Ask HN: Longevity for your parents, what to do?

97 points | by MichaelRazum 12 days ago


  • defrost 12 days ago
    Smother them with 4 year olds.

    No, seriously:

    >> A unique social experiment that brings together elderly people in a retirement community with a group of 4-year-olds. Could this encounter between young and old help transform the lives of the elderly?

    Multiple studies in both the UK and Australia demonstrate increased mobility, memory, communication, happiness, etc in older people when mixed in with young children.

    • Apfel 12 days ago
      I was always struck when I lived in China how young, happy and active the elderly all seemed, even though they were much the same age as elderly folk where I grew up (the UK).

      I had a feeling it must be at least partly due to their increased role in child rearing among most families.

      This is partly just traditional Chinese culture but probably also comes in part due to the awful working hours most Chinese people tend to face. It's very common to just dump your kids on your parents out there.

      It does cause some issues, as the grandparents tend to have more ... traditional parenting approaches (corporal punishment fairly common) but for the elderly themselves it's definitely something they really look forward to in their later years.

      • dominotw 12 days ago
        > China how young, happy and active the elderly all seemed

        probably because they haven't been exposed to a lifetime of processed foods like here in the west.

        • CodeSgt 11 days ago
          Definitely depends where in China for this to be true. Shanghai or Beijing? Won't be much, if any, better than in the US. Countryside? Likely will be much better, but food is often scarce in general in these areas.
        • Apfel 9 days ago
          This was in a major city (Guangzhou). I think China has its own issues with food safety and additives. Very little regulatory action has led to some very nasty stories about adulteration and gastric problems.

          I think when I was in China I was basically in a perpetual state of food poisoning for several years.

        • feet 11 days ago
          My assumption is that it could be multifactorial, societal and family integration along with diet and who knows what else. Life is stupidly complex
    • moravak1984 12 days ago
      Or just let them die, as they should. Why we should all suffer from the Prince Charles's Effect?
      • allisdust 12 days ago
        May be because people (at least some) love their parents and miss them when they are gone?
        • moravak1984 12 days ago
          Fair enough, but at some point it is worth asking if their longevity is on their best interest and not on yours. Many old people just want to die since they are not able to take care of themselves, and want to go away with dignity. Their descendants sometimes insist on keeping them chugging along as a weird kind of pet. That is weird and wrong. Just let them go, we are all going the same way anyway.
          • Volundr 12 days ago
            I agree with the sentiment, but I think it's implied in these discussions that they are looking for healthy longevity, not lying in bed unable to take care of oneself for an extra 10 years. It's even in OP's question that they started this research after noticing mental decline so one can reasonably conclude they are looking to halt or reverse the effects.
          • remram 11 days ago
            > Many old people just want to die

            This doesn't reflect my experience, at least with my understanding of "many" and "old". My 90 yo grandma can't walk and is on oxygen most of the day and very much doesn't want to die.

  • rsync 12 days ago
    Encourage them to walk as much as possible - hopefully daily.

    Encourage them to shorten their feeding window. Perhaps as small as 4-6 hours but even 8 hours would be a big step up from a (typical) 12 hour feeding window.

    If you wanted to be more ambitious, any kind of resistance training would be fantastic but not at the expense of the walking.


    I notice you employing a familiar heuristic: "things doctors don't want to talk about" but I encourage you to embrace an even deeper heuristic:

    If there were some natural substance, or plant extract, or pressing from (food) or (some combination of purple berries) that made people live longer, we would all know about. It would be carved into stone tablets and embedded in every religious tradition. It would not be a secret.

    People have been watching and cataloging their food inputs for millennia - the pressed extracts of winegrape seeds would not have eluded their notice ...

    • minhmeoke 11 days ago
      Another thing people have been consuming for millennia are fermented foods (eg: yoghurt/kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi without preservatives). Perhaps a healthy gut biome is the secret to avoiding obesity by increasing gut microbiome diversity and reducing inflammation:
      • ETH_start 10 days ago
        The secret to a healthy biome seems to be higher fiber intake, as fiber is consumed by probiotics in the gut.
        • kleer001 10 days ago
          ... a good balance of soluble and insoluble fiber and not too much of either at any one time
    • awillen 12 days ago
      The problem with what you're suggesting is that proving something improves longevity is really, really hard. If you want to find out if something's going to help people live longer, you have to study it for a very long time. And of course given the length of the study and the multitude of other factors that may affect longevity, you'd need to have a huge population of participants in the study.

      If there were something that let you live to 200, sure. But trying to answer a question like whether the Mediterranean diet extends life on average by 10% is very, very hard. Even if we had great records of what everyone ate, you'd still have to deal with the fact that people consuming that diet tend to live in the same geographical area and share a lot of other behaviors that could very well affect longevity.

  • beardyw 12 days ago
    > what to do?

    I am 70 and based on my parents and my older siblings I probably have 7 or 8 years left.

