What is ProLongevity?
ProLongevity involves a careful analysis of what triggers YOU to experience blood-sugar spikes. The ProLongevity service involves attaching a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, to your arm. We monitor the results via an app, which makes correlations between your diet and blood sugar levels. We analyse those results. After two weeks’ monitoring we can establish which foods are healthy for an individual and which are not. We then recommend a set of sustainable lifestyle adjustments. Your body is unique, and the ProLongevity philosophy is that your treatment must be too.
You can be confident about the ProLongevity service because it is run exclusively by qualified health-professionals.
Patients using the ProLongevity service attach a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, to their arm. This has a tiny hair-like probe which punctures the skin. It doesn't go into your blood, just the fluid around your cells.
Theresa May wears a CGM. She is a Type-1diabetic who developed the condition as an adult, due to an autoimmune problem. The CGM is simple to apply. You can do it yourself, or we can do it for you.
Each sensor lasts for two weeks. It communicates with an app on your smartphone, which sends information to a secure server. You can access the information at all times, helping you take control of your health.
We use the data the CGM collects to understand what makes your blood-sugar spike. Everyone is different, so we develop a plan that will help YOU get healthier.
A history in health
Our roots are in Hertfordshire, just north of London, where our family owns a group of pharmacies. Some of our customers have been coming to us for decades, and they trust us to keep them and their families healthy.
We help people stay well. It’s in our blood.
In recent years we started to see something new: an increase in people with prediabetes and type-2 diabetes. Across the UK this is now classified as an epidemic. Four million people suffer from the condition, and the number is rising rapidly.
This not just a UK problem. The World Health Organisation says that the number of adults globally with diabetes has quadrupled to over 420 million since 1980, almost entirely because of the increase in type-2 diabetes.
Having type-2 diabetes greatly increases the risk of heart-attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation, as well as some cancers and even dementia. In the UK, 10% of the total NHS spend goes on treating the problem, and the figure will only rise.
We saw more people with the condition every year. We were handing out more and more medication. Some worked, some didn’t. Some had side-effects.
Drugs didn’t seem like the solution to us. Everyone’s body is subtly different, and yet we were using the same pills for them all. Also, the causes of type-2 diabetes are well-known: poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. So why weren’t we addressing the cause, rather than the symptoms?
We thought there had to be a better way.
Blood-sugar levels are the root of the problem. Our bloodstream can cope with no more than a spoonful of sugar at a time that’s a tiny amount in 8-pints of blood!. Any more, and it is effectively toxic. Fizzy drinks and even fruit juices can play havoc with the body’s balance. Refined carbohydrates and other processed foods are just as bad.
Snacking is a big issue too. It keeps blood sugar and insulin levels high. Your body functions best when it has a 12-hour break between meals overnight. This is how our ancestors lived; BREAK-fast, the first meal of the day, gets its name from the act of breaking a fast. And yet even when people thought they knew what changes to make, they couldn’t.
Diets didn’t work.
We realised we had to do something more personalised, and to look at people’s whole lifestyles. We look at your diet, exercise regime, your stress triggers, your sleep patterns and more.
We developed a service which combines blood-sugar monitors and apps, and then we use our experience to interpret that information and develop a programme specifically tailored to each individual’s biology, which can prevent dangerous blood-sugars spikes.
The solution is simple.
We can start recommending lifestyle changes that can help you lose weight, feel better, lower the chances of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia, and even reverse prediabetes as well as type-2 diabetes.
We constantly communicate with our patients, via WhatsApp, Facetime and Skype – whatever suits you best.
Switching to a diet rich in lean protein, healthy fats, vegetables and salad, pulses and low-fructose fruits, often called a Mediterranean diet, and doing a little bit more of the right type of physical activity is all it takes.
But people need support to do that. That is what we offer.
We are with you every step of the way. Just like we always have been.
The Founder: Graham Phillips, B,Pharm, Dipp Comm. Pharm FRPharmS community pharmacist & founder, ProLongevity
What to expect from ProLongevity?
The full Pro Longevity programme lasts eight weeks. This includes:
- Four continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), lasting two weeks each.
- Expert analysis of your blood sugar readings.
- Personalised one-to-one coaching, either face-to-face or anywhere in the world via Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime.
- No drugs
- No diet
- No calorie counting
- No hunger
How does it work?
The ProLongevity process works as follows:
1. Every client is provided with individual coaching. This can be entirely face2face, entirely virtual or any combination. Typically, the first meeting is to explain the service, set up the app and get you up-and-running usually takes an hour. You tell us about your diet and lifestyle. We take some measurements.
