Dementia is the second leading cause of disability for individuals over the age of 70 and the seventh leading cause of death₁. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 55 million people live with dementia globally with 10 million new cases yearly₁. While age is a contributing risk factor to the growing number of cases, recent research has shown that other influences are at play, especially metabolic health₂.
Dementia is a syndrome that is marked by a deterioration in cognitive functioning not related to the natural process of biological aging. Symptoms of dementia include poor memory, confusion, difficulty communicating, and behavioral changes. These symptoms get progressively worse with time and eventually can lead to the loss of the ability to perform everyday tasks. While dementia typically occurs later in life, this cognitive syndrome is not a necessary consequence of aging.
Current research has linked this major neurocognitive disorder to metabolic health, revealing that it is closely related to the pathogenesis of the syndrome₂. For example, a study from the University of South Australia’s Australian Center for Precision Medicine found that people with metabolic profiles linked to obesity had adverse MRI brain scan findings₃. These findings included a greater number of brain lesions, higher accumulation of iron, and brain atrophy – all early risk factors for dementia. This study revealed that brain health is closely related to your metabolic profile and early identification of metabolic risk factors can help prevent dementia.
The Importance of Metabolic Health
Metabolism is the chemical process within your body that converts what you eat into fuel or energy. Your body performs a number of complex chemical reactions as you digest food to break down this fuel into compounds, such as proteins, fatty acids, and simple sugars. These vital components are used to restore the body and create energy. Your metabolic health is a reflection of how well your body performs these chemical processes.
Metabolic health is clinically defined by optimal levels of the following markers:
- Blood sugar
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- Waist circumference
- Blood pressure
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), only 1 in 8 adults have optimal metabolic health in the United States today₄. Metabolic health is identified by a health status characterized by levels of metabolic indicators that reflect a high level of health and a low risk of cardiometabolic disease. These metabolic indicators are measured by taking blood tests to identify unique elements, such as calcium, cholesterol, and glucose levels.
What is a Metabolic Profile?
A metabolic profile (also known as a metabolic panel) is a series of blood tests that give you information about different elements in your blood. These blood tests show levels of different elements and the functioning of different organs. The metabolic profile typically tests the following elements in your blood:
- Blood sugar or glucose
- Kidney function
- Liver function
- Protein levels
- Cholesterol levels
The measurements of these different substances in your blood provides valuable information about your body’s metabolism and chemical balance. If you are getting a metabolic panel done, you will have your blood drawn by a phlebotomist (a medical professional trained to perform blood draws). These blood samples are then sent to a lab where your blood will be analyzed by a medical laboratory scientist.
Vivewell Health Partners with Leading Laboratories to Improve Metabolic Health
ViveWell Health is partnering with leading laboratories, like the Cleveland Clinic’s Cleveland Heart program to provide advanced cardiovascular and metabolic testing that identifies early signs of disease typically missed with routine labs. We’ve also partnered with several pioneering genetic testing organizations to deliver precision recommendations based on an individuals unique genetic profile. All this helps people identify lifestyle and dietary adjustments to improve their health before things become a bigger problem. Along with advanced diagnostic testing your treatment plan comes with six months of complimentary dietician appointments to discuss the results. We also offer precision medicine genetic testing to help you achieve healthy diet and longevity goals.
- World Health Organization. (2018). Towards a dementia plan: a WHO guide. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/272642/9789241514132-eng.pdf
- Wahl, D., Solon-Biet, S. M., Cogger, V. C., Fontana, L., Simpson, S. J., Le Couteur, D. G., & Ribeiro, R. V. (2019). Aging, lifestyle and dementia. Neurobiology of disease, 130, 104481. Retrieved from https://anzac.edu.au/publications/pubdata/pdf/2019_31136814.pdf
- Amanda L. Lumsden, Anwar Mulugeta, Ville-Petteri Mäkinen, Elina Hyppönen. Metabolic profile-based subgroups can identify differences in brain volumes and brain iron deposition. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 2022; Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36053807/
- Araújo, J., Cai, J., & Stevens, J. (2019). Prevalence of optimal metabolic health in American adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2016. Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, 17(1), 46-52. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30484738/