Archive for the ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ Category

Adding Spice To Your Sex Life- Cinnamon and Testosterone

July 9, 2016

 

It is normal for a man’s sex drive or libido to decline as he ages. The reason? The male hormone, testosterone, which is responsible for the libido starts to decline about 2-3% a year after age 30. This article will discuss a non-medical solution, cinnamon, that may have an impact on a man’s sex drive or libido.

Animal studies have demonstrated that cinnamon can reduce high blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity and also the testosterone boosting and testicular health. Therefore, it’s very much possible that cinnamon can be used to increase testosterone levels in humans.

 Cinnamon is a spice that you may only associate with baking and desserts, but there are plenty of cinnamon benefits that make it a great spice to use everyday and as a dietary supplement.

When using cinnamon as a supplement be sure to use organic cinnamon and not the conventional variety you typically find in the spice aisle at the grocery store. Just like with vegetables, conventional spices can contain the same herbicides and pesticides when they are conventionally manufactured.

Benefits of cinnamon:

Improves Metabolism

Cinnamon often makes it onto the list of foods that you should be eating if you are trying to lose weight. Cinnamon has the ability to rev up the metabolism, which can help you lose weight more effectively.

By the way, daily exercise is also a natural way to get your metabolism going.

 
 

Reduces Cholesterol

Cinnamon has been shown to help lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, often referred to as the bad cholesterol. This makes it a fantastic all-natural remedy for high cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol over long periods of time can lead to more serious heart problems such as stroke and heart attack.

Reduces Blood Sugar Levels

Cinnamon has been shown to help keep blood sugar levels where they should be, and is often recommended to diabetics to help naturally regulate blood glucose levels. You can use cinnamon even if you are not diabetic as a way to keep your blood sugar within healthy guidelines.

Antibacterial Properties

Cinnamon acts as an antibacterial agent in the body, and with that because of that it is very helpful in treating a myriad of problems. This is why it is often recommended for an upset stomach, because it can help clear harmful bacteria from the digestive system.

Cancer Fighter

Cinnamon has been shown to be effective cancer fighting foods, and there are many reasons for this, but the chief among them is cinnamon’s antibacterial property.

More studies are needed before cinnamon can fully be given the green light and regarded as a cancer-fighting agent.

Heart Disease Prevention

Because of cinnamon’s ability to lower cholesterol levels and improve blood circulation throughout the body, it can be used to help prevent heart disease.

Anti-Inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory nature of cinnamon means that you can use it to help with a number of conditions caused by inflammation.

Helps Balance Hormones

Cinnamon can help balance hormones in women, making it a great all-natural remedy to try before turning to medication like estrogen replacement therapy. Cinnamon acts to lower the amount of testosterone produced by women, while increasing the amount of progesterone.

Helps Brain Function

The aroma of cinnamon has long been thought of as being a brain booster, and modern science is backing that up. Reason enough to start opt for cinnamon scented candles, or cinnamon essential oils for aromatherapy.  Cinnamon can help your brain work better and keep you more alert, just by smelling it.  Rather than use energy drinks or other artificial ways to make yourself zeroed in, you can use the scent of cinnamon to give you that extra mental edge needed during a typical workday.

Clears the Digestive Tract

Cinnamon can help clear out your digestive tract, which will help your body absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat more easily. This also means you’ll have fewer stomach problems including indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.

Increases Circulation

Cinnamon has a warming effect on the body, and can help improve blood flow throughout. There are plenty of diseases and conditions, like sexual functioning, that are caused by poor circulation, so taking steps to improve that circulation can be very beneficial indeed. Improved blood flow in the body can help improve the sex drives of both men and women, as it helps blood flow to the reproductive organs. For men this means stronger erections and for women it means increased sensitivity of the clitoris and labia.

Improves Your Mood

You can use cinnamon as a sort of aromatherapy to help improve your mood. That’s because for this benefit of cinnamon you simply need to smell it. The aroma of cinnamon acts to shift you to a better mood.

Many things can occur throughout the day to put us in an off mood, so it’s important to have a collection of steps you can take to try and shake you out of a funk and get you back to feeling good.

Alzheimer’s Prevention

One of the more surprising cinnamon benefits is its ability to help prevent Alzheimer’s. Research is promising in regards to cinnamon’s effect on the brain, enough so that it would be smart to start taking it as a supplement if you feel you are at risk for Alzheimer’s.

Bottom Line: Most men and women today want to maintain and restore their ability to be sexually intimate with their partner. Yes, there are pills and medications that can be effective. However, there are natural options, like cinnamon, that are available to nearly everyone and at low or minimal cost that may improve their ability to be sexually active. Also there are numerous other benefits of cinnamon that make it a worthwhile option. It’s hard to think of a spice like cinnamon as being anything more than a flavoring agent, but which is currently being studied for its beneficial effects including sexual intimacy and performance.

What steps can people take today to ensure healthy aging in their future?

September 18, 2015

I am frequently asked by patients about how to grow old gracefully and in good health. Unfortunately, the fountain of youth has not been discovered. However there are steps that everyone can take to make the senior years enjoyable ones providing we have our mental and physical health. This blog will provide some suggestions that I think can lead you to healthy lifestyle in your middle age and older years.

The risk of Alzheimer’s disease
One in eight adults above the age of 65 years old in the United States has Alzheimer’s disease and some cognitive decline is a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is advancing age. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years after age 65 and after age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent.

Those who have a parent, brother, sister or child with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop the disease. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness.

Genetics (heredity) also plays a role. There are two types of genes that can play a role in affecting whether a person develops a disease—risk genes and deterministic genes. Alzheimer’s genes have been found in both categories. Risk genes increase the likelihood of developing a disease, but do not guarantee it will happen. Deterministic genes directly cause a disease, guaranteeing that anyone who inherits them will develop the disorder.

So what can you do?
Live an active life. Regular exercise is one of the greatest keys to physical and mental wellbeing. Regular exercise may prevent or even provide relief from many common chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, depression and arthritis

Maintain your brain. Studies have shown that a lifestyle that includes cognitive stimulation through active learning slows cognitive decline. That means getting off the couch and onto the sidewalks, parks, or jogging paths. A brisk walk 20-30 minutes a day is all that you need.

Get enough sleep. Older adults need just as much sleep as young adults – seven to nine hours per night. Lack of sleep can cause depression, irritability, increased fall risk and memory problems

Make an effort to reduce stress. Long-term stress can damage brain cells and lead to depression, memory loss, fatigue and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection.

What are some foods people can eat now for healthy aging later?
Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables and whole-grains to keep your body and mind sharp.
Colorful fruits and vegetables contain antioxidant which help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells. I suggest you consume colorful vegetables and fruits, such as leafy greens, tomatoes, blueberries and carrots as they contain the highest quantities of antioxidants. You want to enjoy five to nine servings a day.

You need calcium and vitamin D. The calcium and fortified vitamin D in dairy foods are crucial to strong bones and help prevent osteoporosis. I suggest 3 cups of low-fat milk, yogurt, or other dairy products a day.

Whole grains are rich in fiber and help lower cholesterol and provide for regular bowel movements. Examples are oats, quinoa, barley, wheat and brown rice, which also lowers your chance of developing type 2 diabetes and keeps blood vessels in peak condition. You should strive for three servings of whole grains a day.

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish help protect your heart, lower your odds of having a stroke and may even help guard against Alzheimer’s disease. Help yourself to two servings a week of fatty fish such as salmon or tuna.

Finally, maintain a healthy sex life. Sex serves as a form of exercise and can help reduce stress, improve moods and increase overall health. Another advantage of regular sex is that it can actually lower your total cholesterol level, and increase the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or the good cholesterol. And besides….it’s a lot of fun!

Bottom Line: You can’t change your genes or your parents but you can lead a healthy lifestyle by having a regular exercise regimen and having a healthy diet. Both of these will lead to good health and enjoyment of your senior years.

10 Medical Tests You MAY Be Able To Do Without

May 15, 2014

For years I have been writing and speaking on wellness and taking good care of yourself using preventive healthcare measures. Now with greater understanding of risks and benefits of tests, I am informing you of some tests that you may want to reconsider.

1. Nuclear stress tests, and other imaging tests, after heart procedures
Many people who have had a hear bypass, stent or other heart procedure feel they’ve had a brush with death. So patients — and doctors — understandably want to be reassured through a nuclear stress test or other tests that their hearts are beating strong. But performing these tests every year or even every two years in patients without symptoms rarely results in any change in treatment. In fact, post bypass or stent nuclear stress tests, can lead to unnecessary invasive procedures and excess radiation exposure without helping the patient improve. Instead, patients and doctors should focus on what does make a difference in keeping the heart healty: managing weight, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure and increasing exercise.
2. Yearly electrocardiogram or exercise stress test
A survey of nearly 1,200 people ages 40 to 60 without any symptoms had an EKG over the previous five years. The problem: Someone at low risk for heart disease is more likely to get a false-positive result than to find a true problem. This could lead to unnecessary heart catheterization and stents. Instead, have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. And if you’re at risk for diabetes, have your blood glucose level checked as well.
3. PSA to screen for prostate cancer
Cancer is always scary, but the PSA test often finds slow-growing cancers that won’t kill men. As a result of the test, he says, men often have ultrasounds, repeat lab tests and even biopsies for a problem that isn’t there — an estimated 75 percent of tests that show high PSA levels turn out to have negative prostate biopsies. When men do have treatments such as surgery or radiation, 20 to 40 percent end up with impotence, incontinence or both.
The American Urological Association, which supports the use of PSA testing, says that it should be considered mainly for men ages 55 to 69. After age 70, men without any urinary symptoms probably do not need further PSA testing.

4. PET scan to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
Until recently, the only way to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s was during an autopsy. In the last few years, doctors have begun using PET scans with a radioactive dye to look for beta-amyloid protein that is found in the brains of people with the disease. Although this test has promising use for research, there are serious questions about whether it should be used on those who complain of a fuzzy memory. PET scans in older people consistently find the protein in 30 to 40 percent of people whose memories are just fine.

5. X-ray, CT scan or MRI for lower back pain
Unfortunately, back pain is incredibly common — 80 percent of people, myself included, will suffer from back pain some time in their lives. It can be both excruciating and debilitating. Naturally, people want to know what’s wrong. Here’s the catch: The best imaging machines in the world often can’t tell them. Many older people with no back pain can have terrible-looking scans.
Most back pain goes away in about a month and imaging tests tend to lead to expensive procedures that often don’t help recovery. However, if your legs feel weak or numb, you have a history of cancer or you have had a recent infection, see your doctor as soon as possible.
6. Yearly Pap tests
The yearly Pap smear is a common part of women’s health checklists, but it doesn’t need to be. Women at average risk only need them every three years, since cervical cancer generally takes 10 to 20 years to develop. If women have also had negative tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is now known to cause the cancer, they only need a Pap test along with the HPV test every five years. And women older than 65 who have had several normal Pap tests in a row can stop having them altogether. Do note, however, that a yearly visit to an ob-gyn stays on the to-do list.
7. Bone density scan for women before age 65 and men before age 70
For the estimated 10 million people — mainly women —in the United States who have osteoporosis, bone-strengthening medications can lower the chances of breaking a bone. But many experts argue that for those ages 50 to 65 who have osteopenia — mild bone loss — testing and subsequent drug prescriptions may be a waste of time and money. Not only is the risk of fracture often quite low, medications such as Fosamax (alendronate) and Boniva (ibandronate) have been linked to throat or chest pain, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, muscle pain, bone loss in the jaw and thigh-bone fractures. And there’s scant evidence that people with osteopenia get much benefit from the drugs.
To help keep your bones strong, try walking and weight-bearing exercises. Get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet. If you smoke, quit.
8. Follow-up ultrasounds for small ovarian cysts
Many women receive repeated ultrasounds to verify that ovarian cysts have not become cancerous, but current research says that these tests aren’t necessary. For one thing, premenopausal women have harmless ovarian cysts regularly. For another, about 20 percent of postmenopausal women also develop harmless cysts.
The likelihood of these small simple cysts ever becoming cancer is exceedingly low.
In postmenopausal women, only cysts larger than 1 centimeter in diameter need a follow-up ultrasound. For premenopausal women, who typically have benign cysts every month when they ovulate, cysts smaller than 3 centimeters aren’t even worth mentioning in the radiologist’s report, says Levine.

9. Colonoscopy after age 75
Most people should have screening for colon cancer at 50 and then every five to 10 years after that, if the first test is normal. By age 75 — if you’ve always had normal colonoscopies — you can stop taking this test altogether. That should be good news, because a colonoscopy can cause serious complications in older people.
Just the preparation for colonoscopy can be exceptionally harsh. Some patients become incontinent or experience weeks of pain, diarrhea and constipation. In worst cases, the procedure can perforate the colon. Despite such risks, recent studies have found that substantial numbers of people over 75, even over 85, are still getting screening colonoscopies.
To protect your colon, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains for fiber. Cut down on fatty foods, red meat and processed meats. Lose weight if you’re overweight and exercise. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s the best advice for protecting the rest of your body — and mind — as well.
10. Yearly physical
There’s little evidence that having an annual checkup can keep you healthy. Many tests that doctors regularly perform — to diagnose anemia, liver disease or urinary tract infections, for example — don’t make sense unless there’s a reason to suspect a problem. A healthy 52-year-old does not need to see the doctor once a year.
Certainly, if you have an illness that needs treatment, you should see your physician. And do talk to your doctor about how often you need to have your blood pressure and cholesterol tested. For these other tests, ask your doctor if they really are necessary and is the screening worth the risk of the procedure and are the benefits greater than the risks.

10 New Years Resolutions You Can “Live” With

January 5, 2013

New Years resolutions are made and many are aborted in days or weeks after January 1. Here are 10 suggestions for better health that you can probably keep. If you do, you will probably have a longer and happier life.

1. Celebrate with a friend
People with social connections with family and friends are less likely to experience a decline in ability to reason and remember. Social activity may help preserve your ability to perform your day-to-day activities as you age.

2. Get a pet
People who own pets have healthier hearts and make fewer visits to the doctor. Dogs make better exercise partners than birds, as they want to go for a daily walk.

3. Chew some chocolate
Chocolate is now considered the darling of the heart healthy diet family. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which is a natural anti-oxidant that helps the body’s cells resist damage that may contribute to cancer.

4. Embrace your cup of coffee
Regular or decaf coffee appears to lower the risk of dying from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and pneumonia. Coffee also protects against skin cancer, liver damage, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. One study purported that three cups of coffee a day may protect against Alzheimer’s disease or delay its onset.

5. Wine is wonderful
A glass of either red or white wine is heart-healthy. Even beer is good for the heart. The key to drinking either wine or beer is moderation-one glass a day for women; two glass a day for men.
6. Sex-A little is good, more is better
The damaging myth about older adults is that aging means putting your sex life on the back burner. Sex is good for you regardless of your age if it is safe sex. Sex causes the brain to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that act as painkillers and reduce anxiety. Sex also bolsters the immune system. More sex is also associated lower levels of depression.

7. Music is medicinal
Music boosts mood and reduces anxiety and even makes it possible to get a good nights sleep. Studies show that people feel less pain and need less pain medications after surgery if they listen to music while recuperating.

8. Nap like a baby
A mid afternoon nap can improve mood, memory alertness and learning. A 20 minute nap improves alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy. Sipping a cup of coffee before closing your eyes will help you wake up alert. It takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to enter the blood stream, so its effects start to kick in when you wake up.

9 Say hello to nature
Being around nature for as little as five minutes a day can boost your mood and sense of well-being.

10. Select a healthy soap
Soaps that contain antibacterial triclosan, which are no more effective than plain soaps, may be harmful. Washing your hands in warm water with plain soap for 20 seconds will be just as effective as using expensive antibacterial soaps.

Bottom Line: Ponce de Leon scoured the coast of Florida for what he hoped was the legendary fountain of youth. Five centuries later, no one has found the fountain of youth, but we can add youth to our aging process by just adhering to these 10 health resolutions. Happy New Year to all of my friends, family, and followers.

The (Better) Life List

September 9, 2012

All of us, myself included, are looking for motivations to participate in regular exercise. I think you will find the following list helpful. Let me know if you have any other ideas to add to this list.

1.Exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system. It releases growth factors, which through a chain reaction, aid in the production of new blood vessels. Another byproduct of exercise widens the pathways where blood flows and in turn boosts blood volume. Increased blood flow reduces hardening of the arteries.
2.Exercise regulates your fuel. It increases regulatory factors that help maintain proper insulin and glucose levels. This is vital since insulin levels drop as we age making it harder for our cells to uptake glucose and use it as energy. When glucose isn’t used for fuel, and is left to its own devices, it creates waste. This waste, such as free radicals, eventually puts the body at risk of stroke and more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
3.Exercise reduces obesity. It burns calories and reduces appetite. High body fat is harmful to the cardiovascular, metabolic, and nervous systems. Being overweight doubles your chance of developing dementia and obesity is frequently paired with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
4.Exercise elevates your stress threshold. It makes proteins that combat free radicals and ex¬citatory neurotransmitters, which stress your cells and trigger the cell death process and aging. Exercise also combats cortisol, a product of the stress response. By lowering your stress thresh¬old, you are also lowering your risk of depression and dementia.
5.Exercise boosts the immune system. It brings the immune system back into equilibrium and fights the effects of stress and age. Even moderate activity increases antibody and lymphocyte levels, which make the body more alert to bodily threats and better able to deal with them.
6.Exercise fortifies your bones. Regular weight training, or any sport that requires you to jump or run, helps counteract natural bone loss. You need a strong skeletal system to continue to stay active as you age. Remember, it is never too late to reverse or prevent bone loss.
7.Exercise boosts motivation and lifts your mood. It strengthens connections between dopa¬mine neurons, which is key to the brain’s motivation system. This will help guard against the trap of becoming sedentary and solitary. It is important to stay mobile as you age. Mobility helps you maintain social connections important to sustaining mood and motivation.
8.Exercise fosters neuroplasticity. It builds a stronger, more flexible brain. Exercise elevates the supply of growth factors and neurotrophic factors in the brain. This leads to better connections, more synapses, and more new stem cells ready to become neurons in the hippocampus. All of these effects improve your brain’s ability to: learn, remember, execute higher thought processes, adapt, and manage your emotions.

Bottom Line: Good health is a choice and a decision. It begins with the right mental attitude, regular exercise and seeing your physician on a regular basis

This blog was inspired by and based on “Spark” by John J. Ratey, MD.