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AndreasAsmuss

Thoughts on a "less is more" philosophy

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Hello CR Society, first time poster here.

To preface this thread: I am not someone who practices CR, but I have been interested in the subject and others for nearly a decade. Due to economical and logistical constraints of living in a rural area, I have adopted quite a simplified protocol that entails daily fasting, anywhere from 18-23 hours, and a feeding of 2000-2500 calories of whole foods which include meat (I only eat organic meat from farmers with whom I have personal relationships) and many locally grown vegetables and canned goods which are often given to me for free or in exchange. 

Often when I read the diets and protocols of other members, I feel a sort of insecurity about my lack of supplementation and extreme variety that some members here seem to enjoy. Nonetheless, my weight has been stable for 6 years throughout this diet and I feel content with my energy levels all around.

The main questions of this thread for the members are: 

1) Do you ever considering simplifying your routine or diet?

2) Do you ever wonder if you are doing "too much" or more than is really necessary for your health?

3) Could a diet or routine with too many components, supplements, extracts, etc be detrimental in any way long term?

The main example for this could be the excess consumption of protein, which can often result in the body simply expelling excess protein. Could it be that the things we are consuming do not have quite the impact we wish and are simply being flushed from our body because our body has no need and has compensated this deficiency with another process? I have many anecdotal examples of people in my community and in my family who have had far above-average lifespans, and most of these people are actually quite simple eaters. They eat junk food as treats, but generally eat a variety of whole foods including dairy, meat, and many canned and pickled goods, as well as fresh vegetables when they are in season. Strangely enough, most of the people I've encountered who live long don't even seem to do strenuous exercise, but lead lives where they walk, garden, read and visit others while shuffling about. 

To sum up, I often have a suspicion that longevity is not quite as complex and mathematical as we think, and I wanted to see if any other members here felt as though they could maybe be doing less and be just as well off.

 

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Welcome Andreas!

23 minutes ago, AndreasAsmuss said:

To sum up, I often have a suspicion that longevity is not quite as complex and mathematical as we think, and I wanted to see if any other members here felt as though they could maybe be doing less and be just as well off.

For some of us, attempting to optimize our diet and lifestyle based on the best available evidence is a hobby. I don't think any (or many) of us would deny we may be "gilding the lily" with our efforts, and that they may not pay off, or perhaps even backfire if we go overboard or off in a wrong direction.

I'm someone who has quite a bit of self-discipline and willingness to "go out on a limb" for what I consider to be a worthy cause. I like to think a worthwhile purpose in life is to explore a seldom visited corner of the space of human possibility in hopes of learning something new, and perhaps helping others to benefit from my experience, whether I succeed or crash and burn.

There is more about my approach to diet/lifestyle and how it relates to my general philosophy of life herehere, here and here (in order of increasing abstraction).

--Dean

 

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Yep. Hobby is a good description.

I am a vegetarian not for health reasons, but because I decided that I don't want to be a part of killing other sentient creatures. I also try to stay vegan in my clothing choices, which is becoming increasingly easy.

But there has been a measurable health benefit to my moral vegetarianism, which has also become increasingly important to me as I age.

I also like data, so Cronometer is actually fun for me, just like 23andme and Nebula Genomics are fun. I hate being poked by needles, but I like the information I get from blood tests and the tweaking I can do by adjusting my diet and lifestyle. I also like looking good in my own eyes, thus exercise and being thin is also important to me.

Will it help me be healthier and live longer? I hope so, but I won't really know for certain, since there is no control "me."

Population studies appear to support what many here are doing to one extent or another, so it seems the the odds are reasonable.

Edited by Ron Put

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1 hour ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

For some of us, attempting to optimize our diet and lifestyle based on the best available evidence is a hobby. I don't think any (or many) of us would deny we may be "gilding the lily" with our efforts, and that they may not pay off, or perhaps even backfire if we go overboard or off in a wrong direction.

Thank-you for your welcome and for your answer. Your answer is also a just one. I appreciate reading about everyone's experience here, as well all are generally committed to the same thing, health, longevity and quality of life. 

I appreciate your honesty, as it alleviates some of my thoughts about doing more for myself. I am currently very satisfied with my lifestyle, but I also enjoy learning about the things other people take and experiment with. I certainly will expand my protocol in the future, but I think I don't need to worry too much about over complicating what works for me. It also did not really occur to me to see many of you as "hobbyists" in a way because I see my health as a necessity but not something that I personally like to over analyse or modify very much.

