Meals for Longevity: Fasting-Mimicking Smoothies
by Nils Osmar. Updated 12/12/2022. Medical disclaimer
A fasting mimicking smoothie is essentially a type of liquid fasting mimicking diet (FMD). You can drink one when you’re doing an FMD, or on any day or morning when you want the benefits of fasting but don’t feel like doing a water fast.
Note that fasting mimicking diets (or fasting mimicking smoothies) are not intended to be permanent diets. They don’t provide enough nutrients to support health indefinitely. They are temporary diets designed to mimic the effects of fasting while supporting weight loss, AMPK activation and autophagy.
I’ve done some long (3-5 day) fasts, and have also done several pseudo-fasts in which I drank one or two of these smoothies a day. They were my only nutrition. I found that they completely controlled my hunger while keeping me in an AMPK metabolic state, which gave me all of the energy I needed.
I find this smoothie to be delicious and view it as part of my anti-aging protocol. It has ingredients that raise NAD levels, activate the sirtuin genes, and support stem cell regeneration and differentiation, particularly when I drink it along with the supplements I mention below the ingredients list.
Combine in a blender. Blend on high for a couple of minutes. It’ll be pretty thick; add another cup of water or celery juice if you’d like it thinner.
- 1 or 2 cups of water (or you could try using celery juice)
- 1/2 to 1 tomato (rich in lypocene; anti-cancer) or 8 cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 to 1 ripe avocado (rich in oleic acid, which activates the sirtuin 1 gene)
- 1 or 2 scoops of green powder. I’m currently using Ora “Easy Being Green”. Here you have to be careful, because some green powders are too high in protein; but some kinds of proteins can switch us out of an AMPK state and turn on mTOR. I use Ora Organic Greens powder because it contains only 2 grams of protein, less than one gram of leucine, and less than 3 grams of net carbs.
- A dash of Redmond Realsalt (a “sea salt” without micro-plastics)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley (optional) (for apigenin – raises NAD levels)
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional) (a primary staple of the villagers in Acciaroli, which has the world’s highest rate of centenarians)
- 1 teaspoon of Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup (activates the SIRT1 gene)
- Optional: a few lobes of peeled garlic.
- Optional: 1/8 teaspoon of malic acid powder (key to energy production in the Krebs cycle) (Caution: malic acid is very sour. I would start with a tiny amount)
- Optional: 1/4 cup of berries (or: 1 teaspoon each of blueberry powder and pomegranate powder)
I like drinking the fasting mimicking smoothie along with these supplements:
- 1 or 1.5 grams of NMN powder. (I actually just add the NMN powder to the smoothie.) (The NMN I take is from DoNotAge)
- 1 capsule of resveratrol (500 mg) (from DoNotAge) (I take the resveratrol every other day.)
- 2 or 3 capsules of fucoidan (I’m currently taking DoNotAge SIRT6 Activator, a type of fucoidan which has been tested in Dr. Vera Gorbunova’s lab to verify that each batch is activating the sirtuin 6 gene; batches that don’t activate sirtuin 6 are discarded)
- 1 capsule PQQ (20 mg) (from Health Through Nutrition)
- 4 capsules of astaxanthin (an AMPK activator) (Mine is from Gaia Herbs)
- 1 capsule BioGaia Gastrus or Osfortis (a source of L. Reuteri 6475)
- 1 capsule sulforaphane (I’m currently using DoNotAge sulforaboost)
- 4 capsules Jarrow Glucosamine and Chondroitan (Glucosamine is another powerful AMPK activator, which has potent anti-aging efffects of its own)
- Optional: 1 500 mg capsule NR (if you’d like a little more NAD+ boosting) (I’m currently using DoNotAge NR)
- Optional: 1 capsule Fisetin (I’m currently using DoNotAge)
- Optional: 1 capsule Quercetin (I’m currently using DoNotAge)
If I’m doing a fasting day and want to activate autophagy and blast my senescent cells, I’ll take 5 capsules each of the fisetin and quercetin (I do this four or five times a year). The brand names I’ve mentioned are ones I like and have gotten good results from. If using other brands, try to verify that they’re genuine ingredients and high quality.
