The Current Prospects of Extending Lifespan

I’ve written extensively on anti-aging and life extension, and I’ve put into practice many of the methods I’ve written about. Yet, what are the current prospects of extending lifespan? Will any interventions substantially lengthen our lives, or is all or much of it an exercise in futility?

The current limit to human lifespan

Aubrey de Grey, the well-known life-extension advocate and researcher, recently gave an interesting talk to a group of demographers on the limits to human longevity, as they currently stand. De Grey points out that Jeanne Calment, the world record holder in lifespan, died at age 122 some 20 years ago, and despite there being far more centenarians alive now, no one has come close to her record. The current world’s oldest person is 117 years old.

Why, despite better health care, living conditions, advanced technology, or whatever makes people healthier and longer-lived, has no one breached the world record of 122 years?

We know that mortality rises with aging at an exponential rate. De Grey shows, through demographic analysis, that at about the age of 114, the death rate rises at something like a super-exponential rate, and therefore it’s extremely difficult to get past that mark.

There’s some difficulty in the analysis, as de Grey acknowledges, simply because there are so few people alive at that age. That being said, it looks like the age of around 115 years marks the current upper limit of human lifespan. A few people with the right genes and/or lifestyle, like Calment, may live a few years longer.

Why 115?

What is so critical about the age of 115? It could be the loss of dopamine neurons. The chart below shows the loss of dopamine neurons in aging; the decline occurs at a steady rate in most people, but when they decline and die at a faster rate, so that someone has only 30% of these neurons left, Parkinson’s disease exists. At the level of 10% left, death occurs.

Iron and the brain: iron's crucial role in aging

In normal people, that is, those without Parkinson’s, the loss of dopamine neurons reaches the life-critical 10% threshold at about the age of 115.

The analysis that reached this conclusion comes from the scientist Joseph Knoll, who developed the drug deprenyl. Deprenyl has extended the lifespans of rats dramatically, and while it’s available by prescription, it seems to be under-utilized and, in any case, we don’t know much about its prospects in human life extension.

I’ve suggested that the loss of dopamine neurons could be due to iron, and if – and it may be a big if – the connection of dopamine neurons with the human lifespan limit of 115 years is true, either deprenyl or control of body iron could be ways to get past that limit.

Other interventions

Aspirin may be a cheap, easy way to get significant lifespan extension. Based on a 13% lower mortality rate in aspirin users, Josh Mitteldorf calculated that aspirin might add 2 years to life expectancy. That’s a surprisingly low amount of life extension, but the exponential mathematics of aging make it so. In essence, interventions need to be increasingly effective just to stay up with rising rates of death.

Metformin is another drug advocated for life extension. A recent review and meta-analysis found that metformin was associated with 7% lower all-cause mortality in diabetics vs non-diabetics. That number could vary, since non-diabetics taking metformin might have a lower death rate, but there’s no data on that, or, metformin could have less effect on non-diabetics.

Nonetheless, a 7% lower mortality rate isn’t even as good as aspirin, and would get us less than 2 years of extra life.

Rapamycin is another anti-aging drug, which has had good results in animal experiments. Its most notable proponent, Mikhail Blagosklonny, believes that combinations of rapamycin with metformin, aspirin, and others, could get us past the current limit to human longevity. But even he says that, because modern medicine has already extended human lifespan, we can’t expect the amount of extension seen in animal studies. It would be less.

My point here is that current prospects for lifespan extension don’t seem terribly impressive. They probably won’t get masses of people to 120, and probably won’t get anyone to, say, 150.

Overlapping mechanisms

If some of these anti-aging interventions work through overlapping mechanisms, then we can’t expect simple additive effects.

For example, if metformin and aspirin both work through activating AMPK – and of course they both surely have other mechanisms – then we can’t expect that taking both metformin and aspirin together will simply give us a 20% (13% + 7%) decrease in mortality.

Or, if someone practices calorie restriction, currently the most robust anti-aging intervention known, and he takes metformin (or aspirin), that he will get additional benefit from the drugs.

What about genetics?

I’ll use myself as an example.

