An Experiment in Longevity

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.  


See also: “How to Live to be 500


I’m planning to live to be 500, while looking and feeling young –– well, at least as young as I am now –– and enjoying great health.  At that time, I may renew my option for another 500 years.

To be clear, I have no interest in becoming a crippled, withered, senile old fart, doddering around not remembering what day, year or decade it is. What I’m talking about is stopping the aging process, that process of decline that gives us sagging skin, dimming eyesight, bad hearing, bad joints, weak hearts, poorly functioning lungs, and befuddled brains. I’m interested in increasing my health-span, not just my age span: being in good health as long as I’m around, and being around as long as long as I’m having fun.

Of course, I could kick the bucket tomorrow. Or a hundred years from now. Some driver with his head up his cell phone could take me out on the freeway. Or some bozo could come shoot up a library I’m studying in. Or we could have a nuclear war, or the Earth could get hit by a chunk of space rock, or another global catastrophe could finish us all off.  

Or I could just grow old like most folks do, and die of aging in the typical way. But I’m hoping not to. There are things people can do to increase their odds of living long, long, long lives. They’re for real, and there’s good evidence suggesting they might work. Anyone who knows about them is free to do them. So I’m doing several of ’em. Cause, they’re easy, and why not? You’re welcome to join me, if you want. 


Reaching escape velocity


Some of the people who are trying to slow down the aging process are doing so in the hopes that aging itself may actually be “cured” by medical science and technology in the future –– a future we might live to see, if we play their cards right now.  Their assumption is that taking steps to minimize or reverse aging now –– even simple, basic things that can lengthen our telomeres, like meditating or taking a walk outdoors every day –– may make the difference in keeping us around long enough to be alive when medicine reaches the point of what’s called “escape velocity,” which we’ll probably arrive at in fifty or sixty years –– the point at which medical technology is able to repair the damage that the aging process does, faster than it can pile up.  At that point, assuming that the technology is available for a reasonable price, human beings won’t die of aging anymore. They could still die from other things, but aging will be removed from the list of common causes of death. 

In the meantime, even if “all” we’re doing is taking a supplement that might extend your lifespan for a few years –– or  fasting periodically, which can theoretically extend the human lifespan by thirty or forty years –– or following the guidelines in Dr. Valter Longo’s book, “The Longevity Diet,” which studies the diets of populations that tend to be long lived –– we’re increasing our odds of actually still being around, and in good health, with a live worth preserving, when a cure for aging is found. 

In sum –– taking some very specific supplements, such as astragalus, vitamin D3, vitamins B12, B6 and folate; plus taking some supplements which prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s; plus doing things like exercising, periodic prolonged fasting, and other interventions to prolong our lifespans and health-spans isn’t likely to make us live forever.  But it could help us stay alive until medicine reaches a point where we actually can live as long as we want to. Or at least if we die, aging will no longer be a common cause.


See also: “How to Live to be 500