Environmental and lifestyle causes of premature aging

I’m Nick Pineault, and Investigative Health Journalist, author of “The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs” and educator.

I’ve been following Peter Diamandis’ work for several years, and read both his books. I’ve been fascinated by the XPrize idea and do appreciate the mindset displayed here – that all great challenges humanity faces can be solved, and lead to great opportunities to create abundance for all.

And yet, something that’s lacking from the entire discussion about living longer (or forever) is the fact that right now, our healthspan is going down even though lifespan is going up.

The following conditions have reached epidemic levels, and are rising steadily:

<ul>

  • Autism is rising in an exponential manner
  • More than 50% of children in the US have at least one chronic disease or is obese
  • Around 50% of all adults will get a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime
  • Alzheimer's and dementia are appearing at younger and younger ages
  • Infertility rates are rising steadily
  • </ul>

    And while this is seen in “modern rich countries”, the same trend isn’t as prevalent in populations who live a more ancestral lifestyle.

    Therefore, in my view, one of the main obstacles to long life (with a focus on being healthy and functional throughout this life) are the various modern nvironmental and lifestyle factors which are aging our biology prematurely and promoting disease.

    Some culprits probably are:

    • Environmental toxins in the food, air and water
    • Top soil depletion
    • Alteration of human and soil microbiota (bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.)
    • The rise of antibiotic-resistant pathogens due to the abuse in antibiotics
    • Lifestyle factors: sleep, exercise, stress
    • Exposure to man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from our wireless technologies
    • Exposure to artificial light

    Something that is lacking from the discussion of technological advancement is thorough R&D towards the development of bio-compatible technologies.

    One of the main issues is that old, rusty government institutions are currently failing to regulate the industries which are developing exponential technologies.

    To cite the example of wireless technologies (which is my expertise), “safety standards” date back from 1996, and haven’t been updated since.

    Technology is advancing way faster than our ability to study how these technological changes are affecting our health. Industries do not have any real financial incentive to self-regulate and fund additional science to develop safer technologies, because the consumer demand for these safer technologies isn’t there.

    Therefore, I think that companies which want to partake in conscious capitalism should include “human and environmental health” experts as part of their R&D teams – with a goal of increasing the healthspan of the human race as a co-objective to developing great products and enjoying great profits.

    For example, we could merge current wireless technologies with the current advances in PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic fields) therapies. The result? We could potentially create cell phones which heal the human body the more you use them, instead of inducing oxidative stress and premature aging the way our current wireless signals are.

    Another example would be to merge the R&D knowledge of those who are researching soil microbiology and regenerative agriculture, with companies who need to produce humongous amounts of food but have to do so using chemicals which slowly hack away at the health of humans and ecosystems.

    The result could be the development of products which can act as insect-repellants on a large scale, while being cost-effective and regenerating our planet’s top soil – all of which will potentially reduce the factors which induce premature aging, and promote great healthspan.

    Thanks for this opportunity to have these high level discussions.

    Hi @NickPineault ,
    Nice to meet you here. I fully agree that we need to consider healthspan and not just lifespan in the research, and we’re definitely doing that. I also agree that we need to identify lifestyle solutions, rather than focus solely on technological ones. As the research moves forward, we’ll certainly do so.

    I would love to read your thoughts about some of the obstacles we’ve outlined in the forum, such as the slow R&D and approval process for new treatments!

    @hjforman, what are your thoughts on this issue?

    Brief comments: Increasing healthspan is a realistic goal which can increase average lifespan. Increasing maximum lifespan currently remains a fantasy. A combination of changes in lifestyle and technology can benefit individuals. New to this and so haven’t read much of the past opinion here on approval speed.

    Nick, kudos to you, couldn’t agree more. So how do we convince companies to help humanity while making money for themselves? Government policy seems to have a potential role here.

    Encouraging or enforcing conscious capitalism via government policy is essential, yes. Consumer demand created through proper education is another way.

    I don’t see government policy being a popular idea in the US, where most of the time it seems like the main discourse is that we should let the free market sort things out. That’s why we roll new technologies first, realize there’s a problem, and then go back and fix it – rather than slowing that roll down and applying a more cautious approach.

    Making it financially advantageous to be green, healthy and responsible for companies is the key. Maybe subsidizing good behavior via policies is a better approach than penalizing bad behavior?

    @KrisV, given your own expertise in the impact of nutrition on aging, I wonder what your thoughts are on this discussion?