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(W)HOLISTIC ANTI-AGING MEDICINE APPROACHES

November 8th, 2009

It’s more complex than getting your hormones replenished! You have to look at the whole picture, rather than just look at a person’s hormone levels. One system doesn’t function independently of the others. In other words, our endocrine system is intimately related to our nervous system , cardiovascular system and immune system, among many others. Therefore, to get optimal results and minimize the risks of side effects, one’s nutritional status, mental health status, toxicity levels and genomic testing (to tests the genetic risks of developing illness) should ideally be part of an anti-aging program.

Replacing hormones could exaggerate nutritional deficiencies and exacerbate toxicities. To avoid these issues, one should incorporate dietary and lifestyle habits that would optimize nutritional status and improve the efficiency of detoxifying organs such as the colon, liver, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymphatic system. It is a very well-known fact that all of us are “toxic” due to our environment. Improving one’s “internal milieu” could go a long way in preventing chronic degenerative diseases and improving one’s immune system.

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"CHI" IS NOT JUST A 3-LETTER WORD

March 31st, 2009

“Chi”, otherwise known as “prana” is what we all know as energy. Energy, being intangible, is sometimes a very difficult concept to accept in modern society. However, we see all the evidence of energy all around us. This is even evident in allopathic medicine in the form of ultrasound machines, EKGs, CT and PET scans, MRIs and EEGs, among many others. Why is it then that more evidence is being required of certain forms of energetic forms of treatment that have hundreds or thousands of years of use such as homeopathy and acupuncture respectively? Just wondering.

One interesting concept I have learned regarding chi is that the higher your chi (or energy or frequency), the healthier you are. Once you’re chi or life force goes down, then that’s when chronic illness may surface. A good analogy I’ve heard over the years is the growth of mushrooms (fungus) on decaying matter, similar to what you see in humans. People with fungal infections oftentimes have immune system challenges like AIDS or chronic diseases like diabetes. The key then, to prevent this, is to improve a person’s chi in different ways like a healthy diet and lifestyle, nutritional supplements as well as energy exercises like chi gong, taichi or yoga.

By the way, the March 16, 2009 article in Time magazine called “The Health Crisis Hits Home”, is a revelation that has come of age (although many people already have realized this idea several years or even decades ago). “Realign Doctor’s Incentives” , meaning that “our system pays doctors to diagnose, test and treat, not necessarily keep people healthy. It’s why chronic disease like diabetes absorb 80% of our health care dollars. Pay for holistic success!”

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BRAIN AGING

February 3rd, 2010

Slow down brain aging. Reading, doing crossword puzzles, learning new things (like languages), avoiding excitotoxins from food (such as MSG), and taking essential fatty acids all go a long way in preserving our mental capacities as we age.

AGING GRACEFULLY NOW

February 26th, 2010

Aging in the West conjures up images of people in nursing homes, unable to enjoy the few remaining years in their lives and totally dependent on other people for some of the basic things in life such as eating or bathing themselves. Who wants to have a long life if this would be the eventual outcome for anyone? How many people live independently and abundantly into their senior years? How can someone make sure that they could enjoy their lives free from chronic disease or infirmities?

That’s where the concept of holistic preventive care comes in. Preventive care unfortunately, usually just involves early detection and screening in allopathic medicine. It’s the advice given to women about annual Pap’s smears and mammograms or PSA testing for men at a certain age. There’s more to prevention however than getting yearly tests. Prevention should be done on a daily basis by taking care of the body’s needs, primarily through clean food, water and air. Then, there are also important things such as sleep, exercise, stress reduction, detoxification and intake of nutritional supplements.

Our health is very closely related to that of the health of our environment. Just as clean air and water are necessary for the survival of the earth, they are also needed for our survival as a species.

There’s a concept called “internal milieu.” Dr. Louis Pasteur, on his deathbed, admitted that “the microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.” What this means is that for instance, if several people were exposed to the same germ/pathogen, not everybody gets sick. Some people may be more resistant to illness because of genetics as well as other factors that influence their immune system (diet, presence of toxins.) If I may borrow one of my colleague’s analogies, “Our genes are like a loaded gun, our environment pulls the trigger.”

The major medical systems in the world, such as Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine and Ayurveda, all emphasize the important role that food plays in prevention of illness as well as influencing the course of illness. Unfortunately, this is not the case in other medical systems where people are told that they can eat anything after a certain diagnoses. Ever wonder why there are fast food joints that sell deep fried or highly refined foods at major medical centers?

Anyway, in more practical terms, what are the factors that could cause premature aging?

Among the different reasons behind aging there are hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and toxicities. Just like doing maintenance work on our cars is imperative to make them work more efficiently, we need to do the same thing to our bodies. Let’s start with the basics. The food we give our bodies could be compared to the things we do to maintain our cars. Again, to borrow another analogy, carbohydrates could be compared to the fuel system, fats to the oil used to lubricate the car and protein to the actual skeleton/frame of the car. Neglect one of these and it could lead to eventual breakdown of our cars and in this case, our bodies.

Regarding food, I believe that everybody is different and therefore, have different food requirements. One of my mentors taught me that we in North America, actually don’t have a traditional diet unlike peoples from Asia, Africa or the Mediterranean. The Standard American Diet (SAD) of meat and potatoes in general doesn’t give us adequate nutrition to prevent illness. What I would recommend for one person may be different from what I recommend to another.

For instance, for Asians in general, a typical meal of fish with rice and vegetables should suffice. However, for a Caucasian, I may recommend food combining with protein and vegetables without any starches during a meal.

There are many diets available out there. These include the blood type diet, the South Beach diet, raw food diet, etc. In general, I would recommend eating organic foods. Having greater portions of vegetables and fruits in the diet and a limited amount of meat would work for most people. As far as meat is concerned, free-range chicken or grass-fed beef would be a better choice than regular chicken or beef.

Then, there’s concern about fish or seafood. The higher you go up on the food chain, the greater the chances of mercury toxicity. I would recommend smaller fish such as anchovies or sardines.

There’s the timing of meals that’s also equally important. I would recommend small, frequent meals rather than three “square meals a day.” Not eating after 6 pm ideally would be best, but if necessary, at least keeping it light at night would be advisable.

Nutrition is a very touchy subject because of the different recommendations you get from authorities. What I would recommend in general is to only eat when hungry and only eat as natural as possible. Any food adulterated by man (boxed cereal grains, “low-fat” TV dinners) could cause more problems long-term. Just a quick note, fat is what tells our satiety centers that we’re full. Thus, a low-fat meal won’t really curb someone’s appetite or help with weight loss.

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ANDROPAUSE

by admin on 22.02.2017 - 17:09PM

As men age, hormones get out of balance, just like in women. Testosterone levels (and growth hormone levels for that matter) tend to decline while hormones such as estrogen and DHT tend to increase. When testosterone declines, signs and symptoms such as the following could occur namely; wrinkling of the skin, osteoporosis, mood changes (depression), hair loss, changes in body composition (increase in body fat and decrease in muscle mass) and cardiovascular disease, among others. With an increase in estrogen (due to increased body fat in some men as well as exposure to xenoestrogens in general), men could experience gynecomastia, emotional lability (mood swings) and prostate issues. With an increase in DHT, hair loss, acne and prostate problems could occur.

We normally see this decline in men in their 50’s or older but we’re seeing this decline in much younger men nowadays. Possible reasons for this include nutritional deficiencies, pharmaceuticals such as statins (which lower cholesterol, a precursor to testosterone), and environmental toxicity (organophosphates used in the agricultural industry for instance, mimic estrogen in our bodies).

Among the people you know, how many of them actually manifest signs and symptoms of andropause? Unfortunately, most men who fall within the “normal” range may not be treated even if they’re symptomatic. The range of “normal” is so wide that those who are in the low normal range (and symptomatic as well) are not being treated properly. Fortunately, a brilliant doctor from Harvard named Abraham Morgentaler wrote a book called “Testosterone For Life” which seeks to educate more people about this issue. Anyway, the recommended treatment for low testosterone is testosterone itself. It comes in different forms such as sublingual tablets, transdermals gels or creams, injectables and pellets. Since everybody is different, the dose and route of administration is individualized to each person.

It’s always good to do a baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) and DRE (digital rectal exam) before starting anyone on testosterone. Since testosterone could metabolize into estrogen (esp. in men with excess body fat) or DHT, it’ll be wise to block those pathways with aromatase inhibitors and 5-alpha reductase (or DHT blockers) inhibitors, respectively. This could be done through natural supplements or prescription medications. Frequent testing is key to make sure people that people get great results and that they don’t get side-effects whatsoever. For men who are hesitant on using any type of hormone for improving their testosterone levels, options could include the use of amino acids (such as L-carnitine, which increases cell receptor sensitivity to endogenous tesotosterone) or herbal supplements (such as tribulus).

While on a hormone replacement program, it’s important to include dietary and lifestyle changes as well to get optimal results. I highly recommend the modified Paleolithic diet and the PACE program by Dr. Al Sears for my clients.

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ANDROPAUSE: THE MALE MENOPAUSE

April 5th, 2009

Most men hate to admit it but the truth is that men do experience the change in life as hormonal changes take place in the body. This may manifest in physical and mental symptoms since the hormone testosterone has receptors found all over the body. Signs and symptoms associated with declining hormones may be subtle or pronounced depending on the speed of the decline. For instance, a slow decline may just manifest as subtle personality changes while a rapid decline may show up as hot flashes and night sweats similar to that experienced by women during menopause. When should a man’s testosterone be replaced? My answer to that is again, treatment should always be individualized. A man who is symptomatic but has normal levels, should be treated in my opinion. Why wait till numbers are abnormal before getting treatment? By that time, symptoms may be catastrophic such as a heart attack. Testosterone, by the way, is also important for cardiovascular health.

There’s an adage which says “if it walks and talks like a duck, then it must be a duck”. If a person has signs and symptoms of andropause, then by all means, treat it (usually they’re low normal).

Some of the things I learned from my mentors are that 1. Medicine is an art and not just a science, 2. Treat the person, not the paper (look at person clinically and not just their lab reports) and 3. Use your intuition.

In my practice and those of other antiaging practitioners, we look at optimal ranges and not just normal ranges. I also recommend different forms of testosterone such as the sublingual, transdermal and injectables. I don’t recommend the oral form due to liver problems that it could create. I recommend aromatase inhibitors and DHT blockers as well when I place someone on testosterone. I start out with natural supplements that accomplish that before I recommend medications. Testosterone replacement has finally been endorsed by Harvard scientists (see Life Extension Foundation article from December 2008 at www.lef.org). Regarding hormone supplementation in general, they work like a symphony. If one hormone is off, it affects the others.

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AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: IMMUNE SYSTEM GONE LOCO?

December 15th, 2010

One of the most interesting concepts that I’ve learned is that so-called “autoimmune diseases” are caused by accumulation of toxins in the whole body (that means including the brain, which, we are led to believe is impermeable like an iron curtain because of the blood brain barrier). This is in contrast to the general belief that autoimmune diseases are caused by an “immune system gone haywire”. Standard treatments include the use of anti-inflammatories such as NSAID’s and steroids. If they don’t work, then the use of immuno-suppressive agents are next in line.

Makes sense if you just want to address the symptoms of inflammation. However, doesn’t it make more sense to try to find out the cause of why the immune system’s gone haywire? Toxins from the environment including heavy metals, pesticides, synthetic hormones and microorganisms, as well as toxins produced from internal metabolism, all contribute to these toxic burden. Well-functioning detoxification organs help our bodies eliminate these toxic build up. However, there are those people who just aren’t able to keep up with the elimination of these wastes.

Thus, symptoms of toxicity start to appear. These include allergies, asthma, digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, mood swings, skin problems and weight changes. Therefore, it makes sense to help rid the body of toxins and these can be done in different ways. Simple detoxification “procedures” that someone could easily incorporate include fasting, drinking more water, eating a plant-based diet, deep breathing and exercise. Other detox programs may need the guidance and support of a nutritionally-minded physician or other holistic practitioners.

Nutritional supplements to support the organs of elimination and drainage such as kidneys, liver, lymphatics, lungs, colon and skin, all go a long way in improving someone’s over-all health. As far as auto-immune illnesses are concerned, natural anti-inflammatories can be used for symptomatic treatment while waiting for the “detox treatments” take effect. These include your essential fatty acids (from fish oil or krill oil or for vegetarians, flax seed oil), curcumin, and peppermint oil, among many others,

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BACK TO BASICS 1

January 19th, 2011

Wow! It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog entry. It’s been a busy new year for me. Hopefully, I’ll be writing on a more consistent basis. That, is my new year’s resolution. Hey, it’s better late than never, right?

Anyway, I’m back after spending a few days with a couple of Lyme -literate doctors here in the Bay area. It’s great to see how various practitioners approach the Lyme disease epidemic in different ways (some more “holistic”, while others more “conventional”). I would say that they’re both highly effective, considering how their clients consistently come back for follow up (coz they keep getting better). It’s sad however, how insurance companies sometimes dictate what they’ll cover or not. After all, it’s the doctor who actually treats the patients. Overall, they’re good at collecting your insurance premiums. But when it comes to actually covering for services, they suck (pardon my “French”; no offense to the French, however). Like one of the doctors who I shadowed said, they (insurance companies) are in the business of making and saving money, first and foremost. If they do really want to save money, they should be looking into more preventive health care (or going back to basics). Incorporating nutrition, fitness and stress reduction, could go a long way in solving the health care problems in our country. One good thing though, some of these companies are starting to “see the light” by incorporating stress reduction programs.

More on what I learned during my preceptorship with LLMD’s in the next few days……

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BACK TO BASICS 2

March 3rd, 2012

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog! I’ve been distracted with the cares of life such that I wasn’t able to persist with my new-found hobby, blogging. Anyway, I thought that it might be a good time to discuss a few of the basics in healthy aging. I’d say let’s start with one of the fundamental factors which influence aging, and that is, our diet. I’ve been working out for a while with satisfactory results but it wasn’t until I changed my diet that things started to really turn around. Not that I had a lot of weight or fat to lose but in my case, I just wasn’t achieving that coveted 6-pack abs. I’m not saying that that should be everyone’s goal.

I just want to set certain goals in my life and do my best in achieving them. So, I’ve been training more consistently in the last several months. My diet is much better. I rarely eat out nowadays. I started eating more at home, using organic, in-season produce primarily. I supplement my protein intake with the use of organic whey and other plant-based protein shakes. And then of course, I take natural fat burners such as L-carnitine and more recently added the “Living with Slique” kit from Young Living Essential Oils. It really is a holistic approach since I don’t rely on just one thing to achieve my goals. By the way, it helps to know your hormone levels since sub-optimal numbers could mean an exercise in futility (no pun intended). For the Young Living Slique kit, visit http://www.cleanbodycare.com or just call 847-997-8459 or email jd@infinitewellnessworldwide.com.

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BAD HAIR DAY BECAUSE OF HORMONES?

February 18th, 2011

Yes, it’s possible. Hair loss could be due to hormonal imbalance. The sooner this imbalance is corrected, the better. Hair loss could cease or better yet, hair could grow back. One of the most common hormonal causes of hair loss is a poor thyroid condition. Of course, a lot of thyroid issues unfortunately, still goes undiagnosed. It’s not enough to do a blood test alone. Sometimes, clinical signs and symptoms such as low basal body temperature, slow reflexes, or loss of outer third of a person’s eyebrows, have to be taken into consideration.

When a person has blood work for thyroid, it’s important to check for free T3, the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone. In some cases, tests such as reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies could yield very helpful information. The pattern of hair loss is also important by the way. A more diffuse type of hair loss points to a thyroid condition while “male-pattern” hair loss is due to testosterone decline in men (or elevated DHT in both men and women). Ever wonder why younger men have full heads of hair and once they get older, they lose their scalp hair? This is not generally true any more.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing young men in their teens and 20’s starting to lose hair. This is due to poor nutrition as well as environmental influences. We’re getting more chemicals from our environment that mimic estrogen in our bodies (xenoestrogens) which are causing a hormonal imbalance. One of the consequences of hormonal imbalance is hair loss. Fortunately, this and other health challenges can be addressed through the use of bioidentical hormones. Addressing the problems associated with aging using a holistic approach always yields better results.

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