Friday, September 19, 2014

New Concepts in Healthy Aging

New Concepts in Healthy Aging

I'm very excited about a new approach to dietary supplementation that goes far beyond what you're probably familiar with in mainstream supplements. These new products are part of an emerging class of supplements referred to as targeted therapies. What, exactly, is a targeted therapy? To use an analogy – traditional supplementation is like dropping a big bomb and hoping it hits the target, whereas targeted therapies are more like smart bombs that are precision guided to their intended targets. The target that I am interested in? Aging. Something we're all doing, every day. Inevitable for sure, but how well we age has a tremendous impact on our health, well-being and overall quality of life. It doesn't get more universal than that.

Recent advances in biological and chemical science have given scientists a greater understanding of how various nutrients are used at the cellular level. This breakthrough has enabled new supplements that are far more specific and effective than anything we've ever had before. Some broad categories of the “old” supplementation, such as probiotics, are still essential for healthy living, but these new cutting edge targeted supplements show great promise for taking supplementation to a new level and effectively dealing with aging and related health issues.

Hitting the Target: Cancer

For instance, there's a new supplement that is a cruciferous vegetable compound. It basically changes the metabolites of estrogen. We take in estrogen - we get it from the environment and from foods we eat - or we make estrogen. In either case, your liver metabolizes estrogens, and in the process certain metabolites are created. Some of them are potentially harmful, and some are very helpful for your body and act as cancer preventatives, especially for female cancers such as breast cancer. This specific cruciferous vegetable combination changes the metabolite ratio in your body and is therefore cancer-protective for the forms of cancers that are hormone based, such as prostate, breast, etc.

Target: Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Another area that could have broad implications for your health is your fasting glucose level. Research has shown that a healthy person's fasting glucose level should be low. In fact, the lower your fasting glucose level, the healthier you are. The healthy range for your fasting glucose level is somewhere between 70 and 99. Unfortunately, many people, even though they eat reasonably well and they restrict their carb intake, still have a fasting glucose level that is higher than they should be: 100, 105, 110…even the high 90's, ostensibly healthy, may be higher than optimal. Why does that matter? Research shows that a high fasting glucose level is a good indicator of cancer risk and has a negative correlation to how well you'll age. So it's important to focus on this.

Fortunately, there is now a targeted supplement that does just that by reducing the absorption of glucose from a meal. As a result, your post-meal glucose level will not rise as sharply, reducing the typical post-meal glucose “spike.” Over time, the elimination of glucose spiking increases your insulin sensitivity so your body has a less extreme insulin response after eating. Repeated insulin spiking decreases your sensitivity to insulin, thereby requiring more insulin – either from your pancreas or by injection - to maintain stable blood glucose. In other words, it puts you on the road to obesity and diabetes. The simple rule is this: when you maintain a high level of insulin sensitivity your health is good. Reduced insulin sensitivity is a sign that you're heading toward health problems.

Target: Aging Skin

These new targeted supplements represent truly sophisticated medicine and science. For example, there's a skin formulation that targets aging skin cells with the precise nutrients that they need on a microscopic level. You know your skin's going to age no matter what you do, but you want it to age healthfully. Of course, no one's going to confuse an 80-year-old's skin with that of a 20-year-old, but this new supplement gives your skin a fighting chance against pollutants, stress and too many “end-stage sugar products. Called “AEGs”, these substances can be a factor in the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, chronic renal failure and Alzheimer's. These harmful compounds can affect nearly every type of cell and molecule in the body and are thought to be a factor in aging and in some age-related chronic diseases. AGEs speed up oxidative damage to cells and alter their normal behavior. Bottom line: the more AEGs you have the more poorly you (and your skin) age.

Target: Joint Pain

There's also a joint formulation that works to keep inflammation down and joints healthy. It goes far beyond what's currently available in broad application joint supplements. These supplements that target joint pain use innovative compounds that promote joint comfort and ease of motion in a matter of days, rather than the weeks or months it can take with supplements like glucosamine and MSM.

We live in an exciting time. These new discoveries emerging out of nutritional science offer a real opportunity to combat many of the most common age related conditions. And it's not hocus-pocus. It's not about "I believe…I don't believe…These are scientifically engineered supplements that have been shown to counteract what we now know is happening at the cellular level.

The Target is You

Our initial focus will specifically be people who are experiencing the age­-related conditions we discussed above, we will be continually expanding our offerings where the research leads us. For example, there is another supplement we are researching that specifically targets the mitochondria, which, as you may remember from your high school biology, is the energy-producing part of your cells. This new supplement delivers to your mitochondria precisely what it needs to boost your energy level. It will also help your metabolism be more robust. These are things that supplements have never done before. In the past—the present, actually—people would somewhat haphazardly take broad spectrum things like vitamins or multi-vitamins and hope for the best. People come to me all the time and tell me 'I'm so tired all the time.' Often, that loss of vigor actually happens on a cellular level, so you need to address it with supplements that work at the cellular level. Very specific, targeted the right way, the right type of molecule, for example, using R-lipoic acid instead of alpha lipoic acid, because it is absorbed better.

Living/Eating Well Isn't Enough

A common theme among supplement skeptics is something like this: If you live the right kind of life, do all the right things and eat all the right things and avoid all the wrong things, you'll get everything your need without the supplements.

OK…to a point. But the problem is that as people age they often lose the ability to synthesize certain things or absorb certain things. “So what we're trying to do,” says Dr. Brown, “is to put those things back in such a way to insure optimal absorbability and availability, because you could eat all the right foods and still might not absorb what you need. I have patients who take a ton of Vitamin D, and their Vitamin D level never rises until I give them digestive enzymes to help break down the oil of the Vitamin D they're taking. And actually, that's part of the aging process, and part of the premise for targeted supplements. As we age we naturally become less able to absorb and synthesize things that we need or to process them properly. That's basically what aging is. We're trying to overcome that and prolong our healthy span of life by providing these essential things that you normally wouldn't get in this form.

The fact is that good living isn't enough for most people. And unless you're dedicating a lot of attention to staying on top of emerging nutritional science, it's difficult to intelligently self-supplement effectively.

Solution? We Have One...

If this cutting edge approach to targeted supplementation interests you, you're not alone. I know people who take a million things because they're afraid and want to cover all bases. But it's not that way anymore. You're better off identifying what your needs are specifically, and targeting a program specifically for you. And that's exactly what we help people do.

I will be conducting a free open forum on October 9th at 10:30am at Fitness Incentive in Babylon Village where I will answer your health related questions on aging, supplementation, or anything else that's on your mind. I'm also available for private consultation as well as formal nutritional counseling and therapy. Stop in, or call Incentives Organic Spa & Salon at 631-893-3490 to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What Do Your Cholesterol Numbers Really Mean?

When people examine their blood work reports, the first thing they check is their cholesterol: HDLs and LDLs. The terms are widely and popularly known and make easy referents, especially when it's time to begin scribbling prescriptions. But most people misunderstand these measurements. HDLs and LDLs are simply proteins, which carry cholesterol to and from our cells. If there is an elevated risk when the LDL figure is higher than the HDL, it's because this is an indication that spent cholesterol is not being effectively carried away from our cells for eventual elimination, but is instead allowed to linger, with toxic results. It certainly is not because one number is inherently superficially “bad” while the other is “good.”

A vital part of any assessment of blood work numbers should be determining the particle composition of the HDLs and LDLs, and the state of balance between their delivery and eventual elimination. Some people may have high LDLs and be perfectly fine; others may have low LDLs and have a problem. It's far more about the way in which these levels balance with one another.

To be sure, there are some people with metabolic syndrome…high cholesterol, high glucose, high triglycerides, high blood pressure. Such people are clearly at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and may in fact require medication. But even with these patients, a thorough assessment to determine the causes behind their elevated indicators is essential. To illustrate the importance of accurate assessment, consider this: for some people, it's actually more about stress in their lives than dietary choices. Yes, stress can push levels upward, and in today's difficult economy, it impacts a greater number of people than ever.

There are many questions that should be asked during an assessment. Here are several: what are you ingesting (food, drink and medications)? What are your exercise habits? What do we learn through analysis of your liver and colon health? And yes, what's going on in your life?

