Hello 👋 and welcome to Curation for Longevity by Laura Minquini. I am the founder of MYKIGAI - a platform to try vetted and science-backed longevity brands.
In this newsletter, I look into what could help make longevity the next big DTC (Direct To Consumer) category. 🚀
Billionaires and Longevity 💰🧬
Another day another “Billionaires fund longevity” bad article speaking of cheating death and eternal life. Even if this is what these billionaires want, their comms teams are failing them. Messages and perception matter and this is just not a good look to a big portion of society who are not even sure they can fund retirement.
And right now the billionaire subject is very contentious or the butt of the joke because even when they are funding science, it’s hard not to meme or laugh a little at the cowboy look, the villain laugh, and phallic rocket Jeff Bezos took off on. No need to include photos, the internet provided enough of them.
I am all for billionaires funding anything that improves health-span, and I am venturing to say so would everyone else be if these articles focused on a different narrative.
Historically progress has been paid by those with deep pockets, but not all wealth is the same. Yes, there are those billionaires whose pass-time is shipping their collectible cars across the globe during the summer season, (Never mind the ones who spend over 250k on champagne for a night to be called the biggest billionaire). But there is the Medici style of wealth, where you want to leave a legacy of art and science for future generations. I prefer the latter.
Let’s not forget that the last life extension revolution was helped by the wealthy aristocrat Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who played a hand in the history of inoculation. There was as much resistance to her contribution then, as there is now:
But once back in London, her enthusiasm was met with disdain by the English medical community. The reasons ranged from religious (what could Mohammedans teach Christians?) to medical (an untrained aristocrat lecturing physicians?) to economic (physicians of the day made a lot of money from useless smallpox treatments) to sexist (a female changing the thinking of men?). How One Daring Woman Introduced the Idea of Smallpox Inoculation to England, Time.
The media has no incentive to make anyone look good unless it is sponsored content. Sadly the current clickbait model where headlines drive traffic and rage sells - making investors and the tech “intelligentsia” (as one influencer in aging who ironically made his fortune in Silicon Valley called them) look like Dorian Grey wannabes make people click more.
All this to say that as the industry grows, we are going to have to be more selective of who and how we let the story be told. Take control of the narrative.
It’s time we bring fashion PR tactics to the game.
The cost of Obesity 📉
Food is the largest industry in the world, and I do sometimes go into hyperbole and say our food is killing us. A recent article on the food monopoly makes your brain hurt. These days processed food and snacks look so hip it is hard to keep track of what is what - it all looks good to make you want to eat.
But some of us can’t stop eating and the dizzying array of diseases that happen with obesity are well known so I won't bother to list them. There are two types of costs associated with the treatment of obesity and obesity-related conditions:
Direct costs are those that result from outpatient and inpatient health services (including surgery).
Indirect costs, which have been defined as “resources forgone as a result of a health condition”.
A person who goes from obese to overweight saves $17,655 in direct medical costs and productivity losses over his or her lifetime. If the same person were to go from being obese to a healthy weight, they would save an average of $28,020.
Our food is shortening our lifespan and our economies.
When you see investors getting excited about economic growth on the companies that are making us sick, we would all do good in pointing out that that growth is not evenly distributed because we are paying it back with healthcare and economic output costs. When you are ready to eat that snack, think of how eating less helps you live longer.
Longevity brand this week 🧬🛍 - GLYCANAGE
Tagline: GlycanAge is your key to healthy ageing. It is the only biological age test that accurately measures your unique response to lifestyle change.
Why they are awesome 💫
I always speak of how we need to start forgetting chronological age and speaking biological age, which reflects the actual rate of aging of our body. If you want to find out how old you are biologically, GlycanAge is quickly becoming a popular go-to tool to do so.
GlycanAge is biotech company that feels like a wellness lifestyle one. The at-home aging biomarker test is more reminiscent of a consumer product than a scientific one. Nikolina Lauc, the co-founder, is incredibly knowledgeable in the field, having two parents who are scientists, and her father being renowned Prof. Gordan Lauc, PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the CSO of the company. She and her team have made sure to accompany the data with actionable information for the user. Once you find out your biological age, you are set on a suggested course of action.
