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Healthspan Versus Lifespan
Life expectancy has increased from living into our 50s to now living well in our 80s but we haven't increased our healthspan. We are adding years to our life, but not our health. Dr. Shah's intentions are to extend our lifespan and healthspan; this starts with three goals.
1. Prevent Early Death: This includes early proactive diagnostics and diagnosing major "killer diseases" 30 years before it causes irreversible damage or sudden death. For example, cancer diagnosed at stage 1 or 2 is exponentially more treatable.
2. Eliminate the Possibility of Chronic Disease: The largest source of diseases are root causes, including inflammation and immune system disturbances, hormone deficiency and dysregulation, gut dysbiosis and leaky gut, insulin resistance, toxins, and chronic pathogens, and mitochondrial dysfunction and stress. Functional medicine can stop these chronic diseases by identifying the root cause before symptoms begin.
3. Optimize and Turn Back the Clock: Due to recent studies in biological discoveries, we've found the seven different reasons cells age and how to "fix" or slow down this aging process.
Cellular Aging and Longevity Research
Longevity Research Landscape
Recent modern medicine research and biological discoveries have found there are seven definable processes that cause cell death that we are able to address. These cellular pathways include mTOR, NAD, PKA, and Sirt. This research has led to a field of medicine called Longevity Research and has found a way to stop or slow down these seven processes, as well as research into stem cells, Gal Sage organs, and mRNA tumor vaccines.
Become the CEO of your own health by following identified KPIs or biomarkers. These biomarkers are either diagnostics or monitored and include Total Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Triglycerides, Non-HDL Cholesterol, LDL Particle Count, LDL Size, sdLDL, % sdLDL, vLDL-C, vLDL Size, LP(a), Apo B, ApoE Genotype, and Large VDLD-P. Talk to your physician about testing and monitoring these biomarkers and take control of your own health.
The Wellness Wheel
Food can either heal or poison you; your diet determines your health destiny. Recent studies have identified that a plant-based diet with 80% of your plate containing non-starchy plants and 20% being well-sourced protein, will dramatically affect your health and increase lifespan and healthspan. Removing sugar and processed foods from your diet is also important.
Another aspect to consider when studying your nutrition habits is intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. This practice has shown a huge benefit for longevity and turning around diseases including diabetes.
Movement and Energy
It is imperative to your health that you implement exercise into your wellness routine. Studies have shown that being sedentary for more than three hours a day increases the risk of death exponentially. The minimum effective dose or weekly recommended exercise is 45-90 minutes a week (or 7-15 minutes of HIIT workouts for the same cardiovascular benefit). Be careful not to overdo your weekly exercise, which can lead to increased inflammation, joint damage, and muscle wasting.
Another way to increase your healthspan is through weekly strength training. Our bodies are genetically designed to start muscle wasting after the age of 40 years old and the only way to counteract this wasting is through strength training. This training should be 20-30 minutes, three-four times a week. Implementing strength training has been shown to prevent all chronic diseases, prevent cancer and early death, and osteopenia.
Sleep is the first pillar of health and the most important. One of the first ways of focusing on your sleep health is to rule out sleep apnea if you snore; this is a dangerous condition that lacks the flow of oxygen to your brain when you sleep which quickly can lead to metabolic syndromes, Alzheimer's Disease, various chronic diseases, and heart attacks. If you are concerned about yourself or your partner, talk to your physician today.
Next, you should truly optimize your sleep routine, including your environment and quality of sleep. Utilizing a sleep tracking technology can provide insights into the quality, duration, and amount of deep sleep you get each night.
Your sleep routine begins as soon as you wake up; this is when your Circadian rhythm gets set, so it's important to start your day by going outside and setting this rhythm. Also, set a timer for one hour before bed to start winding down and avoid devices at this time.
Modern medicine has given us the ability to diagnose heart attacks 20 to 30 years before they occur, but we don't typically use it due to insurance coverage. This diagnostic is called a Coronary Calcium CT Scan, where you can see the calcification of your blood vessels and diagnose heart disease in its early stages.
You want to also know what your cholesterol levels are and if needed, treat your cholesterol levels with medication and supplements. To prevent having to take this medication in the first place, it takes a holistic view of your health and takes into account the entire Wellness Wheel.
Another important biomarker to track and discuss with your physician is your LDL level. This number should be less than 130 and preferably under 100. If your LDL is over 130, there's a 20% increase in the chances of dying of a heart attack. Talk to your physician today about adding this yearly diagnostic test.
Increasing your brain health is important to prolong brain function. Utilizing your brain in a quality way, while also giving it a break can have a number of benefits, including the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease. This is done through meditation (breathing exercises, taking walks outside, apps like Mindspace), positivity (gratitude, social activity, spirituality), and brain activity (mental reprocessing, teaching, reading).
Relatively newer in the scientific community is a focus on gut health and the effects this can have on our overall wellness and healthspan. The gut is the biggest barrier between the outside environment and the inside of your body, all while defending against toxins. We can support our gut health with food sensitivity testing, avoiding gluten and dairy, avoiding antibiotics and ibuprofen (when you're able to), and implementing good prebiotics and probiotics.
A biomarker to track and discuss with your physician that can affect your gut health and inflammation is HsCRP. This number should be less than 1 and preferably close to 0. Causes of this number being high include poor gut health, processed food, sugar and insulin resistance, lack of exercise or sleep, smoking, stress, and toxins.
Hormone health is very important and can often be overlooked by patients and physicians. After the age of 40, our sex hormones begin decreasing, however, testosterone is highly important for both men and women due to its protection from a number of early deaths. Ways to keep your testosterone at a healthy level are through strength training, a diet high in protein, sleep, and possibly testosterone replacement if needed. Talk to your physician about testing your testosterone levels (these should be between 300-1100 for men and 20-60 for women).
Another critical hormone that 90% of civilization is deficient in is vitamin D. This hormone is extremely important to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer's Disease, mental health problems, and even cancer. Talk to your physician about testing your Vitamin D annually (these levels should be between 50-80). These levels are very difficult to reach with our modern diet and supplements are recommended.
Additional recommended supplements include Omega 3s, COQ10, NAD or NMN, probiotics, magnesium, and curcumin.
Stress and Emotional Health
Not all stress is bad, in fact on a biological cellular level, stress can be good. But the problem is prolonged stress, which is occurring often in our environments. The solution to stress is interrupting stress; this is a technique called the Pomodoro, every 25 minutes you take a 5-minute break. Other ways to break up your stress are to put your phone down during the weekends, take vacations, meditate, and enjoy the outdoors.
Immunity and Cancer
Cancer's worst enemy is immunity and early detection. Modern science finally has the ability to diagnose the most dangerous cancers at stage one or two. Talk to your physician (especially if you have a family history of cancer) about yearly cancer surveillance tests, including Grail Liquid Biopsy, MRI & CTs, mammograms, cervical exams, stool blood tests and colonoscopies, and PSA cancer markers.
Detoxification is the number one reason many of us are dealing with disease or health problems. Our body is bombarded with toxins on a daily basis. It can be overwhelming to think of detoxifying your life, but following the 80-20 rule you can address many easy toxins. Some easy ways to start detoxifying are by placing air purifiers throughout your home, using a reverse osmosis water filter, buying organic foods, and not smoking and minimizing drinking.
About the Speaker | Dr. Darshan Shah
Dr. Darshan Shah started his training at an accelerated MD program at the age of 15 at the University of Missouri and earned his medical degree at the age of 21, becoming one of the youngest doctors in the United States. After surgical training in central California, Dr. Shah then continued his training at the Mayo Clinic, one of the most prestigious medical institutes in the county. After earning his board certification, he went on to open medical/surgical centers throughout California, as well starting innovative tech companies, creating patented medical devices, as well as advising dozens of startups in medicine, finance, and tech. Dr. Shah's belief in continual education and self-improvement has earned him alumni status at Harvard Business School, Singularity University, and other prestigious institutions.
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