies. So again, the focus needs to be on lowering mTOR activity in the body
  10. BRAIN HEALTH ––– protecting our brains from problems like strokes and dementia, and knowing what to do if we do start experiencing either problem. (For example, a nutrient called PQQ helps with stroke recovery, and so does the B vitamin niacin. And a nutrient called PS, or phosphatidyl serine, found in lecithin, can help fix short term memory problems, depending on what’s causing them.)
  11. SENESCENT CELLS ––– deleting zombie cells from our bodies. Fasting is one way of doing this. If you don’t like fasting, you might try taking a supplement called fisetin.
  12. STEM CELLS ––– Supporting the genesis of new stem cells. Again, this happens naturally at the conclusion of a 3-5 day fast or fasting mimicking diet. Taking nutrients such as taurine can help fuel stem cell regeneration when our fast is over.
  13. MITOCHONDRIA ––– Supporting the health of your mitochondria, and supporting mitochondrial biogenesis. Once again, one solution is fasting. 3-5 days fasts not only kill senescent cells, they kill senescent mitochondria, triggering the creation of new mitochondria at the end of the fast. This process can be increased by red light exposure. Here’s the red light setup I use for this purpose. Red light also increase my testosterone levels and sexual energy and endurance.
  14. PROTECTING OUR TELOMERES ––– Telomeres are the end caps on our cells. As we age they get shorter. We can lengthen them by fasting; eating certain nutrients; and taking supplements such as ashwagandha and astragalus.
  15. SUPPORTING HORMESIS ––– Stressing the body in ways that promote a strong hormetic response. Cold showers, hot saunas, and HIIT exercise are examples of healthy hormetic stressors that actually appear to reverse the aging process.
  16. MINIMIZING OUR EXPOSURE TO AGES ––– Advanced Glycation End Products –– which are harmful to the body. This one’s a little tricky, because diets can be high in AGEs, yet people who eat those diets can have low levels of AGEs in their bodies. For example, people who eat a raw vegan diet are consuming very low AGEs; yet the net effect is that the AGEs in the bodies are much higher than those who eat omnivorous or even carnivorous diets.  
  17. DEALING WITH STRESS EFFECTIVELY ––– Physical stressors actually appear to be anti-aging. But emotional stressors, particularly if they build up over time, can be triggers for the aging process. So dealing with emotional issues can be key, in my opinion. This can range from doing things like getting out of toxic relationships, to meditating or taking walks in the forest regularly, to remembering that it’s okay to have feelings, and letting ourselves cry hard when we’re sad rather than keeping the feelings jammed up inside.
  18. ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE  ––– Some countries regard access to health care as a basic human right. Others, such as the United States, ration access to health care based on peoples’ incomes. This has obvious problems when some groups have higher incomes than others.
  19. PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT WE’LL BE LIVING IN ––– If we do figure out ways to extend our lifespans, we’ll need clean air, clean water, and good food. I’m not trying to force anyone to agree with me, but to my mind, supporting environmental regulations aimed at reducing people’s exposure to toxic pollutants is a sensible step in those directions. 

I’ll be focusing on all of these in detail in other videos.  In this video, I wanted to present an overview of the elements we may want to start thinking about if we’re serious about life extension.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FOOD AND DRINK

AND EXERCISE

  • Our bodies need hundreds of nutrients to function well. For example, if we’re low in vitamin D or magnesium, many bodily processes run into trouble.
  • There’s strong evidence that low carb, moderate protein, high healthy fat diets are associated with longevity ––– and that both HIIT exercise and resistance training are of benefit.
  • There are obviously a lot of different ideas about what makes up the best diet. To me it makes sense to eat a diet rich in superfoods such as sardines, salmon, grass fed meat, and cruciferous vegetables. But you’ll have to do the research and decide what makes sense to you.

INCREASING NAD LEVELS


The basics:

  1. NICOTINAMIDE DINUCLEOTIDE (NAD)  is essential to life. It facilitates DNA repair and supports the functioning of the mitochondria. We’d be dead in seconds without it.
  2. NAD levels are high when we’re young but drop steadily as we age.
  3. Researchers have found that restoring youthful NAD levels in lab animals can reverse some of the symptoms of aging, and (in some animals) appears to result in longer lifespans.

How to raise NAD:

  1. INTERMITTENT FASTING or time-restricted eating ––– limiting our eating window to 8 hours or less per day. (Some limit their eating window to 4 or 6 hours.) I.F. promotes autophagy, which cleans debris from our cells and increases the levels of NAD in our cells. LEARN MORE
  2. PERIODIC PROLONGED FASTING. Fasting for a few days several times a year – or going on a FASTING MIMICKING DIET –– both increase NAD levels in our cells. LEARN MORE
  3. Note: Prolonged fasts also promote APOPTOSIS, which cleans senescent cells out of our bodies. At the end of the fast, when we start eating again, our bone marrow responds by creating a flood of new STEM CELLS. So fasting has benefits that go beyond the increase in NAD.
  4. HIIT EXERCISE (exercising till we’re seriously out of breath) at least 3 times a week is another way of increasing our levels of NAD. (Creating a temporary oxygen deficit triggers longevity genes).  LEARN MORE
  5. HEAT STRESS AND COLD STRESS. (For example: saunas, ice baths and cold showers). (Triggers survival/longevity genes and increases NAD.) LEARN MORE
  6. All of these interventions stress the body in beneficial ways, increase NAD levels, support mitochondrial health and biogenesis, support brain health. Several of them also activate SIRT1 and other longevity genes in response to stress.
  7. SEE MY ARTICLE: A STRATEGY FOR KEEPING NAD LEVELS HIGH

