The Anti-Aging Supplements David Sinclair Takes

David Sinclair Supplements

David Sinclair is a professor at Harvard University who has been studying aging for the better part of his academic career.

Dr. David Sinclair’s main research interest is the epigenetics of aging, with a focus on epigenetic reprogramming of aging (e.g. reversing aging via Yamanaka factors), NAD+ metabolism and sirtuins, and NAD+ precursors like NR and NMN.

You may have come across his published, New York Times best-selling book on aging, “Lifespan: Why We Age – And Why We Don’t Have To”, going deeper into those subjects (you can find our favorite longevity books here).

So what supplements does Professor David Sinclair take to live longer?

Keep in mind that to date, Dr. David Sinclair has made a point to not promote or endorse any supplement products. We compiled this list from interviews and books in which Professor David Sinclair mentions supplements he takes.

We don’t know if he still takes these supplements, or whether he takes additional supplements that are not included on this list.

For example, in his book Lifespan, he mentions on page 304 that he takes NMN and resveratrol every morning, often mixed in his yogurt.  

Based on multiple, recent interviews and his book, Dr. David Sinclair’s supplement stack probably looks as follows:

1. Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), 1g per day, in the morning

Our view: We are enthusiastic about NMN.

NMN has been shown to slow down many aspects of aging in animal studies (R,R,R,R).

NMN is a precursor to NAD+, an important metabolic molecule that many proteins need to properly carry out their function, like protecting and repairing our DNA and epigenome.

1000 mg is a high dose of NMN. 250 to 500 mg is also sufficient to benefit from NMN’s health and longevity promoting effects. In fact, studies done in humans with NMN use 250 mg per day (R,R).

It’s interesting to know that David Sinclair takes NMN and not NR (another much touted “longevity” supplement). Despite all the hype on the internet, NR does not extend lifespan (R). Professor Sinclair considers NMN to be superior to NR.

Learn more about the differences between NMN and NR here.

2. Resveratrol, 1g per day, in the morning

Our view: We are lukewarm about resveratrol. We believe pterostilbene is better.

Resveratrol is a stilbenoid found in the skin of grapes in low amounts. Studies have shown that resveratrol can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and neurodegeneration.

David Sinclair believes that resveratrol works synergistically with NMN. Resveratrol is needed to activate the sirtuin genes (which protect our DNA and epigenome), while NMN is needed to fuel the sirtuins.

However, resveratrol is difficult to be absorbed by the gut, and the little resveratrol that ends up in the body is broken down very quickly.

Therefore, pterostilbene is a better alternative. Pterostilbene is a molecule that looks very similar to resveratrol, but it is absorbed considerably better and is far more stable in the human body.

Various studies show that pterostilbene works better than resveratrol regarding anticancer, antidiabetic and cardioprotective effects (R,R,R).

3. Metformin (prescription drug): 800 mg, in the evening

Our view: We are cautiously optimistic about metformin, keeping in mind some caveats.

Metformin has shown to extend lifespan in various organisms, including mammals (R,R).

In humans, we see that diabetics taking metformin actually live longer than healthy non-diabetics who obviously don’t take metformin (R). This was not the case for diabetics on other anti-diabetic drugs.

Taking metformin can, however, have side effects. In the short-term, metformin can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort, which often subsides after a few weeks. In the long-term, metformin can reduce the uptake of vitamin B12.

Metformin probably works as a hormetic substance, meaning that it causes a little bit of damage to our cells so that our cells are put in a repair and protect modus. Metformin inhibits mitochondrial function, so the mitochondria will repair and protect themselves better.

Therefore, given exercise also “damages” the mitochondria somewhat (so that afterwards they will repair themselves, which is one of the health benefits of exercise) he does not combine metformin with exercise given that could put too much stress on the mitochondria. That is why Prof Sinclair does not take metformin on the days he exercises.

Also, recent studies suggest that perhaps very old people should not take metformin, given metformin causes too much stress on already very old and very stressed mitochondria (R).

We wrote an article about natural alternatives for metformin here.

Furthermore, David Sinclair takes metformin in the evening, before going to bed. He says this because during the night, the body is already in a fasting state and metformin could further advance this state.

