Wednesday, 3 June 2015

‘It’s Health Span Stupid!’ 

Especially when young, it is easy to forget that it is not merely how long one lives – as significant as that is – it is health-span and the quality of life that can go with it, that holds the key to general wellbeing. As my grandmother often said, ‘Health comes first, then everything else!’ Humans are indeed living long, but what good is it living way into our 100s (and longer) without being physically and mentally fit and healthy?
Before now, the route to health and fitness was a balanced diet and exercise. A good night’s sleep; not too stressful a job; a great hobby/interest/pursuit; and to top it all, the sweet love of your life and for many, children.

After now, it is going to be different. Very different! The list of breakthroughs in thinking about and managing ones health; as well as the strings of emerging technologies and therapies that affect human health condition is to say the least, mind boggling, as you will read below. Starting with pharmafoods that prevent illness, and even cure; then mastering life-extension dynamics and related remedies; after that comes age reversal therapies, not to far out in the future; and lastly cognitive enhancement strategies and technologies that build and maintain a stronger, fitter, smarter mind.

For the newly initiated here, what you read below might take a little loosening of the mind. As Dr Arroway said, ‘Look, all I’m asking is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture.’ Question is, how bigger picture do you want?

So-Called Superfoods: Heap Big Medicine Has Folk Tongue!

There is alot a noise in the health and fitness press and general marketing hoopla about Superfoods. You know, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pomegranate, prepacked Smoothies, and that green slimy guck in glass called Kelp. But are there health benefits? Sure. So-called superfoods may have an unusually high content of antioxidants, vitamins, or other nutrients. But this is relative, and I have to say, ultimatly so marginal that if you stick to commodity fruits such as Apples, Limes, Bananas, Oranges, and the like, you will just about wind up with the same benefits in term of you regular health management. Food, it appears, is more than the sum of its chemical parts, therefore treating it as collections of single nutrients to be mixed and matched, rather than as the complex biological system it is, simply may not work.

For instance, Cancer Research UK reports, ‘The term “superfood” is really just a marketing tool, with little scientific basis to it.’ For the most part, the benefit is close to placebo; no more than a mental tonic. Especially so, if you rely on so-called superfoods to reduce the risk or cure an illness. Because they cannot substitute for a generally healthy and balanced diet; and in the end, appropriate medical pharma and therapy.

So-called superfoods alone really have little advantaged benefits on your physiology and general physical health. There have, indeed, been plenty of clinical trials through replicated, randomised, placebo-controlled tests on humans, that confirm specific health benefits from specific diets. But they are merely benefits, but not total solutions. And that is the fix!

One particular case, is a six month clinical trial that took place at Cambridge University Hospitals; among 203 men with prostate cancer, which demonstrated that the level of PSA (a protein discharged by the prostate gland indicating cancer) of those who took a capsule containing essence of pomegranate, green tea, turmeric and broccoli were 63 percent less PSA than those who took the placebo. The main point is, and this is often difficult to tease out, the superfoods elixir is not a cure; and the trials does not so much as indicate whether the formula merely suppressed the PSA secretion. And that is a danger that would-be superfooders fall into.

Pharmaceutical Foods.

But now for something completely differentiated! Welcome to the world of ‘pharmafoods.’ Clinical foods, or medical foods, that are specifically formulated or engineered to meet certain nutritional or medical requirements of people with specific and often preventable illnesses. Terms like ‘nutraceuticals,’ ‘farmaceuticals,’ ‘pharmafoods,and functionalfoods, are going to be increasingly common in the public mindset. The food industry has learned that selling unprocessed or minimally processed food is far less profitable than modifying existing food items by enhancing elements they already have in them (like vitamins and minerals) or by adding new elements to them.
Image result for nutraceuticals
There is not a lot of money to be made selling oranges, somewhat more money to be made selling orange juice, but even more to be made selling orange juice that claims to provide the recommended daily allowance of calcium. And this, right now, is a GigaBusiness! Chemical, Genomic and Medical corporations like DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis, Abbott, and Johnson & Johnson; are now in both competition and collaboration with the likes of food giants Nestlé, Danone, and Campbell. From Nestlé Professional’s website.

A study conducted last year suggests that corporate management of consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical companies has already internalized the science and is moving toward more-cooperative agreements, joint ventures and other forms of collaboration. “Though pharmaceuticals and food companies approached the nutraceutical market with different strategies,” wrote the report’s coauthor Frank Siedlok of Durham Business School in the UK, “the recent move towards personalized medicine and nutrition may act as a platform that will bring the two industries even closer together.”

‘According to Packaged Facts, which dubbed it the “phood” market, the entire category plugs into health and wellness as a top criterion driving consumer food choices. It includes a full spectrum of foods and beverages that “provide a positive pharmaceutical benefit beyond basic nutrition… Functional foods may provide benefits in everything from aiding digestion and improving memory to boosting immunity, relieving stress and slowing the signs of aging. And consumer awareness of all these issues is growing.’

Now, and increasing in the future, you can pay your doctor, or pay your farmer and supermarket for your health assurance, mainatence or cure. Nestlé, for one, is pioneering a new industry between food and pharma; the criss-crossing between the foods and pharmaceutical industries.

Image result for Nestlé nutraceuticalTo get the ball rolling, Nestlé have placed very big bets on nutraceutical and pharmafood futures; with the creation of a Nestlé Health Science business unit. Nestlé claim that personalised health science and nutrition will ultimately prevent, improve and treat acute and chronic medical conditions.

One of Nestlé Health Science’s recent acquisitions was CM&D Pharma Ltd; a British firm that develops special pharmafood products, primarily for patients with kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer. CM&D was part of the portfolio of Inventages Group, an independent venture capital fund that Nestlé invests in.

Its leading product, Fostrap, is a medical food in the form of chewing gum for kidney patients who have an elevated level of phosphate in the blood (hyperphosphataemia). Others include Eviendep, a mix made from an extract of milk thistle and dietary fiber, which may slow the progression of colon polyps; and Recoclix, a synthetic extract derived from egg yolk, that relieves pain associated with Crohn's disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

Over the next decade, Nestlé plan to invest ~$510 million in pharmafoods. Hence, a tradiational foods company now competing with the major pharmaceuticals. Another of Nestle's business is the Health Care Nutrition business – much of which was bought in 2007 from Novartis AG for $2.5 billion – already with sales of $2.4 billion in 2012. Medical Nutrition, formerly part of the Novartis's business's consumer health division, is the number two global supplier of intestinal nutrition, oral nutrition and medical devices used to provide essential nutrients to patients with special medical conditions.

Further, Nestlé have made a number of strategic acquisitions, including Vitaflo who are at the forefront of innovative specialised clinical nutrition products for Metabolic Disorders, Nutrition Support and specific conditions such as Kidney Disease.

DuPont Protein Technologies, for example, has joined with General Mills to develop and market new products with DuPont’s soy product—Solae phenyl isothiocyanate protein—by using General Mills’ production facilities. Merck KGaA has entered into a cooperative agreement with food company Clover Corporation to globally market and distribute products with Merck’s omega-3 ingredient HiDHA. 

This sort of trend will continue, and if it does, it suggests the emergence of an entirely new—and big—industry sector in the years to come. GigaMarket$ will emerge!

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