Ultra-Longevity:The Seven-Step Program for a Younger, Healthier You, by Mark Liponis, MD

Cover ImageFinished 3-1-09, rating 3.5/5, health, pub. 2007

Aging is an autoimmune disease.  It is caused by your own immune system attacking you.Yes, that’s correct.  Aging is not a natural result of living too many years…

page 23

This book starts with a quiz.  Twenty-one questions determine how fast you are aging.  There are the expected questions about weight, smoking, and exercise, but then there are the unexpected questions about siblings, sex, jokes, and even about the time of year you were born.  Once I saw my score I immediately started reading the book. 

Just as our country’s defense system would be sorely tested if several invaders attacked simultaneously, so, too, when your body has to deal with many potential terrorists, the opportunities for breakdowns multiply.  This confusion leads to malfunction of the immune system, and that malfunction leads to bodily damage.

pages 55-56

The first section deals with your immune system and the many organs and cells involved in making it work.  This section is somewhat interesting and very detailed.  I don’t need that much information, but it is nice to have it explained in a relatively simple way.  This is also where he explains the CRP Test.  Essentially, this tests how active your immune system is and the less active the better.

The second section of the book discusses the seven steps you need to take to maintain a healthy immune system.  They are: breathing, eating, sleeping, dancing, loving, soothing, and enhancing.  I think it is interesting that he puts all of these areas side by side, with eating being equal to the others, not more important .  I thought this section was fun to read and easy to understand.  Who doesn’t like reading that a good sex life, singing every day, and massages can prolong your life? 

Many of these things aren’t new, but the immune system activation is a new way of looking at it.  I learned a lot and because some of these seven areas are easier than others you can start working right away on preserving your health.  It is a very holistic approach.

My main complaint is that is sometimes there is too much information.  I don’t need two pages about B-cells.  After a few paragraphs my attention starts to drift.  And while it’s nice to include studies to prove a point, they, too, can become  easy to skip over when there are too many.

Overall, I thought this was worthwhile and I took away lots of good information.  As for the quiz, I went back and decided what I needed to do to age at a slower pace, but because I live in Cleveland, am an only child, and was born in the fall, there are a  small number of things I can change.  But I’ll do what I can 🙂

Author Mark Liponis, MD, is the medical director of the Canyon Ranch Spa