This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Storing your car in New York is safer than entering it in a
demolition derby. But not much. ~Daniel S. Greenberg
Currently maximum human lifespan is thought to be 125 years,
which is just shy of the record holder Jeanne Calment, 122 years.
The rest of us probably have no chance of reaching such an
advanced age. To become 120 years old you would have to have
incredible genetics (look at the supercentenarians that smoke and
drink) or implement calorie restriction, and maybe even have to
do both. The Leiden University Medical Center has studied
populations of older individuals. One population study of 420
Caucasian families which included long-living members has
turned up some very interesting data. Numerous studies have
been released looking at various health factors (remember
Chapter 8) and it was found that the children of centenarians
have similar biometrics as their parents. For example,
measurements of serum glucose, triglycerides, insulin, blood
pressure, thyroid hormone and insulin sensitivity were all much
more favorable than matched partners (such as the centenarian’s
son’s wife who does not have centenarian parents). What this
shows is that extensive longevity has a very strong genetic
What is interesting is that calorie restriction takes a person
without centenarian parents and alters the biochemistry and
metabolism of the practitioner to match those of the very long-
living. CR increases insulin sensitivity, lower blood glucose,
allows for the same cholesterol profile (high HDL, low LDL,
triglycerides, and overall low cholesterol), low blood pressure,
and the same thyroid hormonal profile (high TSH, with normal
T4, suggesting TSH resistance, by today’s measurement this
would be hypothyroidism, however, it is not pathological in
centenarians and CR-folk). Considering that CR actually slows
down the rate of aging, I think that CR-folk can probably reach
up to 110-120 years old depending on their genetics and when
they started practicing, earlier being better. CR done today is
practice in conjunction with Optimal Nutrition (ON), while
centenarians probably do not practice ON. If those who are
genetically gifted practiced CRON, I would suspect that they
could live beyond 120.
It may seem like we have extended our lifespan in the last 1000
years. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians had a life
expectancy of 30, now we can expect to live up to 80 (Japanese
women can expect to live up to 86.44). Its seems we easily
doubled our life span and if you plot it, it looks like we are
gaining a solid 2.5 years every decade in a straight line with no
plateau in sight. If you plot human survival curves it definitely
seems very square, but the squaring effect stopped at about 1950
(figure 3 in the study below) and seems to be shifting parallel:
Westendorp RGJ. What is healthy aging in the 21st century?
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 83, No. 2, 404S-
Remember Chapter 5?
In 1950 we reached the black line and now the survival curve
seems to be moving like the red one. As I said in the beginning
of the chapter, maximum lifespan seems to be 125 years and I
suspect that this has always been the case for thousands of years.
The jump in life expectancy had nothing to do with our
understanding of the biology and underlying mechanisms of
aging, it had to do with eliminating factors that kill us (e.g.
infectious diseases, acute injuries, starvation) and securing things
that keep us safe (e.g. health care, food, refrigeration, sanitation).
With the help of modern technology we have eliminated most
causes that kill us prematurely and now we are exposed to aging
itself. The previous gain in life expectancy isn’t something we
should expect to see again because now it is different. Instead of
preventing the bacteria from killing you, you have to prevent
your metabolism from killing you, and so far the only way to
slow that down is through calorie restriction.
How long can you expect to live by implementing my suggested
changes into your lifestyle? If CR-folk can reach the age of 110-
120, with the interventions in this book it may be possible to live
to 98-100. Here is some data to back it up:
Mackenbach JP, Kunst AE, Lautenbach H, Oei YB, Bijlsma F.
Gains in Life Expectancy after Elimination of Major Causes of
Death: Revised Estimates Taking into Account the Effect of
Competing Causes. Journal of Epidemiology and Community
Health (1979-), Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jan., 1999), pp. 32-37
Mackenbach et al (1979) determined that by preventing heart
disease, cancer, and various other diseases (e.g. diabetes, stroke,
etc…) one can expect to gain 10 years in their life expectancy.
What if we were to try our best to optimize ALL our risk factors?
Let’s take 11 of them: diastolic and systolic blood pressure,
smoking, vital capacity index, blood glucose, hematocrit value,
body mass index, serum cholesterol, sex, pulse rate, and left
ventricular hypertrophy. If we made all these measurements into
the lowest risk factor group, how long can we expect to live?
Luckily the math has been done:
Manton KG, Stallard E, Tolley HD. Limits to Human Life
Expectancy: Evidence, Prospects, and Implications. Population
and Development Review, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 603-
Manton et al. optimized the 11 risk factors above and predicted
that life expectancies up to 100 years old can be achieved. Since
models are usually wrong, and regarding age people like to be
optimistic, as well as factoring in the “luck of the draw”
(genetics) I estimate that I can personally live to 90-95 years old
(10% down adjustment). Just a big fat guess but I feel confident
about this number.
