5 Tips For Baby Boomers For Optimum Health and Longevity
Baby Boomer Stats: (Americans born between 1946 and 1964)
- There were 75.4 million Baby Boomers as of 2015 (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-113.html)
- Two out of every three Baby Boomers have multiple chronic conditions, and treatment for this population accounts for 66% of the country’s healthcare budget (http://www.cdc.gov/features/agingandhealth/state_of_aging_and_health_in_america_2013.pdf)
- Many of these chronic health conditions are related to lifestyle factors, such as poor sleep, stress, toxic chemical exposure, lack of exercise and poor dietary choices
This week´s Blog is Baby Boomer Call To action
5 Tips For Baby Boomers For Optimum Health and Longevity
Restorative sleep is one of the most important factor in predicting longevity, along with diet and exercise. It is also essential for immune functioning.
Chronic sleep deficiency may serve as an etiological factor for the development and exacerbation of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and, ultimately, a shortened lifespan.
In addition, sleep deprivation also results in significant impairments in cognitive and motor performance which increase the risk of motor vehicle crashes and work-related injuries and fatal accidents.
(Dement, W. C., & Vaughan, C. 1999) (Luyster, et al 2012)
The idea that stress can negatively impact body functions and health dates back to antiquity.
Adverse health outcomes such as coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal distress, and cancer have been linked to unresolved lifestyle stresses, all of which can decrease one’s lifespan and accelerate aging.
Psychological modulation of immune function (Psychoneuroimmunology and psychoneuroendocrinology) is a well-established phenomenon.
Research connecting the mind with endocrinology, neurology and immunology has demonstrated that these systems communicate with each other in a multidirectional flow of information consisting of hormones, neurotransmitters/neuropeptides, and cytokines.
Advances in mind-body medicine research together with healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on health maintenance, disease prevention and longevity.
(Vitetta, L et al 2005)
A wide variety of environmental contaminants (AKA neuroendocrine disruptors) have specific effects on neuroendocrine systems in humans, animals and fish.
Pesticides can accumulate in neuroendocrine areas of the brain and impact sexual differentiation and other neuroendocrine systems regulating the thyroid, metabolic, and stress physiological responses.
Weakly estrogenic and anti-androgenic pollutants such as bisphenol A, phthalates, phytochemicals, and the fungicide vinclozolin can lead to severe and widespread neuroendocrine disruptions in the brain, resulting in behavioral changes that include cognitive deficits, heightened anxiety and dysfunctional locomotor, and appetitive behaviors.
There is growing evidence for the association between environmental contaminant exposures and diseases with strong neuroendocrine components, for example decreased fertility, neurodegeneration (e.g. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease), and cardiovascular disease.
(León-Olea, M et al 2014)
Androgens and estrogens (sex hormones) are both required for the preservation of cognitive function during aging and can help counteract the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There is a plethora of environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals that interfere with sex hormone function.
Because the brain is in continuous transition throughout one’s life and responds both to environmental circumstances and to changing levels of sex hormones, endocrine-disrupting chemicals from the environmental have the potential to impair the growth and development of nervous tissue, and represent a hazard to the preservation of cognitive function throughout life.
(Weiss, B 2007).
Exercise is a highly effective means of treating and preventing the main causes of morbidity and mortality in industrialized countries, many of which are associated with aging
Low physical fitness is significant risk factor for cardiovascular and all-causes morbidity and mortality, and is even a predictor of these problems.
Assessing one’s physical fitness level can be a highly valuable indicator of health and life expectancy as it is a useful tool for designing individually adapted training programs. Such training programs would allow people to develop their maximum physical potential, improve their physical and mental health, and attenuate the negative consequences of aging.
(Castillo Garzón, M. J., et al 2006)
Sarcopenia is the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that occurs with aging. Sarcopenic changes in the muscle affect muscle quantity and quality, as well as anabolic and sex hormone production. In addition, it can adversely affect basal metabolic rate and chronic inflammation secondary to age-related changes in cytokines (cell signaling proteins) and oxidative stress.
Ultimately sarcopenia leads to decreased overall physical functioning, increased frailty, fall risk, and eventually the loss of independent living.
(Waters, D. L. et al 2010)
Progressive resistance exercises can produce substantial increases in strength and muscle size and represents the safest, least expensive means to lose body fat, decrease blood pressure, improve glucose tolerance, and maintain long-term independence.
(Evans, W. J. 1996)
Perhaps the most studied diet on health and longevity is the Mediterranean Diet (MD). Individuals who adhere to the principles of the traditional MD tend to have a longer life-span. Those who report eating foods closest to the MD are about 10–20% less likely to die of heart disease, cancer or any other cause.
The longevity of Mediterranean people has been related to olive oil and other phytonutrient rich foods with high antioxidant potential.
The Mediterranean Diet has been shown to:
- Reduce the prevalence of metabolic syndrome
- Decrease blood pressure
- Prevent cardiovascular events, reduce the risk of mortality after a myocardial infarction, and reduce peripheral arterial disease
- Reduce the risk of obesity
- Favorably affect bone metabolism, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegenerative age-related diseases such as cognitive deficit, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
- Have a preventive effect on cancer
(Pérez-López, F. R., et al 2009)
Restricting food intake can increases longevity, retard age-associated physiological deterioration and delays or prevent age-associated diseases.
Two proposed mechanisms or calorie restriction and longevity include:
1) Attenuation of oxidative damage
2) Modulation of glycemia and insulinemia
(Masoro, E. J. 2000)
Key Take Home Points
- Get adequate sleep (7-9 hours on average)
- Reduce your stress (e.g. acupuncture, walks, recreation, meditation, massage)
- Minimize exposure environmental toxins by using natural products at home and work (http://www.ewg.org/)
- Make weight lifting an essential part of your exercise routine (seek out the help of a professional to design an appropriate and specific program)
- Follow a Mediterranean Diet and don’t overeat
Castillo Garzón, M. J., Ruiz, J. R., Ortega Porcel, F. B., & Gutiérrez, Á. (2006). Anti-aging therapy through fitness enhancement.
Dement, W. C., & Vaughan, C. (1999). The promise of sleep: A pioneer in sleep medicine explores the vital connection between health, happiness, and a good night’s sleep. Dell Publishing Co.
Evans, W. J. (1996). Reversing sarcopenia: how weight training can build strength and vitality. Geriatrics, 51(5), 46-7.
León-Olea, M., Martyniuk, C. J., Orlando, E. F., Ottinger, M. A., Rosenfeld, C. S., Wolstenholme, J. T., & Trudeau, V. L. (2014). Current concepts in neuroendocrine disruption. General and comparative endocrinology, 203, 158-173.
Luyster, F. S., Strollo Jr, P. J., Zee, P. C., & Walsh, J. K. (2012). Sleep: a health imperative. Sleep, 35(6), 727-734.
Masoro, E. J. (2000). Caloric restriction and aging: an update. Experimental gerontology, 35(3), 299-305.
Pérez-López, F. R., Chedraui, P., Haya, J., & Cuadros, J. L. (2009). Effects of the Mediterranean diet on longevity and age-related morbid conditions.Maturitas, 64(2), 67-79.
Vitetta, L., Anton, B., Cortizo, F., & Sali, A. (2005). Mind‐Body Medicine: Stress and Its Impact on Overall Health and Longevity. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1057(1), 492-505.
Waters, D. L., Baumgartner, R. N., Garry, P. J., & Vellas, B. (2010). Advantages of dietary, exercise-related, and therapeutic interventions to prevent and treat sarcopenia in adult patients: an update. Clin Interv Aging, 5, 259-270.