Healthy Aging

  • Uncovering Tai Chi’s Health Benefits

    TaiChiReady for a new workout routine? Tai chi combines the benefits of meditation, yoga, strength training and more.

    Tai chi has been used for centuries as a physical practice meant to center your focus and move energy (or “chi”) through the body. Its modern-day application offers a wealth of benefits—it can strengthen and tone muscles, reduce blood pressure, improve balance and coordination, and encourage relaxation.

    “Tai chi is a healing practice,” says Dr. Brad Jacobs, MD, and chair of Pharmaca’s Integrative Health Advisory Board. “It’s more refined than just going for a run because you’re moving your body in a way that requires more focus and coordination. It’s more of a mind-body experience.”

    So how does tai chi work, exactly? At its roots it’s a Chinese martial art that involves 108 different movements. Tai chi classes are most often taught at martial arts schools, and novices begin by learning sets of 21 movements at a time. At many schools, the practice will also include stretching and strength building with each session, making it feel like more of a workout.

    “You’d be surprised by how much physical condition and aerobic capacity you have when you do tai chi,” says Dr. Jacobs. “The stamina that you build from doing this practice is remarkable.”

    Health benefits
    Tai chi has been shown to decrease the rate of cognitive decline in seniors and can help maintain bone density as we age. Aging adults will also find that it gives them a better sense of stability and balance—and thus more confidence, says Dr. Jacobs.

    Tai chi can also speed recovery after a stroke since it guides you through movements meant to strengthen both sides of the body. Generally, though, tai chi helps move energy through your meridians, clearing blockages that can impair overall health and wellbeing.

    Because of its health benefits, Dr. Jacob recommends his patients practice every day, if only for 15 minutes. “Ideally you would go to a class 2-3 times a week, then practice at home on the other days,” he says. “You’ll learn a lot more, and you’ll progress much more quickly.”

    Moving meditation
    One of the other reasons Dr. Jacobs likes to recommend tai chi is because it’s a moving meditation. “Since you’re moving, you have to focus on what you’re doing so you’re less likely to have your mind wander,” he says. During sitting meditation, it can be a lot harder to keep your focus, he says.

    “Go find people practicing in a park,” suggests Dr. Jacobs. You’ll even in find people doing it in Central Park in the winter.” And at the end, you feel refreshed and energized, he says, and you get to enjoy the outdoors.

    Want to try it at home? Dr. Jacobs recommends checking out the YouTube series Tai Chi Silk Reeling: Home Practice by Sifu Sam Sun.

  • 4 Good Reasons to Take Omega-3s

    Mom and DaughterOmega-3s like DHA and EPA are called essential fatty acids for a reason—they’re essential to our health. But just why are omega-3s so essential? We spoke with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, ND, member of Pharmaca’s Integrative Health Advisory Board, about why she recommends essential fatty acids.

    Fighting inflammation
    “Fish oil can help normalize the inflammatory process in the body,” says Dr. Low Dog. That’s vital, she says, because it seems that inflammation is what’s driving many of the chronic ailments we see today. We need a certain level of inflammation to heal ourselves, she says, but it’s the chronic levels that are causing a lot of health problems—like allergies, heart disease, arthritis, cancer and more.

    Reducing insulin resistance
    “Omega-3s have been shown to have very beneficial effects on insulin resistance in obese people without diabetes,” says Dr. Low Dog. People in this pre-diabetic stage see real results from fish oil, which helps increase insulin sensitivity, she says, and therefore reduces the risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes. And since the CDC believes the rate of diabetes in America will continue to increase, taking omega-3s preventively can be vital for a large portion of our population.

    Supporting baby’s neurodevelopment
    “Most of our brain and eyes are made from DHA,” says Dr. Low Dog. That’s why it’s a vitally important nutrient for baby’s development, specifically during pregnancy and breastfeeding. “You can’t give what you don’t have, so the baby may not be getting enough if there’s not enough DHA in Mom’s diet or they’re not getting a formula with added DHA.” That’s why she recommends that all pregnant or breastfeeding women eat fish or supplement with a vegetarian source of DHA.

    Boosting cardiovascular health
    There’s so much evidence showing EPA’s ability to lower triglycerides that it’s approved by the FDA as an effective therapy, either by prescription or over-the-counter fish oil supplements.  “Studies have shown that about 4,000 mg per day can reduce triglycerides by about 30 percent,” says Dr. Low Dog. She adds that because omega-3s help fight inflammation and lower insulin resistance, they can also help reduce heart disease risk. “With fish oil, you’re getting a multitude of benefits for the cardiovascular system.”

