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Your Heart Rate Variability could well be one of the most important measures of your health. Discover how to track it and what you need to do to improve it!

Most of us have been using our heart rate as a measure of our aerobic fitness level since we were kids. After a run at school we were taught to feel the pulse on our wrist. While this is, indeed, an important measure of our heart’s performance, it is not the only one, nor the most important. 

It turns out that monitoring the beat to beat variation and the time intervals between heart contractions provides a far more valuable window into what is going inside our body, possibly as important as our expected lifespan This biofeedback healthspan hacking measure is known as heart rate variability. (1)

In this article, we take a deep dive into heart rate variability. We’ll discover why it is such an important biofeedback marker, how it can be used to optimize physical and cognitive performance and what healthspan hacking techniques you can start using today to improve your heart rate variability.

The Ever Changing Heart Rate – And Why It Matters

Contrary to what many people believe, the heart rate does not follow a constant pattern like a metronome. The time between beats is constantly changing. It turns out those changes reveal an incredibly valuable message about our health. This fluctuation is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which is made up of the parasympathetic and the sympathetic system. (2)

The sympathetic nervous system is also known as the fight or flight system. Its activation causes an immediate increase in the heart and respiratory rate as the body prepares to meet a stressful situation. This requires a lot of energy. 

The body then returns to a state of homeostasis by switching to parasympathetic dominance. This system promotes rest, digestion and wellbeing. Whether or not we are in sympathetic or parasympathetic dominance is controlled by the vagus nerve in the brain. 

The imbalance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activity has been recognized as a key indicator of both psychological and physical illness. The measure of heart rate variability has been shown to be the best window available into these opposing systems. Heart rate variability is a normal and desired outcome. However, the more stressed we are, the shorter the interval between heart beats. Conversely, the more relaxed and calm we are, the greater the intervals between beats and the higher the HRV. 

So, we can consider HRV to be a measure of the interplay between our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The higher the HRV reading, the more balanced that relationship is. From a healthspan hacking point of view, our goal is to increase our HRV in order to enhance the state of homeostasis that enhances our overall health. 

While it is certainly possible to improve your HRV measure, it should be noted that there are a number of factors that determine your heart beat intervals. Genetics plays a role, as does age and gender. So, rather than trying to achieve an arbitrary ideal HRV number, it is more advantageous to set the goal of improving your HRV in relation to your rolling baseline. This is the best practice for both physical and mental wellbeing. 

2 Hacks to Improve Your HRV

When you improve your HRV, your daily readiness to tackle life will be enhanced, your resting heart rate will go down and your body will better adapt to external stimulus. Here are two hacks you start incorporating today to enhance your HRV:

Cold Exposure

Cold exposure is a hermetic stressor that results in acute sympathetic arousal. This then brings on a parasympathetic state during recovery from the cold exposure. Immediately following the cold exposure you will experience a significant lowering of HRV. However, in order to get back to a state of homeostasis, this will be followed by a higher rate of HRV as you enter the parasympathetic state. (3)

Hot and cold contrast showers and cold plunges are effective methods of cold exposure. 

Better Quality and Quantity of Sleep

The better quality and quantity of sleep you get, the higher your HRV will be. That’s because the majority of your body’s repair, recuperation and recovery occurs while you are sleeping. It is also while you are asleep that your heart rate is at its lowest. A key aspect of healthspan hacking is providing the body with the optimal environment for these processes to occur(4) (5)

One key to achieving a good night’s sleep is maintaining an ideal bedroom temperature. That ideal temperature has been shown to be 65°F (18.3°C). This temperature best correlates with your body’s internal temperature throughout the night. 

Another consideration to enhance your sleep environment is to keep your bedroom as stimulus free as possible. This will help your mind and body to relax as it winds down for the evening. Keep all technology (including your phone) out of the bedroom. Try to make the room as dark and noise free as possible. 

