What To Do After A Heart Attack: Eat Chocolate!

eat chocolate after your heart attack
My wife tipped me of to this one a couple days ago. Please send your thanks to her.

We all know that low dose aspirin is known to lower the risk for a second heart attack but it seems there is another dietary habit that seems to do the same thing… and it’s a little more interesting and tasty than popping a daily children’s aspirin.


It turns out that those who eat chocolate consistently after recovering from their first heart attack are more likely to remain living years later. In fact the odds go up the more chocolate you eat.

A recent study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Imre Janszky from Sweeden found that eight years after a heart attack those who ate chocolate roughly once a month had a higher survival rates than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all of 27%. Eaters of chocolate once a week had survival rates 44% better than those who ate none. And those who ate chocolate at least a couple times a week had survival rates 66% higher than those who did not eat it at all.

The NY Times reported on this study a couple weeks back. Here are some excerpts:
The scientists did not ask what kind of chocolate the patients ate, and milk chocolate has less available flavonoid than dark chocolate. Finally, chocolate consumption did not reduce the risk for any nonfatal cardiac event…

…while the chocolate eaters in the study had a statistically insignificant reduction in the risk of death from any cause over the eight-year span, the reduced risk for dying of heart disease was highly significant. And it was dose-dependent — that is, the more chocolate consumed, the lower the risk for death…

…Dr. Katz, of Yale, agreed that “there are many reasonable biological mechanisms” for a protective effect from chocolate.

What To Do After A Heart Attack

This finding is a natural fit to the list of tasks to complete after experiencing a heart attack which I’ve already discussed in previous posts. Low dose aspirin has been shown to be beneficial at improving post heart attack mortality rates. Staying positive and in good spirits is another methods to increase post-heart attack mortality rates. The obvious: altering one’s dietary habits and activity levels is an absolute must for post heart attack longevity and now this. Eat chocolate on occasion and you too will be more likely of living out your life to it’s fullest potential.

Of course if you’re going to add chocolate to the list you might as well optimize your diet as best you can. Despite the fact that this study didn’t differentiate between the various types of chocolate it is widely known that dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate. Until studies show specificity I’d focus on indulging in the darker varieties whenever possible. Here is a nice essay on the heart health benefits of dark chocolate posted a few months back by HealthyFellow.

Journal of Internal Medicine
NY Times


This blog is almost five months old now and during this time I’ve built up a small library of topics centering on specific products, books, and physical items. My plans for this blog in the future include not only a continual expansion of the books and products I’ve reviewed and recommend but also an expansion into other gear and informational products. I would like to touch on specific product reviews as appropriate as well as provide a splash page for various ebooks and other merchandise of interest.

In the spirit of planning for grander future days I thought it would be appropriate to add a Gear page to my menu bar above. For now this page will be a little sparse but I hope you’ll come back to it in the future often as over the coming months and years I hope to expand it to include some fine information and products that you will find useful.


The Most Popular Books on Longevity

Book Reviews

The Blue Zones
Longevity Made Simple

Miscellaneous Products

Home Air Purification
Low Radiation Cell Phones

Skin Care

Breakdown of Anti-Aging Creams

Blood Pressure and Morning Exercise

blood pressure and morning exercise
From Men’s Health, reporting on the recent findings of a group of British researchers on the topic of arterial hypertension:
Morning exercise may be risky if you have high blood pressure or other heart disease risk factors. In the morning arteries are less able to widen for the increased blood flow (i.e. they are less flexible), especially in people who are [first] starting an exercise program. This could loosen vulnerable plaque build up in the arteries and cause a blockage. More studies will have to access whether regular exercise helps arteries open up [and regain flexibility].

Are There Morning Exercise Health Benefits?
According to this finding morning exercise health benefits may only exist for people who have normal or good levels of health.  This information on high blood pressure and morning exercise also reminds me of my previous post on high blood pressure and exercise which essentially said the same thing.

It seems that it is fairly obvious that for those with high blood pressure who have not been involved in a routine workout program, you should be very careful with the way you set about it. According to my previous post, you should take it easy with your exercise as your heart is not acclimated to the stress.

This report suggests that working out in the morning may cause excess stress on the arteries. This leads me to believe that it is probably best for those with high blood pressure to begin their exercise program slowly by exercising after eating in the afternoon and evening as well as looking into the leading causes of hypertension and curbing some bad habits that may be fueling your hypertension..

High Blood Pressure & Exercise
Walking periodically throughout the day as opposed to taking one big long hike daily has been shown to do the best for the heart and walking after eating meals has been shown to immediately neutralize much of the negative effects of cholesterol and fats in your food. These are just some ways to deal with high blood pressure.  This post on how to lower blood pressure goes more into detail on the subject.

Aside from eliminating all cholesterol and fats simply walking after eating can achieve more benefit than walking before eating can. Further extrapolation of the theory suggests that after a regular exercise regimen has been employed then gradual intensity can be added and eventually exercise in the mornings may become less risky as chronic hypertension decreases and arterial elasticity returns.

Men’s Health, Oct. 2009

Walter Breuning Turns 113 – Shares Secrets to Longevity

walter breuning: oldest man in america shares longevity secrets
Excerpt from the New York Daily News: World's Oldest Man at 113
What's the world's oldest man's secret to longevity? Skipping three squares a day…

In lieu of dinner, he puts away a big breakfast and a big lunch…

"I think you should push back from the table when you're still hungry," Breuning told USA Today. "You get in the habit of not eating at night, and you realize how good you feel. If you could just tell people not to eat so darn much."
If you remember my recent post on Walter Breuning; he’s currently the world’s oldest man having recently (9/21) celebrated his 113th birthday. Remarkably he is also quite a personality and quick witted as you can see the previously linked video interview with him earlier this year.

What I find notable in the story is a couple things. First Walter skips dinner effectively maintaining a low calorie diet. This is the basic premise of the CRON diet (Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition). Everything Walter eats is healthy and natural as he stays away from restaurants and excessive foods. What I like even more is that he isn’t a stickler about it though. He still likes his occasional sweets and cakes. Thanks my kind of guy.

Second, the man has had a purpose in life and has worked hard well into his advanced years. The article says he worked all the way up to his 99th year! This supports one of the main findings presented in The Blue Zones, which I reviewed last month and recommend picking up and reading in your spare time. In the Blue Zones author Dan Buettner found and reported that the longest lived pockets of the world all share (among other things) hard work into their advanced age in common. Regions where the elderly maintained a working lifestyle as opposed to a sedentary lifestyle had a greater proportion of centenarian. Walter definitely lends support to that theory in this respect.

Walter is defiantly a character and I’m glad to say he’s still sporting a smile; I hope if I ever make it into my second century I can be as happy. Check out the full article for more details on Walter Breuning’s recent birthday interview and more on his longevity secrets.

New York Daily News, 9/28/09

Blood Clots, Exercise, and Bowling: Get Off Your Butt

exercise at bowling league
If you’ve read my recently published bio you might already know that I am an avid bowler. I bowl in leagues every week and often on the weekends in competition. The funny thing is that since I’ve been doing this routinely for 15 years I don’t think of all this activity as exercise… it’s just what I do.

I’ve also shared in the recent past my desires to add more exercise to my life by starting the P90X exercise program. I feel this is important for two reasons. One is for my own health and second is to simply practice what I preach. I don’t want to be the guy that says you should eat right and exercise while I don’t practice the same habits myself.

Having said that I don’t want to be the guy saying this stuff is easy either. I struggle with it just like everyone else but I don’t kid myself and say it’s not worth trying to be better either. Earlier this summer when I purchased the P90X series I worked out with my wife a few times and also a few times on my own but I would be lying if I said I have been consistent with my regimen since then because I haven’t been despite my best intentions. The point is that I am not giving up on exercise and I will be continually trying to add more of it to my life.

Routine Physical Activity

I do have one good thing going for me however, and that’s my bowling habits. I bowl 1-2 times a week for roughly 2-3 hours at a time. It’s not vigorous but it usually tires people out who haven’t done it before. For me it’s nothing; I don’t even bat an eye or give it a second thought. I can be dead to the world exhausted and can still participate flawlessly in the activity because I am conditioned to do so. Because I love it I have been active in the sport consistently for years and as a result have conditioned myself to be in shape.

What does all this mean? What is my purpose with this post? I wanted to present some findings on blood clots, physical activity, and heart attack but relate it to an actual situation. The Lancet recently published a study that found that having blood clots doubles your risk of having stroke or heart attack. The risks of getting these blood clots in fact are elevated for people who are overweight and for those who smoke but they are also elevated for people who simple are inactive for long periods of time regardless of their weight or other risk factors.

The interesting thing about this however is that a team of researchers from the Netherlands found that simply participating in a sports activity just once a week, regardless of the type of sport, or the intensity, lowers the risk of getting blood clots by roughly 25-50 percent.

My bowling once a week at minimum is enough physical activity to keep the blood pumping and keep risks for clots low. Now this post is not an advertisement for joining a bowling league but it is meant to illustrate that exercise doesn’t have to be six hours a week of intense exercise (i.e. P90X or the like); it can be a walk every now and then, bowling once a week, playing golf, tennis, kickball, etc. Whatever you enjoy doing it counts. Just stay active and get off your butt once in a while and you’ll be better off than if you didn’t.

The Lancet, Nov. 24, 2007 - http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2807%2961745-0/fulltext

Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency: Optimize Your Diet Part 5

Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency
As I promised earlier this week in my post: Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Prevention I have been working on a new entry into my Optimize Your Diet series where I identify ways you can take the foods you already eat and optimize the nutrition and positive affects these foods offer your body. You can take a look at The Food You Eat for a rundown of all posts in the series among other posts on diet and food topics.

Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency

In this edition of Optimize Your Diet I wanted to focus on Vitamin D in particular as this vitamin has been shown to have a major role in staving various forms of disease including heart disease and cancer. I don’t want to go into a long tirade about the benefits that Vitamin D provides or the risks deficiency in this vitamin causes but I will direct you to Healthy Fellow’s post on Vitamin D Deficiency for a thorough rundown of many current clinical conclusions on this topic related in particular to adolescents.

As I’ve said before, most notably in part two of this series, Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin when found in food. It is also produced in the skin when it is exposed to the sun however most people do not get enough of this vitamin through exposure to the sun for a couple of reasons. First many people are not in the sun enough and second, those who are in the sun often block the sun’s rays with sunscreen to avoid harmful over-exposure to UV rays.

Vitamin D From The Sun

I’ve previously noted that an ideal situation would be 10-15 of direct sun exposure per day without sunscreen but unfortunately most people are either in the sun less than this amount and the one’s that are out more than this amount often are wearing sunscreen; ideally these folks would wait 10-15 min after they go out into the sun before application unfortunately this can cause some logistical complications.

All of this is to say it is difficult to get a safe amount of Vitamin D from the sun alone and it is now understood to be increasingly important to get enough of this Vitamin to lower your chances of falling victim to heart disease and cancer. Thus, deliberate food choices and increased vitamin supplementation is quickly gaining in importantance in staving Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D Bioavailability

Part two of this series delved into the art of pairing fat soluble vitamins, such as Vitamin D, with good fats so that your body can absorb them. In this post I wanted to expand on Vitamin D in particular and note that even when paired with fat soluble vitamins, Vitamin D bioavailability can be greatly improved by blocking the enzymes in the colon which decrease bioavailability. Soy does this naturally.

Is it no wonder that Asian cultures eat soy with there fish? Fish is naturally rich in Vitamin D and any good sushi house will also offer edamame as a side. According to a recent study by Dr. Mark Messina from the National Cancer Institute, NIH, and most recently Loma Linda University, unprocessed soy (soy beans, tofu, etc.) contains genestine which acts in upping the bioavailability of Vitamin D.

Food Pairings

I know it’s a little weird to think of having your milk or yogurt (good sources of vitamin D) with unprocessed soy beans or tofu but fish is a natural compliment. Long time readers of this blog will know that I am constantly reminding my readers to eat more fish as it is widely associated with longevity and lowering risks for heart disease. Again I will reiterate the same piece of advice…. eat more fish and pair it with soy as often as you can as it will let the nutrients in the fish work that much harder in your body. To finish this synergy of foods slice up an avocado (good fat – remember Vitamin D is fat soluble) on the side or drizzle a little olive oil over the top of your dish. Frankly a nice oil based salad dressing with leafy greens might make a nice side dish. Get creative but keep optimization in mind and you’ll be maximizing your chances at experiencing a long and healthy life.


I hope you enjoyed this edition of Optimize Your Diet. This is a slow growing series of food pairing topics and ideas which make the food you already eat work harder for you and your health. I hope you’ll come back for future editions and if you’re new to this blog I’d encourage you to take a look at past editions and consider subscribing to this blog. Thanks for reading!

The Journal of Nutrition, May 2004 - http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/134/5/1207S
Best Life, Feb 2009

The Best Supplements For Your Specific Needs

The Best Supplements For Your Needs
Last night I came home from work and my wife greeted me lovingly at the door. She then proceeded to scare the crap out of me by showing me what she got after having her annual checkup with the doctor. She excitedly reaches into a small brown paper pharmacy bag and pulls out a big bottle and hands it to me and give me a second to peer at the label and decipher what exactly it was I was looking at.

Prenatal Vitamins! What? – I say.

She then laughs and says that her doctor had the talk with her about our plans for children and whether we want them or are planning on having them. My wife apprehensive at first decides honesty is the best policy and says yes, we have talked about it and yes we have decided that we will likely have kids in the next few years sometime but no, we are not actively trying to have kids yet. She is after all on birth control.

The doctor however tells her that prenatal vitamins are increasingly more beneficial the older a women gets and are most beneficial if the woman has been on them for 6-12 months before conception. Now my wife isn’t exactly old by any means; she’s still closer to 25 then 30 but amazingly these days medical advice considers the upper 20’s are the cusp of advanced birthing age. According to her doctor if we were to accidently get pregnant over the next year she could conceivably give birth at an advanced age and thus prenatal vitamins would be a good precaution to be taking even though she is on birth control. Crazy, I thought but I guess it makes sense. The vitamins are merely insurance that the pill fails and we get pregnant ahead of our plans…and it is insurance that she is well nourished to support a healthy pregnancy in the event that her body has trouble birthing at an “advanced age”. Anyway, the vitamins are essentially a conventional multivitamin with just a bit more folate and iron. She already takes a daily multivitamin so it’s not really going to change anything. Seems like a good idea to me.

This got me thinking though about other forms of supplementation for specific personal circumstances. They make multivitamins specifically designed for almost all genres of people: children, elderly, women, men, etc., etc., etc. But what about less obvious circumstances and more specific supplements as opposed to a jack of all traits multivitamin?

Best Life Magazine, June '07, published the following table (emphasis and comments added) on just this and I thought it was interesting and thought it could possibly be helpful for a number of people so I thought I would share it. If any of the following describes you then maybe you should consider the following supplementation or simply try to include more of these vitamins, etc. into your every day diet in the foods you eat.

  • If You Are Obese: Vitamin D gets caught up in fat tissue and doesn’t circulate, which means you might need more to compensate. - Or you can simply eat more foods rich in Vitamin D or try pairing your food correctly to increase the body’s bioavailability of Vitamin D.
  • If You Are A Distance Runner: Because you burn so much fuel, there is rapid elimination of Vitamin C, an important nutrient for runners because it helps repair muscle and prevent muscle breakdown. [But] don’t take more than 500mg a day. - Again, vitamin C is an easy supplement to take and it’s also to increase through the food you eat through fruits and greens.
  • History of Alzheimer’s: Plant sterols and stanols reduce cholesterol, which has been found to accelerate the formation of the plaques that are associated with dementia. - I’ve written about this form of supplementation before. Fortified OJ in the morning (a nice source of plant sterols) is a nice way to combat Alzheimer's before it starts if you want to stay away from the health and vitamin store.
  • If You Have High Blood Pressure: Coenzyme Q10 improves blood flow and should be considered even by healthy men who have a family history of high blood pressure.
  • If You Do Strength Training: L-carnitine helps shuttle fatty acids within mitochondria, the part of the cell that produces energy and build muscle.
  • If You Are A Recovering Alcoholic: B complex vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12, and folic acid) are the first to become deficient in alcoholics. - This set of vitamins is also helpful for muscle recovery and athletic performance.
  • If You Are At Risk For A Heart Attack: Niacin increases good cholesterol and reduces heart-disease risk better than most drugs. - If you are deficient in this you might want to consider supplementing in addition to taking your medications while working at getting into shape through regular exercise.
  • If You Are Recovering From A Heart Attack: One gram of omega-3 daily reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death. This has recently become an American Heart Association standard treatment. - In addition to supplementing make sure your eat more omega-3’s in your diet through fish, oils, and greens.
  • Family History of Early Vision Loss: Lutein protects the eyes from damage.
  • If You Are A Smoker: Vitamin E is rapidly depleted by smoking and continues to be deficient for up to five years after quitting.
  • If You Suffer From ED: Red yeast rice extract is a natural form of statin that can increase blood flow. - It might also help with lowering LDL cholesterol levels as well.
As always, don’t over supplement as this is bad for you too. Make sure you consult your doctor to determine if supplementation is right for you and your specific situation.

Would You Like to Be Featured on How To Live A Longer Life?

write a guest post
How To Live A Longer Life is a growing source for medical news and information relating to general health, nutrition, disease prevention, and longevity. Considering the fairly broad focus of my writings I understand that many other quality writers have valid opinions and information and I know that they can offer a lot to this site’s content.

Guest posting for this blog is a great way for you, the guest author, to reach new readers and establish site authority for your own site. It is also important personally and professionally to build a network of fellow writers with unique opinions and perspectives. These are some of the main reasons I feel it is important to open up this blog to guest authors.

As a result I’m offering the opportunity for you to reach this site’s readership by submitting a guest post on any topic related to health care, medicine, aging, longevity, disease prevention, nutrition, etc. If you feel the topic of your piece is related to this blog and its general readership I want to formally invite you to submit your post for consideration. I will not post anything and everything submitted but I will keep an open mind to different points of view and related topics.

Please do not submit posts which are less than 400 words in length. Please edit your post content for all grammatical and spelling errors and please make sure to include all HTML tags as appropriate. Accepted pieces will not only be published on the blog, but will be distributed via Twitter and to a growing blog subscriber list. Published pieces will also introduce the author with a short byline and a link back to the author’s blog or website if applicable. You do not need to have a blog to author a guest post.

If your guest post is published you will be expected to monitor comments and respond as appropriate and you will be required to offer supporting sources for your main points. Please do not reference material without sourcing it. I want this site to maintain an air of professionalism and credibility and sourcing reference material goes a long way to achieving this goal. If you publish quality work I will place you on my short list for future guest posts and an ongoing contributor relationship.

If you are interested in this opportunity please email articles for consideration directly to me in completed form as described above. I will respond as timely as I can. Thank you.

Please make sure to see the post guidelines before submitting a guest post.

Photo Credit
Paul Worthington

Refined Carbs May Agitate Atherosclerosis and Lead to Heart Disease

Refined Carbs and Heart Disease
I’ve referenced a few times on this blog the dangers of refined carbohydrates, most recently in my post Skip The White Bread. I’ve pointed out their known dangers for causing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and general poor health but I’ve never really delved into it in great detail. Today however I found a fairly straight-forward finding that illustrates just why refined carbs are so bad or you and what you can do about it.

