Most people tend to look at the cycle of life as inevitable, and while it is true that none of us can outrun Father Time, there are natural life extenders that can activate longevity pathways to slow the aging process.

“Genes are not your destiny,” says Dr. David Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O., “you can change the rate of aging by doing the right things.”

What are those things? Sinclair, a professor in the Department of Genetics, co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School and founder of the Sinclair Lab at Harvard's Blavatnik Institute, which specializes in genetics and longevity, says that a healthy lifestyle is the key, emphasizing these five things the most:

1. Eat Healthy.

2. Do not get obese.

3. Exercise.

4. Get enough sleep.

5. Have friends.

“These things can extend your life span by 14 years or more just by doing the basics,” he says. “And it turns out an estimated 80 percent of your health and longevity is not genetic. It depends on how you live your life.”

Sinclair says four important factors in longevity are:

• Blood sugar levels.

• Inflammation.

• Liver function.

• Testosterone for males and hormones in general.

By looking at these factors and others, Sinclair's team has been able to determine people's biological age - how old they are based on their bodies and health, not necessarily how long since they were born - and his researchers have discovered a group of longevity genes called sirtuins. “They control how fast we age,” Sinclair says of sirtuins. “There are molecules in foods we eat that activate these defenses in our body, these genes. These molecules are the same that are in food types that people in Blue Zones eat: resveratrol and oleic acid found in things like olive oil, avocado and nuts.”

“We've got the wrong conception about what aging is. We tend to think that it's just a natural process that we can do nothing about, but we've learned that that's not true - 80 percent of the rate of our aging is in our own hands. It's actually controlled by how we live and what we eat,” Sinclair says.

“There's a lot of evidence that fasting turns on these longevity pathways,” Sinclair says. “Don't eat three large meals a day and snack in between. I think the old idea of always having food around and never being hungry must be revised.

“Don't sit in a chair all day. Keep your muscles from declining,” says Sinclair.

Sleep affects all aspects of health and has huge effects on aging. It is vital. Aim for at least seven hours a night.

“Chronic stress is a real problem for aging,” he adds. “It can rapidly shorten the ends of chromosome, the telomeres. If you lower the inflammation in the brain, you can live longer.

Remove the bad from the diet, and focus on nutritious foods:

• Any type of sugar is bad.

• Try not to eat too much processed carbohydrates.

• Keeping blood sugar levels at a steady level, not too high, is clearly important, so eat foods that support healthy blood sugar.

• Avoid excess body fat. It has been shown obesity lowers the amount of NAD and lowers your sirtuin defenses.

Easy enough to keep your body in tip top condition no matter what your age. If you have any questions regarding a healthier lifestyle contact me (719) 429-1605,,