Why is it so hard to get back in shape and stay in shape as I get older? I know the most obvious answer is: “Because you’re aging!” But I want to know why aging diminishes strength so I can stay strong. — Tom T., Annapolis, Maryland
We’ve researched how to keep your brain, muscles, heart and spirit in great shape as you age, and can offer you foolproof steps to achieve that. So let’s look at what goes on in your body that keeps you young, or speeds up aging.
Meet your mitochondria! They’re the energy centers in every cell that drive your metabolism by taking fat, sugar and protein from food to fuel your muscles and brain. They also help maintain your immune system.
When the energy needs of your cells go up (from good exercise), you generate multiple mitochondria in each cell. But if you’re not getting the nutrients your body needs or any aerobic and strength-building physical activity most days, your mitochondria’s internal DNA (they have their own genome) degrades. That can cause loss of energy, muscle tone, quick thinking and resistance to infection. They age; you fade.
Partners with the Mighty Mites
Thyroid and estrogen hormones and glucocorticoids influence how mitochondria do their jobs. Declining hormone levels and insulin resistance (a hallmark of diabetes) make it harder for the Mighty Mites to provide you with the power you need.
1. Walking 10,000 steps daily and getting in two or three 30-minute strength-building sessions weekly.
2. Reducing caloric intake by 500 calories per day and saying “no” to red/processed meats, added sugars and processed grains.
3. Opting for nine servings daily of produce and eating lean protein in each meal.
4. Getting your hormone and glucose levels checked to see if you need intervention.
5. Taking Dr. Mike’s Fab 9 Supplements (read about his recommendations in this week’s feature) for repair and protection of your cells’ inner engine, the mitochondria.
I just met someone who claimed to be color blind to certain blues. I thought being color blind meant you couldn’t see any colors? Is he color blind or not? — Jamie Q., Austin, Texas
Your friend could have a type of color blindness called tritanopia, or tritanomaly, which means blues appear as green, and yellows appear as violet or light gray. There’s also red color blindness (protanopia, or protanomaly), in which reds appear as black and certain shades of orange, yellow and green appear as yellow. And green color blindness (deuteranopia, or deuteranomaly) makes greens appear as beige and reds appear brownish-yellow. Total color blindness — a world that’s only black and white — is rare. Although color blindness usually is a genetic condition, it also can result from a brain or eye injury. Inherited color blindness in Northern Europeans, the group most affected, is present in 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women.
How the Eye Sees Color
When light bounces off an object and enters your eye, the light stimulates your retina’s rod and cone cells, which contain red, green or blue photoreceptors. The photoreceptors work together, just like the red, green and blue ink cartridges in an inkjet printer, to produce a lush color image. That’s trichromatic vision. Color blindness is the result of a malfunction in one or more of those photoreceptors.
Managing Color Blindness
There’s no cure for color blindness, so early diagnosis is important. Kids have a tough time in school if they don’t understand why other kids are seeing things differently than they do. There are, however, some workarounds: Special lenses sometimes can improve red-green color blindness, but only in bright light, outdoors. And there are lots of apps for Android and iPhones to enhance colors or help with tasks like picking out clothes or ripe fruit. If you want to test your child or yourself for color blindness, go to NEI.NIH.gov and search for online tests.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of theWellnessInstitute at the Cleveland Clinic. Email questions to email@example.com.