Category Archives: health

Healthy Magnesium

Healthy Magnesium

The mineral magnesium reduces many conditions like heart and kidney disease, strokes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, type II diabetes, asthma, some cancers, and is correlated with longevity(1). Americans are historically 70% deficient in this mineral that worstens with age.

Life Extension’s recent publication of these findings is embarrassing the medical community who wear blinders. Dr. Faloon draws similarities with the emerging of vitamin D. Both are low cost essential supplements that provide health benefits and have been overlooked by doctors for years.

Magnesium used to be in the water we drink, but bottled and municipal water have stopped that. It is not in the food we eat unless the soil was rich with it. Even then,  studies found that food levels are just too low and unreliable.   The risk of death from any cause is greatly increased with low magnesium levels and creates faster cell aging.

If you’re concerned with cardiovascular disease, results show you are 37% less likely to die of heart attacks when taking magnesium. Calcification or clogging of the arteries was 58% less likely to occur. In another study, men with high levels have less cholesterol and lower blood pressure. They were 41% less likely to have a stroke.

Our kidneys work full time filtering out waste from our blood. If they fail, you will need dialysis the rest of your life. A large study with 13,000 people confirmed that low levels of magnesium correlate with live disease. Results indicated a 58% greater risk of kidney disease with low levels.

Osteoporosis, a concern of aging,  is directly effected since about half of our magnesium is stored in our bones. Calcium and magnesium must be balanced to offset the inflammation to prevent our bones from breaking down. Taking supplements proved to increase bone density including your teeth.

In conclusion, magnesium counters chronic inflammation which contributes to many age related diseases effecting longevity. Since most of us are deficient in this mineral and its low cost, it makes sense to supplement. The government recommended daily amount of magnesium is 420mg for males and 320mg for females. Always consult your doctor as well.

(1) Life Extension Mag 2016 Dec. “The National Magnesium Crisis” No. 12, p.44-51.

More:   www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Menopause Cure

For ages women have been told that menopause is normal and to just accept it. If you are asking me to “just accept” hot flashes, insomnia, getting fat, depression, and loss of my sex drive, that sounds crazy and I’ll never be passive about it. That advice sounds so archaic and dark ages now.

The Menopause Cure(1) takes individualized and restorative medicine to a new level.  There is nothing new about replacement therapies for age related deficiencies. The key question is it effectiveness and toxicity. They distinguish between bioidentical verses synthetic hormones.

Since 1942,  women have been given Premarin which is horse estrogen taken from their urine. The problem with this and other synthetic hormones is they leave toxic byproducts in your body. Bioidentical means that natural hormones are identified and matched with your individual hormone profile. A one size fits all model doesn’t work since all blood profiles are unique.

In an interview(2), the author discusses how skin related changes occur in menopause. Loss of estrogen makes the skin more wrinkled and thiner with easier bruising and slower healing.

Weight gain is another unwanted side effect of menopause. If your insulin is high with low estrogens and poor thyroid performance, you won’t be able to lose weight.  The body will not metabolize food correctly so that fat is burned as energy.

When your libido or sex drive falls, it can effect  your relationship or your motivation to find one.  Many retired folks live in isolation and depression as a result. The social and psychological effects can be long lasting and detrimental . For this to be re-balanced, supplements would include progesterone, testosterone as well as  estrogens.

In conclusion, the final point the author makes is that most chronic and age related illnesses are correlated with hormonal imbalances. It is thought that the aging process can be slowed when optimal levels of hormones, vitamins and minerals are restored. The process involves blood analysis to determine what your individual needs are.  So, rather than suffer symptoms, lets go get restored!

By Lee Johnson of creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Davey, J., Dugan, S. “The Menopause Cure” Leicester, UK, Troubadour Publishing Ltd, 2015                                                                                                                                    (2) Mathena, L. “The Menopause Cure, Hormonal Health” Life Extension Mag, Vol 22, No. 7, July 2016

JIMMY CARTER CANCER CURE

Jimmy Carter’s cancer cure has been a breakthrough and godsend for many people expected to negotiate this terrible disease. The big difference is his treatment was successful without the use of traditional and nauseating chemotherapy.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death behind heart disease. That’s more than 1600 Americans every day. If you ever watched a friend or family go through chemotherapy, you know how awful and sickening that can be. Worse yet, some doctors use chemotherapy for certain cancers which never have responded to that treatment.

Trying to find research that shows if chemotherapy works or not is difficult. We know that 97% of all patients who receive this treatment are deceased in less than five years.  But, simple studies comparing those treated versus those who are not to evaluate if life is extended cannot be found. Yet, most oncologists want to inject this into you and tell you its the only way.

Earlier this year, 91 year old Jimmy Carter announced his cancer cure after using new immune boosting medications. He was suffering from metastatic(spreading) melanoma to his brain and liver. Jimmy Carter was given a combination of Keytruda, surgery, and radiation therapy to send his cancer into remission.

“These drugs work by tearing down defenses tumors erect against immune cell eradication.(1)” This Life Extension article mentions three approved immune drugs also called check point inhibitors: Yervoy, Opdivo and Keytruda. In the past, cancers with multiple gene mutations were more difficult to treat. With these new drugs, it is multiple mutations that respond most favorably.  The article points out another study that injected the immune drug interleukin-2 directly into cancer tumors. All 11 patients in the study responded with a complete absence of malignant cells in a compete srinkage of the tumor.

In terms of treating breast cancer, a similar protocol called photodynamic immunotherapy was used. It begins with sending a photosensitizing agent to the tumor. This enables the immune system to mount a response. Survival rates of these 15 women was similar or exceeded conventional methods. Except in this case, there was no mastectomy, no radiation, no chemotherapy and no serious side effects. For more information about this therapy, call the  Strategic Cancer Alliance at 1-610-628-3419.

In conclusion, not everyone responds as well as Jimmy Carter. But, the architecture for treating cancer is clearly changing. Rather than kill the cells, the medications augment your immune response. In this case, we have some studies that actually show results. Now you have a choice and can ask your oncologist about this new immunotherapy. Finally, a new day has arrived for cancer treatment and survival rates.

(1) Life Extension Mag 2016 June “Immune-Modulating Cancer Drugs” Vol.22, No.6 p84-92.      Photo: Getty Images

Emotional Wellbeing and Catharsis

CATHARSIS is the process of releasing or cleansing oneself of emotional tension. It’s recognized as a form of healing in many cultures and is a common technique used in psychotherapy with conversation. It is this combination of catharsis and personal insight that can bring about positive change and provide emotional wellbeing.

For example, crying after the loss of a parent is a healthy way to release emotions and a great form of catharsis. The tears from crying contain cancerous substances that are flushed from the body.  The cause, of course, is the end of a close relationship. The positive change may be to expand your social network so you are not reliant on too few people in the future. Emotional wellbeing occurs because spreading your emotional bonds to many sources may help you not over react to the loss of one in the future.

There is a theory in psychology that repressed(unexpressed) anger leads to depression. This is a trap that many people get caught in because the culture doesn’t accept outright anger expression and it’s inappropriate in many situations like work. Depression also effects your physical health by reducing your immune response, your social and sexual interest, and disrupts your sleep and appetite. Depression impairs your mental sharpness and is significantly correlated with obesity. So, finding a way to release anger in a healthy manner goes a long way toward our mental and physical health.

Your emotional wellbeing and physical health are so connected that we can treat them as one. That means we all need various emotional outlets like talking to a friend, a sports where you hit something(ball), writing in a diary, acting in a play, artistic expression, volunteering, or helping others in some way. When I’m angry, I walk around the house cussing out loud when no one is around. Then I look to go out for some exercise. I never feel depressed when I do that and I’ve improved my emotional wellbeing and health instead.

Catharsis is a coping mechanism that helps us manage life better and is even a trait for longevity. Having healthy coping skills not only reduces stress and improves health, but also increases self-esteem. That’s right, you feel more confident about yourself when you cope with life effectively.

To maintain our good health, we need regular catharsis on a daily basis.  I actually feel that following your passions socially, at work or in sport is a form of catharsis.  Yes, it’s okay to get angry and expresses it when appropriate. I personally find that a verbal and physical outlet works best for me. But, don’t forget those dependable friendships and a positive attitude to increase the range of your coping skills.

L. Johnson from creativeretirementforwomen.com

Photo: virturalworldslets. net

Longevity Secrets of People Over 100

What can we learn from longevity secrets of people over 100? First, we exclude genetics, but assume this must be in their favor. Second, we look for diet and lifestyle similarities to form a behavioral pattern for healthy aging. Third, we condense these behavioral patterns into major lifestyle themes that led to increased longevity.  Here are their lifestyles.

A study(1) starts with 122 year old JEANNE CALMENT (1875-1997) who actually smoked for 96 years, but only two cigarettes a day. She poured olive oil on all her foods and applied it to her skin. She drank port wine, ate two pounds of chocolate a week and rode her bike until 100. Her cigarette habit may be too little to be significant and she may have been protected by olive oil and other antioxidants.

SARAH KNAUSS(1880-1999) was 119 years old and considered the oldest person from the United States. She worked as a manager of an insurance agency. With little accounts, we have to rely on her daughter for an explanation. “She’s a very tranquil person and nothing fazes her. That’s why she’s living this long.” However, this explanation is not complete and I’m sure there is more to it.

EMILIANO M. DEL TORO(1891-2007) a man of 115 years who was born in Puerto Rico and worked in the cane fields until 81. He claimed that funche, a corn, codfish and milk dish saved him. He also felt that humor played a key role and continued to tell jokes until his final days. He was not as open about his love or social life, but admitted he attended bordellos up to 82 years old. His retirement years after 81 are not well documented, but we know he never lost his libido.

BESSE COOPER(1896-2012) who lived to a healthy 116 was a college grad in 1916 and became Georgia’s oldest resident after working as a school teacher.  She had four children and always loved to read. She was quoted, “Mind your own business and don’t eat junk food. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated, work hard and love what you do.” Besse had respect for others, ate healthy, had a work ethic, and found her passion in education.

BEL KAUFMAN(1911-2014) who passed away at 103 was the Russian author of Up the Down Staircase.  She came to the U. S. at 12 years old and earned a masters degree at Columbia. As a dedicated teacher, she understood the importance of laughter in life. “You can survive by seeing the humor in everything. Thumb your nose at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy.” This is a great attitude for managing stress which is important. She claimed, “I’m too busy to get old” and continued to write until 101 years old.

DR. LAILA DENMARK(1898-2012) enjoyed life as an American pediatrician until she was 103 years old. She was the third of 12 children and passed away at 114. When she turned 100, she refused her birthday cake because it had sugar in it. Her first advice is to eat right and be sure that what you do in life is what you love. She thought employment that you love is really a form of play and she never felt she worked because of that positive attitude.

In conclusion, here are the italic words: olive oil, port wine, chocolate, bike, tranquil, codfish, humor, busy, bordello, respect for others, eat healthy, work, love, humor, love, work, positive attitude.

The most common dominant themes in this order:

1.  A HEALTHY DIET  This seems like the most common of themes for most of the aged. Despite a lack of dietary details, its clear that a healthy diet is part the foundation for longevity. 

2. HUMOR When used as a form of coping and stress reduction, humor can be very effective. If you’re having trouble being funny, I find that a joke book helps.

3.  LOVE OF WORK It doesn’t have to be employment so much as to find something that you really love doing. This one is really about finding your passions to guide you.

4.  PHYSICAL ACTIVITY  Being active and involved seems to take a bigger role than actual exercise. But, the prior generations didn’t have access to gyms and the fitness movement is a recent phenomena that we can benefit from.

5.  SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT Although relationships were not directly mentioned, there would be a lot of social contact though following the love of work and activity themes above.

(1)Heyne, A (no date) “23 People that Lived to 100 Spill Their Secrets of Longevity” Retrieved on 2-19-16 from modernhealthmon.com/23-secrets-of-longevity/                                                  Photo: Huffingtonpost.com

Our SALT Addiction

Table salt or sodium chloride is a mineral mined from salt deposits in the earth. Sea salt, considered healthier by some, is procured through evaporation, but has the same basic sodium value. The side effects are similar in both sources. The CDC reports that 90% of Americans consume excess salt beyond recommended limits. This is what happens to your body:

1. Your brain reacts in a similar way as it does to heroin and nicotine, with an addictive effect(1).

2. Death from stomach cancer in both men and women is correlated with high sodium intake. It can cause stomach ulcers as well because of its effect on the stomach lining.

3. Sodium increases your blood pressure by overloading your kidneys. High blood pressure is a symptom of cardiovascular disease. It is also key in causing kidney stones.

4. Osteoporosis increases because the body takes calcium from your bones to make up for that lost in your urine.

5. Salt increases the risk of cognitive decline even when high blood pressure and poor diet were not present.

6. Your skin may be effected with edema or swelling due to fluid retention.

WHAT TO DO:

1. EMBRACE A LOW SODIUM DIET  You may not have to change everything if you eliminate the high sodium foods like TV dinners, cold cuts, smoked or canned meats and entrees. Salt hides in many foods, so be sure to always check the nutritional facts on the package.

2. START AN EXERCISE ROUTIN  Exercise is proven to be one of the best ways to sweat out your sodium. You get a lot of other health and social benefits too.

3. SWITCH TO POTASSIUM CHLORIDE   Potassium is a mineral in foods needed for vital physical functions like the beating of your heart. Some studies even show it reduces blood pressure. But, check with you doc first since kidney problems can interfere.

4. DON’T SALT AT ALL  Since sodium occurs naturally in most foods, we don’t need to salt. About 70% of all sodium we consume comes from the salt shaker. I personally don’t salt my food at all. On my dining table, I only have a salt substitute which is potassium chloride and available in most grocery stores.

5. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE  If you have high blood pressure in the family like I do, you can control it. My sister is 57 years old and has been on blood pressure medications for over 25 years. In contrast, I have embraced healthy diets and exercise for most of my 62 years of age. I enjoy a Mediterranean diet which eliminates the packaged and processed sodium foods. I have an exercise routine since I was a kid because I find it enjoyable. As a result, I have never taken any medications for any chronic medical condition and have no current illnesses. My sister and I have the same genes, but a different outcome.  L. Johnson

(1)Dovey, D. 4-28-2015 “Too much salt: How a diet too high in sodium can affect your health, brain, and even bone health.” Retrieved on 1-29-2016 from medicaldaily.com.

FAD DIET DANGERS

Quick weight-loss or fad diets don’t work. These usually come with dramatic promises of weight loss in a set time. The weight you lose at the beginning is mostly water, not fat. This does not result in long term weight loss. In fact, some of these diets are actually harmful to your health. If you are evaluating diets now, be aware of these sales pitches and stay clear:

1. Guarantees you lose a certain number of pounds per week, especially more than two pounds.

2. Recommends supplements to make up for loss of vitamins and nutrients.

3. Omits a whole food group like a no carb diets. Remember fruits and veggies are carbohydrates.

4. Rationalizes its diet is healthy according to a new or complicated theory.

5. Suggest a daily caloric intake of less than 1200 calories unless you are under the supervision of a doctor.

Everyone wants to loose weight as fast as possible with as little effort as possible–that’s human nature. But, everyone who has lost weight just to gain it back is aware of how frustrating and complicating it can be.  You certainly don’t want to risk malnutrition or short term weight loss that quickly returns from dieting. You certainly  don’t want to set yourself up for failure anymore.

When I was teaching the psychology of eating at the weight reduction clinic, weight loss was introduced as a healthy lifestyle change, not a quick fix. This involved evaluating your entire life to see where unhealthy behaviors occur. Some people had foodie friends or family that needed to adapt to healthier ways. So, they became involved in the support part of the program even if they don’t diet themselves.  Our diet program encouraged a mind set for positive adaptability to a new diet, an exercise routine, and social support from friends and family. The team approach proved to be much more successful than going it alone.

My two favorites diets are the Mediterranean and the Okinawa diets because of the longevity qualities–a particular interest of mine.  But, today’s diets are designed for your individual physiological needs. Nutritionalists construct diets to address cancer, cardiovascular illness, diabetes, and even things like anemia.  So, the best diet for you is not whats in vogue today.

Your diet should be based on your ancestry of medical illness passed down, your current physiological needs (i.e., high blood pressure, etc) and your individual health goals for the future. Some people just want to lose weight while others may want to control diabetes or cholesterol. If you’re serious about dieting the healthiest way, then make an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist and let them recommend a plan based on your personal needs.

Read more: The Psychology of Eating Less blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/eat-less/

Microwave Update

Some studies claim microwaves leak, ruin your food, and even cause cancer. Many of these studies are old and are not very scientific. So, lets take a look at the latest studies and recommendations.

Microwaves work by emitting electromagnetic radiation. These energy waves cause water molecules to rotate rapidly which creates heat that cooks your food.  This low level of energy is not strong enough to cause ionization which would break down your food.

LEAKAGE The Federal Drug Administration has requirements that limit the amount of leakage. This limits radiation to about two inches from the machine itself. This radiation also dissipates fast. So, as you move further away from the microwave, the waves rapidly diminish.  Just stand more than two inches away and it has less effect on you than your cell phone.

EFFECT ON PROTEINS Some old thought is that microwaving will break down proteins in food and make them toxic. However, new studies(1)show that, “all of the amino acids in the protein are still bonded together.” The nutritional value is not compromised. They concluded that if breakdown does occur, it is more likely from overheating. Cooking food at high temperatures or for too long will reduce the nutrients in that food and produce cancer causing agents. Barbecuing,  for example, is one of the worst ways to cook. Please see my other blog post on how Over-Cooking Causes Cancer http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/over-cooking-causes-cancer/.

EFFECT ON NUTRIENTS  I’m referring to minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. The general rule here is that nutrients are always lost when cooking. More are lost when the temperature is higher or when the food is cooked longer. The microwave results are that nutrient retention was actually higher in some foods and lower in others. It depended on how hot and long its cooked and if its in water. Food microwaved in water tends to lose nutrients into that water.

IN CONCLUSION The study finds, “There’s no evidence that microwaves adversely affect the nutrient profile of foods.(1)” The protein also stays intact and the leakage from the machine requires only a two inch buffer. Some have even claimed that  cancer is caused by microwaves, however, I couldn’t find any studies to support this. I generally use my microwave to reheat drinks or food for short time periods. I’ve never used it to cook an entree outside of TV dinners when I was in college many years ago. So, unless you are using pressing your face against the microwave while its cooking, you are just fine.

L. Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Kresser, C., 4-7-2015, “Are Microwave Ovens Safe?” from chriskresser.com/are-microwave-ovens-safe/

OLIVE OIL reduces BREAST CANCER

Can olive oil really reduce breast cancer? A trial study involving 4282 at risk women due to diabetes or other factors was done with a five year follow-up after a controlled dietary change. One group ate a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil and the other was on a similar low fat diet without olive oil. Both groups benefited, but the different results revealed that the olive oil group had a 68% lower risk of cancer. This occurred because the extra virgin oil has more polyphenols(micronutrients) and hydroxytyrosol(antioxidants).  JAMA Internal Medicine. 2015 Sep 14.

As a research driven consumer, I personally have enjoyed the Mediterranean diet for a few years now because of the extraordinary protective cardiovascular benefits. So, this anti- breast cancer effect is an added bonus and confirms this diet for longevity. It’s the “First Press Extra Virgin” that is the best oil with extra nutrients. It might be that this diet has more benefits for women according to studies like this. For those of you new to the Mediterranean diet, here is a simple introduction:  http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/mediterranean-diet/

Improve Self-Esteem

We all want improve self-esteem because we want to feel more positive about ourselves. Here is what you need to know to improve yours.

Americans are more concerned with self-esteem than other cultures partly because we have many symbols of personal success in our society. Those symbols are our house, car, clothes, vacations, jewelry, and even what prep school our kids go to. Despite how superficial this may seem, its part of our culture. External objects of success can have an impact on self-esteem if that’s your yardstick. However, over time, these external measures tend to mean less as we understand their limited value.

As a therapist for over 35 years, I’ve had many opportunities to improve self-esteem especially with depressed patients. First I want to define self-esteem as an attitude that’s completely under your control. It’s a way to view yourself and the world. If this attitude was established in childhood, that’s where I would start.  So, see if you can pinpoint when it started, that goes a long way in understanding the cause. It often comes from an over stressed parent and not a result of anything you did.

THE ORGIN Being aware of the cause of negative feelings like a degrading parent or sibling helps put our feelings in perspective. Just because others blamed you, thats no reason to blame yourself. Some of us may have had toxic people in our past which we may have to accept and move on. We must release feelings of the past so we can move forward in a healthy manner.

SELF-AWARENESS You may not realize how amazing you are until you make a list of all your abilities, skills, and attributes. This is a written exercise because you will continue to add to it. I want to see a long list of even the smallest traits like making your bed in the morning or just being polite to people. Fill the page and pin it on your refrigerator to remind you.

RELATIONSHIPS Did you know that we take on the attitude of those around us? It’s important to step back and evaluate how positive our relationships really are. Sometimes, we might hold onto old friends out of obligation or duty, but that may not be a good idea. Ask yourself if your friends or family treat you with the same respect as you treat them. This exercise involves making a written list of all the people we know and assigning a positive value to each.

ACCEPT YOURSELF AND OTHERS We are not perfect and that’s ok. Accepting the unique imperfection of yourself and others is what makes personalities interesting. An attitude of acceptance of others tends to increase their acceptance of you. Transformative exercise: you can decide to say something positive about people each time you meet them. Don’t be surprised if they start doing the same to you which increases your self-esteem.

JEALOUSY This occurs when others are perceived as better in some way. People who spend too much time on social media tend to feel this way of others. Men especially tend to compete on different levels that can make one feel inadequate. So, don’t put yourself in a win or lose situation and stop worrying what others are doing. Be sure to set you “own” goals. Self-esteem is based on our contentment with ourselves, not others.

CREATIVE VISUALIZATION Before you get out of bed in the morning, lie there and visualize(mental imagery) how positive or effective you will be that day. If you have an interview, image how it will go and how positive and confident you will feel. If you haven’t done this before, you may be surprised how behavior follows predetermined thought. In my therapy, I assign the book Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain for those new to this technique. If you haven’t read this book, it might open up a new world for you.     L. Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com