    A few more reasons…
    There is strong evidence for fish oil’s effects on rheumatoid arthritis. “What they’ve found is that when you give 5,000 mg of fish oil to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, it actually can reduce the need for so much medication. People are also more likely to go into remission,” says Dr. Low Dog.

    “We think inflammation may be a direct link to depression,” says Dr. Low Dog, so fish oil’s ability to lower inflammation may also have some beneficial effects on depression itself. Medications used to treat depression can also drive inflammation, and it is well known people suffering from depression usually have a higher risk of heart disease. That’s why Dr. Low Dog almost always puts patients with depression or bipolar disorder on at least 1,000 mg of EPA per day.

    There are new studies that showing overweight people, especially those with high abdominal obesity, saw greater weight loss on 1,000 mg of fish oil per day than others taking a placebo. “Weight around the midsection can increase insulin resistance, increase triglyceride levels, increase inflammation…and fish oil can help combat all of that,” says Dr. Low Dog. As if there wasn’t enough to love about fish oil!

    Speak with your doctor or a Pharmaca practitioner about finding the right fish oil and dosage for your health concerns.

  • Your Skin: Three Anti-Aging Strategies

    Keep your skin fresh and glowing throughout the coming years! We spoke with Janet Nelson, esthetician at our Oakland store, about three powerful ways to keep aging skin on the DL.

    Essential fatty acids are key to healthy, moisturized skin, says Janet. One product in particular that’s great is Supercritical Omega-7 from New Chapter, which is good for hydrating the skin and the internal mucous membranes, which helps the entire body maintain a youthful feel.

    “I’m also a big fan of evening primrose oil, an essential fatty acid that’s great for dry skin—and psoriasis and eczema. It’s very hydrating, like all nutritional oils,” says Janet. (Try Evening Primrose Oil from Pharmaca or Barleans.)

    Finally, she recommends adding in Natural Factors’ BioSil. “It’s always nice to boost your collagen, but BioSil not only makes the skin look great—it also nourishes the hair and the nails.”

    Anti-aging serums have nourishing, protective properties that help fight the free radical damage that can speed the aging process. “They protect the skin through antioxidants like vitamin C or pomegranate,” says Janet. The more you can limit free radicals, the more you can keep the skin looking good.

    That’s why she turns to serums infused with a variety of vitamins and active botanicals. “Sanitas’ Vita C Serum is one of my favorites,” says Janet. She also likes the Desert Recovery Serum from Cowgirl. Both of these, she says, can be applied to clean skin and double as a moisturizer, since they’re also packed with essential fatty acids.

    A few things can help keep skin calm and glowy in the first place, says Janet, including hydration, maintaining low stress levels and regular exfoliation. “We have a new Lemongrass Facial Polish from evanhealy that’s amazing.” As a powder, you can add water—or one of evanhealy’s hydrosols for extra nourishment—until you get the right consistency. “You can feel it working as you’re massaging it into the skin.” Because it’s mild, it can be used 2-3 a week on normal skin. “When you put your serums over the top and mist with a hydrosol, you feel radiant.”

    “Of course, keeping a handle on the stress in one’s life makes the skin and the aging process even smoother,” says Janet. “So don’t forget your adaptogenic herbs!” And make sure you’re drinking enough water, especially in the summer months. She recommends raw coconut water as a wonderful way to get refreshed and rehydrated quickly.

    For more anti-aging strategies for your skin, speak with a Pharmaca esthetician today.

  • Video: Reducing Bone Loss Through Nutrition and Supplementation

    Bone loss is a common health concern among aging women, especially during menopause--here, Dr. Tori Hudson, ND, talks about strategies to boost your bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.

    This is part of a series of educational videos from members of our Integrative Health Advisory Board.

  • Simple Steps to Healthy Aging

    AgingSupport the healthy aging process with nutrition and supplements that can help keep your bones strong, your heart healthy and your mind sharp. We spoke with Karen Carleton, naturopathic doctor at our Portland store, about some of the things we should be thinking about as we age.

