Life extension involves learning how to make use of the knowledge that modern medicine has provided in order to live longer and healthier lives. We can use knowledge about DNA and personalized medicine, nutritional supplements, maintenance of hormone levels -- and other medical information -- in order to live a longer healthspan. By living longer, we can be alive long enough to take advantage of medical advances that are yet to be developed. Life extension is an aggressive form of preventive medicine.
The Life Extension Manual began as a handout for seminars on Life Extension I was doing once or twice a year during the early 1990s. As the "handout" grew in size to that of a small book, I began to convert it into a stand-alone document and to distribute it separately from the seminars.
I won't be doing any more of these seminars, but I have done significant updates occasionally of the online Life Extension Manual and I plan to do some more updates during the coming months.
I cannot predict when new material will be added. I earn very little from this Life Extension Manual, so I don't have much incentive to put additional effort into it. I still find this subject to be of upmost personal interest to me, though, and I enjoy sharing this information.
Whatever I may do with this information in the future, this basic Life Extension Manual will remain available online. Until very recently, I had no plans to make any printed copies available. That may change sometime in 2016 since there are very preliminary plans to expand this material into a much more comprehensive book.
Life Extension is a new form of applied science that is filled with uncertainties; but in the short history of this applied science, many of those who have learned to manage the uncertainties have already benefited greatly from it.
Science is the one successful method that has been developed for managing uncertainty. Knowledge and certainty are mutually exclusive. Certainty is a myth of unscientific worldviews.
Those of us who have been practicing state-of-the-art Life Extension for more than a decade have been pleased, and sometimes pleasantly surprised, at just how well these techniques work. (I've been at it to some extent for more than 45 years, beginning when I was about 20 years old.)
In many respects, though, the true science of anti-aging medicine is just now in its infancy. In the past, we have only been able to slow down some of the manifestations of aging. In the near future, we may finally begin to be able to do something about aging at a more fundamental level. In fact, we can now begin to attack aging at its most fundamental level, but we can currently only make perhaps a five percent dent in the most fundamental causes of aging.
At this point in time, the very small number of us who have been at this life extension process for several decades, and have succeeded to some extent in making our biological age much less than our chronological age, are regarded (to some extent) as social freaks. So one must be psychologically prepared to deal with this. (This problem is actually much more pervasive and difficult than most people would think. It is a major disincentive for aggressively continuing a life extension program.)
Long before we completely conquer aging at its most fundamental level, we are likely to encounter what scientist Aubrey de Grey calls the Methuselarity, which is a point in time where expected human lifespan increases by more than one year for each year of elapsed time. At this point, one's expected remaining lifetime stops decreasing and begins increasing. This certainly does not mean immortality or the end of death. It basically means, though, that you will have no real idea of how much longer you have to live. Some people will find this situation very uncomfortable or disconcerting. It is likely that most people alive today will live to see the Methuselarity.
I had intended that the Life Extension Manual would be revised and updated frequently, but this has proven to be quite time-consuming and difficult. I realize that some sections are inadequately referenced to the primary medical literature. I have added a number of important references during the past two years. I hope to be able to remedy this problem further over the next several months, although it is likely to be a slow process.
I had my genome analyzed in May, 2008 by deCODEme.com, a division of Decode Genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland. (DeCode was purchased by Amgen in December 2012, and they have since discontinued their DecodeMe personal genetics testing services for new customers.) In November, 2008, I had a further analysis done by 23andMe. These companies did not decode the entire genome, but they did decode the points of human DNA that are the most common variations among different individuals.
At the time of my DNA scans, DeCODEme.com decoded 1,013,349 points on an individual's DNA, and 23andMe version 2 decoded 579,751 points. These points are among the points known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs (pronounced "snips"). There is a lot of overlap in the SNPs that were decoded by the two companies. To learn more about SNPs, see SNPedia, which is a Wikipedia-like encyclopedia about single nucleotide polymorphisms.
Links to my comprehensive personal DNA information, and how this information saved me from an early death, are on Jerry's DNA Page.
One result of my DNA tests was that I was able to identify an unusual variant in a gene that codes for the aromatase enzyme. A malfunctioning aromatase gene was causing me to lose bone density, especially spinal bone density. As a direct result of the discovery of that variant, I had further testing done, and I discovered that my estradiol level was far too low. Estradiol is an estrogen that is necessary for health in both males and females. After using supplementary estradiol for 10 months, the bone mineral density in my lumbar spine increased by more than 20 percent. By June 2012, my lumbar bone mineral density had increased by 42.5 percent above the bone density just before I started using topical estradiol. You can read more details about my DNA tests, including medical references about the problem of estrogen deficiency in males, at:
I already knew that I had a genetic propensity for spinal osteoporosis, a disease which resulted in my father's death in 2005 after a long period of severe disability. Shortly after my father's death, I had a DEXA bone scan that revealed that my bone density was also abnormally low, primarily in the spine, but also to a certain extent at the hip.
By May of 2008, my spinal bone density had decreased to the point that it met the technical definition of osteoporosis. I was able to identify the most significant probable causes as variants in the IGF-1 and aromatase genes.
Results of a DEXA bone density scan on May 6, 2009 indicated an increase in lumbar spinal bone density of 20.1 percent during the previous year as the result of using supplemental transdermal estradiol and injectable growth hormone. DEXA bone density scans in December 2010 and June 2012 showed a continuing increase in my spinal bone density. My spinal bone density is 42.5 percent higher (as of June 2012) as compared with its was lowest point in May 2008. I am no longer in the osteoporosis range.
