#187: Jeff Grimm NP- Telomere Testing, Aging & Growth Hormone

by Deanna Mutzel, DC




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Mike Mutzel Podcast High Intensity Health

About Jeff Grimm, MSN, NP-C, FAARM

Jeff is a member and Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine, a clinical specialty focused on the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. Evidence based protocols used in practice include optimizing diet and nutrition, proper supplementation, exercise, stem cell therapy, and hormonal therapies. His level of training is unique in Oregon, as he has completed a fellowship and board certification in this exciting new field of medicine.

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Resources Discussed in this Episode

Life Length Lab

Show Notes

02:03 Vitality and Optimal Performance: Overstressing an organism accelerates ageing, disease and dysfunction. If you under stress an organism, it accelerates ageing, dysfunction. An astronaut in space has no stress on joints and they develop osteoporosis. An ultramarathon runner will experience oxidative stress. The sweet spot for optimal longevity is somewhere in between. It is true health optimization or hormesis. There is a theory that taking too many supplements/antioxidants may under stress you. Oxidative stress is an adaptive signaling molecule.

04:07 Signs of over Doing It: Systemic markers of inflammation will appear. Over stressed people wear and tear quickly and experience joint health issues. You may see it from an endocrine point of view, where your cortisol system becomes exhausted. It will manifest somewhere.

05:16 Low Cortisol: Often, if cortisol is high, we use adaptogens and if it is low, we use glandulars or pharmaceutical cortisol. Your body is smarter than clinicians. If you have high cortisol from too much stress, this cortisol is neurotoxic. As a protective mechanism, your body may stop making ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone).  Your brain modulates the output of endocrine organs in particular states of stress. Testing salivary cortisol does not reflect the health of the adrenal gland.

08:55 Stimulating the Adrenals: ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) is produced by the pituitary gland. It is the hormone that sends the signal to your adrenals to make cortisol. The axis between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal is the HPA axis. They communicate with each other through feedback mechanisms. The stim test is done under the purview of an endocrinologist. For the test, you are injected with ACTH and your adrenal glands respond by producing cortisol.

010:31 How Old am I Biologically? One check for women is bone density. We also check for elevated inflammation markers in the blood like, interleukins or C-reactive protein. Cognitive tests might include a speed test or SPECT scan of the brain. A calcium score of the heart or tests looking at endothelial function will reflect the health of the blood vessel. Also included would be a look at body fat/lean muscle mass and a check of endocrine function and hormones. Telomeres are the best indicator of ageing, and has tens of thousands of scientific studies supporting the correlation.

12:11 Telomeres: Telomeres are segments of repeating DNA at the end of linear chromosomes.  It was thought to be useless junk. The Hayflick Limit, discovered in the 1920s, was the concept that human cells do not divide indefinitely. Telomeres are like the ends of your shoe laces for your DNA. Your cells unravel and fray as your shoe lace would with shortened telomeres. Every time your cells divide, your telomeres get shorter. The enzyme that increases the length of telomeres is telomerase. The length of your telomeres predict your biological age and the genesis of chronic disease and cancer. For example, short telomeres in the cells of your cardiovascular system indicate chronic disease.

14:49 Testing Telomeres: Jeff uses the same testing technology as field researchers. Flow fish cytometry looks at hundreds of millions of white blood cells called leukocytes, which live for 4 months. The test accesses their average telomere length and the percentage of critically short telomeres.

15:32 Quality and Health of Telomeres: The percentage of cells in your body that have very short telomeres is much more predictive of ageing than your average telomere length. Cancer patients have a high percentage of critically short telomeres, as do those of us with diabetes and cardiovascular issues. This percentage provides a true picture of the percentage of your cells that will be immediately dead or dysfunctional.

16:43 Cellular Ageing: Jeff believes that cellular ageing is a combination of the reparative enzyme being low and the shortening of the telomere happening faster than the enzyme can keep up. People who sleep 8 hours each night or more, eat a Mediterranean diet, don’t smoke, or take certain drugs, you have longer telomeres. Some drugs preserve telomere length, like aspirin, metformin, ACE inhibitors like Lisinopril, angiotensin receptor blockers like Losartin, and statins preserve telomeres.

20:19 Telomeres and Chronic Disease: Cells with short telomeres die faster. When you have a lot of dead cells in an organ, it does not work well.

20:52 Positively Effecting Telomere Length: Jeff has been testing his patient’s telomeres for 5 years. This has enabled him to observe his patient’s telomere reactions to different treatments. When implementing a lifestyle or other change, testing after 6 months captures shifts in leukocytes that live for 4 months.

21:32 Herbs and Telomeres: The best studied herb that shows an increase of telomerase is a patented product TA-65. It is made from a concentrated extract called cycloastragenol from the astragalus plant. It is very expensive. In Chinese medicine, astragalus is well known for helping your immune system.

