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Lower heart rate and longevity?

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I follow Dr. Greger's NutritionFacts.org and today he released a video on higher heart rate risk factors for morbidity. I'm curious to know if any one here practices any lifestyle changes to lower heart rate (exercise/meditation/etc) to improve one's chances of living longer. If so, how low is your resting heart rate?

 

I try to practice daily meditation and I know it helps me lower my heart rate and blood pressure, but I'm still quite average in terms of heart rate, probably around 70bpm. I wonder if lowering my resting heart rate to 50bpm or lower would be a good idea or not. I'd prefer not to do excessive endurance exercise (for time and physical stress reasons) to lower it.

 

I'd love to hear what other people think of the topic! :)xyz

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I follow Dr. Greger's NutritionFacts.org

Do yourself a favor, and follow someone with less agenda-driven presentations ...

 

and today he released a video on higher heart rate risk factors for morbidity. I'm curious to know if any one here practices any lifestyle changes to lower heart rate (exercise/meditation/etc) to improve one's chances of living longer. If so, how low is your resting heart rate?

Yes: we're practicing Calorie restriction, which profoundly lowers heart rate, and most of us get a decent dose of aerobic exercise.

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Umaru,

 

Michael's right to a certain degree about Dr. Greger having a pro-vegan agenda (which I happen to agree with). But he's still a pretty good source of information IMO. Below is the video on resting HR you mentioned, which I too found interesting.

 

...how low is your resting heart rate?

 

My resting HR is around 50-52 BPM, up from around the mid 40s (as reported by my Fitbit) when I wasn't pursuing intentional cold exposure. Overnight cold exposure increases my resting heart rate, and night is the time when the Fitbit estimates RHR.

 

--Dean

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Michael's right to a certain degree about Dr. Greger having a pro-vegan agenda (which I happen to agree with). But he's still a pretty good source of information  IMO.

I think it's entirely indisputable that Greger has a pro-vegan agenda. But my problem with him isn't that he has such an agenda: it would be perfectly fine if he spent all day, every day posting legitimate summaries and interpretations of pro-low-fat vegan research. My objection is rather that he has repeatedly demonstrated himself willing to grossly distort the evidence on subjects in order to serve that agenda (and also, that even when he isn't torturing the data to make it scream its support for same, that he also hypes up a lot of utter nonsense irrelevant to his agenda, such as unvalidated in vitro studies). 

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Mine is 56 bpm - and due almost entirely to exercise as far as I can tell. When I initially started CR, I did NO exercise whatsoever based on the idea that exercise demands calories and I wanted as low calories as possible. My blood numbers were OK, but not fabulous. However, I felt often dizzy (orthostatic hypotension). Additionally despite really low calories, my fasting blood sugar was not great (83-95 variously). Walford in T120YD indicated that 20 min aerobic exercise might be advisable (though he himself was a big exerciser as I understand it), and various papers showed that with exercise CR benefits were not obliterated even with greater amount of calories consumed (up to a point, and in rats). With these factors in mind, I upped my exercise regimen substantially, and very soon experienced big benefits - not only did my blood numbers benefit, but the orthostatic hypotension was gone (without resting BP going up overall). I also lowered my RHR from 65 bpm prior to the exercise program to mid 50's. For me, exercise is the key to lowering my RHR, not diet

 

Caveats. This is just a one rat report. What works for me, might not work for you. I am now firmly convinced that anecdotal evidence from individual members has almost no bearing on what someone else might experience - due to the overwhelming factor of individual genetic and environmental interaction. We are all just too different. I happen to be a big exercise responder (according to various SNP reports gleaned from my 23andme genetic data). You might not be. An intervention that works for you, might not work for someone else. As just one example: no amount of exercise + diet + lifestyle intervention can get my total cholesterol below 200. I look at folks who slightly change their ad lib diets and report 140 and marvel. When my calorie intake is just above starvation, when I eliminate all saturated and trans fats as far as is humanly possible, eliminate almost all dietary cholesterol, stick to mostly vegetarian (plus small amounts of fish), exercise (16 miles a week jogging), consume tons of soluble fibers, etc., etc., etc., etc., - my total cholesterol numbers are still above 200, often above 220. With all that effort, my HDL which is naturally high already, merely goes up (latest reading was the highest yet: 109), and even with trigs in the low 50's (53), my total cholesterol still is above 200 - and my LDL usually somewhere in the 124-128 etc.. I'm simply not going to be able to lower it without medication. And I don't have familial hypercholesterolemia. Go figure. Bottom line: we have individual physiological makeups and we respond to interventions often dramatically differently.

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Michael,

 

I think it's entirely indisputable that Greger has a pro-vegan agenda. But my problem with him isn't that he has such an agenda: it would be perfectly fine if he spent all day, every day posting legitimate summaries and interpretations of pro-low-fat vegan research. My objection is rather that he has repeatedly demonstrated himself willing to grossly distort the evidence on subjects in order to serve that agenda (and also, that even when he isn't torturing the data to make it scream its support for same, that he also hypes up a lot of utter nonsense irrelevant to his agenda, such as unvalidated in vitro studies). 

 

You've expressed your disdain for Dr. Greger on several occasions in the past, although the evidence you've given for his bias has been rather limited, as you've acknowledged. But putting that aside, is there a source of online diet and health information that you do trust and respect? If so I know a lot of people would love to learn about it. In fact it might be worth it's own thread if you'd like to start it. And your SENS research blog doesn't countif for no other reason than it's not comprehensive or comprehensible enough for the average person to be very helpful for general health and diet questions.

 

--Dean

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I follow Dr. Greger's NutritionFacts.org and today he released a video on higher heart rate risk factors for morbidity. I'm curious to know if any one here practices any lifestyle changes to lower heart rate (exercise/meditation/etc) to improve one's chances of living longer. If so, how low is your resting heart rate?

For what it's worth, I love Dr. Greger's stuff, too.

 

One safe method I've tried for slowing heart rate is to lengthen my exhales. Add conscious pauses between inhales and exhales, and over time, through practice, my heart rate slows. This works well even when the heart's beating fast and heavy during strenuous activity. Find some love for how you breathe, and consciously practice.

Edited by Sthira

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Michael,

 

You've expressed your disdain for Dr. Greger on several occasions in the past, although the evidence you've given for his bias has been rather limited, as you've acknowledged.

How does that post — which cites numerous examples of his mixture of motivated distortion of evidence and sloppiness — acknowledge such limits? I haven't, of course, given every possible example, but a representative sample of ones that came to mind; nor have I read his blog systematically across its many years of existence, nor read his book. But I've come up against nonsense from Greger very often, usually without even looking for what he has to say on the subject, and often in surprising ways: just a couple of days ago, for instance, when a Conference attendee said she hadn't been able to execute James Cain's suggestion to "Google Michael Rae's Hunger Hypothesis," I successfully did so myself (first hit) — and I noted that I was cited (by a critic) in a Greger post on Methionine Restriction as a Life Extension Strategy that repeated the usual BS that MetR can be achieved by simply adopting a vegan diet (while advising people to eat beans!!).

 

But putting that aside, is there a source of online diet and health information that you do trust and respect? If so I know a lot of people would love to learn about it. In fact it might be worth it's own thread if you'd like to start it.

It might well be a good thing to start, but I'm probably not the best person to start it, as I can't really think of such a source that meets the criteria I would think you'd want. That is, there are plenty of good sources online for diet and health information going as far as issues that are very strongly supported in the evidence and targeted toward an average or below-average reader — ie, stuff on which more or less everyone from Atkins to Ornish to "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" tends to agree, with a few quirks in each case. But as far as people that provide a large and ongoing analysis of more controversial issues for very highly motivated and unusually intelligent people, I'm kinda drawing a blank. The nearest exception is Suppversity, a blog run by German Physicist Adel Moussa (AKA "Prof. Dr. Andro"), but it's not really concerned about health as such, but about fitness and especially muscle building, as well as fat loss. (Contra the title and his handle, it is neither terribly centered on supplements (unless you count protein powder) relative to the field, nor at all in support of anabolic steroids).

 

And your SENS research blog doesn't count if for no other reason than it's not comprehensive or comprehensible enough for the average person to be very helpful for general health and diet questions.

I'd actually go further than that: it has zero actionable questions about general health and diet. The analysis of the nonhuman primate CR studies is the closest thing, and that comes to no concusions on even translatability, let alone on whether and how one should implement CR.

 

One safe method I've tried for slowing heart rate is to lengthen my exhales. Add conscious pauses between inhales and exhales, and over time, through practice, my heart rate slows. This works well even when the heart's beating fast and heavy during strenuous activity. Find some love for how you breathe, and consciously practice.

That may acutely lower your heart rate, but I don't think that means anything as regards resting heart rate as a risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular disease or mortality: the variable you want is your heart rate while asleep, or first thing in the morning upon waking, presumably as a surrogate for cardiovascular capacity, cardiac autonomic function, sympathetic nervous tone, and perhaps delivery of oxygen to the tissues and/or clearance of volatile wastes.

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Thank you all for the lively discussion! I'm fairly new to healthy eating and CR, so I know little except fairly mainstream information. I can understand that Dr. Greger is pro-vegan, but for laypeople like myself, his overall contribution has been positive to my health and my family's health.

 

Michael, thank you for pointing me to the CR and HR/HRV study. That's quite fascinating that CR also affects HRV. There was a period of time where I regularly measured my HRV while mediating in an effort to increase willpower, so another reason to do CR! :)xyz

 

I'm encouraged to see that a couple of you have low HR in the 50s. I'd like to get down to that rate. What's the best way to measure this resting HR? I simply use a blood pressure monitor to get both my HR and pressure readings, but it's simply a single point in time and not while I'm asleep, which seems like the best time to measure resting HR.

 

Secondly, a question on CR practice. How do you determine what caloric requirement your body needs and then scale down for CR? How much are you scaling? 30%? 50%? Or is there another method? How do you ensure that you do not experience malnutrition? (Perhaps I should post a separate thread for this question?)

 

Thanks!

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Hi Umaru,
 

What's the best way to measure this resting HR? I simply use a blood pressure monitor to get both my HR and pressure readings, but it's simply a single point in time and not while I'm asleep, which seems like the best time to measure resting HR.


You're correct. Several fitness trackers have heart rate monitors on them now, allowing for around-the-clock monitoring of both RHR and heart rate during exercise. I use a Basis Peak, and a major selling point for me was that its heart rate monitoring has consistently outperformed FitBit and beaten or tied all competitors in both independent and company-sponsored tests (more and less rigorous).
 

Secondly, a question on CR practice. How do you determine what caloric requirement your body needs and then scale down for CR? How much are you scaling? 30%? 50%? Or is there another method? How do you ensure that you do not experience malnutrition? (Perhaps I should post a separate thread for this question?)


These are, of course, core questions around CR. I'd suggest first giving a read to our CR Guide, and then reading some of the books on our Recommended CR Reading list, especially The Longevity Diet (which, with absolutely zero influence of personal or institutional bias, is by a wide margin the best overall introduction to CR science and practice available) and secondarily Beyond the 120 Year Diet.

 

I'll let you read up about determining how far down to go, but to be clear, no free-living human can possibly tolerate 50% CR. 55% CR is on the razor's edge of lethal to experimental rodents, who never have to sprint or really do much of anything involving substantial energy output if they don't want tot; no organism could possibly voluntarily adhere to something that close to the edge for long.

 

To ensure that you don't experience malnutrition, you should use excellent nutrition software, such as CRON-O-Meter.

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RHR seems to be largely hereditary, although it can certainly be lowered to a point with exercise.

This may be of interest:

Resting heart rate is a heritable trait correlated with life span. Little is known about the genetic contribution to resting heart rate and its relationship with mortality. We performed a genome-wide association discovery and replication analysis starting with 19.9 million genetic variants and studying up to 265,046 individuals to identify 64 loci associated with resting heart rate (P < 5 × 10−8); 46 of these were novel. We then used the genetic variants identified to study the association between resting heart rate and all-cause mortality. We observed that a genetically predicted resting heart rate increase of 5 beats per minute was associated with a 20% increase in mortality risk (hazard ratio 1.20, 95% confidence interval 1.11–1.28, P = 8.20 × 10−7) translating to a reduction in life expectancy of 2.9 years for males and 2.6 years for females. Our findings provide evidence for shared genetic predictors of resting heart rate and all-cause mortality.
https://www.nature.com/articles/ng.3708

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