Dr. Roy Walford's interview in Life Extension Magazine

Secrets of Long Life

Dr. Roy Walford's Plan To Live To 150

This article appears in the June, 1996 issue Life Extension Magazine. The magazine is a publication of the Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. For information: Life Extension Foundation

The Life Extension Interview is a new feature in Life Extension Magazine. Our first interview is with Dr. Roy L. Walford, the eminent gerontologist whose career has spanned decades, and whose work on the effects of calorie restriction on aging and lifespan has earned him worldwide fame. The interview was conducted by LEF writer and researcher Terri Mitchell.

Dr. Walford has worked in several different areas of aging research. He is one of the few gerontologists who unabashedly endorses the desirability of extending the healthy human lifespan, and whose work has contributed mightily towards that goal.

The name Roy Walford conjures up images of laboratory mice who remain thin, healthy, and athletic at ages that ordinary mice can only dream of. This is the Walford ideal— an extended healthy lifespan of vigor and vitality through a high-nutrient, low-calorie diet. His mice do it. Can we? And should we?

Some of the answers to those questions were revealed during Walford's stay in Biosphere 2, where he and seven others spent two years in a miniature world that was complete with an ocean, atmosphere, vegetation, and insects. Separated from the outside world, Walford and his cohorts went through the same experimental regimen that he forces his mice to go through. They consumed a nutritious, low-calorie diet that Walford is convinced could catapult us all into the next century.

Walford came out of the two years of enormous labor and stress that characterized the first Biosphere-2 "mission" with an injured back, a great deal of scientific data, a lot of material for art projects, and, except for his injury, the general good health that bolstered his conviction that his mouse studies would translate to humans.

Everyone knows that thin is healthy and fat is not. Every book-store sells low-calorie, low-fat, live-longer diet books. But Dr. Walford's plan does much more than that. Conventional diet plans sometimes claim that they help to prevent heart disease, stroke and cancer - the big killers. Dr. Walford's program, on the other hand, knocks out the big killers as a mere side effect of its ability to slow down the aging process. His aim is to extend life well beyond the point that most people succumb to these late-life diseases, and to keep people healthy and vigorous throughout those extended years.

Does it work? If having "young" biochemistry is evidence of aging retardation, then the answer is "yes". If having the physique, mind and energy of a man half his age, cholesterol of 140, and youthful skin - as Roy Walford does at age 71 - is any indication, then the answer is "yes". What does this legendary scientist, whose search for the truth led him to experiment on himself, and who once went off his diet in order to be his own control, have to say about longevity in the future?