Throughout human history the alchemists among us have sought the elixir of life. Longevity continues to be a hot topic. While adding years to our lives is appealing, it would be much less so if we are suffering. Any discussion of longevity MUST include discussions on QUALITY OF LIFE.
I have long supported the concept of compression of morbidity – if any of you attended our holistic primary care intro lectures you might have heard about this concept. TO simplify the idea – we want to live our lives with full function for as long as possible and near to the end minimize as much as possible any period of pain, suffering, and illness.
We know well that eating in moderation, regular exercise, purposeful living, and strong social support systems – all likely increase the chances for compression of morbidity (OR, BETTER PUT, MINIMIZE THE TIME WE SUFFER FROM CHRONIC DISEASE). But what if that could be supported by taking supplements or even a pill daily? For those new to the scene – The American Academy of Anti-Aging (A4M)has existed since 1992 and is focused on spreading awareness about innovative, cutting-edge science and research, in addition to treatment modalities designed to prolong the human life span.
If you have followed the longevity excitement or even recently tuned into the GOOP podcast – the argument is that “only 20 percent of our longevity and health in old age is genetically determined,” says David Sinclair, “The rest is up to us.” We should do something about the other 80%! With the help of Dr. Sinclair there has been renewed interest in the field and even doctor practices specifically dedicated to longevity. The recent hype also surrounds controversial research on Sirtuins, a family of proteins that exists in all living beings. These proteins are usually dormant, but when activated through stressors (such as restricting calories), they can enhance health and extend life in yeast. (More to come on these in future blog posts!)
Most advocates point to the mouse research supporting metformin improvment of healthspan AND lifespan in mice. Other research in humans supports the theory that metformin may protect against aging AND diseases of aging — cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and frailty – based on 41,204 veterans with Type 2 Diabetes over the age 65. Additional interesting data points come from the largest and longest study ever undertaken in diabetes with median follow-up of 10 years revealing Metformin’s positive inverse-correlation (REDUCED NUMBERS OF) heart attack and stroke in obese patients. The argument is that this is a medication that is well-tolerated and even theoretical benefits far outweigh the risks of taking this medication.
Mice are not people. If we made every decision in medicine based on mouse research – we would make A LOT of bad decisions. In addition, every substance has a dark side – metformin has been contraindicated in patients with kidney problems (creatinine < 60 ml/min/1.73m2). Any medication has potential interactions with other medications and even other supplements as well as side effects. Common side effects in metformin include diarrhea, low blood sugar, abdominal pain, and a painful condition called lactic acidosis (excessive lactic acid building up in the body). We have been harmed in the past for medications being used for claims that aren’t fully vetted nor supported and it is still not clear well whether the drug will provide benefits to healthy people and may even harm those that exercise regularly.
(??Metformin is also off-limits for those that regularly consume alcohol or have congestive heart failure)
The bottom line is that – for those of us who want to COMPRESS OUR MORBIDITY (improve our long term quality of life) – our best antidotes are still – diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Scarsdale Integrative Family Medicine (SEE BEYOND™ MEDICINE) is your best support on this key foundation health and longevity. At SEE BEYOND™ MEDICINE, we will help you create a health plan that supports this, and, more importantly, help you follow through on that health plan. In addition, we will help you navigate the arenas of testing, supplements, and medication that may or may not support these goals: vitamin D, resveratrol, NMN, metformin, vitamin K2, aspirin, and many more. Schedule your appointment with us today to start a NEW and SUSTAINABLE journey to feel your best and, just as important, MAINTAIN your quality of life. We help you to SEE BEYOND current confusion and stagnation to a healthy future where you feel your best.
Hoping this finds you in optimal health,
Stephen Dahmer, MD
Director of Holistic Primary Care
See Beyond™ Medicine
- For those of you that know me, you know my interest and passion for plant medicine. Metformin falls in that category of plant-derived medicine. Read more about Galega officinalis HERE.