3 Ways To Stay Young, Part 1: Dr. Roizen and Ray Kuzweil Lead The Way
There are literally hundreds of ways to stay young — from small seemingly unimportant things like flossing, to the big ones, like diet. Here are three simple, straightforward ways to stay young no matter your actual age.
MY MOTHER handed me a two-page printout of an article called something like “The Three Most Important Medical Stories to Help You Stay Young”. She hands me a lot of things; so much so that when I visit her I can quickly feel inundated with information.
This time, however, I paid attention. I noted the author, which immediately gave the information some credibility. This handout was written by Dr. Michael Roizen, the less voluble of the Dr. Oz/Dr. Roizen team that wrote three NY Times Bestsellers: YOU Staying Young, YOU Having A Baby and YOU Being Beautiful.
Michael Roizen, M.D., is Chief Wellness officer and Chair of the Wellness Institute at the renowned Cleveland Clinic. What he does very well is to unwind complicated medical information and science so that the layperson can grasp the essence of it.
The Dr. Roizen-written handout my mother gave me summarized three things that, as Roizen writes, “can help you stay young”. Each is supported with quite a bit of scientific backing.
I’ve written about each of these before, but want to share his perspective. Then I want to comment on how this all factors nicely into Futurist, Inventor and Google Engineer, Ray Kurzweil’s “Three Bridges” conceptualization of how the future capacity for anti-aging is likely to happen.
What you’ll learn in this article:
- Three simple ways to stay young that you can begin today
- A fourth bonus strategy
- How this all blends into Ray Kurzweil’s “Three Bridges”
Dr. Michael Roizen’s 3 Ways To Stay Young
Given that it was written on paper, I can’t link to what he wrote, but what follows is a summary of Dr. Roizen’s depiction of three of the most important medical stories that were publicized last year (2015) that can do a lot to help you stay young.
In a nutshell, they are:
- Fast periodically
- Keep your grip strong
- Eat DMB
Yes, odd – you may be thinking, “what does fasting have to do with a strong grip and what the heck is ‘DMB’”? Well, grasshopper, those questions will be answered straight away.
#1 Try Fasting Periodically
In a 2015 study from the University of Southern California (“USC”) researchers tested a super-short periodic fast diet strategy that offers the potential benefits of both continual calorie reduction and fasting.
The neat thing here is that this strategy doesn’t necessitate abandoning whatever you’re eating most of the time.
In the study, mice ate low-calorie diets for five days twice a month for several months. Humans ate a low-calorie, healthy diet for just five days a month for three months.
Compared to their brethren who maintained their usual eating habits, mice on the eating plan:
- Had less cancer,
- Lost more heart-threatening abdominal fat,
- Developed stronger immunity,
- Displayed sharper thinking skills,
- IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor) levels decreased (elevated levels can promote cancer cell growth), and
- They lived longer.
Yes, yes, yes, I know you’re not a mouse, cause none read my articles. That said, mouse models are useful because no one can jail the scientists that poke, prod and dissect these little creatures whose biological and behavior characteristics closely resemble those of humans, and many symptoms of human conditions can be replicated in them (and rats).
Although in the USC study your fellow human subjects could not be manipulated the same as their mouse cohorts, they did experience improvements in biomarkers linked to a lower risk for:
- Diabetes, and
- Heart disease.
So, how was this achieved?
These improved biomarkers resulted from a “fast-mimicking diet” that combines a five-day low-calorie plan followed by regular eating.
What seems to be happening is that flipping from normal eating to caloric-restricted eating causes autophagy and stem cell growth.
I wrote about autophagy in 11 Ways To Increase Your Lifespan. This is a mouthful, but I defined it thusly:
“Autophagy is the intracellular process that mediates the digestion of cellular components in lysosomes. The autophagic system fulfills two major functions in mammalian cells, serving both as an alternative source of energy, when nutrients are scarce and as an efficient mechanism for the removal of any intracellular damage structure.”
Think of it as a Pac-man inside each of your cells that chases downs, consumes and recycles dysfunctional stuff.
Click here to watch two videos – one on how senescent cells age you and one about cellular autophagy.
Watch and Learn How Senescent Cells Age You
2:35 A key finding is that senescent cells that accumulate are largely bad, do bad things to your organs and tissues and therefore you know shorten life.
