Are You Aging Well?
How the future of anti-aging medicine and targeted nutritional supplementation will help achieve the optimal aging process.
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.
Case Study in Quality
All of this means the need for targeted nutritional supplementation is obvious. With recent challenges to quality, we are even more aware of the need for clean and potent nutritional supplementation. For example, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently tested herbal supplements at several well-known retailers and concluded the quality of many supplements did not meet federal standards. The controversial investigation used questionable testing methods, however, the story has sparked questions about the quality of products on store shelves.
A provider of high quality carotenoids, Lycored serves as an example of how to get it right. By controlling the process from seed to supplement, the company’s end product has the quality and potency we are looking for in pharmaceutical grade supplements.
The company has even gone the next step to provide clinical and lab studies showing the effectiveness of its nutrient complex formulations as well as providing a specific blend for men and women to custom tailor to the needs of each gender, which is truly what consumers are looking for.
A prostate formula, Lycored Nutrient Complex for Him reduces prostate gland size in enlarged prostates, kills prostate cancer cells in vitro and reduces PSA in a one-a-day tomato extract. A women’s formula, Lycored Nutrient Complex for Her, offers menopause support that builds bone, reduces hot flashes and reduces potential breast cancer risk for women, again in a one-a-day tomato extract based supplement.
An innovative standard Lycored has created for consumer confidence is the Lycored Nutrient Complex badge that will appear on all packaging containing the patented carotenoid complexes utilized in its new line of supplements.
This will be like the Intel Inside sticker you see on a laptop when you buy it providing instant quality recognition of the laptop because you know the processor running the system is of high quality. The Lycored badge will do the same thing for consumers. With a quick glance, they see the badge on the products and have instant assurance that all of the quality standards provided by this company are met.
We will see more companies doing work like this to prove to demanding consumers that supplements they purchase are potent and high quality. Companies are also doing the pre-clinical work to show efficacy of the ingredients and the final product. We must hold our standards to a high level to gain credibility and exceed expectations of consumers.
Originally published in Nutraceuticals World.
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.