Longevity Secrets, practical steps to take to have a longer life, diet, food and supplements
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January 2 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Supplements for Longevity and healthier life
There is currently no evidence in humans that taking supplements or hormones (such as human growth hormone) will make us live longer. However, it seems reasonably safe to take small amounts of certain supplements that have shown in preliminary research to be helpful. There is no reason to take all of them every day. Take small amounts of different ones listed below on different days.

People think that a longevity secret is to take as many antioxidants in high doses. But more is not necessarily better. If you plan to take them, use low doses, even it means taking a portion of a capsule.

Acetyl l-carnitine and the antioxidant lipoic Acid are interesting nutrients that may be beneficial, more research is needed before making recommendations. Take no more than 100 mg of acetyl l-carnitine and 10 mg of lipoic acid daily.
Acetylcysteine could be of benefit at 100 mg or less.

Carnosine appears to be able to extend the lifespan of cultured cells, and rejuvenate senescent cells. Take less than 100 mg a day.
     Maturitas. 2016. Carnosine and the processes of ageing. It has been suggested that the endogenous dipeptide carnosine, also available as a food supplement, possesses anti-ageing activity and may achieve its reported age-alleviating effects via a number of mechanisms.

Fish oils are good for heart health, vision, circulation, and maintaining our senses, including sense of smell.
   British J Nutrition. 2015. Dietary intakes of fats, fish and nuts and olfactory impairment in older adults. Older adults with the highest consumption of nuts and fish had reduced odds of olfactory impairment.
Resveratrol from red wine has potential. Eat a few grapes a week or drink a couple of ounces of wine a few times a week. Wine has many beneficial polyphenols.
     The compound that makes red wine a healthful drink may also hold one of the secrets to longevity. Researchers found that resveratrol acted on fruit flies and worms in the same way as a method known to extend longevity of animals including monkeys -- sharply restricting how much they eat.. The finding opens the possibility that people could take a pill to achieve the same benefits as strict dieting to live longer, healthier lives, said David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the study. "We found this chemical that can extend longevity of every organism we give it to."
Royal Jelly has been studied in rodents.
Vitamin D supplementation may improve longevity in those who have a low intake of vitamin D.

Nutritional supplements help mice stay healthy with age
When mice were supplemented with more than 2 dozen vitamins, minerals nutrients and herbal extracts, they did not experience a 50 per cent loss in daily movement like other non-supplemented animals. The benefits were associated with an improvement in the activity of mitochondria as well as by reducing levels of free radicals. David Rollo, from McMaster University, says, “This study obtained a truly remarkable extension of physical function in old mice, far greater than the respectable extension of longevity that we previous documented. This holds great promise for extending the quality of life of ‘health span’ of humans.” David Rollo says that it is unclear if the effects would be repeated in humans and years or decades of clinical trials would be required before any definitive conclusions could be made. The dietary product given to the mice included vitamins B1, B3 (niacin), B6, B12, C, D, E, folic acid, beta-carotene, CoQ10, rutin, bioflavonoids, ginko biloba, ginseng, green tea extract, ginger root extract, garlic, L-Glutathione, magnesium, selenium, potassium, manganese, chromium picolinate, acetyl L-carnitine, melatonin, alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, acetylsalicylic acid, cod liver oil, and flax seed oil. Dietary amelioration of locomotor, neurotransmitter and mitochondrial aging. Experimental Biology and Medicine 2010.

Longevity enhancers - Secrets and simple steps to take:
A program of healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction can not only reverse some diseases -- it may actually slow down the aging process at the genetic level. Lifestyle changes affect the telomeres -- little caps on the end of the chromosomes that carry the DNA, a team at the University of California, San Francisco reported in December 2013. In the USA, the two major risk factors for premature death are smoking and high blood pressure. Even in middle age, adopting a healthy lifestyle can lower the risk for heart disease and premature death.

The field of longevity and anti-aging is full of promises and unsubstantiated claims. As of now, there is no definitive research in humans of any substances or techniques that have been proven to extend longevity. However, there are a number of steps we can take to potentially live longer. These include:

1. Positive Attitude
Have a positive attitude and improve your coping skills to daily stress. Embrace the philosophy that "It's not what happens to me, it's what I make of it." In a sample of people aged 50 and older who were followed for an average of 23 years, respondents who reported having a positive attitude toward aging lived an average of more than 7 years longer than those who had a more dismal view of getting older. Do you want to be happier? Take a look at my book on Happiness.
   A 50-year long study suggests that longevity is improved in men and women who are active, emotionally calm, and organized.  Psychosomatic Medicine, July / August 2008.
    Optimists live longer, healthier lives than pessimists. Researchers at University of Pittsburgh, led Dr. Hilary Tindle, looked at rates of death and chronic health conditions among participants of the Women's Health Initiative study, which has followed more than 100,000 women ages 50 and over since 1994. Women who were optimistic were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause than pessimists and 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease after eight years of follow up in the study. Optimists also were also less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes or smoke cigarettes.
    Emotionally stable, intelligent men may live longer than neurotic, less intelligent men. Men with neurotic traits -- a tendency to worry and to experience emotional ups and downs -- and lower cognitive ability have a higher mortality rate than men without these traits. Psychosomatic Medicine, 2009.
   If you feel like you have most things in your life under control, this could make you feel even more confident and you'll probably live longer than other people. Feb. 3, 2014, Health Psychology, online.

People with a bright outlook on the future may live longer than those who take a dimmer view. 
Researchers in the Netherlands found that older men and women judged to have optimistic personalities were less likely to die over the nine-year study period than those with pessimistic dispositions. Much of this reduced risk was due to lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease among the most optimistic men and women in the study. They were 77 percent less likely to die of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular cause than the most pessimistic group-regardless of factors such as age, weight, smoking and whether they had cardiovascular or other chronic diseases at the study's start.

2. Keep a normal weight
Keep a healthy weight and reduce the number of calories consumed, but not to the point of starving. Caloric restriction prolongs life in animals, but less is known in humans. Cutting calories may do more than help people shed excess weight. According to a new report, a low-calorie diet may also slow age-related changes in the heart's genes that can lead to chronic disease. In the study, "middle-aged" 14-month-old mice were fed either a normal diet or one restricted in calories. When the mice reached 30 months of age, or the equivalent of 90 years of a human life span, the researchers analyzed their heart tissue. The hearts of mice on the low-calorie diets showed nearly 20% fewer age-related genetic changes and also appeared to have less DNA damage than those of mice on regular diets. Restricting calories also inhibited potentially disease-causing changes in the immune system, and suppressed apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
A telephone poll conducted by ABC News found that 73% of respondents would not restrict their caloric intake in order to live longer.
Mouse study: eating less at any age prolongs life.
   Bottom line: reduce caloric intake, but not to the point of having a miserable time.
   The size of an aging man's belly and the bulk of his biceps provide a more accurate picture of his mortality risk than body mass index (BMI) alone. As people age they typically lose muscle mass and gain belly fat.

3. What you eat determines how long you live
Consume a healthy diet. Reduce consumption of foods cooked at high temperature. Drink more tea, particularly green tea. By relying more on steaming, boiling and stewing to cook foods and using acidic marinades on meat cooked with dry heat, people may be able to stay healthier. These strategies will reduce the amount of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), or glycotoxins that people consume with their food. The more AGEs healthy people eat, the greater their levels of inflammation and oxidative stress. Use the sugar substitute stevia which contains stevioside, a safe sweetener with no calories. Make sure to have more long chained fatty acids in your diet such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
   Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption of greater than 5 servings a day is associated with progressively longer survival and lower mortality rates.  2013 American Society for Nutrition. Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause mortality: a dose-response analysis.
   Polyunsaturated fats are found in fatty fish (such as salmon, herring, mackerel and trout), soybeans, tofu, soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oils and seeds, and walnuts. These fats help lower bad cholesterol, and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, and increased lifespan.

Duke Med Health News. 2013. Vegetarian diets aid longevity, reduce risk of all-cause mortality. But results are more significant in men than women. Further research is needed to determine why.

High total red meat consumption was associated with progressively shorter survival, largely because of the consumption of processed red meat. Consumption of nonprocessed red meat alone was not associated with shorter survival. Differences in survival associated with processed and with nonprocessed red meat consumption. Am J Clin Nutr 2014.

Am J Epidemiol. 2014. Intake of Long-Chain omega-3 Fatty Acids From Diet and Supplements in Relation to Mortality. Evidence from experimental studies suggests that the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid have beneficial effects that may lead to reduced mortality from chronic diseases. Our objective was to evaluate whether intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from diet and supplements is associated with cause-specific and total mortality. Our results suggest that intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of total and cancer-specific mortality.

it's not the fat in diet that's increases risk of premature death, it's too large an amount of carbohydrates -- especially the refined, processed kinds of carbs.

Herbs and spices
Consume more culinary herbs and spices such as garlic, onion, curcumin, parsley, mint, and others.

