Live Foreverish: Hard Truths about Brittle Bones with Dr. Mike & Dr. Crystal

Did you know that there's a significant risk of death as you get older if your bones aren't healthy?

Learn how to keep them healthy on the Live Foreverish podcast! Available for download.

Listen now on LiveForeverish.com

“Preventative strategies for fracture should not focus on older patients at the expense of younger women and of men. And focusing on bone health and bone strength isn’t just for women.” – Dr. Mike Smith

“Around the age of 30, you start losing bone and I knew this when I was a personal trainer [when and I was younger] and I used to think, oh man - I've got to get my bones as strong as I possibly can because I know when I hit 30 I'm going to start losing bone density!” – Dr. Crystal Gossard

In this episode:

  • The role of minerals like boron and vitamins such as D and K
  • The role of hormones in bone health
  • What tests to take to evaluate your bone density
  • What the research says
About Live Foreverish: Join Dr. Mike and Dr. Crystal as they sit down with some of today’s leading medical, health and wellness experts to discuss a variety of health-related topics. From whole-body health to anti-aging and disease prevention, you’ll get the latest information and helpful advice to help you live your life to the fullest. If you like what you hear, please take a moment to give Live Foreverish a 5-star rating on iTunes!




Supplementing with Taurine: A Vital Amino Acid

Nadia Anderson, M.P.H.

A high dietary intake of the amino acid taurine, sometimes considered one of the best kept secrets of optimal health, has been identified as a potentially key longevity factor shared amongst the world’s longest-living populations.1 Although taurine has often been overlooked, researchers have concluded that due to “its functional significance in cell development, nutrition, and survival, taurine is undoubtedly one of the most essential substances in the body.”2 Taurine is the most abundant amino acid in human cells, but the body produces it in insufficient quantities.3,4 Taurine’s wide range of important functions in the human body have led one of the world’s leading nutritional longevity experts to call it a “longevity nutrient.”3


What are the benefits of taurine?

Taurine is involved in almost every aspect of health. It supports cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial function, neurologic health and even athletic performance and recovery. Talk about comprehensiveness!

Related Article: Taurine Protects Against Age-Related Brain Changes

Who needs to supplement with taurine?

Taurine is predominantly found in animal-derived foods such as dairy, meats, fish and shellfish, and is virtually absent from many plant foods such as legumes (including soy), nuts, and vegetables.5,6 Those consuming a plant-based or vegan diet with little to no animal-derived foods would benefit from supplementing with taurine. Clinical studies using taurine at doses of 1,000-6,000 mg have reported beneficial effects.7,8 While those with a vegan or vegetarian diet may be at greatest risk of low taurine levels, taurine is necessary for so many vital bodily functions that nearly anyone can benefit from supplementing with taurine.

The safety of supplemental taurine

Is taurine derived from bull urine? No. It is a misconception that the amino acid is derived from bull urine or semen. Taurine is a common addition to many energy drinks, such as Red Bull. Although energy drinks can provide between 600-1,000 mg of taurine, regular consumption is not suggested. Unlike excessive energy drink consumption, taurine supplementation has a strong record of safety.9

References

  1. Yamori Y, Liu L, Mori M, et al. Taurine as the nutritional factor for the longevity of the Japanese revealed by a world-wide epidemiological survey. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;643:13-25.
  2. Ripps H, Shen W. Review: Taurine: A “very essential” amino acid. Mol Vis. 2012;18:2673-86.
  3. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Oct 23;115(43):10836-10844. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1809045115.
  4. Lourenço R1, Camilo ME. Taurine: a conditionally essential amino acid in humans? An overview in health and disease. Nutr Hosp. 2002 Nov-Dec;17(6):262-70.
  5. Wójcik O, Koenig K, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Costa M, Chen Y. The potential protective effects of taurine on coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis. 2010 Jan; 208(1): 19.
  6. U.S.D.A., Agricultural Marketing Service. Taurine Handling/Processing. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Taurine%20report%202011.pdf. Accessed 05/29/2019.
  7. Waldron M, Patterson SD, Tallent J, Jeffries O. The Effects of an Oral Taurine Dose and Supplementation Period on Endurance Exercise Performance in Humans: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2018 May;48(5):1247-1253.
  8. Waldron M, Patterson SD, Tallent J, Jeffries O. The Effects of Oral Taurine on Resting Blood Pressure in Humans: a Meta-Analysis. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2018 Jul 13;20(9):81.
  9. Schaffer S, Kim HW. Effects and Mechanisms of Taurine as a Therapeutic Agent. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2018 May; 26(3): 225–241.

