Aging: Recommendations and Considerations

Recommendations

❑ Eat a balanced diet that includes raw vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, and quality protein such as fish and soy foods. Consume less animal protein. Include in your diet broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, kale, fish, fruits, whole grains, nuts, oats, seeds, and soybeans. Avoid processed foods.

❑ Eat dark-skinned fruits such as red apples and nectarines, which are good sources of bioflavonoids. The skin contains the bioflavonoids, so leave it on. Red Delicious and McIntosh apples have the most bioflavonoids in the skin, the Northern Spy has the most in its flesh. Fuji apples have the highest overall.

❑ Eat blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries regularly. Wild blueberries contain more bioflavonoids than domestic varieties. Bioflavonoids found in most fruits and vegetables keep free radicals from harming the brain and may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

❑ Black, green, and orange pekoe teas all contain bioflavonoids called catechins. Green tea contains the most epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an antioxidant effective in preventing degenerative brain disease.
Caution: Green tea contains vitamin K, which can make anticoagulant medications less effective. Consult your health care professional if you are using them. The caffeine in green tea could cause insomnia, anxiety, upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea.

❑ Eat 80 to 100 grams of protein a day, meting it out evenly at three meals and two to three snacks. Protein, along with exercise, is important to prevent muscle wasting. Sarcopenia is a disease of muscle wasting that leads to profound weakness and ennui, and affects elderly people who do not consume adequate protein or get enough exercise. Sarcopenia is becoming a more prevalent condition as people live longer.

❑ Consume four or five small meals daily.

❑ A low-calorie diet is best for maintaining good health as you age. Eat only when you are hungry, and consume foods that are fresh and cooked in a fashion that maintains their nutritional content. A diet too high in carbohydrates may increase glucose levels. Decrease your overall food consumption, but increase your intake of raw foods.

❑ Avoid gaining and losing weight, which can result in the loss of lean tissue (or muscle). The loss of lean muscle tissue in the elderly could precipitate sarcopenia. However, excess body fat increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, especially in the elderly, and weight loss will reduce these risks. If you are over sixty years of age and are advised to trim down, lose no more than six to nine pounds over one to one and a third years to avoid losing too much lean body mass.

❑ Consume steam-distilled water. Drink even when you don’t feel thirsty—your body needs plenty of water. Dehydration has been identified as one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization among people over the age of sixty-five, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Common symptoms of dehydration include fatigue; headache; dry nasal passages; dry, cracked lips; and overall discomfort.

❑ Include in your diet garlic, onions, shiitake mushrooms, and pearl barley. These foods are good sources of germanium, potassium, and many other nutrients that lessen free radical damage and act as catalysts in the supply of oxygen to oxygen-poor tissue.

❑ An occasional glass of red wine is good for the heart, but limit your alcohol consumption otherwise.

❑ Cut back on salt.

❑ Avoid saturated fats.

❑ Avoid caffeine, red meat, white flour, white sugar, chemical food additives, drugs, pesticides, and tap water.

❑ Get regular exercise. Exercise is most important in slowing the aging process because it increases the amount of oxygen available to body tissues, a key determinant of energy and stamina. Brisk walking and stretching exercises are good. Swimming is even better because it provides low-impact exercise and exerts no pressure on the joints.

❑ For those with arthritic conditions, swimming is the ideal way to exercise. Exercise can ward off conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, and because it releases endorphins into the body, exercise can also help overcome depression. Our brains need exercise as much as our bodies do. Bodily exercise increases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Studies have found that no matter how old you are─whether you are in your sixties, seventies, eighties, or even in your nineties—you can rebuild muscle. Science has found that brain cells do not die as we age if we keep our minds active. Hobbies, reading, and acquiring new skills exercise the brain and help prevent memory loss.

❑ If you don’t currently exercise, start walking and build up to thirty minutes a day. The goal is to eventually be getting one hour of moderate exercise a couple of times a week. Some elderly people have found that the dietary supplement creatine increases muscle mass when coupled with exercise. In one study, people taking 20 grams of creatine a day experienced increased strength, power, and lower-body motor function performance in just seven days. Others found that taking 20 grams of creatine improved long-term memory. Even small amounts—about 3 grams a day—helped build muscle.

❑ Don’t smoke or overexpose yourself to harmful chemicals such as environmental pollutants.

❑ Improve your blood’s oxygenation and circulation with deep breathing exercises. Try holding your breath for thirty seconds every half hour. Inhale and hold for thirty seconds, then place your tongue on the roof of your mouth where your teeth meet your gums and release the air slowly. Repeat this exercise every day.

❑ Keep the colon clean. This is crucial for warding off degenerative diseases and slowing the aging process. Eat a high-fiber diet and use a cleansing enema once weekly. Get extra fiber by eating plenty of fresh vegetables, whole grains, bran, and oats. Consider retention enemas, a potent way to assure that your body will assimilate and use needed nutrients.

❑ Allow yourself sufficient sleep. Proper rest is important

❑ Learn how to relax. Keep active and be enthusiastic about life. By keeping up your appearance, exercising every day, and being involved in hobbies and other activities, you can keep your mind active. This is most important.

❑ Do not use harsh soaps on your skin. Use olive, avocado, or almond oil to cleanse the skin. Pat the oil on, then wash it off with warm water and a soft cloth. Use a facial loofah occasionally with the oil and warm water to remove dead skin. Use liquid creams and lotions (not solid creams) that contain nutrients and natural ingredients to keep your skin from becoming too dry. Do not use cold creams, cleansing creams, or solid moisturizing creams. These are hardened saturated fats that become rancid rapidly and then create free radicals, which can cause premature wrinkles. Free radicals can cause the brownish spots on the skin known as age spots. Exposing the skin to the sun also promotes free radicals. To halt wrinkles, stay out of the sun and use all-natural lotions or oils that contain nutrients and antioxidants.

