CR is the only diet which is 'scientifically proven' to slow aging and extend maximum lifespan

For almost 100 years the most studied and most reliable way to extend lifespan in a wide range of species has been calorie restriction. It works in everything from worms, spiders, dogs, cows, monkeys, and most likely works in humans.

My name is Matthew Lake, and I have been on a CR Diet since I was 18 years old. I was one of the youngest at the time to begin the diet, and have maintained it for over 14 years with some great results. I want to share with you my experience doing this diet, and all the things I've learned along the way.

A Brief History And Future Plans

Reminiscing About The Past

Thinking about the Present

Exploring Future Plans


When I first began researching health and applying what I had learned in 2003, I had no doubt in my mind that I would succeed. Almost right away I felt the effects of eating healthy. My skin cleared up, my allergies were cured, I slept better, and felt like a new person. It might seem strange that at a young age someone could say that, but I think that most people are not living to their full potential. There are many studies published which show that large numbers of people are deficient in many nutrients, and these impact how the body and mind functions. Lack of physical exercise can also have an impact on health, too. Just eating healthy isn’t enough, especially when it comes to your mind.

I’m not perfect when in sticking to my goals and routines. How many time have I said before that I will start exercising, only to get distracted some weeks later by something and then stop? I can very easily stick to a healthy diet, but keeping an exercise routine for me has been difficult. We all make excuses why we can’t do something, and we give up too early before we see the benefits from our efforts. I suppose this could be applied to many areas in life, wouldn’t you agree?

What I Need to Focus On

Now that I’ve been working from home for over two years, my life has definitely changed. I don’t really enjoy being on the computer all day, but my work requires it. And then after I finish work, sometimes I get caught up in other things and spend even more time on the computer. Trying to get a healthy balance here is difficult at the moment, so I need to work on my own goals and become fully self employed so I can do the things I want. So after a long period of saving, I’ve decided to lower my work hours down to the minimum, and focus on other areas.

I’ll be spending the extra time working on my own projects, including this site, but this one will get a little less attention than the other niche sites for the moment, as I work on monetising them. I definitely be making more of an effort to post more frequently on this site from now on. Writing blog journals like this takes much less time; but writing articles where I feel obligated to provide accurate information takes more time because of the research I have to do.

On the topic of working from home, here’s  funny little comic from the Oatmeal about working for home. It’s not quite that bad for me yet! haha

I Want To Take Classes

I clearly need to become more physically active. I already go for walks and runs some mornings, but it’s not enough. I really would love to do Kung Fu again. It’s the same place I went before (I wonder if any of the same people are there) and classes will be twice a week. The last time I trained there it really helped me focus, stay grounded and it was nice to belong to a club. Martial Arts is not simply about learning to fight, but provides many other benefits which can enhance well-being.

Learning Martial Arts is always something I’ve enjoyed in the past. The first class MA class I ever did was in Taekwondo (Korean martial art) just down the road from me in a small community centre. I was very excited at the time, especially after watching The Karate Kid, but for whatever reason, I stopped after a few months I think. But damn, in that time I developed good kicking technique and learned to do the splits. =)

Later on I experimented with Judo because my best friend at the time and brother went. It wasn’t really my thing, but it was fun for a while. After high school I was invited to take a Karate classes, which I did for over a year. I think I remember how to do some of the Katas still :). And more recently I went to Shaolin Kung Fu class for a short while, but my previous job where I worked evenings got in the way of me saving for California.  It’s only been in the last 2 years that I have the freedom and the time to take the evening classes. I know I should do it, it’d be great for me. Perhaps on Thursday I’ll check it out and perhaps start classes next week.  I’m also going to go to the gym with a friend on the weekend. So that’ll be 3 days of the week training.

