Do You Want Healthspan or Lifespan: Improving Your Quality of Life - Dr. Connie Jeon

Hi I’m Dr. Connie Jeon, and with May being National Lupus month, I’ve been communicating with my fellow Lupies all over the word in the social media space. I am really disheartened by the sheer lack of how-to support available for Lupus patients.

They are riddled with so many questions regarding their physical and cognitive decline and quality of life, along with their inability to function normally.  Most of the women having issues are younger, between ages 12-45.

So I began thinking about the relationship between inflammation, which is the mother of all disease process and the aging process.

At the end of the day, whether you’re sick or healthy, we all have our ideal functional aspirations.  While some of you would be overjoyed with a walk in the park without pain, others want to run a marathon or a triathlon.

We come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, and have different characteristic traits. We also have various experiences, backgrounds, demographics, and toxic exposures depending on which part of the world you emerged.

So it’s no wonder that we all have different thresholds and manifestations of symptoms and tolerances. This is due to our unique idiosyncratic differences in responses as well as genetic makeup.

I was amazed to see the wide range of responses and tolerances of others living with Lupus.

From proactive to passive, almost apathetic individuals, I’ve become intrigued because those proactive Lupus patients, like myself, tended to be high functioning and resilient vs the passive and apathetic counterparts, who were at home in bed.

While I realize the symptoms and flares of the disease can have such deleterious effects on your livelihood, I could not help but to delve further to find some research on how to help everyone.

In the process of my research, I came across some scientific longevity studies that spiked my interest so much. I feel it is a corollary that can help so many of you, while helping my Lupies in the context of longevity and health.

Healthspan vs Longevity

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always said that I’d rather live with a higher “quality of life” than to have longevity.

I don’t want to just simply “exist” in bed when my physical and cognitive function limits my quality of life.

My standard tends to be a bit higher, meaning I love to push my body both physically and intellectually.  I’d want nothing less than that.

Because of my dire need for higher quality of life, I work really hard to maintain what I define my quality of life to be.

I found that many of my fellow Lupies didn’t feel this way.

Some were barely getting by and accepted this way of life as their new identity.  I was deeply saddened by it but learned it’s not my place to change them.

Triage Theory

Many of you know I consider micronutrient deficiency or inadequacy as one of the contributors to various disease processes.

We need micronutrients for various biomechanical interactions to occur in our bodies.

Dr. Ames theorized that micronutrient deficiencies over time can have a cumulative effect resulting in poor aging.

Lack of micronutrients over time will force our bodies to strategically ration for survival, which means it’ll use what it can for short term survival, at the expense of DNA damage long term.

Age Related Disease

A good example of Ames’ triage theory is when your body is too acidic, it’ll pull the calcium out of your bones to neutralize the blood acidity.

The long term consequence of this is that over time, as a person ages, they develop osteoporosis in their 4th or 5th decade of life.

Today we know that 60% of the United States population is deficient in vitamin K and 40% receive inadequate magnesium.

We need magnesium for over 320 enzymatic reactions in the body. If we’re deficient, we’ll make do short term, but whatever magnesium we have will be shunted to use for short term gain.

However, this results in suboptimal DNA repair, which may result in cancer and certain age related disease for this reason.

Micronutrient deficiency causes insidious damage everyday, meaning it creates cumulative age related disease for this reason.

So getting sufficient micronutrients, contained in vegetables and fruits, is key in staying healthy as you age, as it will help extend healthspan vs. lifespan.

Remember, it’s harder to reverse chronic disease, but easier to reverse acute symptoms, so start taking proactive action today.

Now I want to delve into an interesting topic.

What is Hormesis?

Hormesis is a physiological phenomenon health benefit that results from exposure to low doses of modality, such as heat or cold, that is otherwise toxic or lethal when given at high doses.

This is because there are overlapping pathways that result in resilience to the exposure, which is a beneficial adaptation for growing stronger.

