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Category Archives: Heart Health

Healthy Aging: Body, Mind, and Spirit

healthy aging

Healthy aging is something most everyone in mid-life and beyond thinks about. It is becoming a prevalent health topic these days, with advancements and treatments in anti-aging and regenerative medicine. Aging gracefully is not about trying to look like a 20-something, but it is about living your best life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy all that life has to offer. Like a bottle of fine wine, you get better with age with the right self-care.

At this point, I am assuming that you are among those of us who think that growing old is anything but graceful. Most likely, you would agree that there is nothing sexy about wrinkles, graying hair, spreading mid-sections, sagging jowls, fading vision, diminishing sex drive, and loss of memory. And maybe you are someone who has already spent more money than you would like to admit on health club memberships, diet plans, and even plastic surgery to look younger. However, you would likely be willing to spend time and effort if you could actually feel more youthful. Is there a way to stop or even reverse nature’s aging clock? Thanks to remarkably practical advances in anti-aging medicine, the answer is a resounding yes. Aging is a process, but it is not a one-size-fits-all phenomenon. Not everyone ages the same way. Our unique genetic blueprints and lifetime experiences mean that the process of aging affects each of us in different ways. Because of this, we cannot be treated in the same way. Your biochemical profile and factors that include your age, medical history, body type, gender, and lifestyle must be taken into account. It is interesting to know that we all are born with a natural repair process called anabolic drive, which continuously regenerates body tissue. Gradually over time, we lose this rejuvenating capacity and develop numerous conditions associated with aging: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. But again, thanks to several enlightened forward-thinking scientists and anti-aging physicians, we can actually regain that anabolic drive and innate healing system by replenishing depleted levels of hormones, the fluids that regulate our organs and tissues, and neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers.


What do we mean by age? Yes, we all know to age means to grow older in years. But, to a biologist, a measurement of aging based upon your birth date is not very useful. After all, we all know of people who look ten years younger (or older) than their actual chronological age would indicate. Four main physiological changes occur with aging: (1) decreased muscle mass, (2) decreased water content, (3) decreased bone mass, (4) increased fat levels. These changes over time are accompanied by a host of unwanted symptoms. Aging is a physiological process that, at times, is only remotely connected to chronological age. On a cellular level, aging occurs every moment as old cells are not replaced by new ones. Apoptosis or programmed cell death is a normal part of life. While the seeds of advanced aging can be sown or planted at any age, generally speaking, the most noticeable changes occur between 40 and 50. Most physiological functions peak in the twenties, ride a plateau in the thirties and begin to take a sharp nose dive or decline in your forties. The exact point at which the decline into advanced aging begins is different for everybody. But, without any lifestyle or behavioral changes, or any healthy aging interventions, here is what you can expect to happen to your fifty-year-old body:

  • Brain – the brain shrinks 6 percent in size, resulting in a loss of cognitive function. Learn more about brain health
  • Vision – farsightedness and color perception among aging baby boomers is much more common in this age group.
  • Skin – how fast you wrinkle depends on a host of factors including genetics, nutrition, and environment. The skin begins typically to lose elasticity by age 30 and beyond. Natural Solutions for Aging Skin
  • Hair – fifty percent of men have some balding by age 50.
  • Fat & muscle – the ratio of muscle to fat begins its decline around thirty, with fat deposits peaking around 50.
  • Bones – the progressive loss of mineral content and bone density results in brittle bones, especially after menopause in women. How to Prevent Osteoporosis with Lifestyle Management
  • Sex – women experience menopause usually around age 50 when estrogen levels drop, and ovulation ends. Men have less pronounced sex hormonal decline; however, more young men today are experiencing lower testosterone levels at an earlier age.
  • Heart – by age 50, the heart will have beat approximately 2 billion times. The heart muscle begins to enlarge to pump more blood to compensate for the stiffening or hardening of the arteries.Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart
  • Lungs – by age fifty, the lungs begin to lose some of their elasticity, and the capacity to breathe declines about 20 percent.


