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omarino

I'm 20 years old and I intend to live as long as possible - here's everything that I'm doing

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Hi, I'm Omar from Italy and this is my first thread here. I have recently discovered this forum and have read a lot of what has been posted with great interest.

About six months ago I quite suddenly decided that I wanted to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible, and from there I started doing lots and lots of research on the topic. I have decided to put down everything that I currently do to prolong my healthspan, both to get this written for myself and to possibly get some advice from you, who I'm sure are a lot more knowledgeable than me! I'll sometimes give an explanation for my choices but I will not go into detail by citing studies  (I don't really feel qualified to discuss those, sorry!). Alright, I have highlighted those that I think are the key points:

Diet: I mainly follow a whole-food plant-based diet. I say mainly because I sparingly eat fish, usually salmon and sardines. I'm still not sure whether I should consume fish or not. I also rarely consume eggs since I have chickens at home, but I'm honestly considering dropping animal and animal products completely in the near future.

Eating regimen: I practice calorie restriction, I don't know to which extent precisely because I don't count calories but I base it on my weight and how hungry I am. Currently I weigh 55kg (121lbs) and I'm 173cm (5'8'') tall. On top of calorie restriction I also do time-restricted eating: I limit my food intake usually between 7 am to 1 pm. This I think is the best way of activating longevity genes and promoting autophagy; occasional long term fasts might be beneficial as well but I don't plan on doing these at the moment. I'm also considering doing only one big meal in the morning in the not-distant future, basically by having lunch shortly after breakfast.

Breakfast: for breakfast, I make myself a very rich oatmeal; here are the ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of oats
  • banana + whatever fruit is available + berries whenever I have them
  • 3-4 walnuts
  • 1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tbsp of ground raw peanuts
  • 1 tbsp of raw cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp of Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ginger root
  • 1/2 tsp of guarana
  • 1/2 tsp of ashwagandha
  • vegetable milk, usually soy milk

Snacks: these are limited from breakfast to lunch. Usually they're going to be green tea, fruits, nuts and seeds, sprouts, specifically broccoli sprouts, which I try to eat about a cup of every day in order to get that precious sulforaphane into my body.

Lunch: there is not a fixed choice for this. Often I'll do something like this: olive oil, onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, turmeric powder + other spices and then some combination of vegetables and legumes. I think it's good that this meal isn't fixed so that I eat a wide range of foods throughout the week, although I'd really like to standardize it to save time.

Supplements: these are the supplements that I take:

  • Vitamin B12, of course, 2 or 3 times a week
  • Vitamin D3 (2000IU), necessary since I tend to avoid sun exposure.
  • Fish oil: this one I will probably stop taking very soon; might replace it with algae oil.
  • NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide): arguably the most radical thing that I ingest. It is a very recent addition but I believe it's already showing its benefits. I take 500mg in the morning right before breakfast, when sirtuins expression is supposedly at its peak.

Exercise: it really depends on my mood. When I'm low I find it hard to get myself to do physical activity but I'll try to go running at least twice a week; when I'm high I will go even everyday (I love running!). I also enjoy doing some yoga at home 2-3 times a week. I think this is the area where I could improve the most.

I'm completely open to questions/suggestions/criticism. Some of you may be thinking that I'm way too young to adhere to these extreme practices but after my research I have come to the conclusion that there is really no harm in doing these when you're at your peak of your health, after all it's also when your body is most capable of repairing itself, but I remain open to be proven wrong. Also I'm hoping to spark a conversation around NMN, which from what I've seen hasn't been discussed much at all on this forum but surely many of you have heard of it given how often Dr. Sinclair talks about it.

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Hi Omar, congratulations for your determination and above all, declared openness to criticism. 

Your regimen as a whole sounds pretty good, here are some critical points in my opinion.

1- Your BMI, bodymass index, is presently 18.4. Probably too low. After myriads of discussions in this forum on the optimum BMI there is still no agreement, but it appears that below 19 it's risky, although some people like Matt have apparently no problems from it. I really see no practical advantage in keeping BMI lower than 20. You have less muscle mass, less fat, and both these features have a survival benefit in metabolic terms and in emergency situation (injuries, intensive care units and so on). Also, you are at risk to have too low hormonal parameters and some deficiencies. My suggestion is to make some resistance exercise (free-body or with weights) and stay above 20. You should weigh at least 60 kg. There is no evil in some muscle mass, you have more strength, vitality and your metabolism is usually better.

2-If you have ethical issues with fish and eggs they are not necessary but you must take supplements. If you have not ethical issues, my advice would be to continue eating a little fish, your free-range eggs and even some yogurt and kefir. Even hardcore vegan doctors like Joel Fuhrman and McDougall suggest to eat a little animal food. Meat is better avoided completely, whereas fish, dairy products and eggs are all right in moderate amounts. 

3-Track your nutrients with the chronometer app and see if amminoacids, vitamins and minerals meet the suggested minimum requirements. 

4-Have at least one blood analysis done every year, more if you insist on keeping your bodyweight below 20. I'm strongly against it. Some strains of lab rats have benefits in starting CR soon, but we are not lab rats and we have not necessarily that artificially selected genetical pool.

5-It is not necessary to limit the number of your meals. In my situation, I noticed it's actually harmful. But it depends on people.

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Thanks a lot for the reply!

Regarding the first point, I agree that I would probably benefit by building some muscle with exercise while increasing my BMI at the same time. I have yet to do it because I'm a bit lazy, haha.

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2-If you have ethical issues with fish and eggs they are not necessary but you must take supplements. If you have not ethical issues, my advice would be to continue eating a little fish, your free-range eggs and even some yogurt and kefir. Even hardcore vegan doctors like Joel Fuhrman and McDougall suggest to eat a little animal food. Meat is better avoided completely, whereas fish, dairy products and eggs are all right in moderate amounts.

