Health Span is the amount of time that you will be healthy while you are alive.
Health Span represents our philosophy of giving you more “time” in your days, not a false guarantee of more days. Imagine being perfectly healthy, happy and active until 12 hours before you die, instead of slowly breaking down, becoming weaker, sicker and basically rotting away, slowing declining to your ultimate death.
If you note the graph below, imagine how you “felt” every day after 70 or so, this could be represented by the ‘red-line’, enjoying and being functional for a significant more amount of time, then the average person, again slowly dying over a longer period of time.
I do believe that results can be obtained, and you can extend/improve your Health Span, however there is a lot of ‘snake-oil’ and false claims being offered today.
Here is a brief review of 5 ‘Hot Topics’ that may or may not be the true answer to your questions/needs regarding Health Span:
1) Vampire Transfusions.
There are some ‘labs’ that are “selling” the plasma of “young healthy people” ( for $7-10,000 per treatment), to give to patients that wish to extend their life by having repeat transfusions of younger and healthier plasm. This ‘treatment’, which has been to shown to have an interesting effect in mice, (but we are not mice), nor have there been ANY studies to support this ‘treatment’.
Feb 2019; Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., cautioning consumers against receiving young donor plasma infusions that are promoted as unproven treatment for varying conditions!
A therapy where exposing your body temperatures of negative 182 to 292 degrees for 1 to 2 minutes, has been a growing trend with pro-atheletes and weekend warriors alike. Most who have made comments after this ‘treatment’ describe an increase in energy, a decrease in healing times and an over-all ‘feel good’ sensation.
This can be found in most major cities and costs about $75 per treatment. There have been a few very ‘weak’ studies that offer rather weak evidence that this actually works and one study from the Journal of Sports Medicine which analyzed 10 different whole-body cryotherapy studies, found that while the treatment seemed to improve subjective recovery and muscle soreness, there was, “little benefit towards functional recovery.”
While the study didn’t identify any drawbacks to the treatment, they noted that icing, or ice baths, may offer similar effects, at a significantly lower cost.
3) Gene Therapy.
Although there is A LOT of talk and hype out there, as of right now, you can obtain a partial review of some of your DNA with such sites as 23 and me, where you can obtain some fun ancestry information and some very basic, possible carrier states for a few diseases. As well as undergoing a deeper dive with some medical grade DNA lab tests, where you can discuss the possibility of a decrease or increase risks of certain disease states with your physician, but other than changes in lifestyle which may decrease your chances of expressing these genes when found (epi-genetics), there are no proven or readily available gene therapies for most diseases.
That is not to say that the future, in my opinion, does not look very bright with the advent of future therapies, however, as of today, we are still in the wait and see state of the game.
This is a very, very popular topic today, ( see additional blog post on Therapeutic Fasting), there are multiple program designs, various computations of when to fast and when to eat. There are even extended fasts up to 21 days, under direct medical supervision, as well as many, many books being sold on these different diet/lifestyle designs.
There are also many, many studies being done and results being reported on the amazing benefits of fasting, one such study states what I feel the future studies will ultimately report…
A study published in the Sept. 6, 2018 issue of Cell Metabolism… that increasing the time between meals (fasting time), made male mice healthier overall and they lived longer compared to mice who ate more frequently, it was reported that health and longevity improved with increased fasting time, regardless of what the mice ate or how many calories they consumed.
So it appears to be related to the time you spend each day NOT eating and not just what you eat; that being said, I do also believe that the studies will show, that in order to lose weight and maintain optimal health, diet will also play a huge role.
*For full disclosure, I have been utilizing fasting (14-18 hours a day) with a vegetable-based diet, for past six months with great results.
Individuals and concepts to remember are, that Sushruta of India was the first “recorded” physician to prescribe moderate daily exercise, Hippocrates of Greece was the first “recorded” physician to provide a written exercise prescription for a patient suffering from consumption, and the global influence of Galen from Rome combined with his recommendation on the use of exercise for patients in the management of disease prevailed until the 16th century.
Historically intertwined with these concepts was exercise has been advocated by many physicians to minimize the health problems associated with obesity, diabetes, and chronic pain. “Exercise Is Medicine”, has been an extensively documented position by the American College of Sports Medicine, which has recommended that healthy adults perform at least 150 minutes of moderate dynamic exercise each week.
There are thousands of studies and centuries of support to the pure truth that the more you move the healthier you will be, the longer you shall live and the happier you may be. For the most part, exercise is essentially FREE and there is not a doctor worth his/her name that can prove otherwise.
So get moving! And be well.