Our bodies are operated by a complex network of neurotransmitters and hormones. The way they communicate and interrelate with each other determines the metabolic function for energy and movement and how we feel daily, both physically and mentally. At the same time, these neurotransmitters and hormones keep the body in homeostasis or balance. Your lifestyle and behaviors are unique to you. How you live, and the choices you make daily in terms of diet, exercise, nutrition, and relationships are cumulative and determine your overall sense of well-being and how you age. This further points to the importance of having the right balance between the physical body, the mind, and the spiritual component for improving your odds of healthy aging while minimizing your risk of chronic diseases. To appreciate the benefits of anti-aging intervention, you need to be an active participant, take responsibility for your healthcare, and work with your anti-aging provider to optimize your health. This means taking a few specific nutritional supplements, checking your hormone levels several times per year, eating a well-balanced diet (sometimes calorie-restricted), exercising, getting quality sleep, intaking adequate water, exercising your mind, meditating or praying (or both), and maintaining positive relationships (both personally and professionally). Working with a physician trained through the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine is usually your best option. It is not uncommon for your primary care physician or internist to not be trained in the specialty of anti-aging medicine.

We are the first generation in history to have a say in our biological destiny or journey. To take full advantage of the wonders that await us in the next few years, we must bridge the gap with the treatments and self-care modalities available now that dramatically enhance the quality of our lives. Aging gracefully and healthy aging is possible, but you must take action today!

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Nutrition for Heart Disease

heart disease

Heart disease, while still the number one cause of mortality in the developed world, can be prevented and even reversed with the appropriate targeted lifestyle and nutritional interventions according to a growing body of scientific research. Considering heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, anything that can prevent or reduce cardiac mortality, or slow or even reverse the disease process, should be of great interest.

Unfortunately, there are still to this day, millions of people who are totally unaware of the extensive body of science-based literature that exists supporting the use of natural therapies, natural compounds, and natural supplements for preventing and even sometimes reversing heart disease. Throw in some behavioral and lifestyle changes, and you have a formula for success.

Three Natural Substances That Reduce The Risk of Heart-Related Death

  • Omega 3 Fish OilsThere is a robust body of research indicating that the risk of sudden cardiac death is reduced when consuming higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 documented that omega 3 fish oils are strongly associated with a reduced risk of sudden death among men without evidence of prior cardiovascular disease. Another study in the journal Circulation found that omega 3 fatty acids reduced total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.
  • Vitamin D3Levels of this prohormone, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” have been found to also have a direct correlation to cardiovascular disease. It has been proposed that doubling vitamin D3 levels could significantly reduce mortality. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology in 2009 confirmed that lower levels of vitamin D were correlated with a higher risk of heart disease. This finding was again confirmed in 2010 in the American Journal of Nutrition.
  • MagnesiumWhile there are multiple forms of magnesium that you can take to improve cardiovascular status, most studies involve the use of magnesium glycinate or magnesium chelate. It is well-known that the aging of the heart muscle itself can be linked to lower levels of serum magnesium. Magnesium can support healthy blood pressure, improve arrhythmias, and can be associated with cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. The bottom line is that magnesium supplements should be part of everyone’s therapeutic regimen, especially when it comes to protecting the heart.

Can Natural Compounds Unclog Arteries To The Heart?

A review of evidence-based scientific literature has indicated that several natural compounds have tremendous therapeutic value when it comes to keeping your arteries open and blood flowing. Here is the shortlist for starters:

  • Pomegranate – This remarkable fruit has been found in human clinical studies to actually reverse carotid artery thickness by up to nearly 30% within 1 year of regular usage. Several physiological mechanisms may explain how this is possible. First of all, pomegranate may reduce blood pressure, fight infection (plaque in arteries often contain bacteria and viruses), prevent cholesterol oxidation in the arteries, and reducing inflammation.
  • L-ArginineThis amino acid not only prevents the progression of atherosclerosis but also reverses pathologies associated with the process. One of the key mechanisms is increased nitric oxide, which is normally depressed in blood vessels where the endothelium (inner lining of the artery) has been damaged. L- arginine is also known to help lower blood pressure, which can also have a direct effect on future cardiovascular disease.
  • Garlic – This amazing herbal supplement can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It has been shown to decrease the thickening and hardening of the arteries, inhibit arteriosclerotic plaque, and block coronary artery calcification. It is also known to help lower blood pressure.
  • B-Complex This B vitamin has been shown in clinical studies to reduce the progression of plaque buildup in the arteries, including the carotid arteries. B vitamins are noted to reduce the production of homocysteine, which is an amino acid marker of cardiac inflammation. It is well-known amongst practitioners of functional medicine that the combination of Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and folic acid can decrease levels of homocysteine, subsequently lowering your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Lifestyle Factors For Heart Disease

Your lifestyle matters, especially when it comes to serious chronic conditions like arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. A lifestyle that consistently lacks exercise (sedentary) and a diet high in processed foods, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol have been linked to heart disease and related conditions. Add in chronic stress, and you have the perfect recipe for a heart attack or stroke.

The following are the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease:

  • Age – getting older increases the risk of damaged and narrowed arteries
  • Sex- men are generally at greater risk
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

Dietary Options For Heart Disease Prevention

Let’s face it, very few people eat what is considered to be a heart-healthy diet. The CDC has documented that more than 90 percent of the adult population is nutritionally deficient. In other words, people are not consuming anywhere near the daily recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables (5 servings).

Dr. Dean Ornish M.D., the New York Times best-selling author of Reversing Heart Disease, says “ you will fill your plate with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, soy products, non-fat dairy, and egg whites while avoiding fats, refined sugar, and processed carbs.” The bottom line is that you want to eat foods in their natural form as much as possible and have a variety of colors on your plate each meal.

Researchers have been studying the benefits of plant-based diets since the 1980s. A plant-based diet is the only diet proven to prevent and reverse heart disease. No other diet can make that claim. In fact, research presented during the American Heart Association scientific sessions in 2017 showed that plant-based diets decreased the risk of heart failure by 42 percent among people with no history of heart disease. There are several documentaries that you can watch to get more information, including the “Forks Over Knives” website. If you are unable to commit to a totally plant-based diet, the Mediterranean diet has proven to be the leading diet for overall general wellness for the past 50 years.

For Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart click here.

Do You Know Your Omega 3 and Vitamin D Levels?

omega 3

Since February is American Heart Month, creating awareness of the real risk of heart disease is timely. When people think about cardiovascular or heart health in general, they typically are not focused on what their blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids or Vitamin  D3 are as part of the big picture.

Omega 3 fish oils in therapeutic dosages, with the proper ratios of EPA to DHA, have proven in clinical studies and patient outcomes, to demonstrate tremendous health benefits for the heart, cardiovascular system, and brain. Research shows that Omega 3s and Vitamin D offer protection against cardiovascular disease of all types.

Several studies have shown a close link between high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil and protection from various aspects of coronary heart disease. One such study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that the greatest protection from sudden death by cardiovascular causes was seen in individuals with an Omega 3 index greater than or equal to 8%. Another study published in Atherosclerosis found that an Omega 3 index of 8% or higher reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease by 30%.

A similar link between Vitamin D3 levels and cardiovascular disease has been demonstrated in medical research. Several studies have shown that lower Vitamin D levels are associated with high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, atherosclerotic plaque in blood vessels, arterial stiffness, and higher rates of cardiovascular events.

Experts suggest maintaining blood levels between 50ng/dl and 80 ng/dl for Vitamin D and an Omega -3-index of 8% to 12%. Be sure to take a third party validated, pharmaceutical-grade quality Omega 3 and Vitamin D3 supplement daily, and tell your doctor you are taking it, to ensure they avoid any prescription medications for your heart health that might interfere.

The lifeblood of heart health is really not the pump itself, but, the vascular system composed of approximately 60,000 miles of blood vessels including the capillaries, arteries, and veins that distribute blood to nourish every cell in the body that really matters. Keeping these hard-working vessels supple and open is the key not only to avoiding disease, but also to ensure vitality and longevity.

The alternative, arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries can slowly and sometimes silently bring on cardiovascular (CVD) which can result in a heart attack, stroke, vision loss or cognitive mental decline. CVD is the leading cause of death in America, killing one in four people.

According to the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nearly 45% of the U.S. population will be predicted to have some form of heart disease by 2035. Only 15% of CVD is related to genetics: the rest is attributed to lifestyle, and the right choices can make all the difference. The key is to adopt heart-healthy habits before the body delivers a potentially fatal warning. The initial presentation of heart disease can be an acute event or sudden death in half of men and two-thirds of women. That is not treatable.

The first step toward cardiovascular health is awareness. Here are some of the most important indicators of CVD risk: high blood pressure ( over 140/90), high cholesterol (over 240 mg/dl), elevated triglycerides (over 200 mg/dl), high blood glucose (over 140 mg/dl), obesity (BMI over 30), Inflammation (hsCRP test above 2 ml/dl), physical inactivity (less than 30 minutes daily), smoking, and chronic stress lead the way.