Looking back, I’ve always been very active for most of my life, so these last few years have been unusual. I’ve not mentioned many other things I’ve done in the past, one of them was football (soccer for Americans) which I played for 15 years almost every day. I was very good, but never had a strong desire to try play professionally. As we grew up, playing against adults was a lot more rough, and after already suffering two big injuries myself, I didn’t fancy getting my bones broken as I tried CR and tried living healthily. My friend Joe who was also very good at football, ended up getting tackled and having his bone stick out of his shin, which of course needed an operation. There are many other instances where things got kind of rough playing as adult against local teams. Some players were just very sly and dangerous and got away with stupid stuff because the referees were too lenient. Besides, football is kind of boring to me now anyway. 🙂

“Nam Pai Chuan Competition at the Welsh Institute of Sport in Cardiff”

Future Posts

What I’m going to do is write a sort of diary type blog entry more often, with more informational blog entries and reviews coming perhaps weekly or biweekly . This way I can keep people informed of changes I’ve made, and provide some good information about health and well-being whether it be calorie restriction, veganism, supplements, anti aging treatments, skin and hair health. I will be broadening what I write about.

I’ve also wondered if I should create a Facebook page for the blog, so I can share news about nutrition and health that I come across almost every day daily. I don’t what this blog becoming a news site, but Facebook would be great to share that kind of information as I don’t want to fill my own personal Facebook with news articles.

5 Ways To Boost Your Immune System

Things You Can Do To Boost Your Immune System 

If you’ve ever made healthy changes to your diet in the past, one thing you would have probably noticed is the fact that you you’ve developed a stronger immune system, and you’re not getting sick as often. It’s not uncommon for adults to develop between two to four colds each year, which can cost people time off work and just make you feel quite miserable for days to weeks. If you talk to people doing long term calorie restriction, you’ll hear many of them say that they’ve not been sick in years, maybe a decade or more.

Over the years I’ve been doing this diet, there’s been times when I seemed completely immune to developing a cold or the flu, and other times I would seem to just catch anything that was going around. Now that I’ve had enough time (14 years) to experiment, I’ve learned ways to either minimise the symptoms or to try and speed up recovery time.

I’ve also learned from mistakes that I’ve made, which seemed to have resulted in poor immunity at times. One major issue I ran into was developing a Zinc deficiency, which was mostly likely caused by the high intakes of copper I get from my plant-based diet. I had to supplement 50 mg Zinc Picolinate to correct it. My main symptoms were frequent infection (one after another), dry / painful skin on my toes and hands. I also developed acne again! Something I hadn’t experienced to this degree since before I stared doing CRON.

Almost immediately upon supplement the Zinc, my symptoms started to disappear and have not come back. I think Zinc deficiencies might be more common among vegetarians and vegans. There’s no great way to test for it, but you can get a liquid solution to taste and that can give an indication of you’re deficient.

If you feed your body all the essential nutrients, and you have good sleeping habits (lack of sleep can significantly increase the chance of getting sick) then you’re already going to do a lot better than would’ve in fending off these bugs. The first priority should always be to make sure that you analyse your diet and you’re getting over 100% of everything, and in the right amounts. And then on top of that, you can work on using other things either as a preventative at certain times of the year or even to nip it in the bud before it develops beyond the early stages of infection.



Garlic is great ingredient that can be added to many different foods and has many health benefits, not just immune system boosting effects. Garlic’s man active component is called allicin, which is created when the cloves are crushed and ailliinase reacts with alliin.

When using garlic, I recommend that you crush the garlic and leave it for a few minutes, and then consume it with something. From my experience, when I felt I was developing a scratchy throat (sign of a cold), I crushed at least 4 gloves of garlic and spread it on some bread with some olive oil. It can be strong, so be careful not to burn your mouth! But it’s very effective.

If you don’t fancy smelling of garlic by eating then all day, you can additionally take one capsules of Allicin per day which is equivalent getting the same amount of allicin as you’d get by eating 25 cloves of garlic, but now without the smell. One study showed that these capsules reduced the incidence of colds and significantly improved recovery time.

