To unravel the causes of aging, longevity research has had to grow in leaps and bounds in the past few decades.
Many disciplines can fall into the category of "longevity research". Exercise science, nutritional science and genetics are some examples that are all essentially looking for the causes of aging and how they can be slowed down, prevented and even reversed. By understanding some of these principles, you can actually begin to find out what is biologically possible for your body to accomplish. You may also learn that certain beliefs and negative habits you hold can be the biggest danger to your lifespan development.
The purpose of this article is to outline and make clear to you the false beliefs that will limit you on your path of increasing human longevity. Just like in any field of study, anti-aging research has its own share of people who happen to be misguided. Often those who aren't living their work fall into this category. The same absent mindedness that pervades their lifestyle often is reflected in their longevity research as well as in any advice they have to offer. This could be likened to a young, single, childless male writing a book on how to give birth...
While all of this longevity research is extremely beneficial to humanity, the trap that I see many people falling into is this ultra-skeptical mindset.
While skepticism is healthy, close mindedness is not. With a rapidly growing holistic health industry we see a wide range of anti-aging products, anti-aging supplements and antiaging therapies being offered that often have origins in traditional practices such as Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine. Of course you should be wary of things like exaggerated claims, the cleanliness of imported herbs and the quality of various products, but you don't need to be so headstrong that you demand double blind studies and peer reviewed longevity research before you even take a glance at the effectiveness of a product, nutrient or therapy.
This mentality can be found inhibiting people's opinions of things that are definitely harmless as well as in many cases quite beneficial. If a specific food is found to be consumed by a traditional culture that happens to display characteristics of exceptional human longevity, it would make sense that we could try this food out before it has gone through the extensive testing process (which can take several decades if we're testing for longevity potential), but already know that it's safe to consume.
Personally, I am still interested in this long term longevity research to show me exactly what potential there is in a specific food, nutrient or herb, but if something hasn't been studied much, yet it has been safely consumed for thousands of years by a culture, trusting the wisdom of our ancestors is often a very wise thing to do. For example, I know that the benefits of goji berry use are numerous, yet some people are needlessly skeptical of them because they are still waiting for more peer reviewed studies to be done on them (there are some) even though they've been proven by Chinese research to do impressive things such as help the pituitary gland secrete hgh.
Double blind, peer reviewed studies are excellent but they are also expensive.
Also the majority of the funding for nutrition and health based longevity research comes from groups that have vested interests. This results in questionable conclusions (Big Pharma comes to mind). The other major issue with longevity research done on products, therapies or lifestyles is that the experiments take a very long time! To follow and organize groups of people over the course of their lifetime would obviously require immense resources. Large scale epidemiological studies do happen but they tend to cover very broad subjects such as the difference or changes in life expectancy in humans who eat a plant based diet compared to diets containing animal products as opposed to "does this one specific food actually increase longevity in humans".
You can now understand how inefficient it would be to do long term studies on every single longevity "technology" that is available. Short term research is more efficient on resources and can study the properties of something (nutrient content of goji berries for example) and find out what effect that has on the body and theorize what the long term effects would be. Also studies on how certain lifestyle factors, foods or therapies affect diseases (as opposed to changes in life expectancy) require a much shorter amount of time to complete and are thus a realistic option. Any longevity research that results in an increase in health can thus be thought to also increase human longevity potential.
So my point is to just make it clear that although this type of research should be welcomed, its absence shouldn't prevent people from trying things that are known to be safe such as superfoods, adaptogenic herbs, whole food supplements as well as therapies and lifestyle practices that make you feel good, reduce stress and eliminate disease!
After that introduction, it should be easier for you to understand the intent of this article.
Another type of longevity research, which doesn't result in a "this will without a doubt increase your longevity" stamp of approval, but does have scientific validity to it, is research done on aging populations like the people who have achieved the status of super-centenarians (which is someone who has lived past the 110 year mark). There are often various common lifestyle practices that many long-lived people have in common. It can also help to have an understanding of the causes of aging in the body. Again this can lead you to incorporating certain lifestyle practices that can theoretically enhance your life-span development.
~Is there a
the blue zones
~Cells achieve immortality
~Stem cell enhancement
~Longevity escape velocity
~Known causes of aging
~The longevity research of senescence
~The role of telomeres in aging
~Waiting until you're older to have kids
~Transhumanism and other anti-aging research
The only thing that has been scientifically proven by longevity research to increase and create changes in life expectancy is calorie restriction (with optimal nutrition). Yet, even this hasn't been fully demonstrated in humans because. again, the long term implications of such studies would require an immense amount of resources. In this case animal studies have been the proof that scientists have looked too. There are also many lifestyle and dietary practices that can do things like naturally lower blood pressure. You can then logically understand that developing good habits like these has the potential to eliminate chronic disease that shorten lives, they could then be said to contribute to life extension through prevention!
