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  • 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.

  • 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.

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