Keeping AMPK activated
One thing we achieve when we’re fasting is to switch on AMPK (the longevity pathway) and keep it activated (for a while).
From one POV, AMPK is our natural state. It’s our default state when we’re not eating. Most of us wake up in the mornings with AMPK at least somewhat activated, simply because it’s been hours since our last meal. (Our “fast” after eating dinner will have had the effect of turning AMPK on, and switching mTOR, the growth pathway, off.)
We can stay in this AMPK state by delaying breakfast, or by eating a very low protein, plant-based breakfast, or by drinking a fasting mimicking smoothie of this sort.
This smoothie has about 5 grams of net carbs (so won’t take you out of ketosis); has 5 grams of plant-based protein (so it won’t take you out of autophagy); has almost zero leucine (so it won’t switch off AMPK). It also has several grams of healthy fat from the avocado.
I’m not vegan; I’ve been there, done that, and it wasn’t for me. But I do like eating vegan meals now and then, and timing them to keep AMPK switched on. I either fast, or eat a vegan meal, or drink a smoothie like this, in the morning; then work out; then after my workout have a meal to activate mTOR for a while. This smoothie is a highly nutritious plant-based meal in a glass.
Benefits of water fasting and fasting mimicking diets
Water fasting has a number of well-established benefits. Benefits of a 3 to 5 day water fast include:
- Supporting weight loss
- Reducing belly fat
- Improving some markers of cardiovascular health
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving autoimmune markers
- Removing senescent cells (and supporting the growth of new stem cells which occurs at the end of the fast)
- Supporting nutritional ketosis
- Improving blood sugar
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Fasting also appears to reduce some of the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea
- Animals studies suggest that periodic fasting may also support a longer lifespan, by lowering mTOR activation and supporting the activation of AMPK.
However, water fasts are difficult for some people to do. And some doctors have expressed a concern that they might lead to nutrient deficiencies over time. One alternative is –
Fasting mimicking diets
According to Dr. Valter Longo, fasting mimicking diets (FMDs) have identical benefits (and may be safer, particularly for the elderly, who are sometimes already eating nutritionally-borderline diets). But FMDs can be expensive (the ProLon diet is very pricey), and can be a little hard for some people to follow.
There are several different kinds of FMDs, but in my opinion. to have a chance of working, they all need to be: high in fat; low in carbs; very low in protein (under 16 grams per day); and vegan. (I’m not a vegan full time anymore, but I’m wholeheartedly vegan, in dietary terms, on FMD days. Animal-based foods are high in leucine, an amino acid that can pull us out of autophagy and start activating mTOR. mTOR activation is good for building muscle, but is the opposite of what we want when fasting or doing an FMD.
Note: Dr. Longo recommends that if you have any health problems, fasts of any kind, including FMDs, should be done under medical supervision.
Is this smoothie better than a traditional fasting mimicking diet?
Dr. Valter Longo, who designed the Prolon FMD, put years of research into it. So I’d never claim my smoothie is “better” It’s just one easy, alternative way of doing an FMD that’s similar in nutrients to the one he recommends. In my own case, I find it easier than a typical FMD because you only have to think about eating (or drinking a smoothie) once or twice a day.
Great information! One question though. You say to be careful to avoid leucine but it looks like dried seaweed is in the greens powder you recommend. Doesn’t seaweed contain a ton of leucine?
Good question. The answer is:
• There is only 0.2 mg of leucine per gram of protein in seaweed.
• And there are only 2 grams of TOTAL protein in EBG.
• So Easy Being Green is a perfect choice if you want to keep leucine as low as possible during a fast or “fasting mimicking diet”.
• By comparison, milk has 2.3 mg of leucine per gram of protein (more than ten times as much leucine as seaweed.)