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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.




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
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
Cynthia says ...
Wow! Dr. W. live and in the flesh. Good advice, I appreciate the insights.
10/27/2008 5:55:34 AM CDT
Moria says ...
Good to hear Dr W. speak about the value of fish oil for brain function. Also the insights on the role "D" plays with calcium is very interesting and great knowledge for women and men alike!
10/20/2008 1:00:19 PM CDT
Ella says ...
I really trust the words of Dr. Weil. He has always impressed me has coming first has a doctor and professor, then has a person who has started his own product line. Thanks for bringing us this information.
10/20/2008 7:11:43 AM CDT
fleishmanm says ...
Hi Dee Dee, please check out the "Mature Makeup" video podcast where our expert does talk about the benfits of mineral makeup for mature skin. The thing I like most about mineral makeup is that the ingredeits are supporting healthier skin so it is better to wear it than to not.
10/17/2008 10:34:19 AM CDT
Dee Dee says ...
Mineral Makeup seems like it would be a great addition to a mature skin care approach. The value of mineral makeup as I understand it, is that it helps add moisture to the skin cells.
10/16/2008 11:37:39 AM CDT
Wilma says ...
Coenzyme Q10 is produced by the body and is necessary for the basic functioning of cells. CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoQ10 levels. I have been using CoQ10 topically for the last year and have notice great change in my skin!
10/16/2008 11:49:34 AM CDT
Sean M. says ...
Dr. Weil is a brilliant man, scholar, and health expert! Great to see the partnership of two champions of natural health!
10/16/2008 9:27:38 AM CDT
Hanna J says ...
I;m just crazy about Dr. Weil and all he has done for organic skincare and supplements. It is nice to hear his voice and gain his knowledge about Vitamin D!
10/15/2008 4:21:03 PM CDT
Erin says ...
I noticed Jill's comments about the value Omega 3 can help with coronary heart disease reduction. I have a family history of heart disease and my doctor was smart enough to start me on Omega 3's 2 years ago. Hopefully this does indeed help.
10/13/2008 9:23:52 AM CDT
Jill says ...
Omega 3's are not just beneficial for brain function, they are also very helpful in combating coronary heart disease.
10/13/2008 8:48:15 AM 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
Wendy D. says ...
I'm a bit surpirsed to see the statement above: "There aren’t many dietary sources of omega-3s; the best sources are oily fish from cold Northern waters." I always thought that flax seeds were a good source of Omega-3s.
10/13/2008 6:39:46 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
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
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
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
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
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
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