Is aging a disease or a natural process? How can we impact aging on a cellular level? What daily habits can you implement to improve your lifespan? How does intermittent fasting impact cell function and longevity? To answer these questions and more, we sat down with world-renowned scientist in the field of aging, Dr. David Sinclair.
This Longevity by Design guest needs no introduction, but here we go! Dr. David Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is a geneticist at Harvard Medical School and a Co-founder and Co-chief editor of the journal Aging. He's an inventor on 35 patents and has received more than 35 awards and honors. We're proud to have him on our team as the Chairman of the InsideTracker Scientific Advisory Board. To say he knows a great deal about longevity would be an understatement.
In this episode of the Longevity by Design podcast, our co-hosts, Dr. Gil Blander and Ashley Reaver, are joined by Dr. David Sinclair to discuss his aging research, top tips for longevity, and interestingly, what it’s like to work in his lab. Let’s dive in.
Dr. David Sinclair, on why he became a scientist
Harvard Medical School professor of genetics, one of the leading innovators of his generation, inventor of 35 patents. So what made Dr. David Sinclair pursue this extraordinary career path? Why did he decide to become a scientist?
"I'm very curious. I like pulling things up. I like discovering things. I've got what I'm calling in my next book, the FU gene. In my family, we just don't listen to what anyone says. And if anyone has an opinion, we take the opposite stance. So that works in science. That's what you want. And so I went into science." So, with that, let's dive into Dr. David Sinclair’s research.
Is aging a disease?
According to Dr. David Sinclair, aging fits the definition of a medical condition because it causes pain, suffering, and death. Classifying aging as a disease opens up the door for incredible opportunities in the field. "If the FDA would declare aging as a medical condition, then doctors would feel comfortable prescribing medicines that would help. If aging was a medical condition, it would inspire students. It would encourage investors. And I think that we'd make a lot more progress."
Intermittent fasting turns on the body's defenses against disease and aging
Intermittent fasting has been the subject of many discussions regarding longevity, disease prevention, and health. David explains how eating less leads to slower aging, "When you fast, you turn on these defenses. And that's the reason I think they primarily work. It's not that blood flows better or just that insulin sensitivity changes. You really are turning on every cell's defenses against DNA damage, toxins, everything that causes diseases. It seems that these defenses have a way to slow down the negative effects." Check out these science-backed tips to get started with intermittent fasting.
NR vs. NMN: Which NAD precursor is better?
NAD is a small yet crucial molecule used to carry out chemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, NAD levels slowly decline as we age, so it's only natural to wonder which NAD precursor is more efficient in the fight against aging? "My view on this is that nobody really knows, and there's a lot of vested interest in making their product sound more important than others. I've studied mostly NMN, and I know in human clinical trials that it raises NAD very effectively. And so, while people can debate which is better or whether NMN gets in through this way or that way into the cell, it really doesn't matter. The question is, does it treat a disease? Does it slow down aging? Does it improve vitality?" In this episode of Longevity by Design, Dr. David Sinclair also goes on to explain what to look for in an NMN supplement, and surprisingly, how a taste test may validate its ingredients.
The relationship between stem cells and longevity
Stem cells have a unique ability to develop into many different cell types, whether muscle cells or brain cells. Dr. David Sinclair says we need stem cells to produce new cells all the time. He gives examples of how the loss of stem cells presents as aging, "When you lose stem cells, your hair goes grey. You lose hair production; your skin starts to wrinkle.” The problem with stem cell replacement is that they’re non-specific, “It's often hard to get them to go where they belong, especially in complex tissues, like the eye. But they're very important. Without them, we're not going to survive very long. What we're working on in my lab is to try and reverse the age of those stem cells so that they don't die and that you don't need to replace them." If you’re interested in learning more about stem cells and aging, check out this Longevity by Design podcast episode.
Top tips for longevity, from Dr. David Sinclair
Dr. David Sinclair suggests many practical habits to implement today to promote longevity: intermittent fasting, stress management, and good sleeping habits. "I think it's reasonable to expect that we could make it to 100 or more if you: don't smoke, eat less, eat the right foods, do some exercise, get sleep, don't stress, and have some friends around. That gives you 14 years of extra life compared to someone who doesn't do those things."
Dr. David Sinclair’s advice for emerging scientists
Dr. David Sinclair touches on how his lab is becoming a place that inspires innovation in the next generation of scientists. “We sit back, and we say, 'What are the big unsolved questions of humanity?' And then, we figure out how to solve that with new technologies and new models, which is really hard in my lab. You've got to be brave because it's risky. And you've just got to think on your feet.”
According to Dr. David, it comes with its own set of challenges. "If you come up with an experiment, you have to justify why it's important for the world and why would anyone care.”
Finally, to celebrate Dr. David Sinclair’s episode on Longevity by Design, we’d like to offer you 25% off InsideTracker’s Ultimate Test, and a Free InnerAge. Visit insidetracker.com/sinclair
Longevity by Design is a podcast for individuals looking to experience longer, healthier lives. In each episode, Dr. Gil Blander and Ashley Reaver join an industry expert to explore a personalized health journey. The show helps you access science-backed information, unpack complicated concepts, learn what’s on the cutting edge of longevity research and the scientists behind them. Tune into Longevity by Design and see how to add years to your life, and life to your years.