Rekindle Protocol: A Blueprint for Reversing Aging

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by Nils Osmar. December 1, 2021

This page has an updated version of the protocol I’ve been developing and following for about three years. (Most recent update: 12/31/2021)

Shortcuts:

Some specific goals include:

  • Slowing down aging.
  • Reversing any aging that’s already occurred.
  • Compressing morbidity into a very short period toward the end of life (if life has to end at all)
  • Preventing age-related muscle wasting – and building strong muscles to last a lifetime
  • Having strong bones and joints.
  • Having healthy lungs, hearts and other organs. 
  • Having a healthy thymus (and other glands) and a strong immune systems.
  • Having smooth unwrinkled, skin with good elasticity.
  • Having healthy brains and a sharp, clear minds. 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Having good eyesight.
  • Having healthy mitochondria.
  • Having good sexual health.
  • Having long telomeres.
  • More about my goals

Can we really do all of these things?

There’s no way to know the future, but I think we’ll be able to. At the least, anyone who wants to live to be 125 or thereabouts (the supposed maximum human lifespan) in good health should be able to do so, knowing just what we know today (and applying it).

And as medical technology advances, those of us able to reach that age may be able to live much longer than that.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll reach extreme longevity or immortality even if we take advantage of all of the approaches that maybe useful. But (in my opinion) we can have fun trying. And it’s conceivable that we may end up succeeding.

How to Get There?

We know how to extend both lifespan and health-span in animals, using dietary and other lifestyle interventions. There’s evidence that at least some of the same principles may work in human beings. The most important aspects are:

  1. Optimizing our diets.
  2. Fasting.
  3. Taking anti-aging supplements.
  4. Exercising.
  5. Optimizing our blood health.
  6. Optimizing sleep.
  7. Balancing the activation of mTOR and AMPK.
  8. Activating our anti-aging genes
  9. Dealing effectively with stress.

Optimizing Our Diets

There are many opinions about what makes for an effective anti-aging diet. The lead contenders appear to be diets that are:

  1. Low in sugar (including sucrose and fruit sugar).
  2. Low or moderate in protein (at least part of the time).
  3. Mostly plant-based, but including some animal-based foods.
  4. Rich in healthy fats such as oleic acid from olives and avocados, and omega 3 fatty acids from fish or algae.
  5. Rich in anti-aging nutrients such as fucoidan, rosemary, spermidine and spermine.

I’m currently eating a high-nutrient ancestral diet. All of the food in it is organically sourced. There are three basic food groups (plants, animals and fungi); my diet draws from all of them. It includes:

  • Leafy greens, root vegetables and cruciferous vegetables. (I eat lots of green salads and lots of garlic and onions and broccoli)
  • Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut
  • Foods high in spermidine such as aged cheese and green peas
  • Foods from the ocean such as sardines, anchovies, wild Pacific salmon, mackerel, and oysters
  • Foods from land animals, such as (grass fed/organic) beef and beef liver (and eggs and poultry) (seasoned with rosemary, parsley, and other herbs with anti-aging properties)
  • Some fungal foods such as a wide variety of mushrooms
  • Foods high in healthy fats (such as oleic acid from avocados and olives)
  • More about my diet

Fasting

Just as we need food, we appear to benefit from taking breaks from eating – i.e., balancing periods of food intake with short or long periods without food.

Fasting activates AMPK (the longevity pathway) and clears debris from our cells, Prolonged fasts clear senescent cells from our bodies through apoptosis, raise hGH and testosterone levels, and trigger the creation of new stem cells.Both short and long fasts appear to have anti-aging benefits.

I went through a stretch of almost 8 months when I was fasting three days a week. I would eat as much as I wanted on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and skip eating (all day, usually) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This worked well for me for losing some excess fat and building muscle during that period.

I’m currently feasting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; fasting for 24 hours on Tuesday; and fasting 36 hours on Sundays.