    Get used to the idea of dying. It's going to happen to you and everyone you know. For the living, quality of life is important. Don't scarifice quality for duration. I want to die before my mind goes. If that means sooner, so be it. When I am dead I won't have regrets, so it's ok.

  • keiferski 12 days ago
    My personal experience only - my grandpa lived to his mid-nineties:

    Don’t bother too much with the medicines and pills. What really matters: daily social interactions (with friends and family members, not random people or nurses/doctors) and a regular schedule of “purposeful” activities to look forward to every week. Bingo every Tuesday, fish dinners on Friday, etc.

  • dougmwne 12 days ago
    In all likelihood, diet, exercise, and sleep. Aside from managing chronic conditions through doctor’s visits this seems to be the only thing that can actually improve quality of life. High levels of physical activity seem particularly key.

    If there was a magic pill, that would be great, but don’t think there is any high quality evidence.

    • johncearls 11 days ago
      I do longevity/healthy aging research and sleep, nutrition, and exercise are by far the most important factors in healthy aging. Everything else can be considered a rounding error to those three. It's a little disheartening in fact when ones job involves looking for therapeutics to extend healthspan.
  • DiabloD3 12 days ago
    The NMN research didn't pan out in the end, just throwing that out here.

    There is something involved in NMN, but taking it (or any of the precursors or metabolites) alone doesn't actually seem to reliably cause what they were looking for.

    Most likely, it's something like the curcumin vs ground turmeric issue (curcumin doesn't work alone, it combines with another chemical found in turmeric to produce the active chemical, and none of the curcumin supplements work), or with glucoraphanin and myrosinase to produce sulforaphane (popularized by Dr Rhonda Patrick; sulforaphane is short lived, and you need to package them correctly to not self-react in a supplement while it's sitting there on a shelf, so the delivery mechanism is the hard part), or with the flavor of garlic, allicin, another short lived chemical produced by alliin and alliinase (which is why crushing garlic is important instead of slicing, and ground garlic and factory produced minced garlic will never have that magical flavor).

    Also, as for Omega 3, watch Dr Rhonda Patrick interviews Dr Bill Harris; the main take away from this isn't that it works (we all know that already), it's what the dose range is: we're all underdosing.

    • sjducb 12 days ago
      Have you got a reference for "NMN didn't pan out in the end?" I thought it Worked really well in mice and early human trials didn't find nasty side effects. It's too early to tell if it increases lifespan in humans as those experiments take a long time.
    • dhsysusbsjsi 12 days ago
      I’m interested to know more about how NMN/Metformin/Resveritrol didn’t pan out in humans as all the mice studies seemed quite promising.
      • DiabloD3 12 days ago
        Metformin did pan out, but the research seems to indicate One Meal A Day would have to be employed with it, as Metformin seems to interfere with autophagy. Lack of autophagy seems to be the biggest cause of the effects of old age, as the Western Diet pounds 3 meals a day, which means our insulin levels never drop to the autophagy activation level.

        If you want that "one weird trick that doctors hate", OMAD alone is almost magical. I've been suggesting it to everyone I know just so they can do something easy and simple to get a few free years out of their fleshy meat body. Also, because of OMAD, I now spend less time prepping food, eating food, and other food-related tasks. Even if OMAD had no health effects (positive or negative), I'd keep doing it as it has freed up a surprisingly large amount of time.

        • Brian_K_White 12 days ago
          This is interesting. I've been eating only once per day ever since I started feeding myself, but not because of a conscious plan. I just can't handle any more, unless I also engage in very physical activity. To answer the other comment, the size of that one meal is the same as anyone else's ordinary dinner, not larger.

          And I do indeed seem to be enjoying better overall health than a lot of people my age or even 10 years younger. They're all starting to complain about their knees and backs and they're on various medications and I have none of that yet.

          Of course you can't read much into that by itself, and I'm not going to write my entire life's details here, but still it doesn't conflict with the theory either.

          I'm also very thin. Thinner than most people probably want to be, especially males, at least Americans.

          • 0xabe 11 days ago
            Autophagy is the process by which the cells clean up and recycle. It is promoted by intermittent fasting. Stay healthy my friend!
        • agent008t 10 days ago
          Is OMAD also a good idea if you struggle to maintain/gain weight even with 3 meals a day? Is it consistent with making progress in sports, i.e. getting stronger/faster/increasing endurance? Is it consistent with outdoor activities like walking/hiking ~25km/day?
          • DiabloD3 6 days ago
            OMAD might help with it. OMAD just dictates when you eat your food (once a day instead of splitting up into three times a day) but may make it easier for you to track your calories/macros.

            Athletes have been employing OMAD to increase their athletic performance, and have reliably been doing so, so I guess the answer to your other questions is yes, OMAD plays well with those goals.

