Here is a link to an article about the Lifespan 2040 report that came out today. A few of the highlights are:
Here is a link to the slides from a presentation about the Lifepsan 2040 report for the United States.
Let's all make wise lifestyle choice and beat the odds.
Live healthy . . . live well,
Dr. Dave, ND
Every time I look in the mirror I am reminded of my age and that there isn’t much that I can do about it. Mercedes Sosa wrote a song that I love called "El Tiempo Pasa" and the first line of the song is, "El tiempo pasa / Nos vamos poniendo viejos" (Time goes on / We are getting old). Nevertheless I want to live long and live well (healthy). I have three boys that I want to see grow and have families of their own. Selfish maybe, but that’s what I want.
I was catching up on my reading this week and read an interesting paper, Dietary lipophilic antioxidants: Implications and significance in the aging process, by Chong-Han. In his paper he reviews the critical role of dietary antioxidants and suggests that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), flavonoids, resveratrol, and Vitamin E all show promise in extending human life.
To review, antioxidants are substances that reduce oxidative damage in cells caused by free radicals. You know how iron rusts and that rust weakness iron structures. That is an example of oxidation. The same thing happens to us when free radicals produced when our bodies break down food or environmental toxins like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals are responsible for aging, tissue damage, and diseases like heart disease and cancer. If you want to live long and live well then control the antioxidants in your body.
Coenzyme Q10 (aka CoQ10) is the only known antioxidant that is synthesized by the body. CoQ10 reduces oxidative damage thus lowering cardiovascular risk and inflammation and consequently extending life . It also prevents photo-aging of the skin and may offer protection caused by simvastatin therapy. Q10 is the primary physical attribute found in longer-living mammalian species, including human beings. CoQ10 is found in fish and the germs of whole grains, like wheat germ. I don't eat enough of either one so I take a CoQ10 supplement every day.
Flavonoids are the most common group of polyphenolic compounds in the human diet and are found mostly in plants. Eat a pretty (colorful) diet to get a good supply of flavonoids. Another good source is green tea. Green tea supplementation has been found to protect against oxidative stress and can increase antioxidant ability in rat brain. The green tea catechin prevents damage in aging mouse brain and liver damage in rats caused by aging and ethanol. Another flavonoid, anthocyanins, has also shown protection against vascular disease. The best sources of flavoring include berries (organic cherries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries are my favorites), green tea, and virtually all fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices.
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic compound found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts, and some berries. The "French Paradox" and from controlled studies point to its effectiveness in extending life. Resveratrol has also been associated with improved bone density, motor coordination, cardiovascular function, delaying cataracts and retarding aging. On a personal note my wife has a healthy, 98-year-old relative in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who claims that his good health is due to a glass a day of red wine.
Vitamin E is one of the most widely researched antioxidants. Like vitamin A, it has been shown to extend life in mice when initiated in early years. Vitamin E may protect older healthy individuals against atherogenesis, the formation of thick plaque of cholesterol and other lipids in arterial walls, improve relearning ability, and reduce cancer formation. In addition to supplementation, organic sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, papaya, Swiss chard, mustard greens.
 Chong-Han, K. (2010). Dietary lipophilic antioxidants: Implications and significance in the aging process. Critical Reviews in Food and Nutrition, 50, 931-937.
 Simvastatin (INN) is a hypolipidemic drug used to control elevated cholesterol. It is a member of the stLatin class of pharmaceuticals. Simvastatin is a synthetic derivative of a fermentation product of Aspergillus terreus. The drug is marketed generically following the patent expiration, and under the trade name Zocor.
 The French paradox refers to the fact that although the French consume three times as much saturated fat as Americans, one-third less French people die from heart attacks and obesity than American people.
 Liu, BL; Zhang, X; Zhang, W; Zhen, HN (December 2007). "New enlightenment of French Paradox: resveratrol's potential for cancer chemoprevention and anti-cancer therapy.". Cancer biology & therapy 6 (12): 18336.doi:10.4161/cbt.6.12.5161. PMID 18087218.
The seasonal change from summer to fall brings out the beauty of nature with yellow, orange and golden leaves. However it often seem to bring colds and sniffles as well. In addition, every fall when I return to my classroom at the university I visit classrooms full of new faces that bring new bacteria and viruses with them. Catching a cold in the fall seemed to have become an occupational hazard, that is until I started to use food for medicine and included a variety of immune enhancing herbs in my diet. Here is a short list of my favorites.
