My Journey to Human Longevity (magazine reprint)

This is a reprint of an article that Chris authored for Best Holistic Life Magazine.

My article appeared in the August 2022 issue of Best Holistic Life magazine

By Chris Mirabile, Founder & CEO of NOVOS

Under normal circumstances, an extracurricular trip to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City at 16 years old would be the trip of a lifetime. For me, the trip indeed proved to be momentous — but not for the reasons you might imagine. 

While listening to a speaker inside the bank, I had a violent seizure and collapsed. Shortly after, I woke up covered in blood and terrified, with a severed tongue and a complete block as to what had just happened. Paramedics rushed me to NYU Medical Center, where I learned I had a mass larger than a golf ball on my left temporal lobe. They operated within days.

It’s not the type of news you expect when you’re young and focused on health. Since age 12 when I first read Men’s Health, I religiously worked to achieve peak levels of fitness like what I saw on the covers. Certainly, the thought of fighting for my life in the middle of a high school trip never crossed my mind.

Back home in Long Island, life as I knew it had changed. Much to my dismay, I was under strict orders to avoid exercise as my body healed. Still, throughout this traumatic experience, I saw my body fighting to recover from surgery, the subsequent intense brain fog and memory loss, and the anti-seizure meds that left me groggy, sleepy, and nauseous. 

Once I was able, I carefully returned to weightlifting and running. This stage of my life proved to be pivotal in terms of launching my personal health journey.

A Glimpse of the Future

My brush with mortality at an early age gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to be old, lying in a hospital bed from a debilitating illness. I didn’t like what I saw. Now determined to excel beyond previous levels of fitness, I forged ahead with new goals — ranking seventh in a U.S. Marine Corps national fitness championship event around a year after my surgery; while in college at NYU Stern, achieving the University’s record for the most dips; at 30, exceeding the Guinness World Record for the most pull-ups in 60 seconds; and elevating myself to the equivalent of professional powerlifting with a 300% bodyweight deadlift.

Through it all, I had the unshakable belief that I could achieve greater health than ever, no matter the age. Yet all the deadlifting in the world couldn’t help me muscle my way out of the midday lethargy I had been feeling — despite getting plenty of sleep, incorporating intermittent fasting, and eating a vegetable-dense, low-carb diet that had enabled improvements in my skin, GI tract, sleep, and mood. For years this lethargy persisted, and no doctor had answers.

The Journey Within

I decided it was up to me to play detective. Over the next five years, I investigated my symptoms, eventually learning I had a nut sensitivity and was borderline anemic — cue the brain fog and lethargy. 

Meanwhile, I discovered I have the genetic polymorphism MTHFR C677T (it’s just as much of a drag as it sounds). Essentially, this common DNA variant — which a large percentage of the population unknowingly has — reduces my ability to methylate. Methylation is a bodily process that’s key for detoxification, energy, brain, mood, immunity, heart, and other functions. No wonder I felt off.

For me, the solution was to supplement with higher levels of methylated forms of B vitamins and increase my intake of foods containing methyl donors, like choline from egg yolks. I needed to become my own advocate for my health, which led me to study biology and avoidance of disease. In order to live as healthy and disease-free as possible, I first needed to dig deeper to discover the root causes of my symptoms, and then into the biology of aging, the number one cause of chronic illnesses. After almost a decade of research and self-experimentation, I wanted to help others achieve a higher state of health while skipping the years of time-intensive study and experimentation I had invested. 

That awareness, combined with my early near-death experience, drove me to my 2020 launch of NOVOS, after assembling a Scientific Advisory Board of incredibly smart and passionate longevity scientists and geneticists who hail from Harvard, MIT, and The Salk Institute. Combining my lifelong fervor for optimal health and avoiding illness with their expertise in the biology of human longevity, we’ve built the first company to offer supplements that address the 10 root causes of aging and promote longevity (as well as skin health, cognition, and energy!), tests that assess a person’s lifespan potential, plus a database of scientifically referenced knowledge on our blog. At NOVOS, our singular focus is finding solutions to help people live younger for longer while providing them with shortcuts to learn about and counteract the causes of aging. 

If you aren’t feeling like the youthful version of yourself you once knew or are on the road to recovery from a life-threatening illness, I’m here to give you some hope. I’ve stood in your shoes, and I want you to know it’s never too late to tackle aging and become an ambassador for your own health. There is a path to restoring your vitality, and largely, it’s a matter of tuning into how your body feels, learning as much as possible about the topic from legitimate sources, experimenting safely to see how your body reacts to scientifically valid interventions (including those offered at NOVOS) — and being unwilling to accept the idea that you’re just “getting old.”