3 More Ways to Improve your HRV

  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Minimize stimulant consumption

Summary

Heart Rate Variability is an essential marker of your body’s cognitive and mental health, as it provides a window into the interplay between your body’s competing stress and restore nervous systems.  In order to improve your HRV markers, use cold therapy and take active steps to improve your quality and quantity of sleep. Doing so will improve your health longevity, helping you to advance to a vibrant, energetic future. 

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17111118/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8458993/
  3. https://pubmed.Functional anatomy of the autonomic nervous systemncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18785356/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3427038/
  5.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051115000447

In the previous parts of this article, we identified that the incredible increase in human lifespan over the past couple of centuries has not been matched by improved health as we age. Yet, we have also highlighted that this apparent inevitable age related heath decline is not mirrored in nature. In this instalment, we highlight the experiences of super-agers, which suggest that living and long and a healthy life may be more about lifestyle choices than genetic predisposition.

Healthy Aging in People is Rare, but Possible

People like Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, and some 450,000 centenarians worldwide provide living proof that extreme longevity is possible. Supercentenarian Jeanne Louise Calment, the longest living person in documented history, lived 122 years and 167 days, setting a health span world record that has yet to be broken, Calment picked up fencing at 85, still rode her bicycle at 100, and walked unassisted (not even a cane) until she was 114. She showed impressive mental acuity and high spirits throughout her long life. At her 110th birthday she famously said: “I’ve only ever had one wrinkle, and I’m sitting on it”. During her final pubic appearance, the day of her 122nd birthday, though almost blind and deaf, she was in surprisingly good health.

We know that super-agers suffer less frequently from chronic diseases than other older age groups. We also know that when they do suffer from diseases like Alzheimer’s, it’s markedly delayed compared to the general population.

Scientists have been working on identifying the genetic determinants of healthy longevity for decades. With the motivation that insights from animal models may someday be applicable to humans, hundreds of research projects are in process, and fascinating discoveries have been made. For example, in the worm model C. elegans, over 70 genes have been found to influence lifespan. 

In 2016, researchers made progress in recognizing the gene variants that lead to longevity in humans. Does this take us any further in making it possible for the rest of us to age more healthily? Not quite yet. We have had success tweaking genes for healthy longevity in animal models but the road to longevity gene editing in humans may be a long one. That said, with the recent advances in gene editing in humans for therapeutic purposes, there’s hope for practical applications from research on super-agers.

http://pictures.reuters.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=2C0BXZ4W71UOW&SMLS=1&RW=1386&RH=734#/SearchResult&VBID=2C0BXZ4W71UOW&SMLS=1&RW=1386&RH=734&POPUPPN=34&POPUPIID=2C0BF1RGZJROA

Science is Changing Longevity from Roulette to Poker

Most of us are not lucky enough to have won the super-centenarian genetic lottery. But aging healthier is now more a game of skill than a game of chance. Better lifestyle choices, science tells us, can add years of health to life.   

The link between food choices and health is long known. But, so far ancient wisdom like “let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food” hasn’t been very actionable. Now, grants given to leading universities and research centers to determine what we should be eating for healthy longevity make diet recommendations scientific. 

Valter Longo, a gerontology research professor just received $10M from the National Institute of Aging for his research on how diet can influence aging. The goal of his grant is to extend the success of a preliminary clinical trial showing that cycles of a five-day fasting-mimicking diet can reduce risk factors for many age-related illness.

There’s compelling research linking calorie restriction to longevity, but after we find a formula to calculate an “optimal” caloric consumption, is there a scientifically-backed optimal diet for extending our life? 

The Impact of Personalized Food Choices 

A study conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science found that the answer varies greatly from one person to another.  One factor includes microbial ecosystem in your gut (bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi and mold). Last year DayTwo, an Israeli startup applying insights of the Weizman microbiome study, raised $12 million from investors including Johnson & Johnson Innovation and the Mayo Clinic to deliver personalized food choice recommendations to consumers. The demand for DayTwo in Israel has now exceeded the capacity of the company. Customers who realize the health potential are willing to wait months for their personalized diet. 