The presence, operation, and impact of cholesterol in our bodies —as influenced by many factors—is anything but simple. These are complex interactions and relationships. Perhaps the most misunderstood relationship involves diet. People see an elevated number and immediately move to eliminate eggs and cheese and other popularly implicated foods from their diets. These foods do not cause your cholesterol to rise.  Are they high in cholesterol? Yes. But they don't produce the cholesterol in your body—your body does. A far likelier expression of a diet gone wrong—and an imbalance in your cholesterol numbers—is all the sugar we eat. Sugar causes inflammation, which leads to the conditions that are favorable for plaque deposits to build up in the arteries.

Next time: What's Clogging Your Arteries

PS: Our online store is now live! You can pick up many of the nutritional supplements that I recommend directly from the comfort of your home. Just click on this link:

If you are uncertain about how to use these products, please contact me for a nutritional consultation. Click Here or call us at 631-893-3490. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cholesterol: The Popular Villain

It has become ingrained in the American consciousness: cholesterol at “elevated” levels is bad and signals the onset of cardiovascular disease. This is such a prevailing belief that it has almost morphed into a “truth”.  Most distressingly, I hear it more frequently these days, not less. In an era when most faddish health claims usually have a mercifully short shelf-life, cholesterol has been public enemy #1 for more than a quarter century. More and more people, some of them quite young, are diagnosed, warned about cardiovascular risk, and urged (ordered) to begin treatment with medication.

Cholesterol has over the years been misunderstood and misrepresented. It has been wrongly maligned, in part by drug companies interested in selling as much product, to as many people, as they can. The generally negative impression most people have of cholesterol emerges from an oversimplification of the role it plays in health.

Your cholesterol level is by no means the only assessment factor that reveals the overall state of your cardiovascular health, though it has, in the past 20 or so years, become just that: a kind of battleground pitting good cholesterol versus bad, with numerical thresholds that establish high, or “bad” numbers versus low, or “good” numbers. In truth, cholesterol is a necessary and extremely important substance in our bodies. It is one of the fundamental building blocks of things like hormones and cell membranes.

Artificially lowering cholesterol levels through medication without addressing the cause for the elevated level in the first place has its own risks. Among the many possibly detrimental impacts of this artificial lowering is a loss of the ability to synthesize the hormones our bodies require to function correctly. Another is the impact on our myelin, or nerve sheaths. They, as well as our cell membranes, can be weakened or damaged by artificially low cholesterol levels. There is some evidence that a serious expression of this has been observed in an increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's Disease.

The key idea that I'd like you to take away from this article is this: Cholesterol is a good and necessary substance in our bodies. The trouble begins when it is not eliminated properly, and treatment should always begin with an assessment that determines the causes for this improper elimination. Efforts to lower cholesterol levels should first be undertaken through nutrition, rather than medication. It can be achieved; in fact, it's done all the time.

Next: Understanding what your cholesterol numbers really mean

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Checklist for Holiday Health

Here are a few essential supplements that I highly recommend, especially for the holidays. They're all available at Incentives Organic Spa & Salon. Call 631-893-3490 if you'd like to place a phone order. 

  •         Probiotics: Eating too many sweets and drinking too much alcohol causes constipation and diarrhea. Probiotics help reestablish colon health and regularity.
  •         Oxypowder: For those times where constipation becomes a problem, Oxypowder is a non-habit-forming healthy nutrient that helps make you regular again.
  •         Lecithin and Liver 2 Formulation: Lecithin is the single most important formulation for liver health. Poor diet and over-consumption of alcohol damages liver cells. Lecithin helps to promote liver health. Liver 2 is a specially formulated herbal liver supplement that combines all the most effective ingredients that aid liver recovery in one preparation.
  •        Rapid Immunity: The holidays are often a time of colds and flus. This formulation helps to prevent colds from taking hold, and speeds recovery time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Out with the Bad: DeToxification

What emerges during my initial consultation with the patient are details about what the patient is currently eating and drinking, which is an excellent place to begin. Again, attention to pacing is required, because too radical a change in diet implemented too quickly can cause some patients to reject the treatment entirely. Of course, pacing is often dictated in part by the status of the patient: some diets can be modified more gradually, while for others, an immediate change is imperative.

What I often do is identify those foods among a patient’s favorites that may be problematic, and suggest substitutes that are less so. If a patient is feeling especially poor, a sugar-fast—in some cases lasting several days—may be required. Each patient is different, and the balance I must strike is to render the changes in ways that the patient will accept, while ensuring that I achieve my goal: the improvement of the patient’s condition.
Children are most likely to require the gradual approach, but many older patients are highly motivated and request the quick transition…they want to institute the changes and, as soon as possible, proceed with their healthier lives.

There are certain obvious instances—professions where the potential to become sickened by exposure to toxins present in local environments are elevated. Firefighters come to mind. While they may live generally healthy lives, their bodies may retain toxins they absorb on the job. These must be cleansed from the system. It isn’t enough to institute changes in current behaviors…sometimes one must go back and perform a purge. The body must be de-toxed before it can receive the entire benefit of subsequent treatment.

In the case of our hypothetical firefighter, I might begin by rendering the bowel as clean as possible. This requires the elimination of a lot of sugar from the diet. That means all sugars…bad sugars, so-called ‘good’ sugars, even fruit-derived sugar. When the Body Ecology is that compromised, you must clean out everything. You must re-populate the colon with probiotic bacteria; you must cleanse the liver using any of a variety of formulations, so that as it performs cell-replenishment, it does so with healthy ones. Phytonutrient-rich foods*, which promote detoxification, may be recommended. Again, there is an emphasis on the liver and the colon systems.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Diagnostic Process

I begin by meeting in consultation with the patient. The purpose here is to form a kind of historical blueprint of the patient’s health history, beginning as early in life as possible and extending to the present. One way to think of it is as a catalogue of exposures. What has the patient been exposed to, and when and for how long? What has he or she ingested? Have illnesses been experienced, and how were they treated? What medications have been taken? What diets, if any, have come and gone? What are or have been enduring dietary habits?
Of course, exposure isn’t just about what is consumed. I also inquire about what chemicals and preparations they are putting on their skin and in their hair—cosmetics, sun blocks, topical ointments, etc…how they clean their homes and what products they use…important data because we, as modern people, are surrounded by chemicals. Whether because they combine in undesirable ways, or owing to individual sensitivities (or both), these chemicals can produce negative effects on our health.

The pacing of the delivery of information and recommendations to patients is important. To be told that you are harming yourself through the consumption of favorite foods is one thing…but to then also learn that how you’re shampooing the carpets is having a similar, negative impact can be overwhelming. This ‘external environment’ phase often comes later in the treatment process.

This sounds a lot like detective work, and it is. The process often has the flavor of cracking a code. I’m identifying causes and effects; establishing connections and influences that, in most cases, the patient is unaware of or has never identified as being important. Seemingly inconsequential events or behaviors can, and often do, have profound effects. My job is to identify them, examine them as they relate to the patient’s complaint, and then formulate a plan for their treatment.

Learn more about Body Ecology and Digestive Health at Dr. Brown's Free Seminar, Thursday, October 13th at 7pm at Fitness Incentive, 157 Deer Park Ave., Babylon Village. 

All are welcome!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Free Digestive Health Seminar, October 13th

On October 13th at 7pm, at Fitness Incentive in Babylon Village. I will be doing a lecture on Digestive Health. This will be the first in a series of lectures aimed at increasing your overall health from the so-called "bottom to the top".  

Why is digestive health so important that I have made it my first lecture? 
Digestion is the fundamental pathway to achieving optimal health. It is where our body and the external environment meet. It's the interface our bodies have with the outside world and the place where our very vital nutrients are broken down, absorbed and passed into the blood. How well our bodies do these tasks is a direct reflection on how healthy our blood is and since our blood feeds every cell in our body,  it becomes a direct reflection on our present and future health.  A battered digestive system shows symptoms in many forms. These can be as simple as constipation and bloating or as complicated as chronic fatigue syndrome and depression. When patients come into my office for evaluation, I always address the health of their colon and overall digestion.  I find digestive problems to be the most important change we can make to ensure improved health and wellness.  

In my lecture I will be discussing common problems such as acid reflux, bloating and chronic constipation, but I will also speak about irritable bowel, chronic fatigue, depression and inability to lose weight. Come join us and bring someone you care about. Let's get started on the path to optimal health. 

The lecture is free, but space is limited so we request that you register. 
You can call 631-893-3490, or stop by Incentives Organic Spa & Salon, 157 Deer Park Avenue, Babylon NY. 

All are welcome!