Friday, September 27, 2013

What Your Body's Trying to Tell You - If You Will Listen

Good article by Sarah Mahoney, posted on Yahoo! Healthy Living on listening to your bodies and being aware of your limitations.

Not long ago, my husband and three of our kids went charging up Mount Katahdin--think of it as New England's mini Mount Everest. I'd spent months hiking with friends to make sure I was in shape and, at the start, hustled to keep pace with our teenagers as we hauled ourselves up the steep boulders. But within a couple of hours I was straggling; they leapt past me like giddy mountain goats while I carefully picked my way up the rocks.

Was I disappointed? Actually, no. I felt smart. My 40-something body was telling me how to protect it from injury--and my hips and feet thanked me later. It turns out that our bodies routinely transmit this evolving wisdom, gently steering us away from activities or indulgences we can no longer tolerate to ones that will ensure continued good health.

Here are six other things your body's trying to tell you.

1. When you're dehydrated

Over the course of a lifetime, our kidneys, which transport water to our tissues, gradually lose a bit of their efficiency. Also, nerves that signal thirst gradually decline. The combination means that you may be unaware of the fact that you're not getting adequate hydration.

Listen to your body: Sip throughout the day. While there's no reason to torture yourself with eight 8-ounce glasses if you don't like it, make a habit of consuming enough fluids every day. Not an H2O fan? Try adding herbal tea at each meal.

MyAchingKnees comment: A pitcher of water with slices of lemon's, limes or any type of berry is another way to spice up your plain water.

2. When to go easy on dessert

From early adulthood to late middle age, our metabolic rates fall by an average of 10%. "That's because people tend to become more sedentary as they age," says Barbara Bushman, PhD, a professor of exercise physiology at Missouri State University, "and that inactivity reduces muscle mass, in turn lowering metabolism. The metabolic drop is also due to a decline in cellular activity, so even women who maintain a consistent level of fitness find that they need fewer calories to maintain the same weight."

Listen to your body: Think of the metabolic slowdown as your body's way of getting you to be more mindful of what's on your fork or spoon. Instead of an ice cream sundae, think: healthier fruit parfait.

3. When to hit the hay

"My body can no longer handle being awake until 2 am and then getting up at 6," says Riconda Solis Lamb, 44, a mom of two teens who has long relied on the midnight hours to catch up on everything from reading to cleaning to exercise. "Now if I'm up late, it's like I have narcolepsy at the office the next day." The National Sleep Foundation says that's because the architecture of sleep changes as we age; we spend more time in light stages of sleep and less in those that are deeper and more restful. Combine this with the fact that most of us don't get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and a late night really hurts.

Listen to your body: Get more sleep than you think you need-always at least 7 hours. Switch off phones, computers, and the television an hour earlier.

4. When you need to stretch

Even as our body wisdom increases, our flexibility declines. Lamb, who lives in Rogers City, MI, says she's made peace with feeling like Oz's Tin Man after a rainstorm. "I used to jump out of the car after a 2-hour drive and feel fine," she says. Now it takes a little effort to unfold her legs. By our mid-40s, most of us have lost between 3 and 4 inches in the sit-and-reach test. "The elasticity of tendons, ligaments, and joints decreases," increasing the potential for injuries, says Bushman. New evidence also links poorer flexibility to heart disease: Japanese researchers found that middle-aged and older people who do poorly on the sit-and-reach test have stiffer arteries than more flexible people.

Listen to your body: Do more activities like yoga and tai chi, which boost both flexibility and balance. And after any workout, take time to stretch, holding each pose for 15 to 20 seconds while breathing deeply.

5. When to drop a grudge

Psychologists have known for some time that people tend to become more forgiving the older they get. Researchers at the City University of Hong Kong have a new explanation for this phenomenon: Our sense of the future becomes more constrained and regulating our emotions becomes more important, so we are motivated to kiss and make up.

Listen to your body: Cultivate a kinder heart. A recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that cardiac patients who undergo forgiveness counseling--they learn to work though and overcome hostile feelings, and thus grudges, they hold toward others--have significantly fewer heart symptoms, such as angina, than those who don't get the counseling.

6. When to skip that extra glass of wine

A moderate amount of booze eases stress and anxiety and may protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and stroke. Alas, aging seems to reduce women's ability to tolerate alcohol. Why? The body retains less water, so alcohol becomes more concentrated, and therefore more potent. Drinking even a little more than usual increases the risk of tipsy mishaps, including falls.

Listen to your body: A little vino now and then is a good idea, but stick to no more than one glass at a time, and don't exceed seven servings per week.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

I appreciated this article titled "7 Ways to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk" by Stephanie Eckelkamp on Yahoo Health as it supports a link of nutritional deficiencies with degenerative diseases - in this case Alzheimers.

"You may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by a whopping 70 to 80%," says Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the non-profit organizations that sponsored the first annual International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain this past weekend in Washington DC.

Sixteen researchers presented compelling evidence about why the following seven habits could help warn off many neurological disorders, not just Alzheimer's, that steal our mind.

Minimize your intake saturated and trans fats

These "bad" fats tend to increase blood cholesterol levels, which encourage the production of dangerous beta-amyloid plaques in the brain -- a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. In the Chicago Health and Aging Study, people consuming the most saturated fat had triple the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains should be staples in your diet

These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect the brain such as vitamin B6 and folate. The Chicago Health and Aging Study found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. A plant-rich diet also reduces your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which can play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

MyAchingKnees comment: No argument here. Eating right is the first leg on the chair of health.

Get about 5 mg of vitamin E daily

This antioxidant has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and can easily be consumed by eating small handful of nuts or seeds or munching on mangoes, papayas, avocadoes, tomatoes, red bell peppers, spinach, and fortified breads and cereals. But stick to food sources, says Dr. Barnard. Taking a supplement doesn't seem offer the same benefit.

MyAchingKnees comment: "Taking a Vitamin E supplement doesn't seem to offer the same benefit? Only true if you are taking poor quality supplements. I take 800 IU of Vitamin E and I also suggest that an Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid supplement is as important not only to brain related functions but to your overall health.

Pop a B12 supplement

Getting adequate amounts of this B vitamin (about 2.4 mcg per day), found in animal products and fortified foods, helps reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to cognitive impairment. In an Oxford University study of older adults with elevated homocysteine levels and memory problems, B vitamin supplementation improved memory and reduced brain atrophy. If you're over 50 or follow a plant-based diet, taking a supplement is extra important.

MyAchingKnees comment: "Not only Vitamin B is necessary. All the nutrients and in much higher doses than suggested by the outdated RDA should be part of anyone's foundation for a Healthy Lifestyle.

Avoid multivitamins with iron and copper unless otherwise directed by your doctor

Most people get adequate levels of these metals through their diet, and ingesting them in excess has been linked to cognitive problems.

MyAchingKnees comment: When Iron is included in a Multi-Nutrient (Multi-Vitamin) supplement, it can inhibit the body from absorbing some of the other nutrients.

Avoid cooking with aluminum pots and pans

Instead, opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware. While aluminum's role in brain functioning is still under investigation, preliminary data suggests that it may contribute to cognitive problems.

MyAchingKnees comment: No argument here either as this is the third leg on the chair of health....avoiding toxins.

Walk briskly three times a week for at least 40 minutes

Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise can reduce your risk for dementia by 40 to 50%.

MyAchingKnees comment: Again, right on the money,..........lead a physically active life - the fourth leg on the chair of health.

By adopting all of the above habits you may be setting your brain up to be around for the long haul.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Can anti-aging supplements help you look younger?

Consumer Reports looks at supplements and gauges their ability to make you look younger. I care more about how healthy I am and how I feel as opposed to how I look. But the truth is - the healthier you are, the better you look. My wife remarks about how her skin looks healthier; her nails are less brittle and grow faster; and, her hair is fuller, and the only explanation she offers is that is has to be from the supplements she takes.

From the Consumer Report:  The best way to age gracefully is with good habits, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, and not just because the combination makes you look younger. Research shows that a healthy lifestyle offers most of the benefits that anti-aging products claim to provide—less body fat, improved energy, more vigor, and greater muscle strength—with none of the risky side effects of those products. We looked at some of those claims and what you can actually expect from the products. Here’s what we found.

Claim: An infusion of vitamins in high doses makes you feel younger

Reality: Flooding your system with a high concentration of vitamins intravenously speeds absorption into the bloodstream. That would seem to be a shoo-in for the super-healthy category. After all, if some is good, then more is better and even more is best, right? Not exactly.

“It needs further testing,” says the study’s author, David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “Such drips can be beneficial for people with certain conditions, like those who have trouble absorbing nutrients through their gastrointestinal tract. But they should not be used routinely by peo¬ple who are looking for a quick fix for their health.”

Consumer Reports says: For the vast majority, the best way to get vitamins is through your diet.

Claim: DHEA supplements prevent illness and improve energy

Reality: Store shelves are lined with bottles of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements. But your body actually produces the hormone naturally. And while DHEA levels do usually begin to decline at about age 30—the same time age-related changes such as decreased muscle mass, reduced bone density, and cognitive impairment start to crop up—there's no evidence that taking additional DHEA helps counteract those problems.

Consumer Reports says: Because there’s no evidence of effectiveness, and side effects can include lower levels of good cholesterol, increased facial hair in women, acne, and concerns about various types of cancer, you should pass on those supplements.

Claim: Omega-3 supplements slow the effects of aging

Reality: Scientists have known for awhile that omega-3 fatty acids—whether you get them from a pill or from food such as salmon and sardines—can help protect against heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and possibly other diseases. But is there a connection to aging?

A 2012 study from Ohio State University found that most overweight but otherwise healthy study participants who were middle-aged and older who took omega-3 supplements for four months altered the ratio of their fatty acids in a way that helped to preserve telomeres. It’s the first evidence to suggest that a nutritional supplement might actually help make a difference in aging.

Consumer Reports says: Although the study is intriguing, more research is needed. At this time there’s not enough evidence to recommend omega-3 supplements for their possible effect on telomeres. But eating fatty fish twice a week is well worth considering, especially since fish has well-documented cardiovascular benefits.

MyAchingKnees comment: There have been studies on how high quality nutritional suplementsa and an Omega 3 supplement help children that have previously diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Many people (including me) and institutions believe Omega 3's help cognitive function.

Claim: Red wine will help you live longer

Reality: It’s not so much the wine per se but the resveratrol in the skin of the grapes that has been claimed to lengthen your life. And even that much isn’t certain. Research suggests that resveratrol mimics the effects of calorie restriction, which has been found to extend the lives of lab animals. Eating a low-calorie diet has been associated with not only a lower body mass index but also a reduction in blood pressure and improved memory.

Researchers hope that resveratrol will prove to be a more palatable way of getting the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction while allowing people to eat and drink comfortably. But there’s no evidence that resveratrol will keep you young.

Consumer Reports says: You can give resveratrol a try, but in a glass, and in moderation—no more than 10 ounces of wine a day for men, 5 ounces for women. (See our ratings and buying guide for wine.) But note that the research shows that for most people the heart-healthy benefits of drinking alcohol don’t outweigh all the potential risks, including disease and damage from imbibing too much.

Claim: Catalase pills will get rid of gray hair

Reality: The mystery of what causes hair to go gray seemed to be at least partly solved when researchers at the University of Bradford in England discovered that gray hair has lower-than- normal levels of the enzyme catalase. Why is that important? Hair cells produce hydrogen peroxide (used to lighten hair color) and catalase, which breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, at least for awhile. As we age, the production of catalase slows down, leaving nothing to keep hydrogen peroxide levels from building up. As a result, the hair becomes gray (but just how gray depends on other factors, such as genetics and lifestyle).

The study, published in July 2009 in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, didn’t prove that taking catalase in pill form prevents hair from turning gray. But that didn’t stop the makers of Go Away Gray from using the study to boost its claims that the product will “prevent and reverse gray hair.”

In addition, the catalase supplement hasn’t undergone any clinical trials to test how well it works or even its po¬tential health risks. “There is no controlled data available,” says Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., division chief of cosmetic dermatology at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “I would not ingest any substance of which I was unclear of the risks.”

Consumer Reports says: Don’t fall for this one. The research isn’t clear on whether or not catalase supplements are effective. The enzyme might be digested rather than absorbed into the targeted cells.

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Grape Seed Extract Outperforms Chemo in Killing Advanced Cancer Cells

This is an article by Susan Patterson from and posted on Underground

There is some hesitancy in me to post this article simply because there is a chance that some people will eliminate chemotherapy as a possible treatment mode in lieu of using grape seed extract or other natural cures exclusively. 

While I am not a fan of chemotherapy, it has to be on the table for consideration when faced with cancer. And while I may not be inclined to utilize chemotherapy, I would certainly add Grape Seed Extract, a nutrient and an anti-oxidant, to my treatment plan. Currently I take 190 to 390 mgs of Grape Seed Extract daily.

Grape Seed Extract is a bioflavonoids clearly exhibiting antioxidant capabilities that offer protection from oxidative stress and are reportedly very important for the modulation of cell-signaling pathways and functions that regulate the cell cycle, inhibiting cell proliferation, and producing detoxification enzyemes.

Grape Seed Extract (GSE) Outperforms Chemo in Killing Advanced Cancer Cells

Patients with colorectal cancer may benefit from the cancer-growth-inhibiting power of grape seed extract. Researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center report that the more aggressive the cancer cells are, the more effective the grape extract works at targeting and stopping the growth. Grape seed extract is amazing in that it attacks the cancer cells but leaves the healthy cells untouched. This is a departure from conventional cancer treatments that destroy all of the cells in an attempt to stop the spread of cancer.

Actually, the power of grape seed extract seems quite remarkable in this research, which was published in the journal Cancer Letters. Molly Derry, a doctoral candidate in the lab of Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, and investigator at the CU Cancer Center and her team saw that while doses of chemotherapy only increase with more severe cancer cases, such as a stage IV instead of stage II, the amount of grape seed extract required actually decreased.

Derry explained:

“It required less than half the concentration of GSE to suppress cell growth and kill 50 percent of stage IV cells than it did to achieve similar results in the stage II cells.”

“We’ve known for quite a while that the bioactive compounds in grape seed extract selectively target many types of cancer cells. This study shows that many of the same mutations that allow colorectal cancer cells to metastasize and survive traditional therapies make them especially sensitive to treatment with GSE.”

Amazing Grapes

One of many berry types, grapes were introduced to America over 300 years ago. There are over 8,000 grape varieties with the main types being American and European. With only 100 calories per cup, grapes are a great source of vitamins K and C and are loaded with antioxidants.

Grape seed extract is made from the seed of the grape and is beneficial for a number of cardiovascular conditions such as poor circulation and high cholesterol. The extract has also been found useful in the treatment of diabetes-related eye disease, loss of vision due to aging, and swelling associated with injury. Currently, GSE is being studied in the treatment of leukemia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Interestingly, past research also points to berries as a solution for colorectal cancer and many other cancers. In one study, the growth of new tumors in mice fed black raspberry decreased by 45 percent and the total number of tumors went down 60 percent. Other research found that foods rich in flavanols (berries, grapes, apples) also reduces the risk of colon cancer.

Advanced Cancer and Grape Seed Extract

The bioactive compounds in grape seed extract selectively target many types of cancer cells. With an increase in colorectal cancer, the findings of this study are timely. By the time most people are diagnosed with the disease, it is in the advanced stages. But thankfully, as mentioned, researchers found that it required less grape seed extract to kill advanced cancer cells than it did cells in the early stage. It is thought that the extract kills cancer cells by a process of oxidative stress.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Creatine has another Victim

Lyle left a question on the post "Link between Creatine and Chronic Joint Pain?": "Did you notice any improvement since going off creatine? I'm taking Beast Creature creatine and my shoulders have started to hurt so bad it wakes me up at night. I will stop taking it today and I hope I'll get some relief. I did however see positive results in power but I can't take this pain and no sleep. Also noticed joint pains."

By the time you read this Lyle, your joint pain should be gone. I quit taking Creatine years. Again it was years ago, but as I remember it took a week or so to get the Creatine flushed out of my body. It's kind of interesting, but the gimmick supplements are cyclic. They hit the market, gain popularity, fall out of favor, then return to bother a whole new generation of users.

Creatine has some properties to neutralize or otherwise combat build up of lactic acid (waste product) produced from muscle fatigue and weight lifters report that they get a better "pump" using Creatine,.....but at what expense? your joints? No thanks.

If not Creatine, then what? Everyone should be a high quality daily multi-mineral, multi-vitamin supplement because you just cannot get the nutrients you need from today's food supply. And if they have joint pain, the two main optimizers for joint pain relief are Glucosamine and Vitamin C, given no structural damage requiring surgery. I also think the Curcumin can help the efficacy of the Glucosamine and Vitamin C. After four plus decade abusing my body and joints, I attribute the almost total extinction of my knee and back pain to pharmaceutical grade supplements including Glucosamine, Vitamin C and a deritive of Curcumin.

An quality Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement can also help by reducing the oxidative stress from having a imbalance of Omega 6's to Omega 3's from which often non-specific joint pain is thought to be an effect from.

If you are lifting weights, especially heavy weight, you may want to replace all the exercises that turn your palms away from you, e.g... traditional bench presses and over head presses, and instead try replacement exercises that rotate the palms in, towards each other. This should reduce some of the stress on your shoulder joint.

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