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So, You want to be a Super Ager?
Part 1: Can We Cheat Death? (Uh, no, but...)We all know on an intellectual level that the big Sleep looms ahead but on an emotional level not only is this idea of the Final Summons incomprehensible, but mostly scares the living crap out of most of us. How can the very great and wonderful me, myself and I not be here. Where does the light go when the candle is blown out? What is Here? What is Me? Most urgently, what is There?
Confronted with our futile pursuit of the unknowable, we soon become frustrated, feckless-twits, making hysterical deals with God. And after no answers spring forth to ease our despair,we star t thinking that it might just be better if the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse would pay us a visit sooner rather than later just to deliver us from our misery. Often we pursue ontological endeavors like reading the entire Course in Miracles book from cover to cover whilst following an obscure Indian guru while at the same time perusing our old copy of the Dance of the Wu Li Masters hoping that particle physics will offer us the answers we are seeking.
Some people re-find Jesus or the Torah, returning to the comforts of their childhood religions. Others ignore the whole thing, taking to the road in their retirement Winnebago's, enjoying the scenery, waiting patiently to go toes up. (Ever notice how gri m these people look?) Some will do the genealogy thing, collecting with great relief all of their ancestors who lived past 80. Other more miserable folk focus on their illnesses imagining that that hangnail on their index finger will become unmanageable cellulitis, then flesh eating bacteria, then BOOM, up and out you go.
The more enviable folks have examined the Distinguished Thing and, despite the Stage 1V terminal prognosis that death is, have somehow managed to park the whole idea somewhere in a consciously inaccessible hippocampal vault. These lucky folks just whistle a happy tune and end up doing death without a backwards (forwards?) glance.
News Flash: High carbohydrate intake is associated with a higher risk of mortality and high fat intake with a lower risk. Consuming higher saturated fat polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fats were all associated with lower mortality. Higher fat diets were also associated with a lower risk of stroke. Lancet, 9/2017
What do I do? Well, a little bit of this and little bit of that, but mostly I scour the literature for Super Aging literature and gobble quantities of targeted supplements. I also enroll for every Super Aging seminar taking notes until my fingers ache. I also pray mightily that the good longevity genes from my mother's side (Grandpa lived to 92 and Great Aunt Teddy lived to 102) will overcome that of my father's side whose blemished genes were expressed in strokes, schizophrenia and senile dementia.
As that dark channel between me and the eternal "it" narrows, my search for Super Aging remedies and longevity enhancers intensifies. My search has been very fruitful. I have found that there is a lot we can do to keep ourselves chugging along. But, and this is a BIG BUT: It requires, first and foremost a Passionate Desire and an Intense Commitment
It requires no less than a transformation of our definition of FUN and a willingness to step outside of the everyday box of cocktails, desserts, stress and sloth into a much smaller, yet ultimately more rewarding box containing supplements, good food, exercise, satisfying relationships, a mediation practice and good sleep. It's a willingness to pay attention to our higher selves, consciously choosing life over death, good over bad, healthy over unhealthy, carrot sticks over Oreos and not just Monday through Friday, but every minute of every day. Yes, the path is narrow but once you are travelling, you will notices changes that can be significant and then it becomes very, very rewarding. Our goal, I think is to Live Long and Die Short or as the longevity scientists say, "compression of morbidity" - , being vital, healthy, energetic and vigorous, then one night in our sleep when we are very, very old, just give up the ghost, peacefully.
News Flash: A spoonful of fats and oils help to unlock full nutritional benefits of veggies, especially multiple fat-soluble vitamins, beta carotene and other carotenoids. Iowa State University 10/9/17. So, throw that butter on your broccoli, put extra EVOO on your arugula and put a pat of butter or coconut oil on your grass fed burger.
I started my quest for Super Aging in my 50's and, for a while, followed a scientist named Roy Walford. He was (yes, past tense) a gerontologist who devoted his life to studying longevity and to personally living to 120. I felt betrayed when he died at 86 of ALS. But I got over myself, because his theories and research were spot on, and mostly still are. He noticed that underfed mice lived longer than fat (happier?) mice, and one of his basic tenets is to practice undereating. This is not, repeat, not a form of anorexia! It is a systematic practice of undereating over a long period of time until you are 10 to 25 percent under your characteristic weight when you don't overeat or undereat. He called this Calorie Restriction with Optimum Nutrition or CRON. You achieve this goal by eating lots of raw veggies, little fat, lean meats and fasting. There are still rabid CRON-ers out there, who are continuing the research and their systematic undereating. My opinion? They all look too thin to me, but their labs and other markers are perfect, probably better than mine.
