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Archive for Specific Ailments – Page 2

Lest We Forget

Memory is one of those things we don’t think much about unless we start to loose ours.  It is as natural as breathing and done almost as unconsciously.  Lapses in memory are common for all of us and are an annoyance, but the anxiety that accompanies these feelings of possible loss is even more of a concern to us.  We fear it may be only a symptom of some larger problem: depression, arteriosclerosis, or a progressive Alzheimer’s disease.  And while these may be real problems for many people, it is important to note that these temporary memory losses are common and may have little to do with permanent, degenerative conditions.

Memory Myths

The idea that all people will suffer memory loss as they age is not necessarily true.  We all know of people well past eighty years of age that are still “as sharp as a tack.”  One of the primary causes of memory loss is an insufficient supply of necessary nutrients to the brain.  Let me quote from the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing.  “The life of the body is in the blood.  It literally feeds and nourishes every cell within our bodies.  The brain is surrounded by a protective envelope known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only certain substances to pass from the bloodstream into the brain.  [Certain conditions can], over time, result in the brain becoming malnourished.”  Add to this, problems such as poor neurotransmitters, exposure to free radicals from our environment, wide swings in blood sugar levels, and the use of toxins such as alcohol and drugs, and it is easy to see that encroaching memory loss can be a result.

How to Maintain Memory

What can you do to ensure that you keep your brain fed?  Certain vitamins and minerals are certainly needed, such as a good B-complex, the antioxidants C and E, and zinc, manganese and choline.  Lecithin helps “lubricate” the neural synapses.  The amino acids l-glutamine and l-aspartic acid serve as fuel for the brain and prevent excess ammonia from damaging it.  And l-tyrosine helps sharpen awareness.  Some research shows that Coenzyme Q10 improves brain oxygenation, and the hormone melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that may prevent memory loss.

Then there are the herbs.  Much attention has been given by the news media to ginkgo biloba.  This herb decreases capillary permeability and, in the brain, improves neural activity, increases cerebrovascular circulation, protects membranes and restores serotonin receptors.  Much of the recent research has concentrated on its ability to increase blood flow to the brain specifically.  Another herb that acts similarly is gotu kola.  It has long been used in Ayurvedic (East Indian) medicine as a tonic for memory loss. Other herbs that are helpful for memory are anise, blue cohosh, ginseng, Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and rosemary.

Foods that are helpful in maintaining memory functions include brown rice, farm eggs, fish, beans, nuts, tofu, whole grains, and most raw foods.  Be sure to combine your carbohydrates with proteins and essential fats.  Purely carbohydrate meals inhibit memory functions. Foods to avoid include dairy and refined sugars.  They tend to “shut the brain down.”

Like the rest of the body, the brain responds well to exercise.  Use it!  Focus on things you need to remember.  Practice word puzzles, adding columns of numbers, or memorizing Bible verses, poetry, or phone numbers.  Keep learning; gain a new hobby; go back to school.  Anything that “exercises” the mind will help to keep it young.  Activities that don’t require us to think help rob us of our ability to think.

As with all our body systems, the brain needs water, nutrition, exercise and rest – all in good balance.  May you enjoy good memory and good memories throughout your life.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

How to Age Gracefully

I am commonly heard saying “Aging isn’t for the faint of heart!” But aging is inevitable. Our goal should be to age gracefully and enjoy the benefits of advanced age. Here are a few things you can do to ensure aging is more pleasant and enjoyable.

Anyone (everyone!) will tell you that the greatest goal as we age is to maintain good health. We see folks who reach into their 90s and still enjoy good mobility and sound minds.  Research tells us that these are the people who take steps early to avoid preventable diseases; avoid smoking; carefully monitor the use of alcohol; be vigilante in preventing accidental injuries.

Nutrition and Longevity

As mom always said, “eat your veggies” and use sugar minimally. Take a good multiple vitamin and mineral supplement regularly. Use enzymes and probiotics as you age since your body will produce less of them. Use supplemental hormone-supporting supplements as the hormones are the internal messengers of the body, and take supplements to forestall genetic weaknesses.

Longevity Herbs

Many herbs also promote longevity.  An example is sage. An ancient proverb states “How shall a man die who has sage in his garden?” And Winston Churchill said, “We are happier … when we are old than when we are young. The young sow wild oats, the old grow sage.”

Exercise both your body and your mind.  Physically, do what you can – simple walking regularly supports the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system, and the bowel, and keeps the muscles and

balance toned. Remember the adage “use it or lose it?” This is particularly true of the brain.  Instead of settling for TV or movies, find something to challenge and tone the mind every day – a hobby, reading, working puzzles, playing games, and so on.  I had a 93-year-old friend who was mentally “sharp as a tack” – his secret: for years he had worked a cryptogram every day! Find something you enjoy and practice it every day.

The Human Elements

And such an article as this would be incomplete without mentioning the importance of comradery, fellowship, friendship, and companionship.  I once read an article about a village in Japan where people routinely live to be over 100 years old.  They believed (as I do) that the secret to their longevity was grouping daily with people who knew them intimately, people they had known all their lives, people who shared their joys and sorrows, people who knew their secrets and loved them unquestioningly, people who could laugh with them and cry with them.  We need people in our lives – family, friends, business or church partners, etc. – with whom to share all of our lives.  If we don’t have these now, we can work to develop them.

Finally, the Reader’s Digest had it right – laughter is truly the best medicine. Don’t take the struggles of life too seriously.  To live long and to age gracefully take care of your body and your mind, walk with true friends, love well and laugh often. May the Lord bless and keep you!

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

Food Allergies

Though food sensitivities take many forms and various levels, most of us begin to have allergies to foods as we age – even foods we once enjoyed.  Did you ever wonder why?

When we put things in our mouths, the body asks “can I digest that?” If it is something the body can readily digest, it considers it “food”, and begins the digestive process.  This will mean the body has the enzymes and nutrients to turn the substance from its raw form to a form from which it may extract the nutrients and distribute then throughout the body. But as you age, your pancreas may lose the ability to produce some of the enzymes it needs.

So if the body says “I can’t digest this!” it considers it a foreign substance and begins the process of refusing it.  It produces “allergic” reactions to kill, compartmentalize, or expel the matter:

– specialized cells are generated to “kill” the invader

– mucous is produced to smother it

– coughing and sneezing start to expel it

– fever may be raised to “burn it up”

– tearing may occur to wash it out

While we call these “allergic reactions”, they are a valuable part of our immune system – they keep the “foreign material” from harming us.

So, what can we do when these reactions start?  Well, obviously we can stay clear of the foods that cause the reactions. But often we can just take a supplemental enzyme to “digest” the matter. This is especially true if it is foods that we once enjoyed and digested well.

Remember, many food sensitivities may be much more critical – don’t treat them lightly.  While this won’t work for all food sensitivities, it may be a welcome relief for those who develop allergies to once-cherished foods later in life. You may not have to give up many of your favorite foods just because “old age” is slowing you down!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

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