- David Sinclair, 53, says his biological age is ten years younger than his actual age.
- The longevity researcher swears by supplements, intermittent fasting, less stress and exercise.
- Most of its habits are known to support health, but their connection to longevity is still being studied.
David Sinclair, a Harvard biologist and anti-aging researcher, has spent more than 53 years on the planet. He has spent decades of those years making important discoveries in life science, building biotech companies and securing dozens of patents.
But Sinclair told Insider that according to components of his DNA that reflect the aging process, he is a decade younger than his ID suggests. That puts him in the top 2% of his peers, he said.
He wasn’t always like that. Sinclair said that in his 30s he ate too much, drank too much and was overweight. But making lifestyle changes, such as adopting a plant-based diet and avoiding most alcohol, he says has made a big difference in his expected lifespan.
“My calculated biological age has dropped over the past 10 years or more to a point where I’m predicted to live at least 10 years longer than if I had done nothing,” he told Insider. “So it’s never too late.”
The concept of biological age and how to estimate it is controversial, and Sinclair has a vested interest in promoting anti-aging as the co-founder of Tally Health, a platform where consumers can repeatedly test their “TallyAge” and recommend the company make changes in lifestyle to interrupt or reverse it. Sinclair told Insider that he’s calculated his own biological age over the years using many of the same theories and studies that Tally Health is based on.
Still, many of Sinclair’s habits are known to support healthy aging. This is what he told Insider keeps him young.
Sinclair said longevity begins with nutrition
Sinclair, author of the 2019 book “Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To,” said anti-aging starts with nutrition. He drinks one to two green tea matchas daily prepared by his partner, nutritionist and celebrity chef Serena Poon.
“There are molecules in that that prevent cancer, among other things,” such as anti-inflammatory properties, he said. For example, some older studies have shown that green tea consumption may be associated with a lower risk of stomach cancer.
Sinclair also said he takes supplements (such as those sold on the Tally Health website) that contain resveratrol, which his team’s research has shown can extend the lifespan of organisms such as yeast and worms.
While the compound, known in red wine, is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, heart and brain health benefits, research is mixed on whether and how well such benefits can be achieved in humans through a pill.
“Once I see resveratrol in someone’s pile of supplements, they lose all credibility,” University of Washington longevity researcher Matt Kaeberlein told Insider. “It’s been disproved time and time again in terms of longevity, at least.”
But for Sinclair, who said he’s been taking such supplements since his early 30s, “so far, so good.”
Sinclair tries to practice intermittent fasting
Sinclair said he’s also reduced the frequency of his meals. “I try to fit my main meal into a few hours a day as much as possible,” he told Insider. “And that period of fasting has also had great benefits on my estimated biological age.”
Emerging research suggests that intermittent fasting may increase longevity because of the way it appears to affect cellular aging and reduce the risk of certain diseases. But studies on exactly how, how well, and whether the benefits of intermittent fasting differ from those of calorie restriction are ongoing.
Reducing stress and avoiding shock is important
Sinclair also said stress management, including setting aside “quiet times” during the day, supports healthy aging. “I’m not too worried about problems,” he said. “I’m increasingly surrounding myself with people who aren’t jerks.”
In fact, research shows that stress doesn’t just cause stress exacerbate physical health problemssuch as the risk of a heart attack, but it also appears to have a negative impact on longevity in itself.
In January 2022, Yale psychiatrist Dr. Zach Harvanek to Connecticut Public Radio about his team’s 2021 study that found that stress contributes to aging beyond its impact on disease — and that stress reduction strategies can help combat that.
“The most surprising aspect of the study is that resilience factors, such as emotion regulation, can protect us not only from the mental effects of stress, but also from the effects of stress on our physical health,” Harvanek said.
Exercise is also key to living longer
Sinclair said he would be better off incorporating aerobic exercise into his routine at least three times a week, but he uses a standing desk to cut down on sedentary time.
While a large and widely cited 2012 study suggested that sitting for more than eight hours a day is just as deadly as regular smoking, it also appears that 60 to 75 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a day may offset those risks, according to Mayo. clinic.
Sinclair said prioritizing habits that promote longevity isn’t just about living longer, it’s about extending your “health span” or maximizing your healthy years.
“Nobody wants to be sick for 10 years or have cancer that persists or be weak,” he said. “What we’re really talking about is preventing those things from happening, or squeezing them into the last bit of life.”
WATCH NOW: Popular videos from Insider Inc.