June 25, 2016

Natural Remedies for Healthy Pets

Do you consider your pet a part of the family?  I sure do.  I am not only concerned with what I put in my children’s body, but what goes in my dog’s body, as well.  Would you serve you kids the leftover parts from a butcher shop, give them pesticides or chemicals to ingest?  Many times we don’t even consider what we are actually feeding our pets.  Just because it is labeled for pets, does not mean it is actually GOOD or healthy for them.

I know so much about holistic pet care because I am not only a naturopathic doctor, but our family breeds Weimaraners. The health of our dogs is of utmost importance to us, so we use only natural foods and therapies for our dog and puppies. Our dogs are healthy, vibrant and full of life.  I strongly believe that your pet’s health and lifespan are directly affected by what you put into their bodies.

It is important to be informed about your options in pet care in order to make the best decisions for your pet’s health and well-being. I believe that “standard” care is causing more harm than good, so in this article I will cover natural remedy therapies and alternative pet care.  Most animal diseases and problems can be both avoided and treated naturally.

Finding a Holistic Vet

A typical veterinary office is similar to a regular doctor’s office, which essentially practices “Western Medicine” on animals. Drugs, antibiotics and pesticides are their “medicines” of choice to treat only the symptoms and do nothing to correct the underlying problem of your pet.

The first and most important thing to do for the health of your pet is to find a holistic vet in your area.  Even if it is a bit of a drive, the natural treatments for your animals are well worth it, especially when it comes to more serious diseases like cancer.  I was lucky enough to find a fantastic holistic vet nearby who has taught me much of what I know today about holistic pet care. She changed our dog’s life after having a bad experience with a standard vet.

You can find a holistic vet in your area by going to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association website here:


The Vaccination Myth

If you take your dog or cat to a standard vet, the first thing they are going to want to do is get them “up to date” on their vaccinations.  However, holistic veterinarians and myself believe that these yearly vaccines can assault your pet’s immune system, bombarding them with a whole host of potential problems and diseases.  Holistic veterinarians state, and science has proven, that most vaccines are completely unnecessary.

Dr. Ronald Shultz, a Veterinary Immunologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, pioneered the vaccine schedule that most holistic vets follow today.  He backs his recommendations with over 25 years worth of vaccine research. Dr. Shultz states that most vaccines given after a dog’s first year have little or no value and don’t offer adequate protection..  These unneeded vaccines can cause many adverse side-effects.  Dr. Shultz’s research shows, that if your puppy gets vaccinated at 12 weeks with a booster 4 to 6 weeks later, then he/she is likely immune for life!

The Holistic Vaccine Protocol

According to Dr. Shultz’s Research, there are only 3 vaccines that are necessary for your dog.

Recommended Vaccines for Every Dog

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus

The holistic vaccination schedule recommends your dogs first vaccinations of distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus be given between 12-14 weeks with a booster of each given 4 weeks later.  Most likely no other vaccinations will be needed for the life of your dog.  However, a titer can be used later to test your dog’s antibodies to see if additional boosters are necessary.

I also recommend giving your dog the homeopathic, Thuja, to counteract the vaccines side-effects.  Give them a 30C dose of two pellets 30 minutes before and after the vaccination.  Follow that with 2 pellets twice a day for the following 3 days.  This will help detoxify your dogs system from the potential dangerous ingredients and their side-effects.

Your Pet Is Already Vaccinated, Now What?

If you already have a pet that has been vaccinated several times, you are probably wondering what you should do now.  Most likely, they have all the necessary antibodies for those diseases.  If it makes you or your vet more comfortable, you can have your pet’s blood titered to make sure.  Most vaccines, including the rabies vaccine, will keep your pet immune for at least 8 years.

The Rabies Secret

Most holistic veterinarians believe the rabies vaccine is one of the most harmful vaccines to a dog’s system.  However, it is required by law.  The rabies vaccine is available in both one and three year doses.

Here is a little helpful secret.  The 3-year vaccine is not any stronger and is the exact same dosage as the one-year.  Choosing the 3 year rabies vaccine will not only save you money, but will save your dog from the dangers of being overly vaccinated.

