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Ben Best: Director of Research Oversight, Life Extension Foundation (Part Two)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2015/05/08


Interview with Ben Best, director of research oversight, Life Extension Foundation (LEF). In part two, he discusses the following subject-matter: LEF and prediction of the near, and far, future; Caloric Restriction with Adequate Nutrition (CRAN), and the main factors and processes of CRAN; LEF’s legal battle with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Insurance Revenue Service (IRS); an in-progress essay entitled Mechanisms of Aging with condensed information in relation to the variegated mechanisms of aging; thoughts on three key mechanisms of aging including metabolic damage, cellular senescence and death, and toxic & non-toxic garbage accumulation; academic and professional venues for the public to read more about aging; brief listing of interest in writing in philosophy, political economy, historical writing, and computers; commentary on articles on personal writings on business/investment based in knowledge and personal opinion, and the emphasis of a libertarian philosophy with reasons for its strength as a philosophy; the possibility of many figures’ extrapolation of technological change into the singularity and if this plays into his plan to live for thousands of years.

Keywords: aging, Ben Best, business, caloric restriction with adequate nutrition, computers, health, historical writing, Internal Revenue Service, investment, Life Extension Foundation, philosophy, political economy, singularity, supplements, The University of British Columbia.

9. How does the LEF research program split organizationally? Where do you project each stream of research in the near and far future?

I have mostly answered the first question in 6 above. As the Danish proverb says, prediction is hard, especially about the future. This implies lack of control, which is not accurate, but I cannot foresee changes to the current policies in the near future and the far future is beyond my vision.

10. Some of the best means of life extension amount to the reduction of calories relative to one’s daily recommended amount of caloric intake.[1] You describe one of the most robust means of life extension: Caloric Restriction with Adequate Nutrition (CRAN).[2] You write about this in the article Caloric Restriction with Adequate Nutrition – An Overview[3].  In brief, how does caloric restriction extend life and improve health – main factors and processes?[4]

Whether CRAN would extend maximum lifespan in humans is an open question, but I think there is plenty of evidence that it improves health and reduces the chance of all aging-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and certainly type 2 diabetes (which accelerates aging).  Luigi Fontana has studied humans practicing CRAN, and I reported on Dr. Fontana’s discoveries in the June 2014 issue of LIFE EXTENSION magazine.

11. With respect to reading many of your productions, one article stood out to me: The FDA versus the Life Extension Foundation[5]. In the piece, you describe the S. Federal Drug Administration[6] (FDA) legal battle with the LEF in a “long & vicious battle against the Life Extension Foundation,” which had conclusion in “February, 1996” because “this charge was dropped. It was the first time in the history of the FDA that the agency had given-up on a criminal indictment against a political opponent.”[7]  Where does the current relationship lie between the FDA and the LEF?  What about the relation of other organizations to the LEF with regards to legal battles?  Does research of this nature tend to come under intense scrutiny?

LEF is not currently fighting the FDA, but LEF is currently fighting the IRS. This fight has been going on for a few years and has put a damper on LEF research funding. The issue resolves around the relationship between LEF (which funds research) and the Buyer’s Club (which sells supplements, generating money for LEF funding of research). Negotiations have been proceeding somewhat encouragingly between LEF and the IRS. Some structural changes will be made between LEF and the Buyer’s Club, and there is reason to believe that the conflict will be resolved soon.

12. You have an ongoing manuscript in production entitled Mechanisms of Aging. You intend to continue research for this manuscript for some time.  It contains tremendous amounts of condensed information in relation to the variegated mechanisms of aging.  What inspired the original production of this work-in-progress? 

As I have mentioned, I am highly motivated to live thousands of years. See my article “Why Life Extension?”

13. Too much to cover here. You state three categories for summarization of personal research into the mechanisms of aging: 1) Metabolic damage, 2) cellular senescence and death, and 3) toxic & non-toxic garbage accumulation.[8]  What comprises each category?  How might these rank-order in terms of their general contributions with respect to general aging?

The Summary & Conclusions section of “Mechanisms of Aging” specifies what comprises each category. I am not sure which is worse between 1) and 3), but I am not too concerned about 2) in the context of the next 30 years because I think stem cells and organ replacement will make that form of damage less important. 1) and 3) will remain important because the brain, which is the one organ which cannot be replaced.  As for my essay, I have become so engrossed in my work at LEF, that my maintenance of that essay in the context of developing science has fallen behind.

14. What academic and popular venues can professionals and lay-persons alike read on their own time about aging in full detail?

I recommend my essays “Mechanisms of Aging” and “Alzheimer’s Disease: Molecular Mechanisms” as well as Aubrey de Grey’s book ENDING AGING: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime.

15. You have taken an interest in a variety of other arenas of research and expression. I point to writing in philosophy[9],[10],[11],[12], political economy[13],[14], historical writing[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21], computers[22],[23], and many others. 

I recommend readers to other articles in the bibliography and website for complete information.  However, for our purposes, we can discuss some of these ideas in brief. Undoubtedly, these form personal interests relevant to your intellectual pursuits.  What do you consider the core discovery in personal research into philosophy, political economy, history, and computers?  How do these, and other major areas of research, factor into framework for understanding the world.

Like many libertarians, I have been inspired by the works of Ayn Rand and by Mises’s book HUMAN ACTION, as well as Rothbard’s MAN, ECONOMY, AND STATE. I am highly critical of central banks, and am hopeful the cryptocurrencies will replace government money.  I have been irritated by the attacks on rationality by those claiming to interpret quantum physics.  What I enjoyed especially about my time working with computers, was the way computers will immediately let you know of flaws in your thinking. But programming in APL not only corrected my rational faculties, but inspired my creative imagination.

16. You wrote on business/investment. In fact, a number of articles on aspects of the economy based in knowledge and educated opinion: Investing & Trading in Equities: Art & Science [24], An Austrian Theory of Business Cycles[25], Fixed-Income Securities: Money-Markets & Bonds[26], North American Credit Scoring & Reporting[27], The Major American Equity Indices: DOW, Nasdaq, S&P 500, Russell 2000 and Wilshire 5000[28], Timing the Market: Patterns in American Stock Market Movements[29], The Uses of Financial Statements[30], Financial Statements in the “New Economy”[31], Monetary Systems and Managed Economies[32], Funding Cryonics with an Estate[33], Offshore Options for Cryonicists[34], among other articles and recommendations.[35]

Other writings and redirections in relation to “indices and charts,” “investment information news,” and “investment research – links and resources.”  You mentioned libertarianism.  Sprinkles of this philosophy seem to exist in indirect quotes from articles.  In Offshore Options for Cryonicists[36], you quote Mark Twain[37], who said, “The difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector is that the taxidermist only takes your skin.”  With respect to libertarianism and its evidentiary grounding, what evidence most convinces you? What argument most convinces you? What seem like drawbacks to you?

State power is driven by the self-aggrandizement of politicians, who seek to enhance their power by creating benefits for their constituents through plundering others, which is pleasing to the constituents who are the recipients of the plunder and often initiate soliciting the plunder. Regulators may think that they are benefiting the economy by their actions, but they usually do more harm than good. The arguments for a free market are not something I can summarize in a short answer. As for drawbacks, even (so-called) libertarians can be drawn into the self-aggrandizing addiction to power resulting from involvement in the political process.

17. With regards to one community of researchers, dependent and independent, numerous respected individuals, in and out of the mainstream, emerge in the literature and media including Aubrey de Grey[38],[39], Dr. Peter Diamandis, M.D.[40], Dr. Ray Kurzweil[41], Dr. Terry Grossman[42], M.D.[43], Saul Kent[44] of the Life Extension Foundation[45], and many, many others.

Most probable in highest prominence –as a figure, Dr. Ray Kurzweil, posits the Law of Accelerating Returns – an extension of Moore’s Law – to extrapolate from past and present technological achievements and trends into possible, even probable, future achievements and trends in the progress of technology.[46],[47],[48],[49],[50]

Of course, alterations and improvements in technology, especially medical technology and knowledge, yield the possibility for betterment of the human condition. Does the technological singularity work into your personal expectations and plans, i.e. intention to live for thousands of years?