However, we would recommend taking metformin always before the largest meal (ideally 20 minutes before mealtime). This way, metformin can make the body more insulin sensitive when it matters the most: during and in the hours after a meal, when mitochondria have to process the sugars and fats from the meal. This is also how metformin is ideally prescribed according to medical guidelines.

Furthermore, during the night, you are already in a fasting (insulin sensitive) state. It could be better to get the body more into an insulin sensitive state during the day too, especially when processing carbohydrates and fats after a meal.

David Sinclair takes 800 mg of metformin only once per day. We would prefer lower doses spread over the day, like 500 mg twice daily, before lunch (500 mg) and before dinner (500 mg) – not in the morning because this is when the body is already most insulin sensitive anyhow.

4. Vitamin D3

Our view: We are positive about this vitamin.

Vitamin D can extend lifespan, at least in simple organisms (R). Vitamin D can reduce the risk of various aging-related diseases. Vitamin D deficiency in humans has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin D activates many genes that confer important health benefits (R).

The dose of vitamin D that most governments advise is too low (e.g. 400 to 800 IU per day). Most vitamin D experts advise to take at least 2000 IU per day, and get your vitamin D levels checked at least every year.

Vitamin D is one of our supplements everyone should take for optimal health.

5. Vitamin K2

Our view: We like vitamin K (a lot).

Vitamin K is important not just for bone health, but also vascular and mitochondrial health. Vitamin K also improves skin appearance.

If you take vitamin D, you ideally also combine it with vitamin K2 (MK-7 is the best form): the two vitamins work synergistically.

However, taking only a few vitamins, like vitamin K and vitamin D, is not going to cut it: most people are deficient in many other vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, even when they eat healthy.

Learn more about the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients everyone should take here.

6. Statin (prescription drug) – taken since his early 20s due to family history of cardiovascular disease

Our view: We are not big fans.

Statins could lower the risk of heart disease. But there is a lot of discussion about how significant the effect of a statin is on reducing the cardiovascular risk.

Some scientists claim you should take statins if you have an increased risk of getting a heart attack (known as “primary prevention”), while others claim that you should only take statins when you’ve already had a heart attack (as “secondary prevention”).

Other studies suggest that for many people, statins don’t work very well for primary prevention.

This will likely depend on your personal genetic make-up; we see that some people react much better to statins while others derive no effect (R).

Also, not all statins are the same. Some statins seem to be able to extend lifespan in mice (like simvastatin) while other statins do not have this effect. Also, statins can have side effects, like muscle aches or neuropathy (nerve pain), and some statins more than others. 

After all, statins inhibit the production of cholesterol, a molecule that is an important component of our cell membranes, especially of neurons and muscle cells.

7. Low-dose aspirin – 83 mg per day

Our view: Neutral, but also a bit disappointed.

A low dose aspirin could reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of heart attacks, and perhaps the risk of cancer.

However, a recent large study that involved almost 20,000 participants and that lasted 4.7 years showed that a low dose of aspirin did not reduce cardiovascular disease and did not improve survival (R).

In fact, it even showed that it could actually increase cancer risk somewhat (R), despite many other studies showing that aspirin could have health and longevity benefits.

Further studies have to be conducted to sort this out.

8. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)

Our view: This antioxidant very likely does not extend lifespan in humans. In fact, it may actually even shorten lifespan.

Note: According to earlier sources, Dr. Sinclair mentioned taking alpha-lipoic acid. However, in recent interviews (done in 2022) David Sinclair didn’t specifically mention taking this supplement.

Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a strong antioxidant. There has been a bit of a hype around ALA, especially combined with acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), to slow down aging.

However, there are various studies showing that ALA does not extend lifespan or slow down aging (R).

However, alpha lipoic acid is a strong antioxidant, and scientists have learned that antioxidants could actually accelerate aging (as we explain here).

So we should not be surprised to see that in studies in which aging mice receive alpha lipoic acid their lifespans are actually shortened (R,R).

This why alpha lipoic acid is one of the anti-aging supplements you should not take.

In short, we would be careful with taking supraphysiological doses (much greater than you’d ever find in a healthy diet) of antioxidants.

