Friday, January 23, 2015

Research suggests vitamin D could affect brain function

This article came from by Jeremy Fox, a Globe Correspondent, and was titled: "Research suggests vitamin D could affect brain function." I was interested since I take a Vitamin D supplement as I believe it is essential for not only bone and joint health but for overall immune function and now there is evidence suggesting Vitamin D supports even more than that.

When you think of vitamin D, you may think of bone health. For years, doctors have recommended vitamin D and calcium supplements to guard against fractures and osteoporosis.

But in recent years, the efficacy of those supplements has been widely questioned, while other research has explored possible connections between vitamin D and heart health, cancer prevention, and other health benefits.

Those connections have not yet been proved, but now studies on the relationship between vitamin D and serotonin production are taking researchers down a new path. A growing body of evidence suggests that vitamin D — present in some foods and produced naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight — regulates the enzyme that converts the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter believed to help regulate moods and direct brain development while in the womb.

“It is very important for guiding [where] neurons . . . go in the brain and how they shape the structure and the wiring of the brain,” said researcher Rhonda P. Patrick. “Without adequate serotonin in that developing fetus, the brain . . . doesn’t develop normally.”

Patrick, a postdoctoral fellow at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute in Oakland, Calif., said the degree to which vitamin D regulates serotonin isn’t yet clear. But psychologists and neuroscientists have established the effects of low serotonin by restricting tryptophan entering the brains of human test subjects, she said.

“What happens is their long-term decision making shuts down,” she said. “They become impulsive and aggressive, angry, unhappy. They have difficult time interpreting people’s facial expressions.”

‘Why do we feel better when we go out in the sun? Sun makes vitamin D in your skin.’

Vitamin D is naturally present in some foods, including fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna, and in small amounts in cheese, egg yolks, and beef liver, according to the National Institutes of Health. But most vitamin D in the human diet comes from its addition to foods such as milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.

Because vitamin D regulates about 1,000 different types of genes in the body — roughly 5 percent of the human genome — Patrick and her mentor, Bruce N. Ames, a senior scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, believes the nutrient may play a much larger role in our health than previously realized.

Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, said that the hypothesis suggests many avenues for further research.

“This work by Ames and Patrick is significant because it describes a potential pathway linking vitamin D with serious mental conditions, and may explain some of the features of these diseases,” Willett said in an e-mail.

Researchers are working to confirm Ames and Patrick’s hypothesis in the lab. Mark R. Haussler, a professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine — Phoenix, and Peter Jurutka, an associate professor at Arizona State University, have conducted experiments that support the hypothesis, Haussler said.

In successive experiments using synthesized DNA, then cells from human kidneys, then cells from the brains of rats and of humans, Haussler and Jurutka established that vitamin D produced effects consistent with Patrick and Ames’s hypothesis: It enhanced the ability of the brain cells to produce serotonin by anywhere from double to 30 times as much, Haussler said.

Haussler said a better understanding of how to regulate serotonin production could have a “huge impact, and all the way across the life span.” Haussler speculated that regulating serotonin in developing brains could potentially affect the development of autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Some benefits of vitamin D have been known for generations, Haussler said, though they might have been described in different terms.

“When I was young, my mother would say, ‘Mark, go out in the sun; you’ll feel better,’?” Haussler said. “Well, you know, I usually did, and that’s a common-sense-type thing, but why? Why do we feel better when we go out in the sun? Sun makes vitamin D in your skin.”

But too much sun can also lead to skin cancer, he cautioned, and not all sun exposure will help produce vitamin D. In New England during the winter, the sun is too low on the horizon to help generate the production of vitamin D.

Doctors and researchers said that in this region and many others, it is beneficial to take a vitamin D supplement, at least during winter months, but controversies have arisen in recent years about the use of vitamin supplements and the tools for measuring vitamin D deficiency.

Late last year, a widely discussed editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine encouraged the public to “stop wasting money” on vitamin and mineral supplements that had not been proved to prevent or slow the development of chronic diseases.

That editorial included a caveat that vitamin D supplementation remained “an open area of investigation, particularly in deficient persons” but nevertheless concluded that “current widespread use [of vitamin D supplements] is not based on solid evidence that benefits outweigh harms.”

