The Problem Of Diminishing Reserves
Being an older mom, I do everything I can to try and keep up with my kid. After all, I don’t want him to resent having a mother who’s over 46 years his senior.
But I dearly miss the days before we kissed the binky goodbye, and along with it, daytime naps. I used to cherish the chance to catch up on my own sleep.
While all parents find kids exhausting, the inconvenient truth is that age does matter. Our energy reserves just aren’t what they were ten years ago (or twenty…or thirty).
We worry about how we’ll keep up when our kids enter their teens as we venture into our fifth and sixth decades. Plus, we want to be around to see grandchildren.
So it’s tempting to buy into “anti-aging” products that claim to offer energy in abundance and the promise of a longer, healthier life.
Is Resveretrol The Answer?
But proceed with caution before you hang your hopes on any supplement promoting itself as the fountain of youth.
Take Resveretrol, for example, an ingredient found in red wine.
In early 2009, Resveretrol was being heralded by Dr. OZ, 60 Minutes, MSNBC, Fox News, and CBS as the answer to the “French Paradox” (the French eat high fat diets but don’t develop correspondingly high rates of heart disease).
It seems that lab mice fed rich, fatty diets while taking Resveratrol lived just as long as lean mice. And with none of the diseases caused by high-fat diets.
A a video on 60 Minutes showed a Resveretrol-fed mouse running twice as fast his non-supplemented competitor.
So it appeared that we’d found the key to boosting stamina and fighting heart disease.
In the ensuing months, more and more health benefits were attributed to Resveratrol. We thought we’d “done it”. Instead of drinking 1000 bottles of red wine a day, we could just extract the key ingredient and pop a pill.
Manufactureres soon jumped on board and to date, annual sales of resveratrol supplements in the United States have reached $30 million.
Hold On To Your Wallet
This is more a testimonial to good marketing and wishful thinking than it is to the effectiveness of the supplement.
Because a new study in October 2012 (from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis) revealed that “Healthy middle-aged women do not benefit from taking resveratrol supplements”. This was based on a study of 29 postmenopausal women who “were generally healthy and did not have type 2 diabetes”.
Here, the plot thickens. You see, knowing that mice and humans aren’t exactly alike, we needed more human studies to confirm or debunk the benefits of Resveratrol. And although the Washington U. study sounds convincing, 29 women is not exactly a large study group. Hundreds would be more convincing.
So, I decided to do a little digging.
I went to WebMD and learned that in the same year Resveratrol was discovered, scientists had already begun to debunk the theory that it reversed aging.
According to Michael Richman, MD, who started The Center for Cholesterol Management in August 2005, “new work produced by both Amgen and Pfizer has cast doubt on the manner in which the health supplement is said to work.”
In fact when he searched the litterature, he could find very little published in scientific journals to support any of the claimed effects of resveretrol.
You Can Still Keep Up With Your Kids
Maybe someday we’ll really find a magic pill to hold back the hands of time. But I doubt it. Staying young is and always has been a combination of being genetically blessed and living a healthy lifestyle.
In fact, some very WELL documented research shows that Cenentarians around the world all have certain lifestyle habits in common.
A partial list of these commonalities are as follows:
- they don’t smoke and they limit how much alcohol they drink
- they eat a low fat, high fiber, Mediterranean style diet
- they exercise regularly
- they stay lean and weigh themselves regularly
- they maintain strong social bonds
- they enjoy hobbies and recreation
- they get enough sleep
- they keep their gums healthy
- they take a multivitamin daily
- they get regular checkups
Nothing on this list is a revelation. Most of what we need to do, we already knew. It just takes work and constant vigilence. All in all, I’ve found that we older moms do a pretty good job of taking care of ourselves. We’re far less likely to take our health for granted than younger moms.
The moral of the story is, don’t be seduced by the promise of a “superfood” or “miracle pill” that can do the work for you. Supplements are an important component of staying healthy and vital but they will never be a replacement for living well and eating right.