“I have a smartphone; you also have a smartphone. So, why do we put a cover on the smartphone? Why do we update our smartphones all the time?” asks Professor Andrea Maier, co-founder of Chi Longevity.
We’re in deep discussion about the significance of age reversal plans, a holistic service that Chi Longevity provides, supported by a scientific-based proactive approach to ageing to guide individuals towards a younger, healthier self.
“And why do we have updates on our smartphones to fix issues? Yes, to make it run better, faster, and more optimised. We do the same here at Chi, with our bodies,” the 45-year-old elaborates.
Age in numbers
Ageing, once regarded as an inevitable and irreversible process, is now being challenged by groundbreaking advancements in medical science. As the quest for a longer, healthier, and more vibrant life intensifies, a new industry has emerged, offering hope to those in executive positions who wish to defy the passage of time.
In fact, Professor Maier and her colleagues in the field were working on getting ageing recognised as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Statistics reveal the staggering growth and potential of the age reversal industry, a testament to the increasing demand for such services. According to market research, the global anti-ageing market was valued at over USD$59.1 billion (S$78 billion) in 2021, with a projected forecast of USD$88.1 billion by 2028. This exponential growth demonstrates the willingness of individuals to invest in cutting-edge technologies and therapies that promise to rejuvenate their bodies, enhance their cognitive abilities, and extend their lifespans.
As the world grapples with the shifting paradigm of ageing, these clinics and centres, such as Chi Longevity, position themselves at the forefront of a revolution, ushering in a new era where age is not a barrier but rather a malleable concept waiting to be challenged and conquered.
Apart from helming Chi Longevity, Professor Maier is a highly decorated name in her field. She’s the Oon Chiew Seng Professor in Medicine and Functional Ageing at National University of Singapore (NUS) as well as a member of the Technical Advisory Group for Measurement, Monitoring and Evaluation of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021 – 2030). And just as her accolades are certainly impressive, so is the thorough testing that each client undergoes at the centre.
Starting with the ‘Discovery’ phase, clients begin their age reversal journey with a phone call. “We have a 15-minute introductory call, and once they say ‘yes, this is for me’, we send out questionnaires roughly two weeks before (their first in-person appointment). People come fasted because we have to look at the blood and metabolism. Then, we serve them food,” she begins to detail.
“And then we do all the physical testing, followed by cognitive testing. We also, of course, measure the brain quite intensively — it’s 30 or 45 minutes of cognitive and psychological testing. After that, there’s an assessment of their lifestyle, which includes their diet.”
The entire process takes about four to five hours, topped off by a friendly reminder to use monitoring devices such as watches and rings so that the centre can track their clients’ physical activity and sleep. After six weeks of collecting data, clients return to the centre for the ‘Reveal’ phase, where every statistic and piece of data recorded is broken down into digestible information to address concerns.
“We discuss all the information regarding genetics, epigenetics, metabolomics, microbiomes, any viruses or bacteria they may have, cognition, psychology, social factors, and habits,” Professor Maier discloses. Perusing through all the gathered information and data results in a highly tailored treatment and intervention plan that lasts from four to six months, depending on what the client requires to lower their biological age.
Prolonging quality of life
While each client’s personalised plan might suggest changes in their lifestyle and habits, Professor Maier recognises that not everyone’s keen on compromising certain aspects of their lives. “It’s really an approach. Of course, it’s decision-making that we do together — and the decisions we make are informed,” she explains.
Her team of medical professionals lays out the best outcome should clients stick to the recommended plan, but they also highlight possible outcomes if they wish to stick to their current lifestyle. “It’s not that you have to be vegan or vegetarian, be on the treadmill five times a week, and abstain from alcohol. It’s really all about finding the right balance, as our clients make informed decisions about their body and health.”
Given the immaculate attention to detail and testing, each tailored plan comes at a handsome cost — starting at S$15,000.
The bigger picture sees Chi Longevity as a starting point for how to manage ageing. Professor Maier’s driving force for setting up the centre stems from her years of research about how humans age and how to not only improve their lives but also possibly extend their lifespan. “I would say in the last five years, we’ve made huge advances in the field that we can now measure biological age — the age of how old you really are. That doesn’t mean that you’re the same age as in your passport; that’s the chronological age,” she clarifies.
She also adds that her idea to set up an evidence-based longevity clinic has been about 15 years in the making, since she was in the Netherlands. However, she felt the time wasn’t ripe to bring it to consumers as the research wasn’t nearly as accomplished as now. “I’m an internal medicine specialist and geriatrician by training, so, for me, it’s very important that I only prescribe to individuals either diagnostics to measure something or to intervene if something is proven to work. I need to know that things work, and that’s what I mean by evidence-based,” she expands further.
The centre sees a range of clients, ranging from those in their later years to younger individuals who might want to optimise their health when it comes to competitive sports. Alternatively, there are those who simply want a marker of health to know where they stand in comparison to other individuals of the same chronological age.
Ultimately, the goal of Chi Longevity is to optimise health at this moment in time. “It’s not that we’re reaching for a goal, like to be 3,000 or 5,000 years old or to be immortal,” Professor Maier candidly states. “That’s not the goal. What we achieve is optimising health right now so you can live a more joyful life — with better quality — and do the things you want to do now, not in 3,000 years.”