Also last year, a study from Massachusetts General Hospital found that many of the 70 percent to 90 percent of African-Americans diagnosed as vitamin D deficient may actually have healthy levels of the vitamin — and are not deficient — because they are genetically disposed to carry more of the “free” form of the nutrient.

Willett, of the Harvard School of Public Health, said the anti-supplement editorial “was unhelpful as it lumped together a very wide range of doses and conditions.”

Willett said many Americans do not get enough vitamin D from diet and sun exposure and should take a supplement. His recommendation included African-American adults because, he said, science has not yet determined which forms of vitamin D benefit specific organs, and the “free” form may not be helpful in all instances.

There is no universal agreement about the proper dosage, but Willett recommends 1,000 international units per day for most adults. Patrick said that before taking a supplement, people should get tested and consult their physicians.

MyAchingKnees comment: I am currently taking 5,000 IU a day. My base supplements provide 1,000 IU day a day and I take an addition 4,000 IU. When everybody around me is sick, I'm not. But I'm not attributing that to the Vitamin D alone, is only one of the many nutrients I believe a person needs in much higher doses than the RDA in order to have a robust immune system and a healthylife.

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Scientific team sounds the alarm on sugar as a source of disease

This article is from Barbara Sadick, of the Chicago Tribune, posted on and is pretty convincing about how bad sugar is for us. If you don't believe that then why does PET Scans use a sugary mix ingested by the patient to detect cancers? Because the sugar feed cancers and the scan shows where the sugar goes...well that's my explanation of it anyway. And it is likely that sugar also enhances the onset of cardiovascular disease, diabetes (which is a no brainer), and even liver disease. As always let the consumer beware. If eating all that sugar is working for you, well then you probably ought to continue.

Is sugar making us sick? A team of scientists at the University of California in San Francisco believes so, and they're doing something about it. They launched an initiative to bring information on food and drink and added sugar to the public by reviewing more than 8,000 scientific papers that show a strong link between the consumption of added sugar and chronic diseases.

The common belief until now was that sugar just makes us fat, but it's become clear through research that it's making us sick. For example, there's the rise in fatty-liver disease, the emergence of Type 2 diabetes as an epidemic in children and the dramatic increase in metabolic disorders.

Laura Schmidt, a UCSF professor at the School of Medicine and the lead investigator on the project, SugarScience, said the idea is to make the findings comprehensible and clear to everyone. The results will be available to all on a website ( and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Added sugars, Schmidt said, are sugars that don't occur naturally in foods. They are found in 74 percent of all packaged foods, have 61 names and often are difficult to decipher on food labels. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires food companies to list ingredients on packaging, the suggested daily values of natural and added sugars can't be found.

The FDA is considering a proposal to require food manufacturers to list information on sugars in the same way they do for fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates and protein. But because so much added sugar is dumped into so many products, one average American breakfast of cereal would likely exceed a reasonable daily limit.

"SugarScience shows that a calorie is not a calorie but rather that the source of a calorie determines how it's metabolized," said pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, a member of the SugarScience team and the author of "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease." Lustig said that more than half of the U.S. population is sick with metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors for chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and liver disease that are directly related to the excessive consumption of added sugars in the Western diet.

Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the category of heart attack/stroke as the leading cause of death in the United States. Every day, 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease. That's about 800,000 a year, or one in three deaths.

The latest statistics from the American Diabetes Association show that 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent, have diabetes. Of that number, 21 million have been diagnosed and 8.1 million have not, and the numbers continue to grow, according to the association.

It doesn't stop there. The American Liver Foundation says at least 30 million Americans, or 1 in 10, has one of 100 kinds of liver disease.

Clinicians widely believe that obesity is the cause of metabolic disease. Although it is a marker for these diseases, Lustig said, it's not the cause. "Too much sugar causes chronic metabolic disease in both fat and thin people," he said, "and instead of focusing on obesity as the problem, we should be focusing on our processed-food supply."

The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (78 grams) of sugar a day, substantially more than the amount recommended by the American Heart Association. The association sets these limits: 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women, 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men, and 3-6 teaspoons (12-24 grams) for children, depending on age. Just one 12-ounce soda contains 8 to 9 teaspoons (32-36 grams) of sugar.

