the Long's Strange Trip
into the unknown...
~High Performance Living~
(wpl) Here are some opinions and beliefs that I have developed in my very informal study of health, performance, and longevity. It is written in the hopes that it will provide some information and motivation for the reader to live a healthier, longer, and richer life. Keep in mind that I am not a trained, certified expert authorized by any organization or government agency to give any kind of advice, other that what the First Amendment gives me the right to say, which is just about anything I want. Iíve tried to present the information in a very basic way, and most of it is from memory. So please do not follow any of this information unless you are willing to take full responsibility for all your own actions, as I have been subject to one stupid lawsuit (on a completely unrelated matter) and would prefer not to go through that again. And please let me know if you see corrections or additions that need to be made.
That said, my interest is in attaining and maintaining optimum levels of health and longevity, maximizing levels of energy and vitality, and length of vibrant life. The amount of information on aging, biochemistry, genetics, and related fields is expanding at ever increasing rates. If we can live another 20 or 50 years, modern science may allow us to go an additional 20 or 50 years past that. Of course, the goal is not just length of life, but quality as well. Here I will outline some things that I think could help us to stay young for a long time. Let me go ahead and admit that I am not actually following this program. Thereís no way I have room to take all the vitamins and supplements Iíd like to with me, not to mention the possible border crossing questions I might have to field, so weíre on a very basic supplementation program. And of course, we're trying to eat healthy, but we are eating on the road... (I had alpalca tonight, for instance. The guinea pig had to be ordered 24 hours in advance.)
Trans-fatty acids...In my opinion the most important thing the average person can do as far as their diet is to avoid trans-fatty acids as much as possible. These fats show up in foods as "partially-hydrogenated" oils. Almost all commercial breads, chips, cookies, and other fast foods have this kind of fat. It is vegetable oil that has been injected with hydrogen at high pressure so that it becomes solid at room temperature. Margarine and shortening are common examples. Because the molecular structure of the fat has been changed, the fat molecules that the body uses to make up the cell walls now "leak", and do a poor job of handling the transfer of nutrients into the cell and waste out of it.
Carbs...The best diet seems to be high in fruits and vegetables; low in starches, sugars, and high glycemic foods; low in most types of fat; and moderate on lean protein. In other words, avoid: sugar (including soft drinks candy bars, etc.), white bread, white pasta, and other high-glycemic foods. High glycemic foods cause a rapid increase in blood sugar. This in turn causes an insulin response. Not only does insulin turn sugar into fat, and cause other more beneficial hormones to go down, but as we age our insulin response begins to weaken (i.e. we become more diabetic). Higher blood sugar can thus result in a process called cross-linking, in which proteins become bonded to each other. To give you an idea of what this does to your body, the process of tanning leather is one of cross-linking.
Fruits and vegetables...It used to be that all one ever heard about the nutrition of a given plant or animal was what vitamins it contained, and the amount of calories and fat. These days rapid discoveries are being made about the tremendous benefits of various "phytochemicals", such as lycopene (found in tomatoes) and polyphenols found in green tea and red wine. Phytochemicals are being shown to prevent cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases. Therefore, it only makes sense to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to insure maximum consumption of what will undoubtedly be future discoveries. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contain most of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in our diet. (One of the most important theories of aging is the oxidation theory. A common example of oxidation is rusting. A similar process happens in the human body. Oxidation occurs when a molecule that is missing an electron - called a free radical - steals an electron from a molecule in your body. This can cause a chain reaction, as that molecule is now a free radical and must steal an electron from another molecule. Oxidation can be slowed down by consumption of antioxidants, which have a free electron to donate to the free-radical, and by eating antioxidant-rich foods.)
Meat and fat...Meat should be lean, such as chicken, fish, or wild game. Red meat should be eaten sparingly. Eggs are good food for most people and can be eaten a few times a week. Olive oil should be the main fat you use in your cooking. (Thereís a lot of disagreement in this area, but for now this appears to me to be the best suggestion.)
Organic...The state of food in the U.S. is pretty sad. Petrochemical companies have discovered how to grow good looking food using only a few basic fertilizers, and high levels of pesticides and herbicides. Therefore, the soil that the plants are grown in is no longer healthy. These chemicals that show up in our diet have been scientifically shown to decrease performance in athletes, and thus must be negatively affecting us all. Eat the freshest, cleanest food you can, preferably organic food.
Most people donít drink enough water, and most of those that do drink contaminated water. Almost all tap water in the U.S. has high levels of chlorine and chlorine by-products, as well as a lot of other junk in it. The best water to drink is distilled water, which is just pure H2O. At the very least buy a pitcher to filter your water. Drink at least eight glasses per day.
If we want to reach optimum levels of health, there is no way we can attain ideal nutrition only with food, no matter how ideal our diet is. In our genetic past, very few of our ancestors were fortunate enough to die of old age. Most succumbed to accidents, infection, disease, famine, or some other calamity. Today we have the opportunity to take more control, and to take things further than ever before.
How far you go with nutritional supplements in almost just limited by how much you believe the evidence out there, and how much time and money your are willing to invest in your future health. I personally believe that the potential rewards are worth a big investment, especially in light of all the scientific evidence that is showing up. So we take a lot of supplements. Iím going to list the most important ones, by level of importance, from my perspective. More information on how these nutrients may work to extend life and improve health is available in many books and web sites, including the Life Extension Foundation link listed below.
Multi - one-a-days canít contain enough stuff. Take at least a 3/day. We take Life Extension Mix, a 12/day formulation which contains high levels of many of the nutrients below. The items marked with * indicate something we take in addition to Life Extension Mix.
*Vitamin E - take 400 i.u. /day of a mixed trocopherol. Make sure it contains gamma-E, and not just the more common alpha-E. We also take 200 mg of tocotrienols.
Vitamin C - I usually get the cheapest I can find, but many folks recommend a buffered kind that wonít change the acidity of your system. Take 2 grams/day.
*Lipoic acid - the only antioxidant that's both water and fat soluble. It recycles spent vitamin C and E, and increases your body's supply of it's own antioxidant, glutathione. It also helps control insulin response, keeping your blood sugar under control.
*CoQ10 - a powerful antioxidant whose level in your body steadily decreases with age. Very important for anyone with heart problems. We take 80 mg/day.
*Magnesium/potassium/calcium aspartate - Follow the directions on the label.
*Omega-3 fatty acids - Fat comes in three forms, Omega -3, -6, and -9. In todayís typical diet, omega-3 only shows up significantly in cold-water fish, walnuts, and wild game. This is an essential fatty acid, meaning that the body needs it and canít make it from anything else. The best thing is to try to eat fish at least 3 times per week, and take flax oil as a supplement. This type of fat goes rancid very quickly, so always keep it in the refrigerator. You can take capsules, but I like to put a tablespoon of flax oil in a fruit smoothie, along with whey protein and grapefruit juice in the morning.
N-acetyl-cystiene (NAC) - Your body uses this substance to make its own natural antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is especially helpful in detoxifying free radicals resulting from smoke and pollution inhalation, and alcohol consumption.
*Saw Palmetto - prevents testosterone from converting to DHT, thus can help prevent prostate enlargement. I also take it in the hopes that is might prevent hair loss. All men over age 35 should take it.
*Milk thistle - is an herbal liver cleanser that has been shown to work very well (it can even prevent death due to mushroom poisoning or Tylenol overdose). Use it from time to time (but not constantly), especially if you drink alcohol, smoke, eat non-organic foods or drink tap water.
Phytochemicals - mixed carotenoids, grape seed extract, *green tea extract, and others have shown powerful anti-cancer benefits and other health-enhancing properties.
*Aspirin - the best level of aspirin to take to decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke is ľ aspirin per day. It not only acts as a blood thinner, but at this level affects prostaglandins which are involved in inflammation and other aspects of function, which I donít really understand. But I know that aspirin is generally accepted as a very beneficial supplement.
Garlic - has been shown to decrease cholesterol, and act as a natural antibiotic and anti-fungal. Take Kyolic brand, or just eat a lot of garlic.
*Whey/soy protein - Whey is the protein that most easily converts to muscle, and soy has many cancer preventive aspects. It is important to have protein in the morning to preserve muscle mass, so try it in a smoothie. (Muscle mass decreases as we age. Maintaining muscle mass is very important for maintaining a strong immune system.)
*Creatine - has been shown to increase muscle mass when combined with weight resistance training.
*Glucosamine - rebuilds cartilage. Good for joint maintenance and repair.
*DHEA - Maintaining hormone levels at a youthful age is an exciting way to possibly maintain youth for a longer period. The most commonly used hormone for this purpose is DHEA, which has been found to steadily decrease after age 30. The best thing is to get your level tested at a laboratory or doctor's office before supplementing, and the idea is to keep your level at that of a 25 - 30 year old. I take 25 mg/day.
Mental capacity is obviously a huge factor in oneís success in life. One way it can possibly be affected is by nutritional supplementation. My favorites are the following:
*Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) - increases glucose uptake and levels of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.
Phosphatidylserine - this supplement has an affect on the permeability of brain cells, and has been shown to increase memory in both normal and impaired subjects.
*Gingko biloba - an extract from the oldest living thing on this planet. Increases circulation in the micro-capillaries and acts as an antioxidant.
Where to purchase supplements
Use high quality supplements found in health food stores or by mail-order. My favorite store brand is Twinlab, but cheaper prices can often be found on the internet.
The highest quality, most comprehensive, and most economical multi I've found is with the Life Extension Foundation, which offers 12/day tablets, or capsule or powder options of their Life Extension Mix. We also get our aspirin from there, which comes in 81 mg size. Buying in bulk can get your cost for the multi down to $1.22 per day.
The cheapest place I've found to purchase our remaining supplements is at www.beyond-a-century.com. Most of their supplements come in powdered form, which makes them cheaper, but a little more challenging to take. We mix them with juice and shoot 'em.
The cost for everything we take, an extremely comprehensive supplementation program including ginseng, bilberry, green tea extract, and other exotic and exciting ingredients, is about $2.50 per day. The exact breakdown can be found at Supplement Details. You can click the link below for the multi and the aspirin, as well as further information on life-extension and supplementation. (You'll also help out Longs Strange Trip. Thanks!)
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