David Sinclair, a Harvard biologist specialized in longevity science, has built a reputation for his insights on slowing down biological aging and extending lifespan. He is Widely recognized for his research on sirtuins and NAD. The sirtfood diet is a meal plan founded on the belief that certain foods can activate sirtuins, a family of enzymes that regulate cell processes, stress resilience, aging and death.
David has dozens of patents, built several biotech companies such as Tally Health and is the founder and editor of the journal, Aging. David’s general philosophy on supplements is a focus on natural compounds whose efficacy is backed by credible research. He subscribes to the belief that aging is an illness that can and should be treated.
He does not just talk about adopting an anti-aging lifestyle encompassing nutrition, supplements, intermittent fasting, exercise and stress management – he practices it. David claims his own biological age is a decade younger than his calendar age. He admits that has not always adhered to a healthy lifestyle but says key changes in his 30s made a substantial impact.
While he usually avoids recommending specific brands, David has over the years listed the diet and supplements he takes to slow down aging. We take a look at each, his reasons for using it and best practices on dosage and safety.
If you want to see a summary of all the supplements, click here.
Resveratrol is the compound behind red wine’s reputation for safeguarding heart health. A polyphenol, resveratrol naturally occurs in red grapes, raspberries, mulberries, blueberries and peanuts.
David’s team found resveratrol can extend lifespan of round worms and yeast by 60 to 80 percent. It does so by activating sirtuins, an enzyme family that contributes to DNA repair and weight management. Further, resveratrol counters inflammation and mimics calorie intake as well as mitigating the risk of cancer, cardiovascular problems and brain problems.
In a March 2023 interview with Insider, David disclosed that he has been taking resveratrol for about two decades. He prefers to buy the supplement from Tally Health, a company he founded. David recommends doing 1,000 mg per day. David prefers to take resveratrol in powder form mixed with yogurt.
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a naturally occurring compound that’s necessary for the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ is a coenzyme that’s pivotal to energy metabolism and is an essential factor for sirtuins and other enzymes. It supports numerous body processes including DNA repair, immunity and, by extension, healthy aging.
NMN occurs in relatively small amounts in certain foods such as:
Most of the body’s supply of NMN is however synthesized from vitamin B3.
In addition to getting his supply of NMN from his meals, David swallows 1,000 mg of NMN capsules per day with water according to his 2019 book, Lifespan. 1,000 mg may seem unusually high but he argues that a significant amount of NMN is destroyed by stomach acid. He takes the supplement together with olive oil, natural yogurt and/or resveratrol to increase its bioavailability.
NMN supplements in liposomal form are preferred as they have high bioavailability that negates the need to take very high (and potentially unsafe) doses of the compound.
Quercetin is a plant pigment mostly found in grapes, cherries, berries, broccoli, onions and citrus fruits. It’s the most abundant flavonoid in meals and has potent, versatile antioxidant properties. The average person takes 10-100 mg of quercetin in their diet daily.
It is known to prevent tissue injury from free radicals as well as drug or nutrient toxicity. Such tissue injury can progressively lead to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular problems, cancer, kidney diseases and cognitive decline.
In an interview with Ben Greenfield in 2021, David mentioned taking 500 mg of quercetin supplements every day in capsule form. For him, it is not just because of its antioxidant abilities but as a senolytic as well.
Senolytics are a class of compounds that target and induce death in senescent cells thus rejuvenating tissue. Senescent cells are those that have stopped multiplying but do not die as and when they should. Instead, they release chemicals that cause inflammation thereby damaging neighboring cells.
The number of senescent cells increases with age as the immune system’s efficiency decreases. With that, the person grows prone to multiple age-related ailments like cancer, cardiovascular illness, stroke, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and cognitive degradation. Quercetin has been shown to prevent these age-related health conditions.
Fisetin is a flavonoid found in strawberries and apples but also in tiny quantities in onions, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers and mangoes. The average person ingests about 0.5 mg of fisetin in their meals per day.
In the Ben Greenfield interview, David stated he takes 500 mg of fisetin supplements in capsule form every day. He believes in its senolytic power and sirtuin activating abilities.
Spermidine is a polyamine that occurs in every living organism. While present in all plant-derived meals, foods rich in spermidine include cereals, legumes, berries and soy products.
It gets its name from sperm as it was isolated from semen. Spermidine supports DNA stability, prevents cell death and promotes autophagy (the reuse of old or damaged cell parts).
It has been shown to contribute to a reduction in the risk and severity of multiple age-related diseases including cardiovascular illnesses. Spermidine levels drop with age which is why supplementation is thought to increase longevity and ward off age-associated medical conditions.
