Dr David Sinclair Recommended Supplements List (2024)

David Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is a Professor in the Department of Genetics and co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School. Tests in 2022 (R) showed he has a biological age of 42 in a body born 53 years ago. Dr. David Sinclair certainly does not seem his age. His peers this age may already have gray to white hairs, complain of lower back pain, or been afflicted with health disorders, but not him.

Anti-Aging Supplements David Sinclair Takes

Dr. David Sinclair’s main research interest is the epigenetics of aging, with a focus on epigenetic reprogramming of aging (e.g. via Yamanaka factors), NAD+ metabolism and sirtuins, and NAD+ precursors like NR and NMN.

You may have come across his published, New York Times best-selling book on aging, “Lifespan: Why We Age – And Why We Don’t Have To”, going deeper into those subjects.

So what supplements does Professor David Sinclair take to live longer or reverse biological age?

Keep in mind that to date, Dr. David Sinclair has made a point to not promote or endorse any supplement products. We compiled this list from interviews and books in which Professor David Sinclair mentions supplements he takes. We don’t know if he still takes these supplements, or whether he takes additional supplements that are not included on this list.

For example, in his book Lifespan, he mentions on page 304 that he takes NMN and resveratrol every morning, often mixed in his yogurt.

Based on multiple, recent interviews and his book, Dr. David Sinclair’s supplement stack probably looks as follows:

David Sinclair’s Anti Aging Supplement List

Summary:
  1. NMN – 500 mg to 1g per day in the morning
  2. Vitamin D3+K2 - 2,000 IU vitamin D3 a day
  3. Fisetin – 500 mg once per day, in the morning, taken with yogurt
  4. Resveratrol – 1g a day with yogurt (in the morning)
  5. Spermidine -1 mg per day, in the morning
  6. Metformin (prescription medication) – 1g a day – 0.5 grams in the morning & 0.5 grams at night – except on days when exercising
  7. Coenzyme Q10
  8. Statins (prescription medication)
  9. TMG (TriMethylGlycine) - 500 mg to 1,000 mg per day
  10. Low-dose aspirin: 83 mg per day
  11. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA): 300 mg per day
  12. L-Taurine: 2 g a day.
Below we’ll start by looking in detail on each of the supplements that David Sinclair takes.

1. Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN), 1g per day, in the morning

NMN has been shown to slow down many aspects of aging in animal studies (R,R,R,R).

NMN is a precursor to NAD+, an important metabolic molecule that many proteins need to properly carry out their function, like protecting and repairing our DNA and epigenome.

1000 mg is a high dose of NMN. Dr. Sinclair takes high-dose NMN (1,000mg) to boost his NAD+. It may be a lot, but this dosage may be reasonable since NMN can be destroyed by stomach acid. Some companies even developed special liposomal NMN formulations to protect it and ensure maximal absorption even with lower doses. 

Update: Apparently David Sinclair now only takes 500mg of NMN per day. Please see this interview (at 21:25): https://www.youtube.com (2023).

250 to 500 mg is also sufficient to benefit from NMN’s health and longevity promoting effects. In fact, studies done in humans with NMN use 250 mg per day (R,R).

It’s interesting to know that David Sinclair takes NMN and not NR (another much touted “longevity” supplement). Despite all the hype on the internet, NR does not extend lifespan (R). Professor Sinclair considers NMN to be superior to NR.

NovosLabs view: We are enthusiastic about NMN. 

Related: NMN vs NR

2. Vitamin D3 and K2

Vitamin D can extend lifespan, at least in simple organisms (R). Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a reduced life expectancy (SourceSourceSource).

On page 304 of his book ‘Lifespan’, he mentions taking vitamin D3 daily. Whilst David doesn’t mention in the book what brand he uses, or how much he takes, he mentions in the podcast with Dave Asprey (link) that he takes at least 2,000 IU per day.

Vitamin D can reduce the risk of various aging-related diseases. Vitamin D deficiency in humans has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin D also activates many genes that confer important health benefits (R).

The dose of vitamin D that most governments advise is too low (e.g. 400 to 800 IU per day). Most vitamin D experts advise to take at least 4000 to 5000 IU per day, and get your vitamin D levels checked at least every year. (R)

Vitamin K is important not just for bone health, but also vascular and mitochondrial health. Vitamin K also improves skin appearance.

