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So you have to figure out the best longevity gifts for the spanner in your life.
That person who drones on and on about longevity escape velocity, excitedly informs you of the latest science covered in their favorite life-extension blogs, and who might be already booking tickets to an upcoming top anti-aging conference.
They’re smart, they’re future-thinking, and they definitely want to live beyond 150. You know that you want to get them longevity gifts for the holidays—something that will assist in their quest to extend their lifespan and healthspan—but you don’t know where to start.
You maybe even hopped onto Google to look for a few ideas, only to quickly shut down your search. Do they really want a $1,300+ Infrared sauna?! A poop tester? Would it be weird to gift them a truckload of supplements?
Well… yes and no. As a spanner myself, I would be all over each of those gifts, but none of them top my list for 2020 (except, maybe, the microbiome test. Dearest husband, I know you’re reading this). There are a few more exciting (and less expensive) gifts that we’ve seen enter the spanning conversation over the past year.
The best longevity gifts for 2020
Functionally, these products are quite different one another. To keep these gifts reasonable and organized, we capped the cost of the gift at $300. We also sampled each major area involved in life extension, from nutrition to physical fitness to mental health to sleep. And to help you out just a little bit more, we also clarify what kind of spanner the gifts would be best for.
They’re organized from least to most expensive in the list below.
1. Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair, PhD
When J.P. and I read this masterpiece earlier this year, we both had the same reaction: wouldn’t it be great if every single person we cared about read this top life extension book? How much would it impact how they thought about life extension? How they thought about the work that we’re doing?
Let me take a step back here. If you, dear reader, haven’t read this book, it is a gift to read it. And if your spanner loved one hasn’t chanced upon the book yet, I’m sure they’d love it. Dr. David Sinclair combines approachable writing with hard science to explain why radical human life extension isn’t just the stuff of science fiction.
Cost: Starts at $14.86
Best for: Spanners and their loved ones
2. Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry
Spanners have a lot of opinions when it comes to optimal nutrition for one’s health and lifespan, and there are two core camps: the keto-focused fat lovers (and we’ll get to those guys in a second), and the carb-craving vegans (many of whom are enthusiastic followers of How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D. FACLM). Should you be looking for someone who chooses chickpeas over chicken, this cookbook would be an excellent addition to their library.
If you’ve ever committed to veganism (or dated someone who has), you know that finding flavorful, nourishing, and satisfying dishes that don’t take all day to cook can be a huge impediment to celebrating the benefits of going cruelty-free. Enter Bryant Terry’s amazing cookbook. My personal recommendation is to start with the recipe for crunchy bean and okra fritters with mango-habanero hot sauce and don’t stop until you’ve tried cocoa-spice cake with crystallized ginger and coconut-chocolate ganache.
Yes, those are both really recipes in that book. Yes, a beginner (like me) can make them. Yes, they’re really as amazing as they sound.
Cost: Starts at $18.89
Best for: Vegans
The life-extension movement wouldn’t be where it is without the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF). It’s a nonprofit dedicated to covering the latest anti-aging science in a way that doesn’t devolve into speculation or hyperbole. LEAF has also crowdfunded over $390,000 for life-extension research and has organized some of the industry’s top conferences. In other words, LEAF is a 503(c) that’s worth continuously supporting.
Show your enthusiasm for life extension with this top anti-aging gift: a water bottle sporting LEAF’s logo. Not only do the proceeds directly support LEAF, but the water bottle is eco-friendly, BPA-free, and damage resistant.
Pro-tip: Get the white water bottle for the straw top.
Best for: Research enthusiasts
If you could extend your pooch’s life for an extra five years, would you do it?
As a dog mama, my knee jerk reaction is, “Why stop at five?!”
Spanners want to live long, healthy lives, and there’s something particularly enriching about being able to share it with our beloved pets. The great news is that there’s research supporting life-extension treatments for dogs, from a five-year-long ongoing clinical trial with rapamycin to multiple successful trials with resveratrol, largely as an anti-cancer agent. The findings are preliminary, but many spanners (myself included) are looking to these kinds of supplements to extend their dogs’ lives.
Resvantage is a trusted supplier of resveratrol for humans and their pets. This pack provides a month-long supply of micronized resveratrol (5mg). Add an additional pill for every extra 30lbs of dog, don’t give it to pups under 6 months, and be sure to consult with a veterinarian before starting any new supplement routines.
Best for: Dog owners
My friend recently published a long article about women in their thirties getting Botox. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was (I’m lucky in that I still have an even fat distribution in my face and have yet to really worry about wrinkles). I didn’t realize that women as young as thirty were already turning to plastic surgery to maintain the shape of their face and take care of their skin.
Beyond wearing sunscreen, there haven’t been many breakthroughs in anti-aging or restorative skin care… until recently. A 2019 article in Nature found that two experimental chemicals, Y27632 and apocynin, can help increase collagen 17 levels in skin cells and even promote wound healing. These chemicals can be applied topically.
Enter forward-thinking brands like Skin Actives Scientific, one of the few who immediately took hold of this research and started creating creams with apocynin in it. This longevity gift is great for both men and women who know that life-extension practices include going skin-deep.
