The promise of longer life is something that has captivated people for centuries. And while the Fountain of Youth has so far eluded us, researchers are constantly looking for new ways to extend our longevity. One promising avenue is the use of peptides to fight aging. peptides have a variety of anti-aging properties that could lead to longer, healthier lives for everyone. In this post, we’ll explore the potential of peptides and what they could mean for the future of longevity.

WHAT ARE PEPTIDES AND WHAT DO THEY DO IN THE BODY?

Peptides are made up of smaller units called amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. In the body, peptides perform a variety of important functions. They can act as hormones, enzymes, or even neurotransmitters. They are able to do this because they can bind to and activate receptors on cells. This interaction between peptides and cells is what allows them to exert their various effects in the body. There are many different types of peptides, each with its own unique function. For example, there are peptides that can increase collagen production, which can help improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles. There are also peptides that can help to increase muscle mass, and others that can boost the immune system.

 There are two main types of receptors: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and enzymes.

GPCRs are found on the surface of cells, and they are activated when a peptide binds to them. This binding causes a change in the shape of the receptor, which in turn activates the G protein. The G protein then signals to other molecules inside the cell, resulting in a change in the function of that cell. For example, GPCRs can stimulate the production of enzymes, hormones, or proteins.

Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in the body. When a peptide binds to an enzyme, it can change the shape of that enzyme. This change in shape can either increase or decrease the activity of the enzyme. For example, some peptides can bind to enzymes that break down collagen, resulting in less collagen being produced. Other peptides can bind to enzymes involved in cell proliferation, resulting in an increase in cell growth.

Hormones vs Peptides

Hormones are another class of molecules that can bind to and activate receptors on both nuclear (within) and surface (on) the cells. Meaning, they can also exert a variety of effects in the body. However, there are some important differences between hormones and peptides. First, hormones are typically much larger molecules than peptides. This difference in size is due to the fact that peptide hormones are made up of multiple amino acids, while peptides are made up of just a few. Second, hormones are typically produced in endocrine glands (such as the pituitary gland or the thyroid gland), while peptides can be produced in many different tissues throughout the body. Finally, hormones circulate throughout the bloodstream, and have a systemic effect on cells anywhere in the body.  Because of their size, hormones tend to have a more long-lasting effect in the body than peptides. In contrast, peptides are often localized to a specific area and only affect the cells nearby. For example, a peptide produced in the gut will only affect cells in the gut. This specificity means that peptides can be designed to have very specific effects in the body. This is why they are being studied for their potential use in a variety of different treatments.

Peptides are not meant to replace hormones, but they can be used to supplement them. For example, if someone is deficient in a particular hormone, peptides can be used to help increase levels of that hormone. Peptides can also be used to target specific receptors that are not affected by hormones. Hormones play a different role than peptides, and they work together to maintain homeostasis in the body.

How Do Peptides Work?

Peptides work by interacting with receptors on cells. This interaction can result in a change in the function of that cell. For example, some peptides can stimulate the production of collagen, while others can increase muscle mass. The specific effect that a peptide has depends on the type of receptor it binds to. There are two main types of  receptors: G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and enzymes.

GPCRs are found on the surface of cells, and they are activated when a peptide binds to them. This binding causes a change in the shape of the receptor, which in turn activates the G protein. The G protein then signals to other molecules inside the cell, resulting in a change in the function of that cell. For example, GPCRs can stimulate the production of enzymes, hormones, or proteins.

Enzymes are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions in the body. When a peptide binds to an enzyme, it can change the shape of that enzyme. This change in shape can either increase or decrease the activity of the enzyme. For example, some peptides can bind to enzymes that break down collagen, resulting in less collagen being produced. Other peptides can bind to enzymes involved in cell proliferation, resulting in an increase in cell growth.

Peptides Used in Anti-Aging

There are a variety of different peptides that have been studied for their potential use in anti-aging treatments. Some of the most common include:

GHRPs

Growth hormone-releasing p[1]eptides are a class of peptides that stimulate the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. Growth hormone is important for a variety of different functions in the body, including muscle growth, fat metabolism, and bone density. GHRPs are thought to be beneficial for anti-aging because they can help increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and improve bone density.

GHK-Cu

Copper peptides are a type of peptide that has been shown to promote wound healing and tissue regeneration. GHK-Cu is a copper peptide that has been specifically studied for its anti-aging properties. GHK-Cu has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It has also been shown to improve wound healing and promote tissue regeneration.[2]

PKC Inhibitors

Protein kinase C (PKC) is an enzyme that plays a role in cell proliferation and cell death. PKC inhibitors are peptides that bind to PKC and prevent it from performing its function. PKC inhibitors are thought to be beneficial for anti-aging because they can help prevent cell death and promote cell proliferation. [3]

BPC57

BPC57 is a peptide that has been shown to have a variety of different effects, including reducing inflammation, stimulating wound healing, and promoting cell proliferation. BPC57 is thought to be beneficial for anti-aging because it can help reduce inflammation and promote tissue regeneration. [4]

Thymic Peptides

Thymic peptides are a type of peptide that is produced by the thymus gland. Thymic peptides are thought to be beneficial for the immune system, and they have also been shown to promote wound healing and tissue regeneration. Thymic peptides are thought to be beneficial for anti-aging because they can help improve the immune system and promote tissue regeneration. [5]

MOTS-C

MOTS-C has been shown to have a variety of different effects, including reducing inflammation, stimulating wound healing, and promoting cell proliferation.[6] MOTS-C is thought to be beneficial for anti-aging because it can help reduce inflammation and promote tissue regeneration.

While there is still much to learn about the potential use of peptides for anti-aging, the available evidence suggests that peptides can be beneficial for reducing the signs of aging. Peptides offer a unique approach to anti-aging, and we are hoping that they may provide a more effective, holistic, and safe alternative to traditional treatments. We can expect in the coming years, peptides will continue to play an important role in anti-aging treatments. With more research and development, we can expect to see even better results from these powerful molecules. Have you tried any peptide-based anti-aging products? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5392015/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073405/

[3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12056641/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6271067/

[5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2279904/

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31369811/

In recent years, a new branch of medicine has been gaining popularity: functional medicine. Functional medicine is a type of care that focuses on identifying and treating the root cause of disease, rather than simply managing symptoms. If you’re considering whether or not functional medicine is right for you, it’s important to understand how it works and what it can do for you. In this week’s blog, we’ll cover the basics of functional medicine and help you decide if it’s the right type of care for you.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a branch of medical science that looks at the root cause of disease. It takes into account the whole person, their lifestyle, environment and genetic background when diagnosing and treating illness. This approach to medicine is becoming more popular as people become more aware of the need to address the whole person, not just their symptoms. Functional medicine can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, both chronic and acute. Rather than focusing on treating individual symptoms, functional medicine practitioners work to identify and address the underlying root causes of disease.

Functional medicine is based on the principle that all systems in the body are connected and that imbalances in one system can lead to problems in other systems. For example, an imbalance in the gut microbiome (the community of bacteria that live in the gut) has been linked to a wide range of chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. If you experience childhood trauma, that can lead to imbalances in the brain that increase your risk for anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.

The Functional Medicine Matrix

Functional medicine practitioners use the Functional Medicine Matrix to guide their approach to care. The matrix is a tool that helps practitioners identify the underlying causes of disease and design individualized treatment plans.

