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Eating Walnuts Preserves Youthful Telomere Strands

© 4th April 2020 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/eating-walnuts-preserves-youthful-telomere-strands
Posted on: Saturday, April 4th 2020 at 2:00 pm

Written By: GreenMedInfo Research Group

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2020


If you care about aging gracefully, you will want to learn how to protect your telomeres. Like the plastic tip on the ends of your shoelaces, telomeres keep DNA strands from unravelling — and eating walnuts is a great way to keep telomeres laced up tight

Science has established that diet plays a role in the length and integrity of telomeres,[i] the small protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that serve to protect the vital DNA information inside the nucleus of a cell.[ii]

In December 2018, a cross-functional team of researchers from Spain and California deepened this body of knowledge by publishing their research into the effects of eating walnuts on leukocyte telomere length, or LTL.[iii]

This opportunistic sub-study was conducted within a larger study called “Walnuts and Healthy Aging,” a parallel trial conducted between Barcelona, Spain and Loma Linda University in California.[iv] The study’s primary aim was to explore whether inclusion of walnuts in the diet for two years would maintain LTL in cognitively healthy elders as compared to a control group that abstained from walnuts.

Walnuts and Telomeres: Partners in Healthy Aging

In this trial, walnuts comprised 15% of total caloric intake, equating 30 to 60 grams per day, based on the energy requirements of individuals in the experimental group.

The final participant pool was comprised of 169 cognitively healthy men and women between 63 and 79 years who were living independently and had met eligibility requirements after a clinical visit, physical examination and other exclusionary criteria were applied.

The final 169 subjects were randomized to the two diet groups and 162 completed the trial. There were two dropouts due to severe indigestion attributed to walnuts, while six participants had milder indigestion that was alleviated by reducing the walnut doses.

By the end of the trial, complete data on LTL, dietary anthropometrics and fatty acids were available for 149 participants: 80 in the experimental group consuming walnuts and 69 in the control or abstaining group.

Researchers assessed LTL at baseline and after two years on the experimental dietary protocols via blood samples drawn after an overnight fast. Serum lipid and glucose concentrations were determined by standard enzymatic methods in the hospital clinical laboratory. Telomere length quantification was carried out using high-throughput quantitative fluorescence microscopy.

After assessing the cumulative data, researchers concluded that there was a trend indicating that walnut consumption did preserve leukocyte telomere length in test subjects.[v] Researchers called for further study involving larger test groups and longer time periods, noting that positive dietary impact on health is cumulative over time.

Telomeres: The Forward Edge of Anti-Aging Science

With nearly 72 million Baby Boomers worldwide,[vi] the needs of the geriatric population are at the forefront of modern health care. The standard approach in anti-aging medicine is to replace diminishing hormones with synthetic or “bioidentical” versions.

Natural health devotees look to a nutrient-dense diet and supplementation to stimulate rapid cell turnover. Scientists on the fringes are developing even more controversial therapies involving genetic manipulation of DNA to try and stop the biological clock.[vii] With so much investment into the science of staying young, the discovery of telomeres may be the most valuable finding to date in the race to slow down the way your body ages.

Telomeres get shortened each time a cell replicates, eventually becoming too short to function properly, which correlates with declining health experienced as aging. Telomeres can also become damaged by poor lifestyle habits, such as smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.[viii]

Walnuts Protect and Preserve Telomere Length

DNA information essentially writes the code for health or disease into every cell of your body, making the length and integrity of telomeres vital to healthy cell replication. Leukocytes are white blood cells that are found throughout your body and are a major part of your immune system response.[ix]

In humans, leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is positively correlated with lifespan, while shorter LTL is associated with an increased risk of age-related disease.[x] Telomere length, or LTL, is therefore considered a reliable biomarker of aging.

Walnuts are an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), a type of essential fatty acid that is known to have beneficial effects on the heart.[xi] Prior studies have been conducted on the effects of PUFA consumption on telomere length, however the fatty acids were derived from fish oils, a source that is less sustainable than tree nuts.[xii]

Walnuts are a vegan source of PUFA containing the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid[xiii] and a rich matrix of antioxidants, namely polyphenols and vitamin E, which have also been related to maintained leukocyte telomere length when included in the diet.[xiv]

There are dozens of reasons to eat more walnuts. They benefit the heart, brain, bones and more, and have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Walnuts can even help improve the way you respond to stress. To learn more about the health-boosting power of this beneficial tree nut, and to explore further ways you can protect your telomeres, explore the thousands of scientific articles and natural health abstracts on GreenMedInfo.com.


