Three Lifespan Interventions You Can Do Now That Make A Difference

Lifespan interventions

Three lifespan interventions you can do now can slow down your rate of aging, say three recently published studies. Learn what to do and why.

Lifespan interventions

Many lifespan interventions are proselytized in every nook and cranny of the Internet that promise to help make you live longer and healthier (healthspan). The problem is that many of them are not rooted in science, many of them are simply not accessible to most people. For instance, stem cell infusions may or may not work, but who can afford them anyway?

When presented with too many choices, we have a tendency to not choose anything at all. This is referred to as the “Paradox of Choice” [1]. When the number of choices increases, so does the difficulty of knowing what is best. Instead of increasing our freedom to have what we want, the paradox of choice suggests that having too many choices actually limits our freedom. Having many options requires more effort to make a decision, and can leave us feeling unsatisfied with our choice — if we choose anything at all.

Of course, given that this website contains more than 840 posts that are mostly about aging better, I’m  perhaps guilty of inundating the Internet with too many paths that may lead to the promised land of long and healthy living.  And, so, in this post, let’s just focus on three lifespan interventions that won’t turn your life upside down with complexity.

Unless you’re a committed drinker.

Yeah, if you’d rather stick a needle in your eye than ease up on your alcohol consumption, then the first lifespan intervention will be more difficult than the other two. But if that’s you, hear me out  or rather, pay attention to what science has to say, because it might be sufficiently compelling for you to apply what economists like to call, “the substitution effect”.

Here’s the lifespan interventions we’re going to cover:

  1. Reduce alcohol consumption
  2. Feed your bugs (microbiota)
  3. Kill off (some) senescent cells

These lifespan interventions are informed from three recently published scientific studies. I will summarize each with bullet points and a description. Then I’ll make some suggestions on how to incorporate these lifespan interventions into your life.

Let’s dig in…

 

Alcohol Consumption Makes Us Biologically Older

Study link: Alcohol consumption and epigenetic age acceleration across human adulthood

Key Points:

  • Alcohol consumption increases the rate of biological aging.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption by substituting it with activities and a different, satisfying drink.

Fast Summary

 Research Aims:

  • Investigate the associations between alcohol consumption and biological age and measured by DNA methylation based acceleration metrics. (DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism used by cells to control gene expression.)
  • Explore whether epigenetic aging metrics mediate the association of alcohol consumption with hypertension (high blood pressure). (Epigenetic aging refers to biological aging as opposed to one’s calendar years.)

 Hypotheses:

  •    Higher long term average alcohol consumption is associated with biological age acceleration.
  •    Epigenetic aging metrics mediate (connects/influences) the association of alcohol consumption with hypertension.

 Methodology:

  • Linear regression analyses conducted on 3823 Framingham Heart Study participants (24–92 years, 53.8% women) to assess the associations between alcohol consumption and two DNA methylation based biological age acceleration metrics.
  • Investigation of whether the epigenetic aging metrics mediate the association of alcohol consumption with hypertension.

 Major Findings and Results:

  • Higher long term average alcohol consumption was significantly associated with biological age acceleration assessed by GrimAge acceleration (GAA) and PhenoAge acceleration (PAA) in middle aged and older participants, but not in young participants. (GrimAge and PhenoAge are two methods to ascertain biological age.)
  • Up to 28% of the association between alcohol consumption and hypertension was mediated by GAA or PAA in the pooled sample.

 Conclusions and Significance:

  • The study suggests that higher alcohol consumption is associated with biological age acceleration, particularly in middle aged and older adults.
  • The findings indicate that epigenetic aging metrics may mediate the association between alcohol consumption and hypertension.

Study Review

The study Alcohol consumption and epigenetic age acceleration across human adulthood was published in October, 2023. It aimed to do two things:

  1. Investigate the associations between alcohol consumption and DNA methylation based biological age acceleration metrics, and
  2. Explore whether epigenetic aging metrics mediate the association of alcohol consumption with hypertension.

The researchers conducted linear regression analyses on a large sample of Framingham Heart Study participants and found that higher long term average alcohol consumption was significantly associated with biological age acceleration, particularly in middle aged and older adults.

Additionally, the study revealed that up to 28% of the association between alcohol consumption and hypertension was mediated by epigenetic aging metrics. These findings suggest that alcohol consumption may be linked to biological age acceleration, and that epigenetic aging metrics could play a role in the association between alcohol consumption and hypertension.

