Medication, Fitness, Nutrition: Senior Health with Amy K. Wilson

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Senior Care with Amy K. Wilson

In this episode, I chat with Amy K. Wilson about medication management, nutrition, and the lifestyle changes that reverse aging to keep seniors healthy and independent. Amy K. Wilson is a geriatric pharmacist, nutrition coach, and fitness professional. We discuss how to stay proactive when navigating a medication routine, and she reveals the true impact our lifestyle choices have on the aging process and our overall health. Amy stresses the importance of whole foods and fitness and describes how a personalized lifestyle plan can improve functioning. It’s never too late to take control of our health; join us as we discuss how to begin that process!

Medication, Fitness, Nutrition: Senior Health with Amy K. Wilson

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“​​We can prevent disease, we can prevent going into the nursing home. I'm a pharmacist who doesn't want you on medication if at all possible. We can absolutely reverse time and help ourselves so that we can thrive and not decline or become frail.”

“We're seeing an increase in a lot of other disease states, and a lot of it just has to do with our lifestyle, lack of movement, nutrition, what we're eating, and our body is one big chemical reaction… If you fuel your body with the right things, those chemical reactions can do amazing things. You can actually age backwards, your cells can be better.”

“We have the power to reverse. We have the power to change our course, and it is so within our reach. It doesn't have to be difficult.”

“It's like if you have a Ferrari and you go and you put in the high octane best fuel, it's going to run just unbelievable. You put in the regular, you're probably going to be on the side of the road sometime, because it is not functioning on all the cylinders that it's supposed to. Same with our body. We can either fuel it with things that help our hormones, that help our gut bacteria, that help all these chemical processes, or we give it subpar stuff and those things just don't work.”


Medication, Fitness, Nutrition: Senior Health with Amy K. Wilson

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Guest’s Links:
Amy’s Website: www.amykwilson.com

Schedule a free consultation: www.callwithamy.live

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thenutritioncoachpharmacist/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amywilsonfitness

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-wilson-rph-bcgp/

Threads: https://www.threads.net/@thenutritioncoachpharmacist

Show Notes:

1:08 - Introduction
3:43 - Navigating medication as we age
9:28 - Lifestyle and aging
22:12 - Nutrition and aging
30:52 - Combining medication and nutrition
33:18 - What is reverse aging?
37:47 - How to help loved ones navigate lifestyle changes

Full Show Transcript:

