Morning Brew - ☕ Longevity Brew

The booming business of longer, healthier lives...

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Timeline Nutrition
June 09, 2024 | View Online | Sign Up | Shop
Peter Pan

Peter Pan/Disney

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

 

Good morning. Is Peter Pan the greatest influencer of our age? The concept of never growing up is surging in popularity, with a burgeoning community of longevity enthusiasts trying anything from good old-fashioned diet and exercise to IV drips and plasma transfusions to slow down the clock on their bodies.

Today we’re bringing you Longevity Brew, a special-edition newsletter that breaks down what you need to know about the business of longevity, including who’s who among the many self-proclaimed experts on how to live longer, what went down at a pop-up city where billionaires came to swap longevity theories, and which movies and TV shows might inspire you to want eternal life (or not).

Enjoy this small sip from the fountain of youth.

Abby Rubenstein

 

WELLNESS

 

The booming business of longer, healthier lives

Igor Korabelnikov exercises on a treadmill wearing a facemask to analyse the gases in his breath at a gym that calls itself a "biohacking laboratory" Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

For a growing cohort of wealthy people looking to optimize their wellness and lifespan, it’s not enough to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get ample sleep. They’re also turning to vitamin B12 shots, light therapy, and myriad other treatments that essentially aim to get you feeling as close to Bradley Cooper in Limitless as possible.

It’s all part of the $1.8 trillion global wellness industry…which touches everything from fitness and spa services to medical treatments to apartment buildings and hotels. By comparison, the global outer-space economy was valued at $630 billion last year and won’t hit $1.8 trillion until 2035, per McKinsey.

  • Medical spas and wellness clinics are increasingly popular for blood oxygenation procedures, infrared saunas, cold plunges, and pretty much any other biohack in the book (most of which haven’t been proven to boost longevity, so do your research).
  • At Equinox, members can now partake in a longevity program that includes organ testing, personalized fitness and nutrition plans, and more…for $40,000 per year.
  • And forget après-ski. It’s time for après-cryotherapy: Longevity-focused vacationing is projected to pass $1 trillion in worldwide value this year, according to the Global Wellness Institute, as more optimization junkies splurge on things like a $4,500 retreat with workshops on “Blue Zones,” or a $44,000 multiday package of infusions, cell therapies, and more at the Four Seasons Maui longevity center (which opened in 2021).
  • For deep-pocketed people who’d rather get their health boosts at home, luxury apartment buildings like One Manhattan Square have a new amenity: on-site IV drips.

But the Holy Grail of living forever is still out of reach: A miracle drug doesn’t exist...yet. A medication called rapamycin has been shown to extend some animals’ lives and has gained traction in the longevity community, but there’s no proof that it works for humans. Two dozen other “anti-aging” medications are currently in clinical human trials.—ML

   
 
Timeline Nutrition
 

PEOPLE

 

Who’s who in longevity

Major figures in Longevity research Peter Attia, David Sinclair, Andrew Huberman, Bryan Johnson

Overwhelmed by how many daily supplement options are out there? Then you may also be overwhelmed by the number of self-proclaimed longevity gurus trying to teach you how to slow the natural deterioration of the human body.

While we can’t attest to the efficacy of their advice, we can tell you who’s making waves in the longevity space, and why.

Bryan Johnson: First, Bryan Johnson tackled fintech as the founder and CEO of Braintree; now, he’s tackling aging.

  • The 46-year-old millionaire biohacker keeps making headlines for his unorthodox attempts to combat aging. He claims doctors have told him these efforts have given him the heart of a 37-year-old and the lungs of an 18-year-old.
  • Johnson’s regimen, called “Project Blueprint,” includes injecting himself with his teenage son’s plasma, taking a multitude of daily supplements, and following a vegan diet.

David Sinclair: The Harvard genetics professor founded two companies with the goal of “reverse aging,” Life Biosciences and Animal Biosciences.

  • He has claimed that Life Biosciences found a way to reverse aging and restore vision in monkeys, and plans to apply it to humans next. But other researchers have raised concerns about the truth of Sinclair’s claims (some experts say it’s not possible to reverse the effects of aging) and its potential to cause public harm.
  • Sinclair says his morning routine has taken 10 years off his biological age. It includes some pretty typical activities, like drinking hot water with lemon, and some more unusual ones, like eating yogurt with resveratrol—a supplement he believes slows down the effects of aging.

Peter Attia: The Austin-based physician garnered widespread recognition for his book, Outlive: The Science & Art of Longevity, and hosts a popular podcast.

  • Attia is also known for a mysterious private practice in which he coaches individuals one-on-one toward a longer life, recommending (often costly) body scans and extensive blood tests. Hugh Jackman and Gwyneth Paltrow are reportedly his patients.
  • He says he takes rapamycin, the drug that’s been shown to have anti-aging effects in animals but can act as an immunosuppressant in humans, which is why it is typically used by patients undergoing an organ transplant.

Andrew Huberman: In the longevity space, Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor at Stanford, is the undisputed podcast king.

  • His podcast, Huberman Lab, is one of the most listened-to podcasts in America, even after New York Magazine published a scathing 8,000-word inquiry into his allegedly scandalous personal life.
  • Huberman’s philosophy is more or less…stay fit. His advice centers around resistance training, heat and cold exposure, and intermittent fasting.—CC
   
 

TRAVEL

 

An ‘experiment in co-living’ forever

Luxury resort town of Lustica Bay in Montenegro with residential buildings. Pridannikov/Getty Images

Hundreds of biohackers, biotech entrepreneurs, and people who believe they have a moral obligation to stop aging gathered at Lustica Bay, a luxury resort town in Montenegro, last May.