We are advancing at a rapid pace in turning food recommendations from trial and error into an exact science. Nutrigenomics startup Viome takes this science to the new level. Viome, will give you personalized recommendations of what foods to eat and what foods to minimize based not just on the presence of gut organisms but on their actual expressions and effectiveness in producing nutrients and reducing inflammation. Their goal is to make chronic illness truly a matter of choice and not a matter of bad luck.

Israeli startup Lumen, promises specific recommendations based on your body’s ability to produce energy from available carbs and fat during rest and workout time. In the past year they have been helping hundreds of beta testers to lose weight and live healthier lives according to their metabolism. 

It’s About More Than What You Eat

Food choices matter. However, a healthy diet, as personalized as it may be, is not enough to keep you healthy as you age. A study of Blue Zones—rare longevity hotspots around the world – reveals that healthy longevity is multifactorial. How physically active you are, your level of social engagement, spirituality, living a life of meaning, alcohol consumption, and other factors come together when it comes to extending healthspan.

 But can insights from a study of traditional communities be made actionable on a larger scale and as part of a modern lifestyle? In 2009 the city of Albert Lea, Minnesota started a project to achieve just that, applying a holistic program inspired by the 9 common longevity factors discovered in the Blue Zones. They have so far collectively reduced health care claims by 49% and increased life expectancy by 3 years. 

Optimizing all the aspects that contribute to healthy longevity may not leave much time to, well, live. Here, too, science can help people make more informed choices and priorities. The many tests now available to determine your genetic predisposition for age-related health conditions, including diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular disease, can help personalize your effort. It may also give you the important nudge to hedge your health risks with early detection tests if you have an increased likelihood of developing a particular disease based on your genetic makeup.

The personalized and predictive technology available to us today is a game changer. With AI insights on health data, applying longevity studies to modern lifestyle, plus taking advantage of genomic biotech, may add up to a preventive effect worth years of health.

In the final part of this series, we focus in on regenerative medicine and how an emphasis on healthspan rather than lifespan can add health to our years.

For Part Four: Is Living a Long Healthy Life Luck of the Draw? CLICK HERE

For Part Two: Is Living a Long Healthy Life Luck of the Draw? CLICK HERE

In 1944 Polish candy factory owner Yisrael Kristal lost his wife and two children after the family was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Kristal survived, making it though the brutal 1945 death march. After the war he went back to his home town where he met fellow Hholocaust survivor Bat Sheva.  They married and began a new life together, The couple married, started a family, and opened a new candy factory in Haifa. Yisreal lived on to became the Guinness world record oldest Holocaust survivor in 2010, and lived to see his great grandchildren thrive in Israel. 

Throughout the most part of his long life, Yisrael enjoyed good health. He died surrounded by his extended family in 2017, just 5 days short of his 114th birthday. Kristal was a middle aged man when he lost everything, and in the seven decades that followed the war, he got to start a new life and live it fully. 

Yisrael Kristal 
Taken from jpost.com (photo credit: COURTESY OF FAMILY)

Living Longer But Not Healthier

Celebrating life with such healthy longevity is a rare individual achievement. Yet, as a species, we have made extraordinary improvement in the longevity stakes over the 150 years. During that time the average global lifespan has more than doubled.  A two-fold increase in longevity in a blink of an eye on the evolutionary time scale, is a remarkable human achievement. However, the extended human lifespan has brought with it some major adverse effects. Consequently, for most of us, an increase in lifespan iis not equal to an increase in healthspan. 

Credit: OurWorldInData.org

As we age, put chances of getting sick increase. In fact, the risk of suffering from such conditions as cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease goes up exponentially with every year we add to our lives. Arthritis, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and many other chronic diseases are all associated with aging. In 2020, more than half of Americans 65 and older are being treated for multiple chronic conditions. A typical chronic combination of conditions is diabetes together with high blood pressure and a heart condition. 

A 2011 study by the world economic forum projected that by the year 2030 the cost for treating chronic illness worldwide would exceed 47 trillion dollars. The rising cost of managing the ill health of old age is devastating and the impact on the quality of life of a chronically ill individual is immeasurable. 

Longer lives have come with a dire unintended downside. In extending lifespan we hoped for a commensurate better quality of life. Instead, it seems we have stretched our limits beyond sustainable biological longevity. As a result, ill health in old age, and the economic healthcare burden that can bring economies to their knees, is inevitable. 

Or is it? 

In this article series, we explore breakthroughs in longevity science and biotechnology that suggest it is time for us to rethink the notions that extended lifespan and health are mutually exclusive. As technology advances and we learn more about biological aging, there are more reasons to be optimistic that good health over most of a long life may be possible.

 Imminent even. 

Why Do We Get Sick When We Get Older?  

Longevity and health are an age old human desire. Every culture has its tales of longevity outliers. In the Bible, Methuselah lived to the ripe old age of 960, with many Bible patriarchs living well into the multiple centuries. Yet, for millions of years the average life span was between20 and 30 years. A few millennia ago it began to gradually climb until it reach into the early 40s in the second part of the 9th century.

The burning question driving scientists globally is, with the rare exception of centenarians, could the reason we get sick when we age be that in doubling lifespan we have broken some irrefutable law of biology?

What we do know is that risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimers, arthritis, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and many other chronic conditions goes up as we get older. These illness are very different in nature from the infectious diseases that contribute to mortality in the early parts of life. 

Is There a Common Root Cause to the Diseases of Old Age? 

The answer, growing insights from longevity science tell us, is the process of biological aging. 

Gerontologists refer to it as senescence. Simply put, it is a gradual and ultimately fatal deterioration of function that results from accumulated damage in the body. This appears to be a deadly side effect of essential metabolic processes in a biological economy that from middle age on suffers from diminishing garbage disposal and repair resources. 

Think of this as biological operating expenses that rise exponentially from middle age until,l eventually, running the business of staying alive becomes unsustainable. In the past we didn’t live much beyond middle age. 

Age related illnesses came along as we took evolution into our own hands and deliberately ventured humanity to new frontiers of longevity. 

Does that mean that ill health in old age is inevitable? Or can a biohealth hacking focus allow us to live longer AND healthier lives? In Part Two of this multi part series we search for answers.

For Part Two: Is Living a Long Healthy Life Luck of the Draw? CLICK HERE

The phrase ‘super ager’ has become popular in recent times. A super ager is generally defined as a person who is 80 or over whose mental or physical capabilities are are comparable to people who are decades younger. Whether they know it or not, super agers is a healthspan hacker. Their ability to remain young doesn’t happen by accident. Rather, it is the cumulative result of a lifetime of healthy habits of mind and body.

The following four habits are common among super agers:

They remain physically and mentally active
They constantly challenge themselves
They have strong social relationships
They drink alcohol in moderation

Want to join the super agers club? You couldn’t do better than following through on these four lifestyle habits!

In the first three instalments of this series put forward a compelling case for a total paradigm shift when it comes to again. By transform our approach from sick care to preventative healthcare, we may be able to realize more life in out years as we grow older. In this final instalment, we focus in on the potential health spanning effects of regenerative medicine.

The Promise of Regenerative Medicine

Time seems to take a particularly heavy toll on the eyes, even with the healthiest of super-agers. The main reason is age-related Macular Degeneration (dry AMD). Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula of the eye break down due to the death of a supporting cell type called retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE). Dry AMD impairs vision and it is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 60. 

There are currently no approved therapies for dry AMD. 

But, what if we could introduce the missing cells into the subretinal space? Would cells from an external source be able to halt the progress of AMD? 

