There are several reasons why you should live a healthy lifestyle. You’ll feel more energized, improve longevity, and reduce the risk of disease. Adopting bad lifestyle habits, on the other hand, can make you feel sluggish, lead to chronic conditions, and increase your risk of an early death. Bad lifestyle habits could also lower cryopreservation quality.
A high quality cryopreservation could shorten the amount of time you need before future revival. Why? Because patients who experience high-quality cryopreservation probably won’t need as advanced future medical technology as individuals who have low-quality cryopreservation. Therefore, it’s important to avoid living an unhealthy lifestyle and focus on doing what you can to improve your health.
In order to replace all blood and water, the SST team perfuses your body with cryoprotective agents (CPAs), which is a type of medical-grade antifreeze. This helps prevent the formation of ice within and around your cells during cryoprotection. Since ice crystals could lead to cell and tissue damage, this is an important part of improving the quality of cryopreservation. After your body has been perfused, the body is gradually cooled down further and further until vitrification (the transition into a glass-like amorphous state) takes place. Once vitrified, your body can be preserved indefinitely in long-term storage. At the end of the process, the lower the ice formation, the higher-quality the cryopreservation. This means that the quality of the cryopreservation depends on how well the brain (and body) can be perfused .
Any impediment that makes it more difficult for the cryoprotectants to reach even the most peripheral parts of your brain reduces the quality of preservation. First and foremost, it’s extremely important to make sure that you do whatever you can to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries that’s characterized by the deposition of plaques (fatty material) that line their inner walls. This increases your risk of blood clotting and can slow the speed at which your blood travels from your heart to the tips of your fingers and toes. Atherosclerosis can be caused by several things, most of which are bad lifestyle habits (aka avoidable factors). Individuals with atherosclerosis might be at a higher risk of a lower quality cryopreservation compared to people with a healthy circulatory system.
Another thing that impacts the quality of cryopreservation is the time between your death and when cryoprotection occurs. However, this is not entirely within your control. The best thing you can do is make sure you’re signed up, talk to your friends and family about your decision to be cryopreserved, and wear the Tomorrow Bio wristband or download the app (coming soon!). If anything happens, our SST teams can handle the rest. You can read more about how to ensure you have a high quality cryopreservation here.
Now that we know about a few of the driving factors that could lead to a low-quality cryopreservation (and why), it’s important to understand what you can do to address them. Luckily, there are several factors within your control that can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, increase your body’s ability to be perfused properly, and, therefore, possibly improve your quality of cryopreservation.
Everything you eat has an impact on your body, yet an inadequate diet is a fairly common bad lifestyle habit throughout society. People may adopt a poor diet for a variety of reasons. It may be due to a busy schedule, taste preference, or inaccessibility to nutritious options. Regardless, a poor diet might lower the quality of your cryopreservation.
This is because unhealthy nutrition tends to increase bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels within the body. Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that’s found in your body. Bad cholesterol can line the inner walls of your arteries and lead to atherosclerosis. Triglycerides are another type of fat that’s found in the bloodstream. It can also contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis.
Foods that may increase your levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides include things like processed foods, deep fried food, saturated and trans fats, and sugar. While these things are okay in moderation, a diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein can help you maintain a healthy circulatory system and increase your chances of a high-quality cryopreservation. Side note: detox diets aren’t likely to save you from the effects of a consistently bad diet!
Did you know that sedentary lifestyles can increase all causes of mortality? It’s such a bad lifestyle habit, that it can even double your risk of cardiovascular disease!  This could also mean an increased risk of developing atherosclerosis, resulting in a lower quality of cryopreservation. Why is this?
Sedentary behaviors like sitting is associated with an increase of calcium deposits in the heart arteries. This increases your risk of blood clotting and heart attacks. Sitting also decreases your body's ability to process fats, among other things. When combined, these can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease, making perfusion difficult after the time of your legal death.
Try to stay active throughout the day and if you have a desk job, take frequent breaks to get up and move your body. Walking around for a few minutes at least once an hour, getting regular aerobic exercise, and spending less time on the couch can help offset a sedentary job.
Although many people say “sitting is the new smoking,” tobacco use is still terrible for your health. Whenever you smoke, the chemicals inhaled cause the cells within the blood vessels to become inflamed and swollen . This leads to narrowing or constricted blood vessels, which increases your risk of blood clotting, plaque buildup, and several cardiovascular conditions. Smoking is a bad lifestyle habit and the longer you do it, the worse it can be.
Over time, constant constriction of blood vessels can cause them to stiffen and lose elasticity, which makes it harder for blood (and CPAs during cryoprotection) to travel throughout your circulatory system. Smoking also causes organ damage, which means you would need more advanced technology for future revival from cryopreservation. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about recommendations for smoking cessation tools.
Substance abuse is commonly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well. Those with the biggest impact include alcohol, opioid drugs, and stimulants, as they can disrupt your body’s balance of chemicals like neurotransmitters. Unbalanced neurotransmitters can cause an increase in blood pressure, increased risk of blood clotting, increased arterial plaque formation, and abnormal heartbeat . These are all risk factors for atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases, which lower your chance for a high-quality cryopreservation.
When you're stressed, your body releases the hormone called cortisol. This is meant to trigger your fight or flight response in acute situations. However, chronic stress creates an overabundance of cortisol levels that can build up in the bloodstream. Studies have shown that these heightened levels of cortisol can lead to higher amounts of bad cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and an increase in blood pressure.
All of these are risk factors for heart disease, and thus atherosclerosis. Long term stress can also affect how the blood clots, which increases its viscosity (blood essentially becomes “sticky”). If you’re feeling stressed, try to take a few deep breaths or listen to some calming music. Chronic stress may be better handled by working with a professional.
You hear a lot of “successful” people bragging about how little sleep they get each night. While this may make it seem like its equation to success, inefficient sleep does a lot more harm than good. Sleep is absolutely essential to staying healthy. Not getting enough sleep is correlated with an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, inflammation, stroke, heart attack, and even death. In fact, many studies show that short sleep durations (or poor quality of sleep) is directly associated with high levels of cholesterol, increased blood pressure, and the onset of atherosclerosis .
Even if you feel like you have too much to do, never sacrifice sleep to compensate for a busy schedule. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night—but no more than nine! Oversleeping can be just as harmful to your health as under sleeping. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember to sleep now for the sake of a high-quality cryopreservation later.
In addition to creating a recipe for low quality cryopreservation, bad lifestyle habits can also decrease your lifespan and result in an earlier death. This is not exactly ideal from a cryonics point of view. Cryopreservation, cryoprotectants, and long-term storage methods are still in the ongoing stages of development. Currently, several dedicated researchers and scientists are committed to improving the quality of CPAs and making the process of cryopreservation more effective (i.e., with intermediate temperature storage (ITS). There is also continual research being done regarding how to rewarm cells after cryopreservation. The longer you’re alive, the more research will be developed, and the better the cryopreservation technique you’ll have. Patients who have undergone a high-quality cryopreservation will also require less advanced technology for future revival. At the end of the day, it’s worth it to live even a few years longer. To learn more about Tomorrow Bio’s research and development roadmap, visit our R&D page.
Living a healthy lifestyle is important for several reasons. Bad lifestyle habits increase your risk of a lower quality cryopreservation and an early death. So, if you want to give yourself the best circumstances for future revival, adopt a good lifestyle and be proactive about your health.
If you haven’t signed up yet, the time is now! Becoming a member will help ensure that you have a team available to begin cryoprotection ASAP after legal death. Sign up today or schedule a call with one of our team members to learn more about cryopreservation today.