AUGUST 2020 TABLEHOPPING ARTICLE
I am always on the lookout for new and better ways to assess the health of patients. Your doctor is measuring your cholesterol, your weight, your blood sugar and your blood pressure and checking for anemia etc…Important measures to be sure but available for decades and not at all inclusive. What your doctor should be measuring is your insulin resistance, your triglyceride / Hdl ratio and your Omega 3 : Omega 6 ratio because these are all markers of your metabolic health and are as important or more important than the traditional labs and they are usually covered by your insurance. As I have written about in the past your blood sugar will be normal for years even if you have metabolic syndrome (which more than half of the American population has) and only by measuring insulin and insulin resistance can you properly assess your metabolic flexibility and status of your pancreas. The triglyceride / Hdl ratio is another independent marker of your nutritional health and I think it’s a far more important measure than your total cholesterol or your ldl cholesterol which is often erroneously referred to as your “bad” cholesterol. The higher your ratio the worse your diet is. This is being measured already by your healthcare provider but they are focused on the cholesterol which is nowhere near as important as this ratio. This ratio is a marker for insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome while cholesterol is not. Finally the Omega 3 : 6 ratio is a marker for brain, heart and cellular health. Again, the lower the ratio the better. If you are 1 : 4 that’s very good and suggests you are getting enough anti-inflammatory Omega 3’s and are avoiding the deadly excess of Omega 6 found in processed food and the seed oils.
There is a new way to measure overall health, biological and cellular health and it’s called the phase angle. Ok, it’s been around for years but it’s new to me. Your gym is using some form of the same technology. The principle revolves around straight physics and how your different body tissues..bone, fat, muscle etc react to gentle electrical currents. The science is called bioelectrical impedance and the same set of measurements will check your visceral body fat, your lean muscle mass, the intracellular and extracellular water content etc. I think measuring these is an excellent idea for anyone to do to get some objective measures of their health. The phase angle measurement is even more important because it reflects your overall cellular heath and therefore your overall health. Multiple papers have been published that link your phase angle to frailty, and nutritional status and aging. Phase angles are different for men and women and are generally higher early in life, and in people who are healthier overall. You can get your phase angle measured and then make changes to your diet and exercise and get remeasured to assess your success. We know your chronological age..the phase angle can give us a sense of your biological age. So you could be 50 years of age but have a phase angle that suggests your body is testing more like 40 or more like 60. You cant just compare numbers between people like you can with all the other measures above because it is affected by age and sex but your number can be used as a reference for your overall health. I just bought a machine and will start testing my patients so we can see how they are doing on an ongoing basis…I expect based on the literature that improvements in their weight, their insulin resistance, their Omega oil ratio etc that they will get a higher ( better ) score. I will use this info to reinforce their progress. Knowledge is power after all. Speaking of which, as always, I would not have you trust whatever you read here…do your own research and I suggest starting with the following references. Just enter them on the search bar and the study should pop up.
● PMID: 23653848
● PMID: 23822677
● PMID: 27504280
This is not expensive technology. Ask your doctor about it or have you already caused a commotion by asking for the other tests listed above? Heaven forbid you should ask about the Cardiac Calcium Score and find out about your degree of heart disease years before standard stress testing would reveal it. I’m going to have my phase angle measured next week and if it doesn’t say I have the body of a 30 year old I am going to throw it out !
Depending on the process, costs of testing etc I am thinking about offering to do this test to any one who makes a contribution to one of my favorite charities….Hope for the Bereaved, Helping Hounds, Father Chaplains Guardian Angel Society and Clearpath for Vets. I don’t need the business but you need the testing so stay tuned.
Until next month….get well and stay well. J T BARRY MD