What Are Lifestyle Medicines And How Do They Work?

September 8
Vital RX - lifestyle medicines

A new era of health care may be upon us, and that means that the old traditional ways of chemical medications and treatments could become secondary acts on the road to optimal health. Healthy eating and lifestyles are on the rise, especially in younger generations, because many Americans have realized that fast food and sedentary living aren’t working in their favor.

Studies have shown that just the simple act of making better choices when it comes to your health can extend life expectancy by as much as 14 years. This fact alone has led to the more widespread adoption of the practices involved in what are called “lifestyle medicines”.

What are lifestyle medicines?

Lifestyle medicines are categorized as ways of living that can dramatically improve one’s overall level of health, adding years to their life and improving their quality of life.

To actively engage in lifestyle medicines, a person has to practice specific habits. They include:

  • Exercising regularly to promote physical and mental fitness.
  • Making good food choices and eating a diet rich in wholefoods, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Reaching and sustaining a healthy body weight.
  • The complete avoidance of smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day.
  • Avoiding or limiting overall stress.
  • Getting adequate and regular sleep.
  • Participating in relationships that are good for one’s mental and physical health.

Lifestyle medicines operate under the level of preventive medical care. The above factors should be adhered to at all times to help keep balance within the body, ultimately avoiding unnecessary disease and health issues later in life.

This type of daily routine is also a form of biohacking, which is a hot-button topic when it comes to lifestyle medicines. The concept is designed to give the power back to you when handling and controlling your health. It does so by allowing you to gain the health knowledge you need to essentially “hack” your system via trial and error with nutrition, exercise, and other health regimes.

Vital RX - nutritious food
Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash: Eating a well-balanced diet is just one of the keys to maintaining overall health.

How do lifestyle medicines work?

“Lifestyle medicine” may sound like a new-age term, but there is plenty of evidence to support its popularity in recent years. For example, in terms of the diet portion of this type of care, research has found a direct link between what we eat and how likely we are to develop chronic disease later in life. Some studies have even suggested that certain foods can eliminate or cure certain health ailments altogether, especially when it comes to mental health.

Mental health isn’t the only thing affected by lifestyle medicine, though. Weight loss, autoimmune disorders, fitness levels, sexual performance, cardiovascular health, and the onset of new chronic diseases can all be greatly impacted by different levels of healthy living. The process behind lifestyle medicine is simple: if you take care of your body before you become ill, it will take care of you.

Types of lifestyle medicines used today

Different lifestyle therapies can help enhance one’s overall health. For example, nutrition involves the consumption of foods that fuel the body with vitamins and minerals. However, sometimes nutrition is inadequate. This is where supplementation comes in. Many supplements offer to help balance out deficiencies that could lead to chronic disease if left unchecked.

Intravenous therapy is also used to help balance out deficiencies or increase the body’s overall level of hydration. It is used to efficiently get what the body needs directly to the source, as opposed to oral applications that could take longer and have to go through the digestion process, essentially limiting their absorption.

What is peptide therapy?

Peptide therapy is a broad term used to describe the number of therapies involved in different peptide usage. The body creates peptides naturally, and the small chain amino acids have different jobs. Some slow aging, while others can help increase muscle mass.

Research suggests that people undergoing peptide therapy receive supplementation of a lack of natural peptides, thus balancing out hormone levels within the body. The most notable form of peptide used in therapy is insulin.

Does peptide therapy work?

Peptides have been used since the early 1900s as a health remedy, and research has shown that they have the ability to work similarly to natural pathways.

Certain peptides that have been included in the treatment of various diseases include:

  • Insulin to treat diabetes.
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone for seizure control.
  • Calcitonin to treat osteoporosis.
  • Oxytocin (synthetic) to manage pain.
  • Vasopressin (synthetic) to treat dehydration caused by loss of water through urination.
  • Octreotide (synthetic version of somatostatin) to help treat cancer.
  • Leuprorelin (synthetic version of gonadorelin) to help treat prostate cancer.

These peptide therapies have been known to work in correlation with other forms of treatment in the past, or on their own depending on the condition.

Vital RX - managing stress
Image by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash: Managing stress is one of the pillars of lifestyle medicine and can be done through massage therapy.

What does the future of lifestyle medicines hold?

Lifestyle medicine continues to evolve as more and more people look to develop healthy habits as opposed to, or in addition to, receiving better treatment. Research has been hyper-focused on identifying different disease markers and risks that could be associated with the onset of new and chronic conditions.

Specific areas of study and interest in the future of lifestyle medicines include:

  • Diet.
  • Physical activity levels.
  • Behaviors.
  • Body weight.
  • Adhering to treatment plans.
  • Stress management.
  • Coping mechanisms.
  • Mind-body correlation and exercises.
  • Substance abuse (including tobacco).

Along with medical advancement and new knowledge in the area, lifestyle medicine could eventually become a cornerstone in health care. With over 63% of world deaths being attributed to avoidable diseases, the time for lifestyle medicines is now.

Featured image by Omid Armin on Unsplash