How to Live A Few Decades Longer
by Nils Osmar. Updated Nov. 8, 2022. Medical Disclaimer
It can be a little discouraging if we look at the average lifespan for people in our country and gender (for example, men in the U.S.; women in Australia), and compare it with our current age. If we’re already in our fifties or sixties, the end can appear to be just around the corner.
Average lifespan vs. expected
One key thing to understand, if your goal is extreme longevity, is that average lifespan is very different from expected lifespan.
For example, I’m 69 years old as I’m writing this. (I’ll be 70 in a couple of months.) The average lifespan for males in the United States is around 78. So in that sense, I might expect to be dead in nine years. Super bummer!
But this is actually inaccurate, because once I’ve reached 69, I’ve already passed through some dangers and left them behind.
For example, I’m not likely to die of a childhood disease or parental neglect. I won’t run into a busy street chasing a ball. Not being a toddler, I know what water is and am unlikely to trip over my shoelaces, fall into a puddle and drown.
By the same token, I’m less likely than a 22 year old to die in a knife fight or get drunk and doing something dumb. I don’t drive as much as I used to, don’t drink-and-drive, and don’t need to use the freeway most of the time, so I’m less likely than I would once have been to die in traffic.
I’ve been a kid… been a young adult… lived through the potential dangers associated with being in those age groups and moved on.
I mentioned above that the average lifespan of a man in the United States, in 2022, is 79 years old. But it turns out that the “expected” lifespan for a man in the U.S. who has already reached 69 is another 18 years.
If I do nothing, barring an unusual run of bad luck, I should live till I’m around 88.
If I’m proactive, and do things that are reasonably likely to increase my odds of being here longer, it’s reasonable to think that I could easily live to 100, or 110 or longer.
My current regimen
My current anti-aging routine includes interventions such as:
- Eating a high nutrient diet (making sure to get enough high quality protein and leucine and healthy fats)
- Taking breaks from eating – i.e., doing time restricted eating (a type of intermittent fasting) to give my body time to clean debris out of my cells and remove defective mitochondria.
- Doing one longer (36 hour fast) once a week
- Aiming to get enough sleep
- Taking cold showers
- Getting medical care when needed – but also avoiding medical care that’s questionable. (As described in this study, every year in the United States, between 7,000 and 9,000 patients die as a result of a medical error”. This includes inadequately training and educating health care providers. I appreciate the availability of medical care but don’t blindly trust that every medical intervention will extend my life; we need to learn about benefits and side effect when deciding which ones to take advantage of.)
- Spending quality time with friends, and doing things I love doing (community is important, and tends to vanish out from under us as the years go by, because even if we’re not aging and dying, our friends tend to be doing so. This isn’t a tragedy we’re stuck in, IMO, but something we do need to give thought to solving.
- I use air filters and water filters to assure that I’m breathing clean air and drinking clean water.
- Taking supplements to restore some key compounds to youthful levels.
My current supplements
The supplements I take are designed to increase levels of compounds such as AKG, NAD+ and nitric oxide that drop as we age. Some key ones are:
- AKG (alpha ketoglutarate). I take Ca-AKG (a calcium salt of AKG) most mornings to keep my AKG levels high. (CaAKG has been found, in lab animals, to increase lifespan and compress morbidity into a short period toward the end of life. Some human studies show Ca-AKG reversing epigenetic aging by several years.) (See my note about a recent AKG study using human subjects lower down on this page)
- I take DoNotAge’s Ca-AKG in the mornings and take Swanson AAKG (an arginine salt of AKG) in the afternoons. (NOTE: If you’re taking a time release form of AKG, it’s recommended that you wait 12 hours before taking other supplements. The kind I’m taking is immediate-release. I usually take it when I get up (which was around 5 a.m. this morning, then wait 2-3 hours before taking other supplements.)
- I’m taking NMN and eating parsley to keep NAD+ levels high
- I take a supplement called SIRT6 activator which contains a bioactive form of fucoidan. (The fucoidan supplement I take has been tested in Dr. Vera Gorbunova’s laboratory and found to activate the sirtuin 6 gene)
- I eat whey and take GlyNAC (a combination of glycine and NAC in roughly equal amounts) to increase glutathione. (I’m currently taking Life Extension NAD an NOW foods glycine.)
- I do a type of exercise which have been found to increase nitric oxide levels (I’ll be doing a video on this subject soon)
- I take ashwagandha and a product called Male Libido, both from Gaia Herbs, eat L. Reuteri 6475 yogurt, and take fish oil to increase testosterone (not to astronomical levels, but to those of of young adulthood).
- I take beta alanine to increase hGH (not to astronomical levels, but to those of of young adulthood)
Each of these supplements should in theory increase the likelihood of my being in the world a while longer. Doing multiple things at once should (I hope) result in a cumulative gain in years of life.
mTOR and AMPK
Our lives are balanced between two metabolic processes, AMPK (the longevity pathway) and mTOR (the growth pathway). They’re similar to a teeter totter, in that when AMPK is “up” mTOR is (usually) “down” (though there are exceptions to this rule).
mTOR is essential for muscle growth and maintenance. When an organism’s resources are all going into growth and reproduction, fewer resources are available for longevity.
The amino acid leucine activates mTOR. The drug rapamycin, taken in low doses, appears to extend lifespan by dampening the mTOR pathway.
One possible approach to balancing AMPK and mTOR (followed by Dr. David Sinclair and Dr. Valter Longo) is to eat a plant-based diet.
Another approach, followed by Dr. Peter Attia and Dom D’Agostino) is to eat a more traditional omnivorous diet which includes animal foods, but do a lot of fasting. (D’Agostino eats a “modified Atkins” diet. Attia eats a similar diet and also takes rapamycin, a compound which suppresses the activation of mTOR.) (In animal studies testing the results of compounds on longevity, the combination of rapamycin and metformin, another AMPK activator, showed some of the best results.) (See study)
Is any of this guaranteed?
No, but nothing in life is. No intervention is guaranteed to keep me, or anyone, around forever. I could still die tomorrow in a random accident. Or some medical intervention intended to keep me healthy could turn out to give my myocarditis or some other debilitating condition.
I read recently about a couple dying when a plane fell from the sky and plowed into their house — a reminder that there are always going to be things we can’t control.
But by the same token, each of things I’m doing, if the current research is accurate, is reasonably likely to increase my lifespan. If even one or two or them turn out to be effective, it’s not unreasonably to suppose that I could end up living decades longer. And if that happens, I’ll be around and in good shape when we pass escape velocity, the point at which the medical advances that come around every year can buy us more than one additional year of life. We have a great deal to gain, and little to lose from trying, in my estimation.
So the short answer is — anything and everything we’re doing could end up buying us year or decades or even centuries more of life.
You can check how long you might typically be expected to live (if you do nothing to extend your life) at this link. Just enter your age and where you live. To do so, see this article, appropriately entitled: “How long are you going to live?
The AKG Study
In my list of supplements above, I mentioned one human study that recently caught my attention. It was utilizing Ponce De Leon’s CaAKG supplement. Since the calcium in CaAKG is clipped off early in the digestive process, it’s likely that the results are applicable to all forms of AKG. Here’s an interesting summation from the study:
The search continues for possible interventions that delay and/or reverse biological aging, resulting in extended healthspan and lifespan.
Interventions delaying aging in animal models are well established; however, most lack validation in humans.
The length of human lifespan makes it impractical to perform survival analysis. Instead, aging biomarkers, such as DNA methylation (DNAm) clocks, have been developed to monitor biological age.
Herein we report a retrospective analysis of DNA methylation age in 42 individuals taking Rejuvant®, an alpha-ketoglutarate based formulation, for an average period of 7 months. DNAm testing was performed at baseline and by the end of treatment with Rejuvant® supplementation.
Remarkably, individuals showed an average decrease in biological aging of 8 years (p-value=6.538×10-12). Furthermore, the supplementation with Rejuvant® is robust to individual differences, as indicated by the fact that a large majority of participants decreased their biological age.
Moreover, we found that Rejuvant® is of additional benefit to chronologically and biologically older individuals.
- This study was impressive. It’s one of the reasons I’m taking AKG in the two forms I mentioned above.
- However, it lacked a control group, and was conducted by the company selling Rejuvant. And the connection between the reversal of aging as indicated by epigenetic clocks, and life extension in humans, is still theoretical. These don’t necessarily negate the results. But they do suggest (to me) that more studies would be helpful. (Addendum: A new study with a contr4ol group is not being conducted.)
- I actually took Ponce De Leon’s CaAKG supplement for a while, but found it too expensive to continue. (It’s $5 a gram with a suggested dose of one gram a day.) I’m currently taking two other AKG supplements, DoNotAge’s Ca-AKG, which I take in the early mornings when I’m fasting, and Swanson AAKG (a salt off arginine and AKG) which I take in the early afternoons.
Not medical advice
This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplements, just reporting on what I’m doing. All supplements can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen. See full Medical Disclaimer
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