I don’t think about technological singularity very much. Robert Ettinger, hosts of science fiction writers, and many others have expected continuing technological progress long before Kurzweil. I hope and expect for continued, accelerating technological progress which is what anyone would expect by extrapolating the past into the future. And I hope and expect that this progress with lead to vastly improved heath, youth, and longevity.

[1] Ibid.

[2] See Best, B. (n.d.). Caloric Restriction with Adequate Nutrition – An Overview.

[3] Ibid.

[4] See Best, B. (n.d.). Articles about Caloric Restriction with Adequate Nutrition (CRAN).

[5] See Best, B. (n.d.). The FDA versus the Life Extension Foundation.

[6] See U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2014). US Food and Drug Administration.

[7] See Best, B. (n.d.). The FDA versus the Life Extension Foundation.

[8] See Best, B. (n.d.). My Health Regimen – Exercise, Diet, Supplements.

[9] See Best, B. (n.d.). A Case for Free Will AND Determinism.

[10] See Best, B. (n.d.). Some Thoughts About Wisdom.

[11] See Best, B. (n.d.). The Duplicates Paradox (The Duplicates Problem).

[12] See Best, B. (n.d.). Topic Index for Essays on Philosophy by Ben Best.

[13] See Best, B. (n.d.). Thoughts on Exploitation Theory.

[14] See Best, B. (n.d.). Topic Index for Essays on Political Economy by Ben Best.

[15] See Best, B. (1990). Schemers in the Web: A Covert History of the 1960’s Era.

[16] See Best, B. (n.d.). Bavarian Illuminati.

[17] See Best, B. (n.d.). Egyptology, Rosicrucianism, and the Quest for Immortality.

[18] See Best, B. (n.d.). The New West Co-op Houses: An Essay in Recognition of the 20th Anniversary.

[19] See Best, B. (n.d.). St. Bees Man.

[20] See Best, B. (n.d.). The Waco, Texas Massacre.

[21] See Best, B. (n.d.). A Simplified History of China.

[22] See Best, B. (n.d.). An Overview of Neural Networks.

[23] See Best, B. (n.d.). Topic Index for Articles about Computer Science by Ben Best.

[24] See Best, B. (n.d.). Investing & Trading in Equities: Art & Science.

[25] See Best, B. (n.d.). An Austrian Theory of Business Cycles.

[26] See Best, B. (n.d.). Fixed-Income Securities: Money-Markets & Bonds.

[27] See Best, B. (n.d.). North American Credit Scoring & Reporting.

[28] See Best, B. (n.d.). The Major American Equity Indices: DOW, Nasdaq, S&P 500, Russell 2000 and Wilshire 5000.

[29] See Best, B. (n.d.). Timing the Market: Patterns in American Stock Market Movements.

[30] See Best, B. (n.d.). The Uses of Financial Statements.

[31] See Best, B. (n.d.). Financial Statements in the “New Economy”.

[32] See Best, B. (n.d.). Monetary Systems and Managed Economies.

[33] See Best, B. (n.d.). Funding Cryonics with an Estate.

[34] See Best, B. (n.d.). Offshore Options for Cryonicists.

[35] See Best, B. (n.d.). Business/Investment Data and Information.

[36] Ibid.

[37] See Mark Twain. (2015).

[38] See SENS (n.d.). Executive Team.

[39] See de Grey, A. & Jacobsen, S.D.  (2014, June).

[40] See Diamandis, P.H. (2014). Peter H. Diamandis.

[41] See Kurzweil, R. (2014). Kurzweil: Accelerating Intelligence.

[42] See Ray and Terry Longevity Products (2011). Terry Grossman – Full Biography.

[43] See Grossman, T (n.d.). Dr. Terry Grossman’s Story.

[44] See Biomarker Pharmaceuticals (n.d.). Board of Directors: Saul Kent Director, Founder..

[45] See LEF (n.d.). Life Extension Foundation.

[46] See Kurzweil, R. (2004, October 7). Fantastic Voyage; Live Long Enough to Live Forever.

[47] See Kurzweil, R. (2014). Kurzweil: Accelerating Intelligence.

[48] See Kurzweil, R. (2014). Ray Kurzweil biography.

[49] See Kurzweil, R. (2001, March 7). The Law of Accelerating Returns.

[50] See Kurzweil, R. (2009, April 28). TRANSCEND: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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