World leading medical doctors in the fields of anti-aging and prevention discussed anti-aging strategies at this conference -- Dr. Dave Woynarowski, Dr. Karlis Ullis, Dr. Phillip Miller and Dr. Stephen Coles and me.
The main topic of this panel discussion was how to choose an anti-aging doctor as your personal physician, but as you can see in the video above, we also touch on several other aspects of anti-aging medicine.
This particular panel, hosted by Dr. Stephen Coles, consisted of Dr. Philip Miller, founder and medical director of Los Gatos Longevity Institute, Dr. Karlis Ullis (whose subspecialty is sports medicine), Dr Dave Woynarowski, who specializes in age management medicine, and yours truly.
How Can a Consumer Identify a Qualified Anti-Aging Doctor?
I agree with Dr. Woynarowski’s comment that there is a disconnect between what people want and what they get from their physicians today. Many doctors simply are not able to truly help their patients get well because they’ve been more or less handcuffed by the pharmaceutical industry, which rules this current medical paradigm with an iron fist.
However, the number of doctors beginning to side step the drug paradigm to focus on optimizing health as opposed to simply treating symptoms of disease, is growing.
But how do you, as a consumer, find and select such a doctor?
It may surprise you, but the panel members agree on the point that choosing an anti-aging, wellness doctor is not a matter of simply checking for licenses and board certifications. In some cases certifications will mean little when it comes to finding a suitable doctor that can actually help you live longer.
Checking your doctor’s depth of knowledge and personal philosophy on longevity and wellness may be far better criteria.
Dr. Ullis mentions the importance of finding out your doctor’s level of passion, because someone who is passionate about what they do are quite likely to become an expert at it and do it well.
When it comes to finding a suitable doctor for your needs, your local community is a great place to start. Health food stores, for example, can be excellent sources of word of mouth recommendations.
Beyond that, the Internet has become an invaluable tool.
Social networking sites like Facebook, for example, can help you identify reputable health professionals. There are many Facebook groups available, and the networking opportunities are near limitless!
In July 2009, Facebook had 250 million users. Now they are over 400 million – that’s a lot of potential feedback and word of mouth recommendations!
Has Your Doctor Done His Homework?
That’s an important question, particularly in the field of wellness and longevity where the advances in knowledge are growing daily.
For example, conventional medical doctors have gotten locked into the science of chemistry, and now we realize that it’s really about physics.
Any doctor who ignores the physics of health is really missing the biggest component.
One way to discern your doctor’s level of sophistication would include asking questions. Can she answer them? What’s his personal philosophy on health? Does she walk the talk?
I’ve written about this aspect before in the article, Why It's Important to Know if Your Doctor Exercises. A physician is an important mentor for you, and I would strongly caution everyone to factor this into the selection of your primary care physician.
How is Anti-Aging Medicine Different from Regular Medicine?
Anti-aging medicine is about functional medicine. It’s about maintaining or restoring you to your optimal functional self. It’s not about combating sickness, but rather about optimizing health.
So it’s a different approach that offers different solutions from conventional medicine, which is largely based on the idea that “health” can be achieved by suppressing symptoms of disease with chemicals.
Although I’m not known as an anti-aging doctor per se, my focus is on overall wellness, which naturally forms the base for a long life. The three primary areas of wellness, in my view, consist of:
The last one is the aspect that frequently receives the least amount of attention, both in conventional- and alternative medicine, and this is highly unfortunate.
Even the conservative Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 85 percent of all diseases have an emotional element, but the actual percentage is probably much higher. Other scientists and medical doctors who have left their conventional medical and scientific dogmas behind -- once they saw the proof for themselves -- claim that 100 percent of your current health status is due to your mental and emotional reactions to events that take place during your lifetime.
Fascinating research from the likes of Dr. Bruce Lipton, Gregg Braden, and Richard Bartlett have in the past decade uncovered the immense importance of your emotions on your state of health and genetic expression.
Energy medicine, which includes various forms of energy psychology, is truly 21st Century medicine!
There are many different techniques, but in my experience some of the most effective include the Emotional Freedom Technique/Meridian Tapping Technique (EFT/MTT).
I want to stress that you cannot be optimally healthy if you avoid addressing the emotional component of your health.
Learning how to use energy psychology tools can help you get a better handle on your emotions and buried pain, including the stress from unexpected tragedies.
In severe cases you might not be able to perform these techniques satisfactorily on yourself, in which case I would highly recommend you seek out a trained professional. Here’s a list of certified EFT practitioners across the world, plus helpful advice on how to choose a practitioner that is right for you.
The Role of Antioxidants and Supplements in Anti-Aging
The most widely accepted idea for life extension is the free-radical theory. According to this theory, you begin to “self destruct” as you age. Your DNA becomes damaged beyond your body’s ability to repair and you eventually accumulate enough damage that can’t support life, and consequently you die.
The main agents of this destruction are oxygen free radicals; aggressive chemical compounds created as a byproduct of your natural metabolism. Over a lifetime, this progressive damage accumulates to the point where your body’s basic biochemical processes fail.
This is one of the primary reasons that Coenzyme Q-10 works and why I take the reduced form, ubiquinol, every day.
One of the most destructive processes is protein carbonylation, in which oxygen radicals attacks the carbon-hydrogen bonds in proteins. This process has been implicated as a cause for many age-related diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, chronic renal failure and adult-onset diabetes.
Antioxidants continually combat these free radicals – which is why a diet high in natural antioxidants is so important for your health – but over the years, your biological defense systems eventually begin to suffer from oxidative damage as well and can’t function as effectively. Your state of health suffers as a result, and “age-related ailments” set in.
Glutathione (GSH) is a very important and underutilized antioxidant, according to Dr. Woynarowski.
Increased glutathione levels may actually play a role in stopping telomere shortening, which is one of the most exciting anti-aging discoveries of late. If you missed my previous article on this topic, you can read it here.
As many of you already know, I do not generally advocate using many supplements, and I have reservations against using glutathione supplements. However, you may still be able to reap the health benefits associated with glutathione supplementation by consuming high quality whey protein. Other food sources include free range animal foods and eggs.
Just remember that there are vast differences between whey products. You’ll want to make sure your whey protein is of high quality, from grass-fed cows, and very carefully processed to preserve the fragile amino acid precursors.
I am so convinced by the research on telomeres and glutathione that I take our Miracle Whey protein every morning (typically after my morning exercise program).
Another bridge to longevity is omega-3 fats.
As discussed by the panelists, population-based studies show that the closer you are to a 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, the better your health and longevity. I wrote about this just a couple of days ago, so for more information about the benefits of omega-3 fats, and the difference between the sources of these healthy omega-3’s, please see this link.
Always Remember This Truth When Using Supplements…
It’s important to remember that nutrients that are generally considered “healthy” may not be what you need. Optimal diet and nutrition is highly individual, and is based on your personal biochemistry and other factors such as your current state of health, nutritional deficiencies and so on. And unless the supplement in question is a good fit for your personal biochemistry, it could potentially worsen your health!
Everything you take must be tested specifically for you, and one of the ways to do this is to use a biofeedback-based diagnostic tool such as Autonomic Response Testing (ART), as developed and refined by Dr. Klinghardt.
What You Can Learn from Those Who’ve Lived the Longest
It may seem centenarians have stumbled upon some secret formula of life extension that eludes the rest of us, but in reality, the truth is likely far simpler and more basic than that.
Common denominators among the people who’ve lived the longest include:
- Eating a plant-based diet
- Drinking diuretic-type teas on a regular basis
- Living in areas that promote regular physical activity, such as daily walking as the main means of getting around
- Living in societies where friends and family encourage a healthy, natural, active lifestyle
- Having effective strategies for coping with stress, such as prayer, meditation, strong social networks, and napping daily
In fact, being able to effectively cope with stress, it turns out, is one of the MAJOR common denominators for those who live long, healthy lives.
One of the proposed reasons for this strong link is that stress promotes inflammation, so being able to reduce the inflammatory response in your body can have a significant impact on your overall health. This is also believed to be one of the major reasons why so many centenarians appear to be more or less immune to brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
How to Live Longer, Starting Today
Regulating your insulin pathways, and all the other important lifestyle changes I advocate, would clearly increase not only the quantity of your years but the quality of them as well.
