The Bulletproof Plan to Age Backward and Maybe Even Live Forever
About Dave Asprey
Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and a professional biohacker. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Game Changers, Head Strong and The Bulletproof Diet. Finally, he is creator of Bulletproof Coffee and the host of Bulletproof Radio, the Webby Award-winning, number one–ranked podcast. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
Super Human has several tips to maximize your health, reverse aging and stay young.
In his late twenties, author Dave Asprey began to suffer from the countless signs of aging. So, he sought to feel and look younger as each birthday passed. For more than twenty years, Asprey researched how to improve his body, mind and spirit from science-backed therapies to maintaining proper diet and exercise. Now in his forties, Asprey is healthier, smarter and fitter than he’s ever been. While the average person believes middle-age is the start of decline, Asprey’s research suggests that aging is optional. Using simple interventions like diet, sleep, light and exercise, you can decelerate the signs of aging. Unleash your body’s ability to heal and rejuvenate from the inside out.
Mitochondria and The Four Killers
Asprey believes you must first understand how the body works. As you age, your daily habits and genetics can lead to one of the four biggest killers: heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer. All four are produced by damage to your cells which have accumulated over your lifetime. That said, Asprey argues that the four killers can be avoided by treating our bodies well. You must understand how aging works on a cellular level, regardless of your genes and predisposing conditions.
Aging is related to your mitochondria. Mitochondria are tiny bacteria inside our cells that extract energy from the food we digest and power our energy production. As we age, our mitochondria function begins to decline steadily and causes an increase in reactive oxygen species known as free radicals. An increase in free radicals leads to chronic inflammation, making us more susceptible to suffering from one of the four killers.
To highlight the negative impact of free radicals, Asprey describes how they influence your risk of heart disease. Inflammation is one of the leading causes of heart disease. When the tissue that lines the inside of your arteries becomes damaged, the body allows fats in the blood to reach the wall in our arteries, forming plaques (localized damaged areas). This process triggers an immune response in which a type of protein, cytokines, are released. Crucially, cytokines are inflammatory, causing plaques to rupture and form blood clots. Blood clots are heavily associated with stroke and heart attacks.
Asprey notes there is a way to reduce the number of free radicals in our bodies. The key is antioxidants. So, if you’re hoping to remain young, you should increase the number of antioxidants you consume to eliminate free radicals. Good sources include berries, dark chocolate, coffee, tea, herbs and spices. Many cities also offer antioxidant therapy via IV to help curb the free radicals in your body.
“The biggest game changer here is eating foods that boost the efficiency of your mitochondria, so they can make more energy and your body has the raw goods it needs to manufacture all the proteins, hormones, and fatty acids they require to function.” – Dave Asprey
How to Eat To Avoid Disease and Aging
While eating foods rich in antioxidants will certainly help you eliminate the free radicals in your body, you’ll need to transform your diet further to become superhuman and stop the aging process. First, avoid grains like wheat and gluten. Wheat produces gastrointestinal distress, a form of inflammation. The result is an increased chance of autoimmune diseases. Wheat also produces an excess of the protein, zonulin, which causes undigested food, bacteria and toxins to enter our bloodstream. These bacterial toxins are called Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) and they cause inflammation throughout the entire body.
Another issue is many grains are sprayed with the herbicide Roundup, which contains glyphosate. Glyphosate has many negative effects, including triggering inflammation. Glyphosate is present in most US products made from corn, grains, meat and many animal products, including milk and cheese. To avoid glyphosate, try to buy organic products.
The type of meat you consume is equally important. For instance, charred or deep-fried meat will increase your risk of heart disease and cancer. So, they should be avoided. Additionally, you should avoid industrially-raised animals that are treated with antibiotics. When shopping, you should look for proteins from grass-fed animals and wild fish.
We need fats for many reasons, including reproductive health, brain function, temperature regulation and shock absorption. That said, you should eat the ‘right’ fats. Eating poly-unsaturated omega-3 fats is essential for anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits. You can find the best omega-3 fats in cold-water fish like mackerel and salmon. These omegas are also found in walnuts and olive oil.
Conversely, omega-6 fats are highly inflammatory and should not be consumed in excess. Some common sources of omega-6 include poultry and refined oils like canola, corn, sunflower, soybean and vegetable oils. These foods will increase your risk of many health issues. Instead, use an alternative like coconut and olive oils for cooking and making salad dressings.
The Benefits of Producing Ketones
Watching what you eat is important, but you can increase your likelihood of becoming superhuman by regulating when you eat as well. To obtain the energy your brain needs to function, your body burns food to use as fuel. That food is typically glucose, but your body can also use chemical compounds called ketones. Your body goes into a state of ketosis when there is a lack of blood sugar available to burn. So, your body is to break down its stores of fat for energy.
At the end of every fasting cycle, your body naturally produces ketones. This usually occurs in the morning as people have typically gone 7-8 hours not eating. However, most people don’t fast long enough to take full advantage of ketosis. By extending your daily fast, you can reduce your inflammation levels, triglyceride levels and cancer risk. Many people adopt intermittent fasting in their routine, which means restricting your eating to a six- to eight-hour period each day. There are many benefits to fasting, including a boost to your brain’s neuroplasticity, which is its ability to grow and adapt. Asprey argues the greatest benefit is an increase in metabolites. These substances help boost antioxidant levels in your body.
While ketones burn more efficiently than glucose, keeping your body in ketosis can lead to insulin resistance. So, it’s crucial to practice ketosis intermittently and maintain your metabolic flexibility, enabling you to burn both glucose and ketones. To achieve cyclical ketosis, you should cycle in and out of ketosis periodically. This is ideally done weekly. The key is to eat a high-fat diet and limit yourself to eating 150 grams of low-sugar carbs just one or two days a week. You’ll also want to add “energy fats.” Coconut oil is composed of fatty acids that introduce ketones into your body even in the presence of carbs.
The Importance of Sleep and Light Exposure
“Making small changes in your environment can really ramp up what’s possible for you. Perfection not required.” – Dave Asprey
Insufficient sleep directly increases your risk of dying from one of the four killers. Quality sleep helps prevent cognitive decline and promotes skin health. Sleep also controls insulin secretion, which reduces your risk of diabetes. So, what’s the ideal amount of sleep? Well, anything less than six hours causes an imbalance of hormones. It increases the amyloid proteins in your brain, which are directly associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Conditions like sleep apnea, also caused by dysfunctional mitochondria, increase your risk of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
The first step to sleeping better is avoiding blue lights. With the amount of time we spend looking at our smartphones, laptops and television screens, we are subjecting ourselves to more harm than we realize. Blue light suppresses your ability to produce melatonin, the hormone that signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. As we continue looking at screens, our bodies think it’s daytime all the time. Blue light also creates excess free radicals in our eye cells, which damage our eyesight over time and even triggers a spike in glucose levels, leading to high blood sugar and diabetes.
While these risks may appear scary, there are ways to reduce your exposure to blue light without isolating yourself from the modern world. Two hours before bed, turn off all your screens. Use blackout curtains and switch to amber or red bulbs at night, or simply dim your existing lights with a dimmer switch. You can also use blue blocker glasses and utilize night mode on your smartphone to filter the white light from your screen. Being exposed to artificial light 24/7 is just as harmful as gazing at our phones all day. So, step outside and try to get twenty minutes of sunlight each day to balance your exposure to artificial lights.
Exposing yourself to red or infrared light through light therapy can help you restore, repair and protect damaged, old tissue. Red light therapy activates stem cells while also improving mitochondrial function, which increases the amount of energy your mitochondria produce. Asprey notes that red light therapy also increases nitric oxide levels which supports your body’s circulation. Circulation ensures the cells in your body are nourished with blood, oxygen and nutrients. Lastly, this light therapy can also help treat muscle fatigue and injuries.
There are a few ways to access red/infrared light therapy. You can either see a doctor specializing in light therapy or try an infrared sauna to help detoxify your body and improve your mitochondrial function.
Reverse Aging By Removing Toxic Metals
“High-performing people know that getting their food right is the number one human upgrade,” – Dave Asprey
Metals like arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are all present in the foods we eat. Additionally, metals like aluminum, thallium, nickel and even uranium appear frequently in our bodies in high concentrations. Having an excess of metals in our bodies can become toxic and prevent our bodies from functioning optimally. For example, an excess amount of lead hardens our arteries. It increases our blood pressure, leading to heart disease and stroke.
