Dr. Christine Horner shows you some of the reasons some people appear to age faster than others, and how to become one of those people.

Sarah James from Wyoming writes, "Getting old is not as bad as feeling old, why do some people age faster than others, what can I do to slow things down?"

That's a great question, as a plastic surgeon I noticed when people would come into my office, that suddenly as we start to get older, there are certain people that look really old at forty and some people that look really young at sixty, so what's the difference? Well we can definitely look to our diet and lifestyle, the good old diet and lifestyle as far as making the big difference.

When we look at our genes we know that they do have an influence, but they've done lots of twin studies, so these are some of the best ones where they have the same genes and they will find that the twin that has the healthier diet and lifestyle has all the indicators as far as having slowed aging and even on their chromosomes they have the little ends of them that telomeres that correspond to lifespan they'll be longer in the twin that has the better diet and lifestyle. Wow, so how about calorie restriction, I mean I've read that the only proven test or theory that we have for extending life is actually not eating as much, have you found that to be true in your reading.

Yes, so it actually, that was the first experiment they did on rats back in the thirties and they thought well lets see what happens if we restrict calories to the rats and they thought that they would become less healthy and in fact it was the opposite. So they became healthier, their heart rate slowed, their blood lipids became better, their blood pressure went down, and their life span increased fairly significantly so it was tested then on monkeys and then actually there was a human test on it, where they had people that went into the desert of Arizona and lived in a bubble for two years, and they did calorie restriction and they found all the same parameters, as far as improved blood lipids and blood pressure, and all the things that help with aging, they also looked genetically to see what genes we have that are turned on as far as longevity genes, and the length of our telomeres at the end of our chromosomes.

So, calorie restriction is most proven, but there' actually some supplements that we can take that have the same gene activations and lengthening the telomere without having to starve yourself.

Ok, so what are those?

Believe it or not resveratrol which is a substance that comes out of grape skins, so this is the French. You like to talk about the French and their drinking of their wines, and one of the reasons is because of the substance resveratrol, and so resveratrol actually to get enough of it you need to take it in supplement form but it activates the same longevity genes and all the different patterns that we see in calorie restrictions.

Well I have to stop you there, so the French live longer than we do but they smoke, they drink red wine the eat cheese, pâté. What's up with that? I mean how do they get to live that type of lifestyle and live longer than we do? Please explain that.

So you know the interesting thing is that when we look at that culture as well as other cultures say like the Japanese the Japanese will smoke 10 times more than Americans do, but they have like 10 times lower instances of lung cancer. Well why is that?

Well it's because of how we eat. So if you're eating you know fast foods processed foods, burgers and fries and colas and so forth it accelerates the damage you know that occurs, VS eating a diet that is full of fruits vegetables, and the French eat very well.

The Japanese eat primarily a plant based diet and they're also eating smaller portions. So you know Americans we do all these supersized and the French do these little tiny portions so the calorie restrictions definitely tells us we don't need to be eating as much as we are and cultures of extraordinarily longevity, they eat about a third of the calories of what Americans do so we can cut down our portion size and make sure that we're eating nutrient dense foods that are primarily found in plants.

That's why sometimes I have gone into a French restaurant and the entrée cost thirty five dollars and I have to use this microscope to find it on the plate.

You savor it more? Ok, ok.

So the other troubling thing is, we're living longer in America but we have just as many or more chronic diseases, many rates of cancer are going up cardiovascular disease is not going down, so how do we bring those two back to into some parody so we're actually living longer but we're living at a high quality of life rather than a lower quality of life, just with more years?

So some things kind of skew the statistics on life expectancy that most people just don't think about and
has to do with infant mortality, because we're averaging life expectancy, so if we actually have a better longevity or of our infants then it skews the whole life expectancy so sometimes it seems like we're living longer than we actually are because of that.

In addition to that we also have a lot of different technologies that help to keep us alive as you point out there seems to be an increase in a lot of these different diseases so I say hey if your going to be around you might as well take care of yourself because you want to enjoy your life and not be sick.

So this is where it's really important to pay attention to your diet and lifestyle. I think that western medicine is going to save you, they can but you don't want that kind of assistance.

So lets just say if we have one or two things that will really help promote longevity at a high quality. What would those one or two things would be for you?

Well again we're talking diet and lifestyle, so eating lots of plants, getting lots of exercise, getting plenty of sleep, stress reduction.

I'm listing more, and a few key supplements you can take like the resveratrol.

Great, well thank you very much Dr. Horner for sharing your views on how to promote longevity.

If you have any questions about aging, or any other health matter please click on the link below, we'd love to hear from you.