News Flash: Sugar's bad, bad, bad. According to a 15 year study, a person whose daily caloric intake consists of 25% or more sugar is twice as likely to die from heart disease, even if they aren't overweight. JAMA, Internal Medicine
I am interested and have read over the past many years, volumes of research, first on the Paleo way of eating and now, its newest iteration, the KetoPaleo way of eating. I have been doing the latter for about a year and a half and have dropped weight (didn't need to) to a new set point from 110 to 106. I don't want to get lower than that, so I eat hearty snacks of coconut butter, almond butter and even butter, butter right off the spoon! And, by the way, all this fat is "legal" in the Keto way of eating.
Now I will seque into a life-changing book I have read and am currently studying, called The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen, MD. I know of no other aging disease that scares people more than dementia, and this book will take it right out of the Crypt of Horror for everyone. You can deal successfully either preventatively or if you already have signs of dementia, you can bring yourself "back." (He mentions that he brought back a person with just 3% of her hippocampus left.) Finally! Here is hope, a lifeline, something we all can actually do to prevent this horrible disease where you are forced to watch yourself slowly and inexorably losing yourSELF before you lose your life. The book is sold on Amazon, of course, but also Costco and Bredeson was even a featured guest on Dr. Oz, which warms the cockles of my heart because this information is now mainstream.
We know (all too well) that certain unavoidable things happen to us as we get older, things like wrinkly and-or thinned skin, less endurance, more fatigue, certain inevitable changes in body contours, along with changes in hearing and vision. But some of us also experience changes that are TOTALLY avoidable, like increases in blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose/insulin. Or chronic inflammatory and toxic conditions which not only affect our joints, but our brains cells, arterial walls and heart valves. Bredesen focuses on Alzheimer's, but, please remember, that whatever good (and bad) stuff you do with and to your brain, you will also be doing to your heart and vascular system. I will be listing a few modifiable risk factors of aging along with ways to diagnose them when possible and then a plan to eradicate them.
Newsflash: Your body consists of about 11 gallons of water which accounts for between 50 and 70 percent of your body weight. Your blood is 85% water, your muscles 80%, your brain 75% and even your bones are 25% water. See how important it is to replenish these repositories with water? How about half your body weight in ounces per day? That should do it.
Dr. Bredesen's 3 causes of Alzheimer's: 1) Inflammation from infection, diet or other causes 2) Decline and shortage of supportive nutrients, hormones and other brain-supporting molecules. 3) Toxic substances such as metals or biotoxins like chemicals, inhalants, pesticides, molds. Then he has a subcategory which he calls "1 ½" which is about sugar and insulin resistance. He thinks that everyone should have a "cognoscopy" at age 50 or so - that consists mostly of targeted labs - and start your preventive program then depending on what your labs reveal.
Here are the lab tests that he (and I) recommend you get: For his Category 1 or Inflammation: Get c-reactive Protein (hs-CRP), Fibrinogen, Homocysteine.
For his Categoy 11/2: You would get fasting glucose, insulin and Hemoglobin A1c. And cholesterol, HDL and triglycerides.
For his Category 11 or Decline of supportive nutrients, hormones and other brain supporting molecules: Vitamin D, Thyroid hormones, DHEA-sulfate, cortisol, E2 and progesterone, testosterone.
For his Category 111 or Toxin-related: He suggests some very expensive tests like testing for mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, but I can muscle test for those. He does suggest RBC Magnesium which I agree with. (The regular magnesium you get on blood panels is useless; it has to be measured in your red blood cells.)
Next time in our Super Aging series, I will mention what to do if your labs - like mine - are not even close to perfect. No worries. There is help. And in the meantime, please buy his book and start immediately his Ketoflex 12/3 diet plan for the prevention of Alzheimer's. If you already have my KetoPaleo pyramid - on the green sheet - it is identical to his recommendations. Or google the Ketoflex 12/3 Diet.
Newsflash: This pretty much sums up what kind of food you should buy: Chemical and hormone free meat, wild-caught fish, pasture-raised eggs, whole unrefined grains, virgin, unrefined first-press organic oils, whole food, unrefined sweeteners, pure, clean spring water, sea salt, raw and or cultured milk and cream products.
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