Biological Age Test #4 in 2020: Getting Better or Getting Worse?

My latest blood test results are in-how’s my biological age? In the video I discuss my dietary approach prior to my latest blood test, the blood test results, and my plan to improve them going forward.

Michael Lustgarten

Ph.D, Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2009 B.S., Biochemistry, Queens College, 2003 B.A, English Textual Studies, 1994, Syracuse University

15 thoughts on “Biological Age Test #4 in 2020: Getting Better or Getting Worse?

  1. I’m pretty thrilled to find this site with both clear explanations of various aging processes and sharing and analysis of personal data. Also much impressed with your dietary choices as well as your dedication to measurement and observation. Rare to see such intellectual curiosity and rigour sparkling from every post. Thank you so much for sharing your research and observations in this accessible format!

    Though I hesitate to presume to suggest anything, isn’t it possible that glucose and creatinine are creeping up in spite of–not because of–everything you are doing with your exemplary dietary intake and exercise regimen? That is, would it be fair to guess that these readings are reflecting an incipient metabolic dysregulation that is occurring for other reasons (e.g. circadian issues like sleep, light exposure, feeding & fasting, not to mention genetic tendencies to dysregulated glucose)?

    I looked for articles on insulin resistance and circadian dysregulation, and found only passing mention of them. Yet is it too simplistic to suggest that if serum glucose is going up, either too much is going in or not enough is being burned off? With so much focus already on the very high quality of what is going in, my hunch would be that something is changing with the way it is (not) getting burned off. This sounds more like a hormone problem than a diet-and-exercise problem, doesn’t it? Whatever it is, I’m sure there’s no one better qualified than you to get to the bottom of it. Good luck!

    1. Thanks 20thcenturyfox. Glucose and creatinine increase during aging, and it may be that despite my best efforts, age is trying to get me, as it gets us all. However, there is a biological process to that, and I’m gonna figure out how to minimize it! I’m tracking glucose daily now, so stay tuned for that data. I doubt that it’s a circadian issue related to sleep, as I’m asleep before 10PM on most nights, and track sleep daily with my fitness tracker. It could be hormones, but I’m betting that optimizing my diet will fix it.

      1. Well I don’t mean to discourage you, because I am taking both inspiration and enjoyment from your reports on your explorations. But I will say I am over 70, my glucose and creatinine are lower than yours–also the best I have seen in 6 years–and my diet (though much better than SAD) is nowhere near as high quality as yours (though I will mention I do eat more fish, shellfish, liver, garlic, olive oil and coffee than you indicate).

        While I think most of the credit for my stellar lab values (6 of the 9 are “better” than yours…my doctor jokes that I have “bionic” lipids) must go to genetic factors, over this same period I have made some big improvements to exercise and sleep, have reduced visceral fat with intermittent fasting,and have also pushed myself to have more morning sunlight and less evening blue light (I actually wear amber goggles when using electronic devices after 8:30pm).

        What do you think of the research indicating time of feeding impacts insulin and glucose response?

  2. All that is good to hear, especially your glucose and creatinine being lower than mine (ha, for now!). I usually eat all my food with 8 hours after waking up, so I’m a fan of the TRF, IF studies. That’s been the biggest positive impact on better sleep quality, as I was eating too close to bedtime before that change.

  3. Ditto…I, too, have experienced much better sleep and energy since I stopped eating and going to bed so late. My “eating window” is a little longer than 8 hours, but I’m an early riser and generally only eat twice a day, so usually finish eating by 3-4pm–except on special occasions. Besides,, 2 healthy ample meals per day adds up to a huge saving of time, money and mental effort.

    As for glucose and creatinine, I think too many people are too accepting about functional decline and deteriorating health measures with increasing age–and that’s what I love about the work you’re publishing here. Of course we are all going to die of something, but it’s good for young people to know there are centenarians with perfectly normal glucose, cholesterol, and creatinine, etc. It’s even better that we have curious minds like yours probing for ways we might move the needle, year by year ,in a better direction.

  4. Hey im looking into your blog for around only 2 weeks, so excuse me if i pose dumb questions. Hope they might still give u something to think. No explanations or citations for the questions though, i hope you know why i pose them.

    1. What about switching the high fat yoghurt to zero or half fat?

    2.What about adding more of those very high nutritionally dense and caloric not so dense foods like collards, pak choi etc?

    3. Why dont go you go full vegan and supplement

    4. Why do u eat only 9 g (?) of flaxseed a day?

    5. Why dont u supplement with algae oil, Zinc and magnesium?

    Im only 27 but look up to your approach a lot!

    Best wishes and i love your work!

    1. Hey Christian, no worries. I’m a big proponent of whole foods, not processed (or minimally), so full-fat yogurt would be preferable over reduced. For my lates bloodtest, I cut my full-fat yogurt by about half.

      Collards and pak choi aren’t high on my list in terms of taste. I mostly stick to broccoli and spinach for greens. Ha, I’m already ~90-100g of fiber/day, it’s tough to add even more nutrient density.

      I went full vegan a few years ago, and my TGs almost doubled, and my HDL was at its lowest ever value, 28, which are both going in the wrong direction. Once I added my daily sardines back in, both improved.

      9g/day of flaxseed is an average value. About 1x/week, I eat 60-70g of flaxseed. Eating more seems to decrease my HDL, so I try to limit it.

      For my approach, supplements are a last resort. I get 2x+ the RDA for Mg, my Zn is always about the RDA, and how would you propose that algae oil will benefit my biomarkers? Again, my approach is primarily whole food over supplements. I take T4 for hypothyroidism (since my 20s, before I was obsessed with this approach), and a methyl-folate-B6, methyl-B12 to help limit my homocysteine, and VitD in the winter. All my other nutrients come from food, which I optimize daily through cronometer.

      Thanks Christian, and good luck! Wherever I may be wrong, your generations and those after you will improve on this approach, just as I have for the generations that preceded me!

  5. Hi Michael!
    Do you not measure your insulin Level? Maybe is the most important test to order.
    If I were you and would do an OGTT with insulin measure. That is the true test to know how metabolic fit you are, not fasting glucose.
    You said that you take T4, and consuming flax seed and broccolis in large amounts?
    Food like broccolis could be goitrogenic, and seems a little odd eat 400-500g of this food and take T4 at the same time.
    Cheers!

    1. Hey Mundo, I haven’t measured insulin in a long time, and I agree about its importance. Nonetheless, glucose levels increase during aging, and I wouldn’t discount its importance without insulin. I got a CGM, and my glucose levels look good at all times of the day, even after eating. So I’ll pass on the sugar bomb, OGTT.

      Yes, foods like broccoli can be goitrogenic, but I didn’t find any RCTs showing a negative effect. In contrast, in rats,

      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320702874_Effect_of_broccoli_sprouts_on_thyroid_function_haematological_biochemical_and_immunological_parameters_in_rats_with_thyroid_imbalance

  6. So are you finding that having continuous glucose monitoring is allowing you to keep your glucose down day-to-day, contrary to the results on your last fasting glucose test? If so, this sounds like a pretty significant improvement for you. What do you think you are doing differently that is lowering your glucose numbers? Or are you just surrendering to the idea that glucose goes up with age? (Like Mundo, I would definitely want some info on insulin–beta cell function and/or insulin resistance–before giving in to this idea.)

    As for glucose rising with age, do take this with a grain of salt. I happened to find a lab test of mine from July 1993, 27 years ago. I was a 44 year old globetrotting workaholic then with fasting glucose of 4.7 mmol/L (84.6mg/dL). Now I am 71 and retired (still downhill skiing, though); my results earlier this year were 4.6 mmol/L (82.8 mg/dL). Keep in mind there have been a lot of almond croissants, artisan bread, baklava, etc. between then and now. But something has been keeping my fasting glucose pretty much rock steady, and it certainly hasn’t been carrots.

    BTW, I have not had a HOMA-IR test, either, but I strongly suspect my love of fine pastry has probably made me somewhat insulin resistant, and hyperinsulemic. I would guess it has just not shown up in my glucose (or triglyceride) numbers because my beta cells have been outdoing themselves pumping out insulin which has then been doing its other job of packing all the excess glucose away as visceral fat (which I only discovered with a body composition scale–my BMI never went above 22). Now that I’ve done some hard work getting rid of the extra fat, I have reformed my diet (just a bit). I still have wine and chocolate every day, though…(as does my 95 y.o. father). But it seemed wise to (mostly) give up pastry, pasta, bread. Needless to say I am in awe of your diet, Michael. You have certainly inspired me to eat more carrots!

    1. The glucose rise to 99 happened in late June and July. I could easily claim seasonal allergies as the cause, but this year they were close to non-existent. Interestingly, I don’t have AC in my bedroom, and I noticed a correlation between daytime peak temperature with my fasting glucose levels. On some nights, even with multiple fans in my room, the night-time temp reaches 90F, and I wake up with an elevated RHR, even if it was a non-training day. In support of that hypothesis, my diet is basically the same for the rest of the year without a glucose rise. Also, I used the CGM in Sept, when daytime peak temps were ~70s, and I didn’t see any glucose readings higher than 90 in the morning.

