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Posts for: December, 2016

By Dr. Doug Williams
December 19, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

As we come to the close of 2016, I have one more post on Frailty (don't worry, I still have several more additions to the series in 2017!). The last one for this year has nothing to do with physical frailty. No, it is more important than that. I believe our bodies are a gift from God and that we are supposed to take care of them the best we can. However, in the end, we all "go the way of the earth." During this Christmas Season, may we be reminded that God didn't create us to live here forever, He created us to be with Him forever! It is for that reason, 2000 years ago, He sent His light into the world: Jesus. He did it just to say He loves us and wants us to be with Him always. I, for one, am very glad He did!

I leave you this year with one of my favorite songs - it is by an old Christian Rocker named Randy Stonehill and is called "Light Of The World". I hope you enjoy it, and that you and your family have a blessed Christmas Season!

Yours in Health,

Doug and Sue Williams
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana


By Dr. Doug Williams
December 15, 2016
Category: Frailty
Tags: frailty   endocrine   hormones  
We have been working our way through a series on Frailty. Frailty is a recent concept found in the medical literature that, rather than describing a single health event, describes what happens when a number of systems start to have problems. The areas we are looking at are:
  • Inflammatory
  • Endocrine (hormonal)
  • Skeletal
  • Neurological
  • Integrative
Initially, frailty was looked at as an end of life issue. What has come out of the study of frailty is that, not only do these systems fail over time instead of all at once, but many times, their failure can be slowed, stopped and sometimes reversed. Not that you can live forever on this planet, but the time you do spend here can be a whole lot more comfortable and productive if you pay attention to how your body works!

Last week, we reviewed how inflammation in the body plays a role in its demise and what to do about it.

Hand-in-hand with inflammation is the change and breakdown of the hormonal system. We are going to look specifically at two areas:
  1. IGF-1
  2. DHEA-S

IGF-1 and DHEA-S are two markers associated with the sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) and human growth hormones (HGH) that decrease with age. Unfortunately, these correlate with the following declines in health status:

  • Deficits in Strength
  • Deficits in Endurance
  • Weight Loss
  • Decrease in Walking Speed
  • Decrease in Physical Activity

An increase in inflammation has also been associated with a decrease in IGF-1 and DHEA-S, and, as you now know, inflammation is bad news!

Since DHEA-S is related to the sex hormones in men and women, its decline has been associated with trouble in weight management, cognitive issues (brain function/dementia), blood sugar management (diabetes) and many other disease states.

Both IGF-1 and DHEA-S would be expected to decrease with age, but can you increase or maintain these levels naturally?

Supplements: Maybe. Resistance Training: Definitely!

When searching for ways to increase DHEA and IFG-1, you can find sites that recommend different types of supplements and, to tell you the truth, I think there is likely to be some times and places to utilize this approach. However, anytime you are looking at introducing hormones or hormone precursors, you need to be very careful, as a little bit goes a long way and that can have some very serious side effects! In keeping with our focus in this series on improving your health naturally, a safer, cheaper and, probably in the long run, more sustainable method would be resistance and or endurance exercise. There was a really nice article in The Journals of Gerontology on raising DHEA and IFG-1 after either endurance exercise or resistance exercises. They checked both against a control group (that did nothing) and found the best increase was noted after the resistance exercise (three sets of ten of eight exercises).  Another nice summary of improving these factors came from Life Extension Magazine  While Life Extension Magazine is produced by a supplement company, I think they did a good job in summarizing the effects of exercise and a healthy lifestyle:
 
"Safe methods for enhancing endogenous GH production include: losing excess body fat, particularly abdominal fat; avoiding high-glycemic load carbohydrates; optimizing sleep habits; eating a high-protein, low-carbohydrate snack before bedtime; and exercising regularly to your lactate threshold."

In conclusion, there are inevitable changes in our bodies with age, two of which are the decline in the hormones DHEA-S and IFG-1 that have direct impact on your sex hormones and growth hormone production. Low levels of these two substances have been related to a decrease in strength, endurance, walking speed, physical activity, cognitive function, bone density and an increase in weight and inflammation. While there are supplements available, they have potentially harmful side effects and need to be administered/monitored by a professional. A safer, more effective and more sustainable method to improve these two factors is resistance exercise and a healthy low inflamatory diet!

You were created to move and lift things, and live life! I will leave you this week with one of my favorite quotes:
 
Life has no remote....... Get up and change it yourself!

Until Next Week,

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic 
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
December 08, 2016
Category: Frailty
Tags: inflammation   frailty  

The word inflammation comes from the Latin "inflammo," meaning "I set alight, I ignite." Lots of things can be associated with inflammation - words, for example! Actions might be considered inflammatory as well. When considering inflammation with respect to health-wellness-disease and in our current series on Frailty, typically, it would refer to a reaction of the immune system. Inflammation in the body can be either acute (sudden, intense, often life-threatening, injury or infection) or chronic (persistent, long lasting, difficult to eradicate). For our purposes of building a framework on how to improve and reduce the impact frailty has on our lives, we will be considering the chronic state of inflammation.

The easiest way to quantify or track inflammation is usually by blood tests. There are different blood cells and other markers that indicate the presence or absence of inflammation in the body and that can even tell you if it is associated with a specific disease. Again, for our purposes, we are not looking for specific diseases, but how the general concept of inflammation can be impacting our health and weakening our systems. It has been found that several markers can be helpful in identifying the degree of chronic inflammation in the body and, in turn, the degree of frailty:

  • Cytokine IL-6

  • C-Reactive Protein

  • Increase in the total number of monocytes (a type of white blood cell) and the total white blood cell count

According to the article in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society that we have been discussing:

"Higher levels of these same inflammatory cytokines correlate with greater vulnerability to disability and mortality (death), further supporting a role for these biologically active molecules and system is the development of poor health outcomes."

Just a little further on, the authors indicate:

"Multiple lines of evidence demonstrate a biological link between elevated IL-6 and bone and muscle loss, anemia, insulin resistance (diabetes), and altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stimulation (sex and other hormones) making it less likely that IL-6 is simply a benign marker." 

TRANSLATION: The presence of the above blood markers, even in the absence of a frank disease state, are correlated to loss of bone density, muscle tone, anemia, adult onset diabetes, lower sex hormones and an increased likely-hood of death!

Andrew Wiel, M.D. has a really nice article that outlines some ways you can improve these blood markers without drugs.  In short, it says to exercise more and lose weight!

It is not a big reach that what you eat, in addition to driving up your weight, could increase your blood markers for inflammation. The best explanation and recommendation packet I have ever come across is by Dr. David Seamen.  If you are serious about cleaning up your diet and reducing inflammation in you system, read this packet.

Finally, but I am sure not the last word on the subject, there was a real interesting article that came out of Carnegie Mellon University describing how mindful meditation reduced levels of IL-6 in a specific population. Though I am not big on general meditation (as a Christian, I think your mind needs to be engaged someplace specific), this article shows just how powerful your thoughts and mind can be. It is worth considering.

So, if you want to improve your health and decrease the impact and effects of frailty in your life: exercise, eat right and be mindful in your thoughts.

Until Next Week,

Dr. Doug

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana