Table of Contents

Chapter 1: You Can Live Long Enough to Live Forever 1
Immortality is within our grasp. The knowledge exists, if aggressively applied, for you to slow aging and disease processes to such a degree that you can be in good health and good spirits when the more radical life-extending and life-enhancing technologies become available over the next couple of decades.

Chapter 2: The Bridges to Come 14
We are in the early stages of multiple profound revolutions spawned by the intersection of biology, information science, and nanotechnology. With the decoding of the genome and our efforts to decode its expression in proteins, many new and powerful methodologies are emerging. These include rational drug design (drugs designed for very precise missions with little or no side effects), tissue engineering (regrowing our cells, tissues, and organs), reversal of aging processes, gene therapy (essentially reprogramming our genetic code), nanobots (robots the size of blood cells built from molecules placed in our bodies and bloodstreams to enhance every aspect of our lives), and many others. Some of these transformations will bear fruit before the ink is dry from printing this book.

Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman M.D. Rodale: 11/2004 ISBN#1-57954-954-3

Chapter 3: Our Personal Journeys 33
Each of us comes to concerns about our health and well-being in a different way. Study and reflection, the experiences of relatives and friends, and our own experiences of pain and joy all play a role. These are our stories, a journey of decades of exploration and the intersection of our paths that brought us to write this book together.

Chapter 4: Food and Water 42
Animals spend most of their effort pursuing food as well as avoiding becoming a predator’s next meal. Most of human effort throughout our history has also been devoted to hunting, foraging, growing, cultivating, transporting, and preparing food. Our food choices also have a profound impact on health and disease. We start our exploration of food by looking at its most common constituent: water, a far more complex substance than is commonly understood. Consuming the right type of water is vital to detoxifying the body’s acidic waste products and is one of the most powerful health treatments available.

Chapter 5: Carbohydrates and the Glycemic Load 49
Carbohydrates are vital to the primary energy cycle in the biological world. But we did not evolve to consume the large quantities of refined sugars and starches that make up most of the modern diet. Sugar and simple starches, which are converted into sugar in the body almost immediately, produce spikes in insulin, which in turn create carbohydrate cravings. This process underlies much of the population’s inability to control excess weight, accelerates the aging process, and increases the risk for heart disease. Sharply limiting these “high-glycemic-load” foods will break this vicious cycle.

Chapter 6: Fat and Protein 65
Fat is well known as a primary means of storing energy, both in the food we consume and in our body’s own fat cells. In an era of abundant calories, excessive energy storage in the form of fat significantly accelerates atherosclerosis, glucose intolerance, and other degenerative processes. The modern Western diet has gone to an extreme imbalance in the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio, so most people need to sharply reduce omega-6 fats, which encourage inflammatory processes, and increase omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to dramatically reduce heart disease. Protein is another class of caloric nutrient that we cannot live without—it is nature’s primary building block for our tissues and organs. The right types and balance of protein are the mainstay of a healthy diet low in carbohydrates and that sharply restricts bad fats.

Chapter 7: You Are What You Digest 85
Nutrition is one of the most powerful lifestyle influences on your health. Metabolic processes underlie the paths to the primary degenerative diseases. By understanding and assessing your personal metabolic pathways, you can reprogram these processes away from disease and toward long-term vitality. Many digestive problems, such as leaky gut syndrome, will contribute to long-term degenerative disease if not diagnosed and corrected. Nutrition starts with what you eat, but the digestive process is also critical, because nutrients are beneficial only if they reach your cells.

Chapter 8: Change Your Weight for Life in One Day 107
You can significantly reduce your risk of all degenerative diseases, including heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension, by reaching your optimal weight. You’ll have more energy and feel better. You’ll look better too—perhaps the main reason losing weight has become a national preoccupation. Closely related to losing weight is caloric restriction, the only proven method of extending life and slowing down aging. We provide a program that you can adopt quickly while reaching your ideal weight gradually. No radical changes in diet are required. You only need to make a single change to a healthy pattern of eating.