The at-home testing market is going to grow to $6.53 billion US by 2025 but not all tests will be created equally and though there are a lot of companies in the wellness market that are well branded and seem rooted in science, some are not. Vetting and monitoring which companies are providing relevant scientific data will be a science itself. This is why I spend time talking to scientists and doing research so that you know it was not just another google search.
Nikolina is one of my favorite women in the space, much like myself she is interested in the research of the longevity of women’s fertility, and has taught me lot on this subject. I feel this passion reflects on the research studies GlycanAge has done on the biological age of women during menopause, and great scientific collaborations with longevity medicine experts like Dr. Joseph Raffaele.
GlycanAge has an incredible Scientific board, including Dr. Lauc and Dr. Bill Andrews, who is one of the most honest voices in the field. If you want to know the truth about telomeres, he is the guy. The competencies of the board include scientists, researchers and other professionals specializing in glycobiology, the study of carbohydrates, immunology, longevity, and biology.
Bonus: Dr. David A. Sinclair is listed as a “collaborator”. 👀
The science 👩🏻🔬
GlycanAge provides a platform for an understanding of glycans, biological age, their effect on the immune system, and what customers can do to relieve the body of any chronic inflammation.
Why are Glycans important?
Glycans are sugar molecules that are needed to modify proteins in your body. Depending on lifestyle and other environmental factors, Glycans are responsible for acting on any inflammatory changes to the immune system. The state of inflammation of the immune system is a direct indicator of biological age.
Why does inflammation matter?
One of the major hallmarks of aging is chronic inflammation, which is essentially inflammation in the immune system that doesn’t dissipate after some time, causing harm to the body.
When there is an imbalance of inflammatory glycans, commonly due to lifestyle factors (unhealthy diet, stress, hormonal changes, etc.), low-grade systemic inflammation can occur. This is a specific cause of aging and increases the risk of many diseases.
Why does knowing your biological age matter?
Because even if you went to raves (like I did once upon a time) and don’t think you are healthy, you just don’t know unless you take a test.
For instance, people who workout a lot could potentially be biologically older as they are putting too much oxidative stress on their body, but would you naturally think that?
Once you find our you biological age, you can decide what lifestyle changes you want to make if you find out you are 70 years old on a 30 year old body, or carry on if your are 28 on a 50 year old body. Having your Benjamin Button moment can empower you.
The good news is, you can affect your biology by modifying your lifestyle, and GlycanAge helps with this too as they have a team of specialists you can consult with.
You can read more about the studies here:
GlycanAge is doing an amazing job at communicating lifestyle changes impacting aging, as well as promoting what we should all take into consideration in our health - our biological age.
Personal Experience 👩🏻💻
I have to admit that I have been putting off my test. One is because our upcoming longevity challenge will include them, two is because I am going for a lot of patio dinners that include Rosé here and there, and lastly because I must admit I am a bit on the edge about finding my biological age. I did ask Nikolina the first time we met, how they dealt with the psychological impact for those who could be significantly older than they think they are. Thankfully a counselor is at hand to go over your results to guide you for next steps. I guess having a glass of wine if you find out you are biologically older will be our of the question.
So I got my kit, and I will leave this part to be continued…look out for me to post a video.
If you want to try GlycanAge alongside other longevity lifestyle interventions and track progress, please fill out this 👉🏼 form to be part of our first cohort!
LEARN MORE GlycanAge
Last week we talked NAD supplements, this upcoming week we talk Intracellular NAD Tests with Dr. Jin-Xiong She of Jinfinity. I will on this occasion be revealing live to Dr. She my result! 😅
I have a miniature dachshund, so I am certainly interested in dog longevity. For the remainder of the summer, Avi Roy, a well-known scientist in aging biology, and I are interviewing some experts working on this. Kicking off with Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, a professor in pathology, researching mechanisms of aging, and co-director of the Dog Aging Project. Hope all dog lovers join!
If you liked what you read, please share the potential of longevity with others! 🙏🏼