As a community pharmacist I’ve spent the last 35 years focused upon helping people to get the best from their medication, after all that’s what we spend all those years at university training to do. But over the last five years something dawned upon me. It seems like half the country is taking statins and the other half is taking anti-depressants (and of course many people take both!). In short we are medicating an entire society and, much as I make my living from it, it has never felt right.
Now having worked a lifetime in the NHS I’m a huge supporter of it, but the trouble is we spend so little on prevention and so much on treatment. Why are we always locking the door after the horse has bolted? After all we’re not really curing anything: stop taking your statins or your blood pressure medication or your anti-diabetic medication and the problem simply comes back…. we are simply masking the symptoms. So I got to thinking what if there’s a single root cause that links many of our problems? Type2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypertension, dementia, cancer etc etc. After all we don’t see these problems on anything like the scale in the “primitive” hunter-gather tribes like the Hadza whose lifestyle hasn’t changed for 40,000 years.
What if our problems are mainly lifestyle-related not genetically pre-determined after all? I was on a journey and a couple of years ago a couple of famous doctors, Aseem Malhotra and Robert Lustig, wrote a superb opinion piece in The Pharmaceutical Journal titled ” The Calorie and Cholesterol Hypotheses are both Dead”.
It argued that we’ve been looking through the wrong end of the telescope, obsessing about cholesterol and how many calories we are eating (rather than the quality of our food) while the truth has been hiding in plain sight: a diet high in sugar, carbs and processed foods is driving all these illnesses.
In fact I’ve recently published a response which might be of interest. You can find it here.
The food industry, which has conducted most of the research into diet obviously wants us to continue eating highly processed food because that’s where it makes most of its profit. And likewise the pharmaceutical industry relies on the multi-trillion-dollar statin market for a substantial part of its income. The food industry is never going to invest in trying to convince us to eat LESS food, anymore than the pharmaceutical industry is going to invest in getting us to take fewer drugs.
And from all of this, over the course of five years, ProLongevity was born!