Why do we age
Why Do We Age, and How Can We Slow Down and Reverse The Aging Process?
By Elwin Robinson
What is Aging? And what Does It Mean to Feel Older?
At Feel Younger we’re obviously focused on how to rejuvenate ourselves and feel better… more Youthful, Virile and Vibrant. But, in order to do that, let’s first define what it means to “feel older” so we’re 100% clear on what it is we’re trying to overcome. After all, aging isn’t all bad, it brings experience and wisdom, but that’s obviously not what we’re trying to avoid or reverse.
You have less Energy
When you were young, your energy was probably boundless. Your parents might have tried to get you to play as much as possible to tire you out so they could get you to bed. And now? Most people by the time they're 40, or these days even 20, can’t get through the day without all kinds of stimulants to keep them going, whether it’s caffeine, nicotine, or chocolate.
No judgment: as the mitochondria in your cells work less efficiently to produce ATP (cellular energy) you may feel that you have no choice, if you want to get things done, than to use stimulants.
Is there a way to get your cells to produce even more ATP than when you were a child with boundless energy?
You get more Rigid
When you were young, you were flexible and adaptable in every sense. You leapt and bounded around with little worry of injuring yourself, because bones and joints were much more flexible. As you get older, you start to move around in a more rigid way. As you get older still, even simple movements scare you and you’re terrified of falling. Bending over is an operation that requires great care and focus.
This makes sense, because the threat of injury as you get older is very real.
Is there a way to restore your flexibility and ability to adapt so you could move freely again?
You’re have lots of nagging pains or discomfort
When you were young, your body was usually either a source of great joy, like the thrill of playing sports, or it was something you were blissfully unaware of, while your mind was immersed in other things.
But as you get older, various kinds of nagging pains and discomforts start creeping in. Sure, you can take painkillers, and you can distract yourself to some degree, but these strategies only work for so long. And eventually you can be left feeling like your body is a cage of suffering you’re trapped it, rather than the great gift it is, a way to fully engage and interact with this beautiful world...as well as, potentially, a source of ongoing pleasurable, blissful sensations…if that doesn’t sound too far fetched?
Ask yourself: is pain and discomfort inevitable as you get older? Or is there a way to actually feel good in your body, maybe even better than you’ve ever felt? Can the body really become a source of primarily pleasant feelings?
It gets harder to be clear, focused and present
When you were young, you may have lacked wisdom, experience and knowledge. But...you also probably didn’t struggle to remember something you really cared about, or something that happened recently. You probably also had no problem spending hours fully absorbed, fully focused, if it was something you cared about?
But as you get older, you struggle to focus, you struggle to remember, and you struggle to stay present...the mind seems to get caught up in endless distractions...until you forget what you were even trying to accomplish!
In the past, it was thought by scientists that this cognitive decline was inevitable, but did you know this is no longer the case.
Can you imagine keeping all the wisdom and knowledge you’ve got through decades of experience, while regaining the Clarity, Mental Sharpness and Focus that you once had?
If you did, what would you be able to accomplish?
You start fearing illness
When you were young, you may have even been ill with some kind of cold fairly frequently? And yet, you lived your life freely, taking for granted that your body would be able to handle whatever you threw at it. Your Immune System was strong, your Organs and Glands were strong, and nothing could stop you for long.
But as you get older, minor illnesses may even be less frequent, but serious illnesses, or the threat of them, can start to control your whole life. Most people over the age of 40 are on several medications, either to prevent or manage serious diseases. Many people’s lifestyle is highly restricted by these challenges.
Is this inevitable? While we have to accept the reality of our eventual mortality, do we have to just accept a gradual, many decades long deterioration into managing illness and orienting our lives around avoiding more illness. Or is there a way to make ourselves strong and resilient, so that, like many indiginous tribes still living on the planet right now, we can enjoy robust, disease free health right up until the very end of our lives?
You find it difficult to truly Rest and Relax
When you were young, when your head touched the pillow, you were probably out like a light. Even if not always (maybe sometimes you wanted to stay up as you were so excited) once you did get to sleep, you probably slept easily through the night and woke up feeling Restored and Ready to go. You probably remember times as well when you would be happy just to relax and be present, enjoying life without having to ‘do’ anything.
But as you get older, it becomes more and more difficult to just be, because your mind is constantly preoccupied with doing: with what you did, what someone else did, what you need to do, what you didn’t do, what you want to do...most people’s minds just won’t let them rest.
This is partly due to having low mitochondrial energy: when we don’t have energy, we take stimulants like caffeine to get enough energy to get things done. But caffeine works by blocking your calming neurochemical, Adenosine, which makes it more difficult to fully relax and rest, which means you are not fully restored and recharged, and the cycle repeats.
Just as most people can only get the energy they need by taking stimulants, most people require a depressant to relax, like alcohol, cannabis or various pharmaceuticals, and many people require drugs to get to sleep too.
But is all this inevitable? Can you imagine being so deeply relaxed that you are blissfully unaware of all the ‘doings’ of the world, and enjoy just ‘being’. Can you imagine how refreshed and energized you would feel if you could do this regularly?
You feel more and more weak and helpless
When you were young, you probably felt like anything was possible. Nothing seemed out of your reach. The world seemed full of potential, and one of your greatest joys was reaching new levels, overcoming obstacles that seemed impossible before.
But as you got older, your world got smaller and smaller. OK, sure, not everyone can be a President, Astronaut, Rock Star...or whatever you wanted to be as a child.
But if we think of people that are truly remarkable, whether Wim Hof, who broke 37 world records, and forced scientists to rewrite the textbooks as to what it’s possible for a human body to achieve (and endure), or whether it’s Elon Musk, starting 4 billion dollar companies, and becoming the richest man in the world while revolutionizing the Space, Banking and Car industries (with the goal of making humanity an interplanetary species)
When we think of these people, and we compare ourselves to them, we may realize how small and fearful our outlook has become, compared to when you were a child. You may not want to become the next Elon or Wim, but what boundaries would you love to break? What obstacles would it inspire you to overcome?
You lose your Joy and Enthusiasm for Life
When you ask most people if they’re more joyful now, or when they were 5 years old, they’ll say they were back when they were 5. But objectively, almost every aspect is worse as a small child: you are small, intensely vulnerable, completely under someone else's control, largely helpless, and have very little freedom to decide what you’ll do, whether it’s big life decisions or everyday ones. And yet most people were happier than.
Why is this? There’s lots of factors involved, and we believe asking yourself and resolving this question is the most important thing you can do in your life. However, think about what we’ve covered so far: if you barely have any energy, struggle to think clearly, suffering with frequent pain and discomfort, can’t relax, and have a constant fear (even if only at the back of your mind) of illness and injury...is it any surprise you’re not happy?
So while there’s all kinds of levels you can address this on, to be truly joyful and grateful, to love life and be present in every moment, we believe that if you just address everything we’ve talked about….you’ll feel way better than you ever have at any point in your life.
As Many People Get Older They Suffer From Nagging Aches, Pains and Discomfort…
This is something I’ve definitely had since my mid-30’s. Lots of different nagging aches and pains, some really quite bad.
And I know a lot of people who’ve had similar issues. Oftentimes starting even younger than I did. They have postural issues that cause pain, they can’t sit down for more than a few minutes without pain, walking causes pain, lying down is uncomfortable; the list goes on.
This means that by middle age or even earlier, many people have lost all that innate athletic ability human beings have as kids - the ability to jog, run, sprint, throw, jump, climb and so on…
And they get to a point where JUST EXISTING is painful.
This is a prime example of aging; of feeling older.
Another Example Relates to a Person’s Mental State of Mind:
As people get older, they often find it more difficult to be clear and focused and present.
A lot of the time we see being present as kind of like a spiritual quality and there's certainly some truth to this.
But being present, being able to focus, being able to think clearly, that’s also just brain activity. And a youthful, healthy brain can do all these things, regardless of whether the person considers themselves to be spiritual or not.
These mental qualities - focus, clarity, memory and so on - are examples of a well functioning brain. A brain with optimal levels of different neurotransmitters.
However, as a person ages, and their “neurotransmitter bank” depletes - and they have less dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and so forth - it becomes harder to be clear and focused in your thinking…
It becomes harder and harder to keep track of things… then it becomes easier and easier to be distracted, struggle to think clearly, have problems remembering things etc.
In My Mid to Late 20’s I Used to Work in Nursing Homes…
So I feel fortunate that I got to spend a lot of time around people who were older…
People who were deep into their 80’s, some even in their 90’s.
In many ways these people were highly successful - and I don’t mean financially. I mean because they’d beaten all the “odds” and “averages” and they’d made it this far. They’d managed to avoid dying up to that point.
And it wasn’t really a “nursing home” where I worked - it was more like a home that provided “residential care” for these people.
They still had quality of life. Most didn’t need 24 hour care - just an hour or two in the morning and evening. They were largely independent. Many were still very sociable.
Yet, despite all these positives, I also saw the negatives…
Not only did these people get more RIGID in their BODY’s, they also became more fearful, more and more resistant to change, less and less capable of adapting to new things and so on. You could say they become MENTALLY RIGID, as well as physically.
There are various reasons why this happens, and we’ll talk about some of them in depth in this article. But you don’t need to be 80 or 90 years old to struggle with this.
For most people, as they age, with each and every passing year, they become more and more resistant to change, and less and less able to adapt. And because they’re less able to adapt, life becomes more stressful. Things they’d maybe just have shrugged off as “no big deal” 5, 10 or 20 years ago, now seem like a big deal. They seem STRESSFUL.
I mean think about it…
There are some people who, even in the midst of a war zone - with bullets literally flying around and premature death a possibility on a daily basis - can remain relatively calm and centered.
But then there are people who appear to have everything going for them in their lives - living a perfect existence in most people’s eyes - and yet, because something bad might happen at some point they’re full of ANXIETY and STRESS, because that’s where they choose to put their FOCUS.
A Key Point About Getting Older…
Our ability to adapt to stress, and also to deal with past stress and the potential future stress. This is what gets worse and worse as we get older.
And when this happens - when it gets to the point where life just seems full of STRESS no matter what we do or where we turn…
We lose that joy and enthusiasm for life.
When you add it all up…
The natural athleticism that most of us were blessed with in our youth - that goes as we age…
The mental clarity, focus and memory we had in our youth - that goes as we age…
And the world starts to seem scary and stressful - and that fear and stress increase with each passing year…
Well, now it’s easy to see how that joy and enthusiasm for life ebbs away for most people as they age. And that’s pretty sad. Because, ultimately, if you’re not enjoying life, what’s the point?
I saw this firsthand in the residential home where I worked…
I saw some of the most successful elderly people - who managed to stay independent and relatively healthy-ish for longer than most - yet most of them really lacked any kind of joy and enthusiasm for life.
Of course, this isn't everyone. I realize that there are a few people that manage to maintain a great perspective as they age, and they stay happy, enthusiastic and joyful.
But these upbeat, optimistic qualities definitely decrease in abundance, generally speaking, as most people age.
Worse still, nowadays, people seem to be losing this zest for life at younger and younger ages. Many people seem to just be going through the motions, doing things because they HAVE TO do them, and never really giving themselves the time or permission to really ENJOY life.
Of course, nobody is upbeat and positive and enthusiastic all the time - and not many people are downbeat and miserable all the time either…
But it’s about percentages.
And for most people, it gets more downbeat and less joyful as they age. And there are scientific reasons for this - which we’ll cover in detail, in this article.
Why Elon Musk Isn’t Focused on Longevity of The Human Species…
A few days ago I was listening to an interview with Elon Musk - who is absolutely a genius and an extremely inspiring person to me in many ways…
But he was asked why he wasn't interested in longevity, given that his goals are so focused on the betterment of the human race in so many other ways…
And he said it is because he felt that as people get older, they become more rigid in their mindset. And therefore, if people live too long, then they would just keep bad ideas or old ideas around for too long.
This is very obviously self prescribed. He’s described himself as someone with Asperger's, or actually thinking on a very logical kind of rational level…
But it relates a little bit to the things that I mentioned earlier, right?
If you are more rigid, physically… if you're less able to move around… if you are more rigid in your mind… if you're not able to think as clearly and focus as much as you were before… if you've lost the joy and enthusiasm for life, then everything he said is true. At that point, what is the point in being around?
And this is really why, here at Feel Younger, we’re not so much focused on longevity as anti-ageing, though we certainly do hope that longevity is a welcome effect of everything that we're doing and that we're sharing…
But, as cliche as it may sound: we are focused on adding more life to your years, rather than years to a life.
We’re focused on quality of life.
Sometimes It’s Called Health-Span Rather Than Lifespan…
Health-Span is the amount of years that you have where you feel great. Where you actually enjoy life and live the way you want, as opposed to merely “getting by” and existing.
Many people just learn to live with pain as they get older, because it’s constantly there. But this takes up a lot of space in your mind and robs you of a lot of energy.
It’s a real enthusiasm zapper.
I’m not sharing this information to bash people who are older and in pain, or knock them down. Quite the opposite…
A few years ago I tried connecting with all kinds of practitioners - people who I thought might be able to help with my pain…
I remember one practitioner saying:
"I haven't been sick a day in my life, so I know what I'm talking about. You need to listen to me."
And when I heard that, I thought to myself:
"Oh, of course you don't understand what's going on for me, right? Because you've never had to deal with any of these issues that I have. And so therefore you think your simplistic things that I've already tried are the thing and you have this dogmatic approach."
I found this attitude and approach from many practitioners. It was really frustrating.
So I want to share this stuff with you not really because I've researched it (though I have), but really because I've lived it…
For nearly 2 decades - since my mid-20’s.
I hate to say, but I aged prematurely, much more so than many people, at least as measured by some metrics. And definitely measured by how I felt!
So I know what it's like to feel old before I really was old, and I know how much it sucks. In my mid-20’s I was going bald, I had no sex-drive whatsoever, I needed to take stimulants all day long just to feel any energy and so on.
Meaning: even if you're significantly older than me in terms of your chronological age, and you feel like I don't understand your unique problems, you may be right. But also, maybe I actually have been through it - or something similar - and I just might know how bad it is.
I Heard This From a Spiritual Teacher…
“A healthy person has a thousand wishes and a thousand dreams. But an unhealthy person has just one”
The unhealthy person just wants to be healthy again.
And that's really what has forced me to focus on this, to the exclusion of almost everything else for a long time. And I'm very, very grateful because I know many other people have also done the same. I'm very grateful to have found the solutions I have.
As bad as it is when you’re going through it - it is also empowering to know that there are things you can do to reverse the aging process, there are solutions that actually work! You can feel joyful and enthusiastic again!
Looking back, I wish that I could have just gone to ONE practitioner and have had them say:
"This is it, and this is what you need to do," and then I could have just done it.
I definitely tried that.
I'm not arrogant enough to feel like:
"Oh, no one can help me."
I tried loads and loads of practitioners and health practices of all kinds (including many different diets).
And some of the stuff I learned was useful.
But yeah, you have to use that Bruce Lee idea of “taking what is useful and rejecting what is useless” (and not following any one path, or one “expert” too rigidly).
I know there are plenty of people who are very wary of practitioners. They think anything non-medical is “Who Whoo” - they think any “Alternative Doctor/Practitioner” is a quack, fake or fraudster.
Other people have the exact opposite approach - they are wary of medical doctors and that system, and refuse to go near it. Even just to get tested.
I fully understand both points of view.
And I think both approaches - traditional and alternative - have their place. And modern TESTING is vital if you want to reverse the aging process and be your best self at any age.
When I was younger I was actually one of those people who was very wary of the medical system and alternative practitioners…
Men are especially guilty of this more than women. Many men have an unwillingness to go to any kind of practitioner for help.
So whether you are someone who's listening to this who has tried everyone and no one's been able to help, and that's why you are begrudgingly learning to work it out for yourself… Or, if you're someone who just doesn't trust any of these kinds of people and then wants to work it out for yourself… Either way, our intent is for this to be a very complete resource of everything that you could need in order to feel younger.
What It Really Means To Feel Young…
An abundance of energy - more than enough energy to do everything that you want to do and that you need to do, that's certainly one aspect of feeling young.
The ability to relax easily - because there are some people who are over-stimulated and they feel like they have an abundance of energy, but they just can't calm down. They can't relax. They can't sleep. They can’t rest. They can’t truly enjoy themselves.
You have to have this balance of ENERGY and RELAXATION - and be able to switch between the two easily. This is what healthy people can do. It’s what children can do (assuming bad food, devices and all the rest of it hasn’t thrown them off balance).
Flexibility is a big one - we talked about rigidity and how old people get RIGID… the opposite of this is flexibility in the body, and then in the mind as well…
A sharp mind, I would call it.
A sharp mind is aware, perceptive, able to be present, able to focus, able to think clearly.
I would say that even things like being dogmatic, being closed minded, being convinced you're right in the face of all evidence. Or even those kinds of disagreeable qualities, I would say are signs of an atrophy of the brain…
They are not just a personality quirk, although they could be, there is a genetic component. But, a lot of it is just down to a (older) brain that doesn't function well.
A (younger) brain that functions really well is open and curious, and also able to think clearly and sharply, and be able to work things out, be able to focus on complex tasks and so on.
A pain-free body is another part of feeling young.
In fact, more than just “pain free” - if you truly feel young you have a body that is actually a source of pleasurable feelings.
Again, for most people, by the time they're an adult, this is a pipe dream, right?
Your two options regarding the body are, either:
1) you're either not aware of it, thank God.
2) It's causing you pain and discomfort on a daily basis.
In reality, a big part of the joy and enthusiasm that is part of feeling young, should come from the body. It's not a purely mental or even emotional phenomenon.
Most People Lose One or The Other…
For many people, as they get older, their “health” often seems great but they have all these issues with mood, depression or anxiety, or not being able to think clearly.
Whereas, for some people it's the opposite. They can stay thinking clearly, but they struggle with their body, with digestive issues, or immune allergies or something else.
Another sign of feeling young would be strong immunity.
What does it feel like to have strong immunity?
Well, I kind of alluded to it a little bit earlier, it's that feeling of feeling invulnerable. Like nothing can stop you.
Now, I realize this is slightly controversial to say around youthfulness because I know many children appear to have less strong immunity because they often get ill a lot, especially with respiratory infections.
But the distinction here is that, assuming the child is healthy, it's something that they typically overcome fairly easily. And they're usually acute illnesses…
Meaning: it's a new pathogen that the body isn't aware of, that it hasn't had to deal with before. You get “ill” as your immune system is figuring out what to do with it. And then you're good again.
That's an acute illness. It's a temporary thing. It’s not usually a big problem.
Whereas weak immunity, although it can definitely show up as more susceptibility to acute affections, it’s usually related to chronic inflammation.
And inflammation is really a dysregulation of the immune system. And a lot of the top 10 things that kill people are related to inflammation, which we'll talk about at some point.
Another sign of feeling young is that you can sleep easily, deeply, and you wake feeling refreshed.
Those are the three aspects of sleep that I'd say are most important…
If you can get to sleep easily, but also not wake up during the night, that's great.
If you do wake up during the night, you can get back to sleep very easily.
Ultimately, however easy or difficult it is to get to sleep and however difficult it is to stay asleep, the most importantly thing is this:
You can wake up feeling genuinely refreshed and rejuvenated and ready and eager to face the day.
Another part of feeling young is being able to adapt to change…
Meaning: not being so rigid, being easily able to adapt to things.
Because the more adaptive you are...
Well, going back to Charles Darwin, there was this idea evolutionarily that survival of the fittest, right?
And that's often been described as survival of the strongest or maybe survival of the smartest. But actually the way Darwin described it, and the way that has been understood since as well in evolutionary science, is that the organism that survives is the organism that is the best adapting to change.
That ability to adapt is absolutely key to surviving and reproduction. And I would also say it’s essential to having a good quality of life as well… because life WILL throw things your way that aren’t great, that aren’t ideal - and if you can adapt in those situations, and find a way to thrive regardless of the situation, then your quality of life is likely to be so much higher than if you get thrown off every time something less than optimal happens to you.
Laughter is another sign of feeling young. It’s a sign you’re really enjoying life. Children laugh a lot.
Generally as we get older, we laugh less, and that's not good.
Another sign of feeling young is deriving joy from movement. Actually enjoying moving - as opposed to merely doing it because you have to, or because you know you should.
If you have entire days or even weeks where you’re exhausted and you just want to be on the couch - that’s not a sign of youthfulness or feeling good.
In contrast, if you have plenty of energy in reserve, and you have the energy to run around with your kind or grandkids, that’s a great sign of feeling good. Of actually being youthful.
For many people who are middle aged or older, there’s really no joy in movement at all, ever…
Even if they've had a good night's sleep, even if they haven't exhausted themselves for the day.
Exercise becomes something you just don't do, or you do it because you feel like you should, right?
A lot of the time people see that as laziness or a lack of discipline inside themselves that they don't want to move. But I say to those people:
“Do if you have the same laziness about eating? Can you not be bothered to eat?"
And they're like:
"No, of course not."
And it's like, well, moving is the same thing, right?
It's something that is completely intrinsic to us.
In fact, animals tend to get very depressed and anxious, when they're kept in little cages.
Well, iIt's not because philosophically they're aware that there's a big world out there they're not getting to explore, right?
I mean, unless animals are aware of a lot more complex things than we realize.
What it literally is is not being able to move. And yes, not being able to get sunlight and fresh air as well.
But not being able to move is, I would say, the most fundamental aspect of what is so onerous about imprisonment. Not being able to move is a terrible, terrible thing.
And yet many of us, who in theory are the FREEST people who’ve ever lived in many ways - cannot do this simple thing that we’re built to do:
That's not natural. It may be “normal” for many people as they age, but it’s not healthy or natural. And it’s certainly not youthful.
Another sign of feeling young is quick and easy recovery…
Be it from a long stressful day at work…
Or physical exertion like a hike, manual labor, or a hard workout at the gym.
We all need to rest and relax and recuperate, and recover, and recharge, and rejuvenate, right?
It's this belief that we should be productive 24 hours a day - like machines - then sleep as little as possible and all this stuff…
It fundamentally goes against nature. We all need to rest. We all need to recharge.
However, the older you get and the older you feel, the more you need to recharge, right?
And unfortunately, recharging is more difficult. It takes longer than it used to, and it doesn’t happen as well.
When you’re youthful - you’re able to quickly and easily recharge, recover, and be ready to go again. Be ready to do whatever it is you want to do next.
Another sign of feeling young is what I like to call:
I wish I had a better way of describing it, but basically, it’s kind of like the opposite of rigidity.
When you get older you get rigid, and you kind of shrivel up. It sounds AWFUL - but consider how people in their 80’s and 90’s typically look and you’ll see it’s true…
They look dry, their skin is shriveled up and wrinkly.
The skin shrivels up for many reasons, including a lack of water in the body, and also degradation of proteins and collagen and fascia and more. But, how it feels is this dryness.
In fact, studies have been done that show that babies are the most HYDRATED human beings… and the least hydrated are the extremely elderly.
This process of drying out is actually happening in every cell of the body, not just in our skin.
Of course, some people dry out more than others. We all know someone at 90 who looks 70. But in general, the older you get, the less JUICY you look (and feel).
Genetics plays a big role here - and explains why one person may have a sharp mind and a great mood at 85 years old, but also might have various physical health issues. Another person, at the same age, may be moody and forgetful, but have no serious physical health issues. We’ll talk more about the role of genetics in future articles and podcasts.
Another Sign of Youthfulness Is That You Have a Radiance About You…
I realize this is not scientific, but it's a tendency to make other people around you feel good. This is why people often like spending time around younger people, right?
I mean, it’s certainly the case with many older people. They're always keen to spend time around younger people.
And that's because compared to them, young people have this kind of radiance about them. It's uplifting. It's enjoyable to be around.
And so it's good to have that radiance about you. The opposite of that is to kind of be a drain, right? And we don't ever want to feel like we're a drain to the people around us. But, the older we feel the more that's the case, whether we like it or not.
How About Being Confident and Self Assured?
Again, these are traits of a younger person.
Again, I realize there's an exception to this, that teenagers are often very lacking in confidence and self-assurance, despite being younger…
That's because of specific hormonal things that are going on, social pressures and all the rest of it.
But, generally the younger you are (with the exception of teenagers) the more confidence you have. And the more self assured you are.
Having this confidence and self-assurance comes largely from the point that we mentioned earlier, about being able to adapt to, rather than being overwhelmed by, changes in your environment.
And then also the strong immunity, right? I already described that as a feeling of invulnerability. It’s a lot easier to feel confident and self assured when you feel these ways.
If you feel like whatever happens, you can adapt to it, it's okay. And you feel kind of invulnerable, then of course you're going to have more confidence…
Even if you hardly know anything, right?
And this is why a young person has way more confidence than an older person on average, despite having way less reason to be confident. They’ve got less experience, they’ve got less knowledge, they’ve got less wisdom, they’ve got less resources, and yet they feel more confident.
We talked earlier about the desire to move, but we should also mention being able to do it easily.
Without any issues.
Without any limitations, and certainly without aches, pains and discomfort.
This is a huge thing for many people because of how it affects how they look…
And how they feel about themselves in general. It affects their confidence and self-esteem.
These days people are more accepting of people who are overweight, but no matter what the media says, most people still want to be slim. And being slim is a huge part of looking young and feeling young.
The obesity stats have shot up in recent years, especially in America, and it’s largely related to Hormones.
Thyroid hormone is a key component here. Growth hormone is a key component here. The sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen are key components here.
In a nutshell, as all of those things function less and less well, it becomes harder and harder to keep the weight off. And nobody ever felt younger by getting overweight.
Honestly, I'm not someone who's ever had an issue of being overweight (at many times I’ve had the opposite issue - being in need of a few more pounds).
And therefore I realize that it could be said that I don't have the experience to know what it's like to be overweight.
I appreciate that.
But what I can tell you is, even as someone who has never had to have an excuse for not being able to lose weight, I can tell you the excuses are real…
All people ever hear is that losing weight is simply about how many calories you take in, and how many calories you burn. It’s ludicrous. It’s basically telling people that all you have to do to lose weight is to go into a calorie deficit by eating less and moving more.
And while scientifically that math is true - it over simplifies things massively.
In fact, it's absurd.
There is so much more to it. As I just said, hormones are a big part of losing weight, right?
If you have the right level of those hormones and others, it's very difficult to gain any fat at least. And then when you have the wrong levels, it can be extremely difficult to lose any. So again, youthfulness is having these hormones, in the correct amounts, and then, typically, being slim is reasonably easy.
More on Obesity, Weight Loss and Age…
Today there are more and more overight and obese people who are young these days.
But what I will say is that for a relatively healthy 20 year old to lose weight, all they generally have to do is just start living a reasonably healthy lifestyle. Eat better, do some exercise, prioritize sleep.
Whereas, for a relatively healthy 60 year old to lose weight - and of course, “relatively healthy” at 60 is nowhere near as “relatively healthy” at 20 - it’s much more difficult.
We have to really live in the real world. But it's way more difficult because the body is aged. And so that's why we want to look at everything we can do to rejuvenate ourselves, which is what we're focused on here.
What Can You Do To Start Feeling Younger?