    2. “Or are you just surrendering to the idea that glucose goes up with age?”

      Ha, never! Where there is a biological process, there is a path to optimizing it, even if it’s initially going in the wrong direction.

      Also, my diet is not perfect. Over the past 3 days, I’ve eaten 10,000 cals with an expenditure of ~7,500. I’ve been eating more like that lately-in a calorie surplus, which has raised my body weight from ~152-156. I seem to go through a period like this every year, when the chronic attempt at CR drives me to want to overeat, until I shut that sh** off and get strict with the CR again. For me, it’s rare to eat junk food (i.e. processed), but fresh cheese and coconut butter are calorie bombs that I can easily eat thousands of calories very quickly…

      Have you noticed differences in your albumin levels as a result of the carrots?

      1. What a difference a little muscle mass makes! It’s impressive to see how such a small person (I assume you mean pounds) can consume and expend so much energy. You probably burn more energy sleeping than I can burn in half a day of cross-country skiing! Although it must be harder to build muscle in the first place than to maintain it, I wonder if you will find it harder to maintain that muscle mass as you age.

        Regarding glucose, I did not know (until just now) that hot weather and humidity affect blood glucose. Apparently in diabetics it can go either way depending whether dehydration slows kidney function or vasodilation improves microcirculation and insulin sensitivity. But according to this 2015 research on healthy young men (https://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(15)00118-0/pdf ), the elevated readings in a hot environment were concentrated in the 2 hours post-glucose ingestion. The study design did not extend to the 8 hours needed for a fasting glucose reading, but it might suggest that hot weather alone was probably not responsible for your elevated readings last summer. Do you have reason to think otherwise?

        @ Have you noticed differences in your albumin levels as a result of the carrots? I get most common tests (including albumin) done for free once a year with my physical. So in the normal course–since everything was in the “normal” range–I would not have any new tests until Feb 2021. So far I have not been worried (or curious) enough to pay for extra tests, but I will report my next albumin results in the albumin thread.

  7. Hey Michael, i completely missed that you responded to my questions, sorry and thanks for the kind answers!

    It’s hard for me to come to terms with that, veganism might not be optimal for some people, but im open for all the data. When you went vegan and had no sardines isn’t it possible, that you lacked a lot of omega-3s you had before?
    I asked for the algae oil because of the DPA and EHA without the (possibly) inflammatory proteins.

    I can’t think of flaxseed decreasing anyones HDL though. Do you have enough data on that? Have you considered eating 10-30 g/d of flaxseed and not all at once? Theres some cyanide production in the gut when consuming a lot at once. The data on flaxseed really convinced me to eat them every day. I feel the calming effect of them strongly, too.

    The omega 3s and lignans apparently are doing miracles for all sorts of biomarkers, gut microbiome, mood, anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, hypertension in a lot of the studies. (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6dReZLYilU&ab_channel=NutritionFacts.org)

    What do you think of resveratrol and nmn?

    I’m looking forward to starting the data based blood analysis next year, too.

    Hope you don’t see this as critique and just as the reach out for discussion as i intend. 🙂

    Best wishes! 🙂

    1. “When you went vegan and had no sardines isn’t it possible, that you lacked a lot of omega-3s you had before?”
      -Yes, and I’d rather eat fish to get them, as that’s more evolutionarily accurate than eating algal oil…

      “I can’t think of flaxseed decreasing anyones HDL though.”
      -It may not be the flaxseeds, but the absence of omega-3 from fish. When I added that back in, HDL went up from 28 to 35. Also, at that time I was low-fat, ~10% of total calories, so that might have had something to do with reducing my HDL, too. For me, flax is a 1x or 2x event/week, so that’s why ~70g/dose. I don’t want to eat it in smaller amounts daily, it doesn’t taste as good as other nuts/seeds like cacao, wlanuts, pecans, almonds, etc. Nonetheless, I’m a fan of eating flaxseed, for some of the reasons that you mentioned, so I include them.

      Resveratrol is rubbish. It only extends lifespan on a high-fat, fiber free diet in mice. No effect when added to the control diet. NMN has some positive effects on healthspan, but what about lifespan?

      No worries, criticism can help to get closer to the truth, so I’m always open to that, as long as the goal is noble! or winning a Nobel, lol!

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