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Win Your Endurance Race of Youthful, Healthy Living

We get far too attached to our date of birth and typically consider it the moving benchmark of the inevitable. Far more important, from my perspective, is that there can be a significant difference between your “chronological age” and your “biological age”. So, what is the difference? Your date of birth merely defines chronological age; however it’s your biological age that really matters since this reflects the true health of your body. A person may actually be 50 years old, yet through healthy diet, lifestyle, use of supplements, intake of sufficient quality water, and restorative sleep their biological age can be 5,10 or even more years younger.

We all have seen friends, family or co-workers that look and act a fraction of their age. Maybe you are already this person, however if not, the big question is… do you want to do what it takes to feel more youthful?

Let’s discuss some common enemies to staying aging, and the natural solutions available to help you achieve a younger, more vibrant biological age.

Proactive living can help improve your odds when it comes to enhanced wellness. The following statistics as reported on the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention serve as a very real wake up call. Important to note is that the name for the CDC includes the word “prevention”. Here’s a few of those statistics

* An estimated 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The CDC reports the following: “It is important to note, however, that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.”

* Blindness or low vision affects more than 3.3 million Americans. By 2030 the number will double to over 6 million due to the increasing epidemics of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

* Approximately 1.8 million Americans are affected by macular degeneration. The number of people afflicted is estimated to reach 2.95 million by 2020.

* Diabetes serves as an accelerator for many disease processes including heart disease, cancer, eye disease, Alzheimer’s and countless others is predicted to reach a prevalence of 1 in 3 by 2050 in the US. Currently 24 million have diabetes and another 60 million have pre-diabetes.

Natural Solutions

There are many myths about aging. The bottom line is that aging DOES NOT mean inability, debility, ill health, or lack of vitality. I see patients well advanced in their chronological age that enjoy biological youthfulness often seen in those 10 to 20 years younger. What follows are some common health promoting approaches that serve as common denominators for those winning the healthy youthful battle.

1. Quality sleep of 6 to 8 hours a night is essential. Common causes of disturbed sleep include low melatonin, urinary tract conditions, sleep apnea, pain and inflammation and acid reflux.

2. Control your blood sugar. Even if you are not diabetic, remember 60 million of us, are pre-diabetic. Getting tested is essential. As I like to say, it is better to catch a fire, before it is a forest fire.

3. Lack of exercise, less than optimal diet, radon gas, certain habits and excess stress will erode away ones health. Much like the rain and wind, over the course of the passage of years, little things can erode away even the mightiest foundation.

4. Drink plenty of high quality water, focus on alkaline promoting healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and veggies and examine the role of specialized alkaline water.Increase your antioxidants.

5. The iron and other factors within the body can oxidize “rust”, that is why “anti-oxidants” are so essential. For instance, lutein is an antioxidant that has been studied regarding eye health is an important consideration.

6. An individualized supplementation program to address health concerns and goals.

Summary Message:
A good supplementation program, along with a health promoting diet and lifestyle can help you in your pursuit of victory when it comes to achieving a healthier, younger biological age. As I tell all my patients, don’t give up, persistence is the essential key, to win any endurance race.

Breastfeeding Linked to Increased Intelligence, Study Suggests

By Chris D. Meletis, N.D.
The largest randomized study of breastfeeding ever conducted reports that breastfeeding raises children’s IQs and improves their academic performance, a McGill University researcher and his team have found.

In a new article, Dr. Michael Kramer reports the results from following the same group of 14,000 children for 6.5 years.

“Our study provides the strongest evidence to date that prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding makes kids smarter,” said Kramer, a Professor of Pediatrics and of Epidemiology & Biostatistics in the McGill University Faculty of Medicine and lead investigator in the study.

Kramer and his colleagues evaluated the children in 31 Belarusian hospitals and clinics, allowing the researchers to measure the effect of breastfeeding on the children’s cognitive development without the results being biased by differences in factors, such as the mother’s intelligence or her way of interacting with her baby.

The children’s mental ability was assessed by IQ tests and by their teachers’ ratings of their academic performance in reading, writing, mathematics and other subjects. Both sets of measures were significantly higher in the group randomized to the breastfeeding promotion intervention.

“Although breastfeeding initiation rates have increased substantially during the last 30 years, much less progress has been achieved in increasing the exclusivity and duration of breastfeeding,” the authors conclude.

“The effect of breastfeeding on brain development and intelligence has long been a popular and hotly debated topic,” says Dr. Kramer. “While most studies have been based on association, however, we can now make a causal inference between breastfeeding and intelligence — because of the randomized design of our study.”

Journal reference: Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2008;65[5]:578-584

The Truth About Over-the-Counter Cold and Flu Medicines

By Chris D. Meletis, N.D.

When you have a cold or flu, you probably reach for an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. But what are these medicationsreally doing to your health in the long run?

Managing Mucus

It is very important to lessen and eliminate mucus not only to feel better, but to lessen the risk of what is called a secondary bacterial infection, after having a viral illness like a cold or flu.  TheOTC drug ingredientguaifenesinis designed to break down mucus. It is essential to remember that mucus is not just annoying—it’s a breeding ground for infection. Our bodies are really glorified petri dishes. We are warm and moist and excess mucus is food for bacteria to thrive.

Prolonged use of guaifenesin usefor more than a few days may increasekidney stone risk. Other side effects include diarrhea, dizziness and nausea. I find that my patients that use guaifenesin generally tolerate it well and report that when used for 7 to 10 days it works well.

While guaifenesinhelps the body expel mucus, another option is the use of antihistamines dry up nasal mucus. It should be noted that antihistamines can cause fatigue and also urine retention in males specifically that have enlarged prostates. The question is: do guaifenesin or antihistamines actually work?Some studies found these agentsreduce cough, others found they don’t.1 I personally have found them helpful when used properly for my patients.

According to researchers, “There is no good evidence for or against the effectiveness of OTC medicines in acute cough.”1

Other OTC Medicines

Dextromorphan—a common OTC ingredient—is good at cough control. Yet, it can cause drowsiness, nausea and dizziness. Combining dextromorphan with high doses of antihistamines or decongestants can damage the liver.   So, the key is to use the smallest dose needed and use it for a short period of time as possible.  Also one should never drink alcohol when taking cold medicines.

Cough drops are another option. But widely available menthol-containing cough dropscontainbacteria’s best friend—sugar—which lowers immunity and the sugar feeds bacteria much like mucus does.  Beware of artificial sweeteners with toxic effects such as aspartame or sucralose.2-3I personally like cough drops that are sweetened with xylitol or stevia.

To reduce a fever, you’ve probably also reached for acetaminophen (Tylenol®), aspirin or NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen.These OTC drugs are tough on the liver and gastrointestinal tract.And liver failure risk increases if you have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a common and often symptomless condition.4So, if a person has a history of fatty liver, liver disease or elevated liver enzymes, one should avoid acetaminophen specifically.  Likewise, if a person has a history of ulcers or heart burn, avoiding aspirin and NSAIDs is important as these OTC medicines can damage the stomach and esophagus severely.

Natural Ways To Beat A Cold or Flu

Your best bets? Keep your immune system strong with zinc, vitamin C and therapeutic mushrooms. Andtake the supplement N-acetyl cysteine to break up mucus.

Drink lots of pure, filtered water, get plenty of sleep, and avoid sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Wash your hands often and when people are around you,avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth unless you thoroughly wash your hands first.

References:

1. Smith SM, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Aug 15;8:CD001831.

2. Soffritti M, et al. Am J Ind Med. 2014 Apr;57(4):383-97.

3.Schiffman SS and Rother KI. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2013;16(7):399-451.

4. Michaut A, et al. Liver Int. 2014 Feb 28. [Epub ahead of print.]

 

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Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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