When asked about his secret of staying young, Dick Clark replied, ” it’s simple. Pick your parents carefully. “
Obviously, you can’t pick your parents, otherwise Ozzie and Harriet would have had thousands of children. However, who your parents are can have a huge impact on how long you live. Diseases that can cut your life short, like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and most types of cancers, have a strong genetic connection.
You have thousands of pairs of genes in your body. Genes come in pairs because you inherit one from your father and one from your mother. Some genes are dominant and some are recessive. If you inherit just one dominant gene from a parent, you will gave the trait that gene controls.
For example, some people can roll up their tongues like a tube, and some people can’t. The gene for that ability is dominant, so if you inherit that from your mother, but not your father, you will still be able to roll your tongue. If a gene is recessive, you must inherit that gene from both your parents to inherit the trait.
Push your hair back from your forehead and look at your hairline. Does it grow straight across, or does it point down into a “widow’s peak?” If your hair grows straight across, you inherited that gene from both parents because the widow’s peak gene is dominant, and the straight across is recessive. In other words, if you had a widow’s peak, it would bully the recessive gene into not showing up.
Since genes can affect you health in the same way they affect your appearance, genetic research may one day unlock the secret to healthy, longer life.
Headlines recently have been filled with news about genes. “Scientists isolate gene that controls obesity,” or “New test identifies gene for Alzheimer’s Disease.” This may sound very hopeful, and it is. But simple it isn’t. If you’re ever had a diagnostic test done on your car, you know that mechanic hooks it up to a computer, and you get a five foot long printout of every part of your car that could possibly be malfunctioning. The mechanic identifies the problem and fixes it.
Unfortunately, our bodies aren’t quite as simple as a car (and cars are pretty complex these days.) You can’t just go get a diagnostic test, find out everything that’s wrong with you, and get things fixed.
Very few diseases are controlled by just one dominant gene. Huntington’s disease is one exception. If you have the gene, you have the illness, as well as the potential to pass it on to your children. A few other diseases are controlled by a pair of recessive genes. For example, the likelihood that you will develop heart disease is influenced by genes that control cholesterol.
Scientists recently discovered a gene they call apo A-1. In some people, this gene seems to cause high concentration of good cholesterol. Since high level of good cholesterol is associated with lower risk of heart disease, people with this apo A-1 gene tend to live longer than average. Genes like this are sometimes referred to as “Methuselah genes.” They just might help some people live well into their golden years.
The genes that control metabolism also affect your heart. You all know some lucky person who seems to be able to eat and eat and never gain a pound. Now that’s genetics in action, but genes do not determine for certain who will get heart diseases and who won’t. Lifestyle factors can make a difference as well. Diet, exercise, and how you handle stress all play a role in keeping your heart, and the rest of your body, in good health.
You can’t change your genes, but understanding genetics can help you live longer. If you know that heart disease runs in your family, you have extra incentive to keep your heart healthy by changing your diet and lifestyle.
PUTTING GENES TO TEST
Did you know genetic testing can identify many genes responsible for diseases? Tests are now available for genes that cause or contribute to Alzheimer’s; osteoporosis; Huntingdon’s disease; and breast, ovarian, and colon cancers, as well as many other less common conditions.
Would you want to know if you were going to inherit a deadly disease? According to a survey, 49 percent of people polled would want to be tested, while 51 percent would not. What are the benefits of genetic testing? Some tests, like the one for Huntington’s disease, can tell you for sure if you will get the disease. Most test, however can only tell if you are more likely to get the disease than most people. If you can take steps to reduce your risk, this information may be life saving, but for some people, the stress of knowing they are likely to get a serious disease can do more harm than good.
Another factor to consider before having genetic testing is how it might affect your health insurance. Would your rates go up if your insurance company becomes aware that you are at risk for a particular disease?
Genetic testing for healthy people is very controversial. If scientists learn how to safely alter dangerous genes, genetic testing may become a routine exam at birth. Until then, the decision to test or not to test is up to you.
ANTI – AGING SUPPLEMENTS
People searching for eternal you are looking for just that – time in a bottle of supplements. Shelves in health food stores, drugstores, and supermarkets are crammed with a confusing array of pills, powders, creams, and elixirs claiming to restore your lost youth and extend your life.
Do you need to take supplements? If so, with so many choices, how do you decide what to buy? Can a pill, or a variety of pills, help you live a longer, healthier life? How do you know what a particular vitamin, mineral, or herb can do for you?
The answers are in this book. You’ll find the latest information about anti aging dietary substances and strategies. You’ll also learn the most natural ways to get these dietary substances. Read the cautions and consumer advice sections carefully before you decide to use a particular dietary substance. If the benefits don’t outweigh the risks, it should get a thumbs down.
Supplements, however, cannot replace a well balanced diet. Most experts agree that the best anti aging strategy is to eat the right foods. Foods contain many nutrients that scientists cannot isolate and put in a pill.
Remember when your mother forced you to eat broccoli because it was good for you? Mom always knows best. People who secretly fed their broccoli to the dog under the table as children probably won’t eat it as adults – just ask former U. S. president George Bush. Even though research provides overwhelming evidence that people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables have lower risk of the diseases associated with aging, most people still don’t eat enough of them.
The United States government recommends that you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, but only about 9 percent of Americans actually eat that much.
Even, though getting your nutrients from food is best, some studies have found that supplements did decrease the risk of certain diseases. For example, in one study, people who took vitamin E supplements had fewer deaths from heart disease.
On the other hand, one important study on beta – carotene in Finland found that smokers who took beta – carotene supplements actually had a greater risk of lung cancer. Of course, studies can be flawed.
Most of the people in the Finnish study were men who has smoked over a pack a day for almost 40 years. Perhaps it was too late for a mere supplement to help them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean supplements won’t help you.
SEARCH FOR ETERNAL YOUTH
A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thoughts to derive benefit from his illness. – Hippocrates (460 – 377) BC
Hippocrates is the father of modern medicine. In fact, the oath that medical students take prior to officially becoming doctors is called the Hippocratic oath. His advice to derive benefit from your illness was taken to heart by many researchers, including the discoverers of vitamins and minerals. Because of this discovery, you can benefit greatly from the illness of people from the past.
The ancient Chinese were first to identity and record the symptoms of a vitamin deficiency disease. Beriberi is a thiamine deficiency disease that causes pain, weakness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and mental disturbances. In extreme cases, it can be fatal. Over 4,000 years ago, about the same time the milling process for rice was used, Chinese people experienced an increase in the incidence of beriberi. Thiamine is found in the husks or bran of rise. When the Chinese began to mill their rice, they were removing their supply of thiamine, causing large numbers of people to suffer beriberi. It was not until 1990 that the connection between rice hulls and beriberi was proven. Today, thiamine is added to milled rice products, a process called enriching the rice.
In 1753, a British Naval doctor found that limes, lemons, and fresh green produce taken on long ocean voyages could prevent scurvy. Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency disease that causes fatigue, bleeding gums, loose teeth, bruising, and hemorrhaging, which can be fatal. Although Americans of the 18th century began to call British sailors “liners” because of the fruit they carried with them on voyages, this fruit may have helped make the British navy the strongest in the world at the time.
Unfortunately, a 1912 expedition to the South Pole dit not follow the example the British navy set over a century before. They did not take foods with vitamin C on their expedition, and every member died of scurvy.
Today we know much more about vitamins and minerals, han the unfortunate people who died from scurvy or beriberi. However, with so much information, it’s easy to become confused. Simply reading labels in the store may leave you with more questions than answers.
WHAT ARE VITAMINS ?
Vitamins are a group of compounds vital to life. Vitamin deficiency can make you sick. Vitamins are either water soluble or fat soluble. Water soluble means they dissolve in water easily. These vitamins are stored in the body for just a few days before they wash away. Your supply of water soluble vitamins needs to be replenished every day. They include vitamin C and the B complex vitamins.
Fat soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are stored in your body’s fat supply and certain organs, like your liver. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble. Because they are stored for longer periods of time, it is easier to accumulate toxic amounts.
WHAT ARE MINERALS ?
Minerals are naturally occurring chemical elements your body uses to help perform certain chemical reactions. You need minerals to build strong bones and blood and maintain healthy nerves. If you become deficient in important minerals, you can become sick.
Minerals are divided into two groups: major minerals and trace minerals, although trace minerals can be just as important for good health. Calcium, chloride, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, and magnesium are major minerals. Iodine, iron, zinc, selenium, fluoride, chromium, copper, molybdenum, and manganese are trace minerals.
How much do you need? Although scientists seem to agree that vitamins and minerals are necessary for life, not all scientists agree on how much of each one you need. In an effort to help people decide how much of certain nutrients they need, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences has set Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for vitamins, minerals, and other dietary substances. In the book published by the National Academy of Sciences describing these allowances, they define RDA as “the levels of intake of essential nutrients that, on the basis of scientific knowledge, are judged by the Food and Nutrition Board to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of practically all healthy persons.” RDAs are established for different age groups, males, females, and for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Should you buy natural or synthetic vitamins.
Does the word “natural” on a label mean there’s a better product inside? When it comes to vitamins, not usually. Natural simply means that the vitamin was made from natural substances. For example, natural vitamin C may be made from rose hips, and natural vitamin E may come from vegetable oil. Synthetic vitamins are made in a laboratory. A vitamin is a vitamin no matter what the source, and some vitamins that are labeled “natural” may be mostly synthetic anyway. They could just be mixed with natural substances. According to research, the only vitamin that may be better in its natural form is vitamin E because it is absorbed by your body better than synthetic form. If a vitamin cost more because it is labeled “natural,” it’s probably not worth the extra expense.
Herbs can add flavor and zip to your cooking. Some herbs may also add zip to your life. Man discovered the healing power of herb before he learned to write. Chinese texts dating back to 2800 B.C contained information about herbal medicine. Although today you look to your doctor and pharmacist for drugs to heal you, for centuries people merely looked in their fields and gardens.
Many of today’s drugs were originally created from plants. Aspirin, for example, was first extracted from the back of a willow tree. Digitalis, long used in the treatment of heart failure, came from the dried leaf of the foxglove plant. In fact, many newer drugs still come from plants. One fairly new anti cancer drug, paclitaxel, is made from the back of the Pacific Yew tree.
If so many drugs have plant origins, why don’t doctors prescribe herbs? Actually, some doctors will suggest herbal remedies for their patients whenever possible but they cannot be prescribed because they are not patentable. They law in the United States and most European countries require that a drug must be proven to be safe and effective before it can be sold to the public. This law is to protect you from ineffective drugs and from drugs that could harm you.
The testing process to prove a drug’s safety and effectiveness is very expensive. Pharmaceutical companies can only recover the huge expense of developing these drugs if they are able to patent them. This means they will be the only company allowed to sell that particular drug for a period of several years. This gives them time to earn back their investments. Since most plant remedies have been around for centuries, they cannot be patented. Drug companies have no interest in conducting expensive test to prove the safety of most herbal products. It simply isn’t cost efficient. However, that may be changing.
A patent was recently issued for the pharmaceutical version of mistletoe to be used in the treatment of AIDS. This was the first such patent issued for an herbal product. If more herbal preparations can be patented, it could change the industry. As things stand now, it is difficult to know if the herbal product you buy is safe because there are no rigorous test and quality control procedures for herbs as there are for drugs.
How do you know if an herbal product is safe and effective, and how do you know what a particular herb can do for you? You can ask your doctor, but since herbal medicine is not thought in medical school, he may not be able to help. You can read labels at the health food store, but since they qualify as food supplements, manufacturers cannot make medical claims on the labels. One useful piece of information that should be on the label is whether the herb has been standardized. This means that the manufacturer has measured the active ingredients. Herbs that are not standardized may not contain enough of the active ingredient to be effective.
