~ January 2006 - Do Vegetarians Live Longer?

Contents . . .
  • Do Vegetarians Live Longer? - By William Faloon, January 2006

    Excess consumption of red meat increases the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and other disorders. As a result, health-conscious people are eating more fruit, vegetables, and fish, and are staying away from beef. With all the benefits attributed to plant foods, one might think that vegetarians enjoy a huge life-span advantage over meat eaters.

    We reviewed the published scientific literature and uncovered some surprising data relating to diet and longevity. As one would expect, most studies show that those who consume lots of red meat have higher disease rates.1-14 Red meat not only predisposes people to lethal illness, but meat eaters also have increased risks of ailments such as appendicitis, chronic inflammation, and kidney disease.15-20

    A huge volume of scientific data confirms the protective role of fruits and vegetables on human health.21-23 So the question is, do people who eat only fruits and vegetables — and no meat — live significantly longer?

    Unexpected Findings

    Vegetarians suffer fewer heart attacks than meat eaters.24-37 Interestingly, this benefit dissipates as vegetarians age. For instance, one study showed that vegetarians under the age of 65 were 45% less like to suffer a heart attack than were meat eaters. Once vegetarians reached the age of 80, however, their heart attack risk was only 8% lower than that of meat eaters.38

    Longevity studies of vegetarians produce conflicting data. Some studies do not show that vegetarians live significantly longer.25,29 Two studies of people who consumed very little meat showed an average life-span increase of 3.6 years.39 A huge study of Seventh Day Adventists who ate little or no meat showed longevity increases of 7.28 years in men and 4.42 years in women.40 These data are confounded by the fact that Seventh Day Adventists follow healthy lifestyles free of tobacco and alcohol.

    Studies suggest that the longevity benefits conferred by a vegetarian diet dissipate as humans enter their ninth decade.39 This implies that while vegetarian diets reduce disease risk, restricting one's diet to only plant foods does not completely protect against the effects of aging.

    What's Missing in Vegetarian Diets?

    Read more . . .
  • Carnosine - How it Protects Against Age-Related Disease Theanine - Natural Support for Sleep, Mood, and Weight

    By Edward R. Rosick, DO, MPH, MS

    Proteins are the building blocks of life. Comprising amino acid chains, proteins serve both structural and functional roles within the human body. Structural proteins such as collagen give support to bones, tendons, and skin, while functional proteins known as enzymes catalyze life-sustaining biochemical reactions throughout the body.

    As we age, however, these critical proteins are endangered by the damaging process known as glycation. Defined as a non-enzymatic reaction between proteins and sugars, glycation irreversibly alters the configuration of proteins. These altered proteins, known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs), can no longer effectively fulfill their critical roles throughout the body. AGEs have been implicated in many of the diseases associated with aging, including Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease.

    Fortunately, a powerful nutrient called carnosine helps defend the body's proteins against the crippling effects of glycation. By preventing the formation of dangerous AGEs, carnosine may help the body's proteins retain their youthful vigor and function. Moreover, studies demonstrate that carnosine is also a powerful antioxidant. Carnosine's age-defying effects make this critical nutrient an essential cornerstone of every anti-aging program.

    AGEs, Aging, and Free Radicals

    Many people, especially those well versed in anti-aging medicine, are knowledgeable about free radicals. Far fewer are familiar with advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, molecules that may be just as important as free radicals in initiating the pathological processes associated with aging. AGEs are substances formed in the human body by the biochemical interaction between carbohydrates and proteins in a process known as the Maillard reaction. A coronary artery with atherosclerosis.

    Interestingly enough, the Maillard reaction was first noted during the heating of foods in the presence of sugars; it is what gives cooked foods their unique texture, taste, and smell. One author of a study of AGEs made the following analogy: "the human body might be viewed as an extraordinary complex mixture of chemicals reacting in a low temperature (37° C) oven with a 76-year cooking cycle. Under these conditions, non-enzymatic reactions between carbohydrates and proteins, known collectively as Maillard or browning reactions, produce a wide range of age-related chemical modifications and cross-links in tissue proteins."1 This cross-linking of proteins with carbohydrates can have wide-reaching effects, as AGEs are known to have deleterious effects on the structural and functional properties of proteins and the tissues in which these proteins reside. When you consider that proteins are present everywhere in the human body, the destructive capability of AGEs becomes quite clear.

