Introduction to Defeating Aging comments
I will confess I am not very good at using the software I use to write this blog in. Comments are a good example; I have received comments but I have not figured out how to add them into my blog. I wrote this blog to cover them, plus a few other notes.
I figured I would have a lot of time to read while on the cruise around the world so I bought a couple of books about WordPress and am now (mid-July, a bit over halfway around the world) almost finished reading them. I kept notes as I read them, you are welcome to read them. First, I read WordPress (310 pages) by George Plumley [Amazon] (my notes). Now I am reading [link, Amazon italic$*$*] WordPress for Dummies: 8 books in 1 by Lisa Sabin-Wilson [Amazon link] (I’ll add these notes after I finish). I am hoping the nuggets of wisdom I have gained from these books will help me get this blog so it looks and reads better! But it will take time; my internet access is expensive while on the cruise ($30 a day) so I don’t spend much time online (1 day a week, average). After I get home in September, I hope to be able to upgrade this website.
I am also working to build a better team to improve this blog. I have a lot of overseas contacts and several employees; I am looking to hire a nutritionist and perhaps someone who is really good with WordPress. I am also working to develop a network of doctors to assist me in clarifying medical issues related to aging. The idea is to have a team of doctors who can help apply the medicines that are coming soon to the problem of aging, assuring that health and life span is enhanced.
If you have an idea you think would make a good aging blog feel free to suggest it. I would be happy to consider any suggestions. If I get too many, I will probably put it to an online vote and whichever one gets the most I will write first!
Comments & Replies
“Not interested in aging for myself, but for my parents. What do you recommend they do to stay healthy? They are in their 50s.”
The first mantra of medicine is do no harm. This is difficult to impossible with someone who is suffering from an incurable disease like aging, for doing nothing results in death yet there are no real protocols that deal with it successfully. Yes, I consider aging to be a disease…one which we don’t have a cure. Yet: someday we will. The question is what can we do NOW to slow aging without causing harm? The most researched aging ‘defeater’ is calorie restriction. But you need to enter calorie restriction very carefully if you are older because it is easy to damage your metabolism, doing the harm you are striving to avoid. If you want, I can help develop a protocol for them. Nothing medical, but things your parents can try that are shown to extend healthy lifespan like additional exercise and a healthier diet. I can also use my growing network of doctors (and soon nutritionists and others) to give suggestions they can have their doctor evaluate. I would need to know what their current diet is now, and consult with a nutritionist about what changes would be good to achieve full nutrition while cutting back on calories. Personally, I have never succeeded very long in full calorie restriction. But even if they don’t succeed with calorie restriction, there are many things they can do that will gain some of the benefits of eating less…without quite so much hardship. Let me say again: anyone over 40 should not restrict calorie intake without being very careful about how they do it because you can permanently damage your metabolism by doing so.
Calorie restriction is very difficult. It has some drawbacks like not being able to stay warm (already a problem for the elderly). Daily exercise is a little easier. I have a good friend who is over 80 and in good health; he has conquered multiple sclerosis and keeps fit with a vigorous 20 minute walk every day. Anyone who exercises 45 minutes a day can extend lifespan somewhat. Even more important is the health they gain: exercising will fight off sarcopenia (muscle wasting). I have seen many people who exercise regularly stay healthy up to within a year of death, avoiding up to 2 decades of frailty and morbidity. If your parents are interested in exercise, I recommend reading book $*$[italic, Amazon link] Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley & Henry Lodge ($*$*link my notes). This will help them understand the importance of exercise and help design an exercise regimen. In brief they suggest 45 minutes of exercise 6 days a week. 2 days a week with weights, which is necessary to slow sarcopenia, or the muscle wasting you see in so many of the very old, and 4 days of aerobics to keep your heart and lungs in good shape. If they are not used to exercising, I suggest seeking professional help to get started. It also helps a great deal to try to make it fun…if it isn’t fun exercise becomes a chore which I at least tend to skip far more often than I should.
Staying socially engaged is also really important. If they do not have a lot of friends or close family, I suggest they look for social activities they like. Perhaps choose a biking club or go dancing with friends and get exercise along with socializing? Being socially active (friends, family, or anyone you can become good friends with) is one of the keys to maintaining good brain health. [$*$*italic]You can help here by spending as much time with them as possible, a minimum of several hours a week will help keep them mentally engaged by thinking about you and your activities. Face to face, if possible. By phone or video chat if not.