What is linear regression analysis?

The linear regression analysis used in the study allows the researchers to investigate the associations between alcohol consumption and biological age based on DNA methylation acceleration metrics.

Linear regression is a statistical method that is used to study the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. In this study, linear regression enabled researchers to determine whether higher long term average alcohol consumption was associated with biological age acceleration, particularly in middle aged and older adults.

The study also used linear regression to explore whether epigenetic aging metrics mediate the association of alcohol consumption with hypertension. This statistical method quantified the strength and direction of the associations between the variables of interest, providing valuable insights into the potential impact of alcohol consumption on biological age acceleration and hypertension.

Here’s how to reduce alcohol consumption

Those who cannot control how much alcohol they drink need a structured program guided by professionals.

The following suggestions are for those who can control the amount of alcohol they consume; for instance, someone who has a habit of drinking alcohol daily, or too much on weekends, or at parties.

  • Assess when and how much you drink and why.
  • Interrupt the pattern by doing something active during the time periods when you’d be drinking.
  • Find a substitute for the alcohol. I find that two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a 12 ounce glass of sparkling water to be refreshing and satisfying.

 

Your Gut Bacteria is Associated with Alzheimer’s

Study link: Microbiota from Alzheimer’s patients induce deficits in cognition and hippocampal neurogenesis

Key Points:

  • Gut microbes of Alzheimer’s patients transferred to rats gave them the disease.
  • Certain gut microbiota (microbes) may be linked to Alzheimer’s.
  • Make sure your dominant gut microbiota are beneficial.

Fast Summary

Research aims, hypotheses:

  • Assess how gut microbiota changes are linked to neurological changes in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
  • Test if microbiota from Alzheimer’s patients can induce aspects of the disease in rat models.

Methodology:

  • Analyzed gut bacteria populations in AD patients vs healthy humans.
  • Colonized rats with microbiota samples from AD and healthy human donors.
  • Evaluated AD-like neurological and behavioral changes in the rat models.

Major findings and results:

  • Rats colonized with AD patient microbiota showed amyloid deposition.
  • These rats exhibited anxiety, memory issues mirroring Alzheimer’s symptoms.
  • Demonstrates human AD microbiota alone can induce AD-like neuropathology.

Conclusions and significance:

  • Changes to gut bacteria are directly tied to development of Alzheimer’s.
  • Microbiota may play a causative role in driving AD neuropathy and memory loss.
  • Opens possibilities for diagnostic analysis and microbiome targeted prevention.

What are amyloids in the brain?

A hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is the build-up of toxic proteins in the brain. One of these proteins, known as amyloid beta, clumps together to form plaques, causing brain cells to die. In the healthy brain, the amyloid beta proteins are broken down by enzymes, stopping them from building up in the brain.

Study Review

The study titled Microbiota from Alzheimer’s patients induce deficits in cognition and hippocampal neurogenesis was published in October 2023.

What is “hippocampal neurogenesis”?

The term “hippocampal neurogenesis” refers to the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus, a region in the brain involved in memory and learning, which can provide insights into the brain’s chemistry and function.

It found that gut bacteria from Alzheimer’s patients transplanted into rats led to impairments in memory and mood related behaviors. These impairments were linked to changes in the rats’ gut and brain chemistry. The research suggests that the gut microbiota may play a role in cognitive function and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

This research provides insights into the potential influence of gut bacteria on cognitive function and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The study’s relevance to humans lies in the potential implications for understanding the role of gut microbiota in Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive function.

Why use rats to study the association between AD and gut microbiota?

Rats are a good model for studying Alzheimer’s disease because they share many genetic, physiological, and behavioral similarities with humans. The rat model has contributed enormously to neuroscience research and has been shown to display cognitive and motor impairments, changes in anxiety and social behavior, and altered circadian activity, which are relevant to Alzheimer’s disease [1].

In this specific study, the researchers used rats to investigate the impact of gut microbiota from Alzheimer’s patients on cognitive function and neurogenesis. Rats were chosen because their brain structure and function, as well as their behavioral responses, are similar to those of humans. By transplanting gut microbiota from Alzheimer’s patients into rats, the researchers were able to observe how the microbiota affected the rats’ behavior and brain chemistry.

Further research in this area could lead to new strategies for managing and preventing Alzheimer’s disease by targeting the gut microbiota, but why wait? We already know what to do to improve the populations of beneficial but microbiota.

Here’s how to improve your gut microbiota

  • Eat more fiber-rich foods, such as lentils and beans.
  • If needed, consume fiber supplements, such as inulin and flax seed meal.
  • Consume high quality probiotics, such as Florastor and kefir (beware brands with sugar).

Read my posts for more about the gut microbiome, such as:

 

Lifestyle Factors that Delay Senescence

Study link: Lifestyle interventions to delay senescence

Key Points:

  • Exercise, plant-based foods, caloric restriction and intermittent fasting as associated with fewer senescent cells.
  • Supplements such as fisetin, quercetin and piper logum may help get rid of some senescent cells.

Fast Summary

Research aims:

  • To describe the effects of exercise, nutrition, caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, phytochemicals from natural products, and prebiotics on delaying senescence.

Hypotheses:

  • Lifestyle interventions such as exercise, nutrition, and caloric restriction can delay senescence and mitigate age related diseases.

Methodology:

  • Do a comprehensive review of existing literature, including animal and human studies, to evaluate the impact of lifestyle interventions on cellular senescence.

Major findings and results:

  • Lifestyle factors such as exercise, nutrition, caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, and phytochemicals from natural foods have the potential to delay senescence and mitigate age related diseases.
  • These lifestyle factors can modulate senescent cell formation, inflammation, and other fundamental aging mechanisms.

Conclusions and significance:

  • The study likely concludes that lifestyle factors offer promising strategies for promoting healthy aging and reducing the burden of age related diseases.
  • Further research, says the study, is needed to elucidate the mechanisms through which these lifestyle factors exert their effects on cellular senescence and aging.

Study Review

The study Lifestyle interventions to delay senescence was published in November 2023. Utilizing a review of existing literature and research, It explores the implications of certain lifestyle factors on cellular senescence and their potential role in delaying the aging process.

Specifically, the research aims to investigate the impact of exercise, nutrition, caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, phytochemicals from natural products, and prebiotics on delaying senescence.

The major findings and results of the study indicate that several lifestyle factors, including exercise, nutrition, caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, and phytochemicals from natural products, may have the potential to delay senescence and mitigate age related diseases. The study highlights the importance of these lifestyle interventions in modulating senescent cell formation, inflammation, and other fundamental aging mechanisms.

Here’s how to reduce senescent cells

> Exercise

See my exercise posts, like these:

> Eat foods high in phytochemicals

Phytochemicals cannot be found in supplements and are only present in food. Foods high in phytochemicals include the following:

Broccoli

Berries

Soy Nuts

Pears

Turnips

Celery

Carrots

Spinach

Olives

Tomatoes

Lentils

Cantaloupe

Garlic

Apricots

Onions

Seeds

Soybeans

Green tea

Apples

Cabbage

Brussels sprouts

Bok choy

Kale

See my posts about nutrition. These may be of interest:

> Practice time-restricted eating

Check out:

> Supplement with quercetin, fisetin and piper longum

Read:

 

Your Takeaway

There’s no way getting around the fact that to slow down your rate of aging (or even reverse it if you’ve been aging too quickly) requires a comprehensive and cohesive plan of various lifespan interventions that address the major Hallmarks of Aging.

But, this is a slippery slope. I you try to get your arms around too many things at once you get slammed by the paradox of choice, and wind up doing nothing.

So, this post I wanted to give you some pretty straightforward things that can:

  • Make a difference in how well you age, and
  • That you can quickly implement.

Now it’s in your hands:

  • If you’re drinking alcohol every day, you now know that it accelerates aging, and that you can implement some “substitution effect” to slow down the consumption.
  • As we age, the number of senescent cells increase. They age us, in part due how they increase systemic inflammation in our bodies. Now you know how to get rid of some of these, or at least slow down their rate of growth.
  • Lastly, we covered various lifestyle factors that clearly should be part of your lifespan interventions bucket, such as consistent exercise, eating more plant food, and. restricting calories from time to time.

I suggest you choose one thing to do and work with it until it’s habitual. Then add another. And so on.

 

Last Updated on December 2, 2023 by Joe Garma

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Joe Garma
 

I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Evan - December 3, 2023

Love this format, thanks

Reply
    Joe Garma - December 3, 2023

    Thanks for the feedback, Evan!

    Reply

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