Subscriber’s Q&A

Here are answers to health-related questions that Subscribers ask.
My answers are informed by my experience, opinion and research — they are not a substitute for your doctor’s guidance.

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Q&A Topics

Exercise | Nutrition/Diet | Weight Loss | Supplements/Drugs | Disease

Health Trackers | Hormones | Gut Health | Stress | Hot/Cold Therapy

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Exercise

See my posts about exercise and muscle building.

What are the best ways to increase the amount of energy generated in my cells?

answer

Increasing the amount of energy generated in your cells primarily involves optimizing your cellular metabolism, as energy production occurs within the mitochondria of your cells. Here are some strategies to boost cellular energy production:

  1. Balanced Diet: Proper nutrition is crucial. Consume a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These nutrients are essential for energy production. Ensure you get enough vitamins and minerals, particularly B vitamins and magnesium, which play a role in energy metabolism.
  2. Aerobic Exercise: Regular physical activity, especially aerobic exercises like running, swimming, and cycling, can increase the number and efficiency of mitochondria in your cells. This enhances your body’s capacity to produce energy.
  3. Strength Training: Building muscle through strength training can boost your basal metabolic rate and help with energy production. More muscle means more energy expenditure.
  4. Hydration: Dehydration can lead to fatigue and reduced energy. Drink an adequate amount of water daily to maintain proper cellular function.
  5. Adequate Sleep: Good-quality sleep is essential for cellular recovery and energy restoration. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
  6. Stress Management: Chronic stress can disrupt cellular energy production. Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can help manage stress.
  7. Mitochondrial Support: Certain supplements and compounds like Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid may support mitochondrial function. Consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
  8. Manage Chronic Illness: If you have a chronic condition, managing it effectively is essential. Conditions like diabetes or thyroid disorders can affect energy production.
  9. Reduce Inflammation: Chronic inflammation can negatively impact cellular energy production. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle can help.
  10. Optimize Thyroid Function: The thyroid gland plays a significant role in metabolism. Ensure your thyroid hormones are within the normal range if you suspect a thyroid issue.
  11. Manage Blood Sugar: Blood sugar fluctuations can affect energy levels. Eating regular, balanced meals can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
  12. Limit Toxins: Reducing exposure to toxins, such as smoking, alcohol, and environmental pollutants, can help your cells function optimally.
  13. Caffeine and Green Tea: These contain natural compounds that can temporarily boost alertness and energy levels. Use them in moderation.
  14. Intermittent Fasting: Some people find that intermittent fasting can boost mitochondrial function and improve energy metabolism.
  15. Hormone Balance: Ensure your sex hormones, adrenal hormones, and other hormonal systems are in balance. Hormonal imbalances can lead to fatigue.
  16. Avoid Overeating: Overeating can lead to energy slumps. Eating in moderation and portion control is essential.

 

How can I improve muscle, strength, and bone mass to lengthen my healthspan?

answer

Improving muscle, strength, and bone mass is crucial for lengthening your healthspan, which is the period of life when you’re healthy and free from chronic diseases. Here are some strategies to help you achieve this:

  1. Resistance Training: Engage in regular resistance or strength training exercises. This can include weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, or resistance bands. Strength training is the most effective way to build muscle and increase strength.
  2. Progressive Overload: To continue building strength and muscle, progressively increase the resistance or intensity of your workouts over time. This can be achieved by increasing weights, reps, or sets.
  3. Balanced Diet: Consume a well-balanced diet that includes an adequate amount of protein, which is essential for muscle growth. Ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and vitamin D for bone health.
  4. Adequate Protein: Aim for a daily protein intake of about 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to support muscle growth and repair.
  5. Calcium and Vitamin D: These nutrients are vital for bone health. Include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods in your diet, and spend time outdoors to get natural vitamin D from the sun.
  6. Weight-Bearing Exercises: Engage in weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, dancing, or jumping. These activities help increase bone density and strength.
  7. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Incorporate HIIT workouts to improve cardiovascular fitness, boost metabolism, and support muscle growth.
  8. Adequate Rest and Recovery: Ensure you allow your muscles time to recover. Overtraining can lead to injury and hinder progress. Get enough sleep and consider rest days in your exercise routine.
  9. Proper Form: Ensure you’re using proper form when exercising to prevent injury and maximize muscle engagement.
  10. Hormone Optimization: As you age, hormonal changes can affect muscle and bone health. Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect hormonal imbalances.
  11. Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact bone health and muscle development. Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.
  12. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can lead to muscle loss and bone density reduction. Incorporate stress management techniques into your routine.
  13. Regular Physical Activity: Stay active in daily life. Take the stairs, walk or bike instead of driving, and engage in recreational activities you enjoy.
  14. Hydration: Proper hydration is essential for muscle and bone health. Drink enough water throughout the day.
  15. Regular Health Check-ups: Regular medical check-ups can help identify any health issues or deficiencies that may be affecting muscle, strength, and bone health.
  16. Supplements: Consider supplements like creatine for muscle growth and bone health supplements if advised by a healthcare professional.
  17. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the stress on your bones and joints, promoting better musculoskeletal health.

 

Is using a vibration platform a good hack to reduce workout time and maximize upper body training effects, as well as maintaining or improving bone density in postmenopausal women?

answer

Vibration platforms, also known as whole-body vibration (WBV) platforms, can be an interesting addition to your workout routine, offering the potential to save time and improve upper body strength and bone density. However, like any fitness tool, it’s essential to consider their effectiveness and safety, especially for postmenopausal women.

Benefits of Vibration Platforms:

  1. Efficiency: Vibration platforms can be a time-saver as they engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
  2. Strength Training: WBV can help enhance upper body and lower body strength by making your muscles work harder in response to the vibrations.
  3. Bone Density: Some studies suggest that WBV might positively affect bone density, making it potentially beneficial for postmenopausal women who are more vulnerable to osteoporosis.

Important Things to Keep in Mind:

  1. Limited Research: The science behind the long-term benefits of WBV is still emerging, and we need more studies to fully understand how effective and safe it is.
  2. Individual Variability: People respond differently to WBV, so while some individuals may see significant improvements, others might not experience the same results.
  3. Safety First: Vibration platforms can be uncomfortable or even cause injury if not used properly. If you have specific medical conditions or take certain medications, it’s wise to consult with a healthcare professional before using WBV.
  4. Exercise Adherence: While WBV can be a time-saver, it’s essential to stay motivated and stick to your workout routine, as consistency is key to seeing results.
  5. Not a Total Replacement: WBV should complement, not replace, traditional resistance training and weight-bearing exercises. Combining WBV with other exercise types is likely to be more effective. For instance, assuming there’s room on the vibrating platform, you could do squats and push-ups while the machine is vibrating.
  6. Cost and Accessibility: Keep in mind that vibration platforms can be pricey, and they may not be readily available, which could be a factor to consider.

In summary, vibration platforms could hold promise for improving muscle strength and bone density, particularly for postmenopausal women. But it’s crucial to remember that their effectiveness and safety can vary from person to person. If you’re thinking about adding WBV to your fitness routine, consider the following:

  1. Consult a healthcare professional to ensure it’s safe for you, especially if you have underlying health conditions.
  2. Learn the proper techniques and seek guidance to reduce the risk of injury.
  3. Integrate WBV into a well-rounded exercise program that includes resistance training, cardiovascular workouts, and flexibility exercises.
  4. Understand that results may differ, and it’s essential to have realistic expectations.

Always prioritize your safety and talk to a qualified fitness expert or physical therapist to create a workout plan that suits your unique needs and goals.

 

Nutrition/Diet

See my posts about nutrition and diet.

I’m eating once a day at 5pm, stopping before full. Is this good for me?

answer

Eating just one meal a day, often called the “one meal a day” (OMAD) diet, is a form of intermittent fasting that involves consuming all your daily calories in a single meal, typically within a one-hour window. While this approach can offer certain advantages, it may not be the best fit for everyone. Here’s a look at the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Simplicity: OMAD is refreshingly simple, eliminating the need for meal planning throughout the day.
  2. Calorie Control: For some individuals, eating just one meal a day can naturally help manage daily calorie intake, which can aid in weight loss or maintenance.
  3. Potential Health Benefits: Exciting research indicates that intermittent fasting, such as OMAD, might hold various health perks, including better insulin sensitivity, improved blood sugar management, and potential effects on longevity.

Cons:

  1. Nutrient Deficiency: The challenge with OMAD lies in trying to cram all your daily nutritional needs into a single meal. Meeting your body’s requirements for essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber, can be tough.
  2. Hunger and Energy Levels: Some folks find it tough to function well with so few meals, experiencing irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
  3. Social and Lifestyle Challenges: The typical social schedule of breakfast, lunch, and dinner may not mesh well with the OMAD routine, making socializing around mealtimes tricky.
  4. Digestive Discomfort: Scarfing down a large meal in a short time can lead to tummy trouble, like bloating, indigestion, and heartburn.
  5. Protein Intake Challenges: An important consideration, particularly as we age, is getting enough protein in one meal to meet our daily requirements. This can be a tough nut to crack given the decline in protein muscle synthesis that often accompanies aging.

So, while OMAD might suit some folks, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your body’s signals and, ideally, seek advice from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian. If you decide to give OMAD a go, make sure your one meal covers a variety of food groups, including veggies, lean proteins, healthy fats, and carbs. Plus, stay attentive to your body’s hunger cues and strive to avoid feeling overly ravenous.

Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all diet, and what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to choose an eating pattern that matches your goals, lifestyle, and overall well-being. If you have any concerns about protein intake or your diet, consider consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can offer tailored advice.

 

Work and ProLon are difficult. Are the day shots worthwhile to the person working or how to incorporate intermittent fasting? Also, thoughts for the workaholic young person?

answer

The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet is a dietary program designed to mimic the effects of fasting while still providing some nourishment. It was developed by Dr. Valter Longo, a biologist and researcher who has extensively studied the effects of fasting and calorie restriction on health and longevity.

Here’s how the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet works:

  1. Structured Meal Plan: The program typically lasts for five days and provides participants with a specific meal plan for each day. This plan consists of various plant-based foods, including soups, energy bars, drinks, and supplements.
  2. Low Calorie Intake: During the five-day program, participants consume a reduced number of calories, which is often around 750 to 1100 calories per day. This level of caloric restriction is designed to induce some of the physiological effects associated with fasting.
  3. Nutrient Composition: The meals provided in the ProLon diet are designed to provide a specific balance of macronutrients and micronutrients, including low protein and low carbohydrates, while maintaining essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
  4. Fasting Mimicking: The idea is that the diet tricks the body into a fasting state, prompting various health benefits similar to those seen during traditional fasting, such as autophagy (cellular self-cleansing), metabolic changes, and potential weight loss.

The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet is not a traditional fast, as it provides some nutrition and is designed to minimize the discomfort and challenges of fasting. The goal is to offer a more accessible and safer way to experience the potential health benefits of fasting, such as improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and cellular rejuvenation, without the extended period of food deprivation.

Unless you’re seeking to improve some chronic illness that might be responsive to restricted nutrient intake, Dr. Longo advises that the program be done just two to three times a year, which (finally) leads me to your question about how to do the program while working?

The fast answer is that you simply bring the per-prepared foods with you. The most you would have to do at work is be able to heat up water to cook the desiccated soup.

Now to your question about intermittent fasting… you need to decide what time period within which you will eat. Then slowly get there by gradually reducing the eating widow. See my posts on the topic.

Regarding “workaholic young person”… life’s a marathon and you must pace yourself.  Be disciplined with exercise, even if a few short bursts throughout the day, get some time away from screens, and get restorative sleep.

 

My husband is age 65, 6’3″, 178lb, very healthy, exercises regularly, eats super healthy, protein at every meal, starts day with protein shake, eats 3 meals plus snacks. He has a very slender athletic look but wants to gain weight. Not sure what else to have him try?

answer

Gaining healthy weight, especially for someone who exercises regularly and appears to be eating enough, involves a combination of dietary, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Here are some strategies to help a too-thin individual increase their body weight in a healthy way:

  1. Increase Caloric Intake: To gain weight, you need to consume more calories than your body burns. Calculate your daily calorie needs and aim for a surplus. Incorporate calorie-dense foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and healthy oils into your diet.
  2. Eat Balanced Meals: Ensure your diet includes a balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) to support overall health and muscle growth. Include lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats in each meal.
  3. Protein Intake: While you mention consuming protein drinks, make sure you’re getting enough to support muscle growth. Aim for about 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. To add healthy calories to the protein smoothie, consider adding flax, chia and/or hemp seeds or powder — they all are rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids which (given that they’re fats) are more calorically dense (9 calories per gram) than protein or carbs (both 4 calories per gram).
  4. Frequent Meals and Snacks: Instead of three large meals, consider eating more frequent, smaller meals and snacks throughout the day to increase overall calorie intake.
  5. Strength Training: Incorporate strength training exercises into your workout routine. This will help you gain muscle mass, which is a healthy way to increase body weight.
  6. Progressive Overload: Continuously challenge your muscles by increasing the intensity of your strength training workouts over time. This can be done by adding more weight, increasing repetitions, or varying exercises.
  7. Cardiovascular Exercise: While it’s important to do cardiovascular exercise for overall fitness, you might want to limit excessive cardio to prevent burning too many calories. Focus on shorter, high-intensity cardio sessions.
  8. Healthy Fats: Include sources of healthy fats in your diet, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish. These can provide a concentrated source of calories.
  9. Dense Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables are excellent for increasing calorie intake while providing energy for your workouts.
  10. Dairy Products: Dairy products like yogurt and milk are rich in protein and calories, making them good options for weight gain.
  11. Nutrient-Rich Foods: Choose nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals along with calories. These include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  12. Hydration: Stay well-hydrated, but avoid drinking large amounts of water just before or during meals, as it can make you feel too full to eat enough.
  13. Limit Empty Calories: While you’re increasing calories, try to avoid excessive consumption of sugary or highly processed foods. Focus on nutrient-rich choices.

 

What is your take on OMAD?

answer

The “One Meal A Day” (OMAD) diet has both advantages and disadvantages, and its suitability varies from person to person. Here are the pluses and minuses of OMAD:

Pluses of OMAD:

  1. Simplicity: OMAD is straightforward, as it involves eating only one meal a day, eliminating the need for meal planning and preparation throughout the day.
  2. Caloric Control: OMAD can naturally reduce daily calorie intake, which may help with weight management or weight loss for some individuals.
  3. Potential Health Benefits: Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting, like OMAD, can have health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity, better blood sugar control, and potential effects on longevity.
  4. Time Savings: With fewer meals to prepare and eat, you can save time, which may be convenient for busy schedules.
  5. Mental Clarity: Some people report improved mental clarity and focus during fasting periods.

Minuses of OMAD:

  1. Nutrient Deficiency: Eating only one meal a day can make it challenging to meet your nutritional needs. Getting all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body requires can be difficult.
  2. Hunger and Energy Levels: Some individuals may find it challenging to function well with such infrequent meals, leading to irritability, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
  3. Social and Lifestyle Challenges: The OMAD routine may not align with the typical social schedule of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, making socializing around mealtimes problematic.
  4. Digestive Discomfort: Eating a large meal in a short time can lead to digestive issues, such as bloating, indigestion, and heartburn.
  5. Potential to Overeat: With only one meal a day, some people may feel overly hungry by the time it arrives, leading to overeating or making less healthy food choices.
  6. Not Suitable for Everyone: OMAD may not be suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, growing children, or individuals with certain health conditions. Consult a healthcare professional before starting this diet.
  7. Limited Research: More research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of OMAD and how it compares to other dietary approaches.

In summary, the OMAD diet offers simplicity and potential benefits for some people but has significant drawbacks, particularly the risk of nutrient deficiency. If you want to play it safe, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting OMAD or any fasting-based diet to ensure it’s safe and suitable for your specific needs and goals. Also, consider balancing any potential benefits against the challenges and lifestyle considerations before adopting this eating pattern.

 

Weight Loss

See my posts about losing body fat.

I’m a 79 year old woman, weighing 113, 5’2′ tall, 35″ waist. I walk 30 min every day, Ride stationary bike 30 min 5 days per week. How do I reduce my belly faet?

answer

Reducing belly fat, especially as we age, can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. It’s great that you’re staying active and maintaining a regular exercise routine. Here are some additional tips to help you target belly fat:

  1. Dietary Modifications:
    • Focus on a balanced and calorie-controlled diet. Reduce your daily calorie intake slightly if necessary to create a calorie deficit.
    • Prioritize whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.
    • Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating.
    • Limit or avoid sugary and highly processed foods and beverages, as they can contribute to belly fat.
    • Increase your intake of fiber, as it can help with weight loss and promote feelings of fullness.
    • Stay well-hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day.
  2. Strength Training:
    • Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine. Resistance training can help build and maintain muscle, which can boost your metabolism and reduce belly fat.
    • Focus on compound exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups to engage multiple muscle groups.
  3. Cardiovascular Exercise:
    • Continue with your walking and stationary biking, as these are excellent cardiovascular exercises.
    • Consider mixing in some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions to further enhance calorie burning and fat loss.
  4. Consistency:
    • Be consistent with your exercise routine and dietary habits. It may take time to see results, so patience is key.
  5. Stress Management:
    • Chronic stress can contribute to abdominal fat. Practice stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
  6. Adequate Sleep:
    • Ensure you’re getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Poor sleep can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to weight gain.
  7. Consult a Healthcare Professional:
    • As you’re 79 years old, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or exercise routine. They can provide guidance based on your specific needs and any medical considerations.
  8. Body Composition:
    • Keep in mind that as you age, body composition changes are natural. Instead of obsessing over the number on the scale, focus on your overall health, strength, and well-being.

Remember that spot reduction (targeting fat loss in a specific area) is not a viable approach. Reducing overall body fat through a combination of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes will eventually lead to a reduction in belly fat. Be patient and maintain a healthy, sustainable routine to achieve your goals while keeping your long-term health in mind.

 

Do we know what causes visceral fat rather than subcutaneous fat? Is there a way (other than scans) to track visceral fat loss? Do we know how it relates to subcutaneous fat loss? Does one happen first? Is there a proportion eg 50/50 subcutaneous/visceral?

answer

Visceral fat and subcutaneous fat are two different types of fat in the body, and they have distinct causes, characteristics, and effects. Here’s some information about each and their relationship:

Causes:

  1. Visceral Fat: Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds the internal organs in the abdominal cavity. It is primarily caused by factors such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and an excessive consumption of calories, especially in the form of sugars and refined carbohydrates.
  2. Subcutaneous Fat: Subcutaneous fat is located just beneath the skin and is found throughout the body. It’s typically influenced by factors like genetics, overall calorie intake, and physical activity. Subcutaneous fat is also associated with factors like age and gender.

