In my last several columns I summarized the most amazing articles I read in the prior months. These studies involve data on the mechanism of aging, indicating you could gain 30 years of life in the next 10 years.
One question I was asked is why must you choose healthy behaviors now to get “The Great Age Reboot” – the title of the book Albert Ratner, Peter Linneman and I are writing – in 10 years or so? There are three obvious answers we write about in the book. (You can send questions to me, too, at whenway.com.)
• You should build a strong foundation now: You probably know someone who has survived a horrific disease, accident or surgery. One of the main themes that often emerges from these stories is the person’s pre-existing physical and mental strength fortified their body for battle and made them better equipped to handle the stresses endured. That is true with the current pandemic; over 85% of people that required hospitalization in an intensive care unit, and an even higher percentage of those who died, had one or more of six pre-existing conditions (obesity, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease or immune dysfunction) or was over age 70.
That same line of thinking we postulate will come into play with longevity. So, a little self-genetic engineering to healthy choices will help you prevent chronic disease and set you up for longevity. The better your physical shape, the higher the chances new anti-aging procedures will take at a high level, and with fewer complications. Stronger at the start means you’ll be stronger through the entire race, all the way to the finish.
• It is unclear how many reboots you’ll get: Perhaps in a Utopian 25th century world there will exist some dressing-room-like catacomb that allows you to walk into a booth, press a few buttons and erase every cigarette you’ve smoked, every couch you’ve potatoed, every potato you’ve fried. But for the foreseeable future, it’s far more likely that your reboot chances will be limited, and that your ability to maximize their effectiveness will depend on your commitment to improving your biology through proven means: nutrition, physical activity, sleep, not smoking and stress management. These methods provide natural ways of engineering your DNA – perhaps not with laser-like precision, but to great effect nonetheless.
• No matter what happens, your brain needs you: Your brain remains the final biological frontier. So even if science ultimately allows us to correct our cells, genes and other mechanisms that make our body work, when your brain goes, you will too. To maximize the promise of a longer-lasting youth, it’s imperative that you protect your brain. The best news is the steps you can take are the same as those necessary to protect the rest of your body – and you can make progress every day.
Medical science may be able to reset your genes back the your original settings and help you restore all your functions – including mental functions – back to that of 30 years ago. That is why we are saying, prepare to be 30 years younger.
Longevity gives you life, but longevity is not the problem. It is the cure, as it will beget much more productive human capital.
But, you need to keep your brain as young as possible until we can reboot your genes. So if you want to keep your memory function, it is easy to make modifications, which we’ll explain in future columns.
Dr. Michael Roizen writes about wellness for the Cleveland and Columbus Jewish News. He is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.