My late father lived to be 87 years old, and he did not take care of himself. He smoked until his early 50s, when persistent chest pain from coronary artery disease compelled him to quit. In older age, he became overweight and drank more than he should have, and did no exercise but golf. Yet through modern medicine, he made it to 87, and he seemed to enjoy life doing so. His lifespan was well beyond that of the average male, which is currently around 80, which he achieved by doing precisely nothing in the way of what we would consider life extension.

My mother is still alive at age 95. She’s lived a more sober life, has never been overweight, and used to walk a good deal but no longer does.

I’ve inherited genes from both of them. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that even if I did nothing in the way of anti-aging, I could probably live into my 90s.

Of course, I exercise, eat right, and practice other good health habits. But how much more lifespan will those get me? If I’m already “scheduled” to live into my 90s, other interventions may not do a lot more.

Likewise, if I take both fish oil and aspirin, which I do, maybe one or the other is superfluous. Maybe both. Maybe little can get me past my 90s, since I may already be “programmed” to live that long by my genes.

I don’t know. I’ll continue to practice good health habits along with interventions that hopefully will extend my lifespan, but one needs to be realistic about how effective they may be.

What is needed is a thorough understanding of aging along with the technology to change it. Many discoveries have been made, and technology breakthroughs may be on the horizon, but to my knowledge there isn’t yet any technology that will extend human lifespan.

Life extension is about better health

Anything that improves health and prevents chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer, should extend lifespan.

Aging massively increases the risk of chronic disease; indeed it could be said that massively increased health risk is the very definition of aging.

So if you can prevent or delay chronic disease, you are delaying aging and extending lifespan.

Yet, if you don’t get one disease, you live long enough to get another. Think about it: if you lower the death rate from heart disease, you’re going to increase the death rate from cancer. (After having heart disease much of his adult life, my father died of cancer.) A true anti-aging intervention will prevent or delay the appearance of all diseases of aging.

For myself, I have to say that the prospect of extending my life beyond what may be my “natural” lifespan, perhaps in the 90s, seems, well, not much to count on.

Yet I don’t want to get the chronic diseases of aging. I’d like to be healthy until the end.

So for me, practicing life extension and remaining healthy (and hopefully happy) are one and the same.

At this moment in history, that’s perhaps all one can ask.

PS: I believe one of the most important ways to delay aging is by controlling body iron, as I discuss in my book, Dumping Iron.

PPS: Check out my Supplements Buying Guide for Men.

image_pdfimage_print

Leave a Comment:

47 comments
peter connor says September 3, 2017

Nassim Taleb has pointed out that virtually all increases in American longevity can be explained by the steep decline in tobacco use, and especially cigarette smoking….It seems to me that statistic casts severe doubt on the “wonders of modern medicine” theory. As does the fact that Americans, despite spending ten or twenty times more on medicine than many other countries, don’t have especially long longevity. Notably,US life expectancy actually declined slightly recently, most likely because of the economic distress visited on those below upper middle class in the last 40 years.
Anecdotally, members of my father’s family born in the 19th century all lived into their 80s, with two of them living in their late 90s, despite living in near poverty most of the time, and having little access to health care…My father died at 69 of cancer, and my aunt died at around 80, despite being upper middle class and having lots of health care.
Color me extremely skeptical about modern health care extending life expectancy by any significant amount….

Reply
    peter connor says September 3, 2017

    I should have pointed out that Taleb was referring to the 50 year period after 1965. I should also have mentioned that the dramatic increase in life expectancy after 1890 was triggered by the onset of effective public sanitation in Western countries.Everyone agrees with that…

    Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 3, 2017

    Yes, all that is probably true. At the same time, my father would have died a lot younger if not for all the drugs and other interventions. At least I think he would have. Also, Jeanne Calment was a lifelong cigarette smoker.

    Reply
      peter connor says September 3, 2017

      Yes, I’m not denying that modern medicine has improved a lot of lives (particularly with outpatient treatment), and can think of several instances of people I know without difficulty…But as far as extending the limits of longevity, I think they are up against biology, unless something like rapamycin proves dramatically effective. Furthermore, the increasing contamination of the environment with petrochemicals, insecticides, etc is working against them. Prostate cancer has increased dramatically in the US in the last couple of decades, and I can think of no other explanation for that.

      Reply
      Stuart Mather says September 14, 2017

      Kind of makes you wonder how long she would have lived if she hadn’t visited the ravages of cigarette smoke on herself don’t you think?

      Reply
Green Deane says September 3, 2017

Norman LaLanne played sports in college and golfed but was not a fitness fan like his younger brother Jack. Norman died at age 97. Jack died at 96 (I suspect being a chiropractor Jack did not get his pneumonia shot and could have gone on longer.)

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 3, 2017

    Yes, great example of the power of genes.

    Reply
Matt says September 3, 2017

Of course a really important point was when you mentioned that your father lived life on his terms for the most part and enjoyed himself. That’s the key.

Reply
Mellie Walks says September 3, 2017

I’d rather have a shorter, robust life, than a very long, feeble, and poverty-stricken old age. I don’t think most of us could afford to live to 150 if we can only find/keep work until we are 65 (if we’re lucky!).

Reply
    peter connor says September 3, 2017

    Agreed. If you are not in reasonable health and possession of your faculties, it’s pointless….

    Reply
Rob H says September 3, 2017

I’ve been thinking along the same lines recently Dennis: it struck me that many of the guys that are out there selling anti-aging supplements/ strategies: eg Dave Asprey, Mark Sisson: even though they are no doubt in good shape – they all look exactly their age (or older in Sisson’s case). I know Dave Asprey is aiming to live to 180 but I really think he is overestimating that power of his supplements. I mean when I see someone who looks to be in their twenties but is actually in their 40s, then I might begin to believe their anti-aging effects, but until then… My main goal like yours is to try to avoid preventable diseases such as heart disease and cancer, having witnessed the devastating effects they have..

Reply
    peter connor says September 3, 2017

    Longevity research is very hip these days. This month in Harvard Magazine there was a short article on a research, and it stated that several Harvard faculty members had formed a company to promote a particular substance as life extending, but noted that “there is no research to indicate that the compound is effective.” LOL!

    Reply
    Drifter says September 4, 2017

    Rob,
    I think to be fair to Mark and Dave you should have pointed out that, as they’ve both been very candid about, about 75% of their lives were lived in a state of accelerated aging and only in the most recent 25% or so have they been in a state of reduced aging so “looking their age” is probably a victory for both of them. I’m not a big fan of the supplement business model but I don’t think it’s fair to imply that they have aged in spite of what they recommend. Facial “looks” are highly subjective, however by a reasonable measure of youthful abilities retained, at least for Mark, I suspect he would be in the top 5 out of 1000 people from a fairly healthy population (Italy for example) and Dave would not be far behind. There aren’t many 62 year-olds playing ultimate frisbee with much younger people.

    Reply
      peter connor says September 6, 2017

      I don’t know. I recently took up jiu jitsu at the age of 70, and my fitness has increased geometrically as a result. I am working with people between 40 and 55 years younger than I am, some of whom are competing in tournaments, and holding my own as far as strength goes…Of course, their skill level is vastly greater. It is great fun for me…

      Reply
Richard says September 3, 2017

plan to get hyperbaric chamber – use of over 2 atm pressure oxygen results in stem cells to multiply eight times – probably most significant contribution to slowing ageing – replacing worn out cells, which run out of telomeres and are damaged beyond repair. Would not touch aspirin – contributes to internal bleeding including retina – combine with disposition and get macular degeneration – plague in developed countries of incredible magtitude. Using growth hormone activator – mother of all hormones – ,my testosterone went up. so I can lift weights I could not 20 years ago, my left eye improved and several friends improved their sleep problems – melatonin production problem. Im taking Naturecast product – has also colostrum – $28 monthly on monthly subscription. Doing hi intesity (sort of interval) weightlifitng every second day (40 – 50 min) because growth hormone stimulation is best first about 40 min.

happy ageing Richard

Reply
    A Man says September 3, 2017

    What does this mean? “”combine with disposition and get macular degeneration””?

    Reply
    Jose Carlos Martins Barbosa says September 4, 2017

    Hi Richard:

    Believe me, this is the first time I am hearing about Growth Hormone Activators. I have done some research on the web, but I would prefer to hear about it from a long-term user. Would you mind if I asked us to chat with me privately? I am not sure, however, if I can give you my email on here….