Astragalus – An herb from China that stimulates the immune system and aids in digestion and adrenal gland functions and also is a diuretic. The effectiveness of this herb is due to polysaccharides, saponins and flavonoids. I use this herb to fight the common cold and flu and usually start taking it daily about a month before classes start in the fall. Its digestive health benefits demonstrate the lowering of stomach acidity, resulting to an increase in the body's metabolic rates and the promotion of waste elimination.
Bell peppers- Unlike other hotter peppers, this variety does not contain capsaicin. Instead it contains carotenoid lycopene which lowers the risk of cancer; beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A; and Zeaxanthin, which is known to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Of course it also adds a crunch touch to your salads and is wonderful in sautéed dishes, and is good for you at the same time
Echinacea - Echinacea is probably the most well known of the immune system enhancing herbs. I combine Echinacea with Goldenseal in herbal tea to prevent and and treat upper respiratory tract infections as well as the common cold. Leave Goldenseal out of your tea if you have high blood pressure.
Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma) - This is a bitter mushroom has long been a popular herb in Chinese medicine and is claimed to enhance longevity and health. Studies have shown that that it strengthens immunity and combats cancer. In addition, it has antioxidant properties and provides relief from urinary tract infections. (Juniper Berries are my favorite herb for UTI).
Garlic - Who doesn’t love garlic? Think sauteed dishes, pasta and garlic bread, and it does more than keep the vampires away. A recent study conducted by Dr. Ellen Tattelman, an assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, reconfirmed that garlic has cardiovascular, anti-microbial and antineoplastic properties.
Ginseng - The most commonly studied variety of Ginseng is Korean ginseng or Panax ginseng. The main active component, ginsenosides, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Clinical studies have demonstrated that it may improve immune and psychological functions as well as conditions related to diabetes.
Turmeric – I love the color of Turmeric and add frequently add it to sautéed vegetables, especially yellow squash or zucchini. This spice contains curcumin, which has notable antioxidant properties and it is a simple and highly effective way to thwart cancer and protect your liver against disease. Turmeric stimulates the flow of bile and thus helps with digestive problems. It also has antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties and reduces inflammation by stimulating the adrenal glands to increase the level of the hormone the lessens inflammation. Note that Turmeric seems to be more effective when mixed with black pepper . . . and now several herb makers mix the two in formulas.
Uña de Gato or Cat's Claw - This herb from Peru is my number one go to herb for immune system support. Although it has traditionally been used in Peru to treat stomach problems it has recently developed a reputation as an exceptional immune response stimulator that helps the body to fight off infections and degenerative diseases. It contains oxindole alkaloids that enhance the immune system's capacity to engulf and destroy pathogens.
As Hippocrates said almost 2,500 years ago, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Live in peace and health
Dr. Dave, N.D.
I become absolutely ecstatic when I read a published scientific study that shows the healing power of nature. One of my colleagues, a professor my age and of whom I am quite fond, is in the early stages of macular degeneration so the study that I read this morning really made me smile.
The study was a controlled, double-blind trial of 25 individuals with macular degeneration. Researchers found that daily supplementation of 20 milligrams saffron significantly improved the condition after three months. All participants experienced better vision while taking the saffron supplements. According to Silvia Bisti, a member of the research team, after saffron supplementation patients could read one or two lines smaller than before, while others could read a book or newspaper again. She has called this study a breakthrough since it is the first time a connection has been made between antioxidant-rich saffron supplements and eyesight. She believes saffron’s beneficial effect mainly comes from the ability to increase oxygen levels in the body and prevent cell death. She also noted that when participants stopped taking the saffron pills, the positive effects quickly wore off.
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, stemming from the dried orange-red stigmas of the Crocus sativus flower, which are harvested by hand. It takes about 70,000 flowers to produce one pound of dried saffron. And this accounts for its high cost (I just checked Amazon and one ounce of organic saffron sells for about $125, but capsules are much less expensive). Fortunately, a little bit of saffron goes a long way and it may be worth the extra cost.
Dr. Dave, ND
I'm Dr. Dave, a shamanic practitioner and ND. This is a new blog where I will focus on health issues and natural wellness. I feel that shamanic practitioners should develop some basic healing skills. Our guides can direct us, but we will be of more service if we develop skills that can be used.