How to live longer

Who doesn’t want to live longer? In The Latest Fascinating Findings in Anti-Aging Research, we explored the longevity pathways mTOR, AMPK, SIRT1, and NF-kB. Now that you have a base understanding of these pathways, you will learn how to epigenetically target them for extending life. If you are really serious about longevity, consider genetic testing through Nutrition Genome to discover your genetic strengths and weaknesses, and see which pathways need the most attention.

How to Live Longer with These 7 Compounds

1. Resveratrol

Defined: Resveratrol is a plant chemical known as a polyphenol stilbene.

Research: Protects against heart disease; showed to extend life in worms, fish, and flies; extends life in obese mice; improved health of all mice (73).


Food sources: red wine, peanuts, pistachios, berries (blueberries, bilberries, cranberries), cacao, muscadine grape

2. Pterostilbene

Defined: Pterostilbene is a plant chemical know as a polyphenol stilbene.

Research: Reduces oxidative damage; acts as an anti-inflammatory; a powerful control of gene expression and enzyme activity modulator; similar benefits as resveratrol but more bioavailable (potential for better absorption) (74)


Food sources: blueberries, red wine, almonds, peanuts and cacao.

3. Curcumin

Defined: Curcumin is a plant rhizome chemical known as a polyphenol curcuminoid.

Research: Shows antioxidant activity similar to Vitamin C and E; acts as an anti-inflammatory; liver protective; reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels; cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease protection, glucose lowering activity (75) (76)


Food sources: Turmeric.

4. Magnesium

Defined: Magnesium is a critical mineral essential to human life.

Research: 45% of the USA are deficient in magnesium; required by all the enzymes that use and produce ATP (the energy form used by cells); it is involved in ion transport; cell signaling; and has structural functions

Pathways: ACTIVATE SIRT1 (77); a critical co-factor to proper functioning pathways; over 300 enzymes within the body require magnesium (78)

Food sources: Spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, pumpkin seeds, summer squash and turnip greens. See our top magnesium supplements here.

5. Melatonin

Defined: Melatonin is the main hormone of the pituitary gland, which is primarily responsible for maintaining normal circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle)

Research: Shown to extend lifespan in mice; linked to reduce cancer; associated with neuroprotection; improve immune system function; powerful antioxidant (79)

Pathways: ACTIVATES AMPK; INHIBITS NF-kB, ACTIVATES SIRT1 (80) (81) (36) Melatonin appears to be unique in that it seems to target the AMPK and SIRT pathways differently depending on normal cells or a cancerous cell.  In the case of cancerous cells, AMPK and SIRT are downregulated and inhibited by melatonin.

Food sources: Montmorency (tart) cherry, goji berries, walnuts, almonds, raspberries, tomatoes, other berry varieties, other cherry varieties, Barolo and Barbaresco red wines.

6. Vitamin D

Defined: Vitamin D is a synthesized in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight and then metabolized by the liver and the kidney to a hormone variant.  In supplement form, Vitamin D is known as Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).

Research: Vitamin D regulates the expression of hundreds of genes; blood levels of Vitamin D are associated with reduced dementia, cancer, and heart disease risk; it ensures bone health and strength; Vitamin D inhibits autoimmune disease; lowers likelihood of cold and flu; inadequate blood levels of vitamin D are associated with asthma, stroke, neurodegenerative disease and multiple sclerosis (82)

Pathways: ACTIVATES AMPK; INHIBITS mTOR; INHIBITS NF-kB, ACTIVATES SIRT1 (83) (84) (85) (86) (87) (64) (88) (89) (90)

Food sources: Cold liver oil, whole salmon oil, salmon, sardines, cow’s milk and egg yolks.

7. EPA & DHA

Defined:  Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in marine products like fish.

Research:  Fish oil has shown to protect against cognitive decline; slows the aging process in general; associated with slower telomere shortening; reduces oxidation in blood cells; reduces inflammation (91)


Food sources: fish and other seafood, marine oil supplements. See our top fish oil picks here.

NOTE:  AMPK increases SIRT1 by increasing NAD+ levels within cells. SIRT1 activation also indirectly activates AMPK. Moreover, what increases AMPK activity typically inhibits mTOR.

  Resveratrol Pterostilbene Curcumin Magnesium Melatonin Vitamin D DHA/EPA
Top Food Source: Red wine Wild blueberries Turmeric Spinach Montmorency cherries Cod Liver Oil Fish and seafood, Fish Oil
Inhibits mTOR X X X * ** X X
Activates AMPK X X X * X X X
Activates SIRT X X X X X X X
Inhibits NF-kB X X X * X X X

* magnesium is a necessary co-factor in all pathways and many people are deficient in this mineral ** Satisfactory references could not be found so this was left blank, although mTOR tends to be inhibited if AMPK is activated

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Due to the current workload at Nutrition Genome, Alex is not able to answer questions at this time. Please check back soon!