Increase Your Healthspan With These 4 Scientist-approved Lifestyle Habits

increase your healthspan

You can increase your healthspan — those years over which you’re healthy — by incorporating four lifestyle habits. Just pick one at a time and live a better life.

increase your healthspan

Presently there are 690 articles on this website that I’ve written (visit the Library). They’re mostly about extending healthspan; possibly lifespan as well. I think it’s high time that I distilled some of this into one post that speaks to the basic lifestyle habits you need to cultivate to live long and strong.

The four healthspan longevity lifestyle habits I’m about to share with you are among the best practices advised by longevity experts such as:

  • Peter Attia, MD, (exercise, metformin, rapamycin)
  • Rhonda Patrick, PhD, (exercise)
  • David Sinclair, PhD, (sirtuins, NMN)
  • Lenny Guarente, PhD,(sirtuins, NR)
  • Mathew Walker, PhD (sleep)
  • Yoshinori Ohsumi, PhD (Nobel prize winner, autophagy)
  • Valter Longo, PhD (fasting mimicking diet)

Here’s what you’ll learn about (click to scroll):

What exactly is healthspan?

Habit #1: Restorative sleep

Habit #2: Time your nutrition

Habit #3: Consume NAD+ supplements

Habit #4: Exercise, the quickest anti-aging formula

My thanks to Podcast Notes and the article that inspired and informed this review of healthspan habits best practices.

 

What Is Healthspan?

A person’s healthspan is the length of time that he or she is healthy — not just alive, but a fully functioning human being. No one wants to live to 100 without being able to enjoy life.

Scientists have proven what it takes to make various organisms live longer and healthier, from yeast to monkeys, but these same interventions (some of which I’ll address below) haven’t been proven to lengthen the overall lifespan of humans, though some have clearly improved healthspan.

Increasing healthspan is our focus here. Conceptually, it looks like this:

The best person who comes to mind that epitomizes healthspan optimization is Jack LaLanne, who died at the age of 96 after a brief illness (pneumonia). He epitomized the healthy lifestyle, which for him included plenty of exercise, fresh, diverse food, vegetable juice and a great mental attitude.

Jack LaLanne is the perfect example of extended healthspan

Jack LaLanne is the perfect example of extended healthspan

Jack was still able to perform his daily workout routine up until the day before his death. He had been sick for only one week.

This amazing example of what’s possible in one’s Golden Years was not born with fantastic genetics or a winning demeanor. Jack was addicted to sugar and junk food in his youth. He had violent episodes directed against himself and others, describing himself as “a miserable goddamn kid…it was like hell.” He suffered from headaches and bulimia and temporarily dropped out of high school at age 14. (1)

But eventually what Jack was able to do was to string together a set of lifestyle habits that enabled him to live a long, strong, healthy life and become a legend in the process. You may not be able to become a legend, but the living long and strong part is entirely within your control.

Let’s discover how.

Healthspan Habit #1: Restorative Sleep for Weight Loss and Immunity

Three declarations:

  1. Everyone needs to sleep,
  2. Everyone does, but
  3. Many do a pretty poor job of it.

I don’t think you’ll argue with any of them once you’ve finished reading this section. Let’s begin with how poorly many of us are doing with getting enough restorative sleep.

Key Findings and Statistics about American Sleep Habits from TheGoodBody.com:

  • 35% of Americans don’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night.
  • Americans currently get on average 6.8 hours of sleep each night.
  • In 1910 the average person slept 9 hours a night.
  • Roughly 20% of Americans have a sleep disorder.
  • Since 1985 the percentage of adults getting less than six hours sleep each night has increased by 31%.
  • 97% of teenagers get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
  • 7 out of 10 college students don’t get adequate sleep.
  • Sleep deprivation costs the US $411 billion annually.

And there’s more… according to SleepAdvisor.org:

  • 50 to 70 million people in the US suffer from one or several sleep disorders.
  • 48% of people in the U.S. reported snoring problems.
  • 4.7% reported falling asleep or nodding off while driving in the preceding month.
  • 37.9% of people reported unintentionally falling asleep during the day or at work in the last 30 days.

And, as reported by the Washington Post, America is just the fourth most sleep deprived population in the world, trumped by the UK, the most sleep-deprived of the 12 countries sampled, with people in Singapore and Australia rounding off the top three ahead of the US.

 

Sleep Statistics – Compiled and curated by The Good Body

In case you’re wondering, yes, the overwhelming majority of us do need eight hours of high quality sleep. The findings of more than 100,000 sleep studies show that 0% of us can consistently survive on five hours of sleep or less without suffering health impairments.

What impairments?

These:

  • Less Testosterone: Men who sleep five to six hours a night have the same average testosterone level as men six to ten years their senior.
  • Less Cancer Inhibition: One study tracked for just one night sleep-deprived individuals that typically get only four hours of sleep per night and found that they experienced a 70% reduction in critical anti-cancer-fighting cells (natural killer cells, or cytotoxic lymphocytes that are critical to the innate immune system).
  • More Risk for Chronic Disease: Every disease that’s killing us in the developed world now has a causal link to insufficient sleep, says sleep expert Dr. Matthew Walker. This includes cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • More Calories Consumed: With less sleep, leptin gets suppressed, and ghrelin gets ramped up.
    • Leptin is the body’s main satiety hormone; it tells our brains we’re full. Ghrelin does the opposite; it’s the hunger hormone.
    • People sleeping four to five hours a night will on average eat 200 to 300 extra calories each day, adding up to 70,000 extra calories per year, and ten to 15 pounds of extra body mass.
  • More Accident Prone: With just six hours of sleep, you’re 33% more likely to get into a traffic accident.
  • Shorter Life Expectancy: The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life – a lack of sleep predicts all-cause mortality. If you’re regularly getting five hours of sleep or less, you have a 65% increased risk of dying at any moment in time, relative to people getting eight hours of sleep or more.

OK, now that you know the downside of not getting enough restorative sleep, it’s time to what to do about it. But first a word on habit making.

Bad habits are hard to break and good habits are hard to make. How to make good habits is not the focus of this article, but I sure have written lots about just that should you need a few tips.

My suggestion is that you scan the following sleep-inducing habits and select just one that you have the least amount of resistance to do on a consistent basis. Once that new habit is entrenched, add the next least-resisted action. The result is that you will gradually add all these individual habits into one cohesive habit stack.

Your Restorative Sleep Habit Stack

  • Get consistent: It’s best to go to bed at the same time every night. If you shift your sleep by a few hours, you’re going to miss certain stages. Usually sleepers pass through four stages: 1, 2, 3 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress cyclically from one through REM then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes, with each stage lasting between five to 15 minutes.
  • Get cold: Keep your room cold — 65°F (18°C)or lower is a good number, or as cold as you can tolerate.
  • Get off the cell on hour before bedtime: One hour of cell phone use will delay your body’s production of melatonin by three hours or so. Your peak level (usually occurring around 2:00 AM) will be 50% less than normal.
  • Block blue: Wear blue light blocking glasses a few hours before going to bed – excess blue light exposure (from phones, TVs, and computer screens) prevents melatonin levels from rising
  • Less caffeine:  Caffeine has a half-life of five to six hours; meaning, about five to six hours after drinking caffeine, half of it will remain in your system. It’s best to avoid caffeine after 12:00 PM so that it doesn’t negatively affect your sleep.
  • Measure/Manage: The Oura Ring is considered a good sleep tracker and comes highly recommended by Dr. Peter Attia. Other options are Fitbit (2,200 ratings of 3.9 of 5, but that doesn’t tease out the sleep track function from heart rate and fitness tracking capabilities), and Withings Sleep Tracking Pad (99 ratings averaging 3.8 of 5).

For more about SLEEP, check out:

 

Healthspan Habit #2: Time Your Nutrition

There’s an old and sage adage:

You can’t outrun your fork.

Of course, there are competitive marathon runners who can eat as much of anything they want and they will not gain weight. Likely, you’re not one of them. For you it matters what you chew and swallow. This is particularly true if we’re talking healthspan as opposed to body composition; after all, you can be skinny and unhealthy.

When it comes to optimizing healthspan, conceive of your diet by these three guideposts:

  1. What not to eat
  2. What to eat
  3. When to eat.

Don’t eat this:

  • Sugar and sugar proxies such as aspartame, splenda, saccharin. If sugar’s your thing, do yourself a favor and use limited amounts of erythritol (what I use sparingly), xylitol or stevia (my mother’s favorite). (2)
  • Soda and other sweetened drinks (even fruit juice!) (3)
  • Vegetable oils (canola, safflower, and sunflower oil) (4)
  • Processed/fast foods. (you know what these are)

Do eat this:

  • Dark/leafy greens: As much as you can.
  • Fibrous fruits: Berries, apples.
  • Raw nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds are good snack food but be aware that they’re calorically dense, so don’t eat them with wild abandon.
  • Avocados: A great omega-3 rich healthy fat.
  • Wild-caught salmon: Pacifc or Alaskan is superior to Atlantic.
  • Grass-fed beef: Less is more.
  • Healthy oils: organic, extra virgin, cold pressed olive and avocado oil.

