Why We Don’t Want to Live Longer
Jeff Harrison: Welcome to “Living to 120 and Beyond” I’m Jeff Harrison.
Doctor Chein: Dr. Edmund Chein.
Jeff Harrison: Doctor Chein. In the past, we’ve been talking about a lot of topics about age-related diseases and whatnot, but today you take a totally different curve.
I have a question that kind of goes like this. Why do only 20-30% of people even want to live longer?
To start us off with that, define “old” if you would.
Doctor Chein: When the patient tells me, “I am old.” I tell the patient, “You’re old?”
It’s been changing the last two decades. We’re referring to the life expectancy given by the CDC, Center of Disease Control — Male, 78; Female, 88.
So if you’re a male and you’re 75, you’re not old to me. If you’re 60, forget it, you’re not old. If you’re over 78, yes, you’re old. When I say, “you’re old,” I mean, you are 78 by your birth date or your functionally like a 78 or your DNA tells me, even though you’re 50, your DNA tells me you’re 78. “Oh, danger, danger, you’re going to die very soon” — according to CDC.
Jeff Harrison: So when you were talking about that, you said a word in there that we really haven’t used a lot of but when you said “functionality” —
Doctor Chein: Yes.
Jeff Harrison: Talk about that because I think a lot of people might look at that and say, “that’s really what I mean; as I get old, I can’t do the things I could when I was 50, or when I was 30.” The wife comes out and says, “Jeff, get off the ladder, you’re not a kid any more. If you fall, you’re going to break something.” Where maybe when I was 25 or 30, if I fell, I didn’t… First of all my wife wasn’t concerned about me falling.
Is that part of that “old” definition?
Doctor Chein: Yes.
Jeff Harrison: Losing our functionality?
Doctor Chein: Yes. Losing function, either brain-wise or physical activity-wise, is aging. You realize that you’ve lost function when you can no longer do what you could do when you were 20, either climbing or walking or thinking or mental-process memory, understanding — all of that. When you can not do what you did when you were 20, you are aging and you’re losing function.
Jeff Harrison: So that’s the part where 70-80% of the people say, “I don’t want to live longer like that.”
Doctor Chein: Correct.
Jeff Harrison: So when you talk about living to 120 and beyond — the name of the program — they almost are, “Hey, I don’t want to live that long.”
I’m going to bring up an example with my mother. She passed at 60 because she had emphysema and she had trouble; she was dealing with that for 12 years. I remember the last time I saw her. I was selfish; I wanted her to live longer because I felt she was so young. But she said, “I don’t want to live this way any more,” because she lost all her functionality; she was bedridden; she couldn’t do much of anything.
I understand that now. Especially when you say this today. It hit me like a ton of bricks — it is the functionality.
Doctor Chein: Yes.
Jeff Harrison: If I can get longer years as a result of that, isn’t that really what we’re looking for?
Doctor Chein: Yes. Many times when I lecture and I say, “let me have a show of hands; how many people want to live to 120?” Ten or twenty people.
I changed the question. “Now let me give you a second question. How many of you want to live to 80, but knowing that you’ll be functionally like 20 and your health is perfect, but you die, right on the spot at 78 if you’re a male and 88 as a female?” 80% raised their hands.
I found out that it’s all the perception of aging. People see their parents, their grandparents getting diseases, stroke, heart attack, losing their mind — dementia. That’s the biggest fear of our generation — dementia. Because they lose their lifetime savings through trustees or relatives or nursing home administrators. End up being physically abused. That’s the biggest fear. It’s worse than going to prison for our generation when I talk to patients.
That’s the fear. They don’t want that. They want to die before that happens. So they don’t want longevity. They want functionality and health span. That’s why such a low percentage…
In fact, one of my patients said, “I don’t want someone to wipe my ass or clothe me when I’m in a nursing home and can not do it myself. I don’t want that; I don’t want one day of that. I want to do everything myself to the last day. And I don’t want those diseases.”
Jeff Harrison: Seeing dementia as one of the biggest fears of our generation, the whole process of functionality — can you slow that or reverse that functionality of the dementia piece?
Doctor Chein: Absolutely. We can, today, science tells us, we can reverse all brain function and physical function. Easily through your nutrition, exercise and hormones. We can do that very easily.
Jeff Harrison: You’ve said before — and we talked a little bit before we started the program today — about when people are taking pharmaceuticals, that hits right on it. Tell me when you say… Because I don’t want to get it wrong because it’s so important, is when people are starting to take pharmaceuticals to stay alive or to deal with something —
Doctor Chein: Stay healthy?
Jeff Harrison: Stay healthy. Does that make sense?
Doctor Chein: That tells me alarm sign. “Are you taking any medicine?” — yes. Bingo. In my head, that’s the end of his health span already. He doesn’t have health span already.
A pill, a prescription drug to control a symptom — blood pressure, cholesterol, whatever it is — spells the end of your health span.
Jeff Harrison: It’s already started to decay.
Doctor Chein: It already started to decay.
Jeff Harrison: As an example, let’s go back to this functionality for a second, and getting old.
If I were out there watching this and I’m taking high blood pressure medicine, and I heard that, I’d say “wait a second; it is the function that I want. But I want it, so I take that pill.”
There’s a better way. Isn’t there?
Doctor Chein: Absolutely.
Jeff Harrison: Talk to us about that.
Doctor Chein: You have two choices. You can take the choice of taking a pharmaceutical, a drug, to maintain that health span, which is, as far as I’m concerned, you’re already disqualified. Or you can say, “is there another method for me to get returned to health span without any blood pressure problem, solve my blood pressure problem, without any pharmaceuticals?”
I say, everyone should choose the second choice. Everyone should get rid of the pharmaceuticals and use nutrition, hormones and exercise to return to the health span.
Jeff Harrison: We talk about the 20-30% who want to live longer, but that 70-80% — I want to make sure this is very clear — that 70-80%, what do they want?
Doctor Chein: They simply want functionality and health span to the last minute. 78 or 88 or whatever the time is to the last minute. Like a seagull, a hundred year old seagull or like the hundred year old sea turtle. These are the examples given by Doctor Cynthia Kenyon, professor of biochemistry at UC San Francisco who discovered the longevity gene.
We’ll talk about that later, what the longevity gene does.
But this is what can be done and this is what they want. They want to be that hundred year old seagull but that seagull is more capable than their younger counterpart in flying and in catching fish because of experience. They want to be like the hundred-year-old turtle who is better at digging a hole in the sand, finding a better place to procreate. They are better at doing that than the young turtles. That’s what they want.
Jeff Harrison: So the message then, to those people… Because I see them in the gym all the time. I mean, I’m one of them, right? That we’re going to the gym; we’re running; we’re biking. We’re trying to put the right food in our body to stay in that 70-80%. So we’re saying we’re functioning at that high level — my wife goes to yoga six days a week — to keep that functionality there.
But that’s not enough, is it?
Doctor Chein: That’s not enough. Because of the aging process. Someday we’ll have a session talking about how we age — oxidation, lack of hormones, these are the two major declining hormones — nature wants us to go. No matter how many days we’re going to live.
In my book, “Living to 120 and Beyond” I put in many, many gurus of exercise — gurus and dieting gurus — none of them live beyond 80.
Jeff Harrison: I think Pritikin, if I’m not mistaken —
Doctor Chein: 60 something.
Jeff Harrison: Yes, in the 60s. And it was supposed to be “the” diet. I think that there are people today on this planet doing the Pritikin right?
Doctor Chein: Yes.
Jeff Harrison: So that’s not solely the answer. And somebody like —
Doctor Chein: — and Jack LaLanne was the only exception to… He was eating good, exercise… Nobody can exercise more than Jack LaLanne. He died at ninety-something.
Jeff Harrison: 96, I think it was.
Doctor Chein: Suddenly he went. You know. That’s the way we want it to happen. But it took him seven days. I hope it will take me just one day.
But still, I consider, after investing so much time into exercising, that’s not the solution. Because his immune system… He died from a flu. A flu for you and me, we’ll handle that in two days and it’s over with. But for him, he died from it. So that means, his physical… He died a handsome man, all the muscles and everything. But his immune system crashed.