Tracking Visceral Fat:

  1. Body Composition Analysis: While scans, such as CT scans and MRI, are the most accurate methods to directly measure visceral fat, there are other ways to estimate its reduction. Some body composition scales and devices provide estimations of visceral fat based on bioelectrical impedance or other methods. However, these are not as accurate as medical scans.
  2. Waist Circumference: Monitoring changes in your waist circumference can give you a rough estimate of visceral fat reduction. A decreasing waistline is often associated with a reduction in visceral fat.

Relationship Between Visceral and Subcutaneous Fat:

Visceral fat and subcutaneous fat are interconnected, but they have different effects on health:

  • Visceral fat is considered more metabolically active and poses a higher risk for health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
  • Subcutaneous fat is generally less metabolically active and has a lower risk profile. It’s also less responsive to quick changes in diet and exercise.

Sequence of Fat Loss:

The sequence in which your body loses fat can vary from person to person. There’s no fixed rule that dictates whether visceral or subcutaneous fat is lost first. However, it’s generally safe to say that with a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can lose both types of fat over time.

Proportion of Visceral to Subcutaneous Fat:

The proportion of visceral to subcutaneous fat varies among individuals. Some people may have more visceral fat, while others may have more subcutaneous fat. There’s not standard ratio, like the 50/50 proportion you mentioned, because it varies based on genetics, lifestyle, and overall health. Reducing the amount of visceral fat is generally associated with improving health, but the specific distribution may differ.

It’s important to focus on overall health rather than obsessing about the proportion of different fat types. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce both visceral and subcutaneous fat, leading to improved well-being and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.

 

Supplements/Drugs

See my posts about supplements and drugs.

Joe, with all this “scientific guesswork” going on about the supposed benefits of taking NMN, Tru Niagen or CaAkg, how would anyone know if it is actually making them healthier or extending their life?

answer

The scientific community is still in the early stages of understanding the potential benefits of taking supplements like NMN, Tru Niagen, or CaAkg. While animal studies have shown promising results, there is still a lack of human studies to draw firm conclusions. So, it’s difficult to know if these supplements are actually making people healthier or extending their life. That said, there are some ways to track the effectiveness of these supplements:

  1. Blood tests: Blood tests can measure the levels of NAD+ and other biomarkers associated with aging. By tracking these levels over time, you can see if the supplements are having an effect on your body. Problem is, they’re expensive.
  2. Body composition analysis: Body composition analysis can measure changes in muscle mass, body fat, and other metrics associated with metabolic health. By tracking these changes over time, you can see if the supplements are having an effect on your body.
  3. Subjective measures: Subjective measures, such as energy levels, cognitive function, and overall well-being, can also be used to track the effectiveness of these supplements. However, these measures are more subjective and may be influenced by other factors.

I’ve tried NMN, NR and CaAkg simply just for the hell of it, frankly. I liked the animal studies, saw that there are few contraindications, so felt they were safe. I have no idea if any of it helped, because I didn’t measure any before and after metrics.

It’s important to remember that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management.

 

What is the role of Choline in the health of a 60 year old male?

answer

Choline is an essential nutrient that plays several important roles in the health of individuals, including 60-year-old males. Here are some key functions and benefits of choline:

  1. Cognitive Health: Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is critical for memory, learning, and overall cognitive function. Adequate choline intake is important for maintaining brain health and cognitive abilities, which can become increasingly important with age.
  2. Liver Health: Choline is involved in fat metabolism and the transportation of lipids from the liver. It helps prevent the accumulation of fat in the liver, which can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that becomes more common with age.
  3. Cell Membrane Structure: Choline is a key component of cell membranes and is essential for maintaining the structural integrity and fluidity of cell membranes throughout the body.
  4. DNA Synthesis and Repair: Choline is necessary for DNA synthesis and repair, which is important for the growth and maintenance of cells, including those involved in the immune system.
  5. Cardiovascular Health: Choline has been linked to cardiovascular health. It can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy cholesterol levels, which are important for heart health, especially as individuals age and become more susceptible to heart-related issues.
  6. Muscle Function: Choline plays a role in muscle function, and maintaining muscle mass and strength is particularly important as individuals get older.
  7. Methylation Reactions: Choline is involved in methylation reactions, which are essential for various biochemical processes in the body, including the regulation of gene expression.

It’s important to note that choline is not produced in sufficient quantities by the body, so it must be obtained through the diet. Good dietary sources of choline include eggs, liver, lean meats, fish, dairy products, soy products, and some vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

I wouldn’t recommend taking choline as a supplement — get it from your diet. Dr. Michael Greger of NutritionFacts.org makes a convincing argument from the studies he’s consulted on this matter.

Dr. Greger is known for his evidence-based approach to nutrition and health. He has expressed concerns about excessive choline intake, particularly from supplements, because high doses of choline might have potential health risks. It’s important to understand the context of his recommendations and the reasoning behind them:

  1. TMAO Production: One of the primary concerns regarding high choline intake is its potential to be converted in the gut to trimethylamine (TMA), which can then be further metabolized into trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Elevated TMAO levels have been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Greger has raised concerns about this connection and has recommended avoiding excessive choline intake, especially from supplements, as a precaution.
  2. Balanced Diet: Dr. Greger’s approach emphasizes the importance of getting nutrients from a balanced and whole-foods plant-based diet. Many essential nutrients, including choline, can be obtained from a well-rounded and diverse diet, reducing the need for supplementation in many cases.
  3. Individual Variation: The potential health risks of high choline intake, particularly from supplements, may vary among individuals. Some people may be at higher risk due to their gut microbiota composition or other factors.
  4. Choline in Whole Foods: Dr. Greger typically encourages obtaining choline from whole food sources, such as beans, vegetables, grains, and other plant-based options. While these sources may provide slightly less choline than animal-based sources, they can still contribute to meeting your choline needs without concerns about excessive intake.
  5. Balancing Nutritional Concerns: Nutritional science often involves weighing potential benefits against potential risks. While choline is essential for various bodily functions, Dr. Greger’s recommendations are intended to help individuals make informed choices that consider overall health.

It’s important to recognize that recommendations in the field of nutrition can vary based on different experts’ interpretations of the available evidence and their specific dietary philosophies. The concerns raised by Dr. Greger regarding choline supplementation are rooted in the available research, and his goal is to promote a whole-foods plant-based diet that is associated with numerous health benefits.

 

I know Metformin is a very promising as a health supplement. However, I’m wondering if it is advisable for elderly people? I’m 74 and thinking about adding it to my other supplements.

answer

In a 2014 retrospective study, diabetic patients on metformin were found to have lower mortality than non-diabetic controls, suggesting that the drug has benefits for lifespan beyond management of diabetes – benefits which could improve longevity for anyone, diabetic or not. There are concerns about the limitations of this study, however, including the fact that the groups were defined by a variable other than metformin use (i.e., diabetes status) that was likely to impact the readout variable (i.e., survival).

From a more recent study investigating the question of whether metformin should be used for general “geroprotection,” longevity expert Dr. Peter Attia concluded that metformin is probably a better potential geroprotective compound for diabetic patients than non-diabetic patients.

I’ve written two posts about metformin that you can read here and here.

 

I am concerned about are my iron levels at 129. Do you think that is high? I just read somewhere shouldn’t be higher than 80.

answer

A serum iron level of 129 is considered to be in the normal range for adults. Iron levels can vary somewhat depending on the laboratory reference ranges used, but in general, the normal range for serum iron is typically around 60 to 170 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL).

If your serum iron level is 129 mcg/dL, it falls well within this normal range. It’s important to remember that reference ranges can differ slightly between laboratories, so it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider for an interpretation specific to your test results and individual health.

While having a serum iron level within the normal range is a positive sign, it’s essential to consider other factors related to iron metabolism, such as your iron storage (ferritin) levels and the presence of any symptoms or medical conditions. If you have concerns about your iron status or have been advised by a healthcare professional to monitor your iron levels, discussing your results and any potential implications with them is a prudent step.

Also know that individual iron requirements can vary based on age, gender, and overall health. If you have specific concerns about your iron levels, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider who can provide a thorough evaluation of your iron status and offer personalized guidance based on your health and medical history.

 

Why do body builders recommend Creatine?

answer

Bodybuilders and athletes often recommend creatine supplementation for several reasons, as it can offer benefits that support their training goals and performance. It is sometimes also recommended for the elderly who are frail, possibly from sarcopenia (muscle wasting).

I’ll address the athletic-types and then the eldery.

Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in small amounts in certain foods and synthesized in the body. It’s stored in the muscles and used as a quick source of energy during short bursts of high-intensity activity.

