By Dr. Austin Perlmutter
It’s not news to anyone: exercise is good for our health. What is more interesting is the recent research showing how physical activity may activate certain pathways within our immune systems, our endocrine systems, and even change our brain function. One fascinating area where all of this intersects is the link between exercise and mental health.
Mental health issues are a growing problem in the United States and worldwide. Depression alone affects around 350 million people and is one of the leading causes of disability across the planet. Despite the best efforts of providers and scientists, strategies for treating and preventing depression have been lacking. Many people continue to struggle with the condition even after receiving therapy. This is why it is so important that we continue to look for additional strategies in depression prevention and management. Of these, exercise is among the most promising. Continue reading
One topic that’s certainly moved to center stage as of late is immunity. For obvious reasons there is great interest in exploring what we can do to enhance our immune functionality. The key idea, as it relates to functionality, is the notion of balance. While a robust immune system seems like it would be an ideal goal, we now know that excessive immune function may actually prove threatening. Such is the case with the so-called “cytokine storm.” Cytokines are chemical messengers that are involved in regulating immune function. When overproduced, as may occur in COVID-19 infection, cytokines can amplify inflammation with all its attendant destructive manifestations.
Regulation and balance of the immune system deteriorate with aging. So as we age we become more susceptible to inflammation, both acutely as with the cytokine storm, as well as chronically, in disease states like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and various other chronic degenerative conditions. Continue reading
By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
Blood sugar elevation has become a central focus in medicine these days because of its well-established relationship to so many chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, and Parkinson’s. Now, new research reveals that there may well be a relationship to cancer risk as well.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins and Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea were interested in exploring possible relationships between blood sugar levels and risk for developing cancer. They studied a sample of over 1 million Koreans between the ages of 30 and 95 who had either a positive cancer diagnosis or had died of cancer. Their findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, are quite remarkable and certainly instructive. Continue reading
In the past, I have written several blogs discussing the relationship of body measurements like body mass index (BMI) to cognitive function, as well as relationships between what is called the waist-to-hip ratio with atrophy of the brain. Another important relationship that we have explored extensively in the past is the connection between excess body fat and inflammation.
So, one might wonder if the mechanism whereby obesity relates to declining cognitive function, like worsening memory, may be mediated by inflammation. Basically, the question I am asking has to do with connecting these dots. Continue reading
The leading causes of death and disability worldwide are chronic degenerative conditions. These familiar diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes are increasing globally, at a dramatic rate, in every region, and in all socioeconomic classes. To be clear, chronic degenerative conditions exceed deaths caused by famine, war, and even infectious diseases. Importantly, this was not always the case.
What has changed? Certainly, it hasn’t been our genetics. Our DNA has changed very little in the past hundred thousand years. And yet, we are suddenly experiencing a virtual explosion in the prevalence of these conditions.
To understand why do these conditions are now so widespread, we have to ask if there’s any shared mechanism that underlies chronic degenerative diseases as a group. Indeed there is. In a word, it’s inflammation. All of these conditions represent a consequence of increased levels of inflammation within the body, and higher levels of inflammation can damage heart arteries, the brain, the joints, and even disrupt the function of the immune system allowing cancer to manifest.
So, if inflammation is at the root of what our now the most pervasive diseases on our planet, it really makes sense to explore how our modern world is amping up inflammation as this should clearly provide us some action points to live a healthier and longer life. Continue reading
It’s something we all do at the holidays, when we’re surrounded by gingerbread men, hot cocoa, fruitcakes, and chocolate candies. Faced with the choice of the sweet treat or healthier alternatives, we remind ourselves the holidays come but once a year, and we all fall into a sugar-laden trap. Continue reading