How to Extend Life

Human beings have always attempted to extend life, in order to avoid ending up here.
Human beings have always attempted to extend life, in order to avoid ending up here. | Source

Life extension is a term growing in popularity by the day. I personally have a vested interest in the subject. Upon hearing the term, most people visualize a future where we have drastically extended the human life span through the use of genetic therapy, biotech, and whatever else the minds of the future may come up with. In truth, however, life extension has been happening for quite some time.

Just 100 years ago, the average life expectancy in America was between 47 and 53. 100 years before that, it was around 32. So, in 200 years we have managed to raise our expected life span by 55 years (almost triple!) to the ripe old age of 87. With about 70% of those added years being in the latter half, you can see where this is going.

This drastic extension of our life span is no evolutionary fluke. Medicinal technologies have advanced, many diseases have been sent into extinction, and the more we learn about the natural causes of death, the more we learn about how to extend life.

Causes of Aging and Disease

Many modern theorists agree that there are seven primary causes of aging:

  1. Cancer causing nuclear mutations
  2. Mitochondrial mutations
  3. Intracellular "junk"
  4. Extracellular "junk"
  5. Cell loss
  6. Cell Senescence
  7. Extracellular Crosslinks

Most, of these topics are a foreign language to the average reader. What is important is that these things are the underlying causes for age related degeneration, and most if not all naturally occurring diseases. These processes are unavoidable today, but that doesn't mean they cannot be drastically slowed down with the right lifestyle changes.

The Secrets of How to Extend Life

We all have a pretty basic idea of what we should do to stay healthy. Those basic ideas are a primary factor in our current calculated lifespan. Everything you've been through, and everything you will go through will determine how many years you have left on the clock. Taking it further, those same factors will determine how many of those years will be healthy.

In order to truly extend your life, you've got to take the reins, make the right choices, and raise the bar on what it means to stay healthy. Treat aging as a disease, not a process.

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever
Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever

An in depth guide written in an easy-to-follow style that teaches us the what causes aging, how to combat these processes, and the science behind it all.

 
Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever
Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever

Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman have collaborated to design this easy to follow program meant to help you help yourself in achieving longevity.

 

There is an organization called the Tzu Chi who are calling out for people to use this practice for themselves, while simultaneously using the extra 20% to help feed those in need around the world. A novel concept, no?

Extend Life with Caloric Restriction

First and foremost is one only scientifically proven technique to extend life. Hara Hachi Bu is a term originating in Okinawa, Japan which means to eat until you are only 80% full. This is textbook caloric restriction. Here’s another fun fact about Okinawa: their population consists of the highest concentration of centenarians in the entire world. Americans have a culture where we are given a plate full of food, and try our best to clean the plate. I know that bloated “I’m going to explode if I get hit in the stomach” feeling after leaving a restaurant, and I’m sure you do too. Nowadays I ask myself, “Why?” Once I feel 80% full I can just…stop. It’s such a simple concept, and everything eaten beyond that is contributing to my early demise.

This change in lifestyle is likely to help maintain lower levels of glucose, ideal weight, and reduce the amount of incoming free radicals which damage DNA and leads to cancer. These all happen to be some of the key elements to extend life.

Learning to Eat Better

We all know that salad is good, McDonald’s is bad. It’s hard not to know the basics of nutrition these days. There are still a lot of things that haven’t made it into the library of general knowledge, though.

  • Not all fat is bad. Fat is a necessary part of the diet. While trans fats are inherently bad and should be avoided, saturated fats are good for you in small amounts while unsaturated fats are important for your body to function properly.
  • All sugar is bad. This is why we have artificial sweeteners. News flash, most of them are bad too. Aspartame harms the brain and lowers serotonin levels. Acesulfame-K has been linked to possible genetic damage. Sucralose has a list of potential side effects, but there have not been enough studies to be certain. Saccharin has been linked to bladder cancer. Stevia has actually shown possible benefits but only when consumed in moderation.
  • Your optimal diet is more than just a calorie to weight ratio. Two people of the same weight are likely going to have a completely different set of needs. Adjusting how many calories are carbs, fats, and proteins is even more important than the overall calorie count. Furthermore, some people may have a need to include a good amount of whole grains in their diet while others may need to avoid grains entirely. Learning where you should get your calories is just as important to include in your nutritional plan as anything else when learning how to extend your life.

Source

Stress Kills

Nobody likes being stressed out. If they enjoyed it, then it wouldn't be stress. Our bodies don't enjoy it either. Chronic stress has been linked to weakened immune systems, gastrointestinal disorders, type 2 diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression, lack of focus, insomnia, and addiction. Anything that causes a list of bad things too long to speak in a single breath is probably something you want to avoid. Stress is clearly a large factor in determining your lifespan, but it is also one of the easiest things to avoid.

The experience of life can be categorized into three general sections, family & friends, work, and yourself. Too much of any of them will create a deficiency in another, and that deficiency is a major contributor to stress in your life.

Relaxation can almost be defined as something like: "partaking in activities with the purpose of releasing stress." Don't live your life always on the run. Slow down. Take the time to enjoy the small things.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Small, containable problems aren't worth worrying about. Just fix them; and if they can't be immediately fixed, then forget about them until they can.
What will happen will happen. Many problems, regardless of their magnitude, are far beyond your control. When possible, just accept that these are going to happen, accept the consequences, and move on with your life. To do anything else serves no purpose but to add to your overall stress.

