Maintaining Microbiota – Healthy Aging

You’ve heard by now about the “microbiota” and the “microbiome.” There’s a difference: microbiota refers to the colony of bacteria residing in the human organism in total – while the microbiome refers to the genes contained within the bacteria, or within the microbiota.

One of the largest microbiota studies just completed in humans occurred at the Western University, Lawson Health Research Institute and Tianyi Health Science Institute in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China. Researchers of this study have shown a potential link between healthy aging and a healthy gut. The scientists investigated the gut bacteria in more than 1,000 Chinese individuals ranging in age from 3 to older than 100, who were self-selected as considerably healthy with no known ill health conditions and no family history of disease. The results showed a direct relationship between health and the microbes that reside in the intestine. In fact, the overall microbiota composition of the healthy elderly in the study was on part of that in people decades younger; and the microbiota between the healthy elderly did not differ much than that in those much younger.

Gregor Reid, professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute, commented that the team’s goal “is to bring novel microbiome diagnostic systems to populations, then use food and probiotics to try and improve biomarkers of health. The study conclusions, he noted, raises a significant question: “If you can stay active and eat well, will you age better, or is healthy ageing predicated by the bacteria in your gut?”

“The main conclusion is that if you are ridiculously healthy and 90 years old, your gut microbiota is not that different from a healthy 30 year old in the same population,” said Greg Gloor, principal investigator on the study and also a professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute. “This demonstrates that maintaining diversity of your gut as you age is a biomarker of healthy aging, just like low-cholesterol is a biomarker of a healthy circulatory system.”

At Herbsea, we believe in the power of a wholesome diet and supplementation. Our flagship supplements were specifically formulated to be of relevant and effective use for everyone.

  1. Gaorui Bian, Gregory B. Gloor, Aihua Gong, Changsheng Jia, Wei Zhang, Jun Hu, Hong Zhang, Yumei Zhang, Zhenqing Zhou, Jiangao Zhang, Jeremy P. Burton, Gregor Reid, Yongliang Xiao, Qiang Zeng, Kaiping Yang, Jiangang Li. The Gut Microbiota of Healthy Aged Chinese Is Similar to That of the Healthy YoungmSphere, 2017; 2 (5): e00327-17 DOI: 1128/mSphere.00327-17

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November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

At Herbsea, we wholeheartedly support specific health awareness months. In November, you will see many purple ribbons – this signifies National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, as designated in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. At that time in the US, a little fewer than 2 million people were living with this disease, but that has spiked dramatically to approximately 5.4 million.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org), Alheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and accounts for approximately 60 to 80 percent of cases.

Symptoms become progressively worse. Early clinical symptoms include difficulty remembering recent conversations, names or events, apathy and depression. Later symptoms include impaired communication, poor judgment, disorientation, confusion, behavior changes and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

In 2011, guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s were revised to encourage physicians to consider that this is a slowly progressive brain disease whose origins start well before the emergence of its symptoms.

Alzheimer’s is characterized by abnormal deposits of the protein fragment beta-amyloid (plaques) and twisted strands of the protein tau (tangles); there is also evidence of nerve cell damage and death in the brain.

The Alzheimer’s Association (via its website) asserts that there are three key things to know about Alzheimer’s:

  • “Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s).
  • “Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
    Learn more:
  • “Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.”

You and your loved ones can lower your risk of developing brain diseases – by eating seaweeds or taking Fucosea – which contains powerful amounts of DHA (the omega-3 EFAs) and antioxidants which are necessary for the brain to sustain its healthy activities and preservation.

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

At Herbsea, we “celebrate” all months devoted to awareness of preventable diseases, and urge our loyal family of customers to support the foundations that raise money for cures and care. October is the month when the medical community has urged caregivers, organizations, businesses and “just plain folks” to be proactive for the women in their lives to be conscious of preventing their risk of breast cancer.

The following updated breast cancer statistics are from http://www.breastcancer.org.

  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer.
  • In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 63,410 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2017. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
  • Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2017, it’s estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers.
  • As of March 2017, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment

Breast cancer is characterized by abnormally growing cells in breast tissue that divide much more rapidly than normal cells. This causes an accumulation that becomes a lump. Frequently, doctors have found that breast cancer tends to start in the milk-producing ducts but can begin anywhere in the breast.

Mammograms performed annually will go a long way to helping to save lives should cancerous growths be occurring in their breasts. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the increase in screenings and awareness has also increased early detection.

It is now possible to find out if you carry the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 gene mutation that increases the lifetime risk of developing breast cancer as much as 80 percent. If you have had female relatives with breast cancer, it is recommended to get this test.

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Raise a Glass!

We all like to celebrate! And many of us enjoy sipping a glass of wine or a cocktail after work to relax. Did you know that, according to new research, light-to-moderate drinking can lower the risk of development of cardiovascular disease, while heavy drinking can significantly increase the risk of premature mortality from cancer, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Fewer than 14 drinks a week for men and seven for women “clearly outweigh” possible cancer risk, suggests the study.

It seems ironic that drinking a lot of alcoholic beverages has been linked to many health issues but drinking alcohol in moderation is recommended by medical experts. And there has been some studies that seem to negate one another. For example, one study that looked at the link between alcohol consumption and development of diabetes concluded that “Our findings suggest that alcohol drinking frequency is associated with the risk of diabetes and that consumption of alcohol over 3-4 weekdays is associated with the lowest risks of diabetes, even after taking average weekly alcohol consumption into account.” (Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes)

Meanwhile, a July 2017 report, “Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer,” by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) concluded that women who consume just one glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage per day increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

However, this latest study reviewed data from approximately 333,200 individuals who participated in National Health Interview Surveys (1997 to 2009), to determine mortality risk from all causes (cancers and cardiovascular disease).

According to the report, men who were heavy drinkers had a 25 percent increased risk of death due to all causes and a 67 percent increase in death from cancer. Oddly, these increases were not as significant in women who drink heavily, nor was there any significant association between heavy drinking and cardiovascular disease mortality in women.

Meanwhile, the report authors found that light and moderate alcohol consumption in both men and women were associated with a 13 percent decrease in all-cause mortality risk and a 21 percent decreased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in men; and in women, respectively, a 25 percent and 34 percent decrease.

Lead author Bo Xi, Associate Professor at the Shandong University School of Public Health in China, noted that the results showed that light to moderate alcohol consumption may confer some protective benefits for the cardiovascular system while heavy drinking, unsurprisingly, influenced earlier mortality.

We all need to relax, and at Herbsea, we like deep-breathing, yoga and other techniques, and we feel that light alcohol consumption is fine as well. Taking dietary supplements such as Fucosea, which nourishes the whole body, restoring balance and resistance to stress reactions. Cheers!

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Study: Knee OA More Common Than Ever

Being able to move without pain when one gets older – remaining active through middle-age and elderly years – is the goal of many (if not all) health-minded people. But a condition that affects knees – osteoarthritis – can take that away, and with decreased mobility, create weight gain and situational depression.

A new study showed that osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee affects twice as many Americans as it did in the late 1940s. The researcher published these findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (July 12, 2017). The study, which took place at six major institutions worldwide, compared prehistoric skeletons and those from the present, concluding that OA existed in North America (particularly in the US) for centuries, however, the researchers found, that dramatic doubling of cases in the mid to latter 20th century is not due to the growth of obesity and overweight in the population.

Natural health expert and board-certified internist Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of of Real Cause, Real Cure and the Beat Sugar Addiction NOW! series of books, explains, “Key factors have changed in our diet, which contribute strongly to arthritis, heart attack, diabetes, and a host of other conditions.” According to Dr. Teitelbaum these factors include:

  • 18 percent of our calories now come from sugar added to the diet in food processing
  • Another approximately 18 percent come from white flour
  • Fully half of the vitamins and minerals that should be in our diet are lost in food processing
  • Fiber intake has decreased dramatically
  • Intake of Omega-3 oils has decreased, dramatically increasing the tendency to inflammation in both joints and blood vessels

At HerbSea, we highly recommend addressing potential chronic inflammation, which contributes to joint degradation, especially in the knees. One culprit is a dramatic dietary imbalance of omega 6: omega 3 EFAs, which in the current Western diet tends to be as high as 30:1; the goal is to get to 2:1. Also, exercise moderately but regularly, and take supplements that nourish your body with macronutrients and micronutrients, such as our Fucosea.

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Celebrate National Women’s Health & Fitness Day!

At Herbsea, we love it when communities and foundations promote good health and well-being. National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, September 27 (Wednesday), is one such day we support because it is inspiring.

The event is always held on the last Wednesday of September and is billed by its organizers as a unique national program, as it calls for participation by local organizations through the US to focus attention on the health-promoting aspects of engaging in regular exercise. Women do tend to put their needs behind those of their families and jobs and work out intermittently. But, taking some time out every day to exercise gives tremendous benefits, mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

Not all exercise is the same for every woman. Some women enjoy gym work, others enjoy exercising outdoors. Some like endurance exercise, and others like power. Whether it’s bodybuilding, marathon training, tennis or golf, National Women’s Health and Fitness Day is meant to inspire and motivate women to just “move it” on a regular basis, in order to achieve optimal fitness and well-being. The word “enjoy” is used because it is important to enjoy how you work out – if you don’t, you won’t.

More than 500 groups nationwide will host events at health clubs, park and recreation districts, local health and service organizations, hospitals and other community locations. An estimated 50,000 to 75,000 women are expected to participate, according to a press release. Visit www.fitnessday.com/women for more information and how to get involved.

We encourage you to add regular exercise/fitness into your daily routine. It’s not always or all about weight loss/maintenance, regular exercise keeps you cardiovascularly fit, strengthens bone and muscle, and keeps you physically and mentally energized; it also helps promote sound sleep.

Doing our part to support and celebrate women’s health and women’s fitness, we offer Dong Quai, an exceptional botanical that promotes female balance, especially during the luteal phase (pre-menstrual).

According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the root of dong quai (Angelica sinensis) has been used traditionally throughout Asia as a spice, tonic and remedy for female complaints. It is frequently combined with other herbs current Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapies. TCM practitioners and many Western naturopaths and herbalist like to recommend dong quai for women who have painful menstruation and to improve blood flow of menstruation, as well as to regulate the cycle, and lessen premenstrual syndromes. Additionally, some older women who take dong quai report easement of peri-menopause symptoms. This is why dong quai is often referred to as “female ginseng.”

If you are on hormone medications, talk to your doctor when deciding to add dong quai – it may act like an estrogen in the body. In addition, watch your dosage; too much can make you more sensitive to sunlight.

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All About Wakame

Our Fucosea Family supplement is a unique, powerful blend of the world’s most nutritious – and sustainable – seaweeds. Here, we focus on Wakame.

Wakame seaweed has high nutritional value, containing rich amounts of active ingredients including protein, vitamins, minerals, alginic acid, mannitol, fucoidin, unsaturated fatty acid, dietary fiber fucoxanthin, and iodine. Research has suggested that wakame seaweed can manage blood fat, blood pressure, and support immunity.

The experts at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (www.fao.org), have supplied a detailed explanation of wakame (Undaria pinnatifida). Wakame is a brown seaweed that grows abundantly on rocky shores and bays in China, Korea and Japan, and is also found in New Zealand and Australia. It likes to adhere and grow on rocks and reefs down to seven meters. It thrives in temperatures between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius.

Wakame is abundant in dietary fiber, more so than that contained in other popular seaweeds such as nori and kombu. It is also lower in fat. Dried wakame is high in B vitamins, especially niacin; it also has essential minerals such as copper, iron, iodine, magnesium, calcium, manganese and zinc.

Wakame has several health benefits. Its iodine content promotes healthy cell metabolism, which regulates the conversion of food into energy. Iodine is also needed by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Iron helps prevent anemia, as it is essential for red blood cell production. Magnesium is necessary for muscle contraction and relaxation.

Vitamins included in this nutrient-packed sea delicacy include A, C and E, known for outstanding antioxidant abilities, vitamin K, the key vitamin that helps promote healthy blood coagulation, vitamin D, which helps support healthy bone turnover with calcium, and folate, which is necessary for development of healthy babies. And, wakame has lignans, a nutraceutical that research has shown may lessen risk of cancer development.

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September is National Prostate Health Month

Did you know that approximately half of all men over age 60 have an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). And, according to the Mayo Clinic, 95 percent of men who reach age 85 has BPH. Prostate exams for men should be performed annually but many men still don’t visit their doctors to get this test due to fear and embarrassment.

The Prostate Health Council of the American Foundation for Urologic Disease (AFUD) launched Prostate Health Month in September to educate about prostate disease, treatment and maintaining prostate health.

Prostate issues including enlarged prostate (BPH) and prostatitis are extremely common. Approximately eight in 10 men will eventually develop an enlarged prostate and one in 10 men will develop prostate cancer. And some men have both BPH and prostate cancer, as they are two different conditions. Having BPH does not mean it will transform into prostate cancer.

According to Tom Bruckman, executive director, AFUD, many men believe that most prostate issues are cancerous or lead to cancer, and that prostate issues only affect older men. Typically compared to the size of a walnut, the prostate gland often grows larger through simple aging. It normally wraps around the urethra. BPH is not cancerous, and it is the most common prostate issue. Its symptoms include difficulty urinating, weak urinary stream, and constant need during the night urinate.

BPH is often addressed by prescriptions and in some cases, surgery.

Prostatitis, meanwhile signifies that the prostate is inflamed; this is not a condition that is contagious. Although medical science still has not identified exact causes of prostatitis, it is believed that it is caused by bacteria that migrates to the prostate from the urethra. And this is commonly treated with antibiotics.

Men can support their prostate health by foods and dietary supplements, such as Fucosea, which is rich in numerous vitamins, minerals omega-3 EFAs and other nutraceuticals that help bolster immunity (and therefore prostate support).

According to the editors at Healthline.com, there are several key nutrients that prostate needs to function in a healthy and strong manner.

Zinc: Studies have shown that men who have BPH have lower zinc levels than men whose prostates are in a normal size range. Zinc is found in sesame seed, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.

Lycopene: This is a carotenoid found in tomato sauce and other tomato products has also been found to lower the risk of developing prostate problems, such as BPH. One study showed that men who took lycopene exhibited slower progression of BPH. Lycopene also helps lower the prostate specific antigen (PSA) connected to prostate inflammation. Other foods that contain lycopene watermelon, apricot, pink grapefruit and papaya.

Beta-sitosterol: This is a plant sterol that has been shown in some studies to reduce symptoms associated with BPH. There have been some reports that men who have supplemented with beta sitosterol have reduced BPH symptoms, and more normalized urinary flow. Foods abundant in beta sitosterol include avocados, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, soybeans and pecans.

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Brain Stem Cells May Control How We Age

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine have discovered specific stem cells in the brain’s hypothalamus which govern the pace of aging that occurs in the body; this research was published in the August edition of the journal Nature.

The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates growth, development, reproduction and metabolism. In a 2013 Nature paper, Einstein researchers found that the hypothalamus also regulates aging throughout the body. Building upon that study, the scientists have identified the cells (in mice) in the hypothalamus that control aging: a group of adult neural stem cells, which have been known to be responsible for forming new brain neurons.

“Our research shows that the number of hypothalamic neural stem cells naturally declines over the life of the animal, and this decline accelerates aging,” says senior author Dongsheng Cai, MD, PhD, (professor of molecular pharmacology at Einstein). “But we also found that the effects of this loss are not irreversible. By replenishing these stem cells or the molecules they produce, it’s possible to slow and even reverse various aspects of aging throughout the body.”

In studying whether the hypothalamic stem cells are responsible for accelerated aging, the researchers first looked at the fate of those cells during aging of healthy mice. The team noted that the number of hypothalamic stem cells began to diminish when the animals reached about 10 months, which is several months before the usual signs of aging start appearing. Old age in mice is about two years, and most of those specialized cells were gone in those mice considered elderly.

The next question was to differentiate if the progressive loss of the stem cells were a cause or consequence of aging. The researchers then selectively disrupted the hypothalamic stem cells in mice considered to be in their middle age, and found that the disruption significantly accelerated signs associated with aging compared to the control mice; further, the mice with the disruption in hypothalamic stem cells expired earlier in the typical life cycle than the control mice.

Often, it is very desirable to understand how something works – the mechanism of action (MOA), and in this study, Dr. Cai and his colleagues discovered that the hypothalamic stem cells release molecules known as microRNAs (miRNAs) that are involved in protein synthesis and assist in regulating gene expression. miRNAs are embedded in micro-particles called exosomes, which are released by hypothalamic stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid.

The researchers extracted miRNA-containing exosomes from hypothalamic stem cells and injected them into the cerebrospinal fluid of two groups of mice: middle-aged mice whose hypothalamic stem cells had been destroyed and normal middle-aged mice. The researchers found that the results of these injections significantly slowed aging in both groups.

FucoSea Family is a dietary supplement composed of several key extracts that are formulated expressly for healthy stem cell support. We believe that our supplement, which took years of research and development, is a perfect foundation of a healthy lifestyle that may promote healthier longevity.

Reference:

  1. Yalin Zhang, et al “Hypothalamic stem cells control ageing speed partly through exosomal miRNAs.” Nature, 2017; DOI: 1038/nature23282

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Less Sleep, More Weight?

At HerbSea, we believe in healthy routines to keep us in a healthy weight range, and in good, glowing health. Supplements such as our Fucosea Family are a significant part of that process.

But there are other factors at work that you may have to pay attention to. Sleep is one. We all need about six to eight hours of sleep, as it allows for the body to repair itself. A recent study (PLOS ONE) showed that individuals who did not obtain enough sleep every night were more prone to be overweight and have larger waistlines (abdominal fat) – and the study also showed that in this population, there was no relationship between disrupted, sub-par sleep quality and diet quality (health vs. non-healthy).

The study of 1,615 adults whose normal diet and sleep were recorded and their cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, thyroid and waist measurements were monitored; the researchers sought to understand how sleep amount affected those general health indicators.

The researchers found that for those who slept a little under six hours per night had an average waist measurement of 37.4 inches, BMI of 28.6, while those who got almost 8.5 hours exhibited an average waist measurement of 35.8 inches and average BMI of 27.1. In addition, shorter sleep duration was linked to lower HDL levels (high-density lipoprotein, the “good” cholesterol).

The authors of this study also referred to a 2016 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that individuals who achieved 5.5 hours or less ate nearly 400 calories more per day than those who slept seven or more hours per night.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night, which is beneficial for overall health and well-being. The researchers concluded that people who get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night were less likely to be overweight than those who slept less.

If you find that you cannot sleep for seven to nine hours, ensure that supplements containing vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and iodine (for thyroid support) are part of your daily regimen. HerbSea’s Fucosea Family contains all the nutrients to help promote a healthy metabolism and for stress support, and in conjunction with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, should keep you in a good weight range.

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