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Episode 554
The Doctor's Farmacy

How To Become Young At Any Age

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing episodes from my Longevity Roadmap docu-series. We’ve covered how to optimize hormones, eat intentionally, increase and preserve brain function, and create healthy habits—all to help you live as well as possible for as long as possible. 

Today, we’re going to help you bring it all together. Most diseases of aging are starting younger and younger. So whether you’re in your 20s, 40s, 60s, or beyond, it’s never too late to prevent and even reverse the process we’ve come to call aging. Along with my colleagues Dr. Elizabeth Boham and Dr. Todd LePine, we’ll review the key takeaways you can start using right away to optimize your health for your specific phase of life. 

Throughout this episode, we break down what matters most for what age group. And there are, of course, areas everyone should focus on, like supporting the microbiome, balancing blood sugar and hormones, maintaining good cognition, and making our bodies more difficult for things like cancer to take advantage of. 

We also talk about the importance of protein intake and muscle mass as we age, finding your purpose, how to avoid inflammaging, which tests will serve you best, and so much more. 

This episode is brought to you by InsideTracker, HigherDOSE, and Rupa Health.

​​InsideTracker is a personalized health and wellness platform like no other. Right now they’re offering my community 20% off at insidetracker.com/drhyman.

Get your own Infrared Sauna Blanket at HigherDOSE.com today and use my exclusive promo code FARMACY15 at check out to save 15% off, or just go to Higherdose.com/hyman to get your 15% off today.

Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs like DUTCH, Vibrant America, Genova, and Great Plains. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

Here are more details from our interview (audio version / Apple Subscriber version):

  1. How to optimize health at every age and stage of life
    (5:20)
  2. Supporting your gut health as you age
    (7:43)
  3. The gut microbiome and its impact on cancer risk
    (12:03)
  4. Diagnostic testing to determine where you are on the aging spectrum
    (16:13)
  5. Making your body an unwelcome place for cancer growth
    (26:40)
  6. Assessing thyroid and overall hormone health
    (29:12)
  7. Assessing memory, cognitive function, and overall brain health
    (33:27)
  8. The importance of identifying your why for achieving optimal health and longevity
    (40:23)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dr. Elizabeth Boham

Dr. Elizabeth Boham is Board Certified in Family Medicine from Albany Medical School and an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner. In addition, she has her undergraduate degree in nutritional biochemistry from Cornell University and her graduate degree and Registered Dietitian from Columbia University. Dr. Boham focuses on a variety of topics, including women’s health and breast cancer prevention, nutrition assessment, Functional Medicine, Functional Nutrition, insulin resistance, heart health, weight control, and allergies.

 
Dr. Todd LePine

Dr. Todd LePine graduated from Dartmouth Medical School, is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, and is an Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner  His areas of interest include optimal aging, bio-detoxification, functional gastrointestinal health, systemic inflammation, autoimmune disorders, and the neurobiology of mood and cognitive disorders.

Transcript Note: Please forgive any typos or errors in the following transcript. It was generated by a third party and has not been subsequently reviewed by our team.

Introduction: Welcome to the final episode of the Longevity Roadmap docu-series. Now, as I mentioned, I’ve been doing everything in my power to boost my health span and my lifespan, and feel energetic, focused and full of vitality every single day. Now, I want to share everything that I’ve been doing to stay healthy until the end of my life, which [00:00:30] I hope is a long time from now.

Dr. Mark Hyman: In this episode, we’re going to break down what I believe to be the most critical components of achieving a healthy long life. And most of this stuff, is stuff that you can start today. We know that most diseases of aging are starting younger and younger. We’re seeing type two diabetes in two year-olds. So, we will not only cover what you need to know when you’re 50 or 60, but what you can do when you’re 20 or 30 or 40. The seeds you plant today will keep [00:01:00] you strong and thriving in the future. It’s never too late or too early to start.