References

[i] Balan, E., Decottignies, A., & Deldicque, L. Physical Activity and Nutrition: Two Promising Strategies for Telomere Maintenance? Nutrients, 10(12), 1942. doi:10.3390/nu10121942. PMID: 30544511

[ii] TA Sciences, What is a telomere? https://www.tasciences.com/what-is-a-telomere.html

[iii] Freitas-Simoes TM, et al. Walnut Consumption for Two Years and Leukocyte Telomere Attrition in Mediterranean Elders: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 4;10(12). pii: E1907. doi: 10.3390/nu10121907. PMID: 30518050

[iv] NIH, Clinicaltrials.gov, Walnuts and Healthy Aging (WAHA), https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01634841

[v] Freitas-Simoes TM, et al. Walnut Consumption for Two Years and Leukocyte Telomere Attrition in Mediterranean Elders: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 4;10(12). pii: E1907. doi: 10.3390/nu10121907. PMID: 30518050

[vi] Pew Research Center, Fact Tank, Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/03/01/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/

[vii] Ullah, M., Sun, Z. Stem cells and anti-aging genes: double-edged sword–do the same job of life extension. Stem Cell Res Ther 9, 3 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13287-017-0746-4

[viii] TA Sciences, What is a telomere? https://www.tasciences.com/what-is-a-telomere.html

[ix] Wikipedia, White blood cell, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_blood_cell

[x] Nature, Scientific reports, Human leukocyte telomere length is associated with DNA methylation levels in multiple subtelomeric and imprinted loci, https://www.nature.com/articles/srep04954

[xi] Ander, B. P., Dupasquier, C. M., Prociuk, M. A., & Pierce, G. N. Polyunsaturated fatty acids and their effects on cardiovascular disease. Experimental and clinical cardiology, 8(4), 164-172. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719153/

[xii] Freitas-Simoes TM, et al. Walnut Consumption for Two Years and Leukocyte Telomere Attrition in Mediterranean Elders: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 4;10(12). pii: E1907. doi: 10.3390/nu10121907. PMID: 30518050

[xiii] Hayes, D.; Angove, M.J.; Tucci, J.; Dennis, C. Walnuts (Juglans regia) Chemical Composition and Research in Human Health. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr. 2016, 56, 1231-1241. PMID: 25747270

[xiv] Freitas-Simoes TM, Ros E, Sala-Vila A. Nutrients, foods, dietary patterns and telomere length: Update of epidemiological studies and randomized trials. Metabolism 2016, 65, 406-415. PMID: 26975532

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

TMG Benefits

Written by Brenton Wight, Health Researcher, LeanMachine
Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight, LeanMachine
This site is non-profit, existing only to help people improve health and immunity
Updated 16th June 2020

TMG (Trimethylglycine) is a powerful nutrient, much like a vitamin, functioning as methyl donor, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, energy booster, toxin remover, immune booster and more.
Also called betaine (first isolated from sugar beets) but different from Betaine Hydrochloride.

TMG the Methyl Donor

The TMG molecule comprises three methyl groups (CH3) joined to one molecule of glycine (C2H5NO2). The benefit of TMG is that it releases easily one, two, or all three of the methyl groups.
Releasing one methyl group then leaves behind DMG (Dimethylglycine) which is just TMG with only two methyl groups. Releasing all methyl groups leaves just Glycine, which is the smallest molecule of all of the amino acids, which allows it to go almost anywhere in the body, including crossing the blood-brain barrier.
DMG is considered a B-complex vitamin, shown to help:

  • Behaviour and speech in autistic children and adults
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Neurological function
  • Reducing seizures
  • Stress tolerance
  • Oxygen utilisation
  • Liver activity
  • Athletic performance
  • Anti-aging
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-viral and anti-bacterial
  • Immune boosting
  • Shrinking tumours
  • Allergies
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Alcoholism, drug addiction.
  • Cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood glucose

Although DMG has all of these benefits, and is available as a supplement, LeanMachine recommends that people supplement with TMG as we then receive all of the benefits of DMG plus the benefit of 50% better methylation.

