My Regimen: Food, Exercise and Supplements for Longevity

If I have a choice, I’d rather keep living in good physical and mental health, than keel over and die.  So I’m doing a few things to:

  1. raise my NAD+ levels (NAD is essential to the body. Our levels drop as the years go by.)
  2. keep my body clear of SENESCENT CELLS (the old, broken, half-dead cells that leak toxins into our tissues and cause numerous health problems)
  3. support MITOCHONDRIAL HEALTH and biogenesis
  4. take care of my BRAIN
  5. and promote the growth of NEW STEM CELLS

Things I’m doing include:


  • This article is copyright © Nils Osmar 2019.
  • It’s intended solely for informational purposes, and is not meant to be taken as, and should not be construed, as medical advice. Any changes to your lifestyle or diet should be done in consultation with your doctor or health care professional. 
  • For more information, check out the Facebook Group: Anti-Aging Therapies: Living Longer in Better Health


FASTING and TIME-RESTRICTED EATING

I do INTERMITTENT FASTING (also known as TIME-RESTRICTED EATING) every day, because it decreases insulin; raises HGH (human growth hormone) levels; is good for brain health; helps normalize cholesterol levels and and lower blood triglycerides; and helps keep my weight around where it should be.

  • I usually finish dinner around 6 pm, then “fast” till around noon the following day. 
  • Like David Sinclair, whose regimen I’m trying to approximate, I do sometimes take a bite or two of food around 8 a.m. on days when I’m taking resveratrol, which can’t be absorbed without some fat or protein. And I sometimes put cream in my morning coffee. So a fasting purist would say I’m only fasting for 14 hours (between 6 p.m. and my first bite of food or cup of coffee at 8 a.m.)

PROLONGED PERIODIC FASTING 

  • In addition to my daily 14 hour “fast,”, I do a 4 or 5 day PROLONGED FAST or fasting mimicking diet (FMD) several times a year. 
  • Both prolonged fasts and FMDs have many benefits, including autophagy (cleaning accumulated debris from our cells); apoptosis (the body cannibalizes and destroys senescent cells during a prolonged fast); and the creation of new stem cells at the end of the fast.
  • Daily intermittent fasting (time restricted eating) does not have these benefits. The fast has to be several days long to experience apoptosis.
  • Dr. Longo’s research has shown that prolonged fasts and FMDs produce potent results, including boosting the functioning of the immune system, killing off senescent cells, and triggering stem cell regeneration.
  • One caution: In Dr. Longo’s studies, these benefits were pronounced in young mice, but older mice did not always respond well to fasting. So it’s possible that past a certain age, fasting may not be beneficial in people either. My health has benefited greatly from doing fasts and FMDs in the past, so I’ll keep doing them till I have evidence that they’re not working.

HEAT SHOCK, COLD SHOCK and H.I.I.T. EXERCISE

COMFORT KILLS

One thing I’ve learned in the past few years is that comfort kills. (Which is a bummer, because I’ve always gravitated toward comfort.) The more pampered and comfortable we are, the more the aging process will creep up on us.

  • We live in homes that are kept warm and toasty. This feels great, but stops our bodies and mitochondria from the challenge of adjusting to temperature changes. (There’s no need to adjust our temperature internally if we can do it with a thermostat.)
  • We have constant access to food. This keeps us well-nourished, but it also raises our glucose and insulin levels, and stops our bodies from producing human growth hormone, if we’re nibbling away at food constantly.
  • We (or most of us) drive most places instead of walking or running. So we lose muscle tone and strength as the years go by. 
  • The more comfortable we are, the faster our bodies decline. So I’ve learned, and am still learning, to challenge myself physically in small ways every day.

FIRST, A HOT-COLD SHOWER…

I start each morning with a CONTRAST SHOWER:

  • 3 minutes of hot
  • 1 or 2 minutes of icy cold
  • 3 minutes of hot
  • 3 minutes of icy cold

Even after doing contrast showers every day* for a year, I don’t look forward to them. I hate the first round of cold. But I’m fine by the second round. My contrast showers are usually 10 or 11 minutes long. Once in a while I’ll go a little longer.

It’s important in a contrast shower to make the hot water as hot as you can stand (without scalding yourself) and the cold water as cold as you can stand. And always end on cold, because this forces your mitochondria into biogenesis.

  • Both cold shock and heat shock show evidence of triggering a response in your mitochondria, raising NAD levels and triggering mitochondrial biogenesis.
  • Oh, and, the cold hitting your white fat will turn it into brown fat, which burns body fat to produce heat.  (White fat is inert, and dangerous; brown fat can be beneficial.) It turns brown because it’s filling up with new mitochondria. This literally makes the fat in your body change color, and function differently.
  • As a side benefit, I haven’t gotten more than a trace of a cold since starting this regimen. The times one started up, it was gone after the shower.
  • ONE CAUTION: If you work out and are trying to increase your muscle mass, don’t have cold showers right after your workout. There’s growing evidence that they dampen the hormetic response to exercise that increases muscle size. It appears wisest to space cold showers at least two hours before or after a workout.

Someday I’ll shock the world with a video of me showering, Ben Greenfield-style. (“Look at me! I’m naked! Here I am stepping into the shower!”) (Ben’s an athlete, totally ripped; I’m an old dude who doesn’t work out. I suspect it won’t be my biggest hit.)

*I started doing contrast showers in September 2018. I’ve done ’em every day since then (except for one, when I was racing the clock and had tn time). When I started, I could only stand a few seconds of cold. It got easier, as my white fat turned into brown fat and my body adapted to the challenge. I built up gradually to where I can do several minutes of cold water at a time.


…THEN SOME RED LIGHT THERAPY

  • Shower’s done. Time to “feed my mitochondria” with some red light exposure.
  • I go stand between two rows or red lights, 660 nm on the left, and 630 nm bulbs on the right, about a foot away from my skin… do both sides… then repeat the red light exposure with the lights a few inches from my skin. Sometimes I press them right up against parts of my body and hold them there for a minute or so.
  • I put on some music or a podcast and get lit for a while.
  • These lights are not lasers, they are LEDs, and are cool to the touch. I don’t know if the effect is physiological or psychological… probably a little of both.. but it definitely revs me up for the day.
  • Too Much Information Department: At the end of a session, I’ll press both types of lights directly against my testicles to stimulate the production of testosterone. It gives me a jolt of sexual energy when I use the lights that close to the skin.


SUN EXPOSURE 

  • I’d love to get sun exposure every day. But I live in a part of the world which is overcast much of the time. (The sun’s out, but it’s filtered through a heavy layer of clouds. But I do get it when possible.
  • When I am able to get sun exposure, since starting to take astaxanthin, I no longer burn, so I don’t use any sunscreen. (I prefer not to use it because of the toxins in it.) (I am not making any recommendations about whether other people should use it or not; what you do in your life is up to you.)
  • For those who do want to use sunscreens, there are some that are less toxic, both to the people using them and to the environment. 

DOING HIIT EXERCISES THREE OR FOUR TIMES A WEEK 

  • Short bouts of vigorous exercise, pushing myself till I’m out of breath to create an oxygen deficit, as a way of cranking up my body’s production of NAD+.
  • I like driving down to campus early (before teaching), and running some outdoor stairs.

FUTURE PLANS

Two things are on my agenda for this coming year:

  • Installing a home sauna. (Does anyone have any advice on which one to to buy?
  • Setting up a home gym. (Same question. I would really, really like to set up a climbing area of some sort in my basement or back yard.)

 

 


What I Eat

Eating for Longevity

To me “eating healthy” means eating food that’s high in nutrients, is grown without pesticides, and is similar to what our ancestors might have eaten. And a few other considerations…

  • In my case, my ancestors were Vikings.  For that reason, I eat lots of seafood. (I also like the notion that people may have had a semi-aquatic stage in our evolution… one of those unproven but interesting theories.) (Seafood definitely has lots of omega3s, which our brains like and need.)
  • I eat sardines several times a week because they’re high in high quality protein, rich in EPA and DHA, and low on the food chain, meaning that they’re also low in pollution.
  • I eat salmon once or twice a week, and shrimp when I can get some from a less polluted area. Plus, salmon roe two or three times a week. Also, oysters, which are rich in zinc. Love ’em.
  • When I eat red meat (once or twice a week), it’s grass fed and organic whenever possible. The seafood I eat is mostly low on the food chain, less likely to be polluted.
  • I eat broccoli steamed with tomatoes (taken together, they pack a powerful anti-cancer punch).
  • For the most part I avoid grains, sweeteners, vegetable oils and margarine.
  • I eat some fruit and berries… an apple and some blueberries several times a week. I try to keep the fruit portion low because fructose is just as damaging as table sugar. But apples have lots of pectin, which helps to naturally escort toxins out of the body.
  • I don’t drink milk, but do eat butter and make my own reuteri yogurt made from organic half-and-half and L. REUTERI 6475 (the strain that strengthens bones raises testosterone levels). 
  • I base the heart of my diet partly around recommendations from folks such as Dominick D’Agostino and Dr. Rhonda Patrick. I skip breakfast most days (a little intermittent fasting), and eat pastured eggs scrambled together with some combination of sardines, shrimp, oysters, and salmon roe.
  • I’ve also circled back a few times over the years to a little book written decades ago by Dr. Benjamin S. Frank, called “The No-Aging Diet.” While his theories about the cause of aging are a little dated, his dietary recommendations were surprisingly sound.
  • I eat LOW CARB – but not super low.  50 grams of carbs a day feels about right these days. I don’t count carbs, but eating the above foods keeps me in ketosis much of the time. 
  • I like eating foods high in sulfur – including eggs, onions, garlic and broccoli. Sulfur binds to toxins and helps remove them from the body.
  • I eat broccoli sprouts (high in sulforaphane) – once or twice a week.
  • I eat parsley,  which has several benefits in the body: (1) it helps control blood sugar (it’s actually used as a diabetes medicine in turkey); (2) it’s rich in apigenin, which appears to protect NAD levels from dropping too low, and has profound anti-carcinogenic effects.
  • I eat mushrooms because they’re high in spermidine, which has profound anti-aging effects on the body.
  • I drink coffee every morning, mostly because of studies such as this one showing that people who drink coffee every day tend to live about 30 years longer than those who don’t. 
  • I drink green tea when I remember to, for longevity and brain health.

What I don’t and won’t eat

  • I was vegan for almost three years, a couple of decades ago.  It was a mistake, and did not work well for me. My health went through a serious decline that I was only able to recover from when I added animal-based foods back into my diet.
  • I thought, during my vegan years, that a vegan diet was the healthiest one possible, and was healing for the Earth. I’ve come to the conclusion that I was mistaken in both assumptions.
  • I no longer think a healthy vegan diet is possible, even by carefully combining foods. We appear to be designed to be omnivores, with at least some animal based foods in our diet.
  • Nor do I think it is more moral or ethical than a diet based around animal food products, or better for the environment.  Animals that eat animals are not immoral, and neither are human beings. We’re simply eating the diet we’re best adapted to eat. I’ll post a video about why I feel this is true, at some future time. 
  • If you’re a vegan, I respect that choice and wish you well, but it’s not for me.
  • I’m not a carnivore (eating only meat, and avoiding all plant- based products) at this time. Eating only meat doesn’t resonate with me at the moment. I eat about 80 percent animal-based foods, and 20 percent plant-based foods. I avoid meat from factory farms and buy only from small co-ops where the animals are well cared-for until they are slaughtered. (Domesticated farm animals have an idyllic life compared to their ancestors who lived in the wild… they lucked out.)
  • Eating this way has done wonders for my health.

See also:

 

Supplements I Take

Important note:

  • I like trying out different supplements.  So I’ve ended up with a cabinet full of more than I can take in a day (or would want to).
  • I don’t take all of the supplements listed below every day. 
  • But I do take some in each category on most days.

Stack 1: T-boosters

I start most mornings with a hot-cold shower (3 minutes hot, 2 minutes cold, 3 minutes hot, 3 minutes cold). This puts a little stress on my mitochondria. After the shower, I do 10 minutes in a red light chamber. Then an hour or so later, I usually take some Testosterone-boosters. 

