Friday, December 27, 2013

Popular Antacids Could Cause Vitamin Deficiency

People taking acid-inhibiting medications, such as Prilosec, Zantac, Pepcid, or Nexium, could be short on Vitamin B12, writes Kristen Fischer on Yahoo! Health.

According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) suppress gastric acid production, which can mean that the Vitamin B12 in food is not properly absorbed into the body. Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to serious health complications, such as anemia, nerve damage, and dementia.

“Vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older adults; it has potentially serious medical complications if undiagnosed," the authors wrote.

Scientists from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif. examined data from 25,956 patients with a new Vitamin B12 deficiency diagnosis between January 1997 and June 2011, and 184,199 patients without Vitamin B12 deficiency. They compared the two groups based on exposure to acid-inhibiting medications.

Among those who were newly diagnosed with a Vitamin B12 deficiency, 12 percent had been on PPIs for more than two years and 4.2 percent had been on H2RAs for more than two years; 83.8 percent were not on any of the medications. In the control group, 7.2 percent had been on PPIs for two years or more and 3.2 percent had been on H2RAs for more than two years; 89.6 percent were not taking acid-suppressors.

MyAchingKnees comment: I believe the major cause B12 and other deficiencies stem from eating nutrient poor foods and not taking quality supplements which are necessary to ensure your body receives the nutrients it needs to function properly.  Of course, taking OTC and prescription medications  can cause side effects, some very significant, as many Doctors treat the symptoms of a patient's health issues rather than trying to build that patient's health.

The researchers concluded that those on PPIs and H2RAs ran a higher risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency. And the higher the dose, the greater the risk.

They also discovered that the deficiency was more common in women and younger people. Once people stopped taking the medications, their risk went down.

“We cannot completely exclude residual confounding [factors besides the drugs] as an explanation for these findings, but, at minimum, the use of these medications identifies a population at higher risk of B12 deficiency, independent of additional risk factors,” the authors wrote.

Should Patients Stop Taking Acid-Inhibitors?

While their findings do not indicate that people should stop taking these medications, the researchers encourage physicians to be aware of the findings.

The strength of the association between acid-suppressors and vitamin deficiency increased with the medication dose, but not with the total length of time a person takes the medication, noted Dr. Douglas A. Corley, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research.

Knowing that Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possibility, should patients taking acid-suppressors ask for screenings? Talk to your doctor, Corley said.

“These results raise the question of whether patients on long-term acid suppressing medications should be screened at least once for vitamin B12 deficiency,” Corley said, noting that his statements refer to those who've been on the medications for more than two years.

The most commonly used PPIs are Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium, Protonix, and Aciphex. The most popular H2RAs include Zantac, Pepcid, and Tagamet.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Case Is Closed: Multivitamins Are a Waste of Money, Doctors Say

This is a recent article posted on LiveScience.com 150811128.html , by Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer, trying to make the case that "People should stop wasting their money on dietary supplements, some physicians said today, in response to three large new studies that showed most multivitamin supplements are ineffective at reducing the risk of disease, and may even cause harm." I think this is total crapola and have a lot to say concerning this misinformation.

The Article,....

The new studies, published today (December 16, 2013) in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine —including two new clinical trials and one large review of 27 past clinical trials conducted by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force — found no evidence that taking daily multivitamin and mineral supplements prevents or slows down the progress of cognitive decline or chronic diseases such as heart diseases or cancer.

"The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified and they should be avoided," the physicians wrote in an editorial published along with the studies.

This message is especially aimed at people who have no signs of nutritional deficiency — meaning most supplement users in the United States, the researchers said.

MyAching Kees comment: Who are the "people who have no signs of nutritional deficiency"? It is basically impossible to receive your necessary daily nutrients through today's food supply, therefore practically everyone has a need for supplemental nutrients. It could take years even decades for obvious signs and symptoms of chronic disease associated by nutritional deficiencies to become apparent. Many people will simply accept their reduced health and chronic conditions as just the process of getting old. I am saying don't accept that without a fight and high quality nutritonal supplements are one of your main tools in your arsenal in the fight.

"Study after study comes back negative — yet people continue to take supplements, now at record rates," said Dr. Edgar Miller, one of the five authors of the editorial and a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

MyAching Kees comment: These studies are flawed. They use people in various states of health and lifestyles, giving them a incomplete mix of low quality supplements often in lows doses. These studeis are also done by the conventional medical community who have a stake in seeing patients with chronic diseaes so they can prescribe various solutions to their ills, often with side effects, and chalking that up to the lesser of two evils.

There may be a psychological component to taking supplements, Miller said. Despite evidence showing supplements hold no benefit for the general population, some people may rationalize they need supplements because their diets lack necessary nutrients, Miller told LiveScience.

MyAching Knees comment: Lets talk about evidence. Me. A 45 years old man, BP constantly around 138/96. Cholesterol at 210. Rising PSA, A1C, and homecystine levels. Knee pain upon climbing stairs to boot. Start taking high quality nutritional supplements in doses considerably above the 70+ year old Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Six months later and continuing today (9 years later) my routine blood pressure around 118/84; cholesterol at 151. PSA, A1C and Homocystine continuing to drop. Last blood lab results stated that my chances of developing chronic heart disease are 0.5 on a scale where 3.0 is half the average risk. Not only will I not take prescription medication, but my Doctor say's none is indicated.

The new findings are in line with those of previously published studies that have found no benefits from dietary supplements, including B vitamins and antioxidants, and even suggested possible harms. Results of clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people have shown that beta-carotene, vitamin E and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements actually increase death rates, the researchers said.

MyAching Knees comment: Again, flawed studies with the "possible harm" scare. If these studies were conducted on a set of people exactly the same with exactly the same lifestyle (cloned people for example) AND gave them all the nutrients, just not cherry picking a few nutrients, and gave them quality supplements in the right doses - then these types of studies may begin to have meaning.

"We believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with most mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful," the researchers wrote in their editorial.

The use of multivitamin and mineral supplements among Americans has increased to about 50 percent in the mid-2000s, up from 40 percent in the early 1990s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For some supplements, such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, studies have found declines in use, following reports of their negative effects on lung cancer and mortality.

MyAching Knees comment: Cancer? My wife had surgery to remove a cancerous turmor in her sinus and frontal lobe. Doctors all recommended she stop taking supplements. She enters into seven weeks of radiation treatment being told that she will lose 30-50 lbs, be have continious nausea and fatigue, head aches, sore skin around head associated with the radiation and some other side effects. She was told to quit taking her supplements, but refused. She never had nausea,...did not lose any weight,...and the Doctors told her that have never had a patient breeze through surgical recovery and radiation treatment like she has.  You would think these Doctors would like to know what she did to be different,.....what she did to keep her health through the cancer treatment. But,  As good as they are in what they do - surgically remove tumors and irradiate the affected site - they don't understand the simple connection between nutrition and health.  

In contrast, sales of multivitamins and other supplements have not been affected by major studies that didn't find benefits, the researchers said. The U.S. supplement industry continues to grow, and reached $28 billion in annual sales in 2010. Similar trends have been reported in the United Kingdom and in other European countries.

The dietary-supplement industry maintains that for many Americans, diet alone may not provide the necessary vitamins they need daily, Miller said.

"The industry tries to create the impression that we are deficient, but randomized trials show that we are not all deficient and we don't benefit from supplements," Miller said, adding that clinical trials include people with varied diets from the general population.

The new review study looked at clinical trials that included a total of 450,000 older adults. All together, the researchers didn't find clear evidence of a beneficial effect of supplements on cancer and heart diseases.

MyAching Knees comment: Look the terms this article is using,....."clinical research, studies,...randomized trials",......kind of leaving off the who, what, when and where aren't they?

In another study, researchers looked at the effects of taking a daily combination of nutrients —including vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene and B vitamins — in 6,000 men ages 65 and older who were followed for 12 years. The cognitive performance and verbal memory of participants who took multivitamin supplements didn't differ from those of participants who took placebo.

