Why Your Body Changes When You Age-And How to Slow It Down

ageIt’s easy to get trapped in the mind frame that your health diminishes naturally as you age. You may find yourself getting a little slower, a little softer, and slightly more prone to pain and sickness.

The body goes through changes as you age. Once you hit 45, you start losing muscle mass at a rate of Continue reading

The Trouble Seniors Face Today with Their Health

healthy seniorsToday I’ll finish off this three-part series on the troubles seniors face with nutrition. I’ll be covering what your primary needs are, how your nutrition needs change as you age, and where you can go for assistance.

Seniors have different nutritional needs than other people. Even if you’re in great shape, it’s still important Continue reading

Olive Oil Helps Prevent Visible Facial Skin Aging

A recent study on over 1,900 French men and women analyzed diet, sun exposure, physical activity, age, and geographic location. The study followed participants for over two and a half years and found that those with the lowest levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in their diets displayed the greatest likelihood of photoaging and being classified among Continue reading

Female and Younger Athletes Take Longer to Overcome Concussions

New research out of Michigan State University reveals female athletes and younger athletes take longer to recover from concussions, findings that call for physicians and athletic trainers to take sex and age into account when dealing with the injury.

The study, led by Tracey Covassin of MSU’s Department of Kinesiology, found females performed worse than males on visual memory tests and reported more symptoms post concussion. Continue reading

Staying Fit and Healthy Keeps Your Sex Life Alive

Most of the really old don’t get it on. But if you keep yourself fit and in good health, you can keep having sex further into your golden years.

Unfortunately, those who live to be 100 don’t have much of a sex life as they near the century mark. The average man’s sex life ends around age 70. For women, it’s usually over at age 66. But, says a study at the University of Chicago, published in the British Medical Journal, if you keep yourself in really good health and physical shape, you can squeeze out up to an extra seven years of sex.

“Interest in sex, participation in sex and even the quality of sexual activity were higher for men than women, and this gender gap widened with age,” said lead author Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Chicago. But the study also “affirms a positive association between later-life health, sexual partnership and sexual activity,” she said.

A consolation for older women, according to the scientists, is that many of them seem not to miss sexual activity after it ends. Continue reading

The Most Important Vitamins as You Age

Nutritional deficiencies are quite common among older adults. Getting improper nutrition for less than one year can lead to full-fledged deficiencies in vitamins B and C. More than a year spent not getting proper nutrition would result in deficiencies in vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as B12. The more frequent chronic illnesses and medication use further compromise the nutritional status in older individuals. One study found that there was a high number of vitamin deficiencies found even among those who claimed to be taking multivitamin supplements on a daily basis.

Here are the main vitamins all adults, particularly older adults, must consider on a daily basis. Continue reading

Complex Sex Life of Goats Could Have Implications for Wildlife Management

A new study of the mating habits of mountain goats reveals the vastly different strategies of males in different populations and could shed light on the unseen impacts of hunting.

A Durham University-led research team found that male chamois (a species of wild goat-antelope) adopt different strategies in different populations in order to succeed in the rut: some put a lot of energy in at a young age, while others wait until they are much older.

Researchers looking at neighbouring populations of chamois in Northern Italy found that males in one population delay their reproductive efforts until an older age when their size and experience allow them to dominate in the rut. They then put increasing effort into breeding until they die. Continue reading

Bee Pollen Health Benefits Nature’s Fountain of Youth

There are many naturopathic doctors and health practitioners that regard bee pollen as nature’s “fountain of youth” because of its amazing health benefits, age reversing, disease-fighting, and health-boosting effects… and super nutritional properties.

Bee pollen is a fine powdery substance collected by honeybees from the stamens of flowering plants, and stored in honeycomb hives. It is regarded by many as a highly nutritious and complete food — one which contains a rich supply of the B-complex vitamins and folic acid, vitamins A, C, E, carotenoids, amino acids, some essential fatty acids, and a wide variety of minerals.

Some nutritionists even insist that one can live on bee pollen alone. This must be one reason why 10,000 tons Continue reading

Milk from ‘Spider Goats’ Could Produce Ligament Replacement Material

What’s stronger than Kevlar, stretchier than nylon, and a natural material that has long intrigued scientists and engineers because of its potential medical applications? The strongest of the six types of spider silk, referred to as “dragline” silk, is used for outer circles of a web, or for repelling from ceiling to floor.

In the early ‘90s molecular biologist Randolph Lewis and his colleagues at University of Wyoming in Laramie identified the two proteins that make up the strong silk, but the large size of the proteins made the attempts to mass-produce the silk from spiders unsuccessful. Cannibalistic spiders also aren’t the ideal animal to farm commercially for the quantities needed, so the researchers have experimented with inserting the silk-producing genes into the genome of animals including cows, hamsters, and most recently, goats. Continue reading

The Importance of Magnesium

The essential element magnesium has important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A lack of it is associated with a wide range of medical problems, from heart irregularities to asthma. Unfortunately, because of our poor diets, many of us don’t get enough magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency is very common, especially in those who eat a Western diet high in red meats, fats, and sugars, and low in fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, carbonated sodas deplete the body’s supply of magnesium. Americans, both young and old, gulp down these dangerous sodas at a frantic pace. As many as 75 percent of Americans eat diets deficient in magnesium, and two-thirds of these people are significantly deficient.

Magnesium is critical for the healthy function of blood vessels as well as for every tissue and organ in the body. Consider some of its important functions:

• Produces energy Continue reading

Boost your Brain Power Naturally

“Where are my keys?” “What was that person’s name again?” Memory glitches like these, though ordinary enough, can sometimes be an upsetting reminder that our memory may not serve us forever. If your brain function is not quite as sharp as it once was, here are 5 natural ways to protect your memory and boost your brain power, no matter what age you are!Where does your memory go?

Most people over the age of 40 experience some memory loss. Our memory is facilitated by chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters; these messengers transfer information from one neuron to the next. Find out more about neurotransmitters in The Natural Health Dictionary. As we age, our levels of these chemical neurotransmitters are lowered, and a mild slowing down of the memory and thought processes can occur.  Continue reading

Is Sugar Destroying your Memory?

Do you ever forget people’s names? Enter a room and forget why you went there? Forget a word mid-sentence? As we get older, these types of “senior moments” happen more often. Many of the people I evaluate worry that these slips mean they are getting Alzheimer’s disease. In most cases, they aren’t. They’re just part of normal, age-related memory decline. Starting at about age 30, our ability to process and remember information declines with age.

But though these cognitive changes are common, cognitive decline is not inevitable. Recent research  Continue reading

Does Sugar Impact Your Memory?

Do you ever forget people’s names? Enter a room and forget why you went there? Forget a word mid-sentence? As we get older, these types of “senior moments” happen more often. Many of the people I evaluate worry that these slips mean they are getting Alzheimer’s disease. In most cases, they aren’t. They’re just part of normal, age-related memory decline. Starting at about age 30, our ability to process and remember information declines with age.

But though these cognitive changes are common, cognitive decline is not inevitable. Recent research has identified specific brain alterations that underlie this kind of age-related cognitive decline. And the good news is that many of these brain changes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle practices. A key finding: Elevated blood sugar contributes to cognitive decline.

The details: It has long been known that problems with short-term memory are related to age-related decreases in blood flow in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. Recently, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center discovered that decreased blood flow  Continue reading

Regular Use of Painkillers Linked to ED

Men who take painkillers regularly to treat pain such as the aches that come with age may be increasing their risk for another common condition of aging, erectile dysfunction (ED), a study suggests.

Middle-aged men in the study who reported regularly taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were more likely to have erection problems than men who took the drugs less frequently or not at all.

The study is published in The Journal of Urology.

Regular use of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn), and other NSAIDs was more common in older men. Not surprisingly, so was erectile dysfunction (ED).

In the study, regular use of NSAIDs was defined as those who on pharmacy records received more than a total of a 100-day supply of at least one NSAID, any prescription for three or more doses per day, or those who self-reported using NSAIDS at least five days per week on the study questionnaire. Continue reading

How Much Can Vitamins and Supplements Help your Skin?

Age takes its toll on our skin, just as it does on other parts of our bodies. Exposure to sunlight and oxygen throughout the years produces unstable molecules called free radicals, which cause inflammation, damage skin cells, and ultimately increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

Although no magic pill can make you look 20 years younger, you can help your skin look as young as possible in a variety of ways. You probably already know the three surest ways to ensure youthful skin: protect your skin from the sun, don’t smoke, and eat a healthy diet.

Vitamins and Antioxidants for Skin

In addition to lifestyle changes, a variety of vitamins and antioxidants may also improve the health and quality of your skin. Although some vitamin and antioxidant treatments work from the outside in, others work from the inside out, targeting the harmful effects of sun damage and free radicals under the skin’s surface.

Eileen Ross started taking antioxidants to improve her health but shifted the focus to her skin when she started reading up on their benefits. “I developed a cocktail of vitamins and supplements so that I got the ones that were most beneficial for me,” says the 46-year-old preschool director from Smyrna, Ga.

After she started taking her “cocktail,” which includes vitamins E, C, B-12, and selenium, Ross noticed that she was getting more compliments on her skin. “I’ve heard that my skin is flawless or it looks very beautiful, very smooth,” she says.

Research is finding that some vitamins and antioxidants can reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, improve the look of the skin, and protect against further sun damage. Here are a few of the most effective vitamins and antioxidants for the skin:

Vitamins C and E and Selenium for Your Skin

Research has found that vitamins C and E, as well as selenium, can help protect the skin against sun damage and skin cancer and can actually reverse some of the discoloration and wrinkles associated with aging and sun exposure. These antioxidants work by speeding up the skin’s natural repair systems and by directly inhibiting further damage, says Karen E. Burke, MD, PhD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s department of dermatology.

Although you can find these nutrients in skin creams, the challenge with applying vitamins E and C to the skin is that the concentration in most creams tends to be low, and they can lose their effectiveness when exposed to air and light.

Burke recommends taking supplements containing 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 international units of vitamin E (in the D-alpha-tocopherol form), and 100-200 micrograms of selenium (l-selenomethionine) to gain the most benefit. (Don’t give selenium to children until they have all of their adult teeth because it can interfere with the proper formation of tooth enamel).

If you do use a topical form of these antioxidants, the most potent products contain 15% to 20% of vitamin C (non-esterified), 2% to 5% of vitamin E (D-alpha-tocopherol), and .02% to .05% selenium (l-selenomethionine).

Coenzyme Q10 for Your Skin

Coenzyme Q10 is a natural antioxidant in the body that helps the cells grow and protects them from the ravages of cancer. A drop in natural levels of coenzyme Q10 that occurs in our later years is thought to contribute to the skin aging process. A study published in the journal Biofactors found that applying coenzyme Q10 to the skin helped minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Most studies conducted so far have used a 0.3% concentration of coenzyme Q10.

Alpha-lipoic Acid for Your Skin

This antioxidant, when applied topically, may help protect the skin from sun damage. Studies have looked at creams with 3%-5% concentration, applied every other day and building up slowly to once daily, and found some improvement in sun-induced changes in the skin.

When applied topically in higher concentrations, alpha-lipoic acid can cause adverse effects in some people.

Retinoic Acid for Your Skin

Retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin A in the skin, and the “gold standard” in anti-aging skin care, according to Burke. Topical retinoic acid (brand names Retin-A and Renova) treats fine wrinkles, age spots, and rough skin caused by sun exposure. In a study conducted at the Skin Research Institute in Korea and published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, researchers found that treatment with retinoic acid restored the elastic fibers that keep skin taut, and reduced the appearance of wrinkles.

Retinoic acid comes in gel and cream forms, which are typically used once a day. Although dermatologists used to believe that retinoic acid made the skin more sensitive to the sun, they now know that it actually protects against further sun damage. However, if you apply it in too high of a concentration and too often, retinoic acid can cause side effects — such as redness, extreme dryness, and peeling. Burke recommends starting with a low concentration (retinoic acid products range from 0.01% in gels to 0.1% in creams) and applying it once every second or third night to reverse photo damage more slowly.

Flavonoids (Green Tea and and Chocolate) for Your Skin

Green tea and yes, even chocolate, just might help improve your skin. Research suggests that the flavonoids in green tea might protect the skin from cancer and inflammation. A German study in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank hot cocoa with a high flavonoid concentration for three months had softer, smoother skin than women who drank hot cocoa with a lower flavonoid concentration.

Another study, this one in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that women whose skin was treated with green tea extract were more protected against the adverse effects of sunlight exposure. Although the results look promising so far, more research is needed to prove that flavonoids work and to determine the best dose, according to Burke.

B Vitamins for Your Skin

The B vitamins are essential for cells throughout the body, including skin cells. It’s important to get enough of foods rich in B vitamins, such as chicken, eggs, and fortified grain products because a B vitamin deficiency can lead to dry, itchy skin.

Research is showing that some B vitamins are beneficial when applied to the skin.

For example, in one study of hairless mice, researchers in Kawasaki, Japan, found topical application of an antioxidant derived from vitamin B-6 protected against sun-induced skin damage and decreased wrinkles.

Other Antioxidants

There are many other plant-based extracts being studied for their positive effects on the skin, either when ingested or applied topically. Examples are rosemary, tomato paste (lycopene), coenzyme Q10, grape seed extract, pomegranate, and soy. Some experts feel that a blend of many different antioxidants and extracts might be more effective than individual products. The final answer about the best doses and extracts remains to be determined by researchers.