Proper nutrition; feeding your body the fuel it needs based on your individual biochemistry rather than a one-size-fits-all regimen, exercise, and maintaining emotional well-being should never be underestimated in the anti-aging quest.
Rather than sitting idly by, waiting for some “magic pill” that will stop or even reverse the aging process, you can take control of your health, and hence increase your lifespan, right NOW.
What Can You do NOW to Maximize Your Lifespan?
Of all the healthy lifestyle strategies I know of that can have a significant impact on your longevity, normalizing your insulin and leptin levels is probably the most important. Elevated insulin levels are one of your key physical influences that contribute to rapid aging, and there is no question that optimizing your insulin levels is an absolute necessity if you want to slow down your aging process.
Consuming sugar and grains will increase your insulin level, which is the equivalent of slamming your foot on your aging accelerator. There’s simply no more potent way to accelerate aging than sticking to a diet full of sugar and grains.
Here are the rest of my top “anti-aging” recommendations:
Learn how to effectively cope with stress – As discussed at the beginning of this article, effective coping mechanisms is a major longevity-promoting factor as stress has a direct impact on inflammation, which in turn underlies many of the chronic diseases that kill people prematurely every day.
Meditation, prayer, physical activity and exercise are all viable options that can help you maintain emotional and mental equilibrium. I also strongly believe in using energy psychology tools such as the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT) to address deeper, oftentimes hidden emotional problems.
Eat a healthy diet based on your nutritional type – My nutrition plan, based on natural whole foods, is your first step toward increasing your chances of living a longer, healthier life. The heart of my program is the elimination, or at the very least, drastic reduction of grains and sugar in your diet, which is a far simpler way of restricting your calorie intake naturally, without suffering.
Take your animal based omega-3 fats – Krill or fish oil is a strong factor in helping people live longer, and many experts believe that it is likely the predominant reason why the Japanese are the longest lived race on the planet.
Get your antioxidants from foods – Antioxidants have been shown to have anti-aging effects. Good sources include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, beans, and artichokes.
Use coconut oil – Another excellent anti-aging food is coconut oil. In fact, it’s doubly beneficial because it can be both eaten and applied directly to your skin. Coconut oil can be used in place of other oils, margarine, butter, or shortening, and can be used for all your cooking needs. It can help you lose weight, or maintain your already good weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, and lower your cholesterol, among other things.
Get your resveratrol naturally – Resveratrol is one of the forerunners in the anti-aging pill race, but more than likely, by the time they’ve manipulated it into a synthetic pill, it won’t be healthy for you. Although resveratrol is the antioxidant found in red wine, I can’t recommend drinking wine in the hopes of extending your life because alcohol is a neurotoxin that can poison your brain and harm your body’s delicate hormonal balance. Instead, get your resveratrol from natural sources, such as whole grape skins and seeds, raspberries, mulberries, and peanuts.
Make sure you have a solid exercise program-- Studies repeatedly show that regular, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can help prevent or delay your onset of hypertension, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and the falls that lead to hip fracture. Although a lifetime of regular exercise is ideal, it’s never too late to start. It’s been shown that even individuals in their 70’s can substantially increase both strength and endurance with exercise.
Avoid as many chemicals, toxins, and pollutants as possible – This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides, and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with non-toxic alternatives.
Avoid pharmaceutical drugs – Pharmaceutical drugs kill thousands of people prematurely every year – as an expected side effect of the action of the drug. And, if you adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you most likely will never need any of them in the first place.
There is no quick fix when it comes to life extension – no pill and no magic fountain – which makes finding a down-to-earth doctor who is well-versed in the facets that make up a healthy lifestyle all the more important.
While there are certainly some exceptions -- some centenarians do little in the way of healthy eating or getting exercise -- for most of us, living a healthy life well into our 100’s will take some dedication to making healthy lifestyle changes. Since your doctor is in many ways your primary health mentor, your choice of doctor could be a life changing decision, for better or worse.