Jul 212014
 

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Oftentimes we may blame our genes for our health destiny.  But is that true?  Is it really because my mom and dad had certain health issues that I will too?  We know that our genetic traits make us more or less predisposed to certain health issues; however, through a study of identical twins it was found that our longevity is based only one-quarter on our genetics ~ and three-quarters on our behaviors and lifestyle choices!

So why the question “how short are your telomeres?”  According to Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, in their book (which I highly recommend) You Staying Young ~ The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty, explain that our chromosomes have small caps on the ends called telomeres, which are like little plastic tips on shoelaces.  Every time a cell reproduces, that telomere gets a little shorter, just as the shoelace tip wears off with time.  These doctors refer to telomeres as our “Major Ager,” (most likely because every major disease is the result of shorter telomeres).    Our body has a protein ~ called telomerase ~ that automatically replenishes and rebuilds the ends of the chromosomes to keep cells (and you) healthy.

Unfortunately, stress shortens our telomeres and turns down telomerase.  Dr. Oz states, “The telomeres of people who feel more stressed are almost 50% shorter than people who say they’re less stressed.  Since scientists have a rough idea what the average telomere length is for a specific age, they can estimate how much older the higher-stress group is biologically:  a whopping nine to seventeen years, just by thinking they were aging faster, they actually age faster.”  Looks like a great reason to learn how to slow down, perhaps using such techniques as meditation.

Just by adding a 30 minute walk can add years and quality to our lives.   Meditation and exercise and of course not smoking are all factors known to help with the length and health of our telomeres.

Stress can come at us in many ways ~ the neighbor’s dog constantly barking, worry over unpaid bills, constant exposure to disasters happening around the world on tv, endless “to do” lists,  etc.  It can build up as a massive amount of noise in our system.  So what is the answer?  Dr. Oz states that one of the keys to having a healthy mind is to live as much as you can in the moment; that is thinking about  what you’re doing right now, not worrying about the mistakes you made yesterday or the headaches that await you tomorrow, which, in turn, helps to reduce the noise in your system.  That stress (similar to the saber-tooth tiger bearing down fast) actually shortens the telomeres on your chromosomes, making it harder to concentrate and contributes to memory problems as well.  The next time you are playing with your children (or grandchildren), make the effort to be there intentionally and not let your mind wander to thoughts about tomorrow’s workday or the world’s problems.  This can help not only you but the people around you!

I just recently was looking at a WebMD list of 18 Secrets to Longevity and wanted to share them with you.  I do believe these all will help reduce the shortening of our telomeres!

1.  Become more conscientious (like attention to detail and persistence)

2.  Make friends

3.  Chose your friends wisely

4.  Do not smoke

5.  Embrace the “siesta”

6.  Follow a Mediterranean diet – high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and fish

7.  Eat like an Okinawan (a diet high in green and yellow veggies and low in calories)

8.  Get married

9.  Lose weight

10.  Drink in moderation

11.  Have a faith

12.  Forgive and let go

13.  Use safety gear (eg. seat belts)

14.  Get enough sleep

15.  Use yoga, meditation and deep breathing to reduce stress

16.  Have a greater sense of purpose

17.  Develop healthy habits to protect your DNA

I would have to add to that list a certain supplement that is known to help with inflammation as well as stop cellular aging.  My husband and I take that every day.

So what about you?  Have you thought about what it takes to extend your life?  There is a fun website I found that helps you estimate your Real (health) age and life expectancy.  Go here and take the quiz!  I found out that I actually am health-wise only at 50 ( my chronological age is actually 71)  and my life expectancy can be over 100 because of the healthy habits I have incorporated into my life.

Jul 102014
 

imagesFor the last twenty years I have been using one particular product on my skin. Today I just came across an article on aging that affirms that the product I have been using all these years has indeed helped diminish the aging process. Here is what I read:

“I can’t stress enough that the No.1 thing young adults can do to limit the signs of aging is use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF 30 or higher every single day,” says Adam Friedman, MD, director of dermatologic research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Robin Ashinoff, MD, the chief of dermatologic surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, agrees. “Prevention,” Ashinoff says, “is absolutely the best medicine against skin aging. And that means staying out of the sun.”

Another preventative mentioned did not apply as I have never smoked but for those of you who are or have there is what the studies have shown: As for smoking, studies show that it hampers the body’s ability to make collagen and also leads to premature wrinkling. Combine a heavy cigarette habit with a lot of sun exposure and you’re more than 10 times more likely to develop wrinkles than people your same age who don’t smoke and who do stay out of the sun.

Did you know that many facial scrubs, shampoos, toothpaste and commonly used cosmetics contain microbeads ~ tiny balls of hard plastic? Steer clear of products that contain polyethylene or polypropylene. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has proposed the first U.S. legislation banning plastic microbeads in commonly used cosmetics. I have made sure to only use personal care products on my skin that are pure and natural.

So what is the harm with microbeads that flow down drains and pass through wastewater treatment plants, ending up in waterways? ~ “As plastics fragment into smaller pieces, they concentrate toxins. Microbeads are highly potent concentrators, feeding toxins into plankton at the bottom of the food web,” explained Callum Roberts, a professor at the University of York. “These chemicals then bio-magnify up the food web and it ends up meaning the top predators have the highest concentration of this stuff, and the top predators are precisely the things we like to eat, like tuna and swordfish. It really is a case of what goes around comes around.”

We all need to be concerned about the products we buy and promote, not only for the health of ourselves and our families but also for the planet. In 2012, staunch anti-microbead non-profit organizations Plastic Soup Foundation and North Sea Foundation launched the Beat the Microbead campaign to urge manufacturers to eliminate microbeads in their products. The campaign has even conceived a smartphone app that allows consumers to scan the barcodes of the products to see if they are free of the dangerous pellets.

So have you checked the ingredients of the products that go on your skin? We all really can make a difference.  For another informative post on these “nanoparticles” in our food supply go here.

Jun 202014
 

Twenty-one years ago I found myself suffering from severe joint pain. Because I have Rheumatoid Arthritis in my family “genes” I was told that I would soon be on drugs to alleviate the pain. Fortunately I was introduced to an alternative approach, one which did not involve drugs, and today I am healthy and prescription free. What was this approach? Simply, as Dr. Jeffrey Bland describes, I changed my story in my “book of life” and used nutritious foods and supplements, thus turning on my “health genes” rather than the “disease genes” that were present in my body. Here is a brief video that describes Dr. Bland’s new book:

Dr. Jeffrey Bland, founder of the Institute For Functional Medicine, describes for us in his new book, The Disease Delusion, that it is not our genes that cause disease ~ but rather the uniqueness of our genes in response to our own personal choices in life. In our “book of health” lies all the good health along with the diseases ~ any of of our “stories” can be read in our “book of life”. We can turn on our health genes and turn off our disease genes. How? The nutrients in our foods may turn on the health promoting genes or turn on the disease promoting genes, depending upon the choices we make.

It is all about personal responsibility. We know there are foods that help protect and preserve our health and foods that actually diminish our health. Modern medicine is truly amazing; however, prevention will always be the best medicine and can only be practiced by each one of us. No one is going to legislate what we eat and do not eat.

By eating correctly, exercising regularly, and developing a good lifestyle where we live, work and play ~ we are not only creating a healthier life but one which can be duplicated by future generations, simply by our example.

Dr. James Scala, in his book, Prescription for Longevity describes heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke as “degenerative” diseases. Degenerative implies that these diseases develop from age; however, Dr. Scala prefers to name these challenges “the preventable diseases.” Just by changing some old habits in our lifestyle can change our “book of Life” as Dr. Bland describes.

I highly recommend Dr. Bland’s new book and believe it can be life-transforming simply by altering what we eat and feeding our cells with healthful, naturally safe and proven supplements. What about you? What is your “life story?”

Jun 092014
 

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Rusty metal?  Brown apples?  What has that got to do with what goes on in our bodies?  According to researcher Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, professor of nutrition at Tufts University in Boston,  in a statement to Web MD ~The birth and death of cells in the body goes on continuously, 24 hours a day. It is a process that is necessary to keep the body healthy. “Oxidation is a very natural process that happens during normal cellular functions.  Yet there is a downside.   As cells use oxygen to metabolize (break down to create energy) carbohydrates, fat, and protein, they create a kind of “exhaust” or waste known as free radicals.

“Free radicals” is a term often used to describe damaged cells that can be problematic. They are “free” because they are missing a critical molecule, which sends them on a rampage to pair with another molecule. “These molecules will rob any molecule to quench that need,” Blumberg

Oxidation and free-radical formation are behind the rusting of nails and browning of apple slices.  Just as what happens to the inside of an apple when it is cut ~ it is turning brown because of the iron-containing chemicals inside the apple’s cells reacting to the oxygen in the air ~ or metal when it rusts ~ that happens as well inside our body. Polluted air, cigarette smoke, alcohol, medications, even the body’s own natural processes can all generate free radicals.   So what defense does the body have against these free radicals?