Methyl groups (CH3) are essential for millions of biochemical reactions every second in the body, these are a few examples:

  • Lowering homocysteine, an amino acid, which inflames arteries when levels rise, leading to “hardening of the arteries”. Homocysteine levels are a much better indicator of cardiovascular disease than cholesterol. High homocysteine is commonly caused by insufficient methyl groups. The body gets methyl groups from TMGActive FolateActive Vitamin B-12, SAM-eDMAEMethionineTaurine, Cysteine and Vitamin B-6.
    Other causes of high homocysteine are mercury and copper toxicity. High homocysteine also causes methionine deficiency, in turn causing SAM-e (S-Adenosyl Methionine) deficiency which can lead to depression. Methionine is required for protein synthesis
  • Excess homocysteine also leads to osteoporosis, birth defects, cancer, ageing and free radicals, all helped by TMG
  • Methyl groups are required for the Phase 2, P450 liver detoxification pathway, a critical biochemical sequence of events. Fat-soluble toxins are joined to a methyl group, enabling a greater water solubility, then allowing the liver to remove them from the body. For toxins unable to be removed, methylation helps render them less toxic
  • TMG increases production of SAM-e, helping to reduce depression
  • TMG reduces risk of diabetes, as insulin release and insulin activity rely on methyl group donation
  • TMG donates methyl groups for protein synthesis (biosynthesis), the copying of genetic code from DNA to RNA (genetic transcription), then to the synthesis (formation) of every chemical in the body
  • TMG insufficiency causes biosynthesis slowing, telomeres shortening, and genetic errors (transcription errors) raises cancer risk from DNA mutations

The Methylation Process

This is a vital and most common chemical process in hundreds of essential chemical reactions, including:

  • Methylation is essential for manufacture of all the chemicals for the body
  • Stops certain viruses that could damage DNA
  • Stops the production of trophoblast (fast-growing cells that may lead to cancer)
  • Suppresses replication of DNA in areas where the body does not want it replicated
  • Important for neurological chemicals and blood chemicals
  • Corrects timing problems of the X chromosome in cell replication
  • Causea a genetic trait to come from only one parent, and not both
  • Prevents some genetic diseases
  • Helps prevent shortening of gene telomeres
  • Methylation is a primary method of removing toxins in the phase 2 liver detoxification system
  • Methylation converts toxins of all kinds from insoluble, less soluble or fat-soluble compounds into water-soluble compounds to allow excretion. Larger molecules are eliminated through the bile, smaller ones are excreted in the urine
  • Methylation is required for synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, improving mood, energy, wellbeing, alertness, concentration, and visual clarity
  • Methylation helps with liver detoxification
  • Methylation is required for conversion of homocysteine to methionine, which converts to other amino acids by various pathways
  • Methylation helps balance hormones such as estrogens, reducing risk of estrogen-related cancers
  • Reduces inflammation by removing toxins, balancing hormones, synthesising neurotransmitters and other methods
  • Methylation protects the mitochondria and adaptive energy production to stop us from becoming very tired
  • Restores SAM-e in spinal fluid, working as a methyl donor when restored by methyl groups
  • Methylation is required for the body to make CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10), vital for heart health and energy production in the mitochondria
  • Methylation increases muscle mass, important in cancer and other wasting diseases, and for general health
  • Methylation may improve libido in some people

Who needs TMG?

Almost everyone needs supplemental TMG, even healthy people with a healthy diet, to provide enough methylation for modern life. Those subject to stress, toxins, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, depression, fatigue, exhaustion or almost any other medical condition, almost certainly need extra TMG.

Other benefits of TMG

The Parasympathetic System

TMG can improve the parasympathetic system, helping balance the autonomic nervous system. Hair mineral analyses show about half the population has an autonomic nervous system imbalance (sympathetic dominance), where the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system is “switched on” too often and too long, usually due to stress, causing many chronic health conditions. TMG may help reverse any imbalance, contributing to healing. Some doctors use “sympathetic dominance” in a different context such as “a sympathetic state of body chemistry” which is different from “sympathetic dominance” used here.

The MTHFR Defect

Almost half the people on Earth have the abnormal MTHFR gene expression, where the biosynthesis of folate is reduced, sometimes marginally, sometimes largely.
Often incorrectly called a “genetic defect” when it is actually a transcription error, polymorphism or abnormal gene expression where errors occur in copying the DNA code rather than a problem with the actual DNA code.
This is why Active Folate has benefits, as it is already in the (6S)-5-methyltetrahydrofolate form required by the body, while regular folate must be converted in the body to this form.
TMG can help supply the methyl groups where insufficent folate cannot. Active folate can be up to 700% more useful in the body, compared to regular folic acid. Note that folic acid is a cheap folate substitute used in many foods claiming to be “folate enriched” but folic acid may prevent absorption of real folate in foods or active folate supplements, and LeanMachine advises total avoidance of foods or supplements containing folic acid.