It is also important to note that I myself understand very well that we absolutely do not know everything and that experimentation can sometimes lead to positive outcomes, so I am grateful for the experimentation of others and I wish the best for everyone.

Edited by AndreasAsmuss

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I too approach my health from a hobbyist and/or tinkerer perspective. I enjoy trying to understand my body and medicine in general. It's the same as some people liking to optimize their computers or work on their cars to get that last 0.0001% improvement. It's a fascinating field. That said, I have no confidence at all that my various far-going practices buy me anything at all, and agree with Dean, it may even be counter-productive. In the end, what really matters is QOL. I would not trade a tiny advantage in time for a massive drop in QOL. The tradeoff must make some kind of sense (to me). But ultimately I found that taking care of my health also increased my QOL, so that's a happy coincidence.

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There are definitely things that people have tried (or are currently doing) that could be harmful to health and longevity.  I won't name names, but there are many people from the CR Society who have had significant health problems resulting from things they thought would be beneficial.  I often wonder if I'm getting excessive amounts of pesticides in my diet as well.  Also I suspect some people who are obsessive about health have higher anxiety/stress about such things and that could be counter-productive to longevity.  If you can lower your stress, connect in a meaningful way to some (non-digital) community of real people, not be overweight or eat much junk food, and get good sleep every night, you're going to get close to the maximum lifespan you are capable of with current technology.  Everything else you can do is speculative, and may or may not add 3 to 6 months to your life 😉  People over at longecity go "nutzo" with supplements, I don't think that is as common over here though - I think the supplement industry is full of charlatans and suckers, and the more supplements you take, the more problems you are likely to encounter.  Aspirin, cholesterol lowering drugs, proton pump inhibitors, metformin, rapamycin, hormones: all show potential for long term harm based on various evidence (but could be net beneficial to some people).  I've been trying to grow more and more food each year - this is good exercise and a fun hobby to me, and also reduces my pesticide consumption (since I don't use chemicals on my produce).  I highly recommend planting as many fruit trees as you can, they just get bigger and bigger each year and produce more and more food - if something happens to one, no big deal, cut it down and plant a new one.  A small 1/3 acre property can support dozens of fruit trees. Grass lawns are stupid.

Edited by Gordo

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Hello Gordo!

Matt Kaeberlein spoke at the annual UR Conference on Aging this past Spring.  He presented evidence that rapamycin has extremely mild side effects on healthy subjects (which presumably includes most of us).  There is strong evidence that this drug might really have anti-aging properties on people; he is up to testing dogs (in progress) with the approval of the NIH.  

Luigi indicated similar thoughts about rapamycin at one of the CR Society conferences.  (I expressed skepticism; I was surprised.)

And there is certainly strong evidence that CRON (which is not a drug 😊) improves healthspan (and maybe lifespan ?)

That said, I agree with most of the rest of what you said.

  --  Saul

  

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Well its prescribed to suppress the immune system.  Immune supression + aging, what could possibly go wrong?  😉

I'm sure it works great until you get cancer or pneumonia or any number of communicable diseases.

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Matt Kaeberlein addressed that.  He said the repression of the immune system by rapamycin is actually very mild in healthy people.  Rapa is used in transplant patients -- heart, liver, kidney, lung -- to reduce the likelihood of rejection of the transplanted organ by the immune system -- but, according to Matt, this effect is trivial in healthy people (like most of us).  (I would guess that the reason rapa is used on transplant patients is because it does limited damage to the immune system -- probably targeting not much more than what is necessary to reduce the likelihood of rejection of the donor organ.)

1 hour ago, Gordo said:

I'm sure it works great until you get cancer or pneumonia or any number of communicable diseases.

 Not likely in healthy adults like you and me, whether or not we were to take rapa  -- we don't have weakened bodies due to a heart or liver transplant.

(BTW, I have no desire to take rapa.  Interestingly, there was one grad student who chatted with Matt, who is testing a drug derived from rapa -- he and Matt commiserated that the company manufacturing the drug charges much too much for experimental samples.  Of course, rapa itself cannot be patented -- anymore than patenting a wild banana.)  

