Higher vitamin E levels associated with reduced bone fractures in older adults

A new study has shown that a low intake of vitamin E may significantly increase the risk of bone fractures in older adults.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailDecreased quality of life and mortality due to osteoporotic bone fractures is a large and growing problem worldwide in both men and women. Fracture risk increases with age, but is also influenced by genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Research over the past several years has indicated that an increase in oxidative stress associated with aging may also play a role in age-related bone loss.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical of Nutrition, researchers sought to determine whether dietary intake of d-alpha-tocopherol (the form of vitamin E with the highest antioxidant activity) influenced fracture rates among aging women and men.

The participants in this study were taken from two large cohort studies, the Swedish Mammography Cohort (SMC) and the Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men (ULSAM). The SMC trial included 61,433 women with a follow-up period of 19 years. During the follow-up period, there were 3,871 hip fractures reported in the women, and 14,738 women that experienced a first fracture at any site. Vitamin E intake was determined through food records and food frequency questionnaires. Serum a-tocopherol (vitamin E) was measured in a subgroup of 654 men participating in the ULSAM trial.

Compared with women with the highest 20% of vitamin E intake, the women with the lowest 20% of intake had an 86% higher risk of hip fracture and a 20% higher risk of a fracture at any site. The use of a vitamin E containing supplement reduced the risk of hip fracture by 22%, and the risk of all fractures by 14%. Among the men in the ULSAM study (follow-up of 12 years), those with the vitamin E intakes in the top 20% had less than one-third the risk of a hip fracture than those with lower intakes. Men with lower vitamin E intakes had an 84% increase in risk of any fracture when compared to those with the highest intakes. In a subgroup of male subjects, for every 1 standard deviation decrease in serum vitamin E there was a 58% increase in hip fracture risk and 23% increase in risk for any fracture.

The results of this observational study indicate that vitamin E insufficiency is associated with higher bone fracture risk in elderly men and women.

There are several forms of vitamin E. d-alpha-tocopherol is the most bioactive form and is the natural form found in foods. The much less expensive, and  less effective form is dl-alpha-tocopherol, this is the form you’ll find in most supplements fortified foods. Look at your vitamin E supplement or multi to make sure it contains the far more effective d-alpha-tocopherol form. (Difference is one starts with d- vs dl-). Both are chemically vitamin E, but the only difference is how the pieces are put together. Imagine a stack of lego blocks and in the d-form the top block points at 12’oclock. the dl- form the top block points to 3 o’clock.  A minor difference, but makes a large difference in how your body uses it. The natural, d- form, is over twice as effective as the synthetic dl- form.

Karl Michaëlsson et al. Intake and serum concentrations of α-tocopherol in relation to fractures in elderly women and men: 2 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr January 2014 vol. 99 no. 1 107-114.

Melatonin – Its not just for Sleep

couple sleeping

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in your brain in response to the sun going down and getting dark, then melatonin production increases. In the morning when the light of day hits your eyes, melatonin production stops and you wake up. Because it is such a great natural sleep aid many people take a melatonin supplement when they go to bed to help them sleep. It is non addictive and doesn’t have any of the dangerous side effects of sleep drugs.

As we age our natural melatonin production decreases, but below are a list of other very beneficial ways melatonin can improve your health and why you may want to start taking a melatonin supplement before you go to bed.

  • Melatonin fights brain changes in Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies have also shown that melatonin helps protect the brain neurons from the two proteins which damage the nerve cells that leads to Alzheimer’s. Melatonin supplementation must be begun early on as once the damage is done it can’t reverse it.
  • Melatonin fights Parkinson’s at the earliest stages. Some studies have shown that melatonin supplementation can prevent and even reverse some of the changes in behavior found in Parkinson’s patients.
  • Melatonin cuts the risk of stroke – As we age melatonin levels decrease and with that decrease there is a proportional increase in the risk of stroke.
  • Melatonin has been shown to reduce cholesterol accumulation by 42% and helps reduce blood pressure into the normal levels.
  • If you do have a stroke melatonin can reduce the amount of damage in the area of the stroke by inhibiting the production of “protein melting” enzymes which can damage the blood brain barrier in the area of the stroke.
  • It shields your brain from traumatic injury. In traumatic brain injury, like from an auto accident, it is the oxidative damage to the brain cells which causes much of the damage. Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant and can protect the brain cells in the area of the injury.
  • You may have heard of the benefits of calorie restriction diets which can add years of healthy life. Melatonin seems to increase the expression of the same “Longevity protein” SIRT1 which triggers the expression of a number of self-healing genes just like the calorie restriction diet does. Much easier to comply with too!

With all of the benefits you need to begin melatonin supplementation early as it won’t do much good after signs of neurological diseases begin or traumatic injury happens.

There are dangers though. Most of the readily available melatonin comes from the pineal gland of animals, typically from cattle slaughter houses.  If the cow has a viral infection, like mad cow disease, then there is a good chance that intact virus will be in the melatonin and can’t be filtered or purified out.  There are a few producers of synthetic melatonin, which is made from non-animal ingredients, which are free from these risks (and also vegan friendly). Unfortunately most of the melatonin products I’ve seen on the store shelves don’t say if they are from animal sources or the much safer synthetic sources. I do know the one I use is synthetic and safe.

 

Brain getting a little foggy? Ginko & PS can help.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? You get up, get yourself ready, drive yourself to your local shopping center, and then once you get to your destination, you stop… stand there… and think: “What did I need to get here?” Then you don’t remember until you get back home.

It happens to me all the time. Recently, while wandering a favorite store in some less-than-sensible shoes, I swear all the blood left my brain and went to the pain in my feet, because when I got home, I realized I made a dumb purchase and forgot the whole point of why I was in that store in the first place.

I worry for my future.

But not too much, because, fortunately, it is possible to keep our brains sharp as we age.

The Brain is Amazing

A couple years ago I came across a book that taught me how incredible our brains can be. The Brain that Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge is a fascinating read of what could be a super boring scientific subject. The book covers some mind-blowing (ha ha) examples of how people have overcome serious challenges thanks to the plasticity of our brains. It also provides insight into things we can do to make a real and lasting difference in our cognitive function well into old age.

Like a puzzle, many habits fit together to keep our brains fit. Here are a few tips:

  • Meditate, relax, and make sure you get enough sleep. A calm brain learns better and stress can actually kill cells in the brain.
  • Learn something. Doing something that requires real concentration — think learning how to dance or speak a new language — keeps the brain fit (including the part that makes dopamine, which is triggered when you experience something new).
  • Socialize with friends and family. Consider playing a rousing game of Scrabble or Words with Friends while you’re at it!
  • Consume lots of antioxidants and moderate amounts of caffeine. I recently read that caffeine boosts circulation in all parts of the body except the brain — where it actually constricts blood flow.
  • Stay active. Exercise helps the brain build new neurons and increases both oxygen and blood supply to the brain.

You can supplement the benefits of an antioxidant rich diet and exercise by adding Ginkgo-PS™ to your supplement regimen every day, because it will help deliver similar benefits.

Why Ginkgo-PS is Groovy

The two main ingredients in Ginkgo-PS are Ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine.

The herb Ginkgo biloba has been around for zillions of years. It is well accepted as a natural way to support cognition and circulation. In fact, it primarily helps cognition because it promotes healthy circulation—better blood flow helps deliver blood and oxygen to the brain. Ginkgo biloba also acts as an antioxidant, defending cells against damaging oxidative stress.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fatty acid that plays a role in cell signaling and has been shown to support memory function and cognition. Some of the benefits of PS come from its favorable impact on brain glucose metabolism, acetylcholine levels, and maintaining normal capacity for norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine dependent neurotransmitter systems.

It turns out that while both ingredients are pretty cool on their own, they are more effective if combined, as they are in Ginkgo-PS. A study published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental in 2007 showed that “administration of GBE [Ginkgo biloba extract] complexed with phosphatidylserine resulted both in improved secondary memory performance and significantly increased speed of memory task performance.” Results that were not seen when only Ginkgo biloba was used.

USANA’s Ginkgo-PS delivers the right amount of these key ingredients to provide real support for memory and cognition.

