Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The New Science of Aging Puts Healthspan at the Forefront

There has been a significant shift in how researchers view aging. Previously, longevity or life expectancy was the focus, but now healthspan is the priority, which aims to help people live longer and with a higher degree of wellness. This has opened the door to game-changing scientific advances and a more individualized approach to identifying health risks and how to manage them, thanks to the use of biomarkers for early detection, prevention and disease management.

This new way of thinking will have a seismic, global impact. Every nation is experiencing growth in the proportion of older people that make up its population. The population of individuals aged 65 years or more (65+) is the fastest-growing demographic compared to all other age groups. By 2050, projections say the 65+ age group will comprise 16 per cent of the world’s population. These changes are driving a revolution in the science of aging and technology…forming what is now known as the Longevity Economy.

A rapidly aging population will mean that there are fewer working-age people in the economy. This may worsen the supply shortage of qualified workers similarly to what was seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The consequences could be far-reaching, including declining productivity, higher labour costs, delayed expansion and loss of competitiveness globally.

This also means fewer workers from which to collect taxes, resulting in higher costs for healthcare, pensions, social services and other publicly funded programs. This results in a new urgency towards improving health outcomes for aging populations and improving their quality of life as they get older. To put things into perspective, slowing down aging to increase life expectancy by just one year would save the U.S. economy $38 trillion, according to a study published by Dr. David Sinclair, professor of genetics, Harvard Medical School.

Aging is a complex process occurring in every one of our 30-70 trillion cells, albeit at different rates depending on lifestyle and an individual’s unique biochemical makeup. At the fundamental core, aging is a biological process of functional decline and loss of regenerative capabilities. This decline occurs at every level, from the tissue and its surrounding micro-environment to the molecular level functioning of proteins themselves. The new science of aging has made it possible to analyze what’s happening to cells at a biochemical level and allow insights into the molecular processes that impact aging and disease.

The emerging role of biomarkers

Using the latest science, Molecular You can identify early biomarkers outside of normal ranges and provide interventions to help normalize them before chronic symptoms and disease occur.  Applying nutrition and exercise modification research, Molecular You has developed comprehensive, evidence-based nutrition and exercise action plans that help normalize the biomarkers detected to be outside of normal ranges and influence lifestyle changes that improve quality of life. The more patients know and take appropriate action, the better they can adapt to lifestyles that maintain their health. The goal of healthy aging is to slow down the aging process and halt the development of chronic diseases, leading to better health outcomes and higher quality of life.

Ideally, before the onset of chronic disease, the combination of comprehensive biomarker analysis and personalized nutrition and exercise actions is an effective preventative measure and improves health outcomes and quality of life. Molecular You supports healthy aging through technology, ideally suited to individuals who are interested in learning about their health on a deeper level and taking personalized steps to age in a healthier way. By monitoring biomarker responses, patients have choices for interventions intended to increase healthspan.

Empowerment through biomarker analysis

Biomarker analysis can also be applied at the disease management stage. Consider that once an individual has developed a chronic disease, the likelihood of other comorbidities increases since they often share similar disease mechanisms. This makes unlocking the information held by blood through biomarkers, to detect and manage disease, imperative. Their greatest value is in the continuous monitoring of health and disease status in response to interventions – lifestyle, pharmacologic or therapeutic – a means that can stave off chronic diseases and allow individuals to have a long healthspan.

The ability to age well can be managed through lifestyle modifications, especially important for individuals in their 40s and 50s since this is when biomarkers associated with aging start to fall outside of normal physiological ranges. This occurs silently in the absence of symptoms. By the time symptoms do arise and medical attention is sought, chronic disease has already set in and it becomes a matter of disease management.

A preventive approach is a better strategy. Identifying a chronic disease earlier can help prevent further comorbidities. With that in mind, Molecular You’s development of an age gauge is being created to give a comprehensive health overview for individuals and provide insight into how they are aging – fast, normal or slow, then be followed up with suggested actions to reach their longevity goals. This age gauge uses mathematical models to determine a biological age – a method that goes beyond merely the year someone was born.

Poised for the future

The growth of the aging population and the increasing stress on our healthcare systems highlight the need for solutions in the longevity and healthy aging space. Molecular You is fast becoming a leader in this space and is poised to make a significant impact in the emerging longevity economy, a sector worth an estimated $25 trillion in 2021 and expected to hit $36 trillion by 2026.

By bringing market-leading, comprehensive biomarker analysis and personalized lifestyle action plans associated with these biomarkers, older adults can work towards improved health outcomes and quality of life.  This will have a tremendous impact on the healthy aging and longevity market. This is the future.

This article was originally published in Issue #2 of the Reboot Health Matters Bulletin.  For more information about the Reboot Health Matters Bulletin and to read the full issue, go to https://reboothealthconsultancy.ca/

For more information about healthy aging biomarkers, see here (PDF).

To find out more about this advancing science and technology, please reach out to: Rob Fraser, PhD, CEO, Molecular You.

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