Regulatory clearance from the FDA and the Israeli Ministry of Health was recently granted in order to initiate a clinical trial to see if this hypothesis is true.  OpRegen, one of the therapies offered by the Cell Cure – a subsidiary of the the publicly traded biotech company BioTime – is being developed in Jerusalem, by Benjamin Reubinoff, M.D., Ph.D. The Israeli Innovation Authority awarded in 2016 a grant of $2.2 million to help finance the development of OpRegen.  

OpRegen is just one example where regenerative medicine utilizes advances in stem cell biology, biologics, biomaterials, lab-generated cells to work wonders in the body. We’ve made incredible progress in medicine. The revolution of providing healthy cells and tissues to complement the regenerative capacity that the body loses due to an illness, or altogether replace a failing organ may offer a real cure, rather than merely treat the symptoms of a disease.   

What does this have to do with healthy longevity?

 We are born with a built-in capacity to repair tissues and organs to restore normal function. Through our lifespan, we experience changes in regenerative abilities, and during aging, numerous tissues exhibit a progressive decline in homeostasis that results in degeneration, malfunction and pathology. Making healthier personal lifestyle choices, the occasional fast, and other longevity practices may help slow down this process but it can’t altogether stop it. At some point cell senescence goes into higher gear and damage that we are no longer able to repair starts accumulating. This is where regenerative medicine could come in very handy. 

What  Next?

A person’s healthspan is the length of time that the person is healthy—not just alive. The term was officially added to Mirriam Webster Dictionary in March of 2016.

Now, let’s remember the idea of doubling longevity, mentioned in our first article. But this time, let’s separate between years added to life (extended lifespan) and healthy years added (healthspan). 

What do you think has been the most significant contributor to extending our healthy longevity over the last century and a half? Many believe it’s medicine but, surprisingly, it’s not. It’s hygiene and sanitation. So far, it is the ultimate healthspan technology. It has increased both lifespan and health at the same time, not by curing illness but by preventing it.

The 4 Ps of Future Health

Is it possible that we might, at some point in the future, reach a scientific breakthrough in understanding aging or invent another technology that will further extend both human longevity and health on a global scale? 

Interestingly enough, we may have already discovered or invented it. It may be applying insights from the Blue Zones to modern life, or a personalized diet based on nutrigenomics, the key could be preventative early detection based on DNA predisposition tests, or it may be regenerative stem cell therapy. 

Probably, it’s a mix often referred to as the 4Ps of the future of health: personalized, predictive, preventative and participatory. 

The sad reality is that we are not moving nearly fast enough to explore this direction in time to save more people from falling into the chronic illness trap. The focus of medical research and healthcare systems today is treating illnesses. Earlier this year at the Undoing Aging Conference this was recognized as one of the leading obstacles we face in closing the lifespan-healthspan gap. Undoing Aging, founded by Aubery De Grey of SENS Research Foundation, is a gathering of healthy longevity scientists, investigators and thought leaders to discuss the future of healthcare and how to accelerate rejuvenation therapies. 

Systemic Challenges

Take regenerative medicine. Today, to benefit from the regenerative medicine revolution you must first be diagnosed with an illness that is listed on the WHO International Classification of Diseases. We know that biological aging is the driving force behind multimorbidities of older age. But, biological aging is not classified as a disease. That means, we must first allow senescence to run havoc in the body before we can offer any intervention or therapy. 

In a similar way to the application of OpRegen to slow down Age-related Macular Degeneration, regenerative medicine may be applied to the systemic gradual degenerative process that occurs in the body as part of normal biological aging. But for now, we must allow aging to progress to a degree that symptoms are acute enough as to be classified as a disease before regenerative medicine can be offered. 

Maintaining full bodily and mental function as long as possible (and as close as possible to the end of life), should be our next gerontological goal. Right now, the main barrier is not scientific or technological, it’s that we practice “sick-care” rather than true healthcare. Much of the healthcare infrastructure, the training of physicians, and other health professionals, therapeutic processes and procedures, not to mention insurance, is geared to curing a contagious illness that derives from a single cause or treating an injury or an acute medical event like a stroke. 

