We have attended the annual conference of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), for the past several years. This year was virtual, however, there was no sacrifice in the amazing content and information that was shared by doctors and scientists on the latest in anti-aging medicine. Below are a few highlights we thought might pique your interest.

Vitalism as Prevention

The conference kicked off with a presentation by Andrew Heyman, MD, Director of Integrative Medicine at George Washington University. He went through the history of longevity and medicine – a fascinating look at how medicine has evolved over thousands of years.

Prior to modern medicine, the only option was to not let emergencies happen because they weren’t equipped to deal with them. Instead, the focus was on prevention. However, in the early 1900’s it shifted to more of a disease management model, like we have today. We are at the brink of another change as medicine transitions back to its roots by incorporating alternative therapies with more of a focus on healthy aging. 

Dr. Heyman discussed some of the therapeutic strategies for vitalism such as intermittent fasting, stress reduction, exercise and fulfilling social connections. He encouraged fellow physicians to keep learning, listening and embracing change. It’s exciting to see the focus in medicine shifting back to prevention and improving health span, rather than simply managing disease.

Fasting for Longevity

Valter Longo, PhD, of the USC Longevity Institute presented some of his recent work on fasting. We have seen him speak in the past and he is considered one of the top researchers in the world on fasting. Much of his research has been on cancer and his Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD). The FMD essentially tricks the body into fasting but allows for better compliance because patients still get to eat a little bit. The clinical trials have shown that people have less side effects when fasting during chemotherapy treatments. Other studies have shown that those who fasted along with chemo were able to maintain their quality of life during treatment. This is fascinating and exciting research of which we will be seeing much more in the coming years.

Dr. Longo also stressed the importance of delaying aging; if we can delay aging just half as effectively as has been shown in mice, we would live 30 years longer than if we cured cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, which would result in just 13 more years. 

The Future of Biohacking

Bestselling author, entrepreneur, and founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, talked about the latest and upcoming topics of interest in the world of biohacking. Here are some tidbits to think about for your health and topics to keep an eye on for the future:

  • Light: how it affects our mitochondria and cell biology. Look for more on circadian rhythm when it comes to our health, hormones and weight loss.
  • Sauna: regular sauna use has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality. See our blogpost on sauna bathing for more information on this amazing tool for health and longevity.
  • Amber light: its effects on small blood vessels – definitely an interesting topic we’ll be looking into this year.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen: becoming more widely used – with great results – for conditions such as traumatic brain injury, PTSD, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, as well as many other neurological issues.
  • Fat: saturated fat is not bad! Protective saturated fat can help to reverse inflammation, however, too much polyunsaturated fat (Omega 6) is bad; vegetable oils are not good for us! *Watch for our upcoming blogpost on seed oils for much more information on this topic.
  • Air: we consume about 30 lbs. of it per day! There’s a lot more talk about carbon dioxide and he also says that hydrogen is next on the horizon as it helps to turn off the inflammatory process. We look forward to delving more into these topics.
  • Dave’s recommendation for the best science book of 2020 was James Nestor’s book, Breath, in which he promotes mouth taping; breathing through your nose increases nitric oxide (which increases circulation) and allows us to deliver 18% more oxygen to the entire body. It also transforms the bacteria in the mouth which can have a big impact on our health. We also recommended this book (twice) and are recommending it once again if you haven’t read it yet. Of course, he also recommended his new book as well. Fast This Way will be next on our must-read list!

Other Noteworthy Ideas

We could go on with so much from each of the fantastic speakers from the weekend, but here are just a few of the other topics and ideas we found interesting:

  • Proper hormone levels (including vitamin D, which acts like a hormone) are key for immunity and overall health. In fact, Dr. Tierry Hertoghe, MD, a physician in Belgium, stated that doctors there have been pushing the government to get all of their citizens to take vitamin D and zinc to reduce the severity of, and possibly prevent, COVID-19 infections.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Stuller presented on NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), The “Miracle Molecule” that she referred to as the holy grail for brain health. As we age, NAD levels in the body decline. Lower levels of NAD are associated with cellular aging and metabolic dysfunction which lead to chronic disease. 
  • Inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction are primary factors in aging.
  • Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to be extremely effective and safe. They can help repair the mitochondria and are being used as a therapeutic treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmunity, joint issues and so much more.  
  • Glycomics: The study of sugar. With so many diseases associated with sugars there is now a whole study of medicine for this area. This is fascinating and so heartbreaking that it’s even necessary, at the same time. 

We look forward to continuing our research in these areas and many others to share with you, and we encourage you to do the same. Be your own advocate when it comes to your health. Ask questions, learn as much as you can, and be proactive to prevent chronic diseases and conditions in the future. 

*Disclaimer: The information in this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult your doctor before considering any new diet, supplementation, or other changes to your normal nutrition and exercise routine.