Hi, my name is Tung. I am a fellow Endodontist practicing in Tucson, Arizona. Outside of Endodontics, I have many hobbies that will keep me busy outside of work and well into my retirement. One of my deep interests is to try to live as long as possible. It turns out that eating healthy and exercising may not be enough...
I turned 43 this year. It’s been an interesting year coping with the pandemic. Many of us are experiencing various levels of stress and anxiety. Our children may be remote learning, our investment portfolio is going through wild swings, our practices had to adjust to a higher level of infection control protocols. The year 2020 has not been kind to us. For me, I have my own unique set of challenges. The gray hairs are popping out all over my head and I have given up plucking them as they are taking up more real estate. My bald spot is growing like the hole in the Ozone layer and it is past the point of no return. I am for the first time in my life, dealing with aging. I’ve always had the philosophy of function over fashion. Follicular challenges are non-functional. Recently however, there have been functional issues; I am starting to have difficulty focusing on near objects. I started to realize this with anesthetizing patients. The needle tip gets blurry and now I have to move my head further away and extend my arms. I am running out of arm length! The further away you have to move, the smaller objects appear, and the less you are able to discern detail. In dark environments, it gets worse. This is the moment aging is affecting my clinical abilities. Is this the beginning of the end of my career? I hope not. I love what I do. I enjoy extending the life of teeth and rehabilitating patients. In the next few years, I’ll have to look into readers and modify how I work. Thank goodness for the surgical operating microscope. I may have to anesthetize through my surgical operating microscope from now on.
Bummer. It made me think about life and I thought to myself, “I love my life journey, but I don’t like the baggage with getting old. What will be the next functional issue I will experience? Is there a way to slow this process down? Is there a way to reverse aging? I miss being in my 30s!” I began to scour the internet, read books and papers on longevity to see what is out there. There may be hope! I will lay out what I have learned so far and what strategies I have applied to my own journey to extend and improve the quality of my life.
I don’t want to waste your time. Time is a limited resource but maybe you could extend it. If you are reading this just to get the strategies, below is my list of things I do. For those who want to know the “why I do what I do,” I’ll delve deeper into each of these strategies and go over the current literature to support my actions in future blog posts. Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert on longevity. I am just an obsessed longevity hobbyist and am happy to share what I do and why I do what I do.
Tung’s 10 Longevity Strategies:
- Intermittent Fasting and restrict calories: I skip breakfast and most lunches. I’ll have water, black coffee, and green tea throughout the day. My meals are eaten within a window of 4 to 6 hours.
- Avoid refined sugars and control carbs: Fruits are my daily dessert. I’ll enjoy carbs but I’ll cook and refrigerate my carbs before enjoying them.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and nuts: You don’t make friends with salad, but you may outlast the friends you have. You are what you eat, and friends think I’m nuts.
- Limit red meat: This is to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Supplements: I take 1 gram of NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) and 0.5 gram of resveratrol in the morning and 1 gram of berberine nightly. If you take prescription Metformin, skip the berberine.
- Extreme temperature swings: Dip in a cold pool of water or a session in the sauna.
- HIIT (high intensity interval training) and Core training once a week and do house chores: I don’t overdo my exercises. I have one weekly workout at Orange Theory Fitness and then do chores around the house for the other days. Hikes and bike rides on top of this are bonus.
- Sense of purpose and social life: Give yourself a reason to get out of bed. Make plans with family and friends. Volunteer your time and expertise. Purposely seek out joy and happiness. Be grateful for where you are, what you have, who you are with. Try to relax and don’t stress out.
- Obviously, don’t smoke and moderate your alcohol intake. I enjoy at most one glass of wine in a day. Sometimes, I’ll go for days or weeks without alcohol. Wine appears to have longevity benefits, so cheers to long life!
- Aim for good uninterrupted sleep. I make time for 7-8 hours of sleep.
So... Who wants to live forever? I have always accepted that I am mortal. My time on Earth is fleeting. I will live life to the fullest. I will not dwell on how long I will live, but I’d like to fight to hang on as long as I can. Thanks for joining me in my journey to live the fullest and longest life I can live.
Be safe, be well!
Tung Bui, DDS, Dip Endo.
Partner Endodontist at Southern Arizona Endodontics