By: Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper
Becoming healthier as you grow older does not have to be a far-fetched goal. Our bodies are built to last, as long as we take care of them properly. At 84 years of age, I continue to exercise, maintain my weight, take supplements and more in order to maintain the healthy and active life I want to continue living.
Taking the proper supplementation keeps your body full of the nutrients it needs, especially if those nutrients are unattainable from your diet. Recent studies show that taking 3 grams of EPA/DHA found in Omega-3 is associated with the reduction of muscle deterioration throughout the aging process. People normally begin losing muscle around age 50, but those taking the aforementioned levels of Omega-3 actually maintain their strength as they grow older. The supplement is also known to reduce the pain and symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Healthy aging might seem like a difficult task, but if you take preventive measures early on, many unfortunate health circumstances can be avoided. As you begin to age and think about your desired quality of life as you get older, imagine how you would like to live. Would you prefer to reach your peak of fitness at an early age and feel your health steadily decline due to unhealthy habits? Or would you prefer to remain active throughout middle age and beyond, with no decline in health and a quick demise? I call this “squaring off the curve,” and it is the lifestyle model that I recommend to all of my patients, and that I fully embrace myself.
As I like to say, “you don’t stop exercising when you grow old; you grow old when you stop exercising.” To benefit the most from exercise as you age, I recommend the following balance between aerobic and strength training:
- If you’re 40 years old or younger, devote 80 percent of your workout time to aerobic training and 20 percent to strength training.
- If you’re 41 to 50 years old, shift to 70 percent aerobic and 30 percent strength work.
- If you’re 51 to 60, do 60 percent aerobic exercise and 40 percent strength training.
- After you pass 60, divide your workout time more evenly between the two strategies – while still giving an edge to aerobic exercise, which provides the most health benefits: 55 percent aerobic work and 45 percent strength work.
New studies also reveal a direct correlation between exercise and dementia and Alzheimer’s – proving that exercise of the mind can be just as important as physical exercise when it comes to healthy aging. These studies show that levels of the protein TAU, which causes Alzheimer’s, actually lower following periods of consistent physical activity; even people who already have the disease show improved symptoms following intervals of exercise.
In addition to physical activity, one should follow my eight steps to Get Cooperized in order to thrive throughout the aging process. I also recommend the following steps to exercise your mind in order to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia:
- Exercise your mind daily
- Get adequate sleep
- Take Omega-3
- Take Vitamin D3
- Take Vitamin B12
Physical activity has also been shown to reduce neurological psychiatric symptoms such as depression, and those over the age of 70 actually show the most improvement under these circumstances.
Remember – age is just a number. Making the choice to stay healthy and active, no matter your age, can make a great difference in how much of your life you actually get to live, especially as you grow older. You can choose to age fast or age slow…it’s up to you.
This Fall Cooper Complete® Nutritional Supplements has given our Vitamin D consumers an extra dose of attention. Cooper Complete Vitamin D-3, our vitamin supplement, has changed forms from an orange colored tablet to a softgel. If you’ve been taking Vitamin D-3 in tablet form, the item number (and SKU) remain the same.
Why the change? The softgel allows us to provide the same 1,000 IU Vitamin D-3 in a form that has fewer “other ingredients” which provides a more pure supplement.
We’ve also added a new product, Cooper Complete Vitamin D-3 Drops. Why another Vitamin D from Cooper Complete? The team of physicians at Cooper Clinic made this recommendation. If you’ve been to Cooper Clinic any time since 2008, you know that vitamin D testing is part of the laboratory analysis. Because food forms of vitamin D are pretty limited and prescribing prolonged sun exposure can be problematic for most folks, individuals with vitamin D levels that are less than optimal (anything less than 30 ng/mL) get supplements.
Unlike a prescription Z-Pak (Zithromax) where one-size-fits-all, this is not the case for Vitamin D—the amount I need compared to what you need may be wildly different. For some, the 2,000 IU Vitamin D that’s in each of the Cooper Complete Multivitamin is plenty, for others, an extra 1,000 IU Vitamin D does the trick. And then there are the rest of us—who may need an additional, 2,000-5,000 or more per day! So, enter Vitamin D-3 Drops, a multi-size solution.
The Vitamin D-3 Drops bottle looks like an over-sized bottle of dry eye moisturizer. Unlike dye eye “tears” that are very runny, the D-3 Drops are a thick emulsion and it requires a bit of pressure and squeeze of the bottle to get a single drop dispensed. Each drop is 1,000 IU of Vitamin D-3, so depending upon how much vitamin D-3 your doctor has prescribed; you simply squeeze out the required number of drops. The bottle contains a whopping 750 droplets.
