Ultra-Longevity Review
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Is there really a way to slow down the aging process? Can we maintain an active lifestyle at age 80 and beyond without enduring all of the aches and pains? Mark Liponis, M.D., medical director at Canyon Ranch Health Resorts, answers yes, and he shows readers how in his book, Ultra-Longevity: The Seven-Step Program for a Younger, Healthier You. Liponis claims that aging, and its associated diseases, are largely due to an overactive immune system. The good news is that it’s not too late to correct much of the damage.

The book begins with a twenty-one-question quiz to assess your immune system as it is today. He even explains the significance of each question. Interestingly, some situations are beyond our control. For example, studies have shown that if you have older siblings, you’re more prone to allergies, due to an overactive immune system. Following the quiz, the key to your immune system’s present state is then broken out in five categories from aging like a redwood (that is, living in harmony with your immune system), down to aging like a dinosaur (meaning you’re almost extinct!).

  
 
Liponis suggests starting out by getting a baseline C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test at your next physical exam. The higher the CRP levels, the more active the immune system. He then goes into great detail about the immune system and the major organs that it affects. Though this section of the book seems long-winded, it’s necessary for understanding the problem. To make it more bearable, he explains in easy-to-understand analogies.

The next section is my favorite part—the seven steps to building a stronger immune system. Included within these steps are correct breathing, diet, supplementation, sleep, rhythmic exercise, love, acceptance/inner peace, social connectedness, and more. Liponis explains not just why each is important, but at the end of each step, he also advises exactly what to do with a “Take Action” section.

Liponis concludes the book with an eight-day meal plan with recipes that include 20 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories. Unfortunately, most of these recipes require a lot of ingredients, as many (specifically spices) assist the immune system.

Much of the information included in Ultra-Longevity is information that most of us already know. However, reading things like “Eating the bulk of your daily calories in one meal over-stimulates the immune system and causes a mini aging spurt” will make you think twice about gorging on that steak and baked potato. Also, the idea that crash dieting can stir up negative emotions that trigger the immune system forces you to rethink that deprivation diet. There were even some points that I was unaware of. For instance, Liponis maintains that studies have shown that certain scents have different effects on men than they do on women. Lavender, for example, is a mild sedative for men, while it operates as a stimulant for women. Is that why my lavender aromatherapy isn’t helping me sleep at night?

I was left with a few unanswered questions, though. For example, how do natural life changes, such as menopause fit into the equation? They may not, but many readers interested in the book’s subject would be in that age group—and thus eager for the issue to be addressed.

Is an overactive immune system the major cause of aging? I really don’t know. However, Ultra-Longevity presents this theory in a convincing and entertaining manner. It clearly provides practical advice for obtaining optimal physical health and emotional well-being.

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