Changes I made after reading Lifespan
A month ago I finished reading the book Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To, it made a big impression on me. I have altered parts of my lifestyle based on Dr David Sinclair recommendations.
The book makes bold claims, which at times sound fanciful. For instance, Dr Sinclair claims humans will eventually be able to live for 150 years, maybe more. He believes the first person to reach 150 years of age has already been born. In the first half of the book he outlines the current research on aging and our growing understanding of it over the past couple of decades. He presents the “information theory of aging”, theory that cells lose information over time and that this is the cause of aging. Our previous understanding of aging was that the body wears out and breaks down over time like a machine would. Instead it looks like cells lose genetic information and the ability to express its genetic information, mostly because the cells’ epigenetic environment degrades over time. Dr Sinclair claims that it’s really the epigenetic information that’s important and that we can greatly influence it via our lifestyle.
His recommendations range from commonly accepted advice to controversial claims that have yet to be proven:
- Regular exercise
- Adequate sleep
- Good diet: low protein, mostly plants
- Calorific restriction: intermittent fasting
- Cold exposure: Cold showers, ice bathes
- Heat stress: Saunas
- Supplements: NMN, Resveratrol, and Metformin
Dr Sinclair appears confident about his claims, even though many of them might look suspiciously optimistic, by his own admission. I cautiously trust him, many of the above recommendations are plausible, and even if his theory is wrong or incomplete, following most of these recommendations likely wouldn’t hurt me.
I have a decent exercise routine, and my diet is relatively healthy. I still eat too much meat and occasionally indulge in junk food, otherwise things are close to what I consider optimal.
My alcohol consumption is probably too high, and after reading this book, I aim to cut down the boozing to 4 to 5 drinks per week. Currently, I consume more than twice that amount.
I have resumed my intermittent fasting practice. In 2017 I read the Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr Jason Fung, and did a 16:8 fast on weekdays for about a year. I have since given up the 16:8 fast, but I still skipped breakfast in the morning and usually fasted between 13 and 15 hours. After reading Lifespan, I’ve reinstated the 16:8 fast on weekdays, and I plan to do a 18:6 fast once a week. Hopefully I can keep this up for more than a year this time.
I’ve also started taking cold showers again, although I’m unsure how 10 seconds of cold water at the end of my comfortably warm morning shower can make a difference.
I am considering taking NMN and Resveratrol, but I haven’t decided yet if I will add them to my supplement routine. I’ll wait for more evidence regarding these supplements effectiveness before making them a regular part of my regimen. A decent dose of these could add up to hundreds of dollars each year. I currently take one capsule of fish oil, one capsule of glucosamine, along with some D3 and K2 vitamins.
Lifespan is an excellent read for health and longevity enthusiasts. If you’re aiming to live a long, healthy life, it’ll be worth your time.