    Reply
      Jose Carlos Martins Barbosa says September 4, 2017

      Sorry,, I made a typo: would you mind if I asked YOU to chat

      Reply
Bill says September 3, 2017

PD I have just finished reading “Island of the Ancients” by Ben Hills. It was published in 2008 but still has much of interest in it. He spent 10 weeks touring Sardinia ( one of the Blue Zones ) and interviewing 40 odd centenarians and their families, to see what it was that was unique and promoted longevity. His conclusion was that it was probably genetic which we cannot change anyway.

Diet and smoking seemed unimportant. Many smoked and most had grown and up & lived in intense poverty with a diet that included goats cheese, rare meat,very rare fish, but lots of locally made bread, olive oil, vegetables and fava beans. The only other factor was family support. Nearly all of the centenarians he interviewed were still living at home with support from family. A further important point : most were very frail and had not been outside their bed rooms for years. In fact many interviewed said they were bored and waiting to die ! Not so clever !

Reply
Paul Rivas md says September 3, 2017

That was really a very good post and I mainly agree. Blagosklonny argues in one of his 200 or so papers that he thinks we can make it to maybe even 140 on rapamycin alone! Then there are other things which you mentioned which may have additive or synergistic effects, but rapamycin has been proven to extend lifespan in every species in which it’s been tried, and also to prevent all age related diseases. Seems to be quite safe and effective as a once weekly pulsed drug. In my mind nothing else comes close .
I’d also like to add that in my experience most very old people are not feeble and disabled, but rather reasonably vigorous in both mind and body until about the last 6 months or so of life when they rather quickly deteriorate, like falling off a cliff. That’s what I want, but at 140!

Reply
Ole says September 3, 2017

Through human evolution, many DNA mutations have occurred, but we have yet to see a mutation, which makes a person immortal. This tells us, that death is of enormous importance to nature, and that death has numerous pathways….

Reply
    Bill says September 4, 2017

    If I was blessed with genes that made me immortal, I would not be making it public knowledge. Nor I suspect would you Ole. Being an immortal openly living among short lived mortals would be an ‘invitation’ for much envy and anger. Better to live quietly and anonymously.

    Reply
      P. D. Mangan says September 4, 2017

      Sounds like the plot of “The Man from Earth” (a not very good movie so don’t watch it). He has to move on every 10 years when people figure out that they are getting older but he isn’t.

      Reply
        Stuart Mather says September 14, 2017

        What happens at the end?

        Reply
John Repsher says September 4, 2017

I can’t imagine the pain of being an immortal. Seeing your friends and loved ones wither and die over and over, then having to find new ones. Aside from the ultimate boredom of having no one to talk to, because no one alive any longer shares your interests and experiences. How awful!

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 4, 2017

    Just think of how many children you could father.

    Reply
      John Repsher says September 4, 2017

      That’s true, but could you really connect with them? It’s been demonstrated that people don’t connect as well beyond the third generation, beyond grandchildren.

      Reply
    mark sanders says September 4, 2017

    What you’re describing is basically getting old, not necessarily immortal.

    Reply
      John Repsher says September 4, 2017

      I think the problems would be the same. Another issue would be alienation from an increasingly strange culture. As I approach my 70’s, I’ve managed to avoid boring my grandchildren with stories about how much better things were when I was young. Every decade I tell myself that, however bad things seem now, in 10 years I’ll look back on this as a golden age of culture and civility. And every decade it’s proven true. As divorced as I feel from today’s culture (my TV is pretty much limited to TCM and MeTV),I can’t imagine how I’ll feel in 40 years, much less 100 or more.

      Reply
Allan Folz says September 4, 2017

Greetings Dennis,

Thank you for a nice long-piece to go with the long-weekend. A little funny that in the last couple weeks or so it occurred to me you hadn’t written on longevity, specifically, in quite some time. Made me wonder if you’d moved on from the topic.

Unfortunately, I think the explanation of lifespan is the same as for IQ:

Highly heritable (much of the variance is determined by DNA), and
Highly polygenic (controlled by many genetic variants, each of small effect)

The good news seems to be: we’ve figured out how to stop poisoning ourselves (for lack of a better word), and that can get most of those people willing to do so to 75 +/- 5.

The next bit of good news seems to be: we’ve figured out some proactive things which, beyond merely stopping poisoning ourselves, can get a good many people to 85 +/- 5.

Maybe with good genes and an unusually strong commitment to the effort, one can personally feel they have a shot at 95 +/- 5.

However, I do not see that there’s anything that one can do today to feel certainty for reaching 105 +/- 5.

The life extension-o-sphere has too much speculation and too much jumping from one hot new idea to the next. Enough with the rodent studies… is it asking to much to say, “come back and see me when you’ve got 25 year old dogs?”

The other side of the coin is that, as a few commenters have alluded to, no one is /planning/ to live to 100, or even 120, much less 150. It’s a whole different life trajectory. If your thinking is limited to, well, you’ll spend a few more years with the great-grandkids, you’re doing it wrong. It’s like a 5000 sq foot tract home where all the architect has done is make all the rooms a little bigger, add an extra couple bathrooms, and, oh, look — a media room. (This includes saving & investing more to live a longer retirement, btw.)

Just between you, me, and the blog here, when you stop and think about it, the whole topic of longevity is kind of depressing… the state of the research, the state of the actionable advice and the expected magnitude of effect, the ramifications if any of it actually were to work.

The thing is, I’d /like/ for it to work. I’d /like/ to know I will live to 120. I’d start doing things differently now if that were the case. I /want/ to be positive about doubling longevity. But if I’m honest with myself, it feels like hope over reality.

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 4, 2017

    Hi Allan, great comment. I realized, or at least brought to consciousness recently, that I have a much longer investment horizon than most people at my age. As you say, most people aren’t planning for long life. It’s entirely different. For instance, if someone wanted to change careers, even going into a very demanding one, there’s as much time to do so between the ages of 60 and 100 as there is between 20 and 60. I could go into almost anything right now, career-wise, with the knowledge I could practice it for the next 30 years or more (assuming, of course, I’m healthy, knock on wood).

    As for hope over reality, maybe I’m fooling myself (and even in a big way) but I find it hard to imagine that I’ll be that much different physically 20 years from now. They say that aging really kicks in after the age of 65, which I haven’t hit yet, but in truth I sometimes think I feel better now than when I was 20.

    I wrote this article after thinking about the uncertainty of it all, and what I really wanted from life extension, and concluded that I just want to be healthy, and if long life is a bonus, great. I think for someone to genuinely want to live to a very old age (120 or more, say) you’d have to have such a sense of purpose, or feel that you were so indispensable, or just be so in love with life. Me, I’m a bit jaded, know that I’m dispensable, and find that life isn’t always a bed of roses. I look at life extension just as a sophisticated way of looking both ways before you cross the street, as something any prudent person would do.

    Reply
      Paloma says September 5, 2017

      Hi PD,
      I am still here reading all your posts!
      You made a good point about the amount of time you have available after hitting the 60 years barrier, and it has cheered me up! Thanks. Last week I was thinking that I just have 10 more years to travel to great places, or learn new sports or starting anything new, but thanks to you I feel that what could be definitely true for the majority of the population could not be necessary true for me.
      This year I am hitting another barrier, which is I think the worse one for women: 40 years old. However, I have never been better in terms of strength, resistance, flexibility, silhouette, face (I finally got rid of acne and still do not have wrinkles and know what styles suit me better) but specially, I feel very mental powered: I have the experience, the knowledge, the patience… Many of my friends (and they are the same age, around 40!) feel as they have lost most of their powers, their mojo, probably because they stopped training their physical and mental abilities 10 years ago and did not realise. They have started longing for retirement. I don’t want to quit working ever; I have seen in many examples around me that, retirement, in most cases equals death.
      It is difficult to explain, but what I wanted to say is that when you do not have a purpose in life, when you feel that all your abilities are gone and you can’t do anything significant any more, that is the time when you start dying. It could take 5 or 20 years, depending on your genes, luck or family support, but it will arrive.

      Thanks again for this site!
      Cheers to a long and powerful life!

      Reply
        P. D. Mangan says September 5, 2017

        Hi Paloma – glad you’re still here! At 40, and in your shape, you have a lot of life yet in you. I completely agree about a sense of purpose, and retirement is not a goal that anyone should try for.

        Reply
Allan Folz says September 4, 2017

Thanks, Dennis.

I could go into almost anything right now, career-wise, with the knowledge I could practice it for the next 30 years or more

It better include self-employment. 🙂 No one will believe you have 30 years of productivity ahead of you. Think about it, any hiring manager will be the type of person that’s asking if you are on T, and as likely as not pining away at a job they hate waiting for their Social Security & Medicare to kick-in.

… what I really wanted from life extension, and concluded that I just want to be healthy, and if long life is a bonus, great.

Yep, pretty much same here. 🙂 After it occurred to me you hadn’t written on it a while I thought, “well, for what reasons had he probably not,” and then, “how much do those posts really matter to me.”

Posts on maximizing health and vigor now are a lot more actionable, and actually demonstrably efficacious compared to ones on life extension. The irony is that even with regard to longevity maximizing vigor is probably no less efficacious, and may well be better, than anything the life extension folks have. Ultimately — and this is something I see _everyone_ agrees to — quality of life is the goal.

I don’t follow the life extension-o-sphere all that closely, but I don’t get the sense too many of them are hitting it as hard as you. I see them looking for ways to extend their typically average health an extra 20-60 years; versus absolutely maximizing their current health first, and then extending that for an extra 10-30 years. And, fwiw, that’s what my goal and working assumptions have become.

All my best.

Reply
    paul rivas md says September 4, 2017

    Well I’ve come across many patients with age related diseases like heart attack, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc., and it’s life changing, but not in a good way. Attempting to fight aging is also fighting age related diseases, and combating ARD’s is also fighting aging. To me they’re one and the same and no longer just a pipe dream. To a large degree quality of life is about avoiding as many age related diseases as possible and for as long as possible. Bring on the rapamycin

    Reply
      Allan Folz says September 4, 2017

      Greetings Paul,

      I agree with you that combating “ARD” is to also fight aging, but they are not one in the same.

      Life extension is about taking that fight one step further. It is the things one does after ARD is taken care of to the best of one’s abilities. It is a difference in degree that is, practically speaking, a difference in kind.

      To take the example from this post, dopamine neurons have a finite longevity. There are two things one can do to help neuron longevity: limit iron and take Parkinson’s drugs. One of those, and to 99% of the people that are not Mangan regulars, both are well beyond merely preventing ARD.

      Best Regards.

      Reply
        Paulrivasmd says September 4, 2017

        Hi Allan
        I disagree.Take calorie restriction as an example CR prevents aging and extends lifespan by preventing all ARD’s. No dies of aging per se but of some age related disease. They go hand in hand

        Reply
Nick says September 5, 2017

Very interesting post. And the comments too. But it strikes me a bit surprisingly pessimistic, though maybe my reading is a bit too shallow.

If only we could get a group of 30-year-olds to get on the Manganese x-fold path: proper nutrition (including coffee & tea and little alcohol), proper exertion, proper sunshine, regular blood donation, and everything else for a couple of decades and see how they look when they turn 50. Would they have remained young? I suspect so.

My whole life, I’ve had the feeling that I would live a long time, maybe 120, what with the conventional wisdom of ever increasing life expectancy through technology. And that I just feel lucky, genetically. I’ve always looked younger than I am, as do my parents. But now, thanks to this place, I have some tools to actually work at it.

Reply
    Nick says September 5, 2017

    Reminds me…the x-fold-path…I’m making progress on the cold showers. Cool, rather than cold at this point though. It feels good, and like so many other things, you have to adjust your mindset to it to make it easier.

    Reply
      Stuart Mather says September 10, 2017

      One of the ways to exponentially increase the thermogenc benefits of cold showers is to alternate very quickly (about a ten second interval between very cold ( 2 – 5 deg C ) and very hot (as hot as you can tolerate). someone will come up with a plumbing gadget to do this eventually.
      But you can do iit pretty easily by having two baths full of opposite exteme temperature water and changing from one to the other often.
      Keep some ice and an immersion heater handy to keep the extemes up. It’s a blast.

