Tips for Extending Life and Living Longer

Recently I made short notes about SuperAgers, who consume the most nutritious foods, which help them live a longer life. Continuing in the same spirit, I stumbled upon this piece on Life Extension, that caught my attention and prompted me to jot down notes for future reference.

Ageing and infection are a two-way street. Older people get more infectious diseases as their immune systems start to run out of steam, while infection drives faster ageing through senescence. Since ageing and senescence are inextricably linked with both chronic and infectious diseases in older people, treating senescence is likely to improve health across the board.

– Profs. Richard Faragher and Lynne Cox on The Conversation

In the Conversation magazine article, Profs. Richard Faragher and Lynne Cox, discuss the following five promising methods for living a longer and healthier life:

  • Nutrition and lifestyle: Eating nutritious foods can help us live healthier and longer life. ” A study of large groups of ordinary people show that keeping the weight off, not smoking, restricting alcohol to moderate amounts and eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetable a day can increase your life expectancy by seven to 14 years compared with someone who smokes, drinks too much and is overweight.” Intermittent fasting for two days a week has also been reported to reduce the risk of middle-aged people developing age-related diseases.
  • Physical activity: A regular exercise has been reported to increase healthy human life expectancy by almost a year. “Just over 30 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity is enough for most people. Not only does that make you stronger and fitter, it has been shown to reduce harmful inflammation and even improve mood.”
  • Boosting the Immune system: Having enough vitamins, especially A and D, reported to help make more immune cells, particularly a molecule called IL-7. “We may soon be able to produce drugs that contain this molecule, potentially boosting the immune system in older people. Another approach is to use the food supplement spermidine to trigger immune cells to clear out their internal garbage, such as damaged proteins, which improves the elderly immune system so much that it’s now being tested as a way of getting better responses to COVID vaccines in older people.”
  • Rejuvenating cells: Senescence, a harmful state cells enter as we age, causes chronic inflammation and diseases, accelerating our biological aging. A 2009 study showed that middle-aged mice treated with rapamycin, which blocks mTOR protein, lived longer and healthier by rejuvenating aged cells. A clinical trial is underway to explore rapamycin’s potential to slow aging in humans. Rapamycin, which is often called the “elixr of youth,” has some problems, like making our immune system weaker. However, newer drugs, like RTB101, which is similar to rapamycin, support immunity in older individuals and may reduce COVID severity.
  • Clearing out old cells: Senescent cells play a significant role in various conditions like diabetes, obesity, and susceptibility to infections including COVID-19. In lab experiments with mice, targeting senescent cells with “senolytics” drugs have shown promise for improving overall health and longevity. Clinical trials have shown that senolytic treatment improved lung function in people with severe lung fibrosis. Eliminating senescent cells in older mice has shown to improve their survival after COVID infection, suggesting a potential avenue for intervention in humans.