Contact Us

Can You Add 15 Years To Your Life? Q&A With Bisnow Escape Speaker David Sinclair, Genetics And Longevity Expert


In the search for the fabled fountain of youth, no one may be closer than David Sinclair. A tenured professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, Sinclair has published over 190 scientific papers and has co-founded a dozen biotechnology companies, many of which aim to answer the ancient question of why humans age, and to see if we can slow, or even reverse, the aging process.

The search has taken Sinclair deep into the world of genes and the microscopic molecules that delay aging, as well into the macroscopic ways in which each of us can extend our own lives, which range from the simple — sitting less and eating more olive oil — to the complex, like a carefully formulated cocktail of nutritional supplements that Sinclair takes each day.

Sinclair is among the scientists, behaviorists, designers and thinkers speaking at Bisnow’s Escape conference April 20-22 in Miami. He gave us a preview of what attendees will get to hear at his talk, as well as a few tips.

Apply here to attend Escape 2020, April 20-22 at the 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami.

Bisnow: Can you give us a sense of what you’ll be talking about at Escape?

David Sinclair: The main message is that we now have enough knowledge about aging and genetics to add 15 or 20 years to our lives. The current optimistic view is that about 80% of the aging process is under our control. 

I’ll go through what we know about aging and then explain how to turn on our body’s natural defenses against disease and aging. I’ll dive into the latest research and breakthroughs from my lab, where we are working to reprogram cells to be young again. 

Then, I’ll go through the top five habits that I would recommend we all implement immediately. My goal is for everyone to leave with a road map for how to extend the healthy periods of their lives.

Bisnow: Some real estate titans still head up their firms well into their 70s and 80s. Do you see longevity changing how long people work?

Sinclair: No question. We generally look at our parents’ generation as a guide of what our lives will be like, but that is completely wrong. We’re living longer than any generation has ever lived before. My father went into a new career in his 70s, now he’s in his 80s feeling like he’s 30 again. If you’re doing all the right things, you shouldn’t expect to have to slow down. We could be making business decisions and playing tennis into our 90s.

Bisnow: This is, after all, a real estate conference. Do you see new real estate investment opportunities given how long you expect coming generations to live?

Sinclair: I know of a few groups, especially one in the U.K., that are building entirely different sorts of assisted-living and senior-living communities that allow people to be active with their bodies. No one wants to be shoved into a building where they will sit and be lonely. Even as they grow older, people are still very interested in living normal, active lives.

Bisnow: Say I’m not ready to start taking a full supplement regimen. What are some of the simple things I can do to extend my life?

Sinclair: One of the biggest ones is to eat less often. You don’t want to be hungry all the time, but the idea that we all need three large meals a day is false. Just moving is important. Try not to sit down too much. There are exercises to strengthen your hips and legs that take five minutes that can give you more muscle that burns energy and will keep you stable as you age. 

Consuming red wine and olive oil — that might sound obvious, but we now know exactly why they work. The last thing is temperature changes. Taking a sauna and cold plunge a few times a week can greatly reduce your rate of cardiovascular deterioration.

Bisnow: So how much longer could a 45- or 50-year-old who makes these changes expect to live?

Sinclair: We always have to go back to the data here. The data says if you do five central things — don’t smoke, get reasonable exercise, don’t overeat, eat mostly plant-based foods and keep your microbiome healthy — it’s been shown to give you an extra 14 years of life.

If you start doing the things that I do — the supplements, skipping breakfast, having a late lunch — I think 20 extra years is totally reasonable.

Apply here to attend Escape 2020, April 20-22 at the 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami.