Natural Health Reviews - January 2005
January 2005 Issue
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Health Reviews Headlines
- Air Pollution Linked to Hardening Arteries
- Calcium Cuts Women's Colorectal Cancer Risk
- More Time Needed for Cardiac Rehab
- New Evidence About Second Hand Smoke Dangers
- Diets Rich in Rice Bran Oil May Lower Cholesterol
- Aerobic Exercise Fights Depression
- Heart Patients Urged to Get Into Exercise
- To Avoid Stroke, Order Fish Baked
- No Evidence of Cancer Personality
- Tea Extract More Beneficial Than the Brew
- Bananas, Root Veggies May Cut Kidney Cancer Risk
- Raising HDL May Limit Heart Disease Progression
- Folate Supplements Good for Women's Blood Pressure
- Pneumococcal Vaccine Important for the Elderly, Too
- Anxiety May Worsen Disability in Older Women
- US Advisers Reject Merck Non-prescription Drug
- Best Fitness Routine May Depend on Personality
- More Women Than Men Have Thyroid Disease
- Beer May Raise Gout Risk, Wine May Not
- High Red Meat Consumption Linked to Colon Cancer
- Bran in Diet Seen to Lower Risk of Heart Disease
- Zinc Seen to Prevent Oral Cancers
- Poor Sleep Linked to Obesity
- Oleic Acid Key to Olive Oil's Anti-Cancer Effect
- Vitamin C No Boost to Exercise Performance
- Red Wine May Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk
- Herbal Extract Reduces Migraines
- Lifestyle Changes Cut Heart Risk without Drugs
- Vitamin A May Be Cancer Prevention Target
- Painkillers Damage Intestine, U.S. Expert Says
Health Reviews for January 2005
Here is our health reviews of historical news stories covered from the Natural Health Perspective.
Monday, January 31
Long-term exposure to air pollution may lead to atherosclerosis, according to new research.
"The most-exposed study participants experienced about 8 percent more artery thickening than the least-exposed participants."
This study is interesting in that commonsense says that air pollution causes cancer rather than heart disease. It points out another reason why living a healthy lifestyle makes more sense than reading about never ending research.
Friday, January 28
Calcium reduces risk of colorectal cancer, according to new research.
"Those who consumed at least 800 milligrams of calcium daily had a 26 percent lower risk of the disease compared to women who consumed less than 530 milligrams.
Women who consumed more than 412 milligrams of calcium from dietary sources and also took more than 800 milligrams in supplement form had a 46 percent lower risk."
Minerals like calcium are relatively hard to get from your diet. Supplementation is usually necessary in order to get the recommended RDA of 1,200 mg.
Thursday, January 27
It takes nine months to reach maximum improvement for people undergoing cardiac rehabilitation, according to a recent study.
"The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) definition of cardiac rehabilitation states in part that 'cardiac rehabilitation services are comprehensive, long-term programs involving medical evaluation, prescribed exercise, cardiac risk factor modification, education, and counseling. ... Exercise programs include specific types of exercise or activity, individually prescribed for each patient with a clear medical need and referral from their attending physician.'"
This study is referring to cardiovascular fitness and was measuring peak oxygen intake volume.
Researchers were surprised that it took longer than the standard 3 month rehabilitation program. Frankly, I am surprised that it happen so fast, and did not take the expected 2 to 5 years. Perhaps, exercise works faster than changing your diet alone? This study, however, is referring to one supervised exercise session a week for 38 consecutive weeks, along with an unspecified number of unsupervised exercise sessions. In other words, to get these results on your own be prepared to pay a personal trainer 30-40 dollars a session for 38 sessions (for a total of US $1,140 - $1,520), plus the gym rental fees.
New evidence makes a stronger case against the dangers of second-hand smoke, or Passive Smoking, according to a new European study. Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke during childhood raised the risk of lung cancer in adulthood more than three times.
I find it interesting that in the new millennium people still don't know that smoke and all forms of air pollution are bad for your health.
Wednesday, January 26
Aerobic exercise is just as effective as antidepressant drugs and cognitive therapy in reducing mild to moderate depression, according to a new study.
"People who exercised 30 minutes three to five times a week show a 50 percent drop in depression, and even those who exercised moderately registered a 30 percent decline."
Exercise was found just as effective as antidepressant medications. The lead author stated: "The key is the intensity of the exercise and continuing it for 30 to 35 minutes per day."
Tuesday, January 25
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommended in a recent statement that doctors strongly encourage their cardiac patients to participate in exercise based rehabilitation programs.
"Studies have shown that exercise-based cardiac rehab lowers heart-related mortality rates by 26 percent, and total mortality rates by 20 percent, compared with usual medical care."
There is nothing high tech about exercise's ability to cure all that ails you. Try it, and live longer.
Fatty fish should be broiled or baked, according to a new study.
U.S. investigators found that people who ate broiled or baked fish were up to 30 percent less likely to experience a stroke over a 12-year period. In contrast, people who ate fried fish more than once per week had a more than 40 percent higher risk of stroke.
Fatty fish, refers to tuna, sardines, salmon, herring, mackerel, or anchovies. Canned tuna is a victim of the Low-Fat diet craze sweeping the country. Most canned tuna has all of its healthy oil removed from it. To find a healthy variety, simply read food labels. Buy canned tuna, only with 3 grams or more of fat per serving. Of course, due to mercury contamination canned tuna is no longer a regular healthy option. Canned sardines are the most economical healthy fatty fish choice, due to their small size. Salmon is expensive, and is likely to be farmed fish.
Monday, January 24 Return to top
There are no cancer-prone personalities, according to a new Swedish study.
The investigators found no association between cancer risk and either of two personality traits: extroversion, the tendency to be friendly and outgoing; and neuroticism, a proclivity towards worry, anxiety and emotional ups and downs.
The study did not study how a person handles stress, however.
Taking green tea extract as a supplement delivers a stronger antioxidant punch than drinking the tea, according to new research.
The findings suggests that antioxidants from green tea extract are more easily absorbed, and lead to a higher antioxidant level in the blood. And, offers the advantages of avoiding caffeine.
I say that you need to drink something, however. So, why not decaffeinated green tea?
Sunday, January 23
Bananas, carrots, beets, root vegetables, salad greens and cabbage in the diet result in a lower risk of developing kidney cancer, according to a new Swedish study.
Women who ate bananas four to six times a week had about half the risk of kidney cancer as those who did not eat the fruit. Regular consumption of root vegetables, including carrots and beets, was linked to a 50 percent to 65 percent decrease in risk.
Eating fruits and vegetables is widely believe to reduce your risk of cancer in general. This study associated specific foods to a specific form of cancer.
Wednesday, January 19
"A combination regimen aimed at increasing HDL cholesterol levels improves cholesterol profiles, helps prevent angiographic progression of coronary stenosis, and may prevent cardiovascular events in some people who exercise regularly and eat low-fat diets," according to a new study.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is generally considered a good form of cholesterol that will lower your total cholesterol levels. No reason to wait until you come down with a case of heart disease before doing something about it.
Of course, there are natural methods of raising your HDL levels such as exercise in general, or exercising before a high fat meal.
High consumption of folic acid is associated with a decreased risk of high blood pressure, according to a recent JAMA study.
"After adjusting for multiple potential confounders, younger women who consumed at least 1000 microg/d of total folate (dietary plus supplemental) had a decreased risk of hypertension ... compared with those who consumed less than 200 microg/d[ay]." That is 2.5 times the generally recommended daily dosage of 400 mcg of folate acid. The benefit came primarily from supplementation rather than from the diet, the researchers found.
The good news is that folic acid supplements are very inexpensive.
Tuesday, January 18
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria, but not against the viral forms of this disease.
Regardless of your opinion of vaccinations in general, the typical middle age adult is a survivor of having taken at least a dozen vaccinations in their lifetime. Like the tetanus shot, the pneumococcal vaccination is worth considering. It is a one time only vaccination people are supposed to take at age 65.
For the elderly, getting sick and then dying in the hospital from an entirely different disease called pneumonia is quite common. Unfortunately, the vaccination is not nearly effective as advertised since it does not protect against viral forms of pneumonia.
Anxiety may speed the progression of some physical disabilities in older women, according to new research.
Anxiety is part of the mind-body connection which many in conventional medicine still stubbornly refuse to accept as being real. Anxiety and depression generally go together.
This study is basically talking about quality of life issues: getting out of bed, bathing, dressing and eating. Disabilities such as shakiness or dizziness could make walking or other basic quality of life activities more difficult to do.
Monday, January 17
FDA advisers urge regulators to reject over-the-counter sales of Merck & Co. Inc.'s cholesterol-lowering drug Mevacor.
Merck has been trying to sell Mevacor (lovastatin) OTC for a long time. The story goes back to Merck successfully getting the FDA to ban the sell of Cholestin. What is interesting about this old story is that Mevacor is the synthetic form of a herbal medicine called red yeast rice extract. This herbal medicine is so commonly used these days that most vitamin sellers sell at least one generic version of a red yeast rice extract. These herbal medicines, such as Cholestin, are in many respects just as toxic to your liver as Mevacor is, yet the FDA wont let Merck sell Mevacor over the counter. A 10 mg dosage of Mevacor actually costs less than Cholestin. The situation is totally bizarre.
Of course, these types of medications should only be used on a temporary basis until you can get your lifestyle under control.
Before starting a new exercise program people should determine which activity best suits their personality.
Like it or not, exercise is the perfect green prescription for all that ails you. Therefore, you need to find a form of physical exercise that you can cope with, on a long term basis.
Once you start getting results from exercise, you will get addicted to your fitness program. What is important is exercising on a long term basis. Too many people work out for a month and then stop entirely. This well known phenomena is how gyms make their money. They over sell health club memberships because most joiners will stop coming after only one month.
Sunday, January 16
"January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and endocrinologists and other clinicians are using the occasion to educate people about the risks posed by thyroid disease." For whatever reason, women are much more likely to suffer from thyroid disease than men.
Hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland is producing too little thyroid hormone can lead to high blood cholesterol levels. If you are beginning to develop hypothyroidism, you will often feel cold all the time. And, you will be more prone to catching colds and the flu. The opposite problem is called hyperthyroidism where people suffer from an overactive thyroid gland.
Of course, you can naturally treat thyroid problems with nutrition and nutritional supplements.
Monday, January 14
Rice bran has heart-healthy effects. Two studies indicate that its oil is healthy, and that it is not just the fiber, that helps lower cholesterol.
The findings from both studies show that "it is the rice bran oil, and not the fiber, that lowers blood lipids in men and women with borderline high total cholesterol."
Rice bran oil appears to be another healthy exotic oil choice, like palm oil. I for one will continue to get this oil in the form of whole rice.
Wednesday, January 12
There is a difference between alcoholic beverages and their effect on blood uric acid levels, according to a recent study.
If you are interested in drinking alcohol for health reasons, the moderate drinking of wine appears to be the ideal choice. "These data suggest that the effect of individual alcoholic beverages on serum uric acid levels varies substantially: beer confers a larger increase than liquor, whereas moderate wine drinking does not increase serum uric acid levels."
Tuesday, January 11
Long-term high consumption of red and processed meat increases risk of colon cancer, according to a new study.
Prolonged high consumption of poultry and fish was marginally associated with about a 25 percent lower risk of colon cancer, but not rectal cancer. Those who ate the most red meat were between 30 and 40 percent more likely to develop colon cancer compared with those who consumed the least.
This study brings up the meat is bad for you argument. It is not so much that meat is bad for you as it means that if you are eating too much meat you are therefore not eating enough fruits and vegetables and are,thus, missing out on many important nutrients.
A diet rich in whole grains lowers a man's risk of developing heart disease, according to a new study.
Men who ate the most whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and some breakfast cereals had an 18 percent lower risk of heart disease than men with the lowest consumption. Those who added the most bran to their diet were 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease than their peers who ate no added bran.
This study shows that whole grains are good for you. Bran is the name for one type of undigestible non-soluble fiber.
Monday, January 10
Cancer researchers found that zinc treatment may help prevent esophageal and oral cancers in individuals with a dietary zinc deficiency, in a recent study.
Zinc in the diet comes mostly from red meat and seafood. Up to 10 percent of Americans eat a zinc-deficient diet. Which would, thus, mean a very-low red meat diet.
Obese individuals report that they get less sleep per week than their normal-weight counterparts, according to a new study.
Three factors were found to affect total sleep time: being a night-shift worker, being a male, and being obese. An extra 20 minutes of sleep per night seems to be associated with a lower BMI. This study suggests that sleep deprivation may at least partially explain the epidemic of obesity.
Scientists have discovered why eating a Mediterranean diet can help to protect women from developing breast cancer: oleic acid.
The study demonstrates that the main component of olive oil, oleic acid, is able to down-regulate the most important oncogene in breast cancer.
Oleic acid is one why reason why you can benefit from adding olive oil to your diet.
Friday, January 7
Vitamin C, given intravenously to younger and older volunteers, did nothing to help them work harder on a treadmil. But the vitamin, given as ascorbic acid, did reduce oxidative stress, according to a new study.
Off hand, I would say that running is the wrong kind of exercise. Bodybuilding promotes the growth of muscle mass which vitamin C should promote.
Consumption of red wine may reduce the risk of prostate cancer in middle-aged men, according to a new study.
"Each additional glass of red wine consumed per week showed a statistically significant 6% decrease in relative risk" of prostate cancer. "No clear associations were seen for consumption of beer or liquor."
Thursday, January 6
A herbal extract of butterbur (Petasites hybridus) significantly reduces the frequency of migraine headaches, according to a new study.
The 75-mg butterbur dose reduced headache frequency by 48 percent - a substantial treatment effect, according to the lead author.
Wednesday, January 5
A 12-week lifestyle program helped adults lower high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar, according to a new study.
"The findings clearly show that many patients who have conventional risk factors for coronary heart disease can achieve goal levels without medications within 12 weeks of initiating therapeutic lifestyle changes and refute the notion that intensive lifestyle intervention is not worth the effort."
The article did not specify just what lifestyle changes were required for the improvements.
Vitamin A might help to prevent breast cancer, according to a new study.
Vitamin A promotes bone loss. So, 5 to 10,000 IU's a day is the maximun amount anyone should take.
Tuesday, January 4
More than 70 percent of patients who took NSAIDS painkillers for more than three months suffered damage to their small intestines, according to a new study.
Bad news for long term users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
"Acetaminophen, unlike other common analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen, has no anti-inflammatory properties, and so it is not a member of the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs." And, thus, does not have this particular problem.
April 2005 Issue
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