Two local doctors tell us how to analyze and optimize our pesky aging bods.
The first step in reclaiming your youth is to figure out what your biological age is in the first place—the number that reveals exactly the damage that’s been done (or avoided) during your turns around the globe. Here's what Doctors Lawrence Chan and Alex Chan from Integrative Naturopathic Medical Centre had to say:
Q: How do you determine someone’s biological age?
Dr. Alex: We determine biological age by looking at toxicity, hormone balance, diet and lifestyle to see how the years you’ve lived have affected your body. Hormones are the body’s repair kit. When you hit menopause or andropause, nature starts to crash your hormone levels to half of what they were when you were younger. The nice thing is, though, we can intervene. The body will respond when you push it, so if you exercise hard and properly, and you eat well, you can bump up your natural hormones.
Q: Is it possible to turn back the clock and forestall the aging process?
Dr. Alex: With aging and disease prevention, if you imagine that your genetic risk factors are the bullets, then the environment is what pulls the trigger. We do a lot for treatment and prevention of these risks through IV therapies, nutrition, supplements and acupuncture.
Dr. Lawrence: Basically, you want to maintain a homeostatic state. You can occasionally come out of it for fun and excitement, but if your body is toxic—from poor diet, metal fillings, airborne chemicals, pesticides, plastics—it starts skewing down until you get it back to that middle range. It usually boils down to taking care of yourself: sleep well, eat well, drink enough water, be mindful and try not to be obsessed by things.
Q: It sounds like it’s not just about physical wellness.
Dr. Lawrence: Emotions are a big factor. If you have high stress all the time, your body goes into something called sympathetic dominance, which means you start to secrete hormones like cortisol, which breaks down the body’s cells. A lot of people have sleeping issues because they’re running high levels of sympathetic stress 24/7. That adds to acidity, which adds to inflammation, which leads to degenerative diseases like cancer. The whole idea is to get your body less inflamed. If you can do that, you’ll be healthier.
Q: Are there any new ways to optimize our bodies?
Dr. Alex: With younger generations especially, we’re seeing increased interest in biohacking. They want to know how we can push the edge in terms of optimizing health. Athletes often set themselves up for injury because of the load and the cardiovascular demand on the body. One thing we offer is a blood ozone technique called major autohemotherapy, which helps to increase oxygen use and content at the cellular level. It boosts your whole internal system, so it can be used for performance enhancement, but you can also use it for cancer treatment.
Check back for more from VanMag's 25 Ways to Live Forever package (our March 2017 cover story!) to learn about the myriad ways—blood transfusions, juice cleanses, IV drips—Vancouverites chase the dream of eternal youth.