A Research Review by Dr. James Meschino, D.C.,
Most of us would like to live to be 100 or older, provided we could maintain a highly functional body and mind. Of course, being functional is the important thing. The thought of being confined to a wheelchair, with tubes from an oxygen tank stuck up your nose, experiencing repeated bouts of angina while recovering from your third stroke and second hip fracture, with little or no memory of who you are or where you are, is not exactly the kind of functional living most people are hoping for. Research has now shown that we can live to a ripe old age and live it in good health, provided we follow a few simple steps each day. Of course we need to watch our diets, do as much regular exercise as possible, reduce stress at every possible turn, but, we also need to take a few essential supplements that we can’t get from food alone. Living to a healthy 100+ is truly possible if we try to achieve the following 5 vital health objectives:
Keep your arteries open and the blood flowing
Don’t let your bones and muscles collapse and decay
Protect your DNA from mutations that can lead to cancer
Maintain brain chemicals that preserve memory and thinking 5. Keep your heart pumping with maximum force
1. Keep Your Arteries Open and the Blood Flowing
Forty percent of all adults die from heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. In most cases individuals have clogged up their arteries with a fatty-waxy plaque that blocks the flow of blood and deprives vital tissues of the oxygen they need to function.
Once deprived of oxygen, the heart muscle stops pumping (a heart attack), the affected section of the brain stops working (a stroke), gangrene sets into your fingers or toes, and our kidneys can no longer filter blood (and now we need dialysis of the rest of our lives).
How do you keep arteries open and blood flowing?
Most important of all, we need to stop eating foods that clog those arteries in the first place – there is no substitute for this advice! Reduce or eliminate the intake of:
All milk or yogurt above 1% milk fat
All cheese above 3% milk fat
Lard, butter, sour cream, cream, ice cream
Regular chocolate products
Palm or coconut oil
I know that this is very difficult to do for most of us, but start by cutting back on some of these foods and gradually you may be able to cut them out completely.
We should also try to get our total cholesterol level below 3.9 mmol/L (150 mg/dL). If it’s higher than this, then it’s simply too high and we will likely die before our time from clogged arteries or related problems.
One good way to help keep cholesterol levels down and help reduce high cholesterol is to take a supplement containing Gum Guggul and Artichoke Leaf Extract two ingredients that have been used for thousands of years in Asia.
Clinical studies show that these natural agents clear cholesterol from the bloodstream and flush cholesterol out of the body, without any significant side effects. These supplements can be used in conjunction with cholesterol lowering drugs if necessary.
To further reduce cholesterol levels, we can add 2 heaping tablespoons of ground flaxseed and/or 2 teaspoons of psyllium husk fiber to our daily fare. The same is true in regards to the consumption of beans, peas and oat bran.
2. Don’t Let Your Bones and Muscles Collapse and Decay
If you’re going to go the distance in life, you must prevent osteoporosis and muscle decay, which gets tricky after 45. As we age there is a decline in the hormones that caused our body to grow, mature, and develop during the years of puberty.
The production of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, growth hormone, and other hormones all decline significantly after 45 years of age. This allows calcium to leak out of our bones and become excreted in our urine, which leads to bones that are weak and fracture-prone. Additionally, muscle tissue breaks down, causing us to become weak and frail as we grow older.
Note that one in four women and one in eight men over 50 develop osteoporosis in our society, which has life threatening and serious quality of life consequences. All of these problems are preventable. Don’t let this happen to you.
Finding a good supplement with the right blend of bone support nutrients, preferably one that contains meaningful amounts of calcium, vitamin D, silicon, the icariin flavonoid from the Epimedium herb (Horny Goat Weed) and magnesium, can help maintain strong bones as we age. Studies have proven that you can prevent osteoporosis using a prudent supplement strategy. More specifically, supplementation with 1500 mg per day of calcium carbonate (or other forms of calcium such as citrate), with 1400 IU of vitamin D, have shown an ability to increase bone density, even in women and men over the age of 50. The icariin flavonoid at a daily dosage of 60 mg per day is also proven to increase bone density, including postmenopausal women (the subgroup most resistant to bone building strategies).
Muscle mass and overall strength can also be maintained into our old age if we stay active, do some resistive exercise, and ingest lean protein each day - at least one gram per day for every kilogram you weigh. See my protein food chart in the Resources section of the Adëeva website (www.adeeva.com).