    While AGEs are destructive in their own right, their interplay with free radicals causes even more havoc in the aging human body. Researchers now postulate that oxidative stress may be involved in AGE formation and that, in a vicious cycle, AGEs may induce even more oxidative stress. In fact, most AGEs that accumulate in proteins are produced under oxidative conditions. As these AGEs and free radicals accumulate in cells and tissues, molecular damage and degradation down to the level of DNA increases, leading to many of the conditions associated with growing old. A growing body of sound scientific evidence theorizes that AGEs and similar molecules such as advanced lipoxidation end products, or ALEs (the products of lipids cross-linking with sugars), are significant contributors to many common pathological processes leading to conditions such as Alzheimer's, cancer, and heart disease.2-7

    Read more . . .
  • Theanine - Natural Support for Sleep, Mood, and Weight

    By Terri Mitchell

    Back when Europe was stone huts and the Mayans were playing soccer, the Chinese were drinking tea. Tea goes back at least 5,000 years as medicine and more than 1,000 years as a simple beverage. Made from the leaves of a bush related to flowering camellia, tea has had a starring role in major features such as the American Revolution and Zen Buddhism. The Japanese regard tea so highly that they've created a ceremony for it, and a separate little tea house in which to serve it.

    The tea ceremony is remarkable in that it dramatizes tea's physical effects on the human body. Tea causes changes in body chemistry that rejuvenate, relax, enhance the ability to think, and change mood.1-6 The biochemical changes provoked by tea are scientifically supported, and they're not due to caffeine.6

    Among the latest discoveries about tea is that it can prevent depression and lower blood pressure.7,8 Both green and black teas have beneficial health effects, the main difference being that black tea is oxidized. That would seem to destroy tea's bioactivity, but it does not. Black tea continues to prove itself in scientific studies. Researchers with the US Department of Agriculture, for example, recently reported that five cups of black tea a day can lower potentially harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol in people with mildly elevated cholesterol.9

    Black tea has benefits, but green tea has undergone more investigation, especially in Japan, where it's the most popular beverage. Many new reports have come out about green tea's amino acid, theanine, since Life Extension introduced it. The only other known source of this unique amino acid is a mushroom.10 Discovered in 1949, yet just now undergoing substantial research, theanine occupies a place on the shelf quite different from that of other dietary supplements. It has to do with the tea ceremony.

    Balancing Sleep/Wake

    Millions of Americans will have trouble sleeping tonight. They won't be able to fall asleep, won't be able to stay asleep, or won't feel like they slept. The primary reason is stress, followed by illness, inactivity, medications, and bad sleep environment. The net effect is a lot of grouchy, depressed, and accident-prone people.11 Most won't see a doctor, even though insomnia can lead to depression, traffic accidents, and a pink slip. Instead, most people will reach for America's favorite drug: caffeine.

    Every day, millions of people take caffeine in one form or another. It's not only in coffee, it's in fruity sodas, over-the-counter drugs, and diet elixirs. "Energy drinks" and espresso are popular caffeine fixes with megadoses of caffeine. Caffeine keeps Americans alert during the day, but it has a price. It can stay in the body for about 10 hours. That's if you have a fully functioning liver. If you drink alcohol or take cimetidine (Tagamet®) and other drugs, it will stick around even longer.12,13 That means the cappuccino you had at three in the afternoon is still around at midnight.

    To relax at night, Americans don't have many choices except prescription sleeping pills. But these drugs don't work for everyone, and have undesirable side effects. Better solutions are needed.

    Read the full article . . .
  • Dark Chocolate Treats Could Help Stave Off Heart Disease

    A few squares of dark chocolate every day could help stave off heart disease, researchers have found.

    Its anti-oxidants may prevent arteries narrowing and hardening, according to the team from Switzerland. The scientists reached their conclusion after testing a group of 20 healthy smokers.

    The men were asked not to eat foods rich in anti-oxidants - such as onions, apples and cabbage - before being fed 40g (2oz) portions of different types of chocolate. Smokers have an increased risk of hardened arteries and heart disease.

    But after two hours, ultrasound scans revealed that dark chocolate consisting of at least 74% cocoa solids had"significantly improved" blood flow. White chocolate produced no beneficial effects. The scientists said dark chocolate had more anti-oxidants per gram than many other foodstuffs whose virtues were already recognised, such as red wine, green tea and berry fruits. They conclude: "A small daily treat of dark chocolate may substantially increase the amount of anti-oxidant intake and beneficially affect vascular health.

    Raw, Organic Chocolate

    There is fantastic hope for chocoholics everywhere! You can turn cravings for cooked chocolate into super-nutrition. Normally, one could peel cacao beans before eating them...now we've done it for you! "Cacao Nibs" (or Cacao Pieces) are peeled raw/organic Cacao Beans.

    Chocolate nibs are the meat of the cacao bean, hulled, cracked, toasted and ready to eat. Try 'em as a snack, or sprinkle on salads instead of nuts, or over ice cream. You may not have heard of them, but you'll definitely want to try them. Chocolate nibs are actually one of the oldest ways of eating chocolate. This is the heart of the bean that brings us finished chocolate. The raw cacao bean is one of nature's most fantastic superfoods due to its wide array of unique properties, many of which are destroyed or corrupted by cooking.

    What is Cacao?

    Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money.

    In 1753 Carl von Linnaeus, the 18th-century Swedish scientist, thought that cacao was so important that he named the genus and species of this tree himself. He named this tree: Theobroma cacao, which literally means "cacao, the food of the gods."

    Cacao beans contain no sugar and between 12% and 50% fat depending on variety and growth conditions. Nature's First Law cacao beans are around 40% fat content (low compared to other nuts). There is no evidence to implicate cacao bean consumption with obesity.

    Magnesium

    Cacao is remarkably rich in magnesium. Cacao seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the menstrual period. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in magnesium.

    Stimulant or Superfood?

    Cacao contains subtle amounts of caffeine and theobromine. However, experiments have shown that these stimulants are far different when consumed raw than cooked.

    Consider the following: Experimental provings of chocolate by homeopaths indicate its stimulating effect when cooked. One experiment conducted with a decoction of roasted ground cacao beans in boiling water produced an excitement of the nervous system similar to that caused by black coffee, an excited state of circulation, and an accelerated pulse. interestingly, when the same decoction was made with raw, unroasted beans neither effect was noticeable, leading the provers to conclude that the physiological changes were caused by aromatic substances released during roasting.

    MAO Inhibitors

    Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) - these are different from digestive enzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain. According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MAO inhibitors facilitate youthening and rejuvenation.

    Phenylethylamine (PEA)

    Phenylethylamine (PEA) is found in chocolate. PEA is an adrenal-related chemical that is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. This is one of the reasons why love and chocolate have a deep correlation. PEA also plays a role in increasing focus and alertness.

    Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical)

    A neurotransmitter called anandamide, has been isolated in cacao. Anandamide is also produced naturally in the brain. Anandamide is known as "The Bliss Chemical" because it is released while we are feeling great. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies' ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that natural anandamide and/or cacao anandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer, when we eat cacao.

    Allergies?

    A recent study showed that only one out of 500 people who thought they were allergic to chocolate actually tested positive. Allergies to chocolate are quite rare. It is typically the case that the person is in fact allergic to milk and dairy products.

    Chocolate Nibs - Raw Unsweetened Chocolate (Cacao)
  • Pregnenolone - A Critical Hormone for Emotional and Physical Health

    By Armond Scipione

    As we age, many of us come to accept that certain conditions are inevitable. Our once-sharp short-term memory now leaves us wondering where we left our wallet or purse. Acquaintances' names seem to slip our minds a bit more often. Days of endless energy and desire have left us for days filled with fatigue and little motivation. We may find ourselves feeling more anxious or even depressed at times. For some of us, debilitating conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and coronary artery disease may play a predominant role in our lives. What if a supplement could turn back the clock and help restore the quality of life we once had? Researchers have shown that a naturally occurring hormone called pregnenolone may be just what we need.

    Pregnenolone is a precursor to the body's other naturally occurring hormones, including dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol.1 Pregnenolone is synthesized directly from cholesterol and is responsible for countless functions in our bodies. By the age of 75, however, the body's production of this valuable hormone has declined by as much as 60%,2 and levels of the hormones for which pregnenolone is a precursor have also diminished.

    Today, growing numbers of men and women are correcting hormone imbalances using bioidentical hormones. Doctors are becoming increasingly adept at restoring youthful levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and sometimes DHEA, using molecularly identical forms of these hormones. All too often, however, they leave pregnenolone out of their hormone regimens. Does it seem appropriate to replace only some of the hormones that have declined, when in fact all hormones have important functions in the body? After all, youthful adults have optimal levels of all hormones, not just a few.

    Supplemental pregnenolone is molecularly identical to the pregnenolone that the body makes naturally.3 The raw material to create pregnenolone comes from wild yams (Dioscorea villosa), which are grown in Mexico and other tropical regions throughout the world.

    Enhancing Memory and Cognition

    Boosting acetylcholine levels, increasing neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons), and regulating gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are among the ways pregnenolone may help improve memory and cognitive function.4-6 Acetylcholine is a critical neurotransmitter that helps brain cells communicate with each other. Many Alzheimer's medications, such as Aricept® and Reminyl®, work by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine. In one study, French researchers discovered that infusing pregnenolone sulfate (a sulfated derivative of pregnenolone) into the brains of rats boosted acetylcholine release by 50% while improving cognitive recognition of a familiar environment.4

    Neurons are cells that send and receive electrical signals to and from other parts of the body, thus controlling all functions in humans and animals. Neurogenesis gives hope to those with chronic, debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's. Aware that neurogenesis is sensitive to hormonal influences, researchers examined the effect of pregnenolone sulfate on neurogenesis in young and old rats.5 Infusion with pregnenolone sulfate increased nerve growth in both 3- and 20-month-old rats. The researchers concluded that pregnenolone could prevent the appearance of age-related cognitive disturbances.

    GABA is another critical neurotransmitter involved in proper cognitive function. An inhibitory neurotransmitter that aids in relaxation and sleep, GABA acts as a "balancer" for the brain, helping balance excitation with inhibition. Pregnenolone may inhibit or enhance the activity of GABA receptors, thus helping modulate nervous system function.6

    Read the full article . . .
  • Featured Product: Super Carnosine - Carnosine is a multifunctional dipeptide made up of a chemical combination of the amino acids beta-alanine and L-histidine. It is found both in food and in the human body. Long-lived cells such as nerve cells (neurons) and muscle cells (myocytes) contain high levels of carnosine. Muscle levels of carnosine correlate with the maximum life spans of animals.

    Carnosine levels decline with age. Muscle levels decline 63% from age 10 to age 70, which may account for the normal age-related decline in muscle mass and function. Since carnosine acts as a pH buffer, it can keep on protecting muscle cell membranes from oxidation under the acidic conditions of muscular exertion. Carnosine enables the heart muscle to contract more efficiently through enhancement of calcium response in heart myocytes.

    Aging causes irreversible damage to the body's proteins. The underlying mechanism behind this damage is glycation. A simple definition of glycation is the cross-linking of proteins and sugars to form non-functioning structures in the body. The process of glycation can be superficially seen as unsightly wrinkled skin.

    Glycation is also an underlying cause of age-related catastrophes including the neurologic, vascular, and eye disorders. Carnosine is a unique dipeptide that interferes with the glycation process. When compared to the anti-glycating drug aminoguanidine, carnosine has been shown to inhibit glycation earlier in the process and also provides additive health benefits.

    Research has shown that carnosine protects and extends the functional life of the body's key building blocks - cells, proteins, DNA, lipids. It is also safe and naturally occurring in food and in the body. The remarkable life-extending benefits of carnosine can be seen in numerous physiological processes throughout the body.

    In order to derive carnosine's multiple benefits, it is critical to consume enough carnosine to saturate the carnosinase enzyme so as to make free carnosine available to the rest of the body. Small dosages of supplemental carnosine that are often sold by commercial companies provide no benefit because this small amount of carnosine is degraded by the carnosinase enzyme before it can produce beneficial effects in the body.

    Water-soluble quercetin and benfotiamine are included in the Super Carnosine formula to help maintain healthy circulation and provide additional protection against sugar toxicity.
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