Chapter 9: The Problem with Sugar (and Insulin) 123
Per capita consumption of sugar and sugary sweeteners in the United States now exceeds 150 pounds per year. When sugar or high glycemic foods are eaten, blood levels of insulin rise dramatically. While insulin is necessary to health, elevated levels are highly toxic. Over time, excessive sugar consumption and high insulin levels will often lead to metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, a major risk factor for heart disease now found in one-third of the adult population. Another result is one adult in twelve now has type 2 diabetes. There are simple ways to find out if you have, or are at risk of having, these conditions, and there are dietary and nutritional strategies for effectively controlling them.

Chapter 10: Ray’s Personal Program 139
My father’s premature death at the age of 58 from heart disease and my own diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at the age of 35 motivated my early health concerns. The conventional medical advice made my diabetes worse and did little to alleviate my concern about a genetic predisposition to heart disease. Nevertheless, I have been able to overcome these challenges by aggressively applying the right ideas. More recently, I have become aware of a more insidious problem: as a biological human, I am potentially subject to aging processes. I am now engaged in the same sort of multifaceted warfare against this pervasive challenge. Although I am now a chronological 56, my goal is to be no more than a biological 40 by the time we have the means to completely arrest and reverse aging in about 20 years. So far, so good.

Chapter 11: The Promise of Genomics 146
Your genes provide you with a powerful set of tendencies, but you need to remember that these are predispositions only. The lifestyle choices you make control how these tendencies will ultimately manifest themselves, but to make the right lifestyle choices, you need to know what genes you carry. Personal genomics technology, which became commercially available in 2002, allows you to do so. Yes, it can be unsettling to find you have a predisposition for certain diseases, but the good news is that ultimately we will have the tools to directly block killer genes as well as creating and inserting new healthy genes directly into your cells. For now, our priority is to modify the expression of these genes by controlling how our metabolic pathways affect our proteins, enzymes, and hormones. Ignorance is not bliss, and understanding your own genetic code represents vital intelligence in the battle for a long and healthy life.

Chapter 12: Inflammation—The Latest “Smoking Gun” 160
When our normal state of balance is disrupted by injury or a pathogenic invader, our bodies respond with a complex cascade of reactions to restore balance. This reaction, which often manifests itself as inflammation, is critical to our survival. But in addition to acute inflammation, which is easily noticed, there is another, less obvious type of inflammation that smolders in the body for decades. The overactivity of this “silent” inflammatory response can lead to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, several types of cancer, and other conditions. But we now have a new tool for measuring your level of silent inflammation—hs-CRP—and effective ways of decreasing inflammation.

Chapter 13: Methylation—Critically Important to Your Health 172
Defective methylation processes can interfere with removal of toxins and lead to genetic damage. One major methylation process is involved in converting the dietary amino acid methionine into homocysteine, a toxic by-product. Many people have genetic defects that cause levels of this toxic metabolite to rise. This can accelerate numerous disease processes and aging. However, by appropriate nutritional supplementation you can optimize methylation reactions in the body to avoid these diseases and optimize health.

Chapter 14: Cleaning Up the Mess: Toxins and Detoxification 181
Every system in your body has its own method of detoxification, with the liver doing the lion’s share of the job. Over time, the onslaught of toxic material—chemicals, pollution of various kinds, pesticides, gasoline fumes, heavy metals, plastics, and drugs, just to name a few—and the inadequacies in your body’s ability to deal effectively with the massive cleanup task takes its toll. Avoidance of toxins and optimizing the detoxification process is crucial to maintaining health and slowing down the aging process.

Chapter 15: The Real Cause of Heart Disease and How to Prevent It 197
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. About 68 million Americans have heart disease, and more than a million suffer heart attacks each year, 40 percent of them fatal. But there has been a recent revolution in our understanding of the underlying process. The primary cause of heart attacks is not the large, hard, calcified plaque that has been the focus of medical treatments such as angioplasty and bypass surgery. It’s the less obstructing but more volatile and inflammatory soft plaque. The good news is that soft plaque can be dealt with more effectively than hard plaque. There is an intricate sequence of events that leads up to heart attacks and you can effectively attack the risk factors associated with each step along the way.

Chapter 16: The Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer 233
We don’t “catch” cancer; our bodies create it. While age-adjusted death rates for heart disease have fallen almost 60 percent in the past 50 years, the percentage of Americans dying from cancer has barely changed since 1950. You can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer with the right diet, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle choices. Routine screening tests for cancer detection require that the patient already have a moderately large tumor before they can detect it. We’ll tell you about a novel test that can identify cancer when only a few cancer cells are found in the body.

Chapter 17: Terry’s Personal Program 255
It is said that among the things you can do to enjoy a long and healthy life, it is best to start by picking your parents wisely. I am fortunate, on many levels, that both of my parents are alive and well at 80 years of age. They are physically and mentally active and enjoy a rich and varied social and cultural life. So it would appear that I started life with “a leg up” on longevity, thanks to their genes. Things aren’t always so straightforward in medicine, however. My genomic testing revealed that I harbor several harmful genetic tendencies. Although I have enjoyed excellent health so far, I am now at the stage of my life where one’s genetic predispositions have a way of manifesting themselves as “full-blown” diseases. But with the genetic information I now possess, I have been able to take specific measures to maintain my health, using the best of the Bridge One therapies. I am very optimistic about what the future Bridge Two and Bridge Three therapies will be able to do for both myself and the rest of humankind.

Chapter 18: Your Brain: The Power of Thinking . . . and of Ideas 261
We now know that the brain is continuously rebuilding and reorganizing itself. While it’s true that we are what we eat (and digest), it is also the case that we are what we think. The brain represents more than half of our biological complexity. The most important way to keep the brain healthy is to keep it busy. Incidentally, one important topic that we can keep it busy thinking about is the health of our bodies and brains. There are also nutritional steps we can take to provide the metabolic foundation for cognitive health. The most important ally we have in maintaining our health is the power of ideas. Our primary adversary is ignorance. It is our view that the right ideas can overcome any problem and conquer any challenge.

Chapter 19: Hormones of Aging, Hormones of Youth 280
A decrease in hormone levels has long been associated with aging. The hormones most commonly associated with youthfulness gradually diminish over time, and some fall off rapidly, such as during menopause. Other hormones decline only slightly or even tend to increase with age. Aging results from a combination of these effects: the decrease in the hormones of youth and the relative increase (or slower decrease) in the hormones of aging. We’ll discuss methods to maintain a healthy balance of hormones as you age.

Chapter 20: Other Hormones of Youth: Sex Hormones 291
The sex hormones—estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone—have powerful youth-promoting effects. But there’s a lot of controversy over the merits and dangers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Most of the negative results coming from recent studies have involved chemically altered hormones. By utilizing bio-identical hormones, which are the same hormones as are found naturally in the body, research suggests you can still receive the benefits of HRT without the risk. We’ll discuss a program of testing for hormone imbalances and methods of remediation with bio-identical hormones as well as herbal remedies and other supplements that will help you maintain a youthful balance of hormones throughout life.

Chapter 21: Aggressive Supplementation 312
Recent studies have proven that almost everyone requires one or more vitamins far in excess of FDA-suggested RDA amounts to avoid illness. An optimal supplement program goes beyond just taking vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By utilizing genomics testing to diagnose your individual metabolic requirements, you can restore healthy balances and maintain optimal health with a personalized program of aggressive supplementation.

Chapter 22: Keep Moving: The Power of Exercise 337
Primitive man and woman were not couch potatoes. In fact, they were more like marathon runners. The evidence is overwhelming that exercise enhances every one of your body’s systems and reduces the risk of virtually every degenerative disease. Exercise works synergistically with a healthy diet and other lifestyle choices to enhance your sense of well being and prevent disease. Aerobic, anaerobic, and stretching exercises are all important and have distinct benefits.

Chapter 23: Stress and Balance 353
The ability to confront danger is critical to our survival. But chronic activation of this mechanism can lead to increases in blood pressure and cholesterol, decreased blood flow to the liver and digestive organs, suppression of the immune system, and serious illnesses such as heart disease. Simply avoiding stress isn’t the complete answer. We need a certain amount of challenge in our lives to avoid apathy and boredom. Our lives should be animated by the four C’s: challenge, commitment, curiosity, and creativity. We present 12 effective ways to manage stress and achieve balance.