We do it with the Rejuvenation Blueprint.
This is the blueprint in our first podcast, before we go broader and talk about all kinds of other topics and to other kinds of experts.
We're starting off with really thoroughly describing the Rejuvenation Blueprint.
The intention for you is that this is not only going to be the ultimate blueprint to feeling younger… It's also going to be your guide to understanding every other approach and system for health, and aging, anti-aging and longevity that exists.
Basically the goal of this Rejuvenation Blueprint is first of all, you have a step by step blueprint, everything you need to know to feel way younger than you do now. And to keep feeling that way for a very long time.
I won't say anything specific because obviously it depends on all of your unique circumstances. So, that's the goal.
But the other thing is, I know that in this age of information that you're going to be deluged with all kinds of other information, techniques, strategies and tips right?
And it’s very easy to end up in a situation of overwhelm and confusion, where you don’t know what to do to make progress…
Because this person says one thing, another expert says that person says something else, and a research paper says something completely different, and so on. It’s never ending. Information overload.
What I want you to do with the Rejuvenation Blueprint is go, "Oh, so this person says that the key to everything is in your diet or your nutrition.” That's a step one approach…
Oh, this person says that the key is detoxification. Okay, so that's a step three approach…
Okay, this person says that the key is getting rid of pathogenic and opportunistic organisms in your body that cause all kinds of problems with your immune system. Okay. That's a step six approach…
Okay. This person is saying that the key is this particular chemical, which helps alter your gene function and makes this change. And therefore you feel younger, you feel better. Okay. That's a step five approach.
It's not to undermine what anyone else is doing. And of course, by giving you every step you get everything you could need, right?
Maybe a one step one approach is all you need, at least right now.
Maybe a step three approach is what you need. Whatever the case - The Rejuvenation Blueprint has you covered.
We're giving you every step so that you can understand everything that you come across from now on and understand it as part of a bigger whole.
Because unfortunately, and this is where I have struggled in the past, I know many other people are trying to work out their health for themselves because that's their preference or because they feel like no one else has been able to help them. And if you are taking that approach it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and confused with the sheer amount of different information out there.
It's also very easy to get overwhelmed and confused with the level of certainty and confidence that a lot of experts or promulgators of systems have that their thing is the thing, right?
And, of course, there'll be a bunch of people who agree with them.
Because their thing happened to be the thing for them.
Honestly, I wish I'd have found one thing that was the thing for me. It would have been a lot easier to reclaim my health and feel younger.
But unfortunately for me it wasn’t that simple. And it’s not that simple for many people. And so then when you're told “just do this one diet,” or “just take this one course of drugs,” or “just do this one exercise routine” and then it doesn’t work…
Well, that can be very disheartening, and if this happens a few times you can end up feeling like NOTHING is going to work.
You hear it all the time…
"I've Tried Everything, Nothing Works."
And then you also have the people who’ve felt terrible for 10 years, 20 years or more, but they expect everything they try to fix them in 2 weeks or less, otherwise they’re onto the next thing.
They’re like “Magic Bullet Seekers.”
In terms of, “I've tried everything,” it's never true.
I’ve been guilty of it though. I've definitely said it to myself when I’ve found myself in a situation that makes me think:
"Oh, I'm still struggling. Why? I've tried everything.”
But, the truth is you haven't tried everything. The truth is you could never try everything. There's so much available these days that even if you had an unlimited budget and an unlimited time, you still couldn’t try everything!
Even if you didn’t have a job and you had no other commitments, you couldn't try everything. So the truth is you haven't done everything. I haven't done everything. No one has done everything. So that's what I have to say to people who say that.
But, I know what they mean. What they mean is, I've done everything that this or that expert said. That's really what it is. Or, they have legitimately tried a bunch of different things, so they end up feeling like they’ve tried “everything.”
Experts Are Amazing…
Often they are either creators of new things or they are the kind of, for want of a better term, spreaders of information:
- Anyone who shares good information with anyone else, whatever you want to call them…
They haven't created it themselves, but they're showing it to other people.
But they tend to get really, really fixed on one thing - whether it be one nutrient, one treatment modality, one cleansing technique, whatever it may be. And it's really helped them. It's really helped a lot of people who they have had in their life, in their practice, or whatever.
And so they believe that is the thing.
And then there are a lot of other people like myself and maybe like you, who have tried that thing, and it hasn't done anything for you. It's actually made you worse.
With The Rejuvenation Blueprint, We Are Giving You Everything…
Not every system…
Because it would take years and years and years to describe every system out there (and in reality, you could never do every system because new ones appear all the time).
But you do get a blueprint for every major system: so even if you come across a system you’ve never heard of before, you can figure out which “step” of the anti-aging formula it fits into using The Rejuvenation Blueprint.
Experts vs Your Knowledge of Your Body…
Sometimes we give “experts” too much power…
Some of them have this attitude that’s something like:
"You can't possibly know as much about this as me. I'm the expert, right? I've studied this for years. I've practiced it for years. I've got this degree, I've got that qualification.”
And, of course, to some extent that is true and that is valid.
But on the other side of the coin no one knows your own body and your own experience of your body and yourself like you, right?
And this is often where the clash comes in.
You’ll go see an “expert” and they’ll say:
Just take this supplement, or do this practice in the morning, or eat this way, and you'll feel great.
And you’re thinking:
"But I'm doing those things and I’m feeling worse”
Or more commonly:
“I’m not feeling any different.”
The key bit is…
How does the “expert” react to what you’re saying?
If they become frustrated with you, and act like you're the problem, then you're dealing with someone who is unlikely to be able to help you, unless you fit into their framework of how things should go. This doesn’t mean this particular expert is bad - they may well have helped lots of people - but they probably aren’t going to be able to help you.
That said, what you really want to find are practitioners and experts who are genuinely curious, and genuinely open-minded.
Still, there's a lot of practitioners and “experts” out there who basically say…
If you say in your experience this thing isn't working, then you're wrong in some way. Either it is working and you are not aware of it, or you must be doing something wrong to sabotage the process.
Of course, sometimes that's true (many people do sabotage their own success, or do things incorrectly), but a lot of the time it's not.
And I've come across this again, and again, and again. I've met so many teachers, practitioners, alternative doctors and so on, who have that attitude…
“If it's not working for you, it's your fault.”
They can never see that it might actually be that THEIR THING that is NOT working for YOU!
A Different Attitude Towards You…
At Feel Younger our commitment to you is that we'll never have that attitude…
We'll share everything that we know.
Of course it's then up to you to do with it what you will. We are not prescribing anything or telling you want to do. We are sharing, informing and educating, with an attitude of open-mindedness.
And then if something doesn’t work for you, we’ll listen.
There's no making you wrong because it's not working for you or you feel it's not working for you.
I feel like the reason I've been able to create the Rejuvenation Blueprint is because of always being open when someone says that this isn't working, or when I have an experience of something not working, I’ll always try to figure out what’s really going on...
Rather than either making blanket statements like:
"Oh, it's my fault.”
“Oh, it's the experts fault, they were wrong."
Instead, my default question is:
"Okay, WHY isn't it working?"
Because it's all context dependent when it comes to your health…
Meaning, sometimes people are just frauds and liars and they’re telling you a bunch of BS that wouldn’t work for anyone.
But, most of the time though, they're not, right?
Most of the time they actually believe what they're saying, because they’ve seen what they’re suggesting works, at least for some people.
But, the thing that they've told you will help, might not help YOU. And it certainly is unlikely to help EVERYONE.
Sometimes they're delusional, of course.
That's another thing, like they believe that it's helped a lot more than it actually has. That's another problem.
But a lot of the time it's not any of that stuff. They're not delusional. They're not misleading you. It really has helped a lot of people, but it hasn't helped you or it hasn't helped you enough. Or maybe it's even made things worse for you.
And then a lot of people who’d been on the end of receiving such advice would be like:
"Oh, that person it's full of it," or they're going to be like, "Oh, I'm the problem. There's something wrong with me. I'm fundamentally broken. Nothing's ever going to ever help."
And I try and not go down either of those avenues, and instead I try to have an attitude more like: has this person shared things with me for the right reasons, because they genuinely believe it’d help me?
Maybe what they’ve shared with me really has helped a lot of people. It’s just not helped me or it's not helped this other person…
And that question of “why not?”... Why has it not helped?...
Often this question opens up a whole new Pandora’s Box. It's a whole can of worms. Maybe things are much more complicated than they first seemed. Sometimes that’s definitely true. Although not always.
For Some People Feeling Younger Really is EASY…
For some people, all they have to do is eat less junk food and they feel on top of the world. Especially if they’re younger, have good genetics, and have never had any serious illnesses.
Other people need to stop drinking alcohol or quit smoking, right?
And if that's you - if you just need to do ONE or TWO simple things to feel GREAT - then that’s FANTASTIC!
I'm so happy for you, right.
That said, I don't think that simple steps like that will optimize you. I don't think that will help you to feel young for as long as possible, although it could get you 90% of the way there, depending on your genes.
Either way, this kind of stuff - like eating less junk food, and stopping drinking and smoking - will definitely help a lot of people to feel a lot better.
But, for a lot of us, it's not as simple as that, right?