Announcer (00:01):
This episode of The Matt Feret Show is brought to you by the Brickhouse Agency. Brickhouse is a boutique independent health insurance agency that focuses on finding the right Medicare coverage for folks across the country. Matt's wife, Niki, is the heart behind Brickhouse. She's great at making confusing things clear and is passionate about helping people find a Medicare insurance policy that suits their individual needs. To schedule a free one-on-one appointment with Niki or a member of her team, head on over to brickhouse agency.com or simply call (844-844-6565), and someone will help you schedule a phone call or a Zoom meeting. The consultation is free because the insurance companies pay Brickhouse, not you. There's never any pressure or obligation to enroll. Your clearer, simpler Medicare journey is just a call or click away, brickhouseagency.com. Not affiliated with or endorsed by the government or federal Medicare program. Contacting Brickhouse Agency LLC will direct you to a licensed insurance agent.
Matt Feret (01:08):
Hello everyone. This is Matt Feret, author of Prepare for Medicare and Prepare for Social Security Insider's, guidebooks, and online course training series. Welcome to another episode of The Matt Feret Show, where I interview insiders and experts to help light a path to successful living in midlife retirement and beyond. Amy, welcome to the show.
Amy K. Wilson (01:32):
Thanks for having me, Matt. I am so excited to actually be here and talk to all of your listeners.
Matt Feret (01:37):
I'm excited for you to be here. So tell everybody what you do, how long you've been doing it, and how you help people.
Amy K. Wilson (01:45):
I am kind of a triad. I am what's considered a geriatric pharmacist. I work in long-term care, nursing homes, assisted living facilities. I am also a nutrition coach and I am a fitness professional. So I have all three of those modalities that have kind of, in the triad that has really formed what I do. So I do all three. I still teach fitness classes. I still coach virtually nutrition clients, and then I still work in the nursing homes. But what I love as I coach nutrition clients is I use all three of those. My goal, my mission is to keep us who are 50+ out of my nursing homes, out of my assisted living facilities, to be able to thrive and really live our second chapter independently
Matt Feret (02:37):
Geriatric pharmacist. Explain to everybody what the difference is between your retail pharmacist and a geriatric pharmacist. What makes that different?
Amy K. Wilson (02:45):
So I used to be a retail pharmacist. I worked for some of the big chains out there and went into long-term care. So in pharmacy, believe it or not, there's a lot of things that you can specialize in. I specialize in the geriatric population, and as much as this pains me, geriatrics is really considered like 55 and over, I'm like, wait, wait, no,
Matt Feret (03:07):
I don't think anybody wants to become a geriatric at any age.
Amy K. Wilson (03:11):
And some of these words that we have to, I guess kind of change what we say. But that is what's considered geriatric as we age, medication works differently in our body. We metabolize things a little bit differently. And so I have a specialty, I have a board certification in that where I know a little bit more than per se, someone who is just a retail pharmacist who didn't get that specialty about how medication works with the aging body, I should say.
Matt Feret (03:43):
No, that's good. So how did you decide to specialize in that and talk a little bit more about how medications affect your body at different ages.
Amy K. Wilson (03:53):
I moved over from retail to long-term care, and I love consulting. I go into nursing homes, I look at charts, and it was just one of those things that I never want to stop learning. I never want to stop becoming better. And that's just one of those things when I work in something, whether it be nutrition, whether it be fitness, I want to make sure I'm the best of the best. And getting that certification, learning those ins and outs and the differences was really, it is part of the job, but it's a necessary part of the job. So that's why I became a certified geriatric pharmacist
Matt Feret (04:35):
And tell everybody, well, me, I'm being selfish. Tell me, so you mentioned medications affect humans differently as they age. Do you have any examples of common ones?
Amy K. Wilson (04:50):
So I mean the big ones, you will hear something that's called the Beers list. It's Beers Criteria list. And especially if you're a caregiver, you'll hear this, well, this is on the Beers list, and you're like, I don't care. I don't know what this is. Those are medications that do affect you as you age. So that would be your anxiolytics. And what are those? That's your Valium, that's your Xanax hypnotics as Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata. A lot of those medications get metabolized different. It's slower. It may be if you're female and older, you have to go down a dose. And what I always hear, and you'll hear this no matter what it is, but I've been taking this for years, or I've been doing this for years and nothing has happened. And we have to realize that our bodies do change as we get older. Our metabolisms, how our liver functions do change, and just because we could do it when we were younger doesn't mean it's right for us as we get older.
Matt Feret (05:52):
And I guess there's not magical age, right, of when something stops or starts working. If I'm a caregiver or if I'm taking some of this stuff myself, how do I start to notice changes that I need to go talk to someone like you about in the medication that I'm taking?
Amy K. Wilson (06:09):
