The goal of this chapter is to give you a critical understanding of current diet and nutrient research to help you make better choices. The topics are based on commonly asked questions from around the world. But there are no simple answers about diets. Food usage has always been emotional and food regulations have been written into many religions and government laws for thousands of years.

So how does what we eat affect our skin and hair? What about nutritional supplements? In truth, there are very few studies on diet and the quality and youthfulness of your skin. “Scientific” needs for nutrients were originally derived from studies on the type of foods that would enable young rats to breed and have offspring. This was then applied to humans with a few modifications.
There is less known, and more confusion, about dietary needs as we age than is generally realized. “Great dietary discoveries” almost always fail in larger, controlled studies. For 40 years, the dominant theories of cardiovascular disease and cancer insisted that excessive dietary fat was a major causative factor. But the largest study ever to ask whether a low-fat diet reduces the risk of getting cancer or heart disease, the Women’s Health Initiative, found that a low-fat diet has no effect. The $415 million US federal study involved nearly 49,000 women ages 50 to 79 who were followed for eight years. In the end, those assigned to a low-fat diet had the same rates of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks and strokes as those who ate whatever they pleased (Howard et al 2006, Beresford et al 2006).

For all of today’s focus on salt (sodium chloride) intake, which everyone knows is bad, many scientists have questioned this advice. One recent seven year study of 3,861 healthy people free of cardiovascular disease, measured 24-hour sodium in urine (more accurate than a diet survey). It was found that the lowest sodium intake was associated with higher cardiovascular disease mortality (Stolarz-Skrzypek et al 2011). Another analysis of seven studies of 6,250 persons with cardiovascular disease, of whom 665 died during the studies, found no evidence that salt restriction improved survival. But in patients with heart failure, salt restriction increased the death rate (Taylor et al 2011). In studies going back 30 years, 20 grams of salt daily given to pregnant women reduced pre-eclampsia hypertension and resulted in more successful pregnancies (Farese et al 2006).

For 50 years every medical school taught about the dangers of excess vitamin D. Students were taught that ingesting more than 400 Units of vitamin D per day would cause serious health problems. But today, physicians prescribe up to 50,000 units a day for designated periods to raise blood vitamin D levels, without any ill effects. Once vitamin D levels are reached, many can continue to take 5,000 to 10,000 units to maintain optimum vitamin D levels. Before supplementing with 50,000 units, have your blood tested and retested according to your doctor’s advice.

Why Is There So Much Confusion Over Diets and Nutrients?

Are you scratching your head by now asking why there is so much nutritional confusion? Over the past thirty years, advances in nutrition have seemed to explode on the front pages of health magazines, in research journals, and in numerous nutrition books. In spite of all these advances, an ongoing debate ensues over what foods make up the optimal diet. Theories abound and often conflict from high carb to low carb diets to high fat and low fat to Vegan vs Paleo. It’s like riding a roller coaster, enough to make one dizzy with confusion. Perhaps we should take a breath, step back and consider how human nutrition has evolved since the time of our earliest ancestors.

There are two reasons for the confusion. First there are too many quick and sloppy studies by researchers. Academic researchers are pushed to quickly publish large numbers of articles; quality is not a serious concern. Also, research funding is increasingly controlled by “Old Boy Networks” and new ideas that contradict established ideas cannot get support. This control has made it increasingly difficult for young scientists, who develop virtually all new ideas, to obtain independent funding. Medical exploration would proceed faster if all the research money was given to the young people and let the “Old Guys” work for the young.

50,000 YEARS OF DIETARY CHANGES

The second cause is that our diet has fluctuated wildly over 50,000 years, this also leads to a conundrum that elevates confusion over the foods we choose to eat. Our human genome can only slowly adjust to such changes.

Scientists classify humans as omnivores, who are basically “opportunistic” feeders (survive by eating what is available) with anatomical and physiological traits designed to utilize a diverse diet from both animal and vegetable sources. Pure plant- eaters, such as cattle and horses, have large intestines with a large surface area designed for the extraction of energy from grasses and leaves; while carnivores (who often eat significant amounts of grass), such as lions and wolves, have short intestines that extract nutrients from easily digestible meats. But omnivorous humans have an intestine similar to omnivores, that is able to digest both plants and meats.

Humans descended from plant-eating primates that subsisted on a diet consisting mainly of plant sources (97%), especially fruits, vegetables, nuts, and roots plus about 3% meat. Then, about 50,000 years ago, humans honed their hunting and fishing skills, adding animal proteins and fats to their ration, but were most likely still consuming a large amount of vegetables and roots, except in the Arctic regions with limited vegetation. A second major change came about 10,000 years ago when grains were cultivated by early hunter-farmers. A new grain-heavy diet was born.

Dietary Changes SInce the Stone Age

A new change emerged within the last 400 years, when the consumption of sugar dramatically increased, from about two pounds a year during the Stone Age to about 130 pounds a year today (in the USA). In the past, tooth decay was rare since simple sugars were hard to come by. In addition, alcoholic beverages became more readily available, and alcohol consumption increased by a factor of 10 to 20-fold.

The modern diet has produced or increased many contemporary degenerative diseases. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease were rare in the past. Many medical historians insist that modern heart disease only developed after approximately 1850. Ancient medical writings from China, Europe, and the Middle East, going back over 2,500 years, do not describe the characteristic symptoms of a modern heart attack, although the same ancient writings describe many other modern diseases.

FOODS & SUPPLEMENTS

Essential and protective nutrients can be obtained both from foods and nutritional supplements.

When we are young, our body requires about 40 essential nutrients that we cannot synthesize on our own and we obtain many of these from plants. However, some of us have individual requirements for various biochemicals.

Roger Williams opened the door to modern nutritional supplements with his book in 1956, Biochemical Individuality: The Basis for the Genetotrophic Concept. Based on his studies on vitamins, he proposed that individuals varied widely in their nDietary needs may vary greatly from one person to another. There is no cookie cutter formula that will work equally well for all.utritional needs for optimal function. For example, identical twins share the same genes, but their differing environments can result indifferent nutritional needs as they grow older. Some people may require 1,000 times more intake than normal of a particular vitamin to maintain their health (Williams 1956).

Linus Pauling later extended this idea with “orthomolecular medicine”, that is, the need for the right molecules in the right concentration to maintain health. The key idea is that genetic factors affect not only the physical characteristics of individuals, but also influence their biochemical milieu.

Biochemical pathways present significant genetic variability increasing susceptibility to various diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, schizophrenia or depression. These diseases are associated with specific biochemical abnormalities which are causal or contributing factors of the illness (Pauling 1968).

When we supplement our bodies to correct biochemical imbalances, the effect can be life saving. Supplemental insulin was found to treat juvenile diabetics 80 years ago, and this process saved lives by balancing high blood sugar.

Examples of Supplements & Vitamins Recommended by Many Anti-Aging Scientists

This information is to illustrate important supplements used to restore internal biochemical balance. You may not need these supplements. (g=gram, mg=milligram)

Vitamins & Supplements
Recommended per Day
Principal Action
PROTECTIVE ANTIOXIDANTS

Alpha Lipoic Acid

Vitamin C

Coenzyme Q-10

Vitamin E family
(all isomers)

Tocotrienols family

Lutein

Lycopene

Grape Seed Extract

Vegetable Extract

Melatonin

30-200 mg

0.5 to 1 gram

30-200 mg

400 mg

35-75 mg

20 mg

5 mg

50 mg

1000-2000 mg

1-3 mg at bedtime
Recycles other antioxidants
General antioxidant

.

.


.

.

.

.

.

Mixture of antioxidants
Helps sleep, protects brain
ESSENTIAL OILS
Omega-3 Oil


Gamma Linolenic Acid
1-5 grams Salmon Oil
Flaxseed Oil

1-3 grams
Borage Oil / Primrose Oil

See chapter text
Anti-inflammatory

Omega-6 fat helps skin integrity
joint lubrication
BRAIN AND NERVES
Ginkgo Biloba
N-acetyl-carnitine
Choline / Inositol


60 mg
0.5 to 1 gram
1-2 grams

Improves brain function
MINERALS

Calcium
Magnesium
Zinc
Copper

1-2 grams
500 mg
7-15 mg
2-4 mg
For bone health and biochemical reactions
HAIR
Saw Palmetto Oil
Soy Flavonoids
80-160 mg
30-300 mg
Reduces DHT
Estrogen effects
Elements of Collagen and Extracellular Matrix Proteins
MSM

Vitamin C

Glucosamine

Chondroitin Sulfate

0.5 to 1 g

500-1000 mg

0.5 to 1.5 grams

0.4 to 1.2 grams

For joints and hair

For Collagen

For skin extracellular matrix and joints

For skin extracellular matrix and joints
Nitric Oxide Releasers
Arginine / Ornithine / Citruline
1-6 grams
Vasodilator
OTHER
Extra Soluble Fiber

Red Wine


Folic Acid

DHEA


5-20 grams

5-15 oz


400 mg

25-100 mg


Intestinal motility

Increases happiness, reduces illness

Reduces illness

Increases sexual and metabolic hormones and blocks of cortisone damage

Also supplements such as methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) has long been used to speed hair growth in horses while vitamin C helps synthesize collagen needed for contraction and tightening skin. Omega-3 fish oils, and flaxseed and borage oil help smooth the skin.

RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is Not Adequate for Older Humans

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) listed on the labels of processed foods and vitamin products provide the percentage of each of 19 essential nutrients you get per serving or dose. However most people do not realize that the RDA was originally developed as the minimum nutrients required for young rats to successfully breed. The labeling fails to consider the changing nutritional needs of seniors and those with special diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

While slight adjustments in the RDA have been introduced to reduce birth defects and heart disease, these underestimate your needs as you grow older. Many vital biochemicals, such as DHEA and alpha lipoic acid, decline dramatically with age. Also, our antioxidant defenses greatly weaken and cells are more easily damaged by various types of molecules that cause oxidative damage to cells and tissues. As a result, the biochemical balances that produced a youthful body weaken and this accelerates aging.

The chart on the previous page provides supplements recommended by experts on human aging. Many of these nutrients can reduce the risk of age-related disease and some can even rejuvenate the body. However, take note, that we are all unique with individual dietary requirements.

Depending on your health, you may only need a few of these supplements. For example, a person with cardiovascular disease may benefit more from omega-3 fats than the average person. Above all, please keep in mind that supplements do not substitute for high quality foods that contain a wide range of helpful nutrients, some of which science has not yet discovered.

For example, fruits and vegetables contain synergistic blend of many vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Our bodies are complex and so are the nutrients in foods we consume. It’s all a balancing act to find what works best for ourselves.

Dosages and Driving Reactions - A Little Chemistry

Although few will dispute that daily supplements provide health benefits, many disagree about the recommended dosages. Nutritionists often advise far higher dosages than commonly used. However, some of these elevated requirements can be viewed as quirks in chemistry; chemists define this as “Driving a Reaction.”

A+B ---> C+D

If we want our body to produce more of a needed biochemical, for example C or Collagen for fingernail growth, then when we raise the concentration of one of the starting materials (for example compound A or MSM) by 10 fold, we speed up the reaction. Now we may not accelerate the reaction ten times, but the production might easily double. In the case of MSM, as an example, the result of a higher concentration may react in faster fingernail growth. Studies on MSM supplementation found that about 2 grams daily will increase nail growth. This is a high, but safe and effective dosage. The great majority of dietary supplements are non-toxic. Excess amounts are excreted from the body.

Food Wars—Veggies vs Paleolithic Diets

Vegetarians argue that a meatless or nearly meatless diet is the most healthy. At the other end of the spectrum is the Paleo Diet that emphasizes a version of the ancient diet of wild plants and some meats from animals that the human species consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. The Paleo diet’s intellectual argument is that the human genome adjusted to such a diet during the 2.5 million year PaleolithiNote: Some Supplements can affect the action of pharmaceutical drugs, so always inform your health care provider of your supplementsc period but has not yet adjusted to more modern foods such as grains. The recommended Paleolithic diet consists mainly of grass-fed pasture raised meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

As for which is best, there is little evidence. A 21-year follow-up study from the German Cancer Research Center (Heidelberg, Germany) of 1,225 vegetarians and 679 health-conscious non-vegetarians found no difference in overall mortality, although both groups had 41% lower death rates than the general German population. Meat eaters had twice the rates of smoking of the vegetarians. In both groups, smoking increased mortality while moderate to high physical exercise reduced mortality (Chang-Claude et al 2005).

It may be that just being careful about one’s diet is the most important. An 80- year study from University of California Riverside of 1,500 people found that the best predictor of longevity was conscientiousness, forethought, planning, and perseverance in one’s professional and personal life (Friedman & Martin 2011). Other studies have found the similar longevity benefits of conscientiousness (Hill et al 2011). The fact that you are reading this book means you are already high on the conscientiousness score.