Garlic is one of the best natural remedies to boost your immune system and cure early stage infections, buy not effective for colds if the infection has gone too far. There are many studies published on the antimicrobial effects of garlic and allicin on pubmed for the prevention and treatments of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections either alone or in combination with antibiotics.

If there is one food or supplement I’d recommend everyone take, or have close at hand, it’d be garlic.

Other benefits: garlic lowers blood pressure, reduces AGE’s, lowers glucose, improves the gut by altering gut bacteria (which is also part of our immune system).


Ginseng has been touted to have many medicinal properties. It’s a treatment that has been used for many years for colds and flu in countries like Korea and China. North American Ginseng appears to be the most powerful in the treatment of acute respiratory infection.

Studies have found that this common herb can significantly shorten the length of colds by 6.2 days, and the best effect is when it’s taken preventatively for two to for months.  You can find it here if you want to give it a go this autumn / winter. Ginseng reduced the number of colds by around 25% in five trials examining the effects of North American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).

Tips: Ginseng can be added to hot water to make ginseng tea, add to smoothies. It’s available in many different forms.

Other benefits: Helps boost metabolism to lose weight, increases stamina, and lower blood sugar.


Green tea is one of my favourite drinks. There’s an old Chinese proverb which says: “Rather three days without food than a day without tea”. I think drinking tea has almost become a ritual for me. First thing I do in the morning is make a cup of green tea.

Green Tea contains many different compounds or polyphenols which promote health. Two of the main components in helping boost the immune system are EGCG and L-Theanine. Studies suggest that the compound EGCG directly inhibits entry and replication of viruses like the common cold, influenza, and others. Tea primes the immune system so it can more quickly fight off infections before they have a chance to take hold.

Tips: Add some ginger and lemon to your tea to make even better. Citrus fruits may boost the benefits of driniking green tea and ginger contains gingerols which help block inflammation, and  also decrease nausea, which some people get from the tannins in green tea. Adding Manuka Honey to the tea is also a great idea if you have a bad throat and want to prevent bacterial throat infections. Gargling the tea might be more effective in preventing infections.

Other benefits: Boosts metabolism for weight loss, protects against diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. In a study from Japan, researchers found that drinking 5 cups of green tea or more reduced all cause mortality for women by 23% for Women and 12% for Men.


There are many different types of mushrooms, but Shiitake mushrooms proven to be one of the most powerful in boosting immune function. Mushrooms contain Beta Glucans which stimulate parts of the immune system as well as decrease the level of inflammation in the body.

They help us to better fight of viral and bacterial infection. Shiitake mushrooms boost natural killer cells which destroy abnormal cells, whether they are cancerous or been infected and viruses.

In a randomised study looking at human immunity with the consumption of mushrooms, researchers noted significant and beneficial changes in the immune system after just consuming 5 to 10 g of mushrooms daily. If you don’t like Mushrooms, you can alternatively take a Beta Glucan Supplement.

Beta Glucans have been studied for years looking at its immune system modulating effects, and to date there’s been over 6000 studies published looking at prophylaxis and treatment of infectious disease (read about some of them here). A trial involving 162 people, researchers gave participants of the study beta glucan and found that people in the treatment group experienced 25% fewer colds.

Tips: Don’t continually take the supplement. I recommend that you take a beta glucan supplement or consume mushrooms intermittently. So consider taking the supplement during times when you’re stressed, lack sleep, or surrounding by sick people. There is some evidence that some of the immune system benefits / changes decrease with continued use.

Other benefits: May lower cholesterol, lower risk of cancer, and well being in general. Mushrooms also provide vitamin D.


Elderberry can be used to help support a healthy immune system and protect you from developing colds. Elderberries contain anthocyanins which are strong antioxidants that help block free radical damage in the body. Studies have shown that elderberries are anti-inflammatory and immunostimulatory.