Boosting NAD levels with food and supplements:

  1. There is evidence that eating a low carb, moderate protein, high (healthy) fat KETOGENIC DIET increases NAD levels and also increases the NAD+ to NADH ratio in the brain, protecting brain health.
  2. Taking NAD BOOSTERS such as Niacin (NA), NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) or NR (Nicotinamide Riboside) ––– forms of vitamin B3 which are tailored to support the mitochondria and increase NAD levels. 
  3. Eating parsley for apigenin (which protects NAD from being destroyed in the body).
  4. Taking OTHER SUPPLEMENTS which support increase NAD, reverse some aspects of aging, and promote longevity.
  5. SEE MY ARTICLE: RAISING NAD LEVELS INEXPENSIVELY – OR EVEN FOR FREE
  6. NOTE: Most people who take NAD boosters also take resveratrol, pterostilbene or olive oil, which activate the sirtuin genes. LEARN MORE
  7. NOTE: Sun exposure has been shown to have health benefits. But too much sun exposure lowers NAD levels, as the NAD in our bodies is used up in repairing sun damage to the skin. 

BALANCING MTOR and AMPK


The basics:

  1. MTOR and AMPK are enzymatic reactions closely related to the aging process.
  2. MTOR is essential for brain health and muscle growth. It prevents muscle wasting, preserves bone strength, and prevent dementia.
  3. But too much mTOR activity is problematic. High levels of mTOR have been shown to shorten the lifespan.  Lowering mTOR has been shown to increase the lifespan of lab animals by as much as 50 percent. LEARN MORE
  4. Things that lower mTOR tend to raise AMPK, a catabolic reaction that has many benefits for longevity.

How to lower mTOR:

There are several possible ways of lowering mTOR activity. They include:

  1. Eating a low protein diet. (0.8 grams per kg of lean body mass).(Animals fed HIGH protein diets live shorter, not longer lives, because protein increases mTOR.)
  2. NOTE: Some researchers maintain that this is too low, and that we need around 100 grams a day to prevent muscle atrophy.
  3. Eating a plant-based diet. (Protein from animal sources raises mTOR more than protein from plant sources.)
  4. Eating a low-carbohydrate diet. (High insulin levels also increase mTOR.)
  5. Intermittent fasting.
  6. Prolonged periodic fasting.
  7. Taking metformin or berberine. Both tend to activate AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) and lower MTOR.
  8. Taking ceylon cinnamon.
  9. Taking resveratrol.

Can you eat high protein, and still have low mTOR?

  1. If we choose to eat diets that are high in protein, particularly from animal sources, our mTOR will be high.
  2. Some people who are on high protein diets (such as the carnivore diet) try to compensate for this by increasing exercise and doing more fasting. (Some claim that if you eat a high protein diet but keep your eating window to 4 hours a day, you could still end up with low mTOR over the long haul, and the excess protein you’re eating wouldn’t be shortening your lifespan.) (I’m not sure that this is true; I’d like to see it verified by more studies.)

LOWERING BLOOD GLUCOSE


  1. High blood glucose is associated with greater vulnerability to infections (including Covid-19), shorter lifespans, and a greatly increased risk of dementia.
  2. Pharmaceuticals such as metformin and supplements such as berberine, benfotiamine, and Ceylon cinnamon lower blood glucose (which has anti-aging benefits in itself).
  3. NOTE: In addition to lowering blood glucose, metformin and berberine also lower mTOR levels.

REMOVING SENESCENT CELLS

  1. Stem cells are old half-dead cells that leach toxins into surrounding cells and tissues.
  2. They can be removed from the body by prolonged periodic fasting, and by taking senolytics such as fisetin, quercetin and the antibiotic azithromycin.
  3. Note: Some researchers have cautioned that it may not be good to remove all senescent cells; some may have important functions in the body.

SUPPORTING OUR STEM CELLS

  1. When we’re (very) young we have lots of stem cells.
  2. As we age, fewer and fewer.
  3. Doing a five day fast or fasting mimicking diet followed by a healthy re-feed is a proven way of triggering the creation of new stem cells.  Some claim that its benefits are comparable to a course of stem cell therapy.

SUPPORTING MITOCHONDRIAL HEALTH

  1. Doing a five-day fast removes unhealthy mitochondria from our bodies, and triggers mitochondrial biogenesis.
  2. Exposure to some frequencies of red light appears to support mitochondrial health.
  3. Dr. Terry Wahls has developed a diet that she claims is optimal to support our mitochondria (and helped her recover from multiple sclerosis).

SUPPORTING OUR TELOMERES

  1. Telomeres are the end caps on our cells which protect our DNA from damage.
  2. We’re born with long telomeres; they get shorter as we age. Some speculate that lengthening our telomeres might buy us a few more years of life.
  3. Supplements including astragalus and ashwagandha have been shown to increase levels of the enzyme telomerase and lengthen telomeres.) (One caution: some cancers thrive in a high telomerase environment)

OTHER FACTORS

  1. Getting enough SLEEP
  2. Getting some SUN EXPOSURE (though not enough to deplete our NAD)
  3. Protecting our BRAIN HEALTH from the aging process.
  4. DEALING WITH STRESS effectively. Physical stressors can be beneficial, up to a point. Emotional stressors show evidence of shortening the lifespan.

 


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