A Unifying Theory of Aging – The Peter Attia Drive

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This is Peter’s (@PeterAttiaMD) new short podcast series, The Qualys, available only to paying subscribers (except for periodic episodes like this one). This clip is from Peter’s interview with Dr. David Sinclair, author of Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have.

Key Takeaways

  • The Central Tenants of Aging (AKA what goes bonkers when you get older)
    • Epigenetic changes
    • Changes in cell communication
    • Inflammation
    • The build-up of senescent cells
    • Protein misfolding
    • Telomere loss
    • Genomic instability
    • Metabolic changes
    • Adverse responses to amino acids and other nutrient inputs
  • The Unifying Theory of Aging
    • Although the above doesn’t seem all that related, David believes he’s discovered an underlying factor. He explains:
      • The genome is digital information (it can easily be stored and read)
      • As it turns out, the genome is very much intact within older people/animals
      • People inherent epigenetic information from their parents (AKA the pattern of gene expression AKA the pattern to which certain genes are turned on/off)
        • This information acts in multiple dimensions: it adapts to what we eat/drink, if we exercise, and how much sleep we get (genes are being turned on/off ALL the time)
          • David refers to the above as “analog information”
    • “That’s the problem with aging: we don’t lose the digital information… the compact disc of our lives is still intact when we’re old, but it’s as if we have a scratched CD and cells don’t read the right genes at the right time.” 
      • In simple terms – Genes are being turned on/off when they shouldn’t be
        • Because of this, cells start losing their functionality and basically their identity (so you’d get a liver cell behaving as a neural cell)
  • How confident is David that he’ll see a step function change in human longevity during his lifetime?
    • “There really hasn’t been a step function change in human longevity since the introduction of sanitation” – Peter
      • Perhaps there was also one with the introduction of antibiotics and vaccinations
    • “I’m getting more and more confident” – David
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