Tag Archives: eye health

The Broad-Spectrum Benefits of Lipoic Acid

lipoicacidJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Lipoic acid (LA) is a naturally occurring antioxidant compound synthesized in small amounts by the body and otherwise obtained through diet and supplementation. Because LA is both water and fat soluble, it is readily absorbed into cells, tissues and organ systems, giving it a distinct advantage over other antioxidants. In its role as a potent and effective antioxidant, LA protects against free radicals, reduces oxidative stress and is believed to help regenerate other antioxidants, including reduced glutathione and vitamins C and E. Per the National Institutes of Health, LA has therapeutic potential beyond its value as a potent biological antioxidant.

LA serves as a coenzyme that aids in the conversion of macronutrients into cellular energy, supports the mitigation and chelation of heavy metals, and is widely recognized in Europe, where it has been used for more than 50 years to relieve symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy and retinopathy. In addition to its critical roles in mitochondrial energy metabolism, detoxification, and diabetes-related support, LA is utilized to improve age-associated cardiovascular, cognitive and neuromuscular deficits. Currently, trials are underway to determine whether LA may be an appropriate treatment for the prevention of vascular disease, hypertension, chronic inflammation and metabolic syndrome.

Antioxidant activity – The ability to boost or recycle other antioxidants, particularly glutathione, enhances LA’s own antioxidant benefits. Often referred to as the master antioxidant, glutathione is critical to disease prevention, as well as cellular and immune health. Restoring glutathione blood levels helps to improve the functionality of immune cells, such as T cells and lymphocytes.

Diabetes – High glucose levels associated with insulin resistance contribute to increased production of free radicals and higher levels of oxidative stress. This increased level of free radicals can impair insulin-stimulated glucose transport and the activation of insulin receptors. The significance of oxidative stress in diabetes complications including polyneuropathy is now recognized by the American Diabetes Association. LA is used extensively in Germany to potentially prevent peripheral neuropathy in those with diabetes and to provide relief from symptoms of pain, burning and numbness associated with the condition.

Heavy metal chelation – Because LA has recognized metal chelating activity, it is believed to help protect the body from toxic environmental, industrial and dietary contaminants, including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury. By acting as a chelating agent and bonding to heavy metals, LA assists the body’s detoxification processes.

Neuroprotection – As LA is readily absorbed and can cross cellular and blood brain barriers, it can reach all areas of the brain nerve cells, potentially preventing free radical damage to the neurological system. Its ability to regenerate the antioxidant glutathione helps to promote healthy nerve function. New data suggests that LA may help to guard against Alzheimer’s disease by helping to increase the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter released by nerve cells that has been found to be deficient in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Inflammation – Elevated levels of oxidative stress contribute to the chronic inflammation behind many age-related and degenerative diseases. LA has been studied for its antioxidant properties, and is well known inhibitor of proinflammatory signaling pathways.

Eye Health – In addition to eating a nutrient dense diet to support eye and overall health, studies have shown that LA may help to control age-related eye disorders. By reducing the oxidative stress that can damage ocular nerves, LA may help to control symptoms of eye-related disorders, such as vision loss, macular degeneration, cataracts, retinal damage and glaucoma.

Typically found in small amounts in animal and plant foods, dietary sources of LA include organ meats, spinach, broccoli and brewer’s yeast. Because dietary LA is bound to the amino acid lysine, which is bound to protein, it appears to have a minimal effect on the overall availability of the antioxidant in the body. A healthy body may synthesize adequate amounts of LA, however, those fighting illness, chronic disease, or the effects of advancing age, may benefit from supplementing with free form lipoic acid that is not bound to protein. For greater bioavailability, supplemental LA should be taken between meals.

As always, consult your healthcare professional before taking any dietary supplements if you are pregnant, nursing, have a health condition or are taking medications.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine quality supplements to support overall health and wellness:

Alpha Lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid by Pure Encapsulations –  One capsule provides 400 mg of alpha lipoic acid in support of free radical protection, healthy glucose metabolism, nerve health, and healthy vascular function. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Alpha lipoic Acid...Alpha Lipoic Acid by Now Foods 30% OFF – This highly absorbable formulation provides 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid per capsule in support of proper glucose metabolism, cardiovascular function, and healthy neural tissues. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Lipoic AcidLipoic Acid 200 mg by Integrative Therapeutics – Each vegetarian capsule provides 200 mg of alpha lipoic acid to provide free radical damage protection and support reduced oxidative stress. Gluten, soy and dairy free vegetarian formula.

 

Lipoic Acid PlusLipoic Acid Plus by Biotics Research – This product supplies 100 mg of alpha lipoic acid along with vitamin C in support of normal mitochondrial function, heavy metal chelation, and cardiovascular health. Gluten and dairy free formulation.

 
References:
Mercury toxicity and antioxidants: Part 1: role of glutathione and alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of mercury toxicity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12495372
Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement: Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2756298/
The Nuclear Factor NF-kB Pathway in Inflammation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2882124/
Food Sources of Alpha-Lipoic Acid. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/food-sources-alphalipoic-acid-1552.html

 

Healthy Aging Support for Men over 40

HealthyAgingMenJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

 

 

It happens to all of us. We wake up one morning and are surprised to find ourselves suddenly in midlife when we feel no different than we felt yesterday. Right about the time we reach age 40, we may begin to realize that we are not invincible, and that we need to take steps to protect our longevity and long term health. While we may look forward to many active years ahead, how we live now will determine how we live in later life. Practicing prevention with a healthy lifestyle, while we are young, will result in healthier years ahead. It will also reduce the risk of developing preventable chronic diseases and gender specific health issues associated with aging. As well, a dismissive attitude towards prevention can have dire consequences in the long term. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the top health concerns for aging men are prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction, weight management, diabetes and stroke.

Men’s protein needs are proportionally greater than women’s, especially when combined with regular physical activity. Physically active men who wish to maintain lean muscle mass as they grow older require more protein than sedentary men. As metabolic rates decrease with age, good quality protein along with vitamins and minerals help to maintain both lean muscle mass and energy levels. Good nutrition is needed to maintain immune function and overall health, as well as to protect muscle, bone, prostate, cardiac and vision health. Antioxidant vitamins that help prevent oxidative damage also become more important with aging. Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain strong and healthy bones. Fiber keeps the gastrointestinal tract running smoothly and helps to reduce cholesterol and maintain weight.

Cardiovascular health – The American Heart Association indicates that one in three adult men have some form of cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and homocysteine levels begin to creep up with aging, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. Adult men should monitor their cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as high levels are known contributors to heart disease, and high blood pressure is common in younger males. Essential nutrients for heart health include omega-3 fatty acids for decreased inflammation, and maintenance of healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels; folate and vitamin B6 for maintenance of healthy homocysteine levels; CoQ10 for maintenance of cellular energy; healthy fats for reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels; polyphenols, to aid relaxation of blood vessels and lower blood pressure; and antioxidants such as resveratrol, to combat oxidative stress and reduce free radicals.

Weight management – As we age, metabolism slows and exercise becomes increasingly important. Eating for health and controlling portion sizes are critical to maintaining a healthy weight. A poor diet that includes salty and highly processed foods contributes to hypertension, high blood sugar and ultimately, obesity, poor health and a host of age related chronic illnesses. Healthy foods for weight management include eggs, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, fish, lean proteins, beans and legumes, and healthy fats such as avocado.

Diabetes – Along with the current obesity epidemic, type 2 diabetes is a significant health concern for older men. Blood glucose levels should be monitored, as blood sugar can frequently be maintained or lowered with a healthy diet and lifestyle, often warding off pre-diabetes, diabetes and insulin dependency. The American Diabetes Association recommends that those eating a largely plant based diet should be sure to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B12, omega–3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D and iron. For diabetes prevention, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends exercising to reach and maintain normal weight, following a healthy nutritious, low glycemic index diet, not smoking and limiting alcohol.

Eye health – Changes in vision and hearing loss are relatively common for people in their 40’s. Many will typically notice problems with close range vision especially in low light. Some may experience floaters or dry eye syndrome. Good nutrition and eye friendly nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E, zinc and essential fatty acids support and preserve long term vision health, and help to reduce the risk of developing age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.

Prostate health – The majority of American men develop benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as an enlarged prostate. A prostate-healthy, largely plant based diet that includes legumes, garlic, onions and flax seeds, plus other modifiable lifestyle factors, including regular physical activity, can prevent or positively influence progression of the disease. As obesity is a risk factor for developing BPH, a diet high in vegetables, fruits, fiber and nutrients can help ward off weight gain, thereby supporting prostate health. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, red grapefruits, papaya and other red fruits and vegetables, helps to lower the blood levels of antigen, a protein connected to prostate inflammation and BPH.

Stress management – Chronic stress is a known high risk factor for coronary disease. Participation in regular exercise, healthy amounts of restorative sleep and relaxation techniques reduce stress and help allay future health concerns. Healthy eating is crucial to provide immune and energy support during times of increased stress. Whole, unprocessed foods that contain fiber and phytonutrients boost immune function and help maintain overall health. As stress creates a greater physiological demand for energy, oxygen, and circulation, a daily vitamin and mineral supplement can provide micronutrient support. Supplements including antioxidants, B vitamins and omega-3 fats are particularly important for those under stress.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements for men’s health support:

Every Man's One Daily by New ChapterEvery Man’s Once Daily by New Chapter – This whole food complexed multivitamin is specifically formulated to meet the needs of active men and provide support for immune function, energy production and cardiac health. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

Trilogy Men by Vibrant HealthTrilogy Men by Vibrant Health – This unique product supplies a daily power pack that includes a 100% organic plant based multivitamin, mercury free EPA and DHA fish oil, as well as a 12 strain probiotic. It provides 20 billion CFU of helpful microorganisms in support of healthy blood sugar levels, cardiac health, energy production and immune and overall health. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Al's Formula (Basic Nutrients For Men Over 40) (VMM) by Thorne ResearchAl’s Formula Basic Nutrients for Men over 40 –  This comprehensive formula, specifically designed to meet men’s nutritional needs, provides prostate support, promotes healthy cardiovascular function and supplies all essential nutrients for overall health. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

Enzyme Nutrition Multi-Vitamin for Men by EnzymedicaEnzyme Nutrition Multi-Vitamin for Men by Enzymedica – This product provides 100% whole food and enzyme activated nutrients that enhance the utilization of vitamins and minerals. The formula includes guaranteed potency probiotics, nutrient rich superfoods and daily botanicals in order to support increased energy and stamina, heart health, and immune function and to promote longevity. Gluten, soy and dairy fee, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.

 

MultiMedica for Men by NuMedicaMultiMedica for Men by NuMedica – This comprehensive multivitamin, mineral, botanical and amino acid formula is designed to meet the unique nutritional requirements of men. This product provides overall wellness support and antioxidant protection, along with prostate, liver and adrenal supportive nutrients. Gluten and dairy free.

 

Homocysteine Factors by Pure EncapsulationsHomocysteine Factors by Pure Encapsulations – This high quality product provides activated vitamin B6 and bioavailable folate in support of the maintenance of healthy homocysteine levels. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

 

 

References:
Nutrition for Older Men. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/healthy-aging/nutrition-for-older-men
Top Health Concerns for Men and Women. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2012/03/top-health-concerns-for-men-women/
10 Top Health Risks for Men. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/top-10-health-risks-for-men#2
Healthy aging – http://www.healthcommunities.com/healthy-aging/healthy-living-tips-40s.shtml
Diet and Nutrition – http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition?sso=y
Important Nutrients for Stress Management. http://paleoleap.com/important-nutrients-stress-management/
10 Essential Nutrients for Heart Health. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7757/10-essential-nutrients-for-heart-health.html
Key Nutrients – http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/meal-planning-for-vegetarians/nutirents-vegetarians.html
Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/diabetes-prevention/preventing-diabetes-full-story/

 

Here’s Looking At You

eyesBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Healthy eyes and vision are vital to overall health and wellbeing.  Practicing good eye healthcare now will help ensure healthy vision for a lifetime.  It’s normal to experience some changes in vision as we age, such as the need for reading glasses or some changes in the way we experience colors.  However, vision loss is not a normal part of aging.  People with vision problems are more likely to have diabetes, poor hearing, heart problems, high blood pressure and stroke.  Many eye problems and diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, can be treated when detected early. 