Green Tea Health Benefits and Safety

Julia Dosik BS, MPH

Can green tea really make a difference in your health?


Out of all the teas produced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea contains the highest levels of powerful nutrients called catechins (pronounced cat-eh-kins). There are eight main catechins found in green tea. Of them, the most notable is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), accounting for about 65% of all green tea catechins.1 These nutrients help provide cardiovascular and metabolic benefits, including green tea’s ability to support healthy weight. Therefore, it is no surprise that green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks and supplements on the market.


Is green tea good for your heart?

Consuming green tea is correlated with improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reduction in body fat. In fact, one of the most reputable medical journals, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), published a study showing that those who consumed more than fivecups of green tea daily experienced a 26% lower risk of death from cardiovascular events compared with people who drank less than one cup daily.2 In another study, when individuals with existing high blood pressure were given a beverage with green tea extract containing catechins, their systolic blood pressure was reduced by an average 9 mm Hg in 12 weeks.3 Imbalanced cholesterol levels are a huge risk factor for cardiovascular disease. When given green tea extract mixed with catechins for six weeks, obese and/or overweight women experienced a 4.8% decrease in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.4 Thus, when it comes to cardiovascular benefits, it is evident that the research is on green tea’s side.

Can green tea reduce belly fat?

Many consumers seek out green tea to aid with weight loss—and for good reason. Research shows that when individuals consumed a green tea extract mixture with catechins daily for 12 weeks, they had about a 10% reduction in body fat (including visceral fat), as well as a 1-inch waist circumference reduction.3 Not bad from just consuming a natural plant extract daily!

What is matcha green tea?

Matcha is a type of green tea made by taking the young leaves and grinding them into a bright green powder. Matcha leaves grow on green tea bushes in Japan, but they are kept in the shade. Keeping them in the shade increases the amount of chlorophyll content, which is the pigment that gives the leaves their bright green color. In terms of catechin content, matcha also contains high amounts of EGCG.

What is the best way to consume green tea?

Although the pleasant taste of both matcha and regular green tea is a bonus for its consumption, one must drink large amounts of the tea to boost blood levels of the catechins for them high enough to provide these health benefits. Since it is not as common for people in Western cultures to consume the high amounts of green tea that is consumed in Eastern Asia, the development of potent green tea extracts has been on the rise. Concentrated green tea extracts are formulated in a way that retains high amounts of catechins, making them even more absorbable than green tea beverages alone. In fact, there is a novel green tea extract providing eight key catechins found in green tea. Taking one capsule daily is equivalent to drinking up to 12 cups of standard green tea!

Is green tea safe?

Green tea is generally regarded as safe to drink and supplement with. Individuals who are sensitive to caffeine may want to limit their daily intake or try a decaffeinated green tea beverage and/or supplement. Statements of green tea causing liver injury have made their way through the popular media. Despite concerning media headlines, the truth is that reports of green tea causing any injury are extremely rare. When taking an extract, do not exceed the recommended dose on the label. Green tea has been shown to be beneficial and safe in myriad studies. Life Extension continues to stand by the wide range of published research showing that green tea supports good health through various beneficial biochemical mechanisms.

Do I need green tea?

The benefits of green tea have been scientifically validated, so including it in your diet and/or supplement regimen is a sound choice. Green tea’s optimizing impact on cardiovascular health and weight reduction makes this powerful extract even more appealing to individuals looking to support their health in these areas—especially since cardiovascular disease and obesity are health concerns in the United States. Whether you are trying to match the JAMA-reported study and drink five cups of green tea per day, or you take a high-quality and potent green tea extract daily, there is no question that you will be providing your body with powerful catechins for overall body performance!

About the Author: Julia Dosik, BS, MPH, is a clinical corporate trainer at Life Extension headquarters in South Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and psychology as well as a Master of Public Health specializing in health education. Julia utilizes a mix of in-person, virtual and written training to educate employees and consumers on how the human body functions and the importance of supplementing with science-backed ingredients. It is her deepest belief that high-quality dietary supplements are fundamental to an individual’s physical and mental well-being.




