September is Healthy Aging Month, when we promote how we can all stay healthy as we age.

In functional medicine, healthy living is healthy aging. It promotes lifelong health by addressing the root causes of age-related health issues, rather than simply treating symptoms. One of the keys to aging well is correcting issues and dysfunctions in our bodies before they become bigger issues later in life. Functional medicine helps you better know what’s going on in your body, and identifies imbalances and deficiencies to tailor interventions that go beyond medication. It helps you feel empowered to take true ownership of your health and confidently take the steps to age well.

Addressing chronic disease with functional nutrition

Healthy living is healthy aging: A functional medicine perspective

1. Optimize your nutrition

In our practice, we recommend a plant-dominant paleo diet to support nutritional health for optimal health through all stages of our lives. It avoids refined, processed foods, dairy, and grains, and focuses on fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, and seeds, plus small amounts of high-quality grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish.

Adding IV Nutrition Therapy to your health routine delivers important vitamins, minerals, and other necessary nutrients directly into the bloodstream so our bodies have what they need to combat illness, promote healing, and maintain general good health as we age. By bypassing your digestive tract, which can slow down as you age, you ensure all the good things going into your body are absorbed more effectively.

Making sure you’re properly absorbing nutrients from what you’re eating and drinking is also important. Our supplement strategies often include digestive enzymes and other GI-related supplements for patients, regardless of whether they have a specific digestive issue or not.

Digestive issues are common in those 65 or older, so digestive enzymes and other GI-related supplements help ensure your body gets the nutrients it needs.

IV Nutrition therapies to support healthy aging

We have many IV Nutrition therapies available to patients to support general health and integrated into protocols for specific health issues. Some of these therapies helpful to patients 65 y/o or older are:

  • Glutathione IV – which delivers glutathione directly into your bloodstream. Glutathione is an important antioxidant, helping protect your body from cell damage caused by free radicals. It’s also an essential antioxidant necessary for proper immune function.
  • Chill-out Myers IV – which delivers a lot of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, calcium, zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins, and more.
  • Detox IV – which supports drainage and detoxification.
  • Viral Immune IV – which supports immune function; especially helpful during winter virus season.
  • Quercetin IV – which includes anti-inflammatory properties, supporting improved cardiovascular health, improved blood sugar, immune function, improved memory, and reduction of inflammatory pain.
  • Curcumin IV – which can help treat discomfort and disease rooted in inflammation in the body – e.g. Rheumatoid Arthritis.

2. Take care of your heart

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. While diet and exercise play a role in keeping your heart healthy, we have several resources to further support your cardiovascular health.

One method is ozone/UBI therapy, an energized form of oxygen that can be used as a preventative treatment, especially in the elderly as natural degeneration takes place. It’s known to boost vitality, and metabolism, balance hormones, and increase oxidation and energy. Depending on the patient’s needs and health situation, we can administer low-dose or high-dose ozone/UBI, or high-dose EBOO.

We analyze cardiovascular health labs and testing to identify the underlying issues that might not be exhibiting symptoms yet. If problems already exist, this can help us identify the root cause of any issues, develop a personalized protocol, support the restoration of your health, and prevent heart health issues from becoming a future problem.

Genetic testing gives insights into your heart health risk surrounding:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Clotting
  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose & Insulin
  • Iron Overload
  • Training Response
  • Vascular Health

3. Know your mitochondrial health

Mitochondria are the power stations of our cells and so much more. They play a key role in age-related conditions, so improving your mitochondrial health can help you slow the aging process, prevent cancer and are critical to be the best representation of your true person. These ancient powerhouses are truly the future of optimal health and wellness.

To bolster your mitochondrial health, supplement strategies can help address dysfunction and support optimal function, and we offer several integrative therapies available at our practice:

  • Red Light sessions naturally stimulate your body’s own production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a key element in cellular regeneration, rejuvenation, and optimal health and wellness.
  • NAD+ sessions deliver these coenzymes into your body, which are necessary for proper mitochondrial function that help convert nutrients into energy. Our natural NAD+ levels decrease significantly as we age, potentially leading to a host of health issues.
  • Ozone/UBI and EBOO sessions can improve mitochondrial function.
  • Methylene Blue (MB) IV delivers electrons to the Electron Transport Chain (ETC), which then increases ATP (energy) production. MB concentrates in tissues with the most mitochondria.
  • Far Infrared Ray Sauna sessions, the most effective way to increase your core body temperature and activate “heat shock proteins.” Activating these proteins helps increase longevity, create new blood vessels, and upgrade your mitochondria. Infrared saunas help create bigger, stronger, and more plentiful mitochondria to support a healthy aging process.
5000
Mitochondria in each heart muscle cell

Mitochondrial metabolism is the main source of necessary energy the heart needs for pumping blood to oxygenate the organs of our bodies.

4. Stay active

Physical activity is good for all of us! Staying active can help you:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
  • Improve your strength and balance so you can prevent injuries and stay independent
  • Lower your pain
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Improve your ability to think, learn, and make decisions

We recommend our patients get about 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming or household tasks like raking leaves. It’s also a good idea to do muscle-strengthening activities, like using exercise bands or lifting hand weights, at least two days a week. Incorporate balance exercises, including standing on one foot, to stay as healthy as possible as you age.

functional medicine providers running in Kansas City

5. Prioritize stress management

Many of us get caught in a stressful daily loop that isn’t good for our long-term health. That’s why it’s important to proactively take steps to improve the stress our body deals with every day. Remember that little things can make a big difference over time, like a single session of deep breathing every day or turning off your phone at least one hour before bedtime. We offer many therapies at our practice to help you manage your stress.

