The desire to defy age is as ancient as human history, but in the past 10 years a multibillion-dollar industry has sprung up in America promising decades of extra life and good health beyond your 100th birthday.
However, a new book has revealed a disturbing lack of safety regulation, outrageous unproved medical claims, risky products that could cause serious health problems, and a celebrity-dominated marketing machine promising an extended youth – much of it with little science to back it up.
Arlene Weintraub, who spent four years researching Selling the Fountain of Youth, says the anti-ageing industry has grown from virtually nothing to a staggering $88bn in 10 years, with few products and procedures regulated in the same way as normal pharmaceuticals and medical cures. Much of it is based on replacing the body's hormones as people grow older. But it also includes extensive use of products such as Botox, vitamin supplements and dietary fads. All have become hugely popular, but there is little proof that they work – or are 100% safe.
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