1. Thomas Perls, 57
Occupation: Director, New England Centenarian Study at Boston University Medical Center
What he does: Makes a point of donating blood every eight weeks.
Why he does it: He believes that having a modern iron deficiency can actually be good for health. Although iron is a mineral that the body needs, it also churns out free radicals that contribute to cancer and other diseases of aging.
Thomas believes that women generally outlive men and have a better ability to postpone the onset of age-related disease due to the fact that they menstruate. Seeing as he is male and cannot do so, Thomas makes it a point to visit a blood bank regularly. He hopes to live to the age of 95.
2. Mark Mattson, 60
Occupation: Chief, Laboratory of Neurosciences, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health
What he does: Doesn’t consume more than 2,000 calories per day. Skips breakfast and lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. In addition to dinner each night, he eats fruit, vegetables and a bowl of oatmeal.
Why he does it: Research conducted by Mark and others indicates that calorie restriction and occasional fasting can stimulate an adaptive stress response mechanism in the body, boosting its resistance to injury and disease.
Although he does get hungry, he believes that it is good to feel hungry. It’s not like it stops him from exercising – he’ll run six to nine miles with the cross country running team he coaches during high school cross country season.
3. Cynthia Kenyon, 63
Occupation: Geneticist, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California–San Francisco
What she does: Follows a low glycemic index diet, which means that she eats a minimal amount of pasta, potatoes, bread and rice. This is because these kinds of food convert into sugar in the body very quickly. She also doesn’t eat dessert apart from a little dark chocolate. Her diet consists of chicken Caesar salads, broccoli with peanut oil, asparagus, fish and a little red meat.
Why she does it: To keep her blood sugar from spiking and triggering insulin surges. Insulin production in the body is boosted by sugar. Back in 2002, she was researching the effects of sugar on roundworms, and found that feeding sugar to them cut their lifespans by some 20%.
She also discovered that insulin turns off a “longevity gene” capable of doubling the roundworms’ lifespans. An equivalent gene exists in humans.
4. David Sinclair, 48
Occupation: Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
What he does: Takes resveratrol, which is a compound found in the skin of red grapes, and has done so since 2003. His wife and parents also take it.
Why he does it: It’s believed that resveratrol activates a family of longevity-related enzymes. David had previously given up a calorie-restricted diet, believing that he felt it made life seem longer rather than actually extending it.
5. Felipe Sierra, 63
Occupation: Molecular Biologist, Director, Division of Aging Biology, National Institute on Aging
What he does: Laughs a lot.
Why he does it: Due to his skepticism on the current state of aging research, he says that all we can do for a while is laugh.
Content source: US News