Elizabeth Boham: When he comes into my office and they’re looking to optimize aging and optimize their longevity, it really depends on their age group, what we really focus on. So when a patient comes to see me and they’re in their 20s or 30s, the most important thing we start working on is getting on a good routine, making sure that they’re incorporating all of those aspects of self care into their life [00:01:30] and working on getting on a routine for optimal health. Making sure they’ve got a good sleep cycle, making sure they’re getting enough sleep, making sure that they’re not binge drinking. We know that has a huge impact on health, and making sure they’re not smoking. Those are the things we really focus on when somebody is in their 20s or 30s.

Elizabeth Boham: When somebody is in their 40s, we really focus on what they’re doing for self-care. Often in our 40s, our life is crazy busy. We’ve got kids or our parents that we’re taking care of, and we need to make sure [00:02:00] we’re taking care of ourself. So we’ll talk about what are you doing daily for self care? We know that exercise can be a great source of self-care, but so can yoga, meditation, stress reduction techniques and making sure they’re getting a good, healthy diet.

Elizabeth Boham: In their 50s, we’re all focusing on body fat and body composition. Is there too much weight around the midsection? Are we gaining too much body fat? And so, we really focus on making sure we’re strengthening lean muscle mass and reversing any signs of insulin resistance. [00:02:30] In our 60s, it’s all about self care. Are you doing all of those things for self-care every day? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you making the right food choices? Are you eating enough protein? Are you getting your exercise in? Are you doing your strength training to increase your lean muscle mass? And, are you doing your meditation and yoga? Are you doing your self-care.

Elizabeth Boham: In your 70s and 80s, it’s all about movement and exercise. Exercise and movement is one of the best things we can all do every day to improve our health span. [00:03:00] And we want to make sure we’re getting in that 150 minutes at least of cardiovascular exercise, the at least two days a week of strength training. And as we get older, strength training is more and more important and it doesn’t always have to be with weights. It can be resistance exercise with your own body weight, as well as a more strenuous yoga practice and Pilates with a reformer. All of those things can help improve your lean muscle mass. So exercise, exercise, exercise.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Aside from [00:03:30] our muscle, our most neglected organ is our gut. Now, I don’t just mean our colon and our small intestine, I mean the incredible ecosystem that is living in us, the holobiome, this incredible symbiotic relationship between us and our microbes that determine almost everything about our health. Now what happens as we age is that our microbes in our gut degrade, [00:04:00] we see a loss of gut function. We see an increase in what we call leaky gut, where the contents of the gut, which should be staying in the gut except for food, which should get filtered across, start to leak through and activate our immune system causing inflammation.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And it happens for a lot of reasons. One our crappy diet that’s low in fiber and high in processed food, because of drugs that we take like antibiotics and acid blockers. It’s because of sometimes natural changes that happen as we age in our gut, with our acidity or [00:04:30] other factors. And by focusing on your microbiome throughout your life, and especially as you age, you can regenerate your health. You can reduce inflammation, you can repair a leaky gut. And the best way to do that is by avoiding the gut busting things, right? Which is what? Processed food, sugar, starch, artificial chemicals, toxins in your diet. Also, drugs that are gut busting drugs, antibiotics, acid blocking drugs, which almost everybody takes like Pepcid [00:05:00] and Protonix and Prilosec and Prevacid and Nexium, and the whole category of those drugs that block your acid production and really destroy your microbiome.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Advil, Aleve, those are not good for your gut over a long time. Occasionally, it’s fine. Steroids, even sex hormones like the pill can mess up your gut. So, avoiding those as much as possible, and then designing a gut healthy life, which means upgrading your diet [00:05:30] to increase the amount of special kinds of fiber called prebiotics. What are prebiotics? They’re fertilizer for the good bugs in your gut, right? So you want to increase those which come from all kinds of incredible plant foods like artichokes, asparagus, Acacia fibers, Konjac root, which is a Japanese root that’s used in Shirataki noodles that you can make pasta with. They have no calories and no carbohydrates. These are all great fertilizers for the good bugs in your gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman: [00:06:00] You can even take plantain and even things like even rice that you can heat and then cool in the fridge becomes a resistant starch that helps fertilize the good bugs in your gut. And then you want to have probiotic foods, things like sauerkraut and kimchi and tempeh and miso and nattō, and all of these incredible foods, yogurts that are ideally made from sheep or goat can be great sources of probiotic foods. So you want the good bugs [00:06:30] you want to add in. You want to fertilize them and you want to get rid of all the stuff that is damaging your gut.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So eating the right diet is so critical to cultivating an inner garden and even including phytochemicals. And this is a big discovery in the last few decades, is that not only do you need these fibers and probiotics, but that things like colorful nutrient dense compounds in your food that are in the rainbow foods have enormous benefits on your gut. For example, cranberry, green tea, pomegranate, [00:07:00] they fertilize this really important microbes in your gut called Akkermansia.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Now, if Akkermansia levels drop down, you’re more likely to get autoimmune disease, more likely to get diabetes, more likely to get cancer. And all you need to do is feed them the right stuff and they grow and you could reduce your risk of all these things. So there’s a lot of strategies around keeping your gut healthy, but is one of the most important things to learn how to do. And yes, there’s a lot to do as you age, you have to reduce inflammation, you have to help your mitochondria. You have to help your gut. You have to help [00:07:30] your muscle. You have to help your hormones. It’s just the way we’re designed.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I’m just a messenger. I didn’t design this thing, but I’m just telling you what you got to do. And the beautiful thing about it is that the principles that we’re discussing around food and exercise, lifestyle, supplementation, they work on all these things.