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

There are not many reports on these properties, but they do exist, possibly as a result of methyl group donation

Effects on the Brain

TMG has a positive effect on the brain, likely due to methylation and SAM-e production. Recommended for those at high risk for Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinsons, depression, anxiety, seizures, migraine headache, ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder), MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and other brain conditions.

SAM-e Benefits

1. Heart Disease

SAM-e is used for heart disease, also for fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic lower back pain, ageing, CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), improving mental performance, liver disease, spinal cord injury, lead poisoning, to break down bilirubin or porphyrin (or precursors).

2. PMS

SAM-e is often taken for PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and a more severe form PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).

IV use of SAM-e

IV (Intravenous) use of SAM-e is used for depression, osteoarthritis, AIDS-related nervous system disorders, fibromyalgia, liver disease, cirrhosis, and intrahepatic cholestasis (a liver disorder in pregnant women)

SAM-e Injections

SAM-e is often injected for fibromyalgia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Effects on Digestion

TMG aids digestion, again likely because of positive methylation throughout the body.

Glycine

Glycine is the component left over when all three methyl groups have been donated from TMG.
Glycine is the smallest of the amino acids and very important for collagen formation and many other functions. Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, is used for connective tissue: Tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, nails, arteries, veins, etc. Without collagen, we could not stand up, our body would be a pile of mush on the floor!
Glycine, in large doses (up to 3000 mg daily), has been found helpful for sleep and alertness. Although not recommended as a first-line supplement for sleep, it may help if other supplements like Valerian fail to work. This may explain why TMG helps induce restful sleep in some individuals.

Natural sources of TMG

TMG is normally made in the body, but not enough when there are toxins present or the diet is poor or absorption of nutrients is a problem.
TMG can come from the diet. Foods high in TMG include broccoli, quinoa, spinach, lamb, chicken, and beets. A vegetarian or vegan diet tends to be very low in TMG. Foods high in TMG are usually also high in folate, and both are methyl donors.
However, most people do not eat enough of these foods, and even eating large amounts will not provide enough TMG for optimum health.

Risk factors for low TMG

Generally, the body cannot make enough, the modern diet is poor in TMG, and the number of pesticides, chemicals, heavy metal contamination uses up all TMG available.

  • Mercury is a poison that lowers TMG production in the body, and at the same time increases the need for TMG in the body. Almost everyone is mercury toxic now, as mercury is everywhere in the environment, especially in seafood and in dental amalgam fillings
  • Copper toxicity also interferes with TMG, and most people today are toxic from copper pipes, tapware, cookware even if blood or urine tests are negative. While copper is essential for the body to build hemoglobin in blood, we need Chelated Copper from food or supplements, not metallic copper from copper pipes and cookware. Zinc deficiencies cause accumulation of copper in the body, and women have a higher risk than men. Causes headaches, female organ problems, depression, anxiety, skin conditions. Too much zinc (and/or magnesium) competes with copper for absorption, often leading to a copper deficiency.

Supplements

Supplementary TMG is helpful for most people because of low body production, low in the diet, and higher requirements in our toxic world.
TMG 1000mg 100 tablets (most popular, best value).

Stress

Stress, inflammation, inflammation and some diseases increase our need for more TMG.

Dosage of TMG

  • Women: Up to 1000 mg daily
  • Men: Up to 3000 mg daily
  • Children: Less than adults, in proportion to body weight

There are no reliable guides or tests to determine TMG dosage, but the figures above should be a good starting point.
If the sodium/potassium ratio is low, extra TMG may help.
Do not overdose, as too much TMG may lead to over-methylation, causing fatigue, nausea, hair loss, dizziness or other symptoms.
Most people have no side effects from TMG apart from feeling better, getting better sleep and having more energy.
Cautions:
Do not continue a high dose for extended periods.
Children need proportionately less TMG than adults, depending on their size and weight, but babies generally do not need TMG. Older children may need about 250 to 500 mg daily.
TMG is available as tablets, liquid capsules or crystals. Some children and the elderly may have problems with swallowing tablets. TMG has a sweet taste, so TMG crystals can be simply added to food.
Some people have problems tolerating TMG, so they may need a smaller dose. Try reducing the dose until any symptoms disappear.
People who have unresolved resentments seem to have more problems taking TMG, as an enzyme is activated which can cause anger, fear, depression or anxiety symptoms. These symptoms disappear if the dose is reduced or eliminated, but if one can tolerate the symptoms, TMG may help the person resolve their issues of conflict.
Some reports suggest that too much TMG may cause diarrhea and nausea, and may raise cholesterol levels, so those with high cholesterol should keep the level monitored.

Poor Methylation

Several factors affect poor methylation, such as:

  • Raw vegetables are considered healthy, but cooked vegetables provide more dietary methyl groups
  • Sugars in any form appear to harm correct methylation, and are bad for our health anyway
  • Fermented foods are healthy, but are problem for methylation because:
    • Some contain aldehydes (toxic to the liver), including kombucha tea, kimchi, and most fermented grains
    • They contain ferments, which are bacteria or yeasts

    Safer fermented foods, eaten in moderation, include yogurt, kefir, miso and most good quality cheeses

  • Too much animal protein in the diet can cause high methionine and reduce methylation
  • Fighting inflammation or infections consumes methyl groups, requiring more methylation
  • Heavy metal toxicity, especially copper and mercury, interfere with methyl group formation
  • High-dose niacin or niacinamide cause the body to use up methyl groups to detoxify and excrete niacin through the liver. Doses less than 50 mg daily are generally tolerated well
  • Any liver toxins will reduce formation of methyl donors, also liver detoxification pathways require methyl groups, using up more methyl groups
  • Methyl donor production seems to decrease with age, so seniors need more TMG
  • Women of child-bearing age have much better methylation than men. Men always need more TMG than women

Methylation and Cancer

Cancer increases the need for methylating agents like TMG. People often die with cancer because they cannot eliminate their toxic metals and chemicals because of poor liver methylation, so toxins accumulate until death occurs.

Hair Mineral Analysis

More TMG may be required if a hair mineral test reveals:

  • High zinc level, which may indicate presence of hidden toxic metals
  • “Four lows pattern” meaning all four electrolyte minerals low: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium. Indicates impaired methylation
  • High mercury, becoming more common
  • High copper
  • High levels of the other toxic metals

These results indicate long-term toxic metal exposure.

Disclaimer

LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been researching nutrition and health since 2010 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain
LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.

Updated 16th June 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601287

10 Ways to Live Longer


Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/12/24/10-ways-to-live-longer.aspx

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked image

December 24, 2019

10 ways to live longer

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Researchers from Arizona and Texas have made a breakthrough discovery in plant DNA that could lead to stopping cancer cold, as well as slowing the aging process
  • Centenarians are optimistic and have low rates of depression and other psychiatric problems
  • Good quality sleep, in the right amount, can improve how you think and adapt to life’s circumstances
  • Eating well and avoiding toxins also factor into your overall well-being

Youthfulness, vitality and a long, prosperous life have been sought after throughout human history. And now, it seems scientists may have discovered one of the keys to turning back the hands of time.

Researchers from Arizona State University and Texas A&M University have made a breakthrough discovery in plant DNA that could lead to stopping cancer cold and slowing the aging process, ABC affiliate News 15 Arizona reports.1

The research involves telomerase, an enzyme that produces the DNA of telomeres, which have been shown to play a role in the aging process. As your telomeres lengthen, they protect your cells from aging.

Take It From the Experts: Centenarians Share Their Secrets

While direct applications from the study to human health are distant, there are a number of things you can do now to improve your health span, according to one of the co-authors. In interviews and surveys with centenarians, certain themes came up time and time again when they explained why they’ve lived so long. The 10 most common reasons they gave for their long lives were:

Keeping a positive attitude Eating good food
Participating in moderate exercise like walking, gardening swimming, etc. Living clean (not smoking or drinking excessively)
Living independently Having family to interact with
Having a circle of friends Being born with “good” genes
Having faith/spirituality Staying mentally active and continually learning

Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the U.S population, with numbers doubling every decade; by the year 2050, the number of people who will have reached the century mark is expected to pass 1 million.

Centenarians have 60% lower rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure, yet scientific explanations for their health and longevity remain elusive. As a group, they are happy and optimistic and have extremely low rates of depression and other psychiatric problems, suggesting you may live longer by maintaining the right attitude.

Hopefulness and Positivity Affect the Heart

There are compelling links between cardiac health and mental health. For example, having untreated depression or anxiety disorder increases your odds of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Stress hormones are again a primary culprit.

