One of my big goals (and a major reason I started the idea of biohacking) is to age well. If you can hack the aging process, you can take on your golden years with enough energy, mobility, and mental clarity to enjoy them.
And yet, people –– even those dedicated to anti-aging –– often overlook one of the most important parts of aging: your metabolism.
Most people talk about metabolism in the context of weight loss, but if you hack your metabolism the right way, it can also help you live a longer, better life.
Here’s how you unlock a flexible metabolism (and how it can help you slow down aging).
What is Metabolic Aging?
Metabolism is the process through which your body uses and produces energy. The biggest component of your metabolism is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy your body burns to keep you alive while you’re at rest. BMR keeps all your essential functions online: heart, lungs, brain, and so on.
Your cells break down over time, and as they do, they produce and use energy less efficiently. Your metabolism is no exception: from age 25 onward, the cells of your metabolic system get older, and your metabolic rate naturally decreases by about 1-2% every decade.
A normal cell can only divide 40-60 times before it starts to deteriorate or die. Aging happens because your cells gradually weaken and work less and less efficiently as time goes on.
Can Metabolic Flexibility Slow Aging?
Aging is an inevitable part of life and (so far) there’s no way to stop the process.
However, there’s a lot you can do to slow aging down. One of the best anti-aging hacks is to increase your metabolic flexibility –– your body’s ability to switch between fats and carbs as fuel.
As you age, your cells become less efficient at creating energy. They also produce more free radicals –– compounds that damage your cells and speed up aging. Improving your metabolic flexibility helps you convert food to energy better, decreasing free radical damage and keeping your cells young[*].
Here are three ways to hack your metabolic flexibility and turn back the clock on aging.
1. Get Lean
One of the benefits of metabolic flexibility is that it helps you become better at burning fat, which is great for long-term weight loss[*]. A flexible metabolism will keep you lean and healthy well into old age.
Research shows that lowering your body fat percentage can decrease the number of damaging free radicals you produce as a byproduct of metabolism[*]. You live longer (and better) as a result[*].
2. Eat an Antioxidant-Rich Diet
Antioxidants bind to free radicals and deactivate them, protecting you from cellular damage that ages you.
You can find antioxidants in blueberries, asparagus, brussel sprouts, and other colorful veggies, as well as most spices and herbs[*].
3. Lower Your Blood Sugar Levels
Training your metabolism to become more flexible can also help stabilize your glucose (blood sugar) levels.
You become less responsive to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, as you grow older. High glucose destabilizes your blood sugar levels and that makes you produce more free radicals, which leads to a deteriorating aging process[*].
But if you stabilize your insulin by eating a clean diet, you’ll keep your oxidative stress down and your cells will age better[*]. I recommend trying the Bulletproof Diet; I designed it specifically for anti-aging, as well as fat loss and better energy levels.
4. Analyze and Optimize Your Metabolism
Metabolic testing has been around since the ‘60s, but it’s only been available to athletes in labs and hospitals.
These days, that’s no longer the case, thanks to new technology that allows you to measure your metabolism at home.
My favorite metabolic testing device is Lumen. It works by measuring the CO2 you exhale to see if your body is burning fats or carbs for fuel. It then uses the reading to create a daily custom nutrition plan, telling you exactly what to eat to fuel your workouts, improve your metabolic flexibility, and burn more fat.
Lumen also lets you measure your metabolism before and after meals so you can figure out the impact of what you eat. Find out more about how it works on The Human Upgrade podcast episode with Lumen co-founder Michal Mor, Ph.D.
Data is an essential part of biohacking. You want to be able to track the changes you make to your life and how they impact your body and brain.
Lumen gives you deep insight into your metabolism and helps you optimize your diet to fit your unique biology. It’s a powerful piece of technology to add to your biohacking toolbox. I highly recommend giving it a try, especially if you’re interested in burning fat more efficiently and slowing down aging.