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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?

Quote

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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I believe you have to be careful with using BMI as it doesn't take into account your frame size.

There is probably a 20-30 lbs difference between frame sizes of the same height and body fat percentage. My father has huge 8.25" wrists, compare that to my 6.00" wrists. His skeleton is just much bigger, which equals bigger everything else. He is massive compared to me. There is no way you can compare our weight and BMI as it doesn't take into account any of this.

 

 

 

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Some things that are also just as important as calorie restriction.

Don't drink Alcohol or smoke. What I've noticed is that people who avoid alcohol seem to stay much more coordinated into their older years. I would avoid it 100% to be honest, studies have shown that even small amounts of alcohol are bad. The simple reason why its so bad is that it literally kills your cells and poisons your body.  The cells it kills have to divide to replace the cells it killed. It just wrecks your body. What I notice is that many people who are heavy drinkers seem to be uncoordinated drunk even when they are not drinking. This is probably because of the alcohol permanently damaging the cells in the brain. 

Sleeping is also extremely important. You have to really make sure you are mostly getting good night sleeps. This means if you have a job that is causing you not to sleep, you have to  make changes. There are so many studies that discuss sleeping and how it will premature age you if you don't get enough. It also wrecks your brain when you constantly cut back on it.

Avoid loud noises. You have to stay on top of your hearing starting at a young age. After being annoyed with old people who can't hear, I decided to look up if hearing loss is inevitable with age. What I found is it is not. There were studies that showed that old people living in indigenous tribes without loud noises kept 90% or more of their hearing even at old age. This study showed that most people lose their hearing because of loud noises. What does this mean? Avoid head phones and always wear ear plugs in concerts. Keep the volume at lower levels. If you want to extend your life then you should also worry about things like this if you want to have a decent quality of life.

Avoid exercise for the most part, especially as you get older. Everyone disagrees with this but if you are skinny and on a calorie restricted diet there should be very little reason to exercise. Being skinny will not limit you to your chair and you will get more than enough by every day activities. Doing exercise is usually damaging to the joints, and over taxes your body. Running is the worse, any impact exercises are also very bad. 

My brothers friend was always doing all this exercising, I told him constantly that he is crazy and he is going to wear out his joints. A few years later he had knee problems, gut problems, and now can not do a thing. Your body is like a machine, over use it and you will wear it out faster. I don't exercise, but I can easily go and run a mile or 2 miles because I'm skinny and fit from just being active with my everyday life. 

Another example was I got a job that demanded me to move around a little too much, and climb many stairs. My daily footsteps went from like 6,000 a day to 15,000  average. I never felt worse in my life and I started to get right knee pain. I had no energy, I felt like I was literally getting old. Now that I got layed off, I'm starting to feel much better, my knee pain subsided and my energy is returning. I always feel best when I stay inactive, my joints feel great and my energy levels are there. 

If you feel like you have lots of energy, just sit back and relax, don't feel the need you have to exercise because the experts say that is healthy. Enjoy the energy and keep it by staying inactive. 

 

Edited by Edward

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On 10/19/2020 at 5:01 AM, Edward said:

I believe you have to be careful with using BMI as it doesn't take into account your frame size.

That's a good point, but we all know that BMI has meaning only as a gross approximation. Another example of deviation is little fat and large muscle mass, another is little muscle mass and conspicuous visceral adiposity (beer belly).

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On 10/19/2020 at 5:12 AM, Edward said:

My brothers friend was always doing all this exercising, I told him constantly that he is crazy and he is going to wear out his joints. A few years later he had knee problems, gut problems, and now can not do a thing. Your body is like a machine, over use it and you will wear it out faster. I don't exercise, but I can easily go and run a mile or 2 miles because I'm skinny and fit from just being active with my everyday life. 

Another example was I got a job that demanded me to move around a little too much, and climb many stairs. My daily footsteps went from like 6,000 a day to 15,000  average. I never felt worse in my life and I started to get right knee pain. I had no energy, I felt like I was literally getting old. Now that I got layed off, I'm starting to feel much better, my knee pain subsided and my energy is returning. I always feel best when I stay inactive, my joints feel great and my energy levels are there. 

If you feel like you have lots of energy, just sit back and relax, don't feel the need you have to exercise because the experts say that is healthy. Enjoy the energy and keep it by staying inactive. 

The above contentions are too anecdotal and limited, if you allow me that, said without any offence whatsoever.

Sure enough, wear of joints and connective tissue may be an issue, as well as dozens of other aspects like lowback pain and so on and so forth.

The wise thing to do is to use optimization, not minimization like you propose. that is, adjust the activity level following basing on the individual dose-response effects observabloe.

