Category Archives: Health and Disease
Red Meat Raises Bowel Problems for Men
A new study suggests that men who eat lots of red meat are much more likely to have bowel problems, pain and nausea than their peers who stick mainly with chicken or fish.
Researchers examined more than two decades of data on more than 46,000 men and found frequent red meat eaters were 58 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diverticulitis, a common bowel condition that occurs when small pockets or bulges lining the intestines become inflamed.
“Previous studies have shown that a high fiber diet is associated with a lower risk of diverticulitis, however, the role of other dietary factors in influencing risk of diverticulitis was not well studied,” said senior study author Andrew Chan, a researcher at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“Our result show that diets high in red meat may be associated with a higher risk of diverticulitis,” Chan added by email.
Diverticulitis is common, resulting in more than 200,000 hospitalizations a year in the U.S. at a cost of more than $2 billion, Chan and colleagues note in the journal Gut.
New cases are on the rise, and the exact causes are unknown, although the condition has been linked to smoking, obesity and the use of certain nonprescription painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
While diverticulitis can often be treated with a liquid or low-fiber diet, severe cases may require hospitalization and surgery to fix complications like perforations in the gut wall.
Researchers examined data collected on men who were aged 40 to 75 when they joined the study between 1986 and 2012. Every four years men were asked how often, on average, they ate red meat, poultry and fish over the preceding year.
They were given nine options, ranging from ‘never’ or ‘less than once a month,’ to ‘six or more times a day.’
During the study period, 764 men developed diverticulitis.
Men who ate the most red meat were also more likely to smoke, more likely to regularly take NSAIDs, and less likely to eat foods with fiber or get intense exercise.
By contrast, men who ate more chicken and fish were less likely to smoke or take NSAIDs and more likely to get vigorous exercise.
After accounting for these other factors that can influence the risk of diverticulitis, red meat was still associated with higher odds of developing the bowel disorder.
Each daily serving of red meat was associated with an 18 percent increased risk, the study found.
Unprocessed meats like beef, pork and lamb were associated with a greater risk than processed meats like bacon or sausage.
It’s possible the higher cooking temperatures typically used to prepare unprocessed meats may influence the composition of bacteria in the gut or inflammatory activity, though the exact reason for the increased risk tied to these foods is unknown, the researchers note.
Swapping one daily serving of red meat for chicken or fish was associated with a 20 percent reduction in the risk of this bowel disorder, the study also found.
The study is observational, and doesn’t prove red meat causes diverticulitis.
Other limitations of the study include its reliance on men to accurately recall and report how much meat they ate and the possibility that the results may not apply to women, the authors point out.
Even so, the findings should offer yet another reason to consider cutting back on red meat, said Samantha Heller, a nutritionist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City who wasn’t involved in the study.
Diets high in red and processed meats have been linked with increased risks of inflammatory bowel diseases, so the link found in this study “is not surprising,” Heller said by email.
“Focusing on a more plant based, higher fiber diet that includes legumes, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits, replete with appropriate fluid intake, may go a long way in helping reduce of inflammatory bowel diseases, diverticulitis, and other chronic diseases,” Heller added.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P Carrothers
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Tied to Lower Drug Costs
People with heart disease spend a lot less on medications when they take steps to lower their risk of complications by doing things like getting enough exercise, avoiding cigarettes and keeping their blood pressure in check, a U.S. study suggests.
For the study, researchers focused on adults diagnosed with the most common type of heart disease, known as atherosclerosis, which happens when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up on artery walls.
When these patients did as much as they could to avoid so-called modifiable risk factors for heart disease – inactivity, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and diabetes – their total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures were $1,400, the study found.
But patients who did little to modify these risk factors had total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures of $4,516, researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“Individuals who are unwilling to modify their lifestyles so as to have a favorable risk factor profile would most likely resort to medications to control the risk factors,” said lead study author Dr. Joseph Salami of the Center for Health Care Advancement and Outcomes at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables.
“A person getting little or no exercise has a higher risk of obesity,” Salami said by email. “Someone obese is more likely to have diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.”
For the study, researchers examined 2012 and 2013 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a national snapshot of spending based on surveys of almost 76,000 American patients, families, doctors and employers. The total pharmaceutical costs, reported in 2013 dollars, include patients’ out-of-pocket fees like co-payments and co-insurance as well as the portion of the tab covered by insurance or other sources, Salami said.
Among the survey participants, 4,248 adults aged 40 or older had atherosclerosis, representing about 21.9 million people in the U.S. population. They were 68 years old on average, and 45 percent were women.
Overall, average annual drug costs for each participant were $3,432. About a third of this was for cardiovascular disease drugs and another 14 percent was spent on diabetes medicines.
The remaining expenditures – more than half of the total – were for non-cardiovascular disease and non-diabetes drugs and were significantly associated with the modifiable risk factors, the study team notes.
Nationwide, this adds up to annual drug spending of $71.6 billion for patients with atherosclerosis, researchers estimated.
One limitation of the study is that it might overestimate expenditures because it’s possible some people prescribed medications for heart disease might be taking them for other reasons, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on the type of insurance patients’ had or for individual characteristics of patients, doctors or pharmacists that might influence drug costs.
Costs should be considered in the context of how well treatments work, and the study doesn’t address this, noted Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.
“In some cases, the benefit that patients get from these non-pharmacologic therapies may be much more substantial than the benefit that drug therapy can offer,” Kesselheim said by email. “In other cases, the drug might be more helpful.”
The study also isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that people will spend less on drugs when they make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of heart disease, said Julie Schmittdiel of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland.
“It does suggest there is promise that addressing modifiable health behaviors will reduce costs,” Schmittdiel, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
Knowing this might help motivate some patients to make changes, said Stacie Dusetzina, a pharmacy researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wasn’t involved in the study.
“I think many of us realize how hard these risk factors are to modify,” Dusetzina said by email. “But having incentives that include feeling better and saving money may help with motivation.”
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived: Jane Blakemore
Dr A Sullivan
Breakthroughs Help Vets Win the PTSD Battle
Thanks to medical miracles, veterans of today’s wars survive battlefield injuries that almost certainly would have been fatal just a generation ago.
But when those wounded warriors return home, they face another monumental challenge: How to mend their broken minds and bodies to resume successful, rewarding lives after they leave the military.
Fortunately, doctors and therapists are studying a number of innovative methods that could help get wounded veterans back on their feet.
Among the promising techniques for veterans currently being explored:
Electric Patch Treatment
Post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD, plagues many soldiers returning home from war. Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles report trigeminal nerve stimulation, or TNS, has shown promise in treating chronic PTSD.
“This could be a breakthrough for patients who have not been helped adequately by existing treatments,” Dr. Andrew Leuchter said.
A second study is now under way.
Seventy-four soldiers seeking treatment for PTSD at the Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Gordon, Ga., recently participated in a study on transcendental medication. Within one month, nearly 84 percent of the meditating soldiers had stabilized, reduced, or eliminated their use of the psychotropic drugs that were helping them to cope with their condition.
Meditating twice a day helped veterans remain calm and avoid the “fight or flight” response associated with PTSD.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Subjecting patients to oxygen at a higher-than-atmospheric pressure infuses the cells of their bodies with oxygen. This has proven especially effective in fighting infections and warding off the effects of concussion, a common injury sustained by soldiers.
But doctors report the Veteran’s Administration and the Pentagon have been slow to fully adopt the use of hyperbaric oxygen by veterans.
President Ronald Reagan famously remarked there is nothing as good for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse. Therapists say as soon as vets get around horses they tend to relax, and their anxieties begin to fade away.
OperationWeAreHere.com offers contact information for over a dozen equine-therapy organizations that work with veterans.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Sensitizing patients to their fears, and the stimuli that tend to trigger panic and anxiety, can help veterans learn to control their reactions. Researchers say those who return from war zones often suffer from “hypervigilance,” an exaggerated readiness to respond to perceived threats in the environment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients learn to respond productively to stressful situations.
Virtual Reality Therapy
Using computer-generated simulations, veterans under expert medical supervision can get in touch with traumatic events, to better process and understand their own reactions. One small trial suggested it might reduce the effects of PTSD, but more studies are needed.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy
Using a technique called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, PTSD patients learn to process the traumas they experienced thereby reducing anxiety. A patient brings to mind the disturbing images they cannot escape, while practicing deep breathing and focusing on the rapid movements of a therapist’s hand.
A technique just beginning to gain widespread acceptance, it appears to work by mimicking the rapid eye movements people experience during REM sleep.
Magnetic Resonance Therapy
Colloquially known as “brain zapping,” magnetic resonance therapy uses magnetic coils to stimulate the cortex. The FDA approved the procedure in 2008 to combat major bouts of depression.
Published studies suggest it could also help patients suffering from PTSD. The Washington Post reported the procedure is offered as a treatment for depression by the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived: Jane Blakemore
Dr P Carrothers
Yoga as Good for Back Pain as Physical Therapy
Chronic lower back pain is equally likely to improve with yoga classes as with physical therapy, according to a new study.
Twelve weeks of yoga lessened pain and improved function in people with low back pain as much as physical therapy sessions over the same period.
“Both yoga and physical therapy are excellent non-drug approaches for low back pain,” said lead author Dr. Robert Saper, of Boston Medical Center.
About 10 percent of U.S. adults experience low back pain, but not many are happy with the available treatments, Saper and colleagues write in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The American College of Physicians advised in February that most people with low back pain should try non-drug treatments like superficial heat or massage before reaching for medications.
Physical therapy is the most common non-drug treatment for low back pain prescribed by doctors, according to Saper and colleagues. Yoga is also backed by some guidelines and studies as a treatment option, but until now no research has compared the two.
For the new study, the researchers recruited 320 adults with chronic low back pain. The participants were racially diverse and tended to have low incomes.
The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group took part in a 12-week yoga program designed for people with low back pain. Another took part in a physical therapy program over the same amount of time. People in the third group received a book with comprehensive information about low back pain and follow-up information every few weeks.
At the start of the study, participants reported – on average – moderate to severe functional impairment and pain. More than two-thirds were using pain medications.
To track participants function and pain during the study, the researchers surveyed them at six, 12, 26, 40 and 52 weeks using the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ).
Scores on the RMDQ measure for function declined – meaning function was improving – by 3.8 points over the 12 weeks in the yoga group, compared to 3.5 points in the physical therapy group. Participants who received education had an average RMDQ score decline of 2.5.
Statistically, participants ended up with similar functional improvements whether they underwent yoga, physical therapy or education.
More people in the yoga and physical therapy groups ended up with noticeable improvements in function, however.
People would feel a noticeable improvement with a four to five point drop on the RMDQ, write Dr. Douglas Chang, of the University of California, San Diego and Dr. Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in an accompanying editorial.
They write that 48 percent of yoga participants and 37 percent of physical therapy participants reached that goal, compared to 23 percent of people who were in the education group.
For achieving noticeable differences in pain, physical therapy was again no better or worse than yoga. After 12 weeks, people in the yoga group were 21 percentage points less likely to used pain medications than those in the education group. That difference was 22 percentage points for physical therapy versus education.
The improvements among the people in yoga and physical therapy groups lasted throughout the year, the researchers found.
“If they remain the same after one year, it’s a good bet that their improvement will continue on,” Saper told Reuters Health.
One treatment method won’t help all or even most patients, wrote Chang and Kertesz in their editorial.
“Nevertheless, as Saper and colleagues have shown, yoga offers some persons tangible benefit without much risk,” they write. “In the end, however, it represents one tool among many.”
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Jay J
5 Foods That Have More Sodium Than Chips
Your body needs sodium—but there’s no denying that most of us are getting way too much of it. According to recent stats from the American Heart Association, the average daily sodium intake in this country is 3,600 milligrams—more than double the Association’s recommendation of 1,500 milligrams max. But avoiding clear offenders like salted nuts and potato chips may not be enough to bring you down into the recommended range since there are so many sneaky salt bombs out there. Just look at these seemingly healthful foods—they all contain more than 255 milligrams of sodium, which is the amount you’ll find in a 1 ½-ounce bag of Lays Classic Potato Chips:
1/2 Cup Nonfat Cottage Cheese
This packs a surprising 270 milligrams of sodium—and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to eat more than ½ cup and really overdo it with the salty stuff.
A 6 1/2″ Whole-Wheat Pita
Pitas come with a health halo—especially when they’re whole-wheat—and they can be a good source of fiber. But they also come with a heavy dose of sodium: 284 milligrams in just one pocket.
2 Tbsp Reduced-Fat Italian Salad Dressing
Yup, you can take in more sodium in 2 Tbsp of your salad topper than in an entire bag of chips: This variety is loaded with 260 mg per serving—although plenty of other types of salad dressing pack just as much.
While the exact stats will of course vary from brand to brand, the USDA says that one store-bought veggie burger patty tends to come in around 398 milligrams of sodium—and that’s before you even consider all of the salt in the bun (many types of bread are just as salty as pitas, if not more so).
1/2 Cup Canned Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce has its virtues—it contains lycopene, for example, a carotenoid that research has linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. But you have to eat it in moderation since each ½-cup serving packs a shocking 642 milligrams of sodium.
Health and Wellness Associates
Does Alcohol Raise the Risk for Breast Cancer?
It’s no secret that genetic, hormonal and environmental factors all seem to play a role in breast cancer. (1) When it comes to alcohol and breast cancer risk specifically, a May 2016 study provides even more insight suggesting that lifestyle factors — including how much alcohol a woman drinks — really matters.
Danish researchers published a study in the British Journal of Medicine providing even more detail of the alcohol and breast cancer risk connection. Analyzing women’s change in alcohol consumption over a five-year period, Danish researchers found that women who increased the amount of alcohol they drank over a five-year period faced a higher risk of breast cancer.
For instance, women who drank two more alcohol drinks a day over five years saw a 30 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared to women with stable alcohol intake. That same study found a 20 percent lower risk of heart disease in woman who drank more. However, the study authors noted there are other ways to lower heart disease risk without increasing your breast cancer risk from drinking alcohol. (2, 3)
Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk Findings
Research consistently shows that drinking alcoholic beverages increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol not only damages DNA in cells, but it also triggers higher levels of estrogen and other hormones linked to hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer. The estimated alcohol and breast cancer risk increases another 10 percent for each additional drink women regularly have each day, according to breastcancer.org.
Here are more important alcohol and breast cancer risk findings:
A large meta-analysis looking at the relationship between alcohol and breast cancer risk in women also found that women who drank about three alcoholic drinks a week experienced a moderate increase in breast cancer risk. (4)
A 2009 study found that drinking just three to four alcoholic beverages a week increases a women’s risk of breast cancer recurrence in women who’d been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. (5)
In March 2016, University of Houston researchers found that alcohol not only fuels estrogen that drives the growth of breast cancer cells, but it also diminishes the effects of popular cancer drug Tamoxifen, a widely-used estrogen-blocking drug used to treat many breast cancers. (6)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises women to drink no more than one drink a day. (7) If you drink less than this, don’t increase the amount of alcohol you drink.
Defining a “Drink”
When considering all of this research investigating alcohol and breast cancer risk, it’s important to understand what a “drink” actually means. For instance, drinking one dirty martini is very different than drinking a glass of beer or wine. Each may seem like a single drink, but a dirty martini typically contains about 6 ounces of vodka. That means your single martini, for instance, would actually be considered four drinks.
Researchers often use the following National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism guidelines to define what constitutes as one drink, which is about 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol:
- 12 ounces of beer or hard cider (3 to 7 percent alcohol)
- 8 ounces of malt liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof liquor
Keep in mind that a craft beer with a high alcohol percentage served in a common 16-ounce pint glass could actually be more on par with drinking two 12-ounce bottles of beer with a more standard alcohol percentage of 3 to 7 percent alcohol. (8) And when you’re sipping on something like red wine, be aware of how many ounces the glass is really holding.
Women who drink up to one drink a day and men who drink up to two drinks a day are considered moderate drinkers. Women having four or more drinks on any day or a total of eight or more drinks a week are considered high-risk, excessive drinkers. (For men, drinking more than five drinks on any day or 15 or more drinks a week is considered high-risk, excessive drinking.) (9)
Other Ways to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer
With breast cancer cases expected to increase 50 percent by 2030, it’s important to not only consider alcohol and breast cancer risk, but take steps to lower your risk through other lifestyle improvements. (10) The important takeaway is that there are many things you can do lower your breast cancer risk in a meaningful way. Aside from lowering the levels of alcohol you drink, here are other ways to get started:
Fruits and veggies are loaded with cancer-fighting compounds — Interesting, a 2016 study found that when girls eat more fruit during adolescence (at least 2.9 servings a day), they enjoy a 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life compared to girls who eat the lowest levels of fruit during adolescence (less than a serving a day). (11, 12) Just be sure to choose organic when possible, since some fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list harbor pesticides linked to cancer.
Eat organic, fresh foods as much as possible — Avoid canned foods and drinks. Most contain toxic BPA, also known as bisphenol A, a harmful chemical linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer. (13)
Avoid the heavy metal cadmium — It’s found in cigarettes smoke and linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. (14, 15) Cadmium is a common food contaminant most often found in shellfish, liver and kidney meats.
Exercise — Strenuous exercise for 4+ hours a week can help lower your risk of breast cancer. Exercises can also help keep you out of the overweight/obese category, which is another risk factor for breast cancer in woman who have reached menopause. (16)
Final Thoughts on Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk
It’s clear that alcohol and breast cancer risk are related, but it may be unrealistic for some women to completely give up all alcoholic drinks for the rest of their lives. The science suggests that increasing the amount of alcohol you drink in midlife increases your risk. Other large research studies found that drinking three drinks or more a week moderately increases risk. In other words, you don’t have to be a binge drinker to experience a significant increase in risk.
Having a glass of red wine now and then can provide you with a healthy dose of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant shown to expand your lifespan and aid in weight loss. However, it’s important to remember that alcohol is a neurotoxin that also puts unnecessary stress on your liver. You can easily get those same benefits from blueberries and supplements, so don’t rely on even occasional red wine as your sole source of resveratrol.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr P. Carrothers – JA
Lower Cholesterol With Food, Not Drugs
Do you or someone you love have high cholesterol? You are not alone. It is estimated that half of all adults in the United States have high total cholesterol and more than 25 percent have high LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol1 . I urge anyone who has been troubled by the news that their cholesterol is high to stop focusing on a number. Your cholesterol level is only one of many risk factors for heart disease. If you are truly concerned about cardiovascular disease, here’s what should be drawing your attention:
Achieving a normal body fat percentage
Achieving a normal blood pressure without the use of medication
Achieving a normal blood glucose without medication
Achieving a favorable cholesterol level without medication
Engage in aerobic exercise and strength training
The most dramatic protection from heart disease results from maintaining a normal weight, cholesterol and blood pressure with diet and exercise, so that you do not require medications. Medications cannot produce comparable results.
Your First Course of Action
Being well means removing risk factors for heart disease. Since diet is usually the cause of heart disease,2, 3 taking a drug will do little to stop the progression of the disease as long as a patient’s diet – the cause of the disease – remains the same..
If you have elevated cholesterol, dietary and lifestyle modifications should be your first course of action. For most people who commit to change their unhealthy habits, medication will prove unnecessary. Fuel your body with nutrients by eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and gradually increase your exercise tolerance.
In my medical practice, I have coached thousands of patients to successfully lower their cholesterol through a Nutritarian diet. People drop their blood pressure, lower their blood glucose, lower their weight and improve their exercise tolerance.
Dramatic Change with Diet, Not Pills
In a 2001 study, a high-fiber, high nutrient diet focusing on vegetables, fruit and nuts was found to reduce cholesterol by 33 percent within two weeks.4 A 2015 study surveying participants who followed the same nutrient-dense, plant rich diet reported an average 42 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol in those with at least 80 percent adherence to that diet. In addition, those who started out obese lost an average of 50 pounds for the entire three year period. Those who started with hypertension reduced their systolic blood pressure by an average of 26 mm Hg Case studies accompanied this data, and documenting reversal of atherosclerosis and resolution of heart problems.5 Previous studies on similar diet and lifestyle changes have been shown to cause regression of atherosclerotic heart disease.6, 7 Living healthfully produces such dramatic changes because it doesn’t address just one risk factor; it makes your entire body healthier. It is for those who want real protection, without the side effects of drugs.
Unlike taking a cholesterol lowering statin drug while continuing a disease-causing style of eating, a and lifestyle does more than address one or two heart disease risk factors. You don’t just lower your cholesterol, you become more resistant to diabetes and cancer, and improve your immune function.
Achieve Overall Protection
No medication can cover up a poor diet, and no single medication can significantly reduce multiple risk factors. Unlike drugs, the Nutritarian diet does significantly reduce multiple risk factors, including lowering body weight and blood pressure, reducing intravascular inflammation, and benefiting intravascular elasticity. A superior diet delivers benefits that protect overall, and almost immediately. For patients fighting cardiovascular disease, a diet of can offer many benefits in addition to cholesterol- lowering:
Lower blood pressure8-16
Lower intravascular inflammation17-21
Lower blood glucose and triglyceride levels22
Lower inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein
and white blood cell count23-30
Increased tissue antioxidant content31
Improved exercise tolerance and oxygen efficiency16
Larger LDL particle size (smaller particles are more heart disease-promoting) and and lower particle number Prevents LDL from becoming oxidized, (a more damaging form of cholesterol)32-34
The Side Effects are Side Benefits
Prescribing statins is counterproductive. Encouraging a patient to take a statin drug downplays the urgency needed for lifestyle and dietary changes. Changes that I know would drastically improve the health, life expectancy and quality of life of dangerously unhealthy individuals. I always say a prescription pad is like a permission slip. You can choose to remove the cause or treat the symptom; treating the symptom with drugs does not reverse heart disease and carries the risk of significant adverse effects. Almost all of my patients prefer a more effective approach, one that not only reduces cholesterol and restores the health of arteries but also reduces blood pressure and reverses heart disease much more effectively than any medication.
My new book, The End of Heart Disease (April 2016) explains the risk of drugs and medical procedures and details the most effective way to protect your heart and your life.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived : Dr Joel Fuhrman
How Pomegranate Helps Clean Your Arteries
Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. When you have healthy arteries, blood flows through the body quite easily. As you age, fatty deposits, cholesterol and cellular waste products settle on the inner walls of your arteries. Research shows that pomegranate can actually help clean your arteries helping to keep blood flowing smoothly.
When arteries become clogged, the build up of arterial plaque can significantly reduce blood flow, and in some instances, arteries can become completely blocked. Since clogged arteries can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack and even death, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to reduce arterial plaque and do what you can to clean your arteries.
The Artery Cleaning Power of Pomegranate Juice
Making simple lifestyle changes are an excellent way to treat and prevent clogged arteries. This includes a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, but are some fruits and vegetables more helpful than others?
Pomegranates are extremely rich in antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins. Compared to other fruit juices, such as blueberry, orange and cranberry, pomegranate juice has the most antioxidant power. It is these high levels of antioxidants found in pomegranates that help clean clogged arteries.
Can Pomegranates Actually Reverse Atherosclerosis?
Promising research conducted on the benefits of pomegranate juice has found that
pomegranates can prevent clogged arteries and may even reverse the progression of atherosclerosis. Specifically, researchers have found that pomegranates encourage the production of nitric oxide, which is an essential chemical that promotes healthy blood flow and keeps the arteries open. This is helpful in reducing the effects of oxidative stress on blood vessels. Perhaps the most exciting finding from this research is the ability of pomegranates to reduce plaque accumulations that have already built up in the blood vessels.
Additional research has also found that drinking pomegranate juice had a significant effect on arterial plaque. Researchers instructed participants to drink pomegranate juice on a daily basis. Within three months, plaque accumulations were reduced by 13 percent. After one year, arterial plaque was reduced by 30 percent. Plaque accumulation actually increased by nine percent within the group of people who were not drinking pomegranate juice on a daily basis.
In addition to healthier arteries with less plaque accumulation, pomegranate juice has other positive effects on the heart, including reduced fat accumulation around the heart, reduced inflammation within the blood vessels, less oxidative stress and improved ECG results. Given the dangers of cardiovascular disease and clogged arteries, the results of this research are certainly promising. With the help of this exotic fruit, it is possible to clean your arteries and greatly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived : Jay Jaranson
Aspartame linked to vision loss, cancer and other illnesses
Aspartame – sold under the brand names NutraSweet, Sugar Twin and Equal – is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners available on the market. It is used as a low-calorie sugar substitute in more than 6,000 processed products worldwide, especially in diet or sugar-free foods and beverages.
While it remains the most used artificial sweetener, it has also faced controversy in recent years. As more and more research links aspartame to severe health effects, increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of this hidden poison and are trying to avoid it at all costs. That’s why Pepsi proactively removed it from their diet soda last year.
Complaints of various health issues have been filed since aspartame first appeared on the market in the 1980s. As reported by The Nutritional Source, aspartame is one of the most exhaustively studied chemicals in the human food supply, with more than 200 studies completed.
Dr. Betty Martini, the founder of the worldwide volunteer force Mission Possible World Health International, which is committed to removing aspartame from our food, notes that aspartame has brought more complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) than any other additive; it is responsible for 75 percent of such complaints.
Over the years, more than 90 side effects – including vision loss, seizures, brain tumors, cancer and mild rashes – have been associated with regular consumption of aspartame. Furthermore, it can mimic the symptoms of diseases such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue and depression.
When aspartame is processed by the body it breaks down into phenylalanine (50 percent), aspartic acid (40 percent) and methanol (or wood alcohol, 10 percent).
Aspartame can make you blind
We have all heard the stories about alcoholics ending up blind or dead after drinking methanol during Prohibition. Aspartame consists of 10 percent methanol which our body further breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid. These compounds accumulate in the retina of the eye and destroy the optic nerve, causing vision loss and blindness.
Furthermore, methanol poisoning may cause central nervous system depression, and can lead to metabolic acidosis and coma.
As reported by Dr. Martini, in 1986 the Community Nutrition Institute petitioned the FDA to ban aspartame because so many people had gone blind and had seizures. Despite the apparent link, the FDA, backed up by the drug and chemical industry, refused to take aspartame out of production.
It messes with your brain
Excessive amounts of phenylalanine block the transport of essential amino acids to the brain, which contributes to reduced levels of dopamine and serotonin. While our brains need this amino acid, too much of it has been linked to emotional and behavioral disorders and brain damage.
Furthermore, too much aspartic acid, another amino acid present in aspartame, can cause over-stimulation and death of brain cells. It leaks too much calcium into the cells and triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which may damage and kill neurons.
G.D. Searle, the company behind the discovery of aspartame, was warned as early as 1971 that excess amounts of aspartic acid caused holes in the brain of mice and posed a serious threat to human health, yet nobody found it necessary to remove aspartame from the shelves.
Induces brain tumors
Before its approval, aspartame had been rejected multiple times over fears of brain tumors and cancer, the Huffington Post reported. In 1996, Dr. John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, and attorney James Turner, attempted to stop the approval of aspartame.
Even the FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, told Congress that aspartame could cause brain tumors and brain cancer, and that approving it would violate the Delaney Amendment, which forbids putting anything in food known to cause cancer.
Sadly enough, Donald Rumsfeld – who was CEO of G.D. Searle and part of Reagan’s transition team – and Monsanto joined forces. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the company that held the patent to aspartame. They managed to pull a few strings and played a substantial role in the approval of aspartame by the FDA.
If you need assistance in managing your aspartame intake, especially if you have diabetes, please give us a call and we can help y ou, in the comforts of your home, with all your healthcare concerns.
Health and Wellness Associates
Lack of Sleep and Diabetes Linked
New research links lack of sleep with heightened risk for type 2 diabetes in youth
A new review of scientific literature on the importance of sleep in youth suggests that a lack of sleep can lead to decreased appetite control and body weight regulation, all of which can raise risks for the development of type 2 diabetes.
The largest decline in sleep duration and poor sleep quality over the past decades has been seen in children and adolescents, a trend that earlier studies say may contribute to weight gain, increased risks for cardiovascular disease and poor mental health.
This new review of evidence, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, has looked at 23 studies on the topic of risk factors for type 2 diabetes and sleep variables to try and elucidate the mechanisms that may explain the association between the two.
Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, in Canada, reviewed studies that not only assessed risks from inadequate sleep, described as sleeping less than six hours per night – a two-hour or so sleep deficit compared to standard advice for children – but also sleep architecture.
A healthy sleep architecture refers to having the right number of restorative sleep cycles and rapid eye movement phases to feel sufficiently well-rested. An out of whack sleep architecture has been associated in past studies with insulin resistance.
In terms of sleep duration, researchers have found that the lowest risk for type 2 diabetes is observed, similar to the figure given for adults, at a minimum sleep duration of seven to eight hours per day.
Drawing from the findings of the different studies evaluated, they have identified a number of mechanisms by which the lack of sleep can elevate risks for type 2 diabetes among children.
One of them, perhaps the most prominent one, is the increased exposure to the stress hormone cortisol due to short sleep duration. This may contribute to the accumulation of visceral fat and subsequent increased insulin resistance.
The reason for this is that the authors also noted that the association between sleep quality and insulin resistance was not independent of the level of adiposity – the increase in the number of fat cells.
There may also be another phenomenon implicated that has to do with the nervous system which, in response to the stress of not sleeping, negatively influences the hormone leptin.
While we sleep, leptin usually rise to control appetite. However, when sleep is restricted, leptin gets inhibited. The inhibition of leptin leads to an increase in hunger and a decrease in satiety. These effects can translate into progressive weight gain.
Sleep is a modifiable lifestyle habit associated with the prevention of type 2 diabetes. One randomised trial that was part of the review conducted among children aged 8 to 11 years showed that increasing sleep duration by just 1.5 hour per night over a week resulted in lower food intake and lower body weight.
Although more studies are needed to shed light on the mechanisms linking insufficient sleep with type 2 diabetes risk, there’s no possible risk in children and teens improving their sleep and getting enough of it on a regular schedule each night.
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