-By Joanie Klar 

At 75 years old, former judo Olympian and doctor of nutritional biochemistry and microbiology Dr. Nabil El-Hag reveals his secrets for defying the biology of aging in his upcoming book Link to Vitality. At a time when most of his peers are sinking into their recliners and reflecting on the accomplishments of their youth, Dr. El-Hag is outperforming his younger self. He is what we term a super-ager: someone whose physical energy, mental agility, and physique all appear to be what is more common among people who are decades younger. 

Photo credit: Adam Lamonaca

The book is the culmination of 35 years of research and experimentation. Relentlessly curious about human biology and evolution, he has used his own body as a living laboratory to continuously refine and optimize his health regimen. He maintains that we must continuously work to understand our unique genetic inheritance, epigenetics, and how the body uses energy and generates waste. The cycle of consumption and conversion is a constant in all body processes throughout our life journey. We are always building, breaking down, and repairing our bodies. The goal is to learn how to assist your body as it cycles through these processes, to keep it running optimally.

There are many books that focus on what to eat, how to breathe, how to improve your sleep, changing your attitude, or any number of specific yet fragmented aspects of human health, but Dr. El-Hag’s journey to defy the biology of aging emphasizes a whole-body approach to health over a lifetime. The goal is to try to create an optimum environment for cell function as we go through each stage of life. 

The book strongly emphasizes that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to living your best life. Though we all share the 99.9 percent of the DNA that makes us human, we are very different from one another. What works for one person may not work for someone else. “That’s why I didn’t want to write a traditional how-to book,” says Dr. El-Hag. “But I did think I could share some of the key biological science that is central to developing a personalized ‘user manual.’”

The human body is a very complicated and sophisticated machine, but unfortunately it doesn’t come with a user manual. And we only get one body! So learning how to maintain it in good health should be a priority. In his book, the doctor shares how he uncovered his own user manual. Just as importantly, he shares how he learned to interpret it and apply the information to the management of his health. Armed with our own individual user manuals and the ability to listen to the clues that our bodies provide, most of us can get more mileage out of our bodies and enjoy a smoother ride as we travel life’s highway.

Dr. Nabil El-Hag Photo credit: Gail Montgomery.

 “It’s important to not only have the information, but to actually use it,” says El-Hag. “There are an overwhelming number of health books available. But people are increasingly unwell. Two-thirds of Americans are obese. Seventy-five percent claim to have anxiety. We are sicker, fatter, and more depressed than ever. My goal is to help people realize that if they apply the knowledge that is available, consistently over time, they can actually achieve better health.”

Some of the most important principles of self-care in the book emphasize cellular health. Trillions of cellular chemical reactions are constantly occurring in the human body. And there are more than 200 different types of cells keeping the body’s machinery working. It is estimated that our cells get bombarded 10,000 times per day by free radicals generating uncontrolled oxidative reactions. These byproducts of the food we eat and the air we breathe do the most damage to our bodies, and it is a process that starts at birth. Toxins and unused waste products accumulate slowly over long periods of time. As they build up in our system, they slowly change the micro and macro environment of our cells. This slows us down, and causes inflammation and disease that further change the internal environment of our cells. As a result, our genes then express differently, eventually setting us on a path of functional decline.

Dr. El-Hag’s journey to defy the biology of aging has uncovered ways in which he has helped slow the process of decline. He shares his approach to helping the body rid itself of toxins and reduce inflammation. He shares his ideas on how to fuel the body to optimize physical and mental energy, and how positive thinking has helped him build a life of purpose. Most importantly, he shares how you can apply his ideas to your own search for better health and more vitality. 

“I believe we are all born with the genes that we inherited from our parents,” says Dr. El-Hag, “but if, when, and how those genes express depends on the environment we create on a cellular level. How we eat, breathe, live, work, think, sleep, and renew ourselves are all important. The body, mind, and soul of the whole person must be addressed. Ultimately, we each need to find our own user manual, so we can discover the link to vitality.”

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