Best for: Everyone with skin
6. Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero: The Beginner’s Guide to Programming Bacteria at Home, School & in the Makerspace by Justin Pahara and Julie Legault
Some of the best life-extension gifts are educational in nature—most spanners don’t have a PhD nor do they work in the medical or research fields. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in biohacking or how concepts like CRISPR work. Enter companies like Amino Labs, who aim to make biotechnology easy and accessible. Yes, even for kids.
Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero is a text that promises to teach the reader about genetic engineering with no prior knowledge of the space. Chock-full of examples, colorful illustrations, and diagrams, the book alone is a great gift.
Want to get the full value of the book? Tack on a home pack for chapters 1-4 ($83) and for chapters 5-7 ($409), along with a microcentrifuge ($693) and a DNA playground ($489). With all that equipment, you can also follow along and do the lab tests described in the text. While its not needed, I’m sure it would drive home many of the concepts that would only otherwise be found in college classes.
Best for: Teens, biohackers, and lifelong learners
Spanners practicing keto or one of its variations (Atkins, Paleo, or even the Carnivore Diet) are often concerned with their blood glucose, ketones, and Glucose Ketone Index. Tracking how these biomarkers change throughout the day and in response to different foods can help sustain and course correct while practicing this oft-nuanced diet.
A ketone meter from Keto Mojo can take a lot of the guesswork out of that process. Their basic starter kit comes with testing strips and control solutions for regular ketone and glucose checks. Results automatically upload to a free phone app (both for Android and iOS) over Bluetooth. This particular tracker is excellent because there’s no limit to how much historical information it can hold, so you can track trends in your biomarkers over time.
Best for: Spanners watching their carbs
8. Pure NMN
I had a moment while reading Lifespan (the first book recommended on this list) that made me raise my eyebrows. Dr. Sinclair writes about how NAD+ boosters, like NMN, could return fertility to old horses after menopause, and that NMN had a similar effect on old mice. NMN is a rock star among available anti-aging supplements, but choosing the right brand can be daunting.
Do Not Age is a newer company out of the UK that uses third-party companies to verify that their products are 99.5% pure. Many of the top life-extension Facebook groups have struck a deal with this company to get a bit of a discount, so you may want to check them out first.
Cost: £95 (about $126) plus shipping
Best for: Stack hackers
tDCS (transcranial direct-current stimulation) devices are met with a lot of skepticism because of the outrageous claims made by some of their consumers, so let me be clear: while there are promising studies on the effect of tDCS on memory, attention, and learning, there is not a consensus that these treatments are effective for neuroenhancement in healthy people. With that said, there is an abundance of evidence that tDCS is great for treating major depression.
People in the United States are more likely to die by suicide than in a car crash, which is why I think that it’s great that there has been a cultural shift to focusing on mental wellness. If the recipient of your longevity gifts would appreciate a self-care product that can also, potentially, augment anxiety and post-traumatic stress treatments, consider the Brain Premier tDCS device. It has a rechargeable battery, is wicked easy to use, and will stop working if the nodes aren’t properly attached to the scalp. Further, for a consumer-grade device, the price is beyond reasonable at less than $200.
Best for: Mental wellness advocates
Of all the best sleep trackers I’ve looked at for this site, WHOOP’s dedication to research-backed quantified-self impressed me the most. WHOOP is a fitness tracker focused on sleep and recovery, a watch-sized band that wraps around the wrist. Spanners like it because of the amount of data it collects, from heart-rate variability to sleep efficiency and respiratory rate.
Unlike other trackers, the WHOOP 3.0 band itself is $0—it’s the subscription to one’s analytics that actually costs real money. Six months of data from the WHOOP strap costs $180. A year runs $288 and 18 months goes for $324. It’s a great gift for spanners, especially for those who are invested in using data to increase their healthspan.
Cost: $180 for six months (plus the cost of the strap)
When it comes to working out, I think Kettlebells are the best strength training option for people with home gyms. Kettlebells don’t take up a bunch of space, they are super versatile, and there’s a great online community of people dedicated to kettlebell workouts (shout out to Caveman Training, Kettlebell Kings, and r/kettlebell). But kettlebells can get pricey—a full collection of kettlebells can run $350+.
Enter the coolest piece of home workout equipment that isn’t an exercise machine: JaxJox’s KettlebellConnect® 2.0. It’s a single adjustable kettlebell that offers six different weights: 12 lbs, 18 lbs, 24 lbs, 30 lbs, 36 lbs, and 42 lbs. The KettlebellConnect® 2.0 also comes with an app that automatically tracks your workouts (if you’re into stuff like that, also check out our review of the best free strength training apps!). Get this for someone who loves working, who enjoys kettlebells and who wants to add a little tech to their reps.
Best for: Fitness geeks
Spanners. Love. DNA. Information.
And with good reason. There are a whole host of benefits of genetic testing and a huge list of companies offering genome sequencing and genotyping tests. And while this kind of present is perfect as one of your longevity gifts, it can be overwhelming to figure out which businesses will care for your genetic privacy, offer accurate DNA results, and provide after-test support without costing a whole paycheck.
Best for: Family members, privacy-minded and advanced spanners
More top longevity gifts for 2020?
There were a ton of gifts that didn’t quite make the list, including the Oura Ring, myDNAge, and Life Extension supplements. What do you think should have been included but wasn’t? What are you planning to buy for your friends and family this holiday season? Definitely let us know in the comments so that we can update our list!
And don’t forget, when browsing Amazon for gifts, to use Amazon Smile and set your donations to go to SENS!