Friday, April 20, 2012

Meditate on Your Telomere Length

Twelve minutes of meditation daily could help protect telomeres against effects of chronic stress, a new study suggests.
Want to manage stress, clear your mind, and enhance your mood? A few minutes of meditation a day could help and, new research finds, might help increase activity of an enzyme that keeps your body younger at the level of your DNA.
As anyone taking taking Isagenix Product B is aware, boosting expression of the enzyme telomerase in the body is critical for maintaining the length and integrity of telomeres. Telomeres, the length of which are considered a biomarker of biological aging, are special complexes that cap chromosomes to protect DNA.
Psychological stress not only affects our minds, but can have an impact on telomerase activity in the body leading to possible faster telomere shortening. Now, researchers from University of California, Los Angeles, have found that just 12 minutes a day of a particular style of yogic meditation, Kirtan Kriya, daily could help buffer against effects of psychological stress and support activity of the enzyme.
The study compared the effects of short practice of Kirtan Kriya-style meditation to quiet relaxation on individuals working as family caregivers of patients with dementia. The researchers then evaluated the psychological health and telomere length of the chronically stressed population.
The study randomized 39 family dementia caregivers, age 45 to 91, to two groups. Every day for eight weeks, the meditation group underwent a 12-minute Kirtan Kriya meditation, a practice following the philosophies of Kundalini yoga. The control group took a 12-minute relaxation period in a quiet place with instrumental music. The purpose, the authors explain, was to single out the benefits of a meditation practice from the benefits of relaxation alone.
The study found that about 65 percent of the meditation group had at least a 50 percent improvement in depressive symptoms. In addition, the meditation group also had a 43 percent increase in telomerase activity—a significant boost compared to the nearly 4 percent increase seen in the quiet relaxation group. When it came to mental health and cellular age, the groups were not different at baseline.
“Brief daily meditation practices by family dementia caregivers can lead to improved mental and cognitive functioning and lower levels of depressive symptoms,” the researchers wrote. “This improvement was accompanied by an increase in telomerase activity suggesting improvement in stress-induced cellular aging.”
More than just elevating mood, this current research may support quality of life and help reduce the burden of caregiving on health. The authors studied caregivers because these individuals are known to suffer from highly stressed, and highly distressed, lives. Nearly 50 percent of caregivers have been found to battle depression, and new research shows that these people have prematurely shortened telomeres. The link between emotional stress and physical health is poorly defined, but telomere length may represent a biomarker to study stress.
The authors report that they “found an improvement across measures of mental health and cognitive functioning, psychological distress, and telomerase activity in caregivers performing daily Kirtan Kriya compared with the relaxation group.”
They explain, “Because Kirtan Kriya had several elements of using chanting, mudras [hand alignments], and visualization, there was a ‘brain fitness’ effect in addition to stress-reduction that contributed to the overall effect of meditation.”
This study’s results add reason to consider meditation as part of a complete lifestyle for supporting telomere health, which should also include supplementation with Ageless Essentials Daily Pack with Product B, regular exercise, healthy sleep habits, limiting exposure to environmental toxins, and eating a diet rich in nutrient-dense foods.
Reference: Lavretsky H et al. A pilot study of yogic meditation for family dementia caregivers with depressive symptoms: effects on mental health, cognition, and telomerase activity. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2012. DOI: 10.1002/gps.3790

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Could Routine Cleanse Days Help You Live Longer?

New research suggests intermittent fasting may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
One of the unique parts of an Isagenix system is its Cleanse Days. As anyone who uses Isagenix products knows well, performing routine Cleanse Days are at the heart of gaining the greatest health benefits. This is because Cleanse Days help “reset” cellular mechanisms in the body, sparking fat burning, detoxification, and a host of other positive effects.
A major characteristic of Cleanse Days—apart from supplementation with Cleanse for Life, the detox-promoting drink—is the abstinence from food, or intermittent water fasting. Now, evidence is growing that intermittent water fasting could be key to avoiding chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
While most people are aware of the strong evidence behind calorie restriction (as achieved on Shake Days) for reducing risk of chronic disease, recent studies are finding that it may be intermittent fasting (as on Cleanse Days) that is even more beneficial for ultimate longevity. 
Previously, Dr. Benjamin Horne and colleagues at Intermountain Heart Institute in Salt Lake City found an association between periodic (or intermittent) fasting and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. The same research team has recently further extended their analysis and found an association with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus), which is characterized by uncontrolled blood sugar.
The scientists pooled data from 648 patients undergoing an angioplasty procedure and found that risk of diabetes was lower in individuals that undergo routine, periodic fasting. Periodic fasting was not only linked to lower rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but it was also linked to a lower fasting blood sugar level in individuals who did not have diabetes. The individuals pooled in the current study are reported to fast for 24 hours a month.
Not observed in previous studies, the authors reported that periodic fasting was also associated with a lower body mass index (BMI), a ratio based on an individual’s height and weight used as criteria for determining overweight and obesity.
The researchers pose a variety of mechanisms that may underlie the protective benefits that fasting provides:
  • Reduced levels of chronic oxidative stress and inflammation, which are potential factors in insulin resistance and eventual type 2 diabetes.
  • A “reset” of cellular sensitivity to glucose and/or insulin.
  • Increased levels of human growth hormone (HGH). In an earlier study, the researchers found that fasting for 24 hours increased HGH by 20 times in men and 13 times in women. The surge of HGH stimulates fat burning as it prevents muscle breakdown.
While the benefits of intermittent water fasting are promising, undergoing a prolonged fast (longer than two days) is not recommended. Prolonged fasting can bump the body into a state of starvation potentially causing loss of muscle and harming the body’s health.
Notably, the majority of subjects included in Dr. Horne’s research are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). This population is ideal because many undergo monthly fasting as part of their religious practice. Of the patients pooled, 34 percent reported participating in routine monthly fasting.
LDS members are generally at a lower risk for several chronic diseases due to a cluster of preventative behaviors including abstinence from smoking and alcohol. Each of these behaviors had to be considered in the study. The association between periodic fasting and lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease remained significant after controlling for age, gender, and lifestyle behaviors.
Cleanse Days, as advocated by Isagenix, provide the health benefits of intermittent water fasting while also including Cleanse for Life, a supplement that comes with the added advantage of optimal dosages of vitamins, minerals, and actives from botanicals. These assist the body’s detoxification and cleansing processes.
When Cleanse Days are performed regularly (one or two days a week, or one day every other week), the body undergoes a variety of positive changes. There are various enzymes that are activated, mitochondria are shown to increase in number and become more efficient, oxidative stress is reduced (a hallmark of longevity), and fat is mobilized and used for fuel in the muscle and liver. Cleanse for Life also revs up detoxification and antioxidant enzymes for cellular health.
The positive biological changes created on Cleanse Days are enhanced when followed by Shake Days—rich in quality protein, good fats, low-glycemic carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. They lead to decreases in body fat (especially visceral fat), reduced levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, increased insulin sensitivity, and better maintenance of muscle. These are biochemical changes that lead to reduced risk of chronic disease and better health long-term.
Horne BD et al. Relation of Routine, Periodic Fasting to Risk of Diabetes Mellitus, and Coronary Artery Disease in Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography. Am J Cardiol. 2012;xx:xxx. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.01.379.
Horne BD, et al. Usefulness of routine periodic fasting to lower risk of coronary artery disease among patients undergoing coronary angiography. Am J Cardiol. 2008. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.05.021

Friday, April 13, 2012

Toxin Watch: Five Ways to Avoid Hidden Toxins

By Noreen Khan-Mayberry, PhD (a modified excerpt from her book, Talking Toxicology)
Long-term exposure to everyday toxins like laundry chemicals can affect health.
The sources of toxicity are abundant and are ever-present in our homes, vehicles, and offices as well as our outdoor work/play environments. At home we can look in almost any room and find toxic chemicals that we have purchased and intentionally brought into our indoor environment. Examples include cleaning products, laundry chemicals, paints, thinners, hydrocarbons and petroleum products, personal hygiene products, chemically treated fabrics, fire retardants, sealants, pesticides, pool chemicals and the list goes on.
Generally speaking, people have many more toxins and toxicants than can be listed in a short paragraph. It can seem overwhelming when going through a list of potentially toxic chemicals. But many of us have learned to live with so many chemicals, that we may become complacent of their potential toxicity or we may cling to them as if they are part of our heritage and culture.  Do you know anyone that cannot live without their bleach? I know far too many people who do not believe that their house is clean unless they can smell the chemicals, and they refuse to give up any chemical cleaners in the home. What is unfortunate is that they are breathing in unmeasured concentrations of these household cleaners—this also means that they are getting untold dosages of volatile chemicals. They are also exposing their family and pets to the same potentially toxic environment.
When you smell a chemical, or anything with a scent, this is a lightweight or volatile chemical which is evaporating into your breathable air. These repeated exposures to various toxic mixtures can lead to adverse health effects in the short-term such as headaches, nausea, or fatigue and/or long-term effects such as chemical sensitivities, asthma, weight gain, and mood changes or, worse, chronic disease.
Have you ever stopped to think about how many chemicals you are exposed to every time you enter into a new environment? I am not just talking about outdoors. I am referring to each space that you enter, in a vehicle, office, restaurant, store, hotel, etc. Each area contains a different set of chemical mixtures at varying concentrations. For the most part, they are harmless if you are not in these “spaces” for long periods of time. But what happens when you live or work in a contaminated space for months or years? Have you considered that your body is responding and may be slowly declining in its ability to deal with these long term exposures?
A toxicologist makes these considerations. It is what this science is concerned with and why some of us work to set limits on the chemicals that can cause harm to human health. Toxicologists strive to protect people and the environment from harm caused by chemicals. While the effort is just, there is so much that is unknown about the synergistic (combined) effects of chemical mixtures. It is impossible to know and measure all of the types and concentrations of chemical mixtures since they are constantly changing due to natural and unnatural actions. This is why you should try to eliminate as many toxins and toxicants that are within your control.
Here are some tips you can use to reduce toxic exposures:
1.  Make a checklist of your toxic roommates – chemicals that you live with at home, work, and in your vehicle (there is an extended checklist in Talking Toxicology).
2. Eliminate as many toxic roommates as possible.
3. Check the source of your water. Find your city’s annual water report and see what types of toxic chemicals are found in your water.
4. Use steam instead of chemicals to clean. Steam cleaning kills most germs around the home without adding additional toxic chemicals to your breathable air space. There are many cleaning tools on the market that use steam to clean easy and hard to reach crevices.
5. Eliminate dust. Dust is comprised of mostly dead skin particles. We shed about eight pounds of skin annually and potentially toxic chemicals adhere to these dust particles. Reduce the amount of dust that you inhale by using electrostatic cloths instead of chemical containing “dusting” products.
It is important to consider your environment at all times. By becoming more aware of your “chemical surroundings” you may become more diligent about reducing the amount of time that you linger in areas with high concentrations of chemicals. You can also incorporate conducting a routine inventory (every three to six months) of the chemicals in your home and other places that you frequently occupy. Remember that you will not always smell chemicals and you should look for visual clues of chemical contamination or the presence of chemicals.
Dr. Noreen Khan-Mayberry is an environmental toxicologist, space toxicologist, and technical expert on food toxicity, environmental health issues, environmental remediation, and green technologies. “Dr. Noreen” is an author and speaker. She has spoken both nationally and internationally on topics relating to leadership, environmental, and spaceflight toxicology, reducing exposures to toxins and toxicants as well as nutritional and food toxicity. Dr. Noreen’s core mission is to take her knowledge as a toxicologist and make it easily understandable to everyone in order to improve their quality of life, which is demonstrated in her latest book, Talking Toxicology. Dr. Noreen has helped countless people identify sources of toxins and toxicants in their home and work environments and she also gives back to the community by providing environmental health seminars for the general public. Dr. Noreen has been featured on talk radio shows as a guest expert on environmental and nutritional toxicity. Dr. Noreen also utilizes social media outlets to provide open forums and free information on toxicology - you can find her @DrNoreen on Twitter on Facebook. Dr. Noreen is also a frequent speaker at Isagenix events and is a regular user of Isagenix products for optimal health and wellness.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sugar In Food: 8 Eats With More Than A Twinkie

In February, McDonald's oatmeal was "outed" for having more sugar than a Snickers bar, despite being marketed as a "healthier" breakfast option than some of the fast-food chain's more well-known fare.
In 2009, the American Heart Association recommended that women eat or drink no more than 20 grams of sugar a day, and men no more than 36 grams. That means one Snickers bar, at 30 grams of sugar, would be about all the sugar the average man should eat in an entire day. For women, that equivalent to about one Twinkie, which will set you back 18 grams.
Eating much more than that has been linked not only to obesity, but to high blood pressure, and elevated levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood.
You probably wouldn't go around eating more than one Snickers, or even a Snickers every day, but it is still easy to overdo it when it comes to sweets -- and fast, too, considering all the places, like that morning oatmeal, that sugar is hiding. Here are eight foods with more sugar than a Twinkie to watch out for.

Click here to see the list

Monday, April 9, 2012

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control. 
Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.