Being a physician in the field of Age Management Medicine, I am fascinated with the process of aging. There’s so much exciting, cutting-edge research being done right now to modulate the aging process. Gene modification, stem cell therapy, telomere science, and a host of other therapies geared at increasing lifespan are becoming popularized and hold much promise. A problem, however, is that many of these therapies come with a very high price tag and they’re still somewhat underdeveloped. So they’re not realistically accessible to most of us right now.
Aging is an inevitable part of being human. Let’s face it – we’re all aging. In fact, you’re older right now than you were than when you started reading this sentence. While this may be a sobering thought, we don’t have to be completely passive in the process of aging. Because while it’s true that we’re all aging, I’ll let you in on a secret that can be very empowering and offers an opportunity for you to take control:
We are all aging at different rates!
That’s right. The National Academy of Sciences did a study, ‘Quantification of biological aging in young adults’ which tracked young adults over several decades while looking at rate of deterioration of several organ systems (heart, lung, skin, kidneys, etc.) and found that individuals who were aging more rapidly were less physically able, showed cognitive decline and brain aging, self-reported worse health, and looked older.
I am often asked the question by my patients, by my friends and family members, and by my colleagues, “What can I do right now to feel and look better and slow the aging process? The reason I love this question is two-fold. Firstly, it shows a willingness to be proactive rather than reactive, which is the key to truly preventive health. Secondly, there are things that you can do to slow the rate at which your cells and therefore your body degenerate.
5 Things You Can Do Now to Slow Aging Process
1. Sleep more. Lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer, immune deficiency and premature skin aging. Maximum hormone production happens between 10 pm and 2 am and neuro-cognitive repair work between 2 am and 6 am, so it’s important to be asleep during these hours. I recommend 10 pm – 6 am as an optimal sleep schedule to aim for.
2. Drink more water. You’ve heard it before, but I’m saying it again! Adequate water intake protects cardiovascular health, facilitates weight loss and promotes a healthy body weight, reduces wrinkles, supports healthy digestive function and aids detoxification. I recommend, on average, about 3 liters per day for women and 4 liters per day for men…and sip it throughout the day. Don’t guzzle!
3. Eat food that is nutrient dense and minimally processed. Processed foods increase the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which have been linked to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes. A good rule of thumb is: the more ingredients on the label, the more processed the food; and steer away from labels with ingredients you can’t pronounce.
4. Secure a good source of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K). These vitamins work with each other to support immune health, bone density, healthy teeth, and protect soft tissues from calcification. My favorite sources: Vitamins A & D: fermented cod liver oil (http://www.greenpasture.org/public/Products/CodLiverOil/index.cfm); Vitamin E: nuts, grains and green lefty vegetables…wheat germ oil is my favorite source (https://www.standardprocess.com/Products/Standard-Process/Wheat-Germ-Oil#.VRV8SVpWsyE); Vitamin K (pastured egg-yolks).
5. Eat all edible parts of animals (don’t forget the skin, the organs, eggs, fat). These animal parts, when obtiained from quality sources (i.e. grass-fed, pastured animals) are safe and rich in high quality amino acids, fat, B vitamins, CoQ10, and minerals, all critical for optimal cellular growth, repair and function. Liver is nature’s multivitamin!
6. Take your aging process to the next level. There’s an additional measure you can take to slow your body’s aging process. In my experience, it will make all the difference between seeing moderate results and seeing maximal results.
So what is it?