According to a group of Israeli researchers published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology led by Dr. Michael Schechter of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine, when people eat refined carbs in the morning as opposed to fiber rich foods or nothing at all, their arteries became less flexible for roughly two hours after eating. Arteries which are more rigid are prone to succumb to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, otherwise known as arterial disease, which is the typical cause of heart attack and stroke and especially prevalent in the obese. Atherosclerosis refers to the plaque build up that occurs when high blood pressure and cholesterol damage the inner most lining of the arteries.

Research has further identified fiber in particular as a great replacement for refined carbs because fiber has the ability to both reduce insulin resistance and reduce damage to the artery's inner most lining helping to prevent high blood pressure.

This should give you a little more motivation to skip the Corn Flakes, Lucky Charms, donuts, or any other form of highly refined carbohydrates and switch over to whole grain cereals and foods with fiber and protein… unrefined carbs are alright too. Nobody’s going to stop you from having an apple for breakfast. After all, an apple’s going to give you your unrefined carb load as well as antioxidants and fiber. Maybe this is why they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, March 2009

Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

vitamin D and cardiovascular disease prevention
I’m working on a new entry into my Optimize Your Diet series this week. The focus of this upcoming post will be optimizing your intake of Vitamin D as the vitamin has been closely related to many diseases and ailments when it is in deficiency.

As we all know the body creates Vitamin D when we spend time in the sun. The problem of course is that we cannot spend large periods of time in the sun without doing damage to our bodies without applying sunscreen. However we effectively block the rays which cause the body to create Vitamin D by applying sunscreen and thus the whole problem is not resolved. Ideally we should spend short periods of time in the sun without sunscreen but this is not always possible nor is it always enough time to get the body’s fill of Vitamin D. To get the full amount of Vitamin D we will also have to make sure it comes in our diet and as a last resort we can supplement it. I hope you’ll come back and read my upcoming post on how to optimize your diet to get the most vitamin D from your diet that you can.

In the mean time I wanted to share with you a lecture presented earlier this year at UCSD Medical Center presented by Dr. David Sane, MD of Wake Forest University. The lecture is titled Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and as you can probably deduce covers the biology of how Vitamin D plays a role in heart disease, atherosclerosis, and hypertension. Heart Disease is easily the number one leading cause of death in America and vitamin D deficiency is creeping up in prevalence all the time. In addition to the lecture’s topic Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to an increased risk for various forms of cancer so in the interest in preventing disease and extending life and vitality, awareness of proper nutrition should be fairly important.

The following video lecture is approximately 45 min long so I understand if you pass on it but I wanted to provide an option for the willing and interested as a precursor to my post later this week. I hope you’ll come back to check it out. Thanks for reading and enjoy.

Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Symptoms Of Anxiety May Lead to Premature Death

symptoms of anxiety may lead to premature death
The National Institute on Aging sponsored a study that was recently published in the Journal of Research in Personality which found that high stress individuals… or those who had a high level of neuroticism, have a statistically significant increase in their risk for premature death.

The study pinpoints high stress people, worry-warts, and those with neurotic personality traits and finds that in some cases the risk of premature death was due to the methods these people are prone to use to alleviate their stress levels such as tobacco, alcohol, and over-eating. Those however who were able to keep their bad habits under control still succumbed to the same increased risks due to the long-term effects of cortisol on the body, which according to lead researcher, Daniel Mroczek from Purdue University, causes damage to arteries and the hippocampus.

The Washington Times recently reported on these findings:
Mr. Mroczek says his research can help in the treatment of high-anxiety persons whose surges of negative emotions sometimes threaten to consume them… "If we can identify who is prone to do damage to their body, it's easier to target and design a treatment," Mr. Mroczek says. "It could be part of a preventative care program provided by employers."
The take away from this is twofold from my perspective. One, we all need to understand the importance of relaxing and not worrying too much. A while back I posted on the power of positive thinking and this research shows us one such reason to remove negative thoughts from our lives. Second, this research identifies a major flaw in humanity in that we are prone to overcome stress and negativity with activities which harm our bodies. This suggests that if we are able to deal with the stressors of our lives in other more healthy ways we might be more healthy and happy.

There are of course healthy mechanisms for stress relief, some even are just as effective as medication. Exercise has long been proven to improve mood and emotion just as good as medication does. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to be a creator of happy people. Your diet does not have to consist of only meat and potatoes or greens and lentils. Throw in some nuts and fish and maybe some purslane into your diet and go for a walk. Stay calm and stop worrying. The bottom line is you should try optimizing your diet and participating in activities which support a healthy attitude otherwise you might just succumb to unnecessary and avoidable disease.

Journal of Research in Personality
The Washington Times

About The Author

Now that this blog is fairly established and halfway through it’s 5th month it’s about time that I divulge a little more of who I am to you my readers.

Who Am I

As stated on my "About" page (linked to in the upper right of the navigation bar) my name is Brian and I am 29 years old. As clearly described in my disclaimer, I am not a doctor nor do I pretend to be so. Not only that but I do not work in the healthcare industry. The only attachment that I have is a deep interest in health, nutrition, and medicine as well as a beautiful wife who is in the middle of medical school.

I guess it’s important to note that she does not contribute to this blog though she does read it and lets me know if I say something blatantly stupid. Until now I have not said anything worthy of her getting on my case so I feel that’s a win for me. :)

about the author of how to live a longer lifeMy Background

You might find it interesting to know that my background is actually in business, banking, and compliance. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and recently completed my MBA. I’ve worked in an audit, compliance, and quality control position at a large bank for six years and have enjoyed my time in the field. In fact, I have an equal if not stronger passion for economics and finance than I do for health, nutrition, and longevity.

This blog however has given me the opportunity to diversify my efforts and learn to a greater degree the nuances of a completely different industry. Incidentally it also gives me the opportunity to connect on a different level with my wife who is living and breathing medicine now and will continue to do so as her career advances.

My wife and are have been married since late 2007 and we have no children as of yet. We are lovers of cats (we have three) and are avid reef tank hobbyists. Additionally I am an accomplished bowler and I do still compete from time to time in various regional and national competitions. Competing, however has taken up a much smaller portion of my time in recent years.

I am also a big fan of baseball and my beloved Oakland Athletics. I’ve been living and working in San Diego for roughly a decade and look forward to starting a family here in the future assuming my wife’s job doesn’t take us to a new city (we’ll see).

My Goals

As you can tell I’m a well rounded individual and spend my time and energy on many interests. My goals for the future first revolves around continuing to develop this blog and my presence in the blogosphere but in a long-term context I look forward to taking a more entrepreneurial perspective to my career and branch into other areas of work, chiefly setting up my own financial advisory practice.

This however will require some continuing education. As such, I will soon begin working towards obtaining my charter with the CFA Institute (a 2-3 three year process) and will be getting my foot in the door to more personal financial endeavors while I’m still at the bank.

I hope that satisfies some curiosity as to who I am and what I find important. For various reasons I am still going to try to remain semi-anonymous in my writings here but in the future I might find it in my best interest to open the door to publishing my entire byline. Until that day I will remain Brian and will continue advocating better nutrition, exercise, and disease prevention and will continue to offer information as it pertains to longevity and living life to it’s fullest. Thanks for reading!

Your Colonoscopy Procedure Should Be As Accurate As Possible

Colonoscopy Procedure Accuracy
If you’re going to get a colonoscopy you should at least take the time to make sure your physician doing the procedure is proficient in the procedure. It’s not a comfortable procedure so you wouldn’t want to go through it and find out later that your doctor missed something.

A study out of the University of Toronto found that colonoscopies performed by family physicians missed diagnosing colon cancer in their patients 77 percent more often that gastroenterologists. Again, if you’re going to have the procedure in the first place you probably want to make sure it’s going to be as accurate as possible and a specialist will be a very good place to start.

This finding on colonoscopies also reminds me of two pieces I wrote on not long ago. One was that doctors who were under-experienced in specific procedures were more likely to error in their work while performing those procedures. This would imply that have having a gastroenterologist perform your colonoscopy would really only maximize the tests accuracy if that physician was well experienced in the procedure. The published findings had this to say on the subject.
"Evidence suggests that physicians who perform fewer than 100 procedures per year or who have performed fewer than 50 procedures in their lifetime are more likely to perform incomplete colonoscopies than those who performed higher volumes. Low volumes are an issue in Ontario; according to our study, over 25 percent of physicians who performed colonoscopies in 2001/2002 performed fewer than 100 procedures."
25 percent seems high; maybe the stats are different in your area however. But if this number is accurate then the chances are high your doctor might be slightly under-experienced in the procedure. You might just want to inquire how experienced he or she is before committing to the colonoscopy… of course this is a matter of personal preference; so come to your own conclusions.

Also, I’m reminded of the argument for CTC Scanning of your colon as an alternative to colonoscopy. The CTC scan is less accurate (~10 percent miss rate) than a colonoscopy but if you’re uncomfortable with the colonoscopy procedure and can’t get around having an inexperienced family physician administer it, maybe you might want to consider decreasing your risks for colon cancer and having the CTC scan instead.

Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, July 2007

A Cause of High Blood Pressure: Misaligned Vertebra

High Blood Pressure Caused by Misaligned C-1 Vertebra
Fighting high blood pressure can be a challenging process because often we don’t know what causes it. Recently I posted some leading causes of hypertension unrelated to genetics or secondary hypertension but I left the treatment of hypertension for another post. Today I wanted to present you one specific way to lower your blood pressure that you might want to consider. Not only has it been shown to be effective at marginally lowering high blood pressure but it also is quite relaxing and could make you feel quite a bit better if you’re constantly battling stiffness and achiness in your back and neck.

Researchers led by George Bakris from the University of Chicago recently published their findings in the Journal of Human Hypertension which found that a simple neck alignment at the chiropractor’s office could shave on average 8/5 mm hg off your blood pressure reading. The vertebra in particular that was found to do the most good (or harm depending on your perspective) was the Atlas vertebrae otherwise known as the C-1. This vertebra is quite high in the neck (the upper most vertebra at the base of your skull) and apparently when it is out of alignment it causes increases to your blood pressure.

It’s somewhat unclear as to why this misalignment causes the increase in blood pressure but it is clear that correcting it does indeed lower overall blood pressure levels. My assumption is the chiropractic alignment decreases stress the vertebra puts on the spinal cord and neck. If you are out of alignment your body reacts and you don’t feel as good… and we of course know how powerful our minds are in manifesting positive or negative effects. I also assume there is likely anatomical reasoning behind the blood pressure spike but considering that professionals don’t understand it completely then I feel it’s not worth my time offering a blind guess.

The take away however is obvious. Chiropractic alignments can alleviate part of the problem. If you are battling high blood pressure you might want to include chiropractic realignment sessions into your hypertension treatment routine. This along with diet, exercise, medication (if applicable), and following the tips previously presented on the leading causes of hypertension might just bring your blood pressure back to the safe range effectively lowering your risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke… not to mention you’ll feel better to; I love a good alignment session. :)

Journal of Human Hypertension, March 2007

A Health Surcharge on Pizza?

I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theories and I sure don’t think the government is my enemy so I don’t really subscribe to the perspective that the ACLU is trying to advertise in this video but man I find it funny… especially the “Health” tab. $20 surcharge for ordering a double meat pizza; ha! That’s hysterical.

Watch this video with a grain of salt and draw your own conclusions. Mine are simply humor and enjoyment, so don’t read into it too much. Enjoy.

Ordering A Pizza in 2010

Lowering LDL Cholesterol Naturally With Red Yeast Rice

lower ldl cholesterol with red yeast rice
Flipping through the latest issue of Men’s Health I found a mention to a study from University of Pennsylvania which showed that LDL cholesterol levels could be lowered by roughly 21 percent by supplementing daily with red yeast rice or by simply adding the rice to your normal recipies.
"The Natural Statin – There may now be an all-natural (and less expensive) alternative to statins. University of Pennsylvania researchers discovered that people who took 1,800 mg of red yeast rice supplements twice a day for six months saw their LDL cholesterol levels drop 21 percent. That’s nearly the same reduction seen with many statins, but minus the muscle soreness those drugs can sometimes cause. If you’re on statins but want to explore a different option, ask your heart doctor about switching to Naturals Red Yeast Rice the same brand used in the study."

Statins | LDL Cholesterol

It’s funny I was just talking with a colleague about the benefits of statins and how they seem to be taking the medical field by storm. In many circles they are being touted as the next miracle drug, right up there with aspirin. Previously I quoted Dr. William Castelli from the Framingham Heart Study who said that close to 90 percent of coronary death could be prevented with controlling cholesterol being at the top of his list.

Of course stains do just that, but coupling their use with positive changes to your diet surely makes them work better. I’m not advocating going off statins if you are already on them, but I do believe that both diet and lifestyle choices cannot be forgotten in the treatment of and prevention of disease. Adding quality foods to your diet which have been shown to maintain health should be made a priority.

The Many Ways To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels

Previously I touted the positive effects of simply eating more plant sterols to lower LDL cholesterol levels. This finding on red yeast rice might be one additional measure which should be considered in cholesterol management. And if your not into supplementing you can always seek to get the natural stuff form the food you eat as well. It is rice after all and if you can find it in stores you can substitute it for regular white or brown rice with no changes.

In addition to statins and red yeast rice, I would encourage you to look into the many other methods of lowering your LDL cholesterol levels through the food you eat. Here is an article on how to lower LDL Cholesterol Levels with better nutrition, which has a nice rundown of many additional ideas for you to explore.

Men's Health, Oct. '09

Football Season Carnivals and A Special Shout Out

Football season is upon us again and for the first time in a number of years… lets say roughly ten I’m actually pretty excited about it. I watched the Chiefs game on Sunday; no surprise they lost but big surprise they made a run at it. They could have run a two minute drill and sent the game to overtime but man, they really stunk on that drive and ended up losing by 14. Trust me; the game was much closer than that. Then last night I watched the bulk of the Chargers game (MNF) and what an exciting finish. Now that’s how a two minute drill is supposed to be played. 90 some-odd yards the game winning TD was seriously a triviality; you could assume it would happen based on how sharp they were on that drive. Sorry Raiders fans, but I’m a local San Diegan.

Needless to say I’ve enjoyed my time recently and as a result of being busy at work and at home at the same time the football season started up I have been defiantly posting lightly. I hope you can forgive me. :) Despite my shortcomings however I have been featured in four carnivals over the past week or so which I wanted to point out and send special thanks to the hosts of these carnivals for all their work.

Thanks to:
As always there are many quality entries in these carnivals and I hope you’ll take a minute to click through and check out a few of the articles. Let them know I sent you over in their comments sections; I’m sure they’ll appreciate the new guests.

Lastly I wanted to point out to you a blog that is new to me which I’ve enjoyed reading as of late. Robin, who I met through the comments of this blog, writes over at Let’s Live Forever on the topic of physical immortality. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe death is a good thing, natural, and likely to happen to everyone regardless of potential scientific breakthroughs so I don't jive perfectly with Robin’s perspective but nevertheless the spirit she has in experiencing life to it’s fullest potential is something that I truly respect and share with her. Not to mention the community she has of positive people is just a great place. If you share the same zest for life that I do I hope you'll check out her writings (don’t worry – unlike me she only posts a few articles a month). In the future I’d like to get to know Robin a bit more and get to know some of her regular readers and commentors as they all seem like great people.

Low Testosterone, Diabetes, & Body Fat

low testosterone diabetes
The work week is back upon us. I took a little break this weekend to catch up on things around the house but now it’s back to the grind. And to start the week off on a very manly note, I came across a couple of studies published in separately relating to testosterone levels in men. One study from a team of researchers led by Dr. Thomas G. Travison at the New England Research Institutes found that men who have love handles have low testosterone... or at least testosterone levels which decline with age approximately 28 percent faster than those without love handles… otherwise known as excess body fat on the torso.

Low Testosterone | Diabetes

What does this mean, you might ask. It could mean any number of things. Simple increases to BMI leads to lower testosterone levels which can then increase the likelihood that you will experience decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, sleep disturbance, depressed mood, lethargy, and diminished physical performance, all possible symptoms of low testosterone levels. However, according to a second finding identified in the CDC’s Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, you are 4 times more likely to develop diabetes if you have low testosterone count.

Diabetes | Body Fat

These two findings indicate a possible mechanism for diabetes to manifest in men who are overweight. It is widely known that obesity is an increased risk factor for heart disease and diabetes but here we find one indication as to why that might be. In obvious cases obesity is an indication of a lack of physical activity (another increase risk factor for diabetes) but in the cases where men are fit but overweight, the increased risk for diabetes could be attributable to an increased risk for low testosterone due to excess fat buildup. Interestingly it has been shown that low testosterone and alcohol consumption are fairly related.  It seems that too much alcohol consumption will also lower a man's testosterone count. 

A logical reaction to a situation such as this would be to work on ridding yourself of excess belly fat through eliminating empty calories such as sugars, decreasing alcohol intake if it is in excess, and maintaining or increasing your physical activity regimen.

Low testosterone has been shown to be prevalent in 1 of 4 men over the age of thirty and notably 1 in 4 people in the nation are considered obese with BMI’s greater than 30. What I wonder is what the stats are on those who are not obese but who still have low testosterone; do they too have an increased risk for diabetes?

And what about women? If a quarter of women are obese is there an intermediary risk factor for them like testosterone count is for men? I’ll have to follow up on this down the road because as of yet I cannot conclude much from this info other than to reiterate the typical prescription for diabetes risk factors. Don’t drink or eat too much and get more exercise. Soda is another major enemy and should be avoided. Do these things and you are far less likely to have low testosterone, belly fat, and diabetes… but then, we all knew that already.

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Feb. 2007 - http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/92/2/549
CDC’s Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey - http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/elec_prods/subject/nhanes3.htm

American's Eat Way Too Much Sugar

The American Heart Association just released new recommendations on sugar consumption. This information is hardly news to those of us who care about healthy dietary habits but a solid endorsement from the AHA to cut back is always nice.

According the AHA American's consume approximately 22 teaspoons of sugar on average every day and should only be consuming 6-9 depending on gender. This equates to a reduction of 150-250 calories per day if American's were to simply lower their sugar intake. I have previously noted that a simple reduction in calories can lower systemic inflammation and that the best diet is simply eating less of everything. I have even noted that increases in sugar consumption is linked to some degree with Alzheimer's Disease. I think it's general knowledge that high calorie diets lead to obesity so I find this finding to be fairly straight forward, unbelievably, however, the sugar industry has denied the claims as illustrated in the following video segment from NBC Nightly News (air date: 8/25/09).

NBC Nightly News on Sugar

It's funny, the argument that excessive sugar is not bad for you reminds me of claims from cigarette companies from decades past stating that nicotine was not addictive and that cigarettes were perfectly healthy... when of course we all know that they are the single most unhealthy thing you can do to your body. After all smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease and I suspect that eating too much sugar is close behind due to its effects of causing obesity and diabetes.

For those that wish to peruse the official study as published in the journal Circulation (8/24/09), please enjoy.

Leading Causes of Hypertension

causes of hypertension
Borderline hypertension is defined as persistent blood pressure levels of at least 140/90 mm Hg. Approximately 23 percent of American’s fit this description (72 million) and many have blood pressure levels much higher than this. Hypertension is well known to cause an increased risk for atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke so it is important to understand what the leading causes of hypertension are.

Generally speaking the leading cause of hypertension is essential hypertension. Approximately 90-95 percent of all hypertension cases fit this category. The remaining cases fall into the category of secondary hypertension which is caused primarily by underlying conditions. However, the causes of essential hypertension are comparatively murky because it is generally not the result of a specific problem in the body and the cause is often unknown. When underlying conditions are identified (and assuming they can be fixed) secondary hypertension reverses and can go away. The causes of secondary hypertension include a long laundry list of conditions that your doctor will have to identify. For the purpose of this post I’m going to focus solely on the causes of essential hypertension which afflicts roughly 21 percent of Americans and is more abstract.

It is thought that 30 percent of essential hypertension is caused directly due to genetics. Certain genetic factors such as race and familial history can lead to an increased risk for hypertension. For instance children with two parents with hypertension have twice the risk of developing hypertension as the general population. People of African American decent also have increased risks for hypertension when compared to Caucasian or Asian ancestry.

Pulling genetic factors out of the equation that leaves approximately 15 percent of the population who have hypertension that cannot be explained either by underlying conditions or genetics. What then are the major causes of hypertension that can be avoided to lower your chances of developing high blood pressure? I’ve compiled a short list below of some causes that have been shown through clinical studies and medical research to increase risks for hypertension. I intend on adding to this list in the future so please return for updates or sign up for your free subscription to this blog for real time updates via RSS or email.

Causes of Hypertension Excluding Genetics & Secondary Hypertension

  • OTC Drugs such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin have been shown to increase risk of hypertension by 25-35 percent.
  • The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine found in many nutritional supplements and energy drinks has been shown to increase blood pressure.
  • A sedentary lifestyle is closely associated with increased blood pressure.
  • Using a good posture office chair has been shown to affect the regulating of blood pressure and can contribute to an decreased risk for hypertension.
  • Consumption of too much salt has long been associated with high blood pressure. This is a leading cause of hypertension and it is the easiest changes you can make to your lifestyle. Eat foods which contain less sodium.
  • Misaligned vertebra in the neck can cause high blood pressure. A simple alignment can lower blood pressure as well as make you feel better.
  • Systemic inflammation has also been linked as a potential cause of hypertension. You can treat inflammation by simply cutting back on calories among other options.
In addition to addressing the causes of hypertension in the near future I’m going focus a post squarely on some of the leading ways to decrease your blood pressure I hope you’ll come back for that post and I hope you’ll visit this post again as I continue to develop this list.

OTC Drugs A Cause Of Hypertension?

OTC Drugs Can Cause Hypertension

otc drugs - a cause of hypertension
Common OTC drugs such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen have been shown to be a leading cause of hypertension in some people. Recently researcher from Harvard Medical School showed in a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that people who took these drugs routinely had increased risks for hypertension.  Even though the results suggest that the OTC drugs were not always a direct cause of hypertension the result were significant enough to offer warning signs to anyone who fit the study's profile.

The OTC Drugs Study
The study consisted of 16,000 men with normal blood pressure readings and it found that those who took these OTC drugs 6-7 days of the week had increased risks for developing hypertension in the future. Ibuprofen, it seems carried the most risk. Those who routinely took ibuprofen had a 38 percent higher risk in developing hypertension than those who did not take OTC drugs routinely. Acetaminophen increased one’s risk by 34 percent, while aspirin users had an increased risk of 26 percent.

Dr Mary Pickett from Harvard Medical School had this to say about the findings on OTC drugs:
“This study does not prove that the pain medicines caused high blood pressure for these men. Still, the study justifies some caution. These pain medicines can block chemicals known as 'prostaglandins,' and this can result in more tightly toned blood vessels. Ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can cause retention of salt and water. These actions promote high blood pressure. While over-the-counter pain medicines are very useful, frequent use may have side effects.”
Low Dose OTC Drugs & Hypertension
What I’d like to know however is whether low dose versions of these OTC drugs would have the same results in the study. Low dose aspirin has been shown to be quite beneficial for heart conditions as well as an enlarged prostate while ibuprofen has also been shown to be beneficial in lowering systemic inflammation and as a result lowering risks for other diseases such as prostate cancer and dementia. Although these OTC drugs might not be a cause of hypertension it would be nice to know if low dose versions would lower these risks while still providing the aforementioned benefits of disease prevention.

Archives of Internal Medicine, February 26, 2007
InteliHealth, March 30, 2007 - http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtPrint/WS/35320/35329/537895.html?d=dmtHMSContent&hide=t&k=basePrint

The Benefits of Exercise After Pregnancy

exercise after pregnancy
I’ve had the good fortune of being a recently new uncle twice within the past year. As such it’s been hard for my wife and I to not talk about having one of our own (though we have still concluded to wait for now). Despite our conclusions however, I have been somewhat cognizant of pregnancy and baby related stories that I stumble upon throughout my day. Today I found a little info on the benefits of exercise after pregnancy and how it helps the mother and child; I thought I would share.

Exercise After Pregnancy & Postpartum Depression

According to the Mayo Clinic exercise after pregnancy does a few things for the mother in addition to the obvious benefits of weight loss and physical conditioning. What struck me is the magnitude of postpartum depression and mood disorders prevalent in new mothers. Depression of any sort is very bad for your health and it does nothing to prevent or heal disease… in fact depression and generally sour attitudes seem to stunt recovery and spawn sickness. Exercise after pregnancy however has been shown to prevent postpartum depression (as it does for all forms of depression) and thus contributes to the overall health of the mother.

Mothers who are in higher spirits sleep better, burn more calories as they are less sluggish throughout the day, and are better able to care for their babies. Additionally mothers who have more energy are more likely to breast feed their children which has been shown to provide a boost to early childhood development.

What To Do

Exercise after pregnancy is absolutely crucial to the physical well being of the mother, but oft overlooked, it is crucial to the mental health of the mother and to the family as a whole. Just be careful when you start your postpartum exercise program and keep the intensity low. Go for a walk… or go for multiple short walks as this has even been shown to be more effective than one long walk in lowering blood pressure. And if you really want to optimize your regimen; exercise after eating to immediately counteract the fats that you take it at meal time. You body will thank you in the long run.  And if you need further motivation please click through to read up on the anti-aging traits of exercise.

Mayo Clinic

The Food You Eat

the food you eat
The food you eat plays a monumental role in your general health over long periods of time. What does this mean? It means that the food you eat today might not make a significant difference in your health tomorrow but it will play a crucial role increasing or decreasing your risk for major ailments, diseases, and early death or decline in the later years of your life.

The Food You Eat is an Investment in You

Much like saving for retirement begins when you are young and builds in significance over time, so too does the food we choose to eat build in importance over time. By indulging in quality foods today and mostly every day over the course of our lives, we will be far healthier and happier in the future, and we will be better equipped to appreciate the gift of life. By making smart food choices today we will not be living on the metaphorical social security which our bodies provide, but we will be sitting on a massive nest egg of health and vitality in our retirement years.

Diet is But One Factor in Life-Long Vitality

The food you eat, no matter how healthy it is, is not a guarantee of long and healthy life alone; a healthy diet merely increases your chances of health and longevity. Other factors come into play such as poor/smart lifestyle choices, activity levels, environmental & genetic factors, as well as plain dumb luck. This page however will be a table of contents so to speak into the art of feeding your body optimally. I will try to update this page appropriately as this blog evolves, matures, and as new material is added. I will try to organize the topics by genre based on sound information which is generally backed up on clinical findings and research.

This hub for food, diet, and general information should offer you a great starting point for learning the foundation of longevity and healthy aging. This page can always be found in the upper navigation bar of this site under the heading "The Food You Eat". I would also like to mention the "Best Of" page to it's left which is full of some of this site's best reads as well as the other hub pages for more best-of material. I hope you find these pages helpful.

Articles on Diet Plans
Articles on Food Pairing
  • Food Pairing | Optimize Your Diet - A series of posts on pairing normal everyday foods that you already eat which work together better than apart to support health and longer life.
Articles on Disease Preventing Food
Articles on Foods Which Do Long-Term Damage

This site is ever changing and the content is always expanding. I hope you enjoy these articles and please do share them with your friends and family as you see fit. Also, I invite you to obtain your free subscription to this site. You will be updated with new entries either via RSS or email (your choice) as they are published. Thanks!

Vasectomy and Dementia (PPA)

Vasectomy and Dementia (PPA) May be Linked in Men

Vasectomy and Dementia (PPA) May be Linked
Approximately 80 percent of all dementia patients are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease however the other 20 percent are less widely known or understood. One such form of dementia, Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), affects an individual's ability to express oneself, impairing word recall and ability to understand words. Incidentally, researchers at Northwestern University have found a possible new risk factor for this form of dementia in men. They have found in studies of men that the incidence of PPA appears to be linked to them having vasectomies earlier in life.

Dementia Research
In the study published by Dr. Sandra Weintraub in the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, the control group of men had a 17 percent saturation of vasectomies whereas in the group of men who had dementia roughly 40 percent had had vasectomies in their past. The difference in the two groups is statistically significant and could point to a new risk factor for dementia and PPA.

Reasoning behind the link is less clear but a little pondering leads us to notice that this finding seemingly has nothing to do with the other known risk factors such as obesity, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, inflammation, or anti-social behavior. This new risk factor is completely different from the other factors which can lead to other health problems in addition to dementia and early onset dementia. This new risk factor seems to be specific to one side effect, an increased risk for PPA.

Vasectomy Reversal
Until more research is conducted and more understanding of the mechanism behind this association one might want to reconsider having a vasectomy… or at least delaying it. Then again, a slight increase in your risk for PPA might trump the increased risk for pregnancy in your life… not to mention the effects of birth control pills on hormone levels or the invasive risks associated with laparoscopy in women. Another thought that occurred to me is that vasectomies are reversible. Until further research has been done this might be motivation to men to have reversals done in cases where the wife or partner has already experienced menopause. Once that chances for conception are gone the vasectomy is no longer useful. You might as well reverse it if lowering dementia risks are important to you.

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, Dec. 2006 - http://journals.lww.com/cogbehavneurol/Abstract/2006/12000/Vasectomy_in_Men_With_Primary_Progressive_Aphasia.4.aspx

The Worlds Oldest People - A Video Series

The following series is a well made documentary on some of the oldest people in the world. Enjoy the series if you have the time (~60 min): it's quite interesting and makes you think about taking advantage of your vital years while you have them.

The Worlds Oldest People Part 1

The Worlds Oldest People Part 2

The Worlds Oldest People Part 3

The Worlds Oldest People Part 4

The Worlds Oldest People Part 5

Longevity in the News - And Other Labor Day Linkage

labor day
Happy Labor Day!  I'm enjoying my day off from my day-job today by leisurely sipping on some coffee this morning and catching up on Google Reader.  I hope you have that luxury as well and frankly I hope taking a day off from work is a luxury for you considering that so many people are out of work this Labor Day.  Before I head out and work on project for the day I thought I'd share with you some of the more interesting things in the news recently and a couple quality posts from some of the writers I read daily. 
  1. Longevity's March - "Women baby boomers were called the sandwich generation - squashed between caring for young children and aging parents. But now some women, hitting 60, have jobs, parents in their mid-80s to 90s, grown-up children still at home and grandchildren they regularly mind. They're the triple-decker sandwich generation."  -  This article poses some very interesting socioeconomic and social construct questions that will arise as we redefine the definition of old.
  2. NIH Funds Einstein for Aging Genomics Studies - "The Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University will use a five-year, $11.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to lead a study of the role damage to DNA may play in aging and disease."
  3. Add Years to Your Life: AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project - "People don't want to just live longer; they want to live healthier and more purposeful lives. Now, through the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project sponsored by United Health Foundation, people from across America will have the opportunity to add healthy years to their lives."  -  I find this to be an interesting event and a smart co-branding of the traditional groups of seniors (AARP) and the new thoughts on elder groups as presented by The Blue Zones (I reviewed The Blue Zones last month in case you missed it).  The project aims to offer a "lifestyle makeover" and provide the tools to extend healthy vital years to your life.
I also wanted to point out a couple blogs that I've started reading recently namely Healthy Theory and Natural Bias.
  • Healthy Theory is a blog that has been around for most of 2009 and they focus on a lot of the same material I like to bring up here on How To Live A Longer Life.  Recently Liora posted on the dangers of mercury in fish which I thought was particularly interesting seeing as though I am such a proponent of eating more fish.
  • Natural Bias is another blog that focuses on maximizing life though a perspective of natural bias.  Vin presents quality posts that are well sourced and fully devoted to the topic at hand.  Each post is a rich body of work with a fresh perspective and I'd encourage you to give it a read.  To keep to my fish theme, Vin recently posted an article titled: Why You Should Avoid Farmed Fish.  I just bought some salmon yesterday and I am pleased to say it was wild caught. :)
Once again I'd like to invite my subscribers as always to get involved in the comments section below.  This blog's traffic has doubled in the past month so I'd like our little community to start getting to know one another.  Also, let me know what you like and don't like; I want to keep things interesting for you.  Hope your holiday was a good one!

Leading Causes of Death

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

Welcome to How To Live A Longer Life! This site focuses on human longevity and shows you how you can live longer by improving health and nutrition and by preventing disease. If you want to learn how to live longer then consider subscribing.