In my individual case, opposite to your individual case, the more I train and the more physical activity I carry out, the best I feel and the better my health is. Since lately I'm experiencing some nagging aches, I have adjusted my dose of exercise consequently. I optimize the dose, the maximum dosage of exercise which causes the minimum aches. The dose of rest (recovery time) is also crucial. This is a problem of operations research, with many non-independent variables and a region of optimal results.

Bottom line: in the above way I'll hopefully enjoy the benefits without suffering the detriment. No exercise is unnatural and tends to blunt regenerative signals of muscle, bones and connective tissues.

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I really believe if you are active enough in your everyday lifestyle, there really is no need to do anything extra. There may be some benefits to physical exercise if you are really sedentary, but you should be active enough without needing to actually go and exercise.

The other thing is the reason you feel better when you exercise is I believe that is your body actually numbing the pain. This is similar to a runners high. Your body evolved to want you to do that extra exertion to get the food you need. However, just because it numbs your physical pains does not mean it is actually good in the long run, you may be doing more damage than good. I noticed this numbing effect rather quickly when forcing myself through pain, and it surely is not because my body healed the real reason for the pain.

Some other risks from exercising are damaged joints and other permanent damage to the body. This is from damaged ligaments, joints, etc. Just ask anyone who plays sports or even weight lifts, they all have injuries.

You have to come to the understanding that your body is like a machine, it wears out with use. There is nothing beneficial about your cells dividing more often to repair itself and the extra stresses on your whole body, plus the extra calories your body needs to process for the extra energy exerted from exercising.

I'm not saying to not move around at all. What I'm saying is that a normal active lifestyle is all you need, anything extra is just wear and tear and exposes yourself to injury. 

For example, many people are getting more than enough exercise in their daily life, they should not think that they need to go to the gym or run. Its usually all about the diet.

 

 

 

 

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By the way, O'Keefe is also the guest of the latest episode of Peter Attia's  Podcast.

He supports the idea that very strenuous exercise, especially aerobic exercise is damaging to cardiac health. But he also strongly suggests moderate, regular aerobic exercise and other kinds of exercise if that's not enough to vent energies.

Some pretty interesting points which I didn't know, like the longevity advantage of 'social' mild sports (I doubt though that the population under study can remotely be compared to the members of this forum), the glucose-lowering drug which works at the renal level, and more (I yet to finish the listening). The nutritional points have been discussed more in-depth in this forum.

Edited by mccoy

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On 10/26/2020 at 7:22 AM, Edward said:

The other thing is the reason you feel better when you exercise is I believe that is your body actually numbing the pain. This is similar to a runners high. Your body evolved to want you to do that extra exertion to get the food you need. However, just because it numbs your physical pains does not mean it is actually good in the long run, you may be doing more damage than good. I noticed this numbing effect rather quickly when forcing myself through pain, and it surely is not because my body healed the real reason for the pain.

It's not exactly that. In some people like myself, muscular exercise gives positive neurological feedback which is related to healthy metabolic consequences. It is also in part related to physiological needs, like the need to maintain muscle mass which the body interprets as useful to survival, or aerobic efficiency which the body interprets likewise.

People who do not experience that cannot know it, but what I (and other people) feel, is a physiological need to lift weights, similar to the physiological need to eat. If I don't exercise when the body demands it, I feel nervous and I cannot concentrate. The same goes for the regular treadmill exercise I'm doing. I don't do it, the body demands it. Nothing related to pain, I don't feel pain when exercise, only a feeling of well being and satisfaction. Cerebral effects like the production of neurotrophic factors and the mild effects on neurotransmitters signaling seem to have a role in this. Everything is good in exercise but, as already mentioned by me and other posters and reiterated by O'Keefe in the cited podcast, the dose is fundamental.

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The research on exercise is unequivocal: compared to a sedentary lifestyle, an active lifestyle (as quantified by MET-hours, or Metabolic Equivalents of task, an estimate of calories burned), reduces your risk for disease and all-cause mortality even after correcting for BMI in a dose-dependent manner. See Williams 2012 and 2014, attached. These risk reductions are not small, between 20 and 40% for some of the big-name killers (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease). Whether more intense exercise is "better" or "worse" it's not clear, as long as you get in the MET-hours it doesn't seem to much matter. As for the effects of whether running causes conditions like osteoarthritis, the answer is a definitive maybe [3], if you do it competitively. If you're just getting in the MET-hours, it appears to be protective.

[3] Alentorn-Geli, Eduard, Kristian Samuelsson, Volker Musahl, Cynthia L. Green, Mohit Bhandari, and Jón Karlsson. "The association of recreational and competitive running with hip and knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis." journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy 47, no. 6 (2017): 373-390.

Williams_2014_150K-Runners-Study.pdf

Williams_2012_Running-CHD-30k.pdf

Edited by edmundsj

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