This is going to sound a bit pathetic.
As with many of you, I am constantly working on improving my health. (Or at least frequently considering working on changes that will improve my health.)
The first step for me was to give up my mocha swirl. Just about every day for more than five years, I have gone to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee. Medium hot with cream and mocha swirl. I wouldn’t ask for extra sugar in my coffee, but was well aware that the mocha swirl had plenty of sugar, 34-57gm it turns out, depending on the size of the coffee. During each weekend, as I was driving around the north shore, I would feel a powerful urge to go through the nearest drive-through to get a fix of my mocha swirl. The devils at Dunkin Donuts had me hooked.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had a profound impact on our society. Many are using these strange times for reflection and to get better a perspective on our lives. We are trying to find some good, as others are sick or imperiled.
Cutting back on sugar is a major aspect of living a healthier life and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve tackled this problem at this time in my life.
The past 6 months, I have done a deep dive into the longevity research starting with David Sinclair’s book Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To. I have also read Joseph Dispenza’s book Becoming Supernatural, Dave Asprey’s book Becoming Superhuman and Ben Lynch’s Dirty Genes book, plus I found Mark Sisson’s The Keto Reset Diet on our bookshelf.
A few weeks ago, I also spent almost an hour-and-a-half on the phone with James W. Clements who wrote the book The Switch. He has been on the research side of increasing our lifespans for over ten years. The first year of his work, around 2010 by my recall, he said he spent the entire time reviewing the 2,200 studies published to date. There are many more thousands of studies published since then.
The basic concept is not too complicated. There are reasons why we age and develop infirmity over time. If we understand those reasons well enough, we can then find ways to slow down or even reverse the underlying processes. (Hey, kind of sounds like functional medicine.) The lure of billions of potential dollars and Nobel Prize speeches has driven many brilliant people into this field. Sinclair himself views aging as more of a disease than an inevitability.
The good news for us is that the contributors to aging on a cellular and DNA level are now reasonably well understood and we have a long list of options available to manage those triggers.
If I talk to someone about living longer, they usually balk at the concept. They imagine being 100-years-old, sitting in a chair by themselves in the corner of nursing home half out of it. That is not what this is about.
Fortunately, just about every measure that might prolong life also improves the quality of life and reduces our risk of disease. Beautiful. I am not going to get into the science too intensely in this blog, but the research is all there for those of you who want a better understand of autophagy, mTOR, telomere shortening, inflammation, DNA repair and other aspects.
Human beings are designed for a certain lifestyle and existence. The closer we get to that lifestyle, the healthier we will be. Part of the path to a righteous life involves a variety of extremes. Fasting, caloric restriction, ketogenic diets, exercise to the point of exhaustion, cold immersion (as with Jack Kruse’s cold thermogenesis protocol), and infrared saunas all influence our deep programming.
I’m going to review my plan as it has been going so far. I am still in “Phase 1,” but will be moving on soon.
- Give up the mocha swirl and try to avoid sugar and cut back on starchy carbs.
- Consistent intermittent fasting to promote autophagy with Bulletproof coffee alone in the morning (including Kerry Gold grass-fed butter without salt and Bulletproof Brain octane oil). Healthy Paleo/ketogenic/vegetarian lunch with smaller portions at dinner.
- Limited supplementation that includes two Omegaberry (with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin-D, antioxidants and resveratrol) and Bulletproof Active PQQ that Dave Asprey writes is“about a hundred times more powerful than vitamin C.” Pyrroloquinolone Quinone (PQQ) “helps with regeneration of peripheral nerves and increases mitochondrial density, reduces inflammation, improves learning and memory.”
- Meditation 5-20 minutes most days with an emphasis on positivity, gratitude and visualizing a vigorous, healthy, abundant future where I improve my ability as a physician to support all of my patients in mind, body and spirit using the best functional, integrative, naturopathic approaches when possible. Take walks with my wife in some beautiful, natural setting.
- Infrared sauna 30-40 minutes almost every day with good hydration and occasional mineral support with LMNT Recharge packets.
- Sleep hygiene with a dark bedroom, less electronics near bedtime, use of the f.lux download for my laptop and 1-2 of the magnesium glycinate from Pure Encapsulations. My sleep is dramatically better now and the best it’s been in probably ten years.
- Occasional vigorous exercise via running or stationary bike since I’m deprived of pickleball. I also try to stand up for a minute or so every 30-60 minutes during the day. Research shows that even standing up briefly tends to help keep the metabolism going.
Phase II will likely include doing a Viome stool analysis to get a better understanding of my individual microbiome in the context of my metabolism, neurotransmitters and tendency to internal inflammation. I will start using FreshPrep 360 to make sure I have access to healthy options at lunch. I will start adding Inner Fuel or acacia fiber to my Bulletproof coffee and might add daily quercetin and/or Metformin to my current regimen. I will also try to stay at 3-5 days per week of high intensity interval training or some other form of vigorous exercise. With respect to the fetching Rhonda Patrick, I don’t think infrared sauna sessions give us all the benefits of intense exercise.
Phase III may include learning to play Thelonious Monk on the piano and checking my glycemic response to various carbohydrates as described in Robb Wolf’s book Wired for Eating. I am also considering more prolonged fasting, getting into ketosis every few months and might start taking fisetin, dasatanib, NAD and/or other supplements. If I try to learn Monk’s Round Midnight, I better get my brain in order because that’s going to be damn difficult for someone who can barely play anything.
Andrew Lenhardt, MD