Here’s why creatine is popular among bodybuilders:

  1. Increased Muscle Performance: Creatine supplementation can enhance muscle performance during short-duration, high-intensity activities, such as weightlifting, sprinting, and other explosive exercises. This can lead to improved strength, power, and workout capacity.
  2. Improved Exercise Recovery: Creatine may reduce muscle cell damage and inflammation after intense workouts. This can lead to faster recovery between training sessions, allowing for more frequent and productive workouts.
  3. Muscle Growth: Creatine has been shown to support muscle growth, particularly when combined with resistance training. It can increase muscle cell hydration, stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and contribute to muscle hypertrophy.
  4. Enhanced Endurance: While creatine is best known for its role in short bursts of power, some studies suggest that it can also improve endurance in activities like running and cycling. This effect is attributed to improved energy metabolism.
  5. Reduced Muscle Fatigue: Creatine may help reduce muscle fatigue during high-intensity workouts, enabling bodybuilders to push harder and complete more repetitions, which can contribute to muscle growth.
  6. Increased Muscle Volume: Creatine can lead to temporary water retention in muscle cells, which can result in a fuller, more “pumped” appearance. This can be particularly desirable for bodybuilders when preparing for competitions.
  7. Convenience: Creatine is readily available in various forms, including powder and capsules, making it a convenient and cost-effective supplement.

Creatine Supplementation for Older Adults with Sarcopenia

Creatine supplementation can be considered for older individuals who are experiencing or at risk of sarcopenia, which is the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. Creatine has shown potential benefits for both muscle mass and muscle function in older adults.

Here’s what you should know:

  1. Improved Muscle Mass: Creatine supplementation, when combined with resistance training, has the potential to increase muscle mass, which is beneficial for older adults with sarcopenia.
  2. Enhanced Muscle Strength: Creatine has been shown to improve muscle strength and power, making it easier for older individuals to perform daily activities and resistance exercises.
  3. Functional Capacity: Creatine supplementation may improve functional capacity and overall physical performance in older adults. This can help maintain independence and quality of life.
  4. Potential for Fall Prevention: Improved muscle strength and balance from creatine supplementation can reduce the risk of falls and fractures in older adults.

Considerations for Creatine Supplementation:

  1. Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before starting any supplement, including creatine, it’s essential for older adults to consult with a healthcare provider. They can assess your specific health needs and ensure that creatine supplementation is safe and appropriate for your individual circumstances.
  2. Combine with Resistance Training: The most significant benefits of creatine are often observed when it’s combined with resistance training or strength exercises. A structured exercise program should be part of the plan to maximize the effects on muscle health.
  3. Quality and Dosage: Choose a high-quality creatine monohydrate supplement, and follow recommended dosage guidelines. Creatine is generally considered safe, but it’s important to use it as directed.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Creatine may lead to temporary water retention, so it’s important to stay well-hydrated while using creatine supplements.
  5. Monitor for Potential Side Effects: While creatine is generally well-tolerated, it can cause gastrointestinal discomfort or other mild side effects in some individuals. Be aware of any adverse reactions and discontinue use if necessary.
  6. Individual Response: The response to creatine supplementation can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience significant benefits, while others may see more modest improvements.

 

What are your thoughts on taking iodine? Novos recommends it as part of their vitamin routine and they say if you take it you have to follow up with selenium and Vit c

answer.

Iodine is an essential mineral that is important for thyroid function. Most people get all the iodine they need from food, including fish, seaweed, dairy products, and iodized salt. However, some people may need a supplement to help ensure they meet their requirements.
While iodine supplements can be effective for preventing and treating iodine deficiency, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially one that can affect the thyroid. Iodine supplements may interact with certain medications, such as anti-thyroid medications, and high doses of iodine may worsen certain thyroid disorders.
Regarding the recommendation from Novos to take iodine as part of their vitamin routine, follow the recommended dosage and also take selenium and vitamin C as recommended. Selenium is important for thyroid function and can help protect against the harmful effects of excess iodine, while vitamin C can help improve the absorption of iodine.

 

I would like to see updates on effectiveness of spermidine, Urolithin A, Sam-e, & HGH natural supplements such as Novex Biotech GF9

answer

Spermidine, Urolithin A, SAM-e, and HGH natural supplements such as Novex Biotech GF9 are all popular supplements that are marketed for their potential anti-aging and longevity benefits. Here is a summary of the latest research on these supplements:

1. Spermidine is a polyamine that has been shown to reduce levels of inflammation, slow down the aging of cells and tissues, and improve various biomarkers of health and longevity [1][2]. However, research studies have also found that spermidine likely does not get absorbed into the human body, so there is reason to be concerned about its efficacy from oral supplementation [5]. Additionally, even if spermidine were orally bioavailable, 1 mg is not likely to exert any substantial benefit, when Americans are already consuming multiple milligrams of the molecule per day in their diets [5].

2. Urolithin A is a postbiotic molecule that improves mitochondrial health and promotes effective mitophagy [3][6]. It is produced in the gut after ingesting antioxidants from foods such as walnuts and pomegranates, and it can also be taken in supplement form [4]. Urolithin A is backed by 10 completed clinical studies and is FDA GRAS (generally recognized as safe) [2].

3. SAM-e is a naturally occurring molecule that is involved in many biochemical reactions in the body, including the production of neurotransmitters and the maintenance of cell membranes [1]. It has been shown to have potential benefits for depression, osteoarthritis, and liver disease [1]. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and safety as a supplement.

4. HGH (human growth hormone) is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body and is involved in growth and development. HGH supplements, such as Novex Biotech GF9, are marketed for their potential anti-aging and muscle-building benefits. However, there is limited evidence to support their effectiveness, and they may have side effects such as joint pain, swelling, and carpal tunnel syndrome [1].

So, the bottom line is while spermidine, Urolithin A, SAM-e, and HGH natural supplements such as Novex Biotech GF9 are marketed for their potential anti-aging and longevity benefits, more research is needed to fully understand their effectiveness and safety as supplements.

Citations:
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9086005/
[2] https://www.timelinenutrition.com/blog/spermidine-longevity-benefits-pros-cons-and-how-it-works
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9381911/
[4] https://www.timelinenutrition.com/blog/nmn-vs-nr-vs-ua
[5] https://novoslabs.com/best-anti-aging-supplements-that-harvard-scientist-david-sinclair-takes/
[6] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332222003079

 

I have naturally high Tryptase that can cause histamine attacks – sometimes life threatening. I have managed with diet changes, supplements such as Resveratrol and Quercetin, and being careful. Does this lower my life? Can I add something else to boost life extension?

answer

Having naturally high tryptase levels can cause histamine attacks, which can be life-threatening. It’s good to hear that you have managed to control the attacks with diet changes and supplements such as resveratrol and quercetin. These supplements are known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce histamine levels and prevent histamine attacks [1].

Regarding your question about whether this condition lowers your life expectancy, there is no clear answer. Elevated basal serum tryptase has been associated with a multisystem disorder that is associated with increased TPSAB1 copy number, but more research is needed to fully understand the implications of this condition [2].

Elevated serum tryptase tends to increase with age, even after correcting for other medical comorbidities, and is higher in males than females [3];however, it’s important to note that high tryptase levels do not necessarily mean that you have a disease or condition that will shorten your lifespan.

My last word on this that you should be exploring this issue with your doctor!

 

Continue to report on updates regarding Rapamycin… more detail on rapamycin and metformin as senolytic agents.

answer.

Rapamycin and metformin are two supplements that have been studied for their potential anti-aging and senolytic properties. Here is a summary of the latest research on these supplements:

1.  Rapamycin is an mTOR inhibitor that has been shown to have potential anti-aging and senolytic effects. It has been found to suppress cellular senescence and SASP in multiple age-associated dysfunctions [5]. Additionally, a study published in Lifespan.io found that rapamycin and metformin work hand in hand in diabetes-prone mice, boosting each other’s effectiveness and blocking side effects [4]. However, rapamycin is known to promote hyperglycemia in some patients, probably by increasing insulin resistance and decreasing pancreatic response to glucose [4]. People who take about 6 mg per week report getting mouth sores from time to time.

A great resource for rapamycin is Rapamycin News.

2. Metformin is a widely used hypoglycemic drug that has been found to have potential anti-aging and senostatic effects. It has been effective in suppressing cellular senescence and SASP in multiple age-associated dysfunctions [5]. Additionally, a study published in Nature found that metformin can act as a senostatic drug to enhance the anticancer efficacy of CDK4/6 inhibitors by reprogramming the profiles of the SASP [3]. However, metformin is suspected to be harmful to the kidneys (a nephrotoxin) of the elderly, and metformin treatment substantially elevated kidney inflammation levels and the albumin/creatinine ratio, a measurement of kidney damage [4][6].

3. Combination of rapamycin and metformin: A study published in Lifespan.io found that rapamycin and metformin work hand in hand in diabetes-prone mice, boosting each other’s effectiveness and blocking side effects [4]. That said, remember, you’re not a mouse.

In summary, rapamycin and metformin are two supplements that have been studied for their potential anti-aging and senolytic effects. While both supplements have shown promise in suppressing cellular senescence and SASP in multiple age-associated dysfunctions, there are some notable side effects associated with these supplements. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement/drug regimen.

Citations:
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3701108/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5723685/
[3] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41419-020-03126-0
[4] https://www.lifespan.io/news/rapamycin-and-metformin-show-synergy-in-mice/
[5] https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/pdf/S1550-4131(20)30183-2.pdf
[6] https://elifesciences.org/articles/75492

 

Disease

See my posts about arthritis, inflammation, blood sugar, and heart health.

Hi Joe, my big dilemma is cholesterol. I am unable to take a statin due to severe muscle and joint pain. My total cholesterol is 223 hdl 84 triglycerides 44 and ldl 131. I am taking fiber, omega 3 and dha and pantethine 900 mg daily. I exercise everyday either walking, yoga or weightlifting. Two half sisters on my mom’s side have had strokes. That is why I am a nut about my cholesterol. My Apob is 97 and I want it lower. C-reactive protein is 0.96. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.

answer

It’s great that you’re proactive about managing your cholesterol levels and overall heart health. Based on your current numbers and lifestyle, here’s a protocol that might help you reduce your cholesterol levels and lower your ApoB:

  1. Dietary Modifications:
    • Mediterranean Diet: Consider following a Mediterranean-style diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This type of diet has been associated with improved heart health. See this post.
    • Increase Soluble Fiber: You mentioned taking fiber, which is excellent. Ensure you’re getting plenty of soluble fiber from sources like oats, beans, lentils, and fruits, as it can help lower LDL cholesterol.
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Continue with omega-3 and DHA supplementation, as these can have a positive impact on heart health.
    • Limit Saturated Fat and Trans Fat: Reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet by avoiding fried foods, processed snacks, and high-fat dairy products. Choose lean protein sources.
    • Heart-Healthy Fats: Include sources of heart-healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
  2. Regular Exercise:
    • Maintain your daily exercise routine, which includes walking, yoga, and weightlifting. Regular physical activity can help improve lipid profiles and reduce cardiovascular risk.
  3. Medication:
    • Since you have a family history of strokes and your ApoB is a concern, discuss the possibility of medication with your healthcare provider. My ApoB was around 100, and I quickly got it down to 59 using 5 mg of rosuvastatin plus some other supplements.  You don’t tolerate statins, so ask your doctor about PCSK9 inhibitors. See my ApoB posts here and here (includes the supplements I used).
  4. Stress Management:
    • Implement stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to help lower stress levels, which can affect heart health.
  5. Regular Monitoring:
    • Continue to monitor your cholesterol levels and ApoB. Regular testing can help you and your healthcare provider assess the effectiveness of your efforts and make adjustments as needed.
  6. Consult a Registered Dietitian:
    • Consider consulting a registered dietitian who can create a personalized dietary plan tailored to your specific needs and cholesterol targets.

Your C-reactive protein (CRP) level of 0.96 mg/L is within a typical reference range for CRP, which is often considered a marker of inflammation. Generally, CRP levels below 1.0 mg/L are considered low and not a cause for immediate concern.

 

Dr Peter Attia recommends maintaining blood sugar level of 100mg/dl max. At age 67, I’m able to maintain an average of 100mg/dl and this raises to 115 to 120 max. after food. I would like to have your valuable opinion on this issue.

answer

Dr. Peter Attia’s recommendation of maintaining a blood sugar level of 100 mg/dL or below is in line with the general goal of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, especially for individuals concerned about metabolic health and potential risks of elevated blood sugar. Your ability to maintain an average of 100 mg/dL and occasionally reaching 115-120 mg/dL after meals is within a relatively healthy range.

Here are a few considerations:

  1. Individual Variation: Blood sugar levels can vary from person to person based on factors like age, genetics, dietary choices, and physical activity.
  2. Post-Meal Increase: It’s common for blood sugar levels to rise after meals, and a post-meal level of 115-120 mg/dL is generally considered normal. It’s essential to have your blood sugar return to baseline levels within a reasonable time frame, which is an indicator of good glucose control.
  3. Health Goals: Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is important for overall health and can help reduce the risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Consistently monitoring your levels and making dietary and lifestyle adjustments, if needed, can contribute to long-term health.
  4. Consult with a Healthcare Professional: If you have specific health goals or concerns related to your blood sugar levels, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physician or registered dietitian, who can provide personalized guidance. They can help you develop a plan to manage your blood sugar levels effectively.
  5. Lifestyle Factors: Lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise, and stress management, play a significant role in managing blood sugar. Making healthy choices in these areas can help you maintain or improve your blood sugar levels.

Overall, maintaining an average blood sugar level of around 100 mg/dL and occasional post-meal levels of 115-120 mg/dL are positive indicators of good glucose control.

 

Atherosclerosis: true contributors, how to avoid it?

answer

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the walls of arteries become narrowed and hardened due to the buildup of plaque, a mixture of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances. Atherosclerosis can lead to various cardiovascular problems, including heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

Let’s review how it happens and how to avoid it.

How Atherosclerosis Happens:

  1. Endothelial Damage: Atherosclerosis often begins with damage to the inner lining (endothelium) of arteries. This damage can be caused by factors like high blood pressure, smoking, high levels of cholesterol, and inflammation.
  2. Plaque Formation: In response to endothelial damage, the body’s immune system sends white blood cells to the affected area. These cells can collect cholesterol and other substances, forming fatty streaks or plaque on the arterial walls.
  3. Plaque Growth: Over time, the plaque can accumulate, causing the arterial walls to thicken and narrow. This restricts blood flow and reduces the flexibility of the arteries.
  4. Calcification: The plaque can become calcified, making it harder and more stable. This calcification can further narrow the arteries.
  5. Complications: Atherosclerotic plaques can rupture or erode, leading to blood clot formation at the site. A clot can suddenly block an artery, causing a heart attack or stroke.

How to Avoid Atherosclerosis:

  1. Lifestyle Modifications:
    • Healthy Diet: Consume a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low in saturated and trans fats. Reducing salt intake can help manage blood pressure. Read about the Blue Zoner diet.
    • Physical Activity: Engage in regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight, improve cholesterol levels, and support cardiovascular health. Here are my exercise posts.
    • Smoking Cessation: If you smoke, quitting is one of the most significant steps you can take to prevent atherosclerosis.
    • Moderate Alcohol: If you choose to consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of atherosclerosis.
  2. Medication and Medical Management:
    • Blood Pressure Control: If you have high blood pressure, work with your healthcare provider to manage it effectively.
    • Cholesterol Management: If you have high cholesterol levels, follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for medication, diet, and lifestyle changes.
    • Diabetes Control: If you have diabetes, manage your blood sugar levels to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
  3. Regular Checkups:
    • Visit your healthcare provider regularly for checkups and screenings to monitor your cardiovascular health and risk factors.
  4. Antiplatelet Medications: In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, to reduce the risk of blood clot formation.
  5. Stress Management:
    • Practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to manage stress, which can contribute to atherosclerosis.
  6. Genetic Factors:
    • Be aware of your family history and discuss it with your healthcare provider, as genetics can play a role in atherosclerosis.
  7. Compliance: Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding medication, lifestyle changes, and dietary modifications, because atherosclerosis is a preventable and manageable condition. By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle and working closely with your healthcare provider, you can reduce your risk of atherosclerosis and its associated complications.

 

Is there a way to reduce atherosclerotic plaque?

answer

Reducing atherosclerotic plaque, while challenging, is possible through a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. It’s important to note that plaque can’t always be completely eliminated, but it can often be stabilized and reduced. Here are some strategies to help reduce atherosclerotic plaque:

  1. Lifestyle Changes:
    • Heart-Healthy Diet: Adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low in saturated and trans fats. The Mediterranean diet is often recommended for its heart-protective properties.
    • Physical Activity: Engage in regular exercise, including aerobic and resistance training. Exercise can help improve cardiovascular health and may stabilize or reduce plaque.
    • Smoking Cessation: If you smoke, quitting is crucial for reducing atherosclerotic plaque. Smoking damages blood vessels and accelerates plaque formation.
    • Stress Management: Chronic stress can contribute to atherosclerosis. Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga.
    • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can help improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall cardiovascular health.
  2. Medication:
    • Cholesterol-Lowering Medications: Statins and other cholesterol-lowering medications can help reduce plaque formation and may stabilize or reduce existing plaques.
    • Antiplatelet Medications: Aspirin and other antiplatelet drugs may be prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots that can lead to plaque rupture.
    • Blood Pressure Management: If you have high blood pressure, medications can help manage it and reduce the risk of plaque formation.
  3. Diabetes Control: If you have diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels is essential for reducing the progression of atherosclerosis.
  4. Invasive Procedures:
    • Angioplasty and Stenting: In cases of severe blockages, angioplasty (balloon dilation) and stent placement can be performed to open narrowed arteries.
    • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: For extensive plaque in the coronary arteries, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery may be recommended.
  5. Lifestyle Compliance: It’s essential to adhere to prescribed medications and maintain lifestyle changes consistently to effectively manage atherosclerotic plaque.
  6. Regular Monitoring: Regular check-ups and imaging tests, such as coronary angiography or CT angiography, can assess the progression and stability of plaques.
  7. Comprehensive Cardiovascular Care: Consult with a cardiologist or vascular specialist to develop a personalized treatment plan that may include lifestyle interventions, medications, and, if necessary, interventional procedures.

While it’s possible to reduce atherosclerotic plaque with appropriate measures, the effectiveness of these strategies varies based on the individual and the extent of the plaque. The goal is to stabilize plaques, reduce inflammation, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Health Trackers

Value of medical wearables? Go beyond Apple Watch to Whoop, Oura Ring, Apollo Neuro, and basic Garmin trackers, et al

answer

Wearable technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many devices marketed for their potential health and fitness benefits. There’s a bewildering number of different products in this category on the market, and they are constantly getting updated, so be aware that information current today may be outdated tomorrow.

Before I get into the particulars, my bottom line is that these “wearables” are only useful if you track the metrics they offer, and understand that the absolute number may be inaccurate (say, your pulse as you climb a hill), but the variance from day to day as you improve (or not) is probably accurate for the better brands.

Here are some of the latest trends and benefits of medical wearables from a health and fitness perspective:

Wearable fitness trackers: These are wristbands equipped with sensors to keep track of the user’s physical activity and heart rate. They can sync conveniently to smartphone apps to provide users with invaluable health and fitness recommendations[ 1]. Research from Augusta University Medical Center showed that this wearable device registered an 89% reduction in patient deterioration into preventable cardiac or respiratory arrest [1].

Continuous blood sugar monitors: These devices can be worn on the body to continuously monitor blood sugar levels, which can be helpful for people with diabetes or other conditions that affect blood sugar levels [2].

Smartwatches: These devices can track physical activity, heart rate, and other health metrics, as well as provide notifications and other features [4]. They can also be used to monitor patients remotely and provide valuable insights into patient care settings such as hospitals and nursing homes [5].

Garmin trackers: These devices are designed for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes, and can track a variety of metrics such as distance, speed, and elevation [6].

Oura Ring: This device is a sleep and activity tracker that can monitor sleep quality, heart rate variability, and other metrics to provide insights into overall health and wellness [1].

Apollo Neuro: This device is a wearable that uses gentle vibrations to help reduce stress and improve sleep quality [1].

To sum up, wearable technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many devices marketed for their potential health and fitness benefits. Wearable fitness trackers, continuous blood sugar monitors, smartwatches, Garmin trackers, Oura Ring, and Apollo Neuro are just a few examples of the many wearable devices available. These devices can provide valuable insights into overall health and wellness, and can be helpful for people with specific health conditions or fitness goals.

Citations:
[1] https://www.insiderintelligence.com/insights/wearable-technology-healthcare-medical-devices/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9330198/
[3] https://www.velvetech.com/blog/wearable-technology-in-healthcare/
[4] https://eleks.com/blog/wearable-technology-in-healthcare/
[5] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wearable-technology-healthcare-what-benefits-patients-jo%C3%A3o-bocas
[6] https://www.medtechdive.com/news/wearables-AnalyticsIQ-survey/652853/

 

Hormones

See my posts about hormone optimization.

Do you believe in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)?

answer

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is a medical treatment designed to address low testosterone levels in individuals, often in the context of hypogonadism or other medical conditions. While TRT can provide benefits, it also comes with potential drawbacks and risks.

My testosterone level is about average for my age. Because I typically seek to enhance everything I can that can help me age better, I’ve considered using TRT to increase my testosterone, but so far experiment with natural compounds instead, which I cover in my several blog posts about testosterone.

Several years ago, I used Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster, which I wrote about here. I did not test my testosterone before and after the use of this supplement, but it’s one of the rare supplements I’ve taken where I’ve noticed a difference attributable to it. It might be something for you to consider.

Here’s an overview of the positives and negatives of TRT:

Positives of TRT:

  1. Improved Symptom Relief: TRT can effectively alleviate the symptoms of low testosterone, such as fatigue, reduced libido, mood disturbances, and cognitive changes. This can lead to an improved quality of life.
  2. Muscle Mass and Strength: TRT can increase muscle mass and strength, making it beneficial for those with muscle-wasting conditions or those seeking performance enhancement.
  3. Bone Health: Testosterone is important for bone density and strength. TRT can help maintain bone health, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
  4. Libido and Sexual Function: Many individuals experience an improvement in libido and sexual function with TRT.
  5. Mood and Cognitive Function: Some people report improved mood, concentration, and cognitive function with TRT.
  6. Energy Levels: Increased energy and vitality are commonly reported as positive effects of TRT.

Negatives of TRT:

  1. Potential Side Effects: TRT can have side effects, including acne, fluid retention, increased red blood cell production (polycythemia), and potential mood swings. The severity and likelihood of side effects vary between individuals.
  2. Cardiovascular Risks: There is some debate about the potential impact of TRT on cardiovascular health. Some studies have suggested an increased risk of heart-related issues, while others have not found a significant association.
  3. Prostate Health: TRT may stimulate the growth of existing prostate cancer cells, so it’s typically contraindicated for individuals with prostate cancer or high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.
  4. Fertility: TRT can reduce sperm production and fertility. It’s important for individuals interested in fertility to consider alternatives.
  5. Hormone Dependency: TRT can lead to dependence, as the body may stop producing testosterone on its own. If TRT is discontinued, low testosterone symptoms may return.
  6. Monitoring: Regular monitoring is necessary while on TRT to ensure it is effective and safe. Blood tests and follow-up appointments are required.
  7. Individual Response: Not everyone responds the same way to TRT. What works for one person may not work the same for another, and the balance between benefits and risks can vary.

It’s important to note that TRT should be administered under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider who can assess your individual needs, monitor your progress, and make necessary adjustments. TRT is not appropriate for everyone, and the decision to pursue it should be made after careful consideration of your specific health circumstances and in consultation with a medical professional. The potential benefits and risks should be weighed in your unique context.

 

You’ve written a lot about improving testosterone levels, and I think that’s an issue for me as well. Starting small I thought I would look for the saliva test you mentioned – do you have a link for that? And I’d like your opinion on other substances that may improve testosterone levels – – Maca – seems like there a a number of varieties – Cistanche Tubulosa – Fadogia Agrestis Do you use or have an opinion and any of the above?

answer

This saliva test for testosterone costs $49.95. I haven’t used it, nor know of its accuracy.

The efficacy of various compounds for boosting testosterone can vary, and it’s important to note that individual responses may differ. Those you mentioned — Maca, Cistanche Tubulosa, and Fadogia Agrestis —  are three compounds that have been studied for their potential to boost testosterone levels.

Here is a summary of the latest research on these compounds, and then I’ll link to a supplement that I found helpful:

1. Maca is a root vegetable that has been traditionally used for its aphrodisiac properties. While it has been marketed as a testosterone booster, the research on its effectiveness is limited and inconclusive [1]. Maca does not appear to influence any hormones and can be currently deemed ‘non-hormonal’ [1].

2. Cistanche Tubulosa is an herb that has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for its potential to support kidney and reproductive health. It is believed to possess adaptogenic properties, helping the body adapt to stress. It may also promote physical endurance, enhance sexual function, and support the immune system [6]. Cistanche is able to promote the activity of certain enzymes and activate ghrelin receptors which help improve testosterone levels and help build muscle mass [5].

3. Fadogia Agrestis is a plant that has been traditionally used in African medicine for its potential to increase testosterone production and support male reproductive health. While there is limited research on its effectiveness, one study found that oral administration of aqueous extract of Fadogia agrestis stem resulted in a significant increase in percentage testes-body weight ratio in male rats [2]. However, it is important to note that Fadogia Agrestis does not have sufficient clinical studies, clinical tests, or research studies to prove its effect on testosterone [3].

Several years ago, I used Aggressive Strength Testosterone Booster, which I wrote about here. I did not test my testosterone before and after the use of this supplement, but it’s one of the rare supplements I’ve taken where I’ve noticed a difference attributable to it. It might be something for you to consider.

In summary, while Maca, Cistanche Tubulosa, and Fadogia Agrestis have been studied for their potential to boost testosterone levels, the research on their effectiveness is limited and inconclusive. Cistanche Tubulosa is believed to possess adaptogenic properties, helping the body adapt to stress, and may promote physical endurance, enhance sexual function, and support the immune system. Fadogia Agrestis has been traditionally used in African medicine for its potential to increase testosterone production and support male reproductive health, but more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Citations:
[1] https://examine.com/articles/four-testosterone-boosters-and-sketchy-research/
[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874107005296
[3] https://akarali.com/top-best-testosterone-supplements/
[4] https://nootropicsdepot.com/cistanche-more-than-just-a-testosterone-supplement
[5] https://www.amazon.com/Testosterone-Standardized-Echinacosides-Double-Wood/dp/B0BWKDHMJZ
[6] https://www.omnipotentnutrition.com/blogs/articles/health-benefits-of-popular-supplements-shilajit-cistanche-tubulosa-tongkat-ali-and-fadogia-agrestis-turkesterone-and-irish-sea-moss-with-bladderwrack-and-burdock-root

 

Gut Health

See my posts about the gut microbiome.

Gut health – digestion, absorption, elimination, gallbladder, bile, liver health, the whole thing?

answer

Gut health is a fundamental aspect of overall well-being and plays a pivotal role in digestion, absorption, elimination, and the health of several vital organs. I’ve written a bit about the topic, which you can review here.

Here’s a review of various factors that are pertinent to improving gut health:

Digestion:

  1. Stomach: Digestion begins in the stomach, where gastric juices containing hydrochloric acid and enzymes break down food.
  2. Pancreas: The pancreas releases digestive enzymes into the small intestine to further break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  3. Small Intestine: This is where most nutrient absorption occurs. The small intestine has villi, small finger-like projections, to increase the surface area for absorption.

Absorption:

  1. Nutrient Absorption: Nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and glucose, are absorbed in the small intestine and transported into the bloodstream for use throughout the body.
  2. Microbiome Interaction: A healthy gut microbiome is essential for optimal nutrient absorption, as it aids in the digestion of certain foods and the synthesis of vitamins.

Elimination:

  1. Large Intestine (Colon): The large intestine is primarily responsible for reabsorbing water and electrolytes and forming waste into stool for elimination.
  2. Fiber: Dietary fiber plays a crucial role in maintaining regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
  3. Proper Hydration: Drinking enough water is essential to keep stool soft and facilitate smooth elimination.

Gallbladder and Bile:

  1. Gallbladder: The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver and releases it into the small intestine to aid in the digestion and absorption of fats.
  2. Bile Production: A well-functioning liver is essential for continuous bile production. Optimal liver health supports the breakdown of toxins and the synthesis of essential compounds.

Microbes (Gut Microbiome):

  1. Microbiome Diversity: A diverse and balanced gut microbiome is essential for digestion, immune function, and overall health.
  2. Probiotics: Consuming probiotic-rich foods or supplements can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
  3. Prebiotics: Prebiotic foods, such as fiber-rich plant-based foods, support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
  4. Fermentation: The fermentation of undigested carbohydrates in the colon produces short-chain fatty acids, which have various health benefits.

Improving Gut Health:

  1. Balanced Diet: Consume a diet rich in fiber, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats to support digestion and the gut microbiome.
  2. Proper Hydration: Drink an adequate amount of water to maintain hydration and ensure smooth elimination.
  3. Probiotics and Prebiotics: Incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi into your diet. Additionally, consume prebiotic foods such as garlic, onions, and bananas.
  4. Reduce Processed Foods: Minimize processed and ultra-processed foods, which can negatively impact gut health.
  5. Limit Antibiotic Use: Use antibiotics only when prescribed by a healthcare professional, as overuse can disrupt the gut microbiome.
  6. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can affect gut health, so practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, mindfulness, or yoga.
  7. Regular Exercise: Physical activity supports digestion and overall well-being.
  8. Adequate Sleep: Get enough quality sleep, as sleep is essential for the body’s restorative processes, including gut health.
  9. Consult a Healthcare Provider: If you have persistent digestive issues, it’s important to seek guidance from a healthcare provider or gastroenterologist to rule out underlying medical conditions and receive personalized advice.

A healthy gut is central to good health, and taking steps to improve gut health can have far-reaching benefits for overall well-being. It’s important to focus on a holistic approach that considers not only diet and nutrition but also lifestyle, stress management, and the role of the gut microbiome in achieving optimal digestive health.

 

Stress

See my posts about managing stress.

Stress and stress resilience & nervous system support?

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Stress and stress resilience are critical aspects of our physical and mental well-being. In the modern world, where demands and pressures can be relentless, understanding and effectively managing stress is essential.

So, let’s go over some thoughts and considerations about stress, stress resilience, and the importance of nervous system support:

Stress: Stress is the body’s natural response to challenges and demands, whether they are physical, emotional, or psychological. It triggers a series of physiological changes, often referred to as the “fight or flight” response, which is designed to help us cope with immediate threats. While stress can be beneficial in short bursts, chronic stress, when our stress response is activated over extended periods, can have detrimental effects on both our physical and mental health.

Chronic stress has been associated with a range of health issues, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, compromised immune function, anxiety, depression, and more. It can impact our relationships, work performance, and overall quality of life.

Stress Resilience: Stress resilience refers to our ability to adapt and cope effectively with life’s challenges, both minor and major. It doesn’t mean avoiding stress altogether but rather having the resources and strategies to manage it in a healthy way. Building stress resilience is crucial for maintaining well-being, and it involves various aspects:

  1. Physical Resilience: This involves taking care of your body through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. Physical health forms the foundation of resilience.
  2. Emotional Resilience: Emotional intelligence and the ability to manage and regulate emotions are vital for coping with stress. Strategies such as mindfulness and meditation can enhance emotional resilience.
  3. Social Support: Strong social connections can provide a buffer against stress. A support network of friends and family can offer both emotional and practical support during challenging times.
  4. Coping Strategies: Developing healthy coping strategies, such as problem-solving, time management, and seeking professional help when needed, is essential for stress resilience.

Nervous System Support: The nervous system plays a pivotal role in our response to stress. The autonomic nervous system, in particular, regulates the fight-or-flight response and the relaxation response. Supporting the nervous system is crucial for managing stress and enhancing resilience. Here are a few approaches to consider:

  1. Mind-Body Practices: Mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing exercises can help regulate the autonomic nervous system, reducing the stress response and promoting relaxation.
  2. Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve the body’s response to stress and help release endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.
  3. Balanced Nutrition: A diet rich in whole foods, especially those containing omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, can support brain health and nervous system function.
  4. Adequate Rest: Quality sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system and supporting resilience.
  5. Professional Guidance: In some cases, individuals may benefit from professional support, such as therapy or counseling, to address underlying stressors and build resilience.

To sum up, understanding stress, developing stress resilience, and supporting the nervous system are essential for maintaining overall health and well-being in the face of life’s challenges. It’s a holistic process that involves physical, emotional, social, and psychological aspects. By taking a proactive and balanced approach, we can improve our ability to manage stress and cultivate resilience, ultimately enhancing our capacity to lead fulfilling lives even in the midst of life’s stressors.

 

Hot/Cold Therapy

See my posts about sauna therapy.

Are far-infrared sauna blankets ok to use from the neck down? I read somewhere that they can expedite potential thyroid issues; conversely, I read that they can improve thyroid function. Your opinion? (I know you are not a doctor.)

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Far-infrared sauna blankets are designed to provide therapeutic heat using far-infrared radiation, which can have various potential health benefits. However, like any health-related treatment, their effects on thyroid function can vary from person to person, and individual responses may differ.

Here are some considerations regarding the use of far-infrared sauna blankets and their potential impact on thyroid health:

  1. Expedite Potential Thyroid Issues: Using far-infrared sauna blankets, when used appropriately, is generally considered safe and does not typically expedite thyroid issues. However, individuals with thyroid conditions or concerns should exercise caution and consult with a healthcare provider before using such devices, as excessive heat exposure can sometimes affect the thyroid.
  2. Improve Thyroid Function: Some people believe that the heat and relaxation induced by far-infrared saunas may promote better overall health, potentially supporting thyroid function indirectly. However, specific scientific studies on the direct influence of far-infrared saunas on thyroid function are limited.
  3. Individual Responses: Thyroid health is highly individual, and the impact of using a far-infrared sauna blanket may differ depending on the person’s unique health status and sensitivity to heat.
  4. Consult a Healthcare Provider: If you have an existing thyroid condition, concerns about your thyroid health, or any medical conditions, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before using a far-infrared sauna blanket. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation.
  5. Safe Use: When using a far-infrared sauna blanket, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for safe use. This includes staying well-hydrated, avoiding excessive heat exposure, and not using the device if you have certain health conditions that may be contraindicated.T

To sum up, the use of far-infrared sauna blankets can be safe and may offer potential benefits, but their impact on thyroid health is not well-established and may vary from person to person. To ensure your safety and address any thyroid-related concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating far-infrared sauna sessions into your routine, especially if you have a history of thyroid issues or other medical conditions. They can offer guidance specific to your health needs and goals.

 

Cutting Edge Therapies

How can I enhance my stem cell production and repair any damage DNA codes?

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Stem cell therapies have been a topic of interest in recent years, with many researchers exploring their potential to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions. I’ll discuss some of the  latest research and news on stem cell therapies and their potential to repair DNA, and then review some basic things you could do that might be useful.

Latest Stem Cell Therapy News and Research

1. DNA repair in stem cells: DNA repair is a double-edged sword in stem cells. It protects normal stem cells in both embryonic and adult tissues from genetic damage, thus allowing them to maintain their self-renewal capacity and differentiation potential. However, it can also lead to mutations and genomic instability, which can contribute to aging and cancer [1]. Recent research has reported successful translation of stem cell therapies to patients, which has enriched the hope that such regenerative strategies may one day become a treatment for a wide range of vexing diseases [5].

2. Stem cell treatments: Stem cell therapies may offer the potential to repair DNA and treat diseases or conditions for which few treatments exist. Stem cells have the potential to repair, restore, replace, and regenerate cells, and could possibly be used to treat many medical conditions and diseases[ 1]. Some of these trials have already generated impressive results, such as patient-derived iPS cells being induced to differentiate into pigment epithelial cells of the retina, which, when transplanted into patients with macular degeneration, improved eyesight [6].

3. DNA repair and cancer stem cells: Recent research has shown that cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess enhanced DNA repair mechanisms, which can alleviate the increased oxidative and genotoxic stress that they experience [2]. However, this enhanced DNA repair efficiency can also contribute to the resistance of CSCs to chemotherapy and radiation therapy [3]. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can cause DNA damage of cancer non-stem cells, thus promoting DNA repair and further leading to the biogenesis of cancer stem cells from cancer non-stem cells [6].