Are you unsteady? Are you falling? Are you foggy headed? Are thoughts not being as coherent as they were before? And a lot of people think it's Alzheimer's or early dementia or something like that when it may actually be the medication that's causing some of the side effects. You may not realize what the side effects were before. Maybe you're getting headaches, maybe you're getting lightheaded and dizzy. There's things that don't seem right that we kind of justify. It must be growing older or justifying that it's something else instead of looking at the medication. And the other problem is too, is that if you go to this doctor, let's say you go to cardiologist and then maybe you go to an endocrinologist and maybe you go to your regular doctor. In theory, they're all supposed to talk to each other and know what you're all on. That's getting better.
But there's still things that slip through. And if you're going to your pharmacy down the street, and then if you're going and getting medication from mail order or you stopped by Costco and paid cash for something, it's all, a lot of times doesn't get, I would say adjudicated. Someone doesn't look at the whole picture and you might be taking things that interact with each other. You might be taking something that's giving you a side effect and you just don't realize it. And honestly, use your pharmacist because that is what is going to help you or whoever you're taking care of to make sure that we're not causing more issues.
Matt Feret (07:41):
So stick with one pharmacy or at least have one pharmacist that says, alright, what's everything? What are all the things you're taking.
Amy K. Wilson (07:50):
If you can, because that way you have one document, you have one file, and not only is it the pharmacist able to check it, we also have computers that check things too. And that makes it much more available, especially because some people pay cash, and I understand why you pay cash. Some things are cheaper than going through the insurance company. The insurance company will catch things too. So you always want that double, triple check to make sure that you're staying safe.
Matt Feret (08:22):
Yeah, no, that's good advice. And I know you got, like you said, cash and mail order and different pharmacies and then hospital pharmacies. That's another one too that if you get prescribed something, your retail pharmacist may or may not know it. And then the discount card thing, right? So where is that captured? If you fill that someplace else, it kind of seems, I mean, look, I know there are stop gaps in place to look at drug interactions, but does it really at times come down to the actual patient or the caregiver to keep that comprehensive list? If they're going to multiple places.
Amy K. Wilson (08:57):
We have to be our own self-advocates. We have to be the one who's in charge. We can't put that, I won't say put that responsibility, but we can't let, oh, well, the pharmacist should know this, or the doctor should know this, or the nurse should know this, or the hospital should know this. We have to take charge and be our own self-advocates. We have to, or for my mom, I have a list of all the stuff that she's on that I'm always going through. We have to be the ones to take responsibility.
Matt Feret (09:28):
So let me pivot quickly to, you said long-term care facilities or assisted living facilities. There's a bunch of different names, right? You've got memory units, long-term care, short-term skilled nursing. Can you help me and help everybody listening understand the differences between all of these different names and what they do?
Amy K. Wilson (09:46):
So it depends on what state, because every state has different laws, but the majority is if it's a skilled nursing facility, which is also called an SSNF or SNF, that is what we think of as a nursing home. That is what you get. I would say someone who has to have total care. They can't live on their own when they can't do ADLs, which are adult daily living. So think about you can't drive your car, you're not going to be able to balance your checkbook, you're not be able to put your pants on. They need total care. And what's scary for me, and this is where the nutrition coach and the fitness comes in, is that we used to only see 80 year old’s, 90 year old’s. That's what we saw in the nursing homes. That's not what I'm seeing anymore. I'm now seeing people with my age, fifties, forties, sixties, are becoming the majority of my patients in the nursing homes.
We can prevent disease, we can prevent the fact that we don't have to go into the nursing home. And that is really my mission is to get people off. I'm a pharmacist who doesn't want you on medication. If all possible, we can absolutely reverse time, help ourselves so that we can thrive and not decline or become what call frail. So that's skilled. Then we have assisted living. So maybe it's something that you're not able to do all your meals, or you just want somebody who can check in on you or you have a button to call if you fall. Those are your assisted living and sometimes they're called personal care. So you're still on your own. You're still able probably to drive your car. You're still able to put on your clothes every day, talk on the phone, but it's kind of like a semi-retirement community that has some people there to help you if something should happen. Now, the difference is, and this is where a lot of people get kind of caught up, is that most of those people are not licensed medical workers. Meaning that if you are in assisted living, you fall, they can't help you. They can call 911, but they're not someone who can get you up do an assessment where a nursing home has that skilled medical community that can absolutely take care of you. So that's kind of the differences.
Matt Feret (12:08):
That's the difference. And then there are other right retirement communities with stuff on site and they move people from living in a regular home or a condo or an apartment into different various pieces of assisted or then nursing home or SNF.
Amy K. Wilson (12:24):
Yeah, there's several communities that will have a step. You start here if you need this and this that's available. And then you just have your retirement communities that are like, Hey, it's a free for all. And that's just a retirement community, which is amazing because you get the social aspect of people and your peers and it has nothing to do with any caregiving whatsoever.
