Can Tech Innovations Help You Live Longer? What’s New in Longevity Technology

By Catherine Roy, November 8, 2022

Man looking at smart watchPeople are living longer than ever before. Adults in the United States can expect to live well into their late 70s. According to the World Health Organization, by 2030 one in six people will be over the age of 60, with this population nearly doubling by 2050. [1] 

Increases in life expectancy and growth in the proportion of older persons are the main drivers behind the rise in longevity research as has the revelation that aging may, in fact, be a modifiable process. This possibility of actually having some control over the aging process—and how young or old you are on the inside—has spurred growing consumer interest in how to age well. 

Here’s what you need to know about the latest tech companies and their tools aimed at helping you live a healthier longer life, that may even halt the aging process.

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The rise of longevity technology

Aging is a slow process with most changes not necessarily noticeable to the everyday eye. While physical changes like gray hair and wrinkles may be a visual indicator of age, they don’t account for the crucial physiological changes within our bodies that actually drive the aging process

Luckily, tech companies have been hard at work developing various methods that allow consumers to measure, track, and even modify the physiological changes associated with aging.


What to look for if you're interested in longevity

The explosion of longevity technology in the past few years has made it increasingly difficult to know which test is best. While the best test will ultimately depend on your unique goals and lifestyle, the best tests will meet these key criteria. 

  • Affordable: You don’t need to break the bank to slow down the aging process. Plenty of tests hit a variety of price points and provide excellent data. 
  • Accessible: Whatever test you choose, make sure it is easily accessible so that you can test regularly. Regular testing allows you to regularly check-in on your health and see if your habits are currently supporting or hurting aspects of your health. 
  • Reproducible: You should feel confident that the data you get from your test of choice is a true reflection of what is going on in your body rather than just random variation associated with the testing method. The difference between test A and test B should be a true reflection of change. 
  • Modifiable: Slowing aging requires us to make a change, test again at a later time point, and make any necessary adjustments. If the test data cannot be modified or impacted by lifestyle interventions then it is ultimately not helpful. 


Longevity tech products and companies

A range of product offerings fall under the umbrella of longevity technology. While all these products focus on extending not only lifespan but healthspan, they may do so in different ways: preventing or prolonging aging, early detection of age-related conditions, or treatment. 

Here are some of the most prevalent, cutting-edge longevity tech innovations. 


Wearable devices

Wearable devices, like watches, rings, and bands, capture a plethora of data on movement, sleep, and heart rate metrics all of which can be extremely useful indicators of overall health.  

Companies like Garmin, Oura, and Whoop analyze these metrics to help you understand your body in an entirely new way. For example, all three measure heart rate variability (HRV), a popular marker used to track the body’s resiliency and ability to manage stress. Factors like diet, exercise, and sleep are all known to impact HRV.[2] A higher HRV is associated with better adaptation to stress and an overall healthier aging process.[3,4] 

In general, wearable devices are affordable and accessible. Companies offer a variety of price points and ship the product directly to your home. Most of the time, these devices require little setup. However, while they do track and trend a plethora of data, some fail to provide you with actionable insights. Unless a wearable device gives you specific instructions on how to improve upon the metrics it captures (like your heart rate) you’re likely better off putting efforts elsewhere. 


Continuous glucose monitoring

One input that may predict longevity is fasting glucose levels, with lower glucose levels correlated with a longer lifespan. [5] Therefore, incorporating actions that lower glucose levels, like eating more whole grains, taking a probiotic supplement, or adding in resistance training benefits, overall health and aging. [6-8]

Given the strong correlation of fasting glucose levels with aging, longevity-focused tech companies have begun marketing the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGM). Previously used in just people with diabetes, CGMs have risen in popularity due to their ease of access (although they still require a prescription), reasonable price point, and real-time, actionable data. 

Several companies, like Levels, now strive to offer real-time feedback on how diet and lifestyle choices can modify your blood glucose levels and help you live a healthier longer life. However, data on the use of CGMs in people without diabetes is still emerging. 


Biological age calculators 

Chronological age, or age in calendar years, may not be the best metric of aging because we all age at different rates due to a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, stress, and sleep. Biological age, the body’s internal age, is a better representation of the aging process. Biological age reveals how lifestyle choices and behaviors affect the aging process.

To calculate biological age, longevity companies have developed algorithms that take into account inputs like genetics, blood, and questionnaire data to help determine how old you truly are. Objective data like blood or DNA analysis provides a highly personalized experience by accounting for your unique biochemistry. More data inputs mean a more personalized and accurate estimate of biological age. 

There are three main methods of measuring biological age: epigenetic clocks, telomere length, and blood biomarker predictors. All three methods offer highly personalized age calculation, however, they vary in actionable insights.


Epigenetic clocks 

Epigenetics refers to how behaviors and environments alter gene expression. DNA methylation is a type of epigenetics that causes genes to "turn off" by adding certain chemical groups to DNA. DNA methylation can accelerate the rate of aging. However, this switch is not permanent and can be reversed through lifestyle changes. [9] Epigenetic clocks are a method used to measure DNA methylation. [10]

Longevity-focused companies have started to commercialize the Horvath calculator—an algorithm developed by Dr. Steve Horvath that predicts biological age based on DNA methylation. Some companies like Elysium Health, GlycanAge, and True Diagnostic offer epigenetic age prediction tests to consumers. There’s even interest in the insurance industry to incorporate epigenetics into life insurance policies.


Telomere length 

Telomeres are the structures found at the end of our DNA that help protect the DNA from damage. There is a strong relationship between the length of telomeres and aging, with shorter telomeres associated with older age. Luckily, the rate of shortening can be modified by dietary and lifestyle factors. Longevity scientists have found that those with healthier diets and who exercise more frequently tend to have longer telomeres compared with those with a more sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. [11,12]. 

There are several ways to measure telomere length but vary in accuracy, and the majority are not commercially available. PreviMedica is one of the only companies on the market to offer direct-to-consumer testing options. While this analysis provides information on telomere length, the results fail to provide actionable insights on how to alter the rate of attrition.

The testing method used in these over-the-counter tests has proven to be extremely variable in accuracy depending on both the day and the laboratory. [13] The lack of actionable insights combined with variable results makes at-home telomere testing an area needing continued research. 


Blood biomarkers

Blood biomarker analysis is the most well-studied, scientifically validated and currently the most accurate health evaluation tools today. Blood biomarkers are also one of the most actionable markers of aging because they continuously shift in response to changes in nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle choices meaning they can be improved over time by following personalized recommendations. Improvements in blood biomarkers associated with aging result in a lower biological age. 

InsideTracker’s biological age calculator, InnerAge 2.0, has been a revolutionary tool in helping people significantly improve their healthspan. It uses data from blood biomarkers most closely associated with aging together with machine learning to calculate your InnerAge and provide you with specific actions to lower it. 


The future of longevity technology

While tech companies may take different approaches to tackle longevity, they all have one thing in common: you can’t fix what you don’t measure. Rolling back the clock requires knowledge g of how your body changes over time. Knowing the impact that lifestyle habits have on the aging process can help influence your future choices so you can live, look, age, and perform better. Tried and true methods like biomarker testing provide one of the most comprehensive and actionable methods for understanding your unique aging process and roadmap forward. 
















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