Healthspan Is the New Lifespan

Life doesn't have to be downhill because you're aging
Successful aging is not truly based on your lifespan, but on your healthspan. Healthspan is measured by an individual’s number of years of life without disability, i.e., their quality of life.

Aging is inevitable and eventually wears the body out. This is why you don’t see too many 30-year old cars in a parking lot. However, the natural aging process can be rapidly accelerated by the development of chronic disease. The more chronic diseases you have by age 65, the faster your healthspan is decreased and your overall life expectancy reduced.

Chronic disease is caused by increased inflammation, much of which is diet-induced. This means the development of chronic disease is not inevitable. You have the power to increase or decrease your healthspan by what you consume in the kitchen.

An Age Old Solution to the Wonder Drug

Rather than expending massive amounts of taxpayer dollars into trying for biotechnology “moonshots” (“long shots” might be a better term) to reverse chronic diseases, it is more fruitful to investigate populations with successful aging.

A recent study of a large population of Japanese centenarians (a person 100 years or older) indicated that the reduction of inflammation correlated best for increased longevity, while at the same time improving physical and cognitive health. That’s a pretty good definition of successful aging. This suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet should be the “wonder drug” we should be looking for.

Does the World have Enough EPA and DHA to Assure Survival?

Omega-3s keep Japanese healthier longerThe Japanese are the largest consumers of fish in the world. In particular, the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) they consume are not only anti-inflammatory compounds, but also pro-resolution compounds. It is the unique ability of both EPA and DHA to reduce the start of inflammation and bring it back to equilibrium that makes them distinct nutrients. Thus, anti-inflammation nutrition using the same levels of EPA and DHA as consumed by the Japanese may be the solution to an increased healthspan.

So is there enough EPA and DHA to go around? Actually, no. A recent publication indicated that even if the total marine stocks of fish oil were used for human consumption instead of being primarily used to raise farmed salmon, there would only be enough for 6% of the world’s population to reach the same levels as found in the Japanese population. This does not bode well for the other 94% of the world’s population or for future global health care expenses. Better stock up.

Increasing Your Healthspan Is Within Your Reach

Successful aging starts with the anti-inflammatory Zone Diet as a foundation. The Zone Diet will help you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease, and improve your mental and physical performance while living a longer more fulfilling life.

Adding high-dose fish oil rich in EPA and DHA, like OmegaRx, is another key component of such an anti-inflammatory nutrition program. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids helps with longevity, supporting heart health, brain function, cellular rejuvenation, athletic performance and recovery, and vision.

The technology for increasing your healthspan is here today. It starts in your kitchen by eating right, and is enhanced by supplementing essential omega-3 fatty acids. Longer healthspan is within your reach. You just have to grab it.

Tags: , , ,

About Dr. Barry Sears

Dr. Barry Sears is a leading authority on the impact of the diet on hormonal response, genetic expression, and inflammation. A former research scientist at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Sears has dedicated his research efforts over the past 45 years to the study of lipids. He has published 40 scientific articles and holds 14 U.S. patents in the areas of intravenous drug delivery systems and hormonal regulation for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. He has also written 14 books, including the New York Times #1 best-seller, The Zone, which have sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. and have been translated into 22 different languages.


  1. liraglutide

    Although the increased lifespan of our populations illustrates the success of modern medicine, the risk of developing many diseases increases exponentially with old age. Caloric restriction is known to retard ageing and delay functional decline as well as the onset of disease in most organisms. Studies have implicated the sirtuins (SIRT1-SIRT7) as mediators of key effects of caloric restriction during ageing. In fact, food-derived bioactive peptides may have various physiological modulatory and regulatory functions and are now being studied extensively.

    • Barry Sears

      The key point of my blog was a key factor in successful aging was the linkage between the lowering of inflammation and the development of chronic disease. Calorie restriction decreases inflammation by reducing oxidative stress as well as increasing generation of sirtuins. One of the primary end products of SIRT-1 activation is an increase in AMP kinase activity that acts as the central hub for controlling metabolism. I feel that diet remains the ultimate anti-aging drug.

  2. Peggy

    Dear Dr. Sears,

    Could you tell us what it is that fish oil does in our body to warrant us
    always taking it. Also since I take MarquiRX could you tell us (in simple terms) what that does in our body that is so positive.