In 2016 a study was published looking at the development of colds and cold duration in Air-Travellers. The study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial and it confirmed previous findings that this fruit protects against colds and reduces cold symptoms. The placebo group had a much longer duration of symptoms compared to the treatment group (117 vs 57, p = 0.02). Symptom score was also significantly higher in the placebo group vs treatment (583 vs 247, p = 0.05).

Tips: Use Elderberries in jams, sweets, pies and other foods. Do not eat them Raw! You can alternatively get some Gummies, which also contain vitamin A, C, D, E and Zinc for improved immune system.



These are just some of the things you can do to boost your immune system, but of course there are many more. Below I’ve listed a few posts so you can learn more about how to enhance your immune system to protect yourself from becoming sick whether it be from viruses, bacteria, fungal infection. Or even cancer and autoimmune diseases. Without our immune system, we wouldn’t last long at all. If you want to live to a very old age, your immune system is something that you have to keep healthy. You have to slow down the immune system from aging or else you would die of illnesses such as pneumonia and other common infections.

See related posts on The Immune System

  1. Enhancing Your Immune System
  2. Fasting Rejuvenates The Immune System
  3. Intermittent Fasting With Valter Longo, Ph.D Interview 
  4. Probiotics and Immunity

CR Blood Test Results (2016)

Blood Test Results – A few surprises!

It’s been quite a while since I had any blood work done, so I went to the doctors recently and sorted that out! I’ll be getting more blood work done as well as genetic testing (privately) in the near future. I want to start testing more frequently again now, rather than leaving it years without keeping track of my health.

I think it’s vital to get blood tests done if you’re into life extension and trying to get the most optimal results for longevity. Also, as you’ll see below, you can potentially run into trouble if you’re not watching things closely. Fortunately nothing too concerning showed up, but some results do suggest I need to make some changes.

Vitamin D – 25(OH)D Levelslaboratory-313870_960_720

I got a phone call from the doctor last week and he told me my 25(OH)D levels were really high! I’m sure he said they were at 504 nmol/L (200 ng/dl) which is on the verge of toxicity.

I repeated it back to him a few times just to be clear, and he said this was the result. Maybe he glanced over my result or maybe I misheard him, but the paperwork in front of me says 304 nmol/L (121 ng/dl). Still quite high, and  I’m going to stop my vitamin D supplements to bring it down a bit.

The vitamin D results are actually surprising given that I don’t really get a lot of sun, and I only took around 50,000 IU a week for about 3 weeks starting from over 2 months ago. and then I lowered it to about 5000 a day; but sometimes 10,000 a day. During the second month I lowered it to around 1000 IU per day, but I was taking it inconsistently.

It seems that I really don’t need much vitamin D3 to get my levels high. It shows the importance of actually getting blood work done… rather than supplementing blindly.

B12, Folate, Ferritin

Vitamin B12 – This came back lower than I expected, since in the last few months I was taking a B12 supplement from Now Foods. I don’t consistently take it, but I would have expected the dose to give me a higher level. I’ll change supplement and use a sublingual methylcobalamin supplement. The result was 336 ng/L (range 200-900)

Ferritin – My result wasn’t too unexpected because I am pretty much vegan (or chegan); but not sure I am comfortable with it being at 30 ug/L (range 15-300).

Having low levels of iron may decrease disease risk, lower oxidative stress, but 30 is probably too low and I’ll be looking to increase it to about 50.

Folate –  This result was normal at 10 ug/L (normal >3.0)

Full Blood Count

Everything seems fine here apart from a fairly high Neutrophil count, but still well within normal range (Neutophil = 4.9). This caused my white blood count to be higher than usual at 7.3.

I wasn’t aware of the impact eating a meal could have on white blood count; it wasn’t a fasting test so I ate my usual meal. The Neutrophil number can rise significantly in a short period of time from an infection, stress, lack of sleep.  And Lymphocyte count can be increase by a light meal before a blood test. I’m not sure why it was so high, perhaps even subclinical infection I wasn’t really ware of, I have no idea.