Elizabeth Boham: We know that the gut microbiome has a huge impact on our risk of cancer. We know that the gut microbiome can create insulin resistance, which causes [00:08:00] inflammation. We know that the gut microbiome is really critical for mobilization of toxins, including our own body’s estrogen. And so, and there’s much more we’re going to learn about the microbiome in the future, for sure. But paying attention to the gut microbiome, I think is really important when you’re looking at a comprehensive approach to somebody’s cancer risk.

Elizabeth Boham: One of the things we know that the gut microbiome is involved in is in the elimination of toxins and estrogens in the body. [00:08:30] And we know that when somebody’s estrogen level is high, that that can increase their risk of breast cancer. It can increase their risk of uterine cancer, and for men, it can increase their risk of prostate cancer. So, we want to really pay attention to how the body is mobilizing and eliminating this estrogen, because it can have an impact on somebody’s risk.

Elizabeth Boham: There’s a substance called beta-glucuronidase. Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme [00:09:00] that will allow, will unfortunately allow estrogen to get reabsorbed into the body. So, glucuronic acid is bound to estrogen in the intestines, and if there’s too much beta-glucuronidase, that that will get cleaved and then estrogen can get reabsorbed into the body. And then people can have signs of estrogen dominance. And we know that that estrogen dominance can be a trigger for growth of breast cancers. It can be a trigger for growth of [00:09:30] uterine cancers. It can be a trigger for growth of prostate cancers, and it can also be involved in things like PMs and breast tenderness and irritability, other hormone imbalances.

Elizabeth Boham: And so, we know that when the gut microbiome is out of balance, that’s one of the things that can cause this excessive amount of beta-glucuronidase. And we can check for that. We do stool tests all the time that measure level of beta-glucuronidase, and if it’s high, then we can use things that can lower it. And we also want [00:10:00] to think about the microbiome and what we can do to rebalance it. For example, I had a patient who came to see me and she had just finished treatment for breast cancer and she wanted to do whatever she could to prevent it from coming back. And so we looked at many things in her health.

Elizabeth Boham: She actually had good levels of insulin sensitivity, which I was really excited about. She didn’t show a lot of inflammation in her body, but she did have some toxins that we needed to work to lower. And she did have this high level of beta-glucuronidase. So what we did is we [00:10:30] worked to shift the microbiome using things like good probiotics, using something called calcium D-glucarate, which can help lower the amount of estrogen that gets reabsorbed into the body through that when there’s high beta-glucuronidase.

Elizabeth Boham: We used prebiotics, which can help feed the good probiotics. So a lot of fiber in her diet, we added in some probiotic supplements, and we even added in some of phytonutrients to help feed the microbiome. [00:11:00] So, we focus on things that help improve the growth of the good bugs in the digestive system. We’re so excited about all these phytonutrients and how they have this tremendous ability to feed the good bugs in our gut. We know, for example, that sulforaphane, which comes from your broccoli and is really rich in, it’s this phytonutrient that’s high in a lot of your cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage, and kale.

