The results of a recent study on the favorable effect of the use of dietary supplements to aging was recently reported by Science Daily. The summary reviewed the findings from Experimental Biology and Medicine which involved the use of a dietary supplement cocktail containing vitamins B1, C, D, E, beta carotene, folic acid, garlic, ginger root, ginkgo bilboa, ginseng, green tea extract, magnesium, melatonin, potassium, cod liver oil, and flax oil. To assess the effect on aging, the scientists measured oxidative stress biomarkers (brain protein carbonyls), brain neuronal health (strial neuropeptide y) and energy use in the brain (mitochondrial protein carbonyls) and compared locomotion function with controls.
“The study found that a complex dietary supplement powerfully offsets this key symptom of ageing in old mice by increasing the activity of the cellular furnaces that supply energy — or mitochondria — and by reducing emissions from these furnaces — or free radicals — that are thought to be the basic cause of ageing itself.
Furthermore, the authors conclude,
“Most of the primary causes of human mortality and decline are strongly correlated with age and free-radical processes, including heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, many cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Successful intervention into the ageing process could consequently prevent or forestall all of these.”
An important note on the above study is how most of the bio-markers to assess the aging process are linked to many diseases. One could argue the underlying issue of most diseases is inflammation (click here for a taste of this research). Recently, the Stroke Journal published results on the link of inflammation to high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s. Specifically, those with high blood pressure had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
What I found impressive about this study is that scientists tested the synergism of more than one ingredient. (Most drug and nutrient studies do not take into account reactions with other drugs). This is a more accurate portrayal of the use of nutrients today. Although it may be argued that controlling for one variable can show an effect of that variable, it doesn’t necessarily exhibit everyday use by the consumer or safety.
Another study in Alzheimer’s & Dementia demonstrated that the useuridine, choline, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), B vitamins, phospholipids and antioxidants, “improved memory (delayed verbal recall) in mild AD patients. This proof-of-concept study justifies further clinical trials.” The mechanism behind these nutrients may be through improving actual neural synapse connection! This use of synergism in research may be a growing trend as medicine begins to shift from a one pill panacea to prevention and healthy living.
What I enjoy about the concept of Naturopathic and Functional medicine is the determination to get to the root cause of the issue, not to just simply surpress inflammation or other symptoms with natural pharmocopias. The job of an integrative health care practitioner is not to keep you dependent on supplements, but rather to address the cause of the inflammation, whether it be from immune imbalances, hormonal de-regulation, or gut dysfunction.
“Doctor” in latin means teacher. I consider it my job to educate my patients on how their body works and how to get in tune with it’s healing potential. This requires attention in getting to know the patient as a person as well as through the observance of objective blood measures.
A healthy diet, supplementation, and lifestyle plan for your current needs can do wonders for calming inflammation. This individualized plan can be found in individualized health care where the doctor and patient work together for a common goal.