Google longevity and you will be met with millions of results offering you everything from herbal concoctions to hormone sprays to mystery supplements that promise to recharge your body, regrow your hair, restore your muscle tone and rekindle your skins elasticity! The word “longevity” is sometimes used as a synonym for “life expectancy”, which we know is on the wrong side of average in South Africa. Life expectancy here is around 65, whereas in countries like Japan and Switzerland, it’s around 85.
What determines longevity?
Evidence-based studies show that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices. Studying identical twins has shown that only 20-30% of your and my lifespan is related to genetics, the rest is thanks to our individual behaviours – how we choose to live. So, wrinkles on your face? You can only blame your parents for a third of them!
What is the role of supplements in longevity?
Lifestyle choices aside – surely there’s a pill we could pop to give us more years of life? Sadly, the reality is that no single product has been shown to stop or reverse the ageing process. What’s more, many remedies that promise incredible results haven’t undergone rigorous clinical trials, which means we have no way of knowing if these products are even safe, let alone effective. Put the bottle back on the shelf when you see words like “secret formula” or “breakthrough”, steer clear of products that claim to cure many serious ailments, or ones that claim to have no side effects. Don’t fall for endorsements and be sceptical of products that offer a no-risk, money-back guarantee, or a free trial.
How to select your supplements
As a rule, I always look to science for efficacy and a GMP stamp of approval for safety – which stands for Good Manufacturing Practice, a system that ensures products are consistently produced and controlled according to the highest quality standards. In line with that, I take a reputable multivitamin daily to compliment four meaningful habits that have been shown time and again to have a substantial impact on your longevity – both by reducing your risk of disease, and improving your quality of life.
Habits to boost longevity
- Longevity habit number one – eat better. You’ve heard it before, and I’m pretty sure you’ll hear it again, but the evidence is overwhelming. The more fresh fruits and veggies you eat – the longer you will live.
- Longevity habit number two – exercise more. Exercise is medicine, there is no denying it. Something is always better than nothing, and every step you take will literally be adding minutes to your life.
- Longevity habit number three – Don’t smoke, and drink alcohol only in moderation. Smoking alone can reduce your longevity by about 10 years.
- Longevity habit number four – be safe. All the healthy habits in the world won’t do you much good if you drive recklessly or live dangerously.
Most of us are going to live longer than we ever expected, so now’s the time to develop healthy habits that will enable us to live well for that longer lifetime!
A note from Vital’s Experts:
Vital has a range of multivitamins to support good health and longevity. Browse the range by clicking here.