Death and taxes: The two certain things in life, we are told.
To my personal delight, several Congressmen and Senators are working on the second, at least so far as income taxes at the federal level are concerned. There is a chance, albeit slight, that they can succeed in removing much of our income tax burden. This in no way changes the inevitability of death and taxes, however. All their success will do is shift the taxing entity or the way taxes are collected.
And what about the second, the inevitability of death that eventually levels the playing field for every human? Is there any chance at all that we can extend human lifetimes by a significant amount?
The simple answer is that we have already done that. According to the Life Extension Foundation, a hundred years ago the average lifetime for an adult male was just 47 years. Today it is 75 years. That’s a whopping 60% increase in average lifespan.
But does that really mean anything? A century ago the longest lived individuals reached 120 years or so. Today the longest lived individuals reach 120 years or so. So all we’ve really done is shift the average point from about 40% of the possible value to just over 60%.
The Life Extension Foundation has put a lot of money and research effort into a search for the causes of aging. The simple concept is that if we can discover why we age, then we might be able to slow the aging process, and perhaps then we can extend the maximum.
The single most significant discovery thus far is caloric intake’s effect on aging. In test animals, with all other things being equal, the animal with the lowest caloric intake consistent with otherwise health living, lives longer by a significant factor20% or more. Translated into human terms, this has the potential for extending the maximum lifespan from 120 to 144 years, and the average from 75 to 90 years.
The key seems to be restricting calories, not restricting fat, protein, or carbohydrates specifically. Weight still needs to be controlled by keeping carbohydrates within certain limits, complete protein is needed for muscle building and cell replacement, and certain fats are needed to maintain the health of various body systems. But with these elements properly balanced, then the total amount of calories needs to be kept as low as possible consistent with weight maintenance.
Beyond this, several factors are becoming increasingly important in our understanding of anti-aging. In one way or another each of these factors relates to how cells either ingest nutrients, or how they rid themselves of waste. A corollary to this is how cells control oxidation, since oxidation tends to be indiscriminate in what gets oxidized, including cell walls, and internal elements that are critical for cell survival, or conversely for replacement of aging cells with young, vital successors.
At this stage, most research is still underway so that there are no “FDA approved” regimens that can potentially extend human life. There are, however, several lines of research with so much promise, that researchers have started taking into their bodies the substances being researched. For many consumers, this is sufficient evidence for them to do likewise.
The substances being researched are nearly all available as food supplements. They fall into several categories: Anti-oxidants; substances that enhance the nervous system’s ability to transmit and receive signals, that rejuvenate liver and kidney functions, that protect and heal joint cartilage, and that cause the body to produce Human Growth Hormone. Along with these are the traditional B vitamins, and the other recognized vitamins, but typically in mega-dosages determined by ongoing anti-aging research. Beyond these are more speculative substances, many of them herbal, that have a reputation for one or more effects related to anti-aging, general well-being, and overall health, but for which there is no current research information. And finally are drugs, currently unavailable to Americans, that are somewhere in the FDA approval pipeline. Some of these are already available in Europe, and can be imported to America in limited quantities for personal use only.
Since the early 1970s I have been on what I used to call a mega-vitamin program. As research has advanced, what I take into my body daily has changed. It is not possible for anyone to draw any general conclusions from how this may have affected me, since it is impossible to know how I might be today had I not been on this program for the last thirty years. Nevertheless, it is interesting to look at me anecdotally, for whatever information might be taken from my case.
I am 66, but I have the body, bones, and skin of a much younger man. I have all my hair, and the only teeth I am missing are those that were removed well before I entered this program. I do need glasses now, as a result of age-related far sightedness, but in the last few years, since I have been taking a Human Growth Hormone precursor, my vision has been improving. I have the stamina and strength of a much younger man, and actually am met with disbelief when I state my age. My mental acuity is unchanged, if not actually better than when I was much younger. I sleep only four or five hours a night, and wake up naturally, fully rested.
Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1954 and Nobel Peace Prize in 1962, as the only person ever to receive two Nobels. Pauling became convinced that Vitamin C in large doses would dramatically affect human health, and he turned his interests towards longevity research in his later years. He was often chided by his peers for continuing to take mega dosages of vitamins without full and complete research to back up the validity of such a program. Pauling responded that the worst-case effect of his program was expensive urine, and the best-case result was – of course – a vital, much longer lifespan.
Pauling died in his 93rd year, having outlived all his peers by about twenty years. This story is anecdotal, and one really cannot draw any conclusions, but expensive urine or not, he certainly lived well beyond the standard human lifetime average.
I appear to be on a similar path, although as I stated earlier, I cannot prove that my personal situation really has resulted from the supplements I take. In any case, so long as I can afford it, I am happy to share with Pauling the possibility that I, too, simply have expensive urine.
For those of you who are interested in what I actually take, here is a list including a source for each supplement. I will not break down the supplements that contain multiple elements, but you can get that information from the appropriate website. The numbers in parenthesis indicate the daily dose: tablets, capsules, scoops, etc.
(1) Joint Free Plus powder (Glucosamine HCL, Condroitin Solphate, & Arthred) by Schiff available from Costco
(2) Glucosamine HCL 500 mg & Condroitin Sulphate 400 mg by Kirkland available from Costco
(2) Garlic 650 mg by TruNature available from Costco or Vita Springs.com
(2) DHEA 25 mg by Schiff available from Costco
(2) Soy Isoflavones 50 mg by TruNature available from Costco or Vita Springs.com
(2) Chromium Picolinate 400 mcg by Weider available from Costco
(2) Natural Fish Oil Concentrate 1000 mg by Kirkland available from Costco
(2) Echinacea by TruNature 125 mg available from Costco or Vita Springs.com
(2) CoEnzyme Q10 50 mg by TruNature available from Costco or Vita Springs.com
(2) Sam-e by Nature Made 200 mg available from Costco
(8) Cranberry by TruNature 300 mg available from Costco or Vita Springs.com
(2) Saw Palmetto by TruNature 160 mg available from Costco or Vita Springs.com
(4) CholestOff by Nature Made available from Costco
LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION
(1) Life Extension Herbal Mix
(14) Life Extension Mix Caps
(1) Life Extension Booster Softgels
(1) Super Carnosine
(3) CLA 1000 mg
(1+) Fast Blast
(1+) Choline Cooler
(1) Power Maker II (Arginine Nutrient Drink Mix)
(2) Super Curcumin
(2) L-Carnitine 600 mg
(3) Smart basics ZMA x 90 caps
(1) Natures herb Yohimbe power 60 caps
(1) Only natural Yohimbe 2001 for men 60 tabs
(2) BrainWave Plus by Allergy Research Group-72560
(2) BrainStorm by Allergy Research Group-72070
(2) L-Arginine Pyroglutamate 450 mg
GREAT AMERICAN PRODUCTS
Ultimate HGH Sublingual spray 3 times daily
(1) X-Trim (Soluble fiber)