Get 7–9 hours of sleep per night. One of the most important things you can do to protect your aging body is to get enough sleep. This includes getting checked for sleep apnea. If you snore, or even worse stop breathing, during your sleep it can have dramatic consequences related to blood sugar, blood pressure, memory as well as blood pressure.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. James LaValle. Dr. LaValle is an internationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board certified clinical nutritionist, and expert and educator in integrative and precision health. He is an Advisor for probiotics.com, a resource guide to help folks learn more about probiotics and what readers can do for themselves, and their families, to get on a path towards greater whole body health. Dr. LaValle is probably best known for his expertise in personalized integrative therapies uncovering the underlying metabolic issues that keep people from feeling healthy and vital. Dr. LaValle is the author of 20 books including the most recently released, Your Blood Never Lies, as well as his best seller, Cracking the Metabolic Code, and works with organizations such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and athletes from Olympians, to collegiate baseball, basketball and football, pro football, and car racing, who all seek out his expertise for optimizing metabolism and targeting real world results. He was named one of the “50 Most Influential Pharmacists” by American Druggist magazine.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I was interested in fitness and nutrition from a young age since I was an athlete. Back when I was going through pharmacy school in the early 1980’s we still took pharmacognosy and learned about all the metabolic pathways that vitamins and minerals played a role in. I had a personal health crisis back in 1982 and turned to natural medicines to help me out of the situation. It was so successful I thought why shouldn’t I use my pharmacy knowledge and apply it to natural compounds and then combine it with lifestyle exercise and diet information.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
I think that the biggest thing that helps avoiding burn out is finding a career path that you are passionate about. I still wake up every morning and get excited about learning new insights in to healing people and working with their chemistry. The most direct way to avoid burnout is to balance out your life. Getting enough sleep, learning how to unload stress are key to this.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
I think that great work culture comes from empowering people, finding their true skill set and strength, and then apply it in a team building environment. Create goals that everyone can rally around. Most of all, treating all workers with respect no matter what their position.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In some cases, retirement can reduce health, and in others it can improve health. From your point of view or experience, what are a few of the reasons that retirement can reduce one’s health?
Retirement can be tough on people from a lot of fronts. Some people become inactive and do develop hobbies or interests to keep their minds sharp and preferably physically moving. In some cases, I have had people who retire, decide to exercise and then go overboard. In general, as people age their immune system weakens, along with shifts in their microbiome. Something as simple as a probiotic can help to improve immunity.
Can you share with our readers 5 things that one should do to optimize their physical wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Get 7–9 hours of sleep per night. One of the most important things you can do to protect your aging body is to get enough sleep. This includes getting checked for sleep apnea. If you snore, or even worse stop breathing, during your sleep it can have dramatic consequences related to blood sugar, blood pressure, memory as well as blood pressure.
2. Maintaining as close to ideal body weight as you can. 50% of the adult U.S. population is either prediabetic or diabetic. Nearly 40% of the population is obese and 76% is overweight. In a nutshell, people eat too much, too often, too late and make poor food selections. So a high plant food diet with legumes, lean proteins and carbohydrates to match your level of activity helps. Getting rid of foods that may trigger inflammation as well. I also teach people to do time restricted eating and also period fasting mimic diet as a way to restore the body.
3. Movement is important. Now that I am in my 60th year of living, I train differently than when I was 20; more moderate intensity aerobics for longer periods of time to improve blood sugar disposal and burn fat. Plus, I train with weights a little less and not as strenuously as I used to.
4. Controlling stress is a key component to living longer. Adaptogens were the most valuable herbs in all of traditional medicines across the world. Adaptogens are the herbs that helped people cope with stress. In other words, since medicine has been recorded, stress has been recognized as a major influence on someone’s health. Breathing exercises to improve stress response also works.
5. I am a big believer in the value of nutrients. For example, low magnesium levels are associated with increasing the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and diabetes. If people are not going to eat lots of plant food, it is going to be tough to get adequate levels of nutrients into the body so that metabolic functions are optimized. One of my favorite supplements is Kyolic Aged Garlic extract. With over 800 publications on its value, it is a great example of how nutrients can make a difference. It helps blood pressure, reverses vulnerable plaque, reduces plaque formation in your arteries and has many other benefits.
In your experience, what are the 3 or 4 things that people wish someone told them before they retired?
The things that people should be concerned with include making exercise a part of your day, learn how to eat for health and weight, manage stress more effectively, and realize that you paint the picture of your future health. There are no magic pills that fix the majority of health problems. Mold your lifestyle as you are aging so that you can continue to maintain a high level of vitality.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Since my first days as a health care professional, getting people to take on their health and make conscious decisions about their actions. It is hard though, driving home on any given day there are plenty of liquor shops and bakeries, but not a lot of broccoli shops! Diets that are high in carbs, refined sugar or saturated fat are known to disrupt the microflora in the intestine. The microflora help with absorption of nutrients, metabolizing hormones, signaling the brain for appetite control and help with detoxification. You should look for room temperature stable, guaranteed potency probiotics, one that I like is Kyodophillus.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Good Friends double our joy and divide our sorrows”. I have learned to appreciate the value of friendships and how it can enrich your life. When my son was injured in football, it was incredible to experience all of the people who reached out and cared. But honestly, I live by this and work at cultivating more meaning to my relationships and to people that I meet.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
If you want to learn more about your metabolic health, you can check out JimLavalle.com or MetabolicCode.com. Plus, you can submit your health questions to probiotics.com and either myself of one of their various experts will be ready to help you find the answer you need. #JimLaValle
Thank you for all of these great insights!