Dr. Joon Yun, Palo Alto Partners, discussed his efforts to increase human longevity at the Foresight Vision Weekend.
Homeostatic capacity is the capability of systems to self-stabilize in response to stressors. A simple way to visualize homeostatic capacity is to imagine a WeebleTM, the popular self-centering children’s toy. For organisms, it is life’s foundational trait—itself comprised of a hierarchy and network of traits—endowed by nature and shaped by selection. Because the trait is inborn and so pervasively effective, feeling healthy feels like “nothing” when we are young. We become aware of it only after we start losing it midlife. Roller-coaster rides begin to leave us nauseated instead of joyous. We can’t tolerate hot or cold weather like before. Sunny days feel too bright and reading menus in low lights becomes more difficult. Recovering from stressors—a late night, hangover, or injury—suddenly take far longer than it used to, if at all. Consider changes that we can’t feel. When we are young, homeostatic capacity returns elevated blood glucose and blood pressure to base levels. As homeostatic capacity erodes with age, those levels may no longer self-tune. We call these conditions diabetes and hypertension, respectively. Indeed, the panoply of ailments associated with aging may be epiphenomena of eroding homeostatic capacity. If so, could restoring homeostatic capacity end or reverse aging?
New tests and approaches can let you measure and improve your functional health.
We use heart rate and blood pressure and other static variables but those do not change. We need to have dynamic diagnostics.
The speed that heart rate recovers after exercise varies with age and health. Heart Rate Variability and other dynamics diagnostics can measure your current health.
Your dynamic health can be increased beyond what you were born with. High performance athletes have been able to achieve this.
Allostasic response can be measured for
– body temperature. Increase or decrease the temperature and see how quickly the body can restore temperature
– body ph
Currently high blood pressure drugs lower blood pressure. However, we should try the opposite. Give doses of medicine that increase blood pressure to increase the capacity of the body to recover. Train the body to recover more and recover faster.
Try to increase the variability in diet, variability in exercise.
Joon Yun recommends the Wim Hof breathing exercise
Take 30-50 deep breaths. Then breath out and hold your breath for as long as you can. Then take a deep breath in and hold it.
Regular people can increase their breath holding capacity to 3 minutes or more.
The Yun family has a $500,000 Homeostatic Capacity Anti-aging prize
A $500,000 Homeostatic Capacity Prize will be awarded to the first team to demonstrate that it can restore homeostatic capacity (using heart rate variability as the surrogate measure) of an aging reference mammal to that of a young adult.
The modern healthcare system is increasingly tasked with addressing the various ailments of aging. As we age, specific systems may fail to self-correct and report lag positions (e.g. high blood pressure, high blood glucose, or immune shift to Th-2 bias). The prevailing paradigm of the extant system is to center these out-of-balance positions. However, restoring homeostasis instead of homeostatic capacity fails to address the latter’s role in aging. As a result, although current healthcare system helps people live longer, its approaches also resemble a progressively futile game of Whack-a-MoleTM until everyone is ultimately dead. Furthermore, lifespan gains without fixing aging promote increasing per capita healthcare consumption, forming a vicious cycle of cost escalation that threatens to derail the global economy. We need a paradigmatic revolution. The aim of the prize is to catalyze that revolution by nurturing moonshot innovations that restore homeostatic capacity as a way of promoting longevity. The healthcare industry as we know it would contract dramatically, and a new system would emerge to help people live healthy and long lives.
Joon is working with Wendy Mendes