        • MichaelRazum 12 days ago
          No chance to convince my parents to do OMAD. But would like to try it myself. How big are your meals if I may ask? Actually would like to start going to gym again and gain weight/muscle mass, so would be really interesting to hear if that could work with OMAD.
          • DiabloD3 12 days ago
            They're approximately 3 times bigger. I eat my ~2000 calories in one go.

            It's also a lot easier to track macros and "eat like it's your job".

  • greenyoda 12 days ago
    Unless you're a doctor who is familiar with all the medications that your parents are currently taking, it's probably not a good idea to recommend that they take specific supplements. For example, omega 3 fatty acids can act as a mild anticoagulant, and if your parents have been prescribed blood thinners, the additive effect of the two could lead to problems.[1]

    [1] [under the heading "What else do I need to know?"]

  • minhmeoke 11 days ago
    The easiest approach is probably to avoid or reduce obviously harmful habits and behaviors that result in chronic diseases (eg: cardiovascular disease, diabetes)

    - Avoid smoking and hard drugs

    - Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

    - Avoid fast food, excessive salt and sugar, deep fried dishes

    - Avoid excessive stress and worrying

    Besides that, focus on the basics:

    - Consistent and restful sleep

    - Healthy, balanced diet

    - Regular exercise

    - Novel and mentally-stimulating activities, continuous learning

    - Strong social connections (not just online social networks, but actual friends and family they can hang out with in-person)

    If you want even more, there have been studies about 5 blue zones where inhabitants regularly reach ages of 100 or more, and 9 habits they follow:

    1. Move naturally: build exercise into your daily life

    2. Purpose: a reason to wake up in the morning

    3. Downshift: Routines that shed stress

    4. Only eat until you are 80% full. Consider occasionally fasting.

    5. Plant and bean-based diet

    6. Moderate (1-2 cups/day) consumption of alcohol

    7. Faith

    8. Close family connections

    9. Social circles that support healthy behaviors

    • kleer001 10 days ago
      > Purpose: a reason to wake up in the morning

      That's a big one.

      From what I hear, people with active and stressful yet compelling lives/jobs tend to fall apart if they go straight to trying to relax in retirement with nothing to do.

    • ddorian43 11 days ago
      Dont do what this guy preaches.

      My advice: no drugs, keto/carnivore diet, omad or interminent fasting, resistance training.

      Good luck with choosing the correct advice.

  • dombesz 11 days ago
    My granddad was a teacher through his life, going ~20km every day by bike for 40 years, in rain and even in the winter. When he became retired, he started physical work of farming crops, making hay for his cows for the winter. He lived for 92 years, while he was still able to walk around and take care of himself on the basic level. He got also a type 2 diabetes around his 80's, but wasn't prescribed metformin. I strongly believe the physical work in his retirement gave him the strength to be in a good shape in his late years.
  • tdubhro1 12 days ago
    Keep them off non-essential medication for as long as possible, side effects of one medication often result in further medication and then you’re in the western geriatric medication spiral.

    Do everything possible to avoid falls; remove rugs and any floor obstacles, door lips, etc from their living space. Avoid where possible any medication that causes dizziness or fainting. Metformin can cause low blood sugar and fainting if they miss a meal or have a low carb meal, or are generally unwell (eg fighting a cold virus or covid), and so should be avoided unless they have diabetes that cannot be managed through diet.

    If they’re prescribed statins, make sure it’s on the basis of cardiac calcification tests and not just a blood test (latter has little to no correlation with cardiac risk)

    Dehydration is a huge problem for older people in general, keep them hydrated any way possible. Dehydration leads to general poor health, digestion, dizziness and falls.

  • Gatsky 12 days ago
    I think David Sinclair's track record of actually producing meaningful improvements in human longevity is zero. The whole sirtuin thing got big funding from pharma and then totally failed. I would remain very sceptical of what he says, as he definitely talks up his own work as high as it can go and beyond.

    Personally, I doubt these supplements make any difference. I also doubt that metformin makes a big difference (as well as being poorly tolerated in many people).

    This is what comes to mind:

    There is one universally beneficial thing and that is exercise. What exercise? Anything is better than nothing. But doing 150 minutes per week of Zone 2 is probably optimal. Also resistance training. Don't over do it.

    Second thing: screening for things that kill you. Manage modifiable cardiovascular risk factors:

    - check lipid profile including Lp(a) and ApoB, manage appropriately

    - inflammation, although can be hard to improve, maybe dietary changes.

    - hypertension

    Also do all the screening for cancer: mammogram, faecal occult blood, pap smears.

    Take a thorough family history, what did people die of and at what age. There can be clues from that about what needs attention. In the extreme case, there may be a strong family history of cancer indicating need for germline testing.

    Other things: Pneumococcal vaccine, shingles vaccine, flu vaccine.

    If the option exists, move closer to the equator (mortality is higher further from the equator, as is cancer incidence).

    Other comments mention social activities, also very important.

