TEL: 616.808.2695 | FAX: 616.808.26971959 East Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

When you read or go online to find information about losing weight and decreasing body fat, you find all kinds of information about the importance of your nutritional food choices, calorie intake, exercise, and daily energy expenditure. Which all play a major role in weight management and weight loss success.
When metabolism is being addressed in conventional medicine the attention goes primarily to thyroid function, hormone levels, and cardiovascular health. Which again play a role in weight management and weight loss success. But the one organ in the body that plays the biggest role in managing your metabolism and fat burning abilities rarely gets any attention. Your Liver. I still remember many, many years back at MSU in anatomy class when my professor stated that the Liver was the most important organ in your body. That little tidbit of info stuck with me all these years as I have helped thousands of individuals lose weight and improve their health through diet and exercise. I like to refer to the Liver as the Rodney Dangerfield of organs, because it gets “No Respect”.

The Liver plays a role in nearly every metabolic process in the human body.
 Digestion, processing, and utilization of fat (most fat burning all takes place in the Liver!)
 Metabolism and Production of Amino Acids
 Regulate glucose / storing of glucose as liver glycogen
 Carbohydrate metabolism / Insulin and blood sugar stabilization
 Cholesterol production and removal
 Storage and metabolism of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K)
 Hormone regulation
 Thyroid function: Site of T4 to T3 conversion
 Drug and Toxin metabolism (Main role)

How to support Liver Health

At Age Management of West Michigan we start out all our weight loss patients on a one week cleanse to detoxify and reduce toxic burden to optimize Liver function and overall body metabolism. Utilizing supplements that support Liver health are also recommended to most of our patients as they go through their weight loss journey to improved health and well-being. So Liver health and function is a top priority for patients at AMWM, and should be a top priority for any individual who is trying to lose weight.

AMWM uses a product called Dual-Tox to support cleanses and healthy liver function. This product contains a variety of recommended vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and herbs that support the Liver.

Individual supplements like Milk Thistle, NAC, and TUDCA are some of the more recommended individual Liver support supplements.
IV drip and injection glutathione are more advanced options available to support Liver function.

Processed foods that contain artificial ingredients, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup put an extremely high load of stress on the liver to process and should be eliminated. Alcohol is another drug that puts a high demand of stress on the Liver, and should be avoided during any weight loss program. Getting a complete Liver panel blood work test from your physician is the best way to initially determine Liver health and function. Give your Liver the respect and attention that it deserves for all that it does for you on a daily basis, especially if your goal is to achieve weight loss success.


The human body is amazing. Its innate ability to adapt to stimuli in the environment and maintain a healthy balance of thousands of metabolic processes in the body that support daily life. The majority of these processes are autonomic, so we don’t have to make any physical or mental effort to maintain them. The human body is built to survive and adapt to stress, but it is a product of its environment. So when you take care of your body, it functions at a high level with a strong immune system, healthy metabolism, and sharp cognitive function. When you don’t take care of your body, it starts to function at a low level with a weakened immune response, low metabolism, and declining cognitive function.

This adaptability of the body makes most chronic diseases preventable with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Even better, lots of chronic disease is reversable when you get the body back to a healthy body weight and activity level with diet and exercise. It is never too late to start. So this is where we all have the opportunity to take an active role in maintaining the health of our body to control the aging process, prevent chronic disease, and improve quality of life.

The food you put in your mouth has a direct effect not only how your body and brain functions in the moment, but also a direct effect on your genetics moving forward. The number one cause of
inflammation and fatigue in most patients is related to their daily food intake choices.

Exercise plays a key role in brain function, as well as maintenance of muscle mass and bone density. When you exercise and move the body daily, your body produces a chemical called BDNF that promotes brain growth and repair. When you are inactive, your brain actually shrinks in both size and function. When muscles and bones are worked with resistance training on a regular basis, they stay strong and functional. When you are inactive and don’t put stress on the body, you lose muscle mass and bone density. It is a use it or lose it system.

Tips to take an active role in your health:
 Maintain a healthy body weight. Excess body fat is very inflammatory and is one of the main causes of type II diabetes, Hypertension, and High Cholesterol. Losing even 1 to 2 pounds of body fat has been shown to have positive health benefits.
Eat a healthy, real-food based diet. Eliminate chemical based processed foods and concentrate more on fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Take time every week to think about what you are going to eat and prep and plan for success.
Get active. The good news here is that a little goes a long way. Try to get in at minimum of
three weight resistance workouts weekly (30 minutes or more) to maintain lean muscle, strength, and bone density. Daily cardiovascular exercise of 20 to 30 minutes to promote
cognitive and cardiovascular health.
Have structure plan and learn from your mistakes. Just like everything else in life, you need to have a structured plan for success. Don’t give up! Managing your healthy lifestyle is a
marathon, not a sprint, so over time you will make adjustments to your plan so it works for you.

Give your body the daily attention it deserves and treat it right, and you will be happy with how your body will take care of you!


For many soda drinkers looking to drop some weight, the logical choice would be to switch out the high sugar-high calorie drink with a no calorie no sugar option. Enter diet soda. Diet soda was first introduced in 1958, but didn’t take off until the 80s with the surge of Diet Coke. What’s not to love, free of carbs, sugar, and calories; seems practically like a health food. Diet soda also contains preservatives (sodium benzoate), artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, stevia), artificial colors (caramel) and addition of acid (malic acid, phosphoric and citric).  While the science around diet soda, artificial sweeteners and weight are inconclusive, there are some indirect associations.

