Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New Approach to Life Extension

Here is a little something to consider for those of us wishing to live as long and healthy a life as possible. No doubt, you have seen dozens of products that claim to make you live longer. The fact is, for now at least, they are all either snake oil or claims with no scientific basis. The only proven method of extending life, possibly as much as 20 - 25 %, is calorie restriction. This has been proven in studies beginning with C. Elegans (a small 1mm worm) all the way up through primate studies, now on going for nearly two decades.

Calorie restriction (eating about 30% less than your body needs) works, we know it works but, it is extremely difficult and not something most people will ever do for an entire lifetime. However, there is probably an alternative that is not too terribly difficult. In the last couple of years there have been some animal studies that suggest that intermittent fasting works just as well, if not better than, full time calorie restriction. In other words, stop eating one or two days each week.

Peggy and I decided to give this a try about two months ago and have found it to be very easy. The way we do it is to take two 24 hour periods (Monday and Thurday) each week and do nothing but drink water on those days. We start the 24 hours after breakfast and go to breakfast the next day. Admittedly, we feel a little hungry around dinner time but, it is no big deal and, by breakfast the next morning, we are really not even hungry. This is something, unlike calorie restriction, we can realistically do for years and years until something better comes along. And, rest assured, there are many things in the works that are going to completely change the equation on aging. The idea is to be around long enough to benefit from them so, intermittent fasting is something you might want to consider as an easier alternative to calorie restriction.

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