If you take vitamin D, you ideally also combine it with vitamin K2 (MK-7 is the best form): the two vitamins work synergistically.

Vitamin D ensures that your blood levels of calcium are high enough to meet your body’s demands. However, vitamin D does not fully control where the calcium in your body ends up. That’s where vitamin K steps in. Vitamin K2 supplements have been proven to be more effective than vitamin K1. That's why most of the top vitamin D supplement brands combine their vitamin D3 with K2.

Ideally, doses of vitamin K2 are 180 to 360 microgram per day.

3. Resveratrol

David Sinclair Resveratrol dosage: 1g per day, in the morning.


Resveratrol is a stilbenoid found in the skin of grapes in low amounts. Studies have shown that resveratrol can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and neurodegeneration.

David Sinclair believes that resveratrol works synergistically with NMN. Resveratrol is needed to activate the sirtuin genes (which protect our DNA and epigenome), while NMN is needed to fuel the sirtuins.

However, resveratrol is difficult to be absorbed by the gut, and the little resveratrol that ends up in the body is broken down very quickly.

David also wrote on Reddit in 2020 saying: “Micronized resveratrol had better bioavailabilty in humans”.

Therefore, pterostilbene is a better alternative. Pterostilbene is a molecule that looks very similar to resveratrol, but it is absorbed considerably better and is far more stable in the human body.

Various studies show that pterostilbene works better than resveratrol regarding anticancer, antidiabetic and cardioprotective effects (R,R,R).

OneDayMD view: We are not optimistic about resveratrol. 


4. Metformin (prescription drug) 1 gram per day: 500 mg in the morning and 500 mg in the evening

Metformin has shown to extend lifespan in various organisms, including mammals (R,R).

In humans, we see that diabetics taking metformin actually live longer than healthy non-diabetics who obviously don’t take metformin (R). This was not the case for diabetics on other anti-diabetic drugs.

Taking metformin can, however, have side effects. In the short-term, metformin can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort, which often subsides after a few weeks. In the long-term, metformin can reduce the uptake of vitamin B12.

Metformin probably works as a hormetic substance, meaning that it causes a little bit of damage to our cells so that our cells are put in a repair and protect modus. Metformin inhibits mitochondrial function, so the mitochondria will repair and protect themselves better.

Therefore, given exercise also “damages” the mitochondria somewhat (so that afterwards they will repair themselves, which is one of the health benefits of exercise) he does not combine metformin with exercise given that could put too much stress on the mitochondria. That is why Prof Sinclair does not take metformin on the days he exercises.

Also, recent studies suggest that perhaps very old people should not take metformin, given metformin causes too much stress on already very old and very stressed mitochondria (R).

In a Reddit AMA (link) David was asked whether he would take Berberine if he didn’t have access to Metformin. He responds by saying he would likely take Berberine. Berberine is interesting to many people because it has similar properties to metformin, but it doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription.

Furthermore, David Sinclair takes metformin in the evening, before going to bed. He says this because during the night, the body is already in a fasting state and metformin could further advance this state.

However, we would recommend taking metformin always before the largest meal (ideally 20 minutes before mealtime). This way, metformin can make the body more insulin sensitive when it matters the most: during and in the hours after a meal, when mitochondria have to process the sugars and fats from the meal. This is also how metformin is ideally prescribed according to medical guidelines.

Furthermore, during the night, you are already in a fasting (insulin sensitive) state. It could be better to get the body more into an insulin sensitive state during the day too, especially when processing carbohydrates and fats after a meal.

David Sinclair takes 800 mg of metformin only once per day. We would prefer lower doses spread over the day, like 500 mg twice daily, before lunch (500 mg) and before dinner (500 mg) – not in the morning because this is when the body is already most insulin sensitive anyhow.

Related: 
NovosLabs wrote an article about natural alternatives for metformin here.

OneDayMD view: We are not optimistic about metformin. Metformin causes mitochondrial dysfunction in intestinal cells (Nature 2021).


5. Statin (prescription drug) – taken since his early 20s due to family history of cardiovascular disease

Statins could lower the risk of heart disease. But there is a lot of discussion about how significant the effect of a statin is on reducing the cardiovascular risk.

Some scientists claim you should take statins if you have an increased risk of getting a heart attack (known as “primary prevention”), while others claim that you should only take statins when you’ve already had a heart attack (as “secondary prevention”).