A form of socializing is staying employed. Many of those who stay employed enjoy a longer and better life. Those who retire and sit on the couch watching TV usually shorten their lifespan considerably—and their health span even more. If you don’t want or need a paycheck or the rigors of work perhaps find a worthy cause to volunteer for? Keeping mentally engaged provides all kinds of benefits, from better fitness to improved cognitive function!
Brain health is also determined by the foods you eat. I track all the foods I eat and use a spreadsheet[$*$*link] to calculate my nutrition for nearly 50 nutrients. The most important 4 nutrients for me are fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium and zinc. The first 4 I sometimes struggle to get enough of and the next one I tend to eat too much of! Zinc I seem to be perpetually low on so when I feel like I might catch a cold, I take a zinc pill so that usually keeps me within the RDA (recommended daily allowance). Brain health is also controlled by the B vitamins and quite a few other nutritionally related things. I suggest you read my previous blog about defeating dementia[$*$*link] for more information.
Keeping blood pressure low is something everyone should pay attention to. Your parents should have it checked and try to achieve the current recommendations, which are a blood pressure less than 120/80. If theirs is higher than that, they should take steps to lower it. Losing weight, exercise and diet are all ways to help controlling blood pressure. Mine is too high and this summer I am working very hard to get it down; if I fail, I will have to take pills to control it because it is over 120/80. Anyone with blood pressure over 140/90 should talk to a doctor right away to discuss options to get it down to safer levels. I use a home blood pressure cuff; these are easy to use and fairly accurate if you get an arm cuff. I haven’t gotten good results with the ones that go on your wrist because the readings vary pretty widely for me. Because I am so concerned about my blood pressure, I take it every morning right after I get up. I recently wrote a blog about salt (which is where the majority of your sodium comes from) and high blood pressure[$*$*link]. Only about 10% of people are sensitive to salt but for anyone who has high blood pressure it is worth investigating. When I was talking to Dr. Alan Green, he mentioned that there are some people who think low salt intake will also increase your lifespan. I plan to investigate this further.
These are the most important things proven to help your parents remain healthy into old age. There are a number of drugs that look good right now, but have not been proven as treatments for aging. Drugs like senolytics (which kill bad cells), rapamycin (which partially resets your aging cells) and metformin (which improves metabolism) have all been shown to extend lifespan in mice and other animals. Clinical trials are underway with some of these, results coming.
There are a number of groups around the world, such as the Okinawans (Japanese who live on the Okinawa island), who live to extreme old age. This is usually determined by 3 factors in their lives: their diet, their social life and the exercise they get. Adopting a lifestyle similar to them will enhance your parent’s chances of a healthy old age. The coming drugs will enhance this further, and perhaps extend their life span significantly.
To help them more than general suggestions I would need more details. If they would care to contact me please tell them to feel free to do so. If nothing else I hope I have suggested a few things that will help them. A successful outcome is dependent on many factors so it is difficult for me to suggest anything more without a more personal interview.
re: Medical testing, PCS9 inhibitors & aging conference–an email to a friend
“Just time today for a quick look. Will come back for more later. Interesting so far.”
I hope you manage to stop by again. If you send me a note[$*$*link] I will add you to my mailing list, which is small but growing. Please note if you want an email with every blog, or just a quarterly review (every 3 months). The email will provide a synopsis of the blog and a link so if you are interested you can read all of it. Also let me know if you want a free copy of the book I will be writing about aging; hurry though, not many are offered for free. At some point I may offer this blog as a printed newsletter, but I have a bit to go before I am organized to do that–and I may have to charge to cover my postage.
re: Dementia blog
“My husband seems to be losing his mind. He can’t drive because he gets lost before he gets to the freeway. We are having to sell the business because his memory is so bad. Our doctor says it is a ‘fact of life’ and my husband ‘has had it’. What do you suggest? We need Help!”