References:
  1. Mancini E, Beglinger C, Drewe J, et al. Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. Phytomedicine. 2017Oct 15;34:26-37.
  2. Kuriyama S, Shimazu T, Ohmori K, et al. Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: the Ohsaki study. JAMA. 2006 Sep 13;296(10):1255-65.
  3. Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007Jun;15(6):1473-83.
  4. Huang L-H, Liu C-Y, Wang L-Y, et al. Effects of green tea extract on overweight and obese women with high levels of low density-lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C): a randomized, double-blind, and cross-over placebo-controlled clinical trial. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018 Nov 6;18(1):294.

Effective Therapies for Heart Health: Revisiting Standard Recommendations

Heart Health Tips

How do you maintain a healthy heart? Is it enough to follow a low-fat diet, take your Lipitor® and work out on a treadmill every day? The answers may surprise you.

Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease has come a long way during the past few decades. Advice once accepted as standard has been expanded and improved. There’s a lot more to a healthy heart than maintaining a low level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and avoiding dietary fat. And while most types of safe exercise benefit the heart, some forms may be more effective than others.

Learn more about heart health below and listen to the Live Foreverish Podcast with Life Extension’s own Michael A. Smith, MD, as he discusses “The Heart of the Matter.”

How can you improve your heart health? Statins alone may not be enough.

Statin drugs that reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), such as Lipitor®, are among the most well-studied cardiovascular pharmaceuticals. In “Statins for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Adults: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force,” which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2016, researchers analyzed 19 trials that compared the effects of statin therapy to a placebo or no statin in a total of 71,344 participants without prior cardiovascular events.1 Statin therapy was associated with a 14% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 31% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, a 29% lower risk of stroke, a 36% lower risk of heart attack and a 30% reduction in composite cardiovascular outcomes. However, a recent study that included 165,411 participants who did not have cardiovascular disease prior to statin therapy found that more than half of the subjects failed to achieve optimal reduction of LDL within two years of starting the drugs.2 However, the authors remark that “variations in individual patient genotypes, and probably non-adherence, may be an important explanation for this phenomenon.”

Related Article: Are Standard Lipid Profile Tests Enough? Advanced Cholesterol Testing

“Despite aggressive LDL-cholesterol management with statins, there remains a residual risk for coronary heart disease events in high-risk patients,” write E. Dembowski and M.H. Davidson in a recent view. “Secondary targets have been proposed to decrease this risk, including non–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and apolipoprotein B, as well as other emerging targets, including LDL particle number and lipoprotein(a). In many high-risk patients, statin monotherapy is unlikely to achieve goals, and combination therapy with other agents is a safe, effective, and optimal therapeutic approach.”3

The secondary targets listed by the authors are among a number of factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular events. In fact, Life Extension® has identified 19 factors associated with cardiovascular disease risk.

If you’ve been prescribed a statin drug by your physician, it is important to take this medication as recommended. Nutritional supplements such as pantethine, red yeast rice extract, Indian gooseberry (amla) and niacin may also help lower LDL.4-8

How to improve heart health naturally

Is the long-recommended low-fat diet best to prevent heart disease?

Research continues to reveal heart-healthy effects for a Mediterranean diet, which includes high amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, nuts and olive oil, and limits butter and spreadable fats, red and processed meat, and commercial baked goods. A meta-analysis of six trials that compared Mediterranean with low-fat diets concluded that a Mediterranean diet had more favorable changes in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, total cholesterol and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, leading the authors to conclude that “Mediterranean diets appear to be more effective than low-fat diets in inducing clinically relevant long-term changes in cardiovascular risk factors and inflammatory markers.”9

While the Mediterranean diet is relatively low in saturated fat compared with the standard American diet, it does provide healthy fats that may be marginalized in a low-fat diet. Additionally, prepackaged low-fat products consumed by many individuals may contain higher amounts of simple sugars, which contribute to inflammation and other health hazards.

What is the best exercise routine for heart health?

Aerobic exercise, like that done on a treadmill or cycle, can help boost cardiovascular health. However, some recent research suggests that circuit training may be more beneficial than the commonly practiced routine consisting of an uninterrupted stretch of “cardio” combined with resistance (weight) training.

