How Walking Benefits Your Health and Longevity


Story at-a-glance

  • Inactivity is the fourth biggest killer of adults worldwide, responsible for 9 percent of premature deaths. Walking more, ideally daily, can go a long way toward reducing this risk
  • Walking for 20 to 25 minutes per day has been found to add anywhere from three to seven years to your life span. Smokers may also increase their life span by nearly four years by walking regularly
  • Walking can be tremendously beneficial for those struggling with chronic diseases such as obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease
  • Walking has also been shown to lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, hormonal imbalances, arthritis, PMS, thyroid disorders, fatigue, varicose veins and constipation
  • British research suggests that when it comes to weight management, regular walking can be just as beneficial, or more, than working out in a gym

By Dr. Mercola

While a regimented fitness routine is certainly part of a healthy lifestyle, what you do outside the gym is equally important. Most adults spend 10 hours or more each day sitting, and research1,2 shows this level of inactivity cannot be counteracted with a workout at the end of the day. To maintain health, you really need mild but near-continuous movement throughout your waking hours.

One strategy that has been shown to have a positive impact is simply to stand up more. Increasing your daily walking is another key strategy that pays significant dividends, both short term and long term. According to the World Health Organization, inactivity is the fourth biggest killer of adults worldwide, responsible for 9 percent of premature deaths,3 and walking more could go a long way toward reducing this risk.

Walking Produces Beneficial Biochemical Changes in Your Body

The short video above reviews what happens in your body while walking. For starters, when you take your first few steps, your body releases chemicals that give your body a quick boost of energy. Once you get going, your heart rate will increase, from about 70 to about 100 beats per minute. This boost in blood flow will warm up your muscles. As you move, your body will also increase production of fluid in your joints, thereby reducing stiffness.

Walking for six to 10 minutes can raise your heartbeat to about 140 beats per minute and trigger your body to start burning up to six calories per minute. While your blood pressure will rise from the exertion, this increase is counteracted by chemicals that help expand your blood vessels, such as nitric oxide. This expansion in turn allows greater amounts of oxygen-rich blood to reach your muscles and organs, including your heart and brain. Over time, taking regular walks will help lower your blood pressure if it tends to be high.

Walking for 11 to 20 minutes results in an increase in body temperature and sweating as blood vessels closer to the surface of your skin expand to release heat. At this point, you start burning about seven calories per minute. The increase in heart rate also causes you to breathe deeper. Epinephrine (adrenaline) and glucagon also begin to rise at this point to boost muscle activity. Epinephrine helps relieve asthma and allergies, which helps explain why walking and other exercises tend to have a beneficial impact on these ailments.

At 21 to 45 minutes, you’ll start burning more fat, courtesy of a drop in insulin. This is also when you’ll start experiencing greater physical and mental relaxation as your brain starts to release “feel good” endorphins. Walking has also been shown to boost memory and creative problem-solving,4 so taking a walk when you’re puzzling over a problem may allow you to come up with better solutions. One Stanford University study found walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent, compared to sitting still.5

After 30 to 45 minutes, you’re really oxygenating your whole body, burning more fat, strengthening your heart and cardiovascular system, and boosting your immune function. Provided you’re walking outdoors and the weather complies, an hour of sunshine will also help boost your mood and provide a number of beneficial health effects associated with vitamin D production.

Those struggling with depression would do well to get out of the concrete jungle and into nature, as nature walks have been found to be particularly beneficial for your mood by decreasing rumination — the obsessive mulling over negative experiences.

Walking Boosts Health and Longevity

Several studies have confirmed that walking boosts health and longevity. For example:

In one, walking for 20 to 25 minutes per day (140 to 175 minutes per week) was found to add anywhere from three to seven years to a person’s life span.6

Research7 published last year found that as little as two hours (120 minutes) of walking per week may reduce mortality risk in older adults, compared to inactivity. Meeting or exceeding the activity guidelines of 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of moderate activity per week in the form of walking lowered all-cause mortality by 20 percent.

Research published in 2012 found brisk walking improved life expectancy even in those who are overweight.8

Smokers may also increase their life span by nearly four years by engaging in physical activity9 such as walking. Former smokers who kept up their physical activity increased their life expectancy by 5.6 years on average, reducing their all-cause mortality risk by 43 percent.

Smokers who were physically active were also 55 percent more likely to quit smoking than those who remained inactive, and 43 percent less likely to relapse once they quit. A Norwegian study10 also showed that regular exercise is as important as quitting smoking if you want to reduce your mortality risk.

About 5,700 older men were followed for about 12 years in this study, and those who got 30 minutes of exercise — even if all they did was light walking — six days a week, reduced their risk of death by about 40 percent. Getting less than one hour of light activity per week had no effect on mortality in this study, highlighting the importance of getting the “dosage” right if you want to live longer.

Walking Is Good for Whatever Ails You

Other studies have shown walking can be tremendously beneficial for people struggling with chronic diseases such as obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease. In one, COPD patients who walked 2 miles a day or more cut their chances of hospitalization from a severe episode by about half.11,12

Another study13 found that daily walking reduced the risk of stroke in men over the age of 60. Walking for an hour or two each day cut a man’s stroke risk by as much as one-third, and it didn’t matter how fast or slow the pace was. Taking a three-hour long walk each day slashed the risk by two-thirds. Walking has also been shown to lower your risk of:14,15

Type 2 diabetes Depression and anxiety
Dementia and Alzheimer’s Arthritis
Hormonal imbalances PMS symptoms
Thyroid disorders Fatigue
Varicose veins Constipation

So, while walking might not seem like it would be “enough” to make a significant difference in your health, science disagrees. It makes sense that walking would be an important health aspect considering humans are designed for walking. And, in our historical past, before conveniences such as automobiles and even the horse and buggy, humans walked a lot. Every day.

Walkers Generally Weigh Less Than Other Exercisers

Research16 from the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that when it comes to weight management, regular walking can be just as beneficial, or more, than working out in a gym. To reach this conclusion, the researchers assessed the effects of a number of different workouts, comparing health markers in more than 50,000 adults who were followed for 13 years. Activities were divided into:

  • Brisk walking
  • Moderate-intensity sports (examples: swimming, cycling, gym workouts, dancing, running, football, rugby, badminton, tennis and squash)
  • Heavy housework and/or walking with heavy shopping bags
  • Heavy manual work (examples: digging, felling trees, chopping wood, moving heavy loads)

The big surprise? People who regularly walked briskly for more than 30 minutes generally weighed less than those who hit the gym on a regular basis and/or exclusively did high-intensity workouts. According to the press release, these results were “particularly pronounced in women, people over 50 and those on low incomes.”17 According to the authors:

“Given the obesity epidemic and the fact that a large proportion of people … are inactive, recommending that people walk briskly more often is a cheap and easy policy option. Additionally, there is no monetary cost to walking so it is very likely that the benefits will outweigh the costs.

It has also been shown by the same authors that walking is associated with better physical and mental health. So, a simple policy that ‘every step counts’ may be a step toward curbing the upward trend in obesity rates and beneficial for other health conditions.”

Indeed, walking has been a longstanding recommendation to meet fitness guidelines, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association have all recommended getting 30 minutes of brisk walking several days a week for general health and disease prevention.18,19

Walking Can Also Be a High-Intensity Exercise

While taking daily walks forms a great foundation upon which to build your health, research also shows that to really maximize health and longevity, higher intensity exercise is called for. Based on two large-scale studies20,21 the ideal amount of exercise to promote longevity is between 150 and 450 minutes of moderate exercise per week. During the 14-year follow up period, those who exercised for 150 minutes per week reduced their risk of death by 31 percent, compared to non-exercisers.

Those who exercised for 450 minutes lowered their risk of premature death by 39 percent. Above that, the benefit actually began to diminish. In terms of intensity, those who added bouts of strenuous activity each week also gained an extra boost in longevity. Those who spent 30 percent of their exercise time doing more strenuous activities gained an extra 13 percent reduction in early mortality, compared to those who exercised moderately all the time.

Besides doing high-intensity exercises on an elliptical, bike or treadmill, super-slow strength training is another excellent high-intensity exercise worth considering. That said, if you’re out of shape and/or overweight, the idea of high intensity interval training can seem too daunting to even attempt. The elderly may also shy away from high intensity exercises for fear of injury. My recommendation? Don’t allow such concerns to overwhelm you and prevent you from getting started.

Once you’re walking on a regular basis, you can easily turn this activity into a high-intensity exercise simply by intermittently picking up the pace. Japanese researchers, who developed a walking program designed specifically for the elderly, have shown that a combination of gentle strolling and fast walking provide greater fitness benefits than walking at a steady pace.22,23

The program they developed consists of repeated intervals of three minutes of fast walking followed by three minutes of slow strolling. Completing five sets of these intervals, totaling 30 minutes of walking, at least three times a week, led to significant improvements in aerobic fitness, leg strength and blood pressure.

Everyone Can Benefit From Walking More Each Day

As mentioned, walking can be an excellent entry into higher intensity training, regardless of your age and fitness level. Personally, I typically take an hourlong walk on the beach every day that I’m home. As you’ve probably heard by now, chronic sitting is the new smoking — it actually has a mortality rate similar to this toxic habit.24 It even raises your risk of lung cancer by over 50 percent. What’s worse, it raises your risk of disease and early death independently of your fitness and other healthy lifestyle habits.

According to Dr. James Levine, codirector of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and Arizona State University, you need at least 10 minutes of movement for every hour you sit down. I recommend limiting your sitting to less than three hours a day, and to make it a point to walk more every day. I suggest aiming for about 10,000 steps per day, over and above any other fitness routine you may have.

A fitness tracker can be a very helpful tool to monitor your progress and ensure you’re hitting your mark. Just be sure that you are using one that does not have Bluetooth enabled (the Oura ring and Apple Watch are the two that I know of that allow you to turn off the Bluetooth). Tracking your steps can also show you how simple and seemingly minor changes to the way you move around at work can add up. For example, you can:

  • Walk across the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park your car further away from the entrance
  • Take a longer, roundabout way to your desk
  • Take a walk during your lunch hour (importantly, this habit has been shown to reduce work-related stress25).

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/A7vk13pOn4s

Gene Editing is Leading to a New Age in Human Health and Longevity


IN BRIEF
  • Scientific advances are allowing us to personalize the medical revolution — but how many lives can we actually save with gene therapy?
  • Gene-editing therapy was successfully used to treat a leukemia patient, and now scientists are hoping it will help other patients, including those with diseases other than cancer.

THE MAGIC OF GENE EDITING

Advances in medicine and technology are revolutionizing what it means to be human. By providing us with gene editing tools, such as CRISPR, we’re well on our way to personalizing the medical revolution.

CRISPR provides a way for us to alter gene expression in particular cells, based on need. Up until recently, the process was very difficult to execute. It took many years to develop precision when altering gene expression. With the latest technology, the desired precision can be obtained in just a few weeks. CRISPR, and other technologies like it, are shaping the future of medicine.

When all possible treatments had failed, the parents of Layla, a 1-year-old with leukemia, sought help from new technology developed by Cellectis — a biopharmaceutical company based in Paris, France. The gene editing therapy, which was still experimental, had been utilized once before in a patient with HIV.

Layla and her parents have immunologist Waseem Qasim and his team to thank. While the treatment was approved for Layla under her particular circumstance, the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust in London intends to continue the trial in 10 to 12 patients in the upcoming year. Several months after the procedure, Qasim notes Layla is doing well.

HOW GENE EDITING WORKS

While Layla’s doctors believe she is in remission, only time will tell if this was a “one-off” fix or a case that may need revisiting. Additional trials are needed so physicians and scientists can better understand how gene-editing can benefit patients, and treat diseases other than cancer.Physicians and scientists worked together to give Layla immune cells from a healthy donor that had been modified with a gene editing tool. In this case, TALEN — a DNA-cutting enzyme — was utilized to modify the donor T-cells so that they would not attack Layla’s own cells. In order for the treatment to work, a patient’s immune system is essentially destroyed and replaced with the modified cells. However, this is not a permanent fix: it’s just a temporary solution until a matching T-cell donor can be found.

Treating cancer isn’t the full extent of gene editing by any means: we can halt the spread of malaria by looking at mosquitos, bring back species gone extinct by the unforgiving hand of human industrialization, or even restore vision in patients.

With the gene editing, it seems the possibilities are only the beginning.

18 Amazing Foods for Longevity


One of your most basic health principles is to eat real food. This will radically reduce your exposure to the tens of thousands of chemicals added to processed foods, most of which are not even on the label.

Eat Real Foods

Story at-a-glance

  • One of your most basic health principles is to eat real food. This will radically reduce your exposure to the tens of thousands of chemicals added to processed foods, most of which are not even on the label
  • The running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems is chronic inflammation. The key to reducing chronic inflammation in your body starts with your diet
  • 18 foods packed with health-promoting compounds like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals known to play a role in longevity are listed

Many are still under the illusion that whole grains are good for you, but while this may have held true for your grandparent’s generation, it’s not true today. The thing that people tend to forget is that virtually all grain products you buy today have gone through industrial processing.

Grains have also been altered through time, and growing methods differ significantly from even a generation or two ago. We also prepare grains differently these days.

Sprouted whole organic grains may be the lone exception to my recommendation to avoid grains, but all those whole grain loaves of bread, whole grain pastas, and whole grain cereals — they’re actually processed foods, and are best replaced.

You can read more about these issues in Authority Nutrition’s article,1 “Modern Wheat – Old Diet Staple Turned into a Modern Health Nightmare.” That said, even among whole foods, some stand out as VIPs above others.

Health.com2 recently published a list of 18 foods packed with health-promoting compounds like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals known to play a role in longevity.

With the exception of whole grains and beans, I largely agree with their selection, which I’ve added to here.

Four Beverages That Promote Longevity

Basic of basics: drink plenty of pure water. I believe the single most powerful intervention you can make for your health would be to stop drinking sodas and juices, and replace them with pure water.

Staying well-hydrated can also counteract many common ills, from minimizing wrinkles to reducing your risk for blood clots. Severe dehydration has even been shown to reduce your cognitive function and performance to a similar degree as alcohol, making you more prone to car accidents and other mishaps.

Certain types of tea and coffee can also have health-promoting benefits. Green tea, for example, has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease and cancer3 when consumed at least three times a week.

Drinking four to five cups of green tea daily has also been shown to promote weight loss. Participants who drank this amount of green tea for four months lost an average of two pounds more than those who didn’t drink green tea.

Coffee — while it could do more harm than good if consumed in excess or with added sugar, artificial sweeteners, milk, or creamers — also has an impressive list of redeeming qualities, including longevity.4

Research suggests coffee can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, stroke, and certain cancers. It also helps increase the metabolic activity and/or numbers of beneficial Bifidobacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

The caveat here is to make sure your coffee is organic, as conventional coffee tends to be heavily sprayed with pesticides. Ideally use whole-bean black coffee — the darker the roast, the better. Roasted coffees are higher in neuroprotective agents than green (unroasted) coffees.

One study5 found that dark roast coffee restored blood levels of the antioxidants vitamin E and glutathione more effectively than light roast coffee. The dark roast also led to a significant body weight reduction in pre-obese volunteers, whereas the lighter roast did not.

Another beverage that can do harm or good depending on the quantity and quality is red wine, which has been linked to health benefits such as reduced blood pressure, cancer prevention, and anti-aging.

Resveratrol is the primary ingredient in red wine that gives it its health promoting qualities, and in my view, there are healthier sources for this potent free radical scavenger than wine, considering all alcoholic beverages also have a neurotoxic influence.

Whole foods, such as muscadine grapes, for example, are a better choice. Muscadine grapes have the highest concentration of resveratrol in nature because of their extra thick skins and numerous seeds where it is concentrated.

Recent research6 shows that resveratrol, taken in concentrated doses, may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. According to these findings, resveratrol appears to reduce the buildup of amyloid-beta in the brain by shuttling the protein to other areas in the body.

Nuts, Berries, and Clear Conscience Snacks

One large-scale, 30-year long study found that people who regularly ate one ounce of nuts at least seven times per week were 20 percent less likely to die for any reason, compared to those who avoided nuts in their diet.

Eating nuts at least five times a week corresponded to a 29 percent reduction in mortality risk due to heart disease; a 24 percent reduction for respiratory disease; and an 11 percent reduction for cancer.

Raw nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, which you need more of once you start cutting non-vegetable carbs out of your diet. They also contain plenty of valuable vitamins and minerals, and make for an overall great snack when energy levels are flagging.

All nuts are not necessarily created equal though. My favorite nuts are macadamia and pecans, as they provide the highest amount of healthy fat while being on the lower end in terms of carbs and protein.

Berries of all kinds contain concentrated amounts of disease-fighting phytochemicals known to boost your immunity, prevent cancer, and protect your heart.

They’re also lower in sugar than many fruits so they’re less likely to destabilize your insulin levels, making them another great contender for a quick guiltless snack.

Dark Chocolate, Another Winner

Then there’s chocolate. Provided you stick with dark chocolate, gut bacteria will break down and ferment its components, turning them into anti-inflammatory compounds that benefit your health.

In fact, research has linked dark chocolate consumption to over 40 distinct health benefits, including longevity. As noted in the featured article:7

“A 1999 Harvard study of 8,000 men discovered that those who ate chocolate as many as three times a month lived a year longer than those who didn’t.”

The closer your cocoa is to its natural raw state, the higher its nutritional value; ideally, your chocolate or cocoa should be consumed raw (cacao).

Healthy Fat Foods

Besides nuts, three other foods that rate among the highest in terms of healthy fats include salmon, avocado, and coconut oil.

    • Wild caught Alaskan salmon: Research suggests that eating oily fish once or twice a week may increase your lifespan by more than two years, and reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 35 percent.

If you want to maximize health benefits from fish, avoid farmed fish, particularly farmed salmon, and even more specifically genetically engineered farmed salmon — especially if you’re seeking to improve your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.

Look for “Alaskan salmon,” and “sockeye salmon,” as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed. Canned varieties are an inexpensive alternative to pricier salmon steaks.

    • Avocado: Avocados, which are actually classified as a fruit, are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

Clinical research has revealed a number of health effects of avocado consumption, linking it to reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as appetite suppression and improved weight management. It also enhances your body’s absorption of other nutrients.

Researchers have found it can help optimize cholesterol levels within as little as one week, and contains compounds that appear to inhibit and destroy oral cancer cells, along with others that protect against liver damage. Besides eating it “as is,” you can increase your avocado consumption by using it as a fat replacement in baking; add it to soups, dessert whips, and countless other recipes.

    • Coconut oil: Half of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid that your body converts into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil also produce a whole host of health benefits, including stimulating your metabolism.

MCFAs are also immediately converted to energy — a function usually served in the diet by simple carbohydrates — so like avocados, coconut oil is an ideal replacement for unhealthy grain carbs. It can be added to smoothies, or used in virtually any dish calling for butter or oil. When it comes to cooking, coconut oil is ideal as it can tolerate high heat without oxidizing.

Bring on the Veggies!

Vegetables contain an array of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds. Some plant chemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA. Leafy greens are basic staples with not-so-basic health benefits.

Researchers at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s Molecular Immunology division discovered8 that a gene, called T-bet, which is essential for producing critical immune cells in your gut, responds specifically to leafy green vegetables. Those immune cells are thought to play an important role in controlling inflammatory diseases, and may even prevent the bowel cancer.

According to the featured article,9 eating one cup of cooked greens per day cut middle-aged people’s risk of dying in the next four years in half, compared to those who didn’t eat any leafy greens. Other power players in the vegetable kingdom include the following:

    • Broccoli contains dozens, maybe even hundreds, of super-nutrients that support optimal health, including immune-boosting and anti-cancer compounds. Eating broccoli raw, as opposed to cooked, will help protect its nutrients. Broccoli sprouts are an even more nutritionally potent way to enjoy broccoli.
    • Sprouts may offer some of the highest levels of nutrition available, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes that help protect against free radical damage. Many of the benefits of sprouts relate to the fact that plants contain more concentrated amounts of nutrients in their initial phase of growth.

Sunflower seed and pea shoots, for example, are both typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables, and are among the highest in protein.

    • Fermented vegetables: Almost everyone has damaged gut flora these days, unless you’re part of the minority that eats a strict organic whole foods diet and avoids antibiotics. Fermented vegetables are one of the most palatable fermented foods that can provide you with a robust dose of beneficial bacteria, which are critically important for optimal physical and mental health.

Fermented foods are also potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals, including some pesticides.

  • Tomatoes are one of the best dietary sources of lycopene, which has been shown to have anti-cancerous activity, and may reduce your risk of stroke. Just remember to consume your tomatoes, whether raw or cooked, with some type of fat, such as olive oil, since lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient.
  • Cabbage is actually among the most potent medicinal foods available, and including cabbage as a regular part of your diet, at least two or three times a week, may offer many significant health benefits. It contains compounds that help prevent cancer, as well as high concentrations of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. To obtain the most nutrients from your cabbage, eat it raw, lightly cooked, or fermented.

Two Disease-Fighting Seeds and Herbs

According to a 14-year long Harvard study, eating a bowl of quinoa a day may lower your risk of premature death from diseases like cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes by 17 percent. While it’s often used as a grain replacement, quinoa is technically a seed, related to chard and spinach.

It’s high in healthy fats and antioxidants, and is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Just be sure to soak it for a few minutes, or ideally overnight, before you cook it.

Last but not least, herbs and spices of all kinds are potent superfoods, so go ahead and spice things up! Garlic is well-known for its healing powers, and studies have demonstrated more than 150 beneficial health effects of garlic, including a reduced risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, and various cancers.

Keep in mind that garlic must be used fresh to give you optimal health benefits. To stimulate the process that catalyzes the formation of allicin — which is responsible for many of its therapeutic effects — compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer with other veggies.

Controlling Inflammation Is Key for Longevity

The running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems — from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and cancer — is chronic inflammation. The key to reducing chronic inflammation in your body starts with your diet, and as you can see, the vast majority of the foods listed above tend to have anti-inflammatory activity.

The same cannot be said for processed foods, which as a general rule tend to be pro-inflammatory, courtesy of ingredients like added sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, soy, and processed vegetable oils (trans fats), and can contain some of the tens of thousands of chemicals that snuck through the GRAS loophole and are not even required to be listed on the label, despite the fact they’ve never previously been tested for safety in humans.

Replacing processed foods with real foods can make a significant difference in your overall health and weight, and ultimately determine how long you’ll live.

Vitamin D Promotes Protein Homeostasis and Longevity via the Stress Response Pathway Genes skn-1, ire-1, and xbp-1


Highlights

  • Vitamin D metabolism is conserved between nematodes and mammals
  • Vitamin D prevents the age-dependent accumulation of SDS-insoluble proteins
  • Vitamin D enhances lifespan and protein homeostasis via IRE-1, XBP-1, and SKN-1

Summary

Vitamin D has multiple roles, including the regulation of bone and calcium homeostasis. Deficiency of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the major circulating form of vitamin D, is associated with an increased risk of age-related chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer. In this study, we utilized Caenorhabditis elegans to examine the mechanism by which vitamin D influences aging. We found that vitamin-D3-induced lifespan extension requires the stress response pathway genes skn-1, ire-1, and xbp-1. Vitamin D3 (D3) induced expression of SKN-1 target genes but not canonical targets of XBP-1. D3 suppressed an important molecular pathology of aging, that of widespread protein insolubility, and prevented toxicity caused by human β-amyloid. Our observation that D3 improves protein homeostasis and slows aging highlights the importance of maintaining appropriate vitamin D serum levels and may explain why such a wide variety of human age-related diseases are associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Source: Cell reports.

Spicy Food Is Associated With A Lower Risk Of Death


Spicy Food Is Associated With A Lower Risk Of Death

Good news for chili chompers: Regularly chowing down on spicy foods is associated with a lower risk of death, especially if you stay away from booze. But before you start drowning your cheerios in tabasco sauce, it’s unclear at this stage whether it is the spicy food itself or some other factor that is potentially bestowing the observed benefits. Regardless, further research is warranted, and the findings add to a growing body of evidence that chili could be healthful. The study has been published in The BMJ.

The world seems to have an ongoing obsession with unlocking the secrets to longevity. What makes people live longer, and can we alter our lives to stitch a few years onto our finite timelines? There is no simple answer at this stage; aging is incredibly complex, but one factor that has long been considered the cornerstone of health and longevity is diet.

While we know that eating your greens and grains and avoiding too much sugar and processed food is the way to go, what about components of food, like spices? Lab investigations and small population studies have highlighted possible benefits of the active ingredients of various spices, and given the popularity and widespread use of chili in particular, researchers decided to embark on an impressively large and more robust study to find out more.

Almost half a million adults from 10 geographically diverse areas in China were enrolled between 2004 and 2008 and followed for around seven years. At the start of the study, participants filled in a questionnaire about their spicy food consumption habits, including how often they ate these foods and what spices they tended to contain, like fresh chili pepper or chili sauce. Data was also collected on numerous other factors and characteristics, such as education, alcohol consumption, physical activity and intake of red meat and other foods.

After excluding those with a family history of cancer, heart disease and stroke, during the follow-up investigation more than 20,000 of the participants died. They found that those who ate spicy foods one or two days a week had a 10% lower risk of death – both overall and from specific causes like cancer – than those who only ate such foods less than once per week. Those who ate spicy foods almost every day were at a 14% lower mortality risk than infrequent consumers. Although the same trends were seen in both men and women, the relationship was strongest in those who avoided alcohol.

So should we all start shoveling spices to live longer? Not so fast. The study has merits due to the large sample size, but also clear limitations: It was confined to the Chinese population and may therefore not be generalizable, it relied on self-reporting – which is not quantitative and cannot be validated – and studies such as this cannot infer cause and effect. Furthermore, since it is rare to use one spice in isolation, it is difficult to point the finger at chilies when it could be another ingredientcommonly used in conjunction, or even a style of cooking, that is behind the observed relationship.

That being said, various prior studies have identified numerous possible health benefits of the active compound in chili, capsaicin, which seems to possess antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties, to name just a few. The association is therefore plausible, but not confirmed, so further studies are warranted.

Later-onset menarche, menopause associated with longevity


Women with later-onset menarche, later natural or surgical menopause and a longer reproductive lifespan are more likely to live to age 90 years vs. women with early-onset menarche, early menopause or a shorter reproductive lifespan, according to findings published in Menopause. “Our findings suggest that women who began menstruating at age 12 or older, women experiencing menopause at age 50 or older, and women with more than 40 reproductive years (defined as the difference between age at first menstruation and age at menopause) were more likely to live to age 90,”Aladdin H. Shadyab, PhD, MS, MPH, CPH, postdoctoral fellow in rheumatology and aging at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, told Endocrine Today. “Future studies are needed to examine how lifestyle, genetics and environmental factors explain the link between reproductive lifespan and longevity.”

Aladdin Shadyab

Aladdin H. Shadyab

In a prospective study, Shadyab and colleagues analyzed data from 16,251 postmenopausal women with complete information on ages of menarche and menopause participating in theWomen’s Health Initiative, followed between 1993 and 2014 (mean age at baseline, 75 years). Researchers classified women in the cohort as having survived or died before age 90 years, and used logistic regression models to evaluate the associations between ages at menarche and menopause (natural or surgical) and reproductive lifespan with longevity after adjustment for demographic, lifestyle and reproductive factors. Within the cohort, 8,892 (55%) survived to age 90 years; average age at menarche was 12.8 years; average age at menopause was 49 years; women had a mean 36.1 reproductive years, which correlated with age at menopause (r = 0.98; P < .001). Average age of death in the cohort was 83.7 years. Researchers found that age of menarche modestly increased for longevity (adjusted OR = 1.09; 95% CI, 1-1.19). Compared with women reaching natural or surgical menopause at age 40 years, there was a linear trend toward increased longevity for later age at natural or surgical menopause (P for trend = .01), with adjusted ORs of 1.19 for those reaching menopause from age 50 to 54 years (95% CI, 1.04-1.36) and 1.18 for women reaching menopause at age 55 years or older (95% CI, 1.02-1.36). When separating out natural menopause, it remained associated with increased longevity (P for trend = .02), as did a longer reproductive lifespan (P for trend = .008). When compared with women who had a 33-year reproductive lifespan, women with a reproductive lifespan of at least 40 years were more likely to reach age 90 years (OR = 1.12; 95% CI, 1.02-1.24), followed by women with a reproductive lifespan of 38 to 40 years (OR = 1.17; 95% CI, 1.06-1.29) and those with a reproductive lifespan of 33 to 37 years (OR = 1.09; 95% CI, 0.99-1.2). Shadyab noted that women with later-onset menarche were less likely to have coronary heart disease, and those who experienced menopause at a later age were more likely to be healthy overall, which may help explain the findings. – byRegina Schaffer

Study links positive thinking in older adults to increased longevity


Most people have heard about the benefits of walking through life seeing the proverbial glass half full, rather than focusing on worry and self-doubt. Positive thinking has the power to cancel out the negative thoughts that can cause physical and mental stress and, in turn, wreak havoc on health.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, taking a more optimistic approach throughout life comes with significant health benefits ranging from being better able to cope during stressful situations and able to fight off colds to having lower rates of depression and even living longer.(1)

A recent study conducted by Australian researches reinforces the power of positivity, showing that there is a correlation between a positive attitude and a stronger immune system that helps lead to a longer lifespan.(2)

Positive thinking leads to longevity

Fifty adults between the ages of 65 and 90 years were studied for two years, all of them were asked to view a series of positive and negative images. Blood tests were administered to gauge immune function, and it was discovered that participants who could recall more positive images than negative ones had enhanced immune functioning, something that’s typically compromised among older adults, which leads to a downward health spiral.(2)

“Despite the fact that people often think of late life as a period of doom and gloom, older people are often more positive than younger people,” said lead researcher Dr. Elise Kalokerinos. “Our research suggests that this focus on the positive may help older people protect their declining health.”(2)

Mindset also drives dietary choices

This is not the first time positive thinking has been linked to improvements in overall health. Many health experts and inspirational speakers have honed in on the importance that the mind has in shunning junk foods and, instead, choosing healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.

Esther Hicks is one such inspirational speaker. She believes that a person’s mindset can lead them down a path that either helps them feel good or bad about what they eat and therefore continue to eat a particular way on a regular basis.(2) Hicks suggests remaining as mindful as possible of the body and its cravings, saying that people should stop thinking in terms of good and bad foods and, instead, hone in on who they truly are and what’s best for their needs.(3)

In addition to paying attention to individual needs rather than the good/bad options often presented to people throughout life, there are other ways to invite more positivity. For example, writing down or having an awareness as to what a person is grateful for has been shown in studies to strengthen overall health, vastly reduce stress and increase longevity.(4)

Sources:

(1) http://www.mayoclinic.org

(2) http://www.scienceworldreport.com

(3) http://www.naturalnews.com

(4) http://www.naturalnews.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/048095_positive_thinking_longevity_older_adults.html#ixzz3MvAbGWJN

This 122 Year Old Woman Has The Most Important Secret To A Life Of Longevity .| Collective-Evolution


The primary determinant of health for the average person is thought. Not genetics, not exercise or nutrition, but the mind. This has been shown over and over again by the scientific fields of psychoneuroimmunology, psychoneurocardiology, psychoneuroendocrinology, not to mention cancer research and all the various psychosomatic disorders that have been studied.

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If you doubt that thought affects health then I will be happy to have a truckload of research evidence dumped at your doorstep (at your expense) that you can take the next few years perusing. On second thought, why don’t I just relate a story.

The oldest documented person that ever lived was a French woman named Jeanne Calment who made it to 122 years, 164 days on this earth.

What was her secret? According to French researcher Jean-Marie Robine, “She never did anything special to stay in good health.”

Jeanne Calment smoked cigarettes (started at age 21), drank port wine and ate a couple of pounds of chocolate sweets a week until she was 119 years old.

She credited her longevity to laughing a lot and not getting stressed out. She is quoted as saying “If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it.”(1) It probably didn’t hurt that her life circumstances — born into wealth and married wealth — enabled a life of ease and comfort; in other words, no mental stress.

Let’s contrast this with someone I knew personally that lived a very healthful lifestyle, ate right, exercised and could be described as being disgustingly healthy. He dropped dead of a heart attack at age 61. Funny enough, this didn’t surprise me because I knew this person had a type “A” personality. I also recall never having seen him laugh; not even once.

Personal stories are all well and good but what does the research say about thought and the major causes of death — heart disease and cancer? The studies on thought and cardiac disease are so well known there is really no point in covering it, but what about cancer?

According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, “Extreme suppression of anger was the most commonly identified characteristic of 160 breast cancer patients.” (2)

In other research: “Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis.” (3)

In my opinion, the most interesting thing in this article is that a woman that lived 122 years smoked cigarettes for 100 years without any ill effect. Why didn’t smoking lead her to an early grave? I would say, “Because thought is more important than lifestyle.”

Notes:

1)   Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://anson.ucdavis.edu/~wang/calment.html

2) Journal of Psychosomatic Research

Volume 19, Issue 2, April 1975, Pages 147–153

3)   Cancer Nurs. 2000 Oct;23(5):344-9.

Caloric restriction can increase longevity.


http://m.timesofindia.com/life-style/health-fitness/health/Caloric-restriction-can-increase-longevity/articleshow/18167268.cms

Sirtuins, Longevity, and Adaptations to Nutrient Availability


Over the last century, scientists have provided several hypotheses to explain how and why organisms age. Though at times seemingly unconnected, these hypotheses are beginning to be stitched together by newly uncovered biochemistry, much of which involves a class of enzymes known as sirtuins. Almost 80 years ago researchers Clive McCay and Mary Crowell at Cornell University found that caloric restriction extended the life span of rats. In the mid 1950s, Denham Harman of the University of California, Berkeley advanced the idea that aging was caused by oxygen free radical species within the body. Sirtuins entered the biochemical discussion of aging in 1995 with a publication by Leonard Guarente’s group in Cell in which they indicated that SIRT4 extended the lifespan of yeast.

As of this meeting on February 22, 2011, nearly 1200 papers have been published about these enzymes compared with just a handful published by 2000. Organized by Anthony Sauve of Weill Cornell Medical College and Jennifer Henry of the New York Academy of Sciences, this session of the Biochemical Pharmacology Discussion Group brought together several of the leading researchers studying the biology and biochemistry of sirtuins and their role in aging and aging-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and neurogenerative disorders. Johan Auwerx of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale Lausanne described his laboratory’s efforts to understand nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a cofactor that facilitates protein deacetylation by sirtuins, in metabolism. Leonard Guarente of MIT discussed the involvement of sirtuins in reproduction, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. Eric Verdin of the Gladstone Institute at UCSF explored SIRT3’s role in fat metabolism. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School described work with resveratrol and other small molecules to modulate sirtuin activity. Anthony Sauve of Weill Cornell Medical College discussed work to uncover the details of the biochemistry of sirtuins to understand and visualize their function within cells.

source: the Newyork academy of science