1. The hormone deficiency that's robbing you of muscle

    There's no doubt about it: We all lose a little something off our muscle as we age, and all the training and exercise in the world can't stop it.

    But there's a difference between "losing a little" and "losing a lot" -- and today, far too many seniors are losing WAY too much.

    It's hurting and even killing them. But for men, at least, there may be an easy answer for slowing and reversing the muscle loss that comes with age -- and it's that same hormone that makes you a man in the first place.

    It's testosterone -- and the latest research on 1,200 seniors who were tracked for nearly five years finds that those with the highest levels of it keep the most of their muscle, especially the critical muscle in the arms and legs.

    And those who have the lowest levels, on the other hand, lose more muscle and have more difficulty with basic leg function and simple exercises and even trouble getting up from a chair.

    This shouldn't be too surprising, since the links between the hormone and muscle mass are pretty well known. Bodybuilders have been boosting their testosterone levels for years to help transform themselves into walking mountains of muscle.

    But for seniors, this isn't just some exercise in vanity -- and it's not even about the frustration of, say, losing the ability to open a jar of spaghetti sauce.

    It's a life-or-death issue, because seniors with low muscle mass have an increased risk of falls and other injuries. Reach a certain age, and any fall can lead to long-term hospitalization, permanent institutionalization and even death.

    If you're past middle age -- and certainly, if you're a senior -- odds are the needle on your testosterone tank is swinging towards the "E." A naturopathic physician can top your tank off the right way, but he can't do anything at all if you don't ask.

    In other words, don't be shy on this one.

  2. The myth of the 'senior moment'

    The "senior moment" -- it's one of the most common stereotypes in movies and on television. But the "senior moment" used so often for cheap laughs isn't nearly as "common" as you've been led to believe.

    In fact, most seniors barely experience any significant form of cognitive decline over the years.

    If you're a senior yourself, you already knew that -- and you're probably more than a little annoyed by those constant portrayals of doddering oldsters who can't remember what they had for breakfast.

    Which is why you likely won't be surprised to hear about a recent study that found that two-thirds of all seniors experience very little cognitive decline in their golden years.

    For ten years, researchers tracked 1,049 nuns, priests, and monks between the ages of 56 and 102 who were dementia-free at the start of the study and gave them annual cognitive tests.

    They found that only a third of the volunteers suffered either a moderate or rapid cognitive decline, with the rest experiencing declines so small that one of the authors of the study said it wasn't much of a change at all.

    But while the study published in the journal Age and Aging proves that you can remain sharp even as the years go by, too many doctors still assume that a failing memory is a normal part of growing old.

    So when older patients complain that they can't quite remember as well as they used to, docs often just shrug it off.

    "You're just getting older," they say. "Nothing to worry about."

    That's just patronizing and insulting -- because a failing memory could be something to worry about after all. Docs who can't or won't take it seriously aren't worth remembering anyway.

    In many cases, the little slips written off as senior moments – and even some cases of dementia itself -- are actually the warning signs of completely fixable problems, including sleep disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and drug side effects.

    A good naturopathic physician can help get it all straightened out in no time.

    And if -- like most seniors -- you haven't experienced any memory problems, there are steps you can take right now to help keep it that way.

    A number of studies have found that moderate drinkers have a lower risk for dementia, including one that found a drink or two a day can slash the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 40 percent. (Read about it here.)

    Other studies have found that sleep, B vitamins, coffee, and the pigment astaxanthin can all help protect the brain and lower your risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.

    I'll have more on another study based on the same group of priests and nuns tomorrow -- one that blows another aging stereotype right out of the water.

    Stay tuned.

  3. Shrinks want seniors to stop drinking

    If you're a senior and you had a drink or two last night, you had way too much. That's ridiculous, of course -- but that's the warning from a group of buzz-killing British shrinks, who claim that booze intake should be limited to just 1.5 units of alcohol a day for seniors.

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