Achieving a therapeutic lifestyle through the First Line Therapy Program
A therapeutic lifestyle means living your life in a way that improves your health. It means making choices every day that will enhance your health, enabling you to achieve a full, healthy life. Isn't that what everybody wants? Good health, full function, and absence of disease well into old age. If that's what you want, the First Line Therapy program can help.
A therapeutic lifestyle is possible for everyone, but to achieve it you need to know which choices are good for you and which ones are not. There is a lot of misinformation about what is healthy and what is unhealthy, and even the advice from professionals often seems to change from day to day. The First Line Therapy program will provide you with knowledge you need to make healthy lifestyle choices each day going forward.
Helping patients adopt a therapeutic lifestyle is the first and possibly the most important therapy doctors can use to treat many chronic health problems. Consider a few facts:
- 91% of type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented by the adoption of healthy habits and lifestyle choices.
- The National Institute of Health recommends lifestyle changes as the most important and cost-effective way to lower cholesterol.
- Lifestyle changes are now recommended as the "first line therapy" for the major chronic diseases in our society: Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, Cancer, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's
- Lifestyle choices are also the key to many symptoms that are not classified as diseases: fatigue, stress related symptoms, hormone imbalance and many others.
Yes, many of these health problems can be prevented or even treated by adopting a healthy lifestyle. But the First Line Therapy program is not just about preventing disease, it's also about living life to the fullest. It's about feeling good everyday, waking up and wanting to get going in the morning, having the energy to do the things you want to do, all day long such as living without pain, performing at your best and aging gracefully and healthfully. It is designed to help you achieve better health now, and maintain good health for a lifetime.
The Impact of Nutrition and Lifestyle
A therapeutic lifestyle is based on the premise that many of the chronic conditions associated with aging - hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, as well as several forms of cancer - are not inevitable outcomes of the aging process. Instead, these diseases are largely preventable simply by making sound lifestyle choices. Things that many people view as signs of aging such as low energy, poor memory, low libido, chronic pain, and weight gain are not signs of aging at all. They're signs of illness.
The science-based concept that led to development of the First Line Therapy program is this: adopting habits of living that are healthy can delay the onset of illness in old age and increase the years of good health.
That is, rather than having many years of declining health and loss of function, good health and high function levels are maintained well into old age and the years of infirmity and declining function are compressed into the final years of life.
Body Composition is Related to Health and Aging
One of the most powerful lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk to common chronic diseases of aging is related to improving your body composition.
What do we mean by body composition? Generally speaking, body composition can be divided into two parts: body fat and lean body mass. Body fat is pretty simple to understand - it's just fat. Lean body mass includes everything in your body except fat (i.e. muscle, bones, organs, other tissues, fluids, etc.). While a certain amount of body fat is necessary for normal functioning, excess fat in relation to lean body mass - a condition known as altered body composition - can greatly increase your health risks. Altered body composition most often refers to increased fat deposition and/or muscle loss.
Muscle is the body's biologically active tissue and needs a far greater amount of caloric fuel to maintain itself compared to body fat. Therefore, a high ratio of muscle to fat increases your metabolism, meaning you burn more calories each day. Furthermore, muscle contains proteins, which are necessary for the vitality of your whole body - loss of protein stores (muscle) means loss of function. In illness, muscle is the major source of protein for functions such as antibody production, wound healing, and white blood cell production. If the body's protein reserves are already depleted by muscle loss, there is less for the body to draw on in the case of illness. That is why muscle mass and strength are considered the top two indicators of healthy aging and why building muscle is the key to rejuvenation.
Perhaps the most powerful tool in controlling the
aging process and restoring vitality is to improve your muscle-to-fat ratio by
adding more muscle to your body.
You May Be Over-Fat Even If You're Not Overweight
According to the NIH, 65% of Americans are overweight - the highest number in history. But even if you're not overweight, you may have too little muscle and too much fat, a condition called "sarcopenic obesity." Sarcopenia is the medical term that describes the age-related loss of muscle mass and function. Sarcopenia, or sarcopenic obesity, is related to increased risk of chronic disease and accelerated aging. On the other hand, a proper muscle-to-fat ratio has been associated with longevity and reduced risk of chronic disease. But you can't measure body composition by stepping on a scale.
How Do You Measure Body Composition?
Determination of body composition is becoming an integral part of health and nutritional assessment. Several methods are available that accurately estimate body composition:
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA):
BIA is a simple, rapid, and accurate method of assessing body composition that uses electrical signals at different frequencies, which are impeded variably by body, water or fat, and fat-free mass.
Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA): DEXA uses low-energy X-Ray science to measure muscle-to-fat ratio. Because this approach calculates fat mass and two components of fat-free mass (bone mineral and lean tissue), DEXA is an accurate measure of body composition.
Waist & Hip Circumference/Waist to Hip Ratio:
Although it is true that people who are overweight or obese have increased risk to serious illness, research has shown that measuring your waist and/or hips is an even better way to assess your risk. As your waist increases in size, your risk also increases. A waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men, or more than 35 inches in women, is a sign of significantly increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Many people may be at risk when their waist circumference is even marginally increased.
Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement to get your waist-to-hip ratio. Waist-to-hip ratio is a better predictor of risk to serious disease than either waist circumference or hip circumference on their own.
||> 35 inches
|| > or = 1.0
|| > or = 0.8
What causes Sarcopenia (Muscle Loss)?
The first and most obvious cause is lack of exercise. To maintain muscle, you have to exercise. But that's not the whole story. Researchers are discovering that insulin resistance and immune factors produced in response to the food we eat are important causes of sarcopenia.
The Concept of Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that transports glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream into your cells where it is used to make energy. However, in many people the cells become resistant to the action of insulin - a condition called insulin resistance. To compensate, the pancreas goes into overdrive and secretes even more insulin in an attempt to counteract the resistance, creating the condition of hyperinsulinemia.
Insulin resistance can lead to reduced energy production throughout the body, reduced ability to burn calories, increased blood sugar levels, and muscle loss or sarcopenia. All of these factors increase the risk of chronic disease and accelerated aging.
Risk factors for Diseases of Aging
||High Blood Pressure
||Increased Body Fat
||Abnormal Cholesterol Metabolism
||Increased waist-to-hip ratio
||High Triglyceride Levels
||Decreased muscle Mass
||High insulin levels
Insulin Resistance Syndrome/Metabolic Syndrome
Insulin resistance is associated with a condition called "metabolic syndrome," which is characterized by a variety of additional manifestations including high triglyceride or fasting blood sugar levels, increased waist circumference, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and high blood pressure. People with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk to type 2 diabetes and heart disease and may go on to develop other chronic diseases such as stroke, polycystic ovary syndrome, or Alzheimer's disease.
The Insulin Story
Normal Person: The rise in blood glucose after a meal stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin. Insulin attaches to the insulin receptors on the cell surface and enables glucose to enter muscle and fat cells, where it is stored or burned for energy.
Insulin Resistance: The pancreas secretes sufficient insulin, but the cell is resistant to insulin's action. To compensate, the pancreas may secrete more and more insulin. The excess insulin manages to keep blood sugar levels within the normal range - though often at the upper end of that range - and the patient is not considered diabetic. Those with insulin resistance often experience high levels of both blood sugar and insulin at the same time. They may also develop high triglyceride levels, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high blood pressure, and/or other signs of metabolic syndrome, such as an increased waist circumference. These individuals have a high risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other disorders.
Type 2 Diabetes: Fasting blood sugar is elevated for extended periods of time.
In type 2 diabetes there are two main reasons for this problem: 1.) The pancreas secretes insulin appropriately, but the insulin is not adequate to lower blood sugar because the body is resistant to it, or 2.) The pancreas may no longer be able to secrete the proper amounts of insulin leading to elevated blood sugar.
Fundamentals of the Program
The First Line Therapy program outlined will put you on the path to optimal health and ideal body composition through a combination of balanced eating, regular exercise, reduction of stress, and using the correct supplements. The end result is a program that not only helps control aging, but also helps to prevent chronic disease and prolong vitality.
As you follow the guidelines of the First Line Therapy program, you will realize how wonderful it is to be able to control your aging and prolong your vitality. You will benefit in many ways: more energy, better sleep, less body fat, more strength, healthier skin and hair, fewer aches and pains, and renewed vigor and vitality.
Fundamentals of the First Line Therapy Program
- Knowledge - A healthy lifestyle starts with the knowledge to make informed decisions that impact your health everyday.
- Balanced Eating - Balanced eating habits have a direct influence on excess insulin production, body composition, and disease prevention.
- Regular Activity/Exercise - A regular program of aerobic, strength training, and flexibility exercises has been shown to reverse insulin resistance, increase vitality, and reduce the risk of disease.
- Appropriate Nutritional Supplementation - Incorporating a foundational nutrition program with targeted nutrients that help to prevent and/or treat specific conditions is an essential part of a therapeutic lifestyle program.
- Stress Management - For optimum health, regular stress management programs help keep insulin and other hormone levels balanced, improving vitality.
- Sleep - Sleep is crucial for the proper functioning of the mind and body. Quality and depth of sleep is of primary importance. Although the amount of sleep individuals need varies, most people should get from 7 to 8.5 hours per night.
Let's Get Started
Imagine waking up in the morning feeling great! You bounce out of bed with the kind of energy that will take you from morning to evening. You have the confidence to finally get to all of those things you have been putting off. You are gaining control of your health and control of your life.
That is what the First Line Therapy program is all about. It doesn't matter if you are old or young, man or woman, in great shape, or have never exercised before - this program can help you increase your energy, improve your shape, reduce your health risks, and maximize your overall well-being. So let's get started!
The First Line Therapy program was created by Metagenics, a high grade nutraceutical company. The information contained in this newsletter comes directly from the First Line Therapy Program Booklet. I am proud to be a Certified First Line Therapist and our office has been designated as a Metagenics Center for Excellence.