Many studies have revealed that diet soda can lead to a bigger waistline — in fact, diet soda drinkers have been shown to have a 70 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared to non-diet soda drinkers. And people who drank at least two diet sodas per day were found to have a five times greater increase in waist circumference.

Other studies have shown that sweet tastes, whether from pure sugar or artificial sweeteners (aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin), increase the human appetite. The difference is that when a person eats real sugar, which has calories, the brain receives a signal that helps it feel full — but this signal may not be triggered with artificial sweeteners. If the brain doesn’t sense satisfaction it continues to seek food to fuel the body, leading to cravings. Diet soda drinkers tend to have less healthier eating habits, as a way to balance the higher-fat, higher calorie foods, which may also contribute to weight gain.

As if weight gain weren’t bad enough, studies have also reported the other negative impacts of artificial sweeteners. Diabetes-prone mice that were fed a diet that included aspartame for three months had higher blood glucose levels than mice not given the sweetener. People who drank artificially-sweetened beverages every day had a higher risk for strokes and heart attacks. Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to disrupt the gut microbiome and alter blood sugar.

While drinking diet soda isn’t an end-all-be-all sentence to weight gain, there’s no real reason to have it. Aim to replace your daily diet soda with healthier drinks such as fruit-infused water, coconut water, sparkling water, teas including green tea or even kombucha. All of these are going have more nutritional value and benefits than diet soda.



The gut microbiome consists of various bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that reside in the digestive tract, with its composition varying among individuals. This microbiome holds the key to understanding our health. In the last 10 years there have been more and more studies done to count and characterize these bacteria. Over 1000 different strains have been identified and each has their own genetic make-up. It can be said that there are 250-800 times more bacterial genes than human genes. Even more remarkable, these bacterial genes make substances that get into the human bloodstream, affecting our body chemistry, metabolism and energy production.

How could they affect our weight? When we eat food, our gut breaks it down into small pieces. Only the smallest pieces get absorbed into our blood. The rest is eliminated as waste material. In other words, not all of the calories in the food we eat get into our body and increase our weight. The gut bacteria help break down food. Some bacteria are better able at breaking down complex carbohydrates (ie: grains and legumes) into simple sugars, which makes them less likely to be stored as fat. Theoretically, if our gut has more of those kinds of bacteria, it should be easier to lose weight.

When it comes specifically to weight, we can look at two specific species: Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. Obese subjects tend to have a greater amount of Firmicutes species, and a higher Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio than individuals of normal weight. Firmicutes have been shown to be negatively proportional to resting energy expenditure, whereas Bacteroides have been shown to be positively correlated with the percentage of body fat.

We’ve seen evidence of this in rat studies. The microbiome of an obese mouse was transferred into another mouse with no microbiome and it became obese. The same thing was observed when using a lean mouse.

Many factors can alter our microbiome composition and impact the diversity of bacterial strains.  These include diet, exercise, medications, supplementation. Any imbalance is known as dysbiosis and is associated with weight gain and obesity. The influence of the intestinal microbiome on metabolism, hormone balance, neurotransmitter function, and the brain can play a major role in weight management and treatment of obesity. Moreover, the use of probiotics and prebiotics improves gut bacterial composition, and has achieved promising outcomes for prevention and treatment of obesity.

A stool test can be taken to determine your specific microbiome makeup, including the above mentioned Firmicutes and Bacteroides. It can also analyze other markers of guy dysfunction like inflammation, infection and metabolic activity. These take-home kits can be picked up at the office.


Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S., impacting more than 8 percent of Americans. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in governing mood, sleep, digestion and other body functions. For years, a chemical imbalance of serotonin has been widely viewed as the culprit for depression, resulting in the widespread use of antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which boosts serotonin in the brain.


A recent paper published in Molecular Psychiatry, concluded there is no convincing evidence that depression is associated with, or caused by, lower serotonin concentrations or activity. This was based on a synthesis of findings reviewing 17 different studies. Also noted was that there was no greater level of serotonin activity in healthy people versus depressed people. Even by reducing serotonin levels with drugs did not worsen the mood of volunteers who participated in these experiments. The long-accepted serotonin hypothesis doesn’t consider the complexity of the brain when it comes to depression.

While not to criticize prescribing medications for depression, or those using them, antidepressants are one of the many possible treatments, but they are not for everyone. As with any medication, antidepressants are associated with potential side effects, people and their clinician need to weigh up the benefits versus the cons. The idea of a biochemical alteration gives the implication of lifelong issue but depending on the severity of depression, there are some practical lifestyle approaches to put into place. Structure and routine throughout the day and the addition of exercise and dietary changes can improve milder forms. Neurofeedback is another approach for many cognitive based disorders (ie: depression). It aims to reorganize and relax brain wave patterns and increase plasticity of the brain. These positive changes result in fewer depressive episodes.

If anything, this research should push the conversation surrounding depression to a deeper level. Depression presents itself differently from person to person, and taking a one-size approach isn’t the answer.

1959 East Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

TEL: 616.808.2695 | FAX: 616.808.2697

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