Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Do You Have High Cholesterol?

This is an article from Natural News, titled "High cholesterol levels easily managed with these five nutritious foods". If you have high cholesterol, you have inflammation in your arteries and very likely inflammation in the rest of your body that often manifests itself in joint pain. That's why many people feel they incur a surprising benefit for aching joints when they go take a quality Omega 3 supplement to help combat high cholesterol levels. My cholesterol level was 210 nine years ago before starting taking quality supplements including a Omega 3 product. Today, at 55 years old, my cholesterol level is always around the 150 to 160.......I would undoubtedly benefit from moderating my diet of milk products, but I certainly like my biscuits with a lot of butter and the I don't go more than a few days with a large chocolate milkshake!

Almost 15 percent of American adults have high levels of cholesterol, putting them at risk for stroke, heart disease and other serious health issues that can significantly increase the risk of mortality. For many, cholesterol-controlling drugs called statins have become a mainstay, yet despite the widespread use of statins, recent studies have shown that using them long-term may also pose serious risks.

Turning to medication for every ailment is a deeply entrenched habit associated with Western culture, but the fact is, there are alternatives for controlling cholesterol that don't include medicine. These approaches rely on a few simple dietary changes that can help reduce cholesterol significantly.

What is cholesterol anyway?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is derived from different types of foods -- both meats and vegetables. Some cholesterol is good for the body, playing an essential role in metabolizing some vitamins and minerals. But too much of the wrong kind of cholesterol can build up along the sides of blood vessels, impeding blood flow and often causing clots.

There are two types of cholesterol -- so-called "bad" and "good" cholesterols. Low-density lipoproteins, or LDLs, are considered "bad," because they can turn into artery-clogging plaque, a substance that sticks to vessel walls, blocking blood flow and making vessels less flexible. "Good" cholesterol is found in high-density lipoproteins, also called HDL. HDL actually acts as a scavenger, helping remove LDL from the bloodstream, so less plaque builds up.

For many people, high cholesterol levels are easily managed by just a few changes to their diet. Here are a few of the most common foods that can help you manage cholesterol:


"Beans, beans, the magical fruit...." Turns out, they actually are pretty magical when it comes to helping lower levels of LDL cholesterol. A recent study from Canada showed that just one 3/4-cup serving of beans, chickpeas or lentils per day could cut LDL levels by as much as 5 percent. Beans are full of soluble fiber which helps remove LDL from the blood. All that fiber can also help promote healthy digestion and even reduce the risk of colon cancer. Not crazy about the, ahem, side effect of eating beans? Turns out, incorporating beans more often into your diet helps your body adjust to the increase in fiber, so the gassy effects can also be reduced over time.


Like beans, oats contain that LDL-lowering soluble fiber too. The fiber in oatmeal helps reduce the amount of "bad" cholesterol that can absorbed into the bloodstream. Many grocery stores carry products that are made with oat bran, but you can skip the middle man by simply eating more oatmeal. All it takes is about a cup and a half to get 6 grams of fiber. Experts recommend 5 to 10 grams per day to reduce LDL. Pump up the fiber by chopping up an apple or a banana for an additional 4 to 5 grams.

MyAchingKnees comment: I prefer Steel Cut Oats - pretty yummy!


Prefer to drink to your health? Then tea is the way to go. Just three cups of green or black tea each day are all that's need to get the maximum LDL-lowering benefits of tea, and tea also provides a significant source of antioxidants called polyphenols that can help ward off certain cancers. Tea also boosts levels of "good" HDL. Like to drink your tea iced? It makes no difference -- the benefits are the same.

Olive oil

It's true that many of the fats we eat contain high levels of LDL cholesterol, but one fat that can actually help battle "bad" cholesterol is olive oil. Olive oil is one of the mainstays of the "Mediterranean" diet that's been touted in the news recently for its substantial health benefits. You only need to add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to your diet each day in order to reap the benefits. Mix it with herbs to make a flavorful dip for bread or use it in a dressing for fresh vegetables. Choose extra-virgin olive oil to get the most benefits.


Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and even tuna contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, proven to reduce blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fatty fish each week to keep your heart healthy. If you can't stand the taste of fish, you can find fish oil tablets to supplement your diet, but you'll miss out on many of the other minerals and nutrients found in fish. Another source of omega-3s: flaxseed. Grind it up first to release the healthful benefits and sprinkle the ground seed on foods before eating.