Elizabeth Boham: Sulforaphane can actually [00:11:30] feed the good bugs in your digestive system. So by incorporating more cruciferous vegetables into her daily routine, we helped with feeding all of that good bacteria. We also know that green tea can feed the good bacteria in your gut and things like pomegranate has allergic acid, which also feeds the good bacteria in the digestive system. All of these things are important when you’re paying attention to somebody’s risk of cancer.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So, to have a good [00:12:00] sense of where you are in the aging process, there’s a whole bunch of tests that really help to figure out where you are in that spectrum, conventional tests and functional medicine tests, which should be really regular tests anyway, but right now they’re functional medicine tests. When you go to your conventional doctor for heart disease, you need to look at things that are readily available, that your doctor can order that they might not be used to ordering, but they can really ask for. And the most important one is [00:12:30] looking at the quality and type of your cholesterol.

Dr. Mark Hyman: This is a test, it’s not just your typical cholesterol test. It’s called NMR or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance testing, you can get it at LabCorp, or the Cardio IQ test, which you can get at Quest. These are available. They’re not expensive. And they’re really important because they tell you about the size of your particles, the number of your particles, the kind of HDL, the kind of triglycerides, super helpful test.

Dr. Mark Hyman: The next test you want [00:13:00] to look at is measurements of your blood sugar control, which play a huge role in your risk of heart disease. You want to measure your blood sugar, obviously, and your insulin levels fasting. You want to measure something called hemoglobin A1C, which is your average blood sugar over six weeks. Now, if you really want to get fancy, you can ask for a glucose tolerance test that measures blood sugar and insulin, because insulin will start to go up, maybe not fasting, but it might go up after you have a sugar drink. And [00:13:30] that’s an early telltale sign that your metabolic health is going downhill. So those are really important.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You also want to look at your inflammation level, something called Cardio CRP. This is a really important test to look at the level of inflammation. You want to look at a few other clues that we use, things like LPa or LP little a, we call it, which is a genetic marker, but it’s determined by the genes, but it also is influenced [00:14:00] by your habits. So you can modify that as well. You want to look at your body’s clotting and blood thickness, which you can look at through fibrinogen.

Dr. Mark Hyman: You also want to look at your indirect measures of how your metabolic health is, like your liver function tests, which tell you, for example, if you have a fatty liver, which affects 90 million Americans and it’s caused mostly by sugar and starch, that’s another clue. These are really important basic tests. And there’s another one that I like, which is called homocysteine. And this is a measure [00:14:30] of your B12 and folate and B6 status. It also plays a role in your risk of heart disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And then there’s other tests that are a little more fancy that some doctors can do called F2-isoprostanes, or Oxidized LDL, or Ox-LDL. These are available in conventional labs, and they look at the oxidative stress level or free radicals. So can you tell if your cholesterol is going rancid. These are basic blood tests. And then there’s some other tests that are really important that are imaging tests. I encourage people to do an ultrasound of their carotid [00:15:00] glands, which is these blood vessels in your neck. And if you do an ultrasound, you can see if they’ve got plaque developing or they have developed clogged arteries. You can see that.