One more concept I'd like you to understand in longevity research is that our bodies function under the laws of fractal biology and not the outdated model of reductionistic biology.
Right now, if you're going "huh?", that's perfectly OK! This is quite simple to understand. Reductionism and fractal biology are both ways of understanding how things work. The only difference is that they each have their own specific applications. Problems arise when one of these systems is applied to something that requires the "opposite frame of understanding". For the purposes of health, we are going to want to focus on the longevity research from the "philosophy" that complements our longevity potential.
Reductionism is a method of breaking (or reducing) something down to its smallest component to understand how the greater whole fits together and functions. This approach works marvelously when looking at something mechanical like a watch. You can observe all the small components and then the smaller bits that make up those components. You can then also look at what those smallest components are made of; metal alloys, type of glass etc. What this systems fails to understand is anything made by nature. For example if someone had high cholesterol and was put on cholesterol lowering medication (a reductionistic attempt to replace or fix a missing or malfunctioning part), the result will always be further problems arising in other areas of the body (because of the "patterns" of fractal interconnectedness) since the root cause was never addressed.
This approach fails to address the underlying causes of an illness because it views the body as a mechanistic machine that can have parts replaced, when in reality there is a cause for an illness that has to be dealt with, which will then result in a healing of the diseased tissue. Obviously an issue such as a torn knee ligament would need surgery as this was due to an abrupt injury, but the vast majority of human illness is due to poor lifestyle choices. Longevity research has validated this through the observation of the worlds longest lived people.
Fractal biology is the physics of how everything made by nature, including the human body, is a cascade of patterns within patterns that go on for infinity down to (and past) the molecular level. This results in extremely complex organisms which must be studied as a functioning whole and can never be fully understood through being broken down into smaller parts. Once one "level" of biology is understood, the next "level" down is many multiples more complex, and then the next is multiples of that making it literally impossible to ever fully understand an organism.
If for example you take an herb that has the property of being able to naturally lower blood pressure, the exact molecule that does this is seen by the pharmaceutical industry as having to be isolated from the rest of a plant (only so they can patent it and sell it to you for exorbitant amounts of money). This is how drugs are made. The problem with this is that there are other molecules and chemicals within that plant that work synergistically with that isolated compound to help it perform its action in the most balanced way possible for an organism consuming it (unless it's not made for consumption). The other molecules of the plant (disregarded by reductionistic based science) contribute effects to the primary action of the active compound.
The act of ignoring fractal biology has resulted in an entire medical system that treats the symptoms and not the causes of disease.
Take as a very crude example, diarrhea. The reductionistic mentality would be to put a stopper (either literally or metaphorically in the form of a drug) on the symptom to "cure" that person of diarrhea. A fractal biology (a.k.a. holistic) approach would be to first ask "Why is the body trying to expel this excrement so quickly? There must be a reason for it and trying to keep it inside the body will only create bigger problems. What foods could promote bulking up of excrement in the digestive system to help this person? Furthermore, what caused the problem in the first place and can the body be fortified for future occurrences (ex. probiotics) and/or avoid the cause of the diarrhea altogether (ex. coming in contact with untreated water in developing countries)?
Of course the place reductionist approaches do have there place in crisis care. For example, if someone's overdosing on heroine, a shot of adrenaline straight to their heart will save them, even though we could say there are minor negative side effects to doing that. The major side effect is death if the procedure is not done, so it's worth it in an emergency type situation only. Mainstream longevity research is beginning to see the benefits of the holistic fractal biology approach to health.
The reductionist approach to longevity, science and healthcare has assured that all drugs are always going to have more negative side effects than positive benefits.
When I read some sources of mainstream longevity research that recommend practices such as taking an aspirin once a day to maintain low blood pressure, I can't help but reflect on how much better it would be if all conventional medical doctors understood that the body is not a machine in need of fixing, but rather an infinitely complex organism who's lifestyle merely needs fixing.
The fact that daily low doses of aspirin cause a 6.5 fold increased risk of stomach ulcers, are a toxic burden to the liver, cause macular degeneration, prevent collagen re-growth (speeding up or causing arthritis) and more, should make it clear enough that this is a terrible health strategy. A fractal biology based health philosophy would suggest for you to lower blood pressure naturally through exercise, proper nutrition, adaptogenic herbs or even simply reducing salt intake. This shows me that these doctors recommending these practices are being both irresponsible as well as demonstrating how little they actually know about what true health actually entails. Please understand that this type of longevity research is bogus
If you're going to be taking it upon yourself to look at multiple sources of anti-aging research, which I definitely encourage you to do, I hope that you might be able to keep some of these cautions I have mentioned in mind to protect yourself. I truly believe that longevity research has an incredibly exciting and interesting future in years to come. However some schools of thought must reconnect back to nature and work alongside it as opposed to trying to dominate and control it, which has been the way of conventional medical and longevity research in the past.
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