July 2022 Longevity News and Notes

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Part of Strong99’s core message is living well, longer. As such I will periodically discuss current information coming out of the wider community of people studying longevity.

Notes. As I dive further into longevity research I’m starting to see patterns to how science approaches it. Generally I see it break down into three groups focused on increasing lifespan:

  1. “Change your ways”: Behavioral and environmental things we can modify

  2. “Take this pill to avoid dying of X”: Drugs that prevent the most common causes of death

  3. “Fountain of Youth”: Drugs that reduce or prevent the body from aging at the cellular level

While each of these approaches has a laudable goal - prolonging life - it’s important to have an understanding of what news means from each of the different camps. Of the three, #1 is the most important to our Strong99 goal of thriving longer. Moving forward I’ll try and present external references as fitting into one or more of these groups: you should be able to spot them below.

Lizards Live Long Lives. One of the focal points of longevity science is to study organisms that don’t appear to age (or more realistically just age very slowly). The study referenced here shows a number of different hypotheses: I find it interesting that the animals that evolved defensive armor may have developed a need to age more slowly because as a species they avoid death through predation. This might be analogous to humanity evolving to age more slowly by avoiding the most common causes of death (like heart disease, cancer, and wolverine attacks). https://scitechdaily.com/secrets-of-longevity-revealed-scientists-find-species-that-essentially-do-not-age/

Don’t pass the salt. A recent study (half a million people over 9 years!) found a statistically significant reduction in lifespan for people who self-reported always adding table salt to their meals. They had a “28% increased risk of dying prematurely”! Note that this was independent of how much salt was already in the food they were served. Until recently I’ve always been anti-table salt (due to growing up with news about the link between salt and hypertension and stroke). I changed my mind a bit when I understood how much salt I lost when I was sweating during training as well as understanding a bit more about how crucial it is for correct cellular function. Time to rethink that I guess. https://scitechdaily.com/adding-this-seasoning-to-your-food-is-linked-to-28-increased-risk-of-dying-prematurely/

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Fasting for the people. You can’t spend too much time poking around the longevity world without hearing the name Valter Longo. He’s an Italian-American scientist that looks at all things related to fasting and how it can be applied at the societal level without drugs. His lab recently got FDA approval to test food as an intervention for metabolic issues (imagine that!). This is a recent deep dive on the Rich Roll podcast that’s well worth the listen. They talk about a longevity diet, a fasting mimicking diet, Blue Zones, and a diet consisting of high-quality carbohydrates and low protein. As someone who tries to eat a ketogenic diet it makes me think about whether his way is better. I did get a little confused when he speaks about how no one can do long term caloric restriction but that these days we all eat too many calories: I guess he’s saying that periodic fasts can replace long term restriction. https://www.richroll.com/podcast/valter-longo-690/

Longevity master class. Another episode from Rich Roll (can you tell I’m a fan?), this one pieces together longevity information from a bunch of his previous interviews. This episode is more like a jumping off point as each part is just enough to want to find out more. https://www.richroll.com/podcast/longevity-masterclass-688/ Here are my quick notes:

  • Dan Buettner - people in Blue Zones don’t have as much access to processed foods, their purpose is altruistic, service. Avoiding common chronic diseases.

  • David Sinclair - aging is a condition. Science around sirtuins, NAD, related drugs

  • Alan Goldhammer - fasting to break addiction to dopamine hit from food, world tradition of fasting, fasting for healthy people, up to 40-day water fasts. “That’s where the big payoff is … not living forever but living well until you die, having a good life and then having a good death”

  • Matthew Walker - sleep expert, “the shorter your sleep the shorter your life”

  • Valter Longo - focus on living longer while healthy not just extending lifespan, protein reduction

  • Sergey Young - book Growing Young - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09368MZM7/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 - improving lifespan with lifestyle intervention not with supplements

  • Peter Diamandis - longevity escape velocity Ray Kurzweil estimating 12-15 years before science extends our lives for 1 year extra every year that passes

  • Rangan Chatterjee - normal stress response in daily lives too much leading to metabolic problems. Body needs downtime, breathing. Mindfulness, Movement, Mindset.

  • Chip Conley - the modern elder academy, reframing aging, shift mindset around aging

  • Mike Fremont - fastest marathon for a 90 year old, running career started in his 60’s, whole food plant-based diet is his secret

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If you’ve seen anything recently on the topic of longevity please let me know in the comments - I’d love to look at it and write about it.