Anti-Aging/Functional Medicine

One of the most popular areas of medicine today is anti-aging medicine, or as it is often referred to, functional HORMONE medicine. Anti-aging/functional medicine attempts to keep individuals healthy and functioning regardless of their age. Most of us want to live as long as we possibly can. However, do we want to add years to our life, or add life to our years? Life is an accumulation of thousands of events and decisions. The small decisions that we make every hour of every day can impact the quality of our life for years to come. We often fail to reflect on how these decisions will impact that life when we are 80. As Americans, we plan for so many occurrences in life. But, few of us plan for our inevitable aging.

So how do we assess aging? Many researchers are taking a look at the length of our telomeres, the strands at the end of chromosomes, to correlate our chronological age with our biological age. Others are looking at our genetics and the role our genes play in our aging. Still others are looking at our cellular mitochondria, which serve as little energy factories. Some researchers believe that a major cause of aging is a reduction in mitochondrial function. However, all medical researchers agree that factors based on our decision making, such as our diet, our lifestyle, our level of exercise, our stress and our weight, create the greatest influence on our aging processes.

The list of supplements that can be called upon to support “anti-aging” can vary greatly depending upon the authority. But the overall goal of these supplements is the prevention of disease and the maintenance of health. Preventing a medical condition is far easier than treating one. Anti-aging/functional medicine attempts to prevent the underlying causes of aging, and thereby, alleviate or reduce age-related illness.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a must for anti-aging. These fatty acids act as anti-inflammatory agents in our body, thereby protecting our joints, brain, skin, respiratory tract, and intestinal tract, and help to develop proper cell wall structure in our cells. One nutrient that is very critical in cellular energy production and mitochondrial support is Coenzyme Q-10, which supports both cardiovascular health and mental health. Antioxidants are nutrients which have been proven especially valuable in minimizing cellular damage and cellular aging. As an antioxidant, Alpha Lipoic Acid assists in the regulation of blood glucose, and the support of liver function and detoxification. EGCg, another powerful antioxidant found in green tea, protects against the free radicals that attack collagen and helps to keep skin firm and healthy. Finally, Vitamin D serves as a critical nutrient in our bodies in the areas of immune health, bone density support, and cancer prevention.

For some individuals the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and sagging skin is the most worrisome sign of aging. Oral supplement combinations such as Hair, Skin & Nails (RF), and CollaSkin Plus can go a long way to help encourage a beautiful outside, by first nutritionally protecting the inside from the ravages of time.

Bone Health

 

It is estimated that worldwide, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men over the age of 50 suffer from the bone-weakening disease known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis occurs when there is an imbalance between bone reabsorption (bone breakdown) and bone formation. Bone is a living tissue that undergoes constant transformation. At any given moment, there are between 1-10 million sites where small segments of old bone are being broken down (reabsorbed) and new bone is being laid down to replace it. When more bone is being destroyed than new bone is being laid down, bone loss occurs.

Prescription drug therapy may be appropriate for those individuals with advanced bone loss. But before starting potentially dangerous drug therapy, patients need to be educated on the role proper nutrition plays in ensuring optimal bone health. There are at least 18 key bone-building nutrients essential for bone health. These include vitamins D, E, C, B-12, K, Folic Acid, and minerals including boron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. By knowing the key nutrients for proper bone health, the majority of osteoporosis cases could be prevented. Good bone health is also dependent upon regular weight-bearing exercise, along with healthy habits such as not smoking, moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption, and minimal sugar consumption, especially sugared soft drinks.

Nearly 99% of the 1-1.5 kilograms of calcium in the body is located within the skeletal system as a complex with phosphorous known as hydroxyapatite. Microcrystalline Hydroxyapatite Concentrate (MCHC) is a complex crystalline compound composed primarily of calcium, phosphorous, organic factors, bone-derived growth factors and a full spectrum of trace minerals that naturally comprise healthy bone. MCHC, as featured in Calcium & Magnesium Citrates, has long been recognized as an optimal source of bone-building nutrients and is combined with magnesium, another essential mineral for bone health.

The trace mineral strontium has been used to help maintain strong bone tensile strength. While strontium supports strong bones, it competes with calcium in uptake through the calcium transport system. So while taking strontium, adequate calcium should be maintained as well and the two products, strontium and calcium should not be taken at the same time.

It is well documented that low levels of Vitamin K are directly related to reduced bone mineral density and increased risk for osteoporotic fractures in women. Combination products like Vitamin A, D3 & K can help provide vital bone health nutrients in a single product, or individual products such as Vitamin K2 or Vitamin D3 5,000 IU can be used. Vitamin D3 has been recognized as absolutely essential in maintaining proper calcium levels in the body and in supporting healthy bone composition.

Cardiovascular Support

A diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, usually hypertension (high blood pressure) or dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol), often marks the beginning of multiple medication therapy. A multiple medication regimen not only can be difficult and expensive to maintain, but quite often brings on drug-induced nutrient depletions, due to the actions of the medications used. With the potential problems of unaddressed cardiovascular disease and the adverse effects of the medications used to treat this disease, many individuals attempt to address their cardiovascular issues with nutritional options.

However, before looking at nutritional supplements, we need to look at lifestyle changes. Poor diets with too much hydrogenated fat from processed fats, or too little essential fatty acids, can bring about cardiovascular disease. Daily exercise is essential to help protect the heart and prevent cardiovascular disease. Minimizing stress and good weight management are also critical to good heart health. Once cardiovascular disease has been diagnosed, lifestyle and diet changes are absolutely critical to minimize medication use.

