5 Fascinating Reverse Ageing Habits Of Modern CEOs You May Want To Try (If You Can)

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Ayinla Daniel Avatar

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“I think a lot of us think that when you’re in your twenties, you’re impervious to aging and illness, and what we know is that the epigenetic clock starts ticking from birth and that what we do in our twenties does affect our ultimate longevity.”

David Sinclair, Harvard Genetics Professor.

Ageing, CEOs And Living Long

Ageing man standing by the window

Being a CEO in the modern world is a tough job (if you want to live long, don’t become one).

Exposure to high-stress levels over a long period can negatively affect one’s health and well-being, ultimately leading to a shorter lifespan.

I read an interesting article recently about a famous tech CEO taking metformin, a popular diabetic medication. (For the record, he doesn’t have diabetes).

Why was he taking it? He said it helped him stay younger or slowed down the ageing process (reverse ageing).

How?

We will find out soon. We’ll also look at some of the habits (some rather odd and pretty too strict) of modern (tech) CEOs that they claim make them ten years (or more) younger.

Like the tech CEO who claims he is the most measured human being in history.

He commits to doing about 100 different things daily to neutralise his ageing process. That’s a whole lot, and he follows his regimen to the letter.

Daily MRIs, ultrasounds, blood, stool, saliva tests, fitness gadgets and gizmos–this is one tech CEO taking the fight against ageing seriously and claiming he’s doing it for humanity’s sake.

His company asserts that its blueprint is the best and most accurate in history (I know you can’t wait to lay your hands on that blueprint. Who doesn’t want to live longer on earth? Or. Forever?!)

Chances are that you aren’t a multibillionaire or millionaire tech CEO, so you may not have access to the kind of resources at their disposal to undertake their “spartan-like” daily routines and habits. Nonetheless, you can learn a lot from their pursuit of longevity and apply it to your simple lives.

Should you imitate them? Well, most of these habits are good to emulate (if you can). Some of them may just be, you know, a little bit over the top, and it all depends on your disposition towards reverse ageing.

From heavy micro-dosing on essential nutrients, vitamins, supplements and diabetic drugs, consuming huge portions of vegetables, and having dinner at 11 am to rigid exercise routines and no room for cheating or spoiling yourself even a bit, here are five fascinating reverse ageing habits of modern CEOs you may want to try (if you can).

We’ve heard tech CEOs, Silicon Valley folks, and even genetics professors claim they reduced their biological ages by five or even ten years.

Are these claims true? Well, scientifically speaking, it may be true because it’s possible to measure ageing by studying the structure and function of internal organs, and not just the internal organs, but also the mind.

The field of epigenetics, which studies how gene activities are controlled by external factors (age, lifestyle modifications, environment and disease) without altering the DNA sequence, reveals to us that we can actually control the ageing process (speed it up, slow it down and maybe completely halt it?)

The human mind plays a crucial role in the ageing process and may even be one of the most implicated element in studying reverse ageing.

Experts believe that, given the right conditions, humans can live for as long as 115 years.

I wonder what you’ll be doing when you clock 110 years.  

Ok, there. Enough talk.

Let’s dive right in.

Adequate Sleep

Sleep has profound benefits for our overall health and well-being. During sleep, neurobiological processes take place that have a positive impact on brain health, improving memory, influencing mood and cognitive functions, and enhancing learning, problem-solving, creativity, and general well-being.

As we age, we tend to spend less time sleeping and are predisposed to sleep disturbances like sleep apnea, which causes poor sleep and a low oxygen supply to the brain.

Research has shown that poor sleep increases amyloid deposition in the brain, and these deposits compromise sleep quality.

Amyloid is a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid is considered a metabolic waste product normally excreted during sleep (the excretion mechanism is still unknown to scientists). When the brain is deprived of adequate sleep, amyloid builds up in certain areas of the brain.

Enough of the neurobiology.

What do tech CEOs do about the sleep problem, or what do they do to get enough sleep?

Here, let me show you:

  • Sleeping and waking up early: They train their bodies to go to bed at the same time and wake up around the same time, helping them programme their natural body clock (circadian rhythm) not to oversleep because oversleeping also has negative effects. You may think they work all through the night and have little sleep. No. They don’t.
  • They sleep at least seven hours per night. Sleep is like food or water. Your body needs it to function optimally. If you deprive your body of the right amount of sleep, it’ll complain; it sure will. These big guys understand the importance of the length of sleep. Hey, they want to be around for a long time to spend all that money.
  • They ensure they experience deep, uninterrupted sleep: Sleep quality always matters. To reap the full benefit of sleep, always strive to experience deep, rich and uninterrupted sleep. Big tech CEOs know this, and they don’t joke about it. But they have busy schedules? Yes, and they know that to be effective and efficient, they need to have adequate sleep.

Before we jump to the next, let me share some quick, interesting sleep tips from renowned sleep expert and researcher Dr Suzanne Bertisch:

  • Use your bed for sleep and sex only–I find this interesting. Dr Suzanne advises that using your bed for activities other than sleep and sex trains your brain to think that activities other than sleep are appropriate. Hmmm. Interesting.
  • Slow breathing exercises or yoga can help you sleep if your brain is busy thinking.
  • Put away electronic devices during bedtime; reduce blue light exposure if you must use them. Uhm. I know some of us are already addicted to this habit (“looking at me with the side of me eye”).

You see, sleep is closely connected to health and well-being. Anything that improves health and well-being automatically directly affects longevity.  

They Consume A Lot Of Pills, Supplements &… Metformin

Our modern foods have limited nutrients, which is why a dedicated growing industry produces supplements and vitamins.

Maybe it would have been entirely different if we were still in the agricultural era, where the soil was still healthy, and natural food contained almost everything we needed.

But here we are in the 21st century. All sorts of chemicals have burnt our soils, affecting the food we grow on them.

Do you recall the tech CEO I mentioned earlier, who follows a strict reverse ageing daily routine?

Yes, you do.

How can you forget?

This is a list of some of the pills he consumes daily at intervals:

  • Zinc
  • Zeaxanthin
  • BroccoMax
  • CocoaFlavanols
  • Garlic
  • Ginger Root
  • Glucosamine Sulphate
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Lysine
  • L-Tyrosine
  • Metformin
  • N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine
  • Nicotinamide Riboside
  • Taurine
  • Turmeric

This is just a cross-section of some of the supplements he takes daily. It’s just unbelievable.

Now, do you have to take this much to stay healthy or live a long life?

No, you don’t have to.

Though it may be necessary to take some supplements and vitamins to support the nutrients you get from natural foods, you don’t need to open a pharmacy to live healthy or pursue longevity unless you have certain nutrient deficiencies caused by disease conditions that require you to take supplements or you want to turn yourself into an experiment (like that guy).

In this case, it’s extreme, and you don’t need to take that many supplements or pills (it’s just scary.)  

Talking About Metformin

Let’s start with the words of Dr Nir Barzilai, a leading longevity expert and the director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“Metformin has preliminary data. Clinical and observational studies showed that it can prevent diabetes, heart diseases, mild cognitive impairment, cancer and many other illnesses. It’s associated with decreased mortality. Diabetic people who take metformin die less than people without diabetes, so strong is its effect.”

What makes metformin interesting is that there’s some research evidence backing it up (not on humans but on Mice and Worms.)

Also, epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that metformin can actually delay ageing and improve health in non-diabetics.

There’s even research that reports that people with diabetes who take metformin live longer than those who don’t take the drug.  

How does it do it?

Simply put this way.

Metformin lowers the levels of oxidative stress, which plays a key role in chronic diseases. Lower levels of oxidative stress allow cells to repair damage effectively.

It’s amazing, isn’t it?

Another interesting fact is that it doesn’t just prevent diabetes; it also prevents various age-related cancers.

It also mimics some of the positive effects of calorie restrictions, lessening the amount of sugar the body produces and absorbs.

There are dozens of research on using metformin as an anti-ageing drug (I’ll share a couple of them at the end of the article).

Should you start using metformin?

I think you shouldn’t jump into taking prescription medications, of which metformin is one.

You can purchase some over-the-counter supplements and vitamins, and they could sell them to you without a doctor’s prescription.

But for a drug like metformin, I think it’s wise you see your doctor before you start “snacking” on it.

Metformin is harmless, with almost no side effects, though prolonged use has some nasty side effects like diarrhoea, low blood sugar, and abdominal pain. The biggest risk is an accumulation of acid in the body (if higher doses are taken), causing lactic acidosis (people with significant kidney problems need to be careful with Metformin use).

Nonetheless, we need extensive human research to ascertain its effectiveness and safety.

However, that hasn’t stopped top tech CEOs from including it as part of their daily supplement.

Maybe they know something we all don’t. Hmmm.

Regular Exercise

This here is a no-brainer. We all know that exercise should be one of the biggest on this list. The tech CEOs know this, and they follow a strict exercise regimen.

They don’t joke with exercise. It doesn’t have to be lifting dumbbells or squatting heavy weights (you don’t want to be like Roney Coleman or Jay Cutler.)

The idea is to ensure you are active enough.

According to the World Health Organisation, people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active.

That’s some scary metrics. And what’s the recommended amount of exercise for adults?

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity.

Feels like a lot, right?

Yes, it does. And that’s because of your mind.

Do you see why it’s pertinent to tackle the poor mindset issue?

We’d rather sit on the couch all day than get active for at least 30 minutes a day.

If we can deal with our minds, we’ll discover that picking up healthy habits is easier.

The big tech CEOs know that their minds play a major role in their pursuit of health and well-being.

More on the mind in the “mind section.”

What kind of physical activity do you enjoy? Running, swimming, aerobics, sports, badminton, football?

Discover it and let it become more fun and relaxing than just exercise or a pill to swallow.

They Don’t Joke With What They Eat, Especially The Greens

One fascinating eating habit common among CEOs is they consume a lot of green (I mean a lot), and they take intermittent fasting seriously.

Typical breakfast, lunch and dinner would consist of:

  • Plenty of water (some even have water for breakfast. Really).
  • Lemon.
  • A teaspoon of cod liver oil and black coffee.
  • Sweetgreen, broccoli, salads, or anything green (plenty of smoothies).
  • Honey instead of sugar (or other healthy alternatives).
  • Lean proteins (chicken, fish or shrimp).
  • Nuts (they love nuts).
  • Salmon.
  • Whole grains. Brown rice. Beans.
  • Low-fat dairy products.
  • Almost totally eliminating sugar, meat and alcohol.
  • Three to four or more diet cokes daily (OK. Don’t do this.)
  • Eating fruits for days stretch (extreme, extreme.)

Time won’t allow us to explore deeply. However, some tech CEO diets are, as usual, odd and extreme, like the fruitarian diet, where you eat only fruits and vegetarian diets, consisting of only vegetables or the Paleo diet.

There’s nothing wrong with going the fruit or vegetables path. You just have to be careful to avoid falling into malnutrition. So, this means you’ve got to keep an eye on your physiology and always ensure you are in contact with an expert.

Just keep the balance.

Intermittent Fasting

There’s a plethora of research papers and reviews that have explored the possibility that intermittent fasting can slow down the ageing process (more extensive studies have been done in mice and nonhuman primates and have shown consistent effects of caloric restrictions on health span).

And as usual, big tech CEOs have included it in their lifestyle. Some even go to the extreme (as expected) of not eating for days (this is not advisable and could harm you. Unless done under the supervision of an expert).

What’s the basic physiology behind intermittent fasting, and how does it reverse ageing?

During intermittent fasting, certain cellular responses improve glucose regulation, increase stress resistance and suppress inflammation.

And with reduced oxidative and metabolic stress, the body is protected from most chronic diseases that speed up ageing.

Here are some scientific benefits of intermittent fasting according to a review article in The New England Journal of Medicine by Rafael de Cabo, PhD, and Mark P. Mattson, PhD:

  • Incorporating intermittent fasting into your diet can enhance insulin sensitivity, protect against obesity (resulting from a high-fat diet), and alleviate symptoms of diabetic retinopathy (diabetic changes of the retina).
  • Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can improve various aspects of cardiovascular health; this includes lowering blood pressure, heart rate, HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, triglycerides, glucose, and insulin, as well as reducing insulin resistance.
  • By practising intermittent fasting, individuals can decrease the presence of markers linked to atherosclerosis, such as systemic inflammation and oxidative stress.

Time and space won’t allow us to discuss each point in detail. You can always study the review paper.

How Should You Fast?

There isn’t really a hard and fast rule when it comes to intermittent fasting.

The only important thing is adhering to the principles, which is abstaining partially or entirely from food for some time and the calorie allowances.

There are basically six ways to do intermittent fasting:

  • Fast 12 hours a day: Preferably during sleep periods (7 pm to 7 am).
  • Fast 16 hours a day (16:8): You only have an eating window of 8 hours. Popular called the 16:8 method or Leangains diet.
  • Fasting 2 days a week (5:2): You eat normal healthy meals for 5 days and eat low calories on the other 2 days (males 600 calories and females 500 calories).
  • Alternate day fasting: Eating every other day. It should be done with extreme caution for beginners or those with certain medical conditions.
  • Weekly 24-hour fast: Eat nothing for 24 hours once or twice weekly. You can drink water, tea, or high-calorie drinks during the fast. It’s advised to start gradually before jumping into a 24-hour fast. Let’s say start with 12 hours, 16, and then 24. With time, the body gradually adjusts to the new pattern.

Fasting has been an age-long practice, even in most religions. Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and other religions have sacred times for fasting or abstaining from food. The sacred texts have confirmed the spiritual and physiological importance of abstaining from food.

Give your body some rest, and create a fasting timetable for yourself.

You can start with a few hours and gradually increase the hours spent without food.

Be cautious not to do extreme fasts without the supervision of an expert.

They Nurture Their Mindset

You might be asking me, what does mindset have to do with staying healthy or living longer?

Well. Listen.

We’ve neglected the connection between mental health and overall well-being for a very long time.

We never knew that an unhealthy mind could sully the work we’re doing to keep our bodies healthy.

It was not until recently that research began to reveal that we are as healthy as our minds, not just our bodies.

Focusing on bodily health and neglecting the mind is an incomplete medicine.

Our minds may be the most important part of our lives because that is where we get the motivation to live and stay alive.

If it’s affected, sick, or tired, we will not make any serious progress in getting our bodies as healthy as they should be.

No wonder top CEOs and executives do not joke about the health of their minds. One way they do it is to nurture their mindsets.

You need to believe that you can do it.

Now, this isn’t just motivation or inspiration. There’s a lot of scientific evidence to support it.

Your perception of what happens around you tremendously affects your health and how long you live.

You can compare it to the placebo or nocebo effect.

People need to have a solid belief in whatever they are doing to reap its benefits.

So, you could be among friends who are always exercising.

You see them in their gym outfits all the time, sweating and working it out.

If care is not taken, you might feel inadequate to keep up with them, especially if you’re trying to stay healthy or exercise more or are struggling to do more exercise.  

If you allow yourself to be too negative about your physical activity, you may see yourself as unfit and unable to continue on the path to progress.

That’s where the problem comes from—your mindset.

Researchers discovered something extraordinary in a recent study. The research aimed to examine the correlation between individuals’ perceptions of their physical activity levels and mortality rates at the population level.

The research carried out by Standford University scientists in the US looked at mortality data for 61,000 adults.

Over the course of 21 years, numerous measures were taken to track people’s exercise habits and perceptions of their exercise habits compared to others their age.

What the scientists discovered is an eye-opener to how our mindsets can affect our health and, in turn, how long we live.

People who believed they were not exercising as much as their peers had a higher risk of premature death compared to those who thought they were more active, even if the actual amount of exercise was the same.

This study suggests that perception plays a huge role in determining how healthy we are.

If you think you can’t do it, then you won’t be able to do it.

Taking control of our minds is one of the biggest health hacks we must master.

The motivation to stay healthy, exercise, eat well, and pursue healthy relationships rests in the health and strength of our minds.

Leading CEOs and executives know this truth and do all they can to keep their minds at top performance.

They seek counsel and professional advice when needed and deliberately avoid anything polluting or weakening their minds.

You, too, can learn from them. You don’t need a multibillion-dollar lab or expensive vitamins or supplements to keep your mind healthy. All you need to do is decide to keep your mind as healthy as possible.

And how do you keep your mind healthy?

Do you want to know?

Ok.

Just do everything we have advised earlier.

Eat well, sleep well, exercise well, and keep healthy connections.

Conclusion

We all want to live long, healthy, happy lives. Living well depends greatly on our choices—what we eat, how we prioritise sleep and rest, the kind of relationships we build, our mindset, and how we heed professional medical advice.

In a world that’s advancing at an alarmingly rapid pace, with the advent of advanced digital technologies like artificial intelligence making life a lot easier, digital technologies have undoubtedly contributed immensely to society’s advancement and brought disturbing social challenges.

Statistics show that more people are becoming obese. And it’s linked to more people sitting in front of screens—TV, game and mobile screens.

Our screen times have stolen our activity time, predisposing more people to conditions like obesity, which will further expose them to more chronic conditions like diabetes, heart problems, and, in the long run, death.

We may not be able to live forever, but we can live long, fulfilling healthy lives.

The primary aim of this article is to let us know what most of the wealthy people around us do to stay healthy and live longer.

You may think that staying healthy is a luxury only the rich can afford. I am here to tell you that there’s nothing luxurious about staying healthy. It all depends on making the right choices at the right time and cultivating the discipline to keep following good choices.

Further Reading

Selected References

  • Current guidelines | Health.gov. (n.d.). https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/physical-activity-guidelines/current-guidelines
  • De Cabo, R., & Mattson, M. P. (2019). Effects of intermittent fasting on health, aging, and disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, 381(26), 2541–2551. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmra1905136
  • Harvard Professor Claims 3 Habits Helped Him 10 Years Younger. https://theunn.com/harvard-professor-claims-3-habits-helped-him-10-years-younger/
  • Mazin, A. (2021, July 24). Dr. Nir Barzilai: “We Can Live Healthier for Longer.” Lifespan.io. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.lifespan.io/news/dr-nir-barzilai-we-can-live-healthier-for-longer/
  • Parish, A. J., & Swindell, W. R. (2022). Metformin has heterogeneous effects on model organism lifespans and is beneficial when started at an early age in Caenorhabditis elegans: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Aging Cell, 21(12). https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.13733
  • Pelc, C. (2023, January 24). Scientists reversed aging in mice. Is it possible in humans? Medical News Today. Retrieved July 16, 2023, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/harvard-scientists-reverse-aging-in-mice-is-it-possible-in-humans#What-might-these-mean-for-humans?
  • Sleep Hygiene • Elevated Well-being Psychology. https://elevatedwellbeing.com.au/sleep-hygiene/
  • Shmerling, R. H., MD. (2021). Is metformin a wonder drug? Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-metformin-a-wonder-drug-202109222605
  • World Health Organization: WHO. (2022). Physical activity. www.who.int. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity

Ayinla Daniel Avatar

(Chief Editor)

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