AGING, VITAL RESERVES, NUTRITION, AND DISEASE
The great baseball pitcher for the Negro Leagues, Satchel Paige, got it right. These days, people's age should (and frequently is) calculated via various HEALTH CALCULATORS. These can be far more accurate than simply counting birthdays to come up with one's chronological age (HERE and HERE are other examples of these calculators). How accurate are these "calculators"? I'm not exactly sure, but the first and last links above showed that my life expectancy was supposed to be almost 108 years, while my "Body Age" (sometimes referred to as "Fitness Age") is currently 21. You're right; I didn't believe it either --- particularly in light of the fact that in a few weeks I will be 48. Although I am having a tough time buying into this entire concept (particularly as one who enjoys 'dangerous' hobbies such as MOTORCYCLING), the point is show people that we are not necessarily ruled by things like age and GENETICS nearly to the degree that some experts (including our doctors) would have us believe.
Why did I bring this up? The other day I discussed ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, and today we are going to discuss aging in general, what it is, roughly how it occurs, and how to go about slowing down the process. It's far too easy to look at the geriatric crowd (55 and over) and chalk their many health problems up to their age. This is where your doctor sits you down, looks you in the eye, and solemnly gives you words of wisdom such as, "Joe; you just aren't as young as you used to be". Today I am going to show you why you should not buy into this outdated line of thinking and all the baggage that comes with it.
Much of your quality of life comes down to something which the medical community refers to as "Function". When you hear me talk about Function, I am talking about a person's ability to accomplish everything they need to get done in the course of a normal day, and the level of health required to do so. Why is this important for you to understand at any age? The longer that folks can stay out of "Heaven's Holding Cell" (the nursing home), typically, the better their lives will be. The problem is, when you can no longer "Function" well enough to perform the things that make up the acronym D.E.A.T.H. (Dressing, Eating, Ambulation, Toilet, Hygiene), your odds of ending up there increase rather dramatically. My goal today is to show you how to take some years off of your "Body Age" and at the very least, question some of those DRUG COMMERCIALS that you see way too many of on television today.
There is a set of problems that is either unique to seniors or potentially affects them far more than it does the general population. Part of the reason for this is the fact that most seniors take too many drugs --- often times way too many (HERE). Some of the more common of these include huge numbers of prescriptions for things like HEARTBURN PILLS, ANTIBIOTICS, STATINS, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS, OSTEOPOROSIS DRUGS, BETA-BLOCKERS, FLU SHOTS, VIAGRA-LIKE DRUGS, SLEEPING PILLS, ANTI-DEPRESSANTS, CORTICOSTEROIDS, PAIN PILLS, and a host of others.
It is important for people to remember that Big Pharma and Corporate Medicine typically view them as a commodity --- a money generating machine that can create hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars over the course of their lifetime. Think I'm over-exaggerating? Read a few of my posts tagged under "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE" --- that is, if you can keep from upchucking. Until you realize that as far as Big Pharma is concerned, you are nothing more than a walking, breathing, dollar sign; you will be led down a path that might keep you alive a bit longer than might otherwise happen, but saps the magic and joy from your life in the process (HERE or HERE).
As we all know, much of health comes down to doing two things correctly. These have to do with the fact that you need to be vigorously active on a regular basis and feed your body nutritious food. Are these difficult? Sure they are --- particularly if you are living alone. But, fail to do these two things --- particularly in your younger years --- and you drain your body's "Vital Reserves" before you ever get to become an 'official' card-carrying member of AARP.
We have all heard the old adage, "You are what you eat". While this is certainly true, it is more accurate if we make a subtle change to the last word. The truth is, we are not really what we eat, as much as we are what we ate. In other words, the fact that you broke down and had a piece of birthday cake yesterday is not nearly so big a deal as is the fact that you lived as a SUGAR ADDICT for about thirty years of your life. Not that you cannot to some degree overcome this, but dealing with the INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS of that sugar (not to mention the medications and other chemical exposure) is going to take a toll on your system and its ability to DETOXIFY itself. Sugar is only one example of many. I could pick on SMOKERS, couch potatoes, or a whole host of other groups here. I think you probably get the point. All of this begs the question of what are Vital Reserves?
Vital Reserves are simply the excess materials needed to run the various processes, cycles, and metabolic pathways of life. Have you ever watched older folks look at young children and marvel at their energy? The Vital Reserves of children, are, by their very nature, virtually untapped. But what happens to those reserves in the child who never eats a vegetable (1/3 of those under 18 years old fall into this category)? What about the kids whose parents let them stay up as late as they desire? What about those kids who spend their days exercising their thumbs (texting, playing video games, and running the TV remote) yet never exercise their bodies or minds? What about those kids who, from an early age, become addicted to drugs, alcohol, JUNK FOOD, porn, or who-knows-what else? What about those kids who end up on all sorts of medications (like THESE) or receive their government-prescribed vaccine schedule in its entirety (HERE)? The body can and will use up massive amounts of its Vital Reserves of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, co-factors, enzymes, mitochondrial energy in the form of ATP, antioxidants, and DETOXIFICATION POWER, just trying to get through the teen years. That's why this post is not really directed at my senior readers.
Don't get me wrong, the peer-reviewed literature shows that any improvement in the areas of WEIGHT, DIET, EXERCISE, etc, etc, can provide a significant boost to one's lifespan and general quality-of-life at any age --- even the elderly. But the truth is, I would love to reach the younger generation before they become seniors. In all actuality, I would love to reach them before they get out of school. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that if you think that all too often, this is not happening. And if you think that today's senior citizens have health problems, just wait until you see tomorrow's seniors ---- you know; the folks who did not grow up active or raising a garden. Believe me when I tell you that it's going to get ugly. But other than being forced to contribute your hard-earned tax dollars largely to take care of those who refuse to take care of themselves, you don't have to be a part of that whole scene.
Simply start taking care of yourself --- today. If you take a little bit of time to learn about the common threads that relate most disease processes to each other, you will begin to understand why there are certain steps that should be taken in the battle against virtually any disease process you could name (HERE).
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).