How Do Genetics Affect Life Expectancy And Ageing

Sometimes Life Is Simply Unfair

I’ve made it a significant portion of my life this year to dedicate my blogging efforts to analyzing the science behind preventing disease and living longer. As I’ve stated countless times already here on this site my life’s dream as a child was to live into my one hundreds and for whatever reason this desire still persist and my analytical and investigative mind has been lit with a fire to learn what it is that makes us tick and what it is that makes us tick longer.

Over the better part of the past eight months I’ve analyzed every major disease to varying degree. I’ve particularly spent a fair amount of time analyzing insulin production and diabetes; prostate cancer prevention, cancer prevention, longevity diets and activities. I’ve noted the many benefits of exercise and the longevity inducing effects of the Mediterranean diet and the calorie restriction diet. What I have not give much time to however is the inevitable and seemingly pointless effects that genetics can have on our life spans.

Genetics and Living Longer of Shorter Lives

To some degree genetics can play a large role in our living longer but unfortunately genetics can also play a major role in us living shorter lives… sometimes extremely shortened lives. My reasons for this are a couple. First of all I’m not a scientist and for me to understand many of the particulars and theories of genetics I would need too much time. Second I have stayed away from the implication of genetics on living longer or shorter lives because quite frankly there’s often nothing you can do about genetics. You are who you are from birth.

The Story of Our Esther
This weekend, I learned that in a very personal way when my wife and I had to put our little cat to sleep. Saturday evening was probably the hardest day of my life. My wife and I both held our little baby in our hands and comforted her as she struggled to breath. The vet gave her her injection and she lightly struggled, then I watched her slowly drop her head down and sigh her last breath. That moment will be burned in my memory for ever. She was, after all, our first responsibility as a family. She was like our own child and we saw her into end; she will be missed and remembered as my wife and I grow old together.

Our little cat only lived to 23 months. She didn’t even make it to her second birthday. This is despite the fact that we did everything for her and made sure she had the best home possible and the best quality of life possible. Life is unfair sometimes and it hurts. She ate something that upset her stomach, threw up, aspirated, and the sickness quickly weakened her heart which we learned was defective from birth. Her left ventricle was too large and it was a matter of time before it got stressed and failed. This upset stomach was all it took and if it wasn’t this then it would’ve been something else in a matter of months. Her heart went into failure three days after she first got sick and though we did everything we could for her during those three days her heart said it was time.

Long Life Is Not A Right – It Is A Privilege

Living longer was not in the cards for her as genetics took over and she passed on. Life sometimes is not fair and no matter what we believe and what we do we cannot always manipulate it as we hope. This was a lesson for me as I have lived a privileged life. I am so lucky that the hardest encounter with end of days is the passing of my cat but at the same time the pain is real and the regret is deep.

Life, no matter the species, is not a waste when there is love surrounding it. When loving memories are left behind even the shortest of lives are gifts to treasure forever. Life which is shortened abruptly is not a waste… but it is unfair. I hope I never forget this lesson and I never take life for granted. Yes living longer is something I aim to achieve but it cannot be manipulated and it cannot be assumed. In the end everything happens for a reason and God remains in control.

Goodbye Esther; you were loved.

Risks For Very Early Parkinson's Symptoms May Be Improved

Risks For Early Parkinson's Symptoms Can Be Lowered With Organic Milk

Early Parkinson's Symptoms
Parkinson's Disease is a neurological disorder which causes the brain to slowly lose motor control. It is degenerative meaning early Parkinson's symptoms are much less severe than late stage Parkinson's symptoms; it worsens over time.

According to estimated statistics roughly 0.2 percent of the American population has Parkinson's Disease in various severity's which translates to about 1-in-500 people. Interestingly people who follow the Mediterranean Diet tend to have lower occurrences of the disease (13 percent or roughly 1-in-570).

The Rates of Parkinson's Disease

There have been studies which have identified a notable decrease in life spans for those that have Parkinson's despite the fact that the disease itself is not directly fatal. It generally causes the body to decline and become more susceptible to ending through other means. The diagnosed elderly have a remarkably higher mortality rate than the diagnosed non-elderly likely because of physical impairments the body might otherwise suffer from. Likewise people who suffer from early Parkinson's symptoms don't have a significantly lower mortaility rate as the general population.

Organic Dairy and Early Parkinson's Disease

The causes of Parkinson’s are unknown but they are often are associated with toxins and pesticides. It is believed that these toxins might be one of the prime causes for the nerve damage in sufferers. Along those lines the American Journal of Epidemiology recently published a study showing that the risks of developing Parkinson Disease increase by roughly 60 percent in people who ingest more than 800 grams of dairy every day. The researchers however concluded that the levels of nutrients and fats were not to blame for the increase in risk; it was likely pesticides contained in the milk that were the cause. It's likely that early Parkinson's symptoms can be avoided by limiting the sources of these toxins such as non-organic milk.

An increase in risk of Parkinson's Disease of 60 percent means your odds of the getting the condition rise from 1-in-500 to 1-in-300 so they’re still on the low side but there is an obvious effect.

This finding is in direct competition with the mantra of getting daily dairy to prevent and increased risk for Metabolic Syndrome and increasing your consumption of Omega-7s fats. However the tug-of-war of how much is too much can still be in balance by getting roughly two to three serving a of dairy a day. You can also make sure to buy organic dairy to limit the pesticide/toxin intake if it worries you too much. And to offset the often high cost of organic dairy you can always shop around for veggies to save money. :)

Angela Martin - Journal of Epidemiology, January 2007 -

Metabolic Syndrome In Mothers May be Prevented By Breastfeeding

As A Pregnant Mother You Could Prevent Metabolic Syndrome From Ever Developing

prevent metabolic syndrome by breastfeeding
What Is Metabolic Syndrome? 
Metabolic Syndrome is essentially a basket disease (a collection of multiple conditions) which puts patients at risk for developing diabetes and heart disease. To prevent metabolic syndrome you basically have to do the same things you want to do to prevent diabetes and heart disease such as exercise more often and watch what you eat however new findings have been trickling out for a while now that indicate that women may have a way of lowering their risks even further. Women might be able to prevent metabolic syndrome by simply breastfeeding their children… and the longer the better it seems.

Metabolic Syndrome Study
A recent study funded by the government by Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research found women who breast fed their babies lowered their chances from developing metabolic syndrome compared to a control group. The study suggests that long-term prevention is enhanced when these women breastfed for longer periods of time. Breast feeding between one and five months provided a 39 percent reduction of metabolic syndrome occurrence compared to a 56 percent reduction for those mothers who breast fed for longer than nine months.

There was also indications that mothers who experienced diabetes during pregnancy lowered their risks for developing metabolic syndrome by 44 percent if they breast fed even a little versus a reduction of 86 percent for those mothers who breast fed for longer than nine months.

This would indicate that expectant mothers especially who develop pregnancy related diabetes should give major consideration to breastfeeding for a long time. An 86 percent reduction is huge and just a stones throw away from completely preventing metabolic syndrome. This is very important because metabolic syndrome puts you at great risk for developing insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease and a lifetime of dealing with these problems such as keeping tabs on medications, insulin pumps, etc. People who suffer from these conditions consistently live shorter lives than the national average and the quality of the later years of those lives are not good.

Long-Term Benefits Of Breastfeeding
If you are a woman who is expecting or have yet to have your first child remember to ask you doctor about the benefits of breastfeeding and always keep this in mind as an added kick in the pants. Breast feeding has long been understood to be the best form of nutrition for the child and it appears to be great for the mother as well. Live longer and prevent metabolic syndrome by breastfeeding, who would've thought it? Check out the sources below for more details.

USA Today (12/4, Rubin)
HealthDay (12/3, Gordon)
WebMD (12/3, Boyles)

Lower LDL Cholesterol With Plant Sterols

Consume Plant Sterols with Each Meal to Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels

lower ldl cholesterol levels with plant sterolsLDL Cholesterol vs. HDL Cholesterol
Having healthy LDL cholesterol levels is one of the the greatest influences on having healthy arteries and a well balanced cardiovascular system. When LDL cholesterol levels get too high you are far more likely to develop plaque buildup in arteries and are more likely to experience clogged arteries if enough time passes with little change to your situation.

