Heal your gut
First of all – heal your gut. Inflammation in the gut and poorly digested food and imbalanced gut bacteria will cause untold damage in the rest of your body. This can happen either through nutrients slipping through a leaky gut and causing allergic reactions or nutrients not being adequately absorbed. As a result these nutrients will be unable to perform their function with the body. The wrong gut bacteria can undo a lot of the good work the liver has done to protect you from harmful toxins.
A gut healing protocol could include:
- Cutting out irritating food for 3 months
- If you think you have parasites consider anti-microbial herbs/supplements such as Golden Seal or citricidal grapefruit seed extract
- Adding in a probiotic food (fermented food such as sauerkraut) and probiotic capsules, especially Bifidobacterium and Lacto bacill
- Supplementing with glutamine (not to high a dose – especially if you suffer from anxiety)
- Consuming as much chicken broth and cabbage juice as you can
- Add bitters (dandelion, apple cider vinegar) to your diet to promote gastro function
- Take digestive enzymes to help you break down food
- Consider diagnostic tests to tell you which bacteria you are low/high on, how leaky your gut is and if you have any unwanted friends (candida/parasites).
Fountain of youth hormone?
Increase DHEA naturally
DHEA is a hormone that stimulates the immune system, balances cortisol (stress hormone) and lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol. Good levels of DHEA are associated with healthy ageing. However it does decrease with age and with chronic stress. Studies show a strong relationship between low DHEA levels and a wide range of age-related illnesses. (Perrini S 2005).
DHEA is made from cholesterol and your body makes cholesterol from healthy fats. You can get healthy fats from a variety of sources such as avocados, olive oil, flax seed oil, coconut oil and nuts and seeds (in moderation). Eat plenty of omega 3 fatty acids (most bio-available in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines). Have 2 portions of omega 3 fish a week and/or 1.5-3 g omega 3 oil each day. Additionally, Omega 3 also has an anti- inflammatory effect.
Other significant DHEA boosters:
• Human touch
• Calorie restriction (+ immune system boost, chance to repair damage, reversing insulin resistance)
• Ashwaganda – anti stress (stress depletes DHEA).
There is controversy surrounding supplementing directly with DHEA. This is due to the fact in several scientific studies DHEA’s positive impact have been unreliable. Equally the side effects of overdose are significant. As a result boosting your own bodies production of DHEA is a safer and possibly more effective approach.
The Anti-Oxidant King
Glutathione is the most powerful anti-oxidant in the body – made of the amino acids glycine, glutamate and cysteine. So finding sources of these amino acids will lead directly to increased Glutathione. Glutathione regulates and regenerates immune cells and is essential for metabolism and detoxification. Low levels are associated with premature aging.
• Eating whey (cold pressed, organic, from grass fed cows) is a good way to boost glutathione if you eat dairy, are ok with Caysine and are not dealing with uncontrolled growth (e.g. cancer)
• Other than whey the highest sources of precursor amino acids are spinach, potatoes, asparagus, avocado, squash, okra, cauliflower, broccoli, walnuts, garlic, and tomatoes; Be aware that cooking reduces the glutathione content of vegetables by 30-60%, and canning eliminates it completely
• Cysteine can be made from the essential amino acid methionine found in: meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, quinoa, buckwheat, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, and to a lesser degree dry spirulina.
• Milk thistle – increases glutathione levels in hepatic cells
• Alpha lipoic acid recycles glutathione the richest source can be found in organ meat (yes …. liver)
• Turmeric (1-3g per day of cut root) boosts glutathione synthesis. Make sure you have it with pepper
(University of Maryland Medical Centre 2014)
Oxidative damage is like rust in your body. It occurs naturally but is made worse by many controllable factors such as stress and damaged fats. Cut out/minimize overheated, saturated fats in processed foods (crisps, chips, falafels, pastries etc). Don’t cook with olive oil and saturated fats, use coconut oil and butter. Consume lots of anti-oxidant food: berries, squash, leafy greens and cooked tomatoes for their lycopene content (up to 10 servings a week are recommended). Boost glutathione as above.
Consider supplementing with Astaxanthia an anti-oxidant more powerful than Vitamin C, and E or Beta Carotene. Unusually, it also crosses blood brain barrier. Mercola recommends 4mgs a day for eye health, 12mgs a day for dementia and suggests that Microalgae from Hawaii provide best source. Start with 2mgs a day and work your way up. Eat with other fats for absorption (Mercola.com 2013).
Glucose from sugars (natural or otherwise) attach to proteins and nucleic acids in your body. These glycated proteins increase as we age. They can seriously hamper the function of essential enzymes and even organs. Keep excess glucose to a minimum and keep insulin resistance at bay. Insulin resistance leads to less energy and more inflammation resulting in more age-related challenges.
How? Go for slow release foods (squash, oats, sweet potatoes, brown rather than white rice, white potatoes, white bread). Experiment with eating less carbs and more fat. Try having cakes made with ingredients like sweet potatoes and almonds rather than traditional flour (including gluten free flour). Eat fat and fibre with carbohydrate foods, it slows down the release of glucose and therefore insulin. Exercise has a dramatic impact on insulin resistance and therefore how effectively your body uses glucose.
Protect your Telomeres
Telomeres protect your DNA from degrading each time cells multiply. Telomeres are often called a cells timekeeper. No Telomeres = cell death, eventually = loss of organ function. In studies women with highest stress levels had shortest telomeres (Epel 2004). Vitamins B12, B9 and C, Zinc, and Omega 3 are associated with longer telomeres and Vitamin D levels can also help to regenerate enzyme telomerase. Regular, vigorous exercise is also strongly associated with significantly longer telomeres. (Kim JH 2012).
Other age defying nutrients
• Increase vegetable intake to 8-10 portions a day. If you eat more than 7 you have 42% less chance of death from any cause. (Oyebode O et al 2013). Remember 1 portion may be more than you think.
• Green tea: Chemo-protective. Protects skin from decrease in collagen, improves insulin sensitivity and reduces inflammation (Glenville 2012)
• Resveratrol: Helps protect cells from free radical damage, inhibit spread of cancer, lowers blood pressure, down regulated inflammatory response (red wine, red grapes)
• Anti-inflammatory nutrients – ginger, flax, walnuts
• Mediterranean style diet – fish, vegetables, good oils, moderate red wine
• Enough protein – 1.2g per kg of body weight a day. E.G. 46g for relatively inactive woman (1 egg = 6 grams, 1 palm sized piece of meat/fish = 25g, 1/2 cup lentils = 9 grams)
• 2 litres of water per day
• Garlic – tumour suppression, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial
And last but certainly not least the following have been strongly associated with a long life:
- a sense of purpose in life
- being part of a strong social network
- having low levels of stress
- having some kind of spiritual/religious belief
Its really not rocket science is it!