How to live longer
Gone are the days when you could breathe fresh air, eat clean food and just exist peacefully! With today’s fast-paced world and increased globalisation, it is quite a challenge to maintain one’s health in a prime condition. We can see that the cases of cardiovascular disease among youngsters are increasing at an alarming rate, of course, lifestyle and environmental factors are to be blamed. Amidst this chaos, it might sound pretty ridiculous when one says “They want to live longer”. But what if we tell you with just a little effort and baby steps one can thrive in such competitive circumstances and achieve, what we call “longevity”
Longevity is the term that we use when someone lives for a longer time. No, it isn't a hoax or a facade, it is Science! Curious to know more and know how you can actually live longer with no-nonsense steps? You’re in the right space! Look no further! Settle into your favourite spot as we delve into the world of "Longevians" and show you how to become one!
The science of longevity
What is the science behind longevity? Well, longevity is a complex and multifaceted concept that is influenced by a variety of factors including location, sex, genetics, lifestyle, environment, and socioeconomic status. One crucial aspect of promoting longevity is improving overall health, which is also the primary objective of the growing longevity industry. Since most people do not reach the maximum lifespan due to disease, and no one wants to spend their last years in ill health, it is imperative to focus on improving healthy life expectancy.
Ageing is caused by various factors such as genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic changes, and loss of proteostasis – collectively known as the ‘hallmarks of ageing’. As we age, this damage accumulates, resulting in physical signs of ageing such as frailty, as well as an increased risk of diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Therefore, to prolong longevity, we must first address the underlying problems of ageing and age-related co-morbidities.
Overall, longevity is a complicated concept influenced by a variety of factors, with genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors being the three main determinants.
Lifestyle factors that promote longevity
The quest for eternal life may still be a fantasy, but science, medicine, and public health have brought us closer than ever before to the possibility of living longer. However, unlike in the tales of old, the key to longevity lies not in a magical potion, but in healthy habits. Through the adoption of a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and social connections, individuals can increase their chances of living a longer and healthier life. While ageing is a natural process and cannot be avoided completely, little effort to change your lifestyle can affect the way you age drastically.
It comes as no surprise that exercise is beneficial for your body. However, beyond just keeping you fit and robust, consistent physical activity, even if it is a 30-minute brisk walk, can prolong your life. Studies have indicated that exercise can diminish the likelihood of age-related conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and specific cancers, all while strengthening your muscles and bones and raising your overall life expectancy. Moreover, research has demonstrated that exercise can decelerate and even reverse the ageing process on a cellular level.
Smoking is associated with a higher risk of disease in nearly every organ of the body. On average, smokers pass away nearly 10 years earlier than non-smokers and have a mortality rate three times higher. However, quitting smoking can be a life-changing decision regardless of when it occurs. By quitting smoking, one can potentially add up to 10 years to their life while reducing the risk of experiencing smoking-related illnesses like heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, and other forms of cancer.
3. Drink in moderation
Drinking too much alcohol can significantly increase your risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers, all of which can ultimately reduce your lifespan.
If you choose to drink, it is important to exercise moderation by limiting your consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. By doing so, you can significantly reduce the negative health consequences associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
4. Reduce stress
Stress is an unavoidable part of life's journey, but when worry and anxiety become overwhelming, they can disrupt the intricate processes of the body. Studies show that chronic stress can increase the risk of developing depression, anxiety disorders, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, and obesity, ultimately shortening one's lifespan. But, there is still hope! There are various ways to cope with stress and safeguard one's mental health. Examples of these healthy habits include journaling, practising yoga, seeking therapy, and meditation. By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can minimise the negative effects of stress on your body, resulting in a healthier and longer life.
5. Get enough sleep
Sleep is when your body recovers and heals itself. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is a crucial factor in promoting optimal functioning of the body. Multiple studies have found that insufficient sleep is linked to serious health conditions such as hypertension, inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. These conditions collectively contribute to a shorter lifespan. Conversely, excessive sleep has also been associated with a greater risk of stroke and heart disease. To increase your chances of living a longer and healthier life, it is recommended to go to bed at the same time each night and aim for at least 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep.
6. Follow a healthy diet
The popular saying, "You are what you eat," is not just a cliché. Your dietary habits can have a profound impact on both your immediate health objectives and your overall lifespan. Research shows that a nourishing diet consisting of whole foods, fibre, fruits, and vegetables can safeguard against chronic ailments like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and specific cancers, which are major causes of premature mortality. The secret to enhancing your eating regimen lies in diversifying your meals with a range of unprocessed, whole foods.