Treating Pet Problems Naturally

Even if you feed your dog or cat natural food and avoid over vaccinating, they can still develop health problems with age, or simply because of a genetic disposition.  I have seen our dog overcome her genetic health predispositions with just a few supplements.  If you are fed up with conventional pet care therapies not working, then this is for you.  Just like our bodies, an animal’s body is designed to heal itself.  Natural supplements help facilitate that healing.

Immune System and Allergies

Our dog’s breed, like many dogs and cats, is prone to allergies.  When your pet has allergies, it is an immune issue.  The best way to combat it is not with anti-histamines, but with a good immune booster.  There are several amazing immune boosters for pets.  My favorites include:

  • Colostrum

Just 1 pill a day cured our dog’s allergies.  It is easy to sprinkle on their dog food and has no risk of overdose.

  • Probiotics

Be sure and buy a pet specific probiotic.  These are not only good for the immune system, but for upset tummies.  They are also a must following an antibiotic to replenish their good bacteria.

  • Echinacea

Purchased in herbal or homeopathic form, this is a great anti-viral and immune booster.  Add 1-10 drops to your pet’s food, depending on weight.

  • Vitamin C

Buy the non-acidic calcium ascorbate form so it doesn’t upset their stomach.  Add 50-500 mg into their dog food, again depending on their weight.

Good natural pet food is essential for a compromised immune system, as well.  Many dogs are sensitive to grains like corn and wheat, so avoid them.  By-products and chemical ingredients in their food can also lower their immune system.

Also, make sure your dog is getting some sun.  The make vitamin D from sun exposure too, which is essential therapy for the immune system.  I give my big 80-pound dog a teaspoon of cod liver oil in the winter months to give her some extra vitamin D. Smaller dogs would need less, of course.


Many dogs suffer from anxiety.  Sometimes it is from separation or maybe certain situations like a car ride make them anxious.  There are some great natural remedies on the market for pet anxiety.  Here are my two pet care favorites:

  • Rescue Remedy

Squirt a couple drops in the mouth of a smaller dog, or use a full dropper for larger ones.  Rescue Remedy is a blend of non-toxic flower essences that help calm and relax.  It is great for humans, too!

  • Healthy Calm by Renew Life

This flavored chew is a tasty treat packed with calming herbs like lemon balm and hops.  It also has amino acids GABA and L-Theanine, which promote relaxing brain activity.

Flea Repellents and Heartworm Alternatives

Keeping your animal flea and tick free is extremely important.  However, most collars, powders and even the longer lasting repellents like Frontline, are essentially chemical pesticides.  These chemicals can soak through their skin and cause your pet health issues like seizures and respiratory distress.   More importantly, you and your kids can also be exposed to those toxic chemicals by simply hugging or petting your pet!  In my opinion, if it says it is dangerous to ingest, then it is dangerous to apply to their coat, as well.

I have been using natural repellents with great results.  You can make your own using essential oils or purchase one already made.  Here is the blend I make for my dog.

Natural Flea and Ticket Repellent Recipe

Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.  Add the following essential oils.

  • 15 drop of citronella
  • 10 drops of pennyroyal
  • 10 drops of germanium (this is specifically for ticks)

Shake before using.  Spray your pet down every 2-3 days or before they go into a wooded area.

Neem is another fantastic natural repellent.  I have used Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray with great results.

Heartworm Prevention

You may have good intentions giving your dog heartworm meds, but these tablets are just another chemical pesticide.  This “medicine” is packed full of potential side-effects, including death!

The cause of heartworms is mosquitoes; so using the repellent above can help tremendously.  However, you can also prevent heartworms with a blend of herbs that is also designed to kill intestinal worms and parasites.  I give my dog an herbal blend of garlic, clove, black walnut and wormwood.  I put several drops in her dog food a few times a week during the warmer months.  No need for wormer or heartworm meds with this powerful blend!

Natural Pet First Aid Kit

Lastly, I want to list some natural remedies I feel are important to have on hand for natural pet care.  This can be essentially your pet’s “first aid” kit.

  1. Colloidal Silver

This natural antibiotic is good for bacterial infections, stomach problems (from eating bad pet food), cuts and scrapes and eye infections.

  1. Purification Oil by Young Living

Dab on your pets collar for bug repellent or use on skin irritations and bug bites.  This oil dissolved a large cyst that was on my dog’s ear in just 5 days.  It is an amazing blend.

  1. Activated Charcoal

This is what vets use when a dog or cat eats something poisonous because it absorbs toxins.  Also great in a smaller dosage for diarrhea and upset stomachs.

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide

I learned about this when one of our puppies ate mouse poison at a friend’s house.  Making them drink hydrogen peroxide is a natural way to cause them to vomit.  Use only in extreme circumstances, of course! Having this on hand can save your pet’s life!

Natural Health for Longer Life

I hope I inspired you to take a closer look at what you do for your pet’s health. Knowing how to keep your pet naturally healthy can save you thousands of dollars in vet bills.  It can also greatly extend the life of your pet.  Not only that, better health equals better quality of life.  As for myself, I want my dog healthy and around as long as possible.

Did this article open your eyes to something new? Did I inspire you to take charge of your pet’s health in a more natural way?

I’d love to hear your feedback. If you already use natural remedy methods with your pet, I would also love to hear some of your tips and success stories.  Please write your comments below.





Amanda Box is a Doctor of Naturopathy and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 10 years and currently has a Naturopathic consulting practice in Sioux Falls, SD.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic doctor to turn to for your personal needs, Dr. Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.



Time For A Pet-A-Cure

Health Benefits that Pets Provide

Welcome, dear reader! Once again I will attempt to distract your attention away from the “white noise” of such current topics as solar flares, global warming, politics and hate crimes to something that can melt even the coldest heart — pets!

That’s right, friends! This month’s topic is “Natural Pet Health.” If you have read my previous articles, then it will not surprise you that I lean toward a variation on a theme, and this one will be no different. Instead of giving you tips on grooming or how to keep your pet healthy (I will leave that to our experts!), I want to share the many ways God’s amazing animals keep us happier and healthier.

Need for Puppy Channel

You would be hard pressed to find a single person in America unfamiliar with football, let alone The Super Bowl. Friends and family gather around the big screen for food, fun and fellowship.

Not to be outdone, Animal Planet took a gamble and launched “The Puppy Bowl,” a mock football game comprised of adorable canine “athletes” playing with a toy football tugging, rolling and peeing on a field in a “puppy” stadium. It became a smash hit!

Each year they “up the ante” and this season, kittens took to the field at halftime. They even had potbelly pigs as cheerleaders! People lit up Facebook and Tweeted with abandon as the announcer asked the question, “America, who do you think should be this years MVP (Most Valuable Puppy)?”

In a world of uncertainty, these precious creatures offer a well needed escape. With all of our technology, nothing goes “viral” quicker on YouTube than a talking dog or a “clairvoyant” cat! Around the globe, people are obsessed with animals… and for good reason! Their unconditional love and faithfulness produce health benefits for humans that are nothing short of miraculous.

Furry Friends Can Aid Your Health

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 57% of American households own at least one pet. Compared to non-pet owners, the 57% of pet owners enjoy far better health and well-being.

Karen Allen, PhD, a researcher from the University of Buffalo, conducted a controlled study of 48 stockbrokers who were all taking hypertension medication. Half (24) were given their choice of a dog or cat to take home and care for. After a couple of weeks with the pets, blood pressure and heart rates were administered to all of the participants. Those with a pet had lower heart rates and drops in their blood pressure, but the participants without pets showed no change. Once those without pets saw the results, many went out and got a pet!

A recent article from Healthstatus.com listed the following health benefits pet owners enjoy:

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What Dogs Eat – Is Pet Shop Food Dangerous?


Vet: I’m afraid, there is nothing we can do…

You: But…I didn’t know.

– Ignorance quickly turns to remorse, when the vet prepares to euthanize your best friend.

 “Knowing is half the battle.” ~ G.I. JOE  

12 Reasons to Start Preparing Your Pet’s Meals – Instead of Feeding Them Pre-Packaged, Processed Junk Food

It is not possible to know exactly what is in those big ole bags of industrial food you buy for your pets. But, the ingredients we can see reads like a laundry list of unhealthy junk-food we try to stay away from ourselves.

