Posts Tagged ‘Inflammation’
With the onset of the cooler weather brought by Autumn, we typically shift from drinking cool drinks to savoring warmer ones. Hot ciders, hot teas and hot chocolates are the choices for many folks for Autumn beverages, because they warm us up on cold mornings and evenings. The spice that is often chosen to enhance these beverages is cinnamon, because it enhances the taste of the hot drinks. Cinnamon does more than enhance the flavor of hot beverages, it’s water soluble component provides a balanced anti-inflammatory effect for our senior bodies. It turns out that inflammation in our bodies is like a two-edge sword. We need an inflammatory response, because without it infections and wounds would never be healed. The second edge of inflammation acts as an accessory in many serious diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and many others. For good health, especially for good senior health, we need to keep the inflammatory response in balance. As we age the inflammatory processes tend to fall out of balance causing those serious diseases.
Fortunately our bodies have their own balancing mechanisms that utilize certain proteins that can be induced by insulin, which is an anti-inflammatory hormone, and cinnamon extract. Recent research has shown that water soluble cinnamon extract lessens a type of intestinal inflammation. In addition to lessening inflammation, cinnamon has been shown to mimic the effects of insulin, manage blood-sugar metabolism, help regulate fatty acids, help reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and act synergistically with insulin. Working together with insulin cinnamon reduces the type of inflammation in order to improve cardiovascular health.
The health news reports are full of glowing accounts of the health benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids especially the EPA/DHA from fish and other foods. In parallel many health reports point out that the typical American diet is unbalanced, because it contains too much omega-6 fatty acids. It turns out that most vegetable oils including corn, soybean, and safflower provide an excess of omega-6 fatty acids. Eggs and poultry are additional sources of excess omega-6 fatty acids in the typical American diet. The one exception to this general rule is the omega-6 fatty acid known as gamma linolenic acid (GLA), because research has shown this nutrient has the power to combat atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, diabetes and cancer. As we age our bodies begin to stop producing GLA and most folks do not get enough from their diet. The latest research is providing very strong evidence that GLA can contribute to preempting a wide range of typical age-related disorders by itself and together with EPA/DHA. Many of these disorders are caused by inflammation that senior bodies can not moderate because of the breakdown of of the aging bodies ability to produce the anti-inflammatory enzyme. This enzyme produces anti-inflammatory molecules from dietary fats. Taking supplemental GLA derived from Borage can substitute for this defect in senior bodies, in order to reduce inflammation. The health results can be substantial particularly in regard to promoting cardiovascular health.
Currently many articles on health are raising serious concern about the number of Americans who are not just overweight, but who are obese. The concern is based on the observed rapid progression from overweight to obese and then to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, artherosclerosis and cancer. It turns out that as testosterone levels decrease as men age that the markers of inflammation rise. One of the markers of inflammation is the C-reactive protein (CRP). Rising inflammation due to lowering testosterone levels contributes to the development of obesity and its related conditions including cancer and artherosclerosis. Much of the obesity in senior men is centered in the abdominal region. When this occurs the fat, which is deposited because of the testosterone deficiency, adds to the inflammation in the body and a vicious circle is initiated. For senior men who are concerned about promoting their senior health by taking appropriate preemptive aging steps to reverse testosterone deficiency is a large, important one. The first item on the agenda for senior men is to have their doctor perform the test to check their testosterone level. In the event that it is low, then testosterone replacement therapy is available from qualified physicians. For those senior men who need to raise their testosterone levels doing so will improve their cardiovascular health and help them avoid cancer.
Green tea has been getting all the good press about its multiple health benefits which are especially supportive of senior health. Recent research has discovered that black tea provides compounds called theaflavins that complement the health benefits of the polyphenols in green tea. The theaflavins in black tea have grabbed the attention of the folks performing research on human longevity. The theaflavins help regulate the genes that produce inflammatory cytokines which have been implicated in promoting degenerative disease and aging. By interferring with inflammation at its initial stages, theaflavins provide a new way to block inflammation related diseases that include cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Beyond blocking inflammation, researchers have found that the theaflavins can contribute to reversing the effects of coronary artery disease. Additional research uncovered the mechanism by which the theaflavins operate to prevent the blood platelets from sticking together which is the first step in the process of cardiovascular disease. There is good news for seniors who are concerned about taking preemptive measures to foster their senior health against inflammation induced degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Highly concentrated and purified theaflavins are currently available in supplement form for use by seniors as part of their preemptive aging regime.
NAC is the acronym for N-Acetyl Cysteine which is a double-barreled health promoting compound. It has been known for forty years, but its multiple health benefits have only recently been identified and reported. It regulates the expression of scores of genes in those pathways that link oxidative stress with inflammation. In NAC’s second barrel it supports raising the level of an important antioxidant known as glutathione (GSH) which is particularly important for seniors who are concerned about fostering their senior health. With these dual effects NAC can provide a special role in the treatment and prevention of many common diseases. NAC can provide protection against avian and seasonal flu, improve insulin sensitivity in folks with metabolic disorders, battle the stomach infection Heliobacter, and block cancer development at nearly every step in the process.
Today the knowledge that there are strong links between oxidative stress and inflammation that lead to cancer make NAC an obvious choice for a compound that will provide cancer chemoprevention. NAC has many anti-cancer activities which aim at multiple targets resulting in layers of cancer protection against myriad cancers. It turns out that NAC is now available in supplement form. This information is very good news for seniors who are searching for preemptive means to promote their senior health by avoiding cancer in any form.
When vitamin K was discovered back in 1929 it was initially believed to be required to insure healthy blood clotting. Only recently in the last ten years have other areas been researched that reveal that vitamin K has important contributions for bone and vascular health, apoptosis of cancer cells, immune support and suppression of chronic inflammatory factors. As we age one of the pathological processes that occurs is the calcification of tissues in the body. The risk of heart attacks is increased by arterial calcification. Vitamin K performs two important functions that benefit senior health. It regulates the calcium balance so that the calcium goes to our bones and not to our arteries. The good news is that vitamin K can assist in reversing arterial calcification which contributes to cardiovascular disease. In trials ingesting a higher amount of vitamin K reduced coronary artery disease by over 55%.
Vitamin K is found in two forms, K1 and K2. Foods such as organ meats, eggs and dairy provide K2. K1 is found in green leafy vegetables. The K2 in foods is much more easily absorbed into our system than is K1. Fortunately for seniors supplements containing both vitamin K1 and K2 are available at affordable prices. A caution for folks who are on anticoagulant drugs; they need to work with their physicians to achieve the optimal therapeutic INR range between the drugs and vitamin K. In conclusion vitamin K has been shown to assist getting the calcium into the bones which stops the slide into osteoprorosis. In the trials used to evaluate fracture risk vitamin K reduced hip fractures by over 70%.