By Harold J. Kristal, D.D.S.

Few people who are not already there understand the outright discomforts of growing old. Bette Davis once quipped: "Growing old ain't for sissies"; and George Bernard Shore said "Youth is such a wonderful thing; it's too bad it's wasted on the young". Many people are old at sixty, but others are still young at eighty. Many factors come to bear on this: mental attitude; what we eat; our activity and exercise level; and genetics.

Our mental attitudes are often shaped early in life, and are greatly affected by our relationship with our parents. I was fortunate enough to be certain that both my parents loved me, and this has helped me, in turn, love others as well as myself. But death did intrude into my life at an early age. When I was five, my mother told me that Uncle Henry had died of diabetes and, a few years later, another uncle, Herman, died of cancer. Although I was sad I would never see them again, death meant little to me at this early age. It was only through watching my father die a protracted and painful death from lung cancer when I was a teenager that I came to understand the suffering that people can endure, and the profound impact that it can have on their loved ones.

My father told me during one of our many talks that he would be dying a young man because he smoked two packs of Philip Morris cigarettes a day and ate poorly, even though the risks from doing this was not well understood in the early forties. My father was treated at the Mayo Clinic, where my cousin was a young intern. He told me one day that there was no hope for my father. He was treated with radiation therapy, which sapped his energy for days afterwards. A few months later he passed away.

Since birth is the cause of death and we are all born to die, what we do in-between is very significant. While we cannot change our genetic blueprint, we can control how it gets expressed through the lifestyle choices we make. Sometimes, however, the correct choices are not always clear, and this can often to true of growing older gracefully. In 1920 the average life expectancy was 60 years; today it is 78. Clearly we are living longer, but are we living better? Most people over the age of 60 are taking from one to six pharmaceutical medications, chemicals that the body does not recognize and which the liver has to detoxify. Furthermore, many of these medications react with each other, many in ways that have never been properly studied. I am not against the judicious use of medications when necessary, but long-term use can seriously compromise the quality of one's life. This is one of the reasons why as many as one third of the population turns to nutrition or other alternative health care approaches, because alternative medicine offers hope for a higher quality of life.

If my father had had the option of visiting our clinic he would have been told of the dangers of smoking and eating too much sugar, and he would have been put on a dietary regime appropriate for his metabolism. If the people today who smoke and eat poorly had witnessed my father's long and painful struggle with his disease, it would motivate them, as it has me, to choose a healthy lifestyle. This has been a driving force in my life, not only to help myself but to help others avoid such a fate. While fewer people are smoking today, people are eating more sugar, trans fatty acids, and other processed foods than ever before. Accordingly, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, and cardiovascular disease is becoming as common in women as in men. While the pharmaceutical companies scurry about in search of the silver bullet that will cure these diseases, the real silver bullet has been under our noses all along, making intelligent lifestyle choices:

We have become a drugged society, from teenagers on Prozac, to baby boomers on statins, to elders on untested multiple drug cocktails. This is not the silver bullet for health, but all too often a nail in your own coffin. In the last two weeks I have had two of my older clients tell me that they wish God would take them, as they are merely existing rather than truly living. For many senior citizens the daily struggle to make it through the next day and night is almost unbearable: the pain, inability to sleep, bowel and urinary incontinence, lack of energy, loss of mental acuity, difficulty catching the next breath...the list goes on and on.

While it is true we are living longer, the diminishing quality of life that so often accompanies aging puts a negative spin on what should be good news. It is never too late to make positive changes in our lifestyle, diet, activity level and mental attitude, but, certainly, the sooner the better!

I have run the gamut of life, seeing my father's premature demise, and witnessing the decline in quality of life in those unwilling or unable to make the right decisions concerning lifestyle and medication use. And so, as I turn seventy-nine I reflect on my own life and health. My early experience with my father kept me away from smoking, and I have never been one to indulge in excessive sugar or processed foods. I have also generally steered clear of medications, and currently take none at all. Instead I rely on a metabolically appropriate diet and nutritional supplements. I am still able to play tennis and work out in the gym five times a week, and I work long hours at a job I love, helping other people to help themselves. I look forward to another ten to fifteen years in the health field, and I can only hope that the example I set will give many of you new motivation to do likewise.


Introducing Neptune Krill Oil

By James M. Haig, N.C.

For the last couple of decades, nutritionists and other alternative health care practitioners have been recommending the use of essential fatty acid supplements. First it was flaxseed oil, and more recently fish oil, which does not require the body to convert the shorter chain Omega-3 fatty acids into their bioactive longer-chain forms. In the last year or two, the mainstream medical world and news media has finally caught on, and now these oils are widely touted for their cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory and brain enhancing properties.

Recently a new marine oil is causing considerable excitement among those at the cutting edge of nutritional science. Neptune Krill Oil is made from tiny shrimp-like crustacea (Euphrasia superba) harvested from the oceans surrounding Antarctica, the cleanest body of water in the world. Krill are the main food of the mighty blue whale, and form the largest biomass on the planet. What makes krill oil so remarkable is that it is really three supplements in one essential fatty acids, phospholipids, and antioxidants   synergistically exceeding the combined actions of its component parts to provide potent and wide-ranging benefits to the entire body.

A Canadian company, Neptune Technologies and Bioresources, has patented a cold extraction process that fully preserves the nutritional components of krill oil, which is completely free of the mercury and other heavy metals, PCBs and dioxins that are often present in fish oils. Also, while fish oil is notoriously prone to rancidity, krill oil is incredibly stable, easily absorbed, requires a far smaller dose (with fewer and smaller capsules to swallow), and does not "repeat". It is safe at all levels tested.

So what makes krill oil unique? Like fish oil, it is an excellent source of EPA and DHA, the two most bioactive Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These oils are well known to protect against inflammation in the joints and cardiovascular system, and to enhance brain function. But unlike fish oil, the EPA and DHA in krill are bonded to phospholipids ("foss-fo-lipids"), the primary structural component of your cell membranes, the gatekeepers of the cells. Because krill's fatty acids are already integrated into the phospholipids, they are readily taken up into the cell membranes. The main phospholipid in krill is phosphatidylcholine ("foss-fat-idle-choline"), a rich source of the brain food choline, and vital to proper liver function.

The phospholipids also contribute to the remarkable stability of krill oil, an effect enhanced by krill's unusual antioxidants, most of which are in the carotene family (related to, but more powerful than beta-carotene). Foremost among these is astaxanthin ("asta-zan-thin"), which provides the primary pink color pigment found in salmon and shrimp, and which readily crosses the blood brain barrier to both protect and "turn on" the brain (for this reason, it is recommended that krill oil be taken with your morning meal). Krill also contains the very first bioflavonoid (as yet unnamed) to be found in an animal source. Together these antioxidants give krill oil an astonishingly high reading on the ORAC scale (a measure of antioxidant capacity), weighing in at 378 vs. 8 for fish oil, 11 for CoQ10, and 51 for astaxanthin alone.

As if that was not enough, krill oil has been found in a double-blind clinical trial to be the most effective nutritional supplement ever tested for PMS, positively impacting both its physical and emotional symptoms within a couple of cycles. It is also a much more effective modulator of blood lipids than fish oil, reducing LDL and total cholesterol, increasing protective HDL, and even, at higher doses, reducing triglyceride levels. Furthermore, it reduces fasting blood sugar, protects both cell membranes and LDL cholesterol from dangerous oxidation by free radicals, and appears to protect against UV radiation. For general use, take two for the first month, then reduce to one daily.