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Yes, You Can Become Biologically Younger

Posted May 06 2010 8:03pm

Hand holding a keyIn This Issue:

By Al Sears, M.D.

Conventional medical wisdom is leading millions of people down the wrong path. Part of the reason is that so many “experts” continue to scoff at or ignore the exciting discoveries in the new field of anti-aging medicine.

Just as they did with nutrition as a new field, conventionally educated doctors are willfully remaining ignorant while sticking to the now preposterous position that anti-aging is impossible. By the time you finish reading this you will know how unfortunate this ill-informed position is.

On the surface, you can observe aging as your hair turns gray, your waistline grows and your body goes soft. But there are biochemical changes underneath that drive this physical aging. Measure and manipulate what happens at the cellular level and you can control the way you age to stay younger longer. Here’s an easy example to understand:

As you age, the composition of your body changes with an increase in fat. Measure your body fat and reduce it. Measure your muscle mass and increase it. Now you’ve changed those particular markers of aging to be more typical of a younger person. That’s anti-aging!

You simply change the important physical and chemical characteristics of age that you can influence back to what is typical for a younger individual. As you can see from this example, anyone who claims that this is impossible really hasn’t even bothered to learn what anti-aging is.

Today, I’ll show you how to test for and then reverse five chemical biomarkers of aging that I have identified as both important and modifiable. Most doctors don’t look at these markers in this way. This is a BIG mistake if you want to hold onto your youthful features as long as possible. You can and should take control of your:

  • Insulin: The overlooked secret to high energy and a lean body.
  • Triglycerides: More important than cholesterol for heart health.
  • HDL: The good cholesterol that drugs can’t give you.
  • CoQ10: The often-deficient anti-aging nutrient.
  • HGH: Nature’s master rejuvenator.

Each of these undergoes a transformation as you age. I have proven in my clinics that each of us can achieve control of all five with specific anti-aging therapies. I’m going to start with the first one, which will lay the groundwork for opening up opportunities with the other biomarkers. If you don’t take care of this first, it has a way of hijacking your metabolic energies and you won’t make good progress with the others.

Insulin. When you hear the word insulin, you probably think of diabetes. But insulin isn’t just about this disease. In fact, changing insulin levels plays a key role in aging.

Insulin tells your body to build fat. The more insulin you have, the more fat you’ll pack on (all other things being equal). Most hormones decline with age, but insulin increases with age. If you want to stay lean, strong and vigorous at any age, keep your insulin blood levels low:

  • Risky: 20 and higher.
  • Normal: 11 to 20.
  • Best for anti-aging: 4 to 10.

You can effectively lower your insulin with these four tools:

Triglycerides. You can lower these with the same strategies that lower insulin. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. They are a marker of age because as you age your triglycerides tend to steadily rise. High levels put you at risk of heart disease and can make you fat. That’s why it’s essential to get a triglyceride test. Here’s an idea of where yours should be if you want to maintain a healthy heart:

  • High: 200 mg/ dl or higher.
  • Risky: 150 to 199 mg/dl.
  • Best for anti-aging: Less than 100 mg/dl.

My own triglycerides range around 55 to 60 and I’m keeping it that way. If your triglycerides measure high, use the four strategies above. Make the focal point of your diet natural protein. Protein from fish and grass-fed beef is best because these animals have healthy levels of omega-3s that will help to reduce your triglycerides, not to mention your waistline. For added power to achieve lower blood triglycerides supplement with one tablespoon of cod liver oil.

HDL. HDL is the good kind of cholesterol. HDL delivers life-giving nutrients and helps remove the bad LDL cholesterol from your arteries. Although a certain amount of LDL in your blood is normal and healthy, excess LDL often accumulates in elders. When this happens, doctors often prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs.

But if your doctor tries to put you on cholesterol-lowering medication, be warned. Those drugs DO lower LDL, but they don’t increase HDL and that’s what matters. Whether you have high cholesterol or not, you should work to increase your HDL to above 80:

  • Risky: 40 or below
  • Normal: Between 40 and 80
  • Best for anti-aging: Above 80

The best way to increase your HDL is with high-intensity, short-duration exercise such as my PACE® program.

