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The Longevity Disconnect. Healthy Lifestyle versus Hacks and Supplements.

Updated: Apr 6

longevity lifestyle Singapore hacks

In the quest for a longer, healthier life, many individuals can find themselves caught in the allure of supplements, quick fixes and "hacks". The desire for finding an advantage or instant results has led to a booming industry of unproven supplements, fads and promises of miraculous health transformations – all sold to you by good looking or age appropriate influencers.


Amidst these shortcuts there exists a significant disconnect, a gap between the effective pursuit of longevity and the foundational, proven principles of health that promote long living and healthy ageing.


As ever, please talk to your doctor or medical practitioner most familiar with your medical history before implementing any changes in diet, exercise or lifestyle, especially if you are under treatment. Links to supporting studies or resources are found at the end of page.

 

At a recent longevity conference in Singapore (one focused on supplements), when the audience was asked about their exercise habits, only 5% of attendees stated that were 'exercising enough for their longevity'. During the panel discussion, moderated by the head of the longevity centre itself, supplements were not mentioned once. What was discussed? The power of living a healthy lifestyle, in particular: diet, exercise, community and mindfulness.


longevity supplements hacks

Well marketed supplements often with little evidence to support their claims, can captivate those seeking a shortcut to better health. The appeal of these solutions is undeniable: for some a medical breakthrough - a silver bullet; for others longevity for the price of a pill without the need for changing their beloved and entrenched habits. And in our fast moving world, with all the demands and pressures of modern living this is understandable. Why shouldn't we take advantage of science and progress?


The reality is that many of these shortcuts lack scientific backing, quality evidence. The internet health news is dominated by sponsored articles. Many studies are paid for by the product manufacturers themselves, based on small sample sizes over short time frames. For many supplements the product ingredients might not match the label. The unregulated supplement industry is, unfortunately, filled with charlatans. These products distract many users from focusing on the areas that provide actual benefit and value.

Longevity and health lie not in quick fixes but in the consistent application of well-established principles.
 

So, what can we do?

 

It is often the most normal, popular, health goals and activities that provide the greatest benefits... (please scroll to the end of the article to see supporting studies) This is hardly very sexy from a marketing perspective but the truth is that they work.


A simple measure of health and mortality is having a healthy body mass index (BMI). This is a cornerstone of longevity, linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases and an overall higher quality of life. Getting to an appropriate weight, for many this means leaner and with better musculature, pays a huge health dividend.

 

Eating practices play a pivotal role in long term health. While there is no single 'best diet' adopting a whole-food (minimally processed food), low-saturated-fat diet is arguably the most sustainable path to dietary health. There is value is emphasising a diet rich in fibre (is Peter Attia's secret longevity hack?), fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These diets are often in keeping with traditional eating practices mostly emphasise fish or poultry and plant proteins. This includes the popular and well studied Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet (or rather 'eating pattern') that also well studied and provides excellent health benefits. Fans of the longevity inducing Blue Zones will be familiar with these eating patterns.

 

Regular physical activity is fundamental factor in the longevity equation. Exercise – both cardio and strength training - supports cardiovascular and brain health, enhances mood and boosts energy levels. It plays a role in weight management but, as the saying goes, “You can’t outrun a bad diet”.

 

Equally crucial to the basics of longevity is the often overlooked pillar of sufficient sleep. The impact of quality sleep on overall health is profound, influencing everything from cognitive function to immune system strength. Prioritising (i) sufficient quality sleep and (ii) going to bed at a regular time, should be a priority.


Health screening and tests are important. At the very least understand what is happening with your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, There are many more biomarkers to test for that can then allow you to track your progress in health. Just remember, for most people their lifestyle is the underlying cause of chronic illness.


It is also worthwhile understanding addressing the other pillars of health, to identify what else might be addressed to improve one's health. Do not underestimate the combined power of daily action - to make lifestyle your medicine - to improve physical, mental and social health.

 

Health and longevity demand a commitment to foundational principles that have withstood the test of time. The pursuit of longevity and healthy ageing is not a journey that can be hacked or expedited with quick fixes. Taking a pill for added energy does not provide the benefit of a workout. Taking a pill does not fill in the gaps from a poor diet.


We also have to accept that finding time to exercise is difficult, bad food choices are easy to make, work-life balance is hard to achieve. That is why lifestyle and creating the environment for health is so important. So that we can live in health naturally, without constant, tiring decision making: eat this, not that; do this, not that. This is just one of the areas that we at The Whole Health Practice support our clients, to create targeted and meaningful goals and to support the client in navigating their journey to health.


And that's not to say that we shouldn't keep up to date with the latest research and studies in longevity, supplementation and practices. Or take advantage of them when the evidence is sound and - importantly - we have the basics, the foundations of health, already in place.


There are exciting things to come!


Alastair


If you are interested in learning about what dietary supplements are effective and how to add some 'hacks' into your diet, read here.

 

Achieve Your Health and Longevity Goals


Your health, physical – mental – social - is complex and affected by multiple factors within and outside of your control. Our consults and programmes address the whole person, the root causes of ill health and maximising your health, performance & vitality. Longevity and lifestyle medicine is an area that has always been of interest to us and our clients.


Take the first step. Contact us to arrange an introductory call, to discuss how we can support your journey to health. We are based in Singapore and work with clients globally.

Book a Whole Health Consult to assess, identify and prioritise key factors (known and unknown) that affect your health. And receive personalised recommendations on how to address them.

Want to put recommendations into action? Learn more about our programmes for individuals or teams.

 
Related Studies

Maria L Cagigas, Stephen M Twigg, Luigi Fontana, Ten tips for promoting cardiometabolic health and slowing cardiovascular aging, European Heart Journal, Volume 45, Issue 13, 1 April 2024, Pages 1094–1097, https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehad853


Windred DP, Burns AC, Lane JM, Saxena R, Rutter MK, Cain SW, Phillips AJK. Sleep regularity is a stronger predictor of mortality risk than sleep duration: A prospective cohort study. Sleep. 2024 Jan 11;47(1):zsad253. doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsad253. PMID: 37738616; PMCID: PMC10782501.


Zhu X, Xue J, Maimaitituerxun R, Xu H, Zhou Q, Zhou Q, Dai W, Chen W. Relationship between dietary macronutrients intake and biological aging: a cross-sectional analysis of NHANES data. Eur J Nutr. 2024 Feb;63(1):243-251. doi: 10.1007/s00394-023-03261-2. Epub 2023 Oct 16. PMID: 37845359.


Nguyen XT, Li Y, Wang DD, Whitbourne SB, Houghton SC, Hu FB, Willett WC, Sun YV, Djousse L, Gaziano JM, Cho K, Wilson PW; VA Million Veteran Program. Impact of 8 lifestyle factors on mortality and life expectancy among United States veterans: The Million Veteran Program. Am J Clin Nutr. 2024 Jan;119(1):127-135. doi: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.10.032. Epub 2023 Dec 7. PMID: 38065710.

 

Maroto-Rodriguez J, Delgado-Velandia M, Ortolá R, Perez-Cornago A, Kales SN, Rodríguez-Artalejo F, Sotos-Prieto M. Association of a Mediterranean Lifestyle With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Prospective Study from the UK Biobank. Mayo Clin Proc. 2023 Aug 8:S0025-6196(23)00305-1. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2023.05.031. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37589638.


Bhaskaran K, Dos-Santos-Silva I, Leon DA, Douglas IJ, Smeeth L. Association of BMI with overall and cause-specific mortality: a population-based cohort study of 3·6 million adults in the UK. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2018 Dec;6(12):944-953. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(18)30288-2. Epub 2018 Oct 30. PMID: 30389323; PMCID: PMC6249991.

 

Shan Z, Wang F, Li Y, Baden MY, Bhupathiraju SN, Wang DD, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Rimm EB, Qi L, Tabung FK, Giovannucci EL, Willett WC, Manson JE, Qi Q, Hu FB. Healthy Eating Patterns and Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2023 Feb 1;183(2):142-153. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.6117. Erratum in: JAMA Intern Med. 2023 Jun 1;183(6):627. PMID: 36622660; PMCID: PMC9857813.


Momma H, Kawakami R, Honda T, Sawada SS. Muscle-strengthening activities are associated with lower risk and mortality in major non-communicable diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Br J Sports Med. 2022 Jul;56(13):755-763. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-105061. Epub 2022 Feb 28. PMID: 35228201; PMCID: PMC9209691.


Mandsager K, Harb S, Cremer P, Phelan D, Nissen SE, Jaber W. Association of Cardiorespiratory Fitness With Long-term Mortality Among Adults Undergoing Exercise Treadmill Testing. JAMA Netw Open. 2018 Oct 5;1(6):e183605. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605. PMID: 30646252; PMCID: PMC6324439.

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