I surely don't have any ethical issues in eating my own eggs and not much concern about eating fish (if not for the environmental impact). One reason why I'm avoiding them is because in my understanding animal protein raises IGF-1 levels, although I couldn't find much information of how much this applies to fish and animal products as well. Surely red meat is the biggest enemy in this regard. You say that otherwise I should be supplementing; I figure you're thinking of fish oil and choline maybe?

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5-It is not necessary to limit the number of your meals. In my situation, I noticed it's actually harmful. But it depends on people.

I'm not specifically trying to limit the number of meals but rather trying to get all the calories and nutrients as early in the day as possible according to my circadian clock, although there's probably a balance that I would need to find. Everything in the morning is likely to be excessive.

Edited by omarino

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My only feedback is to say that I think you should let bloodwork and other biomarkers to guide your decision making a little. The fact that you are interested in longevity at such a young age is remarkable. I hopped on the 'longevity bandwagon' at age 25, but that's because I was in the midst of a health crisis, which is a radically different scenario. The things that could be debated in your regime are quite small. You are getting the bulk of your calories from whole plant foods, which is great (I personally eat less than 0.1% of calories from animal products and have been completely fine without supplementation). Taking a B-12 supplement is wise. Some people might develop hormonal problems with a low BMI, but not everyone. For example, Paul McGlothin, who used to be a prolific poster here (and who runs livingthecrway.com) has testosterone levels well into the 600's despite being in his late sixties! Additionally, Saul (who is a member of this board), has T levels in the 700's and I believe he is in his 70's or 80's. So it's going to depend on the individual and what you are comfortable with and what you feel the best available balance of evidence suggests. 

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1 hour ago, drewab said:

My only feedback is to say that I think you should let bloodwork and other biomarkers to guide your decision making a little.

Yes I definitely wish I could that. I also plan on getting my genome sequenced in the future.

1 hour ago, drewab said:

Some people might develop hormonal problems with a low BMI, but not everyone.

I think I'm experiencing hormonal changes. I say this because my sex drive has definitely plummeted. I didn't connect the dots initially but now it makes sense. This is not a problem for me though, quite the opposite. Also shouldn't you expect this if you're practicing CR correctly? If your body is in maintenance and repair mode you shouldn't feel the urge to reproduce. It makes sense to me but it may not be the case of course.

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I don't agree with McCoy about number of meals.

IMO, no more than 3 meals a day -- fewer is better.

And, most important: No snacks between meals.

Welcome to the CR Society!

  --  Saul

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I have to agree with Saul on the number of meals per day, probably closer to two, as autophagy is important at any age, I'd guess.  But don't get religious about it, of course.

Having said that, I'd also suggest that you do not start CR until you are about 27-28, as your body and brain are still developing and you really don't want to stunt such development.  Don't get fat, of course, but get on a good regimen of exercise, eat whole foods, don't smoke or drink heavily and stay on the dance floor as long as you can. 

BMI of 18.7 for a 20-year-old is in the healthy range, but there is no issue with putting some muscle (not fat).

Welcome to the forum.

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7 hours ago, omarino said:

 

I think I'm experiencing hormonal changes. I say this because my sex drive has definitely plummeted. I didn't connect the dots initially but now it makes sense. This is not a problem for me though, quite the opposite. Also shouldn't you expect this if you're practicing CR correctly? If your body is in maintenance and repair mode you shouldn't feel the urge to reproduce. It makes sense to me but it may not be the case of course.

Yes.  This is normal for CRON.  I remember having the same experience, many years ago -- and leaving a few females unhappy.

😉

Also:  You should do mostly aerobic exercise, with adequate (but not excessive) resistance training.

I use an elliptical cross-trainer with arm motion, set at the maximum resistance.  This gives me strong, but small, arm and leg muscles.

I disagree with McCoy that you should want to build large muscles.  The opposite.  Muscles burn a lot of energy -- you'll need excessive calories to keep them large.

Also, about IGF1:  You're correct.  Protein should be low, especially animal protein.  Animal protein is high in methionine -- the essential amino acid that should be most restricted.  Vegetable protein is low methionine, and does not raise IGF1 as much.

Welcome to CRON!

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Saul, more precisely, I don't say eating multiple meals is ideals, I simply remark that the single meal a day plan or a very restricted feeding window is not always the optimal strategy. It's hard evidence. Some people, like me, do not tolerate it. The digestive system will provide very negative neurological feedback.

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15 hours ago, Saul said:

Yes.  This is normal for CRON.  I remember having the same experience, many years ago -- and leaving a few females unhappy.

😉

Also:  You should do mostly aerobic exercise, with adequate (but not excessive) resistance training.

I use an elliptical cross-trainer with arm motion, set at the maximum resistance.  This gives me strong, but small, arm and leg muscles.

I disagree with McCoy that you should want to build large muscles.  The opposite.  Muscles burn a lot of energy -- you'll need excessive calories to keep them large.

Also, about IGF1:  You're correct.  Protein should be low, especially animal protein.  Animal protein is high in methionine -- the essential amino acid that should be most restricted.  Vegetable protein is low methionine, and does not raise IGF1 as much.

Welcome to CRON!

I totally agree with Saul on each point

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On 8/1/2020 at 12:39 AM, Saul said:

I disagree with McCoy that you should want to build large muscles.  The opposite.  Muscles burn a lot of energy -- you'll need excessive calories to keep them large.

Of course, large is a relative term. But the muscles must be functional and should be appropriately large, not hypotrophic. Fontana in his recent book on longevity dedicated a whole paragraph to resistance training. Some of his routine suggestions are hypertrophy routines.

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