Another good strategy I use very often in my clinics is relatively robust doses of the B vitamin niacin. For it to work, you have to take at least 500 mg per day. For many, I gradually work up to a dose of 2000 mg (or 2 grams) per day.

I should warn you that doses in this range often produce a facial flush or prickly hot sensation to the skin. It’s usually harmless but can be a nuisance. If it happens back off on the frequency of dosing. Try it again after a few days and increase it more slowly next time. Usually the hot rushes decrease as you get used to higher niacin blood levels.

CoQ10. This nutrient plays a key role in supplying the energy that your internal organs need. It’s a most critical energy source for your heart. CoQ10 is also a very powerful antioxidant. It can improve your immune system, reverse gum disease, increase your overall perceived energy and can help prevent and even reverse heart disease.

Unfortunately, research at my Wellness Research Foundation has proved that CoQ10 levels decline as much as 80 percent through the years, so I include it as one of your most important biomarkers of age. Studies clearly link this decline to the diseases and illnesses of aging, especially cardiovascular problems. And, more than 80 percent of my older patients have turned out to be deficient in CoQ10.

You can measure this critical nutrient in your blood, but very few doctors order it. You will have to ask. It’s imperative you get your levels checked and see how much CoQ10 anti-aging power you’re missing. Then you can start doing something about it.

First, you can add more CoQ10 to your diet by eating red meat and eggs. However, modern animal husbandry has led to lower levels of this anti-aging wonder so you will want to go to the extra trouble to get grass-fed red meat. Supplementation with this particular nutrient is also important. For general anti-aging benefits, I recommend taking 100 mg per day. If your level is low, double that. In some stubborn cases I have used well over 1000 mg per day.

I can’t recommend general anti-aging measurements for CoQ10 or HGH (below) because those are medical decisions based on your individual case history. Talk to your doctor or an anti-aging specialist for specific recommendations.

HGH. Your body produces high amounts of HGH when you’re young, but production declines throughout your adult life. HGH is responsible for rejuvenating and repairing all tissues in your body. As your HGH declines, it orchestrates many of the changes of aging, such as loss of muscle tone, wrinkles, energy decline and excess fat gain. But add HGH back and you reverse some of these consequences of aging.

A recent study at the National Institutes on Aging once again proved that HGH improves lean body mass and decreases body fat even in healthy men. Studies also show it improves strength, sexual capacity and physical function and reduces frailty in elders.

So how do you affect your HGH? I’ve found you can effectively boost HGH in three ways:

Stay tuned for my next anti-aging installment in THB. I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned about balancing your sex hormones to maintain more youthful features in both men and women.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Sears, Chairman of the Board of Total Health Breakthroughs, is a practicing physician and a leading authority on longevity, physical fitness and heart health. To learn more, click here. ]


Bowl of nutsHealthy Healing :

By James B. LaValle

Shout it from the mountaintops! The vast majority of Americans are not getting enough magnesium. In fact, I see at least one person with signs of obvious magnesium deficiency almost every day.

Studies have shown that 78 percent of Americans are not getting the Recommended Daily Allowance. As a result, a host of conditions and diseases associated with magnesium deficiency are on the rise, including hypertension, diabetes and migraines, just to name a few.

Magnesium is well studied and has well defined roles for at least three common medical conditions. For instance, magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, and as such plays an important role in keeping blood vessels relaxed, thereby reducing peripheral vascular resistance and blood pressure. In addition, magnesium stabilizes the heartbeat. Magnesium also affects circulating levels of norepinephrine and the synthesis of serotonin and nitric oxide, all chemicals that are known to play a role in heart disease.

Magnesium deficiencies have recently been linked to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Magnesium improves insulin receptors activity and can help prevent insulin resistance, the condition that precedes and contributes to both diabetes and hypertension.

Magnesium also plays a role in fibromyalgia. Because it helps cellular energy production and relaxes muscles, magnesium magnesium malate in particular has a tremendous benefit for fibromyalgia patients.

Studies have also shown magnesium can help ease migraine headache pain (probably by relaxing head and neck muscles.)  From clinical experience, I find magnesium to be invaluable for constipation. With magnesium deficits, intestinal tract muscles can’t relax enough to move stool out of the body, so it is retained too long in the GI tract. Water from the stool reabsorbs and the stool becomes very hard.  Magnesium deficiencies are probably also playing a role in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

How do you know if you have a magnesium deficiency? Blood tests are available, but symptoms alone will often tell the story. The warning signs of deficiency include muscle tension, leg cramps or restlessness, constipation, rapid heartbeat or arrhythmias, menstrual cramps or irritability.

Magnesium is easily obtained in the diet. Nuts, seeds and beans are all good sources. And magnesium supplements can help make up deficits and prevent the terrible consequences of inadequate magnesium intake.  Magnesium taurate, malate and glycinate are the best forms. Make sure you are getting in at least 500 mg per day.

[Ed. Note: Jim LaValle is an educator, clinician and industry consultant in the field of integrative healthcare. He is a licensed pharmacist, board certified clinical nutritionist and doctor of naturopathic medicine with more than 20 years clinical practice experience in the field of natural therapeutics and functional medicine. Named one of the "50 Most Influential Druggists" by American Druggist for his work in natural medicine, LaValle has authored 13 books, including his latest, Cracking the Metabolic Code. For more information, click here. ]


A bombWeight loss:

Ever wonder if artificial sweeteners containing sucralose are safe? The following facts should answer that question once and for all.

Sucralose, which is 600 times sweeter than sugar, is made with chlorine. Chlorine has a split personality. It can be harmless or it can be life threatening.

In combination with sodium, chlorine forms a harmless ionic bond to yield table salt. Sucralose makers often highlight this worthless fact to defend its safety. Apparently, they missed the second day of Chemistry 101 the day they teach covalent bonds.

When combined with carbon, the chlorine atom in sucralose forms a covalent bond, which results in the historically deadly organochlorine or simply, a Really Nasty Form of Chlorine (RNFOC). It is used to make insecticides, pesticides and herbicides. For example, Agent Orange, used in the U.S Army’s herbicidal warfare program, is an RNFOC.

RNFOC compounds wreak havoc on the human body. Because this poison is fat-soluble, it is akin to a ticking time bomb. It invades every nook and cranny of the body. Cell walls and DNA the genetic map of human life become nothing more than potential casualties of war when exposed. In general, this results in weakened immune function, irregular heart beat, agitation, shortness of breath, skin rashes, headaches, liver and kidney damage, birth defects, diabetes, cancer, cancer and more cancer for generations!

Some things are worth dying for. Sucralose is not one of them. I’ll stick to the safe and natural stevia plant to satisfy my occasional sweet tooth.

[Ed. Note: Shane Ellison is known as "The People's Chemist." He holds a Master's degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand industry experience with drug research, design and synthesis. He is the author of Health Myths Exposed and The Hidden Truth About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs. Get his FREE Life-Saving Health Briefs by clicking here .]


ExercisingExercise & Fitness:

By Craig Ballantyne

When you travel, you worry about missing your workouts and eating poorly. So you must plan ahead for both apples and almonds for planes, trains and automobiles, and bodyweight circuits for “no-equipment fat burning.”

Today we’ll focus on replacing intervals with bodyweight circuits. To do a bodyweight circuit:

For example, this is a great circuit that doesn’t need any equipment:

Whew. That’s pretty advanced. For a beginner, slow it down like this and take some breaks between exercises:

Safe travels. And of course, always check with your doctor before beginning a fat-burning bodyweight circuit exercise program.

[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is an expert consultant for Men's Health magazine. If you're looking to burn fat, build muscle and quickly step into the body you have always wanted with just three workouts each week, check out Craig's fat-loss system by clicking here .]


Tortilla chipsAlternative Eating:

By Dr. Jonny Bowden

I just love how the media reports nutrition stories. It gives new meaning to the term “God is in the details.”

Take the latest story about blue tortilla chips. I’ve read at least three reports that claim these interesting-looking variations on potato chips are actually much healthier than the regular white tortilla chips you routinely get in Mexican restaurants. Higher in protein, claimed the stories, and lower in glycemic impact.

Well, it’s true. But it’s a distinction without a difference.

Here’s the background. In general, anything in the plant kingdom that is deeply colored tends to be healthier for you. The deep pigments that make blueberries blue and raspberries red come from plant compounds called anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the plant (and the people who eat them) from cellular damage done by free radicals. Tortillas are made from corn, which actually comes in several pigmented varieties, including violet, red, black and blue. As you might suspect, those darker varieties contain anthocyanins.

A team of Mexican researchers decided to analyze tortillas made from blue corn and compare them to those made from white. They prepared both kinds, put identical amounts of the two tortillas in test tubes and, by observing the breakdown of the starch by enzymes, were able to compute the glycemic index of the two varieties. They also measured the protein content.

Here’s what they found: The white tortillas had a predicted glycemic index of 98. The blue kind had a predicted GI of 86. They also found that the blue tortillas contained 20 percent more protein.

So how do you get from that finding to the conclusion that blue tortilla chips are “healthy”? Answer: You don’t, especially if you read the research carefully.

First, they tested the actual tortillas, not the fried chips that are made from them. Second, even though a glycemic index of 86 is 12 percent lower than a glycemic index of 98, it’s still extremely high. For goodness sake, pure glucose is 100! And third, white tortilla chips have all of about 2 grams of protein per ounce. Even if the blue chips had “20 percent more protein,” they’d only weigh in at 2.4 gram per ounce hardly the equivalent of a hunk of salmon.

A fried chip is still a fried chip. If tortilla chips are your favorite snack, you’re probably marginally better off buying the blue ones rather than the white ones.

But a health food? Kid me easy.

[Ed. note: Dr. Bowden is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He's a board certified nutrition specialist with a Master's degree in psychology. Dr. Bowden is also a life coach, motivational speaker, former personal trainer and author of the award-winning book, Living the Low Carb Life. For more information, click here .]


Stuffed peppersRecipes & Nutrition:

By Kelley Herring

If you’re watching your waistline, be sure to pick a peck of hot poblanos for this South-of-the-border favorite. Capsaicin, the nutrient in peppers that gives them their heat, helps reduce hunger and boost feelings of fullness, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity.

Serves: 4

Time to Table: 45 minutes

Healing Nutrient Spotlight

• Capsaicin, lycopene
• Excellent Source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, potassium, selenium
• Good Source of calcium, folate, iron, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, zinc

Ingredients

8 medium organic poblano chili peppers
1 large organic onion, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon organic, cold pressed olive oil
1/4 cup spring water
2 organic plum tomatoes, finely diced
2 cups chopped cooked organic chicken breast meat
1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic black pepper
2 1/2 oz organic Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

Preparation

Broil chili peppers on rack of a broiler pan about 2 inches from heat. Turn peppers with tongs until skins are blistered but not blackened, 4 to 6 minutes (do not over-roast because peppers may fall apart). Transfer to a large plastic bag, then close to allow peppers to steam.

Cook onion in oil in a medium nonstick skillet over moderately low heat, stirring until onion begins to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Add water and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in chicken, salt and pepper. Cool completely, then stir in cheese. Preheat oven to 350 F. Rub skins off peppers. Cut a slit lengthwise in each pepper and carefully remove seeds Stuff filling into peppers through slits, keeping peppers intact. Place stuffed peppers in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake until cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information

294 calories, 9 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 3.4 g monounsaturated fat, 1.4 g polyunsaturated fat, 86 mg cholesterol, 461 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 12 g sugars, 35 g protein

[Ed. Note: Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet, a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet's Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill, including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility. For more information, click here. ]


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