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David Sinclair: The Science Behind Why We Age

Updated: Feb 15

Podcast Release Date: 01/05/2022 Podcast Length: 01:02:18

3 Key Takeaways

  1. Daily exposure to low level physical stress such as ice bath, fasting and exercise can drastically reduce aging

  2. Healthy blood sugar levels are crucial to reduce the acceleration of aging

  3. It is believed that the combination of DHEA, Metformin and Growth hormone may reduce the biological aging process

In this episode, Dr. David Sinclair and co-host Matthew LaPlante discuss the reasons behind aging. They delve into organisms with exceptional longevity, the genes that regulate aging, such as mTOR, AMPK, and the role of Sirtuin proteins as epigenetic regulators of aging. They touch on the process of "ex-differentiation" where cells lose their identity, and how all these factors contribute to aging. Additionally, they distinguish between "biological age" and "chronological age," and explain how biological age can be determined through DNA methylation clocks.

Aging is a Controllable Process that can be Slowed & Reversed

  1. David's newest research has shown that it's possible for scientists to manipulate aging by speeding it up or slowing down

  2. They have successfully reversed the biological age of lab animals

  3. Animals and humans age at different rates

  4. The cause of aging is the same for all living things

  5. Some species live much longer than others

  6. A good example is the naked mole rat

  7. These rodents can live 30 years when most others live only a few

  8. It is believed that animals without predators tend to live longer

  9. These animals can put energy into longevity rather than being fast to escape predators

Organisms with Extreme Longevity

  1. David and Matt talk about the Bristlecone pine

  2. This species of tree lives for thousands of years

  3. Scientists believe that adversity like cold weather and rugged environment make them live longer

  4. This is because of hormesis

  5. Hormesis is a biological phenomenon in which exposure to low levels of stressors such as toxins, radiation, or heat can result in increased tolerance or resistance to similar stressors in the future

  6. Humans can increase longevity by introducing hormesis is the form of ice bath, sauna and exercise

Genes that Regulate Aging: mTOR, AMPK, Sirtuins & Rapamycin

  1. There are certain genes in our bodies, like mTOR and AMPK, which control how long we live

  2. Eating food with lots of protein can make the level of one gene (mTOR) rise too high

  3. High levels of mTOR increase the speed of aging

  4. People who eat high protein diets should consider taking rapamycin

  5. This molecule can turn down the levels of mTOR so that genes work more efficiently

  6. Scientists have tested rapamycin on mice and worms

  7. Results showed statistically significant increases in lifespan

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) & Metformin

  1. David discusses AMPK

  2. A protein in our bodies that helps provide more energy to cells

  3. Higher levels of this protein are associated with longer lifespans

  4. Metformin is a diabetic drug that regulates glucose levels in the blood

  5. The use of this drug has been shown to increase AMPK and longevity

  6. Scientists have studied this drug for many years and found out if you take Metformin as medicine, you might live longer

  7. People with type II diabetes may actually live longer than people with normal blood sugar levels

Sirtuin Proteins as Epigenetic Regulators of Aging

  1. Sirtuins proteins are activated by controlled physical stress

  2. These proteins make human cells more resistant to stressors and toxins

  3. Sirtuins also bundle DNA together, reducing inflammation throughout our body’s cells

  4. Additionally, they can help with improving metabolism and energy levels

  5. Cells are tiny bags of fluids that contain proteins and DNA

  6. DNA is the coding for each cell that tells it what to do

  7. To fit all this information into such a small space, the cells wrap up their DNA with special proteins called histones

  8. Histones are stored neatly together as chromosomes

  9. Epigenetics are genes that can be altered by lifestyle

  10. Healthy lifestyle results in the activation of good gene expression


  1. Aging is a process in which our cells become less specialized and start to act like different kinds of cell

  2. This process is known as ex-differentiation

  3. This drastically decreases the efficiency of the cells

  4. Resulting in diseases such as Alzheimer's and type two diabetes

  5. In these cases the old cells are not able to do their job properly because they have lost the correct coding

  6. The same thing happens with frailty (weakness)

  7. Muscle wasting and bone loss

  8. All caused by age related cellular confusion

  9. Scientists now know how to slow down the aging process

  10. This process is known as "age reversal"

Blood Sugar and Aging

  1. Research shows that healthy blood glucose levels are correlated with reduced aging

  2. As we age the body becomes less efficient and transporting sugar from blood into muscle tissues

  3. Medical providers use hemoglobin a1C test to monitor blood glucose

  4. This test monitors how much sugar is attached to hemoglobin (protein that carries oxygen)

  5. This test offers a blood sugar average for 2-3 months

  6. a1C levels:

  7. Over 5.7% - pre-diabetic

  8. 6.5% or higher- diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

Measuring Aging - Biological Age vs. Chronological Age

  1. Scientists have found a way to measure the age of cells in our body

  2. The chemical used to do this is called DNA methylation

  3. Measured by using machines that read genetic information from tiny samples, like cheek swabs

  4. This number isn't based on age related to years living

  5. Instead it tells us how old our bodies are based on gene expression and cellular efficiency

  6. These tests are now affordable for the general public

Age Reversal

  1. The combination of DHEA, Metformin, and growth hormone has been shown to reduce the aging process significantly

  2. Leading researchers believe that with advancements in aging research/ treatment people may be able to live for a very long time, maybe even hundreds of years

  3. The leading cause of how fast we age is not determined by genetics but by lifestyle choices

  4. What you eat, if you exercise etc

  5. Lifestyle habits dictate 80% of age acceleration


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