While some people brag their grandfather and mother lived into their ninth decade of life, and therefore they can inherently expect to live long, it is more likely their grandparents either habitually practiced a healthy lifestyle, whether conscious of it or not, and/or benefited from advancements in public hygiene (clean food and water), improvements in nutrition (nutrient food fortification), or more recently added a few years to the end of their lives by access to modern medicines and other interventions.
In fact, the genetic makeup of individuals did not change much over centuries but rather the epigenetic control of protein making by genes called gene expression or gene silencing (on or off gene switches) controlled by environmental factors.
Namely, the greater the biological stress, such as food deprivation (but not starvation), exposure to low-dose radiation (example: radium springs), chosen exposure to heat stress (example: sauna), or molecular mimics of the same accomplished via red wine consumption, extended the years at the end of life compared to advances in public hygiene that increased survival at the beginning of life (reduced infant mortality).
This is born out by the fact that 74% of deaths in Italy occurred before age 60 in 1872, 56% before age 60 in 1901, 25% before age 60 in 1951 and less than 10% before age 60 in 2011.
Medical treatment of cardiovascular diseases and cancer modestly prolonged the end of life by an estimated 5 years and 2 years respectively during the past decade.
Clearly, all this serves as evidence that it is not the inherited arrangement of your genes you were born with, that only represents ~2% of all disease, but rather the programming of your genes by chosen lifestyle or environmental factors that prolongs the human healthspan and lifespan.
By obvious analysis provided herein, the longevity revolution began many decades ago. However, in recent times the medicalization of humans has prolonged lifespan but not necessarily healthspan. The financial incentives to keep patients in chronic disease reliant upon medical care may be a factor. What has resulted is a public that fears old age knowing it may mean enduring more years in a debilitated dependent state (mentally feeble, physically limited and bearing the indignity of loss of urinary control).
Generally speaking, even in developed countries where food is abundant and public hygiene is adequate, inherited genetics obviously cannot completely overcome personal lifestyle choices such as smoking (takes 10 years off of life) and abusing alcohol.
The modern experience is engineered food choices (the misdirected food pyramid that emphasized the consumption of carbohydrates and sugars over fats and oils), which removed biological signals to limit food consumption (leptin and leptin sensitivity), in particular via consumption of artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup as obesogens, to create a massive programmed obesity epidemic that was calculated to generate more patients to treat.
Albeit, there were cultural and religious practices that promoted longevity (fasting, modern wine drinking, blood letting) that were abandoned over time and were later described in modern scientific lingo as calorie restriction and calorie restriction mimicry and phlebotomy to reduce iron overload.
In other words, superlongevity was always within reach without reliance upon a physician or medication as exemplified by Noah who both fasted and drank wine and was reported to have lived 950 years.
This creates grave questions about the self-proclaimed progress of modern medicine toward the development of an anti-aging pill when at least some individuals in the distant past achieved superlongevity via lifestyle practices alone.
Basically, the pursuit of long life has been a “back to the future” endeavor. The wisdom of the past has been abandoned for the expensive technology of today that can only be accessed via the modern temples of doctor’s offices and hospitals.
The masses await a nod from modern medicine in the form of an anti-aging pill when fasting and exposure to other low-dose biological stressors (heat from sauna, radiation from radon water springs) though not as exacting, have certainly been in play throughout human history.
Superlongevity is not a pursuit that is exclusive to the modern age. Indeed, researchers now concede, maybe 25% of the variability in the human lifespan is inherited (fixed) and the rest is modifiable, even in the latter years of life. [Immunity & Ageing April 5, 2016]
In fact, there is a commercial incentive to keep the masses in the dark over how to access and activate certain longevity pathways so modern medicine can capitalize on this at a time and under terms of its own choosing.
Today longevity must be politically and commercially controlled. Any true breakthroughs will be shunned. This leaves longevity seekers to proceed on a largely unguided pathway to longer, healthier life. Longevinarians must unravel the mysteries of why we age on their own.
Given that many people are not independent thinkers and few make any choices in life on their own without reliance and direction from doctors, lawyers, teachers or government (the so-called “sheeple”), it is unlikely superlongevity will gain any traction in the modern age, and if it does, it will be squelched.