Thallium is everywhere in U.S. soil and fuel. This means Americans consume thallium when they eat vegetables like kale and cabbage. Mercury is found in fish from the ocean. While we need fish for omega-3 fats, eating too much fish can cause excess mercury in our bodies. Mercury can also be present in fillings that you get from the dentist and the fluorescent bulbs used in many public places. Mercury causes high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and neurotoxicity. So, learning how to detox your body from harmful metals is essential for preventing premature aging.
The first detox method is consuming glutathione. Glutathione is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants. With the ability to protect your body from heavy metal damage, glutathione also keeps mercury from entering cells, boosts immunity, reinforces your mitochondria and contributes to optimal brain function. But glutathione isn’t the only powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C is perhaps the most impactful antioxidant. Vitamin C raises antioxidant levels in red blood cells by recycling used glutathiones and detoxing the body of lead.
Consuming activated charcoal in capsule form allows your body to detox from metals through a process called binding. When charcoal is consumed, it binds to chemicals in the body, which has a positive charge. Naturally, your body will dispose of these chemicals after the charcoal attaches to them. For example, when you eat foods that contain metals, activated charcoal binds to these toxic metals before they have the opportunity to adhere to your cells. That said, because charcoal binds to many substances, it will also bind to prescriptions and vitamins. So, activated charcoal should only be consumed an hour or more before other medications and supplements.
“Fine-grade charcoal is twice as effective as normal grade. In fact, finer particles are proved to bind to the most carcinogenic substance known to man, the mold toxin aflatoxin. I take these capsules almost every day on an empty stomach as part of my overall anti-aging strategy and as a way to continuously detox from chemicals, pesticides, and some heavy metals.” – Dave Asprey
Sweating also helps you get rid of heavy metals. Sweating through exercise is the preferred method of detox because it also helps break down fat tissue that heavy metals are stored in. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves intense bursts of exercise followed by rest periods, is recommended one to two times per week to boost fat breakdown. Be sure to allow your body recovery for a few days between your HIIT workouts.
Improve Your Hormone Levels
Western society has been trying to solve the “hormone problem” for years. Kellogg and Graham invented cornflakes as a way to curb masturbation and suppress the male libido. While the cereal itself hasn’t solved any problems, the prevalence of low-fat grains in today’s Western diet has likely contributed to a decline in testosterone. As we age, our body also produces fewer pre-hormones which convert into testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. In other words, our diets and aging greatly contribute to a hormonal imbalance that causes aging, weight gain, poor sleep and even sexual dysfunction.
Post-menopausal women experience a decline in hormones like estrogen. Estrogen is vital for preventing cancer, bone loss and heart disease. This is why both men and women need to have healthy amounts of this hormone in their bodies. Testosterone helps both men and women burn fat, build muscle and maintain a healthy sex drive. When testosterone levels are too low, people can begin to experience osteoporosis, mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s and even heart attacks.
One way to get your hormones back on track is through hormone replacement therapy or HRT. Unlike synthetic hormones, bio-identical hormones are preferable because they are molecularly identical to your body’s hormones. While bio-identical hormones are preferred, they don’t receive as much funding for research as synthetic hormones. This simply means that synthetic hormones are more readily available. So, if you decide to undergo any form of HRT, it’s best to do so under the supervision of a specialist.
Suppose hormone replacement therapy isn’t available for you, you can try to regain control of your hormones at home through diet and exercise. For example, your body uses cholesterol to produce your sex hormones. This is why it’s important to avoid low-fat, low-cholesterol diets. Studies show that men who eat cholesterol, monounsaturated fat and saturated fats have higher testosterone levels than men who follow a low-fat diet. Conversely, foods high in carbohydrates deplete your hormones, specifically testosterone. You can naturally boost your testosterone by eating the right fats, getting enough vitamin D and taking a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement.
As well as diet, you should also be aware of the types of products you use at home. Popular shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, lotions, and shaving creams contain chemicals that disrupt our hormonal functioning. The worst offenders are phthalates and parabens. By avoiding products with these chemicals, you can help control your hormones and get them back on track.
Finally, proper exercise should also be implemented to maintain healthy hormone levels. As well as strength training sessions, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is effective for increasing testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) levels in both men and women.
