There is a lot of talk in the functional medicine community and Naturopathic community about “Anti-Aging”. The term elicits visions of hormone replacement creams, B-vitamin shots for energy, fancy detox regimens, aesthetic procedures and the like. While all of these treatments are indeed part of any good anti-aging doctor’s arsenal, there are some basics that need to be covered for any of these treatments to “take”. With the following information, any human can turn back the hands of time, all on their own, with very little cost to them. No expensive doctor’s bills, no expensive compounded hormones, no shelves of supplements/pills/creams. Also to note, without doing the following, no protocol will work.
There is no magic pill/cream/shot, there is good old fashioned WORK. This is the foundation upon which all effective treatments are built.
1) Sugar is Satan
I’ve said it countless times, sugar is satan. While this post is not the place to go into the biochemical hell that sugar puts your body through, I will tell you this. It ages you. Sugar literally AGES you, with what are known as AGEs: Advanced Glycation End Products. Simply speaking, the sugar you ingest ends up as little sugary “flags” on your cells. What happens when you heat sugar in a pan? It turns to caramel. Well, your body is warm and it’s a little hotbed of inflammation when you are eating poorly. So your body turns these little sugary flags into caramel as well. That’s right, the sugars caramelize onto your cellular membrane. Not a healthy deal for a cell, to be caramelized. It ages you fast. It also contributes to a host of other woes.
2) Insulin is its Minions
If there is anything you take home from this post it is to keep your insulin low. That pearl alone may save your life. Why? Because if Sugar is Satan, Insulin is its minions. The quick and dirty here is simple: you eat too much sugar, your blood sugars rise. Insulin is basically the key that unlocks the gate on your cells to allow that blood sugar to enter the cell and function as fuel for the cell. Well, when you bombard the body with sugar the body pumps out lots and lots of insulin to keep up with this shuttling system. At some point, the cells get overloaded and they say, “Whoa whoa here, too much, too much. Keep all that sugar out, we have enough fuel for now. We are going to decommission some of these gates and they won’t work any longer, less access should fix the problem”. It’s like the One Direction concert I took my daughter to last summer, way too many screaming girls! To contain the masses in an organized fashion there were only about 5 gates that we could go through to get inside the Rose Bowl. It was chaos and the result was a whole lot of screaming girls on the outside of the Rose Bowl when the concert had started. When insulin elevates to a certain level the body cleaves off some of the cell’s gates, or receptors, and all that blood sugar (glucose) remains outside of the cell in the blood stream. Some of this glucose then locks onto the cell membrane and caramelizes.
The body keeps pumping out insulin in hopes of getting all that damaging glucose inside the cells which leads to bigger issues. Elevated insulin also works like a bouncer at the Fat Cell Nightclub. All that excess fuel (glucose) gets re-directed into the fat cells where they swell and swell. To make matters worse, they are converted into types of fatty acids that the body CANNOT get out of the cell and burn as fuel. They just remain locked up. Insulin literally locks the fat inside the cells, so no matter how much one diets and exercises, if that insulin remains high that fat will remain locked up inside the fat cells and the person will remain fat. This whole cycle is called “Insulin Resistance” or Metabolic Syndrome.
Insulin is also anabolic, meaning it contributes to generation of tissues. This is useful if insulin is kept in at a healthy level. For everyone else, namely the bulk of America who have insulin resistance, these high anabolic levels of insulin are contributing to cancer growth. Yes, that’s right, the bulk of Americans have insulin resistance. Do you have a gut on you or a fat belly? You have insulin resistance. Can’t shed that belly no matter how hard you try? It’s because of high insulin. Been told that you have Metabolic Syndrome? You have insulin resistance. They really should rename it to Diabetes, because that is what it is. Diabetes is labeled as such when certain lab markers hit the magic number, but for all intents and purposes, it’s diabetes long before the magic number hits the mark.
Have I scared you yet? It should scare you. Put the sugar down now.
3) Chronic Cardio is OUT, Strength Training is IN.
I’m sure many of you are going to comment below and try to argue this with me, but physiology does not lie. Chronic Cardio, ie running a lot, is pro-inflammatory. It is what it is. At a certain point, it leads to body-wide oxidation. It elevates your cortisol and ignites the inflammatory cascade. Inflammation degrades your cells/tissues. I’m not making this up. Is a little cardio good, I’m sure it is.