The Challenge Ahead

A system-wide change of mindset, infrastructure, training and compensation is required if we are to address the chronic illnesses that are today’s health reality. We must shift from putting out symptomatic fires to prevention, to systemic investigation and getting to the root causes of illness, and to regeneration.  

Hygiene and sanitation have given us the first doubling of healthspan through disease prevention. Personalized, predictive, preventative and participatory healthcare may give us the second healthspan breakthrough, but only if we apply it early enough in life. The health outcome we need to start measuring is age related disease prevention. Aiming towards lengthening healthspan may be imminent, but only if we first let go of the idea that ill health in old age is an inevitable part of life.

For Part Three: Is Living a Long Healthy Life Luck of the Draw? CLICK HERE

For Part One: Is Living a Long Healthy Life Luck of the Draw? CLICK HERE

On October 1st, 2020, some of the world’s most renowned longevity exports gathered in the beautiful ski resort of San Mortiz, Switzerland. They were there for the Longevity Investors Conference to speak before an audience of potential financial investors. 

Longevity is primed to be the next massive investment opportunity, with conference co-host Marc Bernegger saying . . .

Longevity will become one of the largest investment opportunities in the coming decades. It will disrupt not only the healthcare system, but society and the economy in general. Longevity is a topic that moves investors. Besides making a nice profit, they share an interest in staying healthy and living longer.

A key speaker at the conference, Aubrey De Grey, stated that latest innovations in cell repair are capable of transforming a 70-year old into the biological equivalent of a 40 year old. The only thing impeding such progress, De Grey, who created the SENS Research Center in California, claimed, was the amount of funding. 

The Longevity Investors Conference was designed to address that need. The enthusiastic reception that the speakers received from the investors portends positive outcomes. Lengthening healthspan may be imminent, but only if it is sufficiently funded in the coming years. That remains to be seen.

Introduction to Longevity Medicine

What you’ll learn

  • The emerging discipline of longevity medicine.
  • The recent clinical efforts and applications in aging and longevity.
  • The role of aging in a variety of diseases.
  • The underlying mechanisms of aging and longevity.
  • The emerging science of aging clocks and deep aging clocks.
  • Geroprotectors and the potential longevity interventions.
  • The role of motivation and mindset in aging and longevity.
Rating from Udemy
Review from Udemy

Sign up for Udemy’s course here: https://www.udemy.com/course/introduction-to-longevity-medicine/

* Lonevity.Science or Maya have no affiliation with this course. We recommend it because it a resource we think readers of this site may enjoy.

If you thought that intermittent fasting was just another weight loss method, think again! It turns out the it also helps you to defeat the effects of aging.

Intermittent Fasting affects the body in three key ways:

  • It optimizes your body’s hormonal response
  • It boosts growth hormone release
  • It allows the body to detoxify

Intermittent fasting is an extremely effective way to lose excess body fat. In this article, however, we will focus on the extra benefits that IF provides in terms of anti aging, and longevity. (1)

Intermittent Fasting and Aging: The Science Speaks

There is a lot of research going on regarding slowing down the aging process. The shining star of all of this research was undoubtedly intermittent fasting. One of the most interesting facts to emerge from this research was that the body reacts to fasting the same way that it does to exercise. Both of them place stress on the body. But the stresses that come from fasting and exercise are considered as positive stressors.

When cells are put under mild positive stress, they respond by adapting in order to cope with the stress. This increased resistance to stress allows the body to better cope with the aging process. According to Mark Mattson of the National Institute of Aging (2)

Intermittent fasting increases lifespan and protects various tissues against disease, in part by Hormesis mechanisms that increase cellular stress resistance. A primary reason that intermittent fasting promotes longevity has to do with the switch to a fat burning energy system. 

Fat is a far cleaner form of energy than glucose. As a result, it improves insulin sensitivity. There is a lot less free radical stress than when your body is burning glucose for energy. That means a huge reduction in cellular damage. 