Keep the Vitamin D levels up to insure an active life into the Golden Years.

Here is yet another study showing how important vitamin D is.  For all of us Baby Boomers and beyond, this is something we need to pay attention to to help insure we can stay active as long as possible.

In an article published online on May 9, 2012 in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine report an association between reduced levels of vitamin D and a greater risk of disability or loss of mobility in older men and women.

For the current investigation, nutrition epidemiologist Denise K. Houston, PhD, RD, of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology and her associates utilized data from 2,099 African-American and Caucasian participants enrolled in the National Institute on Aging’s Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study. Mobility, as assessed by the ability to walk a specified distance and climb stairs, was evaluated every six months over six years of follow-up. Blood samples obtained at the one year follow-up visit were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels.

Levels of serum vitamin D of less than 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) were found in 28.9 percent of the subjects, and levels of 50 to less than 75 nmol/L were measured in 36.1 percent. Those whose levels were between 50 and 75 nmol/L had a 27 percent greater risk of developing a mobility limitation and a 30 percent greater risk of mobility disability than those whose levels were at least 75 nmol/L. Among those whose serum vitamin D levels were lower than 50 nmol/L, the risks were 29 percent and 93 percent greater.

“This is one of the first studies to look at the association of vitamin D and the onset of new mobility limitations or disability in older adults,” announced Dr Houston. “We observed about a 30 percent increased risk of mobility limitations for those older adults who had low levels of vitamin D, and almost a two-fold higher risk of mobility disability.”

Because vitamin D plays a role in muscle function, Dr Houston suggested that reduced levels could decrease physical strength and performance. Deficient levels of the vitamin, which have been implicated in the development of cardiovascular disease and other conditions, can also indirectly impact physical function. “About one-third of older adults have low vitamin D levels,” Dr Houston noted. “It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone and older adults, who may not spend much time outdoors, may need to take a vitamin D supplement.”

While the current dietary recommendation for older individuals is just 800 international units per day, Dr Houston remarked that “Higher amounts of vitamin D may be needed for the preservation of muscle strength and physical function as well as other health conditions. However, clinical trials are needed to determine whether increasing vitamin D levels through diet or supplements has an effect on physical function.”

Personally I take 1,800 iu daily in my multivitamin plus I add another 2,000 iu daily.  Even for those who spend a lot of time in the sun, you may not be retaining all the vitamin D you make. See other posts in this blog for information on how to optimize vitamin D production and keep from washing it away (hint, don’t shower for a day or two after good sun exposure.)

Vitamins D & E show cognitive benefits

The research keeps pouring in on the benefits of Vitamin D

Eating food rich in vitamin E may reduce the risk of developing dementia, while insufficient levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of cognitive decline, say two new studies.

People who consumed the highest average intakes of vitamin E from the diet were 25 percent less likely to develop dementia than people with the lowest average intakes, according to new data published in the Archives of Neurology.
The benefits are reportedly related to the antioxidant activity of vitamin E, postulate scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherland, which counters the oxidative stress induced by a build up of beta-amyloid protein.
The build-up of plaque from beta-amyloid deposits is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and death from oxidative stress. This is related to a loss of cognitive function and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia and currently affects over 13 million people worldwide.
The direct and indirect cost of Alzheimer care is over $100 bn (€ 81 bn) in the US, while direct costs in the UK are estimated at £15 bn (€ 22 bn).
The study follows hot on the heels of findings from a Swedish study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, which found that a combination of different vitamin E forms could help prevent cognitive deterioration in advanced age.
There are eight forms of vitamin E: Four tocopherols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta) and four tocotrienols (alpha, beta, gamma, delta). Alpha-tocopherol (alpha-Toc) is the main source found in supplements and in the European diet, while gamma-tocopherol (gamma-Toc) is the most common form in the American diet.
Tocotrienols are only minor components in plants, although several sources with relatively high levels include palm oil, cereal grains and rice bran.
Study details
For the new study, the Rotterdam-based scientists analysed data on the intakes of antioxidants – vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and flavonoids – in 5,395 people aged 55 and older. Questionnaires and meal-based checklists were used to establish intakes of these micronutrients.
The participants were followed for about 10 years, during which 465 people developed dementia, of which 365 cases were for Alzheimer’s disease.
After crunching the numbers, the researchers calculated that people with an average intake of 18.5 milligrams of vitamin E per day were 25 percent less likely to develop dementia than the people with an average of 9 milligrams per day. On the other hand, no associations were observed for dietary intake levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene and flavonoids.
“The brain is a site of high metabolic activity, which makes it vulnerable to oxidative damage, and slow accumulation of such damage over a lifetime may contribute to the development of dementia,” wrote the authors.
“In particular, when beta-amyloid (a hallmark of pathologic Alzheimer’s disease) accumulates in the brain, an inflammatory response is likely evoked that produces nitric oxide radicals and downstream neurodegenerative effects. Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant that may help to inhibit the pathogenesis of dementia.”
D and cognitive decline
The current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine also carries new data from British researchers, who report that seniors with low levels of vitamin D may be at an increased risk of cognitive decline.
Our cognitive performance declines naturally as we age, but new data from David Llewellyn and his colleagues at the University of Exeter in England indicated that insufficient levels of vitamin D may accelerate this decline.
The Exeter-based scientists analysed vitamin D levels from blood samples of 858 adults aged 65 or older. Cognitive tests were undertaken at the start of the study, and again after three and six years.
The data showed that severe vitamin D deficiency, defined as blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) of less than 25 nanomoles per liter – were associated with a 60 percent increase in the risk of substantial cognitive decline.
“If future prospective studies and randomized controlled trials confirm that vitamin D deficiency is causally related to cognitive decline, then this would open up important new possibilities for treatment and prevention,” concluded Llewellyn and his co-workers.
In an accompanying editorial, Andrew Grey and Mark Bolland from the University of Auckland said it was now time to test the various hypotheses generated by observational studies of vitamin D in order to establish the potential public health benefit of raising vitamin D levels.
“Very importantly, such trials will also provide an opportunity to systematically assess potential harms of vitamin D supplementation, an issue that has been largely overlooked or dismissed. We should invest in trials that provide the best possible evidence on the benefits and risks of vitamin D before we invest in costly, difficult and potentially unrewarding interventional strategies,” wrote Grey and Bolland.
Sources: Archives of Intern Medicine 
Vol. 170, Issue 13, Pages 1135-1141 
“Vitamin D and Risk of Cognitive Decline in Elderly Persons”
Authors: D.J. Llewellyn, I.A. Lang, K.M. Langa, G. Muniz-Terrera, C.L. Phillips, A. Cherubini, L. Ferrucci, D. Melzer
Archives of Intern Medicine
Volume 170, Issue 13, Pages 1099-1100
“Vitamin D – A Place in the Sun?”
Authors: A. Grey, M. Bolland
Archive of Neurology
Volume 67, Issue 7, Pages 819-825
“Dietary Antioxidants and Long-term Risk of Dementia”
Authors: E.E. Devore, F. Grodstein, F.J.A. van Rooij, A. Hofman, M.J. Stampfer, J.C.M. Witteman, M.M.B. Breteler

Mayo Clinic Health Letter Offers Advice for Maintaining Vitality: How to Age Without Getting Old

NewsRx.com

07-01-10

Aging without getting old? It’s largely possible, according to the June issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. Certainly, some diseases affect the quality of life and shorten life spans, but for the majority of adults, age is what one makes of it. Consider that some people seem old in their 50s and 60s, while others waltz through their 80s and 90s with a spring in their steps. The Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers ingredients for an “anti-aging potion.” Exercise: Being active and getting regular, moderately intense exercise is probably the No. 1 way to slow the aging process and improve vitality. Exercise can lower blood pressure and improve bone strength and cholesterol numbers. People often experience increased energy and strength with just a few sessions of physical activity. Exercise also can reduce stress and improve mood and sleep. A plan that includes at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, on most days of the week is recommended. The benefits are even greater when the exercise regimen includes strengthening exercises two or three times a week. Healthy diet: A healthy diet is the foundation for maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if needed. For those who are overweight, weight loss from even a small reduction in body fat – about 5 to 10 percent – may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Regular doctor visits: Regular visits allow a doctor to watch for signs of disease, through activities such as screening for certain cancers and other problems. And regular visits are important to managing ongoing medical concerns and medications. Brain challenges: Staying mentally fit falls into the “use it or lose it” category. Brains benefit from challenges, such as regularly reading, taking classes, learning new skills or engaging in stimulating conversations. Research shows that older adults with normal brain aging can learn just as well as younger adults, and it’s possible to increase brain cell connections regardless of age. Social connections: Social connections play a vital role in health and well-being, especially during times of change and transition that occur with aging, such as retirement, death of a loved one or downsizing a home. Connections with friends, relatives, a religious community or even a pet are motivators to stay healthy. Social connections can reduce stress and anxiety, protect against mental decline and provide a sense of purpose. Optimistic attitude: Although pessimism can be deeply ingrained in one’s personality, it’s never too late to examine thoughts, viewpoints and actions that sour one’s attitude. Bad things happen to everyone, but optimists tend to look for the positive, count their blessings, savor good times and simple pleasures and practice kindness to others as a way to direct thoughts beyond themselves (see also Mayo Clinic).

Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today’s health and medical news. To subscribe, please call 1-800-333-9037 (toll-free), extension 9771, or visit www.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com.

fish oil supplements beat mental illness

An important new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry reveals that fish oil supplements beat mental illness. The study involved 81 people deemed to be at high risk for psychosis. The randomized, placebo-controlled study provided fish oil supplements to half the study subjects for just 12 weeks (the other half received placebo supplements). The results? While 11 people in the placebo group developed a psychotic disorder, only 2 in the fish oil group did.

Although the study was relatively small, it helps demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to be the key nutritional factor in fish oils. We already know that omega-3 fatty acids / polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) help protect people against cardiovascular disease. We also know they can play a role in preventing diabetes and cancer. It’s little surprise that they also protect against mental illness, given the importance of healthy fatty acids for the functioning of the nervous system.

As the BBC reports, Alison Cobb, from the mental health charity Mind, said in response to this study: “If young people can be treated successfully with fish oils, this is hugely preferable to treating them with antipsychotics, which come with a range of problems from weight gain to sexual dysfunction, whereas omega-3s are actually beneficial to their general state of health.”

She’s exactly right: Antipsychotic drugs actually cause diabetes. They promote blood sugar disorders and weight gain, among other problems. Some psychiatric drugs have also been linked to school shootings and violent outbursts (suicides, murders, etc.). They’re also expensive and they pose an environmental hazard, since many of the chemicals used in those drugs pass right through the body and end up in waters downstream.

Fish oils have none of these negative side effects. In fact, they have positive effects throughout the body. That’s why fish oils are such a remarkable solution to replace antipsychotic drugs: They’re safer, cheaper and they work better!

You’re supposed to keep taking drugs, says Big Pharma

The drug companies, of course, are terrified that people might learn this truth. They want to keep patients on expensive, patented antipsychotic drugs while discrediting “natural remedies” like fish oils or nutritional supplements. The entire war being waged against nutrition and supplements is, of course, nothing more than the pharmaceutical industry trying to protect its own turf by destroying the competition.

Because, let’s face it: For (virtually) every popular pharmaceutical on the market, there’s a nutritional supplement that works better (and that’s also safer and more affordable). Antipsychotic drugs can be replaced with fish oils. Cholesterol drugs can be replaced with B vitamins. Anti-cancer drugs can be replaced with vitamin D and medicinal mushrooms. Diabetes drugs can be replaced with a healthy plant-based diet and targeted supplements. The list goes on and on…

Nutrition works so well that in this study, subjects experienced a protective effect from fish oils for an entire year even though they only took those fish oils for 12 weeks! Imagine how much better the outcome might have been if they continued on the fish oils for the entire year…

Get quality fish oils

Of course, when it comes to fish oils, don’t settle for just any cheap fish oil supplement. Many of the cheaper store-bought brands are largely made of olive oil filler combined with a tiny amount of fish oil extract. Search out quality supplements or oils from companies that follow pharmacutical GMPs and are certified by NSF.