Having Lower LDL cholesterol levels means you have less cholesterol in your blood stream that will buildup along the walls leading to heart disease. HDL cholesterol acts to help flush LDL cholesterol out of the system. That is why HDL cholesterol is desirable but who else can you ensure that your circulating bad cholesterol levels remain as low as possible. You can participate in exercise, as you should be doing anyway, but you also should focus on improving your diet.

Plant Sterols and LDL Cholesterol
In a recent issue of Men’s Health a blurb was published referencing a new study conducted by Tufts University. In that study researchers found that people who ate plant sterol spreads (i.e. butter substitutes containing plant sterols such as Promise Active and Smart Balance with Heart Right) with every meal rather than with just a single meal or not at all were able to effectively lower their LDL cholesterol levels by approximately 6 percent. This is very significant because it is a means to managing your cholesterol in a completely different way than other actions such as exercise and dietary restrictions.

The reasoning quoted for the lower LDL cholesterol levels is due to the properties of plant sterols. Plant sterols basically hinder the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. They decrease the bioavailability of LDL cholesterol and therefore keep more of it from ever entering your blood stream in the first place.

Plant Sterols Help You Live Longer

Where to Get Plant Sterols
If you can easily add plant sterols to your diet around the clock you will be much better off and will be much more likely to live a longer life than if you are not able to make this change. Butter substitute spreads are not the only source of plant sterols so make sure to keep a look out for other options. Some fortified orange juices contain sterols as do many other products. You may even be able to find quality plant sterol supplements which aide in lowering LDL cholesterol if you take them safely.

Other Ways to Manage Cholesterol Levels
Of course do not abandon the tried and true methods of managing cholesterol levels. Taking action by eating better and exercising are of course your first line of defense against unsafe plaque build up in the arteries, but assuming this is already happening, consider these findings for a little more help in the task of lowering LDL cholesterol, increasing heart health, and increasing your life expectancy rate.

Men’s Health – Nov 2009
Tufts University

Contact - Live A Longer Life

If you need to contact me for any reason feel free to do so below. I will do my best to answer your emails as timely as I can. Thanks!


Disclaimer - I Am Not A Doctor

Not A DoctorThis is a personal weblog generally revolving around the topics of health, nutrition, fitness, disease prevention, anti-aging, longevity, etc. The opinions expressed here represent my own and should not be relied upon in any way by anyone. I am not a doctor nor am I training to be one.

The opinions expressed in the comments section are those of their authors, not my own. I do not endorse them in any way though I do encourage reader participation in the comments and the general discussion of ideas.

Cited content obtained from various sources, which I attempt to note at all times in post content, should not to be relied upon in any way. The authority of the originator of the aforementioned content should be taken into account by the reader. Much of what I have to say on this blog is of my own opinion. My opinions are often not based on verified fact. I am not a professional; I am merely an interested and opinionated party. Thank you.

Click through to learn more about me and this site.

Photo Credit
The Doctr -

An Unnecessary Antibiotic Treatment

Many Doctors Are Prescribing Placebo Antibiotic Treatments

placebo antibiotic treatmentMany people go to the doctor when they come down with a particularly nasty bug. Many of these same people are prescribed antibiotic treatment for the ailment all well. What is unknown however is how many people who receive these antibiotic treatments are actually receiving antibiotics. Apparently placebo usage in this area is ramping up. Can anyone say "the high cost of health care?"

Placebo Usage in Medicine

"Placebos have been used in medicine since ancient times, and remain both clinically relevant and philosophically interesting," says Rachel Sherman, a fourth year medical student at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. As placebos have become a stalwart of clinical trials and have been shown to offer some of the same benefits of actual medicine it has become increasingly clear that in some situations the use of placebos in treatment of patients is appropriate however a recent survey of a group of Chicago internists show that the line between appropriate and inappropriate treatment is wearing thin.

Because of this it is becoming much more important to challenge your doctor to describe what he or she is actually prescribing you rather than to just blindly follow. Antibiotic treatment which are just sugar pills are an unnecessary expense.
In a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 45 percent of physicians reported using placebos in clinical practice. Some doctors are giving patients sugar pills, and others are going so far as to recommend antibiotics for a virus.

A growing number of doctors believe there is a strong connection between the mind and body. 96 percent of the doctors surveyed said they think placebos have therapeutic benefits. But because antibiotic resistance is a growing national health problem, it’s important not to take antibiotics unnecessarily.

Antibiotic Treatment Versus Placebo: You Choose What’s Best

What’s important to remember is that there are many positive benefits to using placebos but their use is not appropriate in all cases. Antibiotics will never cure a virus and as a result they will simply incrementally worsen antibiotic resistance (a topic I've only slightly covered in the past).

If your doctor tells you you have a virus and then prescribes an antibiotic it is important to make sure it’s actually necessary. You don’t necessarily need to know if you’re getting a placebo but you should know that you’re being treated.

A Placebo Antibiotic Treatment for a Cat?

An interesting story: My cat came down with a respiratory infection not too long ago and the vet prescribed both an antiviral and an antibiotic. When I got home I researched the antibiotic treatment that had been prescribed prescribed and found it to be nothing more than a nutritional food supplement akin to Airborne meant to help boost the immune system.

Now, this is not exactly the same thing as treating humans with placebos but it does illustrate that your doctor will often not adequately describe what is being prescribed if you don’t press him to do so. Had I pressed the vet to describe the meds and the theory behind the prescription I might have opted to simply drop the nutritional supplements which were completely unnecessary. Seriously for a cat is there even such things as a placebo?

Is This Pill Really Necessary?

Best Life offers one simple and effective piece of advice on this topic. They say to "beware of catch-all doctor phrases such as ‘This may help and won’t hurt’ and ask your doctor if the pill or antibiotic being prescribed is really necessary." At the very least you might avoid taking a needless antibiotic treatment and save a few dollars at the same time.

Best Life, Apr. 2008
Journal of General Internal Medicine, Jan. 2008
Medical News Today -

Does Running Make You Live Longer?

how to live longer with running
I am personally very interested in living longer and I would assume you are too if you are here reading this post. My wife and I have been talking quite a bit about exercise these days as we’re approaching two years of marriage and we’ve managed to avoid the after marriage weight gain that seemingly hits most couples.

Long Life & Weight Loss

My wife obviously is quite aware of my fixation over living long and increasing my life expectancy rate.  She's well aware of my exploits here on this blog and she knows just as much as I do that carrying less weight is closely associated with longer life. We’ve decided that making sure we keep our weight in check is something we should emphasize in our lives.

On this blog I’ve often alluded to my constant struggle to exercise frequently. Eating right is not a problem for me but getting off my butt has been my trouble spot. She is more disciplined than me however and has been much better in recent months about exercising that I have. Despite this I am recommitting to exercise once again and hopefully this time it will stick.

How To Live Longer With Running

So what’s my motivation this time? I just read a new finding to me published in the Archives of Internal Medicine a couple years back which said that running is a valid way how to live longer. In fact the journal said that running 30 minutes a day five days a week is enough to add four years to your life.

I expect the reasoning behind this conclusion to be because of the heart healthy benefits of running and the resulting weight loss and management running causes. Surely running five times every week is good enough to help you lose 10 pounds or so and help you live a longer life.

I have a friend that I just talked to this past weekend who told me he was taking up running every day. We then talked about the benefits of running and I told him it was a something I had considered before. Now I say it is how I intend to live longer and stay in shape.

As my wife keeps up her exercise regimen I intend on joining my friend in running and hopefully I can prove this study and finding correct by increasing my heart health and living a longer life.

If you want to know how to live longer by means other than exercise (such as your diet and lifestyle) I’d encourage you to take a look at my post How to Live a Longer Life. It provides a basic road map to the entire process of extending life expectancy and decreasing one's risk for major diseases. Thanks for reading!

How Does T Cell Activation Occur

T Cell ActivationToday I wanted to bring up a topic that I touched on a few months back in my posts on dendritic cells, T cells, and white button mushrooms and my post on raising T cell count with Selenium. In those posts I highlighted some findings showing that mushrooms could help promote the maturation of dendritic cells. This is important because this aids in T-cell activation.

T Cell Activation

T cell activation is a complex process and it is not solely influenced by mature dendritic cells. T cell activation occurs in most cases via a two-step process. Both the T cell receptor and the CD28 molecule must be activated.

Dendritic cells, as I previously stated, work by increasing t cell count. This is overly simplified but true in basic form. What I left out in that past post, and thus far in this one, is that this is only half of the T cell activation process because the mature dendritic cells only stimulate the first half of the two-step process. For proper immune function T cell activation must occur. Both steps must complete othwise the T cell will not survive.

Step 1 - Activating The T Cell Receptor (TCR)

The first step in activating t cells is accomplished by stimulating or activating the t cell receptor by the major histocompatibility complex peptide, which is satisfied through dendritic cells that are positively influenced through a diet rich in mushrooms as previously stated in simplistic terms.

Step 2 - Activating The CD28 Molecule

The second part of the t cell activation process however is in the stimulation of the CD28 molecule with B7 proteins. --Let me reiterate here as I feel this is important. I am neither a doctor nor a scientist. I am an interested party who both loves medicine and science but who works in finance. I’m pushing my limits with this post. I feel it’s important to follow up my last post with the other half of the equation because it’s not right to mislead by highlighting only half of the t cell activation process.-- Anyway, back on topic.

What Are B7 Proteins?
B7 proteins aid in the T cell activation process by stimulating the CD28 on the T cell… but what are B7 proteins? They are peripheral membrane proteins or usually parts of various pathogens or broken down cells. Without their influence on CD28 molecules on the T cell the second half of the T cell activation process can not really occur.

Unlike the first step, we’re not really concerned with enhancing the B7 proteins like we are concerned with enhancing the maturation of dendritic cells. In this step we are more concerned with allowing the stimulation between B7 proteins and CD28 molecules to occur. This is important to recognize because the stimulation can easily be blocked and without it the T cell will not survive.

How then do we support the stimulation of B7 and CD28? This is after all the important question in tandem with how do me support maturation of dendritic cells. We ensure that the body does not block the CD28. Think of it like this. We don’t want to put a cork in the CD28. We want it wide open for B7 proteins to come into.

Blocking CD28
The cork in this case is when the T cell presents CD152 on its surface in addition to CD28. If CD152 is present the B7 proteins are drawn to it instead and the stimulation never occurs. Part two of the two step process halts and T cell activation fails. Interestingly through my research on the subject this is the area which befuddles science as this process is easily messed up. Basically science doesn’t fully understand the mechanism for CD152 and thus can’t fully manipulate it.

The way that I understand things is this. In healthy people CD152 is in balance with CD28 on the surface of the T cell. T cell activation occurs properly when the ratio of CD152 to CD28 is in balance. If immune response is warranted less CD152 is present and if immune response is not desired CD152 is more prevalent. When things aren’t working properly scientists are still working on figuring out how to manipulate CD152 for the benefit of the patient.

You Can Only Do So Much To Encourage T Cell Activation

To bring this back home and re-relate it to my previous post, there is really nothing known that you can do to encourage proper function of the second step of the T cell activation process. Yes, we can encourage the first part of the process by enhancing maturation of dendritic cells which stimulate part one of the activation but with the second part of T cell activation we are flying blind and hoping everything works out.

It’s important however, to focus on what we can do even though it doesn’t address the entire problem. As my previous post said, mushrooms aid in the maturation of dendritic cells. Assuming they are doing their job you are at least positioned to support full T cell activation when the time is right and the body and immune system is working. Do what you can and hope for the best.

Sidenote: My apologies for anybody out there that really knows the science behind all of this. I have tried my best but I’m sure this essay is not fully correct. Please if need let me know if I said anything out of line via email and I will amend this post as appropriate. This post, though it is a stretch for me to understand and explain, is very necessary to show the other side of T cell activation and how it boosts T-cells and relates to living a longer and healthier life. My previous post made it seem very easy to control when if fact it is not. Thanks for reading.

Immunol Lett, 2008 January 15; 115(1): 73–74.-

Asthma Control

Asthma Control - Cleaning Sprays May Be A Cause of Asthma

asthma controlIn the ever present search for your causes of asthma you may find that your efforts to clean up allergens may have been the cause of asthma all along. According to this study an acceptable asthma control is to simply dump certain cleaning products from your routine.

Asthma Control Finding
According to group of Spanish researchers who tracked 3,500 people for nine years, your risk for developing asthma is increased by 50 percent if you use cleaning sprays or deodorizers even once a week around the house. The researchers speculate that exposure to cleaning products could be the cause of asthma in as many as one in seven adult asthma cases.

Cleaning Products and Asthma Control

This finding is interesting in that it alludes to the possibility that the cause of asthma is with the airborne cleaning solution and not with the cleaning solution itself. It makes you wonder if the Asthma cases would not be elevated if everybody mixed a bucket of water with cleaning product and wiped it onto surfaces with a cloth instead of spraying it through a bottle.

This also makes me wonder which cleaning products cause asthma and which ones don’t. I can’t imagine the trigger is uniform. After all, some people clean with white vinegar and water which is hardly the same thing as Clorox Cleanup or Febreze deodorizer.

Asthma Control With Air Purification
I guess the lesson here is if you’re using a household cleaner it might be marginally wiser to wipe it on your surface rather than spray it on. It's also probably wise to try and control asthma by cleaning your air with a home true HEPA filter. After all you can't live longer if you can't breathe.

Best Life Magazine - February 2008

How To Improve Insulin Sensitivity Naturally

Improve Insulin Sensitivity With ALA

ALA (Alpha-Lipoic Acid) plays a fundamental role in converting glucose to energy according to Dr. Stephan Jacob, of the University of Tübingen, Germany. He recently described a study he conducted of 74 diabetic people who were given at least 600 mg of ALA supplements daily. The ALA supplements stimulated insulin activity, which safely lowered and stabilized blood glucose levels in the patients. This is very notable for diabetics and pre-diabetics looking to reverse insulin resistance.

Diabetes and Poor Insulin Sensitivity

As I’ve previously stated in past posts, the early signs of diabetes is predominantly characterized by insulin resistance or poor insulin sensitivity. Poor insulin sensitivity can cause blood glucose levels to remain elevated beyond the healthy and normal blood sugar range. This can cause lethargy and fatigue among other symptoms. Some people can feel very sleepy after meals and the result of the fatigue is often diminished activity levels compounding the problem of poor insulin sensitivity.

ALA Supplements
improve insulin sensitivity with ALA
As my last post recommended including citrus peel extract to help reverse insulin resistance my advice today is to take a tip from the good doctor and try supplementing with ALA, one of the omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike other omega-3s this is not found in abundance in fish but in plants. You can also easily find ALA supplements in many health food stores or online.

Food Sources of ALA
For those who want to stay natural and get your nutrients from your food the best food source for ALA is flaxseed and walnut. You would need to consume about 1.6grams of flaxseed to get 600mg of ALA. To aid in the cause try using flaxseed oil or walnut oil in your cooking and pick up some purslane from your grocer if you can find it.

Purslane is a leafy green containing a lot of omega-3 fatty acids including ALA. It is sometimes considered a weed in the US so you may have to look real hard for it in stores… or in your backyard. And don’t forget, statistically it has been shown that wine drinkers typically have higher levels of circulating omega-3s in their blood. Have a pinch of wine each day for your heart health and to support your omega-3 ALA levels.

Live Longer By Managing Insulin Sensitivity

Improving insulin sensitivity is one major step in reversing the building blocks of diabetes. Those who develop diabetes have noticeably shorter life expectancies and they experience more expensive health maintenance costs with all the medicine and accouterments they have to buy such as insulin pump supplies, diabetic support socks, and other miscellaneous required items. Make sure to get your ALA in addition to the many other ways to manage insulin sensitivity. Do them all and you can safely expect to live longer and healthier.

…and thanks for reading How To Live A Longer Life.

Life Sciences, Volume 61, Issue 8

How To Reverse Insulin Resistance Naturally

Reverse Insulin Resistance with Citrus Peel Extract

New research reported by Dr. Rachel Li indicates that citrus peel extract, which contains specific flavones (Polymethoxylated or PMFs), may help reverse insulin resistance and prevent diabetes. This new clinical research indicates that a daily supplement of citrus peel extract could improve insulin sensitivity and reverse insulin resistance in those who are at risk for developing diabetes.

What Is Insulin Resistance
So what is insulin resistance exactly? Why are citrus peel extract supplements a good idea for at risk patients? The answer is both simple and complex. Insulin resistance is simply the body’s gradual lack of response to circulating insulin in the blood.

Very basically speaking, the pancreas produces insulin to filter glucose (sugar) out of the blood. When we eat foods our blood glucose levels increase (our blood sugar levels increase) and then insulin metabolizes the glucose back into the cells of the body.

In people who are at risk for developing type-2 diabetes blood glucose levels are often elevated routinely due to a couple factors. (1) They eat more and thus their blood glucose levels elevate more frequently and second because blood glucose levels are often high insulin is always working to metabolize the glucose. Eventually if you are overweight or have other risk factors your body slowly stops responding to the insulin and the glucose levels in your blood remain elevated. This is the simple and watered down answer to the question: What is Insulin Resistance?

Signs of Insulin Resistance
How then do you know if you have insulin resistance; and how do you know if your insulin resistance is getting worse? Insulin resistance is characterized most frequently by fatigue. In fact fatigue is the most common symptom or sign of insulin resistance is it wears people out. This is particularly destructive because one of the best treatments for insulin resistance is exercise, weight training, and general physical activity in addition to an insulin resistance diet. Naturally fatigue makes this harder and the death spiral sets in.

Other signs of insulin resistance include mental fatigue characterized by poor memory or creativity, hypoglycemia, and feeling annoyed, jittery, and moody. After eating it is not uncommon to notice extreme fatigue as a sure early sign of insulin resistance. If you feel that these symptoms are present in your life you may want to learn how to reverse insulin resistance sooner rather than later. You don’t want to wait until it is too late.

A Treatment for Insulin Resistance

Citrus Peel Extract
Reverse Insulin Resistance with Citrus Peel ExtractThere are many documented ways to reverse insulin resistance in people who care to and are willing to do the work. Reversing insulin resistance is most “easily” done by simply exercising every day and losing weight. It is also accomplished by changing your diet by adding more vitamin K, chromium, and fiber. I discussed just yesterday the concept of insulin production and fiber; check it out if you missed it. Today however I wanted to throw out this little known nugget about reversing insulin resistance with citrus peel extract as it is a lesser known treatment for insulin resistance than the standard laundry list.

Citrus peel extract is obviously obtained from the citrus peels and thus you can easily add it to your diet by grating some citrus peel zest into your dishes but there’s always the option of finding some citrus peel supplements to do the job on a daily basis. As a previously stated clinical research has shown that the PMF flavones in are an effective way to improve insulin sensitivity and reverse insulin resistance. Check out the source below for more detailed information.

Want more ideas for reducing insulin resistance? Drop your email in the box below for access.
Insulin Resistance Resources
Again, citrus peel extract is just one of many ways you can work on reversing insulin resistance. I have a page on this site listing many other insulin resistance treatment options at your disposal. I encourage you to check it out: 11 Ways to Reverse Insulin Resistance. Remember if you don’t identify the signs of insulin resistance and treat it early you may find yourself developing type-2 diabetes down the road.

In addition to insulin resistance a number of other factors can lead to diabetes. Eating too many Brazil nuts and diabetes is one of the lesser known correlations and a more obvious signs might be excess weight.  The point being letting these problems spiral out of control is not conducive to living longer. That is after all the point of this site: living longer and healthier lives.

Update - There are of course numerous additional ways to help reverse insulin resistance and stop diabetes in its tracks. If you want more structured guidance on how to reverse the early stages of diabetes, this guide on improving insulin production and reversing insulin resistance may be something that you may want to consider paying for. The sales page linked to above has a ton of info on the program so give it some time to read through it all.

Thanks for reading.

The Journal of Life Sciences (Vol. 79, pp. 365-373)

How To Improve Insulin Production Naturally In The Body

Fiber May Reduce Insulin Production In Those At Risk For Diabetes

Eating high fiber foods such as fortified cereals and have been shown to help manage insulin production in men with high insulin levels. This suggests that fiber and foods containing fiber could be a simple and effective treatment for those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to various reasons. Managing insulin production, after all, is a main problem for those with diabetes so keeping it under control through your diet should be an easy call to make.

Insulin Production & Diabetes
High levels of insulin production is a sign of insulin resistance in the body. Insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. As increased insulin production and insulin resistance occurs, blood glucose levels increase as the glucose is not processed properly and thus the pancreas over-compensates and exacerbates the problem by producing more insulin, resulting in even higher levels of the hormone.

Fiber & Healthy Production of Insulin
insulin productionA recent study led by Dr Thomas Wolever from the University of Toronto published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that consuming high-fiber cereal "reduced the rise in peak insulin compared with that seen after a low-fiber product." The team looked at the blood glucose levels and insulin production responses of 77 men after eating two different cereals each containing different amounts of fiber with all else being equal. In the end it was determined that the high fiber cereal caused a decreased rise in blood glucose levels and moderated insulin production whereas the low fiber cereal did not.

What made the study fairly interesting in my opinion is that the moderation of the blood glucose response was only noted in those who hyperinsulinemic and not on those who were control subjects. This seems to indicate that if you have trouble regulating blood sugar and keeping insulin production in check eating high-fiber cereals or anything containing high fiber is a must.

The authors of the insulin production study also noted that "further studies are needed to investigate whether cereal could play a role in the ongoing management of insulin resistance." That’s standard speak from the researchers on reversing insulin resistance with diet, but it’s hard to bet against the concept of eating more fiber to increase wellness if not to regulate or increase insulin production in the pancreas.

Buy Foods Which Promote Health & Longevity
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases and regulating insulin production is a key action in it’s treatment. Even if you are not at risk for diabetes there’s no reason you should let this stop you from getting more fiber. Keep this in mind the next time you’re walking through the grocery store. Food does not just keep us from feeling hungry; buying insulin producing foods can help us live a longer and healthier life. For more on this topic let me encourage you to read this recent post on how to increase insulin production.

Diabetes Care (27:1281-1285)

What is Critical Illness Cover?

what is critical illness cover
To put simply, critical illness cover is a form of insurance that an individual will take out with any health insurance provider. It can protect them financially from the burdens caused through the process of being diagnosed with a serious or life threatening illness.

As we are only too aware, serious illness or disease can strike at any time, therefore there are many around the globe that will protect them through some form of health insurance like this. The financial payout they will receive once diagnosed will be tax free and is used more times than most, to take care of dependants and loved ones who relied on the policy holder.

The value of the money that gets paid to the policy holder is down to the agreed monthly premium arranged by both the individual and the insurance company, obviously the higher the monthly premium the bigger the payout shall be.

As mentioned, the critical illness cover payout is sent to the individual once they have been professionally diagnosed with a serious or life threatening disease. The disease or illness will have to be specific to the cover of the policy. If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you are diagnosed and your illness is not included in the cover, you will not receive any financial lump sum.

You will find however that most critical insurance cover policies will protect you from a core group of illness. Usually this can be viewed in a list form from the insurance company and will contain things such as heart attacks, cancer, kidney problems, strokes etc. These will often always payout but it is important to clear this up with whatever company you decide to go with before you sign any agreements.

If you make a successful claim, you will find that there is a long waiting period of around a month to two months. This is natural and is all a part of the legal process of the claim.

The Process of Applying for Critical Illness Cover

The process of application usually involves completing a form provided by the insurance company. This will always ask you personal questions on your health situation, topics such as your medical history will be discussed.

It is always advised that you be honest when filling out these forms, yes it may mean you pay a higher premium but it shall reduce any risk you may have of losing any appeal when you are diagnosed with a problem you were already aware of when filling in the form, yet did not mention to the insurance provider.

To round up there are of course many advantages to having this kind of policy for yourself. It will give you a good piece of mind and shall protect you and your loved ones in case of any emergency, heaven forbid you be diagnosed with an illness and your family is left to fend for themselves.

This is why many individuals are using critical illness cover to their advantage and are making sure that their futures are as safe as can be. If you are considering applying for this then get in touch with your local health insurance company.

Ways To Live A Longer & Healthier Life

It’s the end of October and Halloween is upon us. Ghosts and ghouls are on the mind of everyone. Death is en vogue at this time of the year. Even still I cannot help but think that many people died this year. Many celebrities. Many friends of friends. Maybe this year was a standout year for death but I know that it has solidified in me an intense desire to live a longer life.

The Fear of Old Age

The funny thing though about longer life is that we are bound to get old! That is in fact what most people fear about living longer and it is often the reason that many people decide that they don’t want to live longer. They don’t want to have to deal with the problems that often comes with old age. What most people don’t full y understand however is that the problems that come with living longer can be avoided with a little work today while we are still young.

If you've been following along with this blog for the past five months or so you surely have noticed that though this site is called “How to Live a Longer Life” it’s not just about longer life or living long; it’s about preventing disease and lowering your risk for early death. This site is about extending life and increasing life expectancy. I want to stretch the limits of human longevity in my life and break the rules of who is typically considered to be old and feeble.

How to Live Longer

About a week ago I gave my recipe in summarization of how to live longer. Increasing your life expectancy comes down to just four basic things (all of which can be broken down further of course). Those four things are making better lifestyle choices, eating better, staying physically active, and staying emotionally healthy by being positive and happy and having a sense of purpose in your life.

As I previously said, longer life has been on my mind lately, even while ghosts rule the Halloween nights. I am very happy right now. I have a great wife and a loving family. I love my cats! I am fortunate to have a good job with recognition. I live a healthy lifestyle. I wear my seat belt and drive the speed limit. I don’t smoke and I drink in moderation. It is very rare that I overindulge. I even eat right and likely follow CRON without even going out of my way. I eat lots of veggies and fish and always keep to smaller portions. Not only that but I am in good shape. Not great shape but decent shape. This is the one area of my life that I need to work on. I weigh in at a solid 150 pounds with a very low BMI. I have good cardiovascular stamina. I am fortunate.

I have both purposefully and accidentally fit the criteria for extreme human longevity. I have purpose and I desire to live longer. I fully intend on experiencing a longer life and I want to encourage you, my reader, that you too can live a longer life as well. There is no need to fear old age because if you prepare for your elder years today you will enjoy them down the road.

Actions Which Extend Life

To this end I have taken up identifying the many actions we can take as individuals to increase our lifespans, extend life and live longer. The goal of this site is to completely describe how the general theory of extending life works and then back it all up with the clinical research that proves that it can be done.

You can lower LDL cholesterol levels and prevent plaque build up and heart disease. You can lower risks for prostate cancer through your diet. Sure you’ll continue to get your prostate cancer screening tests but you can get them with less anxiety. You can improve insulin levels and insulin sensitivity decreasing your risks for diabetes. You can actively take steps to live a longer life.

A Longer Life Invitation

Let me encourage you my reader to delve into the archives and learn what this site is about and how you can use it to live longer. Start putting the pieces of the puzzle together and learn how you body works as you stimulate it with nutrition and exercise. Learn how everything works in tandem to help you to either live a longer life or a shorter life.

If you’re a long time reader the let me apologize for this ramble of a post but I felt a calling tonight to reach out to my new readers and pull them back into the archives and inspire them to desire a longer life as much as I do, not to fear human longevity but to seek it.

In the following weeks and months I anticipate many good things. I hope you’ll stick around for them. I will likely not be posting 30-40 posts a month anymore but that does not mean I’ve lost interest. This longevity blog is evolving and I am evolving with it. I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far and I hope you’ll continue to follow along. Thanks for reading; and have a happy life… a longer life.

Chronic Migraine Headaches & Heart Attacks

chronic migraine headaches and heart attack
Chronic migraine headaches are a pain to say the least but according to new research and observations they may be a warning sign for other more serious problems. In people with migrain headaches, life expectancy rates appear to be lower than the general populace.

Chronic Migraine Headaches Might Foreshadow Future Heart Attacks

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed 20,084 men between the ages of 40 and 84 whom did not have preexisting heart disease for twenty years and found that those who suffered from migraine headaches were 24 percent more likely to develop heart disease and 42 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who did not. It is also notable that additional studies confirm the same correlation of migraine headaches and heart disease between women and men alike.

Of the entire pool of men 7.2 percent claimed to have suffered from migraine headaches in the first five years of the study. "Over the subsequent 15.7 years of follow-up, there were 2,236 first occurrences of major heart disease events -- nonfatal ischemic stroke, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or death from ischemic cardiovascular disease. There were 2,257 coronary revascularizations, and 2,625 angina cases reported." Of these events there was a strong statistical correlation with those who had identified experiencing migraine headaches in the past.

Study Controls & Possible Causation

Considering this is a correlation one could look into other factors that might identify future heart disease such as typical indicators for risk such as elevated BMI, RLS, genetics, and others. The study did adjust for hypertension, smoking, and aspirin usage so the case for chronic migraine headaches as a precursor for heart problems can be made relevant.

However, it is quite possible that elevated BMI as opposed to elevated hypertension, contributes to chonic migraines which then in turn elevate risk factors for heart attacks earlier in life rather than later; this however we do not know and is only my personal speculation. If you suffer from chronic migraine headaches maybe you should give some serious thought into talking to your doctor about potential heart attack risks you may have. Learn about the leading causes of hypertension and start from there; it just may help.

Med Page Today -
Archives of Internal Medicine, April 2007 -

Healthy Weight Loss Follow Up

This post is a follow up to my lose 10 pounds by New Years post from last week. I had a few comments about the post namely because it was both so long and also so contrary to many schools of thought about weight loss.

Conventional Weight Loss Theory

The normal thought process on how to lose weight healthy and permanently typically states that the dieter needs to both limit certain foods while also starting an exercise routine. I wanted to clear up my point of view and state that I do indeed agree with this prescription for weight loss. If it didn’t work it wouldn’t be the normal way of thinking.

The problem with me however is that I know people are people and I know that the majority of people are lazy. I can’t even count the number of times I started an exercise routine and failed to follow through with it. I’ve tried to wean myself off of doughnuts countless times and always failed. I know that eating more vegetarian meals is better for me than eating more non-vegetarian meals. I also know that a quick bite from Burger King is both cheap and easy and tough to pass up sometimes.

Losing Weight Is Hard - Take It Slow

What’s my point? I truly believe that starting significant life changing routines such as cutting out fast food from your life entirely is bound for failure. I know that eliminating junk food from one’s life is challenging and will usually fail. I know getting out of bed an hour earlier on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to hit the treadmill will quickly become a faded desire in most people’s lives.

I feel that changing lifestyles shouldn’t be dramatic if you want them to stick which is why I feel subtle changes for the better are the most surefire way to weight loss that you can find. By taking your normal everyday diet and not changing it in any way other than the quantity you are bond to have an opportunity to succeed. Sure you may at first feel as if you are stifling yourself, but this can be curbed by drinking water for weight loss assistance.  The water fills you up while you eat less food making quantity reduction easier to achieve.  And think of it this way, never having to think about what you can or can’t eat will feel real good in the end.

If you missed my last post on losing weight I encourage you to take a look and see what you think. Of course if you don’t feel that the subtle way to weight loss is for you then that’s fine. Traditional weight loss plans are just fine. The most important thing is that you find a plan that works for you which you feel comfortable with and believe in. Good luck.

Prostate Cancer Screening

According to a group of researchers from Harvard Medical School it turns out that approximately 16 percent of prostate cancer screenings that are performed are performed improperly and are of questionable worth. The reasoning behind this: The patients who are in the 16 percent block include predominantly patients who are under 40 years of age and patients who are over 75 years of age.

The Value of Prostate Cancer Screening

It’s thought that patients who are in these age groups have little to gain from a prostate screening; their prostate cancer risk is moot. Those who are young typically get the diagnosis of lets wait and see and those who are elderly are often beyond the therapeutic age and benefits to treatment are less likely to be worthwhile. Because of this the tests which doctors perform for these categories of people are rushed and/or unthorough.

Interestingly the breakdown of who ordered these tests is quite interesting. Male practitioners specializing in urology who were infrequent PSA testers were most likely to order unwarranted prostate-cancer screenings. For the purpose of the study unwarranted prostate cancer screenings were those that occurred on young patients (under 40) and old patients (over 75). The doctors that stuck to the rule of thumb for prostate cancer screenings most often were attending physicians, nurses and physician assistants.

My Take on Prostate Cancer Screening

I’ve discussed the prostate cancer screening before and I’ve noted that the wait-and-see treatment is often the way to go if diagnosis is positive. I’ve even noted the many clinically significant findings that show that dealing with enlarged prostate at home is possible for a time at least so this doesn’t surprise me about the inappropriateness of screenings on the under 40 crowd. I would venture to say that it’s probably not worth the time or energy to get your first screenings done early unless you have obvious reason to do so but after 75 years of age I differ… mostly because I feel that 75 is young and human longevity suggests that we can and should plan to live a longer life, another generation past 75 in fact. I would hope my doctor takes the time to do my prostate screening and do it right even when I get into my late retirement years.

Veterans Health Administration -

How To Reverse Plaque Buildup In Your Arteries

Atherosclerosis & Plaque Buildup

Atherosclerosis is simply defined as plaque build up in the arteries. Sure it’s more complex than that but that is the root of the matter. The term atherosclerosis refers to the hardening of the arteries due to the plaque buildup and the plaque buildup in arteries is basically caused by fat deposits which form due to an injury to the innermost layer of the blood vessels, the endothelium. Once the endothelium is damaged fatty plaques can then start to build up in the arteries. Without the damage however these plaques will not generally form. So what then causes the fat deposit and resulting plaque buildup?

Primary Causes of Fat Deposits in Arteries

• Cholesterol
• Inflammation
• Scar Tissue, and
• Calcium Deposits

How Does Plaque Build Up in the Arteries

Plaque builds up in the arteries generally due to what is in your blood stream at any given time. Toxins and blood sugar levels have a part in damaging the endothelium while inflammation and high blood pressure can expedite it.

We have all heard of bad cholesterol (LDL). This is the cholesterol which builds up on the artery walls and is generally first thought of as plaque. The good cholesterol (HDL) is also generally known to escort bad cholesterol out of the arteries so that these plaques do not form as easily. When there is an excess of LDL cholesterol it does not get pulled out of the body quickly enough and the excess enters the damaged arterial walls and settles. This is the simplest way that plaque buildup in arteries occurs.

Note: If you are interested check out these handy articles on how to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Both of these activities in combination will help prevent plaque buildup in arteries and help you live longer in the long run.

The plaque buildup also occurs while the damage is being repaired. The inflammation associated with the repair often invites further plaque accumulation in the wound and eventually the scar tissue forms and locks in the plaque deposits until further arterial damage occurs.

Healing Arteries Lock in Plaque Buildup

The problem with this process is that the healing of the wound has now created a plaque buildup under the endothelium which, if big enough, could slow the blood supply to the body down the line. The heart easily comes to mind because when it does not get the blood due to a blockage then a heart attack occurs. Generally though, the blockage will not get big enough for a long time and will only occur after multiple wounds and healings.

Because plaque buildup in arteries feeds further arterial damage it is imperative that you make sure you avoid damaging your arteries in the first place because the blockages will likely come back to haunt you in your middle ages and later life. Living a longer life pretty much requires healthy arteries free from plaque buildup.

Unfortunately, however this is not always the case in real life as heart disease is the number one cause of death in the nation and the bulk of it all happens because of atherosclerosis and plaque buildup in arteries caused by poor dietary choices, low activity levels, and less than healthy personal lifestyle choices such as smoking tobacco.

Avoid Plaque Buildup and Live Longer

What then is a solution to plaque buildup in arteries? In summary the solution is everything you would normally do to live a longer life. I have recently prepared and published a lengthy tutorial on living longer and I encourage you to take a gander at it and start working on decreasing your arterial plaque buildup and many other risk factors for heart disease and early death.

Flu Vaccination of Hospital Workers and the Swine Flu (H1N1)

A couple days ago I finally got my seasonal flu shot. A say finally because my wife has had her’s since late August, it seems like I’ve waited around for the longest time. Because she’s spending upwards of 12 hours in the hospital every day of the week right now she is at high risk for carrying the flu back home and thus I’m at high risk for picking it up through her. I don’t know about you but I would rather not contract influenza if I can avoid it; it's no fun.

Flu Vaccination of Hospital Workers

Last night I was lounging around the house with her and we were discussing my sore left shoulder, the shoulder where I got my flu vaccination shot, when she informed me that she was not required to get the vaccine as a healthcare professional, she was merely encouraged to do so. This completely amazed me. She even told me that many of the same doctors and nurses who are supposed to encourage their patients to get these vaccines are often apprehensive about getting them themselves. Unbelievable.

It turns out that there doesn’t seem to be any significant reasoning behind this. It’s not that everyone is unsure whether the shots are safe; it seems as if people just don’t want to take the time to get vaccinated. If it’s like this in the hospitals I can’t imagine what it’s like for the general public.

We talked a little more and she told me that many of the nurses didn’t even realize that they could be carriers of the flu even if they weren’t suffering from symptoms and that the vaccine not only protects them but also their loved one’s at home. After all, if you can’t carry the bug then you can’t infect your family at home.

Flu Season Is Here

OK, so this is not that big of a deal with the seasonal flu; it probably should be for hospital workers but this is how it’s been for years I guess. What concerns me however is the fact that H1N1 has been around since March slowly working it’s way through the population even during the summer months. Now that flu season is starting up the bug will have its opportunity to do the greatest damage.

I’m not a sensationalist, I’m just a realist. Flu season is in the winter for a reason. The bug simply transmits easier in cold temperatures. This and the fact that school is in session can make for quick spreading throughout a community. I feel that simple preventative tactics should always be followed and getting vaccinated should be a priority. It’s cheap, effective, and preventative in nature; why not get it.

Will People Get The Swine Flue Vaccine?

If people are so apprehensive and lazy about getting the seasonal flu vaccine then what’s that say for the upcoming H1N1 flu vaccine that has yet to get to the general population. Here in our area the vaccine hasn’t even been offered to hospital workers yet; will they muster up the motivation to take it? Will the population take it? I’m sure it’ll be more expensive so my guess is less people will get the swine flu vaccination than the normal flu vaccination.

I want to encourage you to get your shot now and the H1N1 shot if you are high risk. There is a blog I recently came across that is all about the H1N1 swine flu. It’s got a lot of information on it and I hope you’ll check it out. Despite my plea here in this post, the vaccine is not a passion of mine so you probably won’t read too many posts from me on this so if this topic resonates with you I’m sure you’ll enjoy following the linked blog.

Thanks for reading; and I’ll check back in with normal posting probably by the first of the week. I’ve decided to relax my posting schedule a bit due to other commitments; I hope you’ll understand.

How To Live A Longer Life

All You Need to Know About Living a Longer Life.

I've been writing about longevity, disease prevention, and seeking longer life for more than five months now and I've yet to really put the pieces together on how to live a longer life so I thought it was high time that I did just that. Sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and sink into your favorite chair and open your mind. You’re about to learn how to live a longer life in about 5 minutes worth of reading.

The Joys of a Longer Life

Generally speaking living a longer life is a good thing if you are in good enough health to enjoy it. In these days medicine has gotten so good that we can keep people alive far longer than they can really enjoy. This brings the cost of healthcare up and makes people nervous about being too old. I say forget all of that because living a longer life does not have to be so dramatic; it can be enjoyable.  By remembering just a few basic health secrets and maybe with just a little luck, you should be able to achieve a longer life than average quite easily.

How to Live a Longer Life

Happiness for Longevity
There are a few components to longevity that seem to be universally noted by study after study.  Studies which are both informal and clinical in nature routinely find that people who are generally positive and have a good outlook on life live longer.

You can capitalize on this by simply living your life as a happy person. How do you do this? It’s very personal but I always find that treating other people as VIPs helps. Eventually you start to feel really good about all the good you do and all the people you've helped along the way.  The great thing is treating others well is typically reciprocated.

Another simple way to be happy and positive is to place great importance and value on your family. It seems counterproductive sometimes as family can sometimes be stressors but on average those people who value and are very close to their families, generally live a longer life.

Lifestyle Choices Lead to Longer Life
Often this is the most obvious element to longevity and yet it is often the one (or at least one of the) top reasons people do not live longer. On average smoking kills people 14 years earlier than everybody else. It leads to lung cancer, COPD, emphysema, etc. It also is a leading cause of heart disease and diabetes which are both high on the leading causes of death list. Just eliminating or avoiding smoking will let you live longer. It will give you a longer life and a more enjoyable life as you will be more like to be healthy in your old age.

Excess of alcohol is another obvious risk factor that does not lead to longer life. Yes, it does lead to longer life if it is used in moderation, but in excess it leads to accidents, heart disease, cancers, and to the general breaking down of the body. How many alcoholics do you see that look young? Not many I would guess. Cut back and you will live a longer life.

Many other lifestyle choices promote longevity and long life. Seat belts are one. You should use them. Drive defensively. Be careful when taking part in accident prone activities. Accidents are still one of the leading causes of death and if you avoid them you will be more likely to live a longer life.

The Longevity Diet
Over the past decade or so it has become increasingly clear that your diet has a lot to do with longevity. It has been shown that mice will live a longer life (roughly 30 percent longer) if they are fed a diet that is 30 percent lower in calories than a normal diet. The same findings of longevity can be said for large primates as this has even been substantiated in chimpanzees; the closest blood relative to humans.

How many really old obese people do you see walking around? Not many. If you want to live longer keep your calorie count low. You don’t have to starve yourself just keep it low. Normal daily calorie intake seems to be in the 2000 range. A 30 percent drop would be 600 calories less per day leaving you with a daily intake of 1,400. If you want to live longer this is probably a good start. If this is too extreme for you shoot for a 15 percent reduction instead.  It can't hurt.

Other dietary considerations consist of upping the intake of all fruits and veggies for their nutritional and disease fighting attributes, eating more beans and legumes for their fiber and protein, and greatly increasing the consumption of fish. Eating fish is consistently suggestive of greater longevity in research and it is probably safe to assume you will live a longer life if you eat it more often.

The reason of course: Fish leads to longer life because of their high levels of fatty acids. The omega-3s if you will. Living a longer life should come automatically with more of these omega-3s circulating in your blood.  They have been shown to protect against diseases of seemingly all kinds. Interestingly enough wine drinkers typically have more circulating omega-3s in their blood stream so drinking a glass of wine daily should help keep them their too.

To expand on drinking wine for increased longevity let me further implore you to add wine to your diet. Resveratrol has been shown to have incredibly high concentrations in wine and it has been closely linked with disease prevention and cultures who tend to live longer. If you want to live a longer life, drinking a glass of wine a day should be mandatory as it covers two completely different schools of thought.

Physical Activity: Conducive to Longer Life
This is the longevity tip that nobody want to hear but it is so important. You have to stay active if you want to live longer. There are few people who live long lives stuck to a couch and not owning walking shoes. People who live longer are typically on their feet more often and working physically every day.

You do not necessarily have to go to the gym and work out every day but you do have to get up and move around. The human form evolved around physical labor and only in the most recent generations have we had the luxury of sitting down and relaxing all day every day if we choose. Even those of us who are “working hard” are often not physically working hard. We sit at desks for hours upon hours. We drive everywhere and we moan when there’s not a parking spot up close. We go crazy when we have to go up more than a single flight of stairs, and the thought of walking one block to go anywhere is out of the question.

This is what I’m talking about: sloth. If longer life is the goal then longer life will only come to those who stop complaining and start seeking these opportunities to stay active in normal everyday mundane life. Walk the store with a shopping basket in hand rather than a cart. Park far away. Walk to the stores from your home if you can. Stop with the coffee break and walk around the block instead. Take the stairs. Walk the dog a block further than normal.  There are so many areas of your life where you can add physical activity into your routine. Longer life does not come with sitting around and waiting for old age.  It happens when you use your body and keep it in shape. And you know what? When you get bored, sure, the gym aint half bad either.

Longer Life in a Nutshell

That’s it folks. That is how to live a longer life in a nutshell. I can’t tell you how long you’ll live but if you follow these longevity tips then I guarantee you will be greatly increasing the chances of living longer, living happier, and living healthier. Longevity sometimes happens on its own but you have the power to make it happen with a little action and a little luck. Now go out there and live longer!

Lose 10 Pounds by New Years

Give a gift to yourself and your family this holiday season and lose 10 pounds by New Years. Trust me if you start now you can lose weight safely and naturally and the time is just long enough to develop the nutritional habits necessary to keep the weight off and jump start your New Years resolutions.  What gift could be so well appreciated by both you and your love ones other than a homemade Christmas gift.  Well, I guess you could give them a nice unique Christmas gift they can take home too; I'm sure they would appriciate it. :)

10 Pounds of Sustainable Weight Loss

Surely if you are interested in this post you know oodles already about weight loss and have probably even tried some form of a lose-10-pounds program before. In fact you likely have tried a very structured lose 10-pounds-program that was very difficult to maintain and very restrictive on your lifestyle and cooking habits.

I’m going to tell you however, that this is the reason why you’ve not been able to lose 10 pounds by whatever your deadline has been and keep it off. Highly structured programs that greatly conflict with your habitual lifestyle will not last. It’s just that simple. How many people do you know that just up and changed their lifestyle completely. Do you know any slothful people who just one day became productive superstars and went on to make a mark on the world? Everyone has heard stories of the people who change their lifestyle and drop hundreds of pounds but how many do you actually know?

Lifestyle changes are hard and its why people binge on them and then crack and retreat to their comfort zone. Dieters routinely lose 10 pounds and then regain it when they relax their program. I’m going to tell you though that you can naturally lose 10 pounds by New Years by not significantly changing your lifestyle. You do not even have to really change your eating habits; you’ll just have to tweak them.

First of all I’m not going to insult intelligence. We all know that calories-in versus calories-out equals either weight gain or weight loss and we all know that eating brings calories in and exercising takes calories out so I suggest developing a deeper understanding of how the body works and capitalizing on it.  I run a food pairing series on this blog entitled Optimize Your Diet. This series illustrates perfectly how simple changes can multiply results without doing anything different.

Base Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Look at it this way. Just by sitting on a couch for 16 hours straight you will burn calories. You will obviously burn more if you go jogging for 16 hours straight however this is not a reasonable thing to do. In fact some programs to lose 10 pounds will simply tell you to eliminate this or that from your diet completely and go exercising for an hour seven days a week. This in my opinion is an extreme change in lifestyle for most of us. Habits don’t form overnight and thus diving in to the deep end like this will typically fail.  You need to sit on the steps of the shallow end and slowly make your way to the other side of the pool for habits to change.

Going back to calories burned while sitting idle, if you were to do this everyday and attempt to remain at a steady weight, unchanging week-to-week you would have to calculate your base metabolic rate (BMR) and hit it with calorie intake consistently. The idea here is to understand how many calories you need to maintain status quo while you do absolutely nothing. You can find this by simply finding a BMR calculator online; they’re very simple to use.

For me my BMR is 1,730 (or 72 calories per hour), meaning I could ingest this many calories and do nothing every day to maintain my weight however this is really just a rule of thumb because everyone is different. Some people have a multiplier to this which is either slightly above or slightly below the number one. For me; I am fortunate and mine is higher than one because I can pretty much eat all I ever want and I never seem to gain a pound. Yes, I am lucky.

If I were to do an hour of light stationary biking I would burn approximately 400 calories in an hour for a net gain over my BMR of ~325 calories. Considering about 3,500 calories equals a pound it would take approximately 10 ¾ days for my 325 calorie net gain to add up to a pound of weight loss or 107 days straight of this to equal ten pounds. Does this seem effective to you? It seems like a major lifestyle change to me and I would guess that most people would fail to follow through for 107 days straight. Even if they did; giving an hour of their lives away to an exercise bike seems like a task that would eventually stop happening. After all, we didn’t develop the habits we have overnight; we bred them over years and decades. They are not broken easily.

I honestly believe the way to burn the extra calories is to use the power of leverage. Let’s say you are battling weight as you probably are if you’ve read this far into this post. If you are a heavier person then your BMR is higher as each pound you weigh burns calories to sustain itself, however the heavier you get the less each pound contributes to your BMR. For instance, I am 6’-1”, 150 pounds at age 29. Each pound I weight contributes ~11.5 to my BMR. If I weighed 200 pounds however each pound would only contribute ~10.2 to my BMR. Essentially this means that the heavier I get the less my BMR helps keep my weight in check. To further compound the problem, BMR is negatively associated with age. Right now my BMR is 1,730 but when I’m 39 my BMR will fall (on average) to 1,662 and then to 1,594 by my 49th birthday. The point being, the older you get the lower your BMR gets, which further compounds the problem of weight control. This is why someone can “spiral out of control”.  Weight gain plus advancing age lower BMR, and as a result weight ads on contributing to a further lowering of BMR and encouraging more weight gain.

Leveraging BMR for Weight Loss

Back to the power of leverage and how it can help you lose 10 pounds by New Years. Did you forget that was the point of this post? I almost did.

Sure you could try to change your lifestyle drastically and hit that bike for an hour a day. Changing nothing else in your life this would probably drop you 10 pounds in about 3 and a half months. Not bad; but can you keep it up? I suggest a different approach. Leverage your BMR to lower you weight and do very little things throughout the day to increase your calories burned rather than putting in an hour of exercise in long stretches.

How do you leverage your BMR?  You simply increase your multiplier through diet and activity levels. If a 325 calorie a day difference for 107 days equals a loss of 10 pounds then I can either get it by simply lowering my calorie intake by a little, burning more calories throughout the day through exercise, or by increasing my BMR. Any combination of these three works and all three in unison works the best.  The key here is to not change your lifestyle and raising your BMR will allow you to lose weight without altering your lifestyle too much.  Do just enough to make a difference but not enough to lose motivation and revert to old ways. How can you raise your BMR? There are a few simple ways; let me explain.

Raise Your BMR to Lose 10 Pounds

You can raise your BMR by dong a few simple things. Yes, you could go gung-ho and do better but the simple things can make habit forming much easier and thus they will work for you over your entire life rather than just through a brief short-term dieting/exercising spurt that fizzles out.
  • It is a well known fact that muscle burns more calories than fat, so make sure you carry things around more often. If you go shopping and push a cart, grab a basket instead. This will support your arms and legs because you’re carrying everything around instead of pushing it… this will also have the effect of burning more calories while you shop.
  • Park your car in the back of the lot every time. This will add a couple extra minutes of walking to every destination you go to. Remember, for me one minute of walking is an extra 2.7 calories that I otherwise wouldn’t have burned. An errand trip of four stops could add 21.6 calories burned.  Along the same lines stairs are much more calorie burning when you climb them rather than ride an elevator.
  • Lose your stigma over caffeine. Have a little in the morning as coffee or tea. For the love of all that is holy, drink it straight with no sugar or cream. Really, this is unnecessary and counterproductive. Studies have shown that caffeine can raise metabolic rates up to ten percent.  Read that again – 10 percent! A BMR like mine could go from 1,730 to 1,903, an increase of 173 just by having a little caffeine every day. That’s better than the gain I get by walking for an hour! Moderate walking for an hour for me only burns 165 calories per hour above my normal BMR. Remember coffee or tea straight up has virtually no calories and is full of antioxidants too so don't juice it up with sugar and/or cream.
  • Do not wage war against yourself. If you want to lose 10 pound by New Years you cannot starve yourself. If you suddenly stop eating food (let’s say cut back by 50 percent) your body will go into starvation made and your BMR will decrease and effectively cancel out the decrease in calorie consumption. This is why elimination diets don’t work. They exhaust the dieter by drastically changing one’s lifestyle and then they don’t lose weight because their BMR just fell and they don’t have the energy to exercise. This is really bad and doesn’t end good.
  • Do a little strength training whenever you can. I know this seems like the most half-hearted weight loss tip of all time but it’s true. If you want to raise your BMR your need to work your muscles but you shouldn’t change your lifestyle much otherwise you’re more likely to backslide. Just go do some basic leg presses and free weight exercises the next time your bored and have nothing to do. You don’t even have to do it for very long. A little here and there adds up and the muscle mass will increase your BMR making weight loss even easier. Do not structure your day around weight training.

 Leverage Your Weight Loss Efforts

Now imagine you are able through the list above to raise your BMR 10-15 percent and then you tweaked your habits to encourage weight loss, the results would be multiplied and would make more of an impact… but how do you start a weight loss program with the goal to lose 10 pounds without changing your lifestyle? Follow along:

Do not change what you eat in any way. If you typically eat dessert, continue to do so; if you typically have seconds, continue to do so, if you typically have ice cream before bed and cook your Brussels sprouts in lard, continue to do so, but do one thing.  Do not finish your plate!

If you normally clean your plate make a change by leaving some uneaten. Starving yourself is bad but cutting back on calories in this manner is fine; it’s probably going to cut your calorie intake by 10 percent or so depending on how big your meals are and how much you choose to leave uneaten. But think about this; if you eat 2000 calories a day, no matter what food it is, 10 percent is a reduction of 200 calories a day which is magnified by an increase in BMR above of about 10-15 percent (for me this is about 250 calories) for a total positive change in calories of 450 a day. At that rate you would lose about ten pounds in 77 days, which brings you right to New Years.

The joy about this is that you do not need to starve yourself or workout on a strict regimen to the point where the stress builds up and you lose motivation. You can lose 10 pounds safely in about 2 and a half months by hardly changing your lifestyle a bit. And that means continuing the lifestyle thereafter should be very easy as you don’t really have anywhere to backslide to.

Do me one favor though. If you try this plan and lose 10 pounds by New Years, let me know about your experience and then stop wasting food! By that time you’ll have adjusted to your new food volume and you should be able to just portion yourself less food rather than more than you plan to eat. Eventually, after your weight loss begins, you will be encouraged and will then seek to refine the food you eat and seek better nutrition in addition to weight loss. That is my hope anyway.

If you read this entire dissertation then I thank you. I really believe everything I said here. If you have any comments I’d love to hear them and if you have your own thoughts on how to lose 10 pounds by New Years or if you'd just like to shout to the world that you did lose 10 pounds, then let us know in the comments and I'll follow up your success in a later post.

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Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally

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