Other studies suggest that for many people, statins don’t work very well for primary prevention.

This will likely depend on your personal genetic make-up; we see that some people react much better to statins while others derive no effect (R).

Also, not all statins are the same. Some statins seem to be able to extend lifespan in mice (like simvastatin) while other statins do not have this effect. Also, statins can have side effects, like muscle aches or neuropathy (nerve pain), and some statins more than others.

After all, statins inhibit the production of cholesterol, a molecule that is an important component of our cell membranes, especially of neurons and muscle cells.

NovosLabs view: Not big fans. 

OneDayMD view: Not a big fan.

6. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that improves mitochondrial functioning. There is insufficient scientific evidence (at least in well-conducted studies with the right disease model mice) that coenzyme Q10 can extend lifespan.

Various studies show that coenzyme Q10 does not extend lifespan (R,R,R,R). Some studies show that coenzyme Q10 can actually shorten lifespan (R).

Also, coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant. In recent years, scientists have learned that antioxidants can actually accelerate aging (for reasons described here). We would be cautious about taking strong antioxidants like coenzyme Q10 to extend lifespan.

That said, CoQ10 decline as you age and it plays an essential role in energy production and protects against cellular damage. Supplementing with CoQ10 might allow for more physical activity and therefore more likely to have a protective effect than a negative one.

Note: According to earlier sources, Dr. Sinclair mentioned taking coenzyme Q10. However, in recent interviews (done in 2022) David Sinclair didn’t specifically mention taking this supplement.

7. Low-dose aspirin – 83 mg per day

A low dose aspirin could reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of heart attacks, and perhaps the risk of cancer.

However, a recent large study that involved almost 20,000 participants and that lasted 4.7 years showed that a low dose of aspirin did not reduce cardiovascular disease and did not improve survival (R).

In fact, it even showed that it could actually increase cancer risk somewhat (NEJM 2018), despite many other studies showing that aspirin could have health and longevity benefits. That siad, data from Annals of Oncology (2020) released that aspirin is associated with 22-38% fewer cancers in the liver, pancreas, esophagus, stomach, and colon. In colorectal cancer, a 10% risk reduction is observed with 75-100 mg/day and a 35% risk reduction with 325 mg/day.

Further studies have to be conducted to sort this out.

Therefore, since aspirin can damage the stomach and can cause significant bleeding, aspirin use must be prescribed and supervised by a doctor.

NovosLab view: Neutral, but also a bit disappointed.

8. Fisetin, 500 mg once per day, in the morning

Quercetin and fisetin are very similar molecules. They are often called “senolytics”, in the sense they are assumed they can clear away senescent cells.

When David published his book Lifespan in 2019 he was only taking resveratrol with his yogurt in the morning. However, in mid 2021 he mentioned that he was experimenting with adding Fisetin and Quercetin (see this clip).

Then in 2022 he explains he’s now taking 500mg of fisetin and quercetin daily, in the mornings, alongside his resveratrol and yogurt (see this section of episode #4 of his podcast).

However, in a mid 2023 clip (see this video section, 1:20 - 2:00), he has dropped Quercetin. Quercetin reduces glutathione and inhibits sirtuin-6 and NRF-2. All of these will hurt your longevity (see this clip, 2:30)

Senescent cells are cells that accumulate during aging and secrete substances which damage normal healthy cells.

However, we believe the main reason why molecules like fisetin can extend lifespan is because of other effects than being a “senolytic”, such as by reducing inflammation.

For this reason, we prefer fisetin taken in lower doses (100 mg per day) and in a continuous way, instead of in higher doses (e.g. 1000 mg or more) once every month in order to “clear” senescent cells.

We prefer fisetin more than quercetin. One reason is that there are more and better studies done with fisetin showing longevity effects, such as studies in mice demonstrating that fisetin extends lifespan (R).

NovosLabs view: We like fisetin more than quercetin. We would also reduce the dose. 

9. Spermidine, 1 mg per day, in the morning

Our view: We think spermidine is an interesting molecule for longevity.

Spermidine is a molecule first found in sperm, hence its name. As a supplement, spermidine is extracted from wheat-germ. It can also be found in foods like cheese, soy, legumes, and mushrooms.

Spermidine can impact important aging-mechanisms, such as autophagy.