  • Bone meal
  • Animal fat
  • Cereal by-product
  • Meat by-products
  • Ethoxyquin
  • Xlitol
  • Fishmeal
  • Corn syrup
  • Menadione
  • Ammoniated glycyrrhizin
  • Propylene glycol
  • Food coloring

If You Wouldn’t Eat It – Why Feed It To Your Pet?

As you’ll soon see, some of these ingredients are not only unhealthy – but they are downright toxic. They attack your pet’s liver, kidneys and other vital systems. If it goes uncorrected, then the unthinkable becomes reality.

The symptoms of liver toxicity, kidney failure and diabetes can happen slowly over weeks and months. You’ll  notice your pooch becoming lethargic and when you expect the usual spritely response to “ Go get your leash,” you may see a dim, unenthused, stare behind her glazed over eyes. You might find she’s barely touched her breakfast and whatever she does take in comes right back out. These are the danger signs that you are slowly poisoning your pet.

If you were to Google the ingredients listed above, this is what you would find:

A laundry list of foods “unfit for human consumption”

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Diet For Cats: Raw Foods

Feeding Cats a Diet of Whole Raw Foods Based on Nature’s Model

A Cat is a Cat is a Cat

Hunting is natural behavior in cats. I have a cat that brings birds, chipmunks and mice to my front door to show how much she “loves” me. In fact, last summer somehow I let my cat in and she had a live bird.  It was my turn to “hunt” the bird – and get it out of my house!

In nature, cats eat their prey whole.  When a mother cat is teaching her kittens to hunt she will bring home dead prey for the kittens to eat. Once they are older she will bring home injured prey for the kittens and make the final kill in front of the kittens.  It is perfectly natural for these carnivorous animals to eat whole raw foods.

However, many of us that love to cuddle up to our cats in the warmth of our own homes, hate to think of these adorable creatures as carnivores.  But by God’s design, cats are naturally equipped with:

  • Strong predatory instincts – stalking, chasing and pouncing
  • Jaws that open and close in a vertical plane only, rather than moving horizontally, to break apart bones and tear meat
  • Strong stomach acids for neutralizing potentially harmful bacteria from raw meat and short digestive tracks to digest bones

Because of the cat’s particular anatomical and physiological design, the most ideal and natural way for them to consume nutrition is meat, organs and bones of raw meat, which is why you should consider a raw food diet for your cat.

How Safe Is Your Pet Food?

I spend a good amount of time thinking about what to feed myself.  I want to eat naturally, healthy nutrient-dense food so my body can heal itself. I also want my cat to have healthy hip joints, strong teeth and shiny teeth – don’t you want the same for your pet?

I have realized that pet food, like people food, is full of ridiculous gimmicks and needs investigation into their ingredients and a skeptical look at their claims.

Cooked commercial cat food is sometimes made from animals that died of illness or reject animal parts of animals that were fed steroids.

As for safety, there are plenty of pet food recalls because dogs and cats have died after eating food containing ingredients from China that were found to contain melamine. Other recalls happen on a smaller scale, so watch-out for repeat offenders.  Not all pet foods are created equal.

The Many Health Advantages of Raw Whole Foods

The benefit of raw foods for pets is

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Travel Safely with A Pet

Pet Travel Tips – How to best travel with a dog or cat.

The travel season is approaching and most of us wish Fido or Fluffy could come along on our vacation. Besides, kennels can get expensive! Traveling with your pet can be safe, if you take the proper precautions, says Robert L. Ridgway, DVM.

Remember these three rules to traveling with a pet: Prepare, start without treatment, treat as needed along the way.

1.  Prepare your pet for travel by starting with short trips in the car so the animal gets used to the movement.

Many pets will tolerate trips in a car or a plane just fine. Help your pet prepare for your travel well ahead of time by letting him in the car with you (properly restrained for your safety and his) on short trips around the neighborhood or to the drive-thru bank teller or ATM.

Just remember:

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Ellen Degeneres Puts Pets First

For more than 20 years, HALO has been known for their holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. With nutrition being the #1 important factor in the quality of a pet’s life, HALO offers quality food, treats, supplements, and grooming supplies to help maintain animal health.

