Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of having to watch our aging parents develop the diseases commonly associated with age. If you are like me, you have a nearly obsessive desire to make sure that we don’t follow along the same path. In order to succeed in this mission, we need to start with a paradigm that allows us to understand why we develop these diseases in the first place.
A well-respected researcher at the University of California, Berkley, has come up with a theory that may give us insight into how to avoid common diseases associated with aging, including:
1. Heart disease (specifically calcifications of the arteries)
3. Various forms of cancer
4. Diabetes and insulin resistance
5. Breast fibroid
7. Weight gain
8. And more…
Dr. Bruce Ames announced that he had a new theory of aging, which he named, “Triage Theory”. Triage theory states that when the body does not have sufficient nutrients to feed all tissues equally, the urgent needs of the body will outweigh the less urgent needs, even if they both share a high level of importance. A good way of illustrating this theory is to associate it with principles of time management.
I am a student of time management, mostly because I am terrible at it. One principle that is at the core of time management is the process of differentiating between urgent and important tasks and non-urgent but important tasks. Urgent/important tasks are things that need to be handled right now or you will suffer immediate consequences. Examples of urgent/important tasks include:
1. A phone call from an important client
2. Paying your mortgage on time
3. Urgent staffing issues, and work emergencies.
Non-urgent/important matters are important to the long-term goals but there are few immediate consequences to not doing them. Examples include:
1. Learning about new technology that may impact your job or business in the future
2. Upgrading accounting software to be compliant with next year’s tax laws
3. Setting up your next dental-hygiene appointment
If your life is filled with urgent/important tasks, usually the non-urgent/important tasks will be thrown by the wayside resulting in a lack of personal and organizational growth. In other words, the organization may remain healthy for today, but in the long run, the neglect of non-urgent-but-important matters will cause the person or organization to fail from ineptitude.
Dr. Ames suggests that the body is doing the same thing; prioritizing immediate needs above the future needs of the body. He believes that the body does this because we evolved during a time when we weren’t expected to live to be 100 years old anyway. Instead, nature prioritized the act of keeping us alive long enough to procreate rather than long enough to see our great grandchildren.
Iodine is a good example of how this theory presents itself within the body. When iodine is moderately deficient, the thyroid will take precedence at the expense of other tissues that need it, albeit in a less urgent manner. This assures that the body has enough iodine to keep the metabolism functioning, at the cost of long-term health of other tissues such as the breasts, prostate, and immune system.
Another example of the Triage Theory in action is vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K has biological effect in most cells of the body including the arteries and the bones. When vitamin K is moderately deficient, the liver will snatch the vitamin K from the blood in order to make sure that it can produce clotting factors needed to prevent you from bleeding to death from a paper cut. Unfortunately, because the K is being used in developing clotting factors, the bones grow weak and the arteries develop calcifications from being slowly starved of vitamin K.
To protect against the consequences of biological triage, you must make sure that there is an abundance of nutrition that is available to the body so that both urgent/important processes and non-urgent/important processes are able to function on all cylinders. Doing so will allow you to enjoy optimal health well into your later years.
A multi-vitamin is a good start in assuring that the body has sufficient levels of the various nutrients to feed the urgent/important and non-urgent/important processes. Unfortunately, most multi’s (even high quality multi’s) fall short in providing sufficient levels of various nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin K and iodine. Given this fact, we typically need to supplement with higher levels of these nutrients than are supplied by a multi.
Previously, I was taking these nutrients separately. Luckily, they are now provided in a single capsule to support your current supplement program. This supplement combines 5,000 iu of vitamin D3, 1.1 mg of vitamin K2 and 1 mg of whole-food iodine. The product is called Vitamins D and K with Sea-Iodine by Life Extension Foundation.
The reason that such a blend is so powerful is because of the broad importance and the relative deficiency of these nutrients. By providing the body with optimal levels of these three nutrients, you are helping to shore up the body’s defenses against many of the previously reported disease associated with aging.