And so that kind of advice, "Just do this one thing, don't do that one thing," it's just not enough. Especially if you’re older, don’t have bullet-proof genetics, have had some serious health setbacks and so on.
What Does it Mean to Feel Older?
Most people - including experts - skip this question…
Even fantastic books and courses and experts on anti-aging usually skip this.
I don't know if they feel it's too boring, and people are not going to be interested in it. But to me, there's nothing more fascinating, right?
What does it mean to feel older? What does it mean to feel younger? Why do we age?
I'm going to break this down for you, in some detail. Because how can you hope to really resolve a problem - or even improve a problem - if you don't actually understand what the problem is?
Now and again you can, right?
You don't necessarily need to understand why not eating junk food is a good idea, it’s just obvious. I get that.
Same goes for smoking or drinking alcohol. You don’t need to spend ages studying WHY these things are BAD for you. Even the government advises you to do less of them - so you know they’re pretty bad!
However, if we're really interested in optimizing your Health, as opposed to just feeling okay, then we need to know more.
Let's get into this issue of what causes you to feel younger…
What causes you to feel older…
What is going to make you feel younger?
And let's look at the science… I'm going to share most of it in The Rejuvenation Blueprint.
But let's look at science in terms of what scientists would say is causing premature aging, and then look at what they say causes aging full stop. The focus, especially recently, the last few decades, has been more of the latter.
So rather than focusing on what causes premature aging, they're really focusing on what causes aging fullstop.
And I understand that focus. Because a lot of things we'll cover in a second, about things that cause premature aging, well, they're NOT things everyone wants to deal with.
A Lot of It Comes Down to Definitions…
Let’s briefly discuss something that’s extremely controversial…
Some people will say there's no such thing as a CURE for type two diabetes. That’s basically most of the mainstream medical and scientific establishment.
However, some people say that there is a CURE.
With this situation, rather than trying to work out who's right or who's wrong, I've tried to work out how they can both be so sure they're right. Afterall, they both have a lot of evidence to support their position. So in that case, of type 2 diabetes, I realized it was just a distinction of definitions.
By the definition of eating a poor junk food, sugar laden diet and feeling fine, if that's your definition of curing diabetes, then there is no cure, right?
Now there may well be one soon, but so far, there is no way if you get type two diabetes, that you can just go back to eating an extremely poor quality diet and feel totally fine, right?
If that's your definition of a cure, then there is no cure, so far. Period.
Now, on the other hand, I'm sure there are exceptions, but they're going to be a tiny minority, right?
So for the vast majority of people, that's not possible.
Now, if your definition of a cure is that you can learn to eat well and live healthily and eventually possibly not need to take insulin anymore, then I've seen a lot of evidence to say it is possible to cure type two diabetes.
Do you see what I mean?
That's just down to a definition of what it is to cure something.
In the case of anti-aging, a lot of the “alternative or natural health” world is more focused on what can be done to prevent premature aging.
Whereas the mainstream scientific medical world is more focused on what can be done to prevent aging full stop.
What Do We Tend To Focus On When We Look at Things That Can Stop Premature Aging?
A lot of these things - that claim to stop premature aging - are considered to be discredited by mainstream medicine.
But again, it's because of a conflict of definitions I would say, right?
So none of the things I'm about to list on this first list are going to stop aging, which is really the dream of the true anti-aging scientists.
But, they can certainly help to prevent or reduce premature aging.
A Lack of Nutrients…
There are a bunch of nutrients that make up the human body…
Ranging from the main ones like hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen…
To the tiny ones that you barely need any of, such as vitamin B12. Maybe just need a few micrograms to keep you going.
But every single nutrient is essential, because every single nutrient that is classed as essential is classed as essential for a reason.
And what I mean by that is if you don't have enough of any of these nutrients - and when I say enough, I don't just mean in the diet, I mean enough of value to every cell in your body that needs it - then that cell or those cells are not going to function as well as they could if they did have the nutrients that they need.
And it's going to start to create problems.
And eventually it's going to start to create more serious health problems, right?
Now, how important this is, is definitely controversial from a mainstream scientific point of view. The mainstream scientific point of view is that this is important, but rare to not have enough.
So they would say:
“Yes, it is crucial that you have enough vitamin B1, that you have enough omega 3, that you have enough magnesium.”
And yet not having enough is just very rare, and so therefore we're not worried about it and we don't bother routinely testing for it.
In fact, even if you ask for a test of it, it'll probably be REFUSED in both circumstances, because we think it's that rare. So therefore it's not worth it. That's the kind of mainstream perspective.
The perspective of a lot of people who are not mainstream is that actually, that's not the case with nutrients, it’s actually all down to definition..
I gave a definition earlier of a cure.
Well, there's also a definition of deficiency.
If your definition of deficiency is so little that you have a severe life-threatening disease that specifically relates to lack of that one nutrient, then medical science is right. In this case, deficiencies are pretty rare, right?
You don't have enough vitamin B1, you can get Beriberi.
If you don't have enough vitamin C, you can get scurvy.
You don't have enough vitamin D, you get rickets.
A lot of these are kind of fairly well known ones, and have definitely happened.
If you don't have iodine, you can get goiter, but that's an extreme deficiency.
So if your definition of deficiency is extreme deficiency, then yes, they are relatively rare in the developed world these days. Although actually, it wasn't that long ago that even the things I just said were relatively common, but if your definition of deficiency is not enough for optimal functioning, then I would say that actually deficiencies of many essential nutrients are really widespread for a lot of people.
The idea here is that any nutrient that you don't have enough of is the weakest link in the chain. And there are some that are only needed for a few things, and then there are some that you need for many things.
Especially if you're lacking a nutrient that is required for many essential processes, then all those essential processes will not work well, and it will start a cascade that leads to premature aging.
And it's one of those things where you may not even know you have this deficiency - albeit according to whatever definition, no matter how minor it is - yet over years or decades, the toll it's potentially taking internally in your body and your organs can be significant. If it's going on for two decades, it can lead to greater (worse) things.
Because the body works as an entire system, nutrient deficiencies are like a chain reaction.
Here’s an example that affects a lot of people:
If you don't have enough of the constituents that make up stomach acid, then your body is not able to break down proteins properly into amino acids…
Then if you don't have enough in any of the amino acids it creates another set of problems, and so on.
The Key Point Being:
A lack of just one nutrient can then mean that you're not able to absorb loads of other nutrients, which then means that you could have loads of other issues - often referred to as subclinical deficiency problems. And this will make you feel worse over time and distance.
A Lack of Youthful Hormones:
This actually relates to the thing that we just talked about, the nutrients, which I often refer to as “building blocks,” in that sometimes the reason why we don't have enough hormones is just because we don't have enough building blocks. There can also be many other reasons, and we'll talk about those.
Some of the hormones most crucial for the health of the organism in terms of anti-aging specifically are growth hormone.
I prefer to call Growth Hormone, youth hormone, because of its ability to keep us youthful in lots of key ways:
- improving bone density…
- improving muscle mass…
- reducing body fat…
- keeping the joints healthy…
- keeping the skin looking youthful, and more…
All of these things make us feel younger, and look younger too.
Growth hormone also helps us recover from things too.
It helps us recover from any kind of trauma to the body and any kind of stress, any kind of strain, any kind of whatever. So growth hormone is super, super important.
Melatonin is the thing that helps us get to sleep, and sleep through the night, yet it's also one of the most powerful and important antioxidants in the body. Possibly the most important. And it’s also a hormone.
There’s a lot of information out there about how testosterone is key for men to feel good, and that is true.
The right balance of sex hormones - specifically progesterone and estrogen - is especially important for women to feel good.
A lot of the time as you get older, they'll give you hormones to try and help you to feel younger. And in a lot of cases they work.
Preventing The Build Up of Toxins In The System:
It's a common understanding - more so among the more alternative health world than the mainstream one - that one of the reasons why, even though generally we are living a fairly long time compared to what we did say a couple of hundred years ago, we are not experiencing a very good quality of life in many ways.
This lack of QUALITY of life is, at least in part, because of toxicity. Because of an excess of toxicity in the human body.
Now, whenever you bring up the subject of toxicity to mainstream scientists and doctors, they will usually dismiss it. And the dismissal that I have heard is that human beings have had to deal with toxins throughout history, and there are periods where we have to deal with way more radiation than we do now.
There are periods where we have to deal with way more toxins of many different kinds, and we survived that, so stop being a big baby. It's no big deal. I'm adding the last bit, but that's kind of the attitude, right? Toxins are no big deal.
To counter that point I would urge people to consider the sheer amount of new toxins that a human being has to deal with today. Toxins that simply didn't exist until relatively recently.
Of course, many scientists would respond by saying that the human body's very adaptable. It can deal with that stuff. Don't worry about it.
But learning to deal with that stuff takes time. And when I say time, I don't mean minutes, hours, days, or weeks. I mean, many, many, many generations. That's how evolution works in science, right? We slowly adapt to things. And the way we adapt is basically that with every new generation, some have different genes, and so the ones that survive are the ones that are more able to adapt to that environment.
Let’s say suddenly the environment's full of these plastics and estrogens. Evolutionary science would say - some people are going to be born that are more able to deal with them, and then the ones that are more able to deal with them are going to successfully breed, and the ones that are not are not, and then eventually we'll all be able to deal with them.
But that's something that takes generations and generations, thousands of years, millions of years even. We've had so many new toxins in just the last hundred years or so that our body has never had to deal with before.
So that’s one thing…
But that’s not all…
The other thing is the sheer amount of toxins.
I've done a deep dive on the heavy metals and one of them is lead.
Lead has been around for a long time. When I say a long time, I mean thousands of years, and there's even a belief that perhaps the reason that the Roman empire collapsed was because excess lead drove them crazy (lead is an extremely potent toxin).
And so again, with the lead example, you'd be like, oh, well, lead, we've dealt with lead for a long time, right, and we survived. It was all right. Don't bother yourself worrying about it.
But I recently saw a publication that explained how the blood lead concentrations - taken forensically from the remains of skeletons of our ancestors - and it was micrograms per deciliter.
Yet the average person these days has say one or two micrograms per deciliter, and that's considered safe. And then maybe if you have 40 or 50 micrograms per deciliter, then you're in trouble, maybe you'll get some medical treatment. But even if the level is above what’s considered safe, if you showed it to any doctor most of them will just say “Oh, that’s fine.”
Yet we’re talking about a hundred times as much lead in our systems today, as any of our ancestors had to deal with until relatively recently. And this is an extremely potent toxin that everyone - World Health Organization, CDC and more - are very clear about. They say It is extremely potent and dangerous and toxic, and especially with children, it can cause growth abnormalities. It can reduce intelligence and cause behavioral problems and lifelong irreversible health problems. It's a serious thing. And yet, we're taught to act as if it's no big deal. And this is just one example. There are many similar cases - where people are walking around with toxic levels of metals inside their body’s, feeling CRAP, and no one - not even a Doctor - is addressing the issue.
So whether it's a new toxin that human beings have never had to deal with before, or whether it's actually one that's been around for a long time, but it's just way, way, way, way higher than we've had to deal with until recently, all of these things can make a cell stop behaving properly…
An excess of a toxin will stop a cell from behaving properly. And when enough cells are not functioning properly, we can have health issues.
There are a lot more toxins out there that we don't even realize are toxins…
All the plastics, chemicals, industrial pollution, the list goes on. Even many things that make living easier can contain toxins, and we’re exposed to them day in and day out.
To complicate matters further, everybody's threshold is different, so you can end up wondering:
“Why is This Toxin Affecting Me, But it’s Not Affecting You?"
Again, that goes back to everybody's body is uniquely theirs.
We all have different thresholds for different things.
For instance, I had a lead issue.
That's why I'm talking about it.
That's why I know more about it than some other toxicities. And I have a gene I saw that makes my body less able to deal with lead, which made the problem worse for me. It’s always a combination of things. I probably had lifestyle factors as well that made my body less able to deal with it as well, and of course, lifestyle factors are what gives your body more of the toxin than it can handle in the first place.
It's always a complicated interaction of various different things.
Free Radicals - Another Type of Toxin:
A free radical is a specific type of toxin, often mentioned in the alternative health world.
It’s basically a loose oxygen atom - and as life-giving as oxygen is, it has to be bound to something to be safe. When oxygen is not bound to something - when it’s not free - that's when it can bounce around and cause a lot of problems. And so that's where the term antioxidant comes from, to take those loose oxygen atoms and sequester them safely.
I mention this because this was a big theory of anti-aging for a while.
In fact, this is a theory of aging. Previously, it might belong in the second scientific category we're going to go into, but it's been pretty much discredited as a cause of aging.
Of course it can still be a cause of premature aging.
And that's where antioxidants are helpful, even though your body makes its own. You want to support your body in making its own. You can do this using glutathione, SOD and other things . Supporting your body to make its own antioxidants, and taking in antioxidants can be really helpful.
What is stress?
Stress is often seen in the form of excess cortisol, excess adrenaline, excess noradrenaline - sometimes called epinephrine or norepinephrine in America.
The interesting thing is that an excess of those stress chemicals - specifically cortisol (and so long as it's temporary) has actually been shown to have lots of health benefits. It's the chronically high levels over a long period of time which create all kinds of health issues, including premature aging.
Firstly because they require a lot of energy expenditure to keep them high over anything other than a short period of time.
Secondly, because the effect that it has to have them high for extended periods of time.
And then third of all - when your stress chemicals go up, it tells your body to utilize and expend more energy in general. So it upregulates the thyroid, upregulates the mitochondria - which are the little energy producing factories in every cell of your body - to create more energy (temporarily creating more energy is good, but it's one of those things where you can only do it for so long, and if you are being forced to do it too long then it can create some really serious issues).
There's a definite connection between cortisol, and in fact, pretty much most of the things we've talked about previously as well. You see, when your stress chemicals are too high, you use up more essential nutrients and you're more likely to be deficient in them.
When your stress chemicals are high, they compete for creation with the essential hormones. So your body makes things like testosterone and progesterone out the same thing that your body makes cortisol out of, called DHEA, which is why DHEA is one of the hormones that is sometimes given among the anti-aging kind of circles.
But that doesn't always work, because if your body is low in DHEA because your body's turning too much of it into cortisol, then taking more of it doesn't really resolve that issue even though it does allow more DHEA to be available to make other hormones.
But I'm not against that approach, because as with many things sometimes to feel better temporarily is totally worth it. Even though it's not addressing the root issue.
What is Modern Science Focused On in The Way of Aging?
It’s more focused on what causes aging full stop.
A lot of people in this world, they're looking online for “10 things that can help them to stay younger, feel younger etc” and so they're going to come across a lot of terminology that needs some context.
If we really understand what causes aging, then we can obviously reduce it, and maybe ultimately even prevent it, which is of course the ultimate dream of the whole anti-aging longevity world.
So I'll zip through these as quickly as I can, because first of all, I am not a true expert in these, I would say, as much as I am in my own system.
Second of all, I don't know if hardly anyone really is, because a lot of this is not a finished science.
A lot of what I'm going to share is what's understood right now, within each of those areas or at least as far as I've been able to get. There may be other stuff published more recently, I don't know yet. And of course, if you're listening to this and it was many, many years ago that this was recorded and transcribed, then, it may well be out of date, right? But still. Let's give you a snapshot of what's understood to be…
The Actual Causes of Aging:
Number one is the idea of telomere shortening.
Telomeres are these little caps at the end of your genes, and the idea is that as you get older, these telomeres become more and more frayed and they kind of reduce, and that is one of the things that causes aging.
And that's also one of the common ways of measuring aging.
Well, not common as in your doctor would do it, but common within the anti-aging community.
Tests to actually measure how much you've aged, so how old you are in a real sense, as opposed to in years, right, because we can all agree that not everyone at the chronological age of 50 has aged an equal amount, right?
Some of them have aged more, some have aged less. One of the ways that is often tested to see how much a person is aged is by measuring the length of these telomeres.
And then the things that are improving Telomere length, including Resveratrol and also Astragalus, and there's research from Harvard about how these things are super helpful for this.
I will say my understanding, and again, this could change, is that this is not discredited totally, but it is seriously being questioned as to how valuable it is, how reliable the telomere testing is, especially as a measure of aging.
We're recording this in 2022, and as far as I'm aware, the most reliable way of testing how old you actually are - the most reliable way of determining your real biological age, as opposed to how many years you've lived - is to test your DNA methylation.
Remember: telomeres have to do with these caps at the end of the DNA.
Methylation is kind of like the technical term for what's often referred to as having genes switched all on and switched off.
Basically what they found is the older you get, the more you have a tendency to have some genes specifically switched on - which is one type of methylation - and then some more likely to be switched off, which is another type of methylation. So focusing on that, focusing on that balance will tell you most reliably, as far as I'm aware, how aged you are.
I did this test, I know some other people have done the test. However, I will tell you that it does not give any recommendations for how you can improve this. So it's still in the early stages, which isn’t that helpful.
It seems more than telomeres, it's extremely reliable in the predictive point of view which is why it's considered to be the most reliable test so far. So there's definitely something to it, but it's not clear as of yet as to what you can actually do with it.
So that's DNA methylation.
Now this is very different in that it's not something that you test, but something that you absolutely can do a lot about. And this is definitely one of my favorite theories of aging, maybe because I like things that you can do stuff about and that's “peptide deficiency.”
We'll definitely get into this in more detail in the future, so I just want to introduce the idea.
A peptide is basically a small chain of amino acids, two or more amino acids stuck together. Amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein. They’re tiny little particles.
I actually didn't really realize until I got into peptides just how small they are. When I say that they're tiny, what I mean is peptides are so small that they can literally wrap around your DNA. So, they're talking about picograms, we're talking about as tiny as you can pretty much get.
Deficiency of these peptides is often considered to be one of the causes of aging. It may even tie into the other steps that we just talked about, although there's some studies and evidence towards this, but this is hardly settled science here.
Definitions of peptides are a little bit variable, but basically if there’s less than 40 amino acids in the chain, that's considered peptide. If it's between 40 and 60 amino acids, I believe it's considered polypeptide, and anything more than that, it's considered a protein.
So it's just how many amino acids are there in this chain and your body creates peptides itself. It's one of the main things that your DNA is doing in fact. You may have heard the saying that your DNA is a protein creating machine, which is true, but actually a lot of the time it's a bit of a simplification because what it's doing is creating peptides.
Peptides go into your cells, and even the DNA itself and they're a little messenger.
One of the peptides that I'm sure everyone who is listening to this has heard of, and in fact, the first one that was discovered, is insulin.
Insulin is a peptide which the body uses in order to deal with sugar in the blood - to shuttle it off to where it belongs.
The importance that peptides have to anti-aging has really come more - even though insulin was discovered in the Western world - from Russia (and in fact from communist USSR Russia, back in the day).
There’s a doctor called Khavinson who's still around who really pioneered this work, but they originated from these nuclear submarines and their kind of safety protocols were not as advanced as the equivalent US ones, like the shielding and stuff like that.
And so they would send these sailors down into these submarines with this nuclear material and they would come back really prematurely aged. But rather than deal with it the way that we would over in the west, they looked at it from a different angle and they were like:
"Well, what can we give these guys to help to prevent that aging process," and so that's really where they discovered the use of peptides.
And what they specifically discovered is that there are two glands which are crucial to that prematurely aging process and that really helped with these sailors in this nuclear submarine situation.
From there, they realized that these peptides could actually help to reduce aging, and in fact, increase longevity significantly.
There's lots of studies in Russia about this and those two glands - the thymus gland and pineal glands.
The thymus gland is the main training center of your immune system in your body. And in most of the cases, it's kind of shriveled away by the time that you are 30 years old, not to nothing, but way smaller than it was when you were young.
And the pineal gland doesn't quite shrivel away, but it calcifies and so it becomes a lot less effective. The most effective peptides when it comes to anti-aging are these two - thymus and pineal.
There's a couple of different types of peptides. There's the kind of peptides they focused on in the west, which are peptides that kind of replace the ones that your body isn't making.
If we look at the thymus gland, the all important one for the immune system, some of the most important peptides that your thymus glands will produce if it's functioning well are an abundant amount of something called thymosin alpha1 and thymosin beta4.
When your body has an optimal amount of thymosin alpha1 and thymosin beta4, you feel way better. You get to that feeling of invulnerability where it feels like nothing can stop you kind of feeling bad in any way.
Peptides that are becoming very popular at the moment, in 2022, in the Western world.
But as with insulin, these peptides are to address deficiencies where your glands are not making enough of something essential that makes you feel good. So when you take the peptides and address the deficiency you feel much better..
However, the Russians actually focused on a different type of peptide, as opposed to the type that makes up for what you're not making enough of yourself anymore. The Russians were more focused on “peptide bioregulators.”
The bioregulators tend to be shorter peptides - usually just two, three or four amino acids long, and they actually slot into the DNA itself, and then rejuvenate that organ or gland or system.
Epitalon was one of the main ones for the pineal gland, and then Thymogen or Thymoline are different names for the thymus gland.
It’s basically bringing that organ, or system, or gland “back to life” or at least improving the function and health of it. And there's a bit of anti-Russian sentiment again. In 2022 at the moment, there may be a bit of distrust, especially because of the Russian Ukrainian war, but I don't think there's anything to be worried about in terms of the Russian Science regarding Peptides.
Because Scientists in general - no matter where they’re from - are usually trustworthy or untrustworthy.. And as long as they're following the scientific method you can usually trust what they’re saying.
Both of those types of peptides are really interesting to me.
First of all, supplementing with Peptides - giving your body the peptides that will make you feel better (usually very quickly) because these peptides are giving your body precisely what it's lacking. In the same way that a diabetic will feel way, way better as soon as they get insulin.
A person with a compromised immune system will feel way better when they take an immune system peptide like Thymosin Alpha-1 or Thymosin Beta-4. It really is like night or day
And there are many other peptides for many other purposes…
Healing from injuries is one of the most popular categories of peptides these days.
The growth hormone peptides that mimic the peptides that tell your body to release more growth hormone are very popular as well, and there are many more.
In fact, there's pretty much a peptide for everything you can think of, these days.
So there is definitely a lot of interest in these types of peptides, and I think justifiably so… because a deficiency of those peptides - both the ones that kind of make you feel good in the moment and the ones that keep your organs and glands young - is, I would say, a very promising field, scientifically, for anti-aging, but I don't know if it's necessarily a root cause.
The Next Category is AMPK versus mTOR Activation…
Whenever you get something like AMPK or mTOR - when you get a series of capital letters in a row - these are almost always genes or enzymes.
Enzymes are basically little “chemical factories” that turn one chemical into another. That's a simplistic explanation, but that's basically it. Obviously, different chemical factories all do different things, and depending on whether or not you have them all active inside you, and the ratio of what's more active compared to what else is active, governs a lot of what's going on in your body and your quality of life.
AMPK is generally of interest to those who are interested in longevity…
Specifically living longer, as well as those who are interested in losing weight…
And then mTOR is more of interest to generally the kind of body-building, athletic, strength-training kind of community, especially body-building. That's because AMPK is catabolic, and mTOR is anabolic.
Catabolic means "to break down," and anabolic means "to build up." And this is something that the more studious, scientific body-builders are often really into. In fact, I've found body-builders tend to be very well read in the area of science, and nutrition, and all of the stuff we're talking about. Much more so than the average person.
However there's kind of been a bit of a shock in the last few years, because they've realized that pursuing mTOR, which they've been doing for a long time, because it’s anabolic and helps you put on muscle - is actually not good for longevity (and may partly explain why so many top bodybuilders are dropping dead in their 40’s and 50’s)...
Basically, gaining muscle is directly opposite to the system that helps you live longer.
The system that helps you live longer is AMPK, which is catabolic, which means "to break down." Why is breaking down related to living longer?
Because that's the system that breaks down the cells that are not functioning properly anymore. There are things called senescent cells, which we'll talk about shortly. Those are more likely to be breaking down if AMPK is increased, and just generally, any kind of cell that's mutating and malfunctioning.
AMPK and mTOR are also a major interest in cancer fields of study, because cancer is essentially an anabolic process. It's an excess proliferation of mutated cells.
So what should stop that happening? Well, it’s not just related to AMPK and mTOR.
It's also related to the immune system, or at least interconnected, because if the immune system is functioning optimally, then you will not get cancer, because the immune system will go in and it will kill, destroy, suck it up, “recycle it” I guess is the best way to describe it.
It’ll get rid of all of the cells before they start to malfunction. And before they start to spread. This process is called apoptosis.
If you want to live longer, you generally want more AMPK. You want more catabolic processes going on, to break down those cells, to recycle those cells before they start causing problems.
And of course, it's your immune system's job to break them down and recycle them. But of course, the more cells there are that need recycling, the more strain it is on your immune system.
So if you're really on top of the process by having AMPK upregulated, that's helpful. This is really one of the major focuses in the area of longevity because...
Well, the only thing that's really proven to extend lifespan is calorie restriction. And we'll talk about this more with another step that we’ll get into as well… but especially the restriction of carbohydrates, and also proteins to some degree. But calorie restriction in general is definitely helpful when it comes to longevity. That’s scientifically proven.
When your body's in a fasting state, or when your body's in a calorie restricted state, that upregulates AMPK and it downregulates mTOR. It puts your body into a catabolic state.
You're more likely to lose weight - so your body starts recycling cells to kind of reuse that resource.
There are even some drugs that put your body into a super AMPK state. One of those drugs is called Rapamycin - though it’s not really a drug, it’s just not an essential nutrient. It’s actually a byproduct of a bacteria, and it gives you the same AMPK benefits of calorie restriction or fasting (if not better).
This is a major field of longevity study right now, even though it's classified as a drug (though technically is not a drug)... It's already off patent, so there's not much money to be made in it, but there's still thousands of scientific studies showing how effective it could be.
It's not without side effects, and the difference between an effective dose and a dangerous dose is not big at all, so it's definitely not something to get into without supervision, and may not be something to get into at all.
I personally haven't got into it yet, but still, it’s one of the most promising things in the area of longevity, because it increases AMPK, and maybe very interesting in terms of dealing with all kinds of diseases as well.
What is cell senescence?
Cell senescence is basically like zombie cells, believe it or not.
You’ve got like normal, healthy cells in your body.
Then you’ve got cancer cells, which we’ve talked about. They're kind of mutant cells.
But now we've also got zombie cells. We've got zombies and mutants.
Zombie cells, or senescent cells, are basically a cell danger response. The science here is very new, so it's open to change.
But in essence, if the cell feels like it's under attack - from a virus for instance - it goes into this rigid mode, where no nutrients can get into it, no waste products getting out and it’s not communicating with other cells in the usual way.
So it basically isolates itself and becomes rigid. And that's like a danger response, because otherwise it's going to be invaded by something (a virus being the most common thing).
The problem with this is that even though it's not turning into a cancer cell it's also not functioning, which is bad. So to have one or two of these senescent cells is okay.
But the greater the percentage of your cells that are senescent, the more health problems you're going to have, because it's like it's the weakest link in the chain again.
It's a cell that's not functioning as it should, and it's getting in the way, because it's not doing what it should be doing, and it’s taking up space in your body. Your body can't just replace it, because it's still there.
Usually, if a cell is no longer functioning it gets broken down by this process of apoptosis. It’s recycled, it’s moved out of the way, and space is made for a new, healthy cell. That's what should be happening.
Cell senescence is really important.
And there’s a second description of what it is…
A lot of early stage experiments are leading to the conclusion that Cell senescence may actually be an adaptive response to keep us alive for longer.
I've seen a research study that says that looking at DNA methylation, which we talked about earlier, and looking at different markers and stuff. They looked at how long they would expect a human being to live as compared to hundreds of other species.
If you look at a tortoise and a whale, these long-lived creatures, and then a fruit fly, and then a wombat, and then look at a chimp, which is our closest relative…
Well, chimps only live to about 38 years old.
And it Turns Out That Humans Should Only Live to About 38 Years Old - Based Purely On Our DNA…
Clearly we're already living significantly longer - the average life expectancy in most Western Countries being in the region of 75 to 83 years old (double 38, or slightly better).
So what accounts for us living so much longer than our DNA suggests we should?
Well, the tentative theory as to how we're managing to live longer than our nearest living relative, the chimp, is that because a lot of our cells go into senescence, this is kind of like a stasis.
The thinking is that this slows down the aging process, because every time DNA is copied there are slight imperfections in it. In essence, by going into senescence, it's kind of delaying the process.
If this theory proves accurate, it explains why around that time, by the age of about 40 we don't feel good anymore…
We don't feel young - we don’t feel all the stuff that we've just described - because our body is kind of keeping us alive, but not in a very optimal state.
This is a really interesting theory, and there's various drugs and therapies being worked on right now that undo the senescence - not to make us live less long, but to get back to having healthy cells.
So rather than the option of either the cells being senescent, which helps us live longer but have a lower quality of life - the third option is having the cells go back to being younger, healthier cells.
I don't know if I've explained that very well, but as I said, that's a fairly early kind of science, and it's a theory. It's a possibility. It’s not fully proven yet.
In terms of the health of cells, that leads us nicely into the next one, which is another theory of aging, which is:
Stem Cell Depletion…
Again, this one has really come partly as a result of science, but also partly as a result of clinical experience…
Specifically: giving people stem cells. Basically, supplementing with Stem Cells. Just like how we talked about supplementing with peptides. It can make people feel A LOT better, very quickly.
A stem cell is like an undifferentiated cell that basically could become everything.
We just talked about senescence - where those zombie cells are kind of getting in the way, right?
Another version of that is a mutated cell… a cell that is resistant to being recycled. Another version of the problem would be a cell that's been invaded by a virus.
So there's a few different ways that things can go wrong with cells that stop them from just being recycled. And when they’re not able to be recycled, problems arise.
Your stem cells relate to having things like:
- Healthy bone marrow, and…
- A good optimally functioning immune system…
The Bad News is:
Over time, via mechanisms not yet fully understood by modern science - your body becomes depleted of these stem cells…
And concurrent with that, and possibly causative, the body just starts to work less and less well.
As I said, the proof that that is a significant factor is when you add the stem cells back in, people feel so much better, many things heal ridiculously quickly, and various markers of health get better and better.
Whether it's stem cell deficiency or lack of stem cells that is the root cause, I don't think the science is settled yet.
Another Theory of Aging is Mitochondrial Dysfunction...
Mitochondria are the little energy factories inside cells.
I used to think there was one per cell, but turns out there's actually often thousands of mitochondria per cell. There's a lot of these little “energy factories” inside us.
When these mitochondria start to malfunction for whatever reason, then there's not enough cellular energy, and when there's not enough cellular energy, that's when a lot of other things have to kick into place in order to kind of maintain things and keep us going.
Your body doesn't just have one path to create energy. It's got several different paths. Some of them are more efficient, but some of them are there if necessary, as back ups…
And the most common example of this that you might well have heard of is aerobic or anaerobic energy production in the mitochondria.
This is the difference:
When your mitochondria have enough oxygen available in the cell - not just in the air you're breathing, but when it has enough oxygen in the cell - then you can make enough ATP, or even an abundance of ATP.
I believe it's up to 38 units of ATP for every two units of glucose.
But when it's anaerobic - when there's not enough oxygen available to the mitochondria - then it can only make four units of ATP per two units of glucose.
So you can make up to 19 times as much energy from the same amount of glucose, which is kind of how biochemists often think about food. It's ultimately reduced to glucose, when it comes to energy. You can make up to like 19 times as much as actual energy if you have the right amount of oxygen.
Now, that's one example, but there are many others…
There are many other rate-limiting factors:
Some of them are related to other essential nutrients, other than oxygen…
Some of them are related to toxic issues… and then the senescence and all this other stuff that we've already covered.
As more and more Science is being done, it’s understood that the mitochondrial ability to create enough ATP is something that is a key factor - and basically, the less well that it functions the less energy you have.
And again, the idea that lack of nutrients or excess toxicities are factors are not considered settled science in the mainstream. They're really looking at trying to understand what it is exactly that causes that mitochondria to function less and less well over time. But we do know that lack of nutrients or excess toxicities will cause the process to go wrong prematurely.
Mitochondrial function is essential. You would immediately be dead without it. But when it’s just not working as well as it could, what we may experience is aging.
Immune System malfunction…
There are two basic ways your immune system can go wrong, and they can both happen simultaneously.
One is a lack of ability to deal with invaders - external invaders such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, yeast, molds, protozoa and so on…
And the other way your immune system can malfunction is dysregulation - where there's more and more inflammation, and the immune system ends up attacking the wrong thing.
The simplistic way of looking at it is like the immune system is either not fighting enough, and therefore - these pathogenic organisms are taking more of a hold than they should. Or it's fighting too much - in which case they even start fighting things that they shouldn't be fighting.
Now, that's definitely a simplification, and there's a reason why it becomes dysregulated that relates to a lot of the stuff that we've talked about before, so I won't go into it in too much detail here.
On a practical level, getting enough of those peptides to help it function well will actually usually help with both simultaneously, so you might be in a situation where you have chronic inflammation and chronic infection throughout your body, neither of which are related - you may have infection in one area and inflammation in another, and you might have arthritis and sinusitis, for instance, at the same time.
In this case optimizing the immune system so that it is not in a chronic inflammatory state, will allow it to deal with any kind of pathogenic organisms quickly, and is a huge key to health and feeling good.
Earlier I talked about DNA methylation. The company where I got the DNA methylation test results from, did a DNA methylation kind of correcting for the immune system, because it's a blood test, but then it also gave you a reading for the age of your immune system itself.
It turns out your body has an age, your telomeres maybe have an age, and your cells have an age, but your immune system has an age, meaning at the age of 40, you might have a 50-year-old immune system, or you might have a 30-year-old immune system, right?
The immune system breaking down and functioning less and less well is being looked at as one of the key factors that leads to aging.
And it's certainly a key factor that leads to premature aging.
You know, everyone hears this phrase, inflammation, these days. What I think most people don't realize, if you ask people what's the cause of inflammation, they may say lack of turmeric, or bad diet, or stress, or whatever, and all those things may be helpful or relevant, but they don’t really know what inflammation is.
And here’s the thing…
Chronic inflammation is really the problem.
Acute inflammation - temporary inflammation - in response to an injury or an infection, is good.
But chronic inflammation - or excessive inflammation, which could be even acute (if you’ve got a new pathogen inside you and the immune system overreacts to it, creating a cytokine storm) is very bad for you.
Basically, most of the feeling bad you get when you're sick is actually your immune system, not the organism itself.
The organism could kill you if left unchecked by your immune system, but the actual feeling bad - the sore throat, the cough or whatever - that's all actually created by the immune system rather than by the pathogen.
So an ideally balanced immune system can deal with any issue, any pathogen, any mutated cell within you, but without overreacting. That is a sign of a really youthful, healthy immune system.
One of the other things that's focused on a lot in the anti-aging world - and there's a lot of research behind it - is that it's not just too many calories in general that are bad for you and can lead to premature aging, but rather it's insulin specifically.
So that's why I talked about the drug Rapamycin earlier.
Another big drug in the anti-aging community is metformin. Metformin is generally prescribed to diabetics, but it's also taken by some anti-aging enthusiasts, because of its ability to lower insulin. And because lowering insulin is a great predictor of longevity, and also feeling healthy for as long as possible.
I personally don't take Metformin.
There is a natural version of metformin called Berberine, which is an extract from various herbs…
It’s not as powerful as metformin, but also doesn't have the potentially quite negative side effects of metformin. So it’s certainly a safer version.
However, those who take metformin would argue it's not as powerful.
You should also be aware that this is where the keto or keto-ish diet comes in, right?
This idea that loads and loads of carbohydrates are something that can accelerate the aging process - so eating a low(er) carb diet - like Keto - is argued to be a good idea.
DNA Protein Replication…
As I said, a lot of what DNA does is produce peptides and polypeptides in proteins…
So DNA Protein Replication is the idea that, over time, the protein replication process becomes less and less effective.
However, as far as I'm aware, the exact understanding of why that is is fairly limited, so it’s not something we can do much about yet. That said, there is a lot of medicine and science, and billions of dollars going into trying to work it out, and also trying to develop technology that will correct that process.