Dr Dingle's Blog / ageing

The health benefits of our life purpose

The health benefits of our life purpose

Many studies have been done on psychosocial factors and their impact on our health and even how long we live. More recently some of these have been able to show that having a sense of purpose can have many health benefits from lowering stress to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease cancer and even living longer and it doesn’t matter how old you are. The benefits of perceiving and living a life directed toward a broader purpose are widespread and feeling that you have a sense of purpose in life may help you live longer, no matter what your age.

At a biological level having a sense of purpose has been shown to be associated with more positive body biochemistry and lower cortisol (stress) levels and lower levels of proinflammatory cytokines 1, the chemicals linked to cancer, heart attacks and chronic disease which represents one possible mechanism through which purpose in life influences mortality.

Having a purpose in life provides individuals with a sense of direction and goals for the future, as well as a marker of flourishing and a life well-lived. A strong sense of purpose buffers us from the storms of life. It like the roots of a tree, keeping us steady and grounded even in stormy weather. It provides us with a greater sense of controlling our direction in life, are more motivated and may even feel inspired. However, our sense of purpose is not to make money it has to be directed at something greater than yourself.

In research among teens and young adults having a sense of purpose enabled them to look beyond themselves to appreciate their role in the world and to build the psychological resilience necessary to overcome adversity. There is evidence that focusing on personally meaningful and valued goals can buffer the negative effects of stress by allowing individuals to reinforce a sense of who they are and that creating opportunities for individuals to cultivate a sense of purpose is important as we move forward as a society2.

Having a high sense of purpose in life has also been associated with lower risk of heart disease and stroke. In a review of 10 relevant studies with the data of more than 137,000 people they defined purpose in life as a sense of meaning and direction, and a feeling that life is worth living. Previous research has linked purpose to psychological health and well-being and this study found that a high sense of purpose is associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, or the need for coronary artery bypass surgery or a cardiac stenting procedure. This is better than any drug and has multiple other benefits.

Previous studies have suggested that finding a purpose in life lowers risk of mortality above and beyond other factors that are known to predict longevity. Purposeful adults tend to outlive their peers and experience a diminished risk for both cognitive decline and disability in older adulthood. Moreover, having a purpose in life appears to lead to unique health benefits relative to other aspects of psychological well-being, such as having positive relations with others. In this study of 749 people with an average age of 60 found that the participants’ sense of purpose was positively associated with multiple positive health qualities including vigorous and moderate activity, vegetable intake, flossing, and sleep quality 3.

In another study of 6985 adults between the ages of 51 to 61 and a follow up for 14 years life purpose was significantly associated with all-cause mortality. Those with the strongest sense of purpose almost 2 and a half times more likely to be alive comparing those in the lowest life purpose category. Particularly compelling was the reduction in deaths from heart, circulatory, and blood conditions. Purpose had similar benefits for adults regardless of retirement status, a known mortality risk factor. And the longevity benefits of purpose in life held even after other indicators of psychological well-being, such as positive relations and positive emotions, were taken into account. These findings suggest that there's something unique about finding a purpose that seems to be leading to greater longevity 4.  

These findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose. So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur.

So what is your sense of purpose?

Write it down

References

1          Ryff  CD, Singer  BH, Dienberg Love  G.  Positive health: connecting well-being with biology.  Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2004;359(1449):1383-1394.

 

2          A. L. Burrow, P. L. Hill. Derailed by Diversity? Purpose Buffers the Relationship Between Ethnic Composition on Trains and Passenger Negative Mood. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0146167213499377

 

3          Patrick L Hill, Grant W Edmonds, Sarah E Hampson. A purposeful lifestyle is a healthful lifestyle: Linking sense of purpose to self-rated health through multiple health behaviors.

