Is Frailty Inevitable As We Age?

Is Frailty Inevitable As We Age? By E. Dylan Mayer and Emeran Mayer, MD When people reach their late 60s, many suddenly notice a slow decline in their physical strength, sense of balance, memory and cognitive function, and they realize that they can no longer do some of the things they were able to accomplish easily when they were young a adult. Such a progressive decrease in functions is called frailty, which is generally accompanied by a failure of multiple physiological systems and may include the development of chronic low-grade inflammation, loss of muscle (sarcopenia) and bone mass (osteoporosis), loss of cognitive function, and the increased risk of developing chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In contrast to physiological healthy aging, frailty is definitely not a necessary consequence of age, and it is preventable as several evidence-based remedies suggest. And we are not talking about remedies promoted by the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry which thrives off the consequences of frailty on our health. We are talking about two simple measures everybody can implement into their lives: The First Step Towards Healthy Aging Is Shifting Your Eating Habits The traditional Western diet, has been shown to be detrimental to our health, based on the numbers of people affected by chronic diseases of industrialization including obesity, metabolic syndrome,1 cardiovascular and liver diseases, depression, Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s and some forms of cancer in the US and other developed countries.2 The Western diet is characterized by low intake of fiber and high intakes of animal products, refined carbohydrates, sweets and sugary drinks, which have been shown to increase low-grade immune activation (metabolic endotoxemia).3 A recent publication in the prestigious journal Gut showed that a Mediterranean diet intervention altered the gut microbiome in older people across five European countries, and this was accompanied by reduced frailty and improved health status.4 The gut microbial taxa, which were enriched by adherence to the Mediterranean diet, were positively associated with several markers of lower frailty and improved cognitive function, and negatively associated with inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein and interleukin-17. The diet-modulated microbiome change included an increase in the relative prevalence of several beneficial microbial taxa including Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Roseburia, Eubacterium, Bacteroides and Prevotella, and these microbial changes were associated with an increase in short/branch chained fatty acid production and lower production of secondary bile acids, p-cresols, ethanol and…

Challenging the Dietary Guidelines on Dairy

Challenging the Dietary Guidelines on Dairy By Juliette Frank and Emeran Mayer, MD Milk has always played an integral part in the Western diet and its high consumption has long been promoted on the concept that milk’s calcium and vitamin D content as necessary aids in development, bone health and prevention of fractures. The current recommended intake of dairy products in the United States for adults and children 9 years and older is three 8 oz (237 ml) servings per day while the average U.S. adult only consumes about 1.6 servings of dairy per day. However, as pointed out by a recent review article in the New England Journal of Medicine by two experts in the field of nutrition and health, Drs. Walter Willet and David Ludwig from Harvard University, there is no substantial evidence supporting health benefits from increased daily consumption, and concerns do exist about adverse health effects from a dairy heavy diet. One of the main focuses of milk’s benefit lies in its believed essential nutritional value for growth and development during early childhood. If breast milk is not available to a child, cow’s milk has long been recommended as a substitute for infant formula, even though neither formula nor cow’s milk contain any of the unique molecules contained in human breast milk, the so called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) which are essential for the early development of a healthy gut microbiome. As discussed by Dr. Sanjoy Gosh in a recent Mind Gut Conversation interview, another limitation of factory style milk production is related to the food that the cows are fed. Milk from grass fed cows has a significantly higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which comes with a significant health benefit that large scale, industrial milk production does not have. In large scale dairy production in the U.S. cows have been bred to be pregnant for most of the time they are being milked, leading to higher levels of progestins, estrogen, and other growth hormones. These growth hormones increase the growth rate for children and lead to a higher attained height, which comes with both benefits and risks. An often ignored side product of this unique way of maximizing milk production are the huge numbers of baby cows slated for veal production, with all its ethical implications. Since milk increases height when consumed in adolescence and taller height is highly correlated with hip…

Nurturing Your Gut Microbial Health During the Lockdown

Nurturing Your Gut Microbial Health During the Lockdown By Juliette Frank and Emeran A. Mayer, MD During this unprecedented and stressful time, it is now more important than ever to keep yourself healthy and strengthen your immune system. With all the uncertainty regarding COVID-19, an action step we can all take towards building a more resilient immune system is to practice eating a nutritious diet in order to boost gut microbial health. The gut microbiome is made up of a vast ecosystem composed of trillions of microorganisms which work together to protect our gut and immune system, thereby increasing our resilience and resistance to disease. An unhealthy diet, chronic stress and frequent antibiotic intake weakens this ecosystem, compromising its ability to fight off potential threats such as pathogens and viruses. It is now well established, that foods that will promote a healthy gut microbiome and a tight intestinal barrier to prevent contact with the gut based immune system include a largely plant-based diet consisting of nutrients such as fiber, polyphenols, other inflammatory molecules and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can be found in a diverse range of foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado, and fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. The more varied the source of plants and fruits is, the better for microbial diversity. Refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, ultra processed foods, and artificially flavored beverages should be avoided. While we all take precautions and anxiously await for this virus to unfold, we can all take steps towards strengthening our immune systems by choosing to eat nourishing foods that will boost our gut microbiome health. Dishes that satisfy the needed nutritional elements to optimize gut microbial health and resistance to disease: Breakfast: Oatmeal or muesli with nut milk, chia seeds, nuts or nut butters, blue and black berries (or any fruit), and (optional) maple syrup or honey You can also use yogurt and add granola or any of these toppings! Lunch: Sourdough or multigrain toast with avocado, egg or smoked salmon, sauerkraut or pickled onions Dinner: Salad with greens (any lettuce works!), avocado, tomatoes, red onion/chives/green onion, nuts/seeds, cucumber, sauerkraut, olives, dressed with olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice Salmon with roasted vegetables (any veggies you have!), and any grain (farro, quinoa, brown/wild rice, etc.) Snack: An assortment of fruit and nuts or veggies and hummus Beverages: Black…

Green Tea Boost

Green Tea Boost INGREDIENTS 2 cups water ½ teaspoon of ground cloves 1 medium stick of cinnamon 3 green tea bags 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 teaspoon honey (optional) DIRECTIONS Place ginger, cloves, lemon juice and cinnamon in a tea kettle. Add boiling water into the kettle and add teabags. Brew tea on a low heat for a couple of minutes and serve in cups. Add honey if desired.

Berry Boost Smoothie

Berry Boost Smoothie INGREDIENTS 1 cup orange juice 2 teaspoon lemon juice ¼ cup frozen pineapple ½ cup each of frozen strawberries, raspberries and blueberries 1 teaspoon grated ginger ½ teaspoon turmeric powder DIRECTIONS Add all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until desired consistency is reached. Add more juice or fruit if desired.