|LE Magazine February 2001 |
Adventures In Longevity
Key components to health and well-being
No one would ever accuse Larry Williams of being timid. This 59-year-old likes to shake things up a bit, by adding something to his life that most of us believe in avoiding—stress. “A lot of people say they try to get stress out of their lives, but I think you need it,” he says. “Of course, it has to be the right kind of stress—I’m not talking about disease or death—but rather the stress of a great problem or something for which you have a passion that can bring excitement into your life. I have to have something nipping at my heals to keep me awake.”
A well-known and long-time commodities trader, Larry typically encounters enough pressure in his day to keep from dozing. But during his nationwide lectures on trading, he’s found a surefire way to kick his adrenaline into overdrive and keep his audience attentive. He calls it the “Million-Dollar Challenge” and it involves trading his own money live over the course of four days. “It may not be brilliant, but it’s bold,” he explains, adding that his gains usually substantially outnumber his losses.
He can make the same claim in his own life—though there have been losses. “I’ve been beaten up a couple of times in the markets,” he explains. “But being a speculator there helped me understand taking other gambles as well.”
During 30 years of the kind of experimentation that some people might perceive as gambles, he has tried all sorts of “wild” experiments on the advice of many a “mad and crazy scientist.” Sometimes these experiments worked. Sometimes they didn’t. He doesn’t recommend it for most people. “The far-out stuff probably isn’t right for everyone, but it’s like they say on “Star Trek,” he says. “I’m going where no one else has dared to go, but I’ll bring back some amazing stuff.”
This experimentation, guided by Larry’s avid reading of clinical literature, has helped him develop four key components—vitamins, exercise, diet and cleansing—in his personal campaign against aging. This approach to health started taking shape when Larry was 30 years old and went on a fishing expedition with friends. The former college football player thought he was in reasonably good shape, but the rigors of the trip convinced him otherwise.
“I knew I had to make some changes” Larry says, adding that a friend lent him a book by Adele Davis, the pioneering health advocate of the 60s, and thus began his “wonderful adventure in longevity.” Vitamins and minerals came first, and then he began dabbling in lots of “way-out things,” as well as turning to more traditional outlets, such as long distance running.
Today, the vitamin component in Larry’s longevity program spans the expected to the experimental and is geared toward general good health and athletic performance, as well as youth preservation. Larry swears by Life Extension Mix, which he’s taken for 20 years. “I’m a real nickel-and-dime kind of guy and this gives me by far the best bang for my buck. There is no more thorough product out there,” he says.
After reading about a study in which the mice that were fed charcoal capsules lived 30% longer than those who weren’t, Larry added activated charcoal to his list. (Charcoal absorbs toxins in the system.) He also started taking vitamin A after reading a study in which daily doses of the vitamin extended the lives of animals by as much as 20%. “I take more vitamin A than recommended,” he says. “In one of my personal experiments I found I could take about 10 times the recommended dosage before getting side effects, like headaches.”
That habit of experimentation also led him, years ago, to begin cellular injections. These injections, similar to those used at Clinique La Prarie, in Switzerland, operate under the theory that our own RNA and DNA lose memory as we age. Providing fresh RNA and DNA can trigger the body’s ability to reprogram itself. Larry says that these injections, in conjunction with human growth hormone, are one of the most important elements in his longevity program.
In fact, Larry was an early adopter of HGH injections, though he does not use it continuously. He’ll typically use it for a month or two to coincide with his marathon-training periods, then take one month off. With 53 marathons and two ultramarathons under his belt, Larry has noticed a big difference in his performance since beginning his regime. “I ran my fastest marathon, 3 hours 27 minutes, when I was 55,” he says. “That was about an hour faster than the first one I ran 30 years earlier.”
Antioxidants play a critical role as well. Larry loads up on CoQ10, vitamin E and grape seed extract, which he has found especially helpful in preventing the soreness and stiffness that often follow a strenuous run. In fact, he now takes it at regular intervals during marathons. “I’ve gotten some of my friends to do it too,” he says. “We find that we feel so good after one race that we can run another marathon the next day.”
Larry originally took up long distance running to keep weight off, then became hooked on it as a lifestyle. One of his most rewarding workouts is a grueling series of sprints, which helps with both balance and reflex. “Speed workouts are a major breakthrough in my life extension system,” he says. “As we age, our fast twitch muscle fiber atrophies and we lose balance and reflex, but sprinting stops the atrophy and actually increases fast twitch muscle fiber.” During intensive pre-marathon training, Larry begins running six half-mile sprints per session, then increases to 13 sprints per session over two weeks.
An unexpected benefit to running has come in the friendships that Larry has developed through the sport. He typically goes running with his buddies Kurt and Harvey and finds these periods of chatting, venting and sharing to be as good as psychoanalysis but “cheaper.”
As for diet, Larry tried everything from vegetarian to “fruitarian” to high protein, before settling back into a pattern of eating that includes some animal protein. Growing up in Montana (Larry now lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California), where he frequently ate venison, probably contributed to his return to meat eating, as did the protein need caused by intensive exercise. He also got bored. “Vegetarianism is probably healthier,” he says. “But I got tired of scrambled tofu, tofu bacon, tofu this and tofu that.”
Larry’s cleansing program makes up the fourth component in his longevity program. Once a year he heads south to Sonavive a spa/clinic in Mexico for a week of the kind of intensive treatments typically used to fight early stage cancer. This involves everything from heating therapies, to coffee enemas, colonics and fasting. He also does chelation, Hydrogen Peroxide drips, amino acid injections and GH3 on a regular basis. Then there’s a week every year at a spa outside San Diego for additional fasting. “One of my ideas is to stop all the bad stuff early on,” he says. “And this really keeps you on track.”
Keeping on track means having the energy to pursue his many passions in life. When Larry isn’t trading or teaching people how to trade, he may be writing about trading. He’s written nine books on the stock market, many of them best sellers translated into Russian, Chinese, Japanese and German. He’s also raised five accomplished children, among them an actress, an international businessman, a writer and a teacher. His youngest hopes to become a medical doctor.
Then there’s Larry’s love of archeology. He’s been on digs in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Greece, and his findings have been featured on 20/20, in Vanity Fair and in the Howard Blum book, The Gold of Exodus. But, at the end of the day, Larry still thinks he should have been a doctor. “I love the idea of learning about our bodies and what we can do to feel better and live longer,” he says.
Larry realizes that feeling better won’t be achieved by doing one single thing—it’s the combination of many things together that will extend his life and enhance his energy. And he intends to keep experimenting to get the mix right. “I’m going to keep trying and preserving my life,” he says. “Because I enjoy it so much that whatever I can do to extend it is
all worthwhile.”—Twig Mowatt