Archive for the ‘Live Longer’ category

Heart Disease Patients With Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acids Age Slower

January 21, 2010

Heart disease patients with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood appear to age more slowly than those with the lowest blood levels, according to a new study.

A new study may help explain why. ”We’ve shown an entirely new effect of omega-3 fatty acids, which may be able to slow down the biological aging process in patients with coronary heart disease,” says lead author Ramin Farzaneh-Far, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco.

In a previous study, Farzaneh-Far and his colleagues looked at a marker of biological age (the rate of shortening of telomeres) structures at the end of a chromosome involved in its replication and stability. As the telomeres shorten over time, the eventual result is cell death, the scientists believe.

Farzaneh-Far says and his team looked at the same group of heart disease patients and found that telomere length was ”a powerful predictor of death and bad outcomes from heart disease. In that study, we found the shorter your telomeres, the greater your risk of death.”

In the new study, the higher that the blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the patients evaluated, the slower the rate of telomere shortening.

“We looked at the biological effects of higher blood levels,” Farzaneh-Far tells WebMD, “not supplement intake.”

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Omega-3s and Aging Study Details

For the study, the researchers evaluated 608 patients with stable heart disease, recruited from the Heart and Soul Study from September 2000 and December 2002, following them up for a median of six years (half were followed more, half less).

Participants gave blood samples at the beginning of the study, which were evaluated for omega-3 fatty acid levels. The researchers also isolated DNA from the blood and evaluated the length of the telomere of the leukocyte, a type of blood cell.

Over the follow-up period, “patients with the lowest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids exhibited a rate of telomere shortening 2.6 times faster than patients with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids,” Farzaneh-Far tells WebMD.

How does that relate to aging? “We don’t have enough data to be able to convert the changes of telomere shortening into years of aging,” he says. “This may be one of the first studies to look at the change in telomere length over time.”

There was no association found between omega-3 fatty acid levels and telomere length at the study start. The researchers aren’t sure why, but state that omega-3 fatty acid levels is one of many influences on the length of the telomeres, with other factors including inflammation in the body, obesity, oxidative stress, and lack of physical activity. 

Would high omega-3 blood levels help those without heart disease? Farzaneh-Far can’t say. ”Whether this effect of omega-3 fatty acids on telomere length is present in those without coronary heart disease, I just can’t say,” Farzaneh-Far says, noting it was beyond the scope of the study. However, he adds, ”it could be.” Telomere shortening occurs in everyone, he says 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids & Aging: Other Opinions

”This is very exciting news, to show how fish oil works on a cellular level,” says Ravi Dave, MD, a cardiologist at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center & Orthopaedic Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.

The new finding, he says, builds on previous research. “There has been a strong association found that if you take marine omega-3 fatty acids, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Researchers have been trying to pin down why. Several proposed mechanisms have been found, including reduction of inflammation in the body or reducing the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, Dave says.

With the new finding, he says, “it’s no longer a hypothesized mechanism. It has some basis behind how it works.”

But, he adds, “fish oils are only one of the things that affect telomere length.” Many other factors, he says, such as oxidative stress on the cells, play a role.

Eventually, Dave says, if the telomere research bears out, a test to check a person’s telomere length may be one way to predict the risk of heart disease.

The new research demonstrates a protective effect of fish oil on the aging clock, adds Robert Zee, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of molecular epidemiology at the division of preventive medicine of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has reported a link between shorter telomere length and heart attacks. But the new findings need replication, he says.

Omega-3s and Health: Advice

What should healthy people and those with heart disease do in terms of omega-3s?

Farzaneh-Far points to the existing American Heart Association guidelines. “The American Heart Association already recommends at least a gram a day” of omega-3 fatty acid intake for those with documented heart disease, he says. Preferably it should come from oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, or albacore tuna, according to the AHA, but supplements could be considered if a patient’s doctor agrees.

For those who don’t have heart disease, the AHA recommends eating a variety of fish, preferably oily types such as salmon, at least twice a week, and including in the diet healthy oils such as flaxseed, canola, and soybean.

One of the researchers, William S. Harris of the University of South Dakota, reports receiving research grants from companies with interests in omega-3 fatty acids. Another co-author, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

 By Kathleen Doheny – WebMD Health News

 

Click here for more information on Omega-3 Fatty Acids

New Year’s Resolutions to a Healthier Body & Mind

December 30, 2009

Instead of just making a resolution and not keeping it. This year make your resolutions specifically about getting more life to live. You can increase your life span live a life that is less stressful and more enjoyable by making a few simple changes in your everyday activities. Keep your mind focused on the positive aspects of change and stay committed.

Lose Weight
Obesity can lead to a reduced life expectancy and several health problems including diabetes, liver disease, breathing problems, heart disease and certain cancers. The human body is an incredible machine, it processes the food you eat and turns it in to energy which you use to do everything in your life. Without the vitamins and nutrients your body creates from food, you would not be able to sustain life at all.

The intake of food you consume should not be greater than the amount of energy you are expelling. If you have a sit down office job you should consume less carbohydrates and fatty foods as not to overload your body and make it work harder. Your metabolism speed determines how fast your body can digest the food you eat and turn it into vital nutrients. If you have a slow metabolism or are not exercising regularly, then your body will need to consume less food than someone who is exercising daily or someone who’s job is mostly physical labor. Try to only consume what you are using during the day and choose foods that are not high in fats and sugars.

Exercise More
Your body needs physical exercise to produce energy. Muscles need to be used or they have a tendency to stop working properly. Lack of exercise can lead to heart problems, arthritis, blood clots and several other illnesses. You need to keep your muscles motivated by using them regularly.

