by Nils Osmar. September 2, 2022. Medical Disclaimer
I’ve made some changes in my protocol recently, to correlate with a decision I made a few weeks ago to work out more often, which meant changing my feasting and fasting schedules. Here’s a quick overview:
The basics – I’m still:
- Eating a high-nutrient, all-organic diet. Whatever the specifics of our diets –– whether we’re following vegan, vegetarian. carnivore, omnivore, paleo or pescatarian approaches –– we need a large number of nutrients to support health. I describe my current diet in more detail below.
- Fasting. I used to fast all day three days a week; I’m currently doing water fasting on Sundays. (I just drink water and avoid food and supplements on that day.) I also do either water fasting or starting the day with a fasting mimicking smoothie (which has the same metabolic effects as fasting) till around noon on the other six days. Now and then I’ll decide to skip eating on Tuesday or Thursday, but Sunday is my only current “all-day-water-fasting-day”.
- Working out. Exercise is essential for brain health, heart health, and maintaining strong muscles. It also removes senescent cells from the body. I’ve gone from working out three days a week to six days.
- Taking anti-aging supplements. I think of this in terms of “restoring my renewables” — taking supplements which help restore key biological compounds, including NAD+. glutathione, nitric oxide, alpha ketoglutarate, phosphatidyl serine, human growth hormone, testosterone and others to the levels found in young adults.
- Optimizing sleep. Somewhere around 7-9 hours per night may be ideal. Lately I’ve been taking NAC and glycine together before bed because I sleep longer and deeper when I do.
- Optimizing my blood health. I’m still donating blood regularly to remove old blood factors, and cleaning protein fragments from my blood by taking enzymes like serrapeptase (and by doing fasting).
- Activating anti-aging genes. Sirtuin 1 activation increases healthspan; sirtuin 6 activation increases lifespan. I’m aiming to do both. I take fucoidan (SIRT6 Activator) to activate sirtuin 6 and resveratrol to activate sirtuin 1.
- Keeping blood glucose low. High blood glucose is associated with a greater risk of diabetes and a shorter lifespan. I avoid eating sweets, though I do sometimes eat some berries or a small amount of fruit. I take supplements like berberine or benfotiamine if my blood sugar is getting too high.
- Dealing as well as I can with stress. For stress, I find it helpful to get out in nature and talk a walk in the woods or by a lake or river. I also try to “let myself feel my feelings.” I learned years ago that it’s best not to bottle up emotions. Crying, laughing and other forms of emotional release have been found to have healing effects; when we try to suppress them is when we’re more likely to run into problems. If I’m sad or happy or feeling other emotions, I try to build in some space in my life to express it.
- Finding a good balance between the activation of mTOR (the growth pathway) and AMPK (the longevity pathway). mTOR activation keeps us strong and healthy. AMPK activation is associated with a prolonged lifespan. Both are necessary, but they can get out of balance. More information about what I’m finding workable below.
My Average Day
- I get up around 5:30 or 6 most mornings, have a glass of water, make some coffee, and take a calcium AKG, (Ca-AKG) supplement. (Ca-AKG works best for me if taken apart from other supplements)
- An hour or two later, I take my NAD boosters and sirtuin gene activators. I sometimes take them with water, but sometimes drink a I drink a fasting mimicking smoothie, a drink that’s designed to keep AMPK activated and mTOR off. So I’m still essentially in a fasted state when I drink it.
- I take a hot shower to warm up my muscles, then do resistance training for an hour or so in my home gym.
- At the end of the workout, around noon, I eat a high protein, animal-based meal such as scrambled eggs with sardines, oysters, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and broccoli. I think of this as breaking my fast, even if I had a fasting mimicking smoothie earlier.
- I take my testosterone boosters and hGH boosters around this time, or a little later. I might have some yogurt with whey (a glutathione booster) two or three hours later. I try to get a lot of protein in within two to four hours of my workout.
