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The road to Ageless Living

Michael Forbes combines science, cutting-edge technology and evidence-based medicine in integrated medical practice
Michael Forbes

As a practising pharmacist in Victoria, Michael Forbes worked with clients across the age and general wellness spectrum. For the most part, his early work was conducted within the confines of the traditional health care system, aimed more commonly at treating symptoms rather than providing preventative health solutions.

Always curious about science and innovation, he quickly realized there were more effective and personalized ways of helping people, even as their bodies were aging or, in some cases, being attacked by disease.

“I try to find enhanced ways to help more patients feel better—that’s where my curiosity has led me,” he says during one of his “rejuvenating” walks through Stanley Park in Vancouver, near where he spends much of his time these days.

As a young pharmacist in the mid-2000s he began compounding medications—combining multiple drugs—as a way to provide a more tailored treatment for his clients. In the years since, his research into the field of longevity medicine and the use of plant-based medicines has fuelled his company’s health services expansion into the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and Alberta.

While the Forbes Pharmacy brand is familiar and trusted around Greater Victoria, Michael gradually shifted his daily focus from being in the pharmacy to overseeing his wide range of business enterprises.

His passion for helping people feel better longer and get more out of life, however, continues to be a primary driver in his entrepreneurial pursuits.

Michael’s investigations over the years have included conversations with leading specialists in internal medicine, complex care, aesthetics and other areas, and ultimately led him to develop his own concept of being one’s best at any age. The idea was to create an integrated medical practice that focuses on age management, using cutting-edge, evidence-based medicine and technology. The philosophy is central to the Ageless Living wellness centres he’s opened in Victoria, Langley and Kelowna.

The emerging science of longevity medicine, a practice being increasingly embraced by general practitioners and specialists—and invested in heavily by some of the world’s best-known tech billionaires—developed out of a realization that aging is the greatest risk factor for most acute and chronic diseases. It looks for ways to interrupt that typical pattern.

The people who come to his Ageless Living clinics aren’t necessarily looking to slow the aging process, Michael says, but are motivated to feel better or address some problem that is preventing them from living a healthy, enjoyable life.

“Usually, there’s something there, whether it’s lack of libido or hot flashes or insomnia or just feeling low energy. Say they had a genetic test done and they’re worried about their risk of cancer,” he says. “It’s more about not just slowing aging per se, but what’s in it for them to feel better and to reduce what’s important to them with their risk. It’s very personalized medicine; everybody is different.”

One example of the services the clinic offers, hormone testing aims to source out imbalances that can lead to everything from wrinkles, weight gain or low libido to mood swings, stress and fatigue.

Women enduring menopause have tried hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but Michael says the increased risk of cancer found with that treatment led researchers to find better ways of correcting patients’ hormone imbalances. Today the testing provides a road map for the creation of bio-identical hormone restoration and optimization options.

As Michael learned more about the ways technology can enhance personal health care, he took a leap into services such as “biohacking.” All three Ageless Living clinics feature a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, infrared sauna and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), treatments that aim to optimize the body’s internal healing properties.

Michael admittedly doesn’t dip his toe in the water of new opportunities he finds exciting or innovative—he goes in deep. Such is the case with his involvement and investment in the cannabis industry, which ranges from producers to retailers. He was an early adopter even before the sale and use of cannabis became fully legal in Canada; for example, he studied how plant-based treatments could help people address everything from chronic pain to anxiety and insomnia.

“Cannabis was controversial at the time, but when you’re on the edge of new therapies, it can be scary for those who aren’t used to change,” he says, noting some people cautioned him against going all in.

Michael saw a major movement in the pharmaceutical industry toward manufacturing drugs that tried to mimic what nature was already providing. The way he sees it, the human brain and central nervous system have evolved to the point where plant-based treatments are the “perfect fit.”

“There’s a huge benefit, in some cases, for plant medicine over pharmaceuticals,” he says. “So, as a curious person, I really loved the science around that and that’s what got me intrigued by the potential of cannabis to help more people.”

When it comes to his investments in longevity medicine and cannabis, Michael considers himself a “curious and flexible explorer,” willing to take risks when the science backs it up.

“You’ve gotta be okay to wait and be patient. I always look at it like ‘How long can you stay in the swamp before rising out of it like a phoenix?’ You’ve got to get comfortable in the swamp, because it can be a long time.”

He’s excited about the intersection of technology and health care and sees the future use of AI as a way to further enhance personalized treatments.

“I can’t express enough how passionate I am about longevity medicine and the AI interface that I’m working on with Ageless Living and how many more lives that we can help,” he says.

“It’s a fascinating time we’re in.”