Matt Feret (12:48):
Thanks for clearing those up. And I'm going to go right back to where you ended before talking about the other types, which is you're seeing people in their fifties and sixties and even forties sometimes, and you didn't used to Why?
Amy K. Wilson (13:01):
It's lifestyle. It's how we eat, it's what we do. It's our stress level. So what I'm seeing is, and if you think back, because we're all probably Gen X baby boomers, in the seventies, we had a lot of heart attacks and the American Heart Association, everybody else came out and was like, oh, fat is the culprit. And in the eighties we started seeing everything was low fat, fat-free, free. So we started declining on the heart disease and we started inclining on diabetes because when you take fat out of a product, you still got to make it taste good and they put sugar in instead. So we replaced one bad thing with something that is almost, I would say even worse because diabetes is something that comes up over time. And the complications of diabetes, heart disease, renal failure, so that's your kidney failure, gangrene, because when you have high sugar, your wounds don't heal, right?
And then we're seeing total amputations because of those infections. So unfortunately where we may have seen that in later years, we're now seeing that in younger years. So we have tons, and it is really sad the amount of people in forties and fifties on dialysis because their kidneys have failed due to diabetes. The other thing we're seeing is increasing cancers in younger people. We know that colon cancer is probably a direct correlation with ultra-processed foods with what we're eating. We're also seeing increase in a lot of other disease states, and a lot of it just has to do with our lifestyle, lack of movement, nutrition, what we're eating and our body is one big chemical reaction. I always say this, and if you fuel it the right things, those chemical reactions can do amazing things. You can actually age backwards, your cells can be better, but when you fuel it suboptimal fuel.
It's like if you have a Ferrari and you go and you put in the high octane best fuel, it's going to run just unbelievable. You put in the regular, you're probably going to be on the side of the road sometime because it is not functioning on all the cylinders that it's supposed to. Same with our body. We can either fuel it with things that it helps with our hormones, that helps with our gut bacteria, that helps all these chemical processes, or we give it subpar stuff and those things just don't work. And it promotes diseases like diabetes, like heart disease, like high cholesterol. And the problem is, is that when we get our fifties, we think, oh, this is just the way this is aging. This is the process. I'm going to retire. I've earned the right to sit on my butt. I've earned the right just not to do anything. And we have to change that mindset. It's like, no, this is the beginning. All that stuff that we did before was training so that we can start living our life and doing the things that we want to and be stronger, be better, be more vibrant, and be something that we want to be and not just put our hands up and go, well, this is the fifties. This is when it starts going downhill.
Matt Feret (16:28):
That's a horrible thought that fifties are when it starts going downhill. Do you see, since you're in this every day, do you see a difference based on socioeconomic factors in terms of income or parts of the country that are different? Or is this really kind of cuts all swaths.
Amy K. Wilson (16:45):
It does cut all swaths, but also there is socioeconomic. There absolutely is. You're not going to have someone who has a lower socioeconomic shopping at Whole Foods shopping the organic section. But I'll tell you, there's Aldi's. Aldi's has organics and whole foods at a discount. A lot of it is what we're being told in the media, which is so confusing. I call it analysis paralysis. There's so much information being thrown at you one day. Fat is good, one day is fat's not good. One day it's carbs one day it's not carbs. And there's just so much misinformation out there that people just don't understand. And then you have the marketing geniuses who throw all this stuff at us at the grocery store that tells us it's healthy air quotes when it really isn't. And it's a lot to kind of process. And we're creatures of habit. If we grew up on Doritos, if we grew up on certain kinds of food, that's what we're going to gravitate towards and not even think about it. We don't think a lot of times how much food impacts our health later on in life. We just don't. It's not something that we've been taught or it's not something that's been shown to us in the media.
Matt Feret (18:02):
So by the time I've reached my age, I've seen articles online and a bunch of books on diet. And you had South Beach, what, in the early two thousands, late nineties. And then you've got low carb, no carb, Atkins, I mean all these branded diets. And then yeah, you said the eighties, right? It's carb. I can remember eating low fat cookies. Wow, these are healthy cookies, right? I mean, maybe not. What's your approach? I mean, again, you're a pharmacist and you're a nutritionist. It's kind of the blending the best of both worlds. What's the approach that you see at least? Let me just be selfish again. Forties, fifties, sixties, not yet into the seventies and eighties where you've got a lifetime now, a long lifetime of eating healthily or not, but go forties and fifties at this point. I know I need to eat better. And Doritos taste good.
Amy K. Wilson (19:05):
Doritos are awesome. So there's nothing to say that, and I always tell all my clients is that you have to find a balance. The big thing is what I coach is helping to balance your blood sugar. And when you balance your blood sugar, what we don't want is these spikes that go up and down, and you'll hear about this all the time. Oh, insulin spikes. Oh, blood sugar. The thing is, is that every time that you spike or go really high on your blood sugar, insulin's getting released. And unfortunately, sometimes insulin is, they make it out as the bad guy. It's not the bad guy. It's just we've kind of manipulated it to be the bad guy. What happens when our blood sugar goes way up? And that's with eating ultra-processed foods, not necessarily all sugar, but when it's ultra-processed foods and we go really high, well now we're increasing the aging process, which is what we don't want to do.
So the things that you can look for is honestly getting rid of ultra-processed foods. What that means is things with chemicals, things with dyes, things that with ingredients, you really can't figure out what they are replacing it with whole food, nutrition, AKA real food, getting back to the basics. It's not sexy, it's not shiny. It doesn't go fast. When people are like, well, I want to lose weight in our fifties, forties, fifties, sixties, we need to stop worrying about chasing skinny or the specific body type and start focusing on training to stay out a nursing home. And it is eating the real food, eating meat, eating grains, eating bananas, fruits, vegetables, potatoes. I mean, I'm saying things to people like, oh my God, I'm keto. I can't do that. No, your body needs those micronutrients that's in that food. And when you give your body the right things, those chemical processes can flourish and you actually can age backwards and your cells can age backwards and you're going to feel amazing.
And the side effect is decreasing your pre-diabetes or diabetes, decreasing your cholesterol, decreasing heart disease or actually reversing it. So there's nothing ever wrong with eating real food. The problem is, is that we're so wanting quick fixes that we forget that things take time. Our bodies are not Amazon Prime. Our bodies are not our phone that we can scroll and change something at a click of a finger. Our bodies have their own timetable, but what we want to do is just keep showing up every day and being consistent. And that's not saying you can't have a cookie or Doritos here and there. It's that that's not your staple. I'm not having Doritos with every single meal or every single day. It is embracing the outer perimeter of the grocery store. It's embracing the real food and getting rid of that prepackaged of the marketing. The marketing that says, oh, buy this is healthy or buy this is going to help you lose weight. And just going back to the basics,
Matt Feret (22:12):
Back to the basics of real food. Talk about that. And then right after this, I want to talk about that whole reverse thing that sounds attractive. How do I reverse aging? Talk about, you said meat, potatoes, and you even said it like, oh, the people on keto are like, how horrible. So all these, I'm not going to call 'em fad diets maybe, but talk to me about your approach. Again, you're a pharmacist, you're a nutritionist. Is there a label or a diet out there that meets all your conditions for healthy eating and living?
Amy K. Wilson (22:48):
I use a platform what's called faster weight to fat loss. That's what I use because I can coach anybody anywhere in the United States and even the world. I have clients everywhere, and it's a step-by-step approach because it has to work with you. Everybody's like, well, what do you eat? You may not like what I eat. You may not like salmon, avocados, hummus, that kind of thing. It has to work with you. We're still going to work with the real food, but it does have to work with what you like and it's going to be baby steps because the first week we just got to get rid of some of the, be honest, the crap that most of us eat and don't realize. It's like, well, what about this? What about this? And you don't realize until you start really looking and educating yourself as to, and I don't like say good or bad, better or better or better.
So we look at foods that how do they serve you? What will they do to the inside of you? Let's heal from the inside out. And when you start eating real food, when you start eating whole food, what happens is is that your memory gets better, you sleep better. And as we age, sleep is so important. We know that lack of sleep causes Alzheimer's, dementia, high blood pressure, diabetes. It can go on and on and on. So when you start feeling better, when you start thinking better, when you start moving better, everything is, it's like a snowball effect. It just builds and builds and builds and that momentum and that energy keeps going. So it is definitely the whole food approach and step-by-step. So that's the first week. The second week is I do what's called macro tracking. Macronutrients are your protein, your fats and your carbohydrates, and everybody's different.
So if you go on to a magazine that says, this is what you should be eating in a day and they're sending that to all of their subscribers, well, no, I mean you and I are different and I'm different than somebody else who is soon to be 53 and maybe my height, our genetics are different in how they play is different. So everybody has different nutritional needs and we can't just put that in a box. And that's what I do is work on the individual and have them learn how to look at labels, look at why you need certain macronutrients, the protein, the fats and the carbs, and then also getting the real food that has the micronutrients, which is your vitamins and minerals, looking at that and setting that person up and it's holding their hand. It's practicing. It's learning how to do all of this and adding some weight training because as we age, we lose muscle mass and we need that muscle in order to get out of a chair in order to walk. What we see as we age, and you see people shuffling all the time. I went to a functional person, their talk, and they called it buttlessness. Especially for men! And it's true.
Matt Feret (25:50):
It's going to sound weird. I do know what you're talking about.
Amy K. Wilson (25:53):
Yeah. It's like my husband calls it the Hank Hill butt, the flat butt. Our glutes help us pick up our feet, our glutes help us walk our glutes, help us get out of a chair. So all this functional fitness, I mean, it's going to help pick up your grandkids, maybe your dogs, and when you have those muscles, you're also aging backwards and you're preventing falls. You're preventing tripping. And that's what I work on with my clients is getting that back to the basics, to build muscle, to fuel your body so that you can thrive in our midlife.
Matt Feret (26:30):
I have a very important question. Are you going to make me eat kale?
Amy K. Wilson (26:34):
You don't have to eat kale if you don't want to. But it is good for you.
Matt Feret (26:37):
Oh, it's a garnish. It's a garnish. It's not a vegetable. I can't do it.
Amy K. Wilson (26:42):
There's a way to make it that makes it not so bad.
Matt Feret (26:45):
Well, I know you say that, but I think you're wrong. There's no way. Alright, so as you were talking, I was thinking you said the word basics and heal from within. When someone is attempting to get healthier, there's so much thrown at, right? You said lift weights, do some cardio, eat well, don't eat this, do this diet, take supplements. Oh, the right type of supplements, take vitamins. Oh, there's the wrong type of supplements. Take probiotics. Where do I start? If I'm building a house of health, where do I start? Do I start doing them all at once? Do I start eating well? Where do I start on this?
Amy K. Wilson (27:28):
I mean, we know if you throw everything, most people can't do everything all at once. It's just too overwhelming. And I am a big, big fan of James Clear Atomic Habits and starting with one habit and what's called habit stacking, adding one thing after another, and that's what I do with my clients. So the first thing is just eliminate the processed foods as much as you can. The ultra processed foods, the prepackaged stuff, and I'm talking about Lean Cuisines, Healthy Choice things that are labeled healthy that really aren't getting back to the food that you have to make. And that doesn't mean it's expensive and that doesn't mean it takes a lot of time. It's learning that and putting that in your toolbox and starting with that, that is the best thing that you can do. And then also decreasing the amount of sugar because that's also in a lot of the ultra processed foods and the junk food. That's something that our bodies don't need.
Matt Feret (28:24):
If you start there, I know everybody's different, but how long does it take for your body to either reset, reboot, or go on a different course? If I'm eating regular United States, stop by Arby's once a week, maybe eat healthy and you have a salad for dinner. But the next morning I'm on the road and I got to hit McDonald's. How long does this take for your body to kind of shake itself of the prior foods that you've been eating and kind of reboot?
Amy K. Wilson (28:53):
Well, it's process, but most of my clients will see in two weeks a significant amount of inflammation being lost. And I've had several who about two weeks we needed them to start going to their doctor and adjusting diabetes medication, adjusting heart disease or high blood pressure medication because we've talked about inflammation. There's a couple different ones and what I'm talking about is what's called chronic inflammation. And if you think about inflammation, everybody's like, what's the difference between that? Well, if you think about a mosquito bite and you get bit and it itches and it's hot and it swells, that's acute inflammation. It's a toxin that came into your body and your body's like, get out of here. Let's get rid of you. When we eat foods that don't agree with us, meaning that those are ultra processed foods, now we're doing that to the inside of our bodies and our body's doing the same thing.
It's like, hey, I don't like this stuff. I don't want it in here. And it does an inflammatory process thinking that it's helping us. The problem is is that when you keep throwing the same thing at it all the time, that inflammatory process keeps going. Now we're talking about our arteries are getting harder, are getting clogged, visceral fat around our organ that's fat around our organs, that makes our organs work harder. Your joints might hurt, you might have headaches, and that is chronic inflammation. So when we start to fuel our body with what it wants, that inflammation process starts to tamper down and all of a sudden you don't have high blood pressure and your blood sugar's stable, and so your diabetes or prediabetes has gotten better, your joints feel better. You can think clearer. You're sleeping better. There's all these other cascade effects that occur, and that is usually within weeks one and two that starts, and then it just keeps getting better and better and better after that.
Matt Feret (30:52):
And you mentioned working with your physician or a physician as well to make sure you're monitoring all this. So if you're on hypertension drugs, you're on cholesterol medication, you're on, whatever, it sounds like you really do. If you're doing this or whenever you're doing this, you need to get dialed in with your physician too, right? You
Amy K. Wilson (31:09):
Do. So in my assessment forms, I'm always seeing what medications people are on. I'm like, okay, so this is what's going to happen if we start losing inflammation. You might feel lightheaded and just not understanding what it is. And a lot of people are like, oh, well, it must be detox. Well, no, it's because your body's getting better. Your body is actually blood pressure is going down. You're taking blood pressure medications, so you're actually going lower than you should. I don't want anybody to change their medications on their own. That's why I'm always, I won't do that. I don't prescribe. That's why I'm going to work with your doctor or tell you, okay, I need you to tell your doctor this is what's going on, this is what you're doing. And then see where they want to go from there. Sometimes they take the medication all the way off and then sometimes they do a step down where they're decreasing the medication.
Matt Feret (31:57):
