Low Budget Life Extension
by Nils Osmar. Updated Dec. 12, 2022 Medical Disclaimer
Whether it’s because of having low incomes or because of having made the choice to spend their money on other things, many people simply can’t afford some of the more popular anti-aging supplements.
I would personally like to see all approaches to building optimal health, including access to medicine, access to supplements, and access to high quality food, made more affordable. Till that happens, here’s a list of things we can do that might (possibly) increase the human lifespan but cost little or nothing. Can you think of things to add to it? If so, feel free to list them below.
- Make a budget. This may be obvious, but if you want to reign in the cost of supplements, it can help to figure out in advance what you can, or want to, spend on them — check to verify that you really can do so — then cut other expenses if needed.
As an example, I have a friend who calculated that he saved over $2,000 a year by stopping the “eating out at restaurants” habit. This gave him more than enough $$s for supplements.
He also saved a bundle by stopping his Starbucks coffee habit. I’m not saying these particular solutions are right for everyone, but that, since supplements do cost money, it makes sense to try to fit them into our overall budget.
- Optimizing sleep. Sleep helps us recover from stress and increases our hGH levels in a healthy way – and it’s free. Some studies suggest that just going to bed around 10 pm instead of midnight can more than triple our hGH levels.
- Exercising – in particular, doing HIIT exercise and resistance training. Almost every form of exercise, if done safely, has anti-aging benefits. (It may not be life-extending, but it’s unquestionably anti-aging.) HIIT exercise increases NAD and activate the sirtuin genes. You don’t need to join a gym and don’t need fancy equipment to do it; running around the block a few times, alternating running fast and walking, has profound health benefits.
Resistance training also increases NAD, and helps build muscle, which is essential to keep ourselves from ending up stuck in nursing homes. Skip the gym membership and buy an inexpensive weight bench and some used weights and you’ll have all the equipment you need. (You can actually life anything that has weight to do resistance training; there are some great Youtube videos about how to exercise without investing hundreds or thousands into equipment.) See studies: Exercise and Sirtuins: A Way to Mitochondrial Health in Skeletal Muscle and Resistance training increases muscle NAD + and NADH concentrations.
- Fasting. (Actually saves you money, because you spend less on food.) Note: I’m not suggesting that you spend your last remaining dollars on supplements while skipping the nutrition you need! If you’re low on food, you should of course buy food, not supplements. Instead, I’m pointing out that fasting itself is a totally free anti-aging intervention. In my own case, I’m currently fasting two days a week.
I don’t fast to save money (though that’s a side benefit); I do it because fasting is an easy method of caloric restriction, promotes autophagy (which cleans debris out of our cells), activates AMPK (the longevity pathway), increases our hGH levels, increases testosterone, and activates the sirtuin (survival) genes. The fact that I’m saving about $30 a week on food turned out to be an unexpected bonus once I started doing regular fasting. See study: Fasting promotes the expression of SIRT1, an NAD+ -dependent protein deacetylase
- Drinking tea and coffee –– and brewing your own. I mention coffee because it’s a readily available, plant-based drink which is associated with a decrease in all-cause mortality. It’s not “free” but it’s inexpensive. I used to have the coffee shop habit; but I realized a few years ago I was spending enough on “premium pre-made coffee” (which was not always really very good) to pay for literally all of the supplements I was taking. I bought a French press and started making my own, and freed up around $1500 a year by doing so. See article: Coffee consumption and all-cause and cause-specific mortality
Note: green tea and white tea are both rich in EGCG, a rapalog (analog) of rapamycin, associated with activating AMPK and suppressing mTOR, keeping us on the longevity pathway. Rapamycin is expensive and hard to obtain; green tea and white tea are affordable and easily available See article: Towards natural mimetics of metformin and rapamycin. Tea bags are notoriously high in microplastics; you can prevent billions of plastic particles from entering your bloodstream by using loose leaf tea instead.
- Taking hot baths and cold showers. Hot baths provide at least some of the health benefits of saunas, and cold showers (or contrast showers) activate the sirtuin genes and increase NAD+ levels. See article.
- Taking walks in nature (or in a nearby park) (Reduces stress).
- If you live in an area with bad air quality, buy an air purifier. They’re not free but are much more affordable than they used to be.
- When you do buy supplements, make sure they’re from a company with a good reputation, and spend some time first calculating the actual price per gram. As an example, I’ve known people who bought “cheap” NMN for “only $30” on Amazon, but it turned out they were paying over $15 a gram for it! And there was evidence it wasn’t even real NMN. But bulk powdered NMN is close to $1 a gram.
DoNotAge has the best price on (genuine) bulk NMN of any company I know, particularly when using the discount code (PATHWAYS in all caps). I realized years ago that loose, powdered NMN is much cheaper than the kind that comes pre-packed in capsules and almost never buy capsules anymore.
- Cycle supplements. If your cash is low but you’d like to try a supplement, you might want to consider taking it every other day, or taking it for a week or month, then taking the next week or month off. Doing so also gives us a way of gauging whether we notice any tangible effect from taking it.