- My last meal is usually around 7 or 8 p.m. I sometimes take AMPK activating supplements after this meal, but sometimes skip them. I’m less concerned these days with “pushing” AMPK activation than I used to be.
- I’m in bed most nights around 10 or 10:30 p.m., but sometimes earlier. (Earlier is better if the goal is to optimize growth hormone.) I take glycine and NAC (N. Acetyl Cysteine) together shortly before bedtime because they raise glutathione levels and when taken together, for me, they promote deep and restful sleep.
- As mentioned above, I usually work out in the mornings fasted (though I may have drunk a fasting-mimicking smoothie) (I don’t consider this smoothie as having broken my fast.)
- Until recently, I was working out only three days a week. But I’d often neglect my core and lower body because I was tired from the upper body workout, or vise versa. So I switched to doing six workouts a week.
- I work my upper body (arms, chest and shoulders) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- I work my lower body (legs, glutes and core) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I may sometimes also do HIIT on these days. (I could use more HIIT exercise than I’m currently getting; I’m just working on figuring out the best way to fit it in.)
- Staggering them this way gives me two full days of recovery time between working out the same body part(s) again.
- I do outdoor yard work or go hiking or stair-running on Sundays.
- When I look at myself these days, I feel like I’m making progress. If I’d taken TRT instead of raising my testosterone through supplements, I’m sure I would have larger muscles. But at this point, I’m still finding that the natural approach, raising my T levels by taking T-boosting supplements, is working well enough that I plan to continue it for the foreseeable future.
My Current Diet
- My current way of eating is similar to a Mediterranean diet but higher in animal-based foods.
- I’ve been vegan and carnivore in the past, and ate a strictly Mediterranean diet at one point. But these days, I’m eating a rich variety of (grass fed/organic) animal-based foods, plant foods and fungi (mushrooms). I eat all organic meals, and buy food from small family farms (I avoid food from factory farms for both health reasons and ethical reasons, and avoid crops sprayed with herbicides and pesticides)
- My diet is similar in some respects to the diet used in this study, which was found to reverse epigenetic aging.
How Much Protein?
- One recent change is that, these days, I’m trying to eat around 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight, which for me means eating 145 grams of high quality protein per day (except, of course, on fasting days, when I don’t eat any food). (Bear in mind that this includes protein from both plant and animal sources.) By another commonly cited standard — 1 gram of protein per centimeter of height — I should be eating 180 grams of protein per day.
- I raised it to the current level partly because of some recent studies suggesting that 1 gram per pound is ideal; partly because I’m working out a lot and need both protein and leucine to build muscle, support my immune system and prevent a relapse into sarcopenia; and because every time I’ve tried following a lower protein, more plant-based diet, I’ve lost muscle, looked and felt older, and gotten more prone to getting sick.
- For more details about what I eat and why, see this page.
Protein, mTOR and AMPK
- Some anti-aging doctors or researchers, such as Dr. Valter Longo and Dr. David Sinclair, would say I’m eating too much protein or too many animal-based foods.
- They could turn out to be right. Or, they could be completely wrong. Others in the field, such as Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. Ted Naiman and Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, would view my diet as about right, or might even suggest that due to my age (69) I should increase the protein even more.
- I’m aware that animal foods are more likely to activate mTOR, but I’m not worried about it. For one thing, I don’t view mTOR as “bad”. Cutting mTOR activation to the bone and pushing AMPK activation full is one path to longevity, at least in animals, but it’s not the only path. Nor is it safe to go too far in that direction. We need some mTOR activation or we’ll die.
- On the other hand, I’m not “all about mTOR” either. I also see the value of activating AMPK, so I activate it daily through fasting till noon, and do the 36 hour water fasts every Sunday (from Saturday night till Monday morning).
- Interestingly, some of the most promising anti-aging interventions, such as taking GlyNAC (a combination of NAC and glycine) to raise glutathione, or taking AKG as either CaAKG or AAKG, show clear effectiveness at increasing lifespan regardless of their effect on AMPK. Some anti-aging nostrums work by activating AMPK, but some do not fit neatly into that box.