Walking, riding a bike, jogging, sports and weight training are all great ways to keep your muscles in shape. Some people say they don’t like exercise, those are usually the ones who DON’T EXERCISE! Exercise is addictive, once you start doing it, you can’t stop. It is extremely motivating and helps your body create extra energy. You can use this extra energy to do more things in life for yourself and those around you. Not to mention you will look better doing them.

Exercise your Brain
Your brain needs a workout in order to grow and continue development. Scientific studies have shown that continued learning can improve cognition skills including, mental focus and concentration, and help prevent memory loss. Taking a poetry class or going back to school can help reduce your risk for memory loss in the future. Keeping your brain busy now can lead to better brain health later in life.

Eat Healthier
You should eat less sugar and more brain food. You’ve heard the saying, “Sugar rots your brain”, it’s true. Health experts have been warning of the risks from eating too much sugar for years, but eating too much sugar, can actually cause brain cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses.

Eat 4 – 6 small meals a day rather than 2 – 3 large meals. Eating smaller portions will help you eat less during each meal and will cause less stress on your organs. Using your organs more frequently will help boost your metabolism rate and eating less will mean your liver is not working overtime. Just keep your organs running don’t overload them and they will stay strong longer throughout your life. Give a little and get a lot back when it comes to your digestive system.

Get More Sleep
Everyone needs their sleep. Sleep is the magical reset button for your body and mind. When you sleep, you allow your brain to rest and refuel. Sleep helps you build up physical strength and energy for the next day. Without a healthy amount of sleep your brain will be less alert and your mood will sour as well. Adequate sleep will relieve stress, boost your immune defense, help you maintain a healthy weight, and much more. The benefits of Sleep go on and on.

Make more “ME” Time
We all have busy lives and schedules to keep, our to-do lists never end. There’s always 1 more thing to do, and if you don’t do it, it may not get done. Don’t let life’s responsibilities get in the way of you being able to enjoy a little time for yourself. Today is a great day to do something for yourself, even something small. Life was not meant to be all work and no play, you must create a good balance between the two.

Nature is beautiful and you should get out and enjoy it a much as possible. Vitamin D from the sun gives you energy and helps ward off illness. So even taking a nice walk, joining in a ball game, or going for a jog can help you have less sick days in the long run.

This year, think of what’s important in life and what you would like to do more of. What makes you happy? What do you go to work for? Life is short and you need to be able to enjoy it, as well as do your part to keep the world turning.

Detox your Body & Mind
Talking to a friend, soaking in the tub and meditation are all highly enjoyable and relaxing. These activities can also help you maintain a healthy sense of wellbeing both physically and emotionally. Friends make you happy and you laugh and feel good when you are in their company. This causes you to have a light heart and it wards off negativity which is one of the biggest life stressors.

Taking long baths allows your mind to be calm and the water helps quench your inner yearning for escape. Water is provided naturally by Mother Nature in order to cleanse and renew, it has an effect on both your body and mind when submerged.

Meditation gives you a time to reflect on what is on your mind. It also gives your body a release while your mind is experiencing calmness. Meditating can help you regenerate and renew your thoughts, giving you a fresh look on life and the situations you encounter. Your body needs your mind to relax in order to alleviate stress and ward off illness caused by life’s stressors.

Indigestion could Lead to Cancer & Other Illnesses

October 13, 2009

Nearly every health concern from cancer to ulcers can be traced back to your digestive system. Whether it’s the obvious problems that come with indigestion such as bloating, heartburn, gas, irregularity or more serious immune issues, it all comes down to what’s going on inside your gut. Not only is your digestive system responsible for breaking down foods and sending critical nutrients into your bloodstream, it’s also where most of your immune system resides.

Everything entering your mouth or nose can reach the GI tract. So everything we breathe, eat, or drink creates a potential invasion into our internal environment. If pathogens survive the trip through the acids and enzymes of the upper part of the GI tract, they find the perfect permanent home in the colon. As a result, the colon is often the seat of many chronic problems. When you take into account many of our society’s current habits, it’s easy to understand how pathogenic bacteria can easily gain a strong foothold right there in your gut.

For instance, we now consume less fiber and more refined carbohydrates than at any other time in history. Both of these habits slow bowel transit time (allowing toxins to sit in your body for far too long) and help provide fuel for harmful bacteria strains. On top of that, excessive use of antibiotics and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anit-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) has become widespread, which throw off the delicate balance of good, necessary bacteria in your gut.

It’s no wonder that most people in this country complain about no energy and are constantly sick. Their imbalanced colons support colonies of pathogenic bacteria, which are constantly spewing toxins into their system. Their immune system is in a constant fight just trying to keep things under control.

Now for the good news, It’s not that hard to turn all this around enjoy comfortable digestion, and get your immune system armed and ready for any invasion. It all comes down to balancing the bacterial flora in your gut. There is no doubt that proper digestion, absorption, elimination, and immune response; all dependent on bacterial flora; must be maintained if you want to remain healthy. Every day, groups of individuals are exposed to the same pathogens; but not everyone gets sick. A strong immune system response determines your ability to fend off premature aging, sickness, and disease. And a strong immune system requires the proper flora in the bowels.

That’s surprisingly simple to achieveQ By eating certain types of foods, you can feed your body the healthy, good bacteria it needs to keep your immune system strong and your digestive system running well. You can also do a Natural Colon Cleanse to clear out the bad bacteria in your digestive tract, intestines and colon.

It’s baffling why conventional medicine hasn’t been able to grasp or accept this concept. Obviously, the pharmaceutical companies stand to make a lot more money selling antibiotics and other medications than recommending a daily dose of fruit or vegetables.

With impending digestive threats all around you, you should take every precautionary measure to boost your immune system and keep your GI tract clear in order to ensure optimal health.