    Inflammation is the source of so many of our health complaints,” says Karen. “We all have a certain amount of inflammation, and as we age, that increases.” To combat inflammation, she recommends turmeric, which is not only good for reducing inflammation, but also good for brain health. New Chapter’s Zyflamend incorporates turmeric, and can be beneficial for your blood vessels and joint health as well.

    Enzymes are another key inflammation fighter. “If you take them with food it’s going to work more on digestion,” says Karen. “But taken away from food, it works systemically on whole body inflammation.” Wobenzym-N, from Garden of Life, is especially good for systemic inflammation, she says, and she often recommends it for aches and pains, like knee and hip joint pain. She adds that depending on your needs, you can continue to up your dosage and it’s still quite safe.

    Of course, good digestive health is important, too. In this vein, Karen recommends a high-quality, well-made probiotic like Dr. Ohirra’s or Pharmax HLC. “They support the immune system, boost digestive health and support good nutrition,” she says.

    “Another thing that comes to mind as far as anti-aging is a good antioxidant,” says Karen. Look for anything with dark blue, red and purple pigments, like Natural Factors’ BlueRich Blueberry Concentrate. Or look for products that contain trans-resveratrol, she says, like Reserveage Organics Resveratrol, which in studies has been shown to produce a marked reduction in signs of aging, including greater motor coordination, preserved bone strength and reduced cataract formation.

    Bone strength is another important factor in aging. “Calcium-rich food is always the best place to start,” says Karen, but don’t forget about weight-bearing exercise. “Without it you’re not going to build bone.” Even walking helps give that message to your bones that they need to continue being strong, she says. As far as supplements, Karen recommends New Chapter’s Bone Strength Take Care. “It’s plant-based calcium, with small molecules that are easy to digest, and the formula itself has vitamins and minerals that are also important for building bones like vitamins D and K.”

    Finally, Karen says, make sure you’re getting essential fatty acids like DHA, which are vital for reducing inflammation, boosting cognitive health, heart health and more. She recommends Nordic Naturals’ DHA, from fish oil, or Bluebonnet’s Vegetarian DHA, from algae.

  • Facing Up to the Facts About Aging

    Crow’s feet and laugh lines starting to appear? As we add years to our life, the building blocks of strong skin and bones start to weaken, betraying our age. We talked with esthetician Carolyn Racke at Pharmaca in San Francisco about keeping your skin looking younger with proper nutrition and prevention.

    Issue: Weakening cartilage and bones
    Just like the rest of the skeleton, the bones and cartilage in the face can lose mass and density, changing bone structure and your appearance. As you might expect, Carolyn recommends a strong dose of calcium. “For women, it’s especially important to be taking a multivitamin that includes a good amount of calcium,” she says, recommending New Chapter Every Woman’s One Daily.

    “I actually recommend having your doctor do a bone density scan,” says Carolyn. “A lot of women who think they’re healthy actually have weak bones.” If that’s the case, make sure you’re supplementing with additional calcium. (Check your store events page to find out if bone density scans are available at your Pharmaca.)

    Issue: Collagen and elastin breaking down
    Collagen begins to diminish rapidly after the age of 30 (1 percent per year, says Carolyn), which creates a loss of firmness and elasticity. “Our cells don’t turn over as quickly, which leads to wrinkles,” says Carolyn. She recommends Natural Factors BioSil, a great internal addition that can help generate collagen, elastin and keratin, and helps strengthen bones and joints.

    Sun exposure also can speed up the break down of collagen. “One of the most important things is to protect your skin from the sun,” says Carolyn. Even in the winter months, make sure you’re adding a sunblock into your daily routine. A Pharmaca favorite--Jurlique Sun Lotion SPF 30.

    Issue: Fat loses volume and structure
    Our faces may be the one place where we’d rather not lose fat. As fat cells lose plumpness and structure, they can shift and sag. While it may not be possible to stop this process, you may be able to slow it with essential fatty acids from fish oil or evening primrose oil. “Evening primrose is also good for balancing your hormones, which can aid in other skin issues,” says Carolyn.

    For more advice about keeping your skin looking younger, longer, speak with a Pharmaca practitioner today.

  • Expert Advice on Arthritis

    By Dr. Tori Hudson, ND

    Dr. Hudson is a member of Pharmaca's Integrative Health Advisory Board and Medical Director of A Woman's Time Clinic in Portland, Ore.

    In my women’s health practice, we frequently see cases of miscellaneous joint aches, injury-related pains, swelling of the bursa (called bursitis), and bona fide osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. There are other causes of joint pains of course…but they are less common.

    Joint inflammation and/or degeneration are not generally considered “women’s conditions.” But it’s important to note that arthritis and other joint conditions are far more common in women than in men, and are therefore on the top 10 list of health concerns for many women. In fact, nearly twice as many women (26 million) suffer from arthritis than men (14.2 million).

    These conditions can have dramatic effects on a person’s quality of the life, causing pain, limiting activities, and sometimes causing depression and insomnia because of the pain. Joint pain and stiffness can turn otherwise pleasant and enjoyable activities into unpleasant ordeals. Day-to-day activities—like kneeling in the garden, opening jars and cans in the kitchen, swinging a golf club, writing letters, playing the piano, knitting, needlework and other hobbies—can become more and more difficult.

    Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of joint disease and is characterized by erosion of the articular cartilage—and after the age of 45, it’s more common in women than in men. Osteoarthritis often comes with aging and wear and tear of the joint, or from factors like an inherited abnormality of the joint, fractures along the joint surface or previous inflammatory disease of the joints.

    Osteoarthritis was previously considered a degenerative disorder, in which the joint “just wears out.” But recent research has shown that the joint cartilage is very active—at least in the early part of the disease—and continues to repair itself. It is now thought that the disease can be halted and may even be reversible, at least in some individuals.

    Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the joints and sometimes other parts of the body as well. Women suffer from rheumatoid arthritis about three times as frequently as men. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune reaction in which the body’s immune system attacks the joint tissues. Just what triggers this autoimmune reaction remains largely unknown, although it is most likely contributable to more than one factor.

    Rheumatoid arthritis can begin at any age, but is usually first diagnosed in women between the ages of 20-40. The typical onset of rheumatoid arthritis is gradual, but occasionally it can come on suddenly. Although swollen, stiff, painful joints are the hallmarks of the disease, fatigue, weakness and fever may also precede the joint problems. As the disease progresses, the joints of the hands and feet can even become deformed.

    Weight management, physical activity that does not traumatize the joints and a low-inflammatory diet are fundamental to managing joint pain. A low-inflammatory diet is low in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids while emphasizing good fats from fish, as well as whole grains, fruits and vegetables (except the nightshade family—potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes), and deemphasizing foods high in arachidonic acid (e.g. egg yolks, dark poultry meat).

    It’s also important to identify any food allergies and sensitivities, especially in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. Eliminating allergenic foods will very often offer significant benefit to many individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Almost any food can aggravate this condition, but common offenders are wheat, corn, dairy products, beef, food additives and nightshade-family foods (as noted above). Avoiding the nightshades also seems to help many women with osteoarthritis. In fact, reducing my own twice-weekly intake of the “lover’s eggplant” dish at my favorite Chinese restaurant cured me of my own joint pains.

    Supplementation with key nutrients and herbs is the next step to reducing pain from these types of arthritis.

    Lubricate the joints with good fats
    In addition to changes in diet and exercise, I usually prescribe a combination of supplements with therapeutic effects for the joints. I commonly start with essential fatty acids, including borage, evening primrose, black currant and fish oils. I typically receive good feedback from my patients on these oils, and some even say they just feel like their joints are “better lubricated.”

    Quality oils and fats are as important as vitamins and minerals in maintaining our health and in the prevention of many chronic diseases, not just arthritic conditions.  They are therefore a valuable addition to any diet, but are especially important for people with arthritis.

    Additional supplements
    In addition to essential fatty acids, I regularly use many other nutritional supplements and herbs for therapeutic benefit, including niacinamide, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, SAMe and herbs such as devil’s claw, yucca, ginger, boswellia and curcumin.

    Curcumin is a constituent of the plant turmeric, and is receiving a lot of attention and research these days for its use in arthritis pain. Even in a condition as potentially daunting as rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin is showing positive benefits. Look for high-absorption/high bio-availability curcumin products on the market.

    A multi-faceted approach
    Treating joint pain requires patience and a multi-faceted approach. The first step is determining the cause of your joint pain. A qualified practitioner and perhaps even a rheumatology specialist should be able to offer a reliable diagnosis.

    Pain management may involve using some of the conventional pharmaceutical medications, even if only intermittently. Nutritional and herbal supplements are very useful in all kinds of joint pains, but remember they are not “magic bullets.” And the fundamentals of diet, exercise and weight management can be a very important addition to your regimen.

