The average lifespan in the UK is about 81 years. This isn’t very long when you consider the fact that it was only 80 years ago that the television, airplane, car, and washing machine were all invented.
Preserving human life has always been a major priority in nearly every culture. In ancient China the longevity promoting herbs reishi and ginseng were almost exclusively reserved for the emperors and elite class.
As time went on, we began finding new substances with lifespan promoting qualities. Researchers from around the world started publishing articles on how certain substances promote health in such a broad context as to extend our lifespan.
Many of these substances also classify as nootropics.
The Secrets Of Longevity
When it comes to longevity, there are a million and one factors to consider, and what works for one person is never guaranteed to work for another. It’s also important to remember that life extension involves several different facets including nutrition, supplementation, exercise, social practice, and stress management. Of course there’s a fair bit of luck in there as well.
All of that said, there are a few key areas of focus when it comes to longevity as we understand it today. Several of which can be addressed with the use of nootropics.
1. Antioxidant Protection
It’s no secret that we require oxygen to live. Unfortunately, oxygen is also one of the prime causes of ageing. Oxygen atoms damage the cells in our body over time through a process called oxidation. Other compounds can do this as well, which are referred to as free radicals.
Throughout our lifetime, free radicals can cause significant damage to the cells in the body, giving us many of the effects we know as ageing. Substances that neutralise oxygen and the damaging free radicals are referred to as antioxidants.
When you look at many of the most well-known longevity enhancers, the most common theme between them is that they tend to be high in antioxidants. This goes for nootropics as well like Ginkgo, Bacopa, Green Tea extract, Resveratrol, and Pterostilbene.
2. DNA Telomerase
Everytime our cells use DNA to multiply it becomes damaged. Our DNA protects itself with something called a telomere. These telomeres take the damage instead of the DNA itself.
If the DNA were to become damaged, it wouldn’t function the way it was supposed to which can result in major health problems.
Every time a telomere takes damage it becomes shorter and shorter. Eventually it becomes too small to protect the DNA, resulting in the damage occurring directly to the DNA itself. This is thought to be one of the main reasons ageing results in debility.
As we age, our telomeres become shorter, which is why many scientists believe that substances that can lengthen your telomeres will lead to a boost in longevity.
Although we still have a long way to go before we can really understand telomeres, there are a number of nootropics that have been shown to improve telomere function. These include alpha lipoic acid , ginkgo , green tea extract, and rhodiola .
Other, more indirect methods that can improve telomere length is through nootropics that have antioxidant or stress-reducing qualities. This is because both oxidative damage, and stress are known causes for premature telomere shortening.
Neurodegeneration is one of the major consequences of ageing. After the age of 25 our brains stop growing, and slowly begin to break down from that point on.
Our memories gradually become poorer, our hand-eye coordination begins to suffer, and we may develop neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Our neurological system is a critical component of every process in the human body. As a result, when this system begins to fail, so do other areas of the body. This can ultimately affect our longevity.
Nootropics have their strongest longevity enhancing qualities through this mechanism. By supporting the brain and nerves with essential nutrients and specific neurotransmitter enhancement, we can provide defence against neurodegeneration. This may increase our lifespans, as well as how we function into our old age.
It’s one thing for the body to survive over a hundred years, but another for the mind to be clear and present along with it.
How To Use Nootropics For Longevity
Anything involving longevity will require regular, long term use to make any difference. As mentioned in the introduction, it’s critical that any longevity enhancement supplementation is combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Keeping stress to a minimum, not overworking, spending some time exercising every day, and enjoying plenty of social experiences with friends and family are going to go a long way towards optimising your lifespan.
Supplementing nootropics for longevity usually involves taking the supplement at a low-moderate dose for long periods of time. Some of the most popular places to start is with gingko, resveratrol, L-Theanine, or bacopa.
You can find a variety of the nootropics discussed in this article in our online shop.
Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Epel, E. S., Belury, M. A., Andridge, R., Lin, J., Glaser, R., … & Blackburn, E. (2013). Omega-3 fatty acids, oxidative stress, and leukocyte telomere length: a randomized controlled trial. Brain, behavior, and immunity, 28, 16-24.
Song, H., Liu, D., Li, F., & Lu, H. (2011). Season-and age-associated telomerase activity in Ginkgo biloba L. Molecular biology reports, 38(3), 1799-1805.
Hassan, S., Tweed, M., & Zakirova, Z. (2016). Identification of telomerase-activating blends from naturally occurring compounds. Alternative therapies in health and medicine, 22, 6.