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Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don't Have To

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It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that aging is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about aging is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan? In this groundbreaking book, Dr. David Sinclair, leading world authority on genetics and longevity, reveals a bold new theory for why we age. As he writes: “Aging is a disease, and that disease is It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that aging is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about aging is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan? In this groundbreaking book, Dr. David Sinclair, leading world authority on genetics and longevity, reveals a bold new theory for why we age. As he writes: “Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable.” This book takes us to the frontlines of research many from Dr. David Sinclair’s own lab at Harvard—that demonstrate how we can slow down, or even reverse, aging. The key is activating newly discovered vitality genes, the descendants of an ancient genetic survival circuit that is both the cause of aging and the key to reversing it.


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It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that aging is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about aging is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan? In this groundbreaking book, Dr. David Sinclair, leading world authority on genetics and longevity, reveals a bold new theory for why we age. As he writes: “Aging is a disease, and that disease is It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that aging is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about aging is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan? In this groundbreaking book, Dr. David Sinclair, leading world authority on genetics and longevity, reveals a bold new theory for why we age. As he writes: “Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable.” This book takes us to the frontlines of research many from Dr. David Sinclair’s own lab at Harvard—that demonstrate how we can slow down, or even reverse, aging. The key is activating newly discovered vitality genes, the descendants of an ancient genetic survival circuit that is both the cause of aging and the key to reversing it.

30 review for Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don't Have To

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    If I am being honest, I expected more from a 400+ page book written by one of the leaders in longevity. It is well written and the illustrations are lovely, but the information on extending healthspan could be summarized in a paragraph (which it is). I was also disappointed in how shallow some of the explanations were for why the healthspan extending mechanisms occur in humans. If the subject promised by the title is scarce, then what is taking up the bulk of these 400+ pages? Anecdotes, personal If I am being honest, I expected more from a 400+ page book written by one of the leaders in longevity. It is well written and the illustrations are lovely, but the information on extending healthspan could be summarized in a paragraph (which it is). I was also disappointed in how shallow some of the explanations were for why the healthspan extending mechanisms occur in humans. If the subject promised by the title is scarce, then what is taking up the bulk of these 400+ pages? Anecdotes, personal background, topics related to government budgeting, why healthspan research is important, and other things I did not buy this book for. For those of you who wanted something deeper, check out the Landmark Cell Reviews collections on Aging and Metabolism (These research papers are all open archive and not blocked by journal fees): https://www.cell.com/cell/collections... https://www.cell.com/cell/collections...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Always Pouting

    Oh boy, I just finished this and I'm incredibly annoyed. I want to start off by saying that I didn't pay for this and I'm glad I didn't. I had credits on Amazon to get a kindle book so this was one of the ones I bought because I had heard Sinclair on Peter Attia's podcast and I had thought that this book would be more research and science heavy. The last almost hundred pages of this book of 300-ish pages is what put me in such a bad mood. Personally I have zero patience for self styled thought Oh boy, I just finished this and I'm incredibly annoyed. I want to start off by saying that I didn't pay for this and I'm glad I didn't. I had credits on Amazon to get a kindle book so this was one of the ones I bought because I had heard Sinclair on Peter Attia's podcast and I had thought that this book would be more research and science heavy. The last almost hundred pages of this book of 300-ish pages is what put me in such a bad mood. Personally I have zero patience for self styled thought leaders of any kind and people who want to spend all my time telling me about some inevitable future. The last third of this book is about the future and supposedly is grappling with the ethics of extending human life, which it doesnt do convincingly. There was no mention of research really and Sinclair uses random studies to try to justify his idea that living forever will actually be good for us. What was the point of using that study on people who stopped to help other people to try and say that people living longer might feel less rushed and imply it would make us kinder and then to proceed to acknowledge what an idiotic thing that was to say because of the leap being made. Like just leave it out man. Also I don't care about his politics, even if a lot of it aligns with my own, like why are you telling me this. It just felt annoying and self important for him to tell me these things I dont care about. I dont want to know about Sinclair's hopes and dreams and positions on high profile issues. The best part of this book was just the middle part where he actually discussed the research and science and interesting ideas of what may be happening. I wish it had been more of that and less of this exposition of himself and his life. Also this is going to be hypocritical but it was so annoying how it didn't have as much of a cohesive structure or flow through out the book and how he jumped from thing to thing without building on it and going into depth and detail about it. I know my reviews are chaotic but I'm not charging money or styling myself as some expert in something and branding myself as giving you the secrets understanding that thing. I feel like the whole purpose of this book is for Sinclair to expand on his on feelings and issues and experiences of the issue of aging. It serves the purpose of persuasion to push for viewing aging in the framework he thinks it should be viewed in and to thus allow for more attention/funding towards the issue. None of that is wrong per se but it could have been done much better and concisely if he didn't jump around trying to predict the future and cover technologies that he's clearly not working on first hand and thus creating weaker sections in the book. I probably would've given it a higher rating regardless of my own expectations for a book heavier on the science side and work being done in his lab if it hadn't felt so grating to have it jump around so much, have him pushing himself as some predictor of the future, and having him only superficially address concerns with what he wants to do. I also would probably have given this a better rating if it weren't filled with so many anecdotes and name dropping so many people who I also don't care about. I think its great that people are accomplished and they're very impressive people and etc etc but just giving me names and one sentence descriptions of what people are working on is useless for my own purposes. Anyway this is 2.5 stars from me, this might be a good read for someone else but as someone with more of a science background who wants to read science books on research that are rigorous and more heavily focused on the research and actually goes over things like limitations of said research in a more thorough fashion this didn't appeal to me at all. I don't enjoy anything about people's predicting the future either, regardless of how much merit those predictions have and how often that person is right, because the future isn't set and is shaped by decisions we make today and I'd much rather here how people themselves are working to shape it and why they think we should work to shape it that way. Just people espousing what is and isn't possible isn't really appealing to me because I already am open to trying things out and I would much rather they saving their persuasion for others. Also I wanted Sinclair to talk about the science, if I wanted to political theory I would go to other sources, nothing is worse than high profile people, especially thought leaders, worrying about things like the far right and left and polarization. Like everyone's entitled to their opinions on it but write a separate book or something. You don't see me begrudging Pinker for being annoying because i simply choose not to pick up his book because I know it'll annoy me with its framing. I know I should just stop but also this isn't the reason I rated it 2.5 stars because halfway through when he was talking about research I was probably at 3.5-4 stars rating wise but man as someone with a fundamentally surly temperament there's nothing more annoying than people who insist we need to be optimistic. Like yeah things are getting better but who cares, how is it useful to focus on that instead of problems and addressing them. Like maybe I just dont care enough about feeling good about things and so this just wouldn't appeal to me anyway. Also Sinclair said he isn't afraid to die at the end of the book but insists through out the book that death is painful and horrible. Sinclair needs to read about Montaigne's experience with death and how it changed his fears of death by showing him actually its not bad sometimes. I also have almost died and can also attest that when it's happening it isn't painful at all, it just happens and in fact at points you can feel euphoria even. I'm going to leave it at that because my own feelings of death weren't really relevant to how I felt about the book in general Anyways TL;DR: this was 2.5 stars because I was expecting a book that was heavier on covering the science in this area and because the last 100 pages pissed me off. Others may enjoy it if they go in knowing what to expect and have less curmudgeonly personalities.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Being part of the health enhancement community for my entire career I was familiar with the topics and theories on aging as presented by Havard Med School staffer Dr. David Sinclair. Many of Dr. Sinclair's recommendations such as calorie restriction (CR), exercise, sleep and moderate to low protein intake are well vetted. Other suggestions including the intake of NAD, Metformin, and Rapamycin MAY have anti-aging effects but are less well known and have potential downsides. Since living long Being part of the health enhancement community for my entire career I was familiar with the topics and theories on aging as presented by Havard Med School staffer Dr. David Sinclair. Many of Dr. Sinclair's recommendations such as calorie restriction (CR), exercise, sleep and moderate to low protein intake are well vetted. Other suggestions including the intake of NAD, Metformin, and Rapamycin MAY have anti-aging effects but are less well known and have potential downsides. Since living long sounds dreadful with a broken body and mind I tend to focus more on healthspan. My personal recommendations did not change as a result of reading this book. -Sleep 7-9 hours each night. Find your sweet spot. -Strength Train 2-3 times per week -Do 3 conditioning sessions per week mixing sessions that are long and easy to short and challenging. Murdering yourself with three ten minute WODS leaves a lot to be desired. -Eat when the sun comes up and stop when the sunsets. Time-Restricted Eating (TRE) On occasion skip a meal. -Don't get fat. Limit your sugar and alcohol. -Read, play word games, Lumosity and meditate -Find someone to love -Get a dog, walk them, pet them. Never forget, Your DNA loads the gun, but your lifestyle pulls the trigger.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mario Tomic

    Coming from a perspective of someone who studies evidence-based nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle factors for over a decade now, this book is a must-read. Solving aging is one of the final frontiers for humankind, and the information David has provided here is a big step in the right direction. It has the power to bring more awareness to solving aging as well as shift strong limiting beliefs that have been deeply rooted in public as well as the scientific community. We've come very far in Coming from a perspective of someone who studies evidence-based nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyle factors for over a decade now, this book is a must-read. Solving aging is one of the final frontiers for humankind, and the information David has provided here is a big step in the right direction. It has the power to bring more awareness to solving aging as well as shift strong limiting beliefs that have been deeply rooted in public as well as the scientific community. We've come very far in research, but sadly the mainstream still hasn't caught up as many of the theories often mentioned have already been invalidated. Big thanks to David and his team for putting together all the most up-to-date longevity research in one place. Having read this book I'm even more excited about future research and grateful to be alive in this time where such research is taken seriously.

  5. 4 out of 5

    G

    The book consists of 1) a history of aging and longevity related science, 2) a a handwavey survey of some interesting metabolic pathways and genetic/epigenetic programming techniques that Prof. Sinclair and friends have pursued, 3.) philosophical, aesthetic, and moral arguments on why pursuing lifespan extension is good. It's well-written and I enjoyed Prof. Sinclair's distinctive writing style and purview. I learned a bit on what papers and authors I should read more deeply for Parts (1) and The book consists of 1) a history of aging and longevity related science, 2) a a handwavey survey of some interesting metabolic pathways and genetic/epigenetic programming techniques that Prof. Sinclair and friends have pursued, 3.) philosophical, aesthetic, and moral arguments on why pursuing lifespan extension is good. It's well-written and I enjoyed Prof. Sinclair's distinctive writing style and purview. I learned a bit on what papers and authors I should read more deeply for Parts (1) and (2), but I was disappointed in the overall depth and lack of systematic, holistic discussion of how the individual research streams came together. I thought (3) was finely articulated, but no conceptual new grounds were covered. The main thesis that Sinclair builds up is his "Information Theory of Aging." He's inspired by Claude Shannon's seminal work and the TCP/IP protocol, but the analogy is not very well-fleshed out and feels like a forced analogy. Essentially, Prof. Sinclair believes that epigenetic 'debris' accrues on DNA and aging cells lose differentiation. Sinclair believes this can be reversed because each cell has a stored copy of 'youthful' epigenetic state that can re-programmed towards. It's an intriguing idea but he unfortunately doesn't provide much evidence or even a mechanism of how this actually works in practice. Recommended for novice longevity enthusiasts, but there's not much new insight for the serious reader unfortunately.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    I read this for work and while the science/DNA-level detail in the front part is pretty dense, the book really opens up when he writes about the possibility for treating aging as a disease and all the things that currently kill us (heart disease, cancers) as its symptoms. And then the social impacts of society living much, much longer than we currently do. I am now operating as if I will live to 100, and we're talking GOOD years, not wasting away. So this book has really changed the way I think I read this for work and while the science/DNA-level detail in the front part is pretty dense, the book really opens up when he writes about the possibility for treating aging as a disease and all the things that currently kill us (heart disease, cancers) as its symptoms. And then the social impacts of society living much, much longer than we currently do. I am now operating as if I will live to 100, and we're talking GOOD years, not wasting away. So this book has really changed the way I think about aging, which I used to just accept as something inevitable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Flaviu Vescan

    I have a feeling this will be a long review, so if you're just looking for some cliff-notes then mine are: "This book has the potential to change the way you live your life. You might not enjoy reading it (*1), but the topic it addresses will definitely affect you personally. Whether it's right after reading it (*2), or at a societal level in the years to come, that's up to you." Now for the long version... My previous knowledge of David Sinclair was from his visits to JRE podcast, where I found I have a feeling this will be a long review, so if you're just looking for some cliff-notes then mine are: "This book has the potential to change the way you live your life. You might not enjoy reading it (*1), but the topic it addresses will definitely affect you personally. Whether it's right after reading it (*2), or at a societal level in the years to come, that's up to you." Now for the long version... My previous knowledge of David Sinclair was from his visits to JRE podcast, where I found him to be an insightful and smart fella' (*3). This also comes across throughout the book, which was nice to see. I'm not denying that I went into this with a bias towards liking it, but like everything I read, I try to correct for it. The way I see it, books can serve many purposes. Whether it's as simple as keeping you from having your own thoughts for a few dead minutes (*4), entertaining you with a well-written prose, engaging you in an action-twisted plot or changing your entire world-view by completely removing a deep-rooted assumption you've previously held since you were 4 years old, I'll have to say this book very much does the latter. I'm not a slob to begin with. Ever since high-school my views were that your body should not be mistreated. That is if you plan on it being there for you in the long run. You either routinely take care of it as a force of habit, or you eventually try to patch it up in a very painful, costly and potentially mentally debilitating way at some point in the future (which personally, I see the loss of mental faculties as the highest price you can pay for neglect). This lead me to always try my best at being up to date on the latest medical discoveries and trying to fine tune my mental model of how my body works in hopes of better maintaining it. That being said, I always started off by assuming that I have somewhere around 40-ish healthy adult years ahead of me (if I'm lucky), and that I should try and work around that when it came to setting goals and thinking what long-term choices are best for me to take. This book challenges that assumption to it's core. What if my previous goal of having a decently healthy standard lifespan are me setting a low bar? Of course, I'll be lucky to have that in any case, but what if I could set the bar at actually increasing the limit of those 40 years instead? My previous goal of keeping a good health is already on the table and is pretty much included in the new goal, so what would it cost me to raise my health-span (*5)? This book did a decent job at answering that question for me and I found the answer shocking. I think the reason I found it shocking is because of a life-long aversion to anything that advertises *rejuvenation* or *making you young again* gained from the bombardment of marketing buzzwords and a tradition of snake-oil salesmen humanity has had for millennia. It might be a case of boy-cry-wolf at a grand scale. We've been burned by bad/fake science & marketing for many years, so now when actual hard science tells us that "hey... you know this crazy idea we've had about stopping aging, well it seems it might actually be doable."(*6), our knee-jerk reaction is to ignore it. David is not promising that, but what he does is show you just how close we might be to achieving it soon. That to me is mind-blowing out of the box. The book details how different discoveries clicked together in recent years to get us from seeing it as a crazy idea to a technology problem?! And as far as it goes, we're pretty good at solving technology issues when they get enough time and funding. There's a great deal of things you can do now that are natural and proven to at least postpone some aspects of aging, but the review is long already and I want you to do the work of reading it to actually find out. *1 - you might not enjoy the style, length, analogies, etc. *2 - by curving your calorie intake, taking better care of yourself etc. *3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOTS0... *4 - that's not something we allow anymore as a society. *5 - health-span = % of lifespan lived in good health *6 - scientific shrug ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marios

    Absolutely fascinating read about the past (what we know), present (what we are learning) and future (where we are going) of the anti-aging science research. Along with “Why we Sleep” of Matthew Walker this is another of those fundamental books one should read. Actually I can’t help but imagine future generations looking back in our times and wondering how were people going about their lives without learning about or caring to understand longevity factors such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, Absolutely fascinating read about the past (what we know), present (what we are learning) and future (where we are going) of the anti-aging science research. Along with “Why we Sleep” of Matthew Walker this is another of those fundamental books one should read. Actually I can’t help but imagine future generations looking back in our times and wondering how were people going about their lives without learning about or caring to understand longevity factors such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, mental health, preventive health checks, body monitoring etc. Returning to the book, apart from providing a general background of how our bodies work on the molecular (DNA, RNA, proteins) and cellular level, the author proposes the hypothesis that aging is a result of a loss of information. This theory suggests that over time our cells loose the ability to accurately “read” the genetic information which remains always intactly stored into our DNA (this genetic information is what tells the cell what to be and how to behave), resulting in malfunction, loss of cellular identity or death, which manifests as the symptoms and diseases we all associate with aging. If this hypothesis proves correct (and there are many experiments that support it), if we could eventually prevent, slow or even reverse this information loss, it follows that could directly target the origins and cure all symptoms and diseases of aging at once, instead of trying to find treatments for each individual disease (ie. cardiovascular, dementia etc) as scientists have been trying to do until now. It is plausible that in the future we could regenerate and reverse the age in tissue (this works already in mice), or restore our overall health and vitality to the levels of a 20 or 30 year old on demand. How could that happen? Without giving out more fascinating research and experiments referenced in the book, this is one of the best talks of the author I found online summarizing his theory: https://youtu.be/9nXop2lLDa4 Then, what could you do today to help your body slow the aging process? The author takes 1g of NMN every morning + 0,5-1 g of resveratrol powder with yoghurt to raise his NAD levels. These can be found over the counter. He also takes 1 g of metformin in the night (needs prescription). He checks his blood regularly and supplements with vitamin D, K2 and 83mg of aspirin. Eats as few carbohydrates (sugar, pasta, breads) as possible. Usually skips one meal per day or makes a meal smaller. Tries to walk, go to gym, sauna, ice cold pool and keep a low BMI. Doesn’t smoke, avoids toxins, excessive radiation and other common sense damaging factors. And what should you do? If you are under 30 or even maybe 40, I would probably avoid the supplements. There are no long term studies of the effects of the NMN and no human studies. On the other hand, in short term or animal studies no toxicity or side effects have been demonstrated and many anti-aging researchers allegedly take it. If I was older I would probably give it a shot and I actually intend to experiment with my parents with NR (similar to NMN and tested in human trials). Of course science has the annoying habit of regularly disproving theories and crashing dreams, but until that happens I look forward to a future of scientific revolutions and increased lifespan and healthspan.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    The authors have written an excellent book on a subject that affects everyone. It's not too technical and has personal stories to make you really think about treating aging as a disease. It was a very enjoyable read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I've been following David Sinclair's research into aging for many years, and this book is a great summary of his work and that of others, where the field of aging research is headed, and what we can expect. Dr. Sinclair is and has always been an optimist. I'm an optimist too, so that's fine by me. While he isn't a medical doctor and can't give medical advice, he discusses supplements he takes and lifestyle choices he makes that he feels are helping him and his own family too, including his I've been following David Sinclair's research into aging for many years, and this book is a great summary of his work and that of others, where the field of aging research is headed, and what we can expect. Dr. Sinclair is and has always been an optimist. I'm an optimist too, so that's fine by me. While he isn't a medical doctor and can't give medical advice, he discusses supplements he takes and lifestyle choices he makes that he feels are helping him and his own family too, including his 80-year-old father who has returned to work and is enjoying vibrant good health. My own disclaimer, I have been taking an NAD booster for almost five years. I do believe it makes a difference. At 56, I have far more energy than same-aged friends, and I haven't been sick since I started taking it, something Dr. Sinclair mentions too. Because I have inherited a copy of the APOE4 gene for Alzheimer's, I'm always interested in learning about anything I can do (exercise) or take (supplements) that will help prevent that gene from turning on. Toward the final quarter of the book, Dr. Sinclair turns to the ethics of slowing or even preventing aging. What would a world look like in which people might start a new career in their seventies, or enjoy spending time with their great-great-grandchildren, still vital and engaged? How would it impact global overpopulation and use of resources? These are all important questions, and he presents various scenarios in a balanced way. Overall, a fabulous read. I'm going to get the PDF as well so I can look at the charts and images references (recommended by the author as well). I do truly feel that we're on the brink of longevity escape velocity, and I couldn't be more excited!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack Kresa-Reid

    Highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand the hallmarks of ageing and how to manage them. Understandable and well-communicated science underpinning human longevity. David wrote it in a way a layman like myself could easily understand. The book lays down the existing science. Past (what we know) and moves to where we are now. Present. (what we are learning). Then moves through to where we are going (future - breakthrough science) and this is where it starts to get really existing. The Highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand the hallmarks of ageing and how to manage them. Understandable and well-communicated science underpinning human longevity. David wrote it in a way a layman like myself could easily understand. The book lays down the existing science. Past (what we know) and moves to where we are now. Present. (what we are learning). Then moves through to where we are going (future - breakthrough science) and this is where it starts to get really existing. The future looks bright.

  12. 4 out of 5

    فادي زغموت

    Almost done reading "Lifespan: Why we age and why we don't have to" by David Sinclair and I am pleased with what I read. This might contain spoilers. At first glance one would look at the book cover and say it is a tall order. Not knowing who is David Sinclair, one would assume that this best selling book is another hocus self-help or motivational book. But once you start reading, you'd get to realize that this is the real thing. David has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and is a researcher at Almost done reading "Lifespan: Why we age and why we don't have to" by David Sinclair and I am pleased with what I read. This might contain spoilers. At first glance one would look at the book cover and say it is a tall order. Not knowing who is David Sinclair, one would assume that this best selling book is another hocus self-help or motivational book. But once you start reading, you'd get to realize that this is the real thing. David has a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and is a researcher at Harvard Medical School. He has been working on genetic researches related to aging for many years and is well aware of the scientific advancements in that regards on almost all fronts. The book starts with a focus on biochemistry and an outline of recent medical achievements in prolonging the lives of other living things along with researches results on human beings. The first chapters are tough to read for non medical readers but it gets better in the following chapters when David outlines his recommendations for everyone on what to do to slow down aging and potentially halt/reverse it. He goes on later in the book into addressing some societal and philosophical concerns on the effects of longer human lifespans on the way we carry on and perceive our lives. Towards the end, he goes back to his lab at Harvard medical school, mentions many of his colleagues who are working on aging researches at different fronts. Some of whom are prominent scientists and Nobel prize winners. He lists many breakthroughs that happened in recent years and highlights the fact that all the incredible achievements he mentions in this chapter have only happened in one lab, whereas there are many of other labs, researchers and scientists working on tackling this issue all over the world. I loved that he uses the word "army" where he says that there is an army of thousands of researchers all over the world working on understanding aging and potentially expanding healthy human lifespan to levels we have never imagined before. The question today is not about "can we defeat aging?", it is more about "how we do it? " and "when will it happen?". It is like having a million pieces jigsaw puzzle with a 100K people trying to put pieces together. We will do it, and hopefully sooner than we expect. Loving it!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pap Lőrinc

    Many studies focus on the so-called blue zones, i.e. where people live longer than average. Most people associated it with their eating habits - this book attributes the lifespan (and healthspan) to what (and when) they're *NOT* eating (via negativa). This is a prime example for all the confusion we're bombarded about nutrition: every "study" has an equal, opposite "study" (mostly observational ones, obviously), and we didn't even care to look for what's missing (since it's always easier to just Many studies focus on the so-called blue zones, i.e. where people live longer than average. Most people associated it with their eating habits - this book attributes the lifespan (and healthspan) to what (and when) they're *NOT* eating (via negativa). This is a prime example for all the confusion we're bombarded about nutrition: every "study" has an equal, opposite "study" (mostly observational ones, obviously), and we didn't even care to look for what's missing (since it's always easier to just check for presence of anything). Aging is a disease - the book claims -, it's not something pre-programmed in your genes, it's something that can be induced, stabilized and sometimes even reversed. It's a loss of information in our epigenome which makes our cellular repair mechanisms perform worse over time - cells starting to lose their identity. While we're waiting for the fountain of youth to go on the market (the book claims we may already have some of these drugs OTC), there may be something we can already do today to allow autophagy to lessen cellular senescence. Unlike what pop culture dictates, it's not less stress, it's actually more and different kind of adversity (the stoics rejoice) that enables cleanup and repair: • be hungry more often - skip breakfast, fast periodically for longer periods, get lean; • avoid excessive carbs (sugar, pasta, breads) and processed oils and -foods in general; • do resistance training - lift weights, get some muscles; • experience cold, warm and other stressors regularly. Many of these claims have been based on animal studies, they had measurable effects on their health and lifespan, and there's some anecdotal evidence in humans - in a few decades we may have proper human trials and gene sequencing that will tell us specifically what makes us tick, but I for one want to start acting NOW. While reading the book I found myself wondering how an average lifespan of 120 or 150 would affect society - luckily the book also details these in dedicated chapters. Whenever we think the Earth cannot support more people we underestimate the ingenuity of people - haven't we been expanding that limit for centuries? Historically population growth has always eventually been associated with improved life conditions. Prolonged life would probably result in people caring more about the future, not less. Just like in Factfulness, the author doesn't rely on fear-mongering (a tactic I profoundly despise) as a means to achieving a better world, rather an optimistic one, gathering historical precedence for times when we collectively overcame the limitations of our surroundings - finding solutions instead of excuses.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liene

    This was an interesting book that should have been an article. It was repetitive in some places and some parts seemed completely unnecessary – do we really need a science book telling us that we could live longer by eating healthy and exercising? The most memorable part – the author is disappointed and surprised by the fact that the younger generation feels pessimistic about the future; on this he quoted his teenage son who said that allowing people to live longer would only give them more This was an interesting book that should have been an article. It was repetitive in some places and some parts seemed completely unnecessary – do we really need a science book telling us that we could live longer by eating healthy and exercising? The most memorable part – the author is disappointed and surprised by the fact that the younger generation feels pessimistic about the future; on this he quoted his teenage son who said that allowing people to live longer would only give them more opportunities to harm the planet. Strangely enough, this was followed by chapters on overpopulation and global warming. This part seemed totally opposite to the first part of the book and its message – how can you so optimistically advertise people living longer and then list all the reasons why they shouldn’t. It read like a completely different book. Perhaps his son hijacked the book and added a few chapters from his point of view?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Connors

    How would you feel about living an extra thirty years? And how about if those years were relatively disease-free and healthy ones? If everybody lived that extra thirty or more years, would that necessarily be a good thing? What would happen to families, work, and society with double the elderly population as today? These questions and more are examined in this fascinating book by Dr. David Sinclair, one of the leading experts on aging and founder of a prestigious laboratory at Harvard How would you feel about living an extra thirty years? And how about if those years were relatively disease-free and healthy ones? If everybody lived that extra thirty or more years, would that necessarily be a good thing? What would happen to families, work, and society with double the elderly population as today? These questions and more are examined in this fascinating book by Dr. David Sinclair, one of the leading experts on aging and founder of a prestigious laboratory at Harvard University. Dr. Sinclair gives a detailed description of the research that's going on today related to aging and how it affects the human body. The author spends a good amount of time advocating for a new type of healthcare, one that looks at aging as a treatable disease and not something that's inevitable. He compares our current system to a whack-a-mole game where different diseases pop up and are treated, only for new ones to keep coming. The focus on individual diseases like cancer and heart disease overlook the big picture of what's going on with the march of time. According to Dr. Sinclair, aging is really a loss of information, as our DNA gets corrupted by contaminants, diseases, and stressors. If you can find a way to repair the DNA through time, you can slow and even reverse aging. He theorizes a prehistoric survival circuit in our genes that turns this repair system on in times of stress and hardship. When the cells are healthier, the system is dormant and aging progresses. The trick, therefore is to fool the cells into thinking they need to switch into repair mode while the body is still in good shape. Some of the best ways to accomplish this anti-aging rejuvenation is through behavioral changes. Intermittent fasting is supposed to help with longevity, as are calorie restricted diets, because the body has to struggle just a bit more to operate. (This doesn't work if the body gets to the starvation point and lacks required nutrients) Exercise is also a great rejuvenator, as even brief periods of strenuous exercise wakes can wake up repair circuits. Spending time in cold environments helps as well, as long as it's not too cold to risk hypothermia or serious damage. Of course one of the biggies that I've heard from several books, that may or may not be related to the repair system, is proper diet, including mostly fruits, nuts, beans, and vegetables with little amounts of starches, sugars, or meats. This goes against the standard American diet, but I see more and more research pointing to the Mediterranean diet as the best way to head off diseases before they hit. In addition to the behavioral changes there are some pills and supplements that the author recommends. I won't mention them here (read the book if you want to know), but I'll be looking into them in the future. If the leading expert in the country is taking them, they might just work. Several chapters of the book detail current research in medicine that almost looks like science fiction. There may soon be vaccines that we can take that can remain dormant and activated when we get older to help stall the aging process. Cells that we thought could never be regrown, like spinal cord cells and optic cells are being manufactured that give new hope to the blind and paralyzed. Wearable biosensors are available today that can monitor your vitals while you exercise, sleep, or work, collecting vital information that can help you find diseases before symptoms ever show up. The most amazing process that is becoming easier and cheaper is DNA sequencing. Your entire genome in the future could become a part of your medical records, letting doctors prescribe drugs with laser like efficiency and giving diagnostic tests critical information for the best diagnoses and treatment plans. The impact on life-expectancy for all these innovations is substantial. We will live longer and have less disease, which sounds awesome. This is all apparently just ten years away or less. In the final part of the book, Dr. Sinclair looks at the possible ramifications to society if all of this comes to pass. He predicts that humans could live to 150 years of age in the not too distant future, with average life expectancy rising from around 80 now to 110 or higher. He addresses the current problems of environmental destruction and climate change that the current population of 7.5 billion creates. Some scientists believe we are already at the carrying capacity of the planet, and more people will only lead to a gradual decline in food, energy and raw materials as too many people chase too few resources. Using the city of London as an example, the author disputes those claims in an optimistic leap saying that human innovation over the next century can solve a lot of the problems that we see today, making the maximum sustainable population much higher. Not only is earth's population growing, but people in third world countries are improving their lives and expecting to consume more resources like the Americans and Europeans have been doing for so long. While I don't necessarily agree with the author's unbridled optimism about the future, he opens up a lot of fascinating questions. What happens to retirement if and when people live past 100. Our current system is already struggling under life expectancy predictions from the 20th century that proved wrong, and will become bankrupt if over half the nation wants to live in retirement. People will be healthier and more will want to work, but will we have enough jobs for them? Already there are concerns that artificial intelligence and outsourcing will strip most of the good jobs in the 21st century. Will family reunions now include great-grandparents and great-great grandbabies? People in positions of power cling to it as long as possible, and it's reasonable to predict that we would have hundred year old politicians, judges and CEO's calling the shots for decades. The problem with that is that the older you get, the less you're willing to look at the world in different ways and progress would take twice as long. The wealthiest of the wealthy could amass even more money and let it sit idly while the world gets starved of capital for new projects. How on earth would we choose where to celebrate family holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving if four sets of parents and grandparents all in good health want to host them? In a way, death is a blessing. It clears the way for new ideas and new approaches, and without it we would feel no urgency to do something with our lives. What would society look without death and disease? Healthier? More crowded? Would inequality get worse and bigotry more entrenched? The approaches mentioned by Dr. Sinclair don't conquer death- just push the inevitable off a bit. Still, most of us would love to have some extra healthy years and the train has already left the station. This book is a real thought-provoker and anyone in the medical field, business, or government needs to start thinking about these ideas. As I write this, life expectancy is actually getting shorter. Problems with drug abuse and suicide are claiming more of the young, and American food and drink over-consumption is taking years off of lives. Hopefully some of the items in this book will come to pass before I kick the bucket. But before science gives us the means to live longer lives, we have to find a better meaning of life. Why are we here and what were we each put on earth to accomplish? Thirty more years won't necessarily answer that question. And we still will all die. Whether you live 10 years or 150, make each one the best you can.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sergio Alonso De Leon

    I have been following David Sinclair for a while in interviews podcasts and so, and I had incredibly high expectations on this book. From a science point of view, there is no huge discovery, the recommendations are basically metformin, NMN and a couple of other things. The book is impregnated with Sinclairs optimism and, more precesily, life satisfaction. He is a really nice person, beyond with intellect. What he says still sounds science fiction, and probably not all what he claims will happen, I have been following David Sinclair for a while in interviews podcasts and so, and I had incredibly high expectations on this book. From a science point of view, there is no huge discovery, the recommendations are basically metformin, NMN and a couple of other things. The book is impregnated with Sinclairs optimism and, more precesily, life satisfaction. He is a really nice person, beyond with intellect. What he says still sounds science fiction, and probably not all what he claims will happen, but still he brings hope that our lives will be longer and more healthy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cain S.

    Within our lifetimes many will be able to live longer than 120 years, while enjoying at age 80-90 the health of 30-40 year olds. Gene therapies that can reverse organ damage, like macular degeneration, and get rid of senescent cells, which increase with age and cause the various illnesses of old age, are already proving to be successful in the lab. We will be able to program genes in a way that makes humans immune to most fatal diseases. A Chinese doctor has already gene edited a girl who is Within our lifetimes many will be able to live longer than 120 years, while enjoying at age 80-90 the health of 30-40 year olds. Gene therapies that can reverse organ damage, like macular degeneration, and get rid of senescent cells, which increase with age and cause the various illnesses of old age, are already proving to be successful in the lab. We will be able to program genes in a way that makes humans immune to most fatal diseases. A Chinese doctor has already gene edited a girl who is immune to AIDS. One of Sinclair's students has been able to grow nerves connecting the eyes to the brain in mice, and there is confidence among researchers that the same could be done for humans. Aging has been reversed in 12month old mice, the equivalent of 60 year old humans; treated 12month old mice (who've practically reached ripe old age) were able to run more than 3kilometers, which greatly exceeds the running capacity of even young mice over their lifetime. Similar effects can be induced in humans using similar enzymes and gene editing technologies in the near term future which Sinclair places at a maximum of 30 years from now. Also, pointers on how to live longer: Fasting so you are sort of hungry as frequently as possible, and generally consuming 25% fewer calories than currently recommended for your Body Mass Index is ideal. Exposing yourself to lower temperatures than you're most comfortable at, where your body needs to do some work to keep you warm, triggers the survival circuit and slows down cellular aging and so the process of aging itself. Regular exercise, at an intensity where you can't complete sentences and are short of breath, also slows down aging. Read this interview where Sinclair touches on most of the topics in the book: https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    This is quite good. A heck of a lot of info packed into this, which essentially covers what might become available in the next 10-40 years, and touches on on the potential impacts on society as a result of people living longer. You're not going to learn how to live longer, but you will learn some interesting stuff. Recommended for curious minds. I really appreciate the advanced copy for review!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    NK

    I love this book so much! It has a deep personal connection and justifies its facts. Definitely favourite book ever!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Steve Fox

    From the laboratories of Harvard and scientists around the world: a book that turns the concept of growing old and dying on its head. I have long held the belief that 70 good years would be more than enough for me. That many don’t make it get long and many others suffer greatly in later years. I do not want extra suffering in exchange for more years. But maybe that isn’t necessary. Maybe our health span and lifespan can be extended significantly. If not in time to benefit me, then my children and From the laboratories of Harvard and scientists around the world: a book that turns the concept of growing old and dying on its head. I have long held the belief that 70 good years would be more than enough for me. That many don’t make it get long and many others suffer greatly in later years. I do not want extra suffering in exchange for more years. But maybe that isn’t necessary. Maybe our health span and lifespan can be extended significantly. If not in time to benefit me, then my children and potential grandchildren and many generations to come. Bravo to David Sinclair and Matthew LaPlante for bringing this topic to light in a readable, understandable format. Cheers to a long, fruitful life!

  21. 5 out of 5

    beingCristina

    If you want to understand the hallmark of aging, this is the book you should be reading. Thoughtfully explained with personal stories and structured images designed to help the non-medical readers. The future of humanity seems appealing in the context of aging, I just hope though that the structure is not just design for the vital few which in this case are the rich, richer and the richest.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike Lisanke

    This book could have been excellent... I am a true fan of life extension and the author Dr. Sinclair as an obvious insight in the current state of art in the biochemistry of life extension. He gave an excellent introduction to many detailed topics in this biochemistry: sirtuins, NMN, mTOR, and DNA mods to test repair effect on ageing... mention of Metformin, Resveratrol and the search for other potential triggers of sirtuins repair... potential for a genetic reset button and adding this to our This book could have been excellent... I am a true fan of life extension and the author Dr. Sinclair as an obvious insight in the current state of art in the biochemistry of life extension. He gave an excellent introduction to many detailed topics in this biochemistry: sirtuins, NMN, mTOR, and DNA mods to test repair effect on ageing... mention of Metformin, Resveratrol and the search for other potential triggers of sirtuins repair... potential for a genetic reset button and adding this to our DNA with a one time CRISPR change (and tiny flu)... All this and many more stories of the biology of life extension. Then, starting near the middle of the book, a constant drone of libidiotic SJC PC that came to pervade the entire story, building to an almost overwhelming crescendo in part 3 of the book... where he launches into an almost inexplicable exercise in Why we shouldn't extend human longevity. OK, it's a rational part of any life extension story to answer the Malthusian, limits of growth, constraints of Earthly resources... in the end, like myself, the author Believes technology will achieve the necessary changes to sustain humanity (as I do)... but along way, preaches at US about how Australia and the EU's socialism is the answer And how humanity Will Have to Be Taught how to live within our Earthly resources.... yes, folks another affluent Communist in the making. Along with the usual references to "well-known" anthropocene extinction, man-made climate alarmism, and negativity to animal based foods was a wide-assortment of liberal+progressive agenda including identity politics. In all, this author Had an Opportunity to do some Solid informing about Longevity Research. It could have been a 300 page tome on the intricacies of these longevity mechanism of our human bodies (something he's an expert on)... instead, we were treated to half a book full of #MSM platitude from our current overlords on how will need to Sacrifice to Save our Planet... Clearly, this will become another popular possibly Best Seller for hitting all of the Politically Correct buttons all good little unthinking members of humanity have been told to believe! I hope this review at least amuses someone! I would buy and read the book Only for its good description of human longevity biochemistry.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Dewalt

    Excellent book by Sinclair. He makes this arcane topic very digestible for non-experts. He presents both the state-of-the-art of the research and general advice for anyone interested in the topic. An easy, fun read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ginger Hudock

    The title and subtitle of this book would imply that this is a "how to" book about aging and steps that can be taken to slow down the process. Instead this book goes deeply into the biological and genetic processes of aging and the research that has been done on aging. I am a nutritionist and so am somewhat familiar with human physiology. This book was too complex for me and I think would be too complex for the average lay person interested in health. There are no "how to" steps in the book The title and subtitle of this book would imply that this is a "how to" book about aging and steps that can be taken to slow down the process. Instead this book goes deeply into the biological and genetic processes of aging and the research that has been done on aging. I am a nutritionist and so am somewhat familiar with human physiology. This book was too complex for me and I think would be too complex for the average lay person interested in health. There are no "how to" steps in the book other than a small paragraph at the end in which Sinclair shares some of his personal lifestyle and nutrition strategies. The last section in the book was somewhat rambling when talking about the future in terms of technologies, how to provide food for the population, how much the population would grow with a longer lifespan, social security, taxes, hurry, government investment, the right to die, over consumption, and many other topics that are not strictly related to the theme of the book. I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Zavala

    Everyone who is alive and wants to be healthy should check this out. My medical background was helpful only because it reassured me that his ressarcir is ethically done. Other than that, the language is quite accessible to everyone.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Fred Azimi

    Profound... insightful and addictive... as a surgeon I am always looking to evidence based ideas that will shift our lives, I found these in this body of work.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Sinclair is a well respected scientist who researches aging, aging as a disease that can be “cured” and not just delayed. The premise is fascinating and I learned a lot about the field. I will say finishing this book took determination. I have no background in science so staying focused and following his argument was a challenge. The sections of the book that dealt with the ethics of extending lifespans and the impact on the planet we’re much more interesting to me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Payel Kundu

    I quite liked this book, both for its content as well as it’s format. The team writing style employed by Sinclair (scientist) and LaPlante (journalist) made the book factual and also readable. I do think it’s on the dense side for someone without a science background, but I don’t think making it less dense would do the subject justice. If you’re a little familiar with biology, I think you’d find that Sinclair’s discussion of the findings are presented in a logical and clear structure, just one I quite liked this book, both for its content as well as it’s format. The team writing style employed by Sinclair (scientist) and LaPlante (journalist) made the book factual and also readable. I do think it’s on the dense side for someone without a science background, but I don’t think making it less dense would do the subject justice. If you’re a little familiar with biology, I think you’d find that Sinclair’s discussion of the findings are presented in a logical and clear structure, just one you have to read a little carefully. If you don’t have a background in biology, I suspect you’d find at least portions of this book too dense. If it was simplified, it could serve as a self-help book, but Sinclair is emphatically not writing a self-help book, and is instead writing about the latest research (much of it his own lab’s) on the science of aging. The book was optimistic, indeed idealistic, at times, but I found Sinclair’s rosy view of the future contagious and also extremely motivating. I think probably some people will take issue with Sinclair’s steps (leaping bounds) into realms outside of his science. He writes extensively about how a healthier aged population living several decades longer than the current average lifespan will affect various aspects of society (jobs, health care, people’s mindsets, child bearing etc) and I think he does a really good job of anticipating and addressing key concerns. He kept bringing up things that were just on the tip of my tongue. As a public figure, he probably doesn’t have to anticipate the questions, he probably gets asked them every day by government officials, private industry, as well as concerned individuals. The book really motivated me to keep doing some of the lifestyle habits I currently do, as well as adopt new ones. I’ll plan to spend even more time in the sauna, try intermittent fasting, and perhaps look into NAD boosters in a decade or so once more long term studies have been conducted.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This book is eye opening. Why do we age? Not inflammation, not oxidation, not merely mitochondrial depletion, not merely telomere shortening. Those are the symptoms and not the sickness. The reason we age is loss of genetic information. Normally our genes are coiled up with histone proteins and only small parts are allowed to be exposed. This differentiate our cells into different organs, like the liver and kidney. With Aging, the DNA gets untangled and so the cells lose their distinctiveness. This book is eye opening. Why do we age? Not inflammation, not oxidation, not merely mitochondrial depletion, not merely telomere shortening. Those are the symptoms and not the sickness. The reason we age is loss of genetic information. Normally our genes are coiled up with histone proteins and only small parts are allowed to be exposed. This differentiate our cells into different organs, like the liver and kidney. With Aging, the DNA gets untangled and so the cells lose their distinctiveness. Sinclair sincerely believe that Aging can be stopped and we can be young and healthy for a very very Long time. Some evidence based approaches he proposed: 1. Exercise. Just get up and move already. 2. Calorie restriction. Works in worms and mice. 3. Metformin. However not yet approved for anti-aging as there has been no randomised controlled trials. 4. Rapamycin: works in nice but highly toxic to humans. Hmm. 5. Nicotinamide mononucleotide. Works in animals but the first safety study in humans was just published by the Japanese as of End 2019 (it seems safe). We don’t know whether it works until the randomised controlled trial. Sinclair then spent a large part of the book on pushing the agenda that researchers should spend more time researching methods to slow aging. He thinks that if we can reverse aging, all diseases will go away and we will live much longer. He also proposed many ways that society should change when we live much longer, and he suggested that physician-assisted suicide should be legalised. What he did not explain was why drugs that worked in animals did not seem to work in humans too well by being toxic. Overall a 3 because the science could have been more.

  30. 5 out of 5

    bumbu

    The book starts off by explaining a theory how DNA/cell repair mechanisms came to exist. Day by day cells run in 2 modes: either reproduce or repair. Reproduce during good times (when there're enough nutrients) and go into repair mode when times are bad. And apparently this mechanism (in more advanced form) is present in most (all?) living creatures. And this will be the basis of why putting your body through mild stress is beneficial to you. Some of these stresses are: Intermitent fasting, cold The book starts off by explaining a theory how DNA/cell repair mechanisms came to exist. Day by day cells run in 2 modes: either reproduce or repair. Reproduce during good times (when there're enough nutrients) and go into repair mode when times are bad. And apparently this mechanism (in more advanced form) is present in most (all?) living creatures. And this will be the basis of why putting your body through mild stress is beneficial to you. Some of these stresses are: Intermitent fasting, cold exposure, high intensity training, limiting animal protein intake. The book keeps reiterating how aging is not seen as a disease, but it's the primary cause for most recognized diseases. And if we'd solve aging, we'd handle most of the diseases. Or put it in simple words - imagine leaving to 80 years old, but instead of having a fragile body, feel the same way you felt when you were 20 - young, energetic, strong... You'd still die, but instead of suffering for the last 30 years of your life, you'd just do whatever you want, and then have a quick death. This is what the book is claiming - we're moving towards. The book takes it even further - people leaving into their 100s, 150s or even forever (until the bus hits you) which is a possibility in not so distant future. It tries to explain some of the existing learnings based on research, and how we can achieve that goal. This is already happening, but at a super-slow rate. And if this rate accelerates as the author predicts, then there are many things to be figured out: * will pension/age retirement even make sense if people would be healthy up until their death? * how to make sure that everyone gets access to healthy lifespans? * how do we use planet resources?

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