If significant personal life extension is one of your goals, it’s critical to participate in a ‘health extension’ lifestyle first. This means that many of the keys to longevity lie in how we take care of our bodies.
One of the primary goals of this site is to introduce you to simple lifestyle changes and specific nutritional supplements that can enhance your health and help you live a long, vibrant life.
There are countless researchers and scientists involved in life extension research. Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman, M.D. have written two excellent books on the science behind radical life extension. Fantastic Voyage and Transcend are recommended reading for anyone interested in adopting a longevity lifestyle and mindset. They talk about “The Three Bridges” approach to radically increasing human lifespans.
The First Bridge is all about maximizing your current health and vitality. This is achieved by making simple, consistent, and smart lifestyle changes and by taking all available preventative health measures.
The Second Bridge is the Biotechnology Revolution that is underway. Incredible advances are being made in the Life Sciences. Kurzweil has described Biotechnology as Information Technology meets Biology. DNA and RNA are the basic genetic coding for living beings. This code is essentially the genetic programming of life. As we begin to understand how this code works science and technology will produce exciting new therapies and treatments for curing diseases as well as helping us live longer, healthier lives. Regenerative Medicine will continue to advance and evolve as the whole generation of Baby Boomers enter their retirement and golden years.
The Third Bridge is the Nanotechnology Revolution. Briefly described, nanotechnology is the ability to precisely manipulate matter at sizes smaller than a molecule. While some of this exciting science is already impacting our lives, the potential for this technology is truly staggering. To paraphrase Arthur C. Clark’s famous quote “sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic.” Imagine a future where tiny machines smaller than your blood cells can go inside your body to repair damaged organs or even individual cells. This scenario may be only a few decades away!How long should a human be able to live in optimal health? Science has concluded that the average potential life span for a human is approximately 120 years. This has been called the Hayflick Limit referring to the maximum number of times a cell can divide before apoptosis or cell death.
Why do so few of us actually reach that golden age? Diet, genes, stress, our living conditions and environment, among many other factors play a role. Fortunately, we have enough knowledge today to live longer and healthier than ever before.
Longevity statistics show a steady increase in our average life expectancy through the decades. People born in the 1900s were only expected to live into their late 40s. By the time the 1950s rolled around, the average life expectancy increased into late 60s and mid 70s. Now, some demographic groups have an average life expectancy into their 80s. Could the average life expectancy soon reach 100 years with help from all our medical and technological advances?
Even today, there are specific populations of humans that routinely live to 100 years of age or longer. Numerous studies have been done on people in “Blue Zones” - places on Earth where the average person can live a healthy, active life to 100 and beyond. The peoples of the Hunza, Vilcabamba, and Okinawa are the best examples. National Geographic has a special on Blue Zones.
Whether or not we will ever be able to achieve true immortality isn’t known yet, but it isn’t the pipe dream it used to be. Aubrey de Grey is a Biogerontologist at the University of Cambridge. He has postulated that we will achieve incredibly long lives by what he calls negligible senescence. A significant lack of death from the various current causes rather than true immortality is a more realistic future possibility. We could live hundreds, if not thousands, of years if the majority of diseases were curable and we could continually regenerate our tissues, organs, and whole bodies to a more youthful state of functioning.
Increased life spans due to successful aging (or a significant lack of aging) will come, at least in part, through a longevity lifestyle that promotes health and life.
Clearly some medical advances are to be credited with our increases in life expectancy, such as vaccines against diseases that were once widespread childhood killers. But there are also other players in an increased lifespan. One of these secrets of long life through healthy living lies in nutraceuticals. Maximizing the nutrient density of the foods we eat and supplements we take is critical for optimal health and longevity.
We’ll explain nutraceuticals in more depth on another page, but in a very basic explanation, nutraceuticals are foods and supplements that provide medical benefits. It might be the food itself that is beneficial and healing to our bodies, or it might be one particular nutrient in the food that keeps us healthier. It might even be a genetically engineered food, one fortified with essential nutrients, that promotes our longer lives.
The Secrets of Longevity
The secrets of long life aren’t a secret so much as they are about knowledge and application. To achieve long life, we need to learn about an effective longevity lifestyle. Then, we need to apply that new lifestyle on a long-term, consistent basis. We know already that exercise and longevity go hand in hand, for example. People who exercise regularly are healthier and generally live longer than those who are sedentary. Of course, even the healthiest life can be impacted or even ended through a physical accident. But even still, a strong, healthy body will recover from injuries quicker than a flaccid, out of shape body.
From a medical perspective, as we strive to achieve physical immortality, it’s interesting to note that scientists have already discovered some cancer cells live an immortal life. Now, while immortal cancer cells aren’t good for our personal longevity, what immortal secrets do these cells hold for us to apply in helping vital cells achieve immortality, such as brain and heart tissue cells?
The Elixir of Immortality
It’s been sought after for thousands of years. Is there yet an elixir of immortality?
Nutraceuticals might be the key to producing one. Nutraceuticals are foods (and beverages) that are used as medicine or as preventative medicine. They provide the nutrients that our cells need to sustain long life, and even to reverse damage already done to our bodies through aging.
Each of our cells is a miniature machine that must have good conditions to operate in, otherwise it malfunctions or dies. This principle is the same as taking care of any other kind of machine. Proper maintenance is required for long life of mechanical machines as well as our cellular machines. Long life foods – those foods which help us live longer rather than cause disease and illness - include things like raw fruits and vegetables, grains, and herbal supplements designed to nourish the billions of life-sustaining cells in our bodies.
Getting back to the question of an elixir of immortality, it may not come in an ‘elixir’ form, but longer life, if not yet immortality, can certainly be achieved through life extension vitamins, life extension supplements, and a life extension program.
Add in the promising future of nanotechnology to nutraceuticals and the possibility of a true elixir of immortality isn’t so far away.
If you’ve decided you want to live a long (or an immortal) life, you have to take steps to get there. It won’t just happen – at least not yet. Your health is in your hands and the more knowledge you have about creating and implementing your own life extension program, the closer you’ll get to acquiring increased longevity.
First, there are several resources to take a longevity test or go through longevity calculators to get an indication of what your current life expectancy might be based on your lifestyle. Don’t take these as hard and fast numbers, but do use them as a catalyst for starting your new longevity diet and exercise program.
And by diet, we don’t necessarily mean eating less as in a traditional calorie-counting diet. Instead, it’s important to identify long life foods and other long life products and supplements – nutraceuticals -- which are packed full of nutrients which will nourish your cells, keep them healthy, and keep you living longer. How much longer? Well, only time will tell.
For more information on life extension, we invite you to visit the
Life Extension Foundation,
a non-profit company. Check out their Life Extension
for lots more longevity information.