Dipping your toes into longevity?

Three ways to vet wellness practices.
It feels like almost everywhere you turn these days, there’s some sort of new life hack promising to add youth and vitality to your years. In social media, telemedicine, and in brick and mortar clinics, so-called “longevity experts” are dispensing advice seemingly non-stop:  jump into a cold plunge pool, train in zone 2, eat more protein, undergo biological age testing, supplement your diet with NAD.
Cold plunges in particular have become trendy lately: the best cold plunge baths of 2023 appeared on this year's Sports Illustrated Roundup, and we’ve seen multiple recent claims that an icy plunge will extend your lifespan.
How do we know what to pay attention to, and what’s just noise? In the cacophony of advice – and often conflicting advice – it can be hard to figure out what’s legitimate. 
We help our members look for a couple of important markers before making any leap onto a longevity train.  We follow a couple of key principles in identifying high-quality wellness and longevity care:

First, do no harm.

This is the key tenet of the Hippocratic Oath physicians take in their early days of medical school. So of course we vet longevity practices for our members through this lens. 
Is that practice that’s recommending a cold plunge also screening patients for medical conditions that would preclude this? Are any proposed supplements coming from a high quality, reputable source with transparent labeling processes and in-house R&D? 

Second, screen the source.

Pretty much anyone can call themselves a “longevity expert” and dispense advice. But for our members, we look to a curated network of vetted physician specialists with proven expertise. 
First, we identify physicians who have board certification in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine, and therefore have a deep and validated expertise in baseline human physiology.
And then we go a step further to find subspecialists who have achieved board certification with the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine or the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. We also vet outcomes data, publications, and research engagements to determine quality and expertise. This ensures our members are only taking advice from the most qualified experts at the top of their field.

Finally, check the evidence.

Lots of people have opinions – but what is the actual evidence? Is there a large randomized control trial backing a claim and, if so, how robust is that study? What is the p-value and how do we interpret for statistical significance and personal relevance for each individual circumstance?
In the case of cold plunge pools, most of the most compelling evidence to date is in the form of small studies or animal studies, which have promising findings but still unclear if they can be extrapolated to a larger, and human, population. A frequently-cited larger randomized trial, although with some limits in study design, does show exciting potential for broader applications of a sustained chill, especially for promoting immune function and wellness.
Before we take the plunge, we have to do a deep dive into the details that matter. Not all of the longevity practices out there are worth your time and money, but some have valuable tools to offer. 
Lead physicians at Carte Clinics leverage deep expertise and individualized relationships with each of our members to give personalized, research-backed advice. We balance rigor with open minds, so our clients know they are in the best hands when they jump into something new.
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