Liquid sugar in sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks is the leading source of added sugar in the American diet. That represents 36 percent of all added sugars consumed, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And because liquid does not include fiber, the body processes it quickly. That causes more sugar to be sent to the pancreas and liver than either can process properly, and the resulting buildup of sugar leads to heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.

Consuming too much sugar causes the level of glucose sugar in the bloodstream to increase. That, in turn, causes the pancreas to release high levels of insulin that cause the body to store extra calories as fat.

Too much insulin also affects the hormone leptin, a natural appetite suppressant that signals the brain to stop eating when full. But the imbalance of insulin levels caused by the intake of too much sugar causes lipid resistance, and the brain no longer gets that signal.

Another member of the SugarScience team, Dean Schillinger, is a professor of medicine at UCSF and a practicing primary care doctor at San Francisco General Hospital. He believes the overconsumption of added sugars is a social problem, not a problem of individual choice and freedom.

"People are becoming literate about the toxic effects of sugar," Schillinger said, "and have more understanding of the idea that high doses are bad for one's health." He sees evidence that those in a higher socioeconomic bracket are taking steps to limit intake of sugar when compared with poorer, less literate people.

Healthy food is expensive and less readily accessible in poorer neighborhoods, and because corn is so abundant and cheap, it is added to many food products. "Dumping high fructose corn syrup into cheap foods, sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks is toxic to the body, causing epidemic metabolic diseases and a serious health crisis," Schillinger said.

To underscore the scope of the problem, he pointed out that during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 1,500 American soldiers lost a limb in combat. In that same period, 1.5 million people in the U.S. lost limbs to amputations from Type 2 diabetes, a preventable disease. "We have yet to mobilize for a public health war," he said, "but the time has come to do so."

Such a war would have to take on the root causes of the problem. As a nation, Schillinger added, we would need to look at our food policies, food pricing, availability of healthy foods, and the marketing being carried out by food and beverage industries to hook the public on unhealthy choices loaded with added sugar.

Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, is not a SugarScience researcher, but he agreed that the amount of sugar consumed by the American public is too high. SugarScience, he said, is being helpful by bringing the information about added sugar to public attention.

"It's just about impossible," Hu said, "to know from food labels what kinds and amounts of sugars are in a product." That's why he thinks the FDA should require food companies to list those amounts on all food labels so people know what they're eating, in what amounts they're eating it, and what amounts are safe.

Food labels are important, Schillinger said, and they need to be revised, but the most important change needed is to make the healthier choice the easier choice.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vitamin IV's? Really?

A friend of mine sent me a link to a Tampa Bay, Florida based business that offers Vitamin Interveinous Therapy. It's called the HangIVer Bar,...get it? as in hanging a IV. They also offer supplements through an IM (intra-muscular injection).

There are so many things wrong with this, I don't where to start,......

Let's consider having arms looking like a pin cushion or a heroin addict after a few treatments.

How about the costs? Way too expensive and you are not getting but a small number of nutrients. Now where on the website does this HangIVer Bar tell you the amounts of nutrients you are getting. And there is nothing on the quality. If they are providing food grade supplements as opposed to pharmaceutical grade, then you may be getting doubly ripped off.

While IV is the quickest way to get electrolytes or expand blood volume following blood loss it is not the way nature intended our bodies to be nourished.

You can get a membership for $49 and save on the cost of each IV - these are the IV's they offer, their cost and what they are advertised for:

RevitalIV (General Fatigue/Dehydration/Jet Lag) $115 (members $97.75)

Need a boost? Great for general and chronic fatigue, jet lag, and dehydration.
•Balanced electrolyte solution
•B complex

Hair of the Dog (Hangover) $129 (members $109.65)

One drink too many? We have your hangover dream come true. This drip is full of vitamins, minerals, and medicines to quickly relieve headaches, nausea, dry mouth and other related symptoms.
•Balanced electrolyte solution
•B complex
•Choice of anti-nausea or pain reliever
•Add on severe nausea
•Add on antacid

Chicken Soup (Acute viral illness) $139 (members $118.15)

Expedite the healing process….increase your immunity to fight the common viruses and bugs that we encounter daily.
•Balanced electrolyte solution
•B complex
•Vitamin C

Finish Line (Exercise/Performance related fatigue and prep) $149 / Wednesdays $99 (members $126.65)

For all levels of athlete…to replenish what your body naturally loses through strenuous exercise and heat. To keep the body at it’s optimum performance.
•Balanced electrolyte solution
•B complex

Fountain of Youth (Youthful restoration) $159 (members $135.15)

Created ideally for skin rejuvenation and hydration. The vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants needed to restore youthful appearance.
•Balanced electrolyte solution
•Vitamin C
•B complex

Skinny Minny $125 / Mondays – $99)

The combination of amino acids that help break down fat deposits from the liver as well as antioxidants and vitamins to increase metabolism.
•Amino acids
•Vitamin C

The Pro-Gram

All of the benefits of the modified Myers Cocktail with the added benefits of a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants to maximize tissue healing and repair.
Proprietary blend of:
•B vitamins
•Essential minerals

Fat Fighter IM injection $45

Suffering from fatigue from dieting? Struggling with cravings? This is an intramuscular injection of amino acids and anti-oxidants to help you power through a restricted diet and still have the energy to exercise.
•Amino acids
•Vitamin C
•Lidocaine (really!?!?)

B12 Booster $19 (Free monthly for members)

This is an intramuscular injection excellent for chronic fatigue and low energy states, mild depression and related mood swings, chronic deficiency, and migraines.
– methylcobalamin (active form of B12) (isn't this a muscle relaxer??)

A la Carte Additions:

Vitamin C $25
Glutathione $30
Anti-nausea $25
Anti-acid $25

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

8 Best Foods for Instant Detox

Article from Eat This, Not That!, By David Zinczenko, posted on Yahoo! Health   Fat. Sugar. Salt. Alcohol. If our bodies had minds of their own, they’d have put us on notice on Thanksgiving, served us with papers by Christmas, and be off dating a vegan yogi by New Year’s Eve.

So why not make friends with it again? These essential Eat This, Not That! Detox Foods will instantly cleanse your body without any painful fasts or expensive juices. You’ll find the complete list—and a simple and effective diet plan that can strip off up to 16 pounds in 14 days—in my new book, The Zero Belly Diet.

The Liver Fixer: Almonds

Downing those winter cocktails make you more than fat and hungover; the fatty deposits that build up around your liver after weeks of overeating and drinking put you at increased risk for liver cancer. But just a couple small handfuls a day of vitamin-packed almonds could help cleanse the deposits out, according to a recent study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Researchers found a clear inverse response between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk; those that consumed the most—about 16 mg, or about 15 almonds—showed a 40 percent lower risk of liver cancer than those who consumed less.

The Stomach Settler: Guacamole

Think of guacamole as a designated driver for your digestive system. A study in The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry analyzed the effects of feeding 22 different fruits to a group of rats with liver damage caused by galactosamine, a liver toxin. The fruit that proved most beneficial? You guessed it: the avocado. Cilantro, the savory herb that gives guac its distinctive flavor, contains a unique blend of oils that send a “simmer down!” message to an upset stomach. In fact, these two oils (specifically, linalool and geranyl acetate) are so powerful they’ve been shown to have a positive impact on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Science.

The Belly Fat Blocker: White Tea

Any tea will help soothe your nerves, but white tea packs a particular one-two punch that can actually attack belly fat. A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism showed that white tea can simultaneously boost lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) and block adipogenesis (the formation of fat cells). The tea’s combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) seems to set fat cells up for defeat.

The Pain Killer: Turmeric

You can put an ice pack on your throbbing head, but to get the same anti-inflammatory effect throughout the rest of your body, order the curry. Curcumin, a compound derived from the bright-orange spice turmeric, works as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the liver, research shows. A study in the journal Gut found supplementing with curcumin could significantly reduce bile duct blockage and curbed scarring (fibrosis) by interfering with chemical reactions involved in the inflammatory process.

The Hangover Cure: Asparagus

When you’re huddled over a plate of greasy diner food, begging the Hangover Gods for forgiveness, ask the waiter for a side of steamed asparagus. According to a study in the Journal of Food Science, the amino acids and minerals found in asparagus may alleviate hangover symptoms and protect liver cells against toxins. The veggie spears are also a natural diuretic, which will help flush the excess toxins from your system.

The Cholesterol Buster: Collard Greens

A staple vegetable of Southern cuisine, collard greens have an incredible ability to cleanse your system of excess cholesterol, especially when steamed. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition Research compared the bile acid binding capacity of steamed collard greens to Cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug. Incredibly, the collards improved the body’s cholesterol-blocking process by 13 percent more than the drug! Just hold the artery-clogging fried chicken.

The Detoxifier: Lemon Water

Start each day by making a large pitcher of “spa” water filled with sliced whole lemons, and make a point of sipping your way through at least 8 glasses before bedtime. Citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant de-limonene, a powerful compound found in the peel that stimulates liver enzymes to help flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick, according to the World Health Organization.

The Artery Plumber: Wild Salmon

If quitting smoking is a New Year’s resolution, add a side of salmon. Researchers say a healthy diet rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids may then help to reverse arterial stiffness—a common side effect of smoking, which, like a kinked hose, inhibits the flow of cleansing blood through the arteries and to vital organs. A three-week study in the International Journal of Cardiology found smokers who supplemented with just 2 grams of omega-3s a day—what you’ll find in a 4-ounce portion of salmon—saw marked improvement in the elasticity of the arteries, allowing for healthy blood flow.

MyAchingKnees comment:  All good information above.  I prefer to de-tox daily starting with my breakfast meal replacement drink adding a fiber supplement that contains a combination of psyllium and inulin which is prebiotic that is believed to promote bifidobacteria in the digestive tract.  The psyllium adds fiber to my diet which is helpful to healthy cholesterol levels as well as reducing heart disease.  And because of years of Aspirin, Motrin and Flexaril abuse, before I got smart and healthy, I also take a daily pharmaceutical quality supplement for my liver providing nutrients that are helpful to stimulating liver enzymes and protecting against oxidative stress.   

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Understanding Intestinal Microbiota to Regain Balance in the Gut

Article from MedicalXpress, by Natalie Duggan. The human gut is its own ecosystem, hosting close to a thousand microorganisms, many of which are helpful and necessary. When you take antibiotics, some of the beneficial germs can be wiped out, leaving you more vulnerable to diarrheal infections—infections, in some cases, that are antibiotic resistant and life-threatening.

MyAchingKnees comment: Not only can anti-biotics, and certainly the over use or abuse of anti-biotics, destroy beneficial mircoorganisms in the gut where our immune systems begin leading to gastrointestinal infections, our whole immune system can be compromised.  I take a probiotic supplement that contains Lactobacillius rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium, twice a week just to ensure healthy bacteria is maintained in my gut.   

Fecal transplants are proving to be a highly effective, antibiotic-free tool to cure Clostridium difficile, known as C diff, often a health care acquired infection that is more common among the elderly or those who take frequent antibiotics.

Colleen Kraft, medical director of Emory's clinical microbiology laboratory and assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and the Division of Infectious Diseases, started the intestinal microbiota program to treat and understand these infections. "Now that we as a medical community have a better understanding of the damage we do to the intestinal microbiota with antibiotic therapy, this understanding became the motivation to restore the balance to improve health," Kraft

In a fecal transplant, a sample is taken from a healthy donor, mixed with saline, and transplanted into the small intestine or colon of the ill patient, where the good bacteria repopulates and restores the healthy microbiota. Tanvi Dhere, director of inflammatory bowel diseases at the Emory Clinic, performs the transplant via colonoscopy and follows up with the patients in the Emory GI clinic. There have been 81 fecal transplants since the program began in 2012.

Donors need to meet stringent requirements, including not having school-aged children, not traveling internationally, and not having taken any antibiotics for at least one year; the sample is screened for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, STDs, parasites, and more. Patients are offered the option of having a family member screened for donor eligibility, but few have requested this after the standardized donor program was started.

Pathology residents Ryan McCormick and Drew Davis are two of Emory's donors.

"During clinical rotations, we saw C diff cases on the wards," Davis says. "It's important to recognize how bad conditions like C diff and colitis actually are."

"For the record, I don't think it's as gross as it sounds," McCormick says, laughing. "My reason for donating is to have more direct involvement in patient care."

Of the 336,000 C diff cases in the US each year, 14,000 result in death, often because the standard course of antibiotic treatment failed.

Kraft and Dhere are enrolling participants for a clinical trial in which they will examine the microbiome of the sample at the mucosal level. "A patient's gut microbiome is changed after undergoing a fecal transplant," Dhere says. "We want to know what specifically is allowing patients to recover."

Collaborative research with other departments is ongoing, including a study with the Department of Surgery on the efficacy of fecal transplants in treating pouchitis, a gastrointestinal condition that may require chronic antibiotics and affects more than 40% of patients with ulcerative colitis who have had a colonic resection. The team, led by Virginia Shaffer, has been granted an investigational new drug designation from the FDA. Fecal transplantation is also showing promise for treating C diff in organ transplant recipients, who must take drugs to keep their immune systems from rejecting the transplanted organ.

The intestinal microbiota program has a success rate of more than 90%. "We receive a lot of thank-you cards from patients and their families," Dhere says. "The quality of life that patients get after the procedure speaks volumes for this treatment."

The video below helps explain not only probiotics but prebiotics as well.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Dangers of Off The Shelf Supplements

The following is an article posted in Yahoo! Health, written by Jenna Birch with the title "Death By Raspberry Ketones And Caffeine Powder: The Dangers Of OTC Supplements". It highlights the dangers of taking off the shelf (aka Over The Counter) supplements which cannot be guaranteed for purity, lack of toxins, efficacy, nor can you be assured that what is in the label is in the bottle.

Cara Reynolds, 24, took her first dose of Forza raspberry ketone supplements in February 2013 to help with a new weight-loss regimen. She went to her dad soon after with complaints about heart palpitations.

“She’d only taken the recommended amount of pills but was scared because her heart was going 10 to the dozen,” her father told The Daily Mail. “That’s when she said she wasn’t going to take them for weight loss any more — it had really worried her.”

However, after a split from her fiancé the following month, the British healthcare worker took a lethal dose of the supplements she had bought off Amazon for under $40.

Doctors tried 44 times to resuscitate Reynolds, but were unable bring her back.

Raspberry ketones are the chemical compound that give the fruit its scent, and have been touted by the media and personalities like Dr. Oz and Kim Kardashian as weight-loss wonders. Although a few preliminary studies have shown ketones may help with weight loss, the evidence of its effectiveness is mixed at best. Outside a few animal and test-tube studies, there’s little science that proves ketones really work for slimming down.

Along with raspberry ketones, Forza supplements combine resveratrol and caffeine. These tablets contain up to 250 milligrams of caffeine per pill, or roughly the same amount you’d get from four cans of Red Bull or seven cans of Coke. The dose Reynolds consumed was likely the equivalent of 2.5 cans of Red Bull.

Through a representative, Forza issued a statement regarding Reynolds, saying, “This is a tragic and understandably upsetting situation for her family and friends, but it could have been effected through the misuse of any supplement. Forza products meet vigorous health and safety standards and have clear labeling and directions for safe usage.” The representative also said that it is “regrettable” that the overdose of a supplement “potentially contributed to Miss Reynolds’ suicide,” but that our client entirely rejects any implication that an inherent safety issue with its products is responsible.”

A report just submitted to the British Medical Journal cited Reynolds’ case as an example of the dangerous side effects associated with untested supplements. The FDA placed raspberry ketones on their “generally recognized as safe” list all the way back in the 1960s, but only for use in very small amounts in food as an additive, not as a weight-loss aid.

That you can get supplements with a potent dose of additives like caffeine over the counter and online is disconcerting, highlighting the need for better regulation of these types of substances.

There’s been a recent boom in advocacy about the dangers posed by unexpected, unregulated substances. Reynolds’ parents are telling their daughter’s story in hopes that the untested ketone supplements will be taken off the market. And the parents of Logan Stiner — the 18- year-old who died last May after suffering from a caffeine overdose — were on Capitol Hill yesterday, pushing lawmakers to ban the sale of caffeine powder.

Stiner ingested 23 times the amount of the stimulant that you’d find in a standard coffee drink. While not a supplement, the powder is often marketed as a weight-loss helper. It is also legally and easily obtained, even though just a teaspoon can deliver a deadly punch of caffeine. The FDA’s investigation into the powder is ongoing.

Part of the problem with supplements in particular is that they’re regulated much differently than drugs. “They’re regulated more like foods,” says Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “They don’t have as tough a standard, and some of the claims reflect that.” Think: miracle weight loss.

This is unsupported, however. “Very often they don’t have the studies to back up their claims, and then they start moving the target to fix that — like the study was on the wrong population,” Guallar explains.

In general, distinct populations are all supplements should be used for — and not the ones that claim big slim-downs and the fountain of youth.

Guallar, who has studied the widespread effects of supplements like daily vitamins, says even these common mineral forms have no clear evidence that they work to prevent disease or provide substantial health benefits for the general population. “They might work for a certain population, perhaps for overcoming a deficiency, but I can’t say any of these compounds work to reduce general risk of chronic diseases like obesity and cardiovascular disease,” he explains. “And half of adults in the adults in the United States take a daily vitamin.”

Big results are unlikely. In fact, a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism did not find that any specific supplement promoted significant weight loss, only that some like green tea, fiber, and calcium supplements could “complement a healthy lifestyle.” But in particular, author Melinda Manore, PhD, RD, called out products containing substances like caffeine, ephedra and synephrine as “likely to produce adverse side effects,” saying that they “should be avoided.” This would include Forza supplements.

However, some are still under the impression that, because they’re “supplements,” they can’t possibly hurt — which underscores the need for more regulation in the U.S. — but in the meantime, we should heed the warnings.

Like Guallar says, there are many different kinds of supplements, and even “natural” substances can be harmful. The biggest danger might ultimately be in the idea that they’re not dangerous. “I think people have the idea that these supplements are safe, because you can buy them at the supermarket,” Guallar says. “And then they think, ‘If one is good, then why not take two?’”

So, beware and be smart: Over-the-counter supplements are not without dangers, and they can be just potent as the drugs prescribed by your doc.

Perhaps more so.

Correction Notice: A previous version of this article incorrectly compared the amount of caffeine in Red Bull with the amount of caffeine consumed by Reynolds through the Forza supplements. The piece has been updated to reflect that she consumed the equivalent amount of caffeine in 2.5 cans of Red Bull.

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The 10 Best Nutrition Tips Ever

This article came from Yahoo! Health. If it can help one person lose some weight and regain some quality of life and reduce pain, especially in joints where additional weight is usually felt, then I'm for this article. However, losing weight is simple, just not easy. Simple in the regard that you have to minimize the bad food and maximize the good; lead a physical lifestyle boosting your metabolism. Not easy in the fact, the people just don't like change or discomfort of a diet - getting rid of their comfort foods.

Diet advice is a lot like fashion. Trends come—wedge sneakers, drop-crotch pants, those skirts that are short in the front and long in the back—and a year or two later they seem hopelessly out of date. But the truly stylish always look smart; you’ll never see a photo of Pharrell Williams wearing crocs or Victoria Beckham in a meat dress. Here at Eat This, Not That! we see the same thing with the lean and fit: Those who stay slim don’t follow diets or nutrition trends. They follow common sense eating strategies that keep them looking fit for life.

Giving up gluten, throwing back shots of apple cider vinegar, juicing everything in sight—try them if you think they make sense. (And if you need a little boost to get you back on track, try our Ultimate One Day Detox.) But when those of-the-moment diet fads are gathering dust in the back of your metaphorical closet, the simple, smart, sensible approaches will be there like a favorite pair of jeans or a perfect little black dress—look-great staples guaranteed to never go out of style.

NUTRITION TIP #1. Hide your weakness.

If you see it, you’ll eat it. If you don’t see it, you’ll still eat it—but not so much. That’s what a study at Google’s New York office, dubbed “Project M&M” found. Office managers discovered that placing the chocolate candies in opaque containers as opposed to glass ones, and giving healthier snacks like nuts and figs more prominent shelf space, curbed M&M intake by 3.1 million calories in just seven weeks. A similar study published in the Journal of Marketing found that people are more likely to overeat small treats from transparent packages than from opaque ones. Out of sight, out of mind, out of mouth.

NUTRITION TIP #2. Use the 1 in 10 rule.

For every 10 grams of carbohydrate listed on the label, look for at least one gram of fiber. Why 10:1? That’s the ratio of carbohydrate to fiber in a genuine, unprocessed whole grain. The recommendation comes from a study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition that evaluated hundreds of grain products; foods that met the 10:1 ratio had have less sugar, sodium, and trans fats than those that didn’t. Getting your fiber-rich whole grains is one of these indispensible habits.

NUTRITION TIP #3. Boost flavor to cut calories.

Ever notice how everything inside a McDonald’s—the burgers, the fries, the shakes—smells exactly the same? That sameness of scent is actually a tactic that can inspire you to consume more calories. A study in the journal Flavour found that the less distinctive the scent of a particular food, the more you’ll eat of it. Adding herbs and sodium-free spice blends is an easy take advantage of sensory illusion that you’re indulging in something rich—without adding any fat or calories to your plate. Furthermore, a recent behavioral study that taught adults to spruce up meals with herbs instead of salt led to a decrease in sodium consumption by nearly 1000 mg a day (that’s more salt than you’ll find in 5 bags of Doritos!).

NUTRITION TIP #4. Chill pasta to melt fat.

You can gain less weight from a serving of pasta simply by putting it in the fridge. The drop in temperature changes the nature of the noodles into something called “resistant starch,” meaning your body has to work harder to digest it. Cold pasta is closer in structure to natural resistant starches like lentils, peas, beans, and oatmeal, which pass through the small intestine intact and are digested in the large intestine, where—well, it gets kinda gross from there on out. A study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that adding resistant starch to a meal may also promote fat oxidation. Suffice it say, colder noodles = hotter you. But you’ve got to eat it cold: Once you heat the pasta up again, you destroy the resistant starch.

NUTRITION TIP #5. Dim the lights to get lighter.

A study of fast food restaurants published in the journal Psychological Reports found that customers who dined in a relaxed environment with dimmed lights and mellow music ate 175 fewer calories per meal than if they were in a more typical restaurant environment. That may not sound like a dramatic savings, but cutting 175 calories from dinner every night could save you more than 18 pounds in a year!

NUTRITION TIP #6. Eat, Don’t Drink, Your Fruit.

Juicing may be the rage, but like a certain Mr. Simpson, some juice can do more harm than good—including OJ. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who consumed one or more servings of fruit juice each day increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 21 percent. Conversely, those who ate at least two servings each week of certain whole fruits— particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples—reduced their risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent.

NUTRITION TIP #7. Eat before you eat.

Eating an appetizer of a broth-based soup or even an apple can reduce total calorie intake over the course of the meal by up to 20 percent, according to a series of “Volumetrics” studies at Penn State. Consider that, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the average restaurant meal contains 1,128 calories. A 20 percent savings, just once a day, is enough to help you shed more than 23 pounds in a year.

NUTRITION TIP #8. Choose paper, not plastic.

Here’s a simple way to improve the health of your shopping cart: A series of experiments by Cornell University looked at the effects of payment method on food choice. When shoppers used credit cards, they bought more unhealthful “vice” foods than they did “virtue” foods. Researchers suggest that you’re less likely to impulsively buy junk food if it means parting with a hundred dollar bill than swiping plastic.

NUTRITION TIP #9. Water down the calories.

You’ve been told to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but why bother? Well, what if staying hydrated could strip pounds off your body? According to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water (about 2 tall glasses), participants’ metabolic rates increased by 30 percent. The researchers estimate that increasing water intake by 1.5 liters a day (about 6 cups) would burn an extra 17,400 calories over the course of the year—a weight loss of approximately five pounds!

NUTRITION TIP #10. Remind yourself to lose weight.

A recent study published online in Health Promotion Practice found that people who received weekly text reminders of their daily “calorie budget” and motivational emails made healthier meal and snack choices. A simple hack to help you slim down: set up reminders on your smartphone, so when 6 a.m. rolls around, it’s: You make 1200 calories-a-day look so good! And at lunchtime: Salad for the six-pack, baby!

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