The matrix includes six key areas:

-Diet and nutrition

-Gut health

-Sleep

-Stress management

-Exercise

-Hormone health

These six areas are interconnected, and imbalances in one area can lead to problems in another. For example, poor sleep can contribute to gut problems, and chronic stress can lead to hormone imbalances. By taking a comprehensive approach to care, functional medicine practitioners can help you restore balance in all areas of health.

What Does Functional Medicine Treat?

Functional medicine can be used to treat a wide range of chronic conditions, including:

-Autoimmune diseases

-Digestive disorders

-Mood disorders

-Fatigue

-Hormonal imbalances

-Skin conditions

-Weight problems

If you have any of these conditions, functional medicine may be right for you. The goal of treatment is to restore balance in the body and improve overall health, rather than simply treating individual symptoms. If you’re considering whether or not to see a functional medicine physician, we have listed 10 reasons why it may be the right fit for you.

8 REASONS TO SEE A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN

1.     You want longer appointments.

Functional medicine appointments are usually longer than traditional doctor’s appointments. This allows your practitioner to get to know you and your health history in depth, and it gives you ample time to ask questions and discuss your concerns.

2.     You want personalized care

Functional medicine practitioners take a personalized approach to care. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs and health goals. There is not a one sized fit all approach in functional medicine. In fact, each treatment plan is unique, just like each individual.

3.     You want a partner in health.

Functional medicine practitioners view their patients as partners in care. If you’re looking for a collaborative relationship with your physician, functional medicine may be right for you.

4.     You are willing to do the homework at home.

Functional medicine is not a quick fix, and it requires commitment and effort on your part. If you’re willing to make lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthier diet or exercising more, functional medicine may be right for you. Some modalities take time to show results as well. So, it’s important to be patient and understand that this is a journey, not a sprint. If you are simply looking for a pill to fix your health problems, functional medicine is not for you.

5.     You Suffer from Auto-Immune Conditions

Functional medicine is an excellent choice for those who suffer from auto-immune conditions. If you have an auto-immune disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriasis, functional medicine may be right for you. These conditions are often caused by inflammation, and functional medicine practitioners are experts in managing inflammation.

6.     You understand it is an investment.

Functional medicine focuses on prevention, so tests are often used to identify imbalances before they become disease. Functional medicine practitioners often use advanced testing, such as food sensitivity testing or hormone testing, to help identify the root cause of symptoms. This may mean that you may have to pay for some tests out of pocket as insurance does not cover the advanced testing, longer appointments, and therapies used in functional medicine. In fact, most providers are cash based, meaning they do not accept insurance. However, many insurance companies are starting to cover functional medicine testing. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider seeing a provider who can provide a super bill, which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

7.     You want your concerns heard.

Have you ever been to the doctor with concerns and your labs are “in range”? You leave with a clean bill of health but you’re still not feeling great. In functional medicine, we understand that your concerns and symptoms are just as important as what shows up on a lab test. We take the time to listen to your story and connect the dots to find the root cause of your symptoms.

8.     You want to age well.

As we age, it’s important to maintain our health so that we can enjoy our later years. If you’re interested in aging well, functional medicine may be right for you. Functional medicine practitioners focus on preventive care, so they can help you avoid diseases that commonly occur as we age.

We are seeing people not just taking control of their own health and wellness, but we are also seeing the medical community taking a more personal approach to how they interact with patients. People are starting to realize that the only way for us all to be healthy is for everyone in our society to take responsibility for their own health and wellness by eating right, exercising, and doing the things that help us maintain good health. Many are now turning towards functional medicine in order to help them heal.

_______________________________________________________________

Institute for Human Optimization

We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare.  At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There are no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the  same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the information provided in this blog, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, or in any linked materials, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice and are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Before taking any medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements or herbs, consult a physician for a thorough evaluation. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any website.

We all want to be healthy and feel our best, but sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly what metrics we should be monitoring in order to achieve optimal health. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 different metrics that you can use to gauge your own health and make necessary changes for health optimization. By understanding and tracking these key indicators, you will be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

WHAT IS HEALTH?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as health can be interpreted in many ways. If you are an athlete, health may have more to do with physical fitness and muscle mass. If you are a full-time worker, health may be more about managing your energy and stress levels and ensuring that you have enough time for your family at the end of the day. At the most basic level, however, health can be defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. As a Physician, I believe that health isn’t just the absence of disease but that we all should thrive for optimal wellness.  There are many factors that contribute to our overall health, including mental, emotional, and social factors as well as physical ones. In order to achieve optimal health, it is important to consider all of these different aspects of our lives. Optimal wellness is not just about the absence of illness, but rather about feeling our best mentally, emotionally, and physically.

That being said, there are certainly some key indicators that we can use to measure our overall health. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 different metrics that you can monitor in order to achieve optimal health. Monitoring these key health metrics is one way to assess our overall wellbeing, and can help us to identify areas where we need to make changes in order to improve our health.

7 KEY METRICS TO MONITOR FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH

  1. Body Fat Percentage

Body Fat Percentage is one of the most important indicators of health, as excess body fat can lead to a variety of health problems. Body fat percentage is calculated by measuring the thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer at 6 different points on the body. The results are then used to calculate a person’s body fat percentage.

The ideal body fat percentage varies depending on gender and age, but a healthy range is generally considered to be between 10-25% for men and 20-35% for women. A person’s body fat percentage can be affected b[i]y a variety of factors, including age, genetics, diet, and exercise habits. Body Fat Percentage can be measured through a variety of methods, including bioelectrical impedance analysis, underwater weighing, and DEXA scanning. We want to avoid having high levels of body fat because it can lead to things such as heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, and some types of cancer. If you notice that your Body Fat Percentage is outside of the healthy range, you may want to consider working with your Physician to implement changes to your diet and exercise habits in order to achieve a %.

2. Body Mass Index (BMI)

Another important indicator of health is Body Mass Index, or BMI. BMI is a calculation that takes into account a person’s height and weight. BMI has had a bad reputation in the past because it does not take into account a person’s body composition, but for most individuals it is still a valuable tool for assessing overall health especially in conjunction with body fat percentage and waist circumference measurements. For example, if you are an athlete or very muscular, you may have a high BMI even though you do not have excess body fat. For most however, a BMI that is too high or too low can indicate an increased risk for certain health problems. For men, a BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered healthy, while a BMI of 25-29.9 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. For women, the healthy range is slightly different, with a BMI of 18.5-24.9 considered healthy, a BMI of 25-29.9 considered overweight, and a BMI of 30 or above considered obese.

BMI can be calculated using the following equation: BMI = weight (kg) / height (m)2

There are several online calculators available to determine your BMI.

3. Waist Circumference

A third indicator of health is waist circumference. Excess belly fat, especially around the waist, can be a sign of increased risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and type II diabetes. A healthy waist circumference is different for men and women. For men, a healthy waist circumference is less than 40 inches, while for women a healthy waist circumference is less than 35 inches.

You can measure your waist circumference by wrapping a measuring tape around your waist at the level of your navel.

4. Inflammation Levels

Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body fight infection and heal injuries. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to a variety of health problems. With the rise of chronic inflammation, there has been a corresponding increase in chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.

There are a number of ways to measure inflammation levels in the body. The most common way is to measure the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. CRP is a protein that is released into the blood in response to inflammation. A high CRP level indicates that you have a high level of inflammation in your body. Chronic inflammation is linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. CRP levels can be easily measured with a blood test.

5. Hormone Levels

Hormone levels are another important indicator of overall health. Hormones are substances that are produced by the body and that control the function of various organs and tissues. There are a number of different hormones, each with its own specific function. Some types include:

  • estrogen
  • thyroid
  • estriol
  • estradiol
  • estrone
  • progesterone
  • testosterone
  • DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone)
  • cortisol

If we look at Testosterone, it is a hormone that is produced by the testes in men and the ovaries in women. Testosterone plays a role in a number of important bodily functions, including bone health, muscle mass, energy levels, and sex drive. Testosterone levels begin to decline as you age, and low testosterone levels can lead to a number of health problems, including decreased muscle mass, increased body fat, and reduced energy levels. This metric made its way to our list because in both men and women, testosterone is important for mental health, bone density, and more.

Cortisol:  This is a hormone that is released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Cortisol plays a number of important roles in the body, including regulating blood pressure, metabolism, and blood sugar levels. high cortisol levels can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

DHEA-S:   This is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland. DHEA-S is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. DHEA-S levels can be used as an indicator of how well your adrenal gland is working. High DHEA-S levels may indicate that you are coping well with stress. Low DHEA-S levels may indicate that you are under a lot of stress.

6. Vitamin D Level

Vitamin D is not a vitamin but acts like a hormone in the body. It is important for optimal health and helps regulate calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, which are essential for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps keep your immune system healthy by supporting the function of your white blood cells. Vitamin D levels can be easily measured with a blood test or a urine test.

Most people get their vitamin D from sun exposure, but it is also found in some foods, including salmon, tuna, and eggs. Most people do not get enough vitamin D, which can lead to health problems.

7. Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is another important indicator of overall health. Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is expressed as two numbers, the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the pressure when your heart contracts and pumps blood out, and the diastolic pressure is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood. A healthy blood pressure is below 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which the systolic pressure is 140 mmHg or above and/or the diastolic pressure is 90 mmHg or above. 

High blood pressure can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. If you are concerned that you may have high blood pressure, you should consult with your doctor. Blood pressure can be easily measured with a home blood pressure monitor or at your doctor’s office.

It may feel like a lot to monitor, but taking a holistic and individualized approach to your health is the best way to ensure that you are doing everything possible to maintain or improve your health. These six key metrics provide a good starting point, but you may find that you need to add or subtract other measures depending on your specific situation. By keeping an eye on these important health indicators, you can be proactive in preserving your health and preventing disease.


References

[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6356293/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15983235/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032609/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7027970/

Institute for Human Optimization

We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare.  At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. This may include functional, traditional, naturopathic and/or homeopathic medicine. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There is no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the information provided in this blog, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, or in any linked materials, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice and are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Before taking any medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements or herbs, consult a physician for a thorough evaluation. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any website.

What do you think of when you hear the word “metabolism?” Most people probably think about how quickly or slowly their body burns calories. And while metabolism does play a role in weight control, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. In fact, your metabolism changes as you age, but not necessarily in the way you expect. To learn more, keep reading.

WHAT IS METABOLIC FUNCTION?

Metabolism is all the chemical reactions that happen in your body. It’s how cells turn what you eat and drink into energy. Some of this happens automatically. For example, when you breathe in oxygen, your body uses it to burn glucose (a type of sugar) and produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the cell’s main source of energy. Other reactions require a bit more effort, like when your muscles contract to make them move.

All of these chemical reactions add up to what we call metabolism. Metabolic function refers to the metabolic rate which is the amount of energy that a person uses in a given time period. This can be affected by many factors such as age, body weight and height. In humans, the average metabolic function is 45 calories per hour for every 100 pounds of bodyweight (90 k/h for every kg).

HOW OUR METABOLISM CHANGES WITH AGE

Aging means different things to different people, but for most of us, it eventually brings with it declines in physical and mental health. During the aging process, many changes occur. Some are welcomed, like wisdom and self-assurance; others not so much—sagging skin, weight gain and wrinkles among them. One change that shouldn’t come as a surprise is modifications in your metabolism.

The speed of your metabolic function decreases with age, which means you burn fewer calories—about 2 percent per decade after the age of 25. There are physiological changes that occur with getting older such as a reduction in lean muscle mass and a slowing of your metabolism that led to weight gain. Some blame drops in hormones such as testosterone for this unwelcome change. In fact, some research indicates that in males the less testosterone you have, the more body fat you tend to carry.[i]

What else changes with age? Your body’s ability to regulate temperature. As you get older, you may find that you perspire less or not at all when it’s hot out, and need more layers to stay warm in the wintertime. [ii]

COMMONS SIGNS THAT YOUR METABOLIC FUNCTION MAY BE IMPAIRED

There are many signs that your metabolism is impaired. Some common ones include:

·     Loss of muscle mass

·     Weight gain (especially around the waist)

·     Getting sick more often than you used to

·     Needing caffeine or sugar to get through the day

Loss of muscle mass:

Once you start losing muscle, your metabolic function starts to slow down. Muscle is important for many reasons. Not only does it help with everyday tasks (like walking and moving groceries into the house), it also increases your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories that remain even when you’re at rest). This means that the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is.

Weight gain (especially around the waist):

Weight gain is often the first sign that your metabolic function is slowing down. Getting weight around your middle can be a warning sign of diabetes, high blood pressure and other health concerns. By understanding what’s happening to your body, you can begin to make changes now that will help prevent more serious complications down the road.

Needing caffeine or sugar to get through the day:

As you age, you are less sensitive to medications and hormones that normally stimulate your heart rate, breathing and other functions. This means that you need more of these stimulants—like caffeine—to keep yourself going. It’s important to know why you’re feeling tired. If it’s related to lifestyle, you can start making changes now that will improve your chances of staying healthy as you age.

One thing that cannot be changed is our genetic code, which tells our bodies how to build and maintain cells and tissues. You are born with genes that determine everything from your eye color to your weight. Genes work with the environment you’re in and determine how your body functions, including how quickly it burns calories.

Environmental factors can affect our metabolic function too. In fact, what we eat and drink on a daily basis has a major impact on our health, metabolism and body composition.

HOW DOES METABOLIC FUNCTION IMPACT OVERALL HEALTH?

A significant change in your metabolic function can have a big impact on your health. If the rate at which you burn calories is lower than what you’re using, you’ll gain weight. This may explain why there’s a link between lower metabolism and being overweight or obese as people age. In fact, one study found that for every 5 percent decrease in resting metabolic rate, a person’s risk of becoming obese increased by 30 percent.

While being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk for numerous health conditions, having too little body fat can have significant drawbacks as well. For example, people who are underweight may lack energy and have difficulty getting through the day. People with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa may also experience reduced metabolic function.

Extreme changes in weight can impact your body’s ability to function normally, too. For example, if you go on a very low-calorie diet to lose weight quickly, you’ll not only burn fewer calories, but your body will also most likely burn fewer calories at rest, which can result in a slower metabolism.

For many people, one of the most stressful events they face is moving to a new location or starting a new job. One universal truth about getting older is that life changes are inevitable. If you experience significant change, try not to get overwhelmed thinking all your plans for achieving health and wellness will be disrupted.

Take a deep breath, stop, and think through your options to create a plan that will help you handle the change as smoothly as possible. The calmer and more confident you can be in dealing with changes that happen in life, the less stress you’ll feel and the more likely it is that it will have a positive impact on your health.

METABOLIC HEALTH IS A RELATIONSHIP

Your body is a complex system made up of many parts that work together harmoniously. This means that what you eat and drink, how much activity you do and other aspects of your lifestyle affect your metabolism and health. It also means that if there’s a problem with one component, it can affect others too. For example:

If you don’t drink enough water, your body will work harder to digest food and absorb nutrients. If you eat more than you need, it may store extra calories as fat instead of burning them off.

Institute for Human Optimization

We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare.  At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. This may include functional, traditional, and naturopathic medicine. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There is no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the information provided in this blog, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, or in any linked materials, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice and are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Before taking any medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements or herbs, consult a physician for a thorough evaluation. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any website.


[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154787/

[ii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22085834/

. . .

There is a strong connection between our minds and bodies. What we think and feel can have a profound impact on our physical health. Conversely, the state of our physical health can also affect our mental and emotional wellbeing. We are only now beginning to understand the Mind Body connection and how it works. This is an important area of research because the implications are far-reaching.

If we can learn to harness the power of the mind, we may be able to treat a variety of physical and mental illnesses. The mind body connection is also relevant to healthy individuals who want to maximize their potential. If we can balance how the mind and body work together, we can learn how to optimize our health and well-being.

MIND BODY CONNECTION

From a basic level, the mind body connection is the link between our thoughts, emotions and physical health. The mind body connection is based on the principle that the mind and body are interconnected and that they affect each other. This means that what we think and feel can influence our physical health, and vice versa. The mind body connection has been studied for centuries, but it is only now that we are beginning to understand how it works.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows the mind can influence the body and vice versa.[i] For example, studies have shown that:

– Stress can contribute to the development of physical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

– The reverse is also true – physical illness can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

– Positive emotions can boost the immune system, whereas negative emotions can suppress it.

– Meditation and mindfulness can have a positive effect on physical health, including reducing blood pressure, improving heart health and easing chronic pain.

– The mind body connection is also relevant to healthy individuals who want to maximize their potential. If we can balance how the mind and body work together, we can learn how to optimize our health and wellbeing.

STRESS

One of the most well-known examples of the mind body connection is the impact of stress on our health. Stress is a biological response to events or situations that make us feel threatened or anxious. When we experience stress, our bodies go into ‘fight or flight’ mode and release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help us to deal with the stressful situation, but if they are released frequently or over a long period of time, they can have negative consequences for our health.

Stress can take a toll on our bodies in many ways. Stress can contribute to the development of a range of physical illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma and cancer. It can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. In fact, stress is one of the leading causes of mental health issues. It can even accelerate the aging process. Stress can also lead to unhealthy behaviors like overeating, smoking, and alcohol abuse.

Stress is known to contribute to inflammation.  This is a natural process that helps to protect the body from infection and injury. However, when inflammation occurs on a chronic basis, it can damage the body’s tissues and lead to a number of health problems. Inflammation is a driver of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Stress can also disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

There are many ways to reduce stress in our lives. The key is finding what works for you and making it a regular part of your life. Stress is inevitable but if we can learn how to manage stress effectively, we can improve our overall health and well-being.

PAIN

Another area where the mind body connection is evident is in the experience of pain. It is now believed that our perceptions of pain are influenced by our thoughts and emotions. Our brains control all bodily processes, including the experience of pain. When we are in pain, our brains release chemicals that can make us feel stressed or anxious. This is why people in pain often report feeling tense and anxious.

Pain is a complex phenomenon and it is not always easy to understand or manage. Research is focusing on mind-body therapies in hopes to better manage pain. Some of these therapies include meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. [ii]

OPTIMISM AND YOUR HEALTH

The mind body connection is relevant to healthy individuals who want to maximize their potential. If we can balance how the mind and body work together, we can learn how to optimize our health and wellbeing. One important way to achieve this balance is through our emotions. Positive emotions such as joy, love, and gratitude have been shown to improve our physical health.

Optimism is another emotion that can have a positive impact on our health[iii]. Optimism has been linked with a number of health benefits, including a longer life expectancy, lower rates of cardiovascular disease, and better immune function. It has also associated with increased resilience, which is the ability to cope with stress and setbacks.

It is important to note that the mind body connection is not one-sided. Our thoughts and emotions can also affect our physical health. This is why it is so important to have a positive outlook on life and be mindful of our thoughts and feelings. If we can learn how to manage stress and cultivate positive emotions, we can improve our physical and mental health.

5 TIPS FOR IMPROVING THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION

  1. Connect with Nature:  Spend time outside in nature and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world. This can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
  2. Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Exercise can also help to reduce stress and improve sleep.
  3. Mindfulness: Be present in the moment and pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This can help to reduce stress and improve mindfulness.
  4. Yoga: Yoga is a form of exercise that combines stretching and relaxation poses with deep breathing. Yoga can help to reduce stress, improve flexibility, and promote relaxation.
  5. Meditation: Meditation is a form of mindfulness that involves focusing on a mantra or your breath. Meditation can help to reduce stress, improve focus, and promote relaxation.

The mind-body connection is a complex and fascinating topic. The relationship between the mind and body is constantly evolving and scientists are still discovering new ways in which they are connected. The mind-body connection is relevant to all of us, regardless of our age, health, or occupation. It is important to understand the mind-body connection and learn how to use it to our advantage. There are many ways to improve the mind-body connection, including meditation, yoga, and exercise. The key is to find what works best for you and make it a daily habit.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR HUMAN OPTIMIZATION (IfHO)

At IfHO, we are a Maryland based Functional Medicine practice that partners with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the information provided in this blog, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, or in any linked materials, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice and are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Before taking any medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements or herbs, consult a physician for a thorough evaluation. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this or any website.


[i] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18589562/

[ii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23529519/

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894461/

The vagus nerve, also known as the gut-brain axis, is the longest nerve in your body. This nerve starts in your brainstem and extends down to your abdomen. It plays a role in many of your body’s functions, including digestion, heart rate, and immune response. The vagus nerve is also involved in some mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. The vagus nerve is also a key player in your body’s nervous system, and it can be a major factor in your overall health. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the vagus nerve and its role in your health.

WHAT IS THE VAGUS NERVE?

Vagus stands for wandering in Latin, and that’s an apt description for this nerve. The vagus nerve is a long, thin nerve that starts in your brainstem and extends down your neck and into your chest and abdomen. Nerves in the body are made up of bundles of nerve fibers, or axons, that transmit signals between the brain and the body. The vagus nerve is made up of both motor and sensory axons. Motor axons carry signals from the brain to the body, telling the muscles what to do. Sensory axons carry information from the body back to the brain. The vagus nerve is one of twelve cranial nerves, and it is the longest nerve in your body. This nerve plays a role in many different body functions, including digestion, heart rate, and immune response. The vagus nerve is also involved in some mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression.

GUT-BRAIN AXIS

The vagus nerve is often called the gut-brain axis because it is involved in both gastrointestinal and mental health conditions. The gut-brain axis refers to the relationship between the brain and the gut, and it’s a key factor in your overall health. You can learn more about the gut-brain axis here: https://ifho.org/gut-brain-axis-the-ultimate-communication-channel/. The vagus nerve is responsible for sending signals between the brain and the gut, and these signals play a role in both digestion and mental health.

The gut-brain axis is a two-way street, and the gut can also send signals to the brain. The gut sends signals to the brain through the vagus nerve, and these signals can affect your mood and mental health. The gut also sends signals to the brain through the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that controls the body’s automatic functions, such as heart rate and digestion. The autonomic nervous system is divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, and it increases heart rate and blood pressure. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “rest and digest” response, and it decreases heart rate and blood pressure.

The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, and it plays a role in the “rest and digest” response. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, it can decrease heart rate and blood pressure. The vagus nerve is also involved in the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory and learning.

ACETYLCHOLINE

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory and learning. This neurotransmitter is produced by the vagus nerve, and it plays a role in both mental and physical health. Acetylcholine is involved in learning and memory, and it can also help to protect the brain from damage. This neurotransmitter is also involved in muscle contraction, and it can help to improve muscle function.

VAGAL TONE

Vagal tone  is the term used to describe the activity of the vagus nerve. Vagal tone is measured by assessing the electrical activity of the vagus nerve. This measure can be used to assess the health of the vagus nerve and its impact on overall health. High vagal tone is associated with better health, and low vagal tone is associated with poorer health.

Vagal tone can be affected by many different factors, including stress, diet, and exercise. Stress can decrease vagal tone, while diet and exercise can increase vagal tone. Diet and exercise can also help to improve the overall health of the vagus nerve.

STIMULATING THE VAGUS NERVE

How can we take care of the vagus nerve?

There are a few things that can help to stimulate the vagus nerve:

  1. Diet: Eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, and it’s also good for the vagus nerve. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to improve vagal tone.
  • Exercise: Exercise is another great way to improve your overall health and vagal tone. Getting regular exercise can help to increase blood flow to the vagus nerve and reduce stress levels.
  • Massage: Massage can also help to stimulate the vagus nerve. Massaging the neck and head can help to increase blood flow to the vagus nerve.
  • Cold therapy: Cold therapy, such as ice baths or cold showers, can also help to stimulate the vagus nerve. The cold temperature can help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
  • Stimulating activities: There are also some activities that can help to stimulate the vagus nerve. Activities such as singing, chanting, or even gargling can help to activate the nerve.
  • Deep Breathing:   Deep breathing helps to increase blood flow to the vagus nerve and reduce stress levels.

By following these tips, you can help to take care of your vagus nerve and improve your overall health.

WEARABLE DEVICES

Biometric devices, also known as wearable devices, refer to the measurement of biological features. This term is often used to describe the measurement of physical features, such as fingerprints or facial features. Biometrics can also be used to measure physiological features, such as heart rate or blood pressure. We see them commonly used in wearable smart watches, which track our fitness and sleep. Many wearables now track HRV  (heart rate variability), which some experts believe is a good marker of vagal tone. HRV refers to  the variation in the time between each heart beat. Low HRV is associated with high stress and poor health, while high HRV is associated with good health. You can learn more about HRV in our blog post here: https://ifho.org/blog-heart-rate-variability/.

While non-medical wearable devices should not be used to diagnose, track, or treat any health condition, they can be a helpful way to gain insight of your daily activities and key metrics that may influence your overall health.

Institute for Human Optimization

In conventional medicine,  the vagus nerve is often overlooked. However, in functional medicine, the vagus nerve is considered to be an important part of overall health. The vagus nerve is involved in many different functions, and it can have a significant impact on overall health. Functional medicine practitioners believe that the vagus nerve can be a key player in many different health conditions. The vagus nerve is involved in the gut-brain connection, and it can impact gut health. The vagus nerve is also involved in the stress response, and it can impact the immune system.

At IfHO, we do that and more as partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. We are a Maryland Functional Medicine but our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There is no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!

Water is essential for our bodies to function properly. Every cell, tissue, and organ in our body needs water to work correctly. In fact, our bodies are made up  of about 60% water. It’s no secret that drinking plenty of water is important for good health, but what are some of the specific benefits of doing so? Here we’ll take a look at some of the top health benefits of staying hydrated. From keeping our organs functioning properly to helping us maintain a healthy weight, this weeks blog will go over all the health rewards that come with drinking water and staying hydrated.

THE ROLE OF WATER

Water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, and it’s this simple chemical structure that gives water some of its amazing properties. For example, water is:

  • A Good Solvent: This means it can dissolve many different types of molecules, making it ideal for transporting nutrients and waste products around the body. It does so by dissolving them into smaller particles that can easily pass through the body’s cells.
  • A Polar Molecule: This means that it has a slightly negative charge at one end (the oxygen atom) and a slightly positive charge at the other (the hydrogen atoms). This gives water molecules a strong attraction to each other, which is why water is such a good solvent.
  • A High Specific Heat Capacity: This means that it takes a lot of energy to heat up water. This is why our bodies sweat when we’re hot – the evaporation of sweat from our skin helps to cool us down.
  • A Great Heat Regulator: Water can absorb and release large amounts of heat, which helps to keep our bodies at a stable temperature.
  • A Major Component of Bodily Fluids: Blood, sweat, urine, and tears are all mostly water.
  • Helps Lubricate and Cushion Joints:  Water is a key component of the fluids that lubricate and cushion our joints.

LOW GRADE DEHYDRATION

Most people are chronically dehydrated and don’t even know it. Mild dehydration can cause fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. In fact, even just a 1-2% drop in hydration levels can negatively affect your mood and energy levels. Low grade dehydration affects  nearly 75% of Americans and is a major contributing factor to the rising rates of fatigue and poor concentration. Improper hydration affects the cells internal environment  and the way they function. How?  When the body is not properly hydrated, it pulls water from other areas in order to maintain proper function in the brain and other vital organs. This causes those other areas to become dehydrated, which can lead to all sorts of problems such as  dry skin, constipation, and joint pain.

How much water should you drink?

The amount of water you need to drink depends on a number of factors, including your age, activity level, and health. The 8×8 rule (drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day) is a good general guideline, but may not be appropriate for everyone.

For example, people who are physically active or live in hot climates may need more water than the 8×8 rule recommend. On the other hand, people who are elderly or have health conditions that cause them to retain water may need less than the 8×8 rule suggests.

STAYING HYDRATED

Staying hydrated at a cellular level does take much more than water.  In order to properly hydrate the cells, a combination of water, electrolytes, and minerals are needed. Electrolytes  such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium help to regulate the body’s fluid levels and are essential for proper cell function. Minerals such as calcium and phosphorus are needed for strong bones and teeth. Proper cell function means  that the cells can properly do their job,  which is to remove waste products and toxins from the body, deliver nutrients to where they are needed, and produce energy.

To stay properly hydrated, I recommend trying to incorporate water dense fruits and vegetables. In doing so, you can increase your water intake while also getting the added benefits of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Adding a pinch of high quality sea salt  to your water can also help to replenish electrolytes.

BENEFITS OF STAYING HYDRATED

Proper hydration is essential for our optimal health and wellness. Benefits of  staying hydrated include:

  • Improved Mood and Energy Levels:   When the body is properly hydrated, the brain functions more efficiently and mood and energy levels are improved.
  • Better Cognitive Function:  Dehydration can lead to poor focus, difficulty concentrating, and decreased cognitive function.
  • Increased Physical Performance:  Dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, and decreased coordination. Staying properly hydrated can help to prevent these effects and improve physical performance.
  • Improved Kidney Function:  The kidneys rely on water to filter waste products from the blood. When the body is properly hydrated, the kidneys are able to function more efficiently.
  • Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases:  Proper hydration is essential for the proper function of all systems in the body. Dehydration can lead to chronic problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and kidney stones.
  • Improved Skin Health:  Dehydration can cause the skin to become dry, wrinkled, and dull. Proper hydration helps to keep the skin looking plump and youthful.
  • Improved Joint Health:   Dehydration can cause the joints to become dry and inflamed. Proper hydration helps to keep the joints lubricated and reduces inflammation.
  • Improved Digestion:   Dehydration can cause constipation and other digestive problems. Proper hydration helps to keep the digestive system moving smoothly.

6 TIPS FOR OPTIMAL HYDRATION

  1. Drink water first thing in the morning: Drinking water first thing in the morning helps to rehydrate your body after a long night of sleep. The first thing  you put into your body sets the tone for the rest of the day, so make sure to start your day off with a tall glass of water.
  2.  Invest in a good cup:  Investing in a good quality water bottle or cup can help to make drinking water more enjoyable. If you have a cup that you really like, you’re more likely to drink from it throughout the day.
  3. Use an App to track your water intake:   There are lots of great apps out there that can help you to track your water intake. By tracking your water intake, you can ensure that you’re drinking enough throughout the day. Some apps have features like reminders to  drink water, which can be really helpful.
  4. Substitute Soda or Juices with Sparkling Water:   If you’re looking for a way to add some flavor to your water without all the sugar, try adding some sparkling water. You can find sparkling water in a variety of flavors,  or you can even make your own by adding fruit slices or mint leaves to plain carbonated water. I personally enjoy adding fresh oranges or limes to my sparkling water.
  5. Install a good filter:   Installing a good water filter can help to ensure that you’re drinking clean, pure water. This is especially important if you live in an area with poor water quality. A good water filter will remove impurities from your water,  making it taste better and be better for your health.
  6. Water Rich Foods:   Including water rich foods in your diet is a great way to stay hydrated. Some water rich foods include fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, and strawberries. Including these foods in your diet will help you to reach your daily water intake goals.

Drinking plenty of water is essential for our health and well-being. By staying properly hydrated, we can improve our mood, energy levels, cognitive function, physical performance, kidney function, skin health, joint health.  Leave a comment below  and let us know how you stay hydrated throughout the day.

Institute for Human Optimization

We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare.  At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. We are a Maryland Functional Medicine but our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There is no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!

Did you know that your body has its own internal clock? This “circadian rhythm” is responsible for regulating many different bodily functions, and can play a big role in your overall health. The start of Daylight-Saving Time this month is a good reminder to talk about circadian rhythm—the internal clock that governs our sleep-wake cycles. Most of us are familiar with the yearly ritual of setting our clocks ahead one hour, but do you know what circadian rhythm is and why it’s important? Understanding your own circadian rhythm and how to work with it can be an important part of maintaining good health. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what circadian rhythm is, how it works, and some ways that you can optimize your own rhythm to improve your health. Stay tuned!

Circadian rhythm is a natural, physiological process that regulates many different bodily functions.  It is controlled by a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which responds to light and dark signals. These signals help to synchronize our body’s clocks with the 24-hour day-night cycle.

The circadian rhythm has a huge impact on our health. It can affect everything from our energy levels to our sleep quality. How rhythmic or not your circadian rhythm is can have wide-ranging effects on your health, including but not limited to the following:

Heart Health

Key functions of cardiovascular health work on a circadian rhythm[i]. When there is a disruption to our circadian rhythm, it can increase our risk for a whole host of cardiovascular problems. Heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat have all been linked to circadian rhythm disruption. A 2019 research study found a higher risk of heart attack after both time changes, but particularly during daylight saving. It is believed that the sudden shift in light and dark can confuse the SCN and cause it to send mixed signals to the heart.

Metabolism

The body’s metabolic rate is also tied to its circadian rhythm. When the rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance and other metabolic problems. People who have a more regular circadian rhythm are more likely to have a healthy weight, while those with disrupted rhythms are more prone to obesity and metabolic disorders. Metabolic homeostasis, the body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight, is regulated by the circadian rhythm.[ii]

Sleep

The quality of our sleep is also closely tied to our circadian rhythm[iii]. The more regular and in sync our rhythm is, the better our sleep tends to be. People with disrupted circadian rhythms often suffer from insomnia, restless leg syndrome and other sleep problems. Poor sleep at the systems level can lead to a number of health problems, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. There are specific disorders with known links to the central clock. These are known as circadian rhythm sleep disorders (CRSDs) and include:

Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPS):  People with this disorder have a hard time falling asleep and waking up at conventional times. They tend to go to bed late and wake up later than most people.

Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD): People with this disorder fall asleep early and wake up very early, often before sunrise.

Irregular Sleep-Wake Syndrome (ISWS):  People with this disorder have no real pattern to their sleep and wake times.

Jet Lag:  This is a temporary disruption of the circadian rhythm that can occur when traveling across time zones.

Shift Work Disorder:  People who work at night or rotate shifts often have trouble adjusting their circadian rhythm to the new schedule.

Irregular Sleep-Wake Syndrome (ISWS):   People with this disorder have no real pattern to their sleep and wake times.

Cancer

While the link between circadian rhythm and cancer is still being studied, there is some evidence that circadian rhythm disruption can increase the risk of cance[iv]r. One study showed that women who worked night shifts had a higher risk of breast cancer.[v] Another study found that people who slept fewer than six hours per night were more likely to develop colon cancer.[vi] More research is needed to determine the precise link between circadian rhythm and cancer, but the preliminary evidence is suggestive.

Blood-Sugar Regulation

The circadian rhythm also regulates blood sugar levels[vii]. When the rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that people with regular circadian rhythms are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, while those with disrupted rhythms are more prone to the disease.

Asthma

Asthma is the result inflammation in the airways, which makes it difficult for you breathe.  In terms of circadian rhythm, asthma follows a “diurnal pattern” which refers to the regular daily fluctuations in symptoms. Asthma typically worsens during the day and is better at night. Research has shown that the disease path of asthma is closely linked to the circadian rhythm of certain inflammatory pathways.[viii]

Hormone Regulation

The circadian rhythm also regulates many hormones, including cortisol and melatonin. When the rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to hormone imbalance and a number of health problems. For example, people with disrupted circadian rhythms often have difficulty regulating their stress levels, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. When the rhythm is disrupted, it can lead to problems with sleep and insomnia.

OPTIMIZING YOUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM

There are many ways to optimize your circadian rhythm and improve your health. Some tips include:

Daytime Light Exposure

Getting plenty of natural sunlight during the day is essential for keeping your circadian rhythm in check. Sunlight helps to synchronize the SCN and keep it aligned with the external environment. Make sure to get outside for at least a few minutes each day, even if it’s just to take a quick walk.

Blocking Light at Night

If you’re unable to get outside during the day, try to avoid exposure to artificial light at night. Blue light, in particular, can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Make sure to use blackout curtains or eye shades especially if you need to sleep in a room that has artificial light.

Staying on a Regular Schedule

Keeping a regular sleep schedule is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your circadian rhythm. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends.

Eating a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is also essential for keeping your circadian rhythm in check. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and make sure to get enough protein and healthy fats. Avoid eating processed foods and sugary snacks, which can disrupt your rhythm.

Exercising Regularly

There is an old saying that couldn’t be truer: “A tired dog is a good dog.”  Exercise is crucial for keeping your circadian rhythm in balance. Make sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, and try to do it at the same time each day whenever possible.

Managing Stress

Finally, managing stress is essential for keeping your circadian rhythm in check. When you’re stressed out, it can throw off your rhythm and lead to a host of health problems. Make sure to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises on a regular basis.

Caffeine Intake

Caffeine is a stimulant that can also disrupt your circadian rhythm. Try to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages late in the day, and try not to drink them at all if you’re struggling to get to bed.

CONCLUSION

The circadian rhythm is one of the most important patterns in your life and it has a significant impact on your health.  By understanding how this pattern works, you can make small changes to improve your well-being. We hope that this week’s blog post has helped increase your knowledge about circadian rhythms and their importance. Be sure to follow us next week for another informative blog post!


[i] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21641838/

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3781773/

[iii] https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/circadian-rhythms.aspx

[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120250/

[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7013618/

[vi] https://sleepeducation.org/short-sleep-adds-colon-cancer-risk/#:~:text=A%20new%20study%20shows%20sleeping,a%20precursor%20to%20cancer%20tumors.

[vii] https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2009/10/bodys-circadian-rhythm-tightly-entwined-with-blood-sugar-control.html#:~:text=But%20what%20sets%20that%20circadian,mechanism%20for%20regulating%20blood%20sugar.

[viii] https://hms.harvard.edu/news/circadian-rhythm-asthma

Your immune system is designed to distinguish between what belongs in your body (e.g., I like you, myself) and what doesn’t (e.g., I don’t like you, not myself). For this purpose, it uses specialized cells to carry information around the body about which substances are friends or foe. It does this by tagging these molecules with pieces of protein called antigens. These pieces of information are carried on specialized cells – white blood cells – and displayed to other white blood cells by the process of antigen presentation. Immune cells use this information about which things in your body, good or bad, belong and which don’t as a guide to perform different tasks such as killing invaders. Autoimmune conditions are conditions where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues (and sometimes organs). Autoimmune conditions are increasing at an alarming rate yet diagnosing them can be tough. This week’s article will discuss the 5 basic components of autoimmune conditions.

Autoimmunity encompasses a diverse range of conditions that occur when something goes wrong with our immune system.  In fact, the immune system is meant to be a smart one. It receives information from our microbiome and has different cells that perform unique tasks – T-helper cells, cytotoxic T-cells, B-cells, etc. – all of which have a very particular purpose in their job description. This makes it tough for autoimmune conditions to sneak by undetected. Autoimmunity arises when something goes wrong in one of these components. When the immune system malfunctions, it starts to attack its own cells, tissues and organs. It can also lead to inflammation which is often autoimmune conditions are associated with excess amounts of systemic inflammation. Such conditions are referred to as autoinflammatory or autoinflammatory disorders.

Autoimmune conditions generally require 5 components: genetics, environmental factors, loss of gut-barrier function, an unruly immune system, and an imbalanced microbiome.

1. Genetics Our genetic code is made up of 46 chromosomes, including 22 pairs of autosomes (a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome) and one pair of sex chromosomes (X/Y). The sex chromosomes determine whether we develop male or female traits. Each cell in our body has the same DNA; however, different types of cells express different genes. For instance, liver cells only express the genes that play a role in liver function. The genetic code contains both “sensor” and “effector” information. Sensor information is expressed as recognition molecules called receptors and effectors are the responses generated by certain mechanisms when they bind to their receptors. Some of these receptor and effector mechanisms are enzymes and ion channels. Most cells in the body do not express receptors that recognize antigens (proteins that induce an immune response). However, some cells such as B-cells and T-cells — which play a key role in adaptive immunity — express receptors on their surface called immunoglobulins (antibodies). When an antigen binds to the B-cell receptor, the B-cell becomes activated and changes its gene expression to produce plasma cells. These plasma cells secrete antibodies that bind to the antigen. Then, other immune system cells aid in clearing the antigen out of circulation. The presence of these proteins on their cell surfaces is the first step in the immune response, which then triggers an adaptive response.

It has been suggested that genetics play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The risk of developing an autoimmune disease is increased if you have family members with one or more autoimmune diseases. Many genes are believed to be involved in autoimmune disease, and it is believed that certain genes make people more susceptible to developing an autoimmune disease. For example, celiac disease an autoimmune condition that affects the small intestine is thought to be strongly influenced by genetics. A person with celiac disease is at increased risk of having family members with celiac disease, especially if they are related through blood (inherited). While your genes play an important role, they do not have to be your health destiny.  You can make changes in your lifestyle that affect your genes. 

2. Environmental Triggers: Environmental triggers are stimuli that exist in their environment which cause them to become ill. Environmental triggers are generally defined as non-infectious agents or conditions, although some infections can also be included within this definition. Examples of environmental triggers include chemicals, allergens, medications, ultraviolet radiation, thermal conditions, pollution, etc. Some environmental factors are known to possibly trigger or worsen autoimmune conditions, including celiac disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.[i] For example, gluten consumption has been identified as a possible triggering factor for autoimmune diseases, especially celiac disease. Some data even suggests that there is a higher prevalence of autoimmune conditions among those living in geographic regions where gluten consumption is more common. This means that people who live in areas with a high percentage of people who eat foods containing gluten (such as wheat or other grain products) may have an increased risk of developing an autoimmune condition, including celiac disease.

3.Loss of Gut-Barrier Function[ii]: Our gut-barrier function is a complex process that prevents unwanted substances from reaching our blood, lymphatic system and other areas of the body. Our body doesn’t want us to get sick, so there are mechanisms in place that work together to create this barrier. It has been suggested that the gut-barrier may be breached or damaged by environmental triggers, food ingredients or medications. This allows substances from the lumen of the intestine to enter our internal environment and trigger an autoimmune response. It is believed that the innate immune response in autoimmune conditions is created when our gut-barrier function is compromised and foreign antigens (antigens are fragments of proteins that induce an immune reaction) enter into systemic circulation. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a condition where there is a breakdown in gut-barrier function which results in an uncontrolled inflammatory response. The breakdown of the gut barrier may be due to genetic factors, environmental triggers or loss of mucosal integrity. Loss of gut-barrier function is common in autoimmune conditions, especially celiac disease and psoriasis.

4. An Unruly Immune System: The immune system has two main divisions that are responsible for protecting us from foreign invaders:   innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is our first line of defense against foreign invaders.[iii] It is non-specific and protects us by using physical, chemical and cellular barriers. The innate immune system reacts immediately to stop infection. This response takes place in all individuals, regardless of what organism or antigen has caused the stimulation. Innate Immunity usually stops an invasion within minutes to hours. Examples of this include fever, inflammation and the production of mucus. The second line of defense is our more specific adaptive immunity. In contrast to innate immunity, it takes days to weeks to fully activate. It works by creating a memory of the foreign invader and being able to recognize it if it were encountered again in the future. Adaptive Immunity, also known as T-cell mediated immunity, creates specific responses to antigens (the specific substance that causes the immune system to respond). Antigens can be proteins, such as those found on bacteria or viruses. They may also be tumor-associated proteins and transplant tissue antigens.