The number that I am more interested in is Lymphocyte, which came back at 1.8, which is lower than a few of my previous tests and is more indicative of a CR response.

Red blood cells were all within normal ranges; no signs of anaemia.


Testosterone levels dropped from 17.9 nmol/L (512 ng/dl) to 14.3 nmol/L (412 ng/dl). It’s a significant decrease for just 3 years, but I’m fine with this result. This is also normal with CR.

HbA1c level

This test is to look at blood glucose levels over time (3-4 months). My result was 29 mmol/mol (normal <48). DCCT% would be 4.8%. Life extension foundation believes an optimal HbA1C level for longevity and slow aging is under 5%.


TSH normal 1.67 mU/L (0.30-4.40) and my fT4 levels has dropped from 18 to 13.9. I’ve noticed that I can eat less now and my metabolism seems slower, I guess it really has slowed down.  Lower level of T4 is apparently associated with extended longevity in animals and humans.

My thoughts

Some of the results I expected, but I think I’m going to have to start being a bit more careful again and more strict when it comes to my diet. It’s not that I’ve been slacking off, but my food choices haven’t been as good as they could be in the last 6 months or so. I’ve also been working from home, so not much exercise either.

I’ll do my next test, which will include all my usual blood tests and a repeat of these in about 6 months time. I’ll also be doing a genetic test using 23andMe before Christmas and I’ll share those results with you as well.

You can find my previous and current test results here


Benefits of Intermittent Fasting With Valter Longo, Ph.D

Interview With Valter Longo About The Benefits Of Fasting 

Fasting has been promoted for various reasons for centuries, but it’s only recently that researchers have been able to investigate the health benefits from doing strict fasting for days at a time.

Fasting is thought to induce various changes in the body that help protect the cells from damage that may occur from the environment, and trigger pathways in the body which may increase health and possibly lifespan.

My own experience with fasting

Fasting is something that I’ve done over the years in many forms. I’ve restricted my eating to only a few hours of the day and had long periods where I didn’t eat for up to 16 hours. I’ve fasted for one day of the week for 24 hours for many years. I’ve found that fasting seems to me mentally, to help me focus better.

It was always difficult to objectively tell whether or not fasting was helpful to myself, because I’ve done calorie restriction for such a long time, and this by itself has very good results in terms of improving health markers and improving health.

Fasting has always been pretty easy to to do for me, but I’ve found calorie restriction to be just easier. Not only that, calorie restriction has a lot more data to back up the health and longevity benefits.

There is no doubt that fasting is beneficial to health, but it’s still up for question whether or not it can really extend lifespan significantly without any reduction in calories. That being said, people who fast, may automatically have their caloric intake reduced anyway.



The Interview

Dr. Rhonda Patrick speaks to Valter Longo, who was a student of the calorie restriction researcher and pioneer Roy Walford. During the last few years, he has demonstrated that prolonged fasting is able to rejuvenates the immune system so that it is in a more youthful state, as well as induces anti-cancer effects, and helps prevent side effects from cancer therapies in humans. He also mentions how fasting may improve the health or even cure people with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. I’ve previously shared one recent study showing how fasting rejuvenates the immune system.

Valter Longo has recently written a book which is not yet available in English. I was just made aware that an English version of his book “The Lonevity Diet” will be available in January 2018. I’ll be sure to write a review of it when I receive a copy.

Related articles: Is fasting good for you?




Calorie Restriction, Probiotics, and Gut Health

Gut Bacteria Is An Important Factor In Maintaining A Healthy Body And Mind

Calorie restriction has beneficial affects on basically every system in the body, and gut health is no exception here. Gut bacteria is made up of different types of bacteria, good and bad, and these play a significant role in the host. In fact, we have about 10 times more bacteria that we have human cells! If we could weigh all the bacteria we have, it would come to about 3-4 lbs!

