These days, politicians can often be heard expressing concern about the increasing costs placed on healthcare systems by aging populations. The implicit argument seems to be that because people are living longer, taxes will have to rise in order to pay for the resulting economic burden on society. A new study published in the Nature Aging journal looks at this challenge from a different angle, however. According to its authors, implementing treatments that target aging and extend healthy life expectancy could be worth trillions of dollars in economic gains.
Published by researchers from the United Kingdom and the United States, the study examines scenarios involving slowing aging, the reversal of aging, longer health expectancy but shorter life expectancy, and longer life expectancy but worsening health. Based on a model they designed using economic, health, and demographic data from the United States, the researchers found that interventions addressing aging are likely to simultaneously increase health expectancy and life expectancy. Significantly, they show that a slowdown in aging that increases life expectancy by one year is worth $38 trillion. Increasing life expectancy by ten years would be worth $367 trillion. Ultimately, the researchers say, the more progress that is made in improving how we age, the greater will be the economic value resulting from further improvements.
The study also makes the valid point that although life expectancy has increased dramatically over the past 150 years, not all of the years gained are healthy ones. Instead, the proportion of life people spend in good health has remained broadly constant, thus implying increasing years spent in poor health. This is why politicians are presently concerned about the burden aging places on healthcare systems.
The researchers say their estimates suggest that treatments targeting aging are extremely valuable. They also stress that if the cost of such treatments is low, then access to them will be widespread. Conversely, if costs are high, issues such as ensuring access will become important. The researchers therefore emphasize the need to ensure widespread access to treatments targeting aging if the full value of the social gains they offer is to be realized.
Improving health and extending life is already possible
As interesting as this Nature Aging study is, it is unfortunate that it makes no mention of either nutrition, micronutrients, or dietary supplements. Instead, the only treatment it refers to is metformin, a pharmaceutical drug used in type 2 diabetes, whose commonly reported side effects include lactic acidosis, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The study’s omission of effective, safe, natural health approaches from its analysis is a shame, as science-based nutritional and Cellular Medicine research shows that improving health and extending life is already possible.
The scientific discoveries of Dr. Matthias Rath and studies conducted at the Dr. Rath Research Institute reveal that good health is determined by the proper functioning of the billions of cells composing the human body. The most frequent cause of cellular malfunction is a long-term deficiency of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other essential micronutrients. The main function of these crucial dietary elements is the provision of bioenergy to the cells. Ensuring cells have an optimum supply of the correct micronutrients makes it possible for us to improve health, prevent chronic diseases, and extend the human lifespan.
The enormous potential of natural health approaches to achieve the economic gains described in the Nature Aging study stands in stark contrast to the financial destruction that is being wrought upon global healthcare systems by the pharmaceutical ‘business with disease.’ With the latest drug treatments for cancer costing over $500,000, and the world’s most expensive drug priced at an eye-watering $2.1 million, the Nature Aging study gives us a thought-provoking glimpse into a different way of looking at things. Our politicians would serve us well by taking it seriously.