HOW TO LIVE TO BE 500

by Nils Osmar. Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as offering either formal or informal medical advice. The content is intended solely for informational purposes. Any changes in your lifestyle or diet should be done in consultation with your doctor or health care professional.  


Can we live longer, healthier lives?

Are there things we can do as individuals to increase out odds of living long, healthy lives, and of (possibly) living decades or even centuries longer than people have in the past? The evidence suggests that –– yes –– there are. 

If you scroll down, you’ll find a list of THINGS THAT (MAY) EXTEND THE HUMAN LIFESPAN.

In making up this list, I’ve focused mainly on nutrients and supplements. This is because (1) they’re readily available; (2) they’re being studied intensively at the moment, so much of the recent research that’s transforming our understanding of longevity, concerns them.

There are things we know, but also many things we don’t, about nutritional supplements and other anti-aging protocols. One thing that is not clear, because the supplements haven’t been tested together yet, is whether they might have a symbiotic effect. If ten supplements each promise to add ten years to your life, will taking them together give you a hundred more years (or even longer)? Or are they all just fortifying the same mechanisms? (If taking resveratrol gives you some of the benefits of exercise, is it overkill to do both? Or will they magnify each others’ effectiveness?)


Questions and Caveats

  1. Is this list comprehensive? No. I’ll be adding more items to it in the future.

  2. Are there things you’ve omitted from it? Yes.  I’ve omitted products I’ve read claims about on other websites that I couldn’t find any convincing research to suggest are valid. Some people claim, for example, that vegan diets, or carnivore diets, promote longevity; but the evidence for both is shaky.  The evidence for the CRON diet is very strong and based in decades of validated scientific research, so I’ve included it.

  3. Is there a guarantee that if we do one, or some, or all of the things on the list, we’ll be able to stop, or dramatically slow down, the aging process? No. But there are solid reasons to think that they could help.

  4. If you do all of the things on the list, will you end up living forever? No one I know is claiming that this is true.  But doing things to stay young and healthy for just a few decades longer could help you live till what people in the anti-aging community call “escape velocity” –– a postulated future time in which medicine has progressed far enough that it can reverse and fix the declines caused by aging faster than they pile up.  At this point, aging will have been cured. You could still die from other things –– car crashes, nuclear wars or whatever –– but aging would have been removed as a cause of mortality. 

  5. Should you do some, all, or none the things listed below? It’s completely up to you. My own feeling is that the more protocols we engage in that are known to be effective against aging, the more likely we are to greatly increase our lifespan. But you’ll have to decide for yourself what approach you want to take, and what your priorities are.

  6. Isn’t this all kinda speculative? Sure. But it’s informed speculation. All of the items on the list below have been studied extensively, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that they work to slow down the aging process.

  7. Should you take my word for any of this? Of course not.  It’s always good to check out the studies and references. I’ve included a few links below, and will be adding more as time moves along. But you’re also totally free to do a Google search following up on any of the products I mention.

  8. As a side note, many of the things on the list below that show evidence of slowing down or postponing aging, have also been demonstrated to protect against dementia. So in that sense, my own feeling is that implementing them can have major benefits even if, in terms of controlling aging, some turn out to be a bust. There are also many things which show promise in preventing or reversing dementia, which don’t necessarily slow the aging process. See this page.

Are there risks in trying?

  • There could be. For example, if you greatly overdo fasting or caloric restriction, it’s possible that you could end up with nutrient deficiencies. (If you get wacky about it and stop eating altogether, you’ll starve to death and die.) If you take more than a micro-dose of lithium, you may feel kinda zoned out. (The amount recommended is the amount naturally found in well water, not that given to psychiatric patients.)  If you’re allergic to astragalus, you may have an unpleasant reaction. An item being on the list doesn’t mean you should ignore common sense.  
  • All things in life have risks. You could choke to death trying to swallow a vitamin pill, just like you could trip over your own shoelaces on the way out to check the mail, crash into a passing car, and make the news for having found a new and silly way to die.
  • But the risks of trying, in my opinion, need to be weighed against the risks of not trying. If we do nothing, we’re guaranteed to grow older and eventually die. So from that POV, the risks seem reasonable to me. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you feel the same way.

Are you profiting from publishing this?

No. Longevity is an interest of mine, and I’m publishing it in the hopes that the list may be helpful to other people. I don’t sell any products. I’m just passing along information to folks who may be interested.

 

THINGS THAT (MAY) EXTEND THE HUMAN LIFESPAN

  1. EATING FOR LONGEVITY. The “STANDARD AMERICAN DIET” leaves most people dead in their seventies. There are three alternatives. These three are either/or, meaning that you should NOT do them all at once. (For example, if you do Permanent Caloric Restriction, it could be deadly if you also do periodic prolonged fasting).
    1. FOLLOWING THE LONGEVITY DIET formulated by Dr. Valter Longo (claim: could add 30 healthy years) (based on statistical studies of long-lived populations) (can be done with fasting) – OR:
    2. DOING PERMANENT CALORIC RESTRICTION –– i.e., following the CRON DIET, which is extremely low in calories but extremely rich in nutrients. (Claim: could theoretically double the human lifespan) (based on results with lab animals) 
    3. DOING PERIODIC PROLONGED FASTING –– i.e., fasting the first five days of every month, unless you have a medical reason not to.( (claim: could add 30-50 healthy years) (based on results with lab animals) (can be done with any diet EXCEPT for the CRON diet) 

In addition to one of the dietary regimens above:

  1. DRINKING COFFEE (claim: drinking three cups a day could add 15-18 healthy years) (based on statistical studies) (However, if you’re aiming for neurogenesis, be aware that caffeinated coffee brings it to a halt.)
  2. Drinking GREEN TEA (and taking PQQ) (claim: could add 10 healthy years) (does not interfere with neurogenesis)
  3. Taking ASTRAGALUS and other telomere enhancers (claims are vague, but the promoters of products designed to lengthen telomeres claim that this will dramatically increase the lifespan)
  4. Taking GLYCINE (claims are vague. Improves mitochondrial health)
  5. Taking LOW-DOSE LITHIUM (with polypeptides) (claims are vague)
  6. Taking ROYAL JELLY, PANTETHINE and PANTHOTHENIC ACID (claim: could add ten healthy years)
  7.  Taking vitamin D3 and K2, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C and E (claim: could add 10-20 healthy years)
  8. Taking NADH, or taking products (such as nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) or nicotinamide riboside (NR),  which are designed to increase production of NAD. (NAD levels decline as we age. The people promoting these products claim that taking them could add 20 or 30 years to a person’s life. (Note: fasting also increases NAD levels in the body)

CALORIC RESTRICTION (CRON DIET)

  • Lab animals that are fed diets rich in nutrients but low in calories tend to have unusually long lives.
  • I’m not talking here about “dieting” or “cutting calories” in the commonly understood sense. “Going on a diet” for a week or two won’t increase your lifespan. (Yo-yo dieting has a reputation for being terrible for a person’s health).
  • People who practice CALORIC RESTRICTION are different. They make the decision to eat a diet which is LOW IN CALORIES but extremely HIGH IN NUTRIENTS, not for a day or a week or a month, but if they decide to stick with the plan, for the rest of their lives.
  • Lab animals that are switched from “normal” diets to calorie-restricted diets usually live much longer than their litter-mates who are allowed to eat as much as they want, whenever they feel like it. (Some of them live almost TWICE AS LONG, in good health.) (For a human being, this alone would move the marker from around 80 years, to around 160 years.)
  • Human beings who engage in caloric restriction as a permanent lifestyle are called CRONIES. There are about 100,000 Cronies in the world today, who have decided to permanently lower their calories in the hopes of achieving lonnnnnnnnng lives in a state of great health. Some of them look dramatically younger than their chronological ages.  The dude in THIS VIDEO is an example. He’s 55, in case you’re wondering. Like many other Cronies, he decided a couple of decades ago to just do it, not wait for permission or approval.

  • NOTE: Caloric restriction is NOT the same thing as fasting. People who practice CR as a permanent lifestyle should not fast, or vise versa. CR slows down the metabolism; fasting speeds it up. Combining them by eating a diet chronically low in food energy, then taking long breaks from eating any food at all, could result in severe nutrient deprivation and an early death.
  • PERSONAL NOTE: I’ve thought about doing caloric restriction, but have opted against it so far, because of evidence suggesting that fasting works just as well, and has a much more minimal impact on a person’s life. Doing CR means that you always, every day, eat a set number of calories, and count and measure every meal to make sure. Fasting’s easier; you can eat what you want on non-fasting days, then take breaks from eating on your fasting days. This results in lower calories overall, without having to count and measure every day.
  • For some more fun videos about using caloric restriction to extend your lifespan, see THIS PAGE.

FASTING

Intermittent Fasting (taking breaks of various lengths between meals) has become popular as a means of improving health in a general sense, and losing weight. Some people have also seized on doing PERIODIC PROLONGED FASTING as a means of doing a major immune system reset.

Fasts intended to reset the immune system usually last around from around 5 to 7 days. Periodic prolonged fasting has been shown to extend the lifespan of animals by twenty to thirty percent. 

Dr. Valter Longo, whose research has transformed our understanding of both fasting and longevity, suggests that fasting for five consecutive days, at least four times a year, could add 20 to 40 healthy years to the average lifespan. (He decommends participating in what he calls a fasting mimicking diet, in lieu of water fasting.) 

Like many people, I’ve started doing fasting. I’ve done some one day fasts, some two day, some three, four or five day. I actually felt much better after fasting than I had beforehand. If there are negative side effects, I haven’t run into them yet. (Not to say there may not be some negatives, but so far, all indications are that fasting has been very positive for improving my health.)

Here’s a long article I wrote about fasting for health and longevity.


Drinking COFFEE

Article:  Drinking more coffee can lead to a longer life, new studies say – CNN
Article: Drink coffee and you may live longer


Drinking GREEN TEA

Article: Green tea drinkers live longer: a daily cup seems to protect against …  
Article: Could Green Tea Help You Live Longer?


Taking ASTRAGALUS

Astragalus has been used for centuries in China as a medicinal tonic. Taking it has been found to be an effective way of lengthening our telomeres (the “end caps” on the end of our chromosomes, which some have compared to the laces on the ends of shoelaces). 

  • Note: Some researchers have warned that astragalus should NOT be taken when fasting.  This is because fasting “fixes” the telomeres on our senescent cells, making them appear healthy. But this “fix” keeps the body from identifying them as senescent, and protects them from being destroyed and replaced by new stem calls. (When I fast, to be on the safe side, at least a few hours after the END of the fast before taking astragalus again.)
  • Abstract: Anti-Aging Implications of Astragalus Membranaceus
  • Article: Longevity with Astragalus
  • Article: Herbal Supplement Extends Lifespan…
  • Article: Physiological methods – Longevity and Epigenetic Modification
  • Other telomere shorteners include selenium. For this and other reason, I take Selenium methionine.
  • One popular ant9i-aging drug, TA-65, is made from an extract of astragalus, buffered with a few other ingredients. Studies have shown that patients who take TA-65 does indeed lengthen telomeres. However, it’s astronomically expensive.
  • For more information about astragalus, TA-65, and related subjects, visit THIS PAGE.

Taking GLYCINE supplements.

Recent research in Japan has suggested that such supplements might be helpful in reversing some manifestations of aging. Glycine also helps with getting a good night’s sleep. Common food sources of Glycine include: spinach, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, bananas, and kiwi. fruit. Glycine can also be found in bone broth, and in meat, dairy products, poultry, eggs and fish.
Article: About glycine and aging.


