Anti-aging simplified

A few hours ago a dear friend of mine asked me to review the supplements he was taking before he flew away to live in Germany.  To provide a context for that review I came up with a simplified explanation of what aging is and what can be done about it.  Given how complex my treatise ANTI-AGING FIREWALLS –  THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF LONGEVITY has become, I thought it might be useful for many of my readers to lay out the same simplified explanation.   

What is aging?

Aging is the lifelong accumulation of changes in the DNA surrounding our genes that result in changing gene expression.  These are called epigenomic changes, and have to do with turning our various genes off and on so to produce the observed phenomena of aging.  These phenomena can include wrinkled skin, balding hair and decreased libido.  More importantly, they include gradual but generalized deregulation of body processes, degeneration of organs and increasing susceptibility to disease processes. This increasing deregulation, degeneration and disease susceptibility may start in subtle ways around age 30 or before and gradually accelerates thereafter.  The curve of impending sickness and death becomes ever more ominous with advancing age.  Nobody dies of old age per-se.  Everybody dies of something, however, like heart failure, diabetes, cancer, stroke, pneumonia or accident, almost all of us by age 110.  We die because the epigenomic changes make the curves of our vulnerability to exactly these causes of death become steeper and steeper  – until the odds of anyone continuing to live go down to zero.  Some people with defective genes may typically die earlier and others with exceptional genes may experience the curve of degeneration slower.  See yesterday’s post paying attention to the item on Centenarian Ashkenazi Jews, but even they die off before 122.  

So, there is a program of aging.  If aging were not programmed there would be an exceptional tiny few of us who lived on to 200, 300 and even 500 and some dogs would live to 150.  Every species has such a program.  Why such a program?  Probably because evolution protects species, not necessarily members of a species.  Evolution operates so as to clear out older members of species who have already raised offspring so they won’t compete for resources with younger ones.   The aging program changes everything in our bodies.  Thousands of genes get switched off and on.  Our hormone levels decrease, our nervous systems become less responsive and so do all the body feedback systems that support us, our immune systems become progressively weaker.  We can gain too much weight; lose our strength, become susceptible to inflammatory processes, and lose eyesight, balance, memory and ability to think.  As we age, one kind of sickness can speed the deteriorative process and lead ever-more quickly to another sickness and then another.  Things that we could fight off quickly in youth become ever-more deadly.  A minor cold can lead to pneumonia and death.  A splinter in a finger can lead to a MRSA infection, hospitalization and death. What are the aspects of the aging program and how do they work?  These are complicated topics treated in my treatise and many earlier blog entries.   

Anti-aging strategies 

The anti-aging strategies available to us are few, including:

o    Avoid causes of accelerated aging

o    Pursue lifestyle habits that are known to slow aging

o    Pursue activities that are known to slow down, reduce the probabilities of or prevent the major diseases and deteriorative processes of aging.

o    Take supplements or pursue activities that might possibly affect the basic program of aging, so as to slow it down or even conceivably stop or reverse it. 

I will comment on these only briefly here since I have discussed each extensively elsewhere. 

o    Avoid causes of accelerated aging 

This includes such things as avoiding excess stress, exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals, smoking, unnecessary exposure to diseases, living in a smog-filled city and eating too much meat. 

o    Pursue lifestyle habits that are known to slow aging 

This includes exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, eating healthy diets, keeping mentally challenged and also includes having an even temperament, enjoying an active social life, living with a mate and even having an active sex life.    Regarding these first two strategies, for a more complete list please see The Anti-aging lifestyle Regimen section of my treatise which contains numerous “conventional wisdom” suggestions for keeping yourself young.  Also, a great many past blog entries are relevant such as Recent research on the Mediterranean diet, and Mental exercise and dementia in the news again.  Some of the food suggestions are for things I really like.  For example see the blog entries Health and longevity benefits of dark chocolate and Blueberries and health.  These everyday-life suggestions are not just based on folk wisdom.  They are backed up my many large-population studies.  What you do and what you eat constantly reprograms your genes and affects your epigenome.  See my blog post Who is doing gene reprogramming?   

o    Pursue activities that are known to slow down, reduce the probabilities of or prevent the major diseases and deteriorative processes of aging.

