Aging is inevitable, but how we age is largely under our control. This is what Greg Macpherson discovered in his time working as a pharmacist. 80% of our health outcomes are the result of what we do, not our genetics. In 2021, he wrote a book that dove into the pathways of aging called Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging: To Live Your Healthiest Life. It is a healthy-aging handbook in which he explored how we age and how to extend what we all want: living healthier. Lifespan extension may happen, but it is the health time that we value most.
This led to the founding of SRW (Science Research Wellness), a company dedicated to exactly that: helping people to live longer and healthier. Through good sleep, meditation, eating a sensible Mediterranean-based diet, exercise, community, and a positive outlook we can have a huge impact on our health. As a trained pharmacist and CEO of a biotech company, he also began to discover that there is significant evidence of the beneficial effects of certain natural ingredients to support long-term health.
Greg is also a walk-the-talk sort of person. He does all the things he is telling us to do: family time, relaxation and meditation, exercise, time in nature, curiosity-driven learning, and eating properly. So often we come across people working in this space who, although they know better, are not living in alignment with their knowledge. Greg is not that guy; he is a living, walking, breathing incarnation of how to live longer and healthier.
How old are you?
Where are you from and where are you based?
I was born in Ōtaki, a small town of 3000 in the lower North Island of New Zealand. I am now based in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
You are a pharmacist, but you have done a lot more than just run a pharmacy. Could you tell us about some of your other endeavors?
Over the last 30 years I have had a philosophy of looking to new technology to see how it can be adapted to pharmacy. This has resulted in a number of startups around online commerce, robotic dispensing services, pharmacy wholesale, and more. A decade ago, I got very interested in the biotech space and was fortunate to be the CEO of a NZ-based biotech company for 7 years. I founded SRW Laboratories 3 years ago and late last year co-founded the Wellness Access Institute with the purpose of stimulating conversation and driving progress towards making wellness accessible to all.
“It’s not just supplements; we also curate the daily habits we can all adopt that will materially impact our healthspan and lifespan”
You recently started a company called Science Research Wellness. Can you tell us more about it and why you started it?
Science Research Wellness (or SRW) is a healthy-aging company. Our purpose is to challenge the way that people think about and experience aging.
As a species, humans are at an inflection point where researchers are making incredible progress on understanding how and why we age at a cellular level and SRW’s goal is to curate that science and make it accessible to everybody.
It’s not just about supplements; we also curate the daily habits we can all adopt that will materially impact our healthspan and lifespan. SRW does all the hard work on research so that our customers don’t have to. It’s an exciting time to be on the planet with so much information coming in daily!!
You wrote a book called Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging: To Live Your Healthiest Life. What are the hallmarks?
Nearly a decade ago, a paper was published in the leading biology journal Cell. This paper outlined 9 areas that drive aging at a cellular level. I got very excited when I read this paper, so much so that I wrote a book about it. Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Aging is essentially a healthy-aging handbook. I translated the deep science in the paper into language that non-medically-trained people can access so that we can all benefit from the learnings and apply them towards living much healthier for much longer. Scientists have since identified additional hallmarks of aging, which I am following closely.
As a health clinician looking at these hallmarks, how are you seeing them as pathways to treatment?
As a pharmacist, when I learnt about the Hallmarks I realized that they weren’t simply areas in our cells that drive aging, they were actually cellular targets that we could focus on to modulate the aging process at the cellular level. And because we have a good understanding of natural ingredients that support health by acting on these pathways it became obvious that we could formulate products to support healthier aging.
“Whatever hand you have been dealt on the gene front, you can always take steps to age better at any time in your life”
How much influence can we have over the aging process?
20% of our aging trajectory is down to our genes and 80% is down to the lifestyles and daily habits that we have. This means that whatever hand you have been dealt on the gene front, you can always take steps to age better at any time in your life. It’s an exciting discovery and means that we can have significant influence on how well we age.
What are some of the things we should be doing, or avoiding doing?
Basic things like regular exercise, having a clean diet with a plant-based slant that follows Mediterranean principles, occasionally skipping a meal or two, avoiding toxins like alcohol and tobacco, prioritizing restorative sleep, building meditation practices into your life, making sure you have a circle of great friends, and being optimistic have a massive impact on your health and longevity.
How did you formulate the Cell series?
I looked at all the pathways involved in the Hallmarks of aging, reviewed natural ingredients that have significant evidence of effect, and identified those that worked synergistically across those pathways. I also looked at the timeframes around the onset of each of the Hallmarks so that you only take what you need when you need. A great example of this is Cel3 which is designed to support the removal of senescent cells, support healthy protein recycling and the correct response to the nutrients we ingest – in short, it’s about healthy cellular housekeeping, repair and maintenance. We are actually very good at all of this until we hit our fifties so, for most people, there is no need to support cellular housekeeping processes until this time.
The Cellular System range has been shown to improve skin, hair, nails, energy levels, healing ability, inflammation and immune response, weight loss (a byproduct of improved cellular response to nutrition), sleep, and promote a general feeling of wellbeing. It’s never too late to start.
Astaxanthin is not something we are familiar with. Why is it in Cel2?
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that comes from algae. It is essentially what algae use for protection against UV damage from the sun. It’s a unique antioxidant because its size and structure mean that it sits perfectly in cell membranes. When you take astaxanthin it protects your cell, your nuclear and your mitochondrial membranes and this is what makes it such an effective antioxidant for your mitochondria – your cellular batteries, supporting their energy-generating function. When combined with the NAD booster that we have in Cel2 you get a synergistic effect that helps support healthy cellular energy.
Have you been able to test their impact?
Yes, we completed an observational trial 2 years ago and showed a reversal in biological age over 6 months. We have extended this to a clinical trial being carried out in Utah. The results will be out around a year from now.
“I exercise most days, either walking, jogging, swimming, or calisthenics”
What are you doing for exercise and recreation?
I’m a huge fan of getting out into nature. I enjoy hiking, fly fishing, and marine fishing. I exercise most days, either walking, jogging, swimming or calisthenics.
What is your day-to-day life in New Zealand like?
I’m usually awake at 5:30 and read for an hour and then get up and exercise. I make breakfast for my wife and I most mornings, except for a couple of days a week where we fast and just have an evening meal. Then it’s into the office or working from home. I try, but don’t always succeed, to make Wednesday free from meetings and focused on keeping up with the developments in the healthy-aging space. Weekends are filled with longer walks, catching up with our three adult children, friends, good food and wine, gardening and rest and relaxation.
How long are you hoping to live?
This is such a great question. With current technology, I plan to push my healthspan out to 90 and to live to 100. However, with new technology developing so quickly, I hope to see these numbers significantly extended. Time, as they say, will tell.
What are your three life non-negotiables?
Every year around New Year I ask myself: How can I help more people with what I know now? This drives a commitment to lifelong learning and thinking on how to translate that learning into actions that benefit people.
Family, friends, and the people I work with are incredibly important to me so I focus on how to make the relationships I am fortunate to have be better over time.
And lastly, making sure that I am looking after myself so that I can effectively do the above for as long as possible.
Receive 20% off SRW Laboratories’ products here with the code AGEIST20.
Main image by Macel Thiele.
The ideas expressed here are solely the opinions of the author and are not researched or verified by AGEIST LLC, or anyone associated with AGEIST LLC. This material should not be construed as medical advice or recommendation, it is for informational use only. We encourage all readers to discuss with your qualified practitioners the relevance of the application of any of these ideas to your life. The recommendations contained herein are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You should always consult your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or stopping any treatment that has been prescribed for you by your physician or other qualified health provider. Please call your doctor or 911 immediately if you think you may have a medical or psychiatric emergency.