“Live Long Enough to Live Forever”

  • by Nils Osmar. Updated March 12, 2024
  • This post is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. 
  • See full Medical Disclaimer
  • People interested in this topic may also like Facebook Group: “Let’s Live Forever

Some people in our community have a saying that goes: “Live long enough to live forever.” The saying originated (if memory serves) in the title of Ray Kurzweil’s 2009 book of the same name.

  • The idea behind it is that our main job, if we’re interested in extreme longevity, is to stay in good health as the years go by, so that we’re still alive and kicking when things like genetic reprogramming and other bone-deep interventions become available — the assumption being that these interventions could, if they work, both reverse aging and prevent further aging from occurring.
  • When that happens, we might find ourselves face to face with the possibility of actual physical, biological immortality.
  • Actual immortality is hard for many of us to picture because we still have a gut level feeling that “We’re just delaying the inevitable; we need to accept the reality that we’ll all have to eventually grow old and die someday.” The promise of anti-aging and life extension is that this feeling may turn out to be mistaken, and Kurzwell’s sentiment may turn out to be achievable. (We may have strong feelings that death is inevitable, but this doesn’t necessarily make those feelings an accurate reading of the situation.)

Naysayers have been wrong about other important things

  • I was born in December of 1952, which means that I’m 71 years old when I’m writing this (March 2024). There was a time, a few decades before I was born, when the notion that human beings might be able to climb into a vehicle and fly through the air was regarded as the stuff of fantasy. Now the technology to do so is commonplace.
  • I remember listening to radio shows back in the 1960s in which physicists argued that the whole idea of landing on the moon was theoretically and practically impossible. The astronauts would, the physicists insisted, be killed by radiation in the first part of the journey; it was theoretically impossible to shield adequately against the radiation in a capsule small enough to send into space. Even if the capsule did get to the moon, the astronauts would never make it back alive. The physicists who ridiculed the idea of a moon landing became curiously quiet a few years later.
  • It could turn out to be true that humans need to die and we won’t ever reach physical immortality. (I don’t believe this is the case, but I could be wrong.) Or we could do something silly like blow up the world or deep-fry it before the option of immortality becomes real. Or maybe an errant asteroid will wipe us out of something. If any of those things happen, cest la vie — we’re still no worse off for having tried.
  • The point (to me) is to have fun trying. The alternative is aging and dying without even trying to avoid aging and death.
  • So how do we do it? Are there interventions we have available, that could (or might) increase our odds of still being here when better medical interventions arrive?

So what to do?

My goal is to stay healthy long enough to that I’ll still be in the world when an elixir for immortality comes along, and to slow aging to the extent that it’s possible to do so with current interventions. My current strategy is to:

  • Eat a high nutrient diet which provides my body with both the macro and micronutrients needed to support optimal human health on a cellular level. Rhonda Patrick’s website, Found My Fitness, is a good resource for getting a sense of what our bodies need for optimal health, in my opinion.
  • In my case, that means eating an omnivorous diet with lots of seafood patterned somewhat after the diet of the people living in Acciaroli, Italy, some of the healthiest and longest lived people in the world. Heart disease, diabetes and dementia are virtually unknown; one out of ten people live to be 100; and a large number of the centenarians go to to live to be 110 or older. They’re not simply eating a Mediterranean diet; the specifics of their diet are unique. It includes “prodigious amounts” or both anchovies and rosemary; mine does too. (See article) They also get lots of exercise growing their own vegetable gardens and raising their own rabbits and chickens, then eat the rabbits and chickens along with the chicken eggs.
  • Avoid overeating. There’s strong evidence that keeping nutrients high while keeping calories low has a profound anti-aging effect. Even a small reduction in calories (while making sure we have enough protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and other compounds necessary to health) appears to be beneficial.
  • A recent study published in Nature explored this caloric restriction as it relates to human health. As the author of a recent NBC News article describing the study put it, “The researchers found that people who cut their calories slowed the pace of their aging by 2% to 3%, compared to people who were on a normal diet. That translates, Belsky said, to a 10% to 15% reduction in the likelihood of dying early. “We all have the power to change the trajectories of aging…”
  • Do intermittent fasting or time restricted eating is one popular way of restricting calories without having to count them; I usually eat within an 8 hour window each day, but sometimes keep it to 4 hours. I used to skip breakfast, but I’m currently (usually) eating in the morning, then wrapping up eating by around 5 pm to stay in better synch with my circadian rhythms, making sure that I’m not skimping on nutrients when I do.
  • Balance AMPK and mTOR. AMPK is an enzymatic pathway associated with extreme longevity; mTOR (expressed as both mTORC1 and mTORC2) is a pathway associated with health, muscle growth and a strong immune system, but (under some circumstances) also with a shorter lifespan. AMPK comes “on” when we fast, or exercise, or eat diets that are low in protein, leucine and methionine; mTOR comes “on” when we eat high protein, high leucine meals. Both pathways are important. My current approach is to eat meals that are rich in protein and leucine in order to to activate mTOR several hours a day, but then to fast the rest of the day in order to activate AMPK.
  • Get enough exercise of the right kinds. Based on the current evidence, HIIT and resistance training appear to be particularly effective. This isn’t to discount other kinds of exercise. If we find ourselves sitting most of the day, even getting up and taking walks around the house periodically has likely longevity benefits. (“Don’t be a couch potato or you’ll go to seed.”)
  • Take anti-aging supplements. The ones I’m taking regularly include testosterone boosters such as ashwagandha, DHEA, boron and icariin (an extract from the Epimeidum plant); NAD+ boosters and sirtuin gene activators such as NMN, cyanidin and fucoidan; AKG (as both CaAKG and AAKG); GlyNAC (half glycine, half NAC); taurine, magnesium, vitamin D; and several others. (I’ve written about the details of my protocol elsewhere on this website. See this page for an overview.)
  • Stay open to using anti-aging medical interventions as they come along. “Eating right and exercising” are great, but won’t get us to 150, 200 or 1,000. We will likely need gene therapy or perhaps even replacement bodies as time goes by.
  • Get tested regularly, monitoring my biomarkers so that I can fine tune my protocol and verify whether it’s moving me in the right direction or not. (So far it seems to be.)
  • Your list may be different from mine; time will tell which approach works out best. If we stay up on the research and stay proactive in the ways I’ve mentioned on this page, I suspect we’ll have a pretty good chance we can still still be in the world when “the big change” occurs and the human race becomes a race of either immortals or Methuselahs.

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 supplement(s), just reporting on what I’m doing. Supplements, like medications and other interventions, can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen, and consult with a medical professional about any issues which might have a medical component.  See full Medical Disclaimer

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