Tag Archives: resveratrol

10 Way to Live Longer and Healthier

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

Image by Cornell University Library

Exercise –

Exercising is a key to staying healthy and research shows that people who exercise age more slowly. This is perhaps due to the fact that exercise has been associated with preventing telomere shortening.  Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of each chromosome that shorten as we age.

Don’t Smoke –

Smoking causes the skin to wrinkle and wreaks havoc on our brains, heart and lungs.  The inflammation caused by smoking is thought to speed the aging process.

Eat a Healthy Diet –

You are what you eat.  A healthy diet provides antioxidants that gobble up free radicals that speed the aging process.  It also helps maintain a healthy weight which is important in preventing a host of diseases.

Stop Snoring –

Sleep apnea, a condition is which people stop breathing during sleep because tissues in your throat collapse blocking the airway, can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, and depression.

Take Resveratrol –

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found most prevalently in the skins of grapes. It provides the health benefits associated with red wine. Just like exercise, it slows telomere shortening. It is available in supplement form.

Manage Your Stress –

Excessive stress leads to the production of hormones in the body that are detrimental to long term health. High stress levels delays healing, increases fat deposition and suppresses the immune system.

Keep Your Insulin Levels In Check –

Insulin is a hormone in the body that is secreted in response to carbohydrate consumption.  An excessive level, due to excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake, is associated with increased cellular aging.  Keep grains and sugar to a low level in your diet.

Get Out in the Sun –

Being in the sun not only improves mood, but it produces vitamin D.  Vitamin D affects up to 10% of your genes and allows them to function optimally.  Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the rate of many types of cancer.

Get Your Fats –

Eating a diet high in healthy fats, like omega-3, is essential for heart and brain health.  Good sources include fish and nuts.  To get optimal benefit, however, most people will likely have to supplement with fish oil.

Control Your Blood Pressure –

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and a host of other diseases.  Controlling it will allow you to live longer.  It is best to control it by losing weight and exercising.

2 Comments

Filed under Public Health

10 Simple Ways to Live to 100

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Image via Wikipedia

Exercise –

Exercising is a key to staying healthy and research shows that people who exercise age more slowly. This is perhaps because exercise has been associated with preventing telomere shortening.  Telomeres are strands of DNA at the ends of each chromosome that shorten as we age.

Don’t Smoke –

Smoking causes the skin to wrinkle and wreaks havoc on our brains, heart and lungs.  The inflammation caused by smoking is thought to speed the aging process.

Eat a Healthy Diet –

You are what you eat.  A healthy diet provides antioxidants that gobble up free radicals that speed the aging process.  It also helps support a healthy weight which is important in preventing a host of diseases.

Stop Snoring –

Sleep apnea, a condition is which people stop breathing during sleep because tissues in your throat collapse blocking the airway, can cause high blood pressure, memory problems, weight gain, and depression.

Take Resveratrol –

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found most prevalently in the skins of grapes. It provides the health benefits associated with red wine. Just like exercise, it slows telomere shortening. It is available in supplement form.

Manage Your Stress –

Excessive stress leads to the production of hormones in the body that are harmful to long term health. High stress levels delays healing, increases fat deposition and suppresses the immune system.

Keep Your Insulin Levels In Check –

Insulin is a hormone in the body that is secreted in response to carbohydrate consumption.  An excessive level, due to excessive carbohydrate and sugar intake, is associated with increased cellular aging.  Keep grains and sugar to a low level in your diet.

Get Out in the Sun –

Being in the sun not only improves mood, but it produces vitamin D.  Vitamin D affects up to 10% of your genes and allows them to work optimally.  Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the rate of many types of cancer.

Get Your Fats –

Eating a diet high in healthy fats, like omega-3, is essential for heart and brain health.  Good sources include fish and nuts.  To get optimal benefit, however, most people will likely have to supplement with fish oil.

Control Your Blood Pressure –

High blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and a host of other diseases.  Controlling it will allow you to live longer.  It is best to control it by losing weight and exercising.

1 Comment

Filed under Public Health

4 Substances That Slow The Aging Process

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...

Image via Wikipedia

Anti-aging is a large field in medicine.  Most of the diseases that human beings suffer from significantly increase as we age.  The theory is that if we can slow down the aging process we can live longer, more disease free lives.

Individual cells can live forever in the laboratory.  It’s been done.  This is a fascinating fact .  However, human beings are multicellular organisms and each cell does not live in isolation.  Further, cells that live forever in the laboratory live in ideal conditions.  They are not exposed to chemicals, hormones or undergo the same physical stresses that we do on a day to day basis.  But, the fact remains – a biological system, given the best possible scenario, can live forever.  So what if there were things we could do to slow the aging process?  We may not be able to live forever, but could we significantly increase our life spans?  The answer is yes.  There are several known substances that have a positive effect on the aging process that are available to everyone in supplement form.

Aging

Aging is a genetic process and a free radical induced process.  First, our genes are important.  It is helpful if Mom and Dad lived to be 100, but it is not essential.  Our DNA is stored in each cell in the nucleus.  Within this nucleus are the chromosomes that contain all of the DNA we were born with.  We get 23 chromosomes from each of our parents for a total of 46.  Every single cell in the body has an identical copy of these genes.  Each chromosome is shaped roughly like an X.  The ends of these chromosomes are called telomeres.  These telomeres are interesting in that they shrink as we age.  There are known substances that slow the shortening of these telomeres and therefore slow the aging process.

Free radical damage is also another way that people age.  Free radicals are potent molecules that bounce around in our bodies and break down our cells.  The theory is that the human body can only repair so much and this damage begins to accumulate over time causing us to age.  Now, it would make sense if we just avoided these free radicals wouldn’t it?  It would if we could.  Some of the most potent free radicals are nitrogen and oxygen which happen to make up 78% and 21% of the air we breath respectively.  Our diets are designed to help us fight this battle because we can consume antioxidants.  This class of nutrients fights free radical damage but it cannot win the war.  There are, however, compounds that are known to be powerful free radical scavengers and should be consumed on a more regular basis to slow the aging process.

