Are new efforts better than old ones?
Ric Edelman: It's Thursday, August 10th. How long are you going to live? 41% of pre-retirees surveyed underestimate their life expectancy by five years or more. In other words, you're going to live longer than you probably think. A lot of reasons for this one example. There's a new way they're trying to cure bacterial infections. It's called phage therapy. It's been almost 40 years since we had antibiotics. Some infections, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, they're becoming resistant to antibiotics, though. We had 1.2 million deaths in 2019. And these infections are implicated in 4 million more deaths.
Bacteriophages are viruses. They infect the bacteria that's infecting us, a virus that kills a virus. Bacteria cells are different from human cells, so phages don't harm us, only the bacteria. These things have been around for more than 100 years, but the technology fell out of favor when penicillin was discovered back in 1928.
None of these new tech is approved in the US yet, but the FDA has approved early stage clinical trials.
If you think that's cool, what’s going to help us live longer? Well, consider this longevity clinics. These are medical facilities that focus on keeping you alive. They do everything from preventing chronic disease to healing tennis elbow the people most attracted to these clinics. People in their 40s to 60s who are starting to see signs of aging for the first time. You get a bunch of tests when you go to these clinics, early cancer screenings, MRIs, cognitive testing, so they can set a baseline. Some clinics have you use wearables so they can monitor your heart rate or sleep? These things can cost up to $100,000 a year not covered by health insurance.
And all those tests can lead to overdiagnosis detecting, say, a benign tumor that's not really harmful. It leads to unnecessary procedures and cost. This is not a regulated market. Some treatments are unproven, like biological age testing, early cancer screenings, stem cell therapies, hair growth treatments.
So instead of going to a longevity clinic, try this: Just exercise regularly. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
How much exercise? At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week says a study of 650,000 adults over a decade. They found that compared to those who do not exercise, those who exercise one hour a week added two years to their lives. Those who exercised eight hours a week gained four years of life. Exercise improves the immune function, reduces inflammation, increases insulin sensitivity also helps your memory and learning ability. The biggest benefit that you'll get is from racket sports, running and walking.
But Harvard's study of adult development - they followed families for decades. They found that the best predictor of longevity, health and happiness in later life is the quality of your relationships. So exercise that as well as your body.
My wife Jean's podcast, Self-care with Jean Edelman is now her own independent podcast, and her podcast premieres each week every Thursday. Jean's really passionate about sharing her knowledge and insights with you on self-care, mindfulness, and overall wellness. You can listen to Jean's podcast Anytime you like, everywhere that you get your podcasts. Subscribe at Self-care with Jean.com.