by Nils Osmar. Jan. 9, 2023 – Medical Disclaimer
My goal is to “rekindle youth” – to have the same energy, mental clarity and state of health in old age (if and when it kicks in) that I had when I was in my 20s or 30s.
More specifically, I would like to:
- Slow down aging. What we call “aging” is a process of decline that most researchers would say starts somewhere around the age of thirty. If it runs its course, it leads eventually to morbidity and death. Even just slowing the aging process without reversing it could give us an extra few decades of life. Slowing aging isn’t an imaginary fantasy, it’s a well-established benefit, for example, of getting a proper amount of exercise. See article: A lifetime of regular exercise slows down aging.
- Compress morbidity. Most people begin a gradual decline into morbidity that lasts for years, and (sometimes) makes the last ten or twenty years their lives miserable. Compressing morbidity is about compressing this decline into a short stretch at the very end of our lives.
- Researchers have found that giving the animals a nutrient called alpha ketoglutarate, or AKG, both extends lifespan and compresses morbidity in mice, reducing the period of decline at the end of their lives from a few months to a few days. In people, the equivalent would be living ten or fifteen years longer while staying healthy and mobile up until our last few weeks of life. Tests are now underway to find out whether AKG has the same effect in humans, and the most beneficial dose.
- While waiting for the results, some people have begun taking supplemental AKG in the hopes of having a similar benefit. I’m taking two forms of it: (1) a calcium salt of AKG (Ca-AKG), which I take in the mornings and (2) an arginine salt of AKG (AAKG), which I take in the afternoons after working out.
- Reverse, or heal from, any aging that’s already occurred. Aging is a form of damage; what if we could heal from it just as we do from broken bones and infections? Dr. David Sinclair, Ph.D. Professor of Genetics at Harvard University, has said that it’ll probably be easier to reverse aging in the future than to prevent it from occurring. His lab has already succeeded in reversing aging in some tissues and organs (in animal studies). As time goes by, Sinclair and others hope to be able to apply their research to human beings, “resetting the age” in organs such as eyes to restore vision. While we’re waiting for the results of his lab’s research, there are supplements we can take which may help move us a ways in that direction.
- Preventing age-related muscle wasting – i.e., building and maintaining strong muscles that will last a lifetime. Exercise is key; so are supplements such as D-Aspartic Acid, Tongkat Ali and Boron that can restore hormones like testosterone to youthful levels.
- Having strong bones and joints. Supplements such as BioGaia’s L. Reuteri 6475 can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that weakens the bones as we age. Hyaluronic acid and other supplements can increase collagen and rebuild our joints. See study: Lactobacillus reuteri reduces bone loss in older women with low bone mineral density: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, clinical trial
- Having healthy lungs, hearts and other organs. Avoiding cardiovascular disease.
- Having a healthy thymus (and other glands) and a strong immune systems. Studies have shown that increasing human growth hormone to youthful levels can restore involuted thymus glands to a youthful state, and that a type of fasting followed by a re-feed can rejuvenate the immune system. It turns out that there are practical things we can do to increase our hGH levels. See article: 11 Ways to Boost Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Naturally
- Having smooth unwrinkled, skin with good elasticity – and reversing any skin aging that may already have occurred, Taking high quality supplements of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and copper peptides, and exposure to certain frequencies of red light, can help restore the youthful resilience to our skin.
- Having healthy brains and a sharp, clear minds. Sugar (in the forms of sucrose and fructose) is associated with brain aging; reducing our intake of it may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Maintaining a healthy weight (not too fat, not too thin). No one should be shamed for being “too skinny” or “too fat”, but it’s clear that both having too little and too much body fat are associated with shorter lives. See study: Obesity May Accelerate the Aging Process
- Having good eyesight.
- Having healthy mitochondria.
- Having good sexual health. We should be able to enjoy sex and be sexually active (if we want t0) as long as we’re around. We have many choices if we want to restore our sex hormones to youthful levels.
- Having long telomeres. Telomeres are the “end caps” on our chromosomes; they shrink as we age. By taking supplements like astragalus or ashwagandha that increase telomerase, we can lengthen them again.
- Having healthy levels of insulin and blood glucose. Eating a lower-carbohydrate diet and taking supplements such as berberine, milk thistle and allulose can help stave off Type 2 Diabetes.
- Having healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Having healthy blood. “Old blood factors” are associated with aging; we may may literally be able to clean old protein fragments out of our bloodstreams ad rejuvenate our blood.
- Reaching “escape velocity”, a point at which medical technology will be able to “fix what’s going wrong with us” faster than it goes wrong. (Escape velocity (LEV) is a hypothetical state of being in which life expectancy is extended longer a year for every year that goes by – presumably by the development of new medical technologies.) Reaching it could, in theory, help us live to be 100, 200, 500 or longer in perfect health. (Immortality, anyone?) (Why not try?)
- Bringing some friends along on the journey. I love the idea of living to be 100, 200, 300 or more, but it’d way be more fun if I can keep my friends with me, than lose them along the way. So another goal is to stay connected with a community as the years go by.
Can we really do all of these things?
There’s no way to know the future, but I think we should be able to. At the least, anyone who wants to live to be 120 or thereabouts (the supposed maximum human lifespan) in good health should be able to do so. And as medical technology advances, those of us able to reach that age may be able to live much longer than that.
Taking care of the environment
If the environment goes to hell, our plans to live longer will be undercut. So for both altruistic and selfish reasons I’d like to see the world move in the direction of clean air, clean water, and clean soil, and making sure we have a livable climate not only for future generations, but for ourselves and our friends and families.
What I’ve been doing is:
- Eating an optimal diet. Some diets appear to accelerate aging; others, to slow it down. The diet I’ve switched to is based on one that was shown to reverse epigenetic aging by several years when people followed it for just a few weeks. My current diet
- Taking anti-aging supplements. Some people hear the word “supplements” and think of vitamin pills. But what I’m talking about here is a new generation of supplements that can restore the levels of some key compounds (such as NAD+, human growth hormone and glutathione) to what they were when we were young. Even sex hormones can be restored to youthful levels with the right supplements, and there’s some evidence that fertility can be restored and menopause postponed or even reversed (for a time) in women. My current supplements
- Fasting. There’s no question that we need nutrients. But there’s also evidence that we may live longer if we do some intermittent and/or prolonged fasting. Fasting activates “survival genes” which, in lab animals, both increase quality of life and have been shown to extend the lifespan. More about fasting
- Getting some exercise. You don’t have to become a pro athlete (unless you want to), but if you want to live longer in a state of optimal health, many studies suggest that exercise is essential. More information
- Heat and cold exposure. Most people love comfort. But odd as it sounds, making ourselves seriously uncomfortable tor a few minutes every now and then by taking cold showers, ice baths, very hot baths, or saunas, can have profound benefits, by activating genes called sirtuin genes.
- Getting enough sleep. I know for some people this is easier said than done. But there’s a clear relationship between sleeping enough, optimizing our lifespan, and preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Getting a minimum of around 7 hours has benefits related to both brain health and longevity.
- Getting out from under stress. Physical stresses like hot and cold can trigger our sirtuins and be of benefit; but emotional stresses, especially ongoing ones, wear us down.
- Balancing AMPK and mTOR (two important biological processes). In a nutshell: mTOR is anabolic. It’s a growth pathway. It supports muscle growth and a strong immune system. AMPK is catabolic. It’s a longevity pathway. They’re both important, but AMPK activation is associated with a longer lifespan. We can activate both pathways, and switch between them, by our choice of foods and supplements, and alternating times of feeding (for mTOR) with times of fasting (for AMPK).
How it’s going
People who know that I have an interest in longevity, anti-aging and extreme life extension sometimes ask how it’s going.
On a surface level it’s going fine. I turned 69 this past December and am in good health. I’m as sharp and clear as I ever was, and have no serious health problems to speak of. I started working out in the fall of 2020, and am more fit and muscular at the age of 69 than I have been at any previous time in my life. (I’m not aiming for massive muscles, but for strength, metabolic fitness and flexibility.) I’ve come up with a diet that’s working well for me, and the supplements that I’m taking are working well also as far as I can tell.
With that said, many aspects of aging are invisible. I plan to start doing epigenetic testing soon to get a better sense of what may be happening inside of my body, biologically speaking, either in the direction of a slow decline into aging or the direction of greater health and longevity. I “think” I’m doing well; I feel like I am; but testing will give me more verification.
One thing that’s been on my mind for the past year or two is a growing realization that when we reach a certain age, we start seeing people we were close to die more often — not just from accidents but from conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and infectious illness — because our vulnerability to all of these increases as we age. Sadly, people often do nothing when they could do just a little and feel much better, be more fit and healthy, and, very possibly, live at least a few years or decades longer.
I’m not sure what to do about this situation except keep educating people to the possibility that healthy life extension is, or may be, possible if they become proactive and start doing things to increase their lifespans. Most people have no idea that it may be possible to live longer than their supposedly “allotted” few decades; once they learn it may be, I expect there may be a groundswell of interest in doing so.
If you’d like some ideas about getting started down a similar pathway, see this page.
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- MY GOALS
- MY PROTOCOL
- MY DIET
- MY SUPPLEMENTS
- MY EATING SCHEDULE
- MY WORKOUT
- MY RESULTS