For years, Dr. Mark Hyman, a 63-year-old physician and senior advisor at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, has preached longevity strategies and is living proof that people can change their biological age, and the biological age is about 43. .
Functional medicine is really a mindset, not a specialty, he says Penta. It’s basically an operating system for thinking about the body as an integrated whole, as an ecosystem, and what are the root causes of ecosystem disruptions and how to restore healthy ecosystems.
Before becoming a doctor, Hyman was a yoga teacher, studied Buddhism and immersed himself in the world of nutrition at Cornell University. After medical school, he was appointed medical director of Canyon Ranch, one of the country’s leading wellness resorts. Shortly after taking the role, he contracted mercury poisoning from living in China, leading him on his own journey to health. After seeing countless doctors and several failed attempts to properly treat his condition, he was introduced to the functional medicine framework.
Through that, I was able to heal myself and help my patients, and it was a shock to me how powerful it is to address the root causes of chronic disease, says Hyman, who is a 15-time New York Times bestselling author.. It led me to be an evangelist of sorts and really passionate about spreading the word. I realized that there was so much suffering that was so unnecessary that it could be solved if only they had the road map.
Helping people get healthy has always been Hymans’ mission. Today he practices at the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, in addition to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is the founder and president of the Food Repair Campaign, which aims to improve our agricultural system, hosts one of the top wellness podcasts called Doctors of Pharmacy, and is the co-founder of Function Health, a membership-based program that includes over 100 lab tests and uses machine learning to empower patients to take ownership of their health and records. Hyman is also Chief Medical Officer at Six Senses Ibiza’s new RoseBar Longevity Resort, where he occasionally hosts week-long retreats.
Penta sat down with Hyman to discuss the ways he believes we can live longer, the future of healthcare and more.
Fifth: What do you think are some misconceptions about functional medicine?
Mark Hyman: Almost the standard refrain of traditional doctors or academic medicine, which is we practice evidence-based medicine, which is a smokescreen to say you’re not doing what I’m doing, so it’s not evidence-based. But the truth is that there is a lot of evidence.
What are some of the projects you are currently working on that you are excited about?
What I’m most excited about is the democratization of healthcare and making functional medicine affordable and accessible because right now it’s kind of a bottleneck. I co-founded a company called Function Health that gives people access to their own biological data. You need to know what your lab data is. You need to be able to analyze it and find out what’s in it and learn what to do about it. We started this company that allows you to get $15,000 worth of biomarkers for less than $500. It’s a membership model that allows you to check in regularly with very detailed instructions on how to interpret them, what the test means, what you can do with self-care, when you need medical care and how to proceed with solving some of the problems and using machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze this. We’ve had more than 13,000 people become members and now have over 1 million lab data points.
You have often said that you strive to live to be 120 years old and strongly believe that it is possible. Why do you feel strongly that it is possible for people to live past 100?
We have evidence of that. Madam [Jeanne] Smirina lived for 122 years, so it happened at least once. I think getting to 100 is certainly within reach for most people if you first address the underlying causes of dying, which we now know what they are. I write a lot about this in my book Young forever. We can actually understand the mechanisms of what goes wrong as we age, and we can modify those things through lifestyle interventions and different practices and even potentially treatments whether it’s stem cells, regenerative medicine, plasmapheresis or exosomes. But just the basics of diet, exercise and lifestyle have a huge impact.
What are three things you do every day that increase your longevity?
I sleep for eight hours. I exercise and strength train four times a week and take my protein shake in the morning. And I build deep community and friendships. It’s basically what you eat, how much you exercise and the type of exercise, and your social network and your relationships.
What are some scientific advances that excite you about the future of medicine?
He has a deep understanding of how to personalize nutrition and lifestyle and various nutritional supplements. But then there’s a whole raft of other therapies that I mentioned like rapamycin, stem cells, plasmapheresis, exosomes, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, peptides or various supplements that we can use to support our health. There were soon to be 3-D printable organs. They will use nanorobots to deliver medical treatments. I would do gene editing. There’s a lot of stuff coming down the pipe pretty quickly. There’s also something called Yamanaka factor, which isn’t ready for prime time, but it basically allows you to reprogram your stem cells to embryonic stem cells, which will then allow you to regenerate tissue.
With the advent of artificial intelligence, how do you think healthcare will change?
It will change everything. We have seen this convergence of many different scientific discoveries or advances. The first is rethinking medicine with systems biology, network medicine, functional medicine, whatever you want to call it. It’s really understanding the body as a biological network. The second is understanding [genomics] a revolution in this kind of map and diagnosis of what is happening in the body. And the third is the quantified self-motion whether it’s an Oura ring or an Apple Watch, a lot of this is to collect thousands of data points. And then you have big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. And those things happen simultaneously. And they all come together.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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