Longevity researcher says he’s a decade younger thanks to four habits he practices daily

Dr David Sinclair, 53, says he is a decade younger than his actual age. 

He swears by supplements, intermittent fasting, less stress and exercise. Many of his habits support health, but their role in extending life is still being studied. 

David Sinclair, a Harvard biologist and antiaging researcher, has spent over 53 years on the planet [1]. During those decades, he has made several important discoveries in longevity science, built biotech companies and acquired dozens of patents [2]. 

Per Sinclair, according to components of his DNA that reflect the aging process, he’s an entire decade younger than his ID suggests. He said that puts him in the top 2% of his peers. It wasn’t always like this for him. 

When Sinclair was in his 30s, he overate, over-drank and was overweight. However, he claims that switching to a plant-based diet and eliminating most alcohol has made a significant difference in his projected lifespan. 

“I’m predicted to live at least a decade longer than I would have if I had not done anything,” he said. There is no such thing as too late.

Although still contentious on how to estimate biological age, and Sinclair, as the co-founder of Tally Health, is interested in promoting antiaging. With this platform, consumers can repeatedly test their “TallyAge” and make lifestyle changes recommended by the company to pause or reverse their aging process [3].

Using a number of the same theories and studies as Tally Health, Sinclair calculated his own biological age. Nevertheless, many of Sinclair’s habits support healthy aging. 

Here are the things that keep him young:

Nutrition is the key to longevity

Sinclair, author of Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To, said nutrition is the key to antiaging. Each day, he drinks one to two green tea matchas prepared by his partner, nutritionist Serena Poon [4].  

Longevity researcher says he's a decade younger thanks to four habits he practices daily

According to him, it contains molecules that can prevent cancer, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea consumption, for example, has been linked to a lower risk of stomach cancer in older studies [5]. 

According to Sinclair, he also takes supplements that are rich in resveratrol, which his team’s research has found can prolong the lifespan of organisms like yeast and worms [67]. Despite the compound’s anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, heart health and brain health benefits, research on how well it can be achieved through a pill is mixed [8]. 

“If I see resveratrol in anyone’s supplement stack, they lose all credibility,” University of Washington longevity researcher Matt Kaeberlein said [9]. “It has been disproven over and over again in the longevity field, at least.”

Sinclair practices intermittent fasting 

In Sinclair’s case, he has been taking such supplements since his early 30s and has cut back on his meal frequency. Whenever possible, he tries to pack his main meal into a few hours a day and that fasting period has also had great benefits on his estimated biological age.

Emerging research suggests intermittent fasting helps increase longevity due to the way it affects cellular aging and reduces the risk of certain diseases [10]. There are ongoing studies examining how, how well and if intermittent fasting’s benefits differ from calorie restriction [11].

It is important to reduce stress and avoid jerks 

Stress management, such as setting aside “quiet times” during the day, contributes to healthy aging, according to Sinclair. “I don’t worry about problems so much,” he said. “I surround myself with people who aren’t jerks increasingly.” 

Studies show that stress can exacerbate physical health problems like heart attacks, and it also seems to shorten lifespans [12]. Dr Zach Harvanek, a Yale psychiatrist, said his team’s 2021 study found how stress contributes to aging outside of its impact on disease [13].  

The most striking finding of the study was that resilience factors, such as emotion regulation, can defend us not just from the mental effects of stress, but also from the physical effects of stress, Harvanek said.

Keeping active is also crucial to living a long life

To reduce sedentary time, Sinclair uses a standing desk to reduce the amount of time he spends sitting. The Mayo Clinic indicates that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day can offset the risk of sitting for more than eight hours a day – which is by the way as deadly as regular smoking, according to one large and widely-cited 2012 study [14]. 

It’s not just about living longer that promotes longevity, said Sinclair. You want to maximize your healthy years or extend your healthspan. 

Having chronic illness or cancer that lasts for a decade, or being frail isn’t something anyone wants, he said. “What we’re talking about is preventing or squeezing those things into the last bit of life.” [15

[1] https://sinclair.hms.harvard.edu/people/david-sinclair
[2] https://www.afar.org/irving-s-wright-award
[3] https://tallyhealth.com/
[4] https://serenaloves.com/
[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8580302/
[6] https://support.tallyhealth.com/en-US/articles/vitality-supplements-53871
[7] https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/664233
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164842/
[9] https://halo.dlmp.uw.edu/people/matt-kaeberlein/
[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8932957/
[11] https://www.uab.edu/news/research/item/13164-can-intermittent-fasting-or-calorie-restriction-slow-the-aging-process
[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137920/
[13] https://news.yale.edu/2021/12/06/stress-makes-lifes-clock-tick-faster-chilling-out-slows-it-down
[14] https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/health/a770508/is-sitting-the-new-smoking/
[15] https://www.insider.com/longevity-researcher-harvard-david-sinclair-53-biological-age-decade-younger-2023-3

Photograph: David Sinclair
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