Wow, that's a real testament to actually combining two of your three things, which is pharmacology and organic or natural nutrition. It's pretty rare out there. I don't think many pharmacists and or nutritionists really cross paths like that. Is that true?
Amy K. Wilson (32:16):
There's not too many of us. No. And I'm very much on preventative. I'm very much on reversing because I think we haven't been told, and I used to see this when I was in retail all the time. Oh, I went to my doctor. I have high cholesterol, I got to fill this prescription. And now we have the lavy, semaglutide ozempic. Now the doctors have something to prescribe for weight loss, and they don't even discuss all the other options. But here I can write a prescription. Here you go. I'm cheap. I mean, I would much rather do it with food than pay a copay, and if I stop this medication, it all comes back anyway. And if you're not learning how to eat and you're still feeling your body with all that ultra-processed foods, you're not preventing other diseases. Yes, you might lose some weight, but you're not preventing other things that could be occurring.
Matt Feret (33:13):
It's a single solution for a holistic problem.
Amy K. Wilson (33:17):
Matt Feret (33:18):
You mentioned it twice, and I'm really excited to get into it. Reversing, I mean, again, when I hear reverse aging, it may be people listening or watching do the same thing, which is like, oh-
Amy K. Wilson (33:29):
Roll their eyes.
Matt Feret (33:29):
Yeah, 1(800) commercials late at night talking about flavonoids from red wine. That gives everybody the excuse to drink more wine. Wine. I know that's not it, but when someone hears reverse aging, their brains might go to, how do you classify? What are you talking about when you say reversing aging or the aging?
Amy K. Wilson (33:48):
Reverse aging means the inside your cells are actually performing better, they're performing optimal. Think about it. When you have something and everything's all rusted and you get a nice little scouring pad and you get all that rust off, and then you put a nice little coat of something on it and that prevents that rust, that's what we're doing with food. So we are actually helping ourselves be able to turn over better to be able to heal themselves better. We have things that's called mitochondria that helps things for air and breathing, our DNAs as we get older, if you think about a long strand and you think about a shoestring on the end of the shoe stringing, we have these little caps on our DNA called telomeres. As we get older, those get shorter and shorter and shorter. What we have found with Whole Food Nutrition, with keeping your blood sugar stable is that we can actually increase the size of those telomeres.
We can actually increase the size of our DNA instead of it getting shorter and shorter and shorter. It's actually getting longer or staying the same. In our cells, the way our cells are and the way they react and the way they would bounce back is acting as a younger cell instead of an older cell. So that's reverse aging, and most of my clients will find that their wrinkles are a little bit less. And so things that you thought of aging is being frail of not being able to get out of a chair or not being able to think or not feeling good or having tons of aches and pains and seeing those things go away. And then my pre-Diabetes. Diabetes, and I was there when menopause hit. For some reason, my A1C, which is a diabetes marker, was going up. My dad had diabetes. I have the gene for diabetes, and I was able to take from pre-diabetes back to low normal just by using nutrition and fitness. So it's definitely possible. I see it with all my clients. I even see it with me.
Matt Feret (36:06):
This is going to be maybe a sad question, but hopefully not. Is it ever too late?
Amy K. Wilson (36:11):
No, no. I kind of say we have at a crossroads at this age, we have the opportunity to change and be on this and the path that will keep us out of the nursing home, that will keep us thriving, that will keep us independent or we can do what we've always done and go on the path of having have to have someone take care of us and the disability path so we have a narrow window. Now, when we were younger, we could do things, but we were actually borrowing against the future. It catches up with us. It's not that our bodies were resilient, it was just being able to cope and it was kind of borrowing from the future. Well, now it's the future and it’s paybacks, we know. So now it's the time that we have to get it together. And whether you're, we're talking about forties and fifties, I have clients in my sixties and seventies who are thriving and it's never too late to learn. The power is that we have the power that we're the secret sauce. You either can say, yes, I'm going to do this or make excuses, and I'm not going to judge you from either one. I just know. What I see is that if you want to reverse disease, if you want to stay out of the nursing home, because nursing homes are not where they are, where you want to be, it's not total care.
It's not a home. I want to stay in my home. I want to stay independent. And I think most people want to be that way.
Matt Feret (37:47):
For sure. If I'm taking care of somebody who is either in assisted living or a nursing home or some other version of it, what can I do? I'm not there all the time. I don't know that my geriatric pharmacist is also a nutritionist at a functional movement or a health workout, healthy lifestyle coach. What can I do? What if mom goes in and has an accident or a fall and maybe it's a short-term stay. Maybe it's we don't know, it could be short-term and long-term. What can I do either from afar or with the care providers?
Amy K. Wilson (38:26):