Finding A Balance
AMPK and mTOR are two metabolic pathways at the heart of our metabolism, and in my opinion are important to any anti-aging protocol. This doesn’t mean we all need to approach them in the same way.
- AMPK is the longevity pathway. We can activate it by fasting, making changes in our diets (such as eating more plants and less animal protein), or taking supplements or medications.
- mTOR is the growth pathway. Research suggests it should be activated periodically just enough to support muscle growth and immune health. Muscle growth is good, but we don’t want all of our life energy to go into growth at the expense of longevity. We can activate it by eating high-protein animal-based meals.
- We need some mTOR activation to maintain and build muscle mass as we age, prevent sarcopenia, and support our immune systems. But hundreds of animal studies have shown that animals of all species live longer if AMPK is activated most of the time.
- We can move between AMPK and mTOR activation by the use of exercise, fasting, and the foods we eat. Some people try to only activate AMPK by eating low protein, or low leucine, most of the time. Others try to only activate mTOR by eating huge amounts of protein or leucine, and not doing any fasting. What I’m trying to do in my protocol is to find a balance.
- More About balancing AMPK and mTOR
When I say “supplements”, I’m not talking about vitamins and minerals; I get those largely from food. I’m talking about taking herbs and other nutrients that may help slow or reverse the aging process. I take supplements most days, but don’t take any on Sunday (my fasting day).
- I buy over forty different anti-aging supplements, including NAD+ boosters, hGH boosters, AKG boosters, testosterone boosters, glutathione boosters and more. (However, I don’t take them all every day.)
- I’m not saying you have to take as many as I do, but in my opinion, the ones I take have made a difference in my health and are a key part of my anti-aging program.
- Some include vitamins and minerals; some contain herbs; some are other compounds that have helped restore my levels of glutathione, testosterone, NAD+, and other important compounds to those found in young adults.
Activating My Sirtuin Genes
- Anti-aging genes are also called sirtuins.
- Going on low-protein or low-leucine diets is one way of activating the sirtuins. (They sense that protein is low, conclude that food is scarce and it’s a survival situation, and switch on).
- But it’s not the only way to activate them. We can also activate them with hormetic stressors like heat and cold exposure. Keeping the house cool (65 degrees or less) or taking cold showers can activate cold shock proteins, Taking saunas or hot baths can switch on heat shock proteins. Both heat and cold exposure appear to have benefits for longevity.
- I take contrast showers (alternating between hot and cold, ending on several minutes of cold) to alternate my sirtuin genes three days a week. I also take NMN, resveratrol and SIRT6 Activator along with my NAD boosters to activate the SIRT1 and SIRT6 genes, which are associated with an increase in health and longevity
How It’s Going
- Things are going well all in all. I’m happy with the results of my current protocol.
- Physically I’m in good health. I have good energy, and feel younger than I did twenty years ago.
- I don’t have huge muscles, but I’ve reversed my slide into sarcopenia and am actively building muscle. My muscles are growing very fast at the moment, partly because I’ve increase my intake of the testosterone-boosting supplements.
- I don’t have joint aches or pains. My eyesight’s fine. My mind is sharp and clear. I had short term memory problems at a couple of decades ago, but they’re all fixed; my memory is fine these days.
- Physically, I feel pretty much like I did when I was in my 30s and 40s, except that I have more energy than I did in those days.
- I see these changes as a reflection on how the body can change in a short time if we’re eating a healthy diet, fasting, exercising, and taking some key anti-aging supplements.
- While I’m in good health in most regards, I have made one concession to being 69 years old, which is to minimize driving on the freeway. I have found that my reaction time has slowed a bit over the past couple of years. I just don’t feel as comfortable roaring around at 70-75 mph on rainy nights in heavy traffic as I used to. I’m hoping to improve my reaction time, but till I’m sure it’s better, I’m spending less time on freeway driving.
More Info About:
How About You?
- I’d love to hear about your protocol and your results. Feel free to describe it in the comments section below.