Fruit and vegetables, whole grains, beans, green tea, and herbs are loaded with essential nutrients that prevent free-radical damage:  the antioxidants.  However, there are circumstances that interfere:

  • we do not consume enough of these antioxidant-rich foods
  • we take medicines that reduce our body’s production of its own antioxidants
  • we are exposed to a lot of exhaust fumes, air pollution, cigarette smoke, or meats that have been fried, preserved with nitrates, or broiled.
  • we are living under a lot of stress, or engage in intense exercise regimens, or overexposure to the sun

According to Hyla Cass, M.D. in her book,  Supplement Your Prescription, here are some great suggestions to combat this free radical damage:

  • eating at least 5 servings a day of fruits and vegetables and eating a wide variety of them (not just iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas and oranges)
  • choose vegetables and fruit in a rainbow of colors, the deeper color, the better, and as fresh as possible (frozen is next best)
  • using spices and herbs such as cinnamon, cilantro, parsley, garlic, oregano, turmeric (cumin) ginger, and rosemary which all have known healing effects
  • limiting salt intake.  Sea salt in its natural form is essential for good cellular function and contains trace minerals, including iodine ~ important for the health of the thyroid gland ~ is a better alternative and more usable by the body
  • Because we are surrounded by toxins and pollutants, some of which we take in through our food, she recommends also taking a multivitamin, antioxidants, a probiotic supplement, CoQ10 and fish oil daily.  I take a daily strip which contains all of these nutrients which is easy and convenient for me.

Another free radical threat to our bodies can occur when high levels of an amino acid called homocysteine occur.   It is known to enhance the production of free radicals ~ the unpaired electrons that are naturally formed as cells turn food into energy.  According to Dr. Cass, this cellular “exhaust” has been found to speed up the aging process and to raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.  Antioxidants can mop up the free radicals IF we eat enough of those antioxidant-rich foods!

According to Dr. Oz in You:  Staying Young, without B vitamins, your homocysteine levels rise, and that doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.  He suggests taking a B supplement each day.   B complex is in the daily strip I take each day and I also sometimes I get it in  this additional supplement.   Not sure if these free radicals cause the aging process to speed up, but just in case, I make sure to eat antioxidant-rich foods as much as I can as well as supplement.  What about you?

 

 

May 272014
 

summer 2013, fall & winter 2013 193

While traveling last week my husband and I went into a neighborhood McDonalds for a cup of coffee.   We had been on the road for awhile so decided to sit down in their eating area to drink it.  I have to say I was really shocked when I looked around and saw that we were surrounded by very large people ~ and mostly young people ~ who had, along with their fast food choices, huge containers of soda in front of them.  It was very disturbing to see.  I could just imagine the health issues all of these young people will be having in their future.

I realize we all have choices and oftentimes the choices we make affect us and those around us in negative ways; for example, we know that obesity is related to more than 30 illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.  The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and Micro Health Simulations conducted an analysis to examine how much the United States could save in health care costs if obesity rates were reduced by five percent. The analysis found that the country could save $29.8 billion in five years, $158.1 billion in 10 years and $611.7 billion in 20 years.  Just 5%!

DID YOU KNOW:

Approximately 75 percent of total health care expenses are on preventable diseases, while only 3 percent is invested in disease prevention programs.

In the last 40 years most American adults consume a staggering two-thirds of a cup of added sugar every single day, usually hidden in processed foods.

 “Internally, sugar molecules attach themselves to protein fibers in each of our cells,” said Dr. Susan Stuart, a San Diego, Calif. board-certified dermatologist. This damaging process, known as glycation, can result in a loss of radiance, dark circles under the eyes, loss of tone, puffiness, an increase in fine lines and wrinkles and a loss of facial contours and increased pore size!

Heart disease is largely preventable. Up to 80 percent of cardiovascular events are linked to unhealthy choices, which means that almost everyone can lower their risk. 

The following video illustrates the struggle over something as simple as having healthier food for our children’s school lunches.

Twenty years ago I began taking small steps toward making better choices and I am glad I did. Adding quality food supplements to my diet was very beneficial as well as setting up a non-toxic home.  Just as the picture at the beginning of my blog states ~ “I am focusing on the little things” and “becoming part of the effect.”  Everything I read about healthier living includes exercise ~ I am working on that!  Loved Oprah’s small healthy habits that make a difference.  Be sure and check it out!

How about you?  What steps are you taking?

May 132014
 

After just celebrating Mother’s Day and feeling so blessed with all of the wonderful women in my life, including daughters, sisters, friends and of course my own mother who has passed on, I came across this infographic about the higher risk of stroke with women than men. I had no idea. It certainly made me pause and realize how important it is to have this information and make those challenging decisions each day to exercise regularly, eat sensibly which include clinically-tested dietary supplements and keep the stress as much as possible out of our lives. At the bottom of this infographic is a link to where one can go to see what the warning signs of a stroke are – Good to know!

Women Have A Higher Risk Of Stroke Infographic

This is also a great site developed by the National Stroke Organization that is a Stroke Risk Scorecard ~ fill it out and see where you are regarding your own vulnerability to having a stroke. According to this organization, 80% of strokes are preventable. Understanding how to reduce your risk is very important. Go to this link to learn more ~ it includes such information as the importance of knowing what your blood pressure is – often called “the silent killer” ~ a person can have high blood pressure and never have any symptoms. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to life-threatening medical problems such as stroke, heart attack or kidney failure.

Oftentimes a patient who has been prescribed a statin such as Lipitor to lower his cholesterol finds himself suffering with sore muscles, which makes him less apt to exercise. According to Hyla Cass, M.D. in her book, Supplement Your Prescription this muscle fatigue is the result of Lipitor’s interfering with the production of coenzyme Q10, the nutrient required by every cell of the body to transform carbohydrate and fat into energy, in the many “energy-producing factories” called mitochondria; and that the same mechanism Lipitor employs to lower cholesterol also lowers production of CoQ10. Although CoQ10 is found in many foods, mostly meats, vegetable oils (including soybean), fish, nuts, and some vegetables, the daily intake of the average person through diet is only 5 mg – a fraction of the amount usually taken in supplement form (30 to 300 mg) A good supplement of CoQ10 helps in this instance. According to Dr. Cass research shows that the antioxidant, blood-thinning effect of CoQ10 in supplement form plus a statin, reduce heart disease risk better than the drug alone. Starting both the CoQ10 supplement and the statin together can prevent depletion entirely.

Dr. Cass also reminds us that recent research has pointed out that the cause of heart disease is not cholesterol but inflammation, caused by excess intake of sugar and other simple carbs like those amazing crusty white dinner rolls that are immediately set in front of us when we dine out!. The inflammation leads to insulin resistance, weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. We all know that fat cells in the belly (called visceral fat) create a lot of inflammation and if one is insulin resistant or diabetic, the state of high insulin and high blood sugar is creating even worse inflammation which creates plaques in the blood vessels that feed the muscular walls of the heart, which in turn, drastically increases your risk of having a heart attack. So it looks like making better choices each day in what we choose to eat, and exercising daily as well can make a really big difference.

In summing this up, taking a simple lab test that measures levels of C-reactive protein (CRP – an important risk factor for heart disease) should be a standard part of any evaluation for cardiovascular disease. One interesting tip by Dr. Cass ~ a former NASA physician and astronaut, Duane Graveline, wrote Statin Drugs: Side Effects and The Misguided War on Cholesterol ~ he lectures around the country to warn others of this dangerous side effect of statins. A visit to his website will give you lots of good information on the subject. Enjoy!

Apr 302014
 

rachel carson

Who is Rachel Carson? According to Wikopedia, Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. She was born May 27, 1907 in Springdale, PA ~ her education included John Hopkins University (1929-1932) and Chatham University.

According to Earth Day Network, when mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.

In The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson it states that Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment. Rachel Carson died in 1964 after a long battle against breast cancer. Her witness for the beauty and integrity of life continues to inspire new generations to protect the living world and all its creatures.

I am always reminded as each Earth Day rolls around about the courage and wisdom this woman had. Her example is a model for us all. In my own way I have taken on my own mission of letting everyone I know to remove the toxins from their home in the form of household cleaners, dishwasher cleaners as well as what we wash our clothes with simply by changing brands to non-toxic, safe products.

Rebecca Sutton, PhD, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests that chronic exposure to household toxins may be responsible for increasing rates of certain cancers, asthma, and premature puberty. Studies show that home contaminants, found in everything from cleaners to cookware to couches, can also cause headaches, birth defects, and developmental issues. Claudia S. Miller, MD, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Texas School of Medicine in San Antonio, states “The symptoms of chemical intolerances can be similar to classic allergies ~ congestion, headaches, itchy eyes ~ but it is also common to have depression, gastriointesional problems, cognitive impairment, and memory trouble.” (Natural Solutions, April 2010)

We all want healthy homes ~ taking small steps each day, such as removing chemicals from our home environment, will not only reduce you and your family’s exposure to chemicals, but help Mother Earth as well. As I mentioned last week, “Every Day is Earth Day”. What about you? What are your small steps?

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