    • MichaelRazum 12 days ago
      Not sure about the evidence, can't judge on that. But he looks really good for his age. Of course depends if it is due of his lifestyle or not.
      • cassianoleal 12 days ago
        > he looks really good for his age

        That's anectodal and also quite subjective. The fact that he uses this as an argument for his studies (I've heard him saying exactly that in interviews) makes it very hard to take him seriously.

        > depends if it is due of his lifestyle or not

        Most likely genetics. I know plenty of people who look great for their ages whilst eating what Sinclair would probably consider a bad diet (mostly beef and processed meats, with some grains, vegetables and fruits interspersed) and taking no supplements. I'm talking about senior people who appear 10-15 years younger than their ages.

        I'm not using these anecdotes to promote not taking supplements or eating that kind of diet. Some of these people are but they're not in the business of selling their lifestyle and are not scientists at all.

        Also, looking good for one's age doesn't mean they're not going to die of a heart disease in 5 years time.

    • bilsbie 12 days ago
      > I think David Sinclair's track record of actually producing meaningful improvements in human longevity is zero.

      I know it’s not a great counterpoint but how does he look so young for being in his 50s? He must be doing something that works.

      • copperx 11 days ago
        He said it himself on Twitter: by using old photos as profile pics.
    • adrian_b 12 days ago
      While my parents have lived reasonably long, my father until 90 and my mother until 86, they have both lost around 4-5 years of life because of illnesses that have been diagnosed much too late.

      In both cases they belonged to risk groups for certain illnesses, but I was not aware of this. Now I wish there would have been some resource enumerating risks for older people and how to diagnose early the corresponding illnesses.

      For example, my mother was 1. old, 2. woman, 3. taking for many years a medication against high blood pressure, 4. avoiding to eat much salt for fear of raising the blood pressure.

      These 4 conditions create a high risk of hyponatremia and/or hypokalemia (too low content in the body of sodium and/or potassium, because they are eliminated too quickly from the body). Both affections are extremely dangerous.

      To avoid any problems, it would have been enough if my mother would have made every few months a cheap blood analysis, to determine the sodium and potassium contents in the blood.

      My mother actually made frequent enough analyses of the blood and all results had always been perfect. However, after she became seriously ill and eventually the cause was discovered, I have looked at the earlier blood analyses and while they had checked a myriad of other blood components, sodium and potassium had never been measured.

      In the case of my father, he had smoked excessively a large part of his life until he has eventually succeeded to quit smoking. He was also overweight.

      These 2 conditions together increase a lot the risk of renal cancer. Had we been aware of that, he should have attempted to check periodically for this.

      As it was, the cancer was undetected for at least a couple of years, and it was detected only after it produced a bone tumor (the spread of renal cancerous cells to bones is a frequent occurrence), and even that was detected too late, because after a bone fracture, even if the symptoms had been as in a textbook example of bone cancer, some incompetent doctor diagnosed the symptoms as being caused by osteoporosis and arthritis and did not send him to the scintillation analysis that would have diagnosed the cancer immediately. I have also been too trustful and I did not seek a second opinion.

      Due to the many cases of erroneous diagnoses, which happen much more frequently with older people, because the doctors tend to attribute any complaints to normal old age instead of sending them to multiple analyses to investigate for the real cause, it is good to seek second opinions whenever there is any doubt.

      In conclusion, I believe that it is important to determine for each parent which are the main health risk factors and to test periodically for the most likely of the illnesses that might begin to affect them after a certain age.

  • tarun_anand 12 days ago
    Thank you for bringing this topic up. I would add that an active life and a social circle would come before anything else.

    Also on the natural foods side would like to add

    1. Dates 2. Prunes

    Lots of antioxidant rich foods based on your location - omega 3 is also a good choice as you mentioned.

    I am sure you have read the article about the people who "forgot to die"

    • shauryamanu 12 days ago
      Social circle is difficult thing for me, not because I don't like it, but because I don't have much people outside my family to meet or hangout.
    • MichaelRazum 12 days ago
      That was the first thing I tried. Gave them a copy of Michael Greger's book "how not to die". Talked about some bad habits, like fast food, for a month and more. Didn't worked :) Kind of gave up this topic.

      Social circle is in the same category, really hard to influence, especially from outside. So looking for magic pill..

      • tarun_anand 12 days ago
        One more suggestion

        Keep them engaged

        I had my father manage the household expenses and few other tasks

        I feel mortality rate is impacted by relevance. When you feel you are irrelevant, it won't matter give up and move on.

  • t-3 12 days ago
    I think you'd be best off looking at family history - what caused early deaths among older generations? My shortest-lived grandparent lived well into their 80s, so my main concern is them having enough money to maintain a decent standard of living in their dotage.
  • scarface74 12 days ago

    My parents weren’t cheap. But they were responsible with their money both had pensions and retired when they were 55 and 57 respectively.

    They have gone on two cross country 4-6 month road trips. They are now 78 and 80 and are still mostly healthy. They only stopped traveling because of Covid. They are slowly getting out of their bubble.

    They both said that they have had a long enjoyable life and will have lived a life without regrets.

    While I won’t be retiring at 55, my wife and I are planning a 2-3* year adventure where we will be traveling across the US in a method that’s comfortable for us - flying everywhere and staying in mid tier extended hotels.

    We are starting this near the end of the year. We just sold our newer car to save money and we are selling our old car before we leave. We are renting out our house.

    Am I worried about a long life? No. I’m more concerned with an enjoyable life with no regrets.

    Yes, I see my doctor(s) regularly. We chose hotels partially because they all have gyms and most will have pools for working out

    Do I eat overly healthy? Mostly no. I enjoy food. But we mostly keep our weight under control.

  • krn 12 days ago
  • ampham 11 days ago
    A few years ago my mom was almost dying. Now she’s healthy and energetic.

    The things that I’ve noticed made the biggest visible difference:

    - Going to the doctors to take care of any diseases that supplements can’t fix.

    - Daily exercise at home.

    - Weekly physical therapy (this helps a lot with helping her be social and interact with others).

    - Staying at a good weight.

    - Having a hobby that gets her outside and active.

    - Sleep.

  • tintedfireglass 11 days ago
    wow, as a "third-world" person, this feels really dystopian to me. We as humans haven't progressed so much that we can delay death. The only way we increased life expectancy is with Healthcare. How do you know if the pills you are giving them are doing harm or good? I personally feel really terrified of these maybe because I'm from a different culture and economic status than some tech-bro from silicon valley. just my two-cents
  • copperx 11 days ago
    That's exactly what my dad takes, but half that dosage for NMN and Resveratrol because of cost. He already takes metformin for diabetes in a higher dosage, and prescription fish oil (Vascepa).

    But what's more important, I believe, is social connections. He claims the concoction has given him more energy, and this month alone he has traveled three times. He's got a girlfriend now. I see him in a better mood, but I'm sure it's because of his increased social connectedness.

    For all we know, David Sinclair might be running the long con on us, and NMN might be worthless or even deleterious. I'm personally skeptical, and I do not take it because it is hypothesized that it may speed up the growth of existing cancers in the young, if I recall correctly.

    Don't forget daily moderate exercise. It works better than any supplement for many issues of aging.

  • MarkPNeyer 12 days ago
    Totally feel you on the desire to help your parents take better care of themselves. Both my parents are much further along the aging process than they ought to be; my dad is 67 and in a memory unit. My mom is in bad shape as well.

    The main thing I’ve found from trying to help them be healthier: trying to change other people is generally a recipe for increasing your own stress without accomplishing much else.

    Instead of trying to change them, I’ve been focusing on trying to enjoy what time I have left with them. It’s bittersweet for sure, but I’m finding that knowing where this is all going accentuates the sweetness of being able to love my parents while they are still around.

    Best of luck to you and yours.

  • Darmody 10 days ago
    Muscles and flexibility.

    It won't increase your lifespan per se but it'll vastly increase your quality of life.

    If you were to die at 80, you'll want to be able to do something else that sitting your last years.

  • pid-1 12 days ago
    I think the best you can do is not smoking, not eating garbage, not being obese, doing medical check ups constantly and having a lot of luck. In my family older folks have consistently lived to 90s-100s despite growing up poor, never exercising nor caring about hyped vitamins.

    Also after living with my grandparents, etc. I'm positive it's more important to have a fulfilling life than a long one. At some point you're done, it's time to go.

  • tomohawk 12 days ago
    Omega3s are big. Try the algae based ones, since the fish are a few steps removed from that. And you don't want more than 4x omega6s vs omega3s. Most people in US need to boost omega3s and reduce omega6s.

    Can your parents get up off the floor with ease? Do they shuffle their feet? Age appropriate exercise will help them not break bones / fall, etc. Bob and Brad on youtube have some things to look at.

    Do your parents have inflammation? That is, do they have joint pain? Are their faces or hands puffy? Try a gluten free diet if reducing foods with omega6s does not help. A gluten free diet can only be achieved by avoiding all foods that are not certified gluten free. Even foods that should not have gluten such as oats likely have gluten cross contamination.

    For any diet change, try to limit the change and pursue it for a minimum of 2 weeks to see the impact.

    In short, aging gracefully is more about keeping an eye on deficits and managing them before they become big problems.

  • dusted 12 days ago
    Also, consider whether they actually want to. At some point, some people have had enough of life and don't want anymore, even if they're healthy (I'm not 40 yet and start to feel it ;))

    But as mentioned before, get some kids, sure they will make YOUR life comparatively miserable, but your parents will love it ^_^

  • Feritioyyyyy 12 days ago
    My suggestion: don't fall for super foods or similar promises.

    "Dietary supplement companies have aggressively marketed NMN products claiming those benefits"

    No single food is a super food.

    And yes the hard things are the things which help not the easy things.

    Make sure they have good balance, engaging environment and normal health food.

    Something plenty of people gave up on

  • cercatrova 12 days ago
    I don't think there really is anything one can do. We don't have the medical technology yet to significantly improve someone's health to a consistent degree beyond the average limit. Sure, some centenarians in Japan might live quite a while (given their birth records are correct, yet there is a growing suspicion that they may not be [0]), but I'm not sure if we can reliably, and to a statistically significant degree, make people live beyond such an age.


  • haunter 12 days ago
    Move to the Mediterranean. Eat olive oil based diet. Exercise every single day (nordic walking)
  • tjpnz 12 days ago
    There's still an open question as to whether NMN accelerates the growth of pre-existing tumours. I would be weary of recommending it to older family members unless they have a really good handle on their health and are getting regular checkups.
  • dharmaturtle 12 days ago
    I got my mother listening to The Drive with Peter Attia.

    It's probably her personality type, but she's taken to completely binging the episode archive.

    As for your parents (and anyone else honestly): major in the majors and minor in the minors. Get your diet, exercise, and sleep right first. Only then start looking for pills and supplements.

    Nothing will be as effective as these three.

    Avoid sugar as much as possible, especially liquid sugar (soda, fruit juice, icecream). Do resistance training and zone 2 cardio several days a week. Get blackout curtains.

  • ilaksh 11 days ago
    Humans need a minimum amount of UV exposure. Glass blocks almost all UV.
  • chiefalchemist 12 days ago
    How much they buy into the idea - or not - is going to impact effectiveness.

    p.s. Moi? There's also the issue of quantity v quality. In short, keep them away from the TV, social media, etc. Aging has an emotional / psychological impact. Given the current state of high profile happenings (e.g., pandemic, war, mass shootings, climate change) it's easy to get worn down and the willingness to persist goes with it.

  • anonu 12 days ago
    Don't retire...
  • braingenious 11 days ago
    I have a sincere question for people that are into longevity: Why?

    Staving off mental decline makes perfect sense, that’s not what I’m referring to.

    There are some people that seem excited to simply push the envelope as to how long they can live for through diet and pharmaceuticals, and I personally don’t really understand that.

    What is the particular appeal of e.g. living to be 130 years old?

    • johntash 11 days ago
      > What is the particular appeal of e.g. living to be 130 years old?

      Assuming you can stay mentally and physically healthy during that time, what is the downside? Why would someone _not_ want to live as long as they can?

      There is so much that has happened in the last 130 years, it'd be great to see what happens in the next 130 years.

      • braingenious 11 days ago
        I think that having a normal human lifespan encourages a person to accomplish and experience as much as they can within that timeframe. The limited nature of time is a big part of what makes it valuable, so it motivates people to find meaning.

        I suppose if I looked at say, 85 or 90 years and thought “That’s not enough time for me to figure out what’s meaningful to me and realize it. I’ll need at least another five decades.” that would seem kind of morose to me.

        • blep_ 11 days ago
          That's one sort of life philosophy. There are others.

          If I had to point out exactly where I disagree with this, I'd say I don't view "doing a meaningful thing" as a thing you do once and then you're done with life. If I can do meaningful things for a few extra decades, that's a good thing.

          • braingenious 11 days ago
            It’s not that you do a meaningful thing and then you’re done with life, it’s that since you have limited time, it’s a good reason to at least attempt finding something meaningful to pursue or accomplish.

            When I’ve talked to longevity enthusiasts in the past I’ve never really gotten a good answer to “Why?” in a philosophical or even practical sense. It’s never “Outlive my enemies” or “Finish reading Gravity’s Rainbow”, it’s generally been “To avoid dying,” which to me is a pretty depressing proposition. It’s not for something, it’s running away from something, which is kind of the opposite of a search for a meaningful life.

            • samus 11 days ago
              Not all of us need a purpose in life. Only when life gets hard do we start to wonder why we keep going on. These people are probably just happy doing whatever else they have been doing so far in their life. Maybe some of these people actually have a passion for pushing the envelope. Sort of like people that pursue fitness as a lifestyle, where one can raise the same doubts about what they are actually training and living for.
              • braingenious 11 days ago
                That’s an interesting perspective.

                I would still love to hear from somebody that is an actual longevity enthusiast rather than speculate as to their motives. As I’ve said, my previous actual conversations with longevity enthusiasts have been quite unsatisfying because I don’t buy “better telomeres for a higher number of years” as an actual pure human motivation. I would buy “a crippling fear of death” or “I want to spend every single dime I’ve ever accumulated” or “Finishing Dwarf Fortress” but the diehards always handwave and say they want to live forever… just ‘cuz.

                edit: I’ll rephrase the crux of my original question.

                Assuming you are able to find the magic potion that makes you live until 130 today, that means that you will outlive a whole lot of the planet. You’ll see people you care about die if they’re unable or unwilling to get said potion. If you reframe the question of “Who do you want to outlive and why?” then “idk lol” becomes a less understandable response.

