The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1198: How You Can Age Better

A leading aging researcher describes how you can age better. Get out of breath sometimes, eat stressed plants and spend time with friends and pets.
Dr. David A. Sinclair, author of Lifespan
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How You Can Age Better

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Whoever said growing old isn’t for sissies really got it right. But not everyone has the same experience with aging. Why do some people do well up to and into their 90s, while others are over the hill in their 70s? Genetics certainly plays a role, but it is not the whole story by any means. How can you age better?

Starting to Age Better Before You Get Old:

If you wait until you already feel old, whether you are 60, 70 or 80, you will have more difficulty achieving a healthy old age. Instead, starting in your 30s and 40s gives you a better chance for success. But even adopting strategies to age better when you already have decades of life experience can give the rest of your life more zest.

Research has shown the epigenetic changes related to smoking, diet, exercise and other factors can have a profound influence on how we age. Scientists know what to do to make old mice behave like younger mice. Will these techniques work for people as well? What is the significance of Yamanaka genes and how can we reset them?

The Mystery of Rapamycin:

Years ago, scientists discovered a compound made by a soil microbe on Easter Island. This agent (named rapamycin for the Polynesian name of Easter Island, Rapanui) has become an important drug for preventing the rejection of organ transplants. But it has also played an important role in aging research, clarifying why we age and how we can age better. Rapamycin has a lot of side effects and isn’t suitable for widespread use to slow the progression of aging. But there are other medicines, such as metformin and aspirin, as well as supplements such as resveratrol, that may act on some of the same targets. Learn about Dr. Sinclair’s recommendation for six simple things you can do to age better.

Because we couldn’t fit all of our interview with Dr. Sinclair into the on-air broadcast, we have created an extended interview for you. In this podcast, Dr. Sinclair discusses the supplements he and his father take and describes how they could be helpful. You’ll want to be sure to listen!

This Week’s Guest:

David Sinclair, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School & Co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging. Dr. Sinclair is a co-founder of several biotechnology companies (Sirtris, Ovascience, Genocea, Cohbar, MetroBiotech, ArcBio, Life Biosciences, Liberty Biosecurity) and is on the boards of several others. He is also co-founder and co-chief editor of the journal Aging.

His work is featured in five books, two documentary movies, 60 Minutes, Morgan Freeman’s “Through the Wormhole” and other media. He is an inventor on 35 patents and has received more than 25 awards and honors. Dr. Sinclair’s latest book is Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To

His website is https://genetics.med.harvard.edu/sinclair/people/sinclair.php

The photo of Dr. Sinclair is by Brigitte Lacombe.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Download the extended podcast

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Why does it say “stressed plants”? Do dry grapes or raisin stress plants?

Could you please list Dr. Sinclair’s 6 points for good aging. I was just waking up and not near pen & paper to write them down as he spoke. Thank you,

It would be great to have a list of the “stressed plants” or at least more information on what those are.

“Eat stressed plants”?? What should that really say?

Listen to the podcast. (It’s extra long, to include everything he told us.) Plants that grow under difficult conditions (for example, some organic fruits and vegetables, others that may not get enough water or may have encountered insect predation) produce compounds to protect themselves. Those same compounds are also good for us.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^