Gut bacteria can change depending on many different factors, such as weight gain or loss, stress, and antibiotics, illness, and having a bad diet. Maintaining good gut health will provide us with many benefits, but can easily be wiped out by overuse of antibiotics. Gut bacteria can recover, within a few weeks of ceasing antibiotic usage, but if you use them often, then this can give bad bacteria a chance to grow and take hold.

Many of the foods people consume today which is loaded with sugar, processed and devoid of any nutrition, does nothing good for the gut. Is it no wonder there are now many kids suffering with IBS and other conditions related to the digestive system?

Calorie Restriction and a healthy diet improved my gut health

When I was younger my diet was really bad and I would put sugar on just about everything. Like many other kids, I had also been on antibiotics a few times during my childhood. Sometimes I really needed them, but other times, probably not. We now know the consequences of using antibiotics too much. Bacteria build up resistance over time and can cause disease, sometimes requiring even stronger antibiotics.

By the time I reached I reached high school, around 11, I had symptoms of IBS and got diagnosed by the doctor as having this condition. As far as I can remember, there was no real advice from the doctor, but suggested that anxiety might be making it worse. While this is true, anxiety can make things worse, it was not the cause of the IBS — it was my diet! 

I began strict calorie restriction in 2005, but began eating healthier in 2003. It wasn’t until I had completely overhauled my diet did I notice a significant difference in my gut health. For the first few months, interesting things happened, I won’t go into detail! Mostly that foods didn’t seem to digest or breakdown well. This didn’t seem normal to me and worried me, but many months after I began calorie restriction, my gut health was better than ever.

After some time All the IBS symptoms had disappeared. So why was the doctor not able to link my diet to my IBS problems? For one, he never even asked me or my mother about my diet at the time.  I had suffered from this condition all through high school and in college, but I didn’t have to if I had been told the important connection between diet and gut health.

I believe the main reasons why my symptoms disappeared was because I had cut out all processed sugar from my diet. I cut out sweets, and other junk food. I included lots of fruits, and vegetables in my diet, and also a bit of meat like chicken and fish.

I’ve since became ‘mostly’ vegan, but in inclusion of meat in my diet didn’t stop me from curing this condition. Calorie restriction has been found to improve gut bacteria in mice and dogs, whilst studies looking at obesity in humans have shown a negative effect on gut health.

Gut bacteria plays a huge role in our health

  • Supplying essential nutrients
  • Aiding digestion and gut health
  • Keeping the immune system healthy
  • Mental health
  • Skin Health
  • Longevity

When I had to take antibiotics

I’ve mentioned before that I have been prone to UTI infections when I was younger, and that once a person gets one, it is 50/50 whether or not you will get another one. I don’t suffer from them anymore, but I did have to take low dose antibiotics for years because of repeated bladder infections, most likely from prostatitis. At times, especially on high doses of doxycycline, during an active infection, I felt increased anxiety, which seemed to be alleviated by taking probiotics.

I also had suffered from overgrowth of candida from taking these antibiotics, but this eventually regressed by itself once I had ceased taking the antibiotics. Before I had combined the probiotics with my antibiotic, I noticed my skin would break out after finishing a course. These side effects though were prevented once I introduced probiotics into my supplement regimen.

What are the best probiotics supplements?