25:06 Preserving Telomeres through Meditation: Apply functional medicine principals and naturopathic lifestyle medicine: stress management, yoga, tai chi and the like. Jeff is excited about meditation as a means to preserve telomeres. It is free, easy, takes only 20 minutes day and has tremendous data on preserving longevity and telomere length.

27:18 Other Mechanisms for Increasing Telomere Length: Fish oil may help. Lowering homocysteine may also increase telomeres. Exercise increases telomere length. Vitamin D in the optimal range increases telomeres. A diet of fresh, colorful, organic raw out of the ground helps as well. Check telomeres before and after an intervention to see how it effect telomere health.

30:04 Testing Telomeres: Jeff uses Life Length lab based in Madrid Spain for flow fish cytometry. US partners aid in the processing and shipping. It costs about $450 for a telomere test. The turnaround is about 3 weeks.

30:40 Inflammation’s Role in Immunosenescence: TA-65 extract resolves certain aspects of immunosenescence. The natural killer cell expression increased significantly. Chronic unresolved inflammation causes cellular dysfunction and organ system dysfunction. There are hundreds of biomarkers for inflammation.

34:10 Manipulation of Growth Hormone: It can help with health optimization if the right conditions are met. Secretagogues encourage your pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone which it has stored. A drug commonly used for this is Sermorelin (growth hormone releasing hormone similar to the one produced by your body).  As we age, the signaling molecules for release of growth hormone become dysfunctional. Growth hormone is one of the most tightly regulated drugs in the US. We can prompt the pituitary to release growth hormone through peptides and things like growth hormone releasing hormone. By telling your pituitary to produce growth hormone all the time, you have a feedback inhibition. Your body does not want to do this and shuts it down. This process is mediated by another hormone called somatostatin. This hormone can be over ridden using a hormone releasing hormone in combination with a ghrelin peptide (GHRP-2 or GHRP-6 peptide). In Jeff’s patients, he has seen a 50% increase in IGF-1. Better quality sleep, increased metabolism, tighter skin, and better endurance performance, indicate better growth hormone excretion.

37:58 Impacts of Manipulating Growth Hormone:  If you inject growth hormone into your body daily in amounts greater than your body would make, you are stimulating cells to grow and divide. The theoretical response is unmitigated uncontrolled cellular division, which sounds a lot like cancer. High IGF-1 is associated with cancer. To accelerate healing short term for an injury, the Sermorelin and GHRP could have a novel application.

43:10 Head Trauma and Growth Hormone: There are clinics with the philosophy that persons in the acute state of TBI should temporarily use growth hormone to repair the brain. Inflammation in the brain impacts the HPA axis. It may explain why those with sleep apnea have low testosterone. Real growth hormone is incredibly expensive (about $700 per month) and there are immense regulatory hurdles to prescribing it for anything other than approved indications.

46:53 Jeff’s Morning Routine: He is up at 5:15 and does Ashtanga yoga for 40 minutes. He makes oolong tea and preps his smoothie carafe to take to work. He uses a 4 mushroom super food blend, fresh turmeric root, fresh ginger, and a little apple, banana or blueberries and a protein powder. He might add flax, flax seed oil or fresh olive oil. Between 9 and 10 a.m., he blends his smoothie and consumes it. If you make your breakfast a superfood powerhouse, you have made 33% of your diet 100% perfect.

48:15 Eat Fat, Get Thin: Eat fewer refined carbohydrates and eat more vegetables. Have half your plate of food be good quality colorful, and even raw, vegetables. We need lots of fresh colorful produce.

50:25 Sleep Hygiene: Sleep and nighttime hygiene are critically important. If you drink wine too close to bedtime, it effects your growth hormone and your deep wave sleep pattern. Beneficial nighttime routines are those that have you wind down 2 to 3 hours prior to sleep.

52:39 Favorite Herb, Nutrient, Botanical or Food: Green tea is a single food/nutrient that has some of the best data to reduce the physical signs and symptoms of ageing and the genesis of chronic disease. Long term studies of thousands of participants show that green tea drinkers have massive differences in all parameters of ageing, reducing risk of chronic disease by 30%. Green tea is packed with flavonols like catechins, is high in polyphenols, is loaded with theanine and even has GABA. Jeff steeps his tea gong fu style. You get more flavor and extract more of the beneficial components. High quality green tea should be handpicked, hand processed, higher mountain tea and from older tea tree plants. Some trees are 1,000 years old.

57:49 Jeff’s Elevator Pitch: Incentivizie food programs that promote organic sustainable farming. We need more availability of cheap locally produced nutrient rich food that is medicine, especially for children. It can take a few generations to reverse the effects of generational impacts of eating poorly.

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