Any of these factors can increase the risk of heart disease, but when you have a cluster of 4 or 5 of these, it can lead to a condition called metabolic syndrome, which significantly increases your potential for heart disease and type II diabetes. Metabolic syndrome, like CVD, is now very common, and according to the CDC affects about one-third of adults. The one most distinct marker for metabolic syndrome is an accumulation of fat around the waistline characterized by a measurement of over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

Newer preventive tests are now being recommended by cardiologists and primary care physicians, including computerized tomography (CT) scan to determine your calcium score. This procedure checks for the hardening of the arteries and predicts the risk of a 10-year future cardiovascular event. This identifies people who have preclinical atherosclerosis, regardless of risk factors, and convinces people to begin a heart-healthy lifestyle by modifying their behaviors. These guidelines are issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association ( AHA) jointly, targeting patients over age 50 years.

When examining lifestyle factors and reducing the risk of CVD, the most important change that people can make is diet. But, many times, unfortunately, people are not willing to make the necessary healthy food choices that can improve overall health, and specifically heart health. This typically means avoiding processed foods and consuming less salt, trans fats, saturated fat, and cholesterol, while adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, wild-caught fish, nuts, and seeds. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all diet, but, the Mediterranean diet continues to be considered as maybe the best diet for most. It has withstood the tincture of time and continues to show many health benefits including for the heart.

Here is a list of some other cardiovascular boosting foods to consider adding to your daily diet:

  • Leafy greens flush out excess sodium and can reduce inflammation.
  • Berries improve circulation by boosting nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow.
  • Pomegranate lowers blood pressure and reduces plaque formation.
  • Walnuts and almonds lower LDL, the bad cholesterol.
  • Wild-caught fish including salmon, anchovies, albacore tuna, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and omega 3 oils lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Pharmaceutical-grade nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals, and herbal medicines can also be an important part of a healthy heart program. Such supplements including gugulipid, red yeast rice, CoQ10, Omega 3 fish oils, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folic acid, garlic, nattokinase, and others are critical if one is serious about being proactive and making the necessary diet and lifestyle changes that will reduce their relative risk of developing heart disease or suffering from some type of CVD in the future.

In summary, there are known risk factors that increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke, which can be managed through personal discipline, by making the necessary lifestyle and behavioral changes as part of your daily routine.

Here are the top 10 personal risk factors which may be modified in most cases:

  1. high blood pressure
  2. high cholesterol
  3. elevated triglycerides
  4. metabolic syndrome
  5. obesity
  6. high stress
  7. poor diet
  8. chronic inflammation
  9. physical inactivity
  10. smoking

It is important to know your numbers and keep working towards a healthier lifestyle especially if you have a strong family history or other known risk factors. Just remember, that heart disease is modifiable, and in many cases can be reversed or modified with diet and exercise.

If you have any questions, feel free to call 239-481-7322 to speak with one of our healthcare professionals, to learn how we can help you improve your heart health today. You may also go to cypresspharmacy.com for more information.

Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart


Maybe it’s because we want a magic pill, or we expect the recommendations for lifestyle changes to be different, but many of us are not very kind to our hearts.

Even as the word has gotten out in the past few decades about lifestyle changes anyone can make to have a healthier heart, heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

Nearly half of all premature deaths may be due to lifestyle choices, such as insufficient exercise, poor diet, and smoking. These risk factors increase the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

Putting aside risk factors for heart disease beyond our control such as age and family history, most of us can improve our heart health. And good lifestyle choices can help minimize hereditary and other risk factors. And there’s a bonus! When you make choices for heart health, your overall health benefits, too.

In a study analyzing over 55,000 people, favorable lifestyle habits such as not smoking, having a healthy weight, being active and eating a healthy diet lowered heart disease risk by nearly 50%.

Here are some lifestyle habits your heart (and body) will love.

  1. Stop smoking. Even if you have no other risk factors, smoking raises your risk of developing heart disease by two to four times, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Products such as gum and patches are available to help stop smoking.
  2. Eat healthier. Americans get more than half of their daily calories from ultra-processed food, increasing the risk of heart disease. Food consumption can impact other risk factors, including cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and weight. Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods.
  3. Control cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol and not enough good can result in plaque building up and blocking the arteries. While genetics play a role, extra weight, physical inactivity, type 2 diabetes, and excessive alcohol intake contribute to high cholesterol. High cholesterol often doesn’t have symptoms until a problem arises, so it’s important to have a blood test to reveal your levels. Medication can reduce cholesterol if diet and exercise do not.
  4. Get active. Research shows that 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity physical activity can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and keep weight at a healthy level. A Harvard study found that watching TV for two hours a day increased the risk of developing heart disease by 15 percent! The good news? Being even a little more active is better than nothing. Taking at least 4,400 steps a day lowers your risk of death more than taking only 2,700 steps per day.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity puts you at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance, a precursor of type 2 diabetes, all factors that heighten your risk of heart disease. Good nutrition, controlling calorie intake and physical activity are the best way to maintain a healthy weight and have heart benefits of their own.
  6. Manage diabetes. More than 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke. If you have prediabetes, losing at least 7% of body weight and exercising 2.5 hours per week can reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes.
  7. Take targeted supplements. Professional-grade nutritional supplements, herbs, vitamins, and minerals can support heart function. It’s important to consult your doctor or pharmacist about the benefits and possible risks of supplements. Because supplements are not regulated like medications, it’s important to purchase your supplements from a trusted source.

Sounds easy, right? Improving your health is not a one size fits all approach. It can be hard to make dietary and lifestyle changes, and it is easy to fall back into old habits. Ongoing support can help you commit to improved health, and Cypress Wellness is here to help you along this journey.

Information on “Seven Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Heart Naturally,” is the topic of Seminar Saturday, Feb. 8. The free public seminar will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. at Cypress Pharmacy, 9451 Cypress Lake Drive in Fort Myers. To RSVP, visit https://cypresspharmacy.com/events.

Did You Know Diabetes is Linked to Cardiovascular Disease?


Adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes. This is because over time increased blood sugar from diabetes can damage endothelial blood vessels and the nerves that help control heart function.

High blood sugar and cardiovascular disease are interconnected. Nearly, 30 million people have diabetes in the USA, and a vast majority of our population unknowingly has what’s known as prediabetes, which quickly escalates into the disease within a short amount of time due to various risk factors.

Heart disease and the issue of high blood glucose are very closely associated because of many risk factors contributing to what’s known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which the high insulin levels are resistant, causing a situation called insulin resistance plus additional imbalances leading to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and increased visceral fat which increase the risk for heart disease and can stress the kidneys.

Insulin is a hormone produced from the beta cells in the pancreas, which helps to move sugar into the blood for energy. In the case of insulin- resistance, the person has too much sugar, and the body cannot adequately utilize the source. This generally leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, weight gain, and obesity many times manifesting into other symptoms or conditions.

In recent years, metabolic syndrome has become a very common diagnosis in the offices of primary care physicians and cardiologist alike. When the vessels are circulating high glucose levels in the blood, atherosclerosis can occur leading to hardening of the arteries.

Unfortunately, sugar has become a significant staple in the standard American diet ( SAD Diet). In fact, the average American eats approximately 150 pounds of sugar on an annual basis. Normal fasting blood sugar should be around 70-99mg/dl. The normal A1C, which measures the blood glucose level, should be below 5.7%.

Diabetes type ll complications include: heart disease, kidney disease, vascular disease, neuropathy, skin conditions, stroke, vision loss, blindness, amputations, non-healing ulcers, alzheimer’s and dementias have occurred as well.

There is also growing number of individuals both young and old that are developing “prediabetes”. If this condition is left untreated their risk of heart disease, cognitive decline, strokes, and other adverse conditions are extremely high due to impending diabetes.

Being proactive about your health is critical. The earlier the diagnosis is made, the better the outcome and prospect for reversal of this common disorder.

By making the essential lifestyle and behavioral changes now, like being more active ( moderate exercise doing something you enjoy to get your heart rate up), making healthier food choices and eliminating sugar, and reducing stress can go a long ways towards keeping you healthy and minimizing your risk of both prediabetes and diabetes.

Since November is National Diabetes Month, implement some of these simple preventive strategies today. Your body and mind will thank you later.!

For questions or comments, call 239-481-7322 or visit http://www.cypresspharmacy.com. We can help you on your journey to better health.

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