Stay Young With Stem Cell Treatments
Stem cell research began as early as the 1980s. Still, because it was deemed unethical for many reasons, the practice was halted. But, scientists would soon discover the power of stem cells. Stem cells can maintain and repair tissues,helping heal the damaged tissue when you suffer an injury. As you age, your stem cell reserve becomes depleted and your remaining cells become less efficient. So, people who wish to stop the aging process believe stem cell treatment is critical for longevity.
Stem cell treatments don’t come cheap. In an operation that currently costs thousands of dollars, professionals can harvest the stem cells that are concentrated in your body’s bone marrow and subcutaneous fat. By extracting the stem cells and re-injecting them into your body, you can reduce inflammation and begin healing from the inside out. Asprey underwent his first stem cell treatment in 2015 when his doctor injected stem cells into his shoulder and upper back, which he injured as a teenager. He also had stem cells injected into his face to boost collagen and his reproductive organs to increase blood flow and nerve endings. According to Asprey, the procedure was worth the investment as he saw an overall improvement in his health and sleep quality.
This type of treatment is not widely available throughout the United States. Regulations in the country are incredibly strict, but it is legal to freeze your own stem cells to use for a later date. By freezing them at a younger age, you preserve your young stem cells and can use them to remain youthful as you age.
Heal Your Skin and Hair
Suffering from gray hair, balding and wrinkles is a natural part of aging. Still, you can prevent these natural signs through proper treatment.
As you get older, collagen production slows down, leading to many signs of aging. These signs include fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and acts as a building block for your teeth, bones, muscles, skin and all other connective tissues. So, it’s more efficient to work from the inside out. In other words, buying those expensive eye creams won’t help much when you’re ignoring the collagen inside your body. By supplementing collagen with grass-fed or pastured collagen protein powder, about 10 grams a day, you can help your skin look younger, reduce joint pain, boost cartilage density and decrease spinal pain.
Cryotherapy can also increase collagen production and protect the collagen that you have. By exposing your skin to steep temperature drops, you can increase the production of antioxidants that fight the free radicals that age your skin. Cryo Facials can boost collagen production and give yourself a more youthful appearance. If professional therapies are out of the budget, simply taking more cold showers can help too. Exposure to cold temperatures stimulates mitochondria and circulation in your skin. Shower your face and neck with the coldest water coming out of your shower for one minute. While uncomfortable at first, your body will get used to it after just three days because your mitochondria will adapt and produce more heat and energy.
As well as boosting collagen, your diet can help combat wrinkles. By consuming foods that are high in antioxidants and polyphenols like vegetables, dark chocolate and coffee, you can fight aging signs. One of the body’s most potent antioxidants, catalase, helps fight the graying of your hair. Catalase breaks down hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water, which affects the production of melanin in your hair follicles that give your hair its color. The more catalase, the more melanin in your hair. You can eat catalase-rich foods like celery, cucumbers, broccoli and radishes. Alternatively, you can increase catalase production by taking antioxidants like ashwagandha, vitamin E and curcumin.
Perhaps you suffer from balding. If that’s the case, then you should look into shampoos that block DHT. DHT is a sex hormone that causes hair follicles to shrink, which ultimately leads to baldness. DHT-blocking shampoos are preferable to pharmaceutical drugs due to less side effects. Hair loss is also linked to stress, which can be managed by exercise and meditation. Finally, hair loss can result from hormonal imbalance. By having a doctor look at your T3 and RT3 thyroid hormones, you can begin to regain control of your body and hair loss.
“It’s a lot easier to avoid damage to your mitochondria than it is to reverse it later.” – Dave Asprey
Final Summary of Super Human
The secret to staying young forever is understanding your mitochondria and making lifestyle choices that help increase their production and efficiency. Through proper diet, exercise, supplements and therapies, you can find what works for you and begin aging backward. Not only that, you can even reverse cellular damage, remove toxic metals and balance your hormones which all contribute to the aging process. Begin by practicing a cyclical ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, track your hormone levels and implement proper diet and exercise to improve your quality of life. Eventually, you’ll not only feel younger, but you’ll look younger as well.
Comment below and let others know what you have learned or if you have any other thoughts.
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