In the third study, the researchers examined whether high doses of multivitamins and minerals could prevent heart attacks, strokes and death in 1,700 people who have already had a heart attack. After an average follow-up of five years, the results didn't show a difference between participants who took dietary supplements and those who didn't.

MyAching Knees comment: "no difference between participants who took dietary supplements and those who didn't",......what supplements are they talking about anyway? The low quality food grade off the shelf supplements? Or the pharmaceutical grade supplements containing all the nutrients in the right doses? These un-named physicians can keep their "clinical research, studies,...randomized trials",.........we're going to keep doing what we are doing and that is take the best supplements we can find, avoid toxins as much as we can, and live a physical lifestyle which has been possible these last 9 years since my knee pain is gone. We're just going to maintain our healthy lifestyles trying to live long and die short which is the opposite of most Americans.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

5 Surprising Immunity Boosting Foods for Cold and Flu Season

Timely `on winter colds and flu, given the cold fronts that just have passed through, by and posted on Healthy Living

According to the CDC's weekly FluView report, "flu activity continues to increase in parts of the United States." Additionally, my super-scientific Sneezers on the Subway observations indicate that colds are also on the rise. And while the CDC stresses that the best ways to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated against it and wash your hands properly, there's evidence that certain foods can help boost immunity and might help ward off colds and the flu. Here are a few you might not know about:

Organic, Whole Milk: The findings of a just-released study on organic milk and fatty acid composition, published in the reputable peer-reviewed journal PLOS one, indicate that organic milk contains a better balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids than conventional milk. And omega-3s have been linked to tons of benefits, including boosting immunity by increasing the activity of phagocytes, "cells that fight flu by eating up bacteria," says Prevention. You'll also get the most omega-3s from whole, rather than skim, milk though you'll have to weigh whether the extra total fat and calories are worth it to you.

Pickled Turnips: "Scientists have discovered that eating a traditional Japanese pickle could have 'protective effects' in preventing people from catching the flu," according to The Independent's recent article on the immunity boosting properties of a friendly bacteria in the pickles called suguki. If you can't find suguki, consider adding sauerkraut and kimchi to your menu -- the lacto-fermentation process by which these and some other traditional pickled products are made produces probiotics (those good-for-you bugs most associated with yogurt).

Red Grapes and Blueberries: These fruits may have "a significant benefit for immunity," according to a New York Daily News article reporting on an Oregon State University study. "Findings published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research showed that two compounds, resveratrol found in red grapes and pterostilbene found in blueberries, when combined with vitamin D, could boost the bodys ability to fend off illness." (Findings of a separate study, published in BMJ, linked blueberries, grapes, and apples to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.)

Golden Kiwifruit: You might want to keep your eyes open in exotic fruit section of the grocery store for this sweet, yellow-fleshed kiwi, as a small study (funded by a fruit exporter, so take it with a grain of salt), suggested that this fruit could help with congestion and sore throats. (See The New Zealand Herald's "gold kiwifruit 'wonder drug' for colds" for more.) But if you can't find the gold kiwis, don't worry: Regularkiwi is an excellent source of vitamin C.

"Five a Day": While many studies have drawn associations between certain nutrients (e.g. vitamin C or E) and increased immunity, the article Healthy Diet Fights Infection by Boosting Immune System from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter cites a study in which participants who increased their produce consumption from two to five servings per day of any fruit and vegetable saw increased immunity. Yet another reason to eat a balanced diet filled with whatever fruits and vegetables you love.

MyAchingKnees comment: Pickled Turnips? No thanks. But it IS possible to protect yourself from seasonal colds and flus.....and I don't mean by getting a flu shot. Something is wrong with your immune system if you get sick several times a year. I used to put up with being sick,..getting the occasional cold or bout with flu with headaches and racking joint pain. I even have had pneumonia three times. Once it was so severe that the Doc's thought I was having a heart attack. But in the past 8 years, going on 9, I have no been sick once. Not once. Sure is nice to use your work sick days for something other than lying in bed.  Eat right - low glycemic,.....take quality supplements, avoid toxins and live a physical life. 

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Friday, December 6, 2013

The Truth About Your Metabolism

The Truth About Your Metabolism From Men's Health, .....well maybe not the whole truth, but interesting enough to post. 

People talk about their metabolism a lot. You'd think they actually understand it. But often that's not the case. Here are four things you should know about the M-word:

Burning Truth No. 1: Skinny People Have Fast Metabolisms

VERDICT: Sometimes

"There are slim people with slightly low metabolisms who just don't eat very much," says Michael Jensen, M.D., an endocrinologist with the Mayo Clinic. "And there are heavy people with really high metabolisms who eat a huge amount."

Burning Truth No. 2: Lean Tissue Burns More Calories Than Fat Does Even While You're Asleep


"Your brain, heart, liver, and kidneys use a lot of energy, even when you're lying still," says Dr. Jensen. Muscle and the GI tract don't use much at rest; fat burns practically nothing. His estimate: You burn about a calorie per minute at rest. A quarter of that is torched by muscle, and 1/50th of it is burned by fat.

Burning Truth No. 3: Some Guys Can Only Slim Down By Slashing Calories


"In 30 years I've never seen anyone with a truly low metabolic rate," says Dr. Jensen. "People who think they need an 800-calorie diet often have resting metabolic rates of 1,500 calories."

So why can't they slim down? They're often eating many more calories than they realize. His fix: Accurately record everything you eat for two weeks. Unhealthy trends may emerge.

Burning Truth No. 4: Cutting 500 Calories A Day Means You'll Lose A Pound A Week

VERDICT: Not Quite

A pound of fat does equal 3,500 calories, and you may lose a pound the first week. "But when you eat less, you lose lean tissue, so your basal metabolic rate goes down," says Dr. Jensen.

Surprise: You may gain more than a pound after a 3,500-calorie pig-out, since calories stored as sugar cause you to retain water.

MyAchingKnees Comment: You can spend your time trying to figure out Metabolism rates, what foods may increase it, and what doesn't. You can try the latest fat burning tablets from the local pharmacy. Or you can just accept that diet and exercise, minimizing the bad foods you eat and increasing your physical activity is the most assured way to lose weight.

If you try some of those well advertised diet plans out there just be aware that most of these diets fail because they do not provide the nutrients your body needs. That's why some people get sick during their diets as their immune system is depressed from the lack of nutrients, and that's why some people gain weight after the diet as they are nutrient starved when they come off their diets.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Beware of Faulty Supplement Studies

NBC News produced a report titled "Vitamins don’t prevent heart disease or cancer, experts find" by Maggie Fox. This is one of the poorest articles I have ever read. I am in no way reluctant to post it because I believe in letting the "buyer beware". Make your own decision and if it works for you then good, keep doing it. However, I must say that many supplement studies are just B.S. because of many reasons or combinations of reasons: poor quality supplements for test; testing single nutrients; testing nutrients in small RDAS level doses; testing nutrients on subjects with widely diverse ages and health where a common baseline is impossible. Anyway, like I said, let the buyer beware!

The article: 

There’s not much evidence that vitamins can prevent heart disease or cancer – the two leading killers of Americans, experts said Monday.

Even though half the U.S. population pops vitamins in the belief they can help people live longer, healthier lives, a very extensive look at the studies that have been done show it may be a waste of time when it comes to preventing the diseases most likely to kill you.

The findings, by a team at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore., being used as the basis to update recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), aren’t clear-cut. They are likely to add to confusion over the benefits of vitamins.

"A healthy balanced diet is critical for good health, and that's probably the most important way that we get the nutrients that are essential," says Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a heart disease specialist at the University of California San Francisco who's a member of the Task Force.

“The USPSTF reviewed 24 studies of individual vitamins, minerals, or functional nutrient pairs. Across all the supplements studied, there was no evidence of beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease, cancer, or all-cause mortality," they wrote.

That doesn’t mean people don’t need the nutrients. It’s just that a multivitamin might not be the best way to get them.

There are two clear exceptions, the researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Beta-carotene can raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers, and vitamin E does no good at all in preventing cancer or heart disease. “The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that the net benefit of vitamin E supplementation is zero," they wrote.