      Reply
        Nick says September 11, 2017

        The Germans call that (or approximation thereof) an “alternating shower.” You alternate between hot & cold but important is to end with a cold interval. I used to try it years ago after hearing about it, then forgot about it til I discovered this place.

        Reply
          Stuart Mather says September 14, 2017

          Nick,
          The problem with ‘alernating showers is that it takes at least five seconds to change from one temperature extreme to the other.
          Two baths reduce the transition time somewhat.
          Feeling an instantaneous extreme temp change on your skin is amazing.
          I think perhaps the two baths approach might even be the gold standard, because the thermal mass of even a strong shower stream is pretty limited in comparison.
          If they;re right next to one another you can easily change in less than a second.

          Reply
    Paloma says September 5, 2017

    Hi Nick!
    I am 39 (still :P) and have been on a paleo diet (lots of meat, fats, few carbohydrates, O3, Q10, D3…) and lifestyle (walking, lifting weights, for the last 5 years. Also blood donations, although just once a year as my ferritine levels are low. I don’t look my age. Seriously, I look better than when I was 34 and I followed a semi vegetarian diet and did running and yoga. I have two children (10 and 7 y-o), so people that don’t know me usually think that I am about 35 years old. Last year, a make up artist told me to have good luck with boys at he wedding I was going to… 😛

    Reply
      Paloma says September 5, 2017

      PD is also a very good example! 🙂
      This is the only thing that works!

      Reply
    P. D. Mangan says September 5, 2017

    Hi Nick – I suppose the overall tone was a bit pessimistic. I also have the feeling that I’ll live long, and I do look a lot younger than my age, feel good, and am often told what great shape I’m in. I feel that I’m on the right path to fight aging and that it’s working. I feel few of the manifestations of age, though my hair is grey and I certainly don’t look 25. That being said, it seems hubris to say that what I’m doing will get me to 120. As I noted in another comment, I haven’t hit the age yet when aging kicks in hard, or is supposed to. So, the purpose of this post was a dose of realism, as well as saying that no matter the outcome in terms of longevity, life-extension practices are worth it due to the health benefits.

    Reply
Stefan Sladecek says October 18, 2017

Your penultimate sentence is spot on: “Practicing life extension and remaining healthy (and hopefully happy) are one and the same.”

As a biochemist, I am convinced that we already (almost) maxed out human lifespan. A little tweak here and there might even make some exceptions go beyond 120, but thats´s about it. Luckily, a lot of research nowadays shifts away from extending absolute lifespan towards maximizing healthspan, which has a much bigger and – particularly important- much more positive effect on individuals and society. Just increasing lifespan without really increasing healthspan is what we were seeing in the last decades. People get older, but dont work longer. Instead they are just sick and frail for longer, which is of questionable benefit to the individual and definitely a huge ethical & financial burden for any society.

While it is tempting to hope for immortality or even 200 lifeyears, living beings are just not meant for this. The wheel of life consists of birth, growth, peaking and decay. All ethical and societal problems that average lifespans of 150-200y would entail aside, just the biologic necessities to get to that point would be unbearable and unsustainable on the societal level. Imagine a situation where the majority of people would get a new bioengineered heart at age 80, a new kidney at 90 and an implant of new neurons at at 70 to prevent AD and PD…

I see an analogy here: Speed of light cant be surpassed and the closer to it something moves already, the more energy is needed to further accelerate.

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says October 18, 2017

    The more I look into the topic of aging, the more of a puzzle it looks to me. The puzzle arises from the fact that improving health also means less aging. In a sense, any health intervention therefore slows aging. So what does it mean to slow or reverse aging? Most researchers would say that something that decreases death rates from all causes is one that genuinely slows aging. Rapamycin seems to be one of the few interventions that really slows aging, or even reverses it, although compounds like aspirin and metformin also decrease all-cause mortality, though less spectacularly.

    I don’t necessarily agree about the social problems from increased lifespan. If people were a lot healthier for a lot longer, productivity would increase, i.e. people would remain valuable members of society for longer, and healthcare costs decline. Admittedly, if procedures like you mention were necessary and were very expensive, your point holds.

    Reply
Add Your Reply