It was a few months ago when this petite elderly Chinese lady walked into my clinic unassisted accompanied by her grandson. When I looked at the file and noticed that her age was 106, I was surprised as she looked around late seventies or early eighties. Her age must be correct as her eldest son was already in his eighties. She spoke Malay and when I asked her what was wrong with her she said, nothing’s wrong with me. Apparently she has never seen a doctor before and it was her grandson who brought her just for a ‘checkup’. When I examined her she had a normal blood pressure and all her system examination was normal. She seldom got sick and if she had a mild flu, which was very rare, she just used some home remedies. Still independent she did her own cooking and some housework and looked after her garden.
My advice to the grandson, take her home and continue doing what she has been doing. Avoid any unnecessary tests as sometimes we doctors might start looking for a disease and start treating and that can lead to problems.
As President of the Malaysian Wellness Society, usually after my talks I will have persons come up to me and say that they never fall sick and have never seen a doctor before. I used to be very skeptical, but over the years I met more and more persons who claimed the same. In his book – “The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick” author Gene Stone talks about such persons. He writes about what ‘what they know, why it works, and how it can work for you’. From Calorie reduction to cold showers and plant based diet, positive attitude and friends he gives 25 secrets to why this people never get sick. If we look at the points they all come down to our lifestyle (and not medications).
With the current pandemic spreading in the world, the people with poor immunity seem to have the worst outcomes. So keeping a good immune system with all the other preventive measures might lead you to one day say “I Never Get Sick”. ... See MoreSee Less
The Future of Longevity - The Nine Horsemen of our Apocalypse
(Adapted from the book, ‘The Future Is Faster Than You Think’ by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler)
Scientists now believe there are nine main “causes” of our decline, the nine horsemen of an internal apocalypse. So what exactly is killing us?
1. Genomic instability: DNA doesn’t always replicate according to plan. Typically, these errors in gene expression get caught and corrected, but not always. Over time, these misfires build up, causing our body to wear down – meaning genetic instability leads to genetic damage leads to a limit on lifespan. Think of it as a broken copy machine, except, instead of producing unreadable pages, our broken genetic copier produces diseases like cancer, muscular dystrophy and ALS.
2. Telomere Attrition: At the heart of a cell, DNA is packed into threadlike structures called chromosomes. Chromosomes are capped by telomeres which act like barriers – like bumpers on a car – designed to protect the core of the chromosome. But as DNA replicates, telomeres get shorter and at a critical level, the cell stops dividing, and we become more prone to disease and death.
3. Epigenetic Alterations: Nature impacts nurture. Over the course of a lifetime, environmental toxins can change how our genes express, sometimes for the worst. Exposure to carcinogens in the environment can silence the gene that suppresses tumors for example.
4. Loss of Proteostasis: Inside a cell, proteins run the show. They transport materials, send signals, switch processes on and off, and provide structural support. But proteins become less effective over time, so the body recycles them. Unfortunately, as we age, we can lose this ability. The trash collector goes on strike and we suffer a toxic buildup of proteins that can, for example, lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
5. Nutrient Sensing Goes Awry: The human body relies on over forty different nutrients to stay healthy. For everything to work perfectly, cells need to be able to recognize and process each of these. But this ability breaks down as we get older. For example, one reason people gain weight as they age is that our cells can no longer properly digest fat and carbohydrates. And one reason we die is that this impacts the insulin and IGF-1 pathway and can result in diabetes.
6. Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Mitochondria are power plants. By converting oxygen and food into energy, they provide the basic fuel for our cells. But performance declines over time. The result is free radicals, a damaging form of oxygen that mangles DNA and proteins and leads to many of the chronic illnesses associated with aging.
7. Cellular Senescence: As cells undergo stress, they occasionally become “senescent”, both losing their ability to divide and becoming resistant to death. These “zombie cells” can’t be removed from the body. They build up over time, infect neighboring cells, and ultimately create a zombie apocalypse of inflammatory debilitation.
8. Stem Cell Exhaustion: As we age, our supply of stem cells plummets, in certain cases by a ten thousand fold decline. Worse, the ones we do manage to hang on to become far less active. This means that the body’s internal tissue and organ repair system loses its ability to do its job.
9. Altered Intercellular Communication: For the body to function properly, cells need to communicate. This happens constantly, with messages flowing through our bloodstream, immune system and endocrine system. Over time, signals get crossed. Some cells become unresponsive, others become inflammation-producing zombie cells. This inflammation blocks further communication. Once this happens, messages can’t get through and the immune system can’t find pathogens.
For thousands of years, we have been searching for the location of the fountain of youth. With the current research in ageing I believe we will soon be there. So while “Will we be able to live forever?” remains an unanswered question, turning a hundred years old into the new sixty – that is, significantly extending human lifespan- has changed from a question of “if” to a matter of “when”. ... See MoreSee Less
What do we do with a virus that has come and gone global and here to stay at least the next few months? I just want to discuss two issues here.
Firstly, the importance of getting your information from the right sources. That would be the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health Malaysia. This is important otherwise you might get all sorts of fake news that might create more confusion. We need to follow all the suggested guidelines like frequent hand washing, keeping social distance, wearing a mask if not well and following the movement control order.
Secondly and I believe just as important is strengthening your immune system. Your immune system is the key to defending you against foreign invaders, may they be virus, bacteria or cancer cells. Many of us have habits that weaken our immune system and hence we are more prone to disease. In the current Covid pandemic the persons with weaker immune systems like the elderly, cancer patients and those with metabolic diseases are more prone to severe disease and death.
How to improve our Immune System
1. Nutrition – A diet high in sugars and saturated fat and preservatives and chemical based food will definitely weaken your immunity. Go for a plant based diet, at least 80%. Take at least 4 to 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day and reduce red meat. Take more herbs and spices as this reduce inflammation and are good to boost your immunity.
2. Exercise – Make sure you get some mild to moderate exercise. Avoid strenuous exercise as this can reduce immunity. Get a combination of aerobic and stretching exercises.
3. Stress – Avoid panicking and getting anxious. I see with the information overload and fake news many people seem to go into a panic mode and this will definitely affect your immunity. Keep informed and do not get stressed. In fact this is a good time to learn about mindfulness and breathing exercises and other ways to stay calm.
4. Sleep – Get at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Too little and too much sleep can both weaken your immune system.
5. Supplements – This are more of an insurance. They should not be a substitute for your lifestyle as above. Some that can help include Vitamin C, Echinacea (only for 2 weeks) at a time, Probiotics, Turmeric and Glutathione.
Now with this Movement Control Order (MCO) I believe it is a good time for us to give a serious taught to our health as most of us neglect this until we get a crisis. Remember the virus does not discriminate and anyone can get infected. So please follow the recommended guidelines, Keep healthy and do not panic. ... See MoreSee Less