Supplements That Slow Aging

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a magnificent substance.  It is found in many things, but mainly in the skins of grapes.  It is also why red wine (in moderation) seems to have such great health benefits.  Resveratrol activates something called sirtuins.  Sirtuins are genes (known as SIRT1 though SIRT8) that function to repair breaks in our DNA strands that occur as we age.  These sirtuins also play a key role in maintaining the length of the telomeres discussed earlier.  Sirtuins also act to regulate inflammation in the body by inhibiting something called NF-KappaB.  This is a potent inflammatory enzyme that is responsible for many disease processes in human beings.  Resveratrol also decreases the production of adhesion molecules that attract inflammatory cells to our vessel walls and therefore inhibits atherosclerosis.  These adhesion molecules also promote the spread of cancer.  Taking resveratrol is easy but be sure when you buy a supplement it is of high quality and contains trans-resveratrol.  All other forms are useless to take.

Pterostilbene

This substance is very similar to resveratrol but it is found in blueberries.  It works with resveratrol in multiple complimentary mechanisms to limit NF-KappaB.  This is not available in supplement form, but you can certainly get it from eating as many blueberries as you’d like!

Quercetin

This magnificent substance protects against such diseases as asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis.  It has also been shown to help modulate blood sugar levels in diabetics and non-diabetics.  Blood sugar control is extremely important for longevity.  Quercetin acts by also inhibiting NF-KappaB.  This is also available in supplement form and is sometimes paired into one supplement with resveratrol.

Grape Seed Extract

This helps to regulate pro-inflammatory cytokine activity in fat cells.  It helps combat obesity and type II diabetes.  It also triggers genes for glucose uptake.  This assists cells in the absorption and removal of glucose from circulation.  This substance is very readily available in supplement form.

The research into longevity is quite interesting and there are many substances that can slow the aging process, not just the ones above.  Of course, you must also watch your diet and exercise to get all of the wonderful benefits that the above provide.  If you do those things and take these life lengthening substances you will live and longer and happier life.

1 Comment

Filed under Diet, Public Health

Prescribing Alcohol…

Below is an article I read in the NY Times. Read on and let me know what you think.

There is a lot of evidence linking low-risk drinking with lower rates of heart attacks, strokes and dying, especially among middle-aged and older adults. However, most of this is correlational, meaning these things tend to go together without being able to say what causes what.

There is a clinical trial under way to actually test whether “prescribing” a daily dose of alcohol reduces cardiac risk or not, and what harmful effects there might be. In the absence of such studies assessing risk versus benefit, it is premature to “prescribe” drinking.

On the other hand, low-risk drinking is associated with many other good health outcomes, including a reduced likelihood of diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease.

However, even low-risk drinking is associated with a higher incidence of breast cancer in women, and drinking may harm fetuses at any level, so pregnant women are urged to abstain.

The evidence regarding wine versus other beverages like grape juice is mixed, so I don’t think it’s possible to draw firm conclusions at this time. It’s most likely that both alcohol, per se, and the resveratrol found in grape skins have independent effects.

A more detailed review of the evidence regarding moderate drinking is available at the alcohol institute’s Web site, “Moderate Drinking.”

One final note: the way different groups or agencies describe moderate drinking can be confusing. For example, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, from the United States Department of Agriculture, defines moderate drinking as “the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.” These are best thought of as averages over time, and if you divide the alcohol institute’s weekly guidelines — 14 drinks for men, 7 for women — by seven, you arrive at the same average intake of two drinks per day for men and one per day for women. The U.S.D.A. guidelines don’t specifically address a limit for any one day. Thus, the alcohol institute and U.S.D.A. guidelines are consistent, but the institute’s provide additional guidance.

My personal take on all this is that for most people, low-risk drinking is not harmful to health — and may be helpful. Anyone with existing medical conditions or who takes medications should discuss whether to drink with their doctor. However, I would discourage people from drinking in order to improve their health.

Dr. Willenbring is an addiction psychiatrist in St. Paul, Minn. His blog, Substance Matters, is devoted to substance use conditions.

Dr. Court’s Comments:

This debate has been raging ever since it was found that consuming a moderate amount of alcohol has some health benefits.  The main benefit has come from red wine.  There is a substance in red wine called resveratrol.  Resveratrol is a substance that is found in the skins of grapes that are used to make wine.  Scientists think this is the substance that provides all of the health benefits.

Studies have shown that resveratrol is quite amazing.  It has been shown to slow aging and is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Resveratrol is the real deal.  It is not this that I have a fundamental problem with.  My problem is that recommending that people drink alcohol for their health is like recommending people eat McDonald’s because it supplies the recommended daily allowance of B12. The detrimental effects of over consumption far outweighs the positive effects one might receive from the resveratrol.

Secondly, resveratrol is readily available in a pill form from reputable supplement companies.  It must come from a company with exceptional quality control because resveratrol is notoriously unstable.  Why drink alcohol to get the resveratrol when all you have to do is take it in a capsule?  This would avoid all of the potential harmful effects of the alcohol.

I was happy to see that Dr. Willenbring recommends against drinking to improve health.  All too often I find that doctors are recommending this as a way of getting healthier.  This is the wrong way to go about it.  If you want to improve your health eat a healthy diet, exercise and take a select list of supplements.  I routinely take resveratrol for my health.  It is not something that requires drinking alcohol.  Alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation, but just for that, enjoyment.  Do not drink to improve your health.

Leave a comment

Filed under Diet, Public Health