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Calorie Restriction, Resveratrol
The scene was 1968 and the country was mired in war, but many were disengaging from US society and protesting the war. At this time, there was a fellow named Timothy Leary, who became famous because he got kicked out of Harvard for his research. Leary lived a colorful life, ran for governor of California, attended Woodstock, and generally shocked greatly the powers that be. It also turns out that he was a great futurist.
Leary predicted the discovery of genetic mechanisms that would unlock the door to life extension, which has now happened. In 1978 his predictions included that individual longevity genes would be discovered and that minor genetic alterations could lead to life extension. He also projected that histone activity would be involved, all of which has now been demonstrated, at least in animals. Leary felt that these longevity mechanisms were inate to our bodily systems, and that they would unfold in due course as knowledge of genetics increased. What he didn't know is that the genetic mechanisms of longevity could be turned on with a simple key accessible to anyone (although he probably would have enjoyed the concept). This key to maximum lifespan is called calorie restriction, or CR for short.
CR means restricting your calorie intake by up to 50% of normal. I personally am 25% calorie restricted (CR25), trim and fit, and I have never felt better in my life. That's about 1800 calories per day, so calorie counters can figure out how to make it a diet (clue: Use a BMI calculator to scale my calorie numbers to your ideal weight. I am 5' 7'' and consider 150 lbs. as ideal). CR50 is 1200 calories. It is crucial to take a high quality multi-vitamin while engaging in CR, so go to a vitamin store and get their best mega-dose multi, plus additional vitamin C, E, beta-carotine, and high-potency resveratrol (the CR-memetic). Get the recommended amount of sleep and healthy exercise as well. Hunger will be a gnawing and ongoing problem, so take steps to quell it with chewing gum or sugerless candy. I sometimes chew on a toothpick, but with a little imagination, you can find your own solutions. Of course you must maintain this strict regimen for the rest of your life in order to partake of the benefits. It is obvious that the benefit is worthwhile, since you are highly likely to live to an age of about 150 years (and the alternative is death). Living that long increases the likelihood that you will be around to partake of the coming advances in genetics and biomedicine. Logically, this would lead to an exponential extension of life, an approach that has now been vindicated as predicted by Leary and others.
Clearly CR is the healthiest of possible lifestyles, but a word must be said about eating disorders. Do not starve yourself to death, and if you go past CR50 you are likely to become sick. If you have a propensity towards an eating disorder, it may happen if you don't maintain the goal in your mind. The goal is good health and life extension, which is consistent with a healthy diet, exercise, and good sleep; but it is not consistent with pathological eating habits. There is mounting evidence that CR can reverse some age-related damage, rejuvenate, and maintain the body in a vigorous and youthful state. CR is about living far longer than normal people, far healthier, and far happier. It happens.
Disengage from the gluttony of US corporatism and live an austere life. CR is exactly what the US does not want you to do, and it can be your act of protest against the war, but it is also clearly good for you. Disengage from avarice, consumerism, bovine fatness, and help yourself at the same time. On CR you will use less food, less medicine, and less pharmaceuticals, because you will be more healthy. Thus, it is frugal and a delightful protest against US excesses. Let your friends know about CR so that everyone can do the same thing. Turn on, tune in, and drop out, drop the pounds that is ;-}. The result will be breathtakingly beautiful, and maybe we can end the war with our shear awesomeness! Restrict, Restrict, Restrict! Let's do it now.
Dr. Love is a biochemist and staff scientist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine protein crystallography lab. As founder of The GNU-Darwin Distribution, he is attempting to advance free software for the benefit of the user community at large.
Related Links for further reading
Calorie restriction at Wikipedia
Advogato discussion of this article
Calorie Restriction Calculator
The New Incredibles: Enhanced Humans
FOSS, Science, and Public activism
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