I once thought the rage to live was universal.

I know I have it.  My much-publicized bouts with pancreatitis were a scary delivery of mortality-related information.  I was always at least a little ashamed that it took me three mysterious hospitalizations in coma and the recovery for same before I could say I needed to beat this thing and not end up in the hospital, where they would probably kill me.

Cartoon of Father Time

I feel as if I have won now; any medical problems I may have are actually pretty minor.

Still I have always empathized with people like Frank Sinatra, who, when asked what he wanted on his 80th birthday answered “another birthday.”

I need to stay around as long as I can to see what happens next.  The life of the universe that surrounds me is certainly not a closed book.

I do not want my life to become a closed book.

I remember back in prep school I took some “special” courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  I remember hearing that they were studying humans on a hypocaloric (low-calorie) diet.  People came to M.I.T. to pick up premeasured portions of food, and you absolutely could not eat anything that had not been premeasured, but you were supposed to live longer.

My then-grossly-overweight self was interested already in prolonging my life, and in the study.  Although I still remember my mother’s very unscientific arguments against it (something about the delights of eating your fill and the joy of midnight refrigerator raids) the idea stood with me.

I still want to live long.

This team seems to have nailed the reason why this sort of thing works.  With lower calorie (and lower fat) diets, there is a different set of bacteria in the urine and from that they deduced, in the gut.  The gut becomes less permeable to toxins associated with inflammation, which is associated with numerous chronic illnesses that shorten life.

At one point I was quite friendly with an alternative physician who seemed to tell me that almost everybody (including me) had “leaky gut syndrome,” something he seemed to diagnose by almost mystical means.  Now, for the first time, I wonder if he was right.

The serum amount of lipopolysaccharide binding protein goes down.  This means that one could actually be reducing the amount of antigenic material (read “material capable of getting an antibody type reaction from the body”) in the gut which could make people healthier and make them live longer.

I think this is the ultimate “less is more.”

My mother had, what I realize now, was a pressured marriage.  She took a real joy in the satiation of food, and in her midnight refrigerator raids.  She always made her own choices.  I always gave her the very best science I could scrape up, although her pantry full of unopened nutritional supplements which I had sent her testified to her ultimate lack of confidence in whatever science I had tried to give her.

Me — in my quest to log in as many more birthdays as possible –I have become surely desirous of increased birthdays, also a user of probiotics.  Genus Lactobacillus seems to be correlated with increased lifespans and I have surely snarfed my share of that.

It may not be exactly Ponce de Leon’s fountain of youth, but it may be the closest I have ever seen.