According to Julia Boehm, author of earlier Harvard studies looking at optimism and cardiovascular disease (CVD):2

“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive. We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and happiness are associated with reduced risk of CVD regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight.”

With a later study,3 author Eric Kim told The Harvard Gazette:

“While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference.

Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviors and healthier ways of coping with life challenges.”

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The Significance of Sound Sleep

Getting adequate sleep is an important part of both mental and physical health. Too much or too little can lead to metabolic issues, as well as changes in mood and your ability to focus. Your circadian rhythm, which affects your sleep/wake cycle, holds implications for your brain, body temperature, hormones and cell regeneration among other things.4

“Irregular rhythms have been linked to various chronic health conditions, such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder,” say scientists from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.5

Italian researchers found that deletion of a specific gene related to aging also affects glucose homeostasis. According to their article, published in the journal Glia, “Disruption of the circadian cycle is strongly associated with metabolic imbalance and reduced longevity in humans.”6

Telomeres and telomerase activity are also controlled by your circadian rhythm,7 making proper sleep an important part of longevity. In a 2007 study involving 21,268 adult twins, Finnish researchers found that adults who slept more than eight hours per night, or less than seven, showed increased risk of death.8

Of course, the quality of your sleep is also important, not just the quantity. Good quality sleep, in the appropriate amount, can improve how you think and adapt to the demands on your time and changes throughout your day. There is evidence suggesting that a calm mind and active body are two important ingredients for longevity.

The meditative technique known as “mindfulness” has even been shown to have a beneficial effect on genetic expression. According to a 2018 article in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity,9 meditation has also been found to affect the enzyme telomerase, which some researchers believe is actively involved with the process of aging.

After Resting, Be Sure to Refuel

Additionally, there are many other strategies you can implement to improve your health and extend your life span. To live longer, you need to counteract the progressive loss of muscle mass by increasing your protein intake as you age. The elderly, bodybuilders and endurance athletes typically have higher than normal protein requirements for their age group.

It’s also important to cycle high and low protein intake. Ideally, combine protein restriction with time-restricted eating, followed by increased protein intake on strength training days.

Fasting 16 to 20 hours each day is likely ideal, as this allows your body to more thoroughly deplete the glycogen stores in your liver. Benefits of fasting include the suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the activation of autophagy, both of which play decisive roles in disease prevention and longevity.

You’d also be wise to avoid eating two to three hours before bed, as late-night eating will decrease your nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) level, which is crucial for health and longevity. Late-night eating will also make you pack on unwanted pounds, as the excess calories will not be burned but stored as fat.

Preventing Cognitive Decline

Naturally, if you’re going to live longer, you’ll want to be healthy for the remainder, and that includes maintaining your cognitive function. Specific nutrients that can help prevent dementia and cognitive decline include vitamin D, DHA, folate and magnesium. Additional nutrients of notable interest, which are readily available in supplement form, include:

  • Astaxanthin — Commonly called “king of the carotenoids,” is a potent anti-inflammatory from specific types of microalgae and may be useful for treating joint and muscle pain. It also supports healthy vision and can be used as an “internal sunscreen.”
  • Ergothioneine — Found in porcini mushrooms, ergothioneine appears to play a specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage. Along with glutathione, it may offer protection against age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease.
  • PQQ — Particularly important for the health and protection of your mitochondria, PQQ has been shown to help protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It also works synergistically with CoQ10, producing better results than when either one is used alone. Celery, parsley and kiwi are dietary sources of PQQ.

Kick the Chemicals to the Curb

Naturally, there’s also the issue of toxic exposures, which can take a toll on your health, so avoiding toxins is a given, right along with eating a wholesome diet of organic, unprocessed foods.

This includes tossing out your toxic household cleaners, soaps, personal hygiene products, air fresheners, bug sprays, lawn pesticides and insecticides, just to name a few, and replacing them with nontoxic alternatives.

A group of scientists from Southeast University and Changzhou No. 7 People’s Hospital in China recently published a study10 about the role of plastics in our environment and how long-term exposure affects our health. They found that high concentrations of nanoplastic particles reduced the life span of roundworms.

They believe that different levels of exposure may have effects on locomotion and immune response, indicating that nanopolystyrene is likely toxic to all types of organisms.

“Our results highlight the potential of long-term nanopolystyrene exposure in reducing longevity and in affecting health state during the aging process in environmental organisms,” they wrote. Next week I will post my interview with leading researcher James Clement on his book, “The Switch,” that will go into far more fascinating details on this topic.

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