Youth, we all want to enjoy an extended life, and we work to find ways to perpetuate our lifespan. In the 16th century, a Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon, explored the southern U.S. looking for the fountain of youth and ended his quest in St Augustine, Florida. His quest was to drink and bathe in the ‘fountain,’ as it was believed that the waters would reverse the aging cycle and allow a man to live forever.
To many, it sounded like science fiction, as life was believed to finite experience, but not anymore. A Harvard University geneticist, Dr. David Sinclair PhD, has cracked the code of aging Working at Harvard Medical, Dr Sinclair has discovered, through multiple studies, that the aging cycle can be manipulated and reversed when certain factors are present in the equation. One of the many discoveries that he brought to academia surrounds fasting and reversing the effects of aging in humans. His experiments with yeast were the first to determine that a “cause of aging for yeast as well as the role of Sir2 in epigenetic changes driven by genome instability,” according to his biography at the Blavatnik Institute of Genetics at the Harvard Medical School.
In his book Lifespan, Dr. Sinclair explains that his clinics research focused primarily on sirtuins, which is a protein modifying enzyme which is responsive to changing levels of NAD during fasted calorie restriction.
Dr. Sinclair is also studying chromatin, how energy is metabolized in the mitochondria, memory and learning neurodegeneration, cancer causes.
Dr. Sinclair’s Harvard Medical was credited with identifying NAD bio-synthesis in regulating lifespan, which was the first to show the involvement of sirtuins in calorie restrictions of mammals. His book states that a small molecule, resveratrol, was identified to activate on SIRT1. This improved the cells metabolic function by using combinations of enzymological, genetic, pharmacological and biophysical approaches.
They showed recently that synthetic and natural activators “ require SIRT-1 to mediate the in vivo effects in muscle and identified a structured activation domain.
The study concluded that the “ miscommunication between the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes is a cause of the age related physiological decline and the relocation of chromatin factors in response to DNA breaks may be a cause of aging”
Dr. Sinclair is a renowned scientist and best-selling author and advises the world that we can’t live forever, but we can live longer if we take the right steps to extend our health.
The most important discovery that Sinclair has made is the presence of Resveratrol in plants that acts as protective shield injuries and pathogens. Resveratrol is an oxidant and is found in foods like grapes, blueberries, and cocoa, and when consumed, it can counteract the aging cycle. In his seminal work, Lifespan: Why We Age- and Why We Don’t Have To, Dr. Sinclair addresses a concept called health span. In a nutshell, it means that if you aren’t sick, don’t have chronic conditions or diseases; you won’t experience mortality early. In essence, if you can prolong your health span, you increase your life expectancy.
Dr. Sinclair bases his conclusion on many factors but says fasting is good for the body and is a crucial driver of human longevity. He has said on many occasions that the science behind this conclusion is now solid. For over 20 years, scientists have debunked the myth that humans need three meals a day and snacks to achieve optimal health.
Dr. Sinclair doesn’t advocate starvation; he says that you don’t need to be hypoglycemic and have low blood sugar because that makes us weak and dizzy. But reduced caloric intake is good for the body. Fasting activates the body’s survival instinct, and that is a good thing when it comes to anti-aging. According to Dr. Sinclair, it starts with the survival circuit, and it has been part of the human body for time eternal. The proven theory goes like this (and it’s in all life on the planet), when a threat occurs in the living organism, the survival circuit will be activated, and it helps us live longer and healthier when faced with danger.
The way it works is simple. When you work out and are short of breath during your workout, it is good. Suppose you wake up hungry and skip breakfast and eat a late lunch that is good also. A chemical in your body, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), will flood your body and the sirtuins (a protective enzyme), the critical ingredient in the survival circuit will activate.
Sinclair says that exercise is a good thing as it activates the survival cells, and movement is the reason. Exercise puts the body under pressure, and like fasting, it causes our involuntary physiology to work to protect the host.
Dr. Sinclair is an advocate of supplements to help generate the chemicals the body needs to extend life. He says that Resveratrol the NAD activator, and metformin is essential to consume for the extension of life.
Metformin is a big help for middle-aged people and older people to stave off the effects of aging. Also, it works to counteract the effects of Type-2 diabetes. It will lower rates of heart disease, cancer, frailty, and the onset of Alzheimer’s for people who take metformin.
Certainly, exercise will stimulate the sirtuins in our body Dr. Sinclair has said many times, but fasting is an essential component of the anti-aging cycle. Dr. Sinclair has determined in the lab that the aging cycle can be slowed and reversed. His experiments have not just stopped the aging clock; the experiments have turned back the hands of time, which is monumental. A classic example of this is an 80-year old who doesn’t look their age. They are mistaken for a much younger person because they have been using fasting and exercise to force their bodies to prevent the aging cycle from creating disease and health problems that reduce our lifespans. Our molecular clocks drive our aging cycle, and when we stop that time from moving forward or slow it to a crawl, we live a lot longer than someone who hasn’t engaged in exercise and fasting to create a perfect storm of anti-aging.
Dr. Sinclair said that studies in mice accentuate the point. The studies were able to extend the life of mice by 50 percent, and it only in the last ten years that the discoveries have been made.
Initially, Dr. Sinclair was branded a maverick, and a crackpot advocating that life expectancy can be extended through fasting and exercise. Dr. Sinclair says in the book that reprogramming our molecular cells will stimulate the long-lasting effects of anti-aging.
In the book, Dr. Sinclair said that scientists have been unable to decide how many times the molecular clock can be reset. Still, he sees the potential to eradicate some diseases in our lifetime. He posed if we’re able to turn back the molecular clock through fasting and exercise, we may be able to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. As humans age slower, it is forestalling the onset of illness and chronic inflammation. Sinclair does make clear, though, that humans will not live into perpetuity even if there is a reset of the clock.
In a study conducted by Dr. Sinclair in his lab at Harvard, he was able to reverse vascular aging in mice. The backstop of the book he wrote on anti-aging that tells us that fasting is the driver to helping prolong life. The molecules, NAD, and sirtuin manufactured during times of stress like exercise and fasting have caused stamina to be boosted, and endurance in the mice test subjects. The blood vessels are forced to grow, and that reverses the aging cycle for the vascular system. The experiments are the staging ground for the human condition, and the experiments will lead to addressing the root causes of diseases in humans that come from aging. Dr. Sinclair was quick to tell us that the biological differences between humans and mice are vast, and not all results in the lab can be replicated for humans.
When we age, our smallest blood cells will die, which reduces blood flow in our bodies. With reduced blood flow come vascular disease and a host of other problems attributed to old age. Reduced oxygen levels through the loss of blood flow allow toxins to build up in the body, and deterioration of the body occurs. This problem affects the endothelial cells; they line the blood vessels in our bodies and are critical to the body’s supply chain. The endothelial cells cause the growth of the blood cells that help transport oxygen and nutrients to our organs and tissues.
Aging and deterioration of muscles and blood vessels reduce life expectancy, and the endothelial cells lose a vital protein – sirtuin – and it is affected by the loss of NAD. NAD is our body’s protein regulator, and it is the repair kit for our DNA.
When mice were subjected to an exercise-based program, the signs of aging were slowed and eventually reversed. When the exercise wasn’t present in the test subjects, proteins were reduced, and the process for regeneration of blood vessels wasn’t activated.
When NAD and sirtuins were created with exercise and fasting, the body demonstrated an innate ability to fight off the aging process.
The mitochondrial networks that exist inside our cells are where the reactions take place. Through dietary restrictions and exercise, the mitochondria can increase your lifespan and improve your current health. The mitochondria are the energy factory for our body and can shapeshift according to the body’s energy demands. As we age, the dynamic of the function of the reaction slows, and it impacts our metabolism. Through exercise and fasting, the chemical reactions created work in unison to keep threats at bay and supply the organs – through the bloodstream – with the chemicals the body needs to fight off threats.
Through a series of studies, fasting or dietary restrictions manipulated through an energy identifying protein –kinase – helped the mitochondrial networks maintain youthfulness.
The process was termed healthy aging, and understanding the process is critical to advancing the application to humans to slow aging. Dr. Sinclair and other scientists have understood that fasting slows the aging process, but they don’t have a handle as to why it occurs in the body chemistry.
To begin to understand the process and how it reflects in obesity will be the next step to a longer life. Obesity can be linked to defective mitochondrial flexibility and the increase in age-related diseases and chronic conditions from obesity.
The scientific community only just understands the biological manifestations of the human body. Still, Sinclair and other researchers have learned that exercise and fasting are essential components to slowing the aging process internally.
John Cardillo is a Canadian body building champion, renownerd fitness entrepreneur and the pioneer of the HIT3 exercise program. John Cardillo is Canada’s premier health and fitness expert!
Erik Jackson has been a senior editor at Health News Tribune for three years. Fluent in French and proficient in Spanish and Arabic, he focuses on diseases and conditions and the newest trends in medicine.