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The Longevity Paradox

How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age

By Dr. Steven Gundry
15-minute read
Audio available
The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age by Dr. Steven Gundry

The Longevity Paradox (2019) looks at three of the most crucial factors behind aging well: our gut bacteria, our gut walls and our mitochondria. By helping us to understand the roles these factors play in our health, and by showing us some powerful strategies we can adopt to support them, the author points us toward long and healthy lives.

  • Young people wanting to avoid the problems that often accompany aging  
  • Older people wanting to escape those problems
  • Anyone interested in alternative medical views

Dr. Steven Gundry founded and runs the International Heart and Lung Institute and the Center for Restorative Medicine, where he conducts independent medical research and clinical practice. He was formerly a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Plant Paradox and The Plant Paradox Cookbook.

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The Longevity Paradox

How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age

By Dr. Steven Gundry
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age by Dr. Steven Gundry
Synopsis

The Longevity Paradox (2019) looks at three of the most crucial factors behind aging well: our gut bacteria, our gut walls and our mitochondria. By helping us to understand the roles these factors play in our health, and by showing us some powerful strategies we can adopt to support them, the author points us toward long and healthy lives.

Key idea 1 of 9

People are living longer but not healthier lives.

Have you ever experienced one of those strange days in which the sky seems split in two – blue and sunny in one half, dark and grey in the other? Well, when you’re looking at the longevity of people living in Western societies, that’s one way you could picture the current state of affairs.

On the bright side, the average person’s life span has significantly increased over the past five decades. For example, from 1960 to 2013, it went from 66.4 to 76.4 years for the average American man, and from 73.1 to 81.1 years for the average American woman.

But on the dark side, there are some ominous clouds brewing. In the past three years, the lengthening of the average American life span has not only stalled; it’s actually declined a bit. More troubling still, the previous increase in people’s life spans has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in their health spans – the number of years in which their bodies and minds remain fully functional.

In the US, most people’s health begins to deteriorate at the age of 50.9. From that point onward, the myriad problems of aging begin to kick in: muscle loss, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, memory loss, dementia – the list goes on and on. So while people have more years to live than their ancestors, they lack the vitality to actually enjoy them.

That’s because the general increase in the average life span isn’t really the result of an improvement in people’s underlying health; rather, it’s the result of an improvement in the prevention and mitigation of certain diseases and health problems. Thanks to vaccines, antibiotics and improved hygiene practices, people are no longer being prematurely killed en masse by infectious diseases. Those diseases used to be especially devastating to young children, whose early deaths drove down the average life span. Meanwhile, thanks to a range of medical treatments, drugs and procedures such as bypass surgeries, people can be kept alive longer than before, despite poor health.

But what’s responsible for that poor health in the first place? Well, you’ve probably heard the main answer many times: the unhealthiness of the standard Western diet and lifestyle, which are notoriously full of junk food and inactivity. But some of the main reasons why your diet and lifestyle choices are negatively affecting your health may come as a surprise to you.

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