Published on 2020-12-20 by Adam Temple
I have only recently started looking into the longevity issue. I guess it was time since gray hairs are starting to show up. Turns out it's a huge subject, so I had to create an approach that is realistic. Namely, to figure out the safest easiest and most effective things to try as I slowly learn about the field. How can this not be a lifelong pursuit?
Not interested yet? What really got me hooked was how effective certain studies have already been in slowing aging in mice and monkeys. For example, mice ended up breaking a little mice treadmill because they ran 3 km. The program that cranked the wheel wasn't programed to go any further because mice had never ran that far before. The younger control mice pooped out way before the older mice in the study. Sinclair (more on him below), said this would be like a 70 year old running faster and longer than a 20 year old. Yes, I'll take two thank you.
You might wonder how you can know the methods below are working. Besides noticing the effects yourself, you can measure how old your body is acting. There are many types of biological age tests which purport to give you your "real" age rather than your chronological age. They achieve this through looking at biomarkers, like blood tests or methylation. The cheapest best option I have found is the methylation test at https://epiagingusa.com. It's $160 at the time of writing this. The idea is that you can measure yourself before treatments, and, say a year after starting, test again to see a lowered biological age.
Sinclair got his biological down to the early 30s. Not bad for someone over 50!
Let's jump in!
Fasting Increases Lifespan
The first anecdote I remember on this subject was that Holocaust survivors lived longer. One interpretation is the fasting they underwent was the reason for it. There's much more however.
Calorie restriction in primates increases lifespan and decreases chronic disease. Meaning, the restricted monkey ate much less every day than the control. Here's a picture of two monkeys at the same age, but the younger healthier looking one was on a calorie restricted diet it's whole life.
Both monkeys are the same chronological age, but the left one clearly is older biologically.
Further reading on the calorie restricted monkey study:
Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, all cause mortality, it all gets better with fasting and calorie restriction.
Fasting is in fact, the most simple thing we can do to increase our lifespan. Even closing your daily eating window down to 6 hours allows your body to activate autophagy.
However, fasting and calorie restriction is hard, and while I dabble with fasting, are there other options that are easy?
David Sinclair is a leader in longevity research and is teaching the world about sirtuin pathways. These are genes which turn on from, well, plenty of things. Fasting, saunas, extreme heat or cold, high intensity interval training (HIIT), and more. Importantly, they can turned on chemically. You can watch a video of him on the Joe Rogan podcast or his lab website.
So what can we do besides fasting?
Enter NMN. It's a big deal. This supplement can, in short, make the body react like it is fasting, or doing one of these other activities. NMN increases a thing (NAD+) that triggers the sirtuin pathway to light up. NAD+ and mitochondria decrease in our cells as we age, while CD38 increases. We want NMN because it helps reverse this process. As of writing this (2020), it's about $5/day for dosage.
Not only that, but he describes Resveratrol, another supplement, as the gas, and NMN as the gas pedal. So you want both to get the most NAD+ rejuvenation going on in the cells.
Two supplements, that's not bad. There's clearly more to do to increase longevity, but I found these to be low hanging fruit. You need to live a healthy lifestyle too, but that's not the subject of this article.
Paying some $5/day is over $1,800/year. Not great. Also, Resveratrol, the other supplement, degrades when exposed to light and can become useless. Are there cheaper and more stable options?
It appears so. The aim here is to create more NAD+ in our cells. Anywhere between 2x-10x increase is what studies suggest is ideal. Naicin, a cheap vitamin, is proven to do this.
The researchers report that niacin treatment increased muscle NAD+ levels by 1.3-fold at 4 months and 2.3-fold after 10 months in the study group. The control group saw no increase of NAD+...1
They achieved this increase in NAD+ by starting with 250mg of Niacin daily, working their way to 750/1000mg a day over 4 months. The gradual step up is important because Niacin can cause the scary Niacin Flush reaction. Had it. Walked around like a crazy red itchy man, heart racing, for about an hour. Not recommended. This time I am starting off with about 20mg/day, so taking it quite slow.
You can purchase slow release Niacin, but some forms of that is toxic to the liver due to the chemical that is added to release the Niacin slolwo. I am skipping that for now.
That's the gas pedal in our equation because it replaces NMN. What about the gas, resveratrol?
There is an excellent replacement for it, being both cheap and better absorbed, with 80% bioavailability compared to 20% of Resveratrol. It's called Pterostilbene and comes from blueberries and has molecular structure that is nearly the same as Resveratrol. It's been studied for a while also for anti-aging:
Moreover, pterostilbene, but not resveratrol, was demonstrated to significantly decrease number of errors over a 2-day radial arm water maze test in SAMP8 mice, a model of accelerated aging that is increasingly being validated as a model of sporadic and age-related Alzheimer's disease. Pterostilbene also improved the cellular stress, inflammation, and Alzheimer's disease pathology through upregulation of PPAR-α expression, showing higher modulator potential than resveratrol.2
So that's what I am trying. I am currently supplementing with pterostilbene around 20mg/day, a resveratrol replacement, and Naicin around 20mg/day, a NMN alternative. I am ramping those up as my body gets used to them and I learn more about the subject. Once I get my DNA methylation based age scores in, I will report back.
If you want to continue you learning journey, here's a video by Modern Life Healthspan Youtube channel after being on NMN, resveratrol, TMG, Metformin, and other longevity supplements for a year: NMN Resveratrol Trial 1 Year Result | NMN Reversed My Wife's Menopause?? . Spoiler alert, it reversed his wife's menopause and she reports much more youthful menstruation!