The event wasn’t a Grimes concert (although there was a Grimes concert). It was a two-month “pop-up city” called Zuzalu where like-minded individuals could discuss tech and do some biohacking, like twice-daily cold plunges.

The secretive, invite-only event was an “experiment in co-living” initiated by the inventor of ethereum, Vitalik Buterin. The Venn diagram for ultrawealthy crypto fans and people who want to live forever is pretty much a circle, and the idea of a decentralized community pops up a lot in these spaces.

  • Many Zuzalu attendees and organizers want to establish “longevity states” or places without medical regulations (like those of the FDA) where residents can self-experiment with biohacking and potentially age-reversing drugs.
  • Right now, it’s extremely expensive and cumbersome to study or start human trials for drugs because of hard-to-get regulatory approvals, partly because the World Health Organization doesn’t recognize aging as a disease.

Zuzalu’s future: The event went off as well as any conference can—attendees said it was life-changing and then went home. There are no concrete plans for another one, but Zuzalu’s website lists other in-person events and offers grants for people who attended the temporary utopia.—MM

   
 
Timeline Nutrition
 

ECONOMY

 

120-year life spans come with a catch

Someone reading out Bingo at a nursing home Natalie Kolb/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

While rocking chair companies would be thrilled if everyone started living to 120, it could spell trouble for the rest of us. Experts believe that centenarians becoming anything more than an anomaly would put the world in an economic pickle and require a societal overhaul to adapt.

Even without futuristic tech that enables ultra-longevity, many developed countries are already in an economic bind due to aging populations and declining birth rates. The US Census Bureau projects that people older than 64 will reach 23% of the population by 2060 (compared to 17% in 2020), which means higher retirement and healthcare costs with fewer workers to offset them.

Learning to live long…and prosper

The future depends on how people age and whether they are healthy into their later years, economist Andrew J. Scott argues in his book The Longevity Imperative. He believes that society must strive to prevent ailments to make old age productive and enjoyable—which aligns with longevity enthusiasts’ goal of eternal youth.

But, Scott argues, that means we can’t continue living on our existing education → work → retirement timeline, and that we must reimagine what old age looks like.

  • People routinely living past 100 and retiring at the current standard age (67 in the US) could mean decades of golfing that would squeeze retirement benefits systems.
  • Scott thinks many people will have to work into their golden years and reeducate themselves throughout their lives, while governments need to promote health early on.

In a different workaround, countries with graying populations might already be adopting robots to replace retired human hands.

The status quo won’t cut it. Most Americans are not saving for retirement, and Social Security Administration projects that it’ll start running short on cash in just over a decade.—SK

   
 

POP CULTURE

 

Living forever in movies and TV shows

Edward Cullen in Twilight Twilight/Summit Entertainment

Immortality may be gaining more traction among tech entrepreneurs and gym rats, but it’s a firmly established theme of the entertainment world. There are liquid youth elixirs, machines with human feelings, and heads of celebrities in jars on Futurama.

Here are some of the best examples of living forever in pop culture.

Movies

The Wolverine (2013): A dying billionaire summons Logan to his bedside and asks him to transfer his healing/immortality powers. Logan, whose X-Men mutant superpowers apparently do not include seeing red flags, says no and eventually has to kill the dude, who took the form of a giant machine, to save his own life.

The Fountain (2006): Proving he is unrivaled in the genre, Hugh Jackman plays multiple characters obsessed with finding immortality on behalf of multiple characters played by Rachel Weisz. None of these characters, however, attempt to cheat death by freezing their heads and thawing them out in the future.

Transcendence (2014): Johnny Depp plays a doctor focused on AI who has his consciousness uploaded into a computer. Using knowledge from the internet, he creates all kinds of wonderful things to help humans, but people fear this entity has nefarious intentions. This may feel relevant to today’s world, except that at no point does Depp’s character act incredibly weird about Scarlett Johannson’s voice.

In Time (2011): It’s a world where time is currency and the wealthy hoard it in an attempt to live forever. Who is the person to destroy this system and redistribute time-wealth? Justin Timberlake looked right into their eyes and said, “It’s gonna be me.”

TV shows

Westworld (2016–2022): The show known for exploring the idea of giving robots humanity delivered an episode that seemed to speak directly to Silicon Valley’s obsession with immortality. “The Riddle of the Sphinx” ends with a wealthy man’s consciousness degraded and imprisoned in a robot clone of his body to the glee of his son-in-law.

Doctor Who (1963–1989, 2005–present): Everyone in the immortality game isn’t there for selfish reasons. The Doctor travels through time with benevolent intentions and regenerates upon death into new Time Lords who have never tested stool samples in an effort to prolong life.

The entire vampire genre

Whether it’s a book, TV show, or movie about vampires, there’s almost always an inevitable theme of “Is It Worth It to Live Like This?” The answer is usually no, but the gang on What We Do in the Shadows makes it look like a good time.—DL

   
 

BREW'S BEST

 

Recs

Cook: The Blue Zones Kitchen cookbook features 100 recipes to live until 100.

Listen: Can happiness ward off dementia? This episode from The Happiness Lab explores the possibility.

Read: The Good Life unpacks what the world’s longest longitudinal study tells us about happiness.

Balance: An underrated key to living longer is being able to balance on one foot.

No regrets: A variety of life advice from people who have been doing it a while.

Watch: Should you let Silicon Valley into your brain?

Cellular solution: Combat fatigue and muscle weakness with a clinically proven supplement. Mitopure® from Timeline supports healthy aging with double-digit increases in strength + endurance. Use code LONGEVITYBREW for 30% off.*

*A message from our sponsor.

 

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Written by Dave Lozo, Abigail Rubenstein, Matty Merritt, Cassandra Cassidy, Sam Klebanov, and Molly Liebergall

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