So what can we do about our dietary choices? Well, a lot! By examining our evolutionary past and the changes that occur as we grow older, since we are not young rats, we can make intelligent choices about our nutrition today and in the future.

HEALTHY FATS

We are often barraged with differing views for what makes up good vs bad fats. To decipher the confusion, we only need take a peak into fats consumed by our ancestors. Today’s diet now differs from that of our predecessors who hunted wild game, fished and gathered their food. They consumed a diet low in saturated fat and high in essential fatty acids (EFAFlaxseed oil, an omega-3 fat called AHA, offers health and beauty benefits while maintaining the recommended ratio between omega-6 GLA fats and omega-3 fats.s). The foods of early humans contained omega-6s and omega-3s in a ratio of about 2:1 which contained significant amounts of CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid omega-6 fats) from hunted animals. Today, people eat about 14 times more omega-6 fats (mostly from vegetable oils) than omega-3 EFAs. This imbalanced ratio makes our skin more prone to inflammation.

Cold water fish (salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel) provide excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids that arA study at Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf in Germany found that daily supplements of 2.2 grams of borage oil or flaxseed oil for 12 weeks improved skin quality in women. Skin hydration increased and the skin was less prone to irritations. A surface evaluation of living skin revealed that roughness and scaling of the skin were significantly decreased. (De Spirt et al 2009)e found mostly in fish and seafoods. You need about 300 to 600 mgs daily of the omega-3s which are composed of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Seafood, grass fed animals, and alpha-linolenic fat found in many vegetable oils, provide excellent sources of these beneficial fats. As for CLAs, in grass-fed beef, the fat contains about 1.1% omega- 3s, 3.3% omega-6s, and 0.9% CLAs.

Both inflammatory omega-6 and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats contribute to our health in ways that balance each other. Omega-6 fats fight infections, heal wounds, stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system. Omega-3 fats curb inflammation, improve cognitive function, reduce heart disease, possibly stroke, some cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The CLA fats possess anti-diabetic, anti-cancer and weight management properties. Some researchers recommend getting at least 3% of daily calories from EFAs and CLAs.

Although we should limit our intake of omega-6 fats, GLA (gamma linolenic acid) may provide the exception when taken in moderation. GLA is found in vegetable oils such as primrose oil, borage oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. GLA confers health and beauty benefits. It is an anti-inflammatory that improves skin health, lubricates joints, and treats PMS.

Excellent sources of GLA such as borage oil, flaxseed oil, primrose oil and blackcurrant seed oil help keep your skin healthy and dazzling. They can drench your skin in beautifying moisture and treat inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema. You can take 2 to 3 grams daily to alleviate skin conditions. However, once the condition clears up, some researchers recommend a basic maintenance dosage of no more than 7 milligrams a day.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

We should emphasize diets rich in fruits and vegetables. This gourmet garden of delicacies provides our bodies with many vitamins, valuable phytonutrients and antioxidants. A fundamental change in the human diet over the centuries has been the diminished intake of low-calorie plant foods. The colorful fruits and vegetables sold at your neighborhood grocery store provide a wide variety of more than 600 phytonutrients that benefit our health, including terpenes, organosulfides, isothiocyanates, indoles, dithiolthiones, polyphenols, flavones, tannins, and protease inhibitors. Fruits and vegetables also contain carotenoids, a rich source of vitamin A and antioxidants.

The carotenoids lutein (abundant in spinach and other green leafy vegetables) and lycopene (found in tomatoes) possess particularly strong antioxidant activity. Another powerful group of antioxidants are proantocyanidins that are present in blueberries, red grapes, and many other deep colored fruits and berries. This is important because as we age, our antioxidant defenses decline and must be enhanced to reduce free radical damage.

GraphFresh versus Processed Juice

Extracts of fruits and vegetables can reduce damaging lipid peroxidation products in the blood by as much as 75% within one week.

