New Concepts in Healthy AgingI'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: CancerFor 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 SyndromeAnother 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 SkinThese 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 PainThere'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 YouOur 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 EnoughA 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.