How Fat Energy Keeps You Younger and Smarter

Our bodily organs operate more efficiently when they receive their energy from fat as opposed to glucose. So, as we’ve already discovered, does the brain. When you are in the fat burning state of ketosis, the liver produces a compound called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). This is an efficient source of fuel for the brain. BHB is also great for the immune system. This results in a reduced inflammatory response. What’s more, research out of the Yale School of Medicine also showed the BHB has the effect of recycling damaged immune cells and regenerating new healthy immune cells. (3)

Intermittent fasting was shown to improve a number of age-related factors, shown in a study that was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. These include rejuvenating the immune system and reducing the cancer risk. It also promotes neurogenesis of the hippocampus and boosts overall cognitive enhancement. (4)

Studies on both mice and humans have shown that intermittent fasting improves longevity by:

  • Reducing visceral body fat
  • Lowering the incidence of inflammatory disease
  • Enhancing brain function
  • Increasing bone density
  • Improving memory

Of course, all of these benefits come without any of the usual side effects that are associated with prescribed medications.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Achieve Such Incredible Results? 

A study that was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell revealed that intermittent fasting elicits particular pathways in the body that enable cells to become stronger and more able to resist toxins. This was seen to reduce immune system weakness and help to alleviate age-related diseases. (5)

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase the regeneration of stem cells. It actually activates stem cells to promote self-renewal. In other words, they are able to divide and make more stem cells. As a result, the body is able to regenerate. At the same time there is immunosuppression of cancer cells and decreased autoimmunity.

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to bring about positive changes to the gut biome. Your digestive system consists of some 100 trillion cells. Bacteria outnumber other cells by a ratio of 10:1. Your gut biome is constantly changing in accordance with your dietary and lifestyle choices. The healthier your choices, the greater the ratio of good versus bad bacteria. (6)

Not surprisingly, your eating habits have the greatest impact upon your gut biome. Intermittent fasting is one of the best things you can do to positively alter your gut bacteria balance. Your gut microflora makes up 80 percent of your immune system. As a result, the positive changes to your gut bacteria will have a profound effect upon your immune system. A healthier gut biome will also allow you to sleep more soundly, have greater energy and better concentration.

Summary

Intermittent fasting provides the means to cleanse and clear out your system. In the process, over time, it may eliminate the causes of a whole host of diseases from the body. And, unlike some medications which may cause unintended damage over time, it does all of this with very low risk of harmful side effects.

We have only scratched the surface of the research showing how beneficial an intermittent fasting lifestyle is to the health and well-being of the human body. Intermittent fasting has remarkable curative ability and a powerful anti-aging effect.

For Part One: Intermittent Fasting: Can It Enhance Your Longevity as Well as Helping You Lose Weight? CLICK HERE

References
  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25540982/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Mattson
  3. https://news.yale.edu/2015/02/16/anti-inflammatory-mechanism-dieting-and-fasting-revealed
  4. https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(17)30504-1
  5. https://news.mit.edu/2018/fasting-boosts-stem-cells-regenerative-capacity-0503
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29712667/

Rather than being the latest fad diet kid on the block, intermittent fasting is, in reality, the world’s oldest medical treatment. In fact, the father of medicine, Hippocrates, advocated fasting over medication, once saying . . .

“Instead of medicine, fast for a day.”

When they are unwell, every animal, apart from humans, refrains from eating. They do this in the instinctive knowledge that not eating, has a powerful healing effect on the body. This has been known by humans, too, for thousands of years. Yet, it is only within the last few decades that researchers have been able to produce the science to prove it. 

Intermittent fasting has emerged as a very popular means of weight loss in recent years. Yet, the more research focus that it receives, the greater the benefits for overall health and longevity that are being discovered. 