Jeff Harrison: It broke down because of aging.
Doctor Chein: Because of aging. He didn’t take care of his immune system. He took care of his muscle system, his nerve system. His look.
Jeff Harrison: He juiced and exercised and did the right stuff.
Doctor Chein: That’s what I mean.
Jeff Harrison: So when we talk about that, our generation that wants functionality — what can we expect to be like that seagull or that turtle, if you will, if we’re saying, “I’m going to come see Doctor Chein; I’m going to do what we’re talking about. Unlike Jack LaLanne, I’m not just going to just take care of the outside and the physical appearance; I want to take care of my immune system so if a cold or whatever, does pop up, it doesn’t take me down.”
What can we be doing?
Doctor Chein: It’s not very difficult. Most importantly — one — nutrition. You have to supplement your nutrition, especially when you exercise, even more so. Two — hormones. Check your hormones. Your hormones are emails. Basically, “check your emails.” If you want to run a good company, check your emails. If you want a good relationship in the family, check the emails and text messages between your family members. Very important. The more the mother communicates with the children, they have a better relationship. The more the emails between corporation departments, the better the business runs.
Same thing in the body. You’ve got to check the hormones, which are “emails” between the organs, and they decline. Nature wants us to die eventually. They decline with age. You’ve got to supplement that, “bio-identical.” Supplement that. And lastly, exercise.
Jeff Harrison: So you’re still saying we still need to eat right; we still need to exercise; we still need to get our rest —
Doctor Chein: Right.
Jeff Harrison: — but that’s not enough. That fourth component is, we have to add the supplements and the hormones. Because those are things we don’t see and feel inside, but when they show up, it can be devastating. That — you’ve gotten down to the bottom of the barrel.
Doctor Chein: Yes.
Jeff Harrison: So as an example, let’s say a 60-year-old male — are there any hormones specifically that they should be watching out for? How do they test for that kind of stuff?
Because I’ve had plenty of physicals in my life. They never said, “hey, Jeff, let’s check your hormone level.” I’ve never thought about that.
Doctor Chein: That’s the education that everyone should have or should know by now. When your doctor doesn’t order the hormones that you want to check, call us. Call Doctor Chein. It’s free; I’ll give it to you for free. Certainly if you’re living in New York. I will give you a free prescription.
You should check your testosterone if you’re a man — are your testicles working? Wouldn’t you like to know how well it’s working? Are you 30 and your testicles already 70? Don’t you want to know? Check your testosterone; check your thyroid; check your pituitary hormones, your growth hormones and your adrenal hormones. We run on adrenaline. We say the word “adrenaline” all the time. “Fight or flight.” That’s the hormone. Aren’t you interested in knowing today, you — 40, 50, 60 — is your adrenaline today same as when you were 20? Aren’t you interested in that?
Jeff Harrison: Doctor, let me make sure I understand.
So the hormones are such a key part of this, but there’s no other way — I’m not going to get it out of eating more red meat or apples or whatever. This is something I definitely need to supplement?
Doctor Chein: Correct.
Jeff Harrison: Because I can’t get it from nature to the best of my knowledge? Can we?
Doctor Chein: Well, I am the type of person with an open mind. That’s why I got to where I am today.
If you found through some search of literature that a particular fruit or food item can change your, say, adrenal hormones — very simple — go for it. Do it before, test, and do a three months after test. Don’t waste your time and your money if it doesn’t work. I’m not saying I know all the plants in the world. I don’t practice biology and all that. I can not say that nothing in the world, botanical-wise, helps adrenal hormone. I can’t say that. There may be many. Whatever it is, can it help your problem
Don’t blindly follow it. That’s what people’s problems may be — Oh I read about it in some kind of book so now I’m going to take this.
They take it for 10-20 years believing that it’s helping the adrenal gland or that particular hormone. Say, cortisol. Say DHEA. They believed in that for 10-20 years. Too long. Three months is all I give for any food items.
Jeff Harrison: — and then test it.
Doctor Chein: Test it. You’ve got to test it before and after. It goes up, congratulations. Please tell me; I’d like to learn. Share with me what doesn’t work. Don’t waste money and don’t waste time.