Any Baby Boomer that grew up watching the original “Star Trek” TV show knows where the title of this article came from – it was the Vulcan greeting offered by Leonard Nimoy as “Mr. Spock” aboard the Starship Enterprise. Many Boomers took the sentiment to heart and many of them prospered, particularly those named Steve – Steve Jobs, Steve Martin, Steve Carrell, Steve Harvey, and Steve Spielberg come to mind. Heck, Jeff Bezos (although not a Steve) became the richest man in the world.
Now that we are at retirement age, the generation that
spawned the hippies is keenly focused on living out long lives. Two questions
fit into that hope for Boomers: (a) Where to live? and (b) How to fully enjoy
it? The first has mostly to do with location and the second mostly revolves
Being somewhat nomadic, Americans born from the mid-1940s to 1964 (the year Bezos was born) are not averse to retiring outside of the United States. That might be smart, because according to the CIA World Factbook, the USA only ranks #43 on the list of countries for best Life Expectancy at Birth. The Top Ten locales are (with expected average ages as of 2017):
Many of these places seem idyllic at first glance, such as
Andorra, a postage stamp country of only 86,000 people lodged between France
and Spain. Guernsey is an island in the English Channel off the coast of
Normandy. It has just over 63,000 residents, while the microstate of San Marino,
situated on the Italian peninsula on the northeastern side, has an even smaller
population of 33,000+. Most Baby Boomers know about Monaco because movie star
Grace Kelly married the ruler of the country, Prince Rainier III, in April 1956,
but with an area of less than one square mile, it is the second-smallest
country in the world after The Vatican.
Most of the Top Ten countries with long-lived populations
are relatively small, and Singapore and Iceland are also surrounded by water
like Guernsey, but Switzerland is completely land-locked. So, what’s the
determining factor on advanced age in these places?
Do they all have magical, fairy tale like living conditions?
That would be attractive to Boomer kids, who grew up watching movies in
theaters and on TV about dreamlike places where people lived impossibly long
lives, from the city of Shangri-La in “Lost Horizon” (1937) to a village locked
in time in the Scottish Highlands in “Brigadoon” (1954) to the lost African
city of Kuma in “She” (1965).
The funny thing is, stories like that include a price to be
paid if the person enjoying a seemingly immortal life leaves or disrupts existence
in a long-life land. In “Lost Horizon” a beautiful young lady who departs the haven
of Shangri-La shrinks into an old woman and dies once away from that magical
valley. Her fate is reminiscent of the Irish legend of the lovers Oisín and the fairy woman Niamh, who
go to live Tír na nÓg (“the
land of the young”). After
what seems only three years to him, Oisín returns to Ireland riding Niahm’s magic white horse, but 300 years have passed
there, so when Oisín falls off the horse and his feet touch the ground, just as
Niahm warned the 300 years away catch up to him and he becomes old and
Speaking of older people,
according to the ranking site Niche.com, 38 out of 50 of the best places to
retire in the United States are in Florida, with Pelican Bay at the top.
Arizona has 6 locations on the list, South Carolina has 2, while Delaware, Kentucky,
New York, and Texas have only 1 each. Texas gets a consolation prize from
Niche, however, in that 9 out of 10 places with the Lowest Cost of Living in
America are in that state.
For retiring Baby Boomers, even
if they find a magic and affordable location in which to enjoy their golden
years, the question becomes how to live out their days in the best manner
Biological immortality is a term that refers to a state of
existence in which the rate of mortality from senescence (the gradual deterioration
of functional characteristics) has been arrested. Still, a biologically
immortal living being can still die from other means, like injury or disease.
For example, depending on what you believe, a vampire can die via a stake
through the heart, or exposure to sunlight, or a sprinkling with a liberal dose
of holy water. The popularity of these undead beings in literature, movies, and
TV shows over the years may have something to do with a subconscious desire to
live forever, despite the distasteful idea of sucking out other people’s blood
to stay alive, which is only popular in politics and on Wall Street.
Of course, you could say bloodsuckers also abound in places
that feature gambling, like Monaco, Macau, and Hong Kong, but it’s doubtful
that an enjoyable game of baccarat will do much to extend your life.
In any event, let’s say you successfully toss the dice and relocate
to your perfect golden years home. Will you find that the locale extends
longevity? Possibly. Let’s take Japan. They’re famous for samurai warriors, who
were often long-lived (as long as they survived warfare). In February 2019, The
Telegraph reported that “Japanese plant eaten by Samurai may hold key to
slowing down ageing.” The article was about a plant known in Japan as ashitaba,
“a staple of Samurai diets for millennia.” A compound in the plant known as DMC
(dichlorodiphenyl methyl carbinol), when given to fruit flies and worms,
extended their lifespan by 20 percent and was also shown to prevent senescence
in human cells. More research was planned to see if DMC can be used to prevent
age-related decline in humans. It’s probably best not to go on an ashitaba diet,
however, unless positive and conclusive scientific evidence is discovered.
