How your attitude influences your health


When Frank Sinatra sang, “Don’t you know that it’s worth/Every treasure on earth to be young at heart?” he was declaring how beneficial it is to be able to ignore your chronological age and feel younger than you are. German researchers agree. Their study, in Psychology and Aging, looked at more than 5,000 folks ages 40 and older and found that those who felt younger than their years had better cognitive functioning, less inflammation and joint pain and even lived longer than older-feeling peers.

The RealAge program has been telling you how to live younger longer for years. (No highly-processed foods, red meats or added sugars; lots of vegetables, fruits, physical activity and restorative sleep.) This study confirms that once you’ve got the sassy attitude that comes with rolling back your chronologic clock, your newfound youthfulness creates a stress buffer, protecting you from stress-related conditions.

So don’t look in the mirror; look in your heart. Find the joy that comes from taking good care of yourself. Start walking (working toward 10,000 steps daily), get your diet in shape with five to nine servings a day of fresh fruit and vegetables, do strength training regularly, volunteer to help others, sleep soundly and laugh often. No matter how old you are today, you can be younger tomorrow. Sixty really is the new 40. Soon, thanks to research on aging, 90 may be the new 40 and you actually may be able to reverse aging. Dr. Mike is writing about this in his upcoming book, “The Great Age Reboot.”

Who might need B12 supplements?

To B12 or not to B12 -- that’s a question a lot of folks are asking. The answer? It depends. If you have a healthy blood level of B12, taking a supplement won’t boost your energy, improve your mood or sharpen your concentration. However, if you’re deficient -- and it’s estimated that up to 15% of adults in the U.S. are -- you can get those benefits from increasing your intake of certain foods and perhaps taking supplements or getting injections. So who’s likely to B lacking?

-- Vegans and vegetarians may be, because most B12 you can get comes from animal products. That’s one reason it’s important to eat grains that are B12 fortified.

-- People over 50, because reduced levels of stomach acid hinder absorption. Folks taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for gastroesophageal reflux disease and acid reflux, the diabetes medicine metformin and aspirin can also have lower levels.

-- Celiac, Crohn’s and other gastrointestinal disorders may cause reduced levels of B12, as can drinking alcohol regularly.

-- Weight-loss surgery also interferes with absorption.

You can check your level with a blood test. Most laboratories define subnormal serum or plasma values as lower than 200 or 250 pg/mL. A serious vitamin B12 deficiency can be corrected with weekly shots of vitamin B12 or daily high-dose B12 supplements. A mild B12 deficiency can be corrected with a standard multivitamin and by eating fish, skinless poultry and fortified grains, cereals and nutritional yeast. Three ounces of cooked Atlantic salmon delivers 2.6 micrograms; 3 ounces of broiled bluefin tuna provides 9.3 micrograms.