The conversation around improving longevity is rapidly moving from preclinical data to accessible lifestyle interventions. Progress in this research suggests that our focus should be not on increasing lifespan, but healthspan — the number of years we spend in good health. In this discussion we now realize that the immune system plays a critical role.
Altered immune function is a well-described characteristic of aging, and may provide us with more helpful information as to our future health than typical measurements of chronological age. We now appreciate that immunosenescence — the aging of the immune system — is correlated with a variety of worse health outcomes.
All of this suggests that if we can improve immune function, we may be able to positively influence healthspan. And this may be something we can do through our lifestyle choices. Food choices and exercise habits may prove valid methods of accomplishing this goal. For example, bioactive phytonutrients like quercetin and fisetin appear to have beneficial effects on aspects of immune aging. Exercise may similarly have a positive effect on elements of immune aging.
For decades we’ve focused on conditions like depression as the result of neurotransmitter imbalance