  --  Saul

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Re: rapa - as always "the dose makes the poison". Rapa in doses such as used for transplant patients does suppress immunity. However, at lower doses, it strengthens immunity. The trouble is, we do have data in animals (mice and now dogs) to tell us which is which, but no such data for humans (i.e. we don't know what the dose is for strenghtening immunity). However, I did start a thread here wherein a biotech company is running human trials to determine effect on immunity in a rapa analogue, so that should be interesting (results expected next year). 

If you are young enough (younger than 60), you should probably hold off on rapa until there's more human data. If you are older, and time is running out, then it's up to your temperament - given all the info available, what is your risk appetite given the odds such as can be discerned. The upside might be small, and the risk might be big - do you roll the dice? YMMV.

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We've discussed the dosages in a thread on Dr. Allan Green, doses for transplant patients are far higher than the intermittent administrations with low amounts of the drug proposed for longevity, they are not comparable by any means.

Maybe Kaeberlein's experiments on dogs might be able to provide a proxy for humans. And there is the interesting trail hinted by Tomb, I wonder how long it will take.

The above being said, I'm far, far away from even considering taking rapa now, I might change my mind in a decade though, especially if more experimental data are available.

Metformin apparently is a much more harmless drug, with the obstensible property of being protective against cancer, but it has the effect of giving nausea, unless dosages are pretty low. Good to eat less, for those who pursue rigorous CR...But perhaps we should wait for the conclusion of the TAME experiment by Barzilai and colleauges.

Edited by mccoy

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I eagerly await the results of the rapamycin trials.  But in the meantime we also have lots of fungi available today that are noted for boosting the immune system, anti-cancer, neuro-protective, longevity, etc.  There is quite a bit of published research on these species (shiitake, oyster, cordyceps, reishi, king oyster, lion's mane, etc).  I would not be surprised if, at some future point in time, we were to learn that these are more effective than rapamycin (not that they have to be mutually exclusive of course).

Note reishi impact on mTOR: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41392-019-0056-7

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23468988/

Edited by Gordo

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gordo, are you taking reishi and in which form? I see they sell it powdered or in supplements (extracts)

Edited by mccoy

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On 8/29/2019 at 9:00 AM, Gordo said:

I won't name names, but there are many people from the CR Society who have had significant health problems resulting from things they thought would be beneficial.  

Gordo, I'm wondering if you could expand on this. On another note, I find the discussion in this thread to be fascinating.

To the OP, sometimes my regime is extremely simple and other times it's more complicated. During busier times of life, my simple plant-based diet is a few key complex carbohydrates with some other staple plants (i.e. lentils, oats, blueberries, arugula, flax, beets, nut butter, etc.). When I find I have time, I get lost in the minutiae and find myself doing this like mixing black pepper with turmeric to increase its absorption and consuming 30 varieties of plants per day.  Exercise is consistent and more or less on autopilot. I'm 34 and have been exercising for 20 years. For more than a decade it has been first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. While the quantity has varied, it probably averages to 30 minutes of biking, swimming, cycling, yoga, weightlifting, or other moderate activity close to 7 days per week. The last 4-5 years have included a meditation practice again, which I don't think much about other than to refine my practice and to be present with it. I also try to have life be 'the curriculum' for my daily practice. 

I'm not really concerned with overdoing it with nutrition but am more concerned with exercise. At times I've done 9+ hours per week of moderate to high-intensity exercise (heart rate between 125-165). I don't currently do that. For some, it could lead to a negative cardiovascular outcome (though I think the heart is very resilient and for many people it's fine).  I'm somewhat more concerned about the impact on joint health and don't know if exercising that much is currently compatible with functional mobility at 90 or 100. 

I don't take supplements at the moment (other than b-12 and vitamin d in the winter), so I'm not too concerned with that. In my younger years I took many supplements and felt it was a waste of money, and it was possibly even damaging to health. 

One thing I do wonder about is the cumulative effect of mild stressors. Mild stress on an organism generally produces effects that are good for longevity. For example, exercise is stress and in appropriate doses this stress is good for you. Calorie restriction is stress and in appropriate doses appears to be beneficial. Cold exposure is stress and so long as it isn't overdone, it may confer benefits. Sun exposure provides vitamin D, nitric oxide, etc. and seems fine so long as exposure isn't overdone as it comes with radiation too. Fasting stresses the body but appears to have benefits in many instances. I could go on and on. What I'm getting at is that I wonder how well the body handles all of these cumulative stressors put together. Maybe the outcome is supreme longevity, maybe it's excellent health span, maybe it depends on your genetics, maybe you need a complex matrix with a ridiculous number of permutations to even comprehend this.

All I can tell you is that today my health is the best it's been with the above health practices. Will this translate into great health span and a good life span? I hope so, since the cards were stacked against me. You can read about that here if you like. 

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On 9/2/2019 at 4:58 PM, mccoy said:

gordo, are you taking reishi and in which form? I see they sell it powdered or in supplements (extracts)

I'm currently growing it. I suspect I will need to do some type of extract to fully unlock its goodness but I still need to research that more. I'm thinking an evening reishi tea might be nice. 

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Drewab - you can find a lot of details in Dean's posts with some searching. Some issues have included severe osteoporosis, numerous serious bone fractures, loss of thyroid from seaweed related poisoning, shingles from excessive CR, poor glucose control, etc. 

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Hi Andreas and Drewab!

I think that Gordo is referring to either me or to Khurram Hashimi as "having extreme osteoporosis".  I have osteoporosis -- but I had it prior to starting CR.  My osteo is very much under control, using the drug Forteo.  I'll have a new dexa soon.

When Luigi tested Khurram, he had the worst osteoporosis he had ever tested.  But, Khurram is extremely healthy -- he does all sorts of vigorous exercise. 

Luigi extracted bone biopsies from several of us.  Despite weak bone density as shown by dexa, the biopsied samples showed high tensile strength.

I don't know what Gordo is talking about when he talks about "numerous serious bone fractures".  I've never had a fracture -- unless you count a stubbed toe.  To the best of my knowledge, neither has Khurram.

The only former member of the CR Society who I can think of who fits that description is Warren Taylor.  Warren was at most moderately calorie restricted , but not  "ON".   But the source of his severe fractures was mostly this combination:

He avoided sunlight, fearing skin cancer.  So he was Vitamin D deficient -- probably the source of his osteo.  And he did a lot of running -- until he fell and crippled himself severely.

23 hours ago, Gordo said:

loss of thyroid from seaweed related poisoning

I know who Gordo is referring to.  That is a mistake that one of our most brilliant members made, prior to balancing nutrition.

 

23 hours ago, Gordo said:

shingles from excessive CR, poor glucose control, etc. 

This sounds like pure fantasy.  Shingles is a disease that anyone who has had chicken pox, and doesn't get the shingles vaccine later, might possibly get.  It has nothing to do with CR.  (BTW, I don't know anyone in the CR society who has ever had shingles.  I do know one person who has had shingles -- not a CRONNie.)

23 hours ago, Gordo said:

poor glucose control

 ??  Extensive bloodwork has been done by most CRONNies -- many, possibly most, of us have better lipid levels than most teanagers; we are the OPPOSITE of diabetics.

Andreas, the doctrine that Gordo is promulgating can, IMO, be summarized as follows:  "Let me prove that my diet is best".

I think the best is to ignore Gordo's biases.

  --  Saul

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 No Saul, I was referring to the guy who lost 9 inches of height, but many CR old timers seem to have osteoporosis. Frailty is a massive liability in old age. 

Regarding shingles, Paul McGlothin talks about this in his video "Mistakes I Made". 

We all do things a little differently, only time will tell what works best, but that may also differ from person to person. I think diet is just one of many important things for health, but ultimately only emerging technologies will produce serious gains. 

Screenshot_20190906_225544.jpg

Edited by Gordo

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Aging is the greatest risk factor for shingles and there ain't no vaccine for that yet.

During my many years of severe CR I did not get shingles, I did get it about ten years ago with moderate CR along with the worse post-herpetic neuralgia.  I got it earlier this year a second time with normal range weight, with no evident stress other than aging.  The second time, I took the anti-viral pills sooner and the shingles went away in 2-3 days.  Vaccine would cost me $320 Canadian so haven't yet got the double injection vaccine.  I do get flu and pneumococcal vaccinations and just got the 10-year update on my tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccination.

Edited by AlPater

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