Follow the don’t/do eat lists and you’ll be doing better than most people.

For more about WHAT TO EAT, check out:

When to eat:

  • Fewer hours each day: Limit your feeding to between eight and 12 hours each day, say from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM (12 hours), or better yet, from 11:00 PM to 7:00 (eight hours).
  • Fewer days each week: Eat the foods suggested above five days per week, eat much less (about 500 calories) or nothing (lots of green tea and pure water is OK) for two days per week, the so-called “5:2 Diet”.
  • Fewer weeks per year: Fast or eat per a fasting mimicking program, such as Dr. Valter Longo’s ProLon Program.

For more about WHEN TO EAT, check out:

Now that you have an idea of what not to eat, what to eat and when to eat, I want to dig into why caloric restriction is the sure-fired way to improve your healthspan, and possibly even lifespan.

As Dr. Peter Attia repeatedly emphasizes:

Fasting is the single most potent tool in our toolbox of nutrition.

(Click image to read the study.)

Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi discovered the importance of cellular autophagy.

Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi

Fasting — or fasting mimics, which I’ll address below — activates several cellular longevity pathways, such as the upregulation of autophagy. Understanding the importance of autophagy and how to regulate it is what gave Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi his Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2016. He discovered how cells recycle their content, a process known as autophagy, a Greek term for “self-eating”, and that process was activated by fasting.

In reporting his award, The New York Times said this about Dr. Ohsumi’s discovery:

Autophagy is a crucial process that’s critical for cells to survive and to stay healthy. During starvation, cells break down proteins and nonessential components and reuse them for energy. Cells also use autophagy to destroy invading viruses and bacteria, sending them off for recycling. And cells use autophagy to get rid of damaged structures. The process is thought to go awry in cancer, infectious diseases, immunological diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Disruptions in autophagy are also thought to play a role in aging.

We know that autophagy is a good thing and that we need to encourage it. We know that fasting activates autophagy, because at some point cells recognize there’s no need to deal with incoming nutrients because you’re not eating, so they say, “Hey, fellas, let’s clean up around here”. But it’s difficult to know just how long you need to fast before autophagy happens in any meaningful way.

What I suggest is that as a first step just stop eating all the time. Think about it — most of us start nibbling on something as soon as we arise from bed and don’t stop until we return to bed. (Some people even eat in bed!) This means that our cells only get a rest from dealing with incoming food and drink when we’re sleeping. That’s not enough down time for autophagy to happen and thereby contribute to our healthspan.

After you win the battle against continuous snacking and settle into just three meals a day, drop one. For me the easiest meal to drop is breakfast. Yes, I know that there’s a million articles that say “breakfast is the most important meal”. However, that assertion — and the studies that support it — is often based upon what tends to happen to those who skip breakfast. What happens is that they wind up consuming more calories later, often too close to bedtime when the body is at rest and the calories are not needed for energy so they get stored as body fat.

If you drop breakfast, or any other meal, make sure you don’t overeat later.

Even though we don’t really know the ideal time-restricted window for autophagy (other than total fasting for two-plus days), we do know that doing all your eating and drinking (other than unsweetened coffee, tea and water) during an eight hour time frame increases insulin sensitivity, improves blood sugar levels, lowers blood pressure, reduces overall levels of inflammation in the body, and often makes it easier to reduce your total calorie intake.  All of these biometrics conspire to lengthen your healthspan.

Once you feel comfortable fasting for 16 hours (this includes sleep time) and eating for eight, pick a day or two to extend the fast period. When you become familiar with going 20 hours between meals, try experimenting with a prolonged fast of a full day, then two days, then three. Of course, you can lengthen the fasting period from there. Dr. Peter Attia does a seven day fast once per quarter. This may be the sweet spot when it comes to optimizing for longevity.

Dr. Valter Longo

If all this sounds masochistic, you can elect to try the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet developed by Dr. Valter Longo. Studies on it show that — as the name suggests — the ProLon meal plan enables the same longevity-supporting cellular responses that fasting does, even though you’re eating, although eating less. You may learn more about ProLon here.

The last point I want to make about “when to eat” is when to stop. We covered various periods of time when you don’t eat, but very important is what time each day that you stop eating all together, as I detail in When You Eat Is More Important Than What You Eat. The proposition that when you eat trumps what you eat has many scientific studies behind it, none so convincing as those done by Dr. Satchidananda Panda, the Professor of Regulatory Biology Laboratory a the Salk Institute where he studies the genes, molecules and cells that keep the whole body on the same circadian clock.

Dr. Panda’s work proves that:

When you eat (and when you don’t) is more important to your health than what and how much you eat!

Based on the research about optimizing our feeding windows relative to our circadian clocks, researchers like Dr. Panda advise that the last food you pop into your mouth should occur no later than 7:00 PM. You may read more about why this is so here, and watch Dr. Panda’s TED Talk below.

 

Your Nutrition Timing Habit Stack

  • The easiest way to put your eating on the clock is to gradually eat dinner earlier. In each succeeding week, drop the time you eat your last meal, or drink your last drink (other than tea and water) by one-half hour until you get to 7:00 PM. Right after your last meal, brush your teeth with a strong tasting toothpaste that will make eating something unappealing; Tom’s brand no fluoride Fennel is a good choice.
  • Once you’ve acclimated to ending the feeding frenzy by 7:00 PM, choose a meal to drop each day (or most days) to extend the time during which you’re fasting, or select one or two days per week that you restrict calories (men 800 calories; women 500 calories), or don’t eat at all on those days.

Click here for original source material for NUTRITION TIMING habit

Healthspan Habit #3: Consume NAD+ Boosting Supplements

By now you have an appreciation that restricting calories is a sure-fire way to extend your healthspan. In all animal models tested, caloric restriction — or mimicking it — also extends healthy lifespan. The difference between healthspan and healthy lifespan is that in the case of the former (healthspan), average lifespan is the same even though the health of an organism (including us) lasts longer; whereas in the case of the latter (healthy lifespan), the average lifespan is both extended, and healthy.

We know that caloric restriction improves the healthspan of humans, but we’re unsure if it also confers longer life overall. Humans are long-lived, and none will willingly subject themselves to a life resembling that of a lab mouse. Research on such mice tell us that various modes of caloric restriction do confer longer life, and from such results many scientists presume that caloric restriction, or their mimics, might also lengthen healthy human lifespan.

You already are familiar with various caloric restriction modalities, and now it’s time to look at what molecules — some available in over-the-counter supplements — that mimic caloric restriction without you actually needing to reduce calories (although that’s always helpful).

To understand how this all works, we need to learn about sirtuins.

Sirtuins, the Longevity Genes Vital To Healthspan

Sirtuins, nicknamed “the longevity genes”, are a family of protein enzymes involved in regulating cellular processes, including the aging and death of cells and their resistance to stress. They remove acetyl tags from histones and other proteins and, by doing so, change the packaging of your DNA, turning genes off and on when needed. These critical epigenetic regulators sit at the very top of cellular control systems, controlling our reproduction and our DNA repair.

DNA breaks in chromosomes distract the sirtuin complex resulting in genes that inappropriately get turned on. You may recall from your high school biology that chromosomes are threadlike structures of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells. They carry genetic information in the form of genes. Mammals like us have seven sirtuins.

Insults to the genome, such as a double strand break, distract sirtuins from their job of responding to various cellular stresses as they go into gene repair mode. Over the term of, say, an 80-year life, the cumulative damage caused by gene expression (getting turned on) when they should not is a good part of what makes us old.

Simply put:

Sirtuins are genes which protect all organisms (like us) from deterioration and disease.

Much of the research done by Dr. David Sinclair’s research work, and that of his mentor and post doctoral advisor, Dr. Lenny Guarente, is focused on the role that sirtuins have in how we age, and how we can support their function. (As you’ll soon see, this led Dr. Sinclair to his NMN supplement research.)

The focus of the research on sirtuins is to find out how to make them more robust, and then see how that affects the aging process. In all the animal models studied, improving sirtuin function extended both health and lifespan, but what about in humans?  We don’t know for sure, but that hasn’t stopped researchers like Sinclair and Guarantee (and myself and thousands of others) to take the supplement compounds that worked so well in animal models.

