Detailed Review of Cheating Death: The New Science of Living Longer and Better, by Dr Rand McClain
It did not take long for Cheating Death to answer my key question for each longevity / healthy aging book I review.
This is: ‘Who is it for?’
Compared to most longevity books, Cheating Death by Dr Rand McClain is a detailed practical / functional guide.
After the introductory first section it dives deep into drugs, stem cells, peptides, and hormones. So deep, that those brand-new to the concept of aging healthily may be overwhelmed by all the details.
People that have already diet, exercise, supplements, and sleep nailed – and are now ready take their healthy aging to the next level will get the most from this book. It provides a rich menu of options, explaining the benefits and (importantly) covering risks / concerns in depth too.
Cheating Death is about optimising your healthy lifespan.
When you get to the final section, you’ll find out why staying healthy right now is so important.
Breakthrough healthcare technology will transform our lives in the near future. Taking the steps needed to stay healthy now will have outsized benefits – and soon.
I enjoyed this book.
It is a manual for continual improvement, rather than a ‘pop science’ book. Cheating Death is information dense. Instead of reading it all the way through, I recommend you zoom in on the sections that appeal the most.
Cheating Death Book Review: My Five Take Aways
All my longevity book reviews here at the Age Well Times have five take-aways.
Cheating Death is split into five sections – making it easy to pick one interesting point from each one.
Those sections cover theories and basics of aging, regenerative medicines, drugs and supplements, hormones, and technology.
#1 – Regenerating Bodies, Rethinking Aging
The first section of Cheating Death is a crash course into longevity science and the basics of measuring your biological age.
There is rich information on all the pillars of a healthy lifestyle. You also find discussions on cell biology. I enjoyed the alternative description of telomeres. While everyone else uses shoelace-tips as an analogy, McClain has a completely different description (no spoilers here!).
This section is a solid grounding – covering what most people do in an entire book in a succinct way.
My biggest take-away is a single, sharp phrase:
Not a diet, not longevity foods, but a deliberate approach.
Most of us see food as a necessity and / or a pleasure. McClain reframes it as a tool by which we can optimise for healthy aging. Dietary supplements can then be considered in the wider context of food, exercise, and sleep.
#2 – Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
After the overview of healthy aging basics, Cheating Death dives headlong into the cutting edge of biotech.
Stem cell treatments are limited in the US. Meanwhile, other countries have approved stem cells for use in a growing number of treatments. Plenty of fascinating nuggets in this section. They covered the five main types of stem cells, banking your own stem cells for use at short notice and the different ways of extracting them from bone marrow and fat.
My biggest take away from this section of Cheating Death was the discussion on Muse cells.
These specialist stem cells avoid the risk of teratomas – a nasty (if rare) side effect of using the other types. The possibilities with Muse cells are covered in depth. It is hard not to be optimistic when breakthroughs of this magnitude appear so close at hand.
#3 – Anti-Aging Tools: Drugs and Peptides
I had come across Peptides before, though Cheating Death covers them in depth – relating many compounds directly to health span and longevity.
This section of the book starts by looking at Metformin, the TAME trial, and natural alternatives to Metformin. It also covers Rapamycin and Nitric Oxide. I was intrigued by the notion that mouthwashes (think Listerine et al) may have negative effects on the Nitric Oxide pathways.
The world of peptides is amazing. There are compounds which directly affect aging pathways, and others that balance the knock-on effects of aging. Most of them require injection and are not available on a regular prescription. This appears to be a giant barrier to use beyond the specialist biohacker community.
#4 – Testosterone and Hormone Replacement Therapy
The depth of information on Testosterone in Cheating Death was excellent. Declining levels with age (and with lifestyle factors) have knock-on effects in multiple biological pathways.
Rand McClain dispels the myth that this is a male-only issue – with a nuanced discussion on how it affects both males and females.
When it comes to hormones and aging, female biology is complex. The perimenopause sees these important balances disrupted – with knock-on effects and uncomfortable symptoms. The lack of research into this area is a tragedy. You’ll find a deep dive into the processes involved, as well as the treatments, in this section.
#5 – AI, Technology and Gene Editing
Cheating Death ends on a high.
The last section highlights just how close we are to curing many of the chronic diseases associated with aging. I enjoyed the emphasis on early detection, which is sadly lacking in all developed countries. Dr McClain outlines how detecting cancers at stage zero or one will enable treatment that would be challenging after stage 2.
Add gene editing (CRISPR and CAR-T technology are outlined), and the power of matching drugs to your genes, and we unlock effective treatments for many killer conditions.
It was the section on AI that I found most illuminating.
This covered diagnostics, painting a picture of combining the knowledge of doctors from around the world. We have only started to scratch the surface of AI’s potential.
Combining the different strands of technology make me more determined than ever to stay in the best health possible.
Wrapping Up: My Review of Cheating Death by Dr Rand McClain
I enjoyed this book. It is different from the many ‘pop science’ style longevity books out there – and so made for a refreshing change.
After completing it I understood peptides, stem cells and the potential for AI far better.
The first section – which covers the basics of healthy aging – is at odds with the rest of the book.
This detailed overview is a primer on aging theories, supplements, and lifestyle factors.
Four additional sections that follow it are for people ready to take the next steps to cheat death. Whether you identify as a biohacker, or just want to be proactive in your personal treatment of aging, there is a roadmap for you.
Cheating Death is perfect for the aspiring biohackers out there. These people are pioneers, interested in injecting peptides, off-label drugs, or travelling for novel medical treatments.
For those more generally interested in longevity, I’d recommend starting with the accessible pop-science books (Ageless or Jellyfish Age Backwards), focusing on your lifestyle / habits, and then graduating to Cheating Death a few years into your journey.
As always, no commercial links here at the Age Well Times – if you’d like a copy of Cheating Death, head over to Amazon. Dr Rand McClain has a website, which includes his blog posts and links to his many media appearances at www.cheatingdeath.com.
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