Celebrities helped to lose 100 years between them in 21 days by Stirling academic

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The celebrity participants in the 100 years younger experiment
Celebrities taking part in '100 Years Younger in 21 Days' experiment

Eight celebrities have been taking part in a unique experiment designed by a University of Stirling academic to see if they can lose 100 years between them in 21 days.

Professor in Global Ageing Ian Philp created a set of activities to find out if it is possible to stop the ageing process and turn back time, for the new ITV documentary series ‘100 Years Younger in 21 Days’ which starts this week.

Professor Ian Philip

Professor Ian Philp.

June Brown, who has played Dot Cotton in BBC soap opera EastEnders since 1985, astrologer Russell Grant, and musician Shaun Ryder, were among the well-known personalities taking part in the experiment to see if they could reduce their body, brain and face ages by 100 years between them, without going under the knife.

They were joined by actor Claire King, TV presenter Roy Walker, EastEnders stalwart Sid Owen, actor and presenter Sherrie Hewson and TV personality Sandra Martin on the island of Sardinia, home to one of the world’s oldest populations.

Professor Philp, one of the UK’s leading professors on longevity, designed the experiment and led the team of experts – comprising nutritionist Thorbjörg Hafsteinsdóttir from Iceland, physical trainer Simone Ripamonti from Sardinia and skin specialist Dr Sunil Chopra from London – putting the celebrities through the activities.  

“We took inspiration from the lifestyles of active centenarians to design the experiment which emphasised increasing physical activity, adopting a healthy diet, living in the present, maximising social interaction and using natural products to improve skin appearance,” said Professor Philp.

“The celebrities ranged in age from 45 to 90. They showed that age is no barrier to improving health.”

Professor Philp – who runs a research programme to promote healthy ageing through the social enterprise EasyCare Academy – was particularly impressed by June Brown, despite the fact she has smoked for 72 years and refused to give up for the show.

“I think she’s an amazing example of a 90-year-old person, countering the myths of how an old person should be,” he said. “There is a lot of entertainment value in the show but also lots of messages about improving health and longevity.”

Before embarking on their quest, the celebrities were subjected to scientific testing to find out how well, or badly, they were ageing, both inside and out. Following the tests, they were told the biological age of their face, brain and body.

The group then spent 21 days on Sardinia where they were asked to commit to strict individually-designed diets and exercise routines.

This included giving up smoking, drinking, sugar, bread, pasta and all starches, and eating a high protein, low carb and good fats diet with plenty of fish, eggs, cheese, coconut oil and cold pressed olive oil.

They were also subjected to cutting edge, extreme, anti-ageing treatments including snail facials, coffee enemas and cow urine shampoos. 

After 21 days of intensive rejuvenation, the celebrities were assessed once again, to discover if they had reached their combined goal of losing 100 years from their collective biological ages - both physically and mentally.

The results will be revealed on the four-part series which starts on ITV on Tuesday 27 February at 9pm.

Background information

Media enquiries to Rosemary Free, Communications Officer, on 01786 466 169 or rosemary.free@stir.ac.uk