Aging has been on my mind lately. Being in my mid-fifties, I am facing the mortality of my parents and watching time fly by as my five kids leave the family nest one by one. Like most people my age, I think about aging when I look at my reflection in the mirror, when I forget a familiar name and notice the new shape of my mid-section. In truth, I embrace the aging process and so far I have enjoyed each new life stage even more than the last one. Yet, healthy aging is a priority. Like most of you, I don’t just want to live longer, I want to live better. I want my body and my mind to be healthy as long as possible.
I also come face to face with the reality of the aging process when I talk with my patients. Unfortunately, many of them are dealing with problems much larger than the inevitable crow’s feet. Some of them have clogged arteries, advanced cancers and other serious chronic diseases. Yet when I ask my patients what they fear most about aging, it is cognitive decline and the worry about getting Alzheimer’s disease. My own mother has dementia so I completely understand this concern. Currently, I am reading the bestseller “The End of Alzheimer’s Disease” by Dale Bredesen, MD. If you haven’t read it, you should. Dr. Bredesen takes the position that Alzheimer’s is largely preventable and reversible, especially in the early stages. He has many years of research along with patient case studies to back up his theories. I find this encouraging because the sad truth is that conventional medicine has made very little progress in preventing or treating dementia. To date, despite billions of dollars invested in research, there isn’t a single drug that is effective in stopping or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. This may be because Alzheimer’s comes in several types and that there are many contributing factors that cause the disease. In fact, Dr. Bredesen believes that there are 36 different contributors to Alzheimer’s.
Bredesen believes that the brain changes seen in Alzheimer’s are actually a protective mechanism. He thinks Alzheimer’s is a result of how the brain responds to certain threats. Bredesen divides Alzheimer’s into three subtypes:
- Inflammatory — Inflammation can have infectious causes like bacteria or viruses or non-infectious causes such as obesity, diabetes or “leaky gut”.
- Atrophic — In this case the brain is responding to a decline in brain supportive nutrients, hormones and other substances conducive to a healthy brain.
- Toxic — In the toxic type of Alzheimer’s the brain may be initiating a response to toxic substances like metals and molds.
Alzheimer’s patients are frequently found to have more than one subtype.
Dr. Bredesen believes that everyone over the age of 40 should be thinking about Alzheimer’s prevention. He suggests a “cognoscopy,” a term that he has coined for testing for the various risk factors and markers for Alzheimer’s. He then suggests a protocol called “reCODE” which essentially addresses the deficiencies and concerns that are found during testing. Most of the tests that Dr. Bredesen is recommending can be done at NaturoMedica. One thing that I find interesting about the testing that Dr. Bredesen recommends is that the majority of these tests are not just specific to Alzheimer’s but would also be used for disease prevention and healthy aging in general.
At NaturoMedica, one of our biggest challenges is keeping our patients informed about the most current preventive health testing. In the United States, medical care is often dictated by insurance coverage. As a result, patients often don’t have awareness or easy access to the most up-to-date testing and treatments for healthy aging because they often aren’t entirely covered by insurance. Additionally, in the past several years, new testing has been coming on the market so rapidly that it is tough to keep up on the latest developments. To keep our patients informed, we are going to be hosting an event at NaturoMedica to discuss the latest tests and treatments for healthy aging.
On Sunday, March 18th, we will be having an open house at NaturoMedica from 1-5 p.m. for a “Healthy Aging” event. NaturoMedica doctors, our nutritionist, Monica Paz, and our master esthetician, Gosia Reade, will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on the latest testing and treatments for healthy aging inside and out. We will have refreshments, drawings and give-aways.
We will provide information about:
Boston Heart Diagnostics® Testing
Boston Heart Diagnostics has developed revolutionary testing to stratify risk for cardiovascular disease. This is truly the most amazing testing that I have seen since I have been a physician. Boston Heart has developed a unique set of specialized blood tests that is broken down into four categories: lipids, inflammation, metabolic markers and genetics. The blood test is used in combination with your family history, lifestyle, medications and existing health conditions to create a report tailored just for you. In addition to heart health, the test is highly relevant to brain health since it includes information on inflammation, metabolic markers and a fatty acid balance test. In fact, I believe that the Boston Heart test checks for over half of the many markers that Dr. Bredesen suggests testing when evaluating cognitive health. I am recommending this test for nearly all of my patients over age 40.
The genetic portion of the Boston Heart Lab test includes the APOE genes and MTHFR genes. In addition to being relevant to heart disease, these genes also relate to Alzheimer’s risk. If you have a single copy of the APOE 4 gene, your lifetime risk of getting Alzheimer’s is 30% versus 9% for the more common genetic type. In the case of MTHFR genes, mutations impact levels of vitamins B6, B12 and folate. In turn, this can increase your homocysteine level, which increases your risk for Alzheimer’s. Often, my patients will tell me that they don’t want to know their genetics as they prefer not to know their “fate”. But once they learn that knowing their genetics can give them information regarding how to prevent disease by telling them how to eat, exercise and what supplements they should be taking, they become much more receptive to the testing. Thankfully, your genetics don’t have to determine your destiny.
The Boston Heart Diagnostics report includes diet and lifestyle advice, as well as supplement and medication recommendations that may be helpful to restore optimal health. The Boston Heart lab contracts with most insurance companies for a nominal co-pay.
Genova Diagnostics® Hormone Testing
Genova provides comprehensive hormone testing for men and women which provides information about how shifting hormone levels can produce symptoms like brain fog, anxiety and depression, changes in libido and sexual function, sleep disorders and hot flashes. This testing can be helpful regarding making decisions about treatments that influence hormone levels or actual hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Our NaturoMedica doctors are well versed on HRT as well as non-hormonal treatments that influence hormone levels.
Labrix Adrenal Testing
Saliva adrenal testing evaluates your cortisol levels throughout the day. Cortisol is your stress hormone. Cortisol levels have an impact on sleep, weight, energy, inflammation and blood sugar regulation. Optimizing cortisol levels is a key aspect of healthy aging.
SpectraCell Micronutrient Testing
SpectraCell's Micronutrient testing measures the function of 35 nutritional components including vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids within your white blood cells. Scientific evidence has shown that analyzing white blood cells gives us the most accurate analysis of your body’s nutrient deficiencies and SpectraCell is one of the only labs that uses this technology. This allows your NaturoMedica doctor to take an individualized approach to optimizing your health. Treating nutritional deficiencies creates a solid foundation for good health. At NaturoMedica, we have unique pharmaceutical grade supplements manufactured with the latest technology that contain the most absorbable forms of nutrients. In addition, we offer nutritional IV therapy which provides and effective and efficient strategy to deliver vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids directly into the bloodstream. These IVs can help replenish nutrients, aid in recovery from health conditions and provide a competitive advantage for elite athletes.
Our own Dr. Jon Moma specializes in genetic testing analysis. He is able to take your genetic testing that is done through 23andMe and/or AncestryDNA and convert it into a usable format that will help you improve your health. Your unique genetic blueprint, or DNA, is made up of genes that control processes like brain function, detoxification, hormones, cardiovascular health and longevity. Dr. Moma is able to create a personalized genetic report for you that can uncover genetic “weak spots” and help you work toward optimal health. This test is appropriate for any age. In fact, for Christmas this past year, I gave each of my five children the gift of genetic testing. It is never too soon to understand your genetics and make the necessary changes to optimize your health. Dr. Moma will be available during the Healthy Aging event to answer questions and to show you sample genetic reports.
Introduction of our Lumenis M22 Laser
The priority is being healthy on the inside, but most of us want to look good on the outside as well. We are excited to unveil our much awaited M22 laser at our March event. The M22 IPL and ResurFX treats over 30 different skin conditions. In addition to age related skin damage the M22 treats skin conditions like acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation and scarring. We will be offering low introductory pricing for the event only. Gosia Reade, our master esthetician and Brad Updike from Lumenis will be on hand to answer questions and to show you our new machine. You really need to see what this machine can do to believe it!
If healthy aging is a topic that you are interested in, this event is for you. I am thankful that we live in a time when we have so many tools available for preventive health. We look forward to telling you about the latest testing and treatments. If you would like to attend the event, to RSVP call (425) 557-8900 or reply online.