Progress in medicine is expanding so rapidly that the doubling time for medical knowledge is now about four years (although there no means of really measuring a moving target like expanding knowledge with any degree of accuracy). That means that during the next four years, we will learn as much about medicine as was discovered from the beginning of human existence until now.
The field of human genomics is currently advancing faster than any area of information that I have seen in my lifetime (and I have spent the last four decades imbedded deeply in the rapidly-moving electronics revolution). The 20th century was the century of electricity and electronics, but the 21st century promises to be the century of biology and medicine.
Figuring out how to manage and apply all of the information is an enormous challenge, a challenge made even more complex by biochemical individuality: the fact that each of us is unique. In both preventive medicine and traditional "curative" medicine, what works well for most people may have adverse effects on any given individual. If we can stop FDA obstruction, the new science of human genomics will help us to sort this out, and this process of individualized medicine is beginning already.
If you want to obtain your complete health risk information from your DNA file, you may have to either consult with a professional, or else analyze your raw 23andMe DNA file as I have done (as described elsewhere on this site). This situation, however, is constantly changing. The prices of the 23andMe DNA scan, as well as the health risk information that the FDA will allow 23andMe to reveal, both changed considerably in late October of 2015. Consult the 23andMe web site for current information and updates.
My Promethease analysis, mentioned above, has a lot of information about how I am likely to react to various medicines. In the future, DNA analysis will also be able to give some valuable information about how any specific individual is likely to respond to various foods and nutritional supplements. Promethease is software for comparing a person's individual genetic data from a DNA scan with the known information about the effects of different variations in DNA.
There is a 23 minute video tutorial on downloading a 23andMe raw DNA file and obtaining information from that file on health risks and your personal pharmaceutical idiosyncrasies by using Promethease at:
Traditional one-size-fits-all medicine is rapidly becoming obsolete, and it will soon come to be generally regarded as dangerous.
I usually began my Life Extension Seminars by passing around a printed copy of the Index Medicus, the index of most of the medical research reports published in the world for any particular month. During the 1990s, the typical Subject Index for one month was a 9-inch by 11.5-inch book that was more than 2 inches thick and weighed more than 6 pounds (nearly 3 kilograms). (The separate Author Index was only a little over one inch thick.) This book was only the index for a single month of medical research reports in scientifically-respected peer-reviewed publications. It is no longer feasible to publish a printed index of new medical reports due to the ever increasing volume of new information. After December, 2004, printed copies of the Index Medicus were no longer published. That information is now only available electronically.
The information in the Life Extension Manual is derived from information in those research reports that you don't usually hear much about. I personally do make use of most of the information that is contained in the Life Extension Manual; but I am not recommending that anyone else do the same. I am a medical experiment-in-progress, and so is anyone else who decides to make use of relatively new medical information.
The decision whether, and to what extent, to personally make use of information about life extension and anti-aging medicine is a difficult one. While there is an abundance of data pointing to the benefit of, for example, the regular use of melatonin or certain other particular hormones, but there are also a large amount of unanswered questions.
I am frequently asked about my personal life extension program and about to what extent it has worked. I've always been reluctant to publish my own experimental regimen since it would be inappropriate for anyone to use it without medical supervision. I once had it online at this site, but too many people foolishly tried to use it inappropriately for their own program -- so I have deleted it. I have put a page back up about the core nutritional supplements that I consider important. That page is not a complete summary of what I take (since what I take changes as circumstances evolve), but contains information that I believe will be useful to others.
I have put the results of my latest personal blood chemistry tests, with comments online. That set of blood chemistry data shows the results of my 2010 blood tests and link to another page showing my blood tests for the earlier three years. I will have even more updated personal medical information available here later.
This online manual is heavily linked to many other interesting web sites, especially in the Recommended Reading and Resources section.
The Life Extension Foundation has also provided Futurescience with an article about natural means of increasing human growth hormone for those who do not wish to (or cannot afford to) use HGH injections.
The Life Extension Manual is written by Jerry Emanuelson.
Jerry Emanuelson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you send me an email, please be patient. I do carefully read all of my email, but I find it impossible to respond to every one.
Futurescience.com has an affiliate relationship with the Life Extension Foundation. I have been a member of this organization since very shortly after it was founded more than three decades ago. That organization provides a number of very valuable products and services, which you can purchase whether you become a member or not (although you get a significantly discounted price if you are a member.) One of those services is the ability to order your own blood tests of your choosing at a price that is lower than you will generally pay at a doctor's office. In this free Life Extension Manual, one of the major goals is to enable individuals to take greater control of their own health and medical care.
The Life Extension Foundation offers discount pricing on a wide variety of blood testing by one of the largest testing laboratories in the United States. The samples are taken at any one of the more than 1600 Labcorp sites all across the United States. This is a great opportunity to choose your own medical testing.
You can't really achieve optimal health and extend your life span without knowing the things about the true state of your health that only blood testing can tell you.
(If you have a problem taking blood tests because of problems with needle procedures, please see the Needle Phobia Page for many possible solutions to this very common, and often extremely difficult, problem. It is a problem that has been significant for me in the past, but I have largely overcome it.)