Dr. Mark Hyman: There’s also an important test called the Calcium Score. It’s a very high-speed cat scan, not a lot of radiation that you don’t do all the time, but you do once as a screening test, then you can do it maybe every five or 10 years. It measures a calcium around your heart. Now, calcium is the body’s bandaid. It goes where there is inflammation. And you can see if there’s a calcium buildup and that gives you a [00:15:30] pretty good prediction of your risk of heart disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman: There is another factor that’s super important, super high tech, it’s called the tape measure. All you have to do is measure around your belly button and measure around the widest part of your hips. And you divide the waste number by the hip number. If your waist is more than 0.8 as a woman or more than 0.9 as a man, if your waist to hip ratio is more than [00:16:00] that, then you have what we call a lot of belly fat and that is an indicator of poor metabolic health. So, that’s a quick screening test that everybody can do at home with a tape measure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So these are the basic things that I look at. There’s more fancy tests like the EndoPAT test, which looks at the vascular health, and there’s tests of heart rate variability, which you can use your iPhone to measure. Essentially looks at the beat to beat variability in your heart and tells you about your overall heart health. Because, when your beats are too [00:16:30] homogeneous, if it’s 72, 72, 72, 72, that’s a sign of lack of resilience and flexibility. You want a lot of flexibility and resilience in your health. So your heart rate should be a little bit more complex and variable.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Complexity is health. An ecosystem, a rainforest is incredibly complex and resilient. A cornfield is a monocrop, and you got a corn beetle in there, the whole thing’s dead, not very resilient. So you want a lot of complexity in your health. So those are the kinds of things I look at when [00:17:00] I look at cardiovascular health. And I take those as a whole to look at what the issues are and what the pictures are.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I also look at some genetic tests. We can look at genetic tests that look at your lipid metabolism, your cholesterol metabolism, what you should be eating and not eating. Tests that look at your likelihood of clotting and whether you should be taking various kinds of things that help thin your blood like fish oil or nattokinase or lumbrokinase, which are natural supplements or other things that can help reduce inflammation and clotting in your blood. So those [00:17:30] are the kinds of things as a doctor that I can do from a conventional perspective.

Dr. Mark Hyman: From a functional medicine perspective, there may be other tests that I want to look at. And I think for the cardiovascular system, it might be looking at more advanced tests to look at inflammation, at whole profiles of inflammatory biomarkers that you can do from various companies that provide these tests. I might look at other things that maybe people aren’t thinking about like absorption and production tests, where you look at [00:18:00] the amount of cholesterol your liver is producing versus the amount of dietary cholesterol you’re absorbing. And then I can customize my treatment along that route.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I might look at something called TMAO, which is a microbial metabolite from the gut that may increase inflammation and the risk of heart disease that comes from what you’re eating, but also it can be because your microbiome is not healthy.

Todd Lepine: So low grade inflammation, which we talked about earlier, which is the inflamm-aging. Every time a person [00:18:30] is having cheeseburger, fries and a Coke, you’re going to have low grade metabolic endotoxemia. And if you’re doing this on a regular basis, you’re basically flooding your body with these gram negative bacteria and the compounds, which are associated with them, which stimulates the immune system. And this is ongoing immune activation. And that is the thing that leads to cardiovascular disease, leads to diabetes, leads to neurodegenerative conditions.

Todd Lepine: So, they’re [00:19:00] really intimately tied in with the aging process. And again, it’s not just fat. It’s really related to the amount of fat and the types of fat that is really tied in with heart disease. In fact, there’s one of the tests that we do is a test called TMAO, trimethylamine-N-oxide, and this is a newer test. What we found is that this particular compound is strongly associated with heart disease. [00:19:30] And what we find out is that this TMAO molecule is produced in certain individuals, not all individuals, but certain individuals whose gut microbiome is unbalanced or dysbiotic.

Todd Lepine: And if you eat certain foods like eggs and red meat, which contain higher levels of carnitine and choline, you’ll produce higher levels of this very reactive compound called TMAO. Now, what we know is that for a long time, heart doctors have [00:20:00] told us that red meat and eggs are bad for you because they contain cholesterol. Well, that’s not necessarily the whole story in certain individuals with a dysbiotic gut microbiome who then feed them red meat and eggs, and you produce this compound that leads to more systemic inflammation. So, there’s more to it than just cholesterol and just the cholesterol hypothesis.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I look at a whole series of these parameters. I might I look at Akkermansia on your stool test, because we know that if your Akkermansia [00:20:30] is low, you might have an increased risk of poor cardiometabolic health and then I might want to say, okay, you should have more cranberry or pomegranate or green tea to help grow the Akkermansia back. So I use a lot of things that seem a little outside the norm.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I might also look at heavy metals because know that mercury and lead and arsenic are risk factors for poor cardiovascular health outcomes. So I’ll look at a lot of things that traditional doctors may not look at, but that are helpful as part of the picture. But in heart disease, the conventional [00:21:00] tests often tell you so much that you can get a great picture just from ordinary tests that you can get at any doctor’s office.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So cancer testing is at this point in time pretty much early detection. It’s not really true prevention, and they’re important. A pap test for cervical cancer, a prostate exam in PSA test for prostate cancer, a colonoscopy for colon cancer, a mammogram or breast [00:21:30] MRI, or thermography for breast cancer. And maybe sometimes even a lung scan for lung cancer. The problem with these tests is that by the time you see something growing on an imaging test, it’s often been there for a while and you may catch it in time so that you don’t die, which is a good thing, but it really isn’t true prevention.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So what I’m much more interested around cancer is looking [00:22:00] at measuring what we call the biological terrain. Rather than the tumor, I’m looking at the soil in which the tumor grows. How do I optimize that to make it an inhospitable place? So how do we look at causes of inflammation? How do we analyze nutritional levels and diet? How do we analyze the load of toxins in the body? How do we look at the gut microbiome in [00:22:30] ways that we can optimize that to reduce cancer risk? Because we know that problems with the microbiome cause cancer. How do I look at things like insulin and blood sugar, which are related to heart disease, but also related to cancer?

Dr. Mark Hyman: So I look at all these parameters, nutritional status, metabolic status, toxic load, inflammation and immune function. And how do I optimize those things so that if there are tumors growing, they can’t continue [00:23:00] to grow? The fact is that every single one of us, all of you listening and watching, all have cancer right now. I do, you do, we all do. But our body has a surveillance system. It has a system of finding and getting rid of those cancerous cells. And you want to tip the balance in favor of your body doing that by finding out what are those things that are carcinogenic, whether it’s sugar or whether it’s pesticides, or whether it’s [00:23:30] a low vitamin D level, or whether it’s bad bugs in your gut, how do you fix all that, so that cancer doesn’t have a place to grow?

Dr. Mark Hyman: Hormones are typically not well evaluated by traditional medicine unless things are really bad. So rather than identifying things that are slowly degrading or out of balance or a little dysfunctional, we only treat you if you’re way off the spectrum [00:24:00] on the biomarker, right? So if your thyroid is really high, we’ll give you something, but we don’t usually check your thyroid antibodies. We don’t check something called free T3, which can go down as we age because of stress and other factors.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So we do a more comprehensive view of traditional tests looking at T3, T4, TSH, and thyroid antibodies when we’re looking at thyroid. For sex hormones, we look at a lot of different things that may not be looked at. For women, we look at [00:24:30] estrogen, progesterone, FSH, LH, so those are the pituitary hormones that control your hormones. We look at testosterone in women too, and see what their testosterone levels are. We look at DHEA, which is an adrenal hormone. We might look at pregnenolone.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Same thing for men, we look at their estrogen levels. Men have estrogen too. In fact, a lot of men have very high estrogen levels if they’re eating a lot of starch and sugar. We look at their free testosterone, their total testosterone. We look at other factors that may be important like their sex hormone [00:25:00] binding globulin. These are all tests that are available through a conventional lab. They give you a really good picture of whether their hormones are off or not. We might look at pregnenolone and DHEA in men as well. So, we get a really comprehensive picture.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Stress hormones are a little more challenging to look at. You can look at DHEA, but we do saliva testing for cortisol, which is actually available conventionally, but many people don’t order it. And that looks at your stress hormone level over the course of the day, that can help. There are tests looking at melatonin levels for those who aren’t sleeping at night. [00:25:30] There are tests that look at growth hormone related, hormones like IGF-1. So there’s a lot of things we can look at that tell you what the balance of hormones are on your sex hormones, on thyroid hormones, on your adrenal hormones that are all playing a role.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And of course, insulin, we’ve talked a lot about on how to measure that through looking at fasting insulin, and even maybe doing a challenge test to look at what happens after you have a sugar load on your insulin, that’ll often go up early. So we can get a really good idea of where [00:26:00] your hormones are in or out of balance, and then we can target how to fix those things.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So for women particularly, it’s important to look at estrogens because there is no such thing as estrogen. There are different forms of estrogen and they vary throughout the lifespan and life cycles for women. But one of the big risks we look at is how are your estrogens metabolized by your body? And often if you have a high risk of breast cancer, or if your [00:26:30] estrogens aren’t metabolized properly, there are certain estrogens that promote breast cancer and others that are protective against breast cancer. So we look at ratios for example, of the metabolites of the hormones, like two or 16 estrogen or four estrogens. And we can see, do you need more of the B vitamins to get this pathway going?