Japan is also known for sushi and sake (rice wine). That’s
seafood and alcohol, which are both important in the diets of residents of many
of the countries in the Top Ten above. Does sake forestall aging? Well, it’s
worth noting that the diet of Li Ching-Yuen, a Chinese
herbalist and martial artist reputed to
have lived either 197 or 256 years, supposedly consisted of five mountain-grown
herbs and rice wine.
Don’t discount moderate use of alcohol. It was mentioned in
a study of people over 90 started in 2003 that looked at habits that led to
longer life, and in 2018 by researchers at the Clinic for Aging Research and
Education in Laguna Woods, California who focused on the food, activities, and
lifestyles of those living longer. As reported
in U.S. News and World Report, study results of more than 1,600
nonagenarians showed that people over S90 who drank two glasses of beer or wine
a day improved their odds of living longer than those who abstained by about 18
Let’s get back to seafood. Tuna, salmon, and anchovies have
high amounts of niacin, an important element in maintaining youth in cells.
Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help
combat inflammation, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. Most people
interested in nutrition know the value of omega-3’s, but niacin is perhaps more
NMN, a powerful compound known scientifically as
nicotinamide mononucleotide, derives from vitamin B3 (niacin). Enzymes in the
human body use NMN to generate another compound, nicotinamide adenine
dinucleotide (NAD) which is crucial to body health. If levels of NAD+ – the
best of two forms of NAD – are optimum, this can reverse many symptoms
associated with chronic disease and aging. Studies have shown that NMN helps
with bone density, energy levels, eye function, better skeletal tissue, and
other health benefits.
Early NMN studies focused on mice revealed that with proper
levels of the compound, youthful genes can be switched on and older genes
switched off, apparently reversing or at least arresting aging. Human trials
have promised similar results. The idea of switching on good genes and
switching off bad ones is not science-fiction. The work of University of
Tsukuba (Japan) Professor Emeritus Kazuo Murakami, whose achievements in
biotechnology are acknowledged around the world, has proven this, as documented
in his book The
Divine Code of Life and the book and documentary Switch.
So you might be thinking, hmm… how about resveratrol, the
chemical in red wine that seems to be a powerful therapeutic option for anti-aging? If you put red wine and
seafood together, isn’t that part of the popular Mediterranean diet? After all, San Marino and Monaco are on the Mediterranean.
Yes, but there is another factor. Turkey, chicken, beef, and pork are high in
niacin, as are peanuts, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, edamame (big in Japan), avocado,
tomato, green peas, mushrooms, avocado, whole wheat, and brown rice. Niacin is
huge with regard to the health of human cellular structure.
The problem is that as we age, we can’t get adequate niacin
from foods to cause creation of NMN in our cells to combat aging. Natural
production of the compound has been revealed to be almost non-existent in males
by the age of 80, and not much better for female octogenarians. This
contributes to a condition known as sarcopenia – muscles shriveling and
growing weaker with age – that can be slowed down with regular exercise, but
capillaries, our tiniest blood vessels, wither and die as the years increase.
Reduced blood flow means less oxygen to organs and tissues,
leading to the build-up of toxins and atrophy of blood vessels. This is not a
movie that Baby Boomers or anyone else wants to watch.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that, with the
discovery of NMN and other age-arresting substances, youth may be able to be restored
in humans, wherever they are living. In an article entitled “Rewinding the
Clock” the Harvard Medical School reported the following results of a study:
“[T]he team gave NMN over two months to a group of mice
that were 20 months old—the rough equivalent of 70 in human years. NMN
treatment restored the number of blood capillaries and capillary density to
those seen in younger mice. Blood flow to the muscles also increased and was significantly
higher than blood supply to the muscles seen in same-age mice that didn’t
“The most striking effect,
however, emerged in the aging mice’s ability to exercise. These animals showed
between 56 and 80 percent greater exercise capacity, compared with untreated
mice the study showed. The NMN-treated animals managed to run 430 meters, or
about 1,400 feet, on average, compared with 240 meters, or 780 feet, on
average, for their untreated peers.”
And let’s not forget, caloric
restriction has also been proven to extend longevity, so no matter what foods you ingest, moderation will
likely mean longer life.
There are many NMN supplements
currently on the market with endless argument about which is best, and prices are
all over the charts. How do you choose? Purity might be a good index. Mirai Lab
in Japan offers a 60-capsule bottle of 98% pure NMN for almost $1100, while
Herbalmax Reinvigorator (the product I’m taking) has a 99% pure enhanced NMN
product for one-third that amount. Naturally, there are other products of
lesser concentration and lower prices, but just like picking the optimum place
in which to retire, it’s best to do a lot of research before making a move.
A good environment, a moderate diet
of high NAD+ friendly food, adequate regular exercise, and a happy and grateful
attitude toward your fellow humans may mean you will live a century or more,
given the continuing developments in aging studies. Hopefully, whether you live
in a location rated highly for Life Expectancy at Birth or not, you’ll
spend your golden years in your own personal Shangri-La.
We’ve reviewed several aspects of living long here, but what
about the ultimate prosperity? Most people who have lived a long time would
point out one thing – it’s your own good health.