4. Exercise and longevity
Regular exercise and being physically active will help you live longer. Regular stretching or yoga is helpful in keeping joints and ligaments supple. If you are sedentary, even a small increase in activity can enhance your longevity by a couple of years.  People who engage in plenty of light movement have a lower risk of developing a disability and losing their capacity to care for themselves.
   People who want to increase longevity may do so by running or engaging in regular activity. In one study done at Stanford University in California, middle-aged members of a runner's club were half as likely to die over a 20-year period as people who did not run. Running reduced the risk not only of heart disease, but of cancer and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's. Any type of exercise will likely do the trick.
   Fitness, strength and flexibility do not inevitably fade away with age, and are more often a matter of lifestyle choicest. Often, the discomforts of middle-age, like lower back pain or stiff joints, are blamed on aging alone. However, a well-rounded exercise routine that includes aerobic activity, strength training and stretching can help people offset the effects of aging.
   Avoid extreme physical activities. Marathon runners have increased stiffness of the large arteries, suggesting that some types of regular high-intensity exercise may actually be bad for the heart, potentially leading to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, heart attack and even death.
   A moderate running regimen -- for instance two to three hours per week appears best for longevity. People who get either no exercise or high-mileage runners both tend to have shorter lifespans than moderate runners. The study was conducted by the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, PA and published in April 2014.
   Everyone knows that walking limbers the aging body, but did you know it keeps the mind supple as well? Walking can actually boost the connectivity within brain circuits, which tends to diminish as the grey hairs multiply. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Published 2010.
   Excess TV viewing, such as more than 2 hours a day, shortens lifespan.
   Almost any amount and type of physical activity may slow aging deep in our cells, and middle age is a critical time to get the process rolling. Even a short walk during the day can help.

Even small changes can help confirmed couch potatoes improve their health and enhance longevity. Although the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet are well known, people may think they have to make major changes in their lifestyle to obtain any results. But any increase in physical activity is beneficial.

Basic lifestyle habits lead to a longer lifespan.  Exercise, a healthy diet and good sleep slow down the aging process at a cellular level, and protect the body and mind against the harm caused by stress. July 29, 2014, Molecular Psychiatry.

Those who compete in triathlons could eventually have myocardial fibrosis or scarring in parts of the heart which could lead to heart rhythm problems and heart failure.

5. Avoid smoking cigarettes
Smokers die ten years younger on average than non-smokers
   As if smokers need another reason to kick the habit, California scientists have discovered that nornicotine, a byproduct of nicotine, the substance that makes cigarettes so addictive, causes a type of chemical reaction in the body similar to that which occurs when sugar is scorched or food goes bad. This reaction is thought to play a role in diabetes, cancer and other diseases. The interaction between sugars and proteins can produce substances called advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs. The accumulation of AGEs appears to contribute to the aging process and certain diseases. Guided imagery may help quit smoking.

6. Loving connectoins
Have strong connections to others, whether through family and relatives, marriage, children, pets, or connecting with nature, planet earth, and the universe.
Have loving and caring friends. Research suggests that having a strong network of friends helps people live longer.

Many American adults over the age 40 suffer from chronic loneliness. Being connected to others socially is a fundamental human need crucial to both well-being and survival.

7. Get a deep sleep.
Getting a deep sleep is probably the most important longevity secret.

8. Keep your mind young and active by learning.
Doing crossword puzzles or watching the show Jeopardy can do wonders in maintaining mental sharpness and word recall.
   The more educated you are, the less likely you are to become chronically ill or disabled, and your chances for greater longevity will improve. But, the amount of money you make plays a bigger role in whether your illness progresses.

9. Try to surround yourself with nature.
Green trees in the neighborhood, sunshine in the home, are linked to longevity.

10. Tooth care
Take care of your teeth and mouth to prevent or minimize gum disease and dental caries. Use a soft brush after a meal and then floss.
Smoking can cause gum disease.

Addition longevity tips
Work as long as you can. It is widely held that early retirement is associated with longer life expectancy and later retirement is associated with early death. Survival rates appear to improve with increasing age at retirement. This seems to be the case for both high- and low-income groups.

Participating in volunteer activities may add years to an older person's life. Volunteering may improve health by expanding retirees' social networks, increasing their access to resources and improving their sense of self-worth.

Drink more tea, and less sodas and sugared drinks. Limit fruit juice intake to no more than 8 ounces a day since fruit juices have a lot of fructose. Many delicious herbal teas are available, including green tea, ginger, rooibos herb, rose hips, mint, fennel herb, licorice, etc.

10. Limit coffee intake to one or two cups - chronic coffee consumption has a detrimental effect on aortic stiffness and wave reflections, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular or heart disease.

Drink an ounce or two of wine a few times a week.

Do DHEA hormone and pregnenolone hormone increase longevity?
     In high doses, DHEA and pregnenolone may increase the risk for cancer and heart arrhythmia. But it is possible, that in some people, low doses such as 1 or 2 mg may have health benefits.

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Additional longevity enhancers:
Being financially stable
Having a satisfying career
Healing old and new emotional wounds
Having a personal religious or philosophical belief system that gives meaning to this world.
Driving safely, wearing seat belts, minimizing the use of cell phones while driving.

One of the most important influences on longevity is genetics, something we cannot influence with our present scientific knowledge. People who have parents and grandparents who live long are more likely to also live a long life.

High blood pressure and longevity
Hypertension can take years off both life expectancy and time lived free of disease. Research, based on data from a long-running U.S. heart-health study, found that the impact of high blood pressure on life expectancy may be more significant than previously estimated. Researchers found that high blood pressure at the age of 50 shaved about 5 years off men's and women's lives. It also caused them to endure 7 more years with cardiovascular disease compared with their peers who had normal blood pressure in middle-age. It's well known that high blood pressure raises the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure, but only a few studies have looked at how blood pressure affects longevity.

Stress reduction
Chronic psychological stress is associated with accelerated shortening of the caps, called telomeres, on the ends of chromosomes in white blood cells -- and thus hasten their demise -- according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Telomeres promote chromosome stability. Telomeres shorten with each replication of the cell, and cells cease dividing when telomeres shorten sufficiently. The team investigated the theory that psychological stress affects telomere shortening and thereby contributes to a decrease in longevity. Their study included 39 healthy, premenopausal women who were primary caregivers for a child with a chronic illness, and 19 age-matched mothers of healthy children who served as a comparison "control" group. Stress was measured with a standardized questionnaire, and telomere length was measured in participants' blood samples. Within the caregiving group, the longer that a woman had been a caregiver, the shorter was the length of telomeres. In the 14 women with the highest stress scores, telomeres averaged 3,110 units in length; the 14 with the lowest stress had telomeres that averaged 3,660 units. In adults, telomeres shorten by an average of 31 to 63 units per year, so the scientists estimate that the 550-unit shortening in the high-stress group translates to 9 to 17 additional years of aging.

Mitochondria and acetyl-l-carnitine
Decline in mitochondrial function may lead to cellular energy deficits, especially in times of greater energy demand, and compromise vital ATP-dependent cellular operations, including detoxification, repair systems, DNA replication, and osmotic balance. Mitochondrial decay may also lead to enhanced oxidant production and thus render the cell more prone to oxidative insult. In particular, the heart may be especially susceptible to mitochondrial dysfunction due to myocardial dependency on beta-oxidation of fatty acids for energy and the postmitotic nature of cardiac myocytes, which would allow for greater accumulation of mitochondrial mutations and deletions. Thus, maintenance of mitochondrial function may be important to maintain overall myocardial function. Herein, we review the major age-related changes that occur to mitochondria in the aging heart and the evidence that two such supplements, acetyl-l-carnitine (ALCAR) and (R)-alpha-lipoic acid, may improve myocardial bioenergetics and lower the increased oxidative stress associated with aging. We and others have shown that feeding old rats ALCAR reverses the age-related decline in carnitine levels and improves mitochondrial beta-oxidation in a number of tissues studied. However, ALCAR supplementation does not appear to reverse the age-related decline in cardiac antioxidant status and thus may not substantially alter indices of oxidative stress. Lipoic acid, a potent thiol antioxidant and mitochondrial metabolite, appears to increase low molecular weight antioxidant status and thereby decreases age-associated oxidative insult.

Japanese women had a life expectancy of 85.59 years in 2004, making them the world's longest living group for the 20th consecutive year. Japanese men trailed with a life expectancy of 78.64 years, which placed them second for longevity after Icelandic men, who live an average of 78.8 years.

Octogenerian has a baby
An 88-year-old Indian farmer has become the father of a baby boy. He says he has sex daily and wants more kids. "I don't want to live to 100 but, as long as I live, I should be able to enjoy sex," said Virmaram Jat, who lives in a village in the Barmer district in the western desert sate of Rajasthan. The prosperous farmer, with a flowing white beard and a weather-beaten face, says he takes long walks every day and has been drinking fresh camel milk since childhood. The paper reported his latest wife -- his third -- is 45 years younger and delivered male twins last month, but only one boy survived. The octogenarian is a vegetarian and has never smoked cigarettes or drunk alcohol.