 

4          . P. L. Hill, N. A. Turiano. Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood. Psychological Science, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0956797614531799

 

 

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Glucosamine is good for the heart not just arthritis

Glucosamine is good for the heart not just arthritis

Glucosamine supplements for arthritis also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Joint pain is reported by 32% of U.S. adults, and increases with age reaching 50% prevalence among the elderly. Joint pain is slightly more prevalent among women (33%) than men (31%). The knee is the most common site of joint pain regardless of age or gender. Joint pain is associated with substantial activity limitation, work disability, and reduced quality of life. Adults with joint pain are more likely to report arthritis-attributable activity limitations, fair or poor health, inability to work, low sleep duration and psychological distress. Predictors of knee pain include older age, weight gain and obesity, and previous knee injury, with the combination of weight loss with exercise a well-recognized intervention to alleviate symptoms and improve function.
 
Glucosamine is a non-vitamin, non-mineral supplement widely used to relieve osteoarthritis and joint pain. In countries like the United States and Australia, it is a popular dietary supplement and approximately 20% of adults consume it daily.
In addition to its benefits for osteoarthritis and joint pain emerging evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that glucosamine could have a role in preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and reducing mortality. A previous animal study reported that glucosamine extended life span by mimicking a low carbohydrate diet,
Other animal studies have reported that the anti-inflammatory properties of glucosamine might have a preventive role in atherosclerosis development.
The latest findings suggest that glucosamine could help prevent coronary heart disease and stroke. The study found a 15% decrease in total CVD events, 22% reduction in CVD death, 18% decrease in coronary heart disease, and a 9% reduction in stroke.
Interestingly people with osteoarthritis (inflammation) are at increased rick of CVD.. While clearly more research needs to be done on this it outperforms most drugs and has only positive side effects.
 
Glucosamine compounds have also been reported to have several other beneficial effects on the skin or skin cells. Because of its stimulation of hyaluronic acid synthesis, glucosamine has been shown to accelerate wound healing, improve skin hydration, and decrease wrinkles. In addition, as an inhibitor of tyrosinase activation, it inhibits melanin production and is useful in treatment of disorders of hyperpigmentation. Glucosamine also has both anti-inflammatory
Based on other observations, glucosamine has been suggested for additional clinical uses, including treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, migraine headaches, and viral infections.
 
https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1628
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Personal care products and at risk populations

Personal care products and at risk populations

Some people are more likely to have health problems as a result of exposure to cosmetics and personal care products than others, even when the amounts of contaminants present are seemingly quite low. However, when the studies are done, the focus is on one ingredient and its exposure to a healthy animal fed a well-balanced nutritional diet. As individuals, we each have different levels of resilience and tolerance to toxic chemicals based on our genetics and our current level of health, nutrition and even lifestyle factors.

Susceptible groups include:

  • The developing foetus
  • Infants and newborns
  • Pregnant mothers
  • Asthmatics
  • People who are already sick or immune-compromised
  • Chemically sensitive individuals
  • The aged
  • Genetically susceptible individuals
  • Lower socioeconomic groups
  • Stressed individuals

… to list the obvious.

Asthmatics have particular sensitivities. Any chemicals, gases or particulates that cause irritation of the respiratory system’s mucous membranes will aggravate an asthmatic’s condition. Allergy-prone people who already show sensitivity to a substance with reactions such as sinusitis, hay fever, atopic eczema and other forms of atopic dermatitis are likely to react with heightened sensitivity to indoor air pollution. They may experience an aggravation of their allergies or develop additional sensitivities. The increasing number of people who suffer from 21st-century diseases such as chronic fatigue and multiple chemical sensitivities will also react to even very low levels of these chemicals.

Pregnant women, who may themselves enjoy robust health, are at risk because some of these contaminants pass over the placenta to the foetus. People under stress are more at risk because their immune systems are often not functioning at optimum levels. Other factors determining susceptibility include gender, genetic makeup, pre-existing health conditions and predisposition to disease, as well as lifestyle considerations such as work, diet and exercise.

There is little doubt that our kids have a greater susceptibility to toxic chemicals than we do. The younger they are, the more vulnerable they are. Every day we expose our children to hundreds of different chemicals in personal care and cosmetic products and yet remain puzzled as to why they get sick and why the rates of childhood asthma, allergies and cancer are higher than ever. Childhood leukaemia and brain tumours are leading causes of death of children in most developed countries and many studies are now showing a link between these conditions and increased toxic chemical exposure.

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The healing power of raw cabbage

The healing power of raw cabbage

Another reason to add some of the cabbage family to your daily diet, preferably raw is because of their gut healing properties and how they promote gut health through the gut microbiome. The Brassica family including cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, arugula (rocket), bok choy, cauliflower, collard greens, radish, turnip and others have been recognized for their gut healing and gut health properties for hundreds of years and modern epidemiologic studies have shown a frequent consumption of cruciferous vegetables is associated with lower risk of cancer, especially cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, breast, prostate, and lung. However, only now are we recognizing that many of these benefits are mediated through the microbiome and that their frequent consumption alters the composition of the microbiome.

Cruciferous vegetables are a rich source of glucosinolates a precursor to the Isothiocyanates (ITC), which exhibit powerful biological functions in fighting cancers, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative diseases and gut healing. The Isothiocyanates are a by product of specific plant enzymes (myrosinase) active during chewing or crushing when broccoli is consumed raw or lightly steamed, however, like all enzymes myrosinase is deactivated by cooking and ingestion of cooked broccoli typically provides only about one tenth the amount of isothiocyanates as that from raw broccoli. So to maximize the gut healing, gut health and overall benefits of these foods they are best eaten raw or just lightly steamed.

Instead when cooked cruciferous vegetables are consumed, gut bacteria are mainly responsible for ITC production in the gut. This is highlighted after taking oral antibiotics, the ITCs availability and uptake decreases after eating cooked cruciferous vegetable. It also appears that there is considerable difference in the ability of individuals, due to individual differences in gut microbial community, to produce the isothiocyanates. Although, the gut communitys ability is altered over just 4 days. In one study feeding raw or cooked broccoli for four days or longer both changed the microbiota composition and caused a greater production of isothiocyanates. Interestingly, a three-day withdrawal from broccoli reversed the increased microbial metabolites suggesting that the microbiota requires four or more days of broccoli consumption and is reversible.

The lactic acid bacteria appear to have myrosinase-like activity and the fermented Brassica food products, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, are particularly rich in Lactobacillus, and a diet rich in Brassica may promote Lactobacillus growth in the colon.

 

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Lifestyle changes can add 14 years or more to your life. Not drugs

Lifestyle changes can add 14 years or more to your life. Not drugs

Americans have a shorter life expectancy compared with residents of almost all other high-income countries despite the fact that they spend more money on their health care (pharmaceuticals) than any other country.

In this study adopting five major health initiatives—regular exercise, a healthy diet, moderate drinking, not getting overweight or obese and not smoking can extend your life by around 14 years. Each of the healthy lifestyles lowers your chances of getting one of the chronic health problems, such as heart disease and cancer.

This study shows that healthier lifestyles would reduce the rate of premature death from heart disease by 75 per cent, and cancer deaths by 50 per cent, the researchers estimate.

This study yet again highlights the need to focus on lifestyle and diet and not on the pharmaceutical model of health. While there is consistent evidence showing their role in extending life and the quality of life there is virtually no evidence to show pharmaceuticals extend life. However roughly 50% of the lobbyists in the capitals are from pharmaceutical companies.

https://www.drdingle.com/collections/book-sales/products/overcoming-illness-pre-order

Source

Impact of Healthy Lifestyle Factors on Life Expectancies in the US Population.

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2018/04/25/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032047

 

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Low Omega 3 oils not cholesterol is a risk for heart disease.

Low Omega 3 oils not cholesterol is a risk for heart disease.

A recent large study of 2500 participants (mean age 66 years, 54% women), a higher Omega-3 Index was associated with significantly lower risks for total mortality, for non-CVD and non-cancer mortality, and for total CVD events. Those in the highest omega 3 levels compared to those in the lowest had a 34% lower risk for death from any cause and 39% lower risk for incident CVD. These associations were generally stronger for docosahexaenoic acid than for eicosapentaenoic acid. When total cholesterol was compared it was not significantly related with the health outcomes.

Early studies in the 1980s investigating Greenland Eskimos began the research into the benefits of the omega 3 fatty acids. In Greenland, the fatty acid intake from seafood is high and there is a lower prevalence of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Omega 3 has been shown in many studies to help inhibit and even reverse inflammation. The omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flaxseed, butternuts, and fish oils have anti-inflammatory properties, decreasing the amount of arachidonic acid in cell membranes.

Several recent studies have linked higher blood levels and/or dietary intakes of the long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with greater longevity. Blood omega 3 levels were inversely associated with total mortality rates in the Cardiovascular Health Study, and similar results were seen in the Heart and Soul Study. Consistent with this, there is an inverse relationship between the Omega-3 Index and the rate of telomere attrition, a marker of cellular aging.

Omega 3 fatty acids work through a number of mechanisms, each having different effects, to reduce inflammation. As well recent studies suggest that some of the beneficial effects of fish oil are due, in part, to their antioxidant benefit.

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Coffee for Healthy Ageing

Coffee for Healthy Ageing

Coffee, one of the world's most consumed beverages, has many benefits and only a few shortcomings (sleep). Coffee has phenolic compounds such as chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid that have strong antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory effects. A number of studies have now shown habitual coffee consumption is associated with lower prevalence of diabetes or pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, stroke, Parkinson's disease, and cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence that coffee consumption is associated with decreased risks for some types of cancer. Increasing studies are also showing coffee as a part of a healthy ageing regime.

In a recent study aged mice that consumed either caffeine-containing regular or decaffeinated coffee had decreased plasma-free fatty acids and increased adenosine triphosphate and total phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin, which is closely associated with aging, in the liver. It also increased the food and water intake, locomotor activity, volume of oxygen consumption, and respiration exchange ratio of aged mice indicators of increased energy levels.

In another study coffee has been shown to reduce muscle wastage in ageing men. Coffee has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to be inversely related to the mechanism of sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle mass and strength). In animal studies coffee attenuated the reduction of age-related muscle weight and muscle power, and stimulated regeneration of injured muscle compared to controls. Furthermore, pro-inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin 6 decreased after coffee treatment.

In this study with a sample consisted of 1,781 men who were at least 60 years of age, compared to the group of individuals who drank less than one cup of coffee a day, people who consumed at least 3 cups showed a 57% decreased sarcopenia. Good news for the coffee drinkers was that the decrease was not significant when the daily coffee consumption was 1 or 2 cups. The results of this study suggest that consuming at least 3 cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower prevalence of sarcopenia in elderly elderly men.

 

Source

https://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.4082/kjfm.2017.38.3.141

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Vitamin D slashes preterm delivery by 62% (and so much more)

Vitamin D slashes preterm delivery by 62% (and so much more)

There were 15 million preterm births (PTB) (<37 weeks) worldwide and more than 1 million infant deaths from PTB complications each year. PTB is the leading cause of neonatal death and multiple short and long term health problems.

Multiple epidemiologic studies have found an association between higher levels of vitamin D ( 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] ) and lower PTB risk. In this study of 1,064 pregnancies with an overall rate of PTB of 13% women with higher vitamin D ≥40 ng/mL had a 62% lower risk of PTB compared to those <20 ng/mL. This is an outstanding finding and should be shared with everone

In clinical trials, 4000 IU/day of vitamin D was found to safely achieve a concentration of at least 32 ng/mL by early in the second trimester in a diverse group of pregnant women.

Unfortunately we are told to stay out of the sun and not to eat fat (which is why i recommend against both of these). The two major sources of vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients required by the human body. Unlike most vitamins, it is one that we can manufacture on our own, given the right conditions. Despite this, vitamin D is showing up increasingly in populations as the most widespread and critical nutrient deficiency; this deficiency is linked to many diseases and disorders, costing billions of dollars each year. Our changing lifestyles, including increased indoor living and campaigns warning people to stay out of the sun have meant that most people don’t get enough vitamin D. The resulting deficiency is compounded by the consumption of modern and processed foods devoid of any vitamin D.

Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors: D3, also known as cholecalciferol (made from cholesterol), and D2, also known as ergocalciferol. Vitamin D is the only nutrient that can actually be synthesized by the human body, which technically means that it is not a vitamin. The synthesizing of vitamin D in the body can be achieved through contact with solar ultraviolet B radiation emitted by the sun. Without the presence of this solar radiation the only way to get vitamin D is through diet—hence, it is still classified as a “vitamin.”

In addition to vitamin D obtained through UVB exposure to the sun, this vitamin can be found in foods such as eggs, butter and fortified milk, with the highest levels found in fish. Remember, we evolved as fisher- hunter gatherers and fish used to be an essential part of our nutrition. Vitamin D can also be provided by supplements. Numerous studies have concluded that sensible sun exposure and supplementation are the most effective ways of increasing vitamin D levels.

Other deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked with a range of problems with the musculoskeletal system including low bone and muscle problems, as well as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, cancer and impacts on the immune system, Parkinson’s Disease, asthma, pain, and pre eclampsia.

Studies have indicated that vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk and difficulties associated with autoimmune disorders. In particular, there is strong evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes mellitus, and weaker evidence for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systematic lupus and erythematosusstar. There is no doubt about the link between vitamin D shortage and multiple sclerosis. There is a 41% decrease in MS risk for every 50 nanomoles per liter increase in 1,25-hydroxyvitamin in the blood. Vitamin D deficiency also predisposes to insulin resistance and pancreatic beta cell dysfunction. In a study of 10,366 Finnish children those given 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day throughout the first year of life experienced a 78% reduced risk of type 1 diabetes.

Considering the evidence, there is an overwhelming agreement between vitamin D researchers that current recommendations of 200 IU per day for children and adults up to 50 years of age for vitamin D need to be increased to 800 IU to 1000 IU vitamin D3. Numerous studies have shown supplementation to be effective in raising blood levels of Vitamin D levels with no evidence of intoxication reported in either the short- or long-term trial.

Sensible sun exposure (or UVB irradiation) along with supplements are required to satisfy the body's vitamin D requirement. To achieve adequate levels of vitamin D we need to get one to two hours of sensible sun exposure a day. While it is prudent to avoid too much sun it is important to remember that the costs of vitamin D deficiency far outweigh the cost of skin cancer and some sun may also be necessary to reduce skin cancers. Remember, we did evolve in the sun but not all day, especially for those with fair skin.

source

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0180483

 

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Study shows more coffee helps reduce muscle wastage in ageing men.

Study shows more coffee helps reduce muscle wastage in ageing men.

Sarcopenia is an age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. Coffee has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to be inversely related to the mechanism of sarcopenia. In animal studies coffee attenuated the reduction of age-related muscle weight and muscle power, and stimulated regeneration of injured muscle compared to controls. Furthermore, pro-inflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin 6 decreased after coffee treatment

In this study with a sample consisted of 1,781 men who were at least 60 years of age, compared to the group of individuals who drank less than one cup of coffee a day, people who consumed at least 3 cups showed a 57% decreased sarcopenia. Good news for the coffee drinkers was that the decrease was not significant when the daily coffee consumption was 1 or 2 cups. The results of this study suggest that consuming at least 3 cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower prevalence of sarcopenia in elderly elderly men.

Coffee has phenolic compounds such as chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid that have strong antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory effects. A number of studies have now shown habitual coffee consumption is associated with lower prevalence of diabetes or pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, stroke, Parkinson's disease, and cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence that coffee consumption is associated with decreased risks for some types of cancer. Not to mention the antiaging effect I recently reported on my posts.

Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength as we age. Several factors are related to the pathogenesis of sarcopenia. Age-related changes such as decreased levels and sensitivity of anabolic hormones, lack of physical activity, nutritional deficiencies, and comorbid diseases all contribute to the onset and progression of sarcopenia. These changes are hypothesized to lead inflammation with increased circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, suppressed muscle autophagy, and increased apoptosis by altering intra- and extracellular processes. In addition, oxidative metabolism generates reactive oxygen species, which alters skeletal muscle mitochondrial DNA and can lead to sarcopenia.

Source

https://synapse.koreamed.org/DOIx.php?id=10.4082/kjfm.2017.38.3.141

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