Circuit training involves participating in a series of different exercises performed in rotation, with a little rest between them. It can involve exercises using weights or other equipment, or short bursts of aerobic activity. Quickly moving from an exercise involving one body part to that involving another part allows the first exercised area to rest and recover while another area is being trained.

A recent study compared the effects of circuit-based aerobic resistance training with combined resistance training and aerobic exercise in 34 sedentary women. Seventeen women were assigned to a circuit-based whole-body aerobic resistance training group that involved various exercises using only body weight as resistance. The remaining women participated in aerobic exercise plus resistance training that mainly involved the use of weight machines.

How to keep your heart healthy and strong

Pre- and post-training assessments revealed improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness in the circuit-trained group while the aerobic fitness of those who engaged in combined training did not improve. “Our results suggest that a circuit-based whole-body aerobic resistance training program can elicit a greater cardiorespiratory response and similar muscular strength gains with less time commitment compared with a traditional resistance training program combined with aerobic exercise,” Terrence R. Myers and colleagues conclude.10

However, any physical activity is better for heart health than none unless you have a medical condition that requires you to avoid physical activity. If you don’t have access to circuit-training facilities, aim for 150 minutes weekly of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as tennis, brisk walking, water aerobics or leisurely biking. Alternatively, you can target 75 minutes per week of high-intensity activity, such as running, hiking uphill or backpacking, swimming laps or jumping rope.

How to have a healthy heart for life

Standard recommendations for heart health and useful medical knowledge are constantly evolving. By keeping up with the latest findings and putting them into practice, you can ensure your heart will be better able to keep up with the demands of living a longer and fuller life.

About Live Foreverish: Join Dr. Mike as he sits down with some of today’s leading medical, health and wellness experts to discuss a variety of health-related topics. From whole-body health to anti-aging and disease prevention, you’ll get the latest information and advice to help you live your life to the fullest. If you like what you hear, please take a moment to give Live Foreverish a 5-star rating on iTunes!

References
  1. Chou R et al. JAMA. 2016 Nov 15;316(19):2008-2024.
  2. Akyea RK et al. Heart. 2019 Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Dembowski E et al. J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2009 Jan-Feb;29(1):2-12.
  4. Evans M et al. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2014 Feb 27;10:89-100.
  5. Liu J et al. Chin Med. 2006 Nov 23;1:4.
  6. Upadya H et al. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Jan 22;19(1):27.
  7. Kim SH et al. Clin Ther. 2011 Oct;33(10):1357-64.
  8. Elam MB et al. JAMA. 2000 Sep 13;284(10):1263-70.
  9. Nordmann AJ et al. Am J Med. 2011 Sep;124(9):841-51.e2.
  10. Myers TR et al. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):1592-600.

Why is High Blood Pressure a Silent Killer?

What’s the No. 1 risk factor for cardiovascular disease?

Is it high cholesterol? Stress? Being male? If you guessed high blood pressure (hypertension), you’re ahead of many of us. High blood pressure is one of the strongest risk factors for cardiovascular disease.1 However, a large number of people are unaware they have high blood pressure because they have no symptoms. No wonder they call it the silent killer.

Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease are not controllable. Older age, male gender, being postmenopausal and having a family history of the disease are uncontrollable risk factors. Fortunately for many, hypertension is among the controllable risk factors, in addition to smoking, being overweight, having diabetes or metabolic syndrome and the presence of elevated triglycerides and cholesterol.

How many of us know our average blood pressure reading and have had it recently measured? And how many who have been told they have high blood pressure have taken steps to control it?

Listen to Life Extension’s Michael A. Smith, MD, and Crystal Gossard, DCN, CNS®, LDN, as they review the importance of blood pressure in heart disease on www.LiveForeverish.com

What is normal blood pressure?

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. When the top number (systolic) is between 120 and 129 mm Hg and the bottom number (diastolic) is less than 80 mm Hg, blood pressure is elevated. Stage 1 hypertension occurs when the systolic reading is between 130 and 139 mm Hg and the diastolic reading is 80 to 89 mm Hg. Stage 2 hypertension is categorized as blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg.2

Some evidence suggests that a target blood pressure of 115/75 mm Hg may be optimal.