My workout days are Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On these days, I get up in the morning, have a cup of water or coffee, then work out fasted for a couple of hours in my home gym. At the end of my workout, I eat a high protein, mostly-animal-based meal such as scrambled eggs with sardines, oysters, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and broccoli. Later in the day I start shifting back into more plant-based eating to switch back into AMPK mode. On my non-workout days, I’m either fasting or eating a more plant-based diet to keep AMPK activated.

Taking Anti-Aging Supplements

When I say “supplements”, I’m not talking about vitamins and minerals, but herbs and other nutrients that push back against the aging process. There are supplements available today that we had no clue about just a few years ago. Taking them has made a huge difference in my life.

  • I buy over forty different anti-aging supplements. But I don’t take them all every day.
  • Some are vitamins; some are pro-hormones; some are herbs and other nutrients that help restore the levels of glutathione, testosterone, NAD+, and other important compounds to those found in young adults.
  • I’m not saying everyone needs to take that many supplements, but that my health has greatly improved since I started doing so.
  • More about my supplements

Exercising

  • Exercise helps us maintain bone, muscle, cardiovascular and brain health and to build a foundation for healthy longevity. Beneficial types include HIIT, resistance training, dance, and aerobics.
  • The types of exercise that appear to be most beneficial for longevity are HIIT (high intensity interval training), aerobics, and strength (resistance) training.   
  • I’m currently doing HIIT once a week and strength/resistance training three days a week. The HIIT exercise is aimed at getting me seriously out of breath (creating a temporary oxygen deficit so my sirtuin genes will kick in). I do HIIT on a stationary bike. I keep the resistance very low on the bike; my only concern is the hormetic benefits of getting out of breath.
  • On my strength training days, I do exercises aimed at building stronger and larger muscles (pushing back against the loss of muscle mass which “naturally” occurs with aging). I currently exercise on a power tower and a Weider ultimate fitness machine I use to pull my body weight around using cables (similar to a Total Gym). I recently added a Marcy 200 pound stack gym.
  • From an anti-aging perspective, exercise that gets you out of breath and builds muscle have the most benefit. But of course it’s good to choose a types of exercise you love, whether it’s cycling, running, dance, sports and games, yoga, weight training, or something completely different.
  • More about my exercise regimen

Optimizing Sleep

  • Sleep is essential. If you’re doing everything else right but sleep isn’t going well, it’ll be harder to benefit from the other elements of the protocol.
  • I try to get to bed by 10 pm in order to optimize growth hormone.
  • I know this is easier said than done for some people, but it appears to be beneficial to get around 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night.

Optimizing our Blood Health

“Old blood factors” are associated with advanced age; “young blood factors” with a more youthful state. There are things we can do to clean out debris and protein fragments, reduce old blood factors and increase young blood factors.

Even donating blood and plasma may have anti-aging benefits.Some researchers have tried replacing some of the blood in lab animals with a mixture of albumin and saline, and reported apparent rejuvenation. Others have replaced some of the blood in old animals with blood from young animals and reported rejuvenating effects.

I sometimes take an enzyme called serrapeptase which dissolves dead proteins and protein remnants floating around in the blood.  Fasting is one of the most effective ways of removing accumulated debris from our cells, including our blood cells.  The B vitamin niacin, in large doses, dilates our blood vessels, which can help clear and lower lipids from our bloodstream, and keep our arteries clearer. Borage oil (GLA) also appears to be beneficial for blood health.

I donate blood six times a year, which removes some old blood factors; do fasting, which removes debris from our bodies and bloodstreams; take niacin once or twice a week; and take serrapeptase most nights. (It also clears my breathing, helping me sleep better.)

Balancing AMPK and mTOR

AMPK and mTOR are two metabolic pathways at the heart of our metabolism.  

  • AMPK is the longevity pathway. We can activate it by making changes in our diet 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 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 one state and the other by the use of exercise, fasting, and the foods we eat.
  • More About balancing AMPK and mTOR

Activating Our Anti-Aging Genes with Hormetics

  • Hormetics are stressors that benefit the body by putting us into a state of mild (and temporary) stress.
  • There’s strong evidence that hormetic stressors benefit us by activating our sirtuin (lonvegity) genes.
  • Heat and cold are exposure are examples.
  • 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 appear to have benefits for longevity.
  • I take contrast showers (alternating between hot and cold, ending on several minutes of cold) three days a week.

Dealing Effectively With Stress

  • For stress, I find it helpful to take walks in the woods or by lakes or rivers. (No, this isn’t a personals ad 🙂 ).
  • I learned years ago that it’s best not to bottle up emotions. One underrated way of handling stress is to “let yourself experience it” –– i.e., if you’re feeling sad, go ahead and have a good cry. “Just be a person,” and that includes letting yourself have emotions and sort through them, not try to stuff them down all the time as many of us have learned to do.
  • When we’re talking about managing stress, I would also focus on being thoughtful about the use of alcohol and drugs, partly because these are what a lot of people turn to in the hopes of some relief from their stress, In my own case I’ve found it best to stop using them. I do sometimes drink home-made kefir which has a little naturally occurring alcohol, but I don’t seek out other alcoholic beverages anymore. It’s better to avoid alcohol damage, in my opinion, than to spend a lifetime trying to heal from the damage overconsumption of alcohol can cause.

My Results

As shown in this video, while following this protocol I’ve lost some fat around my belly and gained some muscle, particularly in my arms and shoulders. During this same time period, my LDL cholesterol and triglycerides went down, my HDL almost doubled, and my testosterone more than doubled. (I was also working out a lot and taking a lot of supplements, but the diet and fasting protocols were a key part of what was moving me in this direction.)

Since Starting the Rekindle Protocol:

Physically, I’m in good health. I don’t have huge muscles, but I’ve reversed my slide into muscle wasting and am actively building muscle. Since starting my current fasting/exercising protocol, I lost around 40 pounds of excess body fat (mostly around my belly) and gained around 15 pounds of muscle.

I don’t have joint aches or pains (though my back sometimes hurts for a few hours if I overdo exercising). I thought I had inflammatory arthritis years ago, but don’t have any symptoms of it anymore. My eyesight’s good. It’s clearer than it used to be. My mind is sharp and clear. I had short term memory problems at one point in my life, but I don’t anymore. Physically, I feel much the same as I did when I was in my 30s and 40s, except that I have more energy than I did in those days. 

Before starting the protocol, my chest hair was mostly white and “fly-away”. . It looked a bit like the hair on Bernie Sanders’ head. My arm hairs were fine and grey. I was bald on top as I have been for decades.

About a year after starting it, I noticed that the white hairs on my chest and arms were falling out. To my surprise they were replaced by very thick, dark, curly hairs of a different sort that I’ve ever had in the past. The hair on my head is still very sparse, so I usually shave my head, but when I let it grow out, the hairs that grow are getting more dark and less white.

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

One Unsolved Problem

  • While I’m in good health these days and happy with the results, I have made one concession to being 68 (now almost 69) years old, which is to minimize driving on the freeway. I have found that, in spite of my anti-aging protocols, my reaction time has slowed a bit over the past couple of years.
  • This may be because I got out of practice during the 2020 pandemic shutdown. But whatever the reason, I just don’t feel as comfortable roaring around at 70-75 mph (the usual speed around here) in heavy traffic as I used to.
  • I’m hoping to fix this but since it is currently an issue, I avoid long drives on the freeway, particularly on unfamiliar stretches of road. 

What About You?

  • I’d love to hear about your protocol and your results. Feel free to describe it in the comments section below.

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2 Comments

  1. I like very much most of your articles but I regret that you don’t date them. Science and technology in the longevity field is moving fast and for me it’s important to know when something was written.

  2. Hi Andres, that’s an excellent point; I’ll start doing dating them in the future.

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