The problem with sirtuins is that they depend on the coenzyme NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) to function. That’s a problem because the older we get, the less NAD+ is produced by our body. By age 50 people have about half as much NAD+ in their bodies as they did at age 20, and by age 80 NAD+ levels drop to 10% expressed in youth, or less. (5)

NAD+ is responsible for hundreds of critical biological processes, including creating energy, regulating sleep/wake cycles, and maintaining healthy DNA.

If you didn’t have NAD+ in your body, you’d be dead in about 30 seconds.

Given that this is an unappealing outcome, and that we all face dramatically declining NAD+ as we age, I want to tell you about how you might boost your body’s production of NAD+

NR and NMN — Two NAD+ Precursors That May Improve Healthspan In Humans

 

Increase your NAD+ levels(Go here to read the article associated with the above image.)

There is a silver lining to this declining NAD+ story. Apparently, at least two widely available molecules in supplement form — NR and NMN — boost NAD+ levels. I say “apparently” because although this has been proven in various animal models, such as with mice, only limited human trials have been conducted and published for NR, with human trials on NMN underway, but not completed and published.

Such uncertainty has not stopped a booming subset of the supplement industry making NR and NMN and selling it to a public that eagerly consumes it, including many of the scientists who study these molecules (and their families), such as Drs. Sinclair, Guarente and Attia, and tens of thousands of regular folk, me among them.

Basically, we’re taking the chance that the NAD+ precursors NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) and NR (nicotinamide riboside) that are so effective with mice and other organisms will likewise work for us. There’s no reason we know of that these two precursors won’t increase our NAD+ through a series of chemical transformations, just as it does for other animals.

The two brands that seem to dominate the NR supplement market are Dr. Lenny Guarente’s Basis, produced by his company, Elysium Health, and Tru Niagen. Assuming that the NR ingredient in each is of the same purity, the obvious difference in the two products is that Basis also contains pterostilbene; whereas, Tru Niagen only contains NR.

Similar to resveratrol, pterostilbene is a powerful polyphenol created by plants to protect against internal and external stress. It’s available in the human diet in certain types of berries, but only in trace amounts. Pterostilbene is more bioavailable than other plant-derived compounds in the same family, such as resveratrol, meaning that it’s more readily absorbed by the body, and lab studies have shown that it may improve metabolic health, in particular by activating sirtuins. (6)

My 2 cents on this is that pterostilbene works synergistically with NR (or NMN) to boost NAD+ and sirtuins and therefore has the edge on Tru Niagen. I’ve been taking Basis for two years. I can’t make any claims about it simply because I wouldn’t be able to identify which of the many anti-aging interventions I do is contributing to my health.

Basis is also the only NR product that has been tested in a human trial, albeit Elysium Health sponsored it. Here’s a summary from the study:

The first-in-humans, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study assessed the safety and efficacy of taking repeat doses of Basis — a combination of nicotinamide riboside (NR) and pterostilbene — in a population of 120 healthy adults ages 60-80. The results? Regular doses of Basis increased NAD+ levels by an average of 40 percent.

Elysium Health incentivizes you to try Basis by offering discounts based on referrals.

Get discounts on Basis by referring others.

Introduce a friend to Basis, and they’ll get a free month with their six-month or one-year subscription. The company will give you $50 in Basis credit (good for one bottle) for each person you refer who subscribes — and a $100 bonus when you reach ten friends.

If this is appealing, you may begin with my referral link. 🙂

Now, let’s turn to NMN.

There’s a raging debate about which is the better NAD+ activator, NMN or NR.  NR does have the edge given that it (along with pterostilbene) has a human study with positive results that Elysium Health sponsored, but which is better for humans will be inconclusive until results from the NMN human trials are published.

I’ve read several mouse studies about NMN and NR, and more importantly, have read the conclusions of scientists who have read studies of both NMN and NR. I can tell you that the respective sellers of each have their own axe to grind when attesting their respective superiority, but that there’s no definitive science proving which is better. (For an insightful comparison of NMN vs NR read
NMN and NR: How These NAD+ Precursors Measure Up.)

That said, a world renowned anti-aging researcher is putting his money, sorta speak, on NMN. Dr. David Sinclair is a tenured professor in the world’s leading genetics department at Harvard University. He’s also the Founding Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for Aging Research, a group that now includes four labs at Harvard and a consortium of 11 universities across the country. One of the primary areas of all the research done by his labs and this consortium is on NMN.

