January 31, 2022Longevity Economy

Health - a valuable part of your wealth

What is wealth? People frequently assume under wealth an accumulation of material assets allowing an opulent lifestyle. The German language provides for that the word “Vermögen” which means everything which will allow you to do something with. As an analogy we can apply this to the English term “wealth”.

In this context we can come to a better definition and see that wealth is more than an accumulation of material assets. It includes also a number of important immaterial factors and there not only intellectual property. It includes very personal features, intelligence, education, sport skills and especially health. Health allows us also to fulfil some enjoy all the previous ones. As all these, material and immaterial allows you to use them in an effective, productive and useful way it is also a responsibility. All these are gifts in your life, which you have - in view of their usefulness and privilege - to care for and preserve and if possible grow.

Wealth is a big responsibility. Material wealth, owned by individuals and families and its use is highly important for the economy and the long term wellbeing of the society. It is well known empirically that through the decentralized decision making and the large individual responsibility, private assets are normally better used and invested than public money. The success of western societies as opposed to the socialist countries is proof of it. A free society needs property rights and the proper use of these assets.

Wealth is a big responsibility.

Wealth preservation and management becomes an important part in the economy. This included responsibilities for active businesses, real estate, the right allocation of capital on the financial markets, but also more passive investments such as gold - a reserve against economic problems and hedge against inflation - and art in the cultural area. All these are very beneficial to economy and society and allow additionally also philanthropic activities. Wealth can be preserved if the owners and their family see it primarily as a responsibility, an opportunity to achieve something rather that a pure rent seeking.

A further important investment is education. A good education is an invaluable asset. This does not only include specific skills, but also forming character and spirit. This is wealth which cannot be taken away from you. But also this needs constant refreshing and learning, otherwise it will become stale.

Really important is health preservation. Health, physical and mental allows you not only to enjoy life but it brings you to the best performance. But as in case of any asset - maintenance and care is necessary. This is a responsibility which can be fun all your life long. Healthy ageing doesn’t just mean the absence of illness, but also a full state of physical, mental and social wellbeing.

The most important impact factor on health is our lifestyle. Although genetic predispositions and family history play an important role, especially in case of some specific genetic conditions, a number of research papers confirm that 80% of our health and longevity is related to epigenetic factors. Majority of genetic predispositions at birth can be mitigated by the right lifestyle during the lifetime. A healthy, balanced diet, good quality of sleep and modest amount of exercise can mitigate risks of our negative genetic lottery and establish a base for our longevity potential.

Health, physical and mental allows you not only to enjoy life but it brings you to the best performance.

One of the key success factors is a sound immune system. As we know and further learned in the Covid crisis a strong immune system does not necessarily protect against contagion, but it helps to protect from severe side effects. However, in view of the chronic diseases - which are mostly related to the process of ageing - this becomes paramount.

Aging is widely seen as a fact, which cannot be delayed or reversed. But is that really the case?

To find out why two people born on the same day of the same year age differently, it’s important to recognize the difference between biological and chronological age. Chronological age only takes into account the effect of the passage of time and is determined by the date of birth, whereas biological age represents the state of actual " usage" of the body. Each of the biological age biomarkers focuses on a well-defined area of human physiology, such as genetics, epigenetics, immunology, peripheral blood biochemical parameters, or inflammatory biomarkers.

There are more and more studies confirming that higher biological age can predict potential future chronic disease development.

In fact, many of the chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes and the unfortunately fast growing area of dementia and Alzheimer) break out at an chronological age around 60. Aging - as medical- and gero-science shows - is an underlaying cause of all these chronic diseases. They are also the most costly ones.

A retirement age of around 60 - 65 years is part of our accepted and collective consciousness. Few people question it.

This is however one of the largest problem of our time. Fortunately, average life expectancy in Europe increased strongly in the last decencies, to more than 80 years. The downside however is that many cannot enjoy their life as elderly anymore, due to chronic diseases haunting them for years. 

This is not only a personal tragedy, but also a huge macroeconomic problem as well as one of our aging society.

Irresponsible politics and an excessive bureaucracy have created enormous public deficits and in consequence debt. Really shocking however is that on top of the existing debt, national accounting in most western countries did not make provisions for future healthcare and retirement obligations. The case of Germany in the attached graph shows the problem.

Financially there is no solution for the problem. The only solution is to focus on prevention. This will allow to lower the enormous cost of treating the chronic diseases and allow people to retire later. Retirement age will have to be extended beyond 65 and will need to be flexible. A change of career should also become accepted beyond todays thinking. There is no good way around. The alternative is reduced health services and poverty in the aged population. However, we have a timing problem. Improving health and creating awareness is a long term project.

Longevity and age science is astonishingly a rather new discipline. This discipline scientifically researches the reasons, causes and consequences of aging. The good news is that - as opposed to the fatalistic view on ageing - we realize that ageing can be slowed and even reversed. It does not necessarily mean, that the life span will increase - although it may - but rather increasing the health span. 

Improving health and creating awareness is a long term project.

Traditional medicine is rather focusing on sick care rather than health care. It came on as soon as symptoms of diseases appeared. Longevity medicine however is geared to improve health span. Proactive vs reactive. A tool to measure health are the biomarkers, which allow to assess a biological age, as opposed to the chronological age. If your biological age is than the chronological one, it is good news. But the main thing is, that the diagnosis and analysis of your health, allows to improve.

As said before the lifestyle, diet, exercise, sleep, stress level are crucial, as is the individual social life. Important is especially the metabolic health, your microbiome, cognitive performance as well as your hormonal health. All that can be improved without too much changes in lifestyle. Actually a good diet combined with light exercise can be fun. It does not mean fasting and being reduced to some vegetable leaves or hours on the treadmill. Interventions in the lifestyle can become enjoyable healthy habits.

Preventive health and longevity, defined mainly as an extension of the health span is estimated as a huge business of the future. 

Only business will be able to make a breakthrough, which will then hopefully followed by policymakers. In policymaking, as well as the traditional medical profession the necessity for the preventive care as opposed to healing existing problems. Is not yet sufficiently recognized. 

Longevity sector offers not only the humanitarian aspect of more enjoyment of life and health, it is also a tremendous business opportunity.

For entrepreneurial families there are a number of aspects, improving health of the family, energizing the staff in the businesses and tremendous business cases and investment opportunities.

At the moment business is already largely engaged in research and development. Some innovation in the longevity area is frequently eased, less expensive and faster than in the biotech or traditional pharma industries, as approvement by regulators is not necessary in all instances.

However practical application today are either in the expensive luxury area or rather reduced to apps. High quality but not super expensive solutions are also necessary to allow wider use of such services.

Longevity Center, Warsaw.

Our mission is to is to enable longer and healthier lives for people of all ages.

We are trying to address this need in the Longevity Center, which is a privately funded European project, which started in 2019 in Warsaw. As a medical clinic focusing on longevity medicine, we are pioneering in the area of biological age assessment and 12 months intervention program.

Our mission is to is to enable longer and healthier lives for people of all ages. Delaying and curing aging-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease, will allow us to live in better health regardless of our age. Preventing disease before people get sick could also dramatically reduce health care expenditures across the globe.

This is a holistic view on the importance and the opportunities of material and immaterial wealth preservation.


Joanna Bensz

Founder and CEO, Longevity Center CEO, International Institute of Longevity