And it’s also clear that vitamins can help pregnant women ensure they have healthy babies. The benefits of folic acid are so clear that flour is supplemented with it.

Vitamins are a multibillion-dollar industry in the United States. “Americans spend an estimated $11.8 billion each year on vitamin and mineral supplements,” the researchers wrote. But study after study has returned mixed evidence, at best, that they help most people in any way. The exceptions are people with vitamin deficiencies.

The team did what’s known as a meta-analysis, pooling the evidence of many different studies.

Evidence is clear that “fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood may play a role in the prevention of cancer or cardiovascular disease,” the researchers wrote. The American Heart Association agrees in its latest statement. "We recommend that healthy people get adequate nutrients by eating a variety of foods in moderation, rather than by taking supplements," the group says.

Dr. Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who criticizes the supplement industry in his book “Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine,” says he is not surprised by the findings.

But he doubts that the millions of Americans who buy vitamins will stop because of this recommendation. “They are constantly hearing information from those who market these products that they are good for you, that they boost your immunity, that they reduce stress,” Offit said in a telephone interview. “Many celebrities endorse them. One cannot imagine how they could hurt you because you need vitamins, you need vitamins to live. The notion is the more, the better.”

Offit said the review could have done more to highlight some of the dangers of overdosing on vitamins. Vitamin A, for example, can cause liver damage if taken in high amounts. “I wish they had taken on the issue of taking megavitamins in excess," he said. “I would like to see someone step forward and say there’s harm.”

There is evidence that taking too many vitamins may be harmful. One study found that too much vitamin E may raise the risk of prostate cancer. And one study of 40,000 women found a slightly higher risk of death in women who took supplements.

Even studies showing benefit have mixed results. Last year, a study showed that men who took a specific multivitamin had a lower risk of death. But the benefit didn’t extend to women.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association and lobbying group for the supplement industry, said the findings show the benefits of vitamins. “Your multivitamin provides you those missing nutrients that are missing from poor diet or busy travel schedules and that's really what the importance of a multivitamin is,” said Douglas MacKay, VP for scientific and regulatory affairs at the group.

But Madelyn Fernstrom, NBC's Diet and Nutrition Editor and a professor of psychiatry, epidemiology, and surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, disputes this.

Consumers should know that taking vitamins does not offset poor lifestyle choices," she says. "Many people fool themselves into 'bartering' for self- selected lifestyle factors. Smokers who take vitamins to support heart health, or sun-worshippers who take antioxidant vitamins to prevent skin cancer, are only fooling themselves."

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Can Vitamin D Prevent Diabetes?

This article is from Lisa Collier Cool and was originally titled "Can This 7-Cent Vitamin Prevent Diabetes?".

Researchers have launched the world’s first large, definitive clinical trial to find out if vitamin D supplements can stave off type 2 diabetes in people at high risk for the disease.

About 20 US medical centers are participating in the National Institutes of Health-funded trial, known as the D2d study, which will include some 2,500 volunteers with pre-diabetes, a problem affecting 79 million Americans.

“Without an effective intervention, about 10 percent of people with pre-diabetes will progress to type 2 diabetes each year,” reports Anatassios Pittas, MD, co-director of the Diabetes Center at Tufts Medical Center, who has received a grant of more than $40 million over five years from the NIH as part of the D2d study.

In the double-blinded clinical study, pre-diabetic participants ages 30 and older will be randomly assigned to take 4,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 or a placebo. Their health will be tracked for about four years.

MyAchingKnees Comment:  While I think Vitamin D in a necessary supplement and a daily dose in the several thousand of IU's is required, I don't think these studies involving single nutrients do a lot of good since they do not consider nor evaluate the necessary and synergistic effect of taking all the required nutrients for the bodies immune system to optimally function.......still I am glad someone thinks that daily doses of more than the RDA recommended 400 IU are necessary.     

New strategies are urgently needed to halt the diabetes epidemic, which now affects nearly 26 million Americans—with about 1.9 million new cases diagnosed each year, according to the American Diabetes Association. Rates have been rising in tandem with the obesity epidemic.

Urgent Need for Safe, Low-cost Strategies to Stop an Epidemic

“There’s a lot of hype about potential benefits of vitamin D—which is one of the most popular supplements with sales of $425 million a year in 2009—but not enough good scientific evidence to support a recommendation for or against taking it for diabetes prevention,” adds Dr. Pittas.

However, there are strong signals that the inexpensive vitamin—available for as little as 7 cents per pill—might be helpful. For example, Dr. Pittas and colleagues reported in a 2012 study that pre-diabetic patients with the most vitamin D in their blood had lower risk for progressing to type 2 diabetes, even when lifestyle interventions known to cut the threat, such as weight loss, exercising more, and eating a better diet were taken into account.

Ample amounts of the sunshine vitamin are linked to dramatic drops in risk for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Compared to people with the most vitamin D in their blood, those with the least are 50 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a meta-analysis of 16 studies published earlier this year in Clinical Chemistry.

High levels of vitamin D have an even more potent effect on risk for type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease). A 2012 study found that people with vitamin D levels of 17 nanograms or less per milliliter of blood had more than triple the risk for type 1 versus those with levels above 40.

While these and other studies show a strong correlation between vitamin D and lower diabetes risk, they don’t establish causation. In other words, there is no proof that the sunshine vitamin prevents diabetes.

Facing Diabetes Head On: Tips to Help You Cope

What’s the Link Between Vitamin D and Diabetes Risk?

“For type 2 diabetes to develop, people have to have two problems: their bodies become resistant to insulin and the beta cells in their pancreas don’t produce enough insulin to keep up with demand,” says Dr. Pittas.

“There is some preliminary evidence that vitamin D may improve both problems,” adds Dr. Pittas. “Another intriguing discovery is that the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin have the ability to activate vitamin D locally, which is not the case with most other tissues in the body.”

These discoveries offer a plausible biological mechanism by which vitamin D may fight diabetes, continues Dr. Pittas, who has been researching links with both forms of the disease for more than a decade. “I became intrigued with this association after learning that rates of type 1 diabetes rise as you move further from the equator.”

This geographic pattern also holds true for other autoimmune conditions, leading many researchers to hypothesize that sunshine, which sparks the body to produce vitamin D, may be protective.

However, there could also be other reasons, cautions Dr. Pittas. “For example, people who live close to the equator tend to have a healthier lifestyle than those in northern countries where people exercise less and eat a Western diet.”

Should You Take Vitamin D to Prevent Diabetes?

Since it’s not yet known if high doses of vitamin D, such as those used in the study, protect against diabetes, Dr. Pittas recommends sticking to the RDA of vitamin D (600 IU for people ages one to 70, and 800 IU for those over 70), unless your healthcare provider recommends higher doses.

Also discuss being checked for vitamin D deficiency, which is very common among Americans, especially in the winter, points out Amy Doneen, ARNP, medical director of the Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center in Spokane, Washington.

“Although a cause-and-effect relationship with diabetes hasn’t been established, optimizing your vitamin D levels if they’re low appears to be particularly beneficial if you have insulin resistance, the root cause of both type 2 diabetes and many heart attacks,” adds Doneen.

The best dietary sources for vitamin D include oily fish like salmon and mackerel, beef liver, egg yolks, and fortified dairy products.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Causes Heart Disease?

This article is by a world renowned Heart Surgeon who is speaking out on what he thinks really causes heart disease. This was published on by Dr. Dwight Lundell. Dr Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital, Mesa, AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is also the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.

What Causes Heart Disease? We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong.. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

World Renowned Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labeled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body? Well,smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.

Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell – they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.

Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.

One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter.

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labeled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Over the Counter Brain Damage

Over the Counter Brain Damage This article was posted on Real Farmacy and titled: "Over the Counter Brain Damage: Common ‘Medicines’ that Cause Long Term Cognitive Impairment". The side effects from OTC and prescription medicine are dangers that have been written about time and time again.  I am glad to see yet another article warning us of possible unintended damage, this time impacting on cognitive function.

Drugs commonly taken for a variety of common medical conditions negatively affect your brain, causing long term cognitive impairment. These drugs, called anticholinergics, block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter. They include such common over-the-counter brands as Benadryl, Dramamine, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Unisom. Other anticholinergic drugs, such as Paxil, Detrol, Demerol and Elavil are available only by prescription.

Physorg reports:

“Researchers … conducted a six-year observational study, evaluating 1,652 Indianapolis area African-Americans over the age of 70 who had normal cognitive function when the study began … ‘[T]aking one anticholinergic significantly increased an individual’s risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and taking two of these drugs doubled this risk.’”

From Dr. Mercola:

Many view over-the-counter (OTC) drugs as safe because they don’t require a prescription. Well nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, many OTC drugs were previously carefully monitored prescription drugs. Many people are not aware that while I was in college in the 1970s, I worked as a full time pharmacy apprentice and helped sell drugs to patients all day long.

Motrin was the first non-salicylate prescription NSAID. Now it is a popular OTC ibuprofen option. Similarly, anti-ulcer drugs like Tagamet, Zantec, and Prilosec used to be carefully controlled. Now they can all be easily purchased in a smaller “OTC strength” that nearly doubles the number of pills required to equal the prescription dose.

Just because a drug is available without a prescription does not make it any less dangerous. It is still a chemical, which in no way, shape, or form treats the cause of the problem and can lead to complications that can seriously injure, if not kill, you or someone you love.

So this is clearly important information that can help you or someone you love reduce your risk of dementia as you get older. Based on the findings of this study, I would strongly recommend that seniors in particular avoid all anticholinergic drugs, like Benadryl (generic is diphenhydramine) which is a pervasive and commonly used in virtually all of the OTC sleeping pills.

Researchers will continue studying the matter to see whether anticholinergic-induced cognitive impairment can be reversed, but don’t hold your breath. Avoidance is really the best solution.

What are Anticholinergic Drugs?

Anticholinergic drugs block a nervous system neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease typically have a marked shortage of acetylcholine. Anticholinergic drugs are available both over-the-counter and by prescription, as medications used for a variety of symptoms can have this effect. Examples include night-time pain relievers, antihistamines, and other sleep aids, such as:

Excedrin PM
Tylenol PM

Prescription drugs with anticholinergic effects include certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers. Examples of prescription meds in these categories include:


A Special Note for Aspartame ‘Reactors’

Many of the drugs listed here, as well as a long list of additional ones, contain diphenhydramine. As an important side note, you need to beware that chewable tablets and rapidly disintegrating tablets that contain diphenhydramine may be sweetened with aspartame.

If you have the genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU), you must be particularly careful to avoid these types of drugs and all other types of aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages in order to prevent mental retardation.

But many other people also suffer detrimental health effects from aspartame, so you should know that this is yet another potential source of this toxic sweetener.

Anticholinergic Drugs Increases Dementia in the Elderly

I’ve previously written about the health dangers of many of these individual drugs. Paxil, for example, is an addictive antidepressant that is well known to increase the risk of suicide in children and teens. It is also known to increase violent behavior.

Benadryl and Sominex have previously been found to cause hallucinations in the elderly, and a number of the drugs on the list also promote dental decay.

The results of this study indicate that drugs with anticholinergic effects may be yet another piece of the puzzle that might explain the sharp rise in dementia and cognitive decline.

According to the University of Michigan, dementia strikes about 50 percent of people who reach the age of 85. Of those, about 60 percent go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, the researchers tracked the intake of anticholinergic drugs and monitored the cognitive abilities of 1,652 African-American seniors, aged 70 and older, for six years. All of the participants had normal cognitive function at the outset of the study.

Fifty-three percent of the participants used a ‘possible anticholinergic,’ and 11 percent used a ‘definitive anticholinergic’ drug. They found that those who took drugs classified as ‘definite anticholinergics’ had a four times higher incidence of cognitive impairment.

In those who were not carriers of the specific gene, APOE e4 allele, the risk was over seven times higher. (The APOE e4 gene is known to influence many neurological diseases, and is considered a high risk factor for Alzheimer’s.)

Taking two of these drugs further increased the risk of cognitive impairment.

PhysOrg reports:
“Simply put, we have confirmed that anticholinergics, something as seemingly benign as a medication for inability to get a good night’s sleep or for motion sickness, can cause or worsen cognitive impairment, specifically long-term mild cognitive impairment which involves gradual memory loss.

As a geriatrician I tell my Wishard Healthy Aging Brain Center patients not to take these drugs and I encourage all older adults to talk with their physicians about each and every one of the medications they take,” said Malaz Boustani, M.D., IU School of Medicine associate professor of medicine, Regenstrief Institute investigator and IU Center for Aging Research center scientist.”

Even More Reasons to Ditch the Sleep Meds

In 2008, Americans filled more than 56 million prescriptions for sleeping pills and spent more than $600 million on over-the-counter sleep aids. But anticholinergic sleep medications in particular may be causing far more harm than good, especially long term, without providing any benefit at all.

In a recent article, CBC News reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has had data for 15 years which shows that over-the-counter sleep aids like Tylenol PM and Excedrin PM do not offer any significant benefit to patients.

There’s no explanation for why the FDA took 15 years to evaluate the industry’s research, but upon final analysis “the data suggests the combination products are statistically better than a placebo but not by much,” CBC News reported.

I guess it can be chalked up as yet another vibrant example of how industry research frequently amounts to little more than corporate wishes and good PR fodder.

MyAchingKnees comment: This was a very long article. The second part of it contained information relative to the dangers of sleeping aids which the use of is in epidemic proportions.   It's just crazy to take all this crap thinking it is helping.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Good Foods to Add to Your Diet

Straight from your pantry—up energy, get glowing skin, sleep better and more. Keep clicking to find out what to snack and sip on when your body needs a boost. From a recent Yahoo Health article.

This chilled soup is a blend of tomatoes and vegetables—including onions and garlic, which have antiviral properties (they attack sickness-causing germs). The produce also boosts your intake of certain vitamins that help strengthen your immune system.

Chamomile Tea
Chamomile helps relax the muscles around your GI tract, and the water in the tea improves digestion to shrink a bloated tummy. For the best relief, look for teas that are all chamomile rather than a blend.

This water-rich fruit transports key nutrients to the brain and keeps you hydrated. (Even mild dehydration can lead to more frequent and severe headaches, according to one study.) A little bit of natural sugar from the fruit will fuel brain cells to increase alertness, too. Snack on a watermelon slice, or cut into cubes and add to a glass of water.

Eating parsley may help prevent allergy flare-ups because it contains an antioxidant called quercetin that helps reduce the release of histamines. Fewer circulating histamines means you'll experience fewer symptoms when exposed to allergens. Add it to salads, or mix with olive oil and lemon to make a chicken topping.

Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin—the antioxidant that gives the mild-flavored spice its bold color—turmeric helps ease arthritis pain and swelling, enhance immunity, improve digestion, possibly prevent cancer and may even help reduce your risk of Alzheimer's. Luckily, the spice isn't overpowering, so you can easily add it to any dish. Try shaking ½ tsp into vegetable soup or a stir-fry, or mix it into rice.

MyAchingKnees comment: The joint supplement I take each day, and what I attribute to my pain free knees and back, has a bioavailable curcumin complex. This form of curcumin, combined with Glucosamine, Manganese, Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamin C, make up the supplement I take for my joint health each day.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
It's rich in a component called oleocanthal that speeds muscle repair. In fact, research shows that consuming about 3½ Tbsp oil throughout the day is the anti-inflammatory equivalent of approximately 10% of the standard ibuprofen dose. Add some to a post-workout salad or on top of mixed steamed vegetables.

Cheese and Crackers
The crackers pack energizing vitamins B6 and B12 (look for those that list 100% whole grain as the first ingredient), while lowfat cheese has protein. That combo stimulates the production of the feel-good chemical serotonin in your brain, which gives you energy to power through the P.M. Cap snacks at 200 calories (about 1 oz lowfat cheese and 8 crackers).