Meditation is known to assist in all of these areas and more. It may be the best thing a person can possibly do in order to reduce stress both directly and indirectly. If you truly want to ensure a longer, healthier, happier life, meditation is sure to help.

Extend Life Through Supplementation

Achieving optimal nutritional health is impossible with food alone. Even trying to do so would be counterproductive, since you would be eating your way into an early grave. Employing an optimal supplement program would break the bank for most people, so learn the most important supplements that you can fit into your budget and start taking them.

Through a few different polls among a different selection of people, I've learned that a large majority of people are willing to take whatever supplement regimen is necessary to live a longer life. I am willing to bet that most, if not all of the people who answered otherwise would quickly change their tune if the situation really did come to be.

Enjoy Good Health

Being healthy is one of the most important contributors to being happy. Nobody enjoys diseases, organ failures, and sagging skin. Poor health only holds us back from doing many of the things we enjoy. So no matter which practices you employ to extend your life, they all have one thing in common: improved health. They will all in some way or other slow down at least one of the seven main causes of aging and disease.

And there ain't nothin wrong with that.

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Comments 13 comments

physics-boy profile image

physics-boy 4 years ago from England

Love it! Human Longevity is a topic that is coming to the forefront of my mind right now, I think I read somewhere recently that those of us who are born post 2010, will have an average lifespan somewhere in the mid 90s. Fascinating stuff!

Would love to hear your thoughts on the theory that the first person to live to 1000 years old may already be alive.

Voted up.


mattforte profile image

mattforte 4 years ago from Spanaway, WA Author

Thanks physics-boy. This is something I fell into about 10 years ago, and it has become an obsession of sorts.

Not just the first. I'm 30 years old now, and I have little doubt that I myself will live that long.

Those born post-2010 can look forward to a lot more than 90 years. 18 at year 2028, with exponentially growing technology? We are already at a boiling point, and memristor technology may be the last puzzle piece before we are thrown into a golden age.

Provided we don't bomb the hell out of each other in the next few years, that is.


cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

Very interesting hub. How far would we want to expand?

Lifespan also has a genetic factor. I have a neighbor who will be 101 in April (I am doing an interview with her for a hub), and her whole family has lived long lives. She doesn't necessarily eat healthy, but she has good genes.

Me, I know I am genetically screwed. I don't think anyone in my family has lived past 85.

It is a cool topic, one I have been thinking a lot about lately getting ready for my interview.


mattforte profile image

mattforte 4 years ago from Spanaway, WA Author

Yes, genetics play a huge factor. Some people just have indestructible tanks for bodies, so they're lucky. Others have to fight just to hit 80. But those tanks also benefit from this - no matter how long you are going to live...you can make it even longer.

Plus - two people could live to be 100. One could be healthy until their dying day, another could spend their last 50 years in misery. Your life choices decide which road you end up on.


passthejelly profile image

passthejelly 4 years ago from Lakewood Colorado

I would like to live as long as possible. This is why I gave up fast food and started eating healthy. There are some factors we cannot control but I hope to live as long as possible!


cherrycrime26 profile image

cherrycrime26 4 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

This is a wonderful Hub, I m always looking for tips to expand my life and be youthful and not age, great hub, voted up


Wib Magli profile image

Wib Magli 4 years ago from Tennessee and Alabama

I second your comments on meditation. My experience with meditation has been entirely positive.


cloverleaffarm profile image

cloverleaffarm 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

I have to tell you my neighbor who is 101, is healthy. She still lives alone, cooks her own meals, does light house keeping...she is awesome. Her son is 81, and he still goes like gang busters.

I would like to try meditation. It seems like I can never slow my mind down enough.

Voted up again...lol.


mattforte profile image

mattforte 4 years ago from Spanaway, WA Author

passthejelly: Eating healthy is a great start. It's also the easiest thing you can do that has as big an effect on your life as it does. Easing into it slowly is the easiest for me..after I'd been eating healthy-ish for a while, my palate got use to it, and some of the old stuff turned disgusting lol


mattforte profile image

mattforte 4 years ago from Spanaway, WA Author

cherrycrime: Thanks! If you want tips - read Transcend, the book mentioned above. I've been following the life extension field for almost 10 years now, and I have never come across anything that even compares. It explains what to do, and *why* those actions help down to the molecular level.


mattforte profile image

mattforte 4 years ago from Spanaway, WA Author

Wib Magli: I'm glad meditation has worked out for you. I wish it were more of a 'norm' in Western culture.


mattforte profile image

mattforte 4 years ago from Spanaway, WA Author

cloverleaffarm:

Nice! Either they fell into some lucky jeans, or they've been doing something right! My girlfriend's grandmother is 106 - but I haven't met her yet so I can't attest to her mobility. She lives in Puerto Rico (Great diet gave her the lifespan I'm sure), hoping to meet her while I still can.

You have no idea. I have ADHD and it's like a thought superhighway in my head. Any time I can get myself to slow down a bit just feels GREAT.

Thanks =)


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 19 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great tips Matt. I agree with you here on how to stay healthy and stress-free for a longer lifespan. Voted up for useful!

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