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Conscious Aging

Conscious AgingJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Can gratitude help one live longer and healthier? Research shows that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness, positive emotions and improved mental and physical  health. Conscious aging is recognizing and accepting the aging process as a natural part of the life cycle or learning to love growing older and eliminating what prevents us from appreciating our golden years. Truth is, we are all in the process of aging at any given moment. How we handle that realization may predict how well we age. It appears that a negative view of aging may actually speed the aging process. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, fear of memory loss can actually create memory decline. Belief that physical and mental decline is inevitable accelerates whatever decline occurs.

How old is old anyway? Certainly not middle-aged or even late middle-aged as the youngest among us might imagine, if they could even picture themselves growing older. Someone once said that old is always 15 years older than your present age. One survey found that young adults in their 20’s thought that old age began at 60; middle-agers thought it was 70; and those older than 65 thought to add another 10 years before they themselves reached old age. Many people in their 50’s say they feel at least 10 years younger than their actual age, while the healthiest people in their 60’s felt 20 years younger. In other words, as we age most people move the goalposts that represent major life stages.

As long as one remains in a healthy state, perhaps it’s true that age is just a number and you are only as old as you feel. That is not to say that we needn’t live a healthy lifestyle. Not surprisingly, grateful people are more likely to take care of their health by maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and practicing preventive medicine by getting regular health screenings. When not addressed, changes that occur with normal aging, such as high blood pressure or high blood sugar, may make one more likely to develop certain disorders. Timely addressing preventable modifiable risk factors with lifestyle adjustments or medications can potentially prevent development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

How we age

  • Chronological age is a person’s age in years based solely on the passage of time.
  • Biological age refers to bodily changes that occur naturally as one ages. Different from chronological age, biological age is measure of determining the state of health, which can be influenced by lifestyle factors.
  • Psychological age is based on either a negative or positive attitude towards the aging process.
  • Cellular aging is generally defined as a progressive decline in resistance to stress and gradual loss of cellular functions. Cells also have a life span and eventually reach their replication limit.
  • Metabolic aging is based on an individual’s basal metabolic rate, or the amount of energy or calories burned while at rest to keep the body functioning. Basal functions include breathing, circulation, cell production, nutrient processing, protein synthesis and more. As we age metabolism slows, affecting body composition, muscle loss and fat accumulation, which is one reason why a healthy diet and exercise are so important to long-term health.

Aging is a lifelong gradual and continual process of natural change that occurs on multiple levels. It is the combination of the impact of time on the human body, as well as the result of how well we take care of ourselves. Taking measures to compensate for changes in various physiological functions that occur during normal aging may slow the biological clock and lead to a longer and healthier lifespan.

Healthy ways to delay the aging process

Eat better: Eat more fruits and vegetables. There are thousands of disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables and many have unique roles in fighting free radical and age-related cellular damage. Strive to obtain 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal to maintain muscle mass.

Make exercise part of your daily routine: Strength training can improve metabolism and mobility by preventing muscle wasting. Aerobic exercise has many health benefits, including improved cardiovascular conditioning, lowered blood pressure, weight management and better controlled blood sugar.

Take a staycation: In our busy lives, we sometimes feel we don’t even have time to destress. Reduce chronic stress and its detrimental effects on health by taking some time each day to relax and rejuvenate. Every small effort can help to reduce stress hormone production. Try taking a short walk in nature or a warm bath before bed.

Seriously, get some sleep: The quality and quantity of sleep affects mood, energy level, concentration and overall healthy function. Chronic sleep deprivation can result in fatigue and increased appetite leading to weight gain and can negatively affect cognitive and emotional function.

Maintain a positive outlook. Negative attitudes about aging can affect both physical and cognitive health in later years. Aging consciously with a healthy lifestyle and positive attitude may help prevent both physical and cognitive decline. Remember that negative self-fulfilling prophecy? Research has shown that positive self-perceptions about the benefits of aging well can help one to stay mentally, physically and psychologically younger.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of overall wellness:

Sleep Balance HerbalSleep Balance Herbal by Diamond Formulations: Formulated to address occasional restless sleep, Sleep Balance Herbal provides well-researched ingredients that promote sleep onset, aid in sleep/wake cycle regulation and provide calming support for the central nervous system. Free of wheat, yeast, soy, gluten, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO kosher formulation.

AntiOxidant FormulaAntiOxidant Formula by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic proprietary formula  provides a broad spectrum of antioxidant nutrients in support of the body’s natural free radical defense mechanisms. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

 

Stress SuppressStress Suppress by Diamond Formulations: Stress Suppress provides specific therapeutic ingredients that encourage natural stress and inflammatory responses, relieve symptoms of stress and frustration and support relaxation without drowsiness. Free of wheat, yeast, soy, gluten, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO kosher formulation.

Green SuperFood...Green Superfood® Antioxidant Sweet Berry by Amazing Grass®: This powerful daily greens formula provides nutrient dense antioxidant super fruits, farm fresh organic greens, digestive enzymes, pre- and probiotics and fiber in support of free radical defense and overall health. Gluten free, Non-GMO, kosher, vegan formulation.

Clinical Nutrients...Clinical Nutrients™ Antioxidant by Integrative Therapeutics®: This professional formulation provides high concentrations of antioxidant vitamins, minerals and food based nutrients to protect against free radical cellular damage. Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, corn, sugar, yeast, preservatives and artificial flavoring.

 

References:
Learning to Love Growing Old. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199409/learning-love-growing-old
10 Things to Stop Doing If You Want a Longer Life. https://www.verywellhealth.com/things-to-stop-if-you-want-to-live-longer-2223866
Aging Types, Causes, and Prevention. https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-aging-2224347
Overview of Aging. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/older-people%E2%80%99s-health-issues/the-aging-body/overview-of-aging
[Aging, basal metabolic rate, and nutrition]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8361073
Positive Attitudes About Aging May Be a “Fountain of Youth.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201601/positive-attitudes-about-aging-may-be-fountain-youth

Daily Stress and Anxiety

StressAnxietyJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Not to be confused with anxiety disorders, occasional anxiousness is considered a normal part of everyday living. Most adults have experienced short-term anxiety during times of loss or when dealing with difficult work or family matters. Many can relate to unpleasant sensations of apprehension or stomach jitters before a job interview, a performance, or while awaiting the results of medical tests, as well as many other challenging anxiety-provoking situations. The feelings of temporary discomfort are triggered by the sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response to real or perceived danger. This stress response heightens the senses and provides the body with a burst of energy to assist with either fighting or fleeing.

Frightening experiences whether real or imagined automatically trigger the fight-or-flight response. The brain must ascertain whether a situational trigger encompasses a real threat and the need to fight or flee, as in fear; versus a situation that more resembles a fantasy or dream that doesn’t actually require any action, as in anxiety. While anxiety and fear produce identical physiologic effects, fear is a response to a clear and present danger and the need to seek safety. Normal anxiety is intermittent and expected based on certain events and situations. As well, anxiousness may occur as a result of a psychological and emotional response to a perceived threat. An anxiety disorder results when this response becomes triggered too easily and too frequently.

Anxiety that is characterized by persistent, irrational, seemingly uncontrollable and overwhelming dread that interferes with daily activities and reduces quality of life is considered a serious mental health condition that merits consultation with a healthcare practitioner. Per the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common category of mental illness in the U.S. Constant anxiety takes a toll on health, increasing the stress hormone cortisol, raising blood pressure and driving inflammation that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. As well, fully one third of adults report feeling nervous, irritable, fatigued or angry due to high levels of daily stress.

Norman B. Anderson, PhD, Chief Executive Office of the American Psychological Association (APA) states, “America is at a critical crossroads with it comes to stress and our health.” Statistics show that chronic stress is rapidly becoming a public health crisis with the majority of American adults and almost a third of children suffering from moderate to high stress. Only 40 percent of Americans rate their health as very good or excellent. While 54 percent agree that physical activity is an important tool for stress reduction, only 27 percent are happy about their own level of exercise. Many also blame unhealthy eating patterns and poor sleep quality on high levels of stress.

While Americans cite lack of willpower as the biggest obstacle to adopting healthier behaviors, people can structure their environment to increase the likelihood of making healthy choices to reduce stress and feelings of anxiousness. Traditional approaches for coping with chronic stress and anxiety range from therapy to anxiety-relieving medications, which help manage symptoms but also come with a risk of dependence. Traditional treatment can be complemented with natural approaches. Dietary considerations, physical activity, meditation and good sleep habits, as well as nutritional and herbal supplements are seen as effective strategies for decreasing symptoms of daily stress and occasional anxiety without adding to the risk of serious side effects.

