Longevity hackers are people who use the best scientific insights and data-driven approaches to slow down aging in order to improve their healthspan and lifespan.
In essence, longevity hackers want to slow aging to stay young and healthy for as long as possible.
In fact, longevity hackers don’t just want to slow down aging.
They also want to reverse aging. Recent studies have shown that it’s possible to reverse aging (more on that below).
Longevity hacking philosophy
Longevity hackers realize that aging is the root cause of most of the diseases they will sooner or later be afflicted with.
These are aging-related diseases, such as heart disease, dementia, osteoporosis, cancer and macular degeneration.
Longevity hackers realize that after age thirty, the gradual loss of strength, brain power, energy, muscle mass, eyesight, supple skin, hearing, mobility and autonomy are all mainly caused by aging.
Longevity hackers realize that the best way to keep themselves healthy for the longest time possible is by going after the root cause of these diseases and afflictions: aging itself.
What are longevity hackers targeting?
Longevity hackers realize that the same processes that cause aging also cause heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer and many other aging-related diseases and symptoms.
Examples of these fundamental aging processes are epigenetic dysregulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, protein accumulation, genomic instability and others.
These processes cause aging, and also heart disease, dementia and other aging-related diseases. You can learn more about the cause of aging here.
Longevity hackers try to slow down these fundamental aging processes via nutrition, supplements, medication, exercise, sleep optimization, and many other lifestyle and health hacks and interventions.
What’s the difference between biohackers and longevity hackers?
Longevity hackers are biohackers.
However, longevity hackers focus more on aging and maintaining youth compared to biohackers.
Importantly, longevity hackers often have a better understanding of aging than biohackers.
This is a very important difference.
There are many biohackers with little or no thorough understanding of aging. This leads them to follow or advise various treatments that do not slow down aging, or may even accelerate aging.
Given aging is the root cause of aging-related diseases, and optimal health is in fact optimal youthfulness (we are the healthiest when we are young), being little informed about aging can lead to various “biohacks” that are believed to be healthy but actually in the long term accelerate aging.
For example, some biohackers follow high-animal protein based diets (e.g., a paleo diet, Atkins diet or Dukan diet). In the short term, these biohackers feel good with such a diet: they lose weight, improve cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.
However, insights into aging show that high levels of animal protein accelerate aging in the long term (R,R,R,R,R,R,R).
Another example is when biohackers take various supplements that have not been shown to extend lifespan, or that have been shown to actually accelerate aging (as we explain here and here). There are only very few supplements that have been shown to slow down aging.
Other biohackers cause too much stress in their bodies, via exercising too much or exposing themselves to stressors like extreme heat and cold. While a little bit of stress can be healthy (due to a process called “hormesis”), too much stress can damage the body and accelerate aging.
The movie “Longevity Hackers” highlights various approaches to longevity, but while these often extreme approaches make good for an entertaining video, we think many of these approaches are actually not that good or interesting for longevity.
There are better ways to extend lifespan, such as specific diets, longevity supplements, specific forms of exercise (while not over-exercising), fasting, proper sleep, and others.
A proper understanding of the aging process can help us to much better assess the long-term effects of interventions aimed at extending lifespan, such as nutrition, supplements, exercise and many more.
Longevity hackers believe that all interventions that improve longevity and extend lifespan are automatically healthy.
That’s why longevity hacking is the ultimate form of biohacking. After all, biohackers and longevity hackers share the same underlying goal: to live a long, healthy life.
What do longevity hackers do to extend lifespan?
Longevity hackers follow a longevity diet. This is a set of food patterns associated with longer lifespan.
Such a diet does not trigger for example “nutrient sensing pathways” like insulin, IGF and mTOR receptors, which are sensors in the cell that sense nutrients like glucose and amino acids (from the protein we consume) and can accelerate aging.
Their diet consists of many foods that contain substances that protect the DNA, help to maintain the epigenome, reduce inflammation, improve the gut microbiome, boost metabolism, reduce protein accumulation, and so on.
They follow a low-glycemic index diet that does not cause high sugar peaks. They avoid too much animal protein. If they do eat animal protein, they replace red meat (e.g., beef, pork, veal, mutton) with white meat or fatty fish.
They also fast regularly, but they make sure they fast properly and that the fasting does not further aggravate deficiencies in important micronutrients.
Learn more about longevity diets here.
Longevity hackers know the difference between health supplements and longevity supplements.
They take health supplements to make sure they are not deficient in important vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients (most people are deficient in at least a few of these).
They also take longevity supplements that have been scientifically shown to extend lifespan.
Some longevity hackers take off-label prescription drugs that could extend lifespan, such as metformin, rapamycin, selegiline, and others.
However, for many of these drugs further research is necessary to see if they can also extend lifespan in healthy humans.
They exercise regularly, ideally at least 30 minutes every day, doing aerobic, anaerobic, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and other forms of exercise.
Longevity hackers optimize sleep.
For this, they preferably use sleep-promoting supplements that also have shown to be associated with longevity, like glycine, magnesium, melatonin and valerian, and sleep gadgets. We listed more than 50 tips to sleep better here.
Longevity hackers use various devices that can improve their health, such as blue light blocking glasses to improve sleep, smart watches to track their daily activities, relaxation devices, continuous glucose monitors to track their blood sugar levels, and so on.
Learn more about how to slow down aging here.
Can longevity hackers reverse aging?
Ultimately, longevity hackers not only want to slow down aging, but also partially reverse aging.
This means becoming younger.
As we explain in our article “Is it possible to reverse aging?”, recent studies have shown that intensive lifestyle programs could reverse epigenetic age (R,R,R,R,R).
Epigenetic age is measured via epigenetic clocks. These clocks measure your biological age, as opposed to your chronological age (how old you are according to your passport).
If you live a healthy life, it’s possible you are a number of years younger than your chronological age. You can learn more about epigenetic clocks here.
Longevity hackers use the best and latest tests to measure their biological age and rate of aging. This can be done via epigenetic tests, blood tests and other tests, like AI-based tests that measure your facial age.
Why longevity hackers don’t like the word “anti-aging”
“Anti-aging” seems to suggest one is against aging. Longevity hackers are not against aging.
They just want to slow down the detrimental health effects of aging as much as possible.
However, longevity hackers realize that aging is a part of life. They embrace all the good things that come with aging: amassing unforgettable experiences, gaining wisdom and composure in life and social relationships, and becoming more appreciative of the finer things in life, such as art, culture and traveling.
So instead of “anti-aging”, longevity hackers like to think more in terms of “pro-longevity”; they believe that by addressing the root causes of aging they can stay healthy for as long as possible using the current technologies and scientific insights, while still recognizing that they age every day.
Why longevity hacking is the future
In essence, most people want to live a long life in good health.
The best way to achieve this is by addressing the root cause of infirmity, decrepitude and aging-related diseases: aging itself.
To slow down aging, longevity hackers base themselves on the latest scientific insights into aging and longevity.
Using this approach, they can better see through a lot of health myths and diet advice that still propagates outdated insights or base themselves mainly on short-term studies and do not focus on the fundamental processes of aging and aging-related diseases.
By focusing on the root cause of infirmity and disease (aging), longevity hackers want to achieve their maximum health potential for each moment in their life, and to ultimately achieve their maximum lifespan potential.
That’s why longevity hacking will be the future of medicine and optimal health.