Archive | November, 2012

Berkeley Researcher Discovers the Fountain of Youth

What would you do if you saw this headline in the newspaper or on the cover of a magazine?

You would probably do exactly what I did when I saw this on the cover of a Readers Digest magazine in 1998. I read the article. And then I went  to my local GNC store and bought the “fountain of youth”. I’ve been getting younger ever since.

What is the “fountain of youth”  that was revealed at length in the 1998 Readers Digest article?

It’s two powerful anti-oxidants that can be purchased and taken as a dietary supplement. At this point, you may say to yourself, big deal. You were expecting more. But before you discount this discovery, let me explain the ageing process to you and how you can arrest that process to slow it down or even reverse it.

Before I explain how our bodies age, let me do a bit of a disclaimer. I’m not a pill or supplement freak. I don’t have a shelf full of dietary supplements. But I have always been a fan of anti-oxidants. There are many. This article is about the two most powerful anti-oxidants that I know of. Once you understand what anti-oxidants do in your body, you’ll likely give some serious thought to whether you should also be adding them to your dietary plan. It’s not hard or expensive to do that.

What causes ageing in our bodies? It’s the “oxidation” process acting on the cells in our body. That’s hard to believe. The one substance that we require in order to stay alive is oxygen. And oxygen is the one substance in our body that causes us to age. The oxidation process at work in our blood stream releases “free radicals”. Free radicals are the critters that attack perfectly healthy cells in our blood stream and do whatever they can to destroy them.

Prior to 1998, and prior to reading the aforementioned article in Readers Digest, I attended a seminar on an unrelated subject in Salt Lake City. One of the scheduled speakers came on stage and began talking about oxidation and free radicals. He presented photos of dissected blood vessels from a person who included anti-oxidants in their diet, and the same from another person who  did not.

Photo of a bottle of alpha lipoic acid capsules.It was ugly. The inside of the vessels where the oxidation process had been slowed or nullified looked normal, healthy, and pink; like you would expect a blood vessel to look. But the blood vessels that had experienced heavy oxidation looked tan in color with brown spots. And the vessel tissue itself appeared to be thin and limp. I admit to being a bit startled by all of this. I should mention that the anti-oxidant supplements that this gentleman was promoting were vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and selenium. All of these are classified as anti-oxidants. And all of them can be found in foods that we eat; but not in sufficient quantity to be a huge benefit to our health. But none of them are as powerful as acetyl l-carnitine (ALCAR) and alpha lipoic acid (ALA).

Photo of a bottle of acetyl l-carnitine capsules.Both of these supplements come in a capsule and can be purchased at most dietary supplement websites or OTC at a pharmacy or GNC. The dosage is important but everyone (except the researchers that conducted the study at Berkeley) will tell you something different.  The dosage recommended by the Berkeley researchers is 500 mg. of ALCAR and 200 mg. of ALA; taken twice a day after a meal. The reason for taking these supplements after a meal is because the digestive process slows down their absorption. Otherwise, they would just shoot through your digestive tract without significant absorption.

Let’s get back to the Berkeley researchers. How and why did the announcement of their research wind up on the cover of Readers Digest? What was so special about their findings?

First of all, they were indeed searching for the “fountain of youth”. Bruce Ames, the lead biochemist, knew that oxidation was connected to the ageing process. He just needed to find out how and why it was connected. Their research was performed on laboratory rats of various ages, over time. Test specimens who were on a steady diet of ALCAR and ALA supplements showed unusually high energy levels and no free radical damage to their blood vessels. The control group, which were not given any dietary supplements, showed normal damage to their blood vessels from free radicals and many of the other expected signs of ageing. Those specimens were more sedentary, slower to learn new tasks, and required more rest. Additionally, they looked old. Their physical appearance had changed notably over time.

That’s great news! But there have been no completed studies on humans. The fact that a study on humans would have to be performed over a considerably long length of time may have something to do with that. Bruce Ames says that there is a human study in process. The FDA has approved aceytl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid as a dietary supplement. For that matter, L-carnitine and lipoic acid can be found  in some foods and occurs naturally in our bodies.

I searched the Web in order to find the specific Reader’s Digest article from the 1998 edition of the magazine. None could be found; not even in the Readersdigest.com archives. However, I did find another discussion of the same subject in the New Jersey Star-Ledger newspaper from 2002. That article can be found –>here<–.

Dr. Ames and a student researcher started a company in 1999 called Juvenon, which manufacturers both anti-oxidants in one capsule under patent. Dr. Ames has no financial interest in that company. Juvenon can be found at www.Juvenon.com. The Juvenon web site also has an extensive list of publications and articles about Dr. Ames research and the beginnings of the Juvenon company. I have placed a link to those references at the bottom of this post for your easy reference.

Please note that the Juvenon product comes in only one size capsule, and the ingredients are correct – 1,000 mg. of ALCAR and 400 mg. ALA. BUT, the label on the bottle says to take 4 capsules per day AND THAT IS GROSSLY INCORRECT. Supplement manufacturers use this trick to sell more product. At the current Juvenon strength, you only need one capsule per day in order to achieve the correct daily dosage.

As for me? I have been taking ALCAR and ALA since 1998 as a regular part of my dietary supplement regimen. That’s fourteen years. I can’t tell you what my dissected blood vessels look like for obvious reasons. Do I feel younger? Well, yeah. But then I’ve always felt 25 years old. So that doesn’t count. Do I look younger. Well, yeah. Folks that try and guess my age are about 10 years off on a regular basis. But that’s hardly scientific. Right?

This much we know for certain. Oxidation in the body encourages the release of free radicals which are harmful because they break down healthy tissue. Anti-oxidant substances, when taken as a dietary supplement,  counters this process. Specific anti-oxidants, such as acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid are extremely powerful and more effective at countering free radicals, and in many cases, they can reverse free radical damage and restore healthy tissue.

So my un-scientific conclusion is that if powerful anti-oxidants do not harm you (the FDA and the AMA say they don’t, but check with your doctor) AND if taking anti-oxidants is not troublesome nor terribly expensive, then why would a person not want to take them and stop free radicals from destroying healthy tissue within their bodies?

I don’t know. Doing ANYTHING considered to be healthy makes sense to me. That’s why I’m going to continue taking the most powerful anti-oxidants that I can find. Maritime pine bark is another powerful anti-oxidant that comes in a pill. But that’s another topic.

Let’s do a test. A photo of me taken last year by a professional studio appears all over this website. Guess how young I am. Don’t cheat by adding on a few years to your guess because you read this article. Pretend you didn’t read this post and give me your best guess. I’ll send a free bottle of acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid to the first person who guesses correctly. (WordPress automatically date/time-stamps your comments. Don’t give me your mailing address. I’ll send you an e-mail and ask for it if you are the winner.)

 

AUTHORS NOTE – this note is on another topic which I’ll address in a future post, but the fear of aging is one of the six greatest fears that we all have, as identified in 1937 by the famous author, Napoleon Hill. I have evaluated my thinking and concluded that I do not fear growing old. That is not why I take anti-oxidants. I’m just addicted to good health; and you should be too.

 

AUTHORS NOTE – please consult the reference links that I have included in this post. This is a controversial subject. Statements that I have made should be verified by following the links associated with those statements. Check out the publications and information on www.juvenon.com for more information than I was able to include in this post.

AUTHORS DISCLAIMER – I have no financial interest in either Juvenon or Puritan’s Pride products. I buy my acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid as separate supplements from wwww.puritanspride.com.

 

REFERENCES

A number of articles have been published in periodicals and newspapers over the early 2,000’s that elaborate on the topic above and support it. Please refer to this documentation. It’s pretty interesting stuff. –>Click here<– to view the list of articles in a separate tab.

 

 

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Does SEO Really Make Sense for a Blog?

You are going to have to bare with me on this post because I have more questions than answers. But those of you who blog may be able to help me with a frustration that has been nagging at me for some time.

I know SEO (search engine optimization) pretty good. And I do make an attempt to apply SEO principles to this website.  But, If you are a blogger and you know something about SEO, stop and think about this for a minute.

What is a Weblog (blog)? Let’s look at the Wikipedia definition of a Weblog:

“A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the WWW and consisting of posts typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, and often were themed on a single subject. Although not a requirement, most good quality blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via GUI widgets on the blogs, and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. In that sense, blogging can be seen as a form of social networking. Indeed, bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers. Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries”.

So what do we have? This website is most definitely the work of a single individual.  However, you will not find “the focus on a single theme”.  I see that as a problem for the search engines. But I definitely do not find that as a problem for those who patronize this website. Do my readers want to read on the same theme or subject day after day after day? I don’t think so.

Do the search engines want a weblog to focus on a central theme. Yes, I believe they do. And there’s where the problem begins.  Search engines won’t attach any “rank” to weblogs that ares not focused on one theme and readers of weblogs are not interested in weblogs that are created around a central theme because reading the same or similar content over and over is boring.

So that kills the common theme idea on a blog site. Good blog sites will have multiple themes and subject matter in order to maintain the interest of their readers.  But those websites will perform poorly in search engine results.

“Good blogs are interactive and allow visitors to leave comments or even message other readers. In that sense, blogging can be thought of as a form of social networking”. Got that partially covered. But I’ll have to check into the “messaging” that Wikipedia mentions. If it can be done, I’ll do it. No problem. But let me say at this juncture that we need more social interaction on this website. I welcome your comments and you have been very good at providing those. I comb the site once a week looking for your questions and respond to those. Other than that, we have no interaction at all. Is this the way that you want it? I can create whatever you want.

My opinion is that I would prefer to know my audience better. How do we do that? I tell you what. We can try some things. Where else will you find a blog author and webmaster willing to take the time to interact with his audience? Messaging is rather impersonal. Here’s a couple of suggestions.

  1. I create a fan page for this website on Facebook and we can bounce ideas back and forth there with associated photos/video, status updates and whatever else. It’s still impersonal but not as impersonal as trying to interact on a blog site.
  2. I’ll give you my Skype name if you give me yours. Then if you have a question or want to talk about a subject in more depth, we can chatter on Skype.
  3. If you are also a blogger, and I know that many of you are, I can post your blog in my Blogroll if you do the same on your blog site. Note that Google doesn’t like this unless your blog is “relevant” to mine. But I blog on many subjects so that requirement shouldn’t be too hard. Then we can share posts by “pointing” to each other’s articles and get to know each other’s interests that way.

So let me know if any of these approaches appeal to you. I’ve been asked to provide direction on blogs belonging to visitors of this site. I’ve been asked to do “guest posts” on other blogs. And I’ve been asked to do video interviews by other bloggers. I’m pretty flexible and open to this stuff. Just ask.

Getting back to the subject – this article is supposed to be about how it is impossible for a blog to rank on the first page of search results because what search engines expect is not what those who enjoy reading weblogs want to read.

Google wants websites to focus on a limited group of keywords and keyword phrases and then use those keywords and phrases frequently on every page or post. That’s good SEO. But how do you do that on a blog? The content on a good blog cannot be based on limited subject matter where a small group of keywords and phrases can be used repeatedly. I already explained why you can’t do that above. It’s boring. And blogs are not supposed to be boring.

So that kills keywords.

When Google indexes your website, sites that are optimized for SEO contain inbound links from other websites that have similar or relevant content. That would have to be another blog website. Or at least a non-blog site whose content is relevant to at least a couple of posts on this site. Fat chance of that.

So that kills back-links.

The websites that get ranked the highest by the search engines are “authority” sites. That means within the area of that site’s expertise, an authority site has the best and most complete content. Blogs are not an authority on anything. Remember  what a blog is. It’s a weblog of what an individual feels is important to them and those who patronize their site. It’s supposed to be on one theme but I refuse to do that. I have a lot of areas of expertise. But I don’t pretend to be an authority on any one of them.

So that kills authority site.

Traffic – Websites that receive tons of traffic (visitors) are ranked higher by the search engines than sites that receive little traffic. I have about 1000 subscribers. That’s without my driving traffic to this site. I don’t post to any social network sites. And I know that I don’t rank well in the search engines.

I could do a better job of posting to social networks and doing “guests posts” in order to advertise this site better. But how does that help you? It doesn’t   I always thought that I needed a “release” or a place where I could say whatever I wanted to say and anyone who could relate would respond back and we would learn new things from each other. That’s why I started this site in the first place. Should I care about traffic? I’m more concerned with helping an individual down the bumpy path of life than I am with juggling mobs of people.

I guess I just can’t please the search engines. And I didn’t set out to please them.  So if you have some wisdom to share on this subject, please share it.

I noticed that my posts are considerably longer than the average post on other blogs. Maybe other bloggers don’t have a lot to say. I’m going to try and keep my posts a bit shorter. So I apologize for rambling on this subject. Sometimes a nip of Baileys late at night will do that to you. Until next time.

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