by Nils Osmar. March 6, 2022
Part of our job if we’re interested in extreme longevity or physical immortality is simply to stay alive long enough to take advantage of some of the projected advances in medical technology. We don’t really know if the human race will ever reach “escape velocity” (or even shoot past the current 125 year limit), but that there are promising signs that it may be possible.
The aging process can kill us; but so can accidents, homicides, and infectious diseases. So it makes sense to try to factor them all in.
The WHO lists the leading causes of death in adults (in all high-income countries, when averaged together) in 2019 as:
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
- Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Lower respiratory infections
- Colon and rectum cancers
- Kidney diseases
- Hypertensive heart disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
According to The WHO:
“Deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have increased, overtaking stroke to become the second leading cause in high-income countries, and being responsible for the deaths of 814 000 people in 2019. And, as with upper-middle-income countries, only one communicable disease, lower respiratory infections, appears in the top 10 causes of death.”
Stastics can be Slippery
These causes vary by age group, by year, by gender, and also vary by country. In 2020, according to the CDC, by the following year, in the United States, the COVID pandemic had moved into third place. It later rose into second.
- Heart disease: 696,962
- Cancer: 602,350
- COVID: 350,831
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 200,955
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 160,264
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 152,657
- Alzheimer’s disease: 134,242
- Diabetes: 102,188
- Influenza and pneumonia: 53,544
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 52,547
What to Do About It?
In a sense, anything we do that’s pushing back against the aging process should be beneficial, as literally all of the “killers” on the list are exacerbated by the aging process. Eating high nutrient meals (making sure we get enough protein, but not excessive protein); activating AMPK as much as possible, but also activating mTOR enough to support immune health; fasting intelligently; exercising; and taking supplements such as AKG, NAD boosters, glutathione boosters, and sirtuin activators should (in my opinion) top the list.
Some of things I do are routine. Oleic acid, found in olives and avocados, appears to be one of the most effective sirtuin activators, so I’ve made olives and avocados staples in my diet. Keeping blood sugar low appears to have health and longevity benefits, so I’ve cut back on sugars, including fructose. Keeping our hormones near young adult levels makes sense to me, so I exercise and take growth hormone and testosterone boosting supplements. Keeping NAD high is associated with greater resistance to disease, so I do weightlifting, take cold showers, hot baths and saunas, and take NMN and NR routinely these days, because all of them raise NAD.
(Others’ lists may of course be different, as a lot of the research is still in an early stage.)
When I created the Rekindle Protocol, it was with the intention of addressing all of these. You could argue whether the things I’m doing are all necessary and helpful; some might eventually be replaced by other interventions; but the protocol is set up as an attempt to address all causes of mortality.
As I’ve gone deeper into anti-aging, I’ve become more proactive about causes not directly related to aging over the past few years. For example:
- I’ve started exercising (resistance training) partly because I was drifting into sarcopenia, but also partly because maintaining muscle improves our odds of coming through falls and other accidents undamaged.
- My attitude toward the pandemic, and the measures I took during it, were partly influenced by wanting to avoid death from respiratory diseases (and wanting to avoid causing the deaths of others in the community).
- I try to avoid driving on the freeway at night under poor weather conditions.
- Keeping a distance from people who seem a little crazy and homicidal is also on my personal list.
- I also do some things which are correlated with a reduction in all-cause mortality, such as drinking 3 cups of coffee most mornings, on the assumption that they could turn out to have benefits. (There’s a fairly long list of things that fit into that category; I’ll sum them up in another article when I get a chance.)
- It’s always a trade-off of course; when we’re no longer dying from aging, we’ll still be vulnerable to death from many of the other things on the list.
With all of that said, I agree with the anti-aging researchers who say that doing things to prevent and reverse aging should be at the top of our lists. If we want to live to be 100, 150, 200 or longer, we can’t be stupid about infectious diseases; we need to consider everything that both medicine and lifestyle changes have to offer.
Pushing for more support of anti-aging research should (I believe) also be at the top of our lists, as well as supporting initiatives to make sure the environment stays habitable for human beings.