Dr. Bredesen mentions a case very similar to your husband’s, where the lady he discussed could not remember how to find her way and was leaving work for similar reasons. Your doctor does not sound very promising, but he may just be frustrated with the lack of options. I suggest you buy a copy of [$*$*italic]The End of Alzheimer’s [$*$*link to my blog] and read it. If you think it would help take it to your doctor…if he doesn’t think Dr. Bredesen’s ideas will work perhaps you can get a second opinion.
I do not see it as my position to give medical advice, nor would it be legal for me to do so; I am not a doctor. My aim with this blog is to provide information so people can understand the options that are available, like Dr. Bredesen’s protocol for dementia, or testing if you are salt sensitive and can use salt as a means to controlling high blood pressure.
I also want to showcase the coming treatments that slow old age, so people can understand that there is a real chance of living a lot longer than expected, and in much better health. In a few decades much of what I write about will be mainstream. If you can take the steps now to preserve your health (like exercising more and eating right) you will have a better chance at being in good health when more advanced treatments like senolytics[$*$*link] or rapamycin[$*$*link] become available.
“I don’t believe this stuff! You get old. You get dementia. That is a fact of life and you can’t avoid it. Why should I take your word for it?”
re: Demetia blog
You shouldn’t take my word for it! When you read something online like my article about Dr. Bredesen’s protocol for reversing dementia you need to research it yourself–or take it to your doctor and have him do so. Nothing you find online should be accepted as the whole truth; most of it is just people’s opinions. I find it hard to believe that some people believe so much in what they read online that they will go out and kill someone–I heard of a case in central America where a guy was so demonized on social media that a group of villagers attacked and killed him all because someone started a rumor about him being arrested. Either it is true, in which case the internet contributed to the guy’s death…or it isn’t true, in which case it highlights you can’t believe what you read online! So always look for multiple opinions from someone who understands what they are talking about, especially when it is as important as your health!
Do I know what I am talking about? When it comes to aging, I have been studying aging since the late 1970’s. I obtained a BS in Biology and am now working on a PhD. Since 2000 I have accelerated my aging studies, and regularly read all the journals in the field as well as attend an average of 1 conference a year. So, I am confident I understand the fundamentals of science’s current position on aging. Do I know enough to give medical advice? No. But I do know enough to suggest where you might find the kind of medical advice you need and to point out the things that have worked for extending healthy lifespan in mice and monkeys may also work in people. I also have many contacts with doctors who might be able to advise you about specific problems like high blood pressure.
So, take my ideas and explore the avenues that interest you. But do your due diligence before taking action! Some things like eating a daily handful of sunflower seeds if your vitamin E consumption is low need no further explanation; some things like having vitamin B injections for low vitamin B levels should be done under competent care to you assure you get just what you need; not too much and not too little.
re: Dementia blog
“So you say lot of things to test, but did not do all. Do you think this is enough?”
No. We do not know enough to completely reverse or stop dementia. But the testing suggested is based on hard science, and each factor has been shown to be one of the causative factors in dementia. We know a little, and that little is enough to have a positive impact on those getting dementia. While the hype says ‘cure’ that remains uncertain because for me a cure means ‘gone and will not come back’, and only time will tell if protocol developed by Dr. Bredesen will provide a long-term solution. More solutions are likely as the network approach to medicine (that is many medical issues are caused by more than one issue and so for a complete cure for anything requires fixing multiple issues) expands.
“Read through the site. Thanks, Ray. Glad you are posting this stuff. Sorry to hear of the passing of your godfather and uncle. As you noted, we are always poorer for the loss of our elders as well as suffering the personal loss. My condolences, dear friend. I will return to this site from time to time to keep up on the latest. You can use my name freely in your postings, if you like. It doesn’t matter to me, either way. Kraig. P.S.: Count me in on the book of course! :)”
Thanks Kraig. Encouragement is really helpful; sometimes it is hard to turn out quality product when you get little feedback! Yes, it is so sad to lose people you are close to; as we get older our friends die one by one. I imagine this is really bad for your mental health, not to mention really sad. My godfather did not have any friends left from his generation; my Dad was his best friend and died 15 years before he did. Death is the enemy: I hope science conquers it and my son sees the end of aging and death before he gets old in 40-50 years. I even feel that with the right approach people our age may have a small chance of living long enough to see real progress toward defeating aging.
I have added you to the book list 🙂 For those of you reading this: if you want a free book, I will send you one–if you click$*$* soon enough!