9. Coenzyme Q10 (coQ10)

Our view: This antioxidant probably cannot extend lifespan in humans. It could possibly even shorten lifespan.

Note: According to earlier sources, Dr. Sinclair mentioned taking coenzyme Q10. However, in recent interviews (done in 2022) David Sinclair didn’t specifically mention taking this supplement.

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that improves mitochondrial functioning. There is insufficient scientific evidence (at least in well-conducted studies with the right disease model mice) that coenzyme Q10 can extend lifespan.

Various studies show that coenzyme Q10 does not extend lifespan (R,R,R,R). Some studies show that coenzyme Q10 can actually shorten lifespan (R).

Also, coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant. In recent years, scientists have learned that antioxidants can actually accelerate aging (for reasons described here). We would be cautious about taking strong antioxidants like coenzyme Q10 to extend lifespan.

That is also why we added coenzyme Q10 to the list of anti-aging supplements one should not take for longevity.

10. Spermidine, 1 mg per day, in the morning

Our view: We think spermidine is an interesting molecule for longevity.

Spermidine is a molecule first found in sperm, hence its name. As a supplement, spermidine is extracted from wheat-germ. It can also be found in foods like cheese, soy, legumes, and mushrooms.  

Spermidine can impact important aging-mechanisms, such as autophagy.

Studies have shown that spermidine can improve various biomarkers of health and longevity (R), and that spermidine can extend lifespan in different organisms, including mice (R).  

We wrote more about spermidine and longevity here.

11. Quercetin and fisetin, 500 mg each, once per day, in the morning

Our view: we like fisetin more than quercetin. We would also reduce the dose.

Quercetin and fisetin are very similar molecules. They are often called “senolytics”, in the sense they are assumed they can clear away senescent cells.

Senescent cells are cells that accumulate during aging and secrete substances which damage normal healthy cells (learn more here).

However, we believe the main reason why molecules like fisetin can extend lifespan is because of other effects than being a “senolytic”, such as by reducing inflammation.

For this reason, we prefer fisetin taken in lower doses (100 mg per day) and in a continuous way, instead of in higher doses (e.g. 1000 mg or more) once every month in order to “clear” senescent cells.

We prefer fisetin more than quercetin. One reason is that there are more and better studies done with fisetin showing longevity effects, such as studies in mice demonstrating that fisetin extends lifespan (R).

Learn more about fisetin and longevity here.


Of course, Dr. David Sinclair does not only rely on supplements to live longer and healthier.

He knows very well that nutrition, exercise, proper sleep and stress reduction are also very important methods to extend lifespan. How does he go about this?

1. Nutrition

David Sinclair often eats only 2 meals per day instead of 3 meals.

He drinks lots of green tea and very little alcohol.

He eats little (red) meat, and consumes lots of vegetables.

Professor Sinclair is a proponent of regular fasting.

We wrote more about Sinclair’s longevity regimen here.

You can read more about the best longevity diet (and download the poster!) here.

2. Exercise

Regarding exercise, David Sinclair runs once or twice a week, both in a low intensity and high-intensity way. He also does weight lifting once or twice a week.

3. Health tracking

Professor Sinclair uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to track how the foods he eats increase his blood sugar levels.

Examples of continuous glucose monitors are FreeStyle Libre or Levels (not sponsored).

He also does regular blood tests to track his health. We wrote about the best blood tests for longevity here.


We think that the list of supplements that David Sinclair is not bad, but can be further improved.

In this regard, we make the distinction between longevity supplements and health supplements.

Longevity supplements, like NMN, micro-dosed lithium or calcium alpha-ketoglutarate, could actually slow down aging.

Health supplements enable our body to work properly: deficiencies of them could accelerate aging.  

Find here a list of the best longevity supplements, and find here an overview of health supplements that everyone should take.

Learn more about the anti-aging supplement NOVOS Core

More about David Sinclair

Has Harvard’s David Sinclair Found the Fountain of Youth?” (Boston Magazine)

Anti-Aging Approaches (Harvard Magazine)

Why This Harvard Researcher Thinks We “Don’t Have To” Age (InStyle)

David Sinclair’s Harvard Medical School laboratory

Watch David Sinclair’s Google Talk:

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.