Quick Health Guide for Baby Boomers: Part 2

Many signs of ageing are not necessarily inevitable or irreversible. Taking off from where we left, here is a further guide to understanding what you can do and the measures you can take to avoid the common complaints of middle age.

Before you read on, check out part 1 of this series first!

 

Maintain Your Energy Levels

Fatigue is the most common physical complaint physicians hear from their patients. It can have a variety of causes, ranging from diet to depression, and it can affect every aspect of your life — from your ability to concentrate at work to your sexual performance.

In this case, you should seek to tackle the obvious causes of fatigue first: sleep and diet. we have all heard that people need less sleep as they age. If, however, you feel that you need eight hours of sleep to function at your best, listen to your body. Avoid stimulants, such as tea or coffee, in the evening, and develop a comfortable wind-down routine like half an hour of reading before your bedtime. Start your morning with a high-protein breakfast, such as eggs or turkey sausage — these foods will sustain you much longer than cereals and muffins.

Inadequate intake of vitamin C is a common cause of fatigue. A group of researchers from the University of Wichita have found that large doses of vitamin C is able to restore energy levels in patients who have tested positive for vitamin C deficiency. In addition, consider supplementing with key energy nutrients, particularly CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, creatine and carnitine.

 

Reduce Wear and Tear

One of the most apparent signs of wear and tear is osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis results from the breakdown of protein that cushions joints, such as in the knees and fingers. Osteoarthritis can certainly be exacerbated by physical stresses like running and jumping. Ironically, common nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which ease the pain of osteoarthritis, further break down the protective cartilage found in joints.

A recent analysis of 15 studies on glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin sulphate (a compound present in joint cartilage) found that they do reduce osteoarthritic pain. A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that 1,200 mg of chondroitin appeared to be superior to glucosamine of a similar dose, but several studies have shown the combination of the two to be beneficial. In recent experiments, researchers from Cardiff University in Wales discovered that omega-3 fatty acids block the activity of a group of enzymes that break down cartilage. The omega-3 fatty acids also inhibited several key inflammation-causing compounds, including cyclooxygenase-2 and interleukin-1, which make them good therapies for rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Keep Your Mind Sharp

Being occasionally forgetful or spacey is not a sign of early Alzheimer’s disease, but consistently foggy thinking and poor memory are certainly worrisome. An estimated 4 million of the Southeast Asian population suffer from the disease and an estimated 14 million — mostly boomers — are predicted to develop it by 2050. Alzheimer’s is characterised by an accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, which strangles brain cells. Considerable Alzheimer’s research points to the destructive effect of free radicals as well as to the protective effects of antioxidant nutrients.

Difficulty concentrating is often an early sign of diabetes. To stabilise your blood sugar and insulin levels, ditch the highly refined sugars and carbohydrates in your diet and emphasize protein and vegetables. A major study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that very high doses of vitamin E (2,000 IU daily) greatly extended the ability of Alzheimer’s patients to care for themselves. The study concluded that 400 to 800 IU is probably sufficient for long-term prevention. Additionally, vitamin C and beta carotene may also help preserve memory.

 

Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death across the world, as well as the leading cause of death for men and women aged 45 and older. The most common type is coronary artery disease, in which lesions form on the side of blood vessels and restrict blood flow. In general, researchers blame coronary artery disease on diets low in fruits and vegetables, as well as lack of exercise. Heart failure, a weakening of the heart muscle, is another common disorder. One-fifth of all heart failure cases may result from excess intake of NSAIDs.

Because heart diseases usually develop from various causes, it is best to take several key supplements. First and foremost, natural vitamin E may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by 77%, according to a study of 2,000 patients published in the Lancet. Vitamin E (400 to 800 IU) prevents free radical damage to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, blocking an early step in heart disease. Inflammation of blood vessels, indicated by high levels of C-reactive protein, also play a role in heart disease. Vitamin E at 800 IU has been reported to possess the ability to reduce C-reactive protein levels and inflammation by about 50%.

For heart failure, there is no better nutrient that CoQ10. 50 to 300 mg of CoQ10 helps heart cells to produce energy and has been used in numerous cases of heart failure. Carnitine (500 to 1,000 mg), a nutrient found in meat, also enhances energy production in heart cells.