“The only leading brand to exclusively use fresh meats, poultry and fish – no chicken meal or other rendered animals parts. “

Now, entertainer and HALO co-owner Ellen DeGeneres shows you how to have a happier and healthier pet inside and out with this innovative line of natural care items for furry friends.

Ellen DeGeneres established the HALO Pet Foundation to educate people on responsible pet ownership, eliminating animal abuse and reducing the overpopulation of uncared for pets. Ellen believes in treating your pets as well as you treat yourself.

If you read the label on any of the HALO pet food, you will be able to easily recognize all of the ingredients – and pronounce them!  In fact, it is practically good enough for you to eat with ingredients you might even consider making something for yourself! The holistic pet care approach has driven Ellen and Halo to develop all-natural products that are wholesome and of unparalleled quality.

“If you love your pets, you only want the very best for them, and this food is the highest quality. And if you forget to go to the grocery store, you can actually split a can with your dog. If you’re going with the lamb, I’d recommend a nice Pinot.” ~ Ellen DeGeneres

In April 2012, Ellen helped the Postal Service launch a pet adoption awareness stamp featuring adopted animals. The campaign was a huge success in efforts to help shelter friendly animals and donate millions of meals that are holistic and natural.

In addition, Ellen loves “The Gentle Barn,” an organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abused animals of all kinds. She and her partner even adopted cows “Holy” and “Madonna” to help rehabilitate after being abused and neglected. Visit www.GentleBarn.org for more information about the passion behind rehabilitated animals that serve as ambassadors helping to heal abused children.

You can find HALO pure pet food at Whole Foods or Petco.

Pet Joint Supplements Review

Supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin are often used in cats and dogs, and appear to work very well in support of joint health.  Joint supplements help promote better mobility for pets with hip & joint problems.

Glucosamine provides the building block of cartilage. Chondroitin also is one of the products necessary for a production of cartilage. Glucosamine plus chondroitin work better together than either ingredient alone.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are used to slow the progression of osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), which is the deterioration of cartilage between joint bones common in older dogs and cats. Many animals taking a joint supplement no longer require a pain reliever.

Twelve products were tested by independent lab company for quality standards.  Unfortunately, 4 pet products failed to meet requirements for safety consumption.  The four glucosamine and chondroitin pet products to AVOID for joint problems are the following:

  •  Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast with Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  •  Joint Complete for Dogs and Cats
  • Joint Max Regular Strength
  •  K-9 Liquid Health Glucosamine with Chondroitin and MSM

Most dogs and cats can safely stay on a joint supplement for the rest of their lives. Once the product has provided pain  and joint support for 6-8 weeks, the dose can often be reduced, with very few side-effects. The safety of the following nine joint health supplements are approved for quality standards and the long-term treatment of joint problems.

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Energy Tonic for Pets

Energy Tonic is natural herbal remedy to support healthy energy levels in dogs and cats.

Increase Vitality in Your Dogs and Cats

As is the case in humans, the energy levels of our pets can fluctuate from day to day based on a variety of factors, including fitness, health levels, diet — and even boredom.

Energy levels  – in pets and humans alike – can also decrease as a result of the natural aging process. Thankfully, we can help restore our pet’s vigor and vitality to act and feel like a puppy or kitten again with Energy Tonic.

Considering adopting a rescue pet?  They might be lethargic, gloomy or depressed from trauma.  With the double blessing of your love and Energy Tonic, the rescued pet will be well on their road to recovery! You won’t be surprised to see the rescued pet perk up with each daily dose! You will be happy pet owner with new happy pet!

Natural Remedies for Energy

Energy Tonic combines a perfect blend of therapeutic herbs to support energy, blood circulation and oxygen flow throughout your pet’s body. For the weary, listless, bored and disinterested pet in your life, Energy Tonic will increase their health, demeanor and vitality with a natural herbal remedy.

Please take proper care for your pet and ensure they are getting the right diet of quality raw and unprocessed foods without food additives and toxins. Furthermore, with regular exercise you can keep your pet optimally healthy and fit.

Add Energy Tonic to your pet’s food or treat with the following guidelines:

  • Cats: 1/2 capsule twice daily
  • Dogs under 20 lbs: 1/2 capsule twice daily
  • Dogs 20-50 lbs: 1 capsule twice daily
  • Dogs over 50 lbs: 1-2 capsules twice daily

Optimal Results with Energy Tonic

The natural ingredients in Energy Tonic are herbal remedies that create a holistic balance of systemic health for your pet.  Used on a consistent basis, it will relieve ailments and help prevent future disease as a part of a preventative measure for their well-being. Natural remedies should be your preferred choice to treat any of your pet’s conditions.

Natural Herbal Remedy Energy Tonic is your answer for a happy and playful pet!

Fight fatigue and increase energy for your dog or cat by ordering Energy Tonic Securely Online HERE.




Resistance to Change

We humans are intrinsically resistant to change and fearful of the unknown. The anxiety we feel when we begin to change or venture into the unknown is actually our protective mechanism, and it can cause us—at least initially—to misinterpret or fail to recognize what is, in fact, a true core desire.

To see how this works, imagine that a stranger is ringing your doorbell. The family dog becomes instantly alert and is ready to jump on whoever is about to come into your home. The stranger represents change, and the dog is your protective mechanism. Consciously, you may think that the stranger is there for a good purpose, but subconsciously, your instinct is still to be afraid. The key, then, is to calm your dog down so that the person can safely come in.

After a while, if the person is truly well intentioned, the dog will get used to him and will no longer try to attack him. But if, on the other hand, you were wrong in your initial assessment, the dog will know it and will continue to try to protect you. If that happens, your original plan of action may need adjusting.

So, being aware of how your protective dog works will enable you to venture into change smoothly and safely.


Nordine Zouareg is a former Mr. Universe, an International Fitness Coach, Speaker and Author of the book Mind Over Body: The Key to Lasting Weight Loss is All in Your Head! He offers world-class advice on health and fitness, inner balance and stress management, and achieving one’s full potential the inner keys to extraordinary performance. An inspiring message of hope and achievement, based on his own extraordinary story. For more information, visit: www.NordineZ.com


Happy-Go-Lucky Types Die Younger

Cheer up. Stop wor­ry­ing. Don’t work so hard. That may be some of the worst ad­vice you could give some­one who in­tends to live a long life, a new study sug­gests.

“It’s sur­pris­ing just how of­ten com­mon as­sump­tions – by both sci­en­tists and the me­dia – are wrong,” said psy­chol­o­gist How­ard S. Fried­man of the Uni­vers­ity of Cal­i­for­nia, who led the 20-year stu­dy. He and co-re­search­ers pub­lished the find­ings in a book en­ti­tled The Longe­vity Proj­ect: Sur­pris­ing Dis­cov­er­ies for Health and Long Life from the Land­mark Eight-Decade Study (Hud­son Street Press, March 2011).

“Probably our most amaz­ing find­ing was that per­son­al­ity char­ac­ter­is­tics and so­cial rela­t­ions from child­hood can pre­dict one’s risk of dy­ing dec­ades lat­er,” Fried­man said.

The team an­a­lyzed da­ta gath­ered by the late psy­chol­o­gist Lou­is Ter­man of Stan­ford Uni­vers­ity in Cal­i­for­nia and sub­se­quent re­search­ers on more than 1,500 bright chil­dren who were about 10 years old when they were first stud­ied in 1921. The Longevity Proj­ect, as the study be­came known, fol­lowed the chil­dren through their lives, col­lect­ing in­forma­t­ion that in­clud­ed family his­to­ries and rela­t­ion­ships, teach­er and par­ent rat­ings of per­son­al­ity, hob­bies, pet own­er­ship, job suc­cess, educa­t­ion levels, military serv­ice and more.