Blood pressure meaning

Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure inside the blood vessels when the heart beats and when the heart is at rest.

Systolic blood pressure (the top number) measures the pressure inside the blood arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) reflects the pressure within the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats.

When pressure against the walls of the arteries is chronically elevated, it slowly damages the blood vessel lining. This makes the arterial lining susceptible to the buildup of plaque, which narrows the arteries and further increases pressure. If plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form that blocks narrowed arteries and impedes blood flow. When blockage occurs in the arteries that provide blood to the heart muscle, it is called a heart attack (myocardial infarction). When it occurs in the vessels that nourish the brain (due to blood-clot formation within the vessel, or a blood clot or plaque that traveled through the bloodstream), it is known as a stroke (cerebrovascular accident). High blood pressure can also cause a blood vessel in the brain to burst, which is known as a hemorrhagic stroke.3

Blood pressure measurement

Blood pressure is measured with a device known as a sphygmomanometer. Many of these devices are now electronic and can rapidly deliver accurate blood pressure measurements when applied to the arm or wrist. Because blood pressure changes throughout the day and may be higher than usual when measured in a medical practitioner’s office due to “white coat syndrome” (patient anxiety), monitoring blood pressure at home is an ideal way to gauge the effectiveness of one’s blood pressure maintenance program.

How to lower blood pressure

You’ve heard it before, but not smoking; maintaining a healthy weight; consuming a healthy diet (such as the DASH or Mediterranean diet) that contains a low amount of salt; engaging in regular, physician-approved exercise; and periodic monitoring of blood pressure by a medical professional, along with taking any prescribed medicines as directed, are essential for blood-pressure control.

Long-term stress management is also important. Learn how to handle life’s challenges in a positive manner. Meditation, walking or engaging in other relaxing activities can be helpful. Those who need more help may wish to ask their physicians about biofeedback therapy, which helps train the user to modify factors that affect blood pressure. In one study of biofeedback training among hypertensive patients, more than half lowered their blood pressure sufficiently enough to eliminate the need for medication.4 Similar reductions in blood pressure occurred among those who were not using blood pressure medications.

Foods to reduce blood pressure

As part of a comprehensive program to support healthy blood pressure, fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in sodium are good dietary choices. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet recommends fruit and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products to lower blood pressure.5 Combining this eating pattern with sodium reduction has been associated with an even greater benefit.6

Nutritional supplements can be added to the diet to further improve blood pressure management. Research suggests that quercetin, stevioside (from stevia), fish oil, magnesium, pomegranate and potassium may be helpful.7-12

Although it often has no symptoms, high blood pressure is nothing to ignore. It’s critical to have blood pressure checked periodically, particularly as we get older. If you have high blood pressure, count yourself among the lucky individuals who have a health condition that is largely controllable. You’ll find that the recommended lifestyle changes that help control blood pressure will benefit many other aspects of health and well-being and lower the risk of other aging-associated conditions.

About Live Foreverish: Join Dr. Mike as he sits down with some of today’s leading medical, health and wellness experts to discuss a variety of health-related topics. From whole-body health to anti-aging and disease prevention, you’ll get the latest information and advice to help you live your life to the fullest. If you like what you hear, please take a moment to give Live Foreverish a 5-star rating on iTunes!

References

1. Kjeldsen SE et al. Pharmacol Res. 2018 Mar;129:95-99.
2. Whelton PK et al. Circulation. 2018 Oct 23;138(17):e426-e483.
3. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/health-threats-from-high-blood-pressure
4. Fahrion S et al. Biofeedback Self Regul. 1986 Dec;11(4):257-77.
5. Chiu S et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Feb;103(2):341-7.
6. Sacks FM et al. N Engl J Med. 2001 Jan 4;344(1):3-10.
7. Larson AJ et al. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jan;3(1):39-46.
8. Liu JC et al. Pharmacology. 2003 Jan;67(1):14-20.
9. Geleijnse JM et al. J Hypertens. 2002 Aug;20(8):1493-9.
10. Rosanoff A et al. Magnes Res. 2013 Jul-Sep;26(3):93-9.
11. Asgary S et al. Phytother Res. 2014 Feb;28(2):193-9.
12. Filippini T et al. Int J Cardiol. 2017 Mar 1;230:127-135.

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