“Do You Want to Live Longer? Or Reverse Aging?’
by Nils Osmar. March 9, 2022
In discussions about supplements and other interventions that some of us are taking in the hopes of an anti-aging benefit, now and then someone will respond, “Yeah, but it’s not proven to extend lifespan in people.”
This is true, but is not really a valid argument, because if you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize that it would take longer than typical human lifespan to prove definitively that a procedure extends lifespan. After that, we’d need another study lasting more than an average human lifespan to repeat the trial and prove the first trial’s results weren’t a fluke.
Another complication is that life extension is not the same as anti-aging. They can occur together, but are very different things.
Life Extension Without Anti-Aging
- Therapies can be considered life extending if they extend either the median or maximum lifespan. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that they reverse the aging process.
- For example, some medical treatments (such as hooking comatose people up to machinery to replace the functions of failing organs) are considered life extending. People live longer when using these interventions than they would without them. But because they’re not simultaneously reversing aging, the result can be keeping people alive for years or decades in a decrepit state in nursing homes, long after their minds and memories have stopped working efficiently — not a state that many of us would view as desirable.
Anti-aging Without Life Extension
- Interventions can also be anti-aging without extending the life.
- For example, our eyesight tends to go downhill as we age, so anything that reverses age-related degradation of our eyesight could be considered anti-aging. (In this light, David Sinclair’s work to “de-age” the eyes of mice in the laboratory, restoring vision, are anti-aging. But that doesn’t mean those doing so necessarily makes the mice life longer.
- We tend to lose muscle as we age. So approaches such as weight training and taking certain nutrients that build muscle can be considered anti-aging. But again, just working out doesn’t mean we’ll live significantly longer than people who don’t. Our quality of life may be better, but the quantity might not be increased.
- This doesn’t mean exercising and working out are bad. I would consider anything that extends the health-span to be of value, even if it if doesn’t add to our lives. The hope, of course, is that the most promising interventions might end up doing both.
- We can prove life extension is possible in animals because they’re normally short lived. If an animal’s typical lifespan is two years and we make a change in its diet or genetics resulting in its living five years, we’re shown that life extension is possible.
- We can’t demonstrate the same benefits in humans because humans normally live for decades (with some living more than a century). So it would take longer than a typical human lifespan to do a really accurate test, then another couple of lifespans to verify the results. So the argument, “Yeah, but it hasn’t been proven to extend lifespan in people” is nonsensical.
- However, interventions that reverse signs of aging can be tested.
Most people in the anti-aging community are (I think) aiming to live longer in better health. We want to:
- Extend the lifespan
- Extend the health span
- Compress morbidity
- Many of us also have the goal of living long enough to take advantage of medical interventions on the horizon which may grant us extreme longevity and – maybe – even physical immortality.
The most promising interventions (in my opinion), are:
- Eating an Acciarolin diet. Their key dietary staples include anchovies, sardines, rosemary, beans, legumes, a wide variety of vegetables, and the meat from rabbits and chickens they raise themselves.
The people in Acciaroli are 75 times more likely to reach the age of 100 than people anywhere else in the world. They have almost no heart disease or dementia. They stay sexually active well past their 80s. They reach the age of 100 or 110 or older in a state of almost perfect health.
Some people discount the novelty of the Acciarolins’ situation and claim that they live longer because they live in a “blue zone”, “proving that the Mediterranean diet works.” But people who eat regular Mediterranean diets are only 2 times more likely to live to be 100 than folks elsewhere in the world. The Acciarolins are 75 times more likely.
Some claim that the Acciarolins may live longer for genetic reasons. This is possible, but remember that genetics aren’t as separate from diet and lifestyle as was once assumed. Our lifestyle choices can activate our genes.
- Fasting (in animal studies increases both the lifespan and health-span) (To me it makes most sense in combination with an Acciarolin diet or some other diet high in anchovies, sardines, rosemary, fresh free-range poultry, and a wide variety of plant-based foods, and the naturally high levels of exercise in the Acciarolin lifestyle)
- Taking the right drugs and supplements. I would look in particular at the longevity benefits (in lab animals) that are achieve by combining rapaymyin with metformin. The combination brought more than twice the lifespan increase of rapaymcin alone.
- Taking AKG (alpha ketoglutarate) (extends healthspan; compresses morbidity; modestly extends lifespan)
- Taking Sirtuin 6 activators such as fucoidan and cyanidin (in combination with NAD precursors such as NMN, NR and/or niacin). (SIRT6 is NAD-dependent, so it does almost nothing if we increase our consumption of sirtuin 6 activators without also raising NAD)
- Exercising (in particular HIIT and weight training) (Does not increase the lifespan but does reverse aging and increase the healthspan.)