Taking LOW DOSE LITHIUM.


TAKING A GOOD MULTIVITAMIN-MINERAL

  • As we age, our TELOMERES (the end caps on our chromosomes) tend to grow shorter. Long telomeres tend to be correlated with long life
  • People who take vitamin B12 supplements have longer telomeres than those who don’t. 
  • Vitamin D3, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins C and E also help support longer telomeres.

TAKING ROYAL JELLY, PANTETHINE, and PANTOTHENIC ACID

  1. Eating ROYAL JELLY. Most bees live just six weeks. But bees fed royal jelly live between two and three years, i.e., thirty to forty times longer. Royal jelly has also been shown to extend the lifespan of some other insects and some lab animals. It has not been shown to extend human lifespan, but it’s reasonable to assume that it could. Why not add it to your diet and find out? (NOTE: If you’re allergic to bee products, you should NOT take it, for obvious reasons.)
  2. Taking PANTOTHENIC ACID: Dr. Roger B. Williams found that supplementing the diets of lab animals with pantothenic acid extended their lifespan by about 19 percent. Interestingly, it’s a key ingredient, perhaps the effective ingredient, in royal jelly. (I take them together, and also take a capsule of pantethine, the activated form of pantothenic acid, along with them.)
  3. TAKING PANTETHINE (an activated form of panthothenic acid). 
  4. Article: Pantothenic acid and the aging processes 
  5. Article: Pantothenic Acid and Longevity
  6. Blog: Pantothenic Acid for Long Life

SUMMARY AND NOTES

Are there things we can do, as individuals, to increase out odds of living long, healthy lives, and possibly living decades longer than people have in the past? The evidence suggests that there are. I’ve listed a number of them above.

Is there a guarantee that if we do one, or some, or all of the things on the list, we’ll be able to stop, or dramatically slow down, the aging process? No. But there are solid reasons to think that the protocols I’ve listed could help. Many people who take supplements to slow down aging, do so in the hopes that slowing the aging process may keep us alive long enough for advances in medical science to provide even stronger support against the aging process. (In other words, they are hoping that aging may actually be “cured” at some future point; doing anti-aging things now could keep us around long enough to take advantage of that cure).

Should you do some, all, or none the things listed below? It’s completely up to you. My own feeling is that the more protocols we engage in that are known to be effective against aging, the more likely we are to greatly increase our lifespan.

Studies of supplements and longevity are proceeding slowly but surely. We know much more today, than we did ten or fifteen years ago. One thing we don’t know, because the supplements haven’t been tested together, is whether there might also be a cumulative effect. If there is, it would mean that doing ten separate things proven to add years or decades to one’s live, may add up to more than the sum of the parts — sort of like doctors found that giving patients a “cocktail” of several different drugs known to work against the HIV virus, confers more protection than taking the drugs individually.

Is this all kinda speculative? Sure. But it’s informed speculation. All of the items on the list below have been studied extensively, and there’s strong evidence to suggest that they work to slow down the aging process.

Are there risks in trying? There could be. For example, if you greatly overdo fasting or caloric restriction, it’s possible that you could end up with nutrient deficiencies. (If you get wacky about it and stop eating altogether, you’ll starve to death and die.) All things in life have risks. You could choke to death trying to swallow a vitamin pill, just like you could trip over your own shoelaces on the way out to check the mail.

But the risks of trying, in my opinion, need to be weighed against the risks of not trying. If we do nothing, we’re guaranteed to grow older and eventually die. So from that POV, the risks seem reasonable to me. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you feel the same way.

Should you take my word for any of this? Of course not.  It’s always good to check out the studies and references. I’ve included a few links below, and will be adding more as time moves along. But you’re also totally free to do a Google search following up on any of the products I mention.

As a side note, many of the things on the list below that show evidence of slowing down or postponing aging, have also been demonstrated to protect against dementia. So in that sense, my own feeling is that implementing them can have major benefits even if, in terms of controlling aging, some turn out to be a bust.