TOPIC · HEALTH · LONGEVITY · EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Every week I am posting about everything you need to know about hormones. This weeks topic is about longevity.
Did you know
- Consider yourself lucky to be alive today – in preindustrial times, life expectancy was 30 to 40 years. Now, the global average is 72.6 years.
- Human longevity has increased everywhere in the world, but not equally. While life expectancy in ritzy Monaco is now approaching 90, there are still impoverished African countries, where people don’t live much past 50.
- BUT – according to the CDC life expectancy for males was 75.1 years in the first half of 2020, representing a decline of 1.2 years from 76.3 years in 2019. For females, life expectancy declined to 80.5 years, decreasing 0.9 year from 81.4 years in 2019
- Where you live and when is only one part of the mix of factors, that determine longevity; family studies show that genes account for 25 percent of the variation in life spans and then there is lifestyle.
- Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. Calment gave up smoking at 117 — but never abandoned her habit of drinking a glass of port each night.
- In the bible Adam supposedly lived to 930, a youngster compared with Methuselah, whose fame rests on having lived to 969.
- Then there’s the bowhead whales which can live for more than 200 years.
- After retirement age, depression doubles every five years
- Vanity is an asset to older people’ because it forces them to focus on staying healthy and maintaining their appearance
- By the time you get to 85 you may have lost about 50% of your muscle mass and power
- Building and maintaining muscle is priority number 1 with your exercise routine
- As we age we need to more ‘recovery time’, which is when the muscles are built
- You’re never too old to get in shape
- Maintaining metabolic health and flexibility is key
- There are 2 days in your life that are less than 24 hours – the day you are born and the day you die
Tell-tale signs of aging
- your arms are getting too short to read the paper
- the birthday candles cost more than the cake
- are you “getting any?” means sleep
- you’ve been there and done that, but don’t remember what “it” was
- everything either hurts or doesn’t work
- you can cough, sneeze, fart and pee at the same time
- you eat supper at 5 p.m. and are in bed by 8 p.m.
- your children start looking middle-aged
- it takes longer to rest than it did to get tired
- the only thing that gets hard is your arteries
- you enjoy hearing about other people’s surgeries
- getting lucky means you found your car in the parking lot
- you hear snap, crackle and pop at the breakfast table, but you’re not eating cereal
- you and your teeth don’t sleep together
- you hear your favourite song in an elevator
- it takes two tries to get up from the couch
- friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and you aren’t wearing any … you’re barefoot.
Meet Sally and get to know all about longevity
What determines longevity
Anabolic & Catabolic balance
4 Rules of Longevity
What does Longevity mean
There isn’t one way of describing Longevity, but it has become a bit of a buzz word to describe living a long life. The word comes from the Latin longaevitās – longus (long) and aevum (age)
- Sometimes used as a synonym for “life expectancy”
- Also used to describe especially long-lived members of a population
- Defined as the capability to survive past the average age of death
- A long duration of individual life
- An individual who lives a long time
- Or simply long life
Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors
- lifestyle choices
Genetics and Biochemical Pathways
Although over 200 gene variants have been associated with longevity these explain only a small fraction, but the following genes are quite significant
Genes connected with the ability to combat oxidative DNA damage and increase repair protein PARP (Poly ADP ribose polymerase) contributes to the longevity of centenarians,
High levels of iron in the blood reduce lifespan, and genes involved in metabolising iron likely increase healthy years of life in humans
Four well-studied biological pathways that are known to regulate aging, and influence longevity
– regulate metabolism through the uptake and utilization of nutrients
mTOR – mechanistic Target of Rapamycin
– is the major regulator of growth in animals. Think of high mTOR activity being an analog of the phrase “Live fast, die young”, because too much activity is good for growth but bad for lifespan. However, too little mTOR activity is not beneficial and can disrupt healing and insulin sensitivity
– AMP-activating protein kinase – stimulates energy generating processes such as glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation and decreases energy consuming processes such as protein and lipid synthesis. Exercise is perhaps the most powerful physiological activator of AMPK
– SIRT family of 7 enzymes are involved in metabolic regulation, such as stimulating autophagy, plays a role in control gene expression, supports the immune system and much more. Are downregulated by insulin resistance. Fasting and resveratrol are powerful activator of the SIRT family
The body’s natural recycling program — removing the bad and keeping the good plays a vital role in healthspan and lifespan extension – read more in the article on autophagy
Including physical exercise, dietary habits, living conditions, medications and nutritional supplementation.
Accumulating research indicates that diet plays a much more pervasive and prominent role than previously thought in modulating mechanisms of aging and its associated diseases.
Autophagy comes from the Ancient Greek autóphagos, meaning “self-eating”. Describes the natural, orderly degradation, recycling and removing of dysfunctional cell components, ie. body’s natural recycling program — separating the good from the bad. Autophagy decreases with aging.
How to Increase or Maintain Autophagy
Periodic fasting or TRE time-restricted eating, such as gradually lowering your eating window from 12 hours to 6 – 8 hours.