Studies have shown that spermidine can improve various biomarkers of health and longevity (R), and that spermidine can extend lifespan in different organisms, including mice (Nat Med 2016). 

10. TMG (trimethylglycine or betaine)

Dr. David Sinclair mentioned in podcasts that he takes TMG (trimethylglycine) to err on the safe side regarding the possibility of NMN reducing methylation in the body.

Methyl groups are small molecules that are put on DNA, proteins and substances in order for them to work properly.

For example, methylated DNA (DNA covered with methyl molecules) prevents that DNA from being active (learn more about the epigenome here). Methyl molecules are also sometimes linked to specific substances in order for them to be broken down.

NMN is used by cells to create NAD+, a molecule pivotal for health. However, when NAD+ is used by the body, nicotinamide is formed. This molecule needs to be disposed of. In order to do so, a methyl group is placed on nicotinamide so it can be secreted by the kidneys.

So if people take a lot of NMN, lots of methyl groups could be used.

TMG provides methyl groups (TMG consists of 3 methyl groups per TMG molecule). We agree with David Sinclair that adding TMG could be worthwhile. A proper dose would be, for example, 500 mg to 1 gram of TMG per day.

However, some people experience gastro-intestinal issues from TMG, or have difficulty sleeping after taking it. Therefore, as alternatives, one can take phosphatidylcholine, which can also deliver methyl groups. It also improves brain health and cognition.

One can also drink green tea when taking NMN. Green tea contains EGCG, which inhibits the enzyme that puts methyl groups on nicotinamide (the enzyme is called “NNMT”). This way, less methyl groups are used to methylate nicotinamide.

Novoslab view: combining TMG with NMN makes sense, but we prefer phosphatidylcholine (or a combination of TMG with phosphatidylcholine).

11. Lipoic Acid

Standard dosage: 300 mg once a day.

12. L-Taurine (Latest addition)

David Sinclair takes 2 grams a day.

David Sinclair’s Diet, Exercise & Lifestyle Routines

Of course, Dr. David Sinclair does not only rely on supplements to live longer and healthier.

He knows very well that nutrition, exercise, proper sleep and stress reduction are also very important methods to extend lifespan. How does he go about this?

Diet details:
  • Coffee in the morning (once per day), then green tea after that.
  • Intermittent fasting – aims to skip at least 1 meal per day. Helped by lots of green tea.
  • Previously he kept meat consumption low and avoided red meat. More recently he’s experimenting with a vegetarian diet.
  • He aims to eat as little sugar, bread or pasta as possible. He stopped eating deserts at age 40, except for a “small taste” occasionally.
  • Aims to eat lots of vegetables.
Exercise routines:
  • Weight lifting – now 3 times per week, was previously just 1 time per week.
  • Running 1-2 times per week. Preferably using a curved treadmill for lower impact. Does short, fast runs.
  • Sauna weekly.
  • He exercises in order to stay healthy and mentally sharp, rather than to be muscular.
Lifestyle Choices:
  • He doesn’t smoke, avoids microwaved plastic, excessive sun exposure, X-rays, and CT scans.
  • Aims to keep his BMI in the optimal range for healthspan, which for him he says is 23 to 25.
  • Tries to stay “on the cool side” during the day, and at night when sleeping.

How David Sinclair Tracks and Measures His Health

David uses a blood testing service called Inside Tracker to track his biomarkers. Helping him to understand what is, and isn’t working, in terms of his diet, exercise and supplementation.

For example, he shared on Facebook (link) when his Inside Tracker results showed his vitamin B12 supplementation was causing his B12 levels to get too high. Resulting in him removing B12 from his supplements.

This test was presumably InsideTracker’s Ultimate product – as it’s the only one that covers all the biomarkers he mentioned.

NovosLabs wrote about the best blood tests for longevity here.

CONCLUSION

We think that the list of supplements that David Sinclair is not bad, but can be further improved.

In this regard, we make the distinction between longevity supplements and health supplements.

Longevity supplements, like NMN, micro-dosed lithium or calcium alpha-ketoglutarate, could actually slow down aging.

Health supplements enable our body to work properly: deficiencies of them could accelerate aging.
    References: 


    Charles Brenner Challenges David Sinclair’s Best-Selling Book on Aging



    Related: 



    Anti-Aging Supplements You Don’t Want To Take


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