When it comes to lowering lipid fractions, there are many nutritional products that have proven helpful. Berberine,which is found in our product Berberine Support, is an herbal product that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels comparable to statin drugs, and also to lower blood sugar and insulin levels comparable to the prescription drug metformin. Red Yeast Rice has a long history of being helpful for lowering high cholesterol. Magnesium has been shown to decrease lipid factors. When magnesium is taken with coenzyme Q10, a heart protectant, it has also been shown to improve heart stamina. Finally, healthy omega-3 oils such as Omega-3 Fish Oil, Enteric Coated, High Potency help to offset harmful fats and oils, and decrease overall body inflammation.

Looking at the heart vessels and vasculature in the body, a number of products have been found to help keep blood vessels open, and minimize hypertension caused by small, occluded vessels. Hawthorn berry extract has been recognized for centuries as a potent cardiovascular tonic, improving the function of the heart and circulatory system. A new product to our line, Neo40 Pro has been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in individuals. By enhancing nitric oxide levels, blood flow and oxygen delivery are enhanced, blood vessels are relaxed, and high blood pressure is lowered.

When addressing cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, it may require multiple nutritional supplements to thoroughly manage these problems. Our nutritional team is here to help you keep a happy, healthy heart.

Children’s Supplements

Nowhere are the adverse effects of the Standard American Diet (SAD) more visible than in the current nutritional status of American children. Poor nutritional intake beginning in the womb, followed by a diet of highly processed, refined, high fat, high sugar, low fiber “foods” has led to a generation of children who are often nutritionally deficient in essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. As parents, we need to remember that children are not just little adults. They are developing human beings. And as developing human beings, we know that nutritional deficiencies occurring in the early stages of that development will create long-term health issues later in life.

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the most abundant essential fatty acid in the brain, and is essential for normal, healthy brain structure and function. Studies in babies and children demonstrate that higher DHA levels help to support learning and cognitive function. Similar results are seen in adolescents, where DHA also supports higher learning skills. Given the poor, high-fat diet which most children consume, DHA supplementation in the range of 400-600 mg per day should be recommended for most children. Omega-3 Liquid is a pleasant tasting, concentrated source of DHA, providing 500 mg of DHA per teaspoonful.

This same Standard American Diet often leads to poor gastrointestinal (GI) and poor immune health. When this situation is accompanied by the usage of antibiotics, a common practice in children, it can result in a compromised situation for the essential healthy bacteria normally found in the gut. The healthy bacteria in the gut are essential for suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria, helping to support the digestion and absorption of essential nutrients, and helping to support healthy immune function. The bacterial strains found in Children’s Acidophilus can help provide support for immune health. And the unique formulation found in Aller Calm Complex can help to support children who suffer from chronic and seasonal allergy and asthma challenges.

Children’s Chewable Vitamin with Acidophilus is a solid recommendation for daily nutritional support. It is a pleasant tasting, chewable multiple vitamin/mineral formulation of nutrients shown to be essential for the healthy development of children. Lactobacillus acidophilus is also included in the product to help support GI and immune health. Vitamin C supports numerous biological functions in the body, not the least of which is immune function. Vitamin C 500 mg Orange Chewable helps to support immune function in children and protect them during times of stress or exposure to colds and flu.

A sound, protein-based start for the day has been shown to enhance learning and alertness of children in school. A breakfast “smoothie” consisting of Perfect Protein Powder along with whole foods, such as berries and greens, and added supplements such as Omega-3 Liquid, is a much healthier beginning for the day than our typical carbohydrate-laden breakfasts. These smoothies are an excellent means to provide proper nutrition so that children can do their best.

Cognitive Function

The increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is a concern shared by most Americans. The process of aging is challenging enough without fear of declining cognitive function. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown. But what is definitely known is that the development of Alzheimer’s disease begins decades before actual symptoms are present. Inflammation, the development of plaque in the brain, decreased numbers of neurotransmitters, and decreased circulation are all cited as causative agents leading to the onset of Alzheimer’s. A diet of processed or fast foods with too much sugar and saturated fat can clog our blood vessels, impair our circulation, and create the foundation for impaired cognitive function, as well as diabetes. Lifestyles that consist of high levels of stress and constant multitasking have been shown to enhance the loss of cognitive function. A good exercise program, along with adequate sleep, can keep our mind oxygenated and functioning. Staying active mentally, but not multitasking, can also be of value when attempting to prevent cognitive decline. The inability to focus and remember is not limited to Alzheimer’s patients solely. Similar impairment can also be found in adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and in individuals who tend to have too much work on their plate, such as college students and those attempting to juggle both the challenges of a job and the challenges of school.

Some nutritional supplements have proven beneficial in the prevention of brain deterioration and the support of brain health. The essential fatty acids found in fish oil, particularly DHA, provide an anti-inflammatory activity in the brain tissue and help to protect the covering of the brain cells. Acetyl-l-carnitine has demonstrated a valuable role in protecting cognitive function. It is neuroprotective, acts as an antioxidant, and helps to increase the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly the main neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Phosphatidyl serine is another supplement that has demonstrated value in preserving brain function by its ability to minimize the formation of amyloid plaque, a major contributor to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The best option for supporting cognitive function is to utilize a synergistic combination of nutrients working through various pathways for the total enhancement of mental clarity, the improvement in memory retention and the development of attention. Nutritional supplements such as bacopa leaf extract, DMAE, ginkgo leaf extract and vinpocetine have a long history of being beneficial in supporting and maintaining cognitive function. Taken along with acetyl-l-carnitine, DHA, and phosphatidyl serine, they can prove helpful for individuals attempting to improve cognitive function, memory, and attention.

Cognitive decline begins decades before cognitive loss is actually noted. But taking the steps now to help maintain cognitive function will be rewarded in the years to come.