3. Protect Your DNA From Mutations That Can Lead To Cancer
The National Cancer Institute has stated that 70-90% of all cancers are caused by faulty nutrition and lifestyle behaviors. While genetics are important, lifestyle has much more of an effect on your ultimate outcome in life.
Cancers develop when mutations arise in your DNA. In order to prevent this from happening you need to put practices in place that discourage these mutations from occurring. There are a number of things you can do to prevent cancerous mutations from occurring:
Reduce your exposure to free radicals that cause mutations – which means not smoking, limiting alcohol to one drink per day, limiting sun exposure (and tanning beds), reducing intake of foods containing nitrates/nitrites, charred foods, smoked foods and limiting the number of X-rays and CT-scans of your body.
Boost your antioxidant intake - antioxidants help neutralize free radicals before they can damage your DNA. A good source of antioxidants comes from fruits and vegetables. To get an adequate amount, you need to eat 5-7 fruit and vegetable servings per day.
Take a high potency multi-vitamin supplement that contains boosted levels of antioxidants. We just don’t get enough from food alone for optimal protection. For general health optimization your supplement should contain: Vit C-1000 mg; Vitamin E Succiate-400 IU; Selenium100-200 mcg; Beta-carotene-10,000 IU, Vit A-2500IU, Lycopene Powder6 mg; Lutein Powder-6 mg, Bioflavonoids-50 mg.
Slow down the rate of cell division – when cells divide too fast they make more genetic mistakes which increases cancer risk.
You can slow down cell division by:
adhering to a low fat diet
taking Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Lycopene – found in a high potency multivitamin (then adding 800 to 1,000 IU of extra vitamin D from a bone support supplement and/or individual vitamin D supplements
minimizing your alcohol intake
consuming fish twice a week
taking an essential fatty acid supplement containing borage seed oil, flaxseed oil and fish oil. Essential fats from these sources are www.adeeva.com converted by the body into unique hormones that slow the rate of cell division and provide other important health benefits.
4. Maintain Brain Chemicals That Preserve Memory
As we age the brain loses its capacity to make certain chemicals required for memory and thinking in general. The brain requires specific B-vitamins to make these important compounds and requires optimal antioxidant protection against free radicals in order to maintain brain health.
Over our lifetime, free radicals cause corrosive effects on the brain that promote a decline in memory and mental performance. So, the first step is to take a high potency multiple vitamin supplement each day that contains a B-50 complex. People with more optimal B-vitamin and antioxidant status throughout life have been shown to be less prone to mental decline as they age.
However, around the age of 55, the brain’s memory chemical known as acetylcholine begins to decline in production and memory can begin to deteriorate. In order to boost acetycholine levels and to maintain nerve transmission function, I suggest taking a brain support supplement that contains some of the natural ingredients that have shown to help.
Nutrients such as CDP choline, Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine “A” have been shown in clinical studies to support memory and cognitive function in older individuals – without any side effects.
5. Keep Your Heart Pumping With Maximum Force
As we age our heart muscle tends to weaken, which sets the stage for congestive heart failure and other important circulatory problems. We can keep our heart strong by performing endurance exercise - walking, jogging, cycling, etc. - for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, preferably 4 - 5 times per week.
After the age of 45, you would be well advised to take a supplement containing coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and hawthorn as well.
The heart muscle requires CoQ10 to convert food into energy to support the demands of the beating heart - which never gets a break. As we age our bodies make less and less CoQ10, which slowly creates a power shortage in the heart muscle, making the heart weaker and weaker with each year that passes.
Studies show that supplementation with CoQ10 and hawthorn can maintain heart muscle strength. Like CoQ10, hawthorn contains unique flavonoids that help convert food into energy and also improves blood flow within the coronary arteries themselves.
These 5 strategies are the most important quality of life and longevity practices that you can put into practice if your goal is to maintain a highly functional body and mind for the longest period of time and optimize your chances of being vibrant and functional at 100 years of age. The number of centenarians is on the rise in developed countries. Why not plan to be among them when the time comes? I urge you to capitalize on the available scientifically-based practices that will enable you to preserve your quality of life and health and enjoy the rewards of a healthy, fit, age-resistant body.