Our book, “The Great Age Reboot, Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow” (National Geographic; Sept. 13), tells the story of longevity becoming the greatest disruptor ever, and how you can take advantage of it. Two weeks ago in the Cleveland Jewish News, we discussed the exponential increases in the science of aging mechanisms and why with an 80% probability one of these 14 areas would breakthrough in the next 10 years to make it likely that 90 will be the new 40.
Last week, we discussed the huge economic and social benefits this longevity disruptor can bring to you and to society, if you and the policy makers get it right (really, why we wrote the book).
This week has been exciting for us. The book was published Sept. 13 and our app, RebootYourAge, is live. You can find information at GreatAgeReboot.com.
Today, we will discuss what you can do so you are prepared to take advantage in body and bank account for that likely Great Age Reboot – we call this the science of self-engineering – and the steps you should take today to prepare for the changes of tomorrow.
While science will show incredible advances when it comes to extending and improving life, the fact is that we can’t rely on everyone else to do the work. Over the following decades, you may have dozens of decisions to make about how to care for your body, but that decision-making should start right now. Begin today to make the lifestyle choices that will best prepare you for the Great Age Reboot.
Do-it decision No. 1: Take control of your health and wealth
We’ll tell you a familiar story. Someone you know gets the news of a bad medical diagnosis. Everyone surrounding that person feels horrible. They huddle around, they try to help, they feel helpless.
But then something happens. The person whose future looked bleak pulls through. While there could be any number of reasons a treatment worked, one health professional will assert that she made it because she was in good shape, otherwise healthy, and her body and her immune system were strong. And deep down, you know there’s truth to it. While a strong body can’t weather every medical storm, there’s little doubt that a stronger body can surely weather storms better than a weaker one.
You have the ability to change how your body works and reacts – and ultimately how healthy you are and how long you may live. That is genetic self-engineering. You may never have taken a chemistry, biology, physics or engineering class. And you may have only a vague concept of DNA and cells. Yet you are a supreme genetic engineer who has the power to help determine, on a daily basis, which of thousands of your genes are turned off or on. Healthy acts switch on youth-promoting genes and switch off genes that cause you to age.
You will be better prepared, more fortified and have a stronger biological shield if you take control over your health destiny, rather than wait for every fix to come your way. The same holds true for your financial destiny. The stronger you are now, the better prepared you will be for the future.
There are many unknowns as to our timeline and the availability of these antiaging advances. Will these new advances (brown-fat-from-white-fat transformations, stem- cell regeneration, gene editing, epigenetic reboot, senolytics, autophagy, plaque busting, telomere lengthening, 3D printing, and artificial bolstering of organs and systems) be available and be safe when administered once or many times? How will your current health status influence your ability to take advantage of these treatments? How will industries change, and what will those changes mean for personal income and retirement? But we know that you can choose to make it much more likely you’ll benefit from the changes that do come.
When it comes to your health, your original parts are nature’s most masterful design. And if you can keep those parts, there’s a good chance that your health outcomes will be even better when you do use rebooting methods. The reboot shouldn’t be about saving your life. It should be about enhancing it.
Do-it decision No. 2: Select your team
The most important thing you can do is to make sure you build a loving, informed and loyal team around you. That includes family. That includes friends. And that surely includes a community of trusted experts – everyone from doctors to financial advisers. Why? Because the best decision-making is about triangulating several opinions and insights from people who love you – and who may know more than you do. Your team will need to evolve over time as people die or move, as friendships fray and as new life challenges arise.
And one more thing we believe about your decisions and health: If you are to make a choice that involves doing something for more than three days or has an effect that will last longer than three days, get a second opinion.
Self-engineer your brain and heart
When it comes to health strategies that can improve your body, what you do for the brain and heart are remarkably similar. That’s because so much of that success hinges on a strong circulatory system and good blood flow. That’s easy to imagine for the heart since you’re familiar with the idea of creating a clear vascular system through exercise and healthy eating. It’s probably harder to imagine flexing your brain. It’s not like doing biceps curls to grow muscles or swimming to strengthen your heart. But even if you’re not setting out to do three sets of cerebellum lifts a day, you still need to make brain self-engineering a priority when it comes to the length and quality of your life.
Our co-author, Albert, is still working into his 90s. He thinks that one of the keys to his brain’s health and longevity has to do with something else: stress management and setting priorities.
“What’s important is important and the rest is baloney,” he explains. (Note: We don’t endorse actual bologna, as processed meat is bad for the brain and body.)
These strategies have been documented to change the way your genes are expressed and improve the systems that influence brain and heart function:
Manage stress: MRI imaging shows that stress shrinks the hippocampus, and that atrophy is a hallmark of dementia. Keep in mind that the real damage doesn’t come from the stress itself, but from your biological response: a cascade of hormones and chemicals during these episodes that wreak havoc on your brain and body. So, the goal isn’t to eliminate stress completely, but instead to improve your reaction to it. Best is to talk with friends and remember your purpose – yes there are other techniques (like meditation and guided imagery) but posse and purpose ameliorate stress.
Move it: Physical activity activates genes that produce proteins released from your muscles that then releases BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which grows your hippocampus. That growth has a positive effect on brain function. Higher levels of BDNF are associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s and most forms of dementia.
Dial in your diet: Some research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet – or a pesco-vegetarian version that incorporates salmon, ocean trout and a few personalized supplements – can reduce death from cardiovascular disease by up to 30%. Eating this way can also arrest the development of dementia by up to 60%.
Train your brain for speed: Two studies found that 70- to 75-year-olds who played speed-of-processing games for just 18 hours over a 10-year period experienced more than a 25% decreased risk of dementia over those 10 years.
Drink black coffee: (no cream or sweeteners), and brewed through a filter), enjoy EVOO and enjoy blueberries.
Help regenerate your telomeres with the original fasting mimicking diet five days each month: Go on a low-protein, low- simple carb diet of about 1,000 calories on day one and 750 calories for the next four days (it was mainly a tomato-corn-onion soup), and then return to a Mediterranean-style diet on day six.
Use a sauna a few times a week: Studies demonstrate reduced dementia in more than 15% of those who used one four times a week for 20 minutes or more; we think believe the benefit is due to heat shock protein release, (you are a genetic engineer) which means a hot bath or an infrared sauna may have the same benefit.
Get 6½ to 8 hours of high-quality sleep each night.
In this article, we only have space to discuss some of the most important choices – there are over 33 choices you can make, with multiple studies in humans that change the rate of brain aging. Yes, there are over 180 choices now with enough data to discuss whether they affect your rate of aging, and that 180 doesn’t even include review of over 50 supplements or small molecule pills that have been suggested to us (18 of which you can consider with your practitioner with randomized controlled trials that show benefits). Many of these choices we discuss in the book and all of which are covered in the accompanying app built to help you implement the plan to be 90 at age 40 (if you want) and to keep up with the science as it changes. It is tough to do this on your own, so get a buddy and/or try the Reboot Your Age – see GreatAgeReboot.com.
The real question is: Will you prepare to be younger longer, and if so, how will you change today? Are you better prepared to stop smoking, eat better, manage stress, exercise regularly, develop relationships and save? We believe that in all probability, the Great Age Reboot means that no matter what your current age, you can live longer and healthier. Your “old” years will feel young.
While the opportunity of increased longevity is great, there are risks of poor decisions before the miracle of longevity. Greater longevity means that while the benefits of wise decisions grow, the costs of unwise decisions also grow. In particular, the power of compounding accentuates poor work, poor savings and poor medical decisions the longer we live.
The Great Age Reboot is all about opportunity. Humans will live longer than they ever have in the past – most likely exponentially healthier in their years over calendar age 75. We all have and will have an opportunity to live better than we ever have in the past.
The decision – as we’re about to enter the Great Age Reboot – is yours.
This is the last of three excerpts the Cleveland Jewish News will publish from the book, “The Great Age Reboot,” by Albert Ratner, Peter Linneman and Dr. Mike Roizen. The book was released Sept. 13 by National Geographic and is now available for purchase at Amazon.com.