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Use your legs… or lose your brain!

When I tell patients to “exercise,” it tends to make them run… straight for the door!

And believe me, I understand why.

When you’re on the older side, all of that huffing, puffing, and sweating can feel like a real chore.

But exercising doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or even “working out.” Because according to a new study, all you’ve got to do to reap one of the best benefits of physical activity is move your legs.

Turns out, using the major muscles in your lower half is essential for maintaining the health of your BRAIN!

In the study, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers restricted a group of mice from using their hind legs — but not their front legs — for a month.

The mice ate and groomed normally, and they showed no physiological signs of stress.

But by the end of the study, when the researchers examined the mice’s brains, they found that the “subventricular zone” — an area in the brain that’s crucial for maintaining nerve cell health — was in big trouble.

Compared to a group of control mice who roamed freely on all fours, the restricted mice had 70 percent FEWER neural stem cells in this area of their brains. And since stem cells eventually mature into the neurons that make up your gray matter, that means cutting back on exercise could SHRINK your brain over time.

Now, as I’ve shared with you in the past, everyone’s brains shrink somewhat as we age — but if your brain shrinks a LOT, you’re at a higher risk of cognitive decline or something more serious, like Alzheimer’s.

And while exercise that engages all parts of your body — from yoga to pumping iron — can beef up your brain, the study reveals that there’s something special about keeping your legs active.

The theory is that activating the big muscles in your legs sends direct signals to your brain to produce more healthy cells.

What’s more, the study found that restricting the mice’s legs LOWERED the amount of oxygen in their bodies — and we know that having enough oxygen is crucial for your brain to function.

So, if you want to stay sharp as a tack, USE your legs… or risk LOSING your brain!

Any form of activity that uses your legs — from running and walking to tennis or dancing — will do the trick.

But you don’t need an official form of “exercise” to reap the benefits.

Taking the stairs instead of the escalator… doing some gardening… or even playing with your grandkids can keep you on your toes.

Stop your train of thought from getting derailed!

It’s the No. 1 epidemic facing seniors in America: brain fog.

And in my own clinic here in the Boston area, it’s the top complaint I hear among 60- and 70-year-olds.

But they’re far from alone.

I’ll be honest — as a 60-something myself, I’ve experienced my fair share of “senior moments.”

But when you start forgetting the names of people you just met… and you forget why you just walked into a room… those “normal” senior moments can become embarrassing and worrisome.

Fortunately, there IS something you can do about those “brain burps,” even if your own doc may tell you otherwise.

See, he doesn’t know about this trick I’m about to share with you because it’s been WITHHELD from him!

This natural cure isn’t some new drug… and it’s definitely not ANYTHING you can pick up at the doctor’s office.

Some say could be the cure for brain fog. And if the public found out about it – and how effective it is – it could put a big dent in Big Pharma’s bottom line.

So, those money-grubbing execs are doing everything in their power to suppress this information from your doc… and from YOU.

But while this natural cure is practically unheard of in the States, the fine folks of a remote South African village have known about it for years.

It’s an exotic, drought-tolerant plant called Sceletium tortuosum.

In 2014, doctors gave 25 mg of it to 20 men and women every day over the course of three weeks. Then, they put each person through a series of mental tests… and the results were stunning.

After just 21 days, the subjects showed dramatic improvement — an 80 percent improvement in their ability to focus and pay attention and a 73 percent improvement in their ability to multitask.

Imagine lifting that fog that’s been following you around!

You could easily hop from task to task without losing your train of thought… and even remember your internet passwords without writing them all down on “sticky notes!”

And this rare South African plant that I’ve discovered can not only help boost your brain power – in as quickly as one hour — but it can also help you stay alert and focused ALL DAY LONG.

Fox News has described it as “a jet ride to mental brilliance” – and it’s one that could help you remain lucid and mentally sharp well into your 90s.

Of course, you could remain on the slow boat to full-blown memory loss… and spend lots of money on those expensive memory drugs to try to put the brakes on it… but there’s nothing in your doc’s arsenal that has the power to reverse the aging in your brain that can steal your precious memories.

In just a few days, I’ll share the best way to get this strange South African plant to work for you – how to get it, how to take it, and what to take it with.

Because discovering an herbal remedy is one thing… but figuring out the right form and dosage of it is the true key to unlocking its full potential!

Stay tuned.

The nut you need for a healthy gut

If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while, you know that I’ve sung the praises of walnuts many a time.

They’ve been proven to slash your risk of cardiovascular disease … improve your learning skills, memory, and coordination… and even protect your gray matter from Alzheimer’s.

But as good as these crunchy nuts are for your heart and brain, their benefits for your gut really stand out.

Previous studies have shown that eating just a handful of walnuts each day can guard you against inflammatory bowel disease , shrink colon tumors, and keep colon cancer from spreading .

And now, a new study shows why: This “gut nut” feeds the good bugs in your belly that tamp down inflammation!

In the study, University of Illinois researchers assigned healthy adults to one of two groups: Members of one ate a palmful of walnuts every day for three weeks, while members of the other ate no walnuts.

The researchers then flipped the groups — so that the walnut-eaters were now in the placebo group and vice versa — and repeated the study for another three weeks.

Over the course of the study, it turned out that whenever folks ate walnuts, the populations of certain beneficial strains of bacteria in their guts shot up.

More specifically, there was an increase in certain good bugs that make a short-chain fatty acid called “butyrate,” which is known to promote gut health by reducing inflammation.

And that’s great news — because we know that problems in your gut, from inflammatory bowel disease to colon cancer, often begin with inflammation.

In fact, previous studies have shown that colon cancer patients have higher levels of pro-inflammatory “secondary bile acids” in their guts than healthy folks.

These acids damage the delicate cells that line your gastrointestinal tract — and they’re made by certain bad bugs in your belly.

But the new study showed that when the participants ate walnuts, there was a DECREASE in secondary bile acids — suggesting that the good bugs nurtured by walnuts may have beat back the bile-producing rogues.

That means walnuts can give a one-two punch to inflammation in your gut — and even protect you from colon cancer — by changing the composition of your gut bacteria for the better.

So, since good health begins and ends in your gut, crack open some walnuts — or buy a bag of these treats ready to eat.

They’re great on their own, but you can also toss them into Greek yogurt with fruit, fresh veggie salads, and savory meat dishes.

Just stay away from sugar bombs like candied walnuts and walnut chocolate chip cookies.

Save your knees by balancing your gut

We’ve known for years that if you’re on the heavy side, your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) is higher than if you’re slim.

And it makes sense that carrying around excess weight would cause more wear and tear on your knees.

But the latest research is blowing that theory right out of the water – because according to a new study, the strain that obesity put on your JOINTS isn’t the reason for the increased risk of OA.

It’s the strain obesity puts on your GUT!

In the study, University of Rochester researchers induced osteoarthritis in both lean and obese mice by injuring their knee cartilage.

It turned out that the osteoarthritis in the obese mice progressed MUCH MORE quickly than in the lean mice — which is pretty much what we’d expect.

But researchers also found that the obese mice’s guts were overrun by nasty bugs known to ramp up inflammation throughout the body… while the lean mice’s guts were dominated by “good” bacteria known to tamp down inflammation.

Now, here’s where the study got really interesting. Researchers fed the obese mice a prebiotic called oligofructose to see if they could turn back the clock on the condition.

Now, if you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that “prebiotics” are nutrients that encourage the good bugs in your belly to grow.

And lo and behold – the mice that took the prebiotics saw an explosion of new populations of beneficial bacteria that were able to restore balance in the gut flora and crowd out the bad guys.

What’s more, their systemic inflammation decreased… their cartilage breakdown slowed… and their knee OA symptoms were completely REVERSED.

In fact, after the obese mice ate the prebiotic, their guts AND joints were as healthy as those in the lean mice – without shedding a single pound!

Now, there are plenty of OTHER good reasons to keep your weight-loss plans intact, because obesity ups your risk for everything from heart disease to diabetes to cancer.

But even if losing weight is a work in progress, these results suggest that you can get relief from knee OA right NOW by balancing the bacteria in your gut.

Eating prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus can nourish your good gut bacteria.

You can also send beneficial bugs straight to your belly by eating fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut or taking probiotic supplements.

In fact, you can often find prebiotics AND probiotics together in one supplement.

Just be sure to avoid sugars and refined grains, which not only expand your waistline… but also fuel the BAD bugs in your gut.

What one sleepless night does to your brain

You can’t think straight… your concentration is shot… and you fumble your way through the day’s details.

When you haven’t gotten your 40 winks the night before, it can feel like your brain is asleep on the job!

And if you toss and turn night after night — like HALF of all adults over 60 do — that “brain drain” could set you up for something even more serious.

We’ve known for a while that not getting enough time in a deep-sleep phase known as REM (a.k.a. “rapid eye movement”) increases your chances of developing dementia.

And now, a new study suggests why: Sleep deprivation can boost a protein in your brain that’s linked to Alzheimer’s.

As I’ve shared with you before, it’s called “beta-amyloid” – and it turns out that all it takes is ONE night of poor sleep for levels of this protein to rise!

In the study, National Institutes of Health researchers scanned the brains of healthy folks both after a night of restful sleep AND after they’d been awake for about 30 hours.

Levels of beta-amyloid in the participants’ brains were 5 percent HIGHER after the sleepless night than they were after the restful night.

Now, that may not sound like much of an increase… but if you’ve got chronic insomnia, all that extra beta-amyloid could really add up over time.

You see, beta-amyloid is actually a metabolic waste product — and the theory is that deep sleep allows your brain to clear it out before it has a chance to settle in.

That means that when you don’t sleep soundly, it’s like you’ve missed your daily “trash pickup”… allowing this metabolic “garbage” to pile up!

And we know that when excess beta-amyloid collects in your gray matter, it can form the “plaques” and “tangles” we see in the brains of people with full-blown Alzheimer’s.

What’s more, the study showed that the extra beta-amyloid was found mostly in the thalamus and the hippocampus — two brain areas that are especially vulnerable to damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Now, here’s the kicker: While not sleeping enough can increase beta-amyloid, having excess beta-amyloid in your brain makes sleep troubles more likely.

So, you want to nip your insomnia in the bud… BEFORE it sets off this vicious cycle.

Just don’t pop a sleeping pill, which can only increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Instead, try some natural ways to get more shut-eye:

• Create good habits: Getting regular exercise, avoiding caffeine too late in the day, and limiting your exposure to TV and electronics close to bedtime can help coax your body into slumber.

• Reset your “clock”: Since your levels of melatonin — the hormone that regulates your sleep/wake cycle — decline with age, try supplementing with melatonin or drinking melatonin-rich tart cherry juice.

• Turn to herbs: Studies have shown that ashwagandha, valerian root, kava extract, and even chamomile tea can induce all sleep without side effects.

And I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t mention that getting some exercise is a great way to relieve stress (which can help you sleep), speed up the process of “taking out the trash” both in your brain and the rest of your body, and make sure that you’re plumb tuckered out by the time you hit the hay!

Can’t make it to the bathroom in time? This may be why

You feel a sudden urge to “go”… but you don’t quite make it to the bathroom in time.

When you can’t hold your pee, knowing that you might have an “accident” can make it tough to sit through a movie in the theater… play a round of golf… or hit the open road.

And even though 30 percent of folks over 65 struggle with these bathroom urgencies, bladder mishaps can sure be embarrassing.

I’m not talking about a few extra drops after you pee (a.k.a. “post-void dribbling”) or even a little leak after you sneeze or cough (which is typically how we hear bladder control issues described) — I mean a full-on flow that you can’t control, a.k.a. “urinary urgency incontinence” (UUI).

But according to a new study, you don’t have to become a hermit or wear a pair of those bulky diapers that are supposed to pass as “absorbent underwear.”

Because the same healthy habits that tone up your blood vessels may also tone up your bladder.

In the study, British researchers found that older folks with a history of vascular (a.k.a. blood vessel) issues — ranging from hypertension to stroke — were MORE likely to have those urgent urinary episodes than their peers without vascular problems.

Now, I’m sure that you know that your blood vessels are responsible for transporting nourishing blood to all parts of your body, from your brain to your bladder.

The theory is that when vascular damage restricts blood flow to your pelvic area, it may disrupt nerve and muscle function around your bladder, leaving you at higher risk of UUI.

Not only that, but vascular issues in your brain can lead to the death of nerve cells called “white matter,” and white matter disease has also been linked to urinary incontinence.

That means healthy habits that boost BLOOD flow may also stop unwanted URINE flow!

And improving blood flow and artery health won’t just “relieve” you of your urge to go… it’ll also slash your risk of everything from cardiovascular disease to glaucoma and even dementia.

Now, the mainstream will try to treat your UUI by zapping your pelvic floor muscles with the equivalent of electroshock therapy (youch!) or injecting Botox right into your bladder.

But those options are both risky and painful, and they don’t even address the root cause behind the incontinence in the first place!

That’s why you should try anything that gets your heart pumping — from doing aerobic exercise to sweating it out in a sauna — to keep your arteries flexible and get more blood flowing to every nook and cranny.

You can also eat your way to better blood flow — because foods like spinach, carrots, beets, and arugula are rich in a compound called nitrate, which your body converts into nitric oxide (NO), a compound that relaxes your blood vessels and lets the blood gush through freely.

Now, if you’ve already had a stroke, there’s not much you can do other than reduce your risk of having another one. But if your BP is truly high, you can bring it down naturally with weight loss, exercise, and BP regulators like cinnamon and tart cherry juice.

And as always, a doc should rule out any other cause of your bladder control issues, which can be caused by everything from infection to constipation to prostate problems.

Get moving to stop wheezing

With spring in full swing, the world is buzzing with activity once again.

Flowers are blooming… birds are chirping… and folks are getting active outdoors.

But when you’ve got asthma, it feels like you can’t fully join in on the season’s hustle and bustle.

You don’t want to step out into the pollen-filled air — let alone EXERCISE in it — for fear of triggering an attack!

But according to a new study, you don’t have to hide out inside all season — because getting regular exercise can actually REDUCE your chances of having an asthma attack.

And that’s especially true if you could stand to lose a few pounds.

In the study, Brazilian researchers randomly split a group of obese folks with asthma into two groups: Half followed a weight-loss program that included twice weekly exercise sessions, while the other half followed a weight-loss program without exercise.

After three months, it turned out that those in the exercise group had 15 asthma-symptom-free days per month while the control group only had nine asthma-symptom-free days.

That means that the exercisers slashed the frequency of their asthma attacks by 40 percent!

Not too shabby — especially considering that exercise was seen as harmful for those with asthma for years.

The theory is that physical activity cuts asthma attacks off at the pass by reducing inflammation in your airways. And that’s important — because inflammation is the very thing that causes your air passages to narrow, saddling you with miserable coughing and wheezing.

Of course, exercise can ease inflammation whether you’re on the heavy side OR maintaining a healthy weight.

But we also know that obesity itself is a risk factor for asthma, and exercise can certainly help you shed more pounds than dieting alone.

As a bonus, staying active can help stave off diabetes… keep your heart healthy… and even protect your brain from dementia.

So, don’t let asthma rain on your parade this spring — or any other season.

Get those lungs pumping with exercise to breathe easier!

A good rule of thumb is to aim for two hours of moderate-intensity activity weekly. That means just a half hour of exercise, four days a week, is all it takes.

In the study, the participants who exercised combined weightlifting with aerobic activity, but pretty much anything that challenges your heart and lungs — from brisk walking to hiking to ballroom dancing — will do the trick.

And if the pollen-filled air makes it tough for you to exercise outside, hit the gym or try an indoor yoga class.

This miracle mineral acts as a ‘power switch’ for vitamin D

March is sure going out like a lion, isn’t it? We had SNOW here in the Boston area just a few days ago!

After a seemingly never-ending winter, the sunnier skies of spring are sure going to be a welcome change — at least, once they finally get here.

And once you finally get to catch some of those spring rays, it won’t just brighten your outlook — it’ll also boost the levels of an essential vitamin in your body.

I’m talking about vitamin D, a.k.a. “the sunshine vitamin”!

Your body makes D when UV rays hit your skin — and you need it for everything from strong bones to a healthy immune system.

But according to the latest research, all of the spring sunshine in the world won’t net you enough D to get the job done if you’re deficient in something else — MAGNESIUM!

A new meta-analysis reviewed all available studies to date on the relationship between vitamin D and magnesium. And it turns out that all of the enzymes needed to “metabolize” vitamin D (in other words, to make it available for use in your body) require sufficient levels of magnesium.

That means that without enough magnesium in your system, any D you take in will simply sit “in storage” in your body… INACTIVE!

To put another way: You can take vitamin D supplements every day and STILL be deficient in D if you lack sufficient magnesium.

And that may actually make vitamin D supplementation dangerous — because high levels of inactive D increase your calcium and phosphate levels, putting you at risk for “calcification” (a.k.a. hardening) of your arteries.

Beyond its role in activating D, magnesium also partners D in the delicate processes that protect your bones, heart, and organs.

On its own, magnesium is essential for a wide range of functions in your body, from promoting a good night’s sleep to easing anxiety.

The bottom line is that you can’t skimp on either one.

But a lot of folks do — because nearly half of us are deficient in vitamin D, and a whopping 80 percent of us simply don’t get enough magnesium in our diets.

You can boost your magnesium levels by loading up on magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, and avocado. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines will also up your stores of vitamin D, as will egg yolks and mushrooms.

But because it becomes harder for our bodies to absorb either of these nutrients from food (and, in the case of D, from sunlight) as we age, you should also consider taking high-quality supplements.

Many multivitamins contain enough D and magnesium to cover your bases. Read the labels closely and look for magnesium lactate and magnesium aspartate — which are the forms most easily absorbed by your body — and the natural vitamin D3 (rather than the synthetic D2).

Could “going under” drain your brain?

If you’ve ever gone under the knife, you know that when you “come to” after the anesthesia, your brain can feel pretty darn foggy.

You may be confused about the day and time… struggle for words… or even forget why you’re in the hospital in the first place!

That brain scramble (a.k.a. “postoperative cognitive dysfunction”) is pretty common right after surgery.

Docs generally believe that the confusion wears off within a day or two once the anesthesia’s fully left your system. You probably even FEEL back to your old self once you’re back home.

But according to a new study, that brain fog may never fully lift — because going under the knife may make LASTING changes to your memory that mimic cognitive decline.

In the study, researchers measured the memory and executive function of nearly 1,000 middle-aged folks, none of whom had any cognitive dysfunction at the start of the study.

Four years later, they repeated the tests — but the catch was that in between the two testing periods, about a third of the participants had undergone surgery.

Among the surgery group, 18 percent of them scored worse on the second memory test than on the first. In comparison, only 10 percent of those in the non-surgery group had lower memory test scores the second time around.

Now, even though that difference between the two groups may sound small, it’s actually statistically significant. And that tells us that while everyone’s memories decline somewhat with the passage of time, surgery seemed to speed up the process!

Not only that, but the more surgeries that participants had undergone in the prior decade, the worse their memory scores.

That means that EACH surgery you have could chip away at your precious memories a little bit more!

And that makes sense — because previous studies have shown that anesthetics actually activate memory-loss receptors in your brain.

Plus, surgeries ramp up your body’s inflammatory response, and we know that ongoing inflammation is a risk factor for cognitive decline.

Now, I’m not saying that surgery should NEVER be an option. Obviously, certain surgeries really save lives.

But the mainstream is often too quick to cut you open.

Even if you emerge from the operating room sharp as a tack, surgery always comes with the risk of internal bleeding… nasty secondary infections… and even heart damage.

And you want to avoid being laid up in pain for weeks, dependent on others to care for you.

Going under the knife should always be a LAST resort — after you’ve tried natural approaches to heal the root cause of whatever ails you.

Later today, I’ll have something else you can do to help preserve your precious memories. Stay tuned to the next edition of eTips, coming this afternoon.

Insider’s secret to effortless sleep doesn’t come in a pill

Cutting-edge technology delivers sleep on demand

I’m a good sleeper — but in the rare times that I’ve had a poor night’s sleep, I’ve been completely miserable.

So, I’m very sensitive to those patients who struggle with their sleep, and I’ve constantly got my eye out for safe, unique, and innovative methods for getting to sleep… staying asleep… and waking refreshed.

I’ve previously shared with you some really interesting products — ones that can help stop your nights from turning endless, like weighted blankets, cranial electrotherapy stimulation, and dawn simulator lightboxes.

But these gadgets aren’t for everyone.

And if you struggle with sleep yourself, it may be time to get back to basics.

If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you’ve already heard about melatonin.

The so-called “sleep hormone” works with your body’s natural “internal clock” to tell you when it’s time to fall asleep… and when it’s time to wake up.

In fact, your body produces a fair amount of melatonin on its own — but your natural levels of it tend to dip as you age.

And that’s why a melatonin supplement can be such a hero for so many folks.

Now, you know that I’m all about clueing you in on all of the “insider” tips and tricks I’ve learned in my practice. And melatonin is no exception.

There’s a secret to getting the maximum benefit of melatonin — and here’s something you may not have heard about this popular sleep supplement.

Melatonin doesn’t just come in capsule form. You can also get it as liquid that you spray into your mouth (ideally under your tongue or onto the side of your cheek), hold, and swallow.

And my friends over at NorthStar Nutritionals (part of the same family as the company that publishes my eTips and Nutrition & Healing newsletter) have come up with a form of it that absorbs quickly… tastes minty… and makes falling and staying asleep easier than ever.

They call it EZzz Spray PM, and the trick to it is that it uses cutting-edge technology that’s the new “gold standard” in nutrient delivery. You see, when you swallow a pill or capsule, it slowly has to wind its way through your digestive tract.

And along the way, both lose much of their power.

Plus, in order to feel something happen, you usually have to wait. And even then, there’s NO guarantee you’ll feel ANYTHING happen.

Your odds are better with the type of advanced liquid found in EZzz Spray PM, which is made up of millions of tiny particles called liposomal microspheres. And that’s the same delivery method I recommend to my own patients who struggle with sleep issues.

Most people will need to swallow just a couple of pumps of this melatonin spray, but the thing I like about this form is that — unlike pills — it’s customizable. You can start out small and add more as you need it.

Because you can feel it working so quickly, you don’t have to worry about taking too much… or not enough.

Why suffer through yet another sleepless night? Even if you’ve tried melatonin before, I assure you that you haven’t yet experienced the power of this unique liposomal technology.

To see for yourself… and fall asleep faster and easier… click here for more information.