    • Barry Sears

      High levels of EPA and DHA are required to make powerful hormones known as resolvins that are key to bringing the inflammation process back to equilibrium. The half-life of supplemental EPA and DHA in the blood is about two days. This means within a week after taking a single dose of fish oil, the levels are back to where they were before taking the fish oil. The only way to maintain adequate levels of EPA and DHA is to take fish oil on a regular basis just as you would take a statin drug on a regular basis to keep cholesterol levels low. The amount of fish oil you need to maintain adequate levels is determined by the AA/EPA ratio in the blood. If sure be between 1.5 and 3 as in the Japanese population. The average AA/EPA ratio for Americans is 18.

      Relative to purified maqui polyphenols, they are one of the few polyphenols that can enter the blood intact due to their water solubility. Once in the blood, the maqui polyphenols can activate gene transcription factors in every cell to cause the increased synthesis of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory proteins as well as activating the SIRT-1 gene that generates more AMP kinase to slow down the aging process by controlling the overall metabolism in the body. I consider these all to be good things.

  3. Dick

    My current doctor is a big believer and has me on statins to control my high cholesterol. How can i find a new doctor who can guide me otherwise?

    • Barry Sears

      Diet remains the most powerful intervention to reduce cholesterol levels. Statins decrease cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme that is key is making cholesterol. Elevated insulin levels activate the same drug. By lowering insulin levels using the Zone Diet you essentially doing the same as the statins. There is no directory of physicians knowledgeable in the use of nutrition to alter hormonal choices, so I would interview potential new physicians to find one who you can work with it. In the meantime, I would follow a strict Zone Diet to start lowering your insulin levels.

  4. Lynda svergun

    Thank you for your response on cooking of vegetables to break down cell wall. I juice a lot of vegetables (kale, carrot, beets, apple, spinach and broccoli). I was hoping that the hype is true and their are health benefits. Or should I stop juicing and cook the vegetables slightly instead to obtain better nutrients. I just started reading “Mastering the Zone”. Love it so far. Thank you.


    Dear Dr. Sears

    I have lost nearly five stone on your wonderful books(have them all) and now I have reached a plateau doing the same 40/ 30/ 30 and not an ounce off. I have another stone to go. Can you help please.

    Thank you

    From Ireland

  6. James Taylor

    Read & reviewed the “Mediterrenean Zone” (5 stars) on Amazon. Do your earlier conclusions from “The Anti-Aging Zone” still apply, especially the markers of adequate fish oil, other than your blood test for the EPA/AA ratio.

  7. lynda svergun

    Dr Sears

    I have been flowing your posts for several months. Thanks so much for what you have added to humanity. Our soil today is depleted of much of the minerals and is hard to get all our body needs from food alone we are told. What vegetables should we cook before eating and what should be eaten raw to get maximum benefits and nutrients?

  8. lynda svergun

    Hello Dr Sears,

    Been flowing your posts for several months. Thanks so much for what you have added to humanity. Our soil today is depleted of much of the minerals and is hard to get all our body needs from food alone we are told. What vegetables should we cook before eating and what should be eaten raw to get maximum benefits and nutrients?

    • Barry Sears

      All vegetables should be lightly cooked to breakdown the cell walls for maximum nutrient extraction. That light cooking could include stir-frying, steaming, or roasting.

  9. chris stephens

    i know this isn’t the topic of the blog but are there any potential new sources of omega 3’s on the horizon that will significantly increase supply?

      • mark mcginn

        to quote you Barry – “70% of 65-yr olds have at least two chronic diseases” – this is a unfortunate statistic in terms of healthspan

  10. Shirley Singleton

    I think we can control what our brain, controls what we eat! example I would eat 8 yogurts when I was feeling tired or deppressed
    I decided I’d had enough of my ridiculus brain controlling behaviour! I now am in control of those yogurts!, not my brain,I have one
    activia yogurt with my porridge, & a little honey on my porridge, & a banana, I still need to get rid of my other brain controlling
    habits, slowly one at a time! my weight is good, apart from my tummy & waistline, which I can work on!

    I hope this gives positive advice!

    kind regards

    • Barry Sears

      Building good dietary habits is a constant work in progress. That’s why you need to constantly measure the clinical markers of the Zone that determine how well you are doing. The AA/EPA ratio is one of those markers.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *