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Could You Live Longer Than 140 Years?

October 27, 2007 | 135,295 views

Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey – featured in this video -- believes aging is a preventable phenomenon, much like a disease, stating that aging is merely a side effect of being alive.

Here he explains his belief that humans could live for centuries, if only we approach the aging process as “an engineering problem.”

He outlines the seven basic ways people age, and how to solve each one. And if we get to work now, he says, humans alive today could live to be 1,000.

According to de Grey, these “7 Deadly Things” are responsible for your physical aging, and are the basis of his “engineering approach” solutions:

  • Cell loss/atrophy
  • Death-resistant cells
  • Nuclear mutations and epimutations
  • mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) mutations
  • Protein cross links
  • Junk inside cells
  • Junk outside cells
  • Essentially, de Grey’s hypothesis states that if you can keep these seven deadly cell-damaging processes below the threshold of pathology – the state where processes start to break cells down until your body dies from the cumulative damage – you will be able to extend your life indefinitely.

    In other anti-aging news, published in Best Life magazine, two preeminent aging experts have placed a bet on whether or not someone living today will be alive in 2150.

    Steven Austad, biologist and professor of cellular and structural biology at the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, believes someone alive today will still be alive in 2150. For the past 20 years, Austad has researched the fundamentals of aging, and has been able to drastically extend the lifespan of various animals by tinkering with their genes, or restricting their calorie intake.

    Jay Olshansky, on the other hand, believes there are too many hurdles to be overcome, suspecting any benefit derived from anti-aging drugs will probably be wiped out by rising threats to public health, such as obesity and diabetes. In fact, the demographic models Olshansky and his colleagues have built project that obesity alone will cut the life expectancy of Americans by two to five years within the next 50 years.

    Both experts agree, however, that science is making radical advances. Scientists now have a much more detailed understanding of how shutting down certain genes and restricting calories slow your aging process.

    The shared factor between all long-lived animals is their superior capability to repair their DNA.

    Edward Masoro, at the University of Texas, pioneered research in the 1990’s, showing that a low-calorie diet switches on a key gene called SIRT1 that controls a network of other genes, which in turn create proteins that protect cells from damage. The idea proposed by more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies working on anti-aging drugs, is that you may one day be able to simply take a pill that switches on SIRT1 in your cells.

    One such molecule is resveratrol, produced by grapes and other plants. Sirtis Pharmaceuticals, Elixir Pharmaceutical, and about a dozen others are pursuing these kinds of molecular-based anti-aging drugs.

    The current old-age record holder is Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman who died in 1997 at the age of 122, after smoking for nearly 100 years.

    Best Life September 22, 2007

    (Watch this video: 22 minutes, 55 seconds)


    Dr. Mercola's Comments:

    You probably don’t realize it, but Aubrey De Grey is one of the leading anti aging researchers in the world. This lecture he gave at TED is a major treat and will give you insights into what the top thinking in the world is on this subject.

    Centenarians, people who live to be 100 years or older, are actually becoming more and more common in the United States. In 1950, there were 2,300 U.S. centenarians and by 2003, there were more than 40,000.

    It does not seem unrealistic that in the not too distant future, science will be able to add one year of longevity per year, so the AVERAGE life expectancy could be over 100 years in the next 30 years or so. I believe the current maximum lifespan is about 120 years and any manipulation of genes is unlikely to improve your lifespan significantly beyond that. However the more I study this area, the more I am absolutely convinced that Professor De Grey is absolutely correct, and it is not unrealistic to extend the human lifespan well beyond 120 years old.

    Ironically, even though most people express an interest in living to their maximum potential, many people refuse to use the available methods that are sure to slow aging. If they did, we would surely not be facing the ever-increasing epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States.

    Unfortunately, drug companies are aware of this fact as well and are rapidly jumping on the bandwagon to develop highly unnatural analogs, which they can patent and use to make a handsome profit. You can be virtually guaranteed that these synthetic versions will be grossly inferior to the real deal, especially when it comes to side effects and potential toxicity.

    Rather than sitting idly by, waiting for another “magic pill” that will erase old age -- with who-knows-what kind of unforeseen and potentially disastrous side effects -- you can take control of your health, and hence increase your lifespan, NOW.

    What Can You do NOW to Maximize Your Lifespan?

    If you want to take advantage of the advances in this new science you will need to follow healthy lifestyle principles like the ones I outline below. Probably the most important is normalizing your insulin and leptin levels. There is no way you will age slowly with elevated insulin or leptin levels.

    • Keep your insulin levels low -- Elevated insulin levels are one of your key physical influences that contribute to rapid aging, and there is no question that optimizing your insulin levels is an absolute necessity if you want to slow down your aging process. Consuming sugar and grains will increase your insulin level, which is the equivalent of slamming your foot on your aging accelerator. There’s simply no more potent way to accelerate aging than eating sugar and grains.
    • Eat a healthy diet based on your nutritional type – My nutrition plan, based on natural whole foods, is your first step toward increasing your chances of living a longer, healthier life. The heart of my program is the elimination, or at the very least, drastic reduction of grains and sugar in your diet, which is a far simpler way of restricting your calorie intake naturally, without suffering.
    • Take your omega-3 fats – Krill or fish oil is a strong factor in helping people live longer, and many experts believe that it is likely the predominant reason why the Japanese are the longest lived race on the planet.
    • Get your antioxidants from foodsAntioxidants have been shown to have anti-aging effects. Good sources include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, beans, and artichokes.
    • Switch to coconut oil – Another excellent anti-aging food is coconut oil. In fact, it’s doubly beneficial because it can be both eaten and applied directly to your skin. Coconut oil can be used in place of other oils, margarine, butter, or shortening, and can be used for all your cooking needs. It can help you lose weight, or maintain your already good weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and lower your cholesterol, among other things.
    • Get your resveratrol naturallyResveratrol is one of the forerunners in the anti-aging pill race, but more than likely, by the time they’ve manipulated it into a synthetic pill, it won’t be healthy for you. Although resveratrol is the antioxidant found in red wine, I can’t recommend drinking wine in the hopes of extending your life because alcohol is a neurotoxin that can poison your brain and harm your body’s delicate hormonal balance. Instead, get your resveratrol from natural sources, such as whole grape skins and seeds, raspberries, mulberries, and peanuts.
    • Get plenty of exercise -- Studies repeatedly show that regular, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can help prevent or delay your onset of hypertension, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and the falls that lead to hip fracture. Although a lifetime of regular exercise is ideal, it’s never too late to start. It’s been shown that even individuals in their 70’s can substantially increase both strength and endurance with exercise.
    • Avoid pharmaceutical drugsPharmaceutical drugs kill thousands of people prematurely every year – as an expected side effect of the action of the drug. And, if you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need any of them in the first place.

    There is no quick fix when it comes to life extension – no pill and no magic fountain. While there are certainly some exceptions -- some centenarians do little in the way of healthy eating or exercise -- for most of us, living a healthy life well into our 100’s will take some dedication to making healthy lifestyle changes, and it's up to you to decide if it’s worth it.

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