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  • Is It Time To Throw Away Your Anti-aging Pills Now That There Is Only A Remote Possibility Of Living 120 Healthy Years?

    August 16, 2019: by Bill Sardi

    Estimated Number Of Super-Centenarians (110+ Years Of Age) Vastly Declines Once Birth Certificates Are Used For Confirmation

    In this “aging is optional” era, with many middle-age longevity seekers eyeing the prospect of living 120 healthy years, a newly published study says the possibility of living that long is remote.  So, shall longevity seekers throw away their anti-aging pills and save their money?

    In a world of “fake news” it is not surprising to learn that the reported number of super-centenarians (110+ years of age) around the world, concentrated in so-called “blue zones” around the globe (Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria in Greece; the isle of Sardinia near Italy), are largely comprised of oldsters with no birth certificates to prove they have lived eleven decades and/or whose families have not reported their deaths in order to maintain delivery of government retirement checks.

    According to a published report, super-centenarians almost don’t exist once birth certificates are used to validate longevity in the US.  Census, baptismal and passport records are often used in lieu of birth certificates, especially in remote areas of the world where literacy rates are low.  The report states the number of supercentenarians (110+ years of age) in the US is vastly over-estimated by 69-82% once birth certificates are demanded as proof of birth date.

    A report published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society noted that the US census in 2000 listed 1400 supercentenarians (about 1 per 200,000) while a more rigorous investigation by the Gerontology Research Group determined just 60-70 living Americans have survived to age 110 or longer (1 super-centenarian per 6 million people).

    But over-reporting of the number of super-centenarians in the US has been known for some time.  Historically the US doesn’t have a good birth record keeping history as does Japan where prefectures have kept family records for decades.  A recent report compared the US super-centenarian figures with Italy which keeps more accurate birth records.  But even Italian data “supports the hypothesis that these semi-super-centenarians largely constitute a collection of age reporting errors.”

    And even in Japan where birth records are fastidiously kept, an investigation found 238,000 centenarians were dead or missing, leaving just 40,399 with known addresses.

    Are modern longevity seekers chasing the wind?

    And it’s not just the lack of birth records, it’s actual fraud as families of longevinarians don’t report the death of their loved ones so government pension checks continue to be delivered.  The reportedly oldest living human in modern times, Jean Calment of France who reportedly lived 122 years was actually replaced by her 99-year-old daughter, just for that reason.

    So, what does this report mean to all the people who are attempting to live much, much longer, by taking an anti-aging pill?  According to a report published at, it means the chance of living to age 110 years and beyond just shrunk from about 2 in 1000 to 1 in 1000.   But don’t throw away your anti-aging pills just yet.

    The report, published in BioRViv, says the so-called “blue zones” around the globe where super-centenarians are reported to abound are regions of low life expectancy, low income, low rates of literacy, high crime rates and poor health.  So, investigators think there is something “fishy” going on with the data.

    But one would expect a sub-group of people in low income areas to live longer if food is not abundant, under the well-founded premise that eating fewer calories can add decades to a person’s life.  That is precisely what is happening in Cuba (more about this below).

    Calorie restriction has been shown to double the lifespan of laboratory animals.  That equates with eating about one meal a day in human terms.  However, not many are expected to join the Calorie Restriction (food deprivation) Society.  Molecules like resveratrol (rez-vair-a-trol) that mimic a calorie-restricted diet are in order.

    Investigators want to know why would super-longevity occur in a population where there is poor life expectancy overall?   Keep reading.

    These “blue zones” that are characterized as low-income/ low literacy areas with poor life expectancy in general are in stark contrast to the geographic differences in life expectancy in the US.  For example, people who live in an impoverished area of St. Paul, Minnesota have a life expectancy of ~65 years while a nearby wealthy district has a life expectancy of 86 years — a 21-year difference!  Education, income and poor nutrition explain this difference. reports the life expectancy in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas is around 66 years, about the same as found in backward 3rd world countries of Burma and Ghana.

    These geographical differences in life expectancy can be skewed by opioid drug or tobacco use that is often prevalent in impoverished areas.  Smokers die about a decade sooner than non-smokers.

    But in Cuba, where public salaries are about $30/month and food shortages abound as calorie-restricted diets are not optional, there are an estimated 2070 centenarians out of a population of 11.2 million.  That’s almost 2 centenarians for every 1000 Cubans.  Impoverishment can have its advantages.  Life expectancy for the population at large in Cuba is 79.5 years.

    The same goes for Okinawa, the southern-most island of Japan, whose economy lagged behind that of the rest of the country.  Extreme poverty and starvation comprise the modern history of Okinawa.  What followed was an upsurge in the number of centenarians. (100+ years) in Okinawa.

    As incomes have risen and processed foods consumed in greater quantity, the “Okinawa Effect” has begun to vanish.  The younger generation living on Okinawa have opted for American fast food and Okinawa no longer holds the top spot for life expectancy among Japan’s 47 prefectures.

    The reason why life expectancy is relatively low in impoverished areas of the US compared to similar low income areas in Cuba and Okinawa may be these overseas populations have traditionally grown their own food.

    Fast food outlets predominate in American communities with low incomes.  But according to a recent report, fast food is often too expensive for low income families and is not consumed more frequently by low income groups than upper income groups.  It’s a diet of Cokes and Oreos at home, providing what Dr. Derrick Lonsdale calls “high calorie malnutrition.”

    The lack of abundant food makes it difficult to overeat.  For example, the Cuban calorie intake has reportedly declined from ~3000 calories per day down to ~1800 calories per day over recent times.

    Being forced to grow your own food would certainly limit food intake.  But growing your own food may not be an easy option in St. Paul, Minnesota, particularly in winter months.  Low-income adults living in the St. Paul area are far less likely to be growing their own food and opt for processed foods and empty calories (Cheerios, boxed macaroni and cheese, sugarized or synthetically sweetened beverages) than people living on the isle of Okinawa or in Cuba.

    How might we know the success of our efforts to delay aging?

    How would a person know they are prematurely aging?  According to one survey, the most prevalent physical markers of super-centenarians are cataracts (88%), osteoporosis/bone loss (44%) and high blood pressure (22%).   Delaying the onset of these conditions would be a marker of biological youthfulness.

    For example, the average age of the surgical cataract patient is the US today is just under 70 years.  Given that the natural focusing lens of the human eye gradually loses its focusing power (need for reading glasses typically occurs around age 40) and loses about 1% of its transparency with every year of life, it is inevitable as people live longer they will need to have a cloudy lens surgically removed and a clear plastic lens implanted in its place.

    Cataracts are a marker of mortality risk.  However, attempts to delay or live with cloudy cataracts over unfounded fear of eye surgery also increases the risk for death.  Cataract surgery actually lessens the death risk.

    While some fearful senior Americans delay cataract surgery to their own demise (face loss of their driver’s license, experience falls and accidents), a few retirees maintain clear lenses into their nineties.  Cataracts are a good marker of aging.

    It is not surprising to learn that resveratrol, known as an anti-aging molecule, raises levels of glutathione, a strong natural antioxidant produced in the lens of the eyes that maintains its clarity.

    What now?

    OK, you want to live 120 healthy years and you are taking an anti-aging pill in hopes of adding 3 or 4 decades to your lifespan.  Longevity seekers have to wade through their eighties and nineties while they suffer bone loss (osteoporosis) and muscle deterioration (sarcopenia) and have cloudy cataracts removed to maintain functional eyesight in that quest.  Or do they?  In the animal lab resveratrol, known as an anti-aging molecule, has exerted a powerful effect in delaying or even reversing bone loss and muscle shrinkage.  There is no comparable drug that does this.

    Population data does not apply to individuals

    With the news that super-longevity appears to be a remote possibility, have the hopes of many longevity seekers just been dashed?

    Before you throw out your anti-aging pills, just precisely how do those population numbers, based upon people who just happen to have lived extra-long lives by chance, without consciously trying, have anything to do with today’s modern longevity seekers who are intentionally practicing intermittent fasting, or adhering to a ketogenic (low carbohydrate) diet and/or taking resveratrol pills?

    Group data applies to groups, not individuals.  Moving your residence into one of these “red zones” where life expectancy is shortened would not necessarily cut your life short either.

    Will this latest report that claims the chance of living 110-years and beyond is only a remote possibility going to cause longevity seekers to throw away their resveratrol pills?  The latest report has no relevance to providing an answer to that question.  Because people who don’t take an anti-aging pill and are not consciously practicing any anti-aging measures only have a miniscule chance of living 110+ years is not germane to whether anti-aging pills are efficacious or not.  But you can bet that resveratrol pill users will be ridiculed for wasting their money on what will be called a false promise.

    The longevity seekers of today won’t know the outcome of their personal quest for a super-long life until they have lived to their 110th birthday.  Conclusive evidence that anti-aging pills actually work requires decades to materialize.  Anti-aging pill users are betting on existing scientific studies that are presumed to apply to humans.  Staunch anti-aging pill users are not likely to be dissuaded from their pursuit of super-longevity.

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