By Peter Diamondis
There are actions you can take right now to increase your potential healthspan, with a target of making it to a health 100+ years old.
In my last two blogs, I focused first on having a Longevity Mindset, and second on a wide range of Longevity-related technologies (Stem Cells, Gene Therapies, CRISPR, Senolytic Medicines, etc.) that could potentially add 30+ healthy years to your life.
In this blog, I’ll focus on some practical things that each of us can do today, as a bridge that will get us to those rejuvenation technologies under development in the coming decades.
Your goal should be to live long enough to intercept the next bridge of technology, and the next one, and so on — extending your healthy lifespan as long as you desire.
Every January at my Abundance 360 Mastermind Summit, I focus an entire module on Longevity. This coming January 2021, because there is so much incredible work being done, I’m expanding my longevity focus to encompass two modules. The first module will cover the revolutionary science of “age-reversal”, and the second will deliver on near-term vitality-increasing practices.
Let’s dive in.
First: Don’t die from something stupid
One mistake that many of us make is to assume we’re healthy. Until that pain in your side brings you to the emergency room, where you find out that you’ve had a disease all along.
Perhaps it’s stage 3 cancer, or an aneurysm or significant heart disease that could have been easily detected… or any number of 100 preventable diseases.
The unfortunate truth is that most people don’t know the actual state of their health.
Eventually, we will all be wearing sensors, feeding our AI, in a fashion that constantly monitors our health.
But today, until that future arrives, it’s important to use advanced diagnostics (MRI, CT, genomics, metabolomics) to evaluate our health on an annual basis, with the goal of finding disease at stage-0.
For example, take Human Longevity, which I co-founded in 2013. The company’s “Health Nucleus” offering is an annual, 3-hour scan that includes heart and lung CT, a full-body MRI, whole-genome sequencing, an echocardiogram, and a host of clinical blood tests.
What might you learn from such an exam? In 2018, Human Longevity published the following data on its first 1,190 clients:
- 2% of patients had undiagnosed tumors/advanced cancer
- 2.5% of patients had undiagnosed aneurysms (the #2 killer in the world)
- 9% of patients had previously undetected coronary artery disease (the #1 killer)
- In total, a staggering 14.4% had significant issues requiring immediate intervention, while 40% percent found a condition that needed long-term monitoring
Some people say: “I don’t want to know these things …”
But I think that’s bullshit! Of course you want to know. And you should do everything in your power to solve the medical problem and take advantage of these rapidly advancing technologies to increase your lifespan.
Second: Know your biological age, and reverse it
We all have our genes, but it’s which of your genes are expressed that matters most.
And it’s not only your genes. The microbiome that you have in your gut also impacts you.
A company called Viome (disclosure: I’m an investor through my fund BOLD) focuses on the 100 trillion bacteria in the gut microbiome, which transform our food into fuel. The gene expression in these bacteria can be determined through metatranscriptomic analysis to better inform our diets.
Viome’s AI algorithms hone the platform’s food recommendations to specific foods based on your inflammatory responses. Optimizing nutrition is the most controllable step towards improving longevity, and we must start now.
As both DNA and RNA sequencing technologies have exponentially decreased in cost and increased in efficiency, these tools have helped us solve mysteries of disease origin and improve human healthspan.
Are you aging faster or feeling younger than the date on your birth certificate?
For me, I regularly use Viome’s “Health Intelligence test” to find out. The test measures your biological age, mitochondrial health, immune health, gut microbiome, cellular health, and 30 other health scores. It also makes recommendations on what foods and supplements you should target to reduce inflammation and reverse your biological age with the goal of giving you more energy, boosting immunity, better gut and mental health, on the path to a longer, healthier life.
Visit www.viome.com and use code ABUNDANCE20 to receive a $10 discount.
Third: Sleep, Exercise, Diet and Mindset & Purpose
There’s a lot you can do right now to be healthier and extend your life by focusing on what I call the four basics: sleep, exercise, diet, and mindset.
Getting enough sleep is one of the most underappreciated elements of extending your lifespan.
You need 8 hours of sleep each night. If you think you’re one of those people who can get away with 5 or 6 hours of sleep, the scientific evidence is not on your side.
One book I’m constantly recommending is neuroscientist Matthew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep.” He says that sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our mental and physical health each day.
Sufficient sleep improves our ability to learn, make better decisions, and it helps us better navigate emotional and social challenges with relative composure. Physiologically, sleep has a slew of benefits, including strengthening our immune system, reforming our metabolism, regulating our appetite, and helping us to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
On the other hand, regularly getting less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night doubles your risk of cancer and can increase the likelihood that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease. Insufficient sleep can also contribute to major psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and depression.
One of the key lessons from Why We Sleep is: if humans had been able to evolve with the ability to get along with less sleep, then we would have.
