Many people assume that all of the physical changes that occur with old age are inevitable. Gray hair, hearing loss, an appreciation for early dinners – it all comes with the package, right? Not necessarily – at least when it comes to hearing loss.
This condition is certainly prevalent among seniors. In fact, one in three Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss. Once you reach your 75th birthday, your odds are 50-50. But it’s actually possible to mitigate or even prevent it altogether. The earlier you start taking action, the better, so don’t put this off.
In fact, one study found that childhood isn’t too early to start paying attention to your hearing. In some parts
of the world, hearing loss can be a problem as early as childhood or adolescence. In fact, researchers estimate that 14 to 28% of children and young adults in South Asia have impaired hearing. They found that the cause of their hearing loss could also be the cause of your age-related hearing loss.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health investigated hearing loss in over 2,200 Nepalese young adults. Approximately 16 years previously, these young adults had participated in a nutrition trial that collected data about their diets.
The researchers found that those who had experienced chronic undernourishment as children were twice as likely to have hearing loss as those who had sufficient food. The researchers linked acute periods of undernourishment to hearing loss as well. The take-away from this study is that nutrition plays a big role in the health of your ears.
Being undernourished can leave you vulnerable to infections. And repeated ear infections can damage hearing. But undernourishment can also result in vitamin deficiencies. And, as you’ll see below, certain vitamins are vital to good hearing. Many of these children were suffering from such deficiencies. The researchers believe that improving children’s diets could protect their hearing for decades. And it can help us older folks too.
A study published earlier this year found that you can significantly reduce hearing loss with the right diet. Other studies have focused on individual nutrients. But this was the first to look at dietary patterns as a whole.
And the researchers went big. They examined data from 70,966 women who had participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II. This study followed the women for 22 years.
The researchers found that those who most closely followed either the Alternate Mediterranean diet (AMED) or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet fared the best. Their risk of moderate-to-severe hearing loss was about 30% lower than that of the women who followed these dietary plans the least closely.
We’ve discussed the Mediterranean diet several times before. The AMED dietary pattern aligns well with the Mediterranean diet. It focuses on extra
virgin olive oil, grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish. It also recommends keeping alcohol consumption to a modest level.
The DASH pattern is also heavy in fruits and vegetables. It includes a good bit of low-fat dairy as well, but it limits sodium.
These diets are prudent and lessons in moderation. They provide many of the essential vitamins and nutrients your ears rely on, which I’ll discuss more below. Plus, if you focus enough on what you should be eating, you won’t have much room for foods you shouldn’t eat. And there are diets that can destroy your hearing.
I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that sugar is an enemy of good hearing. Many people rely on the glycemic index (GI) to help them keep their blood sugar under control. This index rates
foods according to how quickly they raise your blood sugar. Higher GI foods tend to have a lot of sugar and starch and not
a lot of fiber.
Researchers looked at data from 2,956 people over the age of 50 to determine whether a carb-heavy diet affects hearing loss. They evaluated the participants’ hearing, how many high-GI foods they ate, and their glycemic load.
The glycemic load is the GI of a food multiplied by the amount of that food you eat. It’s an important number because it shows how much sugar you’re consuming in total. And, as you’re about to see, it’s important to track if you want to protect your hearing.
The researchers found that the people who ate the most high-GI foods were in trouble. They were 41% more likely than those who ate the least to have some hearing loss. But the numbers got even worse when the researchers looked at glycemic load.
Those who had the highest glycemic loads were practically doomed. They were 76% more likely than those who had the lowest loads to have some hearing loss.
Clearly, your diet plays a role in your hearing, for better or for worse. And after seeing those numbers, it will likely come as no surprise that researchers have linked hearing loss to type-2 diabetes. A review study concluded that the evidence that diabetes can damage the auditory system is compelling. The researchers recommended that doctors include a hearing test in their diabetes management protocols. Based on the above study, I think reducing your glycemic load could help you avoid both conditions.
If you want to protect your hearing as you age, start with a healthy diet. But if you know you have risk factors that will make hearing loss more likely for you, such as childhood undernourishment, a noisy job environment, or even diabetes, you may want to take some extra steps to further protect your hearing.
Research indicates that certain vitamins and nutrients can offer an extra layer of protection to the ears. For example, a study of 2,592 people between the ages of 20 and 69 examined their hearing and their intake of vitamin C, beta carotene, and magnesium.
