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So what exactly do these hormones have to do with aging? Estrogen and testosterone levels affect sex drive and skin tone; a drop in melatonin can lead to insomnia. Wavering serotonin levels have been shown to be a factor in depression. Insulin gone haywire can mean diabetes. While the intricacies of these hormonal interrelationships are the makings of a graduate degree in endocrinology, Sears offers a layperson's short course. It boils down to this: the vastly complicated hormonal action in humans is controlled by eicosanoids, what he calls "super hormones." And eating in the way advocated by The Anti-Aging Zone, he argues, can help maintain proper eicosanoid functioning, thereby preventing the litany of health problems associated with aging--both mental and physical.
The Anti-Aging Zone is sure to be controversial: Sears recommends a daily intake of just 1,200 calories for women and 1,500 for men, about 40 percent fewer than the U.S. RDA. It's also not just a diet plan, but a lifestyle plan, with guidelines for meditation (to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone) to improve brain longevity, and moderate amounts of exercise, including strength training. But Sears adds a solid guide to supplements (the essential, the important, the exotic and expensive) and herbs, and a rundown of the mind-body-diet connection. While The Anti-Aging Zone isn't especially easy to follow, it's an eye-opening and educational guide to the aging process and the control you have over your own health.
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