Things you can do now

I imaging you already know many of the things you can do to extend your lifespan.  Get good nutrition.  Exercise.  Quit smoking.  Develop good relationships.

Things that may be coming are potential drug interventions.  Some of these may mimic calorie restriction, others will kill senescent cells (those toxic inflammatory cells who fail when they get old).  While the science on using multiple interventions is just beginning (see “Drug cocktail almost doubles lifespan of worms” for a magazine article about this; original journal article).  I will be doing experiments in mice along this line over the next few years to help science discover the interventions which will be additive.  Below are more ideas, which as I develop them will be given their own pages.  There is a lot of information out there, my goal is to gather it all in one place and try to simplify it a bit for my readers.

I have been keen on nutrition for a long time.  Starting in 2000 I logged my diet for a week or so, and was horrified by how few nutrients I was meeting the RDA for.  Since 2013 I have recorded everything I have eaten so I have a complete nutritional record.  Over the years I have made changes to my diet to improve my nutrition, and starting this year I have been adopting routines to make sure I achieve 100% nutrition.  Mostly this means logging all my food for the day and then as an evening snack eat the foods that provide that little extra bit of nutrition.  Low on vitamin E?  Eat a handful of sunflower seeds.  Need more calcium?  Drink a glass of powdered milk (I like this because I can mix it up so I get exactly what I need, say 55 g to meet my RDA of calcium).  Another advantage to powdered milk is you can add in a few other things (molasses has a lot of potassium, for example, and wheat bran has a lot of fiber) which may sound odd but are actually not to bad to drink.

I log the foods I eat daily into my phone, and then log it into an excel spreadsheet which analyzes the nutrients I am currently concentrating on (eventually I hope to have all the nutrients entered into the spreadsheet, but have a lot more data entry before I achieve that point).  Before starting the spreadsheet I emailed my food logs to my secretary in Sri Lanka and she would enter them into a diet program which shows all my nutrients (now I email her the spreadsheet because that does not show all nutrients).  The information generated by the program is then entered into an excel spreadsheet so I can see at a glance what I am doing well on–and what I am not.  Here is a copy of what I had for January 2019:

average nutrients  Note: excel spreadsheet.

If you look at the file you will see I am doing pretty well, but there are still a few things I am lacking–or getting too much of.  Currently my biggest failure is getting too much sodium, so over the next few months I will be trying to reduce the sodium I get, mostly by eliminating the foods that have a lot of sodium like canned foods.  Also I need to research a bit more for some of the things that show high sodium really aren’t, like pancakes: while store bought have high sodium, when I make them at home I make them from scratch without sodium.  So this leads to errors.

While I don’t take any drugs now there are a number that show a lot of promise for extending lifespan.  Some of the most popular (read effective in mice):

  • Senolytics
  • Resveratrol
  • Rapamycin
  • Metformin
  • GDF-11

I do not think the science is there yet for utilizing any of these, though some people feel the benefits outweigh the risks.  Unfortunately the risks are not well quantified yet and while we know these work in mice whether they will actually extend lifespan in humans hasn’t yet been determined.  Also some things like metformin work well in certain circumstances but not in others–if you get good exercise while taking metformin then your health will actually deteriorate according to mice data.

Back in the 1970s an enterprising scientist joined an old mouse with a young mouse, such that they shared some of their circulatory system.  The old mouse became functionally younger.  The technique fell from fashion for many years, but in the early 2000s was investigated again.  The science proved sound and now some people I know are buying cord blood (this blood is taken from the placenta after a baby is born) and injecting the plasma.  They say they get a lot of benefit from it, and indeed they do look younger than their years.

I recently read Younger Next Year (my notes).  They say you can knock years off your lifespan (a decade) if you exercise 45 minutes a day consistently.  There is a lot of other data out there than indicates aging can be delayed with exercise.  For instance it has been shown that you gain 2 microlives (an hour) of life if you exercise 20 minutes a day and 3 if you exercise 40 minutes a day.  But there is also a limit, if you exercise more than an hour a day it will start subtracting microlives!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: