The aging process starts earlier than most people realize. At the age of 35, muscle and bone mass has peak and begins its decline. However, there are strategies that can attenuate the rate at which we age. Age-related muscle loss is called sarcopenia, and most cases of sarcopenia result from disuse, not Father Time- a lack of exercise, in other words. This is the primary reason people tend to get weaker and more easily fatigued as they grow older. Is it preventable? YES, be active, get off your butt and participate in life. In addition to maintaining strength and vigor, physical activity also lowers the risk for heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and depression. Exercise is Powerful Medicine.

Antioxidants are compounds that deactivate free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that attack and destroy cell membranes, proteins, and DNA-these have been implicated in dementia, Alzheimers, heart disease, and cancer. Free radicals also harm the immune system. Here are a few that seem to be of the greatest benefit. 1). Glutathione, a major antioxidant and detoxifier. However, you can’t take glutathione, but you can take n-acetylcysteine, which forms glutathione inside the cells. 2). Carotenoids help protect cell membranes. Eat more red, yellow, and orange vegetables and fruits, at least every other day. 3). Vitamin C protects the parts of cells that Vitamin E and carotenoids can’t reach-usual dose is 500 mg/day. 4). Selenium is a mineral, found in seafood and liver, and plays a pivotal role in neutralizing free radicals. Most Americans are deficient in selenium. Dosage is 200 micrograms/day. 5). Vitamin E helps protect the heart and the brain, but it is hard to get enough from grains without eating too much fat. Usual dose is 200 mg/day, but check with your doctor first. Other good supplements are Coenzyme Q-10 (50-100 mg/day), Zinc (20 mg/day), and folic acid (1 mg/day). Phosphatidylserine is recommended for boosting memory, and works just as well as the prescription medications for Alzheimers, Cognex and Aricept. Cognex can cause liver damage, phosphatidylserine has no side effects. Typical dosage is 100 mg twice per day.

Stay well, John R. Blilie, M.S.