Antioxidants Need Not Be Expensive

Wise and colleagues reported that the daily supplement of 1.5 grams of dried extracts of fruits and vegetables reduced damaging lipid peroxidation products in the blood by 75 percent within one week. Lipid peroxidation products provide an excellent measure of the rate of damaging oxidations within the body. Conversely, protective antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol and lycopene sharply rose. The fruit and vegetable supplements consisted of dried fruit and vegetable powders obtained by drying juices from apples, oranges, pineapples, papaya, cranberries, peaches, carrots, parsley, beets, broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, and tomatoes (see figure on previous page) (Wise et al 1996).

Sugars and Carbohydrates

Say no to simple sugars found in a myriad of processed foods. Be aware that FDA regulations only label sucrose as sugar. However there are many other types of sugar molecules not identified as sugar on packages of white bread and other non-sweet foods. These other sugars are labeled fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup and maltose, fruit juice concentrates, honey, dextrose, lactose, maltose, and molasses, all of which are sugars that are no better than sucrose.

Excess sugar damages the skin by increasing ‘AGE’ (advanced glycosylation end-products). These substances form a harmful waste that can prematurely age skin. They attach to your collagen and break it down which increases wrinkles. Whole fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grains provide essential sugars from complex carbohydrates without affecting blood sugar levels and increasing the need for insulin. But processed carbohydrates such as white bread, cake, potatoes and pasta are quickly broken down and raise blood sugar levels (Bruce et al 2000). When you overproduce insulin after eating too much sugar, your blood sugar falls and your energy level plummets. As a result, you crave more processed carbs and the cycle begins anew. Thus the more sugar you eat, the more you crave as you ride the blood sugar roller coaster.

Dietary Fiber

Are you ready for yet another reason to indulge in succulent plant foods? Plants contain an abundance of healthy fiber. One advantage of fiber is that it makes you feel full and does not raise your blood sugar. Most Americans do not eat enough fiber; some nutritionists recommend that we consume 40 to 50 grams a day, but the average American gets only 12 grams. Dietary fiber comes in two forms which provide different benefits: soluble, the type in oatmeal that gets sticky when wet, and insoluble, the sponge-like version in bran, fruit and vegetables that absorbs water and helps to prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber improves digestion and is predominant in plant skins, husks, and the tough part of plants. Soluble fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and is found in pectin, guar, barley, and oat bran. You can increase your intake of both insoluble and soluble fiber by eating more whole-grain foods, cereal products, fruits, and vegetables.

Not Vitamins, but Vitamin Families

Vitamins are natural substances necessary in small amounts in the diet for the normal growth and maintenance of our bodies. Each of the six main vitamins (A, B, C, D, E and K) has its own vitamin family. For example, the vitamin C family consists of at least seven forms of vitamin C, while vitamin E has four forms plus its closely associated tocotrienol cousins. Vitamin A and beta-carotene are part of a family of at least 400 members. According to recent research, mixtures of vitamins may provide more health benefits than the use of a pure vitamin.

The Mediterranean Diet: A High Fat Diet

How would you like to be lion hearted—or shall I say lyon hearted? If you want a healthy heart, take heed of the Lyon Heart Diet Study. This small, but influential study was based on the Mediterranean Diet. This diet is based on Cretan diets where men had exceptionally low death rates from heart disease despite moderate to high intake of fat. The primary foods include high consumption of olive oil, legumes (such as peas, beans, lentils), unrefined cereals and bread, no day without fruit, plus root and green vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate portions of poultry, less beef, lamb and pork, and butter and cream replaced with margarine high in α-linolenic acid. The Mediterranean diet is high in salt from foods such as olives, salt-cured cheeses, anchovies, capers, salted fish roe, and salads dressed with olive oil.

The trial consisted of more than 600 patients who had recovered from a first heart attack. They were randomly selected to either continue their present diet or eat a Mediterranean-style diet. Although the Lyon Heart Diet did not reduce blood lipids, the diet did lower cardiac deaths and coronary events by 70 percent within one year (rising to 76 percent reduction after two years). These results correlated with the combination of monosaturates and omega-3 content of the diet. Blood samples found that the diet increased blood antioxidants (vitamins E and C) and omega-3 fats while reducing omega-6 fats. Surprisingly, those on the Lyon Heart Diet experienced no change in blood pressure or cholesterol as compared to the control (normal diet) patients. The diet also reduced cancer by 61 percent after four years perhaps due to not only the anti-cancer actions in olive oil but to the variety of fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fats (de Lorgeril et al 1998).

It must be emphasized that regional diets in other parts of the world, such as Okinawa, the mountains of Peru, and the Hunza Valley of Pakistan, have been studied as nutritional models that can provide a template for healthier lives since their populations have longer than average lifespans.

Can Food Fight Wrinkles?

A healthy diet can not only benefit your internal health, it may also protect your skin from wrinkles as well! A study from Monash University of Australians over age 70 (177 Greek-born persons living in Australia, 69 Greeks living in rural Greece, 48 Anglo-Celtic Australians elderly living in AusDO YOU REALIZE THAT: Beyond breeding and chronological survival, we still do not know what dietary elements counter the actions of aging and keep a person happy, mentally functional and serene, sleeping-well, filled with high energy and productive.tralia and 159 Swedes living in Sweden) found a decreased level of actinic sun damage with a diet high in vegetables (best), olive oil (second best), fish, legumes and fruit and low in butter, margarine, sugar, and whole milk products.

Ethnic Greek skin remained younger on a high intake of green leafy vegetables, broad beans, cheese, mousaka, eggplant dip, garlic, low fat yogurt, polyunsaturated oil and a low intake of milk, coffee, meat, pudding, butter and dessert. Swedes did best with a high intake of egg, skimmed milk, yogurt, lima bean and spinach pie and a low intake of roast beef, meat soup, fried potato, cantaloupe, grapes, canned fruit, ice cream, cakes and pastries, jam and soft drinks.

Anglo-Celtic Australians did best on a high intake of sardines, cheese, asparagus, celery, vegetable juice, cherries, grapes, melon, apple, fruit salad, jam, multigrain bread, prunes and tea (Purba et al B 2001). This study also found those with the least skin wrinkling had the highest blood levels of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) (Purba et al A 2001).

Limit Calories

If we want to extend a healthy maximum lifespan, many researchers on human aging, recommend CR (calorie restriction). Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate when the hunting was ripe and had to fast for long periods when game was scarce. Studies show that calorie restriction can not only increase longevity, it may offer protection against heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

In order to benefit from CR today, you need not go hungry. In fact the good news is you can actually increase the volume of food. You simply replace the low volume processed bread, cake and cookies with higher volume low calorie fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have low calorie density. Direct fasting reduces calorie intake and was an ancient method used to improve health. Some people choose to reduce calories by skipping a meal or fasting for one or more days. Others, who don’t wish to fast, just consume smaller densely nutritious foods several times a day.

CAN YOUR DIET SUPPLY EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED?

Yes, when you are young. But as you grow older, there comes a day when the best diet alone cannot retard the progression of age-related dysfunction. Remember, the human body is a finely tuned machine programmed to raise children from birth to adulthood after which the body, like a computer ending its session, shuts itself off. By the age of 18, our levels of growth hormones drop drastically. Sexual hormones peak around age 18, then slowly decline with time. The anti-oxidant defenses rapidly decline after age 45.
Every scientist that we have met, who has seriously researched aging in a laboratory and published original discoveries, has told us they believe diets alone cannot retard or reverse aging and that dietary supplements are necessary to counter the deleterious changes of aging. The unanswered question is what supplements to use and what dosage to take. The great Linus Pauling, who created modern chemistry and stopped nuclear testing in the atmosphere, was heavily criticized by many for his advice on antioxidants but worked actively and published research articles throughout his entire life. He lived to the age of 92.

The Sunshine Vitamin—Vitamin D

Make no bones about it: Vitamin D strengthens bones. But there’s more
to vitamin D than building ‘dem bones.’ This sunshine vitamin boasts many health claims–some may even sound contradictory. You’ve probably heard that sunlight may prevent cancer. How can that be when we also hear sun exposure causes cancer?

The answer may lie with the power of vitamin D. A small amount of sun exposure, which produces vitamin D in the body, can reduce the risk of certain cancers while keeping bones strong. And a slew of new studies suggest that the vitamin offers a lot of other benefits: Diets high in D may ward off diabetes, gum disease, multiple sclerosis and auto-immune diseases. Vitamin D is a powerful weapon aiding the immune system to defend cells, the brain, liver, nerves, intestines, kidneys, pancreas, and skin keratinocytes.

Virtually all great dietary “breakthroughs” vanish when subjected to controlled, double-blinded studies.So what is the best way to enjoy the sunshine vitamin? The best source is full body exposure to sunlight for 15-20 minutes a day which produces about 10,000 units of the vitamins. Many researchers recommend taking 5,000 units of supplemental vitamin D daily.

Drinking Alcohol May Improve Brain Function As We Age

The general recommendation? Imbibe in two drinks per day. Now that’s just what the doctor ordered! But so many opinions and emotions swirl around drinking ethyl alcohol that one never knows what is healthful. The two best, long-term studies have provided some unexpected and strange results about drinking.

The Framingham Study in Massachusetts found in 1,053 women and 733 men of ages 55-88, the highest cognitive ability (verbal memory, learning, visual organization and memory, attention, abstract reasoning, and concept formation) occurred in men who drank four to eight drinks daily and women who had two to four (Elias et al 1999).

Use Moderation to Avoid Excessive Ethyl Alcohol

Use moderation to avoid excessive ethyl alcoholThe Whitehall II study of British Civil Servants found in 4,272 men and 1,761 women of ages 46-68, the highest cognitive ability (five standard tests of short term memory, verbal and mathematical reasoning, inductive reasoning, and
verbal fluency) were found in those drinking at the highest weekly levels (men > 241 grams of alcohol, women >161 grams). In men, this corresponded to over 30 drinks weekly (Britton et al 2004).

We do not recommend you chug down such exorbitant amounts, but as you grow older you may have to choose whether you desire a functioning mind or a functioning body. Now isn’t that something? The choices we have to make may persuade us to drown away our sorrows with alcoholic beverages! But alas, here’s the dark side of too much fine wine! Excessive alcohol also increases accidents, causes the body to generate high levels of free radicals that overwhelm the liver’s antioxidant defenses and thus damages our health in many ways.

When we rapidly chug down alcohol, blood can sludge in the smaller vessels due to rouleau formation as red blood cells bind to each other and form stacks of cells. This stops oxygen and nutrients from flowing to the affected tissues and can produce a rupture of the blood vessels.

Probably the best advice is to spread drinks out—avoid binging. And drink some water before and while imbibing. If you are thirsty, it is very easy to drink much, too fast. Sipping drinks intermingled with a glass of water or two slows alcohol absorption.
Now let me personally make a toast to your healthy skin, heart, body, mind and senses. Enjoy healthy foods and pour yourself a glass of wine or two. Eat and be well. Bon Appetite!

Perhaps we should also keep in mind the diet habits of Hugh Hefner, the still-active 85-year-old owner of Playboy who is still famous for his many beautiful girlfriends. He grew up on an Illinois dairy farm and still favors corn-on-the-cob, potatoes and gravy, fried chicken and country- fried steak. He also likes burgers and fries, and oatmeal cookies prepared with extra butter that yields flatter, crispier cookie. Maybe it’s his “conscientiousness” that protects him from his diet.

But perhaps any advice on diet and health is no better than that from Luigi Cornaro (1467–1566) who was a Venetian nobleman near death at the age of 35 as a result of his dissolute way of life.

He modified his eating habits and wrote The Sure and Certain Method of Attaining a Long and Healthful Life, which went through numerous editions; this was followed by three volumes on the same subject, composed at the ages of eighty-six, ninety-one and ninety-five respectively. He died in Padua at the age of 98:

But perhaps any advice on diet and health is no better than that from Luigi Cornaro (1467–1566) who was a Venetian nobleman near death at the age of 35 as a result of his dissolute way of life.  He modified his eating habits and wrote The Sure and Certain Method of Attaining a Long and Healthful Life, which went through numerous editions; this was followed by three volumes on the same subject, composed at the ages of eighty-six, ninety-one and ninety-five respectively. He died in Padua at the age of 98:  “I further reminded them of the two proverbs, which say: he who has a mind to eat a great deal, must eat but little; eating little makes life long, and, living long, he must eat much; and the other proverb was: that, what we leave after making a hearty meal, does us more good than what we have eaten.  But my arguments and proverbs were not able to prevent them teasing me upon the subject; therefore, not to appear obstinate, or affecting to know more than the physicians themselves, but above all, to please my family, I consented to the increase before mentioned; so that, whereas previous, what with bread, meat, the yolk of an egg, and soup, I ate as much as twelve ounces, neither more nor less, I now increased it to fourteen; and whereas before I drank but fourteen ounces of wine, I now increased it to sixteen.”  Excerpt from: Luigi Cornaro

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