Vitamin D-3 Drops are perfect for:
- Those who dislike or have difficulty swallowing pills
- Those who need significant levels of vitamin D
This product is not ideal for:
- Those who have manual dexterity or weak motor skills
- Those who like to have their prescriptions and supplements organized in pill containers (as there is nowhere to put the bottle)
The official dosing instructions for Cooper Complete Vitamin D-3 Drops are to squeeze as many drops as needed directly onto the tongue. The drops are not completely flavorless, but the flavor is honestly not off-putting. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, for optimal absorption, you should take this (and all multivitamin and mineral supplements) with a meal that contains some fat. If squeezing drops onto the tongue is difficult or off-putting, we offer these alternatives:
- Dispense on top of a cracker or Saltine.
- Dispense on top of a spoonful of yogurt, applesauce, or other cool or room temperature food
- Do not add to water—vitamin D is fat-soluble and will sink to the bottom of the cup where it will stay.
- Do not add to coffee or other hot beverages—vitamin D will dissolve and will also be lost in the process.
The shelf life of Vitamin D-3 Drops is one year and our existing supply is good through July, 2015.
Whether you choose to take Vitamin D-3 Softgels or Vitamin D-3 Drops, both forms are equally absorbed in the body. Visit coopercomplete.com to purchase or call 888.393.2221 today.
By: Karen Perkins, Account Executive, Cooper Concepts Inc.
As your child prepares to leave the nest and head off to college, there is no doubt that they are preparing for a season in their life unlike any other. The flexible schedule, opportunities to learn and try new things, thriving campus life, and close proximity to peers creates the perfect platform on which countless memories will be made. With so many exciting elements of this transition on you and your student’s mind, we want to remind you to help set your child up for a healthy semester.
It can be hard for college students to stay healthy. Crowded dorms and classrooms, along with reduced sleep and added stress often leave their immune systems trying to play catch-up. Dr. Cooper recommends eight healthy steps that make up a well-rounded, healthy life. One of the healthy steps to Get Cooperized is taking vitamins and supplements. So while your child may have outgrown taking a chewable Flintstone vitamin with their Fruit Loops® in the morning, it might not be a bad idea to continue to ask, “Have you taken your vitamins today?”
Cooper Complete® Health Body Pack
We recommend the Cooper Complete® Health Body Pack. Each canister contains 30 individually wrapped cellophane packets with a Basic One Iron-Free one-tablet-per-day multivitamin and the daily recommended amount of omega-3. Having the supplements individually packaged makes them perfect for the on-the-go lifestyle of your student. It’s easy to grab a packet and put it in a backpack, purse, or pocket to take with a meal. Plus the packets remove guesswork and thinking—simply take one packet-full per day with any meal. That’s easy to remember.
Why Basic One Iron-Free?
Most nutrition experts agree that a balanced, nutritious diet is the best way to obtain needed nutrients. The recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day is five servings (nine is even better!), yet the average teenager only eats 1.6 servings! A recent report from the University College London stated that eating seven or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42 percent compared to eating less than one portion. Supplements are not intended to replace a healthy diet and lifestyle, but taking a multivitamin can provide a convenient way to “bridge the nutritional gap” and address micronutrient inadequacies that may well occur when your child is suddenly away from home. Also, while girls tend to stop growing sooner, it is possible that your son’s body is still growing and developing. This makes it even more important for them to obtain the proper nutrients. Here are a few of the vitamins included in Basic One Iron-Free.
Vitamin A promotes normal bone growth and tooth development, healthy skin and assists in night and color vision.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, strengthens connective tissue, muscles and skin and increases resistance to infection.
Vitamin D promotes tooth and bone formation and aids in the absorption of minerals like calcium. While you can get vitamin D naturally from sunlight, a study by Weill Cornell Medical Center found one in seven adolescents were vitamin D deficient. Cooper Clinic suggests at least 2000 IU per day which is the amount in our daily multivitamin.
Why Advanced Omega-3?
Omega-3 has shown to help with brain health (reduce depression) and heart health. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty-fish such as salmon at least two times per week. One study found that fish oil (in foods or supplements) cut the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent. Buying fish can be expensive and is generally not conducive to the typical college lifestyle so taking an omega supplement is highly recommended.
When you’re preparing the next care package for your college student, sneak in a Cooper Complete Healthy Body Pack to keep them on track. For more information about Cooper Complete products, click here.
Have you been spending a lot of ‘screen time’ with a new gadget from Christmas? The average American adult spends an average of 9.5 hours every day in front of a screen. Do you think that sounds too high? It adds up. Between a computer screen at work, watching the news at home, playing Candy Crush on an iPhone, browsing Pinterest on your iPad. Cooper Clinic Dietitian Meridan Zerner explained recently on Fox 4 Good Day that all of those devices (and anything with a screen) emit a blue light which is problematic for the retina. Yes, we can be more aware about our ‘screen time’, but what else can we do? Meridan gave suggestions for diet, supplementation and even eye exercises. Check it out below.
Try a “see-food” diet. Ha! Really, though—eat salmon, sardines or tuna two to three times a week to receive omega-3—this acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Meridan said to literally eat your garnish. Kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and baby spinach should be in your daily diet. These veggies are not only for good health, but also for your eye health. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are actually in your eyes. When I think of eating healthy for my eyes, I think of carrots. But I learned lutein and zeaxanthin have been proven to be much more effective than beta-carotene, which is found in carrots and other orange vegetables.
Do you really need supplements? Meridan said this is when to take a reality check. Are you going to eat perfectly every day? Are you really going to have fish two to three times a week and five to nine servings of vegetables a day? New Year’s is a great time to make healthy changes, but if the answer is no, then that’s where supplements come into play. Cooper Complete®’s newest product, MVP (Maximum Vision Performance), is a great supplement to support eye health. It includes vitamin D, omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin. Learn more about it here.
Yes, these really help. Meridan said eye works are beneficial, especially for those of us who have a lot of screen time!
- Do an exaggerated eye roll and blink definitively. Do it in the other direct and repeat for five reps. This exercise will stretch your eye muscles.
- She also suggested using the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes look away from your screen, look 20 feet away and focus for 20 seconds.
Also evaluate the distance you sit from a computer screen. Studies show that you should be at least an arm’s length away from a computer screen. Take frequent breaks for your mind, body and eyes.
For more information about Cooper Complete nutritional supplements, visit coopercomplete.com.
In a new editorial in Annals of Internal Medicine (Dec. 16, 2013), physicians warn that “most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified and they should be avoided.”
We spoke to our own Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, on this topic and here are his thoughts:
I’m a strong believer in objective scientific research. In 1984 it was said that exercise did nothing but make you feel good. In the 1970s I began my work to prove that exercise is medicine. Today with our over 600 research articles published on the subject [at The Cooper Institute] we can say for certain that exercise is medicine and has health benefits. On exercise we have bridged the gap between faddism and scientific legitimacy.
I feel that we are in the same place today on the subject of vitamin supplementation as we were 25 to 30 years ago on exercise. It’s my opinion that we should try to prove or disprove the use of vitamin supplementation with objective research.
Recent studies, including those in the Annals of Internal Medicine article are not objective science. The reason is that in nearly all these studies researchers do not measure the blood level of vitamins to determine whether a person needs a vitamin or not. Researchers arbitrarily put study participants on a supplement and compare them to those on a placebo.
In our studies on vitamins B12, D and omega-3 (conducted over the last eight years) we have looked at blood levels and show that they vary tremendously. Some people taking no supplements have a very high level of certain vitamins and some people taking supplements have a very low blood level of vitamins. At Cooper Clinic we treat vitamins like any drug we prescribe. We measure the blood level and recommend vitamin dosages to get blood levels up to satisfactory levels. In my opinion that’s how a vitamin has to be prescribed. In addition, we are studying the long-term benefits of these vitamins in our practice of preventive medicine.
The benefits of vitamins are well documented in scientific literature. For example:
- Vitamin D supplementation reduces fractures from falls in the elderly (as shown in most studies).
- Vitamin D deficiencies can be a factor in osteopenia and osteoporosis and supplementation can be used to treat it.
- Vitamin D deficiency may be related to Multiple Sclerosis and in some clinics, high doses of vitamin D are being used to treat it.
- Vitamin B6 in some cases has been effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Omega-3 supplementation has been approved by the FDA to lower blood triglyceride levels.
- Niacin (vitamin B3) is used to lower total cholesterol and to increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Folic acid deficiencies in women have been known to result in spinal bifida and neural tube defects in the newborn.
- Vitamin B12 is used as a treatment to correct pernicious anemia and is a factor in cognitive dysfunction in the elderly.
- Folic acid, B6 and B12 have been shown to lower Homocysteine levels, hopefully a beneficial effect on reducing the frequency of heart attacks and stroke.