4:47 A number of diseases that are occurring at very high rates in the population such as pulmonary fibrosis COPD, atherosclerosis, have in common an abnormal amount of senescent cells at the sites where the disease occurs.
5:58 One of the primary findings we observe was a very dramatic lifespan improvement in these animals, living roughly 25 to 35 percent longer than what the normal untreated mouse would be living. Not only do we have this extension in life span we also had an extension in their healthy lifespan so these animals seem to be prevented from having various age-related deterioration is happening in a variety of tissues with age.
The USC study showed that the low-calorie portion of the plan prompts the death of aging cells throughout the body, and that may increase cells’ resistance to stress.
(Read how stress affects telomere’s in How Depression and Stress Makes Us Age Faster.)
Then, on the normal eating part of the plan, the extra calories prompts an increase in the number of stem cells—the cells that help repair and rebuild tissue throughout the body.
What You Can Do:
If you’re interested in this eating this way as part of your strategy to live a long and healthy life, check out BBC health journalist Michael Mosely’s books on the subject, and read my article on intermittent fasting, called Why Intermittent Fasting Is Your Ticket To A Long and Healthy Life. (Mosely’s work is summarized there too.)
#2 Improve Your Grip Strength
Dr. Roizen encourages you not to ignore your grip strength:
“Building grip strength in midlife protects you from the inability to do activities of daily life, like dressing, and mobility problems later on and keeps you active longer”, he says.
This contention is supported by several studies over the last few decades that indicate grip strength to be predictive of risk of disability and even death.
In 2015, a study conducted by Prospective Urban-Rural Epidemiology (PURE) put 142,000 people’s grip strength to the test in 17 countries. They found that your grip strength really does predict if you will live long and prosper, sorta speak.
Though the predictive capability of grip strength is clear, what’s not is why grip strength is a comparatively better predictor of disability and death than overall muscle mass, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol levels, etc.
Think of it like gravity – you may not know how it works, but knowing what it does is useful information to contemplate before you decide to step off a cliff.
What You Can Do:
It’s a bit nutty, but you can try Dr. Roizen’s “Nutty Rice Bucket” test for grip strength. (Go here.)
Click here to see Dr. Roizen’s “rice bucket” video.
Or, if rice buckets’ ain’t your thing, you can squeeze your scale.
As I wrote here about the PURE study,
“… every 5 kg (11 pounds) of declining grip strength was associated with a 16% increase in death from any cause, a 17% greater risk of cardiovascular death, and a 17% higher risk of non-cardiovascular mortality”.
I’m pleased to report that based on adult male and female grip strength and by various age groups as presented by Complete Strength Training, my two-hand pound grip mark of 95 kgs (210 lbs) is between the “very good” and “excellent” range for a man my age (60 – 69 year-olds), which is 100 kgs (220 lbs).
Average Adult Male and Female Grip Strength per Hand 30 – 39 Year Olds, Both Hands 40 – 49 Year Olds, Both Hands 50 – 59 Year Olds, Both Hands 60 – 69 Year Olds, Both Hands
Click here for tables on Average Adult Male and Female Grip Strength to see where you stand.
in Kilograms (Kg) (1 kg = 2.2 lbs)
Classification Male, Left Male, Right Female, Left Female, Right Excellent > 68 > 70 > 37 > 41 Good 56 – 67 62 – 69 34 – 36 38 – 40 Average 43 – 55 48 – 61 22 – 33 25 – 37 Below Average 39 – 42 41 – 47 18 – 21 22 – 24 Poor < 39 < 41 < 18 < 22 Rating Male Female Excellent ≥ 115 ≥ 71 Very Good 104 – 114 63 – 70 Good 95 – 103 58 – 62 Fair 84 – 94 51 – 57 Needs Improvement ≤ 83 ≤ 50 Rating Male Female Excellent ≥ 108 ≥ 69 Very Good 97 – 107 61 – 68 Good 88 – 96 54 – 60 Fair 80 – 87 49 – 53 Needs Improvement ≤ 79 ≤ 48 Rating Male Female Excellent ≥ 101 ≥ 61 Very Good 92 – 100 54 – 60 Good 84 – 91 49 – 53 Fair 76 – 83 45 – 48 Needs Improvement ≤ 75 ≤ 44 Rating Male Female Excellent ≥ 100 ≥ 54 Very Good 91 – 99 48 – 53 Good 84 – 90 45 – 47 Fair 73 – 83 41 – 44 Needs Improvement ≤ 72 ≤ 40
Average Adult Male and Female Grip Strength per Hand
30 – 39 Year Olds, Both Hands
40 – 49 Year Olds, Both Hands
50 – 59 Year Olds, Both Hands
60 – 69 Year Olds, Both Hands
If you need to improve your grip strength, try two things:
Thing One: Every other day, spend time squeezing a hand gripper. Here’s a good one. I use Captains of Crush. If you get this one, make sure you select the resistance level appropriate for you. They’re marked by pounds, from 60 lbs to 365 lbs (remember, this is for one hand).
Thing Two: On those days you’re not squeezing the hand gripper, hang from a chin-up bar, or some approximation. Squeeze your hands tightly and don’t let go till your grip begins to fail. Repeat this a few times.
Note: Although your hands can take a lot of abuse, they can wear out, so make sure you take days off from your grip strengthening routine when fatigue sets in.
#3 Eat DMB
“DMB” is a compound found in various foods, such as extra virgin olive oil, red wine, balsamic vinegar and grape seed oils.
The reason you want to eat it is because DMB can stop bacteria in your digestive system from turning the choline, l-carnitine and lecithin in some foods into a harmful compound called TMAO.
TMAO (“Trimethylamine N-oxide”) is a heart-threatening substance produced by bacteria in your gut as they gleefully chow down on foods such as red meat. TMAO can be harmful by plugging up arteries with more plaque, and even make cancer thrive and kill brain cells too, says Dr. Roizen.
Rozien’s Cleveland Clinic uncovered a “Superman” compound that thwarts TMAO and — in addition to lower your risk for heart attack and stroke – may help with kidney problems and even wrinkles.
DMB is that super compound, and it can reduce TMAO in the bloodstream and reduce or reverse atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty, gunky plaque in artery walls). Moreover, in the digestive system, DMB can decrease TMA-producing bacteria.
You don’t have to become a vegan to reduce TMAO levels, but it helps, says Roizen. It appears TMAO levels won’t increase if you eat less than four ounces of red meat, eight ounces of lean pork, or two egg yolks per week (in combination). Fish is a better substitute, but limit servings of tilapia, cod, and Chilean sea bass—the samples of these tested contained more TMAO than other seafood.
What You Can Do:
Do three things:
- Chose to eat per the Mediterranean Diet, which includes ample amounts of extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, red wine and balsamic vinegar, as reported in Livescience.
- Consume the specific type of olive oil that has DMB, such as the extra virgin cold pressed olive oils produced in Spain, Turkey, Greece and California. La Tourangelle from Spain is an example. You need 2-4 tablespoons a day, which is highly caloric, so adjust your intake of other foods accordingly. Store olive oil away from light in a tightly capped brown bottle to preserve DMB.
- Eat less meat.
Click here to read Chris Kresser’s contray view that meat makes TMAO and Dr. Michael Greger’s affirmation that it does.
Chris Kresser articles:
Red Meat and TMAO: Cause for Concern, or Another Red Herring?
Dr. Michael Greger videos:
Carnitine, Choline, Cancer, and Cholesterol: The TMAO Connection
If eating less meat and eggs is perplexing because you don’t know how to prepare alternative, vegetable-based meals, just start with some juice. Here’s the mistro of plant-based nutrition, Dr. Michael Greger showing you his favorite juice recipe:
It you have any doubt about the ability of plants to power up your healthspan, check out Dr. Greger’s books:
#4 (Extra Credit) Do HIIT
I simply can’t help myself. I have to add exercise to your three longevity enhancing, youth-stimulating strategies.
I’ve written quite a bit about how exercise is an effective anti-aging activity that makes a world of difference in how you age and the vitality experienced over your lifetime. (Here’s a list.)
In 3 Expert-approved Anti-aging Exercise Routines You Can Do, and Why You Should Bother, I listed just a few of the benefits of exercise, particularly resistance training:
- You’ll re-ignite your metabolism, reprogramming your body so you can readily start burning fat right away.
- You’ll reboot your endocrine system, creating a resurgence of youth enhancing hormones so can get infinitely more energy—and replace flab with lean, strong muscle while boosting your sex drive
- You’ll fortify your body by regaining bone density, muscle and building a solid foundation.
- Boost your brain power, enhancing memory and improving your cognitive function making you as sharp as a tack
- You’ll dramatically decelerate your body’s aging process. So, your biological age will age slower than your chronological age—making you look and feel younger each year that passes.
The most effective way to get all these benefits is by doing HIIT, which stands for “high intensity interval training”.
As reported by ergo-log.com, “If you spend just ten minutes doing interval training three times a week you’ll find yourself becoming noticeably fitter, healthier and slimmer”, according to Canadian sports scientists.
In each of those three sessions, you only need to exert yourself three times for 20 seconds. But the exertion needs to be full throttle.
The researchers made these findings:
The major novel finding from the present study was that 12 weeks of sprint interval training in previously inactive men improved insulin sensitivity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content to the same extent as traditional moderate-intensity continuous training, despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and training time commitment.
Note #1: Although women weren’t tested in the study, I’d bet my last penny that they would respond similarly. Remember what those female sprinters look like?
Note #2: Listen up and listen good! Unless you’re already doing explosive exercises, like sprinting or jumping, you have to start any HIIT program slowly. The potential for injuries are huge if you’re not careful.
What You Can Do:
First, know that the only place you can begin from is where you are.
If you’re overweight, out of shape and achy, you have to begin with whatever you can do. Perhaps that’s walking and stretching. Check out these mobility exercises and/or consider taking yoga classes.
If you’re healthy enough to begin to exercise with some vigor, grab a buddy for some good ole esprit de corps and follow a program. Check out this six part series I wrote.
You’re On Your Way To Kuzweil’s Second Bridge
Ray Kuzweil is a lot of things: author, inventor, futurist, Google engineer, co-founder of the Singularity University and more. The Wall Street Journal called him “the restless genius and the “ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. (source)
Pertinent to this article is Ray Kuzweil’s work on longevity. He wrote several books on the subject and has made himself a guinea pig for his hypothesis that eating superfood-packed meals and consuming a boatload of supplements will enable him to pass over the first bridge on his trip toward an extended lifespan.
So, what’s with this bridge talk?
As I wrote about in Ray Kuzweil’s March To Extend Life, he visualizes a three-bridge process for getting to the point where lifespan can be extended indefinitely.
The key thing about this three-bridge theory is to get across the first bridge; meaning, staying healthy enough – and alive – for science to bring us to the second and third bridges.
The First Bridge is accessible to most of us right now, because what’s needed to cross it is currently available. Getting the right mindset, diet, supplements, hormone balance, microbiota, detoxification and exercise are sufficient, says Ray, to cross the First Bridge and let us embark on the second.
(How to cross the First Bridge is the subject of a book I’m writing.)
The Second Bridge, Ray predicts, will lead to biological enhancements at the cellular and genetic levels through the use of gene therapy, stem cells, therapeutic cloning and replacement cells, tissues and organs. These therapies, he thinks, will enable us to turn back our biological clocks.
The Third Bridge is Ray’s most controversial. This one will lead to a merger of nanotech and artificial intelligence, he says. Envisioned here are swarms of specialized, programmable, communicating nanobots that will replace old-fashioned neurons and blood cells. Such nanobots will be able to destroy infections, reverse degenerative changes and rewrite genetic code.
Currently, this is science fiction, but Ray believes that the key technologies will develop on schedule, 2045 — the date he projects for “The Singularity”.
We started off talking about four proven strategies to improve your health and possibly extend your lifespan. They were:
- Alternate between under eating and typical eating each week, or practice intermittent fasting;
- Improve your grip strength by exercising with a hand gripper and holding your body weight by gripping something you can hang from, like a chin-up bar;
- Counterbalance toxins certain gut bacteria produce when feeding on meat in your digestive tract by consuming a compound called DMB found in some olive oils and other foods; and
- Do high intensity interval training.
These are all things readily available and useful for making you healthy enough to cross Ray Kurzweil’s First Bridge.
In Part 2, we’re going to examine three anti-aging drugs now being tested on animals that have shown promising results, so much so that they’re fairly close to human trials.
Stay tuned for that.
Update: Here’s Part 2.Read Part 2 >