What I take most days:

  1. Astaxanthin (16 mg)
  2. Saw Palmetto (organic) (200 mg)
  3. Reuteri 6475 (increases T levels; fortifies bones) (1 capsule)
  4. Boron (200 mg)
  5. DHEA cream (small dollop on wrists

About these supplements: 

  • Astaxanthin and saw palmetto multiply each others’ effect. Taken together, they give T-levels a decided boost.
  • I take them partly for longevity, partly for prostate health, and partly to support high testosterone levels.
  • Astaxanthin taken internally also prevents sunburn, thought it takes a couple of weeks for it to building up to a high enough level in your body to accomplish this. Because I take it, I can get sun exposure without having to smear on toxic, carcinogenic sunscreens.
  • DHEA levels drop as we age, so it be helpful to replace it. But it’s best not to use it every day, or apply it on areas where you have body fat, as it can be accumulate in the fat. I put it on my inner wrists where there’s no body fat.
  • As noted above, I rotate them. I take three of ’em every weekday; take a break from them on the weekends; and take the others when I feel like it.

Stack 2: NAD Boosters (and mitochondrial support)

Weekday mornings:

  1. NMN – nicotinamide mononucleotide – shown to raise levels of NAD+ in the body. I’ll take 3-125 mg capsules most days, up to 6 capsules on other days
  2. Resveratrol, fisetin and/or quercetin. All three are NAD+ activators. I like taking different ones on different days. (Fisetin, in large doses, also kills senescent cells)
  3. TMG – Trimethylglycine – replaces the methyl groups that are depleted when the body metabolizes NMN.
  4. PQQ (for mitochondrial biogenesis)
  5. Ubiquinol (goes well with PQQ to support mitochondria)
  6. Should be taken with a little fat or protein

More information:

  • I’m currently taking six 125 mg. capsules of NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) every the morning, along with resveratrol(450 mg) and TMG (1 gram). NMN increases NAD+ levels in the body.
  • Resveratrol activates the NAD produced by the NMN. I feel a major difference when I take them together.
  • TMG restores the methyl groups that are used up when our bodies metabolize NMN.
  • PQQ and ubiquinol support mitochondrial biogenesis.
  • Like Dr. David Sinclair, the Harvard Medical School Professor who has done much of the research related to NMN, I take the three supplements above along with a small amount of yogurt in the morning to make sure they’re digested. Sinclair takes 1 gram per day; I take 750 mg. Then I don’t eat anything else until noon. (I sometimes also take niacin, another NAD+ booster, at night, also with resveratrol and TMG).
  • Joe Rogan interviews David Sinclair about NMN

Stack 3: Other supplements

Supplements that I take once or twice a week include:

  1. Cinnamon, chromium and/or berberine (for blood sugar) (I take ’em at night, but also sometimes during the day)
  2. Multivitamin/mineral with B vitamins – high in B12
  3. Pantethine (for endurance and longevity)
  4. PS (phosphatidyl serine) for brain health
  5. Astragalus  (for telomere health)  (astragalus is an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine, which repairs telomeres) (Note: it should NOT be taken when fasting)

Stack 4: Nighttime supplements

  1. Niacin (500 mg) (increases NAD levels; promotes sleep) (Does have one negative side effect — when taken over a stretch of time, it tends to raise glucose)
  2. Chromium picolinate (lowers blood sugar) (so I take it with the niacin and berberine)
  3. Berberine – has various benefits, but I take it with the niacin as another way of offsetting the increase in blood sugar.
  4. Magnesium threonate (for brain health)
  5. Calcium/magnesium with vitamin D
  6. Time-release NAC (keeps my breathing clear)

 


How’s it working? 

Seems good so far. I’m 66 at the time I’m writing this, and in good health all in all.  The T boosters keep my testosterone high, so I’m not all that aware of being in my sixties. No aches or pains, good energy, no mobility issues, and my mind is still sharp and clear. I’m a teacher, so I’d know pretty quickly if my mind started slipping.