Ask The Blood Detective

Ask The Blood Detective - How we die and what to do about it

March 30, 2019

Death maybe inevitable, but there is much that science has discovered that can delay our journey from cradle to the grave. Although there are many unknowns regarding why we age, suffer from disease and inevitable die, there is also much we have learned in the longevity and nutrition fields that provide insights into how we can live better for longer. Living better for longer is what is known as the non-disability stage of life. “Most people that come to me for natural longevity treatments are focused on living well not necessarily longer, but a good deal of my patients want both to live a long life that allows them to fully participate in life enjoying all that it has to offer. My focus in clinical nutrition practice is to provide natural therapies for people that focus on what we do know about the dying and aging process. If the right foods are consumed, the right nutritional supplements taken regularly along with proper sleep, fitness, happiness and alike it is reasonable that we can expect to reduce our risk of dying prematurely from preventable and delayable diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancers and other scavengers of our quality of life. We know that as we age our hormonal levels decline and/or they (the hormones) are not recognized by our various body tissues like our brain, and heart and immune system - resulting in atrophy (shrinkage) of our lean body mass and our very organs. The hormone decline theory is the idea that either low hormones or hormone resistance causes decay of virtually every cell, tissue, organ and organ system of our bodies. Another theory of aging, or of the dying process, is known as the Oxidative Theory (OT).

The OT theory is based on the fact that as the years pass our cells oxidize; oxidation is similar to an inflammatory-destructive process. As cells oxidize cellular functions like the production of cellular energy is dramatically reduced resulting in diminished organ function. Ultimately, when oxidation exceeds anti-oxidation efforts by the body aging takes over resulting in all of those characteristics that we typically characterize as aging including elevated cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, reduced oxygen exchange between red blood cells and our other body tissues, reduced mental function, reduced reaction time, reduced immunity, diminished muscle strength, coordination and more - but none of these “aging characteristics” are inevitable and every single one of them has the potential of being reversed. Death is inevitable, but how we age…how we approach death, is not at all predetermined. Genetics is not everything when it comes to how you age.

Genetics play a part when it comes to aging, but it is thought now that environmental factors play an even greater role in how we age then we ever thought possible. Genetic determinants of aging are affected for example by the foods we eat, the water we drink, our stress levels, sleep habits, nutritional supplements, environmental temperature and our caloric intake - these are known as lifestyle factors.. The influence that our individual lifestyle factors play upon how our genes affect our aging process is known as epi-genetic factors. Epi-genetics is a branch of genetics that describes how all that you do, each and every day, impacts how your aging-genes, and other genes, express during the course of your life. Express means how your genetic potential mixed with your lifestyle factors affect how you age. Will you suffer more disability from obesity, diabetes and arthritis, or will you lose your very identity from dementia? On a brighter note, we know that eating high nutritional value foods, eating overall low calories, intermittent fasting and lowering of body temperature are just a few of the ways in which you may influence how you age.

The telomere shortening theory involves a tail that is located on the end of certain chromosomes. This tail shrinks as you age. A large number of lifestyle factors have been shown to slow and even lengthen the telomere - this is associated with a longer life. Zinc, vitamin D3, resveratrol, vitamin A and dozens of other natural approaches have been scientifically proven to slow or length the telomere. Other exciting possibilities for aging better and offsetting your chances of an early demise might include hyperbaric therapy, infra-red sauna, specially designed detoxification programs, specific types of exercise programs and strong mental health.

Death is inevitable, but the choices that you make each and every day can make a measurable difference in both the length and quality of your life. Here are a few concepts and pointers that have been shown in research to potentially increase the quality of your life and length of your life:

  • Biological age is how old you are in terms of your physiology. Chronological age is how old you are in years. If you have arthritis in your shoulder you can think of this as accelerated aging of your shoulder - in other words, your shoulder is biologically older than your age. Gently stretching everyday will help insure flexibility, strength, coordination and range of motion - all of these physical characteristics tend to worsen with age.

  • Eat at least 5 pieces of fruits and vegetables every single day, but if you can’t, than consume a superfood powdered drink that provides the equivalent, or greater, nutritional value of at least these many plant foods.

  • Think vegan and vegetarian! These two types of diets have far greater plant foods and are associated with better weight control, better lean body mass, less disease overall including diabetes, autoimmune diseases like Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Scleroderma, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, various cancers and more.

  • Exercise every day in the form of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes but 45 min or even an hour is best. Your heart rate must be elevated to at least 70% of your heart rate max for 80% of your exercise time with 5 minutes warm up and 5 minutes warm down. You might benefit from different exercise instructions based upon your doctors recommendations. You should also lift weights to retain your muscle mass. Muscle mass is lost as we age, but is offset greatly by regular muscular exercises.

  • Eat fewer calories. Eating fewer calories seems to double the lifespan of mice in scientific studies. I know that you are not a mouse, but scientists feel that we are similar enough. What your caloric intake should be to slow the aging process is up to you and your health professional.

I hope that you have found this information of use.