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Monday, December 23, 2019

Review: Lifespan - Why We Age

David Sinclair comes with impeccable credentials: Harvard Medical School, and editor of the journal on Aging. His book, Lifespan, is a book mostly about the research that has achieved miracles in animal trials, but have yet to make it into clinical trials for people. Basically, in the lab, achievements have been made such as regrowing the optic nerves of mice, and reversing aging in mice. Unfortunately, as you read the book you realized a lot of this stuff is stuff you heard about ages ago, such as resveratrol, which turned out to have negligible benefits for human health or lifespan. Sinclair doesn't dwell on that and moves on to brag about other achievements in the lab.

OK, what can you do to live longer? Sinclair details his diet regiment, which includes NMN, resveratrol, asprin, and metformin (yes, that drug used to treat diabetes is claimed to extend life in people without diabetes). He also follows  Ray Kurzweil's regiment of getting blood draw every few months to check for biomarkers of aging. The book recommends intermittent fasting (Sinclair says he skips lunch most days), exercise (but not very much exercise --- he mentions just trying to keep his step count high and lifting weights on weekends and doing the sauna and ice baths), and as a result, despite being 50 he says he has not a single gray hair.

Part of the book is a huge diatribe about how aging should be treated as a disease and therefore deserves more funding than it toes.

All in all, the book provides health advice that you already know (eat less, fast occasionally, avoid meat and animal proteins), and doesn't seem to have high standards on actual evidence on human subjects of the drugs and supplements he recommends. As he says, there's no shortage of volunteers for his regiment, and the effects of reversing aging should be pretty obvious, so I'm now curious as to why if the animal experiments are so compelling, there isn't a rush of research into this area. Society is definitely full of billionaires who would like to live longer!

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