Healthy Origins Probiotic 30 Billion CFU was one that I found to work best for me and so of course I highly recommend it. It contains 8 different strains which are resistant to stomach acid, so you can just add to some food, or take them however you wish, which is great for those who can’t swallow tablets. I recommend to store them in the fridge, but you don’t have to. One important factor when choosing a probiotic is either that it has a coating on there to prevent stomach acid from killing the friendly bacteria, or that the bacteria are resistant to the pH of your stomach acid. The probiotic below meets that criteria.

healthy origins probiotic

Blend of 8 Probiotic Strains 30 Billion Colony-forming units

Lactobacillus acidophilus (La-14) 12 Billion
Bifidobacterium lactis (BI-04) 12 Billion
Bifidobacterium longum (Bl-05) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus rhamnosus (Lr-32) 1 Billion
Bifidobacterium breve (Bb-03) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus casei (Lc-11) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus salivarius (Ls-33) 1 Billion
Lactobacillus plantarum (Lp-115) 1 Billion

See Reviews for Healthy Origins, Probiotic supplement (US)


Symptoms of an unhealthy gut

  • Frequent infections
  • Poor skin
  • Fungus / candida infections
  • Acid Reflux
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Autoimmune issues and allergies

Should you take a probiotic?

If you’ve have used antibiotics in the past, especially recently, then it is worth doing 1-3 months of probiotics to see if you benefit from taking one. I’ve talked about, and I’ve used Healthy Origins Probiotic many times before, and keep going back to it because it’s one of the better quality probiotics out there.

To help make the probiotics more effective, make sure to include plenty of foods which are prebiotic such as garlic, leeks, onions, almonds. Foods include things like kimchi, kefir, and yogurts are also great sources of good bacteria.

I don’t take this probiotic all year, but usually during the winter months or when going through some kind of stress, to help boost my immune system.

In this BBC Article it was reported that ‘Older people have 1000 times less friendly bacteria in their gut’ – and researchers have since found that probiotics improves immune function in elderly persons.

What is the best probiotic for seniors?

There are many probiotics out on the market, but in some products, the friendly bacteria inlcuded do not make it destination where they can be beneficial to you the host. Friendly bacteria need to be resistant to stomach acid, and therefore only certain strains will work. The probiotic above from Healthy Origins is also suitable for elderly persons. Probiotics in seniors have been found to be safe, and increases resistance to gastrointestinal diseases associated with antibiotic usage, and also helps with symptoms like constipation in the elderly [4].



1. Structural modulation of gut microbiota in life-long calorie-restricted mice

2. Dogs Lived 1.8 Years Longer On Low Calorie Diet: Gut Flora May Explain It

3 Changes seen in gut bacteria content and distribution with obesity: causation or association?

4. Review on microbiota and effectiveness of probiotics use in older persons

Skincare and Picture Update

So, I’m still alive. I’ve not abandoned the blog or anything, but I’ve had other things I’ve needed to do which is just taking priority over this blog at the moment. I’ll try to update more frequently though from now on. Anyways, here’s a little update to my skincare regimen!

I’ve used Skinceuticals CE + Ferulic since around 2009, and it worked great! But I felt I wanted a change and to try skinceuticals other serum called Skinceuticals Phloretin CF and I’ve been using it for about 1 year now in combination with the advanced pigment corrector by skinceuticals. Both of them contain vitamin C, which is great to boost collagen, but this serum is more targeted at clearing up hyperpigmentation and also inhibits the breakdown of elastin and increases elastin synthesis. I’m on my second bottle now, each one lasts approximately 6 months when I use them every morning, and so although it’s quite expensive, it does go a long way. 🙂

My diet has been excellent lately, I’ll go into that on my next post very soon. Although I haven’t been exercising nearly as much as I should be. My friend offered to sign me up to go to the gym nearby and I get a discount for the initial payment, but now that summer is almost here, I think I’ll leave it until summer is over… as I don’t mind exercising and going running in this weather anyway.

31 years and 7 months. BMI 19. Calorie intake at 1750 k/cal a day.

Is Mild Calorie Restriction Enough?

