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Prepare for it with your nutrition choices now, writes author, professor, and Cleveland Clinic’s Michael F. Roizen, MD.
Scientific research on aging mechanisms is advancing like information technology (IT) did in the last decade: exponentially. So much so that it’s likely that longevity will be the greatest disruptor ever.
Over the past 150 years, life expectancy at birth in the U.S. increased from about 41 to 78 years. This gain in life expectancy since 1870 has occurred in a relatively straight line of about a 2.5-year gain every 10 years. This gain in life expectancy was initially due to improvements in sanitation and infant health, and later because of improvements in the management of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes.
For instance, say you are 55. Your life expectancy was 74 when you were born; it is now 82. We expect it to be closer to 115, but you’ll be a lot younger today as you get to 115. This jump—30 or more years of living in just 10 years—is unprecedented.
You’re about to be able to live longer and younger. This jump in how long you will live is due to exponential progress in 14 areas of aging research and medical advancements.
14 Areas of Aging Research and Medical Advancements
While science will show incredible advances when it comes to extending and improving life, the fact is that we can’t rely on everyone else to do the work. Over the following decades, you may have dozens of decisions to make about how to care for your body, but that decision-making should start right now.
Genetics vs. Daily Choices
While some argue that longevity is genetic, others say that living a long life is simply a choice. I believe both play a significant role in a person’s longevity. The answer resides in the science resulting from human genome projects.
When they started, the genome projects expected to find 300,000 genes based on the quantity of DNA in nuclei. What they found were about 22,500 genes, and the rest were called “junk DNA.” Fast-forward eight years, and researchers found that the “junk DNA” were switches (called EpiGenes) that controlled whether or not genes were producing proteins.
Which genes are turned on or off is largely under your control. You control about 80% of which genes are on by the choices you make every day—many of which are nutrition choices.
For example, when you eat foods with carnitine and saturated fats like red meats, you actually turn on genes in the bacteria in your gut that produce inflammatory proteins that you absorb, such as trimethylamine (TMA). Your body absorbs the trimethylamine, and it causes inflammation. In this case, you are a genetic engineer for your body’s microbiome.
That principle is the one that guides us as we think about “The Great Age Reboot.” As I’ve said before, “You will be better prepared, more fortified, and have a stronger biological shield if you take control over your health destiny, rather than wait for every fix to come your way. The stronger you are now, the better prepared you will be for the future. Why? There are many unknowns as to our timeline and the availability of these antiaging advances…But we know that you can choose to make it much more likely you’ll benefit from the changes that do come.”
One of the most important changes you can make is to your nutrition.
The key to nutrition is to realize that your choices really matter—change your attitude. Remember, you’re a genetic engineer for you and your microbiome.
Only eat foods you love and that love your body back.
Food is a relationship just like marriage: you wouldn’t marry someone who was trying to kill you daily. You may love red meat, but it is trying to kill you. Find foods you love that love you back. I choose walnuts, avocados, EVOO, blueberries, and salmon. Dial in your diet. Some research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet—or a pesco-vegetarian version that incorporates salmon, ocean trout, and a few personalized supplements—can reduce death from cardiovascular disease by up to 30%.
Drink black coffee.
Drink black coffee but without cream or sweeteners, and brew it through a filter.
Consider a fasting-mimicking diet.
Help regenerate your telomeres with the original Fasting Mimicking Diet five days each month. Go on a low-protein, low- and simple-carb diet of about 1,000 calories on day one and 750 calories for the next four days, and then return to a Mediterranean-style diet on day six.
Choose the right small molecules (supplements).
Before adding any dietary supplement—or small molecule—to your longevity regimen, be sure to talk with your healthcare practitioner. They should be trusted to help you make an informed decision about adding specific nutrients to your diet.
There are several dietary supplements that are shown to support health as we age. Here are a few of the ones that standout in my new book, The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.
Multivitamins — The data on taking a multivitamin-multimineral supplement daily didn’t show much benefit in the 10-year analysis for cancer or heart disease, but it showed an 18% reduction in cancers and a 25% reduction in heart disease after 20 years, as well as a brain health benefit after three years.1,2,3
Bovine colostrum — While an NSAID like ibuprofen can cause GI distress, make sure you take them with plenty of water and with 2,000 mg of bovine colostrum, which has been found to decrease NSAID-related GI problems by over 70%.4
Probiotics — As you get older, your immune system is impacted, too. This process is called immunosenescence, which is the gradual decline in immune function that comes with age. Your body’s ability to fight off infection often slows just as your body’s other abilities slow down. Your immune system can benefit from a high-quality probiotic like TruBiotics and Digestive Advantage. TruBiotics features a blend of Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 and Bifidobacterium animalis BB-12. These strains have been studied for more than 30 years and in more than 10,000 subjects, including in the world’s largest probiotic clinical trial to date. Among all probiotic strains, the BB-12 strain has one of the best survivability rates in the gastrointestinal tract.
Phosphocreatine — At 400 mg per day, phosphocreatine can help your brain stay young as it helps prevent muscle weakness as we grow older.5
Remember, you’re the genetic engineer of your own body—and, ultimately, your longevity. You have the power to make healthy choices today so you can live younger for longer.
About the Author
Michael F. Roizen, MD, is the Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and a professor and author of four The New York Times number-one bestselling books. He is the author of 195 peer-reviewed articles and has been recognized with an Elle, an Emmy, and the Paul G. Rogers Award from the National Library of Medicine for Best Medical Communicator. He is a member of PanTheryx’s (Phoenix, AZ) scientific advisory board. This article was inspired by his new book The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow and accompanying longevity app Reboot Your Age.