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Spotlight: Healthy Aging
IN THIS ISSUE:
- CoQ10 – Your Heart's Best Friend
- Age-old Beauty Remedies Go Beyond Skin Deep
- Research Spotlight: News Briefs
- Video Spotlight: How to Make Kefir at Home
- The Nutri-Health Blog
CoQ10 - Your Heart's Best Friend
There’s a reason why your heart is the focal point of attention during every visit to the doctor. A healthy heart is necessary for the functioning of every single system, organ, tissue, and cell in your body. As we get older, it makes sense to take even greater care to ensure that our hearts are up to the challenge of beating 100,000 times a day ... pumping oxygenated blood throughout our bodies ... keeping the brain, eyes, digestive tract, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and all the rest at peak performance!
Co-enzyme Q10 is one of those essential substances that we take for granted because our bodies produce it naturally. CoEnzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short, is a cellular energy booster and powerful antioxidant and it is an essential part of your body’s energy-producing process. It’s found throughout your body, but is most highly concentrated in heart muscles.
Here are just a few of the important roles CoQ10 plays in your daily health:
- Energizes your heart and keeps it pumping strong
- Boosts brain power and provides mental clarity
- Provides cellular energy and effectively combats fatigue
- Fights off harmful free radicals that accelerate aging
It’s easy to see why CoQ10 is a hot topic for anti-aging research these days ... it could be the closest we’ve gotten to identifying the Fountain of Youth!
CoQ10 Gives Your Heart the Fuel it Needs
When a person’s heart no longer functions at its best, it works extra hard to do its job and the stress eventually begins to tell throughout the body. The result? Fatigue. “Mystery” aches and pains. Decreased cognitive function resulting in memory loss, confusion and mental fog.
This is scary stuff, and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all an inevitable part of the aging process. When your heart has the high levels of CoQ10 it needs, it can function optimally. But for many of us, reduced levels of CoQ10 mean diminished heart function.
Why do many health experts advocate taking supplemental CoQ10? Around age 30, natural levels of CoQ10 begin to decline. By age 50, your heart function could be feeling the effects of low CoQ10 levels. With diminished heart function comes accelerated aging.
Statins and CoQ10 depletion
Further loss of CoQ10 occurs as the result of stress, illness or certain medications – particularly statins. The latter is especially alarming, since 1 of 3 Americans over age 50 takes a statin drug!
Statin-induced CoQ10 depletion has been well documented in animal and human studies. Furthermore, taking supplemental CoQ10 has been shown to have no adverse impact on the cholesterol-lowering or anti-inflammatory properties of the statin drugs.
TV health expert and cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz agrees that CoQ10 supplementation is a good idea. “I believe that it does help your heart and that it may also help prevent your brain from aging,” he says in his book “You: The Owner’s Manual.” Dr. Oz recommends that his patients age 35 and older take a supplement daily.
Choosing a CoQ10 supplement
There seems to be some disagreement in the nutritional supplement community over which form of CoQ10 – ubiquinol or ubiquinone – is preferable for consumers. The argument can be somewhat confusing when comparing labels.
Conventional CoQ10 (ubiquinone) and ubiquinol are both forms of CoQ10. Ubiquinone is the oxidized form of CoQ10 with which consumers are most familiar; it has been available as a dietary supplement and studied for more than 30 years. Although researchers have known about ubiquinol as long as they have ubiquinone, ubiquinol simply has not been commercially available due to its sensitivity and reactivity to light and air.
In the body, CoQ10 must be converted to its usable form ubiquinol to provide antioxidant protection or generate cellular energy. In young healthy individuals, this conversion process is very efficient. However, the body’s ability to make this conversion diminishes as we age or become health compromised.
In some clinical trials, ubiquinol has been shown to be more absorbable than conventional CoQ10. Because ubiquinol is pre-converted, it is ready for immediate use by the body and therefore allows the body to utilize higher levels of CoQ10.
Beauty Remedies Go Beyond Skin Deep
Age-old natural remedies could hold the key to treating a wide range of serious medical problems, as well as keeping skin firmer and less wrinkled, according to scientists from London's Kingston University.
A collaboration between the university and British beauty brand Neal's Yard Remedies has seen experts discover that white tea, witch hazel and the simple rose hold potential health and beauty properties, offering the hope of new anti-aging treatments to block the progression of inflammation.
Of 21 plant extracts tested, three -- white tea, witch hazel and rose -- showed considerable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential, with white tea displaying the most marked results.
Using human skin cells, the researchers added three different concentrations of white tea (freeze dried powder), witch hazel (dried herb) and rose extract (in a medicinal tincture form) to see what effect the mixtures might have on suppressing rogue enzymes and oxidants which play a key role in helping inflammation develop, as well as aging the skin.
Even though the team's previous research had intimated there might be some promising results ahead, the experts were astonished to see just how good the various concentrations of the three extracts were at doing the job.
Witch Hazel: Its Properties and Uses
Witch hazel's branches were once the wood of choice for dowsing rods, whose purpose was to locate water, or "witch" a well. Although witch hazel was once used to find hydration, it is now used as an herbal remedy to dry and cleanse skin.
The bark, leaves, and twigs of the witch hazel plant are all high in tannins, giving this plant astringent properties. Astringents are substances that can dry, tighten, and harden tissues. You may use an astringent on your skin to tighten pores and remove excess oil.
The astringent tannins in witch hazel temporarily tighten and soothe aching varicose veins or reduce inflammation in cases of phlebitis (an inflammation of a vein). Witch hazel also contains procyanadins, resin, and flavonoids, all of which add to its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. A cloth soaked in strong witch hazel tea reduces swelling and can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids and bruises.
Almost all pharmacies carry some type of witch hazel preparation in the form of lotions, hemorrhoidal pads, and suppositories. Besides their use topically for hemorrhoids and veins, witch hazel lotions are useful on rough, swollen, gardener's or carpenter's hands.
Witch hazel is most often used topically in the form of lotions, poultices, and creams, but it is also added to tinctures and teas for internal use. It is not recommended as a general daily beverage, but it may be consumed for cases of hemorrhoids, diarrhea, or weak, lax uterus, veins, and intestines.
Recipe: Witch Hazel Lotion
- Prune witch hazel branches in the late fall or winter, and shave off the bark with a sharp knife.
- Cut into smallish chunks with a knife or scissors, and place in a blender with enough vodka to cover the bark and blades of the blender.
- Chop as fine as possible, and transfer to a glass jar. Shake the mixture vigorously once a day and strain after five to six weeks.
- Combine 1 ounce of the witch hazel preparation with 1/2 ounce aloe vera gel and 1/2 ounce vitamin E oil, then bottle.
School Bathroom Issues Can Lead to Constipation
Do your irregular bowel habits date back to episodes of childhood “bathroom anxiety”? Constipation is the main cause of stomach pain in children, and school bathroom issues, such as the need for a hall pass or dirty facilities -- which some students see as obstacles to using school restroom facilities -- may be part of the problem, pediatric experts say.
Study Highlights Nutrients for the Brain
A new study found that various nutrients and fats in the blood correlate with better brain functioning and brain volume in the elderly (mean age of 87). Higher levels of B vitamins and vitamins C, D, and E, as well as marine omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) appeared helpful. On the other hand, higher levels of trans-fats (from hydrogenated oils) had a negative impact.
Obesity Limits Effectiveness of Flu Vaccines
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that obesity may make annual flu shots less effective. The findings, published online Oct. 25, 2011, in the International Journal of Obesity, provide evidence explaining a phenomenon that was noticed for the first time during the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak: that obesity is associated with an impaired immune response to
the influenza vaccination in humans. "These results suggest
that overweight and obese people would be more likely than healthy weight people to experience flu illness following exposure to the flu virus," said Melinda Beck, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and senior author of the study.
How to Make Kefir at Home
Check out this short and fun YouTube video showing the simple steps to making kefir -- the probiotic drink known for its amazing health benefits. (1:35 min.)
Want to find out more about the benefits of kefir? Visit this web site: www.makingkefir.com.
The Nutri-Health Blog
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