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Benefits of stress management
Mental Health can be overlooked in our everyday lives but it plays a huge role in our health. Our mental state can affect us in many ways both positively and negatively. This article will be discuss the importance of Mental Health with a concentration on stress management. Stress is a significant cause of mental illness today and although we can't eradicate it, we can manage it It is important to understand that not all stress is negative. Stress may occur prior to weddings, graduations, or even social gatherings, but no matter the source of stress, your bodies respond the same. Also, some stress is good for you in order to manage skills needed for survival such as fight or flight.
Experts suggest a combination of physical, social, environmental, and psychological approaches to managing stress. When we are stressed, we encounter General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). GAS is your complex physiological responses that happen as a result of the stress and has three phases. The first phase of GAS is the alarm phase. The alarm phase occurs when we sense there is a stressor present (Body doesn't sense whether it is a good or bad stressor), everything becomes heightened and hormones respond. The seconds phase of GAS is called the resistance phase. During the resistance phase your Body resists stress to get your it back to homeostasis. If you can't rid the stress you move into exhaustion The last phase, exhaustion, occurs when your Body is tired and can't fight anymore to get it back to homeostasis. Physical or emotional tension is often a good indicator of stress.
Below is a short list of symptoms from stress.
We all experience some level of stress on a regular basis but as I mentioned before, too much can be harmful to your Body. Below I have listed ways in which you can deal with and reduce stress levels.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself seems self-explanatory for many but as we enter the exhaustion phase our attention to self-care begins to decline. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, treat yourself, and maintain your normal routine.
It is often said that exercise is the most underused stress reliever and this is 100% true. Working out forces you to take your mind off of the stressors and focus on what you are doing and nothing else. Get in a gym or go for a run to lower your stress levels.
Being able to talk to someone during stressful times is very important. Connect with a friend or family member that you will listen to what you want to get off your mind. This can be very helpful for stress reduction.
Avoid Alcohol or Drugs
People often turn to drugs and alcohol in times of stress but fail to realize they only provide temporary relief. Once your "high" or "buzz" wears off, you will more than likely feel worse than before. Alcohol and drugs add to stress and do not help to reduce its impact. I hope this information helps you to recognize when you are stressed and how to handle it Stress is a serious issue that we tend to overlook. Stress is usually a catalyst for other illnesses such as anxiety to occur.
In conclusion chamomile will help you zap stress and unwind and have healthy life.
Health Benefits Of Fish Oil
November 01, 2013 10:44 AM
Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids that play a crucial role in performance and health throughout life. The omega-3 nutrients, containing EPA and DHA, are most frequently linked with heart health although they accomplish far much than that.
Some of the important health benefits of the omega-3 supplementation to the young, the old and everyBody in between include:
1. Improved synthesis of proteins
The omega-3 fatty acids are renowned for their consequences on heart health and inflammation even though they really have powerful effects on boosting protein synthesis. Out of the 2 most essential omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, it seems EPA has the more significant effects in the synthesis of proteins.
2. Reduced breakdown of proteins
Decreasing protein breakdown and/or increasing protein synthesis leads to muscle growth. The EPA plays 2 unique functions in the growth of muscles. It reduces protein breakdown and increases protein synthesis by acting on totally different mechanisms in metabolism of muscles.
3. Improved immune function
It is a huge disappointment when a person gets sidelined from his or nutrition and training program because he or she is sick. Fish oil plays an important function in performance and fitness. This is because it supports the white blood cells (major cells in immunity) function.
4. Enhanced sensitivity of the insulin
Excessive adipose tissue (Body fat) interrupts the ability of the Body to maintain the sensitivity of insulin and control blood sugar level in fat tissue and muscle. The omega-3 fatty acids can improve insulin sensitivity if supplemented in the diet.
5. Enhanced delivery of nutrients to the cells
Increased intakes of omega-3 supplements actually alter the composition of cell membrane. Higher levels of omega-3 in cell membrane facilitates the passage of nutrients out and in of the cell.
