Healthspan is different from lifespan. Lifespan is how LONG you live. Healthspan encompasses how WELL you live and involves physical, mental and community aspects of your life.
In this article, I’ll share some physical healthspan hacks. Much of this can be heard in our podcast on Healthspan.
People have been using saunas for health benefits for thousands of years. There is evidence that Mayans had saunas 3,000 years ago. And the Finns have been using saunas for health for over a thousand years.
Saunas only work if you heat your core temperature. This increases your heart rate, which simulates the stress on your body when you exercise. Your heart rate should increase to 120-150 beats per minute. But temperature, duration, and frequency also matter in terms of healthspan. The temperature needs to be over 170 degrees F for over 20 minutes. People who had 4-7 sauna baths per week over 170 degrees F for over 20 minutes showed beneficial effects of reduction in blood pressure, improved in endothelial function, reduced inflammation, and improved lipid profile as seen in research papers by Laukkanen (2018) & Hannuksela (2001). Men who took 4-7 sauna baths per week had a decrease of 66% in their risk of developing dementia Laukkanen (2015).
The supplements that come to mind quickly that impact healthspan are NMN, resveratrol, sulforaphane, curcumin and D3 combined with HMB.
We have an article on the benefits of NMN, Resveratrol, sulforaphane, quercetin, which can be found here.
I’m including curcumin because of how it impacts the gut, and because of how it impacts inflammation in your body if it travels past your gut barrier. Your gut is a huge organ. In it resides 70% of your immune system. Much of the trillions of bacteria in your microbiome are found in your gut. Most of the curcumin on the market is not absorbed through the gut barrier and thus stays in the gut. Staying in the gut isn't all bad in that the curcumin in the gut can positively impact the inflammation, the immune system, and the microbiome there.
Curcumin is the best natural chemical at impacting the pro-inflammatory pathway Nf-kb, which is the holy grail of inflammation. A big part of the physical aspect of healthspan involves mobility and pain. As we age, our joints can hurt and we move less. Curcumin that gets into your body and to your joints can truly help these issues. The Mara Labs curcumin, CurcElite is the best on the market in terms of getting into your system rather than being confined by the gut barrier. Our internal research on curcumin can be found here.
I’m also adding D3 with K2, and HMB because of their ability to build muscle mass without exercise, which is huge as we age. In this article, I highlight a research paper where people took 3 grams of β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) and 2000 IU’s of Vitamin D3 to receive the muscle mass building benefit.
Exercise is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to improve your healthspan. But it has to be the right type of exercise. The research by Phil Maffetone shows that the ideal exercise for healthspan increases your heart rate to no more than 180 beats minus your age. So if you’re 50, your heart rate during exercise should be 130 beats per minute.
If you’ve read our blog, you know we like fasting for health improvement. Valter Longo has done a lot of research on fasting. His mice studies show an improved healthspan of the mice that fasted. This is a good, comprehensive article he wrote on the benefits of fasting.
Sleep impacts healthspan in a big way. We discuss the benefits of sleep in this article.