  • FLOWpresso is a 3-in-1 sensory treatment that combines deep pressure, far infrared, and compression therapies into one engineered body suit to promote deep body restoration, rejuvenation, and relaxation.
  • IV Nutrition delivers vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and homeopathics intravenously, directly into your bloodstream, to support your entire well-being.
  • Ketamine has been used for years as an anesthetic, and now is being used with great success to treat depression and chronic pain. It helps “reset” the brain so it can respond differently to stressful situations.
  • Red Light sessions naturally stimulate your body’s own production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a key element in cellular regeneration, rejuvenation, and optimal health and wellness.

One simple thing you can do for stress

Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which in turn activates our bodies relaxation response. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique:

  • First, exhale completely through your mouth, making a whooshing sound.
  • Next, close your lips, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to 4 in your head.
  • Then, for 7 seconds, hold your breath.
  • Then, make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds.

When new to this technique, you may need to start smaller, with 4 breaths first; working your way up to 8.

 

6. Get good sleep

High-quality sleep is the foundation of staying healthy through every phase of your life. During sleep, the body experiences crucial repair and reconstruction processes, including cell renewal and immune system strengthening. Consistent, high-quality sleep is essential for cognitive function, mood stability, and overall well-being, all of which are critical to healthy aging. It also promotes tissue repair and reduces the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, and neurological disorders. By prioritizing restful sleep, you’re investing in your long-term health to enjoy a more vibrant and active life as you age.

7
+ hours

Adults 65-years-old and older still need between 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, and ideally over a continuous period of time.

7. Manage cortisol levels

High cortisol levels can have detrimental effects on your health over time. Too much cortisol can lead to hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, as well as the breakdown of collagen, which can contribute to skin aging.

That’s why we offer FLOWpresso to manage cortisol levels. This deep pressure, full-body compression system is paired with infrared heat to encourage lymphatic drainage and relaxation. Using FLOWpresso therapy can help your body release toxins from your system, encourage relaxation and sleep, promote circulation, and support improvement in your overall health and well-being.

Depending on the root cause of excess cortisol, Ketamine might also be a helpful therapy to incorporate into your protocol. A tailored supplement strategy can address dysfunction and support proper function. Several of our IV Nutrition therapies can give additional support.

High cortisol and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Clinical studies have found that elevated cortisol was associated with poorer overall cognitive functioning, as well as with poorer episodic memory, executive functioning, language, spatial memory, processing speed, and social cognition.

8. Know your levels

Lab tests help identify the root cause of conditions, including genetics, biomarkers, and nutritional deficiencies, so we can effectively develop a plan to restore your health. Lab analysis may include:

  • Genetic testing – analyzing the SNP for APOE is huge! This is huge for cardiovascular and brain health. Knowing if a patient has E2/E3, E3/E3, E3/E4, or E4/E4 is very helpful to know. Another genetic SNP to analyze is FOXO3, FOXO3 transcription factor, which plays a role in the molecular basis of longevity functions as a trigger for apoptosis. It is also associated with longevity, and plays an important role in suppressing inflammatory cytokine production.
  • Oxidized LDL, Apo A-1/Apo B, along with the standard lipid profile
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3
  • Organic acid test and muscle testing to indirectly test cellular health and mitochondrial function
  • Thyroid assessment
  • Amino Acid analysis
  • Micronutrient assessments
  • Pyruvate and Uric Acid levels
  • CBC, EKG, blood pressure, glucose, methylation, etc.

Functional reference ranges

Functional medicine has a much more narrow window (reference range) of lab levels called “functional reference ranges” based on optimal physiology, which are standardized among functional medicine practitioners through scientific data, medical research, and extensive knowledge of biochemistry.

Other physicians (i.e. not us), are looking at lab reference ranges that aren’t necessarily factoring in optimal physiology, which leads to a lot of health conditions being incorrectly considered normal.

9. Incorporate supplements into your routine

We take pride in the amount of research we do to provide the most effective supplement strategy to patients. Some of the supplements we focus on to help with anything aging are:

  • BC ATP to help with mitochondria function (in addition to other things)
  • ATP 360 and ATP fuel
  • Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD) support is CRITICAL – finding ways to support this is critical. We are using and testing certain new discoveries to help support SOD production and activity
  • Supplements to support mental cognition such as BDNF or Omega 3’s (We carry a potent Omega-3 that claims to have a 5x higher absorption rate)
  • K2/D3 to keep vitamin D levels at the appropriate range
  • Anti-inflammatories and antioxidants

Visit our supplement store

We only make recommendations to patients that we’re confident will help address their individual needs.

10. Maintain a positive attitude

Don’t worry, be happy! It’s more than a song lyric – it’s a scientifically proven fact. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, an optimistic person has a greater likelihood of living to 85 years or older. And higher optimism was linked to an average lifespan increase of 11 to 15%.

So remember to keep positive, tell yourself good things will happen, believe in yourself, and that you have the power to make it so. Positive people tend to live longer, feel healthier, have better relationships, and experience less stress. Who wouldn’t want that!

11
%+

Higher optimism was linked to an average lifespan increase of 11 to 15%

Eli Trave, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

About the author

Eli Priest is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (FNTP), a Master Restorative Wellness Practitioner (MRWP), and one of Kansas City’s most passionate minds when it comes to the subject of how nutrition plays into an individual’s health and wellness.