Give it up, Ponce de León — there are no magical fountains of youth out
there, no miraculous ways to achieve a longer life. But while medical experts
caution against hormone supplements, vitamin overdoses, anti-aging pills,
extreme diets, and other dubious life extension tricks, there are some sound
ways for men to increase their chances for a long and healthy life. Much of the
advice is obvious: Don’t smoke, eat wisely, drink moderately, exercise
regularly, and get annual medical check-ups. But some of the tips from
geriatric specialists and male health experts are not only surprising, they
The good news about male longevity is that much of it is under our control.
Robert Butler, MD, is professor of geriatrics at the Mount Sinai School of
Medicine in New York and head of the non-profit International Longevity Center.
Butler says “Only about 25% of what determines the length of life we have is
based on genes. The rest is up to us.” Butler says this is based on the famous
Danish Twins Registry study, which began in 1954 and has yielded a huge volume
of information about genetic and lifestyle factors involved in health and
"Help me ... help you. Help me, help you."
That famous line from the film Jerry Maguire may be the best advice a
doctor could give his or her patient.
"Some patients have the attitude, 'I'm putting myself in the hands of a
professional,'" says Stephen Permut, MD, chairman of family and community
medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "They want
you to make all their decisions for them."
Permut prefers to have patients get involved in their own care and engage
Long life outlook: Can a little wine (or beer) help you improve with age?
You don’t have to lead an ascetic’s existence to extend your life. In fact,
recent studies show that light to moderate drinking can reduce your risk of
cardiovascular death. “The key word here is moderate,” cautions Butler.
“We’re probably talking about two drinks a day for men. And my own advice to
folks is about one drink a day. The older you get, the heavier the impact of
the alcohol. But in moderation, alcohol not only has a relaxing effect, it can
elevate levels of good cholesterol.”
According to a Netherlands study released in March, wine is more beneficial
than other kinds of alcohol. The life expectancy of men who drank wine was more
than two years longer than those who imbibed other alcoholic beverages. Earlier
studies have shown that red wine may have an additional heath benefit because
the polyphenolic compounds found in the darker beverage counter the build-up of
fatty tissue in the arteries that can lead to strokes or heart attacks.
The health advantages of wine over other spirits might be exaggerated,
Lawrence Greenblatt, MD, believes. But Greenblatt toasts the general idea of
moderate drinking. “I think the business about red wine vs. beer or some other
alcohol is probably not true after you adjust for other risk factors,” says
Greenblatt, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Duke University
Medical Center who sees mostly male patients in his Duke Outpatient Center
practice. “People who drink beer, for instance, tend to be of a lower
socioeconomic status than someone drinking Cabernet at dinner. So they have
other risk factors working against their life expectancy. Once you adjust for
those factors, probably any kind of alcohol would be protective, in