    Although additional research is needed in the area of alternative treatments for joint disease, the evidence that we do have is very encouraging. My own observations and experience in clinical practice are also very rewarding in terms of patient feedback. Their improved quality of life, increased activity and improvement in many day-to-day symptoms are a frequent reminder of the wisdom of nature and the ability of the body to heal.

  • Adding Life to Your Years

    As the average life expectancy continues to increase, more adults are looking for ways to remain healthy well past their AARP induction. Fortunately, Pharmaca empowers you to take control of your health with a wide selection of helpful products and a knowledgeable staff to provide guidance. Whimsy Anderson, a naturopathic doctor at our Brentwood store, shares some of her favorite recommendations for living a healthier, more active life.

    An Active Mind
    Research such as a 2005 Harvard University study has shown the importance of antioxidants in combating free radical damage to neurons. That's why Dr. Anderson recommends supplementing your diet with an antioxidant-rich powdered greens formula to ensure you are getting enough. She also stresses the importance of increasing intake of DHA from fish oil, regulating blood sugar, and even avoiding deodorants that contain aluminum.
    TRY: Orac-Energy Greens and Natural Factors PGX Slim

    A Healthy Heart
    Heart disease remains the leading killer of Americans, despite the fact that it is an avoidable and reversible condition. According to Dr. Anderson, "it really boils down to eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise," to protect your heart. For those who want additional support, she recommends EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of clotting. She also says CoQ10 and niacin are great for lowering blood pressure.
    TRY: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega and Jarrow Formulas Q-Absorb CoQ10

    Stronger Bones
    Osteoporosis is a preventable condition that causes a weakening of bones, making them more susceptible to breaks and fractures. Supplementing with calcium, magnesium and boron can help support bone deposition. Additionally, Dr. Anderson recommends looking for a formula that includes vitamins K2 and D3 since they work together to carry calcium into bones. She also encourages everyone to get regular exercise including weight-bearing activities.
    TRY: Jarrow Formulas Bone-Up

    A Steady Mood
    Practicing activities like yoga, meditation, and breath work can go a long way toward reducing daily stress and anxiety. "Never underestimate the importance of breathing," says Dr. Anderson. To help boost overall mood, supplement daily with 5-HTP which acts as a precursor for serotonin. Dr. Anderson also notes that it may be helpful to take a blood sugar test since hypoglycemia is sometimes misdiagnosed as depression.
    TRY: Pharmaca Brand 5-HTP

    Be sure to speak with one of our professional staff members at your local Pharmaca for information and advice that fits your individual needs.

  • Aging Has Met its Match in Resveratrol

    How can French people stay so healthy while eating rich foods and drinking red wine? Recent research may have the answer: Red wine is a good source of resveratrol, a natural compound also found in red grape juice, peanuts, blueberries and cranberries. This wonder nutrient shows promise in promoting heart health, increasing life expectancy and preventing cancer.

    The resveratrol found in wine is extracted from the skin of red grapes during the fermentation process. The longer a wine ferments in the presence of grape skins, the greater its final resveratrol content. However, you'd have to drink a lot of red wine to get maximum benefit from resveratrol.

    While a typical glass of wine can contain less than a milligram of resveratrol, supplements like Jarrow's Resveratrol 100 formula contain as much as 100 times that amount. "It's on our 'A list' of healthy aging supplements," says Paul Clark, a clinical herbalist at our Sonoma store, who emphasizes that Jarrow's supplement delivers the compound in an active form.

    So what exactly does resveratrol do? According to aggregated research from the Linus Pauling Institute, laboratory tests have shown the compound boosts heart health by inhibiting clot formation in the arteries and promoting dilation of the arteries.

    The compound may also make people live longer and slow the signs of aging. In studies with yeast, worms and fruit flies, resveratrol stimulated enzymes that lengthened the organisms' lives by as much as 59 percent. Resveratrol had a similar effect on the human version of the enzyme in test tubes.

    In another study, elderly mice that were given resveratrol showed a marked reduction in signs of aging, including greater motor coordination, preserved bone strength and reduced cataract formation. Though the compound did not significantly increase the mice's lifespan, resveratrol showed great promise in reducing some negative effects associated with the aging process.

    Other tests have demonstrated resveratrol's promise when it comes to slowing the progression of cancer. Researchers who added resveratrol to cell cultures found that it inhibits the growth of many cancer cells, including those from breast, prostate, stomach, colon, pancreatic and thyroid cancers.

    Though definitive studies that show resveratrol's effects on humans are still on the horizon, practitioners continue to recommend this antioxidant to boost general health. If you are heart-conscious or young-at-heart, head to Pharmaca to speak with one of our practitioners about our selection of formulas containing resveratrol.

  • The Practice of Aging Gracefully

    Good nutrition and supplementation are a vital part of creating a foundation for optimal health. But there are other practices that can also help your body fight the effects of stress and add life to your years. A plethora of research is now showing that participating in regular practices like yoga, meditation and tai chi can help ease the aging process by boosting heart health, strengthening your body, reducing inflammation and more.

    Tai Chi

    This ancient practice mixes physical movement with meditation and martial arts. Different forms of tai chi have been practiced for hundreds of years in China as a form of fighting, and more recently the exercise has expanded throughout the world. (Find out more about the origins and benefits of tai chi from the Mayo Clinic.)

    The good news is that it's a low-impact exercise, meaning people of all ages can participate by adjusting the intensity of their practice. Here are a few recent studies that show how tai chi can address a variety of health issues:

    Tai chi for older people reduces falls, may help maintain strength

    Two different studies showed that older adults showed a marked improvement in balance, strength and agility after learning tai chi.

    Tai chi can reduce pain and increase physical functioning in arthritis patients

    A study from Tufts University on patients with severe knee arthritis showed that an hour of tai chi, twice a week for 12 weeks, reduced pain and increased physical function more than standard stretching.

    Find a local tai chi class or club by contacting your local YMCA or community center. And, if you or someone you know lives in the Boston area, Harvard University is currently recruiting adults ages 50-79 to participate in a six-month study on the effects of tai chi on overall health.


    Discover what yogis around the world know about this practice-it can relieve stress, strengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility, a recipe for aging well. According to the American Yoga Association, it's been around for more than 5,000 years, and there are now more than 100 different types of yoga. Literally meaning "to join or yoke together," yoga brings together the mind and body in one holistic practice (learn more about the history of yoga).

    The yoga practice can also be adjusted for students of all ages and capabilities, and has been shown to dramatically improve health and longevity. Whether you practice every day or just a few times a week, yoga can be a vital way to reconnect your mind and body. Here's some recent research on the health benefits of yoga:

    Yoga reduces inflammation and the effects of stress in women

    An Ohio State University study showed that women who had been regularly practicing yoga at least twice a week for two years were much better at recovering from stress and had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation.

    Yoga helps chronic back pain

    A brand-new study, organized in part by the National Center for Complementary Medicine, showed that people with chronic low back pain who took 12 weekly classes saw "clinically important improvements in their back-related dysfunction," which lasted well past the end of the study.

    Read more about specific yoga poses that can alleviate symptoms of menopause from Yoga Journal, check out Gaiam Life's guide to simple anti-aging yoga poses, or shop yoga products from Gaiam Life.

    Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Meditation
    Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an emerging practice that draws from the tenets of meditation and yoga, and involves a focus on breathing and awareness of your present surroundings. (Dr. Bradly Jacobs, the chair of our Integrative Health Advisory Board, recommends learning more about MBSR here.)

    By increasing our awareness of the connection between body and mind through meditation or MBSR, we can take control of common health issues such as pain, menopausal symptoms and stress. Here are some recent studies on the benefits of mindfulness:

    Mindfulness lessens pain
    A study done at Wake Forest University showed that participants who were trained in mindfulness through four 20-minute sessions felt pain at a much lower level of intensity and unpleasantness than those who were not trained. Researchers concluded that mindfulness helps the brain restructure itself and take control of sensory experiences.

    Mindfulness soothes the discomfort of hot flashes
    Scientists at the University of Massachusetts showed that women trained in mindfulness felt less discomfort associated with their hot flashes (and slept better!).

    Meditation good for heart health
    A 1991 study reviewed the effects of Dhammakaya Buddhist meditation on markers for heart health in men. The meditating men saw significantly reduced cortisol levels and blood pressure, all good for keeping your heart calm and healthy.

    Whichever you choose, these practices can be integrated into a good supplement regimen--check out some of our favorite healthy aging supplements

1-10 of 15

  1. 1
  2. 2