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Healthy Aging - Interview with Dr. Andrew Weil

By Mara Fleishman, September 30, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Mara Fleishman
We’ve all heard the basics on healthy aging, right? Eat well, stay active, adopt daily stress relief habits… So now it’s time for the specifics. This month we have a special guest, Dr. Andrew Weil, a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Dr. Weil gives us his personal and professional recommendations on heart health, brain power, and keeping the immune system strong. General Health
  • Adequate intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids every day is a good way to ensure not only heart health, but also general physical and mental health.
  • There aren’t many dietary sources of omega-3s; the best sources are oily fish from cold Northern waters.
  • However, there are concerns about fish, such as sustainability and contaminants.
  • Dr. Weil recommends a fish oil supplement to ensure adequate intake of omega-3s. Fish oil is distilled for purity and easily available.
Healthy Brain Function
  • Supplements do have their place for brain health, but it’s important to be an informed consumer because of widespread misinformation.
  • Fish oil is one of the best supplements for the brain, as are antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. A specialized compound for brain health is PS (Phosphatidylserine) but it’s always a good idea get the advice from a professional.
  • It is best to get antioxidants from foods; supplements are useful as insurance against gaps in the diet, but are not substitutes for the foods that contain them.
Healthy Bones
  • Strength training and calcium are important for building healthy bones.
  • Dr. Weil calls Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” the single most important vitamin recommendation for bones.
  • Vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium and to build strong bones.
  • The best way to get Vitamin D is careful sun exposure.
  • Many people are deficient in Vitamin D, even in sunny locations, and one reason is that sunscreen blocks Vitamin D synthesis in the skin.
  • Dr. Weil recommends that everyone get tested for Vitamin D blood levels.
Healthy Immune System
  • For immune support, the single most important habit is to wash hands frequently.
  • Regarding supplements that support the immune system, Dr. Weil recommends an effective remedy from Chinese Medicine called astragalus, the root of a plant that is inexpensive and safe.




Jacqueline says ...
I was actually just reading that the FDA announced today that starting in 2010, both calcium AND vitamin D will be officially recognized as vital in the fight to combat osteoporosis. So it looks like Dr. Weil's constant drum beat on the importance of vitamin D is finally getting recognized. Here's another article that I've found helpful for preventing vitamin d deficiency (from a holistic/integrative approach): http://www.womentowomen.com/nutritionandweightloss/vitamind.aspx
09/30/2008 4:06:18 PM CDT
Nancy H says ...
Great podcast! Thanks for your continued dedication to bringing us great information, from industry leaders.
10/01/2008 10:24:38 AM CDT
Cathy says ...
Good to hear there is some hope for me and my horrific memory :) Fish Oil it is then. I wonder if there are any studies on fish oil and Alzheimer's
10/02/2008 2:35:12 PM CDT
Heather says ...
Brilliant podcast. I am a big fan of Weil products such as Origins, and his ongoing commitment to holistic health.
10/06/2008 4:38:28 AM CDT
Pam says ...
I appreciate Jacqueline's comment. I agree vitamin D is often overlooked as a vital supplement. B and C are always championed, but a balance of all vitamins and minerals is vital for sustained health.
10/06/2008 5:57:36 AM CDT
Rory says ...
Thanks for bringing us Dr Weil. He has been a pioneer for health and wellness, and it makes sense he would be working with Whole Foods on this project.
10/06/2008 6:03:53 AM CDT
Deann says ...
I've taken Omega 3's for a few years now. It has always left me wondering why fish are the best supply-source. Don't get me wrong I love fish, it is interesting to think about people who natural live near fish sources and those who don't. Perhaps cultures from the edge have better brain health.
10/06/2008 8:24:35 AM CDT
Olive says ...
Great point made, to get antioxidents through food rather then supplements. Fresh juice is a tremendous way to make this happen.
10/06/2008 8:48:26 AM CDT
Sally says ...
Interesting mention of vitamin "D". I live in the NE and notice as the seasons start to change, and fall and winter set in, I start to grave vitamin D. I started drinking aloe juice and it seems to help, this craving.
10/06/2008 8:56:33 AM CDT
katie says ...
Thanks for the link to women to women! Great info. I am surprise to hear that vitamin "D" helps with osteoporosis
10/06/2008 10:16:58 AM CDT
Mandy says ...
Fish oil is an excellent source of Omegas as mentioned. It also has an incredible ability to aid with sunburns. Something in the oil really helps the skin cells relieve a burn in the cells.
10/06/2008 10:27:20 AM CDT
Gina C says ...
I listened to another podcast you have which speaks to Omega importance for kids as well. I like this series. I use to not take supplements, that coupled with to much coffee consumption left my body very depleted. I appreciate that Dr. Weil mentions having your blood tested, it can give you a solid idea of your bodies needs and strengths.
10/06/2008 10:36:58 AM CDT
Wendy says ...
Flax and Kiwi are tremendous sources of the n3 Omega. Fish oils are great, but remember there are many other natural sources if you are a vegetarian.
10/06/2008 11:14:36 AM CDT
Quinn says ...
I enjoy the comments above, about sources for Omega 3's. I've known about fish oil, it is good to know about natural sources as well.
10/07/2008 8:46:25 AM CDT
Heather S says ...
The value of vitamin "D" is tremendous. We get this naturally when the sun stimulates our bodies to create D. Vitamin D is essential for promoting calcium absorption, and so it is important for women to supplement to make sure they are getting enough D.
10/08/2008 12:08:36 PM CDT
Pamela says ...
Nice series on supplements. I have my husband taking a solid multi + B to help with stress. Sometimes I think we just consider the importance of supplements to help with women's issues, but indeed they are vital for men and kids as well. Bravo.
10/08/2008 1:00:35 PM CDT
Hellen says ...
Calcium with vitamin D is vital in fighting osteoporosis. Glad to see Whole Foods and Dr Weil covering this topic.
10/08/2008 5:57:49 PM CDT
Ann says ...
Good partnership- Dr W and Whole Foods! Both champions of natural health approaches for a better life.
10/09/2008 9:09:02 AM CDT
Polly says ...
I think it is interesting that Dr Weil points to washing hands as the single most important approach for immune support. I typically only think about the immune support supplements I take + natural immune boosters such as ginger and garlic. I guess it does make sense, that if you can stop the germs getting to you it helps reduce the need for immune support.
10/09/2008 9:47:31 AM CDT
Diane W. says ...
Dr. Weil is a strong guiding voice for natural health. I appreciate Whole Foods, bringing him to your site and to us!!!
10/09/2008 10:47:25 AM CDT
Nancy says ...
It is nice to hear Dr. Weil's perspective on this subject. I enjoy his Origins product line, and have always trusted his nutritional advice.
10/10/2008 7:59:18 AM CDT
Wendy says ...
Vitamin D is always important and I really grave more during the fall and winter months. Glad to hear it also helps with calcium absorption.
10/10/2008 12:15:23 PM CDT
Ally says ...
Solid info from the best in the business! I to was unaware of the value vitamin D has in calcium integration.
10/13/2008 6:28:15 AM CDT
Olivia says ...
Again gracefully is certainly enhnaced through reduced stress and a orgnaic diet, coupled with exercise. I now see the value in adding supplements into the mix. Keep the info coming!
10/13/2008 6:31:20 AM CDT
zia says ...
I agree that fish oil is a tremendous source for Omega's. The colder the water the healthier the fish and less chance of trace chemicals such as mercury.
10/13/2008 6:36:34 AM CDT