“We came to a new un­der­stand­ing about hap­pi­ness and health,” said psy­chol­o­gist Les­lie R. Mar­tin, a study col­la­bo­ra­tor who is now at La Si­er­ra Uni­vers­ity in Riv­er­side, Ca­lif. “One of the find­ings that really as­tounds peo­ple, in­clud­ing us, is that the Longevity Proj­ect par­ti­ci­pants who were the most cheer­ful and had the best sense of hu­mor as kids lived shorter lives, on av­er­age, than those who were less cheer­ful and jok­ing. It was the most pru­dent and per­sist­ent in­di­vid­u­als who stayed health­i­est and lived the longest.”

The cheer­ful, hap­py-go-lucky kids tended to take more risks with their health across the years, Fried­man not­ed. While an op­ti­mis­tic ap­proach can be help­ful in a cri­sis, “We found that as a gen­er­al life-orienta­t­ion, too much of a sense that ‘ev­ery­thing will be just fine’ can be dan­ger­ous be­cause it can lead one to be care­less about things that are im­por­tant to health and long life. Pru­dence and per­sis­tence, how­ev­er, led to a lot of im­por­tant ben­e­fits for many years. It turns out that hap­pi­ness is not a root cause of good health. In­stead, hap­pi­ness and health go to­geth­er be­cause they have com­mon roots.”

Oth­er sur­pris­ing find­ings:

  • Mar­riage may be good for men’s health, but has lit­tle if any ef­fect on wom­en’s life­spans.
  • Be­ing di­vorced is much less harm­ful to wom­en’s health. Wom­en who di­vorced and did not re­mar­ry lived nearly as long as those who were steadily mar­ried.
  • Study sub­jects who were the most in­volved and com­mit­ted to their jobs did the best. Con­tin­u­ally pro­duc­tive men and wom­en lived much long­er than their more laid-back com­rades.
  • Start­ing for­mal school­ing too early – be­ing in first grade be­fore age 6 – is a risk fac­tor for ear­li­er mor­tal­ity. Hav­ing suf­fi­cient play­time and be­ing able to re­late to class­mates is very im­por­tant for chil­dren.
  • Play­ing with pets is not as­so­ci­at­ed with long­er life. Pets may some­times im­prove well-be­ing, but they are not a sub­sti­tute for friends.
  • Com­bat vet­er­ans are less likely to live long lives, but sur­pris­ingly the psy­cho­log­i­cal stress of war it­self is not nec­es­sarily a ma­jor health threat. Rath­er, it is a cas­cade of un­healthy pat­terns that some­times fol­lows. Those who find mean­ing in a traumat­ic ex­pe­ri­ence and are able to re­es­tab­lish a sense of se­cur­ity about the world are usu­ally the ones who re­turn to a healthy path­way.
  • Peo­ple who feel loved and cared for re­port a bet­ter sense of well-be­ing, but it does­n’t help them live long­er. The clear­est health ben­e­fit of so­cial rela­t­ion­ships comes from be­ing in­volved with and help­ing oth­ers. The groups you as­so­ci­ate with of­ten de­ter­mine the type of per­son you be­come – healthy or un­healthy.

It’s nev­er too late to choose a health­i­er path, Fried­man and Mar­tin said. The key is not to stop worry­ing, they added, but to stop worry­ing about the min­u­tiae.

“Some of the mi­nu­ti­ae of what peo­ple think will help us lead long, healthy lives, such as wor­ry­ing about the ra­tio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat­ty acids in the foods we eat, ac­tu­ally are red her­rings, dis­tract­ing us from the ma­jor path­ways,” Fried­man said. “When we rec­og­nize the long-term healthy and un­healthy pat­terns in our­selves, we can beg­in to max­im­ize the healthy pat­terns.”

“Think­ing of mak­ing changes as tak­ing ‘steps’ is a great strat­e­gy,” Mar­tin ad­vised. “You can’t change ma­jor things about your­self over­night. But mak­ing small changes, and re­peat­ing those steps, can even­tu­ally cre­ate that path to long­er life.”



David Kekich (Living Healthy to 120: Anti-Aging Breakthroughs) is President/CEO of Maximum Life Foundation that focuses on aging research, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to curing aging-related diseases. For more information, visit: www.MaxLife.org. David contributes to our column Living Healthy to 120: Anti-Aging Breakthroughs. MaxLife is helping to make the anti-aging dream a reality with cutting edge Bio-Engineering research and products.


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