The Role of Nutrition
Nutrition is the foundation upon which health exists. Conversely, nutritional deficiencies will inevitably compromise health, sometimes subtly and often dramatically. Too often dismissed, the link between micronutrient status and metabolic and cardiovascular health should not be underestimated.
Every metabolic step in our biochemistry requires vitamins and minerals to operate optimally. Building tissues, removing toxins, and protecting cells, all metabolic reactions require enzymes that require coenzymes and cofactors. Vitamins (B vitamins, folate, choline, etc.) are the necessary coenzymes. Minerals (magnesium, zinc, copper, etc.) are the essential cofactors. Without the vital micronutrients, metabolism is compromised, and disease can develop.
In addition to their crucial role as coenzymes and cofactors, nutrients regulate gene expression, build hormones, remove rogue cells and enhance immunity. According to Dr. Bruce Ames, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. At the University of California, Berkeley, his “triage theory” of nutrition suggests that low micronutrient intake may accelerate the degenerative diseases of aging, for example, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, because our cells will allocate deficient nutrients to areas with immediate biological needs. When nutrition is not optimal, our bodies will adapt and sacrifice longer-term metabolic health. Consequences include DNA breakage, reduced immunity, unchecked oxidative stress, and metabolic dysfunction.
WHEN WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO START MAKING DECISIONS TO LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFE?
Our first glimpses of getting older are subtle; the way we look in a mirror, the increased number on our bathroom scale, extra inches in our waistline, a receding hairline. But there’s a lot more to aging than appearance. And while some might think there’s only so much you can do, knowing the causes of aging can dramatically improve how we look and feel as we get older.
Commit to adding life to your years by understanding what causes our bodies to decline with aging and how to prevent it from happening to you.
WHAT IS AGING?
Aging is a progressive slowing down of metabolic processes in the body. Since all of our cells and their functions are intertwined, our bodies deteriorate once the cells’ functions decline. It takes a multifaceted approach to slow the aging process and promote optimal health.
LIFESTYLE, NUTRIENT INTAKE, AND OBESITY
First and foremost, we need to establish a healthy foundation. As we age, this foundation becomes increasingly essential to support the health of our cells whose roles are as “do-everything” soldiers in our bodies. When we get hurt, our cells help us heal. When we exercise, our cells help us recover.
But over time, our cells don’t work as efficiently. If you don’t treat your body right, eat the wrong foods, don’t exercise, have unhealthy habits like smoking, you’re doing more damage to your cells and accelerating the aging process.
SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TO THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
What is the endocrine system, and why is it essential for healthy aging? First, the endocrine system creates hormones in your body, affecting metabolism, growth, development, tissue function, and even mood. So, it’s got a lot to do with a wide array of functions within your body.
Second, our hormone production decreases with aging, making it more challenging to repair and regulate bodily functions. Because hormone production is interactive, a drop in any one hormone may lead to an imbalance in many others, wreaking havoc on the endocrine system. So, keeping it healthy helps slow the aging process.
We age because our hormone production declines; our hormones don’t decline because we age.
The trend seen in many aging adults is an increase in hormones that can negatively impact our health, such as cortisol and insulin, with a simultaneous decrease in hormones that help maintain youthfulness like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, growth hormone, and others. These changes often result in reductions in muscle mass, aerobic capacity, bone mineral density, quality sleep, and sexual desire with concurrent increases in fat mass, stress, blood pressure, and inflammation.
Fortunately, employing simple strategies at any age can help you get on track towards staying healthy, active, and well as you age. Identifying the factors which support average hormone production and utilization is the first step in achieving your anti-aging goals.
Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night is critical. Sleep is an active process during which your body restores and repairs itself. Most HGH produced by the pituitary gland is made at night during Stage III and IV of the sleep cycles. By skimping on your sleep, you’re not supporting your body’s natural ability to produce hormones.
Chronic stress accelerates the aging process by increasing cortisol levels. By minimizing stress, you help moderate your cortisol levels and support a healthy hormonal foundation.
Processed and chemical-laden foods interrupt healthy hormone production. Organic, whole foods help support optimal hormone production. A Galvanic Skin Response Food scan will tell you the exact foods YOUR body requires for optimal health and performance. There is no one size fits all food plan.
There are a variety of nutrients that can help support optimal hormone production and support your journey towards healthy aging:
Micronutrient Testing identifies exactly which nutrient deficiencies exist in your body. The functional performance of over 35 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and metabolites is measured. As a result, differences in metabolism, age, genetics, illness, injury, absorption rate, prescription drug usage, and lifestyle are automatically considered, so a targeted treatment plan is developed for your repletion.
Through extensive research and clinical trials, hormones, precursors, and the factors that prompt and sustain their release have been identified. Nutrients, adequately incorporated into regular supplement regimens, will help achieve optimal health and performance.
~ Kim Marie
1. Ames BN (2006) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sciences, U.S.A., 103:17589-94. doi:10.1073/pnas.0608757103
2. Ames BN. (2010) J Nucleic Acids. doi:10.4061/2010/725071
3. McCann JC and Ames BN. (2009) Am J Clin Nutr. 90:889-907. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.27930
4. McCann JC and Ames BN. (2011) FASEB J. 25:1793-1814. doi:10.1096/fj.11-180885
Connect with Kim Marie Pauline and be sure to read Chapter 17 in The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, 25 Tools to Achieve Anything available on Amazon June 22nd.
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