Anti-Aging Begins at Home
Aging may be an inevitable process but how you age is definitely within your control. Have you ever heard people saying ‘age is just a number’? Well, these are the people who know the secret of aging healthy and staying fit even after they turn 60. Just like them, you too can enjoy your golden years with zeal, free from illness and disability. Wondering how how to jump on the anti-aging bandwagon? Read on:
Say No to Smoking
If you have a habit of smoking, quit it. Smoking can cause premature wrinkles on the face and body. The nicotine in cigarettes narrows the blood vessels present in the skin’s outermost layer. This impairs the flow of blood to the skin. Impaired blood flow means the skin does not get as many nutrients and oxygen as it needs to look and stay healthy. Besides this, other chemicals such as metallo-proteinase, which are induced due to cigarettes, are known to damage collagen & elastin. These are fibers that give the skin its elasticity and strength. When collagen and elastin get damaged because of smoking, the skin begins to wrinkle prematurely and sag.
Limit or Eliminate Alcohol Consumption
No doubt about it – a lifetime of hard drinking takes a toll. Liver damage, dementia and skin aging are all more likely with long-term alcohol abuse. For seniors who are lighter drinkers, though, the message is mixed. Alcohol tolerance is lower, and hangovers last longer with age. Drinking can worsen forgetfulness.
•Increases liver stiffness, which increases your risk of liver cirrhosis. In the film, after one month, the liver stiffness of the binge-drinking brother was increased from 3.9 to 4.9 — a 25 percent increase in liver inflammation that leads to cirrhosis.
The moderate-drinking brother fared nearly as badly. His liver stiffness increased from 3.9 to 4.8, so spreading the drinks out did not make any significant difference in terms of the liver damage caused by 21 units of alcohol per week.
•Diminishes the formation of memories due to ethanol buildup in the brain. This is why you may not remember what you did while you were drunk. Alcohol also causes your hippocampus to shrink, which affects memory and learning.
•Promotes systemic inflammation. The two brothers both had significant increases in five different inflammatory markers, although binge drinking caused a more dramatic rise. Studies have shown even a single binge causes a dramatic rise in inflammation. In other words, your body reacts to alcohol in the same way as it reacts to injury or infection.
•Increases stress on your heart, raising your risk for cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, high blood pressure and stroke.
Blood alcohol levels spike two to three hours AFTER your last drink, which means it may occur in the middle of the night during sleep. This raises your risk of accidental death due to choking on your own vomit and/or suffering cardiac failure or stroke while sleeping.
•Significantly increases endotoxin levels. In other words, alcohol causes gut damage allowing bacteria to escape from your gut into your blood stream.
Put Your Sneakers on and Say Goodbye to a Sedentary Lifestyle
To stay healthy even after retirement, say goodbye to your inactive lifestyle. Engage in physical activities like exercising, walking or yoga. By engaging yourself in such activities you can stay in good shape and health.
Exercising regularly for about 2.5 hours weekly lowers the risk of developing several health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiac problems and high blood pressure. It keeps your heart healthy by maintaining the right balance of blood glucose and cholesterol levels in the body. Also, it helps overcome stress— the number one proxy disease. Studies show that high intensity activities that maintain peak fitness are anti-aging. These exercises give a great boost to HGH (human growth hormone) production which is essential for good health and strength.
Apart from this, physical activities also help boost the feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins. When endorphins are released they interact with the brain receptors that lower stress and pain; and promote happy highs much needed for energized and positive outlooks towards life. And when you’re happy from deep down, it shows on the face.
For those patients looking to slow the aging process, I recommend a modified ketogenic diet. Currently the ketogenic or keto diet is the #1 most googled way of eating and for good reason as it promotes fat loss, improved stamina, increased energy and results is fewer free radicals (which cause oxidative stress and aging and inflammation) than diets based on the USDA’s food pyramid. This diet is full of fresh vegetables, some fruits and at least 2 servings of protein per day. I’m an advocate of a no sugar (no added sugar) and low carbohydrate diet (other than vegetables and fruits) and rich in healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado and animal fats. This diet has been touted for reducing insulin resistance, reversing type 2 diabetes, and stabilizing blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reducing epilepsy, reducing inflammation and improving heart health.
In addition to eating vegetables and fruits, and excluding sugar and refined carbohydrates, include food sources in your diet that are rich in animal-based Omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and vitamin C such as
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, herring, sardine, and salmon
- Beef liver.
- Cheese (unless you have a sensitivity to dairy or have uncontrolled inflammation)
- Egg yolks
- Citrus fruits
- Brocolli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower
Studies show that high vitamin D and C levels help slow down the process of aging and inflammatory responses. The newest studies also show that consuming healthy fats are a big factor in for living a longer and healthy life because it reduces inflammation in the brain, helps with absorption of fat soluble antioxidant vitamins like Vitamin D, E and A and fat metabolism renders twice as much energy and no free radicals. Free radicals are produced from oxidation / metabolism of glucose and cause aging, wrinkles, and the breakdown of the elasticity of skin, ligaments, spinal discs and muscle tendons. Additionally, your body utilizes more antioxidant vitamins and nutrients to combat and neutralize the free radicals and the damage they cause.
Because in this day and age you can’t get everything you need from your foods, I recommend appropriate supplementation.
- Start with a good multivitamin. I keep a one a day multivitamin stocked that is a proprietary recipe blended with 8 strains of (non-refrigerated) probiotics. The probiotics ensure good absorption, and a good multivitamin supports micronutrient levels which in many cases can negate the need for a multiple of stand-alone vitamins.
- Get 1000-4000 mg of Vitamin C per day. For patients with arthritis or autoimmune diseases, I recommend the higher dose daily.
- Maintain blood levels of Vitamin D3 between 60-80 ng/ml. To do this, you must get 10-15 of sunshine daily (without sunscreen as sunscreen filters out the UV rays that prompt your skin to produce Vit D.) and supplement with 2000-6000 IU per day. The Vitamin D3 I provide my patients is also blended with probiotics to improve absorption and utilization. In fact, patients who had previously been taking 10,000IU or more daily of prescription Vitamin D3 and still had low blood levels of Vitamin D3 were switched to my proprietary blend of Vitamin D3 and in just 30 days their blood levels of Vitamin D improved. Low Vitamin D levels are associated with weight gain, depression and even cancer.
- Omega 3 EFAs have been identified as critical to maintaining the cellular membranes of every cell in your body and reduce inflammation.
- Consuming Exogenous ketones and Bone broth are great ways to reduce oxidative stress, feed the soft tissues and collagen fibers to firm and strengthen them which equals fewer wrinkles to start.
- Resveratrol is a nutrient which comes from grape skins. It is a polyphenol with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been widely publicized for its cardiovascular health benefits; however, there are few human studies in patients with atherosclerogenic diseases. Resveratrol activates sirtuins, which are the same proteins activated by caloric restriction and exhibits anti-atherosclerotic effects preventing and reducing arterial stiffness, as well as improving collagen fiber stability.
- Ketones, a by product of fat metabolism, can also be consumed. When they are, they put your body into nutritional ketosis, limiting free radical production and improving fat metabolism for numerous benefits including weight loss, better energy and better sleep – all of which help the body age more gracefully.
- Bone Broth is a tried and true remedy for colds, but also for improving collagen production in the skin and joints. If you want less creaky joints, consider supplementing your diet with bone broth, which you can make yourself or which you can purchase.
Other nutrients can be added to address any deficiencies or specific health issues.
Healthy aging and disease prevention is all about making good lifestyle choices. If you want to learn more approaches to healthy aging, need your Vitamin D levels checked, or want to learn more about how functional medicine can help you gain control over specific health issues, get in touch with me. Just call (239) 243-8735 for a consultation.
Dr. Hoch (pronounced Hoke), is a 1988 Graduate of Peotone High School and a 1990 Graduate of Joliet Junior College. She Received both her B.S. in Human Biology (1991) and her Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) (1993) from The National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL. She also received her graduate and post-graduate certifications in Acupuncture from NCC. This article is copyrighted and may not be copied or duplicated in any manner including printed or electronic media, regardless of whether for a fee or gratis without prior written permission of Dr. Hoch.