By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
May 25, 2020
“Fifty isn’t that old… if you’re a bottle of wine!”
Ha! This message was on a witty birthday card I received when I turned the big five-oh. I received all kinds of wisecrack cards like this.
And then there’s that old line from comedian Phyllis Diller “Maybe it’s true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.”
But in all honesty, heading into your 50’s and 60’s can be intimidating. These ages come with a stigma attached to them that you’re past your prime.
You feel sort of like a piece of old food from the grocery store – one with a “use by” date that is fast approaching.
Okay. Sure. Your body changes as you age…
But by no stretch of the imagination does this mean you’re at the end of your prime. In fact, you can live well into old age looking and feeling just as healthy and active as you do today.
I see people here in Sarasota, FL who are in their 70s and still playing wall ball and tennis. They’re jogging, biking, and they look fantastic.
Then, I see others who are still in their 30s and 40s who huff and puff and complain about their knees. It all comes back to how well you take care of your body.
Here are a few things you can expect to see when you approach the age of 50… and steps to help you cope.
Bad hair days take on an entirely new meaning.
As you age, your hair follicles produce less color, which results in those sprouting gray, white and silver hairs. In many people, this process can start as early as their 30’s, but it often becomes more prevalent in middle age.
Men have it even worse. Not only are you battling gray hairs, you’re trying to hold on to whatever hair you have left. (By age 50, around half of all men have at least some noticeable hair loss.)
In some cases, premature graying is caused by a B12 or other nutrient or mineral deficiency. It can also be caused by problems with your thyroid or pituitary gland.
And it may be reversible when these issues are corrected. So getting your B12, copper, iron and other vitamin levels checked is something you should consider.
There is also an ancient Chinese herb that has been used for centuries to banish gray, restore natural hair color and treat hair loss. It’s called He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti) and appears to increase blood circulation in the scalp while also promoting the production of melanin.
When it comes to hair loss, natural remedies like saw palmetto and beta sitosterol are also great choices. As a matter of fact, about 60% of men who opt for this treatment show improvements in hair loss.
What about those wacky hormones?
For femaes, the average age of menopause is around 50. That’s when you start producing less estrogen and progesterone. Men often experience their own form of menopause, called andropause. It’s caused by a significant decline in testosterone production.
While not all symptoms are the same in men and women, both sexes are likely to experience decreases in libido, poor energy levels, loss of bone mineral density, muscle loss and weight gain when your sex hormones decrease.
This might make you want to run to your doctor for synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT). But these manmade chemicals come with a boatload of side effects that you don’t want to live with.
However, there is a way to get the rejuvenating benefits of HRT without disastrous side effects. It’s something called bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, or BHRT. And it works equally as well for men as it does for women.
These plant-based, bio-identical hormones are exact copies of the hormones your body produces. So your body will naturally respond to them and give you the results you’re looking for.
These BHRT are much less expensive than synthetics. And they work better than other options!
Just remember to have your physician test your levels before beginning any program of replacement and at intervals during your treatment. I always start with the lowest possible dose – almost micro-doses – to help people adjust to their renewed hormone levels.
You might pee more frequently – and poop less often.
As you age, two things can happen simultaneously. First, your bladder can lose its elasticity. This makes you have to urinate more frequently. It also makes it difficult to completely empty your bladder and contributes to urinary incontinence.
At the same time, the movements in your colon start to slow down for any number of reasons. These reasons might include slow muscle contractions in the digestive tract, poor muscle tone in the bowel and abdomen, lack of fiber in your diet, or medications… it’s a long list.
(Help battle poor muscle tone in the bowel with some morning sit-ups or by working up to a ten second plank.)
When things in the colon slow down, it makes it harder to evacuate your bowels and can make constipation a constant issue.
So when it comes to bladder issues, one of the best ways to strengthen your bladder is to perform kegel exercises. This is true whether you are male or female.
Simply contract your pelvic floor muscles for a count of 10, then relax the muscles for another count of 10. Repeat the exercise 8 to 12 times, 3 times a day.
As far as bowel movements are concerned, dietary fiber is really important… and not the only answer though. The main content in your stool is bacteria. So eating more non-soluble fiber will increase the growth beneficial bacterial count, and then pass it on through and out leaving a healthier gut.
The three best ways to ensure regular, healthy bowel movements are to eat enough fiber, (fruits and vegetables) drink enough water (at least half your body weight times ounces daily minus the caffeine), and get plenty of physical activity.
And because moving bacteria through the system is critical, be sure you are taking a probiotic, especially if you have problems moving your bowels.
Choose one that contains a prebiotic along with lactobacillus, bifidobacteria and other strains of healthy bacteria. The higher the colony count and the more live strains involved, the better off you’ll be.
If taking another pill is not to your liking, drinking a kombucha brand you like daily will give you a prebiotic/probiotic and digestive enzyme boost. I drink gingerade from Costco at night to maintain an easy level of gut health.
These are just three major changes that can occur in your body when you hit your 50s, and how you can deflect them.
Tune in to Part 2 of this article to discover what happens to your cardiovascular system, what type of muscle limitations you can expect and why your bone health suddenly takes on new importance.
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Osterberg EC, et al. Risks of testosterone replacement therapy in men.Indian J Urol. 2014 Jan;30(1):2-7.
Rossouw JE, et al. Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results From the Women’s Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2002 Jul 17;288(3):321-33.