The 7 Keys To Chronic Health & Boundless Energy, From A Longevity MD
Wouldn't it be amazing if we could say, "I'm chronically healthy," or "I've got chronic health." Well, it's certainly possible and probably easier than you might imagine.
In the optimal BioEnergetic State—what I call the Thrive State—your cells receive instructions to grow, heal, and...thrive. Your sex and well-being hormones increase, giving you a sense of joy, happiness, and heightened libido. You experience improved immunity, making you better equipped to fight off pathogens and toxins. Your cells' power plants, the mitochondria, have improved efficiency and energy output; mitochondria produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which supplies energy to drive the processes within living cells and maintain human life.
When your cells have more energy, you also have more energy. You'll enjoy the health benefits of lower levels of (bad) inflammation and longer telomeres, the DNA endcaps that protect your cells from aging. The Thrive State puts your body in a realm of regenerative growth and healing, which translates to vitality, optimal performance, and longevity.
Stress state and chronic disease
Conversely, in a depressed or suboptimal BioEnergetic State, the opposite happens. I call this the Stress or Survive State. In the Stress or Survive State, our cells are in a state of defense, and energy is diverted from biological mechanisms for growth and healing to mechanisms for protection. Inflammation is the key biological process in the Stress State. Cells age quicker and are unable to repair and regenerate themselves. The mitochondria are less efficient at generating ATP, so the body has less energy to operate optimally.
Lower levels of sex and "feel-good" hormones (e.g., serotonin) and higher levels of stress hormones (e.g., cortisol) lead to mental imbalance and unhealthy physical symptoms. Inflammation increases and becomes chronic, leading to autoimmune disorders and other chronic diseases. Telomeres shorten, leading to degradation of your DNA. The Stress or Survival State puts the body into overdrive and exhaustion, which not only prevents optimal functioning but hastens the development of disability, pain, and premature death.
The body's physiological response to the stresses from daily life can mimic that of our ancient ancestors running away from a saber-tooth tiger; your nervous system diverts from parasympathetic to sympathetic. Your blood thickens and clots easier, and inflammation increases to protect you from a potential flesh injury. Your immune system shuts down—because why try to protect yourself from viruses and cancer if you're potentially breakfast for a predator? Blood diverts from your visceral organs to your skeletal muscles so you can run away from this predator, but this impairs the function of organs like your gut and kidney. While this Stress/Survive State is a useful physiological response for occasions that really threaten life—i.e., running away from a predator or a response to bleeding from a car/motorcycle accident—its chronic activation in today's world of perceived threats (mean bosses, spoiled milk, overworking, deadlines) creates the backdrop for the rise in our nation's chronic disease statistics.
An optimal BioEnergetic State—the Thrive State—is always the goal, so let's examine how you can transition from the Stress State to the Thrive State.
How to move from a Stress State to a Thrive State
The seven BioEnergetic Elements—Sleep, Nutrition, Movement, Stress and Emotional Mastery, Mindset, Relationships/Community, and Purpose—create the BioEnergetic State and epigenome for our cells and energetically influence each other.
As you begin to improve one Element, you'll see it's easier to elevate the frequency/vibration of the other six Elements. For example: When your sleep improves, in terms of both quality and quantity, it rebalances your hormones (growth and sex hormones) and other physiological processes, which will give you more energy to exercise, which, in turn, can lower your stress levels. Lower stress levels allow you to better digest and extract nutrients from the foods you eat. This, in turn, will further yield optimized neurotransmitters and hormones, which can elevate your emotional states. This gives you the fuel to work on your purpose and contribute to your community. It's a positive feedback loop. Your elevated BioEnergetic State will also raise the states of the people around you.
It's a "virtuous cycle." The same thing also happens at the cellular level; healthy cells elevate the states of their less-healthy counterparts.
Now, it's easy to see how Sleep, Nutrition, Movement, Alleviating Stress and Emotional Control, and Mindset—the physical, emotional, and mental components of the energetic elements—can benefit the individual. These five Elements are integral to every health education or wellness program ever created and have undoubtedly been drilled into you by your doctor, workplace wellness coordinator, or life coach. Get more restful, restorative sleep. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Do some physical activity every day. Control your stress. Think positive.
But despite your best efforts, you may have felt as if there was something missing. One can never achieve his or her highest BioEnergetic potential unless Community and Purpose—the spiritual component of the energetic elements—are included, and there is a reason why our genes are wired this way. This mutual, symbiotic dependence was the only way multicellular life evolved. We are who we are today because cells worked together in synergy to form the complexity of life on Earth. Our cells—and we ourselves—are meant to thrive as individuals, of course, but ultimately as a group so that we can give back and elevate the community for the collective good.
For example: A heart cell has to be the very best heart cell in order to fulfill its purpose and pump as effectively as possible to deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. The brain, liver, and lungs receive this life-sustaining nourishment granted to them by the cells of their other fully functioning co-organs. If a heart cell decides, I'm not going to follow my purpose. I want to filter blood like a kidney cell, not pump blood, not only will this cause circulatory collapse, but the cellular process of transforming one type of cell into another is what leads to cancer.
The whole organism will thrive only if every cell fulfills and contributes its unique purpose to its fullest potential. And that can only happen when a cell receives signals from a high BioEnergetic State.
Excerpted from Thrive State, 2nd Edition: Your Blueprint for Optimal Health, Longevity, and Peak Performance by Kien Vuu, M.D., with permission from the publisher.
Dr. Kien Vuu is one of the most sought-after anti-aging physicians in the country. At his VuuMD Longevity and Performance Clinic, Dr. Vuu regularly works with celebrities, top corporate executives, and high-functioning professionals to optimize their health, performance, and vitality.
He’s also a health media personality, appearing on national TV shows such as The Doctors and Access Hollywood, and helps to train the next generation of physicians as assistant professor of health sciences at UCLA. As someone who has overcome two chronic diseases himself, Dr. Vuu is passionate about empowering people to reclaim their health and live with fulfillment, abundance, and purpose.