In addition to making a few dietary changes, don't neglect those other heart-healthy steps you can take that also help lower cholesterol, like regular aerobic exercise. Like dietary changes, exercise doesn't have to be complicated or extreme: Simply taking regular walks can yield amazing benefits.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dietary Supplements 101: Which Ones Work and How to Choose Them

By Augusta Falletta, Beauty High posted on Yahoo! Healthy Living.

The world of supplements is a vast one, and the more we learn, the more we realize there's a lot more to taking vitamins than just deciding you want longer hair or glowing skin. These days, it's easy enough to self-diagnose with the web and decide on which supplements you should be taking, but it's important to really do your homework. As easy as it may be to start taking supplements, you can just as quickly overdo it.

To get the scoop on dietary supplements - and particularly how young women should or shouldn't be using them - we sat down with Dr. Florence Comite, endocrinologist and founder of Comite MD, and Steven Michael Villagomez, an exercise physiologist. While chatting about the new Nature's Origin line of GMO- and gluten-free dietary supplements, they let us in on some little known but all-too-important information about supplements.

Why Our Bodies Actually Need Supplements:

Dr. Florence Comite: "Several years ago, my son had a food disorder. Supplements used to be something you hid in closets. But they're on a spectrum. We can't get what we need nutrient- wise from food. We don't live on the soil, the soil isn't healthy enough in today's world. So I started researching, and I have patients who want the purest supplements. The real limit in supplements is in sourcing. Every week I get a new email saying, "this one has something in it, this one has toxins in it." We test patients before we put them on anything. Almost every patient is nutrient poor and it effects their health dramatically. Then when we improve their health, they actually need more supplements because they're burning at a hotter rate just like an athlete. Some supplements are actually medication, and they should be considered as such."

How to Determine Which Supplements You Should Be Taking:

"It's really overwhelming, because you walk down an aisle at the pharmacy and you get overwhelmed. How do you pick and choose? One positive way to do it is to first figure out what's going on in your own system," Dr. Comite tells us. "That might require getting certain blood tests. For example, knowing if you're anemic. In women who are 15-25 years old, they're just getting exposed to birth control pills, they're active because they're trying to look good. They're not eating a ton of dairy because they're thinking it's a high fat content, so they'll be low on vitamin D. Many of them are not getting vitamin Bs, so absorption is going to be down. You want to take a good multivitamin, generally speaking. Vitamin Bs are important for energy. Many girls are going to be low in energy. Take vitamin Ds and Bs. Also, they should be looking for probiotics because a lot of girls have gastrointestinal issues."

What You Should Be Steering Clear Of:

"As far as what to stay away from, don't take anything that really speeds up your system. If you read something that says, "Lose 40 pounds in a week," don't believe it. If you take that, you're going to be sick. Either way, that's not good for you. I think people are smart enough, but sometimes they're desperate enough," she explains.

Signs You Should See a Specialist:

"If you're really having a problem with your weight, and you're like your friends and you do your best with living healthy, but your friends all around you seem to have a much easier time of being healthy and not gaining a ton of weight, you need to talk to your doctor," Dr. Comite says. "There are so many metabolic conditions that make it so much harder for some young women. They can't burn fat in the same way, and they may have metabolic syndrome, or they have early diabetes and they don't know it. They can easily turn that around, but you need to diagnose it first. Usually it's a combination of things, and it runs in the family. If you look around and your mother is struggling with weight, or even if you're the only one in the family, you need to dig into the details and you'll find a solution. It takes a lot of hard work, but don't give up. Supplements can really help."

How Your Body's Metabolism is Effected:

Steven Michael Villagomez: "Especially with women who are on birth control, you're shutting down your production of testosterone, and its role is to maintain lean skeletal mass. Throw that in with a protein deficiency with young women and that can create a metabolic disorder. You'll actually induce a metabolic disorder, especially if you're going through puberty while taking birth control. Self image is such a huge thing for young girls, and you need to make sure you're balanced, diet wise. A balanced diet is protein heavy. It must be alkalinic, and it has to be high in healthy fats. A really good balanced breakