Natural Health Reviews - February 2005
Febuary 2005 Issue
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Health Reviews Headlines
- Eating Breakfast Does a Heart Good
- More Exercise May Not Always Lead to Weight Loss
- Zinc Deficiency Linked to Stomach Cancer
- Carotenoids May Ward Off Prostate Cancer
- Meditation Technique Helps Lower Blood Pressure
- U.S. Healthcare Spending at $1.8 Trillion
- Ongoing Care Eases Depression
- Diet, Exercise Slow Rising Blood Sugar Levels
- Older Women Take to Tai Chi for Exercise
- Green Tea Extract Inhibits Cancer Growth
- Physicians' Performance Declines with Age
- Low Cholesterol May Mean Poorer Cognition
- Caffeine Intake Tied to Blood Pressure
- People Can Change Some Stroke Risk Factors
- Vitamin D, Calcium OK for Crohn's-Related Bone Loss
- Herb Lowers Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
- DHEA Hormone May Combat Mid-Life Depression
- Healthy Gums Helps Avoid Arteriosclerosis
- Supplement Mix May Slow Marker of Prostate Cancer
- Sunlight May Have Unexpected Anti-Cancer Effects
- Cancer Patients Elect Alternative Therapy
- Moderate Drinking May Help Bones in Women
- Secret of Getting to Sleep Revealed
- Soy May Not Pack a Strong Antioxidant Punch
- Older Men with High Mercury Levels Are at Risk
- Sunlight May Have Unexpected Anti-Cancer Effects
Health Reviews for Febuary 2005
Here is our health reviews of historical news stories covered from the Natural Health Perspective.
Monday, February 28
Skipping the first meal of the day can raise your cholesterol levels, diminished your sensitivity to insulin, as well as result in eating more calories throughout the day; according to a new study.
The study stressed the importance of eating first thing in the morning.
You can get more specific than this. Eating some protein first thing in the morning helps to stabilize your blood sugar. And, when you start the day with a full stomach you are less likely to be snacking through out the day on junk food.
"Taking up regular physical activity of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity (equal to brisk walking) per day is, besides quitting smoking, the most important change an individual can make to improve his or her general health and wellbeing," study author Dr. Ulf Ekelund told Reuters Health. And, that is all you really need to know about the subject.
The choices are: Going under the surgeon's knife, Stop eating, Stop eating junk food, Start Exercising, or some combination of these 4 choices. If you need to loose weight, then take your pick. But, please stop trying to blame somebody else for your weight problem.
People with very low levels of zinc may be at increased risk for developing stomach cancer, according to a new study.
It is speculated that zinc deficiency enhances the effects of certain nitrosamines, which can act as esophageal carcinogens.
The risk of stomach cancer in the US and Europe is very low. But Zinc, calcium, and magnesium are the three macro-minerals that should be supplemented on a daily basis. The maximum daily dosage of zinc should be 75 mg. I recommend that no more than 25 mg be taken daily on a long term basis.
Doctors have known for years that type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes usually comes on gradually, often as people gain weigh, and suffer from a condition known as pre-diabetes.
It, also, goes by the term borderline diabetes. There are many health conditions like this, such as borderline hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, etc. You are basically talking about an underlying disease process, or constitutional imbalance, which if left untreated will result in permanent tissue damage to your body.
Of course, the simple cure is called lifestyle, or eating a healthy diet and regular physical exercise.
Thursday, February 24
Dietary lycopene and other carotenoids may protect against prostate cancer, according to a new study.
The risk of prostate cancer declined with increased consumption of lycopene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and other carotenoids. Tomatoes, spinach and citrus fruits were associated with a reduced cancer risk.
You should always try to get your carotenes and carotenoids from your diet. Supplementing with beta-carotene has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer.
Transcendental meditation (TM) is an effective alternative to blood pressure-lowering medication, according to a new study.
There are many natural ways of reducing blood pressure, such as eliminating salt, caffeine, and red meat from your diet. The problem with TM is that it is expensive. TM is only one of many different forms of meditation that are available to the public. But, TM is definitely a for profit operation.
Wednesday, February 23
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released its annual report on spending which showed healthcare spending in the United States for 2004 at $1.8 trillion.
The biggest problem with allopathic care is that it costs too much. When you take responsibility for your health, you don't get sick. And, if you do get sick when you actively work on improving your health, you are more likely to recover, and to recover faster.
Wednesday, February 23
Tai chi is especially well suited for older women, according to a new study. But, culture and convenience of location could also be important factors in helping people stick to an exercise program.
Tai chi focuses on building strength, balance and flexibility through slow, fluid movements combined with mental imagery and deep breathing. Many studies have suggested that the elderly can reduce their risk of falls, lower their blood pressure and ease arthritis symptoms through the practice, and some of this research indicates tai chi can even improve heart and blood vessel function.
Tuesday, February 22
Continuous-care, rather than offering care on an acute basis, for depression leads to better outcomes and even saves on costs, according to a new study.
The study showed "the first evidence that depression disease management can become more effective and less costly with time." None the less, in natural health the patient takes primary responsibility for preventing depression by actively changing their lifestyle.
Friday, February 18
Green tea extract inhibits the growth of cancerous cells, according to a new study.
Green tea extract was found to work by interrupting the invasive processes of different kinds of cancers.
Previous research has suggested that taking green tea extract supplements is more effective than drinking green tea.
Monday, February 14
The longer a physician practices medicine, the less likely your doctor will provide appropriate care, according to a new Harvard Medical School review study.
This study shockingly found that 73 percent of previously published studies on this topic showed that a doctor's performance declines with time. More than half of the studies showed performance declines for all outcomes measured; while 21 percent showed some, but not all, aspects of a doctor's performance will decline with time.
Apparently, more clinical experience neither enhances physician knowledge nor better patient care? The study, also, strongly suggests that medicine has been re-invented over the last few years. Which is another way of saying that effective medicine did not exist until a few years ago.
Lower cholesterol levels are associated with poorer performance on cognitive function, according to new research.
Individuals in the lowest total cholesterol group (less than 200 units) performed more poorly than patients with higher cholesterol levels on tests of similarities, word fluency, attention/concentration, and overall, the investigators report. Participants in the lowest total cholesterol group were 49 percent more likely than were participants in the highest total cholesterol group (240-380) to perform poorly, and 80 percent more likely to perform very poorly, the results indicate.
The study suggests that having naturally lower levels of cholesterol is different from being treated with anti-cholesterol drugs, but I don't see any basis for making this distinction. The goal is always moderation. Extremes of any kind are simply bad for you.
Caffeine consumed by teenagers is directly related to their daytime blood pressure, according to a new study.
The importance of this new study is that, if you are suffering from high systolic (the top number) blood pressure, then your consumption of caffeine might be causing it.
People with normal blood pressure can still have a stroke due to other risks factors that can be controlled, according to a new study.
Risk factors for stroke among patients with normal blood pressure included older age, smoking, being overweight, heart disease, and stomach ulcer. In addition, having a blood pressure on the high end of normal raised the stroke risk compared with lower pressures.
Why are these people acting like preventing stroke with changes in lifestyle is a radical new discovery? Live a healthy lifestyle and you will avoid getting most, if not all, of the lifestyle diseases.
Friday, February 11
Adding bone-building prescription drugs to calcium and vitamin D therapy is not necessary in the treatment of bone loss in patients with Crohn's disease, according to a new study.
For Crohn's patients with low bone density, "our trial demonstrates that treatment with calcium and vitamin D supplementation alone will increase bone density by about 4 percent per year," he said. Adding etidronate, a bisphosphonate drug used to treat osteoporosis, did not appear to enhance the effects of calcium and vitamin D.
The actual dosage used was 500 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D a day.
I see no reason why a normal person wouldn't acceive similar results or an increase bone density at the rate of 4 percent per year. Want better results? Then engage in load bearing physical exercise.
A traditional Asian Indian medicine for treating diabetes, Salacia oblonga, lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, according to a new study.
The 1,000 mg dose decreased insulin levels by 29 percent and glucose levels by 23 percent.
Remember that herbal medicine is still medicine. In addition, some Asian Indian Herbal medicines have been found to contain toxic metal contamination.
Monday, February 7
DHEA treatment was associated with significant improvements in measures of depression and sexual functioning and may help in the treatment of minor and major depression, according to a new study.
DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is widely advertised to slow the aging process.
You might want to consider using DHEA to treat for midlife-onset depression.
Gum disease may lead to stroke or cardiovascular disease, according to a new study.