The researchers found that those who consumed the most magnesium and vitamin C could hear up to 20% better than those who consumed the least. And those who consumed the most magnesium and beta carotene could hear 16.57% better.
This was a correlation study. So we can’t say for certain based on these results that vitamin C or beta carotene protects your ears. It does seem to indicate that combining these antioxidant vitamins with magnesium helps them work better.
Fortunately, other researchers conducted a study in mice that helps show causation. Researchers at the University of Michigan Health System created a diet for mice that contained significant amounts of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and magnesium. They tested this diet in mice genetically bred to have hearing loss.
To create mice with hearing loss, the researchers deleted the connexin 26 gene. In humans, this mutation leads to hearing loss that gets worse over time. Interestingly, people with this issue typically pass their newborn hearing screening. But they typically lose their hearing in childhood.
The mice who received the special, antioxidant-enhanced diet had less hearing loss than those who didn’t. Some actually experienced improvements in their hearing, which surprised the researchers! The researchers believe the antioxidants help protect the sensitive inner ear hair cells from oxidative stress. And that’s something we can all benefit from, regardless of our genetic makeup.
Even if you’ve already decided to spring for hearing aids, you may be able to slow or even reverse your hearing loss.
If you aren’t already following the Mediterranean diet, I highly recommend giving it a try. Research has found it to be beneficial in preventing a wide variety of issues, including some of the more daunting ones, like Alzheimer’s. And if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic, perhaps protecting your hearing will be the final push you need to lighten your glycemic load.
If you’ve made these dietary changes but still want some extra protection, give Advanced Hearing Formula a try. It will support your hearing by supplying the
key nutrients I just mentioned. It also contains ingredients specially chosen to support the nerves and circulatory system. This helps ensure that you have adequate blood flow to the ears and that messages are properly routed to the brain. You
can order Advanced Hearing Formula by calling 800-791-3395. Make sure you use the special offer code WHA318 when
Let me repeat myself: hearing loss as you age does not have to be inevitable. Follow these recommendations, and you’ll likely be asking for repetition a lot less
Ancient Siberian Herb Can Reduce Anxiety, Anger, and Fatigue
It’s no secret that modern life can be exhausting. Advances in technology mean that we’re always connected. Staying close to loved ones can be good. But more often than not, we’re staying connected to work, news, and mindless scrolling on our devices.
This increasing pace of life means that our stress is increasing too. This can lead to burnout and disease. But modern medicine hasn’t been able to keep up. There are drugs available to treat some of the symptoms of stress. However, many of these have side effects that can be dangerous. And nothing seems to get to the root of the issue.
Researchers have been seeking a
solution. But it’s not a major advancement in modern medical science. In fact, one of the best solutions to modern stress is a plant that traditional medicine has used for centuries.
This plant is Rhodiola rosea. It’s common in cold areas and grows particularly well at high altitudes. Russians around Siberia and Scandinavians have used it for centuries to ease stress. It also features in traditional Chinese medicine.
Our world is obviously more complex than generations before, but stress is not an unknown factor in either society. Rhodiola helped Russian oligarchs 200 years ago and it can help us too.
Researchers have been investigating the use of Rhodiola to treat stress as well as other conditions. They’ve been pleasantly surprised by what they’ve found, and I think you will be too.
First, it’s important to understand just why stress is so taxing on our bodies. You’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight” response. When the body senses a cause for alarm, it begins churning out hormones, like cortisol.
These hormones could help the body fight off the danger or run away. But most of us aren’t attacking or fleeing emails from our bosses (though we might like to). And regularly producing these hormones can fatigue the adrenal system.
This constant cycle can lead to a number of symptoms and health hazards. The products of stress can include high blood pressure, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, insulin resistance, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Clearly, it’s important to get your stress reaction into a better place.
When these physical symptoms crop up, our first response is often to treat them directly. And while you may need immediate relief, it’s important to also treat the cause. Of course, this can include reducing the stress in your life. But it also means helping get your adrenal hormones back in balance.
Researches have been seeking scientific confirmation of Rhodiola’s ability to do just that. A review study recently synthesized a number of such studies.
Initial research of Rhodiola in cell lines and animals was very promising. For example, immobilized rabbits that received Rhodiola extract had much less increase in stress markers compared to a placebo group. Rats that received Rhodiola were able to keep swimming longer than those that didn’t.
Thanks to these results, researchers have moved on to investigating Rhodiola in humans. A four-week study of people suffering from life-stress symptoms had great results. The participants experienced improvements in overall stress, stress-related disabilities at work and in their social and family lives, and function impairments. Many of the participants started to notice improvements after just three days.
Another study of students who reported feeling anxious or stressed was also promising. By day 14, those receiving Rhodiola had experienced significant reductions in anxiety, anger, confusion, and stress. They also reported feeling more vigorous and enjoying improved moods.
As a doctor myself, it’s easy for me to understand the stress physicians on night duty experience. And yet another study has good news – Rhodiola can help them too. A study of 56 doctors found that after two weeks, Rhodiola reduced their general and mental fatigue. The doctors performed better on a number of tests measuring complex perceptive and cognitive cerebral functions after receiving Rhodiola.
This study points to another benefit of Rhodiola: improving chronic fatigue. When you max out your adrenals, prolonged or chronic fatigue can result. In the past, doctors have recommended exercise or cognitive behavioral therapy to people suffering from fatigue. These can help a little. But Rhodiola can have better results.
An eight-week study on 100 patients found that within a week, most patients who took 400 mg/day of Rhodiola experienced significant improvement in their overall fatigue levels. Symptoms related to the fatigue, such as sleep difficulties and trouble with family life, improved too. In fact, according to the Clinical Global Impressions scale, 83% of the patients were “very much” or “much” improved by the end of the study.
Finally, Rhodiola may even help with depression. We can trace some cases of depression to stress and an overtaxed adrenal system, so Rhodiola can often offer relief. A six-week clinical trial of patients with mild to moderate depression found that those who received Rhodiola had significant decreases on both the Beck Depression Inventory and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression compared to the placebo group.
Clearly, Rhodiola is a promising natural solution for stress and associated fatigue and depression. If you’re suffering from any of these conditions, your first instinct is likely to be to treat the symptoms. But by treating the hormonal imbalance that’s creating the symptoms, you can eliminate the symptoms and help keep them from recurring.
Rhodiola is a great way to do this. But it’s even more powerful when combined with other nutrients. For example, Ashwagandha root reduces the stress hormone cortisol. American Ginseng boosts the immune system. Honokiol bark, an extract from magnolia, raises levels of GABA in the brain to help you feel more relaxed.
You’ll find all of these nutrients and more in Advanced Stress Relief. It’s formulated to improve your mood, help you relax, and get your stress hormones to healthy levels.
Of course, if you’re leading a very stressful life, you do need to make changes if you can. Otherwise, you’ll end up in the same burned out position again. But Advanced Stress Relief can help you recover and give you the energy you need to make necessary changes. You can order Advanced Stress Relief by calling 800-791-3395. Make sure you use the special offer code WHA418 when you order.
Why Women Are More Likely to Suffer From a Stroke — And How to Prevent Them
Did you know that 55,000 more women than men suffer a stroke every year? In fact, strokes are the third-leading cause of death in women in the U.S. Despite their prevalence, we still have a ways to
go in understanding what makes women so vulnerable, especially when compared with men.
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital have been investigating women's risk factors. After evaluating a number of factors, particularly those related to women's hormones, the researchers identified a few key risk factors. These include being less than 10 years old at menarche, being less than 45 years old at menopause, having low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS), taking oral estrogen or combined oral contraceptives, and having a history of pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, or hypertension.
These factors are common, and many more women will have these risk factors than will actually experience a stroke. However, women should be aware that these factors increase their stroke risk. So if you have any of these risk factors, it's important to take steps to improve your cardiovascular health.
If you have any of these risk factors, here's how you can protect yourself:
First the obvious: If you are still smoking — quit. If you're seriously overweight and it's interfering with your ability to be active, ideally you will shed some pounds. If your doctor has told you that you have prehypertension — lower your blood pressure using Advanced Blood Pressure Formula (800-791-3395) so things don't escalate.
Next, try to add fish oil to your diet either by eating fish two to three times per week or taking a supplement. This will help to keep your blood less sticky and flowing more easily which will help reduce your risk of having a stroke. If you currently exercise only a couple of times per week, try to walk 20 minutes on the days you're doing nothing.
If your blood sugar is on the high end of normal, tighten the reins on your diet. Try less sugary foods, especially in the evening. If you crave sweets, try eating berries or half of an organic apple.
And lastly, if you feel very fatigued with seemingly no apparent reason and occasionally feel what seems like a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath and/or excessive sweating — go see your doctor today. You could have atrial fibrillation, which significantly increases your risk for stroke.
Stacie L. Demel, Steven Kittner, Sylvia H. Ley, Mollie McDermott, Kathryn M. Rexrode. Stroke Risk Factors Unique to Women. Stroke, 2018; STROKEAHA.117.018415 DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.117.018415.
Personal Care Products Linked to Breast Cancer Risk
Women typically pick their beauty and skincare products based on how they will make them look on the outside. We often don’t give a lot of thought to what they’re doing to our insides. After all, we’re just applying them to the surface of the skin. But the skin is the body’s largest organ. And what we expose that organ to can have major effects on our health – including breast cancer risk.
Recently, further scientific evidence has surfaced showing that it’s a very good idea to pay attention to what you put on your skin. As you likely know, many personal care products contain chemicals that can disrupt the endocrine system. And endocrine disruption can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.
A study of over 46,000 non-Hispanic white (42,453) and black (4,452) women reviewed their product usage. The women self-reported how frequently they used beauty, skin, and hair products. The researchers followed them for an average of 5.4 years to see who developed breast cancer.
In that time, 2,326 of the women received a breast cancer diagnosis. For white women, those who used beauty
products a “moderate” or “frequent” amount had an increased risk of breast cancer compared to those whose use was “infrequent.” Those who used skincare products frequently also had an increased risk compared to those who used them infrequently.
While the researchers didn’t find a connection among black women, the small number of cases may have affected the results. Haircare products also didn’t seem to be associated with an increased risk. Risk was slightly higher for postmenopausal women.
The researchers didn’t identify individual products linked to risk. And this study found only a correlation, not causation. But it does offer some important reminders. Exposing your skin to more products or applying them more frequently can be dangerous if you choose the wrong products.
Look for products made with truly natural ingredients. The chemicals in synthetic products can get quick results – but these results can come at a price. You’ll be glad to know that the ingredients in all of the Système 41 products are completely authentically natural and won’t increase your risk of breast cancer or any other disease. In fact, they will take a burden off of your environmentally assaulted immune system.
Q: When I stand up I sometimes feel dizzy. My doctor diagnosed me with orthostatic hypotension. He told me I am dehydrated. I drink lots of water, so I’m not sure if this is true. Could you please shed some light on this?
– Eleanor, via email
It would be a good idea to get a complete cardiovascular work up. If you take a look at the link below, this piece of research suggests that orthostatic hypotension could represent undiagnosed cardiovascular disease.
Usually it’s the “electricity” of the heart. A good place to start may be with a “heart electrician” better known as a cardiac electrophysiologist. They can find out if your heart is firing on all cylinders and suggest ways to correct any deficiencies.
Q. I have been on Prolia for two years and have gone from an annually deteriorating case of pretty severe osteoporosis to back to a normal range. And I have had no side effects whatsoever. What do you think of this miracle drug? – Kristen T., Thousand Oaks, CA
Prolia has been in use since 2010. It has shown to increase bone density and protect bones from fracture. The mechanism of Prolia is that it stops cells that damage bones from their negative activity. This is a good effect for some women.
Many women want to try other solutions besides prescription for a couple of reasons – either they can’t afford an additional prescription or they have tried various prescription medications and they have not worked.
Thank you for pointing this out and in my next osteoporosis article, I will make a point to discuss Prolia in greater detail. If any of my readers have used Prolia, I would very much appreciate hearing about your experience. Please send an email to the address in the box below.
Q. Could you please inform me as to whether or not all of the supplements sold by Advanced Nutritionals are OK’d by you? I especially like your medical background and trust your judgment. This knowledge is very important to me. I look forward to your Women’s Health Letter!!!!! Thank you so much. – Marjorie C., via e-mail
Yes, I joined the medical advisory group at Advanced Bionutritionals because I have been impressed with the quality, authenticity and ethics of the management and owner. There are so many supplements in the marketplace and I know it is continually somewhat of a challenge to discern one from the other.
I like knowing I can trust the company. What you see on the label is what you are getting. I speak frequently with the manufacturer and am always pleased to hear of their consistency and integrity.
Having said this, not all supplements are for all people. It’s important to sort out what is going to work for you. If you have any questions in regard to this please feel free to contact us.