Not everyone is overweight, has high blood pressure, high blood sugar, or high cholesterol but… everyone is exposed to stress. No matter your age, who you are or what you do, when stress is chronic (constant and persists over an extended period of time) such as work problems, family conflicts, relationship issues, daily traffic, major life changes, or any response to daily stressors that are ignored or poorly managed– stress becomes a primary threat to your health and your life expectancy.
HOW DOES STRESS WREAK HAVOC ON YOUR BODY?
Ongoing stress and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can seriously harm your brain, rob your memory, your health, your quality of life and your future. Stress does its damage at the cellular level.
Each and every day, our body creates over two trillion new cells to replace older, less efficient cells, so that our body can continue to work efficiently and protect our health. That’s one million new cells every second. Some people may believe that the single cell is the most basic component of who we are but in reality, the genetic material of our cells, our DNA is that most basic component of who we are, and what we become as we age.
The DNA in our genes gives our body the genetic blue print dictating how and when to create these trillions of new replacement cells and these genes are located on organelles called chromosomes. The process of creating new cells that are identical to the older ones they are replacing is one that get’s less efficient as we age and is in fact one of the reasons we look different as we age. The health or damage to our DNA determines how fast we age cellularly, not in birthdays, and how healthy we remain throughout our lifetime. Two 55 year olds may have the same birthday while one may be 10 years older or younger cellularly. This is determined by the length of your telomeres.
TELOMERES are the protective tips on the ends of chromosomes that protect the strands of genetic material (DNA/genes) they contain from fraying (similar to how the plastic cap at the end of a shoelace protects the shoe lace from fraying). Telomeres are an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age. They protect the health of your DNA and enables healthy cell replacement of old worn out cells with new ones.
A recent study tracked the telomere lengths of 65,000 people over a 15 year period. The study found that after removing all other factors that could increase or decrease life expectancy/life span, longer telomeres were independently associated with greater longevity. Simply stated… the longer your telomeres, the longer you will live! Furthermore, the shorter your telomeres are, the greater your risk for most diseases. Most importantly, STRESS AND THE STRESS HORMONE CORTISOL SHORTEN YOUR TELOMERES! It does this by decreasing the activity of “telomerase” an enzyme that protects the telomeres.
These are good reasons why you should consider testing the length of your telomeres.
HOW TO MEASURE YOUR TELOMERES
Several laboratories offer testing kits by mail to be purchased on the internet. One that I like is Telomere Diagnostics, Inc. and their test is called Telo-Years. I have no association with this firm and just like the ease and simplicity of their service and testing kit. They provide you with everything you need to provide one drop of blood to be returned to them for testing. They will report back to you, the length of your telomeres and how your result compares to the average length of telomeres in people your same age. This will help you determine if you are cellularly older or younger than people your same age. Once you receive your results, follow a healthier lifestyle, reduce stress and retest in about 4 months to measure the success of your efforts.
Poor diet, lack of exercise, free radical damage and stress can all shorten your telomeres.
There are simple habit and lifestyle changes you can adjust to lengthen your telomeres; including eating healthy, exercising, controlling free radical damage and oxidative stress and reducing THE symptoms of stress in general.
FOUR POWERFUL INGREDIENTS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE RAVAGING EFFECTS OF STRESS ON YOUR HEALTH AND ON YOUR BRAIN.
To avoid serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer and premature death, you must protect the length of your telomeres by controlling stress and the stress hormone cortisol. In previous articles, I discussed how stress can also negatively affect the structure of your brain, your cognitive function and your memory. This can happen in college students as well as middle aged and older adults. I would like to share 4 powerful ingredients that can protect you from the effects of stress and cortisol on your telomere lengths, and protect your brain, memory and your life expectancy.
One or two of these ingredients can reduce high cortisol levels by close to 30%. Another of the ingredients is a powerful antioxidant that can specifically prevent free radical which via oxidative stress can damage your telomeres. Another of the ingredients can significantly increase brain blood flow which decreases as we age, thereby bringing healthy levels of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Several of these ingredients have been shown to flat out increase memory, learning speed and fact recall in both healthy people and people suffering from dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.
INGREDIENT #1 – Ashwagandha standardized extract. – This is a revered medicine amongst ayurvedic physicians and has been shown in multiple human studies to reduce high cortisol levels by close to 30%. These studies also show that ashwagandha reduces the perception of being stressed by 44% and anxiety and insomnia by 68%. Patients also reported significant improvement in their self-assed quality of life!
INGREDIENT #2 – Bacopa Monnieri standardize extract – This another very important herbal extract used by ayurvedic physicians. Once again multiple human studies have shown that bacopa monnieri improves memory/fact recall. and loss of focus. It’s powerful antioxidant benefits reduce the brain inflammation that is associated with cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
INGREDIENT #3 – Vinpocetine – Derived from the periwinkle plant, vinpocetine has been shown to increase the flow of blood to the brain which decreases as we age and contributes to cognitive decline and dementia. Patients taking vinpocetine who had experienced mild cognitive decline and decrease memory function significantly improved on the gold-standard tests used by neurologists to measure these things. IN addition, there mood and activities of daily living testing improved.
INGREDIENT #4 – Huperzine-A – Derived from Chinese clubmoss, Huperzine-A has been shown to prevent the breakdown of acetycholine which is a crucial brain neurotransmitter that allows brain cells called neurons to communicate with one and other. Huperzine is so effective that it actually improved the test results of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and though it’s a dietary supplement in the U.S. it’s listed as an anti-Alzheimer’s drug in China. Huperzine-A protect brain cells against injury from stress, inflammation and free radicals.
These four powerful and proven ingredients, can collectively protect against stress-caused telomere shortening (which can decrease your life-expectancy), as well as protect your brain, cognitive function and enhance your memory, now and as you age. These ingredients are safe and have little or no side-effects.
To learn how to access these ingredients in the correct forms and dosages, visit Brainingredients.com
To the Best of Health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.