Even if we took the pessimistic view of 90, I would still
implement the lifestyle described in this book. Healthy life
expectancy is the number of years one can live with minimal
morbidity. For example, let’s say you live until 90 but have
diabetes for 15 years, then cancer for 10. Your healthy life
expectancy from birth is only 75.
Japan has the longest healthy life expectancy:
Takeda S.[Healthy life expectancy and the standardized mortality
ratio for the elderly in Japan's 47 Prefectures] [Article in
Japanese]. Nippon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2007 Jan;54(1):25-31
It seems the longest health span is 80-84. This is quite close to
the life expectancy of 86 (I know I’m mixing up data but close
From all the research, health span and life span are closely
correlated, healthier people just tend to live longer. But as
lifespan begins to reach the maximum (outside of anti-aging
interventions) morbidity will be compressed as people get
healthier. Even if I were to only achieve 86.44 (not saying I’m a
Japanese woman, just that this is a number for the healthy) I
would be glad that I gained 10 years of healthy lifespan where I
am not suffering from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and
I have volunteered at a care home for over 4 years and had the
chance to work at a hospital for 1 year, the way that seniors
spend the rest of their lives in these situations is not something I
want to go through.
When I am 80 years old I still expect to be able to walk on my
two feet without help, get out of a chair, pick up my great-great-
grandchildren, lift weights, and debate/discuss with the younger
generation. To do that you must keep your body and mind
healthy at a young age.
Where to Now?
Research in the field of aging is exploding. Of course, there has
been some resistance (hey, death is “natural”) but sooner or later
we will have interventions that will expand both our health span
and our life span. The common interpretation of anti-aging
interventions is that you will be 120 years old but be more
decrepit than a 90 year old (which is really bad), but this is not
how these interventions will work. The new technologies being
developed will not make you “older,” instead it will extend you
lifespan by making you younger. The first development that will
come will probably be CR-mimetics. These are pharmacological
interventions that will mimic the metabolic altering effects of
CR, after that it will be Strategies for Engineered Negligible
Senescence (SENS) (read Aubrey De Grey’s book on this matter,
“Ending Aging”). SENS isn’t about trying to mimic the effects of
CR, it goes beyond that in that it is trying to go into our bodies
and fix/reverse/remove the damage that happens. If the damage
is gone then the cause of aging is diminished. This seems like a
tall order but it is definitely possible.
It is because of SENS that I have put serious thought into
adopting CRON (please donate to SENS). It is the only way of
ensuring maximally robust lifespan, and this is important
because of the speed at which science advances. Less than 20
years ago we did not have the internet, and now it permeates
almost every facet of our world. Science and technology build
upon themselves and with each new block they reach farther
heights than ever before. To take advantage of these new
discoveries from SENS one has to have a body that is robust
enough to deal with the effects of these new drugs/interventions.
If you reach the age of 70 but can hardly move and have
dementia, you will not be able to survive the application of the
new technologies. However, if you are 70 years old with robust
health (like with CRON) then you can. Let’s say the intervention
extends your life by 10 years, because of that one discovery,
more will come and within those 10 years another intervention
will come along extending life another 20 years, and so on and
so forth, until immortality is reached (this is by no means far-
fetched). I am not saying that these interventions will be created
in my lifespan or yours, but the thing is that you never know, and
it would be best to not only live as healthily as possible, but to
live as long as possible. The only way to achieve the maximum
is through caloric restriction (this speeding up of technology is
known as the Singularity, read Ray Kurzweil’s book, “The
Singularity is Near”).
(If you plan on practicing CR make sure to do tons of research.
Roy Walford‟s book “Beyond the 120 Year Diet : How to Double
Your Vital Year” is a good place to start. As far as I know the
downsides are: loss of libido, hunger, social struggles and
I think that I have taken this lifestyle as far as it can go, the only
other place to enter now is the world of the extreme, calorie
restriction with optimal nutrition. Will I enter that realm, I don’t
know yet, but it is best to decide sooner rather than later.
My goal when I started researching all this was to try my best to
prevent the chronic illnesses. I saw how much pain they can
cause to everyone. Just take Alzheimer’s for example: lifeless
eyes with no sense of self, time, or place, a dreadful disease with
a slow progression that places strain on yourself as you lose your
soul as well as strain on your family, friends and society. Even if
you wanted to end it you couldn’t because you have basically
disappeared. Everyone’s goal in this life is different, but I am
certain that no one wants to end up in such decrepitude. The
regimens laid out in the book will help with preventing this,
screw the USDA Food Guide and the American Diabetes
Associate Diet, throw out common “wisdom” and rely instead on
hard science. The basic principle of this book is: eat the right
foods, but not too much; allow the body to take out the garbage;
be conscious of what you put in your body; and exercise.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?