Modern medical science has proven that it is possible to keep people alive for longer; often into digits beyond 80 . . . 90 . . . 100 years old.
While we know that it’s medically possible to live for longer, we’re here to consider what living better for longer looks like. What is the difference between lifespan and healthspan?
Below, we’re examining the differences between lifespan and healthspan and sharing our outlook at The Maas Clinic.
What is the difference between lifespan and healthspan?
Lifespan refers to the chronological amount – quantity – of time someone lives for.
Healthspan refers to the quality of health an individual experiences during the years that they live for.
Here at The Maas Clinic, we focus on the quality of health and life our clients experience. We want our clients to live their very best, most vibrant years for as long as possible, free of disease and ailments. We are focused on healthspan as much as lifespan.
One of the key factors in our approach to healthspan at The Maas Clinic is helping our clients to optimise their genetic programming.
In most cases, we complete genetic testing as standard. This gives us a blueprint to our clients’ DNA and allows us to identify strengths and weaknesses.
We can then use epigenetics – lifestyle adjustments and supplements – and nutrigenomics – diet – to optimise our clients’ gene expression.
Knowing an individual’s exact DNA blueprint gives us a major helping hand when it comes to working on their healthspan. Using epigenetics and nutrigenomics, we can create a treatment programme which fine-tunes their health in the long run, avoiding—as best they can—inherited diseases and illnesses.
As our founder Laurens Maas shares: “with the advance of genetic testing, we’ve been able to take our clients’ treatment programmes from ‘Harrods’ to ‘Saville Row’. Our programmes were already great but now they’re bespoke to a higher level. Similarly to a suit fitting, I like to see my clients 2 – 4 x a year to ensure that their programme ‘fit’ is still working for them. We make alterations as and when needed to maintain a perfect fit.”
An example of an “aha" moment’ at The Maas Clinic using genetics: one client was complaining of weight gain following an outdoors activity holiday. Logically, if anything, this client should have lost weight due to increased activity. Instead, they returned from their trip heavier and feeling demoralised because of it.
Thanks to genetic testing our team was able to identify that our client has a gene which operates best at Ocean-level where oxygen levels are highest. By embarking on an outdoors holiday which included mountain treks – where oxygen levels are low – it triggered an immune response and metabolic syndrome… thus causing the weight gain. “Aha!”
Once we know about gene code errors such as this one, we’re able to advise our clients using epigenetics and nutrigenomics on how to improve their gene expression. This can help to mitigate the advent of things like weight gain and other undesirable symptoms.
We’ve long thought of ourselves as ‘health detectives’. Genetic testing allows us to hone the skill further and implement adjustments to improve our clients’ healthspan in the long run.
3 ageing accelerants to know about
In addition to an individual’s unique genetic makeup, there are a number of universal ageing accelerants to know about, including the three below:
NB: this is a term our founder Laurens has coined! It describes the advent of sugar in the modern food chain, a move away from natural organic soil and a move towards monoculture farming.
Increased consumption of sugar and nutrient-poor food can contribute to the development of metabolic syndromes including heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and blood pressure issues. All of these can have a negative impact not only on healthspan but lifespan too.
So, what can you do to mitigate this? Focus on nutrient-rich food and buy organic food wherever possible. Why eat organic? The quality of the soil determines the quality of the crop and the quality of the crop determines the quality of the health for the human that’s consuming it. It’s circular!
Here at The Maas Clinic, we help our clients to focus on foods which work harmoniously with their unique biochemistry and genetic makeup.
2. Leaky gut
Leaky gut is a colloquial term for a small intestine which isn’t working properly and is spilling proteins and other nutrients prematurely into the blood stream. The medical term for ‘leaky gut’ is intestinal permeability.
Intestinal permeability occurs when the barrier of the small intestine has been breached. This breach may be down to bacteria drilling down into the pipe’s barrier, or fungus rooting down into the substrata.
Leaky gut has been linked to illnesses including Alzheimer’s and dementia, both of which limit healthspan as well as lifespan.
What can you do if you think you may have leaky gut? Intestinal permeability is a common condition we treat people for at The Maas Clinic.
As with all of our clients’ problems, we aim to get to the root cause of a person’s ‘leaky gut’, in order to devise a treatment programme which promotes good long-term health. In the case of ‘leaky guts’, we remove any bugs which are causing the membrane breach, replace missing enzymes in the small intestine, and repair the colonic membrane.
We make sure that our clients’ pipe is sealed and working properly again, thus improving their healthspan.
3. Premature frailty
Loss of confidence, vitality and premature frailty are common indicators of accelerated ageing. Rather than thinking less about health as we age, it’s important to invest more time in healthy habits and support where needed.
As our founder Laurens Maas shares: “as you age, it is really important to look after your diet, nutrition, regular exercise and the core pillars of health. Hormones too play a huge role; are you stressed? Have you experienced stress in your life? If so, have you ever done the work to get over the stress? A lot of people experience stress in their lives and never address it. Chronic stress can exasperate the adrenal glands, leading to autoimmune conditions and a lacklustre approach to life. Thus increasing the likelihood of premature frailty.”
What’s the answer to tackling premature frailty? Don’t give up on feeling great! Investing time and effort into your health is worth it. We know it to be true and our clients know it too.
Remember: we are thinking about your healthspan and quality of life. Not just your age.
It’s never too late to embark on healthy habits!
Each day counts. Each month counts. Each year counts. The sooner you embark on healthy habits the more rewards you’ll reap as you progress through life.
Here at The Maas Clinic, we know for a fact that having a good balance of physical and mental health leads to good levels of serotonin (a ‘happy hormone’), which in turn helps people to feel more content within themselves.
You do not need to live your life passively. If you want to mitigate disease and focus on your healthspan, now is the time to take charge.
General healthspan tips
3 lifestyle habits people can focus on throughout their lives to age well
Get those pillars right and most other things will fall into place.
3 supplements people can take to support ageing well?
A parting note from our founder Laurens Maas
“We are the generation that are about to push the boundaries of health. I know it to be sure. We are so advanced intellectually, we understand how important biochemistry is, how important the environment is, and how important our genetics are, and how it all interlinks.
We’re going to see people living to 110 – 120 years of age and still having good healthspans!”