Learn as much as you can before taking any herb. Even though herbs are not strictly regulated like drugs, some products have been used for centuries with no report of side effects.
THE MYSTERY OF AGING
Education is the best provision for old age – Aristotle (383-322 BC)
Education is probably not only the best provision for old age but the best insurance against old age. You can educate yourself about strategies for combating aging and its effects by taking advantage of the education and wisdom of others. Research scientists are continually searching for answers to the questions of aging.
The first question could be: What is aging? According to Denham Harmon, ” Aging is the progressive accumulation of changes with time associated with or responsible for the ever increasing likelihood of disease and death which accompanies advancing age.”
In other words, your body gradually wears out. When you buy a new car, it has a lot of pep and all nice gadgets work correctly. However, after thousands of miles and years of use, things begin to wear out. Belts break, fenders rust, brake pads wear thin, and the knobs fall off your radio. Some things can be replaced or repaired, and some you can just live without.
Your body is similar. You might break a bone and have it set. You can’t see as well as you once did, and so you get eyeglasses. Your hearing may start to go, but you decide that you can live with a little hearing loss. All that noise distracted you anyway. Like the knobs on your radio, you might consider it optional equipment, not worth, the effort to repair or replace.
Some major problems require major repairs, like triple bypass surgery to repair a faulty heart. Modern medicine has even made it possible to get new parts, like transplanted organs or prosthetic limbs. Long John Silver’s wooden peg leg has been replaced by state-of-the-art plastic and metal creations.
All these medical innovations have help extend man’s live expectancy greatly. A child born in 1900 could expect to live about 47.5 years. A child born in 2019 can expect to live around 76 years, an increase of about 28.5 years… you can accomplish a lot in 28.5 years.
Because people are living longer, the population of older people is growing rapidly. In the United States, the percentage of people over 65 has tripled, from 4.1 percent in 1900 to 12.7 percent in 1994. Today there are over 35 million people age 65 or older living in the United States, but by the year 2030, there will be about 70 million.
But merely living long isn’t enough, and it shouldn’t be. People want to live longer, healthier lives. Who wants to live longer if it means just existing, unable to enjoy life?
Fortunately, modern research has provided the information you need to fight aging and enjoy the benefits of super life span and super health.
Though theories on aging abound, most scientists agree that there is not just one cause but rather a combination of factors. However, the free radical theory is currently the leading theory of aging. Although the free radical is not the only one, because it is the most accepted, many parts of this book will deal with how to fight free radical damage.
FREE RADICAL THEORY OF AGING
You know your body wears out over time, but why? Exactly what drives this process that slowly robs you of your health and vigor? You body ages because your cells become damaged, and your body can’t repair them fast enough. There are many different reasons for this damage, and scientists don’t agree on which one is the main cause. But most agree on this: The long term effect of this wear and tear on the cells in your tissues is the main factor in aging. This gradual damage reduces the number of brain cells you have, allows some of the cells in your body to become cancerous, destroys the part of your cells that produces energy, limits blood flow by clogging your arteries, and weakens your heart.
In the mid 1950s, Denham Harman was toiling in a science lab at the University of Nebraska. His hard work paid off when he proposed the free radical theory of aging. His name is famous in the research world, and the free radical theory is more widely accepted today than any other in the scientific and medical communities.
Take a deep breath. Feel refreshed?. As you breath, you take in invigorating oxygen, it also produces chemicals called free radicals. These free radicals are molecules that are unstable because they lack an electron. They travel through your body like a band of pickpockets, trying to steal electrons from healthy cells. When they succeed, they leave the cell irreversible damaged. One damaged cell will not usually cause your body much distress. But over time, lots of these pickpocket molecules can cause so much damage that your body becomes weak and more likely to fall prey to cancer and heart disease. This cell damage is called oxidation, and it is similar to the oxidation of metal that produces rust.
Don’t feel betrayed by your body because it creates these roving thieves. Luckily, your body also produces antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants fight oxidation by combining with free radicals to form a harmless substance or by contributing an electron to the free radical, making it stable. However, when free radical levels get too high, these protective processes can’t keep up. Cigarette smoke, pollution, radiation, stress, excessive sun exposure, and other factors can increase your level of free radicals, causing you to use up your store of antioxidants more quickly. In addition, as you get older, your body’s production of antioxidants slows down, allowing free radicals to damage more and more of your cells.
How can you stop free radicals from slowly taking over your body, overpowering and outnumbering your antioxidant protectors? You can help your body manufacture antioxidants, like glutathione, and you can get other antioxidants, like vitamins E and C, from your diet. The following series will show you how.
HOW VITAMIN B FIGHTS AGING AND DEATH
You know that taking care of your heart will help you live a long, healthy life. So you don’t smoke, and you watch your cholesterol level. But did you know that a deficiency of vitamin B6 can raise your risk of heart disease as much as smoking or high cholesterol? Evidence also indicates that 40 percent of heart attacks and strokes suffered by American men may be caused by deficiency of folic acid, another important B vitamin.
When scientists first discovered the mysterious food factors they called vitamins, they began by naming the first one fat soluble A and the second water soluble B (and then C, D, and so on). Later, researchers found that vitamin B wasn’t just one simple vitamin. There’s a whole complex of substances, like an apartment complex, under the vitamin B roof. Each unit in building B has a lot of common features, but unit 6 has its own unique properties.
Although the B vitamins are separate substances, they often work together. It is very unusual to have a deficiency of just one B vitamin. For example, you body requires folic acid in order to absorb the other B vitamins. A deficiency of folic acid could quickly lead to deficiency in the other B vitamins as well because each contributes in its own way to you good health. Look at this quick rundown of the different B vitamins, and you’ll see how they function together and perform many of the same duties in your body to help keep you young.
The leader of the pack is thiamine, the first B vitamin to be discovered and named. A deficiency of thiamine is responsible for beriberi, a disease that can cause symptoms ranging from weakness to mental disturbances. Thiamine is essential for turning protein, fat, and carbohydrates into energy. It’s also needed to make copies of DNA whenever cells divide, helping assure proper growth and maintenance of healthy skin. Thiamine is also necessary for nerve signals to travel, carrying important information to your brain from different parts of your body.
A deficiency of niacin can cause pellagra, which means “rough skin.” Symptoms include red scaly skin; swollen, red tongue; diarrhea; and mental disturbances. Niacin is required for turning protein into energy and making DNA, fatty acids, and cholesterol. Your body can manufacture niacin from tryptophan, which is an amino acid (a component of protein). In fact, niacin deficiency can often be corrected just by increasing the amount of protein in your diet.
Do you want healthy, young looking skin? Without adequate riboflavin, your skin may become dry, itchy, and flaky. Riboflavin is essential for healthy skin, eyes, and blood. It is needed to break down fat for energy in your body and for the synthesis of blood cells, glycogen (a storage form of glucose), and corticosteroids (steroid hormones secreted by the adrenal gland). It also helps convert tryptophan to niacin.
PANTOTHENIC ACID (B5)
Have you been ill recently, or just emotionally upset? If so, make sure you get enough pantothenic acid. Vitamin B5 has been called the anti-stress vitamin. It is needed to keep your adrenal gland healthy and functioning properly, which is critical during times of stress. It also helps stimulate antibody production, which can help fight off illness, and is necessary in the production of red blood cells, brain chemicals, and cholesterol.
Folic acid has become a bit of a celebrity in the vitamin world lately. Evidence that it helps fight heart disease has been published not only in medical journals but in national magazines and newspapers as well. Another big health news story was the decision of the U. S. government to begin the fortifying foods with folic acid to help prevent birth defects. What other jobs does this media darling perform to make it popular? It helps make protein and red blood cells, it is vital for cell division, and it removes fat stored in your liver.
vitamin B12 works along with folic acid to make red blood cells. A deficiency of B12 can cause a pernicious anemia, an energy sapping disease that is difficult to diagnose. Vitamin B12 protects nerves from damage by helping to produce their protective coverings. A deficiency of B12 can eventually lead to severe nerve damage, even paralysis.
Bacteria in your body are a bad thing, right? Not necessary. Some good bacteria in your intestines are responsible for producing biotin, but your supply of these bacteria can be depleted by taking antibiotics. You don’t want to come up short of biotin because it plays an important role in energy metabolism, growth, and the production of fatty acids and digestive enzymes. Biotin which displays insulin like activity in lowering blood sugar, is also found in certain foods.
Vitamin B6 is one of the busiest vitamins in your body. It helps your body use protein, fatty acids, and glycogen effectively, and it helps produce brain chemicals and hemoglobin portion of your blood cells. A deficiency of B6 can cause skin problems like dermatitis (itchy, red skin) and acne. A deficiency can also cause mouth sores, nerve damage, and even seizures.
8 WAYS B VITAMINS FIGHT AGING
1. HEART HELPER
If you want to live a long , healthy life, you must keep your heart healthy. The U. S. government recognized the heart – healing potential of B vitamin and approved a plan to fortify grain products with folic acid. Experts estimate that 50,000 fewer Americans would die from heart attacks each year and many serious birth defects would be prevented as a result of folic acid fortification.
Why is folic acid so important to your heart health? It’s because of an amino acid in your blood called homocysteine. Researchers began to make connection between homocysteine and heart disease when it was observed that people with very high homocysteine levels (due to a genetic disorder) often died from severe heart disease in their teens and 20s.
Doctors have been baffled for years by certain heart disease deaths. You know…the person who eats right, doesn’t smoke, gets plenty of exercise, appears to have no heart disease symptoms, and yet keels over at 45. Medical researchers were excited to discover that homocysteine might provide a possible explanation for those mysterious deaths. Even more exciting is the fact that those deaths may be prevented.
That’s were folic acid comes in, along with its B – vitamin brothers, B6 and B12. This trio of vitamins work in your blood to convert homocysteine to a less dangerous substance.
Why is homocysteine so dangerous? In normal amounts, it isn’t, but an excess can damage your arteries, causing a buildup of plaque that can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Homocysteine is made from another amino acid, methionine, during the process of metabolism. Afterwards, it should be turned back into methionine. The catch is that it needs B vitamins, especially folic acid, to be converted back to its original form. If you don’t have enough B vitamins to do the job, homocysteine can build up to dangerous levels.
Because homocysteine is a by – product of protein metabolism, people who eat high protein diets should take special care to get enough B vitamins.
2. STRIKES DOWN STROKE
High homocysteine levels are the life – shortening culprits in more than just heart disease. The damage that too much homocysteine does to blood vessel walls can cause buildups that may form blood clots. If one of those clots loose, it could travel to your brain, causing a stroke.
3. BETTER BRAIN FUNCTION
According to Leo Rosenberg, “First you forget names, then you forget faces, then you forget to pull your zipper up, then you forget to pull you zipper down.”
The ability to laugh at yourself is a wonderful trait. However, that may be hard to do when your previously sharp-as-a-tack mind refuses to tell you where you left your car keys or, worse, you forget something important, like where you live or what your name is. Sometimes this loss of mental ability is considered just a normal and unavoidable part of aging, but researchers are finding that proper nutrition can help prevent loss of brain function. Several different B vitamins can help keep your mind and your wit as razor sharp as they were in your youth.
Older people who have low levels of B12 often have symptoms resembling Alzheimer’s or other forms of mental disturbances. People can have memory problems due to low levels of B12 long before they are deficient enough to suffer pernicious anemia. One study found that among people who already had pernicious anemia, 71 percent had short-term memory loss. Treatment with B12 restored the memories of most of the study participants within 10 to 27 days.
The severe memory loss that often accompanies beriberi is appropriately called “beriberi amnesia.” This memory loss is reversible when thiamine is given. Thiamine levels tend to be very low in people with mental illness. In fact psychiatrists treat many of their patients with thiamine supplement, as well as other B vitamins.
Vitamin B6 is necessary for the production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Serotonin is known as a “feel good” chemical, and low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression.
A deficiency of folic acid may cause mental and emotional problems, including depression and schizophrenia.
4. CONTROLS CHOLESTEROL
Did you know that doctors sometimes prescribe niacin to help lower cholesterol? Niacin effectively reduces both bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood and raises the good cholesterol. However, high doses of niacin may cause side effects like flushing, rash, and abdominal pain. Doctors have found that lower doses (1.5 to 3 grams daily) can be affective without the side effects of high doses. Of course, even these lower doses are proscription strength, and you shouldn’t take niacin to lower your cholesterol without your doctor’s consent. You may never need a prescription drug for high cholesterol if you get plenty of niacin in your diet.
5. HELP BEAT BONE PAIN
People with arthritis who are prescribed the drug methotrexate may have insult added to injury when they have to deal with side effects. However, researchers recently discovered that most of these side effects occur because the drug causes a deficiency of folic acid. Adding extra folic acid to your diet could help you avoid the pain of arthritis, as well as the side effects of your arthritis drug.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually though of as a bone ailment, but the pain is actually caused by a pinched nerve. The nerve passes through a tunnel created by carpal bones in your wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in women than men, and often begin to affect them around menopause. Over a hundred thousand operations are performed each year to correct carpal tunnel syndrome, but there may be an easier solution. According to latest research, merely increasing your intake of vitamin B6 may enable you to wave goodbye to wrist pain forever.
6. KEEPS SKIN HEALTHY
Having a youthful glow to your skin might help you look younger, and looking younger can help you feel younger. The cells of your skin are being replaced rapidly (though perhaps not quite as rapid as when you were 18). B vitamins are vital to this cell division, so getting plenty of B vitamins is an easy way to enjoy healthy, younger looking skin.
7. INCREASE RESISTANCE TO DISEASE
Because B vitamins are involved in the process of creating white blood cells that fight disease, they play an important role in disease resistance.
8. BEEFS UP PHYSICAL FITNESS
B vitamins are involved in processing protein and rebuilding muscles. If you want to reap the anti aging benefits of an exercise program, B vitamins can help make your exercise more productive and efficient.
RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCE (RTD) FOR B VITAMINS
Thiamine (B1). 1.1 mg (women)
1.5 mg (men)
Riboflavin (B2). 1.3 mg (women)
1.7 mg (men)
CABALAMIN (B12). 2mcg
Folic Acis. 180mg(women)
Niacin(B3). 15mg (women)
Pyridoxine (B6). 1.6mg (women)
HOW TO GET MORE B VITAMINS NATURALLY
Eating a varied balanced diet is the best way to boost your B – vitamin intake naturally. The following are good sources of B vitamin; milk, yoghurt, spinach, beef liver, mushroom, baked potato, pork chop, green peas, cottage cheese, tuna, banana etc.
DO YOU NEED SUPPLEMENTS?
Scientists say you should get as many nutrients as you can from the food you eat, but if you’re going to take supplements, a B – complex is important. Certain people may need more supplements than others. For example:
1. Elderly people often have deficiency of B12, folate, and B6.
2. Vegetarians may need additional B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, since it isn’t found in plant sources.
3. Illness or stress can increase your need for B vitamins.
THE WISE B – VITAMIN CONSUMER
Because B vitamins work together, you probably shouldn’t take just one B vitamin. Instead, look for a supplement that contains a balanced amount of all the B vitamins.
B – VITAMIN CAUTIONS
Because they are water soluble, most B vitamins are considered safe, even in large doses. The excess passes harmlessly out in your urine. However, there are a few exceptions.
1. Too much niacin (over 100 mg) can cause an allergic like reaction. If taken in very large doses (over 3,000 mg), niacin may cause liver enzyme changes that could be harmful. Take it with meals and avoid hot liquid and alcohol after taking it.
2. Vitamin B6 can be toxic in daily doses of 200 mg or more, causing bone pains and muscle weakness. Very large doses can cause permanent nerve damage.
3. Too much folic acid can mask the symptoms of anemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency.
HOW VITAMIN A FIGHTS AGING
Powerful protection against heart disease, cancer, infection, and vision loss is as close as your grocery store’s produce department. A generous helping of deep orange or dark green vegetables and fruits every other day provides high levels of vitamin A and beta carotene, two important weapons in your anti aging arsenal.
Picture, if you will, a city under siege. The bombardment is constant, and it seems that at any moment, the invaders will rush in and destroy everything the cities residents have spent a lifetime building and nurturing. The only hope is the tireless warriors protecting the city walls.
If this sounds dramatic, it’s actually a fairly accurate metaphor for a battle researchers believe takes place every day in your body. Fortunately, the body has at its disposal a large, highly skilled defense force collectively known as antioxidants.
One of battalions in the force of free radical fighters is the carotenoids, which occur naturally in such foods as broccoli, cantaloupe, and spinach.
Beta-carotene is among the fiercest carotenoids. Working together, beta-carotene and vitamin A boost immunity to form a protective shield against free radicals and the diseases they cause.
Beta carotene is particularly good at quenching a type of free radical called singlet oxygen.
Needless to say, it’s important to keep your troops reinforced. But like many people, you may not get as much as you need of either of these front-line fighters.
So, if a little vitamin A is good for you, then a lot more must be better, right? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Your body must have this fat – soluble vitamin for a host of critical functions. Vitamin A plays an important role in vision, fighting infection and bacteria, maintaining your skin and body lining, bone and body growth, reproduction and normal cell development. Several foods, such as liver, sweet potatoes, and carrots, are extraordinarily rich in vitamin A.
Its plant source, beta-carotene, is of a group of acknowledged antioxidants that fight heart disease, cancer, memory loss, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory distress syndromes, liver disease, age-related eye disease, Parkinson’s disease, and complications of diabetes.
Studies have shown that this essential vitamin can be harmful – and in rare cases, fatal – in large doses. In a recent studies, mega dose supplements of vitamin A did nothing to help prevent heart disease and might even have caused cancer.
Large doses increased the risk of lung cancer in smokers and those exposed to radiation so much that the National Cancer Institute shut down a vitamin A/ beta-carotene supplementation study almost two years early because a troubling number of participants had died.
6 WAYS VITAMIN A FIGHTS AGING
1. KEEPS EYESIGHT SHARP AND CLEAR.
They might not have understood the reason, but ancient Egyptians saw the results of treating vision problems with vitamin A. For night blindness and other eye disorders, Egyptian doctors prescribed eating liver or applying juice squeezed from cooked liver to the eyes..
Nowhere is the need for vitamin A more dramatically displayed than in our vision. Half a million children worldwide go blind every year because they don’t get enough vitamin A. This deficiency also contributes to age-related degeneration and cataracts.
Want to know your eyes can’t do without vitamin A? The vitamin is actually in your light-sensitive eye pigments. When light hits the retina, it bleaches the pigment. The vitamin A breaks away from the pigment. That sends a signal to your brain’s optic center, registering the sensation of sight. The vitamin then reconnects with the pigment.
This process occurs continually when your eyes are open. Naturally, a little bit of vitamin A is destroyed every time it happens, so your blood has to deliver a fresh supply.
2. FENDS OFF INFECTIONS
The master gland of the immune system, the thymus, also gets a boost from vitamin A. In a trail in Indonesia, preschool children received one megados vitamin A two weeks before getting tetanus vaccination. Three weeks after the shot, the children given vitamin A supplement had a significantly higher level of protection than children taking placebo.
3. NATURAL HELP FOR CANCER
While many experts take a dim view of supplementing your diet with vitamin A and beta-carotene, it’s a well known fact that a diet high in fruits and vegetables – especially when they’re eaten raw – gives a hedge against several kinds of cancer.
In fact, I could bore you to tears by discussing the number of studies proving the cancer fighting powers of vitamin A and beta carotene. Let me just say an incredible amount of research has shown that lacking these powerful nutrient can put you at risk of cancer of the lung, breast, uterus, prostate, stomach, mouth, esophagus, head and neck, as well as leukemia.
One study even suggested that vitamin A and beta carotene, along with vitamin E and C, may reverse some cancer cells to a normal state.
4. PREVENT HEART DISEASE
Eating food rich in beta carotene may be a powerful weapon in the fight against heart disease. That’s because beta carotene is an efficient scavenger of free radicals.
In one study, a large group of doctors with heart trouble took 50 mg of beta carotene every other day. Compared with other men who took nothing, they had almost half the number of heart attacks and strokes. It did take two years of taking supplements before they saw any positive results.
5. STAVES OFF MEMORY LOSS
You may be more concerned about losing your memory and mental faculties than you are about your physical health. Recent research shows that eating a diet with even a modest amount of beta carotene may help keep your brain power up.
6. BOOSTBOOSTBOOSTBOOST GROWTH HORMONE LEVELS?
The effect of human growth hormone on aging is big news in certain circles, so you may be interested in this study. Researchers in France looked at slowly growing children with delayed bone age.
These children secreted low levels of growth hormone (which you only produce during deep sleep), and their diets were significantly low in vitamin A and beta carotene. The children took vitamin A supplements for three months, and for nine out of 12 children, their growth hormone levels increased between 28 percent and 219 percent.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED
The amount of vitamin A you need varies depending on your weight, age, and sex. A man needs a daily average of about 1,000 RE (retinol equivalents). A woman’s need is about 800 RE. On supplement bottles, you may see vitamin A amounts expressed in IUs (international units). The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for a man is approximately 5,000 IU and, for a woman, approximately 4,000 IU.
Since vitamin A is stored in the body, though, this RDA is truly an average. You don’t have to get the vitamin on a daily basis.
HOW TO GET VITAMIN A NATURALLY
It is virtually impossible to get too much of vitamin A from your diet unless you are a liver fanatic. Animals store much of their vitamin A in that vital organ so you have to be careful not to eat too much of it, according to research. So if a sizzling plateful of liver and onions is your idea of heaven, try to limit yourself to a weekly treat.
A good way to get vitamin A naturally is to choose deep orange or dark green fruits and vegetables, like winter squash, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and apricots. Try to eat them at least every other day to get a heathy level of beta carotene and vitamin A. Liver, cheese, butter, cream, eggs, and fortified milk also are good sources.
DO YOU NEED SUPPLEMENTS?
With the serious risks associated with vitamin A overdose the medical community almost unanimously recommends against vitamin A supplements, and certainly not any in excess of the Recommended Dietary Allowances.
LIFE SAVING FISH OIL
Do you love seafood? Your heart does. Eating just one three – ounce servings of fatty fish a week could slash your risk of heart attack in half.
Remember how your mother always said eating fish would make you smart? Fish has long been considered brain food and studies show that old wives’ tale may be true.
Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are necessary to keep your brain in tiptop shape. Research has shown that two omega-3 fats, eicosapentaenoi acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are important for brain development. They also may protect the brain from damage or heal it after damage occurs.
EPA and DHA are also critical for keeping your eyes sharp. Some researchers think that your eyes deteriorate as you age because you don’t maintain enough omega-3 fatty acids in you retinas.
EPA and DHA are found in seafood, especially cold – water fish. Another omega-3 fatty acid is alpha linoleic acid (LNA) which is found in tofu, soybean and canola oils, and nuts.
Omega-3 fatty acids affect your body differently from another type of fatty acid – omega-6, which plays a critical role in your cell membrane. Omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils, seeds, nuts and whole -grain products. Both of these fatty acids are considered essential nutrients because your body can’t make them – they must come from food we eat.
While most people get plenty of omega-6 fats, they sometimes have problems getting enough omega-3. That’s because these fatty acids are mainly found in fish oil, most people just don’t eat enough fish.
6 WAYS FISH OIL IMPROVES YOUR LIFE
- HEART DISEASE HEALER
Would you believe eating fat can make you thin? Well, a part of you anyway. Omega-3 fatty acids help thin your blood, and this may protect your heart. Like aspirin, omega-3 helps keep your blood from becoming too sticky and forming clots, which can cause heart attack and stroke. Studies show that eating one 3-ounce serving of fatty fish per week can cut your risk of heart attack in half. If you never eat seafood, but start including even a moderate amount in your diet, you can lower your risk of heart disease by 50 to 70 percent.
- TAKES A STAB AT STROKE
Eating fish may be smart stroke protection for women. A four-year studies showed that white women who ate fish more than once a week suffered stroke about half as much as those who never ate fish. White men didn’t show the same effect, but black women and men did. Since stroke is the leading cause of death in women, you may want to put fish at the top of your next grocery list.
The news isn’t bad for men, either. A 25-years study found that men who did not have stroke during that time ate almost 50 percent more fish than the men who did have stroke. The risk was lower for men who consistently ate fish than for those who changed their eating patterns later to include fish.
- PAIN – FREE PERIODS
Nausea, bloating, headaches, cramps. Does this sound like your monthly horror show? Omega-6 fatty acids may be partly responsible for your uncomfortable menstrual symptoms. They help produce certain substances, called prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which cause those unwelcome and painful conditions.
But omega-3 fats come to the rescue, so to speak. They compete to make the same substances, called prostaglandins and leukotrienes, and this interaction helps reduce the inflammatory effect omega-6 has on your body.
A study with adolescents found that omega-3 supplements did just that, resulting in less painful periods.
- ATTACKS ARTHRITIS
Arthritis acting up? Dig on to a seafood dinner several times a week and keep those joints moving.
In a recent study, several people with rheumatoid arthritis who took 3 to 6 grams of omega-3 supplement reported a fewer number of tender joints and a shorter period of morning stiffness. They were able to stop their anti-inflammatory medication, and the relief lasted for up to eight weeks after stopping the supplements.
Eating fish, especially the dark, oily kind like salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, mackerel, and bluefish, is the best way to get fish oil. But although it may help soothe your pain, you shouldn’t depend on diet alone to control arthritis. You’d need to eat a salmon or mackerel everyday to get 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. The recommended two to three serving of fish a week wouldn’t do it.
- GOOD FOR DIABETICS
Eskimos who eat fish a lot don’t seem to get diabetes as often as most people. With diabetes, your body is “glucose intolerant, ” meaning is has a hard time regulating your sugar levels. Fish oil has been shown to reduce this glucose, but it has to be eaten everyday. If you have mild diabetes, you may benefit from fish oil, but if you have a severe form of diabetes, it probably won’t help.
- PREVENTS RELAPSE IN CROHN’S DISEASE
Crohn’s disease is a painful condition that can affect any part of your gastrointestinal track from your mouth to bottom. The most common place for problems is the end of the small intestine where it joins the large intestine. Fish oil may prevent a relapse of this disease because it keeps the inflammation from flaring up.
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH
Scientists say you should eat fish oil two to three times a week, as well as small amounts of vegetable oils, to get the right balance between omega-3 and omega-6. You should try to eat one omega-3 food for every four omega-6 foods. Scientists say this ratio may be critical to maintaining the proper balance for your health.
HOW TO GET MORE FISH OIL NATURALLY
Simply – eat fish, especially fatty, cold-water fish. Some of the more common varieties include anchovies, bluefish, herrings, mackerel, mullet, sardines, sturgeon, trout, tuna, and whitefish.
Cod is a cold-water fish oil, but it stores omega-3 in its liver rather than flesh. Many doctors advise against a regular supplement of cod liver oil, since too much can cause overdoses of vitamins A, D, and E.
Shellfish like lobster, crab, and shrimp have smaller amounts of omega-3, as do mollusks like scallops and clams.
Can you get this important nutrient from plants? Sure, but plant sources are generally lower in omega-3 than the same amount of fish. Oat germ is an exception – its better than all but 15 kinds of oil-rich fish. Other plant sources include flaxseed, dry beans, tofu, soybean products, walnuts, wheat germ oil, and purslane, a type of lettuce used in soups and salads in Mediterranean countries.
Margarine is also a rich source of omega-3, mainly because it’s made from soybeans. Unfortunately, it also has more saturated fat than fish or other plant sources.
So go ahead and enjoy some anchovies on your pizza, whip up a tuna casserole, or treat yourself to a thick salmon steak. You’ll give yourself a hearty dose of fish oil in the best way possible – naturally.
DO YOU NEED FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS?
Let’s face it, some people just can’t stand fish. If you’re one of those who would rather swim with fish than eat them, you can turn to fish oil capsules to get the fatty acids you need. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. The effective dose according to experts is between 3 and 5 grams daily.
FISH OIL CAUTIONS
It’s easy to overdose fish oil supplements because the oil in the pill is more concentrated than in the fish itself. And if you take too much, you can change your blood fat levels and worsen Type II diabetes. It can also harm your immune system, which makes it easier for you to develop infections or even cancer.
Fish oil supplements are made from fish skin and livers, which may contain toxic pesticides and other contaminants. Fish oil contains high levels of vitamins A and D, which can also be toxic if you take too much.
You are also risking free radical damage. Since omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated, they’re open to attacks by free radical oxygen. This starts a chain reaction that can easily damage your cell membranes and may lead to cancer and heart disease. If you get too much omega-3 fat, you could be letting yourself in for more than you bargained.
Any benefits you’d get from fish oil supplements are probably overweighed by the dangers. Your best bet is to go straight to the source – eat fish.
HOW CHROMIUM SAVES LIFE
The older you get, the higher your blood sugar goes. Chromium helps insulin move sugar out of your bloodstream, and that may help prevent diabetes, heart disease, low blood sugar, and other problems of aging. But wait, say the conservatives, chromium supplements only helps people who are lacking in the mineral. Well, that covers about nine out of 10 Americans, Canadians, and British. Even if you eat an otherwise well balanced diet, you’re getting less than 33 micrograms a day, far below the recommended 50 to 200 micrograms.
Have you ever taken a trip to the doctor only to be told that your ailment was just a “normal part of getting older”? That’s what doctors have thought for years about glucose tolerance and insulin efficiency. Both gradually decline as you age.
But what if those declines are diet related instead of age related? Could you hold off, or reverse, the effect of aging? Some researchers think so.
5 WAYS FIGHTS AGING
1. PROTECTS YOUR PROTEINS
One aging theory says that you age because your main energy source – glucose – damages your body’s proteins. It causes them to hook together. An example is collagen, a protein that makes your skin, bone, ligaments, and cartilages. When your collagen proteins hook to each other, all of your tissues can get stiff. When you think of stiffness, you think of the achy joins of arthritis, but your heart muscle is a tissue that can get stiff, too.
Chromium helps move sugar out of the blood, so it protects your proteins from damage. The anti – aging possibilities are huge.
2. REJUVENATES YOUR HYPOTHALAMUS
Another theory on how chromium helps keep you young has to do with a cherry sized region of your brain, the hypothalamus.
Located behind your eyes, the hypothalamus acts as a middleman between the higher regions of the brain and your nervous system. If you are frightened, nervous, or excited, the brain sends messages to the hypothalamus, which starts a series of activities such as faster heartbeat, widening of the pupils, and increased blood flow to the muscles.
But the hypothalamus does much, much more. It is involved on your body temperature, your need for sleep, your appetite for sex, and your moods and emotions. It gets messages from the rest of your body about sugar levels in the blood and your body’s water content. If those are too low, the hypothalamus sends a signal that tells you it’s time to get something to eat or drink.
Some of the jobs performed by the hypothalamus are controlled by blood sugar levels, so it makes sense that reducing the amount of sugar in your blood will keep the hypothalamus from overworking or from sending out incorrect signals.
Dr. M. F. McCarthy, a major chromium researcher, says chromium “may help maintain the hypothalamus in a more functionally youthful state.”
3. DEFEATS DIABETES
Chromium seems to lower blood sugar and improve insulin levels. That’s great news for people with or at risk of diabetes. And scientists aren’t just guessing that chromium helps. Plenty of good studies back up this claim.
Chromium helps insulin do its work. Insulin is the hormone that moves glucose, or sugar, out of your bloodstream and into your cells. That’s important because sugar is to your cells what gasoline is to a car’s engine. It’s the fuel your cells burn for energy.
If your blood sugar goes too high, you are on your way to diabetes. Too low, and you have hypoglycemia.
In the late 1950s, researchers fed rats a diet lacking in chromium, the rats developed sugar intolerance. That means they weren’t able to keep their blood sugar levels normal after eating. Once chromium was introduced into their diets, the diabetes – like symptoms disappeared. It was the first time researchers proved that animals need chromium.
4. OFFERS HEART DISEASE PROTECTION
Do you remember what your body’s main fuel source is? That’s right – the sugar pumping through your bloodstream. And if you don’t have enoughenough chromium, your body will have trouble converting that blood sugar into energy.
If your body can’t use it’s main fuel source effectively, it has to find another one, namely fat. The problem with the body using fat as its energy source is that some of the byproducts of the process are made into cholesterol. Possible result: heart disease.
In one study, a group of people with heart disease had an average chromium level 41 percent lower than a group of people without heart disease.
Several studies have shown how chromium reduces heart disease.
5. HELPS HYPOCALCEMIA
Taking chromium dramatically improved symptoms for a group of people with hypoglycemia. Their symptoms included severe shaking, blurred vision, sleeplessness, and heavy sweating. The researchers asked the hypoglycemic to guess the part of the study when they had been taking chromium instead of fake pill. The change was so pronounced that every person in the study guessed correctly.
YOUR ACTION PLAN
Chromium is everywhere. We pick it up in the air and the water supply and from canned foods, since chromium leaches out of stainless steel cans. Some researchers also believe we have a reservoir of extra chromium somewhere in our body, although they’re not sure just where the stash is hidden away.
But even with chromium floating around in the air and the water, many experts believe it’s not enough to meet our body needs. American consume less chromium in their food than people living in Italy, Egypt, South America, and India. In part because of the refining process used for grains in the United States.
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
The Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake for healthy adults is 50 to 200mcg per day. Dr. Richard Anderson, a chromium expert with the U. S. Department of Agriculture, say you should get no less than 200mcg per day.
HOW TO GET CHROMIUM NATURALLY
Some good food sources of chromium are:
Asparagus, beef, chicken, eggs, brewer’s yeast, dairy products, fish and seafood, fresh fruit, mushroom, nuts, potatoes with skin, prunes, whole-grain products.
DO YOU NEED SUPPLEMENTS?
Chromium supplements may only help you if your body is lacking the mineral. Unfortunately, figuring out whether you’re deficient is almost impossible. Blood tests that measure chromium levels can be wildly inaccurate. That’s because (1) your body has such low level of chromium that it’s had to measure, (2) you can have chromium pools on your body that a blood test would miss, and (3) there’s so much chromium in the environment that laboratories have trouble making sure it doesn’t contaminate your blood sample.
The best way to find out whether you have a chromium deficiency is to take a supplement and see if they help. Probably, only people with diabetes or people at risk for it should experiment with high dose chromium.
Many researchers agree that people with diabetes need to take 200mcg per day or more to see any effect on blood sugar. They theorize that this is because diabetics have trouble using the chromium they take in. Remember to work with your doctor if you plan to take this much.
A low dose of chromium in a multivitamin supplement is probably a good idea for everyone.
Always talk to your doctor before taking high chromium supplements.
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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. I’me xcited for you to start your path to great health and vitality.
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Israel wishing you the best of health, happiness and success!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Israel Banini is a product of the London School of Journalism. He has worked as a front line reporter during many United Nations Peace Keeping Operations, the latest being the United Nation Mission in Sierra Leone. He has written for many newspapers and magazines such as The Adventist World, Adelaide Review, The Daily Guide, etc. He blogs at http://www.baninii.com