An example is taking antioxidant supplements when confronted with a necessity for having an extensive medical radiological exam.  See the blog entry Medical radiation risk – you can do something about it. Many of the lifestyle suggestions mentioned above have a similar effect.  In the blog entry Nrf2 and cancer chemoprevention by phytochemicals, I point to research reports looking at mechanisms through which food substances rich in phytochemicals (e.g. coffee, chocolate, turmeric, olive oil, broccoli, red hot peppers, green tea, garlic, blueberries, rosemary, oregano, and sage) are cancer-preventative. Also, the taking of many dietary supplements such as those found in my anti-aging Supplement regimen falls in this category.  For example, curcumin, resveratrol, lycopene, olive leaf extract and ashwagandha are among the substances found in the Susceptibility to Cancer Firewall.   Omega-3 oils, resveratrol, curcumin, chromium piclonate, L-theanine, quercetin, Vitamin A, and green tea extract are among the supplements in the Susceptibility to Cardiovascular Disease Firewall.   Complete lists of the supplements in the firewalls for each of the 14 theories of aging are contained in the treatise. 

o    Take supplements or pursue activities that might possibly affect the basic program of aging, so as to slow it down or even conceivably stop or reverse parts of it. 

Here we are dealing with the frontiers of science and only a few things are known now that that might work above and beyond normal lifestyle interventions and taking “the usual” supplements.  As already listed in my treatise,  I see the following as possibly able to contribute to extraordinary longevity, listed in order of increasing sophistication: 

         Use of combinations of green tea, curcumin, chocolate, ashwagandha, and other phyto-substances for their powerful cancer-preventative effects and cardiovascular benefits that operate through genetic mechanisms.

         Use of r-alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine to address cell mitochondrial longevity and inhibit unwanted cell apoptosis (self-destruction).

         Use of resveratrol or resveratrol homologs to activate the SIRT1 and FOXO3 “longevity” genetic pathway, the pathway known to confer life extension due to calorie restriction.

         Use of astragaloside IV or cycloastragenol to activate telomerase expression in stem and progenitor cells as well as regular body cells.  The purpose is to enhance the life spans of these cells, to enhance the ability of somatic stem cells to divide and differentiate to renew regular body cells, to thereby slow epigenomic aging, and to confer longevity to body organs and systems. My readers will find many blog entries related to telomeres and telomerase.

I don’t know how much additional average longevity taking these supplements will confer.  We base our faith in these substances on molecular biology studies, on studies of gene activation pathways, on studies of the life spans and health of small animals, and on studies of disease processes.  It is far too early to see studies of the impacts of taking these substances in large human populations over periods of years.I have a great deal of faith that as time progresses we will see more and more potentially powerful interventions against aging based on emerging discoveries in molecular biology, stem cell biology and genomics.  I write this blog because I want to be there to report them.

About Vince Giuliano

Being a follower, connoisseur, and interpreter of longevity research is my latest career. I have been at this part-time for well over a decade, and in 2007 this became my mainline activity. In earlier reincarnations of my career. I was founding dean of a graduate school and a university professor at the State University of New York, a senior consultant working in a variety of fields at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chief Scientist and C00 of Mirror Systems, a software company, and an international Internet consultant. I got off the ground with one of the earliest PhD's from Harvard in a field later to become known as computer science. Because there was no academic field of computer science at the time, to get through I had to qualify myself in hard sciences, so my studies focused heavily on quantum physics. In various ways I contributed to the Computer Revolution starting in the 1950s and the Internet Revolution starting in the late 1980s. I am now engaged in doing the same for The Longevity Revolution. I have published something like 200 books and papers as well as over 430 substantive.entries in this blog, and have enjoyed various periods of notoriety. If you do a Google search on Vincent E. Giuliano, most if not all of the entries on the first few pages that come up will be ones relating to me. I have a general writings site at and an extensive site of my art at Please note that I have recently changed my mailbox to
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Anti-aging simplified