Longevity Supplements for healthier life
While there is no shortcut to a longer and healthier life, few supplements can enhance your health and change the way you age, thereby contributing to longevity. Many of these supplements are made keeping in mind the hallmarks of ageing and targeting key molecules, the molecules whose decline leads to ageing. For instance, the level of NAD+ molecules, required for many reactions that sustain life, drastically decreases with age. Supplementation with its precursor, NMN can do wonders and reverse age. Thus, many such longevity supplements are now available, backed up by Science that aid in healthy ageing and even reversing it. Checkout the list below:
Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a coenzyme that facilitates electron transfer between molecules during metabolism. It plays a vital role in more than 500 enzymatic reactions in the body. However, as we age, our NAD+ levels decline, increasing the risk of various health issues. While calorie restriction, exercise, and fasting can help maintain or increase NAD+ levels, they are slow methods. NMN supplements provide a faster solution, as they are a precursor to NAD+ and get converted to it quickly. By increasing NAD+ levels, we can slow down or even reverse the ageing process.
Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol found in grape skin and seeds, has gained popularity in ageing and longevity research due to its antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, antitumor, and estrogenic/antiestrogenic properties. This supplement acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from oxidative damage, and can be challenging to obtain through diet alone. A high-quality supplement can provide optimal levels of Resveratrol for overall health and skincare. Individuals with diabetes, depression, or heart problems can benefit significantly from taking Resveratrol. Its benefits can work together to regulate blood sugar levels, promote cardiovascular health, and improve skin naturally.
Spermidine, a naturally occurring polyamine, is gaining attention for its ability to activate autophagy and potentially reverse ageing effects. With multiple amine groups, spermidine interacts with DNA, RNA, and proteins, making it vital for biological processes. Spermidine supplements or foods rich in spermidine can improve brain function, mitochondrial strength, cardiovascular health, and hair growth. Spermidine can mimic fasting's benefits by activating autophagy, promoting longevity and overall health. While fasting is recommended once a week with guidance, spermidine provides the same benefits as fasting without the need to fast.
Quercetin, a flavonol belonging to the flavonoid group of plant compounds, is a powerful antioxidant that cannot be synthesized by the human body but is found in numerous fruits, vegetables, and drinks. Its ability to neutralize free radicals makes it a valuable compound in preventing cell membrane damage and cell death.
Fisetin, a flavonoid commonly found in fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, grapes, cucumbers, and onions, has emerged as a promising anti-ageing compound. It has been shown to act as a senotherapeutic, selectively inducing cell death in unhealthy cells and reducing chronic inflammation, which can improve overall cellular health and increase lifespan.
Ca-AKG is a stable form of alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG), a naturally occurring substance found in the body. Although the body can produce sufficient amounts of AKG until the age of 40, its production decreases significantly after that. Studies have shown that by the age of 80, AKG levels in the body are only about 10% of what they were at age 40. During the early stages of life, AKG is produced during cellular energy production and provides vital fuel to support cell growth and protect cells. Additionally, it aids in the healing process of injured muscle tissue, supports digestive health, and enhances kidney function. As AKG production naturally declines, the body becomes more vulnerable to age-related illnesses and infirmities.
In conclusion, attaining longevity is no longer a myth. Although it is a multifaceted concept influenced by various factors such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle, it can be achieved! To promote longevity, it is important to address the underlying problems of ageing and age-related co-morbidities. Adopting a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and social connections can increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. Additionally, some supplements such as Fisetin, Spermidine, alpha-ketoglutaric acid, and senolytic supplements may also have potential longevity benefits, but more research is needed in this area.
1. What are some of the factors that contribute to a longer and healthier life?
A nutritious, balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and social connections are the prime factors that contribute to a longer and healthier life.
2. What role does physical activity play in promoting longevity?
Physical activity is extremely crucial. Not only it keeps you fit but also plays a significant role in promoting longevity by reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
3. Can certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, impact longevity and overall health
Yes, certain lifestyle factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can significantly impact both longevity and overall health, increasing the risk of various diseases and conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and respiratory disease.
4. What are some common misconceptions about longevity, and how can they be addressed with scientific evidence?
Misconceptions about longevity include the idea that genetics alone determine lifespan or that anti-ageing products can greatly extend it. Scientific evidence shows that lifestyle factors are key and that current anti-ageing interventions have limitations.
5. What is the future of research on longevity, and how might it impact healthcare and the broader society?
Cutting-edge research on longevity is currently centred on finding interventions that can slow down or even reverse the ageing process, through genetic and pharmacological means. This research has the potential to transform healthcare and society as a whole, by extending the number of healthy years we can live and reducing the healthcare expenses related to age-related illnesses.