Why is this interesting to me?

Most of you who know me know I was “addicted” to Bikram yoga for many years.  It was hard during the practice, but once I became acclimated to the heat, I began to experience an exhilarating healthy feeling after class.

And being Korean, I always loved hot steamy saunas by nature.

I’m used to spas where I would go between hot to cold, back and forth, and it had such an energizing effect on me that I would frequent healthy spas that offer such modalities.

Being in the sauna and/or practicing hot yoga raises the heart rate and provides a physiological hormetic effect by increasing heat shock protein.

The heat shock proteins facilitate regeneration and healing in our cells and help to mitigate cellular damage.

Understanding the physiological evidence validates my healthy feeling, so I plan to offer Hot Yoga at my center for those benefits alone.

Time Restricted Eating

What is it?

It is constraining our eating during the day to align with our circadian rhythm.  This means that we eat between 8-11 hours and fast for 13-16 hours per day.

Ideally you would break fast upon waking by consuming anything other than water.  Even lemon water and black coffee would be breaking a fast.

So for example, you wake up and break fast by drinking lemon water at 8 am. You can eat throughout the day until 6pm, and then after that, you won’t eat or drink anything but water.

Time restricted eating does so much good to the body.

Understand that when our gut is full of food, in order to process and digest this food, our body needs to not only expend so much energy, but it also subjects our cells to oxidation and free radical damage.

Since sleep is the ideal time for our bodies to calibrate and regenerate, it’s logical that when our gut is resting, our body is then shunting all efforts to this purpose.

And because our circadian rhythm regulates thousands of genes, even the bacteria in our gut is busy at work doing wonders for our bodies when we are fast asleep.

Due to artificial lighting and people working in offices around the clock, eating time is later and people are eating crappy foods because of this imbalance.

This pattern needs to be validated, but it seems very intuitive to me that this would be bad.  Night time cravings, unless you’re pregnant, never amount to anything good in my opinion.

Research is also promising

Time restricted eating not only protects us from metabolic disease and obesity, but an 11 hour restriction reduced risk of breast cancer potentially inasmuch as 36% in women.

Animal studies produced amazing benefits:  decreased fat, increased muscle, improved mitochondrial function, protection from obesity and mild age related fatty liver, improved overall favorable gene expression.

Earlier meal times also improve sleep, weight loss, and most importantly, decreased inflammation.

Best Practices

Our life circumstances and practicalities vary of course.  So I recommend you start your clock as soon as you wake up by starting your day with lemon water.

For example, if you drink your lemon water at 8 am, then your clock for eating stops at 6-7 pm.

Unless social obligations make it difficult, it’s in your best interest to start practicing this.  I believe in being flexible with your life and applying the Pareto Principle to everything that we do.

Pareto Principle

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the efforts.

To start though, I always advise to eat right 80% of the time, and you can cheat 20% of the time.

For those of you who like to exercise in the morning, if you practice this, another side benefit is increased beta hydroxy butyrate.

If you remember from my blog in the past, these are beneficial ketones which provide amazing energy and endurance, so you’ll notice a boost in endurance on the mornings where you’ve practiced at least a 12 hour fast the night prior.

Smart Supplementation

I believe in supplementation because it’s hard to get all necessary nutrients from foods these days.  So I highly recommend the following:

  • Multivitamins
  • Probiotics
  • Minerals
  • Fish Oil

And because such supplements are not regulated by the FDA, the claims are not always true.

As in the case of fish oil, if the oil is contaminated with mercury, you’ll never know, nor are they required to let you know if it contains fillers and toxins.

For this reason, ALWAYS make sure that you use supplements from reputable sources which have the following marks of purity and testing.

You should look for supplements which state NSF Certified Dietary Supplements Verified by USP.

If you want what I choose, please comment and/or e-mail at and we will provide you with a special code to order from our trusted vendor.

As always please subscribe and share.

I look forward to your comments, see you next week!

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