                • blep_ 11 days ago
                  I kind of did answer your original question, but to do so more directly: I enjoy making stuff. More time to make stuff would mean more enjoyment.

                  Recently, I've been experiencing burnout that interferes with my ability to do this. It will pass, with time. But it's easier to think about that the longer my life will be, because I would have lost a smaller proportion of my limited time to it. Repeat for any other thing that one might view as wasted time, and it adds up.

                  The question you've turned this into in your last paragraph is a completely different one. I don't have any desire to outlive or not outlive any particular person. It's nice to have the company of people I like, but my sense of meaning, to the extent I have one, is unrelated to that. People move into and out of my life all the time for various reasons.

                  • braingenious 10 days ago
                    Ah I didn’t realize that you considered yourself to be a longevity enthusiast. When you said: > Maybe some of these people actually have a passion for pushing the envelope.

                    That sounded to me like you were speculating about a group rather than stating your personal stance.

                    Yes, my last paragraph is a distinct wording of the exact same question, though it is meant to cut more to the core of what I’m asking about.

                    Are you aware that during an average lifetime, you’ll see quite a few people around you die, and the longer you live the more that will happen?

                    I’ve done end-of-life care for quite a few cancer patients in their late eighties to around 100. Even the ones in relatively good shape often like to talk about the people they’ve lost, it’s a natural part of aging that can’t be abated by metformin or intermittent fasting. Ignoring it doesn’t abate it either. The older they are, the more people they’ve lost.

                    Living to 130 sounds honestly terrible to me unless you don’t have anybody you care about losing, or you’ve got people you look forward to losing. The point of living to 130 is not “living long”, it’s “living longer than [everybody/average people/some specific group].”

                    • blep_ 10 days ago
                      (You're talking to two different people and that quote wasn't from me. I would not go so far as to call myself an enthusiast, but I plan to use whatever life-extending things become available. IMO, nothing that currently exists is proven enough to bother with.)

                      I am aware that people die, and that over a longer time span more people will die.

                      I think the real philosophical difference here might be that there are no completely irreplaceable people in my life. There are people I like very much and will be very sad when they die. But there is nobody in the "life is literally not worth living without them around" category for me, and I don't expect there ever will be. I'll grieve, and then I'll continue. It has happened before, and it will happen many more times even within a normal human lifespan.

                      I do not expect this applies to everyone. My sense of meaning, to the extent I have one, is probably somewhat less dependent on interpersonal relationships than most people's.

                    • agent008t 10 days ago
                      But 'living to 130' is an option, not an obligation. You can always leave sooner if you want.
      • paulcole 10 days ago
        > Assuming you can stay mentally and physically healthy during that time, what is the downside

        First, this is a comically huge assumption. Second, it’s expensive to live. Third, it might be boring and sad to see friends/family die. Fourth, depending on age now, climate change might exacerbate the cost and misery of existing within the next 100 years.

    • askafriend 11 days ago
      I believe the thinking is that the same processes are responsible for both aspects of longevity that you point out. The same things that have the potential to increase lifespan also have the potential to increase quality of life as you age.

      You're making it seem like it's one or the other.

    • thorin 10 days ago
      This is covered in the new The Sandman series which was just released (and I assume in the graphic novel). It starts off seeming pretty good, but there are a few ups and downs...
  • MollyRealized 11 days ago
    I'll mention, regarding metformin, that although it's useful for longevity (my father is on it for diabetes and seems well), it can create some significant GI issues. If your parents are not firmly convinced of the benefits of what you're suggesting, you may encounter resistance because of those issues.
  • voldacar 12 days ago
    Rapamycin will probably be more effective than any of those. Also, resveratrol has very low bioavailability (<1%) since it has extremely low water-solubility and also doesn't survive first-pass metabolism

    Also, get them to a healthy body fat % (as measured by dexa) which is like 15% or less imo, and have them doing regular cardio.

    • copperx 11 days ago
      Rapamycin sounds exciting and really dangerous. I don't think it's a net win.
      • voldacar 11 days ago
        I think it is a net win. It's one of the only longevity drugs that has an actual significant effect. I don't think the immunosuppression is really a huge danger, there are plenty of people out there taking it and they aren't dying of weird diseases left and right
  • konart 12 days ago
    My mother (59 years old, so not so old yet) frequents the gym (at least 2 times a week). Typically for some active stretching, body-pump and body-combat group exercises. Diet helps too.

    She has a moderate heart\vessels condition so she intakes some pills prescribed.

    D3 is the only addition to this I thing.

    • pwinwood 12 days ago
      Currently a Back end C# Dev here, 65 year old, so not old yet, I also exercise regularly 2 * Body Pump, 3 * Body Combat, 2 * Sh'bam, 1 * Body Balance. I find the group exercise classes keep me sharp for work too.
  • blablabla123 12 days ago
    I think you better ask a food expert or at your local pharmacy :) I mean if there is serious concern they are low on certain nutrients, they should make a blood test. Then it's possible to change the diet if needed or add food supplements.
  • cinntaile 12 days ago
    Have good genes, eat well, sleep well, exercise and have a good social circle. Just have a healthy lifestyle basically.