2. You attach a blood-sugar monitor to your arm for eight weeks and keep a diary of your meals, drinks and activities.
3. We monitor the results via an app, which makes correlations between your diet and blood sugar levels. We analyse those results. After two weeks’ monitoring we can establish which foods are healthy for an individual and which are not.
4. Together, we work out what foods and drinks you should avoid and develop some lifestyle changes. These are usually a series of small, incremental life-style changes to improve the diet. There is none of the typical calorie counting or hunger associated with normal dietary advice. Instead we gradually replace the foods which spike your sugars with others that don’t.
5. Over the remaining six weeks, sugar and insulin are normalised. In turn energy levels move from peak (high sugar) and trough (low sugar, high insulin) to consistent. As a result clients experience an improvement in mood, energy, sleep. Weight reduces naturally as do blood pressure, HbA1c and other symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome. Most importantly, you increase your chances of a long and healthy life.
Other things to note: There is absolutely no limit to your contact time with the ProLongevity team throughout the 8-week programme. Clients are encouraged to use our service to the absolute max!
What are the main benefits?
- ProLongevity is a proven, simple system that:
- Reduces blood-sugar spikes
- Helps you lose weight
- Can reverse type-2 diabetes and prediabetes
- Helps with a host of health problems including PCOS, dementia and some cancers.
The science behind ProLongevity
It is estimated that 50 per cent of US adults are either diabetic or prediabetic, and other Western countries are not far behind. Type-2 diabetes is an extremely serious condition which is associated with high blood-pressure, and even amputations. You can be confident about the ProLongevity service because it is run exclusively by qualified health-professionals.
Why is type-2 diabetes on the rise?
In short: Food. Junk food and sugary foods are bad for you. The body can only process limited amounts of sugar in one go, and the entire bloodstream can only handle one teaspoon- that’s a tiny amount in 8-pints of blood. If you ingest more than that, blood-sugar levels rise. This is associated with numerous health problems, such as:
Insulin resistance: A diet which produces persistently high sugar levels will lead to permanently raised insulin. This, in turn, leads to more and more food being stored as fat rather than being burned as energy. Bizarrely, the fatter you get, the hungrier you become.
The liver is responsible for converting the carbohydrates and sugars in your diet into fat for storage. Your insulin pushes the fat produced by the liver into the fat cells. But eventually the fat cells become full and the fat accumulates in the liver itself and the liver becomes inflamed. This is so-called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Finally, the excess fat spills over into the pancreas and blocks the beta cells from producing insulin. This is when you develop the symptoms of type-2 diabetes.
Did you know?
At least 4 million people in the UK suffer from type 2 diabetes, and double that figure have pre diabetes, meaning that 12 million people at least suffer from a diabetes related condition.
At least 10% of the NHS’s spend goes on treatment.
Many studies have shown a link between high sugar levels and cardiovascular disease. This is true in both diabetics and non-diabetics. Some studies that show that post-meal spikes - not just average or fasting sugar levels - are the key indicator.
The fact that cancer cells grow using sugar is well established. The causes of cancer are many and complex, but it is clear that raised insulin encourages cell growth. Given that cancer is out-of-control cell growth, it seems logical that there is a link. Also, raised insulin levels push sugar into cells, and cancer cells needs extra energy because they are growing so rapidly.
There is a well-known link between dementia and type-2 diabetes. In fact, some people have taken to calling dementia "type-3 diabetes". If you are diabetic or prediabetic, you are at radically increased risk of developing dementia. If you can control the diabetes, you can reduce your dementia risk accordingly.
Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS)
Women with raised insulin and insulin resistance are at risk of PCOS and struggle to get pregnant. Why? The raised insulin in turn raises the level of the male hormone testosterone (yes, women have testosterone too). This often causes acne, male-pattern hair growth – for example on the face – and inhibits ovulation, which affects fertility.
The Sugar Rollercoaster
When you eat carbohydrates and sugars your body breaks them down to glucose. When your sugar levels rise, insulin is produced, which pushes the sugar out of your bloodstream and into your fat cells. When your blood sugar and insulin levels fall you start to get hungry again. People often feel tired and get “brain fog” when they are in this low blood-sugar state.
Eat, spike, crash; eat, spike, crash. Many people are spending their lives on this sugar rollercoaster.
The alternative to this never-ending cycle is to keep your blood-sugar levels low and balanced. When you're balanced, you experience consistently high energy levels and can easily lose weight. And since you no longer get the sugar crashes, you have increased focus, improved mood and your food cravings vanish.
When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, people often concentrate on the calories they consume and “burn”. But this image does not reflect the way the body really works. The body consumes energy all the time, even when it is “resting”. Also, everyone’s biology is different. Some people simply have a “faster metabolism” than others, and use calories more quickly.
The typical Western diet is rich in carbohydrates and sugar, so your body is mainly burning glucose for fuel. This fuel pathway is regulated by three main hormones: insulin, ghrelin and leptin. Understanding these hormones helps explain the problem of spiking and crashing sugar levels.
Other things to consider
Insulin, the storage hormone.
When you eat carbohydrates your body breaks them down to glucose, a sugar. This makes your blood-sugar levels spike. Insulin is then produced, which removes the sugar from your bloodstream and into your cells. Raised insulin causes weight gain irrespective of your calorie intake or expenditure. At higher insulin levels, your body stores more energy as fat and burns less. This is why the adage "eat less and move more" simply doesn't work.
Ghrelin: the hunger hormone
Ghrelin is named the ''hunger hormone", because it causes you hunger and cravings. It also conserves energy, for example by decreasing heat expenditure in your body. High-fat meals reduce ghrelin for several hours, so you feel fuller for longer, whereas high carbohydrate meals reduce ghrelin levels for a much shorter period. The ghrelin level then rises much higher than it was before eating. You therefore feel hungrier sooner following high-carbohydrate meals.
Leptin: the energy hormone
Leptin is secreted by the fat cells when they are full. It does the opposite of ghrelin, ie, it increases energy expenditure and makes you feel full so that you stop eating. But when your diet is full of carbs and sugar your insulin becomes permanently raised in an effort to control the blood sugar. The excess insulin tries to cram ever more fat into your fat cells (a bit like blowing up a balloon). So now your insulin and your leptin are both permanently raised and working against each other instead of in harmony. The cells become “resistant” to the instructions the hormones are trying to give. This leaves you permanently hungry even though you have eaten plenty.
If you consume lots of fibre in your diet this speeds up the transit of food into the small intestine. The presence of food stimulates PYY release, which also increases satiety and thus reduces appetite. So, the alternative to eating lots of carbs, which spike insulin and ghrelin and cause cyclical hunger pangs, is to eat a high-fat diet. Then, instead of storing more and more fat in your fat cells, you burn it. Quite simply, fat doesn’t make you fat.
Low-carb diets can resolve the problem of high glucose, insulin and ghrelin levels by switching the body from burning sugars as fuel to burning fat. It is a total myth that saturated fats, which are found in meat, dairy products and coconut oil, are bad for you. Researchers have found no link between eating saturated fat and heart disease, strokes or diabetes. Quite the reverse, in fact.
Personalised Diets and The Microbiome
Avoiding prediabetes and diabetes is about more than simply avoiding sugary foods. The body is a very complex organism and each person's metabolism is unique. ProLongevity gives you power by finding out what foods cause your blood-sugars to spike, which helps you understand your body and what foods you should eat to help you live healthy for longer.
It is increasingly clear that people’s different responses to foods are the result of their unique gut microbiomes. The term "microbiome" refers to the trillions of bacteria and other bugs living in your gut. When you are born, you take the microbiome from your mother and then over the years it evolves with the food you eat, your lifestyle and your environment.
In fact, it's continually changing, so if you take a strong course of antibiotics you'll kill a portion of it, and if you consume a wide range of different foods you'll expand the diversity of it. The microbiome impacts many things including weight gain, what foods suit you, allergies, insulin sensitivity and potentially many more aspects of your life.
There's a lot of interesting research right now on how it impacts your mental health too.
How can ProLongevity help?
The case for reducing sugar intake is overwhelming. Only people who understand the problem and have the time, inclination and self-discipline to monitor their sugar intake closely may consider that they have their bodies under control. But many of us, even if we suspect that certain foods may be bad for us, find it hard to decline them if we are eating out at a friend's house or in a restaurant. Well, we might do better if we are convinced it is doing us harm.
If you are interested in improving your general health then it is very likely that you will benefit from the ProLongevity service, which gently steers you in the right direction with a minimum of effort on your part. It is constantly with you and all you have to do is to take a couple of seconds to record sugar level readings via your mobile phone and the sensor that we attach to your body, which you will hardly notice once it is attached.
You keep a diary record of your food and drink intake and we can note which of them causes spikes. From there it is a simple decision to exclude or reduce certain specific foods and drinks from your diet and really enjoy those that do you no harm.
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