by Nils Osmar. Updates April 10, 2022
In discussions about supplements, medications and other interventions that show promise of extending life beyond the current known maximum of about 120 or 125 years, the point is often made that there’s no proof that they work in humans. The implication is that sensible people should wait for proof that something extends the lifespan in humans before trying it.
This sounds reasonable at first. However, if you think about it for a moment:
Proof is Impossible
The reason we don’t have proof that following a particular protocol will extend the maximum lifespan in humans is that it would take longer than a human lifespan to prove it.
If we started now, and were somehow able to start people on a longevity regimen when they’re babies and keep them on it all of their lives, we’d know whether or not it worked in about 130 years (a few years past the current known maximum).
At that point, we’d need to do another trial, taking another 130 years or so, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.
And we’d also need a control group who had followed a different protocol for hundreds of years to compare it with.
So holding out for “proof of life extension” in human beings is non-sensical. We can see proof of health benefits and extrapolate from that to the hypothesis that the end result might be a longer lifespan. But definitive proof in humans won’t be forthcoming for centuries, if ever.
So What to Do?
We study longevity in animals precisely because their lives are short enough that we can try different approaches and get a clear idea of whether the animal’s life is extended or shortened.
It’s true that we’re not just oversized mice or rats (or other lab animals that are used in life extension experiments). But we do share a lot of traits with them. We evolved alongside other life forms on Earth and share many biological mechanisms (such as the mTOR/AMPK enzymatic pathways). So there’s some reason to believe that some currently existing supplements could end up being able to extend the lifespan, based on studies which show significant life extension in lab animals. But it’s just a theory because – again – it would take longer than a human lifespan to know for sure. If you’re waiting for definitive proof, you’ll need to wait a few centuries to have it.
Interventions That Might (Possibly) Prolong the Human Lifespan
There are some interventions show promise of extending the lifespan in both animals and humans. Some promising ones include:
- Eating a high nutrient diet/low calorie diet (the CRON diet) (“Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition”). Some people have committed to eating CRON diets for the rest of their lives, but even following one for a month can reset many of the markers associated with health and longevity. See article.
- Eating an Acciarolin diet (based on the cuisine in the village Acciaroli in Italy). The people in Acciaroli are over thirty times more likely to live to be 100 years old than those in other blue zones, and have close to zero rates of heart disease,. Alzheimer’s and dementia. They live longer in better health than anyone anywhere else in the world. The Acciarolin diet is similar in some respects to other Mediterranean diets — it’s rich in olives and olive oil, legumes and home-grown vegetables. But it also has some features which are very different. Key staples in the Acciarolin diet are rosemary, anchovies and sardines. They also raise their own chickens and rabbits, and eat a lot of rabbit meat, poultry and eggs. (They’re actually more omnivorous than other groups in the Mediterranean.)
- Taking breaks from eating. (Doing intermittent fasting, alternate day fasting, and/or occasional prolonged fasting,)
- Getting a healthy level of exercise (not too much, not too little) (High intensity interval training, resistance training and aerobics are all associated with delaying, and possibly reversing, some aspects of the aging process.)
- Dealing with emotional stress effectively (including reducing or eliminating stressors when possible)
- Heat and cold exposure (hot saunas and cold showers) (to activate the sirtuin genes)
- Boosting our levels of NAD+, glutathione, nitric oxide, the sex hormones, and other beneficial biological compounds that are high in young adults but become depleted as we age.
- Getting enough high quality sleep
- Activating the sirtuin 6 gene (which can be done by taking eating wakame seaweed or elderberries – or taking supplements rich fucoidan or cyanidin – or doing a ten-day water fast)
- Taking Ca-AKG (or other forms of AKG).
- Taking hGH injections while taking metformin, vitamin D, zinc and DHEA — i.e., balancing an increase in hGH with lowering blood glucose and activating AMPK — as was done in the first TRIIM trial (which was shown to reverse epigenetic aging).
- Following a diet like the one used in this study, which was also shown to reverse epigenetic aging.
- Lab studies suggest that cellular reprogramming utilizing the Yamanaka factors, can reverse cell aging in complex organisms by years or decades.
Since interventions like these have been shown to benefit health in humans, and some have been found to either extend the lifespan or compress morbidity in animals — and some actually reverse epigenetic aging — it seems reasonable that they could (in theory) extend the human lifespan by years or decades. But again, having definitive proof of anything extending maximum lifespan in human beings is impossible. We’re too long-lived to test what works. It’s unlikely that taking any medication or supplement that currently exists will get us to extreme longevity or physical immortality.
But it seems likely (to me) that they could help us stay alive long enough to take advantage of more effective age-reversing and life extending interventions that will likely be materializing in the upcoming years.
What I’m Doing
I’m following a protocol that I hope will lead to an extended lifespan. I think my odds are reasonably good. Time will tell if it’s the best protocol.