This is a review of the new book “Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today” by Sanjay Gupta
Dated: Feb. 18, 2021
Best place to buy: Amazon
Price: $12.67 (paperback)
What is “functional aging”?
For centuries, adventurers and scientists have believed that not only could we delay death but that “practical immortality” was within our reach and, today, many well-respected researchers would be inclined to agree. In a book that is more about functional aging (extending your healthy, active life) than anti-aging, Dr. Sanjay Gupta blends together some of the most up-to-date scientific breakthroughs from around the world with cutting-edge research and advice on achieving practical immortality in this lifetime.
Gupta’s unusual advice is often counterintuitive: longevity is not about eating well, but about eating less; nutritional supplements are a waste of your money; eating chocolate and drinking coffee can make you healthier. Chasing Life tells the stories behind the breakthroughs while also revealing the practical steps readers can take to help extend youth and life far longer than ever thought possible. In fact, Gupta’s book is a treatise on how to keep yourself in good health, thus avoiding disease.
First chapter in this book: Beginning the Chase – modern-day quest for practical immortality
In scientific circles, scientists are quickly coming to the realization that the only limit on life span might simply be an individual’s decision to stop living. These scientists are demonstrating not only the slowing of aging but the actual reversing of it. Gupta describes a fascinating interview he had with a very interesting scientist: Dr. Alexander Tepliashin who offers his clients revitalizing “Youth” injections (stem-cell treatments). Dr. Tepliashin considers his treatments extremely safe, proving it by injecting himself and achieving a more youthful appearance while simultaneously lowering his cholesterol. Other benefits of stem-cell treatments have included: darker hair, more youthful skin, and more energy.
The reason these stem-cell treatments are so successful is that the stem-cells themselves are extracted from the patient himself/herself. Tepliashin says that his stem-cell treatments make patients live longer, reversing the effects of stress, bad food, radiation from X-rays, and viruses. In short, these treatments help patients chase life.
Questions that we should ask, and these are explored in this book…
What keeps us from growing old even more quickly than we do?
We must realize that most of us would not choose to live longer for its own sake: We want to live longer, but we want a sound mind and at least a minimally functional body when we do.
Currently, most of us reach our physical peak between the ages of 20 and 35 and begin a steady decline after that. By the age of 70, we have lost 40% of our maximum breathing capacity, muscle and bone mass have declined, body fat has increased, and sight and hearing have gotten worse. Truth is, however, that, when it comes to extending life, remarkable progress has been made in the last century.
By the end of the twentieth century, life expectancy has risen to 76.9% and it continues to inch upward. The challenge for science now is to help us survive and thrive in our golden years. Tehcnology has given us a new faith in what is possible. Now, not only do we expect to make it into our seventies and beyond, but we want to remain physically and mentally active for years to come after that. There are many things that we can do right now to improve the quality and length of our lives.’’
The goal of this book is to help you extend your active life. This book will explore where longevity research is heading and what you can do now – based on the latest research.
This book explores the following topics:
What are the right types of activity that will be most beneficial in the long run?
What is the best way to reduce your stress level?
Physical fitness can have profound effects on your cognitive abilities later in life.
Your mental outlook can be a profound effect on your long-term physical health.
Taking lots of supplements vs. eating a low-calorie diet (triggering a cellular reaction) leading to a cascade of events ultimately leading to a longer life.
How much exercise and what types of exercises you do can make a difference.
Eating foods like dark chocolate and turmeric , drinking red wine, green tea and even coffee can help you live longer and healthier, with a dramatically sharper mind.
Nothing can stop aging but we can take steps to increase our chances of living longer, healthier lives. For this book, Sanjay Gupta has looked at the burgeoning field of antiaging medicine, cutting through the conflicting information out there and tell you what you actually do right now and what treatments may be available in the future to help you age well. His hope is to get you to the point where you are living longer, free of disease and of sound mind.
Here’s a look at the remaining chapters in this book:
Living to a hundred –
Main points: Eat a healthy diet, don’t overeat (Extra Calories Are Killing Us), eat more fruits and vegetables. Listen to your gut – if it fells distended, you’ve overeaten. Don’t go for seconds!
We are living in a constant feast! We need exercise just to get rid of all the extra calories!
The Supplement Boon –
Main points: Herbs, herbal teas and supplements should be part of the formula for maintaining good health. Fight free radicals with antioxidants. Eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Look for a promising supplement containing green tea, turmeric, milk thistle, ashwaganda and bacopa, which, according to biochemist Joe McCord, stimulate the body to produce SOD, a substance that scavenges 99 percent of all free radicals in the body. Always check with your medical doctor before taking supplements, however, as supplements can sometimes interact with prescription drugs and cause adverse reactions.
Sanjay Gupta believes in the scientific method: if a well-run trial shows that a treatment does not work any better than a placebo, we should first try to replicate the results and then think twice about continuing that course of treatment. It might be preferable to “eat your supplements” , substituting a healthy variety of foods, eaten in moderation, to the taking of handfuls of popular supplements.
See what Sanjay Gupta has to say about “unlikely elixirs” that are good for your health: dark chocolate, coffee, red wine and green tea. And remember that “moderation is key”.
Run for Your Life
A study published in the journal of the American College of Cardiology proves that much of the decline in exercise capacity as we get older is not from an aging cardiovascular system but largely as a result of plain and simple inactivity. As we grow older, we tend to lose lung capacity, flexibility and strength. Exercise more, age less! Walk for health, lift weights (hire a trainer at a gym to show you how the equipment works), get motivated (sign up for an exercise boot camp), all are good suggestions. Assuming you have a clean bill of health, you should exercise vigorously enough so talking is difficult, but not so hard that you can’t talk at all
Memories R Us
Protecting the mind. Keeping our minds sharp and preserving our memories is much more basic to who we are and to living well in our senior years. What can we do to keep our brains sharp? Do what the memory athletes do: Memory athletes use techniques converting names, numbers, cards, or whatever else they want to remember into moving images – experiences – that they place in their minds around their virtual homes or some other well-known place.
There might be an Alzheimer’s vaccine in our future. In the meantime, it is up to us to do what we can to live in a way that lessens our chances of ever getting Alzheimer’s in the first place.
Taming the Beast
Since Richard Nixon declared “War on Cancer” in 1971, medical cancer researchers has found ingenious ways to “tame “ what cancer patients call “the beast”: they have made major advances in the treatment of a wide range of cancers. The total cancer mortality has been falling at the rate of 1 percent per year. Targeted molecular therapies are now used instead of chemo-therapy for certain types of cancer, producing better outcomes.
There are things we can do to minimize our risk of developing cancer:
Avoiding risks (such as drinking and smoking, obesity, inactivity, a diet with too few fruits and vegetables, unsafe sex, urban air pollution, indoor smoke from household fuels, and contaminated injections in health care settings). Add to these risks eating meats containing nitrates, consuming artificial sweeteners, and exposure from cell phones and teflon.
A Growing Problem
Could I tell just by looking at you whether you are at risk for heart diseases, stroke, and diabetis? What I would be checking is your waist size. How big you are around the middle now is a harbinger of problems down the road. Abdominal fat is a killer. But, a brisk walk around the block a few times a week could stop the waistline from further expanding.
Take your past test results with you to your doctor’s office. Be armed with knowledge about your blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, high cholesterol, atheriosclerosis. You don’t want a heart attack to be the first thing the doctor diagnoses. Remember that exercise is the first step toward lowering your risk of heart disease.
People who live into their nineties share one characteristic: An upbeat disposition. These people seem to be able to cope with hardships better than most, to adapt to the curveballs life throws, to maintain an interest in learning new things, and to exude a positive attitude. Can optimism help you live longer? A recent study found that longevity is increased dramatically by positive self-perceptions of aging. The link between optimism and good health appears to be related to stress.
For reasons great and small, it is important to reduce the stress in our lives (through exercise, meditation or prayer). To avoid stress, try the relaxation response: think of stressful situations as challenges, not as threats. Consider whether you have done everything possible to change the outcome.
The Future is Coming
So the obvious goal in the quest for immortality is to reach very old age with vitality. We’ve discussed what we can do now to help fight aging and live long, healthier lives.
A gene called SIR2 has generated a lot of interest among researchers. Researchers believe that this gene, part of a family of genes called “sirtuins” ,may help organisms survive adversity by regulating a survival mechanism. Understanding SIR2 could someday lead to knowledge that will allow us to live longer, disease-free lives. It was discovered that Reservatrol activates SIR2. Researchers are studying the oldest Americans, looking for clues to their longevity on the 23 pairs of protein strands that form human chromosomes. Several other studies are described.
Chasing life is as much about keeping your mind sharp and functional as it is your body. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to forget your past or your present. You can always learn – the more you learn the bigger reserve you’re going to have. As Sanjay Gupta says: “Taking a hard look at all the simple changes you can make in your life today makes me realize that we are already on the road to a practical immortality. Immortality is on the horizon, and it is within our reach for the first time.”
Pros and Cons:
Pros: If you want to keep up with current research on immortality, and how to slow down the aging process, this is the book for you! It is full of interesting discoveries. And the book was written by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a recognized authority on the human body and on brain health in particular!
Cons: None that I can see.
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