How To Both Reverse Aging AND Live Longer (They’re Not The Same)

by Nils Osmar. Nov,. 25, 2022. Medical Disclaimer

Reversing aging and living longer are interrelated, but are not always the same thing. It would be great if interventions that delay or reverse aging, also, invariably, extended lifespan — or if things that extend the median or maximum lifespan also reversed aging. But this isn’t always the case.

Reversing markers of aging

Exercise is an example of an intervention that reverses many of the markers of aging (such as brittle bones and weak muscles), resulting in an extension of health-span and an improvement in quality of life.

Some types of exercise have also been found to extend lifespan (in lab animals). For example, aerobic exercise resulted in the rats that were exercised living more than seventy days longer – a significant increase in the lifespan of a rat. See study: Aerobic exercise-stimulated Klotho upregulation extends life span by attenuating the excess production of reactive oxygen species in the brain and kidney

Another type of exercise, resistance training, is associated with an improvement in all-cause mortality. In a recent study, researchers at the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan examined seven previous studies and found that strength training for 30-to-60 minutes a week correlated with a reduction in the risk of death from these conditions by 15 percent. And in a 2021 review of sixteen different studies, researchers found that just the same amount of resistance exercise increased life expectancy by 10 to 17 percent.

Fasting does both

Fasting, on the other hand, does extend both median and maximum lifespan in most lab animals, and reverses at least some of the symptoms of aging. We don’t know yet whether it will do the same in people. As the author of an article called “How Intermittent Fasting Can Help to Fight Aging” put it, “The fountain of youth may be a myth, but you can turn to the next best option: the anti-aging impact of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting triggers multiple changes in your body that slow down aging by keeping cells and DNA healthy.”

The author added that IF can help to promote cellular repair; activate genes which increase longevity in lab animals; support hormonal changes, including lower insulin levels; and can lower inflammation and protect against oxidative stress. Plus, there’s evidence that fasting can help us to lose abdominal fat, which may help prevent chronic diseases that can shorten our lives.

Living longer in poor health isn’t the goal

There are medical interventions which extend lifespan (such as hooking elderly people up to machines that keep their hearts beating), but unfortunately aren’t slowing or reversing aging. Sadly, the end result can be people with dementia living lives that drag on in a kind of pathetic way in a nursing home because aging isn’t really being reversed, life is just being extended.

The goal for many in this group, is to do both: To reverse aging and live longer. (Some people have their eye on living to be 500, or 1,000, or even living forever).

Doing so would involve reversing any aging that has already taken place (strengthening our bones and muscles; reversing skin wrinkling; improving eyesight which has deteriorated due to the aging process; restoring memory and cognitive reasoning skills); and slowing any aging currently going on; and (if possible) also lengthening the life (either helping all of us to live, in good health, to around 120 years, or shooting past the 120 year barrier so that we can life to 200, 500, or more in good health.)

Doing both

It takes a holistic approach (in my opinion) to cover both bases. If our goal is both anti-aging and life extension, things that appear promising include:

  • Exercising (in particular resistance training, HIIT and Zone 2 exercise)
  • Eating diet rich in the nutrients that support health and strong immune systems, while also feeding our mitochondria. (There’s a lot of discussion and argument about which is the “best” diet if our goal is both health and longevity, but the truth is that the research is not conclusive. Some people appear to do well on omnivorous diets which include both p[ant and animal foods. Some swear by vegan or carnivorous or ketogenic or Mediterranean diets. It does seem clear though that whatever our choice of diets, there are certain nutrients we need to sustain health.
  • Fasting (which has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-aging, while extending lifespan in most species that have been studied)
  • Hormetics (such as cold showers and saunas, to activate our sirtuin genes).
  • Taking supplements. From my perspective, it makes sense to take them to increase our levels of NAD+, hGH, nitric oxide, testosterone, and other essential compounds if they’ve dropped precipitously as the years have gone by. I don’t see much value in “skyrocketing” our hormones to astronomical levels, but it makes sense to me to restore them to the levels found in young adults. (See the articles below for more information about the supplements I’m taking.
  • Optimizing our sleep, finding ways to deal effectively with stress, and staying connected with people and the world as the years go by.

Related articles on this website:

Related study: Aging and Longevity: Why Knowing the Difference Is Important to Nutrition Research

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice.

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