Useful Lifestyle and Dietary Factors

Enhancing stem cell production and promoting DNA repair are areas of ongoing scientific research, and there are several lifestyle and dietary factors that may support these processes to some extent. Keep in mind that while these strategies have potential benefits for overall health, the ability to specifically target stem cell production and DNA repair is limited. Here are some general tips that may help:

1. Nutrition:

  • Antioxidant-Rich Diet: Antioxidant-rich foods, such as colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, and seeds, can help reduce oxidative stress and support overall DNA health.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Incorporate sources of omega-3 fatty acids, like fatty fish and flaxseeds, which may have anti-inflammatory effects and support DNA repair.
  • Polyphenol-Rich Foods: Foods like green tea, red grapes, and dark chocolate contain polyphenols that may have protective effects on DNA.

2. Physical Activity:

  • Regular Exercise: Physical activity has been associated with reduced DNA damage and improved DNA repair mechanisms. Aim for a mix of aerobic and strength training exercises.

3. Stress Management:

  • Stress Reduction: Chronic stress can contribute to DNA damage. Practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help manage stress and potentially support DNA health.

4. Sleep:

  • Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep, as this is when the body carries out various repair and maintenance processes, including DNA repair.

5. Limit Exposure to Environmental Toxins:

  • Reduce Toxin Exposure: Minimize exposure to environmental toxins, such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, and UV radiation, which can damage DNA.

6. Avoid Overexposure to Radiation:

  • UV Protection: Protect your skin from excessive UV radiation by using sunscreen and avoiding sunburn.

7. Adequate Hydration:

  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration can support overall cell function and may indirectly support DNA repair mechanisms.

8. Caloric Restriction:

  • Intermittent Fasting: Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may support stem cell production and regeneration. Consult with a healthcare professional before adopting fasting practices.

9. Nutritional Supplements:

  • Consult a Healthcare Provider: Some supplements, such as NAD+ precursors like NMN and NR, are being studied for their potential role in DNA repair and overall health. However, the use of supplements should be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

 

Citations:
[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2852612/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8508278/
[3] https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/15/6/1897
[4] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0925443919301115
[5] https://www.cell.com/molecular-cell/pdf/S1097-2765(17)30236-8.pdf
[6] https://stemcellres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13287-022-03165-8

 

Can you address cutting edge medical techniques/surgeries for repair of older bodies. For example PRP and stem cell injections for knees?

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Cutting-edge medical techniques and surgeries for repairing and rejuvenating older bodies are evolving rapidly, and many individuals are exploring regenerative therapies like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections, particularly for joint health, such as knee problems. Here are some insights into these techniques:

1. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): PRP is a regenerative therapy that involves using the patient’s own blood to extract a concentrated amount of platelets and growth factors. These components are then injected into the targeted area to stimulate tissue repair and regeneration. In the context of older bodies and joint health, PRP is commonly used for conditions like osteoarthritis and tendon injuries. Some key points to consider:

  • Pain Relief: PRP injections may offer pain relief and improve function in joints affected by osteoarthritis.
  • Safety: PRP is considered safe because it uses the patient’s own blood, reducing the risk of allergic reactions or infections.
  • Limited Long-Term Data: While PRP shows promise, long-term data on its effectiveness and durability in older individuals are still being studied.

2. Stem Cell Injections: Stem cell therapies involve the use of stem cells (often derived from the patient’s own body) to promote tissue repair and regeneration. Stem cell injections for knee and joint health are gaining attention for their potential to reduce pain and improve function. Key considerations:

  • Autologous Stem Cells: Many procedures use autologous stem cells, meaning they are derived from the patient’s own body, typically from bone marrow or fat tissue.
  • Efficacy: The efficacy of stem cell therapies can vary from person to person, and more research is needed to establish their long-term benefits.
  • Safety: Using the patient’s own stem cells reduces the risk of immune rejection or disease transmission.
  • Regulatory Environment: The use of stem cell therapies varies by region, and regulations regarding their use can differ significantly.

3. Advances in Minimally Invasive Surgery: Minimally invasive surgical techniques have been developed for various orthopedic and joint procedures, including knee replacements and repairs. These techniques offer several advantages for older individuals:

  • Faster Recovery: Minimally invasive procedures often result in shorter hospital stays and quicker recoveries.
  • Less Scarring: Smaller incisions mean less scarring.
  • Improved Precision: Surgeons can use advanced imaging techniques for greater precision in minimally invasive surgeries.

4. Personalized Medicine: Advances in personalized medicine are allowing healthcare providers to tailor treatments to an individual’s unique genetic and medical profile. This can help optimize the effectiveness of regenerative therapies and surgical interventions.

It’s important to note that while these techniques show promise, they have limitations. The success of regenerative therapies and surgeries can vary, and the longevity of their benefits may differ between individuals. Consultation with a healthcare provider who specializes in regenerative medicine or orthopedics is crucial for understanding which treatments may be most suitable for your specific condition and goals. Additionally, the field of regenerative medicine is continuously evolving, so staying informed about the latest research and clinical developments is important.

 

What are the T cell therapies available? Pros and cons.

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T-cells, or T lymphocytes, are a type of white blood cell that plays a crucial role in the immune system. They are responsible for recognizing and attacking pathogens, such as viruses and cancer cells, and helping to coordinate the body’s immune response. T-cells are a vital component of the adaptive immune system and contribute to immunity and immune memory. They are named “T-cells” because they mature in the thymus gland.

CAR T-cell therapies are a type of cellular therapy that promise to revolutionize personalized medicine. These therapies offer new approaches for treating, and possibly curing, previously intractable diseases.

Here are some pros and cons of CAR T-cell therapies:

Pros:
– Short treatment time needed – administered with a single infusion that may require at the most, two weeks of hospitalization [3].
– Potential for shorter treatment times, prolonged durability, and fewer side effects [2].
– CAR T-cell therapy is also a “living drug”, and its benefits can last for many years. Since the cells can persist in the body long-term, they may recognize and attack cancer cells if and when there’s a relapse [3].
– Clinical trials in blood cancers have shown that even in patients whose cancer came back after multiple treatments, CAR T-cell therapy helped them achieve remissions that lasted for years [3].

Cons:
– CAR T-cell therapy can be very effective against some types of hard-to-treat cancers, but it can also sometimes cause serious or even life-threatening side effects [4].
– CAR T-cell therapies are much more expensive, and they require much more modification [1].
– There are currently insurance issues with CAR T-cell therapies [1].
– CAR T-cell therapies have appreciable toxicities related to CAR T-cells that need to be mitigated [1].

To sum up, CAR T-cell therapies offer new approaches for treating, and possibly curing, previously intractable diseases. They have the potential for shorter treatment times, prolonged durability, and fewer side effects. However, they can also sometimes cause serious or even life-threatening side effects, and they are much more expensive than other treatments. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before considering any treatment.

Citations:
[1] https://www.managedhealthcareexecutive.com/view/car-t-cell-therapies-treating-lymphoma-pros-and-cons
[2] https://www.allucent.com/resources/blog/what-are-car-t-cell-therapies
[3] https://www.cinj.org/patient-care/advantages-car-t-cell-therapy
[4] https://www.cancer.org/cancer/managing-cancer/treatment-types/immunotherapy/car-t-cell1.html
[5] https://www.webmd.com/cancer/features/car-t-gene-therapy-risks-benefits
[6] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41408-021-00459-7

 

Arthritis

What to do about it?

See my posts about arthritis

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Arthritis is not inevitable as we age, even though 60% of the 2,200 people aged 50 to 80 in the USA said they have some form of arthritis.

Of the 100 or so inflammatory joint conditions, osteoarthritis is most common among people over 50, and about 12 percent of osteoarthritis cases are a result of joint injuries, such as meniscus or ligament tears, that happened when younger.

The three basic ways you can improve the limitations imposed by arthritis is to be active, work on joint mobility exercises (check on YouTube for authoritative guidance), and maintain a healthy weight.

In a 2015 review of 44 clinical trials, researchers found that participants who exercised regularly had reduced knee pain related to osteoarthritis and improved physical function and quality of life. Low impact, like bicycling, is better if weight-bearing exercises are painful.

Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate — or herbal remedies such as Boswellia (an herbal extract made from the bark of the Boswellia tree) — may help relieve symptoms for some people; however, scientific evidence is inconclusive.

 

Alcohol

How to minimize the risk.

See my piece about alcohol

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Scientists have changed their minds about alcohol consumption. The current evidence makes it pretty clear that even a little alcohol is bad for your health — with links to certain types of cancer, cardiovascular conditions, liver disease and other concerns.

If you drink and want to be healthy, you must manage your consumption. Two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women is the upper limit. Exercising more is not going to negate the negative effects of alcohol — running around the block one more time is unhelpful.

You can, however, endeavor to prioritize your immune system, sleep and nutrition.

Excess alcohol can suppress the immune system, weakening the body’s defenses against infections. So people who drink may want to take steps to keep their immune systems functioning well.

Another critical component of a healthy immune system is getting adequate sleep — which may be especially challenging for those who drink, since alcohol is a notorious sleep interrupter. To get sufficient rest after a night of drinking, give yourself several hours of buffer time between drinking and going to bed. The lower the concentration of alcohol in your blood at bedtime, the less disruptive it will be.

A healthy diet can also help promote your overall health — and potentially lower your risk of developing some of the conditions linked to alcohol consumption, like certain types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

The Mediterranean diet — with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish — is widely considered the “gold standard” for healthy eating.

Alcoholic beverages can also be high in calories, especially if they’re sugary cocktails like margaritas or piña coladas, so be mindful of how the extra calories from booze fit into your overall calorie allotment for the day.

 

 

 

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