Considerations

❑ Growing older is inevitable; however, we can try to slow the aging process and prolong our lives by taking measures to promote continuous cell division. If science could keep the cells from dying and doing bodily harm, the aging process could conceivably be suspended.

❑ Many older adults complain of sleep difficulties. One common cause is the consumption of sugar after dinner. Complex carbohydrates have a relaxing effect. A good nighttime snack is popcorn, or nut butter and crackers.

❑ Fatigue is a common, but not necessary, result of aging. Human growth hormone is available to increase muscle mass, which in turn boosts strength and energy. Published studies on the use of human growth hormone in elderly people have shown that there are too many side effects and not enough benefits to endorse its widespread use. However, if fatigue is a serious issue, some medical centers offer human growth hormone treatment. For natural management of fatigue, some elderly people have reported less physical and mental fatigue after taking acetyl L-carnitine──2 grams, twice a day.

❑ A burning sensation, mainly on the bottom of the feet, is not unusual among elderly people. A deficiency of the B vitamins, especially vitamin B12, is often the cause. Since many older people have problems with absorption of the B vitamins, it is best to take supplements of these nutrients in a way that bypasses the digestive tract. Injections are best. Sublingual administration is also effective.

❑ The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that up to 30 percent of people over the age of sixty-five are unable to absorb vitamin B12 and folic acid properly because they do not produce enough hydrochloric acid and/or they suffer from an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestinal tract.

❑ There are a number of substances available that have properties that make them “natural life extenders,” such as the following:

• Coenzyme Q10 protects the heart, increases tissue oxygenation, and is vital for many bodily functions. The liver and heart muscle have the highest levels of coenzyme Q10 of tissue. Since the liver is the main detoxifying organ of the body, optimal liver function is vital for minimizing damage to all the body’s tissues.

• Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is beneficial for memory and mental ability, acting to increase alertness and focus. It may also enhance mood and vision.

• Dimethylglycine (DMG) is a derivative of the amino acid glycine. It boosts immune function and improves tissue oxygenation.

• Glutathione is an amino acid compound that is a valuable antioxidant and detoxifier. Cellular glutathione levels tend to drop by 30 to 35 percent with age; increasing glutathione, particularly in the liver, lungs, kidneys, and bone marrow, may have an antiaging effect. Glutathione can be taken in supplement form. Glutathione levels can also be increased by taking supplements of N-acetyl-cysteine, which is converted into glutathione in the body.

• Human growth hormone (HGH or GH), also known as somatotropin, is the hormone that regulates growth. Administered to older adults, it rebuilds muscle mass and reduces the amount of fat tissue, reversing changes that occur with aging. It is available only under the supervision of a physician.

• Lipoic acid is critical in glycolysis and in the Kreb’s cycle, two complex biochemical processes essential for the generation of cellular energy. The liver relies on these processes to meet its large energy demands. Lipoic acid is used extensively in Germany to enhance liver function and treat diabetes. It should be taken with acetyl L-carnitine for maximum effectiveness. Juvenon from Juvenon Inc. is a good source of both ingredients.

• Melatonin is a natural hormone that acts as an antioxidant. Early in life, the body produces an abundant supply, but as we age, production steadily declines. In one laboratory experiment, mice given melatonin lived almost one-third beyond normal life expectancy. Melatonin may also help prevent cancer, counteract insomnia, and boost immunity.

• Morel, reishi, shiitake, and maitake are mushrooms that were touted by the ancient Chinese as superior medicines that give eternal youth and longevity. They prevent high blood pressure and heart disease, lower cholesterol, prevent fatigue and viral infections, and much more. They are found in supplement form as well as fresh.

• Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) keeps hair healthy, with little graying, and prevents premature hair loss. It is also very important for normal adrenal and immune function.

• Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) is one of the B vitamins. It keeps skin healthy and delays wrinkles. In addition, the combination of PABA and dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) has been found to enhance brain function, immunity, and cellular regeneration.

• Pregnenolone is a naturally occurring hormone that may improve brain function, enhancing mood, memory, and thinking ability.

• Pycnogenol is a powerful bioflavonoid and antioxidant.

• Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme that is a powerful free radical scavenger that protects the cells.

• Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are nutrients essential for optimal health and brain function, but many elderly people are deficient in both. Unfortunately, they are not common in many foods, so supplementation is often needed. The elderly should have their blood levels tested.

❑ As people age falls are all too common. Older adults are more likely to have weak muscles, poor vision, weaker legs, decreased sensation, or other medical conditions that make them more likely to fall easily, and with more troublesome consequences. They are also more likely than younger people to take prescription medications, some of which can slow reflexes, decrease perception, and/or impair mobility—in so doing, increasing the danger of injury through an accidental fall.

❑ Physical injury is only one potential consequence of a fall for older adults, especially those who are frail to begin with. Recovery is often prolonged even after relatively minor falls, and this can lead to complications such as bedsores, greater muscle weakness, and increased susceptibility to infection. Keeping physically active is important for maintaining strength and coordination, and is one of the best defenses against such accidental injuries. It is also important to discuss with your physician or pharmacist the possible side effects of any medications you are taking.

❑ Aging is not an illness, but it does increase one’s chances of developing certain health problems. Constipation, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, heart palpitations, heartburn and indigestion, and weight gain are some of the more common complaints that accompany aging.