Reversing biological age: Longevity researcher reveals his age-defying morning routine!

The antiaging researcher David Sinclair says he’s reversed his ‘biological age’ by 10 years.

In an interview with GQ, the 54-year-old Harvard biologist David Sinclair revealed that, as a result of a series of lifestyle interventions, his biological age has been decreasing year-on-year for the past decade. The result of this is that David’s biological age – how old your cells and organs are, rather than the number of candles on your last birthday cake – is now 10 years younger than his chronological age [1].

Longevity – extending both your lifespan and healthspan – is determined by a variety of factors including genetics, lifestyle and environment, and while you might not be able to much to change your DNA, there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make for a longer, healthier life. Unhealthy habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and limited physical activity can all negatively impact longevity, but even small changes can help you live healthier.

David Sinclair is a longevity expert with a slew of scientific papers to his name, so why not take a leaf out of his longevity book? He has previously spoken about his ‘habits for longevity’ which include following a plant-based diet, avoiding dairy and alcohol, periods of fasting, keeping an eye on stress and making sure to exercise regularly.

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David Sinclair’s morning routine

However, in his interview with GQ, David revealed he sticks to a morning routine that centers on oral health and nutrition. He kicks off by rinsing his mouth with coconut oil, which, he says, improves his mouth microbiome. Next up is a morning beverage – hot water with lemon. The citrus fruit lemon is packed with vitamin C and drinking hot water with a few slices of lemon in often features in health tips; some people credit it with improving their complexion, reducing bloating or detoxing the body. And, of course, staying hydrated is always a good plan, health-wise!

Sinclair also told GQ he brushes his teeth with nontoxic toothpaste, although he didn’t reveal the brand.

hot water with lemon

Although David still considers himself to be fasting, he does grab a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt in the morning. And while many people top their yogurt with berries, honey or nuts, David told GQ his topping of choice is polyphenols!

Polyphenols are a class of compounds found in many plant foods, and one particular polyphenol you might have heard of is resveratrol. Found in red wine, resveratrol thought to have a range of benefits, including being anti-inflammatory and promoting heart and brain health. Work undertaken in Sinclair research lab has discovered evidence that resveratrol has has life extension benefits for model organisms such as yeast and worms [2]. Research on the benefits for humans is still underway, but David Sinclair has been taking them for about 15 years, he says [3].

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A fan of intermittent fasting, David Sinclair often doesn’t eat again until dinner time, only occasionally indulging in a small salad at lunchtime [3]. Intermittent fasting (or IF) means restricting food, in a nutshell. The concept is that when you designate more time to digest food, you are technically allowing your body to use your stored fats to convert as energy. Although glucose from carbohydrates is used mainly as a fuel source, your body will burn fat for energy when glucose is not available. Usually, this happens when you are eating less food. Moreover, alternate eating and fasting can help you boost your metabolism. 

Staying hydrated is important, as we’ve mentioned, and David told GQ he keeps his levels topped up with a couple of green matcha teas (more polphenols, including the cancer-preventing ECGC catechins) and water and hot tea throughout the day.

Matcha is richer in catechins that standard green tea, molecules that act a natural antioxidants, and can help reduce cell damage and prevent age-related diseases. Matcha can also boost brain function, promote heart health and help protect the liver.

But longevity isn’t just about diet – it’s about exercise, too! But getting regular exercise is probably tricky when you are a top longevity researcher, so one solution, David Sinclair told GQ, is a standing desk. David explains that he has two such desks, one at home and one at his office at Harvard.

“I do my best not to sit down throughout the day,” he said [3].

Strength training is important for longevity, and David told GQ he tries to lift weights three times a week, and amplifies his routine with running and walking. Research has shown that both strength training and exercise that gets the heart pumping – aerobic cardiovascular exercise – are important for both fitness and longevity. Little changes can add up, even if you are busy – parking at the far end of the car park, taking the stairs over the elevator, walking those last 5 minutes home at a faster pace – these can all help you on your longevity journey.

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