The Best Years in Life
Articles by Natural Health Author Barbara Minton
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Five Supplements Can Help You Live 'Til You Die
by Barbara Minton
(The Best Years in Life) Which are you -- the person who welcomes aging and decrepitude as a natural part or life, or the person who wants to feel healthy and energetic for as long as possible? If the latter describes you, it's time to get started on a positive aging program so you can really live 'til you die.
A positive aging program is one that protects you from cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes, and the damage that come from oxidation. And it is one that protects your energy and zest for living too. The sooner you get started, the better you will look and feel as the years go by.
Five must-have supplements for positive aging
Selenium -- This is the mineral that stands guard against cancer. A large scale study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) involved 1,312 people over an eight-year period. It highlighted the incredible power of selenium. Researchers found that supplementing with trace amounts of selenium produced a 46 percent reduction in lung cancer, a 58 percent reduction in colorectal cancer, and a 63 percent reduction in prostate cancer. This is because selenium elevates the body's detoxification capabilities and boosts certain enzyme systems in the body that fight free radicals. Selenium even bonds with mercury and escorts it out of the body.
Green vegetables would be high in selenium if they were grown in soil containing adequate amounts of the mineral. But the reality is that most soil has been depleted of selenium as well as other minerals, even soils used to grow organic produce. Population studies have shown that where soils have the lowest amounts of selenium, multi-forms of cancer are rampant.
The best way to be sure you have adequate levels of selenium is to eat two or three Brazil nuts a day. Versions of selenium chelated with methionine would be the next best choice.
Ubiquinol -- This is the more bioavailable version of CoQ10, a vitamin-like nutrient naturally produced in the furnace of cells where food, oxygen and water are converted into energy. It's also available as a supplement. The heart muscle contains highly concentrated amounts of Ubiquinol, due to the high energy requirements of cells located there. Ubiquinol is one of the body's most powerful antioxidants.
Declines in ubiquinol result in less cellular energy and diminished protection against oxidative stress. This is stress produced by free radicals that can damage proteins, fats and DNA, allowing degenerative diseases to get started. Studies have reported dramatic decreases in CoQ10 levels and increased oxidative stress associated with the aging process and with many age-related conditions.
The ability to produce CoQ10 and convert it to ubiquinol for use in the body starts to diminish in the 30s and is apparent in 40 year olds. Restoring this vital nutrient to optimal levels by supplementing can help you experience the energy levels you had when much younger.
If you are currently taking statin drugs, be aware that they block production of CoQ10, and are behind most of the devastating side effects you are experiencing.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) --
Many health experts are keenly aware that chronic inflammation is behind may disease states. Much of the beneficial activity of NAC comes from its actions to modulate gene expression throughout the inflammatory pathway. NAC inhibits expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and suppresses nuclear factor-kappa B, which in turn prevents activation of several other inflammatory mediators. NAC regulates the gene for the COX 2 enzyme that is behind the pain and inflammatory prostaglandins in many chronic conditions.
Insulin resistance and rising blood glucose levels are the product of oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition to those with diabetes, obese non-diabetics and those with metabolic syndrome may exhibit these characteristics. NAC intervenes in the multiple steps that lead from oxidation to damaged insulin receptors and insulin resistance.
Chronic high blood sugar initiates advanced glycation end products that impair normal response to insulin and perpetuate elevated sugar levels. NAC has reversed these effects in laboratory models.
NAC is a key constituent of glutathione, the potent antioxidant produced by the body. Gluthathione plays a vital role in the detoxification of harmful substances, and can bind with heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium to escort them out of the body.
NAC is a natural for cancer prevention. The link between oxidative stress, inflammation and cancer is profound, and it is no surprise that NAC produces multiple anti-cancer actions against a large variety of cancer types. NAC induces appropriate cell death, a process known as apoptosis, ridding the body of potential cancer cells. In addition, NAC inactivates and promotes destruction of a chemical control molecule that is over expressed in many cancers, a unique way of slowing or stopping the development of tumors. In the laboratory, NAC protected mice from lung tumors resulting from cigarette smoke, and rats from induced liver cancer.
Oxidative stress and inflammation are linked to colon cancer. Studies in humans have shown a 40% reduction in colorectal polyps in patients taking 600 mgs of NAC daily. Taking 600 to 1200 mgs of NAC per day would be an appropriate strategy for cancer prevention, according to Julius Goepp MD, an authority on NAC.
Rhodiola -- One of the first signs of aging is loss of energy. Rhodiola is an herb used for several centuries to increase stamina, positive mood, mental fortitude, athletic performance, and to thwart fatigue. It is the herb that will give you the will and energy to exercise. Why is exercise so important? It's the key to the body's release of human growth hormone (HGH). Kids are loaded with HGH, and it is why they can rejuvenate so quickly from illness, injury or exertion, and why they don't have degenerative diseases as a rule.
HGH is the closest we have to the fountain of youth. But by the time the age of 30 rolls around, production of HGH has declined to about 20 percent of the childhood peak. The only way to get some of it back is to exercise regularly.
Rhodiola is one of the central herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is an adaptogen, meaning it keeps the body in homeostasis, a state of perfect balance and harmony, even when under severe mental or physical stress including the stress caused by aging.
Other benefits of Rhodiola include:
* Increased endurance
* Shortened exercise recovery time
* Increased attention span and memory
* Enhanced cognitive ability
* Increased blood flow to the brain
* Optimized neurotransmitter levels
* Improved cellular oxygenation
* Protection against heart attacks
* Reduction of adrenalin and cortisol
* Normalization of the immune system
* Reduction in body fat
Cayenne Pepper -- Cayenne is known as the King of Herbs for its tremendous healing properties. Top among them is cayenne's ability to bring back a person from the gates of death, following a heart attack. It does this by opening the arteries and facilitating nutrient exchange of blood to the starved tissues. It helps with both long-term and immediate needs of the heart and cardiovascular system.
Dr. Christopher, founder of the School of Natural Healing, never lost a heart attack victim in his 35 year of practice. As soon as he arrived, he would put a tablespoon of cayenne into warm water, bring the patient around, and have the patient drink up. Often in just minutes, the person would be up and around, minimally weakened by the experience.
Both Dr. Christopher and his contemporary Jethro Kloss, author Back to Eden, noted that cayenne worked equally well with stroke victims. In those who had stokes days or weeks earlier, they used teaspoon dosages to produce rapid and sometimes miraculous recovery.
Can you imagine what cayenne can do as a preventive? Master Herbalist Dr. Kal Sellers has noted that cayenne aids in regeneration, not just repair. Without the natural therapies, regeneration of the heart is thought to be impossible.
For prevention Dr. Sellers recommends 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne in a little water 15 minutes before each meal. In addition to keeping away arterial plaque and strengthening the heart, is aids digestion by improving secretions and getting them to the right place at the right time so that digestion is optimized. He notes that cayenne works doubly on both the cardiovascular and digestive systems.
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