  1. Jayne says:

    Just a personal observation, for me it has been helpful to change my thinking when cooking to think of food as a way to deliver heaps of herbs and spices, rather than as adding them as an afterthought. That way I always grate up the ginger, add the garlic and onions and turmeric, chop in some fresh herbs… and it all tastes really good and has lots of extra nutrient density. PS Happy 80th, I love your website and blog

  2. admin says:


    Sounds so good my mouth is watering. And thank you so much for the birthday greeting and comments on my blog. Your contributions bring vitality to the discussion.
    Any special recipies you might want to contribute?

  3. Matthew says:

    Simplified anti-aging must include a longevity mindset. Breakthrough the cultural mindset that defines who you must be and do at various ages throughout your life. Middle age should not begin until after 60 years of age is one prime example. The Hayflick Limit defines human lifespan as 120 years. Why do so few of us reach that golden age? I believe that what we think is also a critical element to consider in the longevity equation. Make an effort to think and behave as if you will live for 120 years or more. What changes would you make right now and over time? Be well and live long.

  4. admin says:


    Your points are excellent. Personally, at 80 now I am looking forward to entering middle age for the second time when I get to be around 145. Living healthily and productively to about 245 years has been a context for my life for 16 years now and this context informs everything I do. Among other things, the context has supported me to delve deeply into anti-aging science as a new full-time career about two years ago.

    Welcome as a contributor to this blog! Are you the person behind the website ?


  5. Matthew says:

    Yes, that is me. I added a forum to my site. Please consider adding your voice to the topics. You are an excellent researcher and author in this area.

  6. Matthew says:

    Hi Vince. What have you heard about astralagus? I have read some life extension researchers who are suggesting that taking that herb may be as effective as the expensive TA-65 drug from Geron. Any thoughts? Have you heard about the telomerase lengthening benefits of astralagus?

    P.S. I just turned 43. I sure hope to break through 120 years some day. By then I suppose we should have biostasis options to let us sleep deeply and allow for whole body regeneration. At the least, it could allow us to “sleep” into the future when more options will be available.

  7. Matthew says:

    sorry for the misspelling. I meant to say “telomere lengthening benefits of astralagus.” The herb seems to activate telomerase which is important in maintaining the length of the telomere. I know you know that but just a clarification for your readers.

  8. admin says:


    Regarding astragalus, there is quite a story relating it to TA-65, cycloastragenol, astragaloside, etc. I have written about this extensively in my treatise and in many blog entries. I suggest you have a look at the post
    Telomerase activators – what do they really do? at
    For more, just do a blog search on astragalus. Personally, I am now taking both astragalus supplements and 10mg a day of cycloastragenol.

  9. admin says:

    Matthew and readers:

    Maatthew’s site is at
    You can also get there by clicking on his name in the blog post.

    My sense is that Matthew’s blog features a lot of aging news and anti-aging news and feature articles and is targeted to a general audience. This blog, by contrast, is more oriented towards professionals and science-minded people who want to penetrate through the commercial hype and understand the changing scene of what science knows and does not know at the moment. This requires hard intellectual work. While I write general posts, most are technical and some very technical in nature. And, I do not accept advertising. Anti-aging is a great and growing field and there is plenty of room for all of us.

    I will contribute something there soon, Matthew. At the moment I am experiencing overload due to the incredible success of this blog and related personal exposure. I will be traveling, speaking and writing more in professional media as well as keeping up with more and more intelligent comments. Right now, there are about 1,400 different blog visitors a day who stay to view at least two pages and viewership has about a 20% monthly growth rate.


  10. admin says:


    At 43 you indeed have a much better shot at breaking the 120 year age barrier than I do now at 80. Nontheless I am going for it. Are you free on Nov 17 2049? I want you to come to my 120th birthday celebration.


Leave a Reply