"Our data provide evidence of a direct relationship between periodontal microbiology and subclinical atherosclerosis. This relationship exists independent of C-reactive protein."
Despite what this article claims, this is a very old news story. Nothing new here. Inflammation, such as from gum disease, is a risk factor for heart disease and a whole host of other diseases.
Friday, February 4
A mix of dietary supplements slows prostate cancer progression in some men, according to new research.
This "study demonstrates that this dietary intervention reduces DHT and testosterone levels and increases free PSA doubling time (and total PSA doubling time in a relevant subgroup)."
The supplement mixture included green tea extract, a soy extract supplying estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogens, and antioxidants such as lycopene, cholesterol-fighting plant sterols and the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium.
The supplement mixture appeared to slow rising hormone levels which are biomarkers for prostate cancer progression. So, it basically is for prevention rather than a quick fix cure.
Thursday, February 3
More than a third of European cancer patients use complementary and alternative medicine, according to new research.
"Herbs, homeopathy, medicinal teas and vitamin and mineral supplements were the most common of the 58 CAM treatments mentioned in the survey. Patients in Israel, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Greece and Iceland also used spiritual therapies."
"CAM users tended to be female, younger and more highly educated and pancreatic, liver, bone and brain cancer patients (i.e. patients with poor prognosis) used CAM significantly more often than other patients."
Having looked into this type of research for quite a while, I conclude that the scientific community suffers from denial. These people actually consider the use of CAM as a negative. They reason that if somebody uses CAM they either are being scammed or that they believe in magic. Apparently they think cancer patients are suppose to quietly suffer in pain and die at some conventional hospital. There is a demand in the marketplace for CAM for a reason. People with cancer use CAM because they do not want to live in pain and they do not want to die. Nothing surprising or negative about that.
Wednesday, February 2
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is linked with higher bone mineral density in women, according to new research.
"Alcohol consumption was found to be positively associated with BMD at the lumbar spine and sites at the hip reflecting both cortical and trabecular bone."
Another plus for women interested in drinking for health reasons.
Listening to slow music at bedtime for 45 minutes is the way to get a restful night's sleep, according to Taiwanese research.
Those who listened to soft, slow music experienced physical changes that promote a restful night of sleep, such as lower heart and respiratory rates. It took 3 weeks of listening to music each night to achieve these results.
"Music resulted in significantly better sleep quality in the experimental group, as well as significantly better components of sleep quality: better perceived sleep quality, longer sleep duration, greater sleep efficiency, shorter sleep latency, less sleep disturbance and less daytime dysfunction."
Music is not a quick fix for an episode of insomnia, but rather a long term solution. I suspect that repeated listening to the same slow music creates a conditioned response. Listening to the same music for 3 weeks trains your mind to associate sleep with the music. Thus, playing the music subconsciously will induce sleep as a conditioned reflex. By focusing on the music, you should be able to slow your mind down and stop all your self-talk. In addition, the slow tempo was probably responsible for the better sleep quality.
Soy is not an antioxidant powerhouse, according to a new study.
The new study found that neither soy nor isolated isoflavones had much of an impact on markers of oxidative stress, such as the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Soy is a totally unnatural food that has to be highly processed before it is safe to consume. Soy, thus, violates the maxim that warns us not to eat process foods. The regular consumption of large amounts of soy can, also, cause thyroid problems in some people.
Tuesday, February 1
Middle-aged men should stop eating fish with high mercury contamination because it could put them at greater risk for heart attacks and other heart ailments, according to a Finnish researcher.
This is really an old story. What applies for one ailment, always applies to many others. Ergo, it is easier to talk about healthy lifestyles than to go down the never ending list of ailments over and over again.
I have written about mercury in fish recently, so you should simply avoid eating fatty fish that are physically big in size. You should only eat large amounts of tiny fish.
Two new studies suggest that exposure to sunlight might not be as risky for cancer as is generally believed.
Researchers found that high UV radiation exposure, from frequent sunbathing and sunburns, cuts the risk of the non-Hogkins type of lymphoma by up to 40 percent.
"A history of high UV exposure was associated with reduced risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The positive association between skin cancer and malignant lymphomas is, therefore, unlikely to be mediated by UV exposure."
In the second study, researchers noted that sun exposure is linked to better survival in patients with melanoma. This research suggests that sunlight-related tumors are less aggressive than those not tied to sun exposure.