wrangler Longevity and role of nutrition

Longevity and the role of nutrition

Jan 25, 2024 9:19am

According to the United Nations, the chances of people living up to age 65 have doubled in countries with the highest life expectancy. In 2019, 703 million people lived up to and beyond age 65. This number is expected to rise to 1.5 billion by 2050. People are living longer lives. But will they live active, healthy lives?  

The  Longevitymarket size was worth $25.1 billion in 2020 and is predicted to grow to $44.2 billion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% by 2030, according to a report from Allied Market Research.

While not everybody wants to live to 120, there are plenty who do. This article brief dives into this interesting trending topic.


What is Longevity?

Longevity is the ability to live beyond the average age people die. In other words, it means living a long life. 

According to the United Nations, countries worldwide are experiencing a tremendous increase in their aging population. In 2019, 1 in 11 people were over 65 years. By 2050, 1 in 6 people will be over age 65. Regions experiencing the fastest growth in their aging population include Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and Latin America, and the Caribbean. The United Nations also forecast that between 2019 to 2050, the older population will double in Northern Africa and Western Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Central and Southern Asia, and Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.


Factors contributing to current longevity rates include improved environmental and living conditions, social welfare, healthcare quality, socioeconomic status, and advancement in medicine and technology.

  1. The numbers say it all; the number of people aging every year keeps increasing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from 2015 to 2050, the number of people over 60 will rise from 12% to 22%. This dramatic rise in the number of people living for longer isn’t going unnoticed. Companies are innovating to ensure they serve this population’s needs. Governments are implementing policies to ensure their quality of life doesn’t diminish as they grow older. Organizations are rolling out recommendations to ensure that long life equals a satisfying life. 
  2. Preventive healthcare focuses on preventing people from falling ill in the first place. Unlike curative healthcare, preventative health diagnoses the condition before symptoms show up. It meets its goals by looking at a person’s profile and circumstances—such as their genes, age, sex, lifestyle, and the environment—that may predispose them to specific health conditions. It then manages risk factors within control, like lifestyle and environment, to reduce a person’s chances of developing disorders. There is still a significant underspend on prevention services, and countries are spending trillions of dollars in healthcare costs for chronic illnesses, which could be avoided with prevention services. For example, in 2016, the US spent over $1 trillion on treating chronic illnesses. 

    Experts are beginning to recognize that compared to curative healthcare, preventive healthcare is cost-effective. Preventative healthcare can reduce the likelihood of diseases, disability, and death and significantly improve the health of a population. 

    Unfortunately, some research shows that older adults are less likely to use preventive health services like cancer screenings and influenza vaccines. Fortunately, preventive health for older adults is gaining a much-needed spotlight. Plus, the healthcare market is embracing a single care model that includes preventive and diagnostic care as innovations that promote health and personalized care continue to emerge. 

  3.  Food as medicine trend - Research on diet as a modifiable risk factor for chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes abounds. Nutrition plays a significant role in preventing chronic health conditions, managing health decline, and improving health quality and life satisfaction in all ages.  

    Thus, the discourse of food as medicine is taking prominence in nutrition and medical research. A 2022 review on food as medicine examined the impact of medically-tailored meals on adherence and clinical and economic outcomes. It observed that medically-tailored meals improve dietary compliance by over 90%, help patients manage chronic diseases better, result in fewer health complications, and reduce healthcare costs by 27 to 48 billion dollars. Plus, the trends show consumers are interested in and leaning towards purchasing functional foods, with the COVID-19 pandemic fueling this interest. A food and health survey of 1,014 Americans ages 18 to 80 from the International Food Information Council shows that 58% of purchasers think of the food’s health benefits when purchasing. 

  4.  Although personalized healthcare has been gaining attention since the late 1990s, personalized healthcare for and that benefit older adults is only gathering some recognition now.  

    In light of the fact the aging population is also the fastest growing across all age groups, researchers posit that personalized healthcare should also cater to this population. For example, personalized healthcare ensures that treatment benefits are safe for the individual’s unique profile. For older adults, who are more likely to be on multiple medications at a time because of numerous coexisting health conditions, personalized care may ensure they do not receive medications that put them at risk of adverse drug events from drug-to-drug interactions.


Medically-tailored meals improve dietary compliance by over 90% 



How does nutrition influence aging?

Considerable research shows that diet and nutritional status affect a person’s health and functioning throughout their lifespan. Specific dietary interventions such as intermittent fasting, calorie restriction and lower protein intakes have been shown to promote healthy longevity and help prevent chronic disorders.

It’s still under debate what group or composition of nutrients may extend lifespan and support good health. But evidence suggests that personalized nutrition intervention accounts for factors like age, sex, genes, lifestyle, metabolic status, and overall health status essential in promoting long life.

A 2020 review highlights that dietary patterns significantly influence aging and longevity and personalized nutrition guidance holds excellent potential in optimizing the quality of life in older adults as they live longer. However, the researchers conclude that to create personalized nutrition for the aging population that works, technology that analyzes omics, including genomic, epigenomic, metabolomics, and microbiomics, has to be utilized to create evidence-based, actionable, and tailored recommendations. 

Current solutions already include biomarker testing kits, supplements, epigenetics and telomere testing.

A 2022 modeling study on how food choices affect life expectancy observed that having a diet that includes more whole grains, legumes, fish, fruits, vegetables, and a handful of nuts and less red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined grains from age 20 may increase lifespan by more than 10 years.

Overall, maintaining a healthy diet is beneficial for healthy aging in people of all ages. 

Additionally, research suggests that having diets high in polyphenolic foods like Blue zones and a Mediterranean diet may slow down aging, lower the risk of age-related illnesses, and increase lifespan.


A diet that includes more whole grains, legumes, fish, fruits, vegetables, and a handful of nuts and less red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined grains from age 20 may increase lifespan by more than 10 years 


What can we expect in the future?

Our future will be defined by our digital footprint and our actions. We can already see the effect of our actions on climate change, with more stress on limited resources, mass migration and rising inequality, our lifespan will be defined by the choices we make today.

On the digital front, a rise in IoT, the metaverse and non-invasive tracking will allow the development of better healthcare (with a focus on health) and the emergence of more health & connected cities such as they are creating at NEOM



The Longevity industry is currently experiencing an explosion in terms of new startups, new ingredients and personalised nutrition approaches driven by consumer demand and interest in the topic. 

There is sufficient evidence to support the idea that nutrition can be used as a tool to prolong lifespan and healthspan, but this needs to be personalised and naturally rooted in the science. Whilst Lifespan is generally more known as a concept than Healthspan, this will eventually change as more consumers prioritize ther health.

Companies need to prepare for a wave of baby boomers who will become the users and consumers of new solutions and therefore they need to be included in new concepts from ideation to execution.

Whilst there are plenty of opportunities, it must be clear to the consumer what the benefit is and transparency of the state of the science is key.



NEOM https://neom.com

UnitedNations https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/ageing/WorldPopulationAgeing2019-Highlights.pdf

Allied market research https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2022-04-19/longevity-and-anti-senescence-therapy-market-to-reach-44-2-bn-globally-by-2030-at-6-1-cagr-allied-market-research