I’m an antiaging expert – here’s the fitness hack that will really make you live longer and common myths to bust

WE all hope to live long and healthy lives, but figuring out how can be a frustrating experience.

With so much conflicting advice, it can often be difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Molecular biologist Nicklas Brendborg wanted to get to the bottom of the matter, examining research around the world to see what nature can really tell us about aging.

His new book Jellyfish Age Backwards not only delves into the science of aging, but also explores which diet and fitness tricks can really help slow down time.

Here he reveals how tips like going to the gym really work – and which myths to avoid.

It does not work

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is hailed as the king of supplements, but it has no effect on aging.

Our largest and most rigorous studies conclude that vitamin D supplements do nothing to prevent early death.

fish oil

If vitamin D is king, fish oil is the prince. Just like vitamin D, fish oil is touted as a miracle cure.

But most of the benefits of fish oil disappear upon closer inspection. In the largest studies, people who take fish oil supplements live no longer than others.

To be fair, fish oil does a little better than vitamin D. It might lower your risk of cardiovascular disease a bit.

Red Wine/Resveratrol

Resveratrol is often cited as the source of red wine’s “anti-aging” abilities.

The problem is that red wine doesn’t slow aging after all. sorry to have to tell you

Don't rely on red wine to slow down the aging process


Don’t rely on red wine to slow down the aging processPhoto credit: Getty

The alcohol industry likes to promote this story, but it doesn’t stand up to independent scientific scrutiny. And the resveratrol molecule itself also fails in tests.

Many people take resveratrol because it’s advertised as prolonging life. But in reality, it doesn’t even extend the life of laboratory animals, let alone humans.

In fact, resveratrol could even be harmful. Studies show that it mitigates the effects of exercise, meaning you get less out of your workout.

It also raises cholesterol levels and has even led to kidney damage in some patients.

Might work


You can probably guess where this molecule was first discovered. But don’t worry – there are other sources as well.

Studies have found that mice given spermidine in their drinking water live longer than normal mice.

Blue cheese is a source of spermidine


Blue cheese is a source of spermidinePhoto credit: Getty

We also know that people who get more spermidine in their diet tend to live longer.

However, scientists are still investigating exactly how this works. Until then, eating spermidine-rich foods like wheat germ and certain beans and mushrooms may not hurt.


In the 1960s, Canadian scientists visited Easter Island, where they found a special bacterium in the soil.

This bacterium was later found to produce a compound called rapamycin, which has become a darling of aging research.

Rapamycin consistently prolongs the life of rodents and has shown promise in other animals as well—especially dogs.

In fact, it is already approved for use in humans, but in high doses in patients receiving organ transplants.

Fortunately, scientists are now trying lower doses of rapamycin as an anti-aging drug.

Probably works


The most consistent way to extend the life of laboratory animals is what is known as “calorie restriction”. Simply put, lab mice live longer when fed less.

People who follow this approach also tend to be unusually healthy: their blood pressure, cholesterol levels, immune system, and so on are perfect.

Okay, you might not burst to try it. And rightly so.

People with strict calorie restrictions also report feeling cold and tired all the time.

I guess it’s fair to say that they might not live forever, but it certainly will feel like it.

Fortunately, however, there might be a way around the downsides. It turns out that mice don’t need to be constantly calorie restricted to reap the benefits.

When mice are temporarily calorie restricted – by fasting every other day – they live almost as long as the mice that never eat enough.

We know that fasting can have several health benefits in humans too, although it should be avoided in pregnancy and in children and the elderly.


Finns love the sauna and Finnish scientists have blessed us with more studies on sauna users than we could ever have wished for.

These studies show that people who use the sauna have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a longer lifespan.

The only downside is if you are a man planning to have children in the near future – high heat reduces sperm quality.

Definitely works


I know that’s not the funniest piece of advice, but listen to me. We just can’t get around the fact that fiber is a miracle for health.

Fiber suppresses hunger and we just learned that eating less fights aging. It will also help you look better on the beach.

High-fiber foods like muesli are a surefire way to slow down your body clock


High-fiber foods like muesli are a surefire way to slow down your body clockPhoto credit: Getty

In addition, fiber reliably lowers cholesterol levels and is involved in several other anti-aging mechanisms.

You might not be too keen on eating tons of carrots, but fiber supplements also exist. These are quite convenient and have shown health benefits in clinical studies.


The true king of the health world is exercise. If it were a drug, exercise would be the most powerful medicine ever invented.

Exercise prolongs the life of laboratory animals. And in humans, life expectancy is longer all the way to the top of the fitness ladder.

Even those who are at their best live longer than those who are only in good shape.

There are too many reasons to pay attention here. However, some say exercise counteracts age-related muscle and bone loss, fights high blood pressure and high blood sugar, and even supports the immune system to stay young.

And that it leads to several beneficial changes in your cells. Among other things, switching on the cellular waste disposal and keeping the mitochondria – the power plants of the cell – young and vital.

In fact, many age-related declines can be almost completely counteracted by staying in shape. I’m an antiaging expert – here’s the fitness hack that will really make you live longer and common myths to bust

Sarah Y. Kim

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