Cherry Juice
Tart cherries contain melatonin—a sleep-promoting compound that's a rare find in food (other sources include walnuts and bananas). In one study, people who drank this juice daily had better-quality zzz's compared with those who didn't sip. Cherry juice won't knock you out, but it may help you fall asleep easier. Drink it any time of day, or try adding 6 oz to a smoothie.

This tropical fruit contains bromelain, a compound that calms the skin inflammation that happens when you get a bruise. Eat about a cup and a half of pineapple chunks throughout the day and drink water to speed healing.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Vitamins You Might Be Overdoing

5 Vitamins You Might Be Overdoing,...........or may not be

Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, of the Cleveland Clinic who authored this post, is a registered dietitian who has been helping people reach their nutritional goals for more than 12 years. This article was posted on Yahoo! Health and can be found here.

Americans aren’t eating as many fruits and vegetables as we should be. In fact, Americans nationwide are significantly below the fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA.

Enter supplements. As people seek alternative sources of crucial vitamins and minerals, supplement intake has skyrocketed. Supplements can be helpful, but getting nutrients in a pill rather than food is not always the best way to improve your health. In some cases, it can even hurt.

Here are five vitamins and minerals you may be overdoing if you pop them as pills.

Iron and Copper

Iron plays a key role in younger women’s diets for menstrual cycles and pregnancy, but the recommendations for iron after menopause decrease significantly. Despite the lower guidelines (8 mg per day after age 50) many postmenopausal women still take supplements that contain iron. The risks of getting too much iron include a condition called hemochromatosis, which can damage your organs. Further, a 2010 study linked excess iron and copper to increased incidence of alzheimers disease and heart disease.

MyAchingKnees Comment: Taking Iron in a supplement form or worse yet in a multi-vitamin can inhibit the body's ability to abosrb other nutrients. You need to get your Iron from fresh food sources.

“Getting nutrients in a supplement rather than food is not always the best way to improve your health. Here are five vitamins and minerals you may be overdoing if you pop them as pills.”

Best bet: If you’re over 50, ditch the multivitamins with iron and copper unless a doctor instructs you to take them.

MyAchingKnees Comment: Better advice would be to suggest taking high quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements, which won't have iron in them.


Beta-carotene and vitamin A — which is formed by beta-carotene — is easy to consume. If you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, anything orange (carrots, sweet potatoes) for lunch and then a multivitamin or supplement for eye health, you’ve probably consumed too much. Too much beta-carotene has been associated with increased risk for lung cancer and overall increased risk of death.

Best bet: Skip the supplement and stick to food sources such as sweet potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, red bell peppers, carrots and spinach.

Vitamin C

When most people think of vitamin C, they think of oranges. But if your first thought is a vitamin C pill, you may be overdoing it. A recent study found that men who took vitamin C pills had higher risk for developing kidney stones.

Best bet: Enjoy the culinary delights of vitamin-C rich foods such as papaya, strawberries, brussels sprouts and kale. But don’t take extra unless a doctor advises you to.


While calcium is important for strong bones, data suggests getting too much of it can strain your heart. Studies have suggested that women who take high amounts of calcium increase their risk of cardiac death and moderately increase their risk for heart attack.

Best bet: To avoid overdoing it, get your calcium through food sources such as dairy, tofu, sardines, broccoli and almonds. If you think you need supplemental calcium, talk to a doctor before buying a bottle.

The recommended daily allowance for any vitamin or mineral will depend on your age, medical conditions and other factors, and a doctor or registered dietitian can help you fine-tune your intake.

You may also notice a common theme here: Most vitamins and minerals are best obtained and absorbed through real food. To ensure you’re getting enough — but not too much — of any vitamin or mineral, avoid supplements that contain “mega doses” unless your doctor recommends them for medical reasons.

MyAchingKnees Comment: The common theme I notice is an anti-supplement bent from the author.  A person just cannot get the required amount of nutrients from fresh food or whole sources. And what most nutritionists think of as "mega doses" are anything over the RDA - which again was established over 70 years ago in an era where we did not see these epidemic numbers of degenerative disease like we see today.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trouble Sleeping?

MyAchingKnees comment:  A reader sent me this article from the web on sleeping problems.  It's pretty much right on the mark as sleep deprivation, unfortunately self caused most of the time, and leads to a host of health issues. 

Poor sleep results in tiredness, poor concentration, reduced quality of life, compromised immune function, and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Sleep deprivation has also been linked with increases in markers of oxidative stress and decreases in levels of antioxidant enzymes (e.g., SOD, glutathione reductase, etc.) in the brain, liver, and heart. Another analysis of sleeping pill studies from 2007 (financed by the National Institutes of Health) found that sleeping pills like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata reduced the average time to go to sleep by just under 13 minutes compared with fake pills — hardly a major improvement. Yet, the participants believed they had slept longer, by up to one hour, when taking the pills.

This may actually be a sign of a condition called anterograde amnesia, which causes trouble with forming memories. When people wake up after taking sleeping pills, they may, in fact, simply forget that they had been unable to sleep!

You would be far better off putting your money toward authentic solutions to help you sleep than on sleeping pills, as it’s now clear that they do next to nothing to help you sleep – in fact, they may actually make it more difficult for you to get a good night’s rest naturally – and may significantly increase your risk of dementia.

Sleeping Pills are NOT a Safe Solution for Sleepless Nights

Please understand that resorting to sleep medications is risky business, and that these pills do not address the underlying reasons why you’re having trouble sleeping in the first place.

In addition to the long-term problems already discussed, there are other serious, not to mention bizarre, risks involved.

For starters, these pills are notorious for being addictive, which means that once you want to stop taking them, you’ll likely suffer withdrawal symptoms that could be worse than your initial insomnia. Some, such as Ambien, may also become less effective when taken for longer than two weeks, which means you may find yourself needing ever higher dosages.

Ambien may also make you want to eat while you’re asleep — and I don’t mean sneaking down to grab a piece of fruit. The sleep eating can include bizarre foods such as buttered cigarettes, salt sandwiches, and raw bacon.

Sleeping pills, and again Ambien in particular, are also known to increase your risk of getting into a traffic accident. Ambien actually ranks among the top 10 drugs found in the bloodstreams of impaired drivers, according to some state toxicology labs.

MyAchingKnees comment:  Lunesta listed possible side effects as "abnormal behaviors include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations and confusion. In depressed patients, worsening of depression including risk of suicide may occur",.....nice!

Among the elderly, using sleeping pills may increase the risk of nighttime falls and injuries, and anyone who takes them may find they wake up feeling drowsy if the effects of the drug have not worn off yet.

You’re far better of finding safe and natural solutions that will actually address the underlying causes of your sleepless nights instead of just cover up the resulting symptoms.

If you are having trouble sleeping, please do not ignore the problem or simply wait for it to go away. Quality sleep just as important as your need for food, water, and pure air — and there are very simple methods to help you get yours.

A Stanford University Medical School study found that after 16 weeks in a moderate-intensity exercise program, subjects were able to fall asleep about 15 minutes earlier and sleep about 45 minutes longer at night. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake.

Stress is another major reason why people have trouble sleeping, which is why I suggest you start to wind down from your day at least an hour before your bedtime (but preferably two or more).

Calming activities such as journaling, meditating, sipping herbal tea, washing your face, using the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or reading a book may soothe your mind and help you unwind. Be sure your phone, email, and television are all off during this time.

Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep.

This includes keeping the temperature cool, adding in some white noise if you need it and making sure your room is pitch-black. If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. For this reason, I highly recommend adding room-darkening drapes to your bedroom, or if this is not possible wearing an eye mask to block out any stray light.

MyAchingKnees comment: I am grateful that I have no trouble sleeping. However sometimes my wife has trouble falling sleep and when she does she is often awoken in the middle of the night, wide awake, and unable to get back to sleep until real fatigue sets in.  We have tried a pharmaceutical grade Melatonin product that contains 2 mg of Melatonin which of course is a naturally occurring hormone synthesized in the brain that regulates normal sleep and wake cycles. Melatonin levels naturally start to rise in the evening and remain elevated for most of the night, signaling to our body that it is time to sleep. As melatonin levels rise, we become less alert and feel drowsy. I have tried it since I wanted a personal experience with this product in case someone asked me about it or needed it. I tried 1/2 tablet (1 mg Melatonin) and woke alert and refreshed, but could not positively attribute it to the Melatonin. I tried a 2 mg dose and awoke 5.5 hours later, and only because of my kamikaze alarm clock. I was pretty groggy but I was not tired. My wife routinely uses 2 mgs of Melatonin and sleeps 8 hours commenting that she really had a good night's sleep.  So if you going to use pills, consider Melatonin, but you may have to experiment with the right dose. 

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Toxins in Supplements - Exactly What I've been saying

Exactly What I've been saying, article by Alison Young, from USA Today, titled "Popular sports supplements contain meth-like compound", highlights the problems with off the shelf, food grade supplements. This is a long article, but one worth reading as it illuminates the fact that you don't know what you are getting with food grade supplements,....could be toxins, impurities or, like in this case, just plain bad ju ju.

Alison's article begins:  A sports supplement featured in a USA TODAY investigation is now found to contain a methamphetamine-like chemical that could put people's health at risk.

A popular and controversial sports supplement widely sold in the USA and other countries is secretly spiked with a chemical similar to methamphetamine that appears to have its origins as an illicit designer recreational drug, according to new tests by scientists in the USA and South Korea.

The test results on samples of Craze, a pre-workout powder made by New York-based Driven Sports and marketed as containing only natural ingredients, raise significant health and regulatory concerns, the researchers said.

The U.S. researchers also said they found the same methamphetamine-like chemical in another supplement, Detonate, which is sold as an all-natural weight loss pill by another company: Gaspari Nutrition.

"These are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there's absolutely no guarantee of quality control," said Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the analysis of Craze samples being published today in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

"It has never been studied in the human body," Cohen warned. "Yes, it might make you feel better or have you more pumped up in your workout, but the risks you might be putting your body under of heart attack and stroke are completely unknown."

Craze, which is marketed as giving "unrelenting energy and focus" in workouts, was named 2012's "New Supplement of the Year" by A USA TODAY investigation published in July reported on other tests detecting amphetamine-like compounds in Craze.

While and several online retailers have stopped selling Craze in the wake of USA TODAY's investigation, the product has continued to be sold elsewhere online and in GNC stores. In recent weeks, Driven Sports' website, which offers Craze for sale, has said the product is out of stock. Detonate is sold by a variety of online retailers.

An attorney for Driven Sports, Marc Ullman, said the company had no comment on the latest findings that the compounds are actually more closely related to methamphetamine.

"We have previously provided USA Today with a plethora of data from a DEA Certified Lab indicating the absence of any amphetamine-like compound in Craze," Ullman said in an e-mail. "In light of USA Today's decision to ignore the data we have provided, we respectfully decline to comment for your story."

Officials at Gaspari Nutrition in Lakewood, N.J., did not respond to interview requests.

Because of the government shutdown, officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which oversees dietary supplements, could not be reached for comment. Calls to the Drug Enforcement Administration also weren't returned.

Cohen said researchers informed the FDA in May about finding the new chemical compound in Craze. The team found the compound — N, alpha-diethylphenylethylamine — has a structure similar to methamphetamine, a powerful, highly addictive, illegal stimulant drug. They believe the new compound is likely less potent than methamphetamine but greater than ephedrine.

"There are suggestions about how it's tweaked that it should not be as addictive as meth," Cohen said. But because it hasn't been studied, he said, its dangers aren't known. The team said it began testing Craze in response to several failed urine drug tests by athletes who said they had taken Craze.

Driven Sports has issued repeated statements in recent months that Craze does not contain any amphetamine-like compounds, including posting test results on its website that it says prove the product is clean. In July, a USA TODAY investigation revealed that a top Driven Sports official — Matt Cahill — is a convicted felon who has a history of selling risky dietary supplements, including products with ingredients linked to severe liver injury and at least one death. Cahill is currently facing federal charges in California involving his introduction of another supplement, Rebound XT, to the market in 2008 that contained an estrogen-reducing drug, and this spring a grand jury was also investigating, USA TODAY has reported.

The newspaper's investigation, which focused on several products sold over the years by Cahill's changing series of companies, reported that tests by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in June 2012 and a government-affiliated forensic lab in Sweden in April 2013 had detected undisclosed amphetamine-like compounds in samples of Craze.

A month after USA TODAY published its report about Cahill and Craze, a team of South Korean scientists published an article in a journal of the Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology saying they had found a methamphetamine-like compound in samples of Candy Grape flavor and Berry Lemonade flavor Craze.

The researchers, from the National Forensic Service in South Korea and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, noted that the compound found in Craze was the same as that found in a crystalline powder seized by narcotics agents in December 2011 as a suspected illicit designer drug. In that case the powder was found in an unclaimed lost package shipped from Vietnam to South Korea, according to an earlier journal article published by the team in late 2012. "It appeared that the recipient of this article sought to abuse this chemical in the same way as amphetamines. There is a possibility that this chemical will be widely abused for recreational use in the near future," they wrote at the time.

Instead, the same team soon found the compound in Craze.

The researchers noted that the compound had been patented in 1988 by Knoll Pharmaceuticals with claims of psychoactive effects, such as enhancing mental activities and pain tolerance. While it was never developed into a medicine, the patent described tests on animals and suggested an intended oral dose of 10 mg to 150 mg, with a target of 30 mg.

A suggested serving size of Craze yielded a dose of the compound of about 23 mg, the Japanese journal article said, and "it could be assumed that NADEP was added to the supplements intentionally for its pharmacological effects without adequate labeling."

The U.S. research team also found the meth-like substance at levels of 21 mg to 35 mg per serving in each of the samples tested from three separate lots of Craze.

Craze's label does not disclose the compound found by the researchers. Instead it says the product contains dendrobium orchid extract that was concentrated for different phenylethylamine compounds. Phenylethylamines include a variety of chemicals "that range from benign compounds found in chocolate to synthetically produced illicit drugs," according to the U.S. researchers.

The U.S. researchers noted that an "extensive" search of scientific literature does not find any evidence that the compound listed on Craze's label has ever been documented as a component of dendrobium orchid extract. The U.S. research team included Cohen; John Travis, a scientist at NSF International, a Michigan-based testing and standards organization that has a dietary supplement certification program; and Bastiaan Venhuis of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands.

Although not part of the journal article being published today, NSF International announced that in separate testing they also have detected the same methamphetamine-like compound in the weight-loss supplement Detonate sold by Gaspari Nutrition. "Regulators may want to consider taking action to warn consumers," NSF International said in a statement. Gaspari markets Detonate as containing "dendrobium extract."

Last year Driven Sports posted a series of blog items on its website alerting customers that counterfeit versions of Craze were being sold. "Could there be counterfeit products, of course," Cohen said. "Chances are this is more likely an effort by the manufacturer to distract regulators and consumers from what's really going on here."

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Anti-Oxidants - You Need Them!

Infographics are rapidly becoming a popular way to impart information as many of us absorb information better through a mix of pictures, graphics and text.

One of the better ones I've seen regardless of topics is an infographic explaining Free Radicals and why Anti-Oxidants are important to fight off the damaging effects of free radicals, that being oxidative stress, which causes damage that is responsible not only for a vast array of degenerative disease but the earlier and earlier onset of these quality of life shortening diseases.

One of the factoids in this infographic is the Japanese Scientist Yuike Niwa states that 85% of chronic and degenerative disease is caused by free radical damage.  This is consistent with some of the studies I've seen that say only 20-25% of degenerative disease is genetic, that the largest percent of these diseases are from our environment - our nutrition (or poor nutrition) and constant exposure to toxins.

Some of the benefits from getting sufficient anti-oxidants are:

A 40% reduction in cancer.

A 46% lower risk of developing high blood pressure.

A 29% decrease in heart disease risk.

This infographic goes on to remind us that anti-oxidants are everywhere,..Vitamin C and E being two of the most commonlyu known anti-oxidants, but we can find others in drinks, foods, vitamins with some of the common sources being:

Kidney Beans
Granny Smith Apples
Red Wine
Olive Oil

The problem with getting a sufficient daily dose of anti-oxidants is that our food supply is compromised. With GMO foods replacing naturally grown foods; with the reduction of nutrients in the fresh foods we buy today due to soil nutrient depletion; with processing issues which practically force manufactuerers and suppliers to use preservatives; and the over whelming selection of processed foods that have practically all their nutrients sucked out of them, we have to devote time and care to ensure we are eating good foods. You can't rely on foods alone. You have to ensure your body gets the requisite nutrients for your immune system to fight off free radicals. You really have to take a quality nutritional supplements with advanced doses of vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Osteoporosis and Prevention

MyAchingKnees received a request to post an article on Osteoporosis prevention and what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. Well, I'll give it a try.

Osteoporosis, means porous bones, and is a condition where a person loses too much bone mass making the bones weak and prone to breaking from minor falls, or in the case of my Mother, fracturing a bone from attempting to move a piece of furniture. And we have all heard stories from friends about their elderly relatives who fell down and broke hip or leg.

I have read articles that state that Medical Professionals are now seeing Osteoporosis in children, pre-dominantly girls, as young as 11 or 12 years old. Be that as it may, Osteoporosis is not something you have to accept as inevitable as you age. But what can you do about it?

Most Osteoporosis Prevention sites will tell you to: 1 - Ensure you get enough calcium and vitamin D; 2 - Eat a well balanced diet and include fruits and vegetables; 3 - Get regular exercise including weight lifting; and, 4 - Quit smoking and minimize drinking alcohol.

Green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and turnips can provide Calcium. Potatoes, artichokes and spinach for instance can provide Magnesium.

Consuming dairy products like yogurt, cheese and milk (cow and soy) can provide Calcium and possibly Vitamin D. Fish, fresh and canned, such as salmon and sardines, etc., also provide Vitamin D and Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

Excessive salt can prevent you from absorbing calcium even if you get enough.

All good advice, but I believe even the best of us cannot get enough nutrients in the needed amounts from foods. And don't use the Required Daily Allowance (RDA). The RDA, of course, is the government's recommended level of a nutrients considered sufficient to meet the requirements of approx 96% of the population, without considering age and gender or any other factors. Besides, the RDA was developed in 1941. Let me say that again,...the RDA was developed in 1941!

Even if the RDA, in 1941, was sufficient, what's changed since then? Well, basically our society has changed, demanding fast solutions to everything including foods. Processed foods dominate our lives. Include the development of GMO foods and other strains of crops which may be more hardy against the ravages of the weather, but provide much less nutrients. Add the massive amount of toxins prevalent in our lives and you have recipe where no one is getting, nor probably can get, the required daily nutrients through foods.

While eating right - maximizing the good foods and minimizing the bad foods are one cornerstone of my healthy lifestyle plan, taking quality nutritional supplements in amounts necessary to provide protection against today's early onset of degenerative disease is another cornerstone and really the only consistent part of my healthy lifestyle plan.

Avoiding toxins, is yet another cornerstone, or what I call a "leg on the chair of health".   Cigarette's and alcohol are a mortal enemy of not only your general health, but your bone health as they help enable Osteoporosis. Hello? Quit smoking and drinking to excess. Two to three drinks a day is not "in moderation".

And if you're going to drink, don't drink Bud Light or Sailor's Scotch. At least a quality red wine can provide some anti-oxidants, which most people are sorely in need of.

Exercise, especially weight lifting can help prevent Osteoporosis. A person also needs protein in the diet, but an excessive amount of Omega 6 in our diet with a corresponding lack of Omega 3's can increase free radical damage which often manifests itself in joint pain in my opinion.  Osteoporosis is not something you have to accept as inevitable as you something about it!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

What Your Body's Trying to Tell You - If You Will Listen

Good article by Sarah Mahoney, posted on Yahoo! Healthy Living on listening to your bodies and being aware of your limitations.

Not long ago, my husband and three of our kids went charging up Mount Katahdin--think of it as New England's mini Mount Everest. I'd spent months hiking with friends to make sure I was in shape and, at the start, hustled to keep pace with our teenagers as we hauled ourselves up the steep boulders. But within a couple of hours I was straggling; they leapt past me like giddy mountain goats while I carefully picked my way up the rocks.

Was I disappointed? Actually, no. I felt smart. My 40-something body was telling me how to protect it from injury--and my hips and feet thanked me later. It turns out that our bodies routinely transmit this evolving wisdom, gently steering us away from activities or indulgences we can no longer tolerate to ones that will ensure continued good health.

Here are six other things your body's trying to tell you.

1. When you're dehydrated

Over the course of a lifetime, our kidneys, which transport water to our tissues, gradually lose a bit of their efficiency. Also, nerves that signal thirst gradually decline. The combination means that you may be unaware of the fact that you're not getting adequate hydration.

Listen to your body: Sip throughout the day. While there's no reason to torture yourself with eight 8-ounce glasses if you don't like it, make a habit of consuming enough fluids every day. Not an H2O fan? Try adding herbal tea at each meal.

MyAchingKnees comment: A pitcher of water with slices of lemon's, limes or any type of berry is another way to spice up your plain water.

2. When to go easy on dessert

From early adulthood to late middle age, our metabolic rates fall by an average of 10%. "That's because people tend to become more sedentary as they age," says Barbara Bushman, PhD, a professor of exercise physiology at Missouri State University, "and that inactivity reduces muscle mass, in turn lowering metabolism. The metabolic drop is also due to a decline in cellular activity, so even women who maintain a consistent level of fitness find that they need fewer calories to maintain the same weight."

Listen to your body: Think of the metabolic slowdown as your body's way of getting you to be more mindful of what's on your fork or spoon. Instead of an ice cream sundae, think: healthier fruit parfait.

3. When to hit the hay

"My body can no longer handle being awake until 2 am and then getting up at 6," says Riconda Solis Lamb, 44, a mom of two teens who has long relied on the midnight hours to catch up on everything from reading to cleaning to exercise. "Now if I'm up late, it's like I have narcolepsy at the office the next day." The National Sleep Foundation says that's because the architecture of sleep changes as we age; we spend more time in light stages of sleep and less in those that are deeper and more restful. Combine this with the fact that most of us don't get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, and a late night really hurts.

Listen to your body: Get more sleep than you think you need-always at least 7 hours. Switch off phones, computers, and the television an hour earlier.

4. When you need to stretch

Even as our body wisdom increases, our flexibility declines. Lamb, who lives in Rogers City, MI, says she's made peace with feeling like Oz's Tin Man after a rainstorm. "I used to jump out of the car after a 2-hour drive and feel fine," she says. Now it takes a little effort to unfold her legs. By our mid-40s, most of us have lost between 3 and 4 inches in the sit-and-reach test. "The elasticity of tendons, ligaments, and joints decreases," increasing the potential for injuries, says Bushman. New evidence also links poorer flexibility to heart disease: Japanese researchers found that middle-aged and older people who do poorly on the sit-and-reach test have stiffer arteries than more flexible people.

Listen to your body: Do more activities like yoga and tai chi, which boost both flexibility and balance. And after any workout, take time to stretch, holding each pose for 15 to 20 seconds while breathing deeply.

5. When to drop a grudge

Psychologists have known for some time that people tend to become more forgiving the older they get. Researchers at the City University of Hong Kong have a new explanation for this phenomenon: Our sense of the future becomes more constrained and regulating our emotions becomes more important, so we are motivated to kiss and make up.

Listen to your body: Cultivate a kinder heart. A recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that cardiac patients who undergo forgiveness counseling--they learn to work though and overcome hostile feelings, and thus grudges, they hold toward others--have significantly fewer heart symptoms, such as angina, than those who don't get the counseling.

6. When to skip that extra glass of wine

A moderate amount of booze eases stress and anxiety and may protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and stroke. Alas, aging seems to reduce women's ability to tolerate alcohol. Why? The body retains less water, so alcohol becomes more concentrated, and therefore more potent. Drinking even a little more than usual increases the risk of tipsy mishaps, including falls.

Listen to your body: A little vino now and then is a good idea, but stick to no more than one glass at a time, and don't exceed seven servings per week.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

I appreciated this article titled "7 Ways to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk" by Stephanie Eckelkamp on Yahoo Health as it supports a link of nutritional deficiencies with degenerative diseases - in this case Alzheimers.

"You may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by a whopping 70 to 80%," says Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the non-profit organizations that sponsored the first annual International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain this past weekend in Washington DC.

Sixteen researchers presented compelling evidence about why the following seven habits could help warn off many neurological disorders, not just Alzheimer's, that steal our mind.

Minimize your intake saturated and trans fats

These "bad" fats tend to increase blood cholesterol levels, which encourage the production of dangerous beta-amyloid plaques in the brain -- a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. In the Chicago Health and Aging Study, people consuming the most saturated fat had triple the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains should be staples in your diet

These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that protect the brain such as vitamin B6 and folate. The Chicago Health and Aging Study found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. A plant-rich diet also reduces your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, both of which can play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

MyAchingKnees comment: No argument here. Eating right is the first leg on the chair of health.

Get about 5 mg of vitamin E daily

This antioxidant has been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and can easily be consumed by eating small handful of nuts or seeds or munching on mangoes, papayas, avocadoes, tomatoes, red bell peppers, spinach, and fortified breads and cereals. But stick to food sources, says Dr. Barnard. Taking a supplement doesn't seem offer the same benefit.

MyAchingKnees comment: "Taking a Vitamin E supplement doesn't seem to offer the same benefit? Only true if you are taking poor quality supplements. I take 800 IU of Vitamin E and I also suggest that an Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid supplement is as important not only to brain related functions but to your overall health.

Pop a B12 supplement

Getting adequate amounts of this B vitamin (about 2.4 mcg per day), found in animal products and fortified foods, helps reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to cognitive impairment. In an Oxford University study of older adults with elevated homocysteine levels and memory problems, B vitamin supplementation improved memory and reduced brain atrophy. If you're over 50 or follow a plant-based diet, taking a supplement is extra important.

MyAchingKnees comment: "Not only Vitamin B is necessary. All the nutrients and in much higher doses than suggested by the outdated RDA should be part of anyone's foundation for a Healthy Lifestyle.

Avoid multivitamins with iron and copper unless otherwise directed by your doctor

Most people get adequate levels of these metals through their diet, and ingesting them in excess has been linked to cognitive problems.

MyAchingKnees comment: When Iron is included in a Multi-Nutrient (Multi-Vitamin) supplement, it can inhibit the body from absorbing some of the other nutrients.

Avoid cooking with aluminum pots and pans

Instead, opt for stainless steel or cast iron cookware. While aluminum's role in brain functioning is still under investigation, preliminary data suggests that it may contribute to cognitive problems.

MyAchingKnees comment: No argument here either as this is the third leg on the chair of health....avoiding toxins.

Walk briskly three times a week for at least 40 minutes

Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise can reduce your risk for dementia by 40 to 50%.

MyAchingKnees comment: Again, right on the money,..........lead a physically active life - the fourth leg on the chair of health.

By adopting all of the above habits you may be setting your brain up to be around for the long haul.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Can anti-aging supplements help you look younger?

Consumer Reports looks at supplements and gauges their ability to make you look younger. I care more about how healthy I am and how I feel as opposed to how I look. But the truth is - the healthier you are, the better you look. My wife remarks about how her skin looks healthier; her nails are less brittle and grow faster; and, her hair is fuller, and the only explanation she offers is that is has to be from the supplements she takes.

From the Consumer Report:  The best way to age gracefully is with good habits, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, and not just because the combination makes you look younger. Research shows that a healthy lifestyle offers most of the benefits that anti-aging products claim to provide—less body fat, improved energy, more vigor, and greater muscle strength—with none of the risky side effects of those products. We looked at some of those claims and what you can actually expect from the products. Here’s what we found.

Claim: An infusion of vitamins in high doses makes you feel younger

Reality: Flooding your system with a high concentration of vitamins intravenously speeds absorption into the bloodstream. That would seem to be a shoo-in for the super-healthy category. After all, if some is good, then more is better and even more is best, right? Not exactly.

“It needs further testing,” says the study’s author, David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. “Such drips can be beneficial for people with certain conditions, like those who have trouble absorbing nutrients through their gastrointestinal tract. But they should not be used routinely by peo¬ple who are looking for a quick fix for their health.”

Consumer Reports says: For the vast majority, the best way to get vitamins is through your diet.

Claim: DHEA supplements prevent illness and improve energy

Reality: Store shelves are lined with bottles of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplements. But your body actually produces the hormone naturally. And while DHEA levels do usually begin to decline at about age 30—the same time age-related changes such as decreased muscle mass, reduced bone density, and cognitive impairment start to crop up—there's no evidence that taking additional DHEA helps counteract those problems.

Consumer Reports says: Because there’s no evidence of effectiveness, and side effects can include lower levels of good cholesterol, increased facial hair in women, acne, and concerns about various types of cancer, you should pass on those supplements.

Claim: Omega-3 supplements slow the effects of aging

Reality: Scientists have known for awhile that omega-3 fatty acids—whether you get them from a pill or from food such as salmon and sardines—can help protect against heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and possibly other diseases. But is there a connection to aging?

A 2012 study from Ohio State University found that most overweight but otherwise healthy study participants who were middle-aged and older who took omega-3 supplements for four months altered the ratio of their fatty acids in a way that helped to preserve telomeres. It’s the first evidence to suggest that a nutritional supplement might actually help make a difference in aging.

Consumer Reports says: Although the study is intriguing, more research is needed. At this time there’s not enough evidence to recommend omega-3 supplements for their possible effect on telomeres. But eating fatty fish twice a week is well worth considering, especially since fish has well-documented cardiovascular benefits.

MyAchingKnees comment: There have been studies on how high quality nutritional suplementsa and an Omega 3 supplement help children that have previously diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Many people (including me) and institutions believe Omega 3's help cognitive function.

Claim: Red wine will help you live longer

Reality: It’s not so much the wine per se but the resveratrol in the skin of the grapes that has been claimed to lengthen your life. And even that much isn’t certain. Research suggests that resveratrol mimics the effects of calorie restriction, which has been found to extend the lives of lab animals. Eating a low-calorie diet has been associated with not only a lower body mass index but also a reduction in blood pressure and improved memory.

Researchers hope that resveratrol will prove to be a more palatable way of getting the anti-aging benefits of calorie restriction while allowing people to eat and drink comfortably. But there’s no evidence that resveratrol will keep you young.

Consumer Reports says: You can give resveratrol a try, but in a glass, and in moderation—no more than 10 ounces of wine a day for men, 5 ounces for women. (See our ratings and buying guide for wine.) But note that the research shows that for most people the heart-healthy benefits of drinking alcohol don’t outweigh all the potential risks, including disease and damage from imbibing too much.

Claim: Catalase pills will get rid of gray hair

Reality: The mystery of what causes hair to go gray seemed to be at least partly solved when researchers at the University of Bradford in England discovered that gray hair has lower-than- normal levels of the enzyme catalase. Why is that important? Hair cells produce hydrogen peroxide (used to lighten hair color) and catalase, which breaks down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, at least for awhile. As we age, the production of catalase slows down, leaving nothing to keep hydrogen peroxide levels from building up. As a result, the hair becomes gray (but just how gray depends on other factors, such as genetics and lifestyle).

The study, published in July 2009 in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal, didn’t prove that taking catalase in pill form prevents hair from turning gray. But that didn’t stop the makers of Go Away Gray from using the study to boost its claims that the product will “prevent and reverse gray hair.”

In addition, the catalase supplement hasn’t undergone any clinical trials to test how well it works or even its po¬tential health risks. “There is no controlled data available,” says Robyn Gmyrek, M.D., division chief of cosmetic dermatology at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. “I would not ingest any substance of which I was unclear of the risks.”

Consumer Reports says: Don’t fall for this one. The research isn’t clear on whether or not catalase supplements are effective. The enzyme might be digested rather than absorbed into the targeted cells.

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