Even a Modest Reduction in Calorie Intake Might Extend Your Life

Calorie Restriction is known for extending lifespan in animals and does so in proportion to the degree of restriction. In a long running experiment by the NIA, rhesus monkeys were split into groups, where one group would eat ad lib and the other group would be put on 30% Calorie Restriction. The researchers set up the study so that the control fed animals were actually restricted by 10%, so they wouldn’t become fat or obese. The calorie restricted group would receive 30% less calories. Unfortunately, unlike the Wisconsin study which showed a significant increase in lifespan, this study showed no increase in mean lifespan in the adult-onset CR group. There could be many reasons for this, which I already discussed in my review of the studies here

It was already known that in certain strains of lab animals, 10% restriction can result in as much lifespan extension as 30% CR. Could the contradictory results of the two monkey studies be explained by the fact that the level of restriction in the NIA monkeys was already enough to elicit the maximum lifespan increase in rhesus monkeys? I’m not so sure that is the answer because the rhesus monkeys failed to exhibit important changes their health parameters that match rodents and people who do calorie restriction. However, in both groups the monkeys lived to around 35 years old, which is old for a rhesus monkey when you consider the fact that in previous cohorts, monkeys tend to live to an average of 27-28 years. That corresponds in human years to about 21 years extra life. They also noted that 4 calorie restricted monkeys lived to beyond 40 so far, and only 1 ad lib (10% CR). And out of 3264 rhesus monkeys looked at on record, only 2 monkeys had ever reached this age before. So that tells you something… maybe that ageing was indeed slowed. And we are still waiting for the final results from both studies which will be here in a few years time. And also, cancer incidence reported at the time was zero for the 30% CR group in the NIA study.

The researchers wrote about the monkey studies saying

“The possibility that lower levels of DR are as effective in increasing life span as high levels of DR could help explain the contradictory results reported on the effect of DR in rhesus monkeys in studies that were conducted at the University of Wisconsin and the NIA. One of the major differences in these two studies was body weight and the amount of food consumed by the AL monkeys. Body weight and food consumption were significantly greater in the AL monkeys in the study at Wisconsin compared to the AL monkeys at the NIA, suggesting that the AL monkeys at the NIA were slightly restricted compared to the AL monkeys at Wisconsin. Therefore, the lack of an increase in longevity reported by Mattison et al. could be because of the AL rhesus monkeys in this study having achieved a level of restriction necessary for an increase in life span, and a further restriction did not further increase lifespan.”

Study in Rats Comparing 10% CR and 40% CR

344 rat

In a study conducted in rats, the researchers looked to compare the difference in lifespan and disease in rats fed an ad-lib diet, 10% CR and 40% CR. What was interesting and what came to my attention before I had finished with the paper was that the mean lifespan was similar for both restricted groups, and that there was a significant increase in 10% survival and maximum lifespan for the 40% CR compared with the other two groups. This is similar to the trend that has been noted in the NIA rhesus monkey study. Because of genetic differences, monkeys may respond differently to varying levels of CR. You can see that quite a few rats in the study below died earlier than the 10% CR group, but the groups diverged near the end of the lifespan curve and the rats who ate 40% less lived far longer. Ad lib group max 1026 | 10% CR max 1180 | 40% CR max 1400.

So for a lucky few who do engage in more strict CR, the pay off might be significant. Although, on average, perhaps even a modest reduction in calories will increase your lifespan by quite a few years.  The rate of declining health for the ad lib and 10% CR group was similar, there was no real difference. However, only in the 40% restricted group was the slope of the gompertz curve altered, reflecting that the ageing of these animals was slower and they remained healthier and had a slower rate of decline in their health. The earlier deaths of some of the 40% CR group suggests that perhaps it was too much for some of the animals.

Calorie restriction in rats

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2015 Dec 22. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12982. Significant life extension by ten percent dietary restriction. Richardson, Austad, Ikeno, Unnikrishnan, McCarter RJ.

Humans who practice calorie restriction have greater control over the level of CR and can micro-manage their diet and supplements. We can also use tests to guide our practice and ease back when it might be too much. This gives us the best chance to see the best possible results from calorie restriction without compromising our health.

You can find the full paper here: