3 Tips for Anti-Aging: A 90-Day Program
With every birthday, many of us look in the mirror and start to see signs of early aging, whether it is a patch of graying hair, a few more crinkles around our eyes, or a feeling that we are losing energy and strength. And then there are some of us struggling with health challenges that drag on and get worse every year. Since so many people across our country are concerned about aging too quickly, I decided to put together a 90-day program that contains my 3 best tips for anti-aging.
Years ago, I was very sick, and nothing scares me more than going back to that place of un-wellness. No matter what age, I want to do everything possible, so I can feel my best. I want to live every day feeling good. In my 90s, I want to be able to do the things I love to do: bike, ski, hike, all with my kids and grandkids.
I am excited to share my 90-day anti-aging program, because I am a believer that anyone can develop new habits over a 90-day period. Please take the following blood tests before you start the program, so you can compare your results at the end.
If you want to see progression and objective results of your efforts, take the following blood tests before you start the program. Here are the tests to consider.
What’s Your Cellular Age?
It is very important to know your cellular age. The way we can identify that marker is by testing our telomeres. Telomeres are sections of DNA that serve as a protective cap at the end of our chromosomes, similar to the plastic end of a shoelace. Every time our cell undergoes DNA replication, our telomeres shorten.
Remember that telomeres protect the actual chromosome from being shortened or damaged directly. If we had no telomeres, DNA would be destroyed every time our cells divide. In addition, because telomeres exist, it prevents our chromosomes from sticking together.
As we age, the telomeres shorten by 20-200 bases (a DNA measurement)
When we are born, we have approximately, 15,000 measurable bases, but with each year of life, we have less and less. The shorter the telomere, the more we are faced with degenerative diseases. If you go below 5,000 (no matter what age), our body can’t survive. In other words, when the telomere shortens too much, the chromosome can’t replicate, and this will ultimately result in cell death (apoptosis).
We can use the telomere number to approximate our cellular age and see how fast our biological clock is ticking. It’s a simple DNA test that tracks cellular age based on telomere length. Telomere testing is offered through Teloyears, and you can access it HERE.
Other Key Aging Markers
The next blood marker we suggest is RDW that measures the size (width) of your red blood cells, and can also be a determinate for certain anemias (iron deficiency). If elevated, it can be used as an inflammatory biomarker, as well as one of the important markers to indicate cardiovascular disease and both chronic and acute kidney disease. Your RDW should be under 15.
Another important marker is GGT (a common liver marker). GGT is also found in kidney and pancreatic cells. And even though there is more GGT found in the kidneys, if you have a liver challenge of any kind, including liver cirrhosis (from alcoholism), GGT is elevated (optimal is less than 16 U/L for men and less than 9 U/L for women).
The next aging blood marker is HGB A1C, which looks at your average blood sugar levels over a 3-month period. I don’t like it over 5.4 but fewer than 5 is best.
In addition, insulin markers should be under 3. I have said numerous times; if you want to age more quickly, eat more sugar!
So before you get started with this program, get these baseline markers and retest them at the end of this 90-day program to check progress.
Anti-Aging Key #1: Strategic Diet
There are 3 important anti-aging strategies in this 90-day program, and the first one is a strategic diet. It is very important to follow this dietary roadmap if you want to initiate change and optimize cellular adaptation.
Diet: Month 1 (Ketogenic Diet)
Why is a ketogenic diet important? Cells can only use two things for energy: sugar and fat. When we go on a ketogenic diet, we are forcing the cells to use fat as its major energy source. And as fat is burned, it forms ketones that are anti-inflammatory and anti-aging to the brain.
Ketones also turn on a longevity gene called SIRT1. SIRT1 helps to repair DNA and suppresses bad gene expression. It also helps to protect telomeres. As we age, it is much more difficult for the SIRT1 gene to do it’s many jobs, and bad gene suppression can overwhelm the body. As a result, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, and other diseases associated with advanced aging are more easily expressed.
It takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks to shift into ketosis. And as you track ketone numbers, you want to be in a range between 0.5 -5.0. Within that range, you become fat adapted and decrease food cravings due to releasing enough cholecystokinin (a gut hormone that improves digestion and reduces appetite). It increases the sensation of fullness in your stomach, and helps halt cravings. Also, you eat less because hormones adapt.
Just to be clear, the ketogenic diet is not about calorie restriction. It is about eating the foods that will enable your body to become fat adapted, and metabolically flexible.
The Eskimos and many other longevity cultures went into a state of ketosis at certain times during the year. For them, it was all about food availability. If they didn’t have an abundance of fruit and vegetables during the harsh winters, the Eskimos ate meat, blubber, and dairy fats. Then, in the more abundant seasons like summer, they would eat more carbs in the form of fruits and vegetables. Their bodies were going in and out of ketosis year-round.
That is why I am a big believer in diet variation and not staying in ketosis for too long. It emulates our ancestors’ way of eating and lifestyle. This kind of diet variation resets DNA and gut bacteria, and I believe it is all a part of God’s plan. More about diet variation later.
For more info on ketosis, check out my free Keto Roadmap here.
Diet: Month 2 (Intermittent Fasting and Block Fasting)
In month 2, as we continue the ketogenic diet, we start to shorten our eating periods. Most everyone can implement intermittent fasting into month two. Intermittent fasting means eating in certain time slots. Instead of eating 5 or 6 meals a day, with multiple snacks in between (this is the fastest way to age as it continues to spike insulin), we choose to eat during a compressed time frame, such as an 8-hour, 6 hour or 4 hour eating window. Here is an example:
Let’s say that you like to eat in the morning, so you start to eat at 10 am and stop eating by 4 pm; or you can try eating from 12 to 6pm or from 2pm to 6pm.
I have done intermittent fasting for years, and my eating window is usually from 2 pm to 7pm (due to my schedule). I am not hungry and have no cravings; I can exercise boldly (mountain biking or strenuous hiking) on an empty stomach and feel extremely energetic.
No Caloric Restriction
A major caution: do NOT restrict amounts of food during this period of time. I end up eating a small meal at 2pm and then I eat for 2-3 hours at night, and I eat a lot of healthy foods, but I don’ restrict calories, rather just listen to my body.
At the end of the day, I do end up eating less, and do monitor the amounts of protein I consume. Eating too much protein can be dangerous, and advance the aging process by stimulating mTOR (an ancient molecular signaling pathway). We want to suppress mTOR to boost longevity.
How Much Protein is Best?
People always ask me how much protein to eat, and the answer is approximately half your lean body weight (up to .75 for the very active would be acceptable). For example, if your lean body weight is 140 lbs., eat about half (70-75 grams of protein) a day. On the days that you work out, you can eat more.
The benefits of intermittent fasting don’t stop there. When we are eating in shorter windows and fast at least 16-18 hours, we stimulate a process called autophagy, by which the body gets rid of the bad cells and garbage in the body. It is like a debris removal service! In essence, you are cleaning your internal house a little bit every day.
Now let’s talk about block fasting, meaning extended fasts, where I suggest doing a minimum of 4 straight days. During block fasting, the magic happens on day four. On day one, its easy; day two, people are hungry, their glucose is low and they don’t feel well; day three many folks feel worse and then on day four their glucose is normalizing and they start to feel better and energized. By day five, most have a major break through with increased energy.
Again, with every extended fast, you are killing bad cells, which means big time internal house cleaning. Based on Thomas Seyfried’s research (Cancer as a Metabolic Disease), one 7-day water fast per year reduces our cancer risk up to 95-98%.
Again, if your health is very challenged, start with intermittent fasting before you cycle into block fasting.
Note: although block fasting is extraordinarily beneficial, for those who have serious health challenges, you may need supervision.
Diet: Month 3 (Diet Variation)
As I mentioned, I am not a fan of staying in ketosis for too long. If you are too low carb for too long, your body thinks it is starving. If the body has only been using fat for energy for a long time, its very smart. All of a sudden, your body starts to conserve energy and storing its fat; even when you are eating healthy fats, you end up not burning that much fat. But, if you practice diet variation, the body starts to trust the process, and it will start to burn fat again. Note: this is why thyroid and adrenal challenged people sometimes have a problem with straight intermittent fasting. However, when you add diet variation into the picture, it is often their magical key for success.
I shift my diet intentionally. Staying on one diet is not good: we want to force adaptation. So chose another healthy diet for a periodic switch, whether it is Paleo, vegetarian, or vegan. The point is, during diet variation, you will stop the ketogenic diet for a month and incorporate more health carbs (up to 125 gms per day), as you will be introducing totally different fibers and nutrients into your microbiome. This can also have hormonal benefits, because we need glucose and insulin for certain hormone conversions.
We can also do diet variation weekly. For instance, following the ketogenic diet on month one and two, you can follow the 5-1-1 rule. Learn more about the 5-1-1 rule here.
Or, you can do Monday through Wednesday keto; Thursday will be a 24 hour water fast, Friday and Saturday keto, and Sunday carb-loading day (lots of healthy carbs). You are switching things up so your metabolism doesn’t get lazy and complacent.
You can incorporate some dark chocolate, berries, sweet potatoes, beets, plantains, cassava, and other healthy carbs. Visit our recipes section to see delicious recipes Meredith Dykstra, CHC, has created for this purpose.
Anti-Aging Key #2: Proper Exercise
Not all exercise routines are created equal. For example, think of marathon runners. They keep pounding the pavement and their telomeres are getting shorter and shorter. Also, they are creating excess free radical damage in their cells. After a while, they really show their age. But, if you look at the sprinters; they tend to age more slowly. Burst training, is definitely more hormonally balanced. View my YouTube video about burst training here.
I also suggest exercise variation: avoid doing the same exercises over and over again. There are days when I do burst training. Other days, I get on my bike or hike, and I lift weights a few times a week.
And, all of the days that I exercise, I do it on an empty stomach while intermittent fasting. When you do, there is a massive rise in growth hormone (an anti-aging hormone). For some, you can eat 30 minutes after you exercise. But for those who are more fat adapted, you can go much longer before you refuel with food.
I saw a great example of this concept when I was in Africa. The men were gone hunting by 4:30 am and they didn’t take any food. They went all day with no food, and then they came back at 3-4 pm, and the whole tribe started eating. They ate in a 3-hour window and had virtually no disease. They were fat adapted and did very well on one meal a day.
Anti-Aging Key #3: Targeted Supplements
I’ve hand-picked a few targeted anti-aging supplements, which are a perfect complement to the other strategies.
Collagen is the building block we need to repair tissues, organs and skin. Many collagens on the market are filled with toxins (lead, pesticides, etc.). Dr. Shayne Morris of Systemic Formulas created a collagen product that contains six different collagens. According to the collagen studies, you need multiple types of collagen and an active dose of 18 grams to create significant repair. Dr. Morris made sure his collagen sources were clean, chemical free, and his dose is 18 grams. This collagen product is called ECM. Make it a part of your first meal and take it along with healthy fats. You can blend it into your coffee, smoothie, or put it in water.
The second anti-aging supplement is called MoRS by Systemic Formulas. It contains Astragalus root, a tonic that has anti-aging functions. Astragalus contains an enzyme called telomerase that can help lengthen and protect telomeres1 . Also, it increases methyl groups that can protect DNA.
The third product is ROX by Systemic Formulas. It contains high-dose resveratrol: a powerful anti-aging anti-oxidant. A study2 in Science , shows that resveratrol stimulates production of SIRT1, a serum that blocks diseases by speeding up mitochondria.
THE 90-DAY PROTOCOL
- 1 scoop of EMC collagen daily
- 2 capsules of both MORS and ROX daily
This 90-day program is complete. All the bases are covered and it is the real deal. The proof is in the pudding as we live these principles out. I know that you will see a huge difference in your health as you implement these strategies. Re-test your telomeres and run your blood work again, and see how much your body thanks you. Here is to a youthful body, no matter what your biological age.