Yet, evolutionarily our bodies retained the need for eight hours. Make sleep a priority.
The evidence is clear: muscle mass is one of the most important predictors of longevity.
We naturally lose muscle mass as we age, a condition called sarcopenia.
But you can slow and possibly even reverse this process with regular exercise, for instance, weightlifting and interval training.
Increasing muscle mass as you age can help to increase your lifespan in numerous ways.
First: Increased muscle mass leads to higher numbers of stem cells. These are undifferentiated cells that can transform into specialized cells such as heart, liver, lung, skin, and other types of cells.
As we age, our supply of stem cells diminishes, but regular exercise to increase muscle mass fights against this trend.
Second: Having more muscle mass as you age also reduces your risk of falling and any resulting injuries.
On a personal note, when my father was in his mid-80s he fell while getting out of bed and broke his pelvis, landing him in the hospital. This is one of the most dangerous places to be for an elderly person and it began a slow and steady decline.
Third: Even a small amount of weekly resistance or weight training along with the use of peptides (short chains of amino acids) can help to naturally stimulate growth hormone and increase muscle mass.
And the research supports this: For instance, in one study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, elderly men with sarcopenia underwent a three-month resistance-training program that included three sessions per week, and post-exercise supplements of collagen peptides.
Compared to the placebo group, participants who took the collagen peptide supplement after exercising had better motor control, increased muscle strength and fat-free mass, and lower levels of fat mass.
Improving your diet can have immediate positive effects and ultimately increase your lifespan.
There are two actions that you can take today:
- Intermittent fasting; and,
- Reducing your sugar intake.
Intermittent fasting is a powerful practice that involves eating normal portions of food with periodic episodes without meals.
Another book I recommend often is David Sinclair’s “Lifespan.” He says that if there’s one piece of advice he would offer after 25 years of researching aging, it’s to eat less often.
There are dozens of fasting programs. One approach is to skip breakfast and have a late lunch, and another is to eat 75% fewer calories two days each week. I personally do this on a regular basis. On some days, I eat 1 meal per day, typically a lunch, and on other days, I fast between 7pm the night before and 3pm the next day (a 20 hour fast).
Whatever you choose, nearly any practice of intermittent fasting that still allows you to get sufficient nutrition will help you live a healthier and longer life. It can not only increase your energy levels and mental clarity, but also forestall cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, and stroke.
In addition to fasting, decreasing or eliminating sugar from your diet can have immediate positive effects.
Reduced blood sugar levels have been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and have been shown to lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart-related death.
For example, while it’s not easy, I started a 22-day sugar-free fast inspired by Dr. Guillermo Rodríguez Navarrete, and it’s transformed my life. Any sugar cravings are gone, my desire to snack is gone, and both my body fat and overall weight have decreased.
Best of all, I was on a low-level blood pressure medicine, and since going on the sugar-free fast, I no longer need it!
Mindset & Purpose
After sleep, exercise, and diet your mindset is the fourth basic practice that you can change right now to live a healthier and longer life.
As I’ve written previously, your mindset is a function of so many factors: Who do you spend time with? What do you read? What do you have on your walls? What media do you consume?
All of these things and more.
But a person who wants to live to 100 or 120 years old must have purpose in their life.
Otherwise, what’s the point of living longer?
Not simply living for the sake of another birthday, but truly living with a purpose in mind that is inspiring and motivating.
That’s why I’ve made taking an active approach to understanding and crafting mindsets, including a Longevity Mindset and a Purpose-Driven Mindset, the critical foundation of my Abundance 360 program.
Join Me at Abundance 360
If tracking the latest breakthroughs in longevity is something you desire… If developing a Longevity Mindset is important to you, then consider joining my Abundance 360 Mastermind Summit.
Every year, my team and I select a group of 360 entrepreneurs and CEOs to coach over the course of a year-long program. A360 starts each January with a live event and continues every two months with Implementation Workshops, in which I personally coach members in small groups over Zoom. (In January 2021, you have a choice of live “in-person” or “virtual” participation. See the A360 website for more info.)
My mission is to help A360 members identify their massively transformative purpose, select their moonshot, and hone an Abundance, Exponential, and Longevity Mindset. Together we will actively select and reinforce your preferred mindsets.
Peter Diamandis is an engineer, physician, and entrepreneur best known for being founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, cofounder and executive chairman of Singularity University and coauthor of The New York Times bestsellers Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think and BOLD: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World. He is former CEO and cofounder of the Zero Gravity Corporation, cofounder and vice chairman of Space Adventures Ltd., founder and chairman of the Rocket Racing League, cofounder of the International Space University, cofounder of Planetary Resources, cofounder of Celularity, founder of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, vice chairman and cofounder of Human Longevity, Inc.