The capacity of omega-3 fatty acids to enhance metabolism is less proven than theoretical. However, as the health of a cell improves during nutrient delivery, the rate of metabolic rate of the cell is also enhanced.
7. Decreased inflammation
The omega-3s are renowned for their benefits to heart health. When fish oil is consumed at effective amounts, they have positive effects on the inflammatory of the Body.
8. Enhanced brain health
The DHA, component of omega-3 fatty acids, play an important function in brain health. It is transmitted from the expectant mother the unborn child, and is crucial for the developing brain.
9. Decreased Triglyceride levels
The EPA has been proven to support lower levels of Triglyceride.References
D-Ribose Powder Benefits!
April 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Supports normal heart function*
A significant amount of in vitro, animal and human research suggests benefits of ribose on heart function.* Studies have shown that ribose supplementation can enhance cardiac energy levels and support cardiovascular metabolism.* Ribose has been shown in clinical trials to enhance the recovery of heart muscle ATP levels and improve myocardial function following exercise.
Studies suggest that ribose supplementation can increase the tolerability of the cardiovascular system to exercise-induced fatigue.1 In one study, twenty men underwent treadmill exercise tests on two consecutive days to confirm the onset of fatigue secondary to exercise. The participants were then randomized to the treatment group or a placebo group. The groups received either four doses of 15 grams of D-ribose (60 grams/day total) or the same amount of placebo each day. After three days of treatment, another treadmill test was performed. The time it took to reach the specified level of fatigue was significantly greater in the ribose group than in the placebo group.
Another study investigated the ability of ribose to support healthy heart function and quality of life.2 In a randomized, crossover design study, fifteen individuals were given 5 grams three times a day of either D-ribose or placebo. Each treatment period lasted three weeks. In patients receiving ribose, echocardiography demonstrated enhancement of heart function, reflecting a “more efficient relaxation phase of the heart”. Participants also had a significant improvement in their subjective quality of life scores compared to placebo.
Scientists suggest that suboptimal heart function is a result of the heart requiring more energy to function properly. Ribose supports the heart’s enhanced energy requirements, promoting optimal heart function. It does so by enhancing the stores of high-energy phosphates in heart tissue. These intermediates are necessary for the production and resynthesis of ATP. A double-blind crossover study in which 12 individuals were randomized to receive either ribose or dextrose (both administered as 5 grams three times daily for three weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period and crossover of treatments for three additional weeks) suggested significant enhancements in normal cardiac function during the period of ribose supplementation.3
Perhaps one of the more useful illustrations of the potential for ribose to support heart function comes from a study in which 20 rats received a continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours (control rats received an infusion of saline). The hearts were then explanted (as they would be for heart transplants) and placed in preservation solution that was enriched with ribose for 4 hours. ATP levels were measured from tissue biopsies and revealed that 10 of the ribose-treated hearts had ATP levels higher than 12.3 micromoles per gram whereas saline-treated hearts (controls) had lower ATP levels, with 20% showing levels below 10 micromoles per gram of tissue. This provides support for the hypothesis that ribose may enhance the preservation of ATP levels in cardiac tissue, promoting normal heart function.4
Further animal studies have shown that ribose significantly enhances heart function after experimentally induced cardiac depression. Rats were injected with isoproterenol (a drug that stimulates sympathetic nervous system function) and had their abdominal aorta constricted to induce depression of heart function and reduce cardiac ATP levels. The decrease in ATP was primarily responsible for the depression of heart function. Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours replenished ATP concentrations to normal levels and normalized heart function in these animals.5
Ribose may strengthen and support the Body’s crucial antioxidant defenses*
Ribose may support the Body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own. Intense exercise and other strenuous activity can induce the production of free radicals. Preliminary studies suggest that ribose can attenuate some of the effects of oxidation seen after performance of intensive exercise.
One small human study indicated that ribose administered at a dose of seven grams before and after a bout of cycling exercise may reduce free radical production.6 Seven volunteers ingested either ribose or placebo both before and after intense exercise. Markers of lipid peroxidation, including malondialdehyde, significantly decreased in the ribose-supplemented group, while increasing in the control group. The results of this study indicate a possible effect of ribose in supporting antioxidant activity.
Supports healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue*
After bouts of intense exercise, ATP levels have been shown to decrease by an average of 15 to 20%.7 The amount of ATP stored in the muscle is limited and so the Body must have the potential to rebuild ATP stores. ATP is the fuel necessary for the integrity and function of a cell. In addition, several studies have found correlations between ATP content and heart function.1 Research that was also alluded to above suggests that ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and supports heart and muscle function by enhancing ATP levels in cardiac and muscle tissue. D-ribose is an essential building block for the synthesis of ATP through the pentose phosphate pathway.
The results of ribose supplementation enhancing ATP levels in muscle are evidenced by studies suggesting beneficial effects on anaerobic performance. In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study assessing the effects of acute ribose supplementation, participants receiving the ribose supplement had increases in mean power (a measure of average overall muscular strength output during the sprint) and peak power (a measure of the highest muscular strength output during the sprint) when undergoing a series of cycle sprints.8 While this effect was not noted in all of the six short cycling sprints that the participants underwent, the study does illustrate the potential benefits of ribose on ATP production and, secondarily, on enhancing exercise performance.
A second placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of four weeks of ribose-supplementation (10 grams /day) on male Bodybuilders. Of the 20 participants who were recruited, twelve completed the study. Each subject participated in a heavy-resistance training program designed to increase skeletal muscle mass. The effects of ribose on Body composition (Body weight, Body fat, lean Body mass, fat mass, and bone mineral content) were also assessed. The results suggested that ribose increased total work capacity and bench press strength compared to placebo, without altering Body composition.9
Supports energy recovery after exercise*
Animal studies have suggested that the administration of ribose after exercise increases the rate of adenine salvage by five to seven-fold in muscle tissue7, supporting energy recovery after exercise. When ATP is utilized by muscle tissue, the degradation products include adenine nucleotides (Adenine is one of two purine bases that is a component of DNA). Adenine is recycled to synthesize DNA, and the salvage of adenine within the muscle tissue is crucial to energy recovery. Studies have shown that the presence of adequate ribose concentrations is the rate-limiting step in the purine salvage pathway. Therefore, increased adenine salvage could potentially help in the recovery and regeneration of ATP after intense bouts of activity.
A study investigated the effect of oral intake of ribose on the synthesis of AMP, a precursor to ATP.10 Participants performed intense cycle training for seven days. They then received either ribose (at a concentration of 200 mg/kg Body weight, which is equivalent to 14 grams per day for an average 70 kilogram male) or placebo three times a day for the following three days. Exercise tests were performed again on day 4. Muscle biopsy samples were taken before the first training session, immediately after, and again five hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours after the last training session. No differences were seen in exercise performance between the groups. The intense exercise caused the ATP levels in muscle to decrease in both groups. However, at 72 hours post-exercise, the ribose group exhibited a much higher ATP level than the placebo group. The muscle levels of critical building blocks for ATP, including total adenine nucleotides (TAN) and inosine 5’-monophosphate (IMP), were also significantly higher in the ribose group compared to the placebo group at 24 hours after exercise. Ribose-supplementation was shown to enhance the resynthesis of ATP after intense exercise.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Caution: Insulin-dependent diabetics and pregnant women should consult their physician before use.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 or 2 scoops mixed in water, juice or other beverage two times per day. May be taken with or without food.
1) Pliml, W., von Arnim, T., Stablein, A., Hofmann, H., Zimmer, H., Erdmann, E. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 1992;340:507-510.
2) Omran, H., Illien, S., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A., Luderitz, B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 2003;5:615-619.
3) Illien, S., Omran, H., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB Journal 2001;15(5): A1142
4) Muller C., Zimmer H., Gross M., Gresser U., Brotsack I., Wehling M., Pliml W. Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Dec 16;3(12):554-8.
5) Zimmer H.G. Normalization of depressed heart function in rats by ribose. Science. 1983 Apr 1;220(4592):81-2.
6) Seifert, J.G., Subudhi, A., Fu, M., Riska, J.J. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med 2002; 33(Suppl 1) S269.
7) Zarzeczny, R., Brault, J.J., Abraham, K.A., Hancock, C.R., Terjung, R. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91:1775-1781.
8) Berardi J.M., Ziegenfuss T.N. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):47-52.
9) Van Gammeren, D.V., Falk, D., Antonio, J. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on Body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational Bodybuilders: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Ther Research. 2002;63(8):486-495.
10) Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2004;286:R182-R188.
Buy Ribose at Vitanet at a Discount
Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels-Herbally
July 05, 2005 10:18 AM
The introduction of refined sugars into the modern diet has had tremendous negative health consequences on world health. For example, diabetes, especially insulin-independent diabetes (Type 2), is growing rapidly in the United States particularly among children. This type is partly due to the inability of insulin to effectively transport sugar to receptor sites and into cells, where the sugar can be metabolized. Instead of being "burned up," sugar builds in the blood, creating a potentially serious health problem. This inefficiency can occur for a number of reasons, including: insufficient insulin production due to pancreas dysfunction (though many Type 2 diabetics produce excess insulin); the inability of insulin to carry sugar to receptor sites; a defect in the insulin; or a defect in the receptor that does not allow for the sugar to be transported through the cell membrane. Even if one does not have diabetes, it is important to maintain healthy blood sugar levels through proper diet, exercise, and weight management. This is especially important in children who were recently found to obtain 14% of their daily calories from sweet drinks (sodas), overtaking white bread as the primary source of total daily caloric intake. Regardless of the reason, a number of botanicals, in addition to key lifestyle recommendations, have been shown in modern research to support healthy blood sugar levels by enhance sugar metabolization. (Cinnamomum aromaticum syn. C. cassia*) is one botanical that has been shown to have a positive effect on potentiating the effects of insulin.
*The study referrd to the material used as Cinnamomum cassia. The officially accepted botanical nomenclature has changed and is now Cinnamomum aromaticum.
Spices have been used historically to increase metabolism, raise Body heat (thermogenesis), improve digestion and assimilation, and potentiate the effects of other substances. For this reason, in many herbal traditions, small amounts of hot pungent spices were added to many traditional compounds. Regarding sugar metabolization, a study by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) looked at the potential effects of 49 spices on insulin function (Broadhurst et al. 2000). These researchers found that cinnamon was the most bioactive in directly stimulating cellular glucose metablosim, i.e. the ability of cells to utilize sugar. The same researchers followed up with constituent studies and determined that it was water-soluble compunds in the extract that had this insulin-potentiating effect. This was followed by a clinical trial (60 subjects), also with involvement of the USDA, on the effects of cinnamon for potentiating insulin. The equivalent of 1, 3, and 6 grams (g) of cinnamon powder (approximately 1/4 to 1.5 teaspoons) reduced blood glucose levels 18-29% in 40 days (Khan et al. 2003).
There was a significant increase in efficency between the 1 and 3 g doses, but an insignificant increase between the 3 and 6 g doses. One mechanism of action that has been postulated is that cinnamon increases the activity of PI-3 kinase, an enzyme that is critical in regulating the ability of glucose to be transported into the cell, where it can be utilized as energy. In addition to its ability to potentiate insulin, the cinnamon also supported healthy triglyceride and cholesterol levels, both important health benefits in general.
There is an additional benefit of using cinnamon for many Americans; like many spices it is a potent thermogenic agent. This means it can be used as a healthy adjunct to a weight loss program that includes dietary modification and proper exercise. The excessive consumption of simple sugars in conjunction with poor diet and sedentary lifestyles can cause unhealthy blood sugar levels while providing themogenic support can have long-lasting health benefits.
There have been a number of popular articles on the recent studies. This had led some to ask if crude cinnamon powder can be used with the same effect and safety. This has not been tested. As with all spices, cinnamon is rich in essential oils. Essential oils have beneficial effects, but the insulin-potentiating effect was found to occur in the water extract. This would suggest that many of the oil soluble compunds were lost in the processing. Also, essential oils can be stimulating and irritating, one of the reasons they are generally used in small amounts as flavoring agents. Therefore, it would be best to look for products that contain the water extract to ensure you are delivering the preparation that most closely reflects the preparation used in the studies.
Maintaining healthy weight and increasing lean Body mass are key components in the supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Recently it was reported that only two days of inactivity resulted in a decreased level of insulin sensitivity. Therefore, supporting healthy blood sugar levels is extremely important for those wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In obesity, or in those with a significantly higher percentage of Body fat over lean muscle (Body mass index greater that 25), it is very difficult for insulin to do its job effectively. The reason is quite simple: fat cells can prevent insulin from actually reaching insulin receptor sites; the fat physically blocks the receptor, and the sugar that should have been burned off through cellular function remains in the blood. It is important to know that, in such cases, there is often nothing at all wrong with the pancreas (the insulin-producing organ), the insulin, or the receptor sites. The fat simply prevents insulin and sugar from reaching their target. In many cases, people are over-producing insulin in an attempt to get more sugar to the receptor sites. After awhile, the pancreas can become exhausted and no longer produce adequate amounts of insulin. Therefore, a primary therapy for supporting healthy blood sugar levels is proper weight management through diet and exercise.
Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, Anderson RA. 2000. Insulin-like biological activity of culinary and medicinal plant extracts in vitro. J agric Good Chem. 48(3):849-852. Khan A, Safdar M, Khan M, Khan K, Anderson R. 2003. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 26912):3215-3218.
Roy Upton is trained in Western and traditional Chinese herbalism, and has been a professional herbalist for 18 years. He is past president and current vice-president of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) and is also executive director and editor of the American Herbal Pharnacopoeia. an organization dedicated to the development of authoritative monographs on botanicals used in supplements and medicines. Roy is general manager of Planetary Formulas and a memeber of the Standards Committee of the American Herbal Products Association. He is the author of several books, including St. John's Wort and Echinacea in the Keats Publishing Good Herb Series and co-author of the Botancial Safety Handbook, published by CRC Press. Roy lectures and writes extensively.
Disclaimer: The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your Body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your Body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large Body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (Body mass index, an indication of Body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased Body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the Body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human Body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your Body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the Body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
June 10, 2005 04:08 PM
Basic Detox by Harriet Epstein , February 4, 2002
Basic Detox By Harriet Epstein Trying to stay healthy and clean in a dirty world can prove a difficult task. The rise of modern industry and agriculture has meant the widespread accumulation of toxins in our environment that can cause health problems.
As Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin point out in their book The Road to Immunity (Pocket), "Fat soluble chemicals are readily absorbed by the Body but are difficult to excrete. To be excreted, they must first be enzymatically converted into water-soluble substances. Some of them can't be converted at all."
Bock and Sabin point out that a 1990 survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that looked at people's tissues found that everyone the agency examined had styrene (a chemical used to make plastic) and xylene (a paint and gasoline solvent) stored in their Bodyfat.
The toxins that you encounter every day are not only present in air and water, but also may be found in food and medicines. If we eat beef that's been exposed to pesticides, those chemicals may be shunted into our Bodyfat. Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables may end up in a similar place.
To cope with chemicals, the human Body has evolved methods for detoxifying. When we breathe out we often release inhaled toxins. Other toxins are purged through urine, feces and sweat.
One of the chief organs responsible for cleansing the Body is the liver. This organ utilizes a pair of chemical pathways for breaking down and eliminating toxins. In our hectic, industrialized world, this flow of toxins can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. In addition, the dual processes the liver uses to eliminate noxious substances may become unbalanced, allowing toxins produced by one pathway to build up to dangerous proportions.
Once liver function falters, toxic havoc ensues. Toxins may remain in the Body, often stored indefinitely in Bodyfat. The Body's detoxifying systems may be swamped with toxins.
In protecting the liver and enhancing its detox functions, many naturopathic practitioners recommend the herb milk thistle (silybum marianum). According to Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, authors of the Natural Health Bible (Prima), milk thistle helps the liver cope with its toxic load. Consequently, milk thistle is frequently used in Europe for liver problems like jaundice.
Bratman and Kroll point out that milk thistle "is one of the few herbs that have no real equivalent in the world of conventional medicine." As Lise Alschuler, ND, medical director at the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic, told Natural Digest, "Milk thistle protects the liver against toxic damage (and) helps prevent damage to the rest of the Body."
The compounds in milk thistle that help zap toxins, known as silymarin, protect the liver by binding with substances that would otherwise interact with the liver and slow its function. They also help the liver repair itself and regenerate new liver cells.
As an extra bonus, silymarin acts as an antioxidant, protecting liver cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Dandelion has a place as another traditional treatment for toning the liver and boosting the Body's filtration system. The leaves are a cornucopia of antioxidants and nutrients including B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D, plus boron, silicon, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They help detoxify by acting as a mild diuretic: they cause the Body to eliminate excess fluid.
But herbalists worldwide have found the compounds in dandelion root most useful for helping alleviate liver and gall bladder malfunction. (If you think you suffer these difficulties, consult your health practitioner.) Two unique and helpful natural substances found in dandelion root are chemicals called germacranolide and eudesmanolide. The root, according to the Natural Health Bible, has traditionally been used to speed up a sluggish or congested liver as well as detoxing the Body by eliminating constipation. Research indicates dandelion root may stimulate bile flow (Arzneimittel -forschung 9, 1959: 376-378).
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis), may also be taken with dandelion as a diuretic. This botanical, often used to combat urinary tract problems, is also an anti-inflammatory (Phyto Res 1, 1997: 28-31).
Heavy metals rank as dangerous toxins unleashed by modern industry. As Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, explain in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and aluminum can "accumulate within the (Body) where they can severely disrupt normal function."
Public health experts estimate at least one in five Americans has been a victim of heavy metal poisoning. Lead may be the most common villain. In your everyday life, you may be ingesting metals from your cookware, from pesticides, cigarette smoke, dental fillings, polluted fish, and chipping house paint.
Signs that you may suffer from toxicity linked to heavy metals: Unusual fatigue, Persistent headaches, Unexplained muscle pains, Anemia, Ringing in the ears or dizziness and Tremors.
Of course, if you think you suffer from heavy metal poisoning, you should see a knowledgeable health practitioner as soon as possible. Murray and Pizzorno recommend an array of precautions to protect yourself against heavy metals in the environment:
Take a daily multivitamin and mineral.
Take extra amounts of vitamin C and B-complex.
Take amino acids that contain sulfur (taurine, cysteine and methionine) and high sulfur foods like onions and garlic (or supplements). (Consult your pharmacist of health practitioner before taking individual amino acids.)
In addition, Leo Galland, MD, in his book The Four Pillars of Healing (Random House) offers these tips for keeping your digestive tract functioning at top capacity:
Take supplements of lactobacil-lus acidophilus and lactobacillus plantarum, friendly bacteria that in-habit the large intestine. These microorganisms can help break down toxins and eliminate them.
Use aspirin and ibuprofen as little as possible. They increase the permeability of the digestive system, allowing allergens and other problematic substances to enter the Body.
Do not use antacids. The stomach's acidic environment is designed to kill ingested bacteria and parasites.
To fight digestive problems or heartburn, cut back on saturated fat; eat smaller meals. Chewing on calcium tablets after meals may help. Foods that can exacerbate heartburn include coffee, alcoholic beverages and very spicy foods.
Dr. Galland also recommends not eating for four hours before bed.
Environmental Free Radicals
Detoxing the Body may also require taking antioxidant nutrients to fight off what are called free radicals.
Free radicals are caustic molecues thought to be involved in causing many chronic problems such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals are created within the Body and its cells every time a metabolic activity takes place. While the human Body has developed its own mechanisms for defending itself against these byproducts of metabolism, exposure to pollution, radiation and other toxins may overburden the Body's free radical burden. Scientists believe that taking extra antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E and carotenoids (natural substances found in many vegetarian foods) may help prevent damage by free radicals.
Environmental oxidizing agents include ionizing radiation (from industry, sun, cosmic rays, x-rays) ozone and nitrous oxide (from auto exhaust) heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) and cigarette smoke, along with other chemical and compounds from food, water and air. Free radicals are believed to play a role in more than sixty different health conditions, including the aging process, cancer and arteriosclerosis. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993;90:7915-7922).
The good news? Reducing exposure to free radicals and increasing intake of antioxidant nutrients can shrink the risk of these health problems.
"Antioxidants can't get rid of heavy metals and solvents," says Dr. Glidden, "but they do cut down on the damage they do while they're there. As toxins wander through your Body, they generate metabolic reactions, resulting in free radicals. And anti-oxidants mop them up." The liver is the last line of defense in handling toxins; supplements help it regenerate itself.
The Body itself does produce enzymes like Superoxide dismutase (SOD) catalase, and glutathione peroxidase which can defend against and defuse many types of free radicals.
Supplements of these compounds are also available to augment the Body's supply.
These building block nutrients include the minerals manganese, zinc, and copper for SOD and selenium for glutathione peroxidase. Many vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants. Dr. Crinnion recommends a multivitamin with "a lot of B, especially magnesium."
Since chlorinated pesticides like DDT "rob the Body" of B1 and Vitamin A, he says, it's a good idea to supplement these as well.
In addition, acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria that grows in the digestive tract (and found in yogurt) may restore immunity hurt by pollutants. A study on women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis found that acidophilus cut their infections by 300% (Annals Int Med 1992; 116:353-357.)
Another immunity enhancer, colostrum, a natural immune enhancer that promotes cellular repair (Food Res Intl. 1995, 28(1):9-16) can also help the immune system battle pollution.
Vitamin C vs Pollution
A study of vitamin's C's antioxidant properties, conducted by University of Buffalo epidemiologists, and presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Epidemiologic Research, revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum have lower levels of a marker of oxidative stress.
"It is well known that oxidative stress (cell damage caused by free radicals) plays a role in arteriosclerosis, cancer, pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions," said Holger Schunemann, M.D. a research assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Buffalo and lead author on the study.
"In this population, vitamin C was negatively associated with oxidative stress, suggesting it may play a role in protecting against these diseases." Vitamin C is the "greatest antioxidant," says Dr. Crinnion. "It has even been shown to clear lead from the blood."
A powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E scavenges free radicals protecting cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E, "reverses toxicity of various toxic chemicals," says Dr. Walter Crinnion, "it is also a stabilizer of membranes." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding antioxidant vitamin supplementation and lipid peroxidation in smokers even indicates that an antioxidant-supplemented drink can reduce lipid peroxidation and susceptibility of LDL to oxidation in smokers and may ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.
Dr. Glidden recommends E preferably in the form of mixed tocopherols )If you take blood thinners, check with your health practitioner.)
Unfortunately, completely avoiding toxins in today's world is probably impossible. Civilization and toxic chemicals accompany each other hand in rubber-glove-encased hand. Still, with proper attention to nutrition and supplements to keep our bodies detoxifying, we can probably minimize health difficulties linked to these undesirables.