I’ve been writing to you a lot lately about our paleo ancestors because in some important ways, they lived a much healthier lifestyle than we do today. This is partly due to the lack of unnatural anxiety in their lives.
I’m not saying they were stress-free by any means. They had the stress of fighting for their dinner, finding shelter, and protecting themselves from predators. But, as brutal as those types of stressors are, we were built to handle them and get over them.
It’s completely different now. Modern-day people are constantly moving. It’s always hurry, hurry! And worry, worry. This makes it easy to forget the pleasurable things in life. Things like social intimacy, family, friends, and most of all fun and laughter.
When you stop and think about it, those are really important ways to be happier and remain that way. A happier disposition equals healthier living.
You and I are naturally made to appreciate humor as an anxiety and stress reliever. But in the modern world, we encounter anxiety and stress that don’t go away, and this can affect our quality and length of life.
I read about a Norwegian study that says adults who see humor in life are 35% more likely to live a longer life than those who do not.1 Not a single pharmaceutical can make the same claim. You know that stress can make health conditions worse. So is it such a leap to believe that laughter can improve health?
I found a fascinating case where it did. The American Physiological Society published the story of Norman Cousins. He was diagnosed with an “incurable” autoimmune disease. Yet Norman believed that laughter could help improve his situation. So he watched funny TV shows on a regular basis to test his theory. “Funny” enough, his incurable disease went into complete remission.2
After reading that study, I dug deeper to see what else I could learn on this theory. One of the most interesting studies I came upon was on diabetics. Twenty high-risk diabetics were broken into two groups – control and laughter. After 12 months, research showed multiple “significant improvements” in the health of the laughter group over the control group.3
The reason could be something I write to you about often… the telomere.
Turns out, people with a lot of anxiety and stress have shorter telomeres.
One study found that stress and anxiety are associated with shorter telomeres.4
Another study found that if you bottle up all your anxiety and keep it all inside, it shortens your telomeres by a huge amount.5
To offset this, you want to help your body maintain your telomeres.
The first way to do this is to take a minute and slow down and see the humor in everyday life. Watch a funny movie… visit a comedy club. You’ll probably have a great time. And… you may live longer, too.
In fact, do you want to hear the funniest joke in the world? If you do searches for the “funniest joke” this is the most common winner for U.S. audiences…
A couple of hunters are out in the woods when one of them grabs his chest, falls to the ground, and then lies there motionless.
The other hunter grabs his mobile phone and quickly dials 9-1-1. “My friend won’t get up, and I think he’s dead! What should I do?”
The operator calmly says, “Just take it easy. I can help. First, you have to make sure he’s dead.”
There’s a silence… then the operator hears a gun blast.
The hunter’s voice comes back on the line. “Okay, what do I do next?”
The second way to maintain your telomere length is with a specialized amino acid called alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG).
This simple molecule does three things for you:
I recommend the arginine-AKG form because arginine is another amino acid that elevates telomerase.
You can take AKG alone as a powdered supplement. You can take up to 1 gram (1000 mg) a day. Learn other natural alternatives to improving health by subscribing to my FREE daily email newsletter, “Doctor’s House Call“.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Svebak S, Kristoffersen B, Aasarød K. “Sense of Humor and Survival among a County Cohort of Patients with End-Stage Renal Failure: A Two-Year Prospective Study.” Intl J Psy Med. 2006;Vol 36, No. 3 /269-281. 2. Cousins N. “Mirthful Laughter,” Coupled With Standard Diabetic Treatment, Raises Good Cholesterol And May Lower Heart Attack Risk. The American Physiological Society. 2009. 3. Berk L, Tan S. “Mirthful Laughter, As Adjunct Therapy in Diabetic Care, Increases HDL Cholesterol and Attenuates Inflammatory Cytokines and hs-CRP and Possible CVD Risk.” Loma Linda University, 2009. 4. Hoen P, Rosmalen J, Schoevers R, Huzen J, van der Harst P, de Jonge P. “Association between anxiety but not depressive disorders and leukocyte telomere length after 2 years of follow-up in a population-based sample.” Psychol Med. 2013;43(4):689-97. 5. Shalev I, et. al. “Internalizing disorders and leukocyte telomere erosion: a prospective study of depression, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.” Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Jan 14. Epub ahead of print. 6. Chein E, Demura H. “Bio-Identical Hormones and Telomerase: The Nobel Prize-Winning Research Into Human Life Extension and Health.” iUniverse, 2011. 333 pages. 7. Gomez-Garcia L et al, “Direct activation of telomerase by GH via phosphatidylinositol 3’-kinase. J Endocrinol 2005 Jun;185(3):421-8. 8. Liu J1, Kim J, Oberdoerffer P. “Metabolic modulation of chromatin: implications for DNA repair and genomic integrity.” Front Genet. 2013 Sep 17;4:182.