  • Mind/body approaches, such as deep breathing, meditation and conscious mindfulness help to ease muscle tension and promote calmness. Studies show that meditation practice is beneficial for stress and anxiety reduction. Practicing mindfulness, which allows a focus on the present, helps to improve brain functions that enhance the ability to avoid excessive stress responses.
  • Physical activity directly reduces excess cortisol by using the energy cortisol creates. Exercise is a form of physical stress that relieves mental stress by stimulating the release of endorphins, the brain’s natural pain relievers and mood elevators.
  • A diet rich in complex carbs, such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits helps to maintain steady blood sugar levels and eliminate highs and lows. Sugar and refined carbs can cause mood swings and altered energy levels, potentially making it more difficult to ease anxiety.
  • Ashwagandha, a powerful rejuvenating ayurvedic herb helps to stabilize the body’s response to stress and reduces anxiousness without causing drowsiness. Considered an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps regulate natural bodily processes to promote overall health and wellness.
  • Rhodiola, a widely used adaptogenic herb, helps to relieve anxiety symptoms and combats the effects of prolonged stress-related mental and physical fatigue. Rhodiola increases the body’s stress resistance by balancing stress hormone levels, raising and lowering cortisol as needed.
  • L-theanine, an amino acid found almost exclusively in the tea plant, has been shown to support relaxation without inducing drowsiness. L-theanine has neuroprotective, mood-enhancing and relaxation properties, and has a positive effect on neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, aiding stress reduction while improving alertness, concentration and attention span.
  • B vitamins are vital to a healthy functioning nervous system and help reduce stress, as well as stabilize mood. Vitamin B6, in particular, helps to boost mood by supporting production of serotonin and GABA, calming neurotransmitters that can positively affect emotional response.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of overall heathy functioning:

Stress SuppressStress Suppress by Diamond Formulations: This non-drowsy, bestselling product is formulated to address symptoms of daily stress and frustration. Specific nutrients support healthy levels of calming neurotransmitters, encourage balanced stress and inflammatory responses, improve symptoms of stress and support a general sense of wellbeing. Free of wheat, yeast, soy, gluten, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO, Kosher formulation.

Ayur-Ashwaganda 300...Ayur-Ashwagandha 300 mg by Douglas Laboratories®: This traditional adaptogenic herb is utilized as a general tonic to support energy production and improve mental and physical performance. Ashwagandha’s natural calming properties support the body during times of emotional and physical stress. Free of yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch and artificial coloring, preservatives and artificial flavoring. Non-GMO formulation.

B SpectrumB Spectrum by Professional Supplement Center®:  ON SALE! This highly bioavailable vitamin B complex provides activated forms of all B vitamins in support of adrenal, neurological, cardiovascular, immune and stress-related functions, as well as healthy mood. Free of wheat, gluten, corn, yeast, soy, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO, vegan formulation.

RhodiolaRhodiola by Integrative Therapeutics®: Clinically studied rhodiola has been utilized for centuries to combat fatigue, increase physical strength and enhance mental stamina, as well as improve the body’s ability to cope with internal and external stress. Free of sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, corn, gluten, soy, dairy and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.

L-TheanineL-Theanine by Pure Encapsulations®: This unique, amino acid formulation derived from green tea promotes relaxation, helps to moderate occasional stress and supports healthy mood and cellular function. Gluten free, hypoallergenic, Non-GMO, vegan formulation.

 

References:
Do You Have Normal Anxiety or a Disorder? https://www.verywellmind.com/is-it-normal-anxiety-or-an-anxiety-disorder-2584401
6 Tips to Reduce Daily Stress and Anxiety. https://time.com/4748658/stress-anxiety-ticortisol/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=time-health&utm_content=20190805
Stressed in America. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/01/stressed-america
Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2959081/
Exercising to Relax. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax

Stress-Inflammation-Disease

Stress-inflammation-DiseaseJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

In the ongoing battle against disease, an anti-inflammatory diet along with an earnest effort to reduce stress may hold the keys to combatting persistent, low-grade inflammation and protect the body against tissue damage and cellular aging. As the body ages, chronic inflammation is known to escalate, and has been identified as a significant contributor to the cause and advancement of many conditions. The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation is directly affected by stress. When under stress, immune cells don’t properly respond to hormonal control, resulting in higher levels of inflammatory chemicals. By disturbing the immune system, stress induces inflammation peripherally and centrally, leading to various stress-related diseases.

Homeostasis refers to the bodily processes that maintain a stable internal environment necessary for survival, such as body temperature, oxygen level and blood pH balance. Chronic stress is a state of threatened homeostasis brought about by psychological, environmental or physiological stressors. Prolonged stress creates multiple neurochemical, neurotransmitter and hormonal imbalances. These imbalances lead to diversified stress-related diseases that all appear to converge on inflammation. Research has shown that excessive inflammation plays a critical role in the progression or onset of stress-related diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer, as well as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Our daily food choices appear to influence the level of inflammation in the body. A diet heavy in processed foods, unhealthy fats, excessive alcohol, refined carbohydrates and ever ubiquitous sugar is believed to accelerate the inflammatory disease process. These unhealthy foods contribute to weight gain, which in itself is a driver of inflammation. A poor diet is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A diet that provides nutrient-rich whole foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, fish and a higher intake of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, is associated with reduced markers of inflammation, lowered risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as improved mood and overall quality of life.

