God Bless Suzanne Somers. She is truly a health hero, one who wants the best for all of us. She writes and she lectures with one thing in mind; how can I help people optimize their health, and thus their lives? If she were to write a short dialogue of what is possible in the area of anti-aging medicine, it might look like this:
“Attention, this is your brain. I have exciting news for your body. Muscle mass is up and much more active. Body fat is in the ideal zone. Stress is down. Energy is way up. Hormone levels indicate that you are a 35 year old. I’ll be turning up anabolic activity, sex drive, mental clarity, respiratory efficiency, energy production, and immunity. The guys in the mood department are working overtime, making a perfect balance of all 4 major neurotransmitters, guaranteed to convince you that you are young again.”
In 1982 I had the privilege to have been among the first 100 MD’s in the United States to become board certified in Emergency Medicine. In my 15 years of ER medicine, I treated thousands of patients with pharmaceutical drugs that saved lives. But there is a big difference between acute critical care medicine and anti-aging medicine. Why aren’t we healthy? It’s not the fault of orthodox medicine. Nor is it the fault of the pharmaceutical industry. Who is responsible for our health?
The story starts with Mommy getting pregnant with Johnny. The doctor delivered Johnny. During the first day of Johnny’s life, he had a vaccination, and he was seen by the pediatrician, who performed a well baby examination. Mommy periodically took Johnny to see his doctor for vaccinations to prevent little Johnny from getting certain childhood illnesses. Also, every time Johnny got sick, he went to the doctor in order to receive the necessary treatment to get better. Johnny finally figured out that the doctor was responsible for Johnny’s health, not Johnny.
Suzanne Somers wants you to take charge of your body, your nutrition, your fitness, your need for detoxification, and your BioIdentical hormones. Suzanne wants you to understand what you need to eat to lower insulin levels, what to take and how to exercise so that the cells of your body become more sensitive to insulin; when to ask your doctor for thyroid supplementation; how to determine that your adrenals are tired, and what you can do for it; and when to see a doctor for BioIdentical estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Orthodox medicine frequently views health as being the absence of disease. Anti-Aging Medicine views optimal health as when a person is physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually in flow, and when the organs and hormonal glands are functioning at maximal efficiency.
Anti-Aging Medicine feels that disease is a condition precipitated by a toxin filled, nutritionally deficient, and stress dominated system, which will ultimately result in changes in enzyme production and hormone production. This will in turn gradually produce a biochemical change, producing signs and symptoms. Suppressing symptoms and not removing their underlying cause will allow the embers of an illness to smolder quietly, only to erupt with increased intensity at a later date.
Orthodox medicine is based upon the treatment of symptoms, whereas Anti-Aging Medicine identifies the source of the symptoms and balances their energetic causes. Orthodox medicine analyzes illness from a physical and chemical level. “Physical tests” include physical examination, x-rays, mammograms, CAT scans, MRI’s , and biopsies. Chemical evaluations involve the analysis of blood tests. If these tests are normal, then the patient is told that he is free of disease and is healthy. Orthodox medicine does very little analyzing on the electrical or energetic level, except for the EKG, EEG, and EMG. It does not analyze the electrical liver, kidney, pancreas, adrenal, etc. If one is angry, his ultrasound (physical) of the liver will be unaffected, and his liver function studies (chemical) will also be unaffected. But his electrical (energetic) liver is very much affected, resulting in symptoms such as insomnia and migraines. Just as the electrical QRS complex of an EKG precedes the physical heartbeat, the electrical (or energetic) changes in the organs always precede chemical and physical abnormalities.
Orthodox medicine continues to develop at a rapid rate, becoming ever more technical and specialized. Depending on what type of headache you have, you may visit an internist who may in turn refer you to a neurologist, an ophthalmologist, or even a psychiatrist. In this traditional form of medicine, the different symptoms are viewed as different body parts being ill; but, what if all these symptoms are interrelated? What if your headache, skin rash, constipation, stomach ulcer, insomnia, and muscle spasms are all symptoms of the same underlying problem? Most symptoms are the body’s way of trying to get rid of toxins and to regain homeostasis and balance. Therefore, most diseases should be treated not by suppressing your body’s defense mechanisms, but by cooperating with these systems. Anti-Aging Medicine seeks to identify the root cause of one’s symptoms, so if A causes B, instead of treating B (as does Orthodox medicine), Anti-Aging Medicine will treat A. The ideal therapy for any condition is something that is effective and tolerated by your body. Most drugs are effective, but are not well tolerated, causing side effects. Anti-Aging Medicine addresses the cellular or energetic level, long before deeper damage takes place, and is truly preventive. The patient’s progress can be measured by laboratory tests, clinical observation by the practitioner, and the patient’s own feeling of well-being.
There are additional diagnostic tests which are utilized in Anti-Aging Medicine. Blood values must be in the optimal range, not the reference range. As an example we like to see a TSH value (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) of less than 2.0, which indicates a healthy thyroid gland, as opposed to the reference rage of 0.0 – 5.0. Anti-Aging Medicine measures additional fluids such as saliva and urine for hormone levels and products of metabolism, and defines metabolism as the biochemical changes in the living cells by which energy is produced for vital processes and activities. Anti-Aging Medicine utilizes unique tests such as Bio-impedance to measure cellular health and integrity of cell membranes; Heart Rate Variability to measure the responsiveness of the Autonomic Nervous System; and Bio-electronic Terrain According to Vincent, which measures pH, electron levels, and mineral level in blood, urine, and saliva, in order to analyze the terrain of your body. This test, developed by the Germans in the early 1970’s, was used by NASA to monitor Apollo series astronauts on flights to our moon.
Researchers have long known that one of the mechanisms involved in the aging process is the decline in naturally occurring hormones in the body, first manifesting in our 30’s, and then accelerating as we enter our 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. Since hormones affect virtually every bodily process, low levels of certain hormones and impaired communication within the endocrine system, create havoc with all other body systems, including the immune, cardiovascular, detoxification, and gastrointestinal. Chronic illness is also frequently associated with the body’s decline in hormone production. Recent research suggests that proper replacement of BioIdentical hormones holds great promise in slowing the aging process, and as a treatment for age-related diseases.
Regulation, which is a cardinal feature of optimal health, is the ability of an organ or tissue to respond appropriately to a stimulus. The systems that have the most profound effect on regulation are the AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM and the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM. The Autonomic Nervous system functions rapidly, making adjustments within seconds. The Endocrine system acts more slowly, its effects taking from minutes to hours to develop. Each system has an effect on the other. The main link between the nervous system and the endocrine system is the hypothalamus, a small gland in the brain that acts as the hormone control center. Messages from the brain are sent to the hypothalamus, which in turn releases hormonal messages to the pituitary gland, located just below the hypothalamus. The pituitary gland then produces hormones that stimulate target glands (such as adrenal, thyroid, ovary) to secrete their hormones.
The Word, hormone, means to arouse or excite. HORMONES are chemical messengers that are usually secreted from endocrine glands into the bloodstream. HORMONES then bind with appropriate receptors, which are selectively present in the cell membranes of their target organs (like a key and a lock), producing the desired effects on both the metabolism and function of the target organs. The most important hormones in anti-aging are Thyroid, DHEA, Cortisol, Insulin, Growth Hormone, Testosterone, Estrogen, and Progesterone.
Nutritional deficiencies, lack of exercise, and exposure to toxins, can all result in diminished hormone production, that ultimately leads to diminished biological functioning. Chronic stress can also seriously impact hormone production. Other factors include malnutrition, sleep disorders, exposure to electro-magnetic fields (EMF’s), lack of sunlight, and the long-term use of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
A loss of hormonal balance, as occurs with aging plays a large role in mental and emotional symptoms, and in all illness. We age because our hormones decline; our hormones don’t decline because we age. The hormonal system is what most correlates to the emotional person. It is clear that the hormonal system responds to our outlook on the world. Restoration of this balance is ideally achieved through BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT ).
BioIdentical estrogen and progesterone are bio-engineered from natural plant products, and contain the exact same chemical structure as natural female sex hormones. They do not mimic female hormones, but instead augment a women’s natural hormone production. In contrast synthetic hormones are produced by altering the natural structure of the hormone in order to obtain a patent. This changes not only its structure, but also its effect on the body. It’s a chemical with a certain level of toxicity, which is indigenous to all chemicals. Premarin does not contain the same estrogen as that which naturally exists in the body. Premarin contains 50 different forms of estrogen, among which only 3 are known to naturally occur in humans.
“The times they are a changing.” Embracing anti-aging medicine requires a change in one’s consciousness. Consciousness is the sum total of our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and intentions. You need to realize that brain cells can regenerate. You’re not too old to have a baby at 45. It’s all about energy, that can be both felt and measured. Life should not be defined by age, but by energy. Aging equates to disease. Energy equates to health.
The general state of our health is directly related to our consciousness. A change in our health, either better or worse, involves a change in our consciousness. Our bodies are constantly renewing themselves. Our consciousness and beliefs can affect the regeneration of cells and organs positively or negatively. The very cells which are causing distress or disease in our bodies are constantly replacing themselves – and the goal of anti-aging medicine is to have those replacement cells be healthy ones.
A change in consciousness always involves a change in focus. What excites you, and what are you grateful for? When we continually focus on purpose, passion, and gratitude, we feel whole and happy. Don’t we all want to jump out of bed every morning with a lust and love for life? I bet Suzanne Somers does. See yourself as healthy, and know that this healthy state of being is your natural state. Remember what Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food.”
So let me offer a few suggestions for an extended happier and healthier life. Do what you love; health and healing will follow. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. Heal your relationship with your parents. Make fun and relaxation a daily priority. Learn to love yourself, really. Once you learn to forgive yourself, it’s easy to forgive others. Remember that life is for-giving.
Your home is your sanctuary. Fill it with things that support and nurture you. Enjoy sex as a loving and sacred communion. Make decisions that give you the greatest peace of mind. Do the best that you can, and don’t judge others. Connect with your source as often as you can. You may call it God, Inner Guides, Love, Higher Self. Tap into it as often as possible for it is a source of knowledge, inspiration, and guidance.
Treat the earth well. Get out into nature as often as possible. Once you decide that “out there” is your friend, everything else flows much easier. Go barefoot in the moist grass for 15 minutes at sunset or right before sleep to discharge the excess positive charge that builds up in the body as a result of stress. Walk the beach to inhale the energizing negative ions.
In conclusion, BioIdentical hormones are essential components of the Anti-Aging approach to Health. These hormones decrease inflammation. They improve cardiovascular performance, prevent memory loss, and enhance brain longevity. Lastly they promote regeneration, and maintain youth when given correctly in combination with proper nutrition, exercise, detoxification, and stress reduction. Anti-Aging Medicine will definitely succeed despite the possible hostile attitude of some, who will, in the end, be forced to reconsider. It is my sincere desire that the ideas contained here, and in the rest of this wonderful book, will help to unite medicine, and create the level of health that is truly possible for all of us.
Michael Galitzer, M.D.