A regular eye exam is one of the best ways to protect your eyesight.  Another way to safeguard your vision is through diet and proper eye nutrition.  A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help to keep your eyes healthy and disease free.  Following healthy lifestyle guidelines will not only maintain your general health but will also help maintain healthy vision well into your golden years.   Vision is precious and should not be taken for granted.  Beyond seeing your eye care professional for a dilated eye exam, you can help protect your eyesight by following these healthy vision tips:

Nutrition – No surprise here.  Protecting your eyesight begins with the foods you eat.  Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C and E can help ward off age-related vision problems such as dry eye syndrome, cataracts and macular degeneration.  Foods rich in beta-carotenes, found in orange fruits and vegetables, help to protect the retina and keep the eyes functioning smoothly.  A healthy well-balanced diet will help to maintain a healthy weight, lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes which is a leading cause of blindness in adults. 

Exercise –  If you are already exercising, you are on the right track to protecting your eye health.  Exercise increases circulation, which can lower elevated pressure in the eyes, a common problem with glaucoma.  Physical activity is known to reduce inflammation and irregularities in the blood vessel walls associated with macular degeneration and has been shown to lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration by as much as 70%.  Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, lowering your risk of many health problems. 

Lubrication – Keeping your eyes hydrated and lubricated is vital to vision health.  Discomfort and redness aren’t the only symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome.  Studies show that slowed reading speed rates directly correlate to severity of dry eye disease.  Drinking more water, supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and using lubricating eye drops can often help to alleviate dry eye symptoms.  Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the risk of developing dry eye syndrome by reducing general inflammation and increasing the levels of anti-inflammatory mediators in the eyes.  Omega-3’s improve the way the meibomian glands in the eyelids produce and secrete the oil that helps stabilize tear production. 

Protection – Sunglasses are more than a fashion statement.  Sunglasses block harmful ultraviolet rays that play a role in the development of macular degeneration and cataracts.  Choose sunglasses that offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays and use them year round. 

Rest – To reduce eyestrain caused by focused activity such as spending long hours looking at a computer screen, look away at least every 20 minutes to give you eyes a break.  When we are truly focused on one thing, we don’t blink as often. This can lead to eyestrain, dry eyes and even broken blood vessels in the eyes.  Studies have shown that the eyes need at least 5 hours of sleep each night to properly replenish so they can work at their full potential the next day.  Lack of sleep can lead to eye spasms, an aggravating although not serious problem that can be corrected by getting enough quality rest each night. 

Safeguarding your health by choosing a healthy lifestyle can prevent the development of age-related eye and health problems.  Getting regular overall physicals and eye exams can lead to early detection of diseases, such as diabetes or systemic conditions, that can affect your vision health.  Eye problems are often hereditary, so if you are experiencing any problems with your eyes, don’t wait to see an eye care professional. 

The following products support eye health and aid eye health related symptoms: 

BioTears by BioSyntrx addresses the underlying inflammatory processes associated with dry eye syndrome.  BioTears relieves symptoms such as dryness, irritation, burning and excessive tearing.  This nutritional formula includes omega-3’s and contains specific nutrient co-factors that support normal tear film production. 

4 Sight by Ortho Molecular is a natural eye health support supplement that is formulated with  lycopene, zinc, xeaxanthin, lutein, antioxidants, herbs and other nutrients for eye health maintenance during the aging process. 

Oculair by BioSyntrx  provides full spectrum vitamins, minerals and organ-specific antioxidants for eye and full body support for the normal aging process. 

Allergy Eye Drops by Natural Ophthalmics addresses allergy symptoms that affect the eyes, such as itching, burning, watering, edema and general ocular sensitivity.  This sterile, non-preserved, pH balanced isotonic solution contains only homeopathic ingredients.