Dr. Mark Hyman: If you have high levels of two, it’s protective, what makes those goes up? That’s exercise and [00:27:00] isoflavones from whole soy, not GMO soy, flax seeds, green vegetables like broccoli. Sulforaphane, Indole-3-carbinol, these are compounds that are basically from the broccoli family that can raise this and actually prevent and even in some studies looking at reversing cervical cancer. And then there’s the 16 estrogen, which is often increased because of in some resistance or lack of exercise or toxins.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So we can modify these levels and measure them in the urine [00:27:30] in a way that actually help improve the quality of hormones, improve the quality of hormone metabolism and reduce your risk of cancer and fibroids and bad PMs symptoms and all sorts of things that help to actually give you more health and hormone balance. And it’s done through a very sophisticated urine test that looks at all these different metabolites. And it’s a really important test we use in functional medicine to help optimize women’s hormonal health.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Well, if you have any memory problems and you’re concerned you have that family history, or [00:28:00] maybe you have early onset Alzheimer’s, when you go to the doctor, they’re going to check a number of things that are pretty standard. They’re going to look at your vitamin B12 level, which is probably not the best test to look at your vitamin B12 status. It should be a different test called methylmalonic acid, but they usually do the B12 test. You would look at homocysteine, which also checks your folate status. They’ll look at your thyroid function. They might look to see if you have dementia related to mini strokes [00:28:30] in cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Mark Hyman: But for the most part, they’ll do a neuro-psychological test, which is a series of questions that test your memory. And they might do an MRI brain scan to see if your brain volume has shrunk or your hippocampus is small. If they’re very fancy, they might do an amyloid scan, which looks at the development of amyloid plaque in your brain, which is associated with Alzheimer’s. And that’s about it. They might offer you a few drugs which [00:29:00] have very limited benefit or evidence, and they will probably tell you to get your affairs in order.

Dr. Mark Hyman: When you go to someone who’s expert in understanding brain health and functional medicine approach to brain health, they’re going to do a cognoscopy which we’ve discussed in earlier episodes, but it looks at a whole array parameters that are highly relevant in determining whether your brain is going to work well or not, and what you can do to reverse some of these [00:29:30] factors that are what we call dementigents. So, we look at nutritional status, optimizing your vitamin levels and your mineral levels, vitamin B12, vitamin D, making sure your zinc is good, your omega-3 fats. These are all really important. Folate, B12, B6, critical.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We look at your dietary patterns and the effects on your metabolic health. Do you have in some resistance and how do we optimize that? We look at toxin levels, heavy metals using heavy metal challenge test, looking [00:30:00] at urine levels of mercury and lead. We will also look at your microbiome to see if there’s inflammatory processes happening there, and we can optimize your gut health. We’ll look for hidden infections like tick infections, like Lyme or other tick related infections or mold exposure.

Dr. Mark Hyman: We’ll look at all these parameters in a very sophisticated way to see what’s happening. How are your mitochondria? Are they functioning well or not? What is the level of inflammation in your body? What is causing inflammation? And we’ll look at all these molecules [00:30:30] and all these parameters, and it may be thousand of different analytes compared to just a few dozen or 10 or 12 that a traditional doctor will do. And we’ll be able to see through this pattern of these analytes, what’s out of balance, how to restore balance and optimize your health, and that’ll give us direction where to go.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So we know, oh, gee, this person is really low in B12. They need B12 shots. Or this one is really low in vitamin D or this one has high copper low zinc. We have to give lots more zinc. Or, this person has high levels of mercury, we [00:31:00] better get rid of that. Or, this person’s guts a mess, we better fix their gut and optimize their microbiome. Or this person has Lyme disease, we better treat that and see what happens. So, we basically customize and personalize the treatment based on this diagnostic roadmap.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Now, and maybe a little bit more expensive by the time you get to dementia to do all this stuff, but the cost of Alzheimer’s is so great, the human cost, social cost, the economic cost, that doing this work upfront is so worth it because you can literally stop [00:31:30] slow and even reverse cognitive decline in so many patients. And this is just not my opinion. There’s more emerging data on this.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Dr. Richard Isaacson from New York, I think he’s at Cornell has done rigorous study looking at how we can personalize these treatments based on their metabolic type and their vitamin D levels and their homocysteine and their insulin and various aspects that they can customize. And maybe even do a full cognoscopy and look at all the dementigents. They just [00:32:00] did the basics and saw really amazing changes.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So, if anybody’s listening and they feel like they have family history of dementia, or they have a family history of Alzheimer’s, or they’re worried about their memory or their brain function, it’s important to go deep and to learn about what you can test and what you can do. And this is what we do with the UltraWellness Center every single day. We’ve been doing it for almost a decade and a half or more than a decade and a half. And we’re seeing how our science is matching [00:32:30] our practice rather than having all these discoveries that are happening out there and not being translated into medical practice.

Dr. Mark Hyman: That’s what we do at the UltraWellness Center is take these discoveries and implement them. And we do it in a way that is safe, it’s effective, that actually uses the best of science. And we do an incredible job for so many people. And it’s one of the most satisfying things for me as a doctor to be able to do this work and to see the changes in people’s lives and to see people get [00:33:00] their lives back when often they’d been given up on by traditional medicine. So wherever you are in the spectrum of aging, wherever you are in your life, whether you’re 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 90, there’s always something to do.

Dr. Mark Hyman: I just literally signed up a new patient who’s 87 years old who wants to optimize his health. And I will work as hard to help him optimize and maximize his health and increase his health span to equal his lifespan as [00:33:30] I would do on someone who’s 20, because I believe in the power of rejuvenation, in the power of regeneration, in the power of functional medicine and in the science of longevity to give us all healthy, long, vibrant lives and be able to get up in the morning and do whatever it is we’d love to do. Whether it’s take a walk with our spouse, play with our grandkids, hike a mountain, or just sit and read a book and have the quality of life that we all deserve.

Dr. Mark Hyman: And I know this feels like a lot of information, but here’s the [00:34:00] good news, with a plan and daily action, you can slowly incorporate these habits into your daily life. Soon, they’re going to become second nature. Remember, pretty much 90% of what we discussed in this docu-series can be incorporated at home starting today. You don’t always need to see a special doctor or use innovative therapies. Sometimes you just need to start with the basics.

Dr. Mark Hyman: When we feed our body the right information, real whole foods, when we get our [00:34:30] mindset right, positivity is important. When we focus on our purpose, on our spiritual life, on movement. When we double down on proper sleep and we take out all the bad information going into our systems from processed foods and sugars and negativity and lack of sleep and lack of movement and purpose, we are well on our way to aging backwards.

Dr. Mark Hyman: So, I want you to think about the reason why you might want to live a long and healthy life. See understanding why you want to live a long and healthy life is [00:35:00] as important as taking the steps. So why is a long, healthy, happy life important to you? For me, I want to play with my future grandkids and maybe great grandkids. I want to go on adventures with my wife. I want to keep learning. I mean, there’s millions of books I haven’t read yet. Once you identify this why, I want you to write it down. I want you to come back to this intention, think of it as your guiding light. And the more you focus on this intention, the more [00:35:30] motivated you will be to achieve your best health.

Dr. Mark Hyman: Now, aging is inevitable chronologically, but we don’t have to age the way we imagined. I truly believe that we can become the picture of health throughout our lives. I hope you take the lessons that you’ve learned in this docu-series and you apply them starting today. You deserve to live a life of vitality. Thank you for watching.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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