I do know one thing, increasing your lean skeletal muscle mass is ALWAYS a big win physiologically. Studies have shown a few things that lean muscle mass is good for. Well-trained skeletal muscle actually secretes anti-inflammatory chemicals as well as acts as an organ of elimination (it cleans up your toxic body waste). Well-trained skeletal muscle also secretes its own set of hormones like estrogens and testosterones (and balanced hormones are the KEY to anti-aging). Strength training increases your testosterone and human growth hormone levels significantly. Strength training also makes your strong so that your body can endure more hell, and let’s face it, life can be pretty rough and stressful at times. It makes you a functional human and better at many things that you wouldn’t guess, like running fast, climbing, pushing, pulling, etc. All good things when you get down to it.
What does running and cycling long distances improve? Yes, it improves cardiovascular output. It also trains you to run further, and that’s it. It does not build muscle (in fact it can chew up muscle mass over time). So if you run a lot, you get better at running a lot. It has also been shown to tank out your testosterone levels as well as screw up your blood sugars. I’ve seen more skinny-fat diabetic runners and cyclist than you would believe. Labs don’t lie. Not a ton of benefit for a whole lot of work in my opinion. Please research this further before you comment below and blast me for writing this.
Muscle Eats Fat! Muscle also is the fastest way to sop up all that excess blood sugar and more muscles mean more cellular receptors and decreased insulin. Win-win-win!
Public Service Announcement to Women! Lifting weights will not make you bulky. Say it 10 times in a row. If you feel that you are becoming bulky or have the tendency to become bulky, check your carb intake. If you load up on carbs and lift, you may appear bulkier. If you eat as I suggest below you will not. Lifting weights will make you curvy, strong and damn sexy. It will also increase your libido and give you stamina between the sheets.
4) Sleep is non-negotiable.
Science has shown that your brain detoxes while you sleep (literally cleans out the garbage), your human growth hormone levels increase with proper sleep, your cells renew, the list goes on. It’s also very well known that lack of sleep or disrupted sleep or even cutting 30 minutes out of your sleep cycle contributes to obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. We need to sleep and that is that. 7-8 hours a night in a pitch black room.
Oh for God’s sake people, drink your water! I’m so tired of dealing with zombie humans who are walking around emotionally labile with sunken eyes and shrunken, dehydrated brains and painful joints all because they are chronically dehydrated. They complain to me or try to argue with me or spin out with anxiety on me or be super crabby, trying to name reasons and thinking something is wrong. I’ll tell you what is wrong, they are dehydrated and a dehydrated brain is a crabby, anxious brain. We have patients drink a gallon of water the day before and a gallon the day of a Platelet Rich Plasma procedure so that I can harvest the most PRP possible from them. Many come in on the day of the procedure reporting that their painful joints don’t hurt so badly that day. Cartilage can’t be nice and squishy without proper hydration, of course they feel better hydrated! Dried out, dehydrated cartilage is much less resistant to wear and tear, it starts to degrade and become damaged. Common sense right? But so often overlooked. Drink water, drink it until your urine is straw-colored yellow and your eyes are not longer sunken in. Wrinkles become far more prominent when you look like Spongebob when he’s been out of water for too long and your eyes are sunken in.
6) Adequate Protein, Fats, Leafy Greens and Colorful Veggies/Berries
Read the book It Starts with Food. Forget fancy terms and fancy doctors trying to sell you on a blueprint. Food is food and food that looks like exactly where it came from is best. No time to explain it all here, but the bottom line is you want a balanced diet low in inflammatory foods (inflammation leads to cellular destruction and sugared up cells, remember?) and high in nutritional content. Eat foods with the most bang for their buck nutritionally. Food is fuel, that’s all. It can be tasty and fun and emotional and all that, but the bottom line is that it’s fuel. Would you put crappy gasoline into your Porsche? Your body is a very expensive car, fuel it as such. Eat to fuel that beautiful lean muscle mass you are working so hard to build. Eat healthfully so that your skin glows and you look damn sexy. Get rid of the sugar and alcohol and processed crap food, just get it out of here. It has no place in your body. Think before you eat, consider everything that you put into that sports car.
“Health is a crown that the healthy wear on their heads, but only the sick can see it” -Imam Shafi’i
That’s it. Ignore these 5 things and no amount of fancy anti-aging protocols, pills or treatments will make much of a dent, regardless of what guru is trying to sell it to you. Embrace and execute on these points and you can be your own anti-aging doctor. This is the foundation from which all other good treatments are built. Without it no other treatments will be effective.
© Dr. Tyna Moore and www.corewellnesspdx.com, 2014-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dr. Tyna Moore and www.corewellnesspdx.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.