There's things that they have that involve the family and their meetings. I can't tell you how many times I read the charts that family didn't show up. Be involved, be involved with the facility, know what's going on, know what's going on with the care. If they're having lots of falls, are they working with therapy to try to prevent those? Unfortunately, sometimes when they're in a nursing home, they're in there because they fell in the first place, and now we're just trying to make life as comfortable as possible. But at the same point too, look at the medications. If a pharmacist in a skilled nursing facility has to look at those residents once a month, we have to touch a resident every month. More than likely, I've made recommendations that says these medications are causing falls. They'll go to the family members. The family's like, well, mom's always been on that medication. I don't want to get rid of it. So be open to things have to change. Be open to preventing falls. Be open to having things different than what they were before, and just make sure that you're involved in that care. I would say that's the biggest thing is I just see lack of involvement.
Matt Feret (39:47):
Yeah, I believe it. Let's say mom or dad or a loved one is in a facility. They've got the pharmacist onsite. Maybe they're getting some therapy. Are there some other things that I need to bring in from the outside that aren't being offered or aren't being shared? I mean, I'd hate to think that someone's in a nursing home, and that's kind of it. You said, let's make 'em comfortable. Well, what else can I do? If that's the situation to get mom or dad or loved one off their feet and out of that thing.
Amy K. Wilson (40:16):
Yeah, well, and ask the questions. What's the prognosis? How are they eating? Because institutional food is not the greatest. Maybe if it's something that you can bring in good nutritious foods to help them, maybe that's something that you can do. Maybe it's calling every day or having FaceTime, and we have all these things that we can do now, but once again, it's also understanding. Sometimes it is the disease progression. Sometimes it is if they're 80 or 90, sometimes it is the disease progression and just understanding and you have questions ask, don't just take it face value. Ask those questions. Is there a possibility that they're going to be able to be discharged? What is the prognosis? What can we do? And are any of the medications causing any of these issues that are going on right now?
Matt Feret (41:12):
Thank you. So I know we're wrapping up because we've been talking for a long time, but it's a really fascinating subject, so I keep asking these questions. Let's go. It's kind of a two-part question. First, let's go. We've segmented forties, fifties, sixties, and then seventies and eighties plus. Look, I know weight is a marker or identifier disease, state, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, all those things. What about, and then later on, obviously seventies and eighties plus. Are there things personally I need to be looking for in the way my body looks, feels? Are there other markers that are a bit more hidden that I should be attuned to say, maybe you need to make some changes.
Amy K. Wilson (41:58):
There's some called metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, and that might be, it's like a buzzword. You'll hear that one. How do you feel? Are things not the way they used to be? Don't just chalk it up to age. That's the big thing, because I'll get that all the time. Well, it's, I'm aging. Do you have headaches, joint pain? Are you feeling foggy? What metabolic syndrome is, is that you have three of the five. So three of the five being that your waist circumference, we call it muffin top and female beer gut, and guys, that has increased. So that's one. How's your blood pressure? If that's elevated, that's two. How is your blood sugar? If that's elevated, that's three. And then we go into LDL and HDL, which is your cholesterol. So if all of those are increasing, that is what's called metabolic syndrome. That increases your chance for stroke, for heart attack, for other chronic inflammation, diseases, diabetes, those are blood tests.
You should be going to the doctor every year getting certain blood tests just to see where you are. And if you're not and your doctor's like, oh, you don't need those. Yeah, you do, because we need to see where you are now and if those things are improving or if they're getting worse. Those are things you can look at. But the big thing is how are you feeling if you just don't feel if you're not sleeping right? If you notice that you are tired all the time, if you notice that you're, and I don't want to say weight because I think the scale is evil and it doesn't tell you the whole truth, but are your joints hurting? Are your knees hurting? Are you seeing that your pants aren't fitting as much? Is that belt loop getting looser and loose? Or you have to get a new size? Those are all markers of saying, okay, I need to do something.
Matt Feret (43:48):
Thank you. This has been wonderful and really enlightening. What questions, and again, the trifecta of what you do. What questions or question did I not ask about all of these topics that I should have?
Amy K. Wilson (44:04):
I think we covered it all, I just want to say that we have the power to reverse. We have the power to change our course, and it is so within our reach. It doesn't have to be difficult. Reach out for help. I know of all of us in our retirement years, we're all budgeting, but sometimes it does pay for itself to get a professional, get somebody on track that way. Think about how much money you're saving for not going to assist living facility, which is thousands a month, or a nursing home, which is thousands a month. So preventative care always pays for itself.
Matt Feret (44:45):
Awesome. Amy, thank you so much.
Amy K. Wilson (44:47):
Thank you.
Matt Feret (44:55):
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Matt Feret is the host of The Matt Feret Show, which focuses on the health, wealth and wellness of retirees, people over fifty-five and caregivers helping loved ones. He’s also the author of the book series, Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance and Prepare for Social Security – The Insider’s Guide to Maximizing Your Retirement Benefits.

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