Dr. Sinclair told podcaster Joe Rogan about his NMN research and personal healthspan longevity habits in a rambling two-plus hour podcast that I summarized in Anti-aging Doc, David Sinclair Tells Joe Rogan About His Groundbreaking NMN Supplement Research. Here’s what he had to say about his use of NMN:

  • Dr. Sinclair takes one gram of NMN powder every morning mixed in yogurt so the fat in the yogurt to improve NMN assimilation. He also takes 500 mgs of resveratrol mixed in the yogurt and an unknown amount of metformin, but probably between 500 and 1,000 mgs.
  • His confidence in this NMN molecule comes from the many studies he’s done for his NMN supplement research on various animal models, such as mice. With mice, taking NMN has proven to make them appear more youthful, and “they get the benefit of exercise without having to exercise”, such as increasing the amount of time and distance run.
  • Like Sinclair and the rest of his (adult) family, his 80 year-old father takes NMN, metformin and resveratrol. It’s anecdotal, but his father attributes his ability to regularly exercise vigorously to his NMN supplementation. To showcase his growing prowess, he recently climbed 40 flights of stairs in just 15 minutes, boasts his son, David.
Metformin: the diabetes drug repurposed for healthspan longevity

Metformin is a long-used, safe prescription drug developed to lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics. Researchers discovered that in addition to lowering blood sugar, metformin also was protective against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic conditions associated with aging and diminishing healthspan. Scientists like Nir Barzilai, PhD began studying metformin as an anti-aging drug, and the results so far are promising.

Here are a few quotes from worldwide news resources as reported by Life Extension Magazine:

  • “Although it might seem like science fiction, researchers have already proven that the diabetes drug metformin extends the life of animals, and the Food and Drug Administration in the US has now given the go-ahead for a trial to see if the same effects can be replicated in humans.”
  • I have been doing research into aging for 25 years and the idea that we would be talking about a clinical trial in humans for an anti-aging drug would have been thought inconceivable…20 years ago aging was a biological mystery. Now we are starting to understand what is going on.”
  • “Scientists think the best candidate for an anti-aging drug is metformin, the world’s most widely used diabetes drug, which costs just 10p [15 cents] a day. Metformin increases the number of oxygen molecules released into a cell, which appears to boost robustness and longevity.”
  • If we can slow aging in humans, even by just a little bit, it would be monumental. People could be older, and feel young.”
  • This would be the most important medical intervention in the modern era, an ability to slow aging.”

Dr. Simon Melov of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging said about Metformin:

You’re talking about developing a therapy for a biological phenomenon which is universal and gives rise to all of these diseases. And if you’ve got a therapy for this thing, these diseases just go away.

And Dr. Peter Attia adds his perspective:

The more metabolically ill you are, the more benefit you probably get from metformin. (7)

If you’re interesting in metformin, read my article, Do These 2 Anti-aging Pills Really Work? Part 2.

Rapamycin, the immune suppression drug repurposed for healthspan longevity

I want to cover rapamycin because it’s a promising healthspan longevity drug, but I caution you that not enough is known about it for you to safely take it on your own without the supervision of a medical doctor who is familiar with it.

Rapamycin is a compound that binds to a complex called mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) in our cells and inhibits it, which is a good thing. mTOR does many things, but perhaps most important is it regulates autophagy. Remember that autophagy is the self-cleaning process where a cell breaks down its damaged components and remakes them – this is essentially the cell rejuvenating itself. The dysfunctional cells (like cancer cells) tend to be “eaten” first. When mTOR activity is turned down, the body is more likely to undergo autophagy.

controlling glucose

Dr. Peter Attia

Let’s once again give Dr. Attia the mike:

If you look at the administration of rapamycin across about a billion years worth of evolutionary animal models, everything from yeast to worms, fruit flies to mammals (mice and dogs), this compound seems to universally increase life. (8)

Dr. Attia uses rapamycin, but then he’s a medical doctor who can regularly test himself for unwanted side effects. A far safer way than rapamycin to supress mTOR is periodic long-term fasts.

If you’re interested in rapamycin, I encourage you to wait till more about it is known. In the meantime, read my article, Do These 2 Anti-aging Pills Really Work? Part 1.

Other Healthspan Longevity Supplements

Consuming ceylon cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, berberine, amla, fenugreek and bitter melon extract can lower your blood glucose levels. Low fasting blood sugar is thought to aide healthspan. (9)

Fisetin (found in wild strawberries) and Quercetin (found in wild apples) are sirtuin-activating compounds which protect your mitochondria and help reduce senescent cells, which are considered to be a big part of unhealthy aging. (See my article, Can Senolytic Drugs Delay Aging.)

Calorie restriction mimetics are things that mimic the physiological benefits of fasting. ProLon is the most studied of these, but ketone esters may be useful as well. These are among the best ketone esters on the market:

Your NAD+ Supplement Boosting Habit Stack

  • If you can fast regularly, say one to two days per week, or seven days every quarter as Dr. Peter Attia does, then you can pass on the NMN, NR and the senolytic supplements that reduce senescent cells. If you can’t or won’t, keep reading…
  • Choose either an NR product (Basis or Tru Niagen) or an NMN product (I use those offered by ProHealth — Disclaimer, I consult for the company and it’s owned by my close friend, Rich Carson). How much you take of either NAD+ booster is dependant on your budget. If you can afford it, I’d start with 250 mgs of one, or 125 mgs of each if taking both, and gradually work your way up to Dr. Sinclair’s dose of 1 gram. In my case, I take 500 mgs of Basis (NR) and 500 mgs of ProHealth NMN  Powder. If you decide on Tru Niagen, also take pterostilbene and resveratrol. USA Pure is a good pterostilbene brand and for resveratrol, the Purely Benefical brand is highly rated. Shoot for 500 mgs of either one, or if you take them both, 250 mgs each.

Healthspan Habit #4: Exercise, the quickest anti-aging formula

It’s really very simple — humans were made to move, not to sit still.

There’s a reason that scientist coined the phrase,

Sitting it the new smoking.

Here are a few points to drive home the point that you must exercise if you want to extend your healthspan:

  • Exercise is the single most important thing you can do to preserve brain health.
  • There have been multiple studies showing aerobic exercise helps with executive function and long-term planning.
  • Strength training has been shown to prevent muscle atrophy (the wasting away of muscle), and lower the incidence of cancer.
  • Resistance training has been proven to have a significant effect on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Lifting weights turns your muscles into, in effect, a sponge that enables them to suck glucose out of the blood and thereby lower your blood glucose.
  • Aerobic exercises has been proven to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps to support the survival of existing neurons and encourages the growth, regeneration, and creation of new neurons and synapses. In other words, exercise keeps your brain young.
  • Resistance training has been proven to speed up the body’s metabolism and help you burn more calories.

I’ve written a lot about exercise. Perhaps one of these can help you fine tune your current program or help you begin to exercise:

Why You Must Exercise for Longevity and How To Do It
How To Age Better, Beat Cancer and Diabetes With Exercise
How An Exercise Mindset and A Few Minutes Can Make You Ageless
How To Get Lean and Muscular

Your Exercise Habit Stack

  • If you haven’t been off the couch for awhile, grab a friend and go for a walk. Do it every day. Once you get used to it, walk up hills. If there’s no hill, walk faster. If your knees cry out, bike, or swim. The friend thing is important, because you’ll hold each other accountable. Choose someone you won’t let down.
  • After you’ve walked for awhile, or if you haven’t been hugging the couch exclusively for the last decade, go to Youtube and learn how to do some bodyweight exercises (calisthenics) and/or weight lifting, or use resistance bands. Again, do this with a friend until it becomes a habit.
  • Once you get familiar with resistance training (weights, calisthenics, etc.), try some high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT will actually drive up your growth hormone, just one reason that exercise intensity confers healthspan benefits. I’ve written a lot about HIIT; one of these articles will get you going.

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Your Takeaway

Scientists aren’t exactly sure what will definitely increase a human’s lifespan, but they know that healthspan — the years over which you’re healthy — can be increased.

Do these six things habitually to increase your healthspan longevity:

  1. Restorative sleep;
  2. Reduce the time period within which you eat;
  3. Don’t eat past 7:00 PM;
  4. Boost your NAD+ (that then will activate sirtuins) via fasting, or supplements such as NMN and NR, and perhaps metformin;
  5. Reduce senescent cells with senolytics, such as fisetin and quercetin; and
  6. Exercise — regularly and with intensity, at least sometimes.

Start today. You’ll make Jack LaLanne proud.

 

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Joe Garma
 

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

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