- Niacin (vitamin B3) has been used to reduce the frequency of some cancers.
I believe that in order to practice responsible medicine we cannot make a broad based statement about vitamins. If every American ate between five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables a day we would not need additional vitamin supplementation. However, because the average American adult eats 3.1 servings of fruits and vegetables and the average teenager gets 1.6 servings, levels of vitamins in the blood can be low and supplementation becomes necessary.
While we can never replace a good diet, I continue to recommend vitamins as insurance for people who don’t follow the recommended daily serving of fruit and vegetables.
To learn more about Dr. Cooper’s work in preventive medicine as the ‘father of aerobics’, click here.
News reports have picked up the story about a recent meta-analysis on vitamin D, and headlines have read: “Vitamin D doesn’t aid the prevention of Osteoporosis.” A meta-analysis (Effects of vitamin D supplements on bone mineral density: a systematic review and meta-analysis) conducted by researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and published in The Lancet earlier this month looked at 23 vitamin D studies. The studies totaled 4,082 generally healthy people (92 percent female) with an average age of 59 years. Bone mineral/density was studied at one to five sites in each study, with the sites being lumbar spine, femoral neck, total hip, femur, total body or forearm. Participants took 500-800 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D per day. Results of the meta-analysis showed a small benefit at the femoral neck in bone density, but no other areas. The lead author of the study, Dr. Ian R. Reid, said “for healthy people focused on osteoporosis prevention, vitamin D does not make a positive contribution.”
While this meta-analysis didn’t find vitamin D to be helpful in managing osteoporosis, the study doesn’t review vitamin D levels and the potential for falls. In May, 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended exercise or physical therapy and vitamin D supplementation to prevent falls in community dwelling adults 65 years or older who are at increased risk for falls.
Falls are the leading cause of injury in community dwelling adults 65 years or older, and 30-40 percent of adults 65 years or older fall at least once per year! Fractured bones are the result of approximately 5 percent of these falls, and two meta-analyses have found that vitamin D prevents fractures. Low vitamin D levels increases fracture risk. It has been estimated that as many as half of the older adults with hip fractures could have vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL. (Optimal vitamin D is 30-100 ng/mL; suboptimal is 20-29 ng/mL and lower than 20 ng/mL is insufficient. Dr. Cooper likes to see levels 40-60 ng/mL in patients.)
Adult Cooper Complete multivitamins contain 2,000 IU vitamin D, and a standalone 1,000 IU Vitamin D tablet for individuals who need higher supplementation to get to an appropriate level.
Since falling is such a risk for older adults, it makes sense to stay aware of vitamin D levels through an annual blood test and to supplement as appropriate to get levels where they need to be. In addition, as Dr. Cooper has long advocated, it makes sense to commit, at every stage of life, to move and exercise like your life depends on it.
The topic of omega-3s and prostate cancer risk has been in the news lately. The stories are based on a new study in the Journal National Cancer Institute that found that higher Omega-3 fatty acid levels were associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. After reviewing the research with well-known Omega-3 expert Bill Harris, PhD, we continue to advocate the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids either through food or supplements. Here’s our take on the study:
- Omega-3 fish oil is clinically proven to improve heart health and support brain function.
- The investigators did not test whether giving fish oil supplements (or eating more fish) increased prostate cancer risk; it looked only at blood levels of Omega-3 which can be influenced by intake, other dietary factors, metabolism and genetics.
- The findings of this study do not mean that Omega-3’s themselves play any role in the development of prostate cancer. For example, it is possible that some component of the fish these patients was consuming was carcinogenic, in which case the Omega-3 levels were just a marker of specific fish intake.
- It’s important to put these findings into perspective. Consider that based on the National Vital Statistics Report for deaths in the US in 2010, there we about 28,500 deaths from prostate cancer and 207,500 deaths from heart disease, a 7.3 times rate of death for heart disease.
- Another piece of the picture is to compare prostate cancer rates in Japan vs. the US. According to the World Foundation of Urology, prostate cancer incidence in North America and Northern Europe is 63 per 100,000 white men and 102 per 100,000 African-American men. In Japan the rate is 10 per 100,000 men. Since the Japanese typically eat about eight times more Omega-3 fatty acids than Americans do and their blood levels are twice as high, you’d think their prostate cancer risk would be much higher, but the opposite is the case.
In conclusion, the benefit of fish oils strongly outweigh the possible risks and we would not encourage men to change their diet as a result of this study, but to speak to their doctor if they have any concerns about prostate cancer.