In an April 2022 interview at Silicon Valley Health Institute, David indicated he takes 1,000 mg of spermidine every day in capsule form. The dose is relatively high but that’s because only a fraction is bioavailable. In this case, the body absorbs 1 mg which is the amount it actually needs.
Vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol) is a fat soluble vitamin that the body produces when exposed to direct sunlight. It is also present in a number of meals such as seafood, beef, liver, egg yolk and certain fortified foods though not in adequate quantities to meet the body’s needs.
Vitamin D3 supports multiple body processes including the immune system and calcium/phosphorus absorption. By doing so, it keeps bones, teeth, muscles and nerves healthy.
In Lifespan (2019), David wrote that he takes at least 2,000 IU (50 mcg) of vitamin D3 capsule or soft gel every day. The aim is to bolster his overall health, on the premise that improved immunity, calcium absorption and bone strength are critical to extending lifespan. Vitamin D3 can reduce cancer risk, contain inflammation, reduce infections and is linked to lower mortality.
Vitamin K2 (or menaquinone) is a fat soluble vitamin found in animal products such as beef, chicken, salmon and cheese as well as fermented foods. It is also produced by bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin K2 is vital for mitochondrial, blood, heart and bone health.
Research indicates it has a protective and/or preventative effect on some age-related illnesses such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and inflammation. As a calcium transporter, vitamin K2 prevents the calcification and hardening of blood vessels, a precursor or heart conditions.
David writes in Lifespan (2019) that he takes an unspecified amount of vitamin K2 daily as a capsule or soft gel for its role in calcium transport. Vitamin K2 has a very low risk of toxicity – there is actually no known toxicity associated with exceeding a certain amount of the vitamin from supplements or food.
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy, polyunsaturated fats shown to support multiple important roles in the body. They are essential fats so you have to get them from meals and, where need be, supplements. Foods rich in omega-3 include fatty fish (like mackerel and salmon), chia seeds, flaxseed and walnuts.
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for building cell membranes and affect the efficiency of cell membrane receptors. They also help regulate inflammation, blood clotting and arterial contraction/relaxation. Omega-3 can therefore prevent cardiovascular illness, stroke, autoimmune diseases (like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis), cancer and eczema.
In a 2020 interview with Dave Asprey, David mentioned that he takes an unspecified amount of omega-3 daily in the form of fish oil. He explains that omega-3 activates sirtuin. David’s failure to specify the quantity of omega-3 he takes is perhaps in line with the absence of official recommended dosage. Only one type of omega-3, alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), comes with a recommended daily intake amount for adults which ranges from 1,100 mg to 1,600 mg.
Omega-3 supplements are typically in the form of (or contain) fish oil, cod liver oil and/or krill oil.
Metformin is a prescription drug used in the treatment of diabetes (both type 2 and gestational). It could also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes among persons at high risk of developing it.
Metformin lowers blood sugar by improving the body’s handling of insulin and reducing the amount of glucose released by the liver. It is most often prescribed for diabetics when exercise and diet have proved inadequate in controlling blood sugar levels. Metformin has other benefits as well such as lowering blood cholesterol and mitigating the risk of cardiovascular disease. Each of these positives indirectly contribute to extending lifespan and slowing biological aging.
David has been taking 800 mg of prescription metformin daily in capsule or tablet form since 2017 as stated in his book Lifespan (2019) and Lifespan podcast episode 4. He holds that it activates AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) pathway and mimics calorie restriction. The AMPK pathway is one of the central regulators of cellular metabolism.
Get metformin on Amazon.
Alpha-lipoic acid is an organic compound found in all human cells where it facilitates the conversion of nutrients to energy. It is a potent antioxidant that is both fat- and water-soluble. Alpha-lipoic acid has been used for treating conditions linked to oxidative stress such as inflammation, diabetic neuropathy, metabolic syndrome and skin aging.
Whereas the human body produces alpha-lipoic acid on its own, it’s in small amounts. You can get it from meals and dietary supplements. Foods rich in alpha-lipoic acid include red meat, tomatoes, broccoli and spinach.
In the 2020 Dave Asprey interview, David mentioned he takes an unspecified amount of alpha lipoic acid every day as a capsule of soft gel for its antioxidant and sirtuin activating abilities. Research indicates that about 300 mg per day in tablet or capsule form is the sweet spot.
Statins are prescription drugs used to regulate cholesterol by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and, sometimes, increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Some can lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) by 50% or more.
Statins work by blocking the liver from getting the enzyme required to make LDL cholesterol. By reducing LDL cholesterol, they lower the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and heart disease.
In a 2019 Joe Rogan interview, David stated he takes a prescription capsule or tablet of statin everyday but did not specify the amount (since there are different statin products in the market, there is no one dosage recommendation that applies to all). He explains his use of statin as being a means to manage his cholesterol levels due to a family history of cholesterol problems.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a compound naturally occurring in the body, especially the liver, pancreas, heart and kidney. It supports energy generation in the cells by aiding the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy-carrying molecule found in all living cells.
As a strong antioxidant, CoQ10 fights off free radicals and inflammation thus slowing aging. It can mitigate the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. As you age, your body produces less CoQ10 which means you have to obtain the shortfall through meals or supplements. Dietary sources include tuna, salmon, liver and whole grains.
David told Dave Asprey in the 2020 interview that he takes CoQ10 daily either as one large capsule or as a soft gel. He does so with statins to reduce adverse effects. David does not indicate the quantity, though CoQ10 capsules are available in quantities ranging from 30 mg to 600 mg. 200 mg is deemed adequate to maintain normal levels.
When it’s in the news, aspirin (or acetylsalicylic acid) does not always get the most flattering publicity. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), it’s not the go-to painkiller that it once was but it’s still available over-the-counter. That is partly because aspirin is crucial in the prevention, treatment and management of several conditions such as inflammation, stroke and heart attack.
In a 2021 interview, David said he takes an 81 mg tablet of aspirin daily to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of colon cancer. It is a low dose aspirin that is sometimes referred to as baby aspirin because it contains just a quarter of the dose of regular aspirin. Low dose aspirin carries a substantially lower risk of blood thinning and bleeding, the main risk factor of regular dose aspirin use.
Matcha Green Tea
Matcha tea is a high-grade Japanese green tea made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The plant’s leaves are ground to form a powder. Green tea contains polyphenols such as ECGC catechins, which have been found to have a preventative effect on cancer, especially stomach cancer. It is also rich in antioxidants that can dampen inflammation.
Speaking to GQ in June 2023, David drinks one to two green tea matchas per day. He mentions that green tea has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. This is backed by research that found a reduced risk of stomach cancer was associated with green tea consumption.
David Sinclair believes we can slow biological aging by making some important lifestyle changes. This list of recommended supplements is just a part of his recommended strategy. Other changes he suggests are:
The supplements complement these positive changes thus amplifying their impact.
- Purpose: Mitigating the risk of cancer, cardiovascular problems and brain problems
- Dosage: 1,000 mg per day
- Recommended Brands: Tally Health. Other good quality resveratrol supplements are available here on iHerb or Amazon.
- Purpose: Supports DNA repair, immunity and healthy aging
- Dosage: 1,000 mg per day
- Buy on Amazon here or iHerb here
- Purpose: Prevent age-related health conditions
- Dosage: 500 mg of supplements per day
- Buy on iHerb here or Amazon here.
- Purpose: Lower the risk of cancer
Dosage: 500 mg per day
- Purpose: Supports DNA stability, prevents cell death and promotes autophagy
- Dosage: 1,000 mg per day
- Recommended Brands: Dr. Emil Nutrition (get it here on iHerb here).
6. Vitamin D3
- Purpose: Reduce cancer risk, contain inflammation, reduce infections and is linked to lower mortality.
- Dosage: 50 mcg per day
- Shop for good quality vitamin D3 on Amazon here or iHerb here.
7. Vitamin K2
- Purpose: Preventative effect on osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and inflammation.
- Dosage: Not specified
- Recommended Brands: NOW Foods (get it here on iHerb)
- Purpose: Prevent cardiovascular illness, stroke, autoimmune diseases, cancer and eczema
- Dosage: From 1,100 mg to 1,600 mg per day
- Shop for omega-3 supplements on iHerb here or Amazon here.
- Purpose: Lowering blood cholesterol and mitigating the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Dosage: 800 mg per day
- Recommended Brands: Metformin (get it here on Amazon).
10. Alpha-Lipoic Acid
- Purpose:Treating inflammation, diabetic neuropathy, metabolic syndrome and skin aging
- Dosage: 300 mg per day
- Get it on iHerb here or Amazon here.
- Purpose: Lower the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and heart disease
- Dosage: Not specified
- Purpose: Reduce inflammation and lower the risk of colon cancer
- Dosage: 81 mg per day
- Recommended Brands: Life Extension (get it here on iHerb).
14. Matcha Green Tea
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