    For exercise I think it is more important to do weight training than cardio, to increase or retain bone strength as this diminishes with age.

  • bilsbie 12 days ago
    The biggest thing is exercise. At least an hour a day. Mostly low impact.

    Being social is also huge.

    • copperx 11 days ago
      Being social is even bigger than exercise, I think.
  • joshxyz 12 days ago
    Consistent exercise and quality food (meats and veggies). And lots of thoughts and prayers.

    I wanna second tarun's comment. Being physically active and having social baseline helps a lot on their general well being.

  • Someone 11 days ago
    I guess they’re adults who can make up their own mind. If so, let them. Either way, feel free to talk with them, but don’t force your idea about what they should do onto them.
  • Borrible 12 days ago
    Is what you're trying to sell them what you want or what they want?
  • paulcole 10 days ago
    Have you asked them if they want to live longer? And if so, do they want your help extending their lives?

    If not, start there. You might be surprised by their answers.

  • marssaxman 12 days ago
    What a strange perspective! My parents are adults; they are responsible for their own health decisions, and will do as they please.
  • xupybd 12 days ago
    Every cancer screening you can get. Keeping at a low body fat and healthy blood pressure.
  • badinsie 12 days ago
    hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • lextuto 11 days ago
    Full disclosure: I have no medical training whatsoever.

    Exercise (a combination of cardio and resistance training) seems to be a very, if not the most important thing. That's the takeaway from two podcasts I listened too recently.

    In the first one[0] Stuart Phillips talks about how important resistance training is for older people. He also says that if you exercise then supplementing your diet with protein is really just the "sprinkling on top". Doing the exercise is far more important.

    In the second[2] one the author (who was diagnosed with MS in her 20s but is not taking any medication and is now 58) exercises every day (mostly running, 3-4 miles). The podcast was about her book in which she sums up a lot of research on diet vs exercise. The conclusion is that as long as you exercise it's not very important what you eat. You don't have to be vegan, vegetarian, or follow any other special diet. They talked about, e.g., world class athletes with completely different diets, all performing at peak levels. Again, exercise seems to be the far more important, common, denominator.

    Regarding supplements: (I took this from my personal notes, that's why there are recommendations, they are for myself [a healthy adult in middle age]. Also, I have no affiliation with any companies/products mentioned):

    # Resveratrol

    Source for Resveratrol: Source:

    Resveratrol exists in two molecular arrangements: trans- and cis-

    - Trans-resveratrol is the predominant form found in most supplements, and also the more stable (but if exposed to light, it can convert to the less-active cis-resveratrol) - Trans-resveratrol is more bioavailable if taken both in the morning and with food - More data is needed to determine resveratrol’s effect on exercise - Resveratrol activates a variety of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant response pathways - Resveratrol is a calorie-restriction mimetic

    ## Resveratrol in exercise

    The data surrounding Resveratrol and exercise is contradictory

    - At a low dose, resveratrol acts as s a mild direct antioxidant (which bind to and sequester reactive oxygen species) - This isn’t preferable – the reactive oxygen species generated during exercise are essential for cardio-respiratory adaptations - At higher doses, resveratrol seems to act as an indirect antioxidant (which activates the body’s own endogenous antioxidant systems, like glutathione)

    ## My takeaway

    - Take a higher (500mg or more per day) dose of Trans-resveratrol with lunch (because I'm currently 01/2020 still sticking to my time-restriced eating; no food between 8 PM and 12 PM).

    # Nicotinamide riboside/Nicotinamide mononucleotide

    Source: various podcasts with Rhonda Patrick, PhD.; also

    Nicotinamide riboside combined with Pterostilbene is better than N mononucleotide.

    ## Bottom line for NR

    Ideally, get Elysium Basis.

    # Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA

    Pure encapsulations EPA DHA essentials twice daily.

    Or maybe get

    [0]: Building Muscle with Resistance Exercise and Reassessing Protein Intake | Stuart Phillips, PhD FoundMyFitness

    [1]: Anastacia Marx de Salcedo — Eat like a Pig, Run Like a Horse The Michael Shermer Show

  • aaron695 12 days ago
  • not_a_sw_dork 12 days ago
  • moravak1984 12 days ago
    Longevity is wrong for the economy and for politics. Ask Prince Charles if you don't trust me.

    Just let them go, we are all going the same way anyway. Very little of value comes out of one's mind after a certain age.

  • bshepard 12 days ago
    The most immediately effective thing parents (or anyone) could do for longevity is begin to see the ground of being itself as divine, and then join a religious community of other people who see the divine life in a similar sort of way. People who belong to these kind of transcendentally oriented communities enjoy longer lives....according to SCIENCE itself.