5. Imbalanced Microbiome: The human microbiome is a complex, vast and dynamic ecosystem of microbial and human cells that live in and on our bodies. We have an estimated 2-4 pounds of microbes living inside us, which is about the weight of a bowling ball. These microbes are made up of approximately 1000 different species from more than 39 major phyla. Our microbiota (the bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in or on our body) contains at least 160 times more bacterial cells than human cells. These microbial communities vary greatly and can be affected by many factors such as diet, genetics and environmental exposures. Bacteria within the microbiome produce enzymes and other chemicals which help to maintain health. The majority of these organisms exist in the gastrointestinal tract, where they synthesize vitamins, process carbohydrates and fats and degrade toxins and drugs. When our microbiome is imbalanced, this is called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is when there is an abnormal composition of the microorganisms that comprise our microbiome. The microbiome can be disrupted by changes in diet, use of antibiotics and aging, among other things. It’s been estimated that over 50% of people with autoimmune conditions have alterations in their gut flora when compared to healthy individuals. Although researchers are still determining what a healthy microbiome looks like, it has been shown that the gut microbiota in patients with autoimmune disease is different from those who typically lack inflammation.

Institute for Human Optimization

We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare.  At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. This may include functional, traditional, and/or naturopathic medicine. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There is no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!


[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5706077/

[ii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22109896/

[iii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17904335/

Maryland Functional Medicine

Maryland Functional Doctor

Maryland Functional Physician

F

. . .

Have you ever wondered why sugar makes everything taste better? Sweetness is one of the most sought-after flavors in foods, and for good reason – it pleasurably stimulates our taste receptors. But what if we told you that all that sweetness isn’t so sweet after all? In fact, consuming large quantities of sugar can have some pretty nasty consequences for your health. Keep reading to find out more.

NO “HEALTHY” SUGARS

Despite marketing claims, there really isn’t a “healthy” sugar or sugar alternative. Sugar in the body regardless of form, all is broken down into simple sugars. In fact, the body does not differentiate between naturally occurring sugars and those that are added to foods.  The metabolism pathway is the same regardless of whether sugars are naturally occurring or are added to foods during processing. It does not matter whether the sugar is of natural origin or whether it is added, all sugars are broken down into glucose, fructose and galactose. These three simple sugars are absorbed into the blood stream where they are used by the body for energy or stored as glycogen in muscles or fat cells.

GLYCEMIC INDEX

The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system for measuring the effects of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels. Carbs are ranked according to how they affect blood sugar. Foods that contain simple sugars, such as white bread and soda, have high GI scores because they cause sudden spikes in blood sugar. Foods that contain complex carbs, such as oatmeal and legumes, have low GI scores because they cause gradual increases in blood sugar.

The glycemic index is a complicated system for determining the speed at which carbohydrates digest and reach the bloodstream as glucose. However, it does not take into account how much of those carbohydrates one actually consumes or what the total effect on blood sugar levels will be.

For example, the glycemic index of table sugar is 65 compared to carrots which have a glycemic index of 49. However, one teaspoon of table sugar only has 4 grams of carbohydrates- about the same amount as one medium carrot. It would take 18 carrots to provide 16 grams of carbohydrate, which is equivalent to one teaspoon of table sugar.

The glycemic load (GL) is the best way to measure how fast carbohydrates are likely to raise your blood sugar levels after eating them.  It takes into account both the GI number and the actual amount of carbohydrate consumed. For example, table sugar has a high glycemic index (65), but a low glycemic load (4) (carrots have a high glycemic index, but a very low glycemic load).

NO HIDDEN SUGARS

Refined sugars are all made up of the same thing: sucrose. No matter what type of sugar you choose, if it is not listed as “sucrose” or another specific type of sugar, then it is most likely made up of mostly table sugar.

The best way to avoid hidden sugars in foods you eat is to look for ingredients that end in “-ose”. These are all different types of simple sugars: glucose, maltose lactose, sucrose, fructose, galactose, xylose.

PROPORTIONAL TO WEIGHT

Sugars provide fewer calories per gram than fat and protein. For example, one teaspoon of sugar contains 16 grams of carbohydrate and 4 calories; one tablespoon of honey contains 64 grams of carbohydrate and 265 calories; and one pat of butter contains 0 grams of carbohydrate and 509 calories. The high calorie content in sugars is why people gain weight when using them.

Added sugars are different from naturally occurring sugars, such as the lactose found in milk or fructose in fruit, which also contain other nutrients. Added sugar is just that — added to foods during processing where it provides calories but no other nutritional value.

OUR TOP RANKED SUGARS

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is one of our top ranked sugars because of the minerals such as manganese zinc, and iron, and is also a good source of antioxidant plant nutrients. Maple syrup is also on our top ranked lists as it is a more sustainable sugar. Maple syrup is sourced from the sap of maple trees; tapping the trees doesn’t harm the tree or affect future yields.

Date Sugar: Date syrup is not just sugar as it is actually a food made from a fruit.  Dates are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, specifically phenols. Date sugar is also gluten-free and contains 3 grams of fiber per teaspoon for “bulk” so you can use less sugar in recipes. 

Raw Honey:  Honey is an antioxidant powerhouse.  Raw honey contains more antioxidants than most other sweeteners because of its darker color, which comes from the plant phytonutrients that bees collect from dark-colored flowers. I prefer pure raw honey over “raw” blends with added sugars or flavors.

Blackstrap Molasses:  Molasses are by-products of the process to make sugar white.  Blackstrap is the final product, which makes it the most concentrated in nutrients, including calcium potassium, iron, magnesium and vitamins B6 and B12.

Raw Cane Sugar:  Raw cane sugar has a milder flavor than refined white and brown sugars and can be used as a replacement for either in cooking and baking. Despite the title, it is actually not a raw sugar.  The crystals are made from evaporated sugar cane juice which can be unrefined, but is often further processed via filtration and decolorizing. Raw cane sugars are also found under the names of turbinado, panela, demerara and muscovado.

NO CALORIE SWEETENERS

There are also no calorie sweeteners that have no calories and no impact on blood sugar. However, there is a downside to this.  No calorie sweeteners don’t provide any nutrients and actually could potentially cause increased cravings for sweet foods because the body expects calories when it senses a sweet taste. Also, no calorie sweeteners may not be safe to consume long term. Most health organizations recommend eating these products in moderation. Sugar alternatives are highly processed and many may cause inflammation and other health problems; they also deplete the body of minerals and nutrients.

Stevia:  Stevia is a plant that has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years. It contains no calories because it doesn’t break down during digestion, so all you absorb is its sweetness. I recommend getting your stevia from the whole plant rather than a refined product and I prefer liquid or powdered forms to granulated.

Monk fruit:  Monk fruit is another natural, no calorie sweetener that has been used for hundreds of years in China and Southeast Asia. It contains antioxidants and has been used as both medicine and tea to aid digestion. Refined products contain some calories as they must be concentrated from the fruit.

Yacón Root: Yacón root is a plant native to South America and has been used as food and medicine for centuries. It contains inulin which helps make it taste sweet and provides prebiotics, like dietary fiber, that feed the health promoting bacteria in our gut.

Allulose:   Allulose is a naturally occurring sugar that is very rare. It tastes sweet but doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels, which has made it popular with makers of reduced calorie foods. We don’t know enough about allulose because it hasn’t been studied long term so we are unsure as to if it can cause problems when consumed regularly.

So, what’s the takeaway? The bitter truth is that all of those lovely sweeteners we love are metabolized in the same way, and can have negative effects on our health when overconsumed. While sugar intake has been linked to obesity and type II diabetes, it may also play a role in other chronic diseases. Next week, we will explore the impact on sugar and healthspan. In the meantime, follow us on social media for weekly insights in the field of longevity.

Maryland Functional Medicine

Maryland Functional Doctor