Sauna therapy upregulates heat shock proteins. Heat shock proteins refold proteins that are misfolded and tag damaged proteins, targeting them for autophagy.
Exercise increases cellular damage which turns on autophagy.
Getting quality sleep – 7-8 hours from 10pm – 6pm for optimal affect.
Certain foods, such as coffee, green tea, turmeric, ginger, Ceylon cinnamon, ginseng, garlic, certain mushrooms (chaga and reishi), pomegranate and elderberries.
Certain supplements, such as Berberine, Resveratrol, omega 3 fatty acids.
Anabolic and Catabolic Balance
Anabolic means build. Catabolic means breakdown.
First step to longevity is to balance these processes and they are controlled by hormones.
Growth Hormone – production decreases as we age
Testosterone – production decreases as we age
Estrogens – production decreases as we age
Insulin – increases as blood sugar increases – production does not decrease as we age
– increases with stress and inflammation – production does not decrease as we age
– increases as blood sugar decreases – production does not decrease as we age
Nor-adrenaline and Adrenaline
– increases with stress – production does not decrease as we age
Our ‘natural’ ability to build and repair and keep the catabolic hormones in check decreases as we age!
Simple Recipe to Encourage Balance
6am – 6pm
– focus on activity and eating
6pm – 6am
– focus on resting and fasting
Habits linked to longevity
Sleep tight – Developing a sleep routine that includes 7–8 hours of sleep each night may help you live longer.
Avoid overeating – Limiting calories intake, such as intermittent fasting may help you live longer and protect against disease
Not Eating crap – Eat the way you know you should eat, but probably don’t may help you live longer
Keep your tummy flat – Avoiding visceral fat will keep disease at bay and may extend your lifespan
Stay physically active – Regular physical activity may extend your lifespan – minimum 30 minutes per day, especially H:I:T
Drink tea and or coffee – Moderate consumption of tea and coffee may benefit healthy aging and longevity.
Don’t smoke – Stopping smoking can significantly prolong your life — and it’s never too late to quit
Moderate your alcohol intake – 1 unit per day may help prevent disease and prolong your life. Wine may be particularly beneficial
Be happy – A review of 35 studies showed that happy people may live up to 18% longer than their less happy counterparts
Be optimistic – Maintaining an optimistic outlook on life may extend your lifespan
Avoid chronic stress and anxiety – Finding ways to reduce your anxiety and stress levels can extend your lifespan
Keep your friends close – Nurturing close relationships may result in decreased stress levels, improved immunity, and an extended lifespan.
Maintain Commitment – People that are more self-disciplined, organized, efficient, and goal-oriented may live longer
Find your passion – People with a purpose may live longer
Try something new – Learning a completely new activity is something extremely beneficial for your body, brain and your mind.
Are geographic areas in which people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else.
- Ikaria, Greece
- Okinawa, Japan
- Ogliastra Region, Sardinia
- Loma Linda, California
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Limiting calories, such as intermittent fasting, smaller plates, etc
- Spiritual connection, such as church or mountain walks, etc
- Enjoying a brew, such as drinking tea and or coffee
- Bitter Sweet connections, such as combining bitter and sweet tasting foods, like fruits with veggies
- Lifegiving landscapes offering breath taking views and exercise opportunities
BUT exceptional longevity of these Blue Zones is not restricted to a single magic ingredient, rather the combination of many factors – some of which are shared between the regions, and some of which are unique to each individual place.
Metabolic Health or its opposite Metabolic Syndrome
- Metabolic Health is the balance in metabolism which is the sum of all catabolic (break down) and anabolic (build) reactions in the body.
- Metabolic health is also the body’s ability to be metabolically flexible ie. your body’s ability to use whatever fuel is available, whether that’s fuel from food or fuel already stored in your body. The conversion from one fuel to another goes ‘unnoticed’
- Dysfunction in metabolic health paves the road for chronic disease aka metabolic syndrome and decreased longevity.
How to measure. NB! for ideal metabolic health all 5 markers should be as follows:
- Fasting blood glucose
– below 5.6 mmol/L or 100 mg/dl
- Blood fat, or triglyceride
– below 150 mg/dl
- Blood cholesterol – HDL (aka the good cholesterol)
– above 40 mg/dl in men or above 50 mg/dl in women
- Blood pressure
– below 130/85
– below 40 inches / 101cm in men or below 35 inches / 89cm in women
NB! if 3 or more of these markers are out of range your doctor will diagnose you with metabolic syndrome.
The BEST Exercise for Longevity
Anything that builds or maintains muscle mass!
- H:I:T – Ladies 20-30 minutes sessions / Men 40-50 minutes sessions
- Less is More – you don’t have the anabolic hormones so over training will reduce muscle mass
- Move every day – minimum 30 minutes walking
- Get your protein – If you want to build muscle as you age, you need extra protein – minimum 15g per kilo body weight. Whey protein supplements are good for BCAA especially important for building muscle tissue
- Try something new – Learning a completely new sport is something extremely beneficial for your body and your brain. Your brain develops new synapses which increases brain speed and keeps it young.