As a result, fasting is being recognized as a legitimate breakthrough in the fields of weight loss, lean muscle increase, anti-aging and overall well-being.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating plan that revolves around strategically not eating for periods of time either every day or several times a week. This is done in order to develop metabolic flexibility and promote positive adaptations in the body that lead to specific outcomes. It is not a diet in that it does not stipulate a reduced daily caloric count (though this usually results anyway). Rather, intermittent fasting is a lifestyle pattern that is designed to be followed over the long-term. 

There are many variants of intermittent fasting, which we will detail in the next section. Each of them is based on the concept of going for a set length of time without, then eating during a short ‘feeding window.’ This is then repeated. It is intended as a long-term lifestyle choice rather than a short-term diet. 

The body of any living being can be in one of two states:

  • Fasted
  • Fed

These two states are, obviously, counters to one another. Modern life allows many of us to never experience the fasted state during waking hours, and that, turns out is not all beneficial. To borrow a Chinese concept, the two states are the Yin and Yang of your body. You need both to balance each other, and an optimal balance may promote your healthy longevity.

How Intermittent Fasting Keeps You Young

Growth hormone, also known as somatotropin, is a protein hormone that is made up of 191 amino acids. It is released by somatropin cells located in the anterior pituitary gland. Growth hormone is an important component of human development, making it vital for the muscle building process. It is also an important fat burning hormone. Just check out what optimized levels of growth hormone can do for your body:

  • Increased muscle strength
  • Enhanced fracture healing
  • Boosted weight loss
  • Increased bone strength
  • Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Enhanced virility
  • Improved cognitive functioning
  • Better sleep

When you have high levels of glucose in your blood, the pancreas releases a chemical called somatostatin. It has the effect of suppressing the production of human growth hormone. So, the more times that you eat through your day, the less growth hormone you will release into your body. The opposite is also true – the fewer times you eat, the more growth hormone your body will produce.

Growth hormone release decreases with age, but when you practice intermittent fasting, your body releases growth hormones and slows down the aging process. (1)

Brain Boosting Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Our understanding of the human brain has undergone some profound changes in recent times. It used to be thought that the brain was static and unable to be changed. Now we know differently. The brain has the ability to constantly adapt and change. 

The term neuroplasticity has been coined to describe the ability of the brain to form new connections. The brain can also heal itself. New brain connections are facilitated by a family of proteins known as neurotrophic factors. One specific neurotropic factor has been identified as being most crucial. It is called brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). 

BDNF activates brain stem cells to produce new brain cells. So, the more BDNF you have, the greater your potential to increase the number of brain cells. So, what can you do to maximize your body’s production of BDNF?

Intermittent Fasting!

And not just by a little bit! 

Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase BDNF production by between 50 and 400 percent! (2) (3)

The benefits of intermittent fasting, as we are starting to discover, go well beyond fat loss. It will encourage the body to dramatically increase the production of hormone and neural factors that will improve the functioning of our bodies and our brains.  But there is far more to the IF story than that.

 In Part Two, we drill down on the life enhancing benefits of intermittent fasting.

For Part Two: Intermittent Fasting: Can It Enhance Your Longevity as Well as Helping You Lose Weight? CLICK HERE

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC329619/?page=6

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16011467

(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15741046

When it comes to runners, Anne McGowan could be considered a late bloomer. She didn’t start pounding the pavement until she was 49. Anne began running to help her cope with the loss of her husband, yet she soon fell in love with the activity.

Born in 1925, Anne has been running regularly since 1974. In 1991, in the wake of a mastectomy, she ran in the 1991 National Senior Games, in which 50+ athletes who have qualified at regional level compete for national honors. As well as competing on the track in the 100, 200 and 400 yard sprints, Anne has also gone toe to toe with the best seniors in the country in such power events as the hammer throw, discus, javelin and long jump.

Anne is now 95 years old and still going strong. In fact, she’s in better shape than most people half her age. She is still competing at the National Senior Games, being just one of eight super agers to have competed in every game since their inception in 1987. Anne is a sterling example that over 80 doesn’t have to mean over the hill!