Impeding inflammation through a healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as stress reduction, may help to delay the onset of age-related diseases. While some factors associated with inflammation, such as aging and genetic predisposition, can’t be altered, modifiable lifestyle changes can help to decrease inflammation to prolong or prevent disease onset. As chronic stress is associated with dysregulation of the inflammatory response, interventions targeting stress risk factors are beneficial to overall health and disease prevention. Research-backed ways to reduce stress include aerobic exercise, yoga, journaling, sufficient sleep, focused breathing, meditation and time in nature.

Perhaps most importantly, researchers in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins have added to evidence that rising chronic inflammation from midlife onward is linked to visual structural changes in the brains of those with poor cognition and dementia. The data suggests that efforts to curb inflammation may be key to preventing or delaying cognitive decline in later years. Inflammatory compounds known to be markers of chemical damage to the heart and blood vessels may also damage the brain. Taking steps to curb inflammation may be considered a reversible factor to prevent or reduce cognitive decline and neurodegeneration. As modifiable lifestyle factors are within each person’s control, it’s possible that even those in midlife who follow an overall pattern of healthy behaviors can lower their dementia and age-related disease risk.

  • Clinical evidence suggests that natural compounds found in ginger and turmeric/curcumin comprise effective, powerful and beneficial anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
  • In addition to antioxidant actions, ginger and curcumin work to reduce inflammation by blocking inflammatory cytokines and inhibiting enzymes necessary to produce inflammatory compounds, while also modifying immune system responses to protect normal immune function.
  • Turmeric/curcumin supports sirtuin 1, a stress response silencing factor associated with healthy aging and longevity.
  • Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have be shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, as well as improving joint pain in those with arthritic conditions.

Professional Supplement Center offers high quality supplements in support of overall heath and healthy function:

Advanced Bio...Advanced BioCurcumin® with Ginger and Turmerones by Life Extension®: This highly absorbable formula provides bioavailable turmeric extract, curcuminoids, turmeric oil and gingerols in support of a healthy inflammatory response and digestive, immune, joint, brain and overall health.

Professional Choice...Professional Choice Omega by Professional Supplement Center®: This sustainably sourced Alaskan IFOS Five-Star Certified fish oil provides 820 mg of EPA and DHA essential fatty acids in support of cardiovascular, joint, brain, nervous system and overall  health, as well as a healthy inflammatory response. Free of wheat, gluten, corn, yeast, soy protein, dairy products, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.

Turmeric and GingerTurmeric & Ginger by Nature’s Answer: This holistically balanced formula provides gingerols, curcuminoids and turmeric rhizome extract delivered in QUIK-SORB® Extractacaps® for fast absorption and enhanced nutrient delivery. Considered medicinal herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric and ginger support healthy joint function and help alleviate minor aches and pains associated with daily life.

Zyflamend Whole BodyZyflamend Whole Body by New Chapter®: This botanical blend is designed to naturally balance and support a healthy whole body inflammatory response and relieve minor pain and soreness, as well as provide support for joint flexibility and comfort. The product is formulated with 10 pure herbs including turmeric rhizome, holy basil, organic supercritical ginger rhizome extract and organic green tea. Free of gluten and artificial colors and flavors. Non-GMO, vegetarian formulation.

Stress SuppressStress Suppress by Diamond Formulations: Formulated to address symptoms of daily physical and mental stress, Stress Suppress provides specific ingredients known to support healthy levels of calming neurotransmitters that enhance the body’s ability to cope with stress, elevate mood and support relaxation without drowsiness. Free of wheat, yeast, soy, gluten, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO, vegetarian, kosher formulation.

References:
The inflammation theory of disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492709/
Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476783/
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet. https://www.verywellhealth.com/anti-inflammatory-diet-88752
How stress influences disease: Study reveals inflammation as the culprit. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162546.htm
Here’s How Stress and Inflammation Are Linked. https://www.everydayhealth.com/wellness/united-states-of-stress/link-between-stress-inflammation/
SIRTUIN 1; SIRT 1. https://www.omim.org/entry/604479
Turmeric. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/turmeric.php
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16531187
Neurology: More Fuel for Curbing Inflammation. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/publications/hopkins_medicine_magazine/medical_rounds/fall-2018/neurology-more-fuel-for-curbing-inflammation
It May Be Possible to Counter Some of the Genetic Risk of Alzheimer’s With These Lifestyle Changes. https://time.com/5625778/alzheimers-genetic-risk-prevention/?utm_source=time.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=time-health&utm_content=2019071519pm