The next time your doctor tells you, “You’re just getting older, it happens,” you might want to get a second opinion from Frank Lipman, MD.
One of the world’s experts in functional medicine (and the go-to doc of celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal), the forward-thinking New York physician says he now believes that most aging is not as inevitable as we think it is. We repeat: not as inevitable.
Dr. Lipman is launching a new TV show on public television and a new book—both titled 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat—to spread that (very welcome!) message.
Even if the title is a little brusque, the ideas behind it are progressive, and meant to counter the way many patients perceive of their issues and themselves, says Dr. Lipman. “We have false beliefs about aging. [Traditional Western] doctors will tell you, when you get to your 30s or 40s, and you start having aches and pains, puffiness, weight gain, and memory problems: ‘Well, you’re getting to that age,'” he says. “But it’s not about getting older. It’s about losing function in your organs. And you absolutely can do something about that.”
“I see younger and younger people with carbohydrate intolerance. They’re coming in with autoimmune and digestive issues. And it’s related to their microbiome being out of whack.”
So many symptoms of aging are actually traceable to things you can control, he says.
Take inflammation, which is a big factor and comes from things like stress and untreated food sensitivities, which leads to issues with gut health—a problem he’s now seeing in younger and younger patients.
“Ten or 15 years ago, I’d see it in the 40s and 50s age groups. Now it’s 20s, 30s, and 40s,” he notes. “I see younger and younger people with carbohydrate intolerance [meaning the hormone insulin isn’t working properly]. They’re coming in with autoimmune and digestive issues. And it’s related to their microbiome being out of whack.”
On his new TV show, which will begin airing across the country in the coming weeks, Dr. Lipman gives his anti-aging Rx in front of a live audience. (Think plant-based diet, with lots of healthy fats and superfoods, as well as exercise, stress reduction, and—this is key—plenty of sleep.)
What’s causing aging that you can actually change?
And with the “10 reasons” structure, he aims to debunk common approaches that could be undermining your health. One that might surprise you? Juicing.
“Juicing can be good for you—but you can also get a lot of sugar without realizing it. I became pre-diabetic from eating a vegetarian, whole grain diet,” he says. “One-third of Americans are pre-diabetic. So for them, juicing can be dangerous.”
Another example of good intentions gone awry: over-medication. It is so common that Dr. Lipman devotes a chapter to it in the book, which will be released February 23.
“Even common prescription medications can create weight gain, brain fog, memory problems, fatigue, joint pain, sleep problems, and other symptoms we incorrectly associate with the inevitable process of aging,” he says. “Once again, we think that our symptoms are caused by getting older, when they are actually the result of stressing our body and failing to support it.”
Of course, Dr. Lipman is not advising you to flush your meds. But on the TV show he discusses specific patient stories and how, with a holistic approach to their health, they dealt with chronic issues. And in the book, he offers dozens of recipes from his super-informed health coach squad and exercises designed to revitalize you and slow the aging process.
The key to feeling like your youthful self
But the key to making all of his advice work? A concept that’s incredibly meaningful to the South Africa native called ubuntu—a Xhosa word that translates as “what makes us human is the humanity we show each other.”
“It is finding passion and meaning in your life—that has a tremendous effect on your level of function, which translates to aging,” he says. “And it is about support and community. What I see in my practice is that people can have the information, but if they don’t have the support of health coaches, family, and their community, they’re not going to get better.”
So while you’re whipping your microbiome into shape by dishing up some fermented foods—or sweating through a yoga class—why not invite a friend to join you? (It’s science.) Consider it doctor’s orders.
Another way to move your skin in a healthy, youthful direction? Superfoods. Try these for glowing, gorgeous skin.