Views:2 Author:Natalia Publish Time: 2015-12-15 Origin:Nutraceuticals World
By Mark Menolascino, MD, Meno Clinic Center for Advanced Medicine
The term “Anti-Aging” has always bothered me, and I prefer to think of what I do as “Optimal Aging.” I tell my clients that my goal is not to help them live to 120 years old, but to stay vital and active so they are skiing with their grandkids at 80. Optimal aging is easily achievable for most people if they make smart choices. Lifestyle factors are paramount to that, including targeted, high quality nutraceuticals consumed daily.
The only proven technique to extend life is calorie restriction. Denham Harman, PhD, the discoverer of the free radical has helped to demonstrate that every time we eat, the caloric consumption generates free radicals. These nasty molecules must be squelched by antioxidants and other oxidative stress pathways to reduce the damage to DNA. The fuzzy little ends of our chromosomes are called telomeres, and we now think that aging is tied to the shortening of these key components of our code of life.
These caps protect from disease, DNA damage and telomere damage. Several nutrients can protect them, including carotenoids, vitamins C, D and E, omega-3s and resveratrol. Aside from starving yourself on a calorie-restricted diet, what are the options to help ensure being on the slopes with the family well into your 80s? As with everything in the Functional Medicine world it all starts with the gut and the liver. The microbiome of the gut is key to how people process and absorb nutrients from foods and vitamins.
The partner to the gut is the liver and there is an amazing connection called the enterohepatic recirculation, which helps the body process chemicals in the liver and prepare it for non-toxic excretion in the gut. How do you protect this pathway? Probiotics and the prebiotics that feed them, along with glutamine, seem to be a great way to bolster gut function—of course removing any food intolerances first. I am consistently amazed how clients come in for a specific health issue, then we fix the gut and support the liver and three other issues are also solved. For the liver, milk thistle/silymarin is the key, and quality is king.
Anyone can take these easy gut-liver supporters and experience positive results with no interactions or side effects. N-acetyl cysteine and glutathione are more potent for liver health in certain conditions, and the devil is in the details; for glutathione, you need a liposomal form for adequate absorption. Other antioxidants that support mitochondrial health are the next frontier. Coenzyme Q10 provides impressive health results, but again details matter. After about age 40, regular CoQ10 does not work sufficiently, and patients need the ubiquinone version for best efficacy. What about joint health? If consumers wait until they are 80 years old they have lost most of their cartilage and glucosamine can’t work as effectively. Of course, high quality omega-3 supplements are good for just about everything in the body including joints, heart and brain health.
The real key to optimal aging relates to the interaction of genes and nutrients. Yes, we are able to map out the genome, however, what has really made a significant difference has been single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are nutritional “triggers” used to target nutraceuticals and activate good genes and their biochemical pathways. The MTHFR gene is by far the most impressive example. We can provide women who have mood disorders with a professional grade methyl folate supplement they need to overcome this type of genetic deficiency, which provides an 800% increased benefit over medication. Our goal though, is not simply to replace medicines with vitamins.
As Andrew Weil, director of the Integrative Medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona has frequently said, “If all we do is replace medications with a handful of supplements we are not really being successful,” which is an approach I agree with. Based on USDA data in 2005, 59% of Americans are deficient in magnesium and up to a third of all Americans are deficient in most nutrients, mainly based on our fast food lifestyle.
Dr. Mark Menolascino, MD, MS, ABIHM, ABAARM, IFMCP is a key medical opinion leader at Lycored. He is also the founder of the Meno Clinic Center for Advanced Medicine in Jackson Hole, WY. He is a physician that combines multiple disciplines with four board certifications including Internal Medicine, Anti-Aging Medicine, Functional Medicine, Integrative Holistic Medicine and a Masters in PsychoNeuroImmunology.