For too long we have viewed aging as an inevitable truth instead of what it truly is, a disease affecting longevity.
In 2015, a team of international researchers declared in this publication, “it is time to classify biological aging as a disease”. This led the World Health Organization to add an extension code in the International Classification of Diseases for “ageing-related” diseases”. This was defined by disease caused by “biological processes which persistently lead to the loss of organism’s adaptation and progress in older ages”.
Ageing as a verb, is the biggest killer of all. Not only because dying of old age can happen without any specific cause by itself (your heart can just ‘stop’) but because the other diseases associated and accelerated with aging, e.g. cancers, neurogenerative disease, and cardiovascular and respiratory conditions become contributing factors.
So, you can think of aging as a multiplier that accelerates the onset and cascade of disease. Therefore, if we can better understand the aging process, the better we can slow and potentially reverse aging. The wide-reaching impacts of this would significantly reduce disease, death and, in turn, the burden on the healthcare system.
Healthspan vs Lifespan
You may be thinking; I am not interested in living longer. That would be boring or lonely – particularly if I outlive my loved ones or do not have the full use of my mind and body to enjoy life to its fullest capacity.
While that is the current paradigm when we look around us, and consider the aging experience. However, we want to be clear that we’re talking about healthspan – not just lifespan.
- Lifespan is the length of time you live regardless of the quality of life. It’s about quantity of years rather than quality.
- Healthspan is the time you spend in good health with a high quality of life.
Put another way, we could hook you up to all sorts of machines that keep you alive artificially to live to 150, but that is not a quality life or a life worth living for.
What age could we live to?
What is the realistic age that we could live to?
Well, that depends on who you are talking to and what timeline you are thinking about.
As the next few centuries unravel, there will be significant scientific and technology leaps impacting this topic. And who knows what is possible, particularly with gene editing tools like CRSPR and other scientific advancements described below.
However, when talking about our lifetime, many believe those prioritising their health can live to 120-150 years. For Dave Aspery, the father of biohacking, his aim is to increase his healthspan beyond 180!! I am personally aiming for a healthspan of 150, and this has been a longevity goal for the last decade.
As we begin to live longer, there are many societal questions that we will need to face such as:
- What if your boss never retires?
- How will anyone ever climb the corporate ladder
- Will this create job scarcity or imbalanced power structures?
- What about overpopulation?
- Will innovation be stifled as the old guard remains in positions of power for longer with their rigid belief structures?
- How about inequality and access to healthcare and longevity-enhancing treatments and tools?
There are many considerations that we’ll need to contemplate and address, but whether we like it or not, these will be very real issues to overcome as we accept that age extension is happening.
We feel inequality will be one of the worst considerations to overcome, because it’s already happening. For example, a study in the US tracking between 2001-2014 saw a discrepancy between life expectancy between the richest 1% and poorest 1% of individuals. It showed a difference of 14.6 years for men and 10.1 years for women, with the rich living longer. Without adequate work to make equal access available, we risk creating a dystopian future like Elysium.
How is the Science Progressing?
Every day, thousands of scientists in the field of longevity/geroscience make progress towards understanding the mechanisms at play of ageing. This includes which levers to push and pull to influence healthspan. However, At the same time, some phenomenal insights have already been gleaned.
For example, researchers have not only been able to slow aging but can now reverse aging in animal models! Yes, Reverse aging!! In this study, they were able to restore vision in mice!
Just imagine a future where any organ or bodily function can be reprogrammed or reversed to a more youthful, healthy state. Or how about 3D printing you a new organ from your stem cells? This is expected to be available within the next decade. This is not just science fiction any more and it will become a reality very soon. There is still so much more to uncover, but we are seeing exponential growth and exciting, revolutionary discoveries…in our current lifetime!
This is only the tip of the iceberg. So much is happening in this space and I would love to share it all here, but there is just too much to cover. However, I can point you towards some great resources and leaders if reading journal articles isn’t your cup of tea.
Here is a deep dive into the world of health optimisation and longevity research, starting with a list of resources I have enjoyed.
- David Sinclar “Lifespan” book / podcast,
- Tony Robbins, Peter Diamandis, Robert Hariri new book “Life Force”,
- Ben Greenfield’s “Boundless” book and “Ben Greenfield Life” podcast.
- Dave Aspery podcast and books such as Super Human.
- For neuroscience lovers like myself, Andrew Huberman, for the Huberman Lab.
This list should will keep you busy for a while.
Does that mean I can live like an unhealthy slob…and then fix all my disease with a pill later?
Let’s be clear. Advances in research takes time. Particularly to be made avaliable via mainstream channels. Additionally, there are forces at play that want you to age and get sick – that includes multi-billion dollar organisations that rely on this very thing…and a 4.1 trillion dollar industry that wants you to keep experimenting with ways to feel better.
Perhaps in 60 years, there will be a pill that turns the clock back to being a teenager again. But it only takes a few months or years to start getting really sick. And 60 years of a life feeling pain, tired, overweight, sick (or dying) doesn’t set youself up for a great quality of life.
Just like the best way to beat cancer is to identify it early, the same applies to aging. Therefore, there is no time like the present to help slow aging.
You’ve been doing this for 10 years already…give me the fast-track. What should I be doing?
You’re probably expecting a laundry list of sexy supplements/drugs like NMN/NR, Rapamicin, or Metformin that are often referenced in the longevity space.
While many of these show great promise, there are still unknown downstream effects. Additionally, they’re not cheap, hard to access, and become largely irrelevant without getting the basics right. And those basics are powerful accumulators with a better long-term return on investment through small daily habits.
This is how I developed the Taylored 4 Pillar Philosphy; Mindset, Lifesetlye, Nutrition, & Movement. I won’t go into this full philosophy here, but check out a previous blog if you are interested
What are the foundational habits that have been most correlated with longevity and I implement on a daily basis?
- Sleep: In my opinion the most important part of health you could pritoise with outweighed benefits. Ensure a consistent circadian rhythm and 7+hours of quality sleep a night. We have many blogs to support your sleep.
- Fasting: Intermittent fasting (IF) lasting from 12 to 48 hours and repeated every 1 to 7 days and Periodic Fasting (PF) lasting 2 to 7 days and repeated once per month or less have been shown to increase longevity and healthspan by acting on cellular aging and disease risk factors, while causing no or minor side effects.
- Movement: Incidental movement is important to ensure we’re not sedentary for long periods of time. Our bodies are designed for locomotion. Movement can mitigate the age-related brain losses through the modulation of oxidative stress through the increase of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) Cathepsin B (CTSB) circulating levels, which seem to support neuprotective and neurogrowth factors.
- Resistance Training: 30-90 minutes of resistance training a week is enough to potentially decrease the risk of premature death from all causes by 10%-20%. Along with many other benefits, a key factor is due to the exercise response release and increase of myokines which allow for crosstalk between the muscle and other organs, including brain, adipose tissue, bone, liver, gut, pancreas, vascular bed, and skin, as well as communication within the muscle itself.
There are more strategies along with a laundry list of literature to support this journey, but if you prioritize these things as outlined above, you will see compounded returns compared to any supplement or drug. However, if you have all of these nailed, this is where the fun stuff starts and we can really geek out over the latest and greatest. BUT, don’t waste your time or money until the above are ingrained into your life.
Need to work on these basics with a little bit of guidance? Check out our Taylored 8 Week Focus & Reset Program.
When can I expect results?
It’s taken me over a decade to hone and polish my journey. It has involved a process of layering small, daily habits to create my #tayloredlife (a.k.a a designer lifestyle). It’s also taken my life/business partner, Rachel 2 years to build a foundation to build many of these practices onto.
Like a 401k or kiwisaver, the benefits come from compound interest. Small little deposits into your longevity bucket that, over time, slow aging down. It is the 1% that compounds over your life to give you that extra 50 years. Don’t overcomplicate it. It starts with one thing and over time stack upon it.
Additionally, Rach and I don’t live in a way that is ONLY about physical longevity. Because some things in life are just too important to our psychological health and creating joy for NOW. Because we don’t know how much time we actually have on this earth. An unfortunate car accident can happen to anyone, and random circumstance doesn’t actually care how pristine our bodies are.
If you truly wish to explore this journey, we have mid to long-term wellbeing programs built to support your longevity journey ahead. Just reach out for a free 20 min discovery chat.