Make sure your supplements are free from heavy metals, pesticides and other residues. Make sure they are harvested in a truly sustainable way, and make sure you can trust the source to provide consistent quality.

Fish oils can provide astonishing health benefits. If the medical industry were truly honest about researching what works for patients rather than what makes money for drug companies, they would have openly prescribed fish oils long ago (and abandoned many of the antipsychotic drugs they still push).

But as you already know, the pharmaceutical industry isn’t interested in what works for people unless it’s something they can sell at monopoly prices. They don’t want people to know about natural remedies, nutritional cures or healing foods. They would much rather see people stay ignorant about those things while pumping their minds full of advertisements and propaganda that ridiculously suggests the human brain is somehow deficient in Big Pharma’s patented chemicals and that the only way you’ll ever be truly healthy, happy or sane is to keep swallowing their pills for the rest of your life.

The real insanity in the world is not in the minds of mental patients; it’s in the evil plans of the FDA, the WHO and the pharmaceutical cartel — all of whom conspire to peddle dangerous medications when far safer, more natural and more effective alternatives are readily available.

Aerobic exercise no big stretch for older adults but helps elasticity of arteries

EDMONTON, Oct. 25, 2009 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) —

Just three months of physical activity reaps heart health benefits for older adults with type 2 diabetes by improving the elasticity in their arteries – reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr. Kenneth Madden told the 2009 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Dr. Madden studied adults between the ages of 65 to 83 with controlled Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol to see how increased activity might affect stiffness of the arteries.

“The theory is that aerobic activity makes your arteries less stiff and makes artery walls more elastic,” says Dr. Madden, a geriatric specialist at the University of British Columbia.

An improvement was seen in the elasticity of the arteries of the group that performed the activity compared to those who didn’t exercise. “There was an impressive drop in arterial stiffness after just three months of exercise. In that time we saw a 15 to 20 per cent reduction.”

The subjects were divided into two groups to either receive three months of vigorous physical activity (one hour, three times per week) or to get no aerobic exercise at all. Subjects were classified as sedentary at the beginning of the study but gradually increased their fitness levels until they were working at 70 per cent of their maximum heart rate, using treadmills and cycling machines. They were supervised by a certified exercise trainer.

Dr. Beth Abramson, spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, stresses the importance of lifestyle factors on heart health, especially with our aging population. “Almost everyone can benefit from active living,” she says. “The Foundation recommends that, like adults of any age, older adults – with the consent of their physicians – need 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.”

Dr. Madden says that the exercise requirements may be viewed as controversial because of the age of the participants but the exercise level was safe and well tolerated. “There seems to be a knee-jerk reluctance to getting these older adults to exercise yet we used a vigorous level of activity and didn’t have any trouble keeping participants in our study. They enjoyed the activity,” Dr. Madden says. “People always underestimate what older adults can do.”

Dr. Madden notes that realistically, seniors need someone to help them get started. “We need to learn how to do it effectively and how to do it safely,” he says. “It could mean visiting your family doctor to find out about provincially funded programs, or joining programs for seniors that are offered at many local community centres.”

Dr. Abramson recommends that seniors choose activities they enjoy, such as walking, gardening, golfing, dancing, or joining a yoga or tai chi class. If weather is a barrier, she suggests climbing stairs at home, joining a mall-walking group, or strolling the halls of their apartment building or retirement residence.

In his next project, Dr. Madden wants to find out if there is a less expensive but equally effective way to reduce the stiffness of arteries in older adults. “Our first step was to prove that it was at all possible for older adults to have reduced narrowing in their arteries due to exercise,” he says. “Now we want to find out just how rigorous the levels of activity need to be to demonstrate the same results. The next step is to try studying a home-based walking program using pedometers. This is something easy for doctors to prescribe and cheap and easy for participants.”

The HeartWalk Workout, a special activity program developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to help people with cardiovascular problems get regular, healthy physical activity is available online at heartandstroke.ca. It helps people slowly build up exercise tolerance until they can walk at least 30 minutes, five times a week.

Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Foundation or CCS policy or position. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca), a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

SOURCE: HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA