2ND ANNUAL “5 Things Your Doctor MIGHT Know in 10 Years”
The information doctors use in their practice may be up to 17 years old, on average.
I know this is shocking, but studies show this is the average delay between the discovery of new approaches and their use by doctors in clinical practice.
It’s January, which means I am again fresh back from the Annual World Congress of the American Anti-Aging Academy of Medicine (A4M), held every year in December.
Here are five headlines I brought back from this deep dive, with the information below:
- DETOXIFICATION must address BOTH the liver and the gut
- MICROBIAL DIVERSITY IS ANTI-AGING
- FASTING IS ANTI-AGING
- NEW CANCER TESTS ARE COMING
- NEW WORDS: “exposome” and “gerontogens”
Most knowledge about how the body detoxifies itself focuses on how the liver first processes the toxins in our bodies (both internal and external) and then helps excrete the waste products through the gut.
It turns out that there is a TWO-WAY STREET between the liver and the gut.
The microbial environment (“microbiome”) in the gut produces its own set of metabolic breakdown products and inflammatory by-products that either contribute to good health OR add to the toxic load that the liver has to process (think SAD ☹ a.k.a. the “standard American diet”).
Lesson: A liver detox protocol will be more effective if it includes the component of a gut cleanse.
MICROBIAL DIVERSITY IS ANTI-AGING
You just learned the term “microbiome” – get ready in the coming years to learn a lot more about the microbes in our gut, which outnumber the human cells in our bodies. (We have microbes living in harmony with us all over our bodies).
“Microbial diversity” refers to how many species of organisms are in the gut and how evenly they are spread out through the 15 feet of your intestines. High microbial diversity contributes to your digestion, your immune system (80% is in the gut), your metabolism, your nervous system, your hormone balance, and – now we know – healthy aging.
It turns out that the microbiome changes over time in healthy aging people. The theory is that this shift over time protects against other (bad) changes that occur with age.
How do you maintain a healthy microbiome? Surprise! Good diet (with plenty of fiber and fermented foods), sleep, and exercise (and probiotics probably help also).
FASTING IS ANTI-AGING
At last year’s A4M conference, I saw results from many human studies showing that fasting turns on a genetic survival “switch”. This year, new information on fasting shows that repeated cycles of fasting may be a good way to manage chronic conditions including obesity, diabetes, and other related diseases (such as cardiovascular conditions).
Easier to do than a liquid-only fast, a 5-day fasting nutrition program was developed at the USC Center for Longevity Studies and studied in up to 6 monthly cycles (i.e. doing the 5-day program once a month for 6 months). These studies show significant decreases in metabolic markers such as hemoglobin A1C, waist circumference, blood pressure, and weight.
NEW CANCER TESTS ARE COMING
Our bodies’ immune systems are constantly cleaning up and getting rid of cells that become cancerous before they can grow into tumors. As we know, however, sometimes cancer cells grow, and sometimes they spread. What if we could do “liquid biopsies” i.e. simple blood draws that detect these changes as they are happening, and not after noticeable cancer occurs? Wow!
There are cell surface proteins floating around in the blood that may detect when cancer cells are forming and/or getting ready to spread beyond the original tumor. Several of such proteins have been studied, but the “ENOX2” protein family seems to be exclusive to cancer cells (i.e. not made by non-cancerous cells). This kind of testing will help both very early cancer detection as well as treatment management of existing cancers.
Let me leave you for now with two words you’ll be hearing more in the coming decade:
This term (not to be confused with “exosome”) refers to the sum total of toxins we are exposed to over our lifetime. This includes both external toxins – pollution, pesticides, etc (in one year we ingest an average of 12 pounds of such toxins), and internal toxins (waste products from our normal biological processes).
In Greek, “geron” means “old man.” Toxins that damage our normal biological cell processes can accelerate aging, making them “gerontogens.” They include UV radiation, some chemotherapies, arsenic, and cigarette smoke.
A long “lifespan” is only good if you have a long “healthspan,” for which I recommend:
An occasional detox program, maintaining a healthy diverse microbiome, doing an occasional fast, and minimizing your exposure to “gerontogens” as much as you can.