One supplement this works well for is BioGaia’s L. Reuteri 6475, which is pricey but till colonize the gut if you take it for a month. But you can utilize this information by taking it for 30 days; then taking 30 days off; then restarting it. (Also with L. Reuteri, you might try making your own yogurt from it, which would make a bottle last for a year; there are some good recipes for doing so online.)
I take a powerful herbal formula from Gaia called Male Libido; when I skip taking it on weekends, it has an even more potent effect when I take it again on Mondays. Cycling it in this way saves me at least $5 a month (on just one supplement).
- Timing your supplements thoughtfully. For example, according to Tom Weldon, CEO of Ponce de Leon, if you take AKG along with other supplements, it may not be useful. I take it CaAKG in the mornings; wait an hour for it to pass through my digestive system; then take other supplements. I take AMPK-activating supplements when I’m fasting and mTOR-boosting supplements when I’m eating high protein meals.
- Finish your current supplements before buying new ones (this wills top impulse spending) – and stop buying ones you don’t like. I’ve sometimes bought supplements after reading about them, then found that I really don’t like them all that much, or don’t have a place for them in my supplements schedule. I know this is obvious, but, if you find that you don’t like a supplement, or it makes you feel crummy or has unpleasant side effects, cross it off your list to buy in the future.
- Eating foods that have anti-aging properties which are similar to supplements. (See “High Nutrient Foods’, below)
High nutrient foods
- We have to eat something – why not choose foods that actively promote longevity, instead of random foods? This of course also means avoiding sugar and processed foods. Heavily processed foods are expensive and detrimental to both health and longevity. They also cost several times as much, per gram of protein, as natural unprocessed foods.
- High quality fish oil and krill oil can be expensive. One alternative, If you like fish, is to buy a good brand of sardines instead of the oil. Sardines are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), and also rich in CoQ10, RNA, DNA, and high quality protein. Plus, canned sardines are very low in mercury, being low on the food chain, and are canned when very fresh, avoiding the problem of supplements that may have gone rancid in the bottle. Why pay $40 for 20 servings of fish oil, when you could get 20 cans of sardines, and a good dose of other nutrients, for the same price?
- Sulforaphane, which is anti-cancer and activates the sirtuins, is expensive; but you can make your own broccoli sprouts by buying broccoli seeds, which are rich in it, for pennies a day. (Note: The seeds are actually richer than the sprouts, which in turn are richer in sulforaphane than mature broccoli.)
- PQQ is a valuable nutrient, but not cheap as a supplement. Natto is very affordable – less than a dollar per container in some stores – has a day’s supply of PQQ in a serving – and is also a rich source of spermidine, another very pricey supplement. Spermidine can also be found in green peas, mushrooms and aged cheese. (Cheese that’s been aged for years is costly, but green peas and mushrooms tend to both be affordable.)
- Carnosine has been skyrocketing in price, while foods such as beef and poultry (the richest natural food source of carnosine) are still relatively affordable. Grass-fed beef is also a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids and complete, high quality protein. (Some people in our community are avoiding beef for other reasons, but if you’re including it in your diet, you can save a lot on supplements). (Note: Beta alanine is an inexpensive supplement; the body uses it, together with histidine, to make carnosine.)
- L,. Reuteri 6475 (a probiotic which increases testosterone in guys and improves bone health in women) is pricey (about 50 cents a serving). But as I mentioned above, it makes a delicious yogurt. Turning it into yogurt can make a bottle last a year instead of a month.
“Cheap” supplements are often the most expensive
I would be cautious about buying cheap, off-brand supplements. Even if they contain genuine ingredients, which is often questionable, the price of “cheap” brands can be astronomically higher per gram.
One company, for example, sells “bargain” NMN that has only 100 mg per capsule. They sell it at the “cheap” price of about $30 for 3o capsules. This sounds great until you realize that it would take 10 capsules to take the amount most people take daily, i.e., 1 gram… meaning you would only get three days of NMN for your $30, making it really cost $10 a gram, or $10 a day!
The NMN I buy costs $1 a gram or about $1 a day (see below) if you buy it as a bulk powder in the $100 gram bag, using the discount code.
Some companies I like
For those who do take supplements, one company I personally like is Jarrow. They have a reputation for high quality control.
Gaia Herbs has a similar reputation, and I’ve been happy with their products. I buy their organic Black Elderberry Syrup, a sirtuin activator, on Amazon.
Another that I like is DoNotAge. They are currently a sponsor of my Youtube channel. Their supplements are not cheap, but they are of high quality. Their NMN is the best price I’ve found (per gram) (for the bulk/powdered NMN). If you buy DoNotAge’s products, you can get an additional 10 percent off by using the discount code PATHWAYS (in all caps).
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
Want to support this website?
If you like the content of this website, you can support it in two ways:
- Donating through my Buymeacoffee account: buymeacoffee.com/nilsosmar
- Buying anti-aging supplements and products from DoNotAge.org using the discount code PATHWAYS. (DoNotAge is my channel’s sponsor; when you use the discount code, you’ll be buying high quality supplements developed to support healthy aging and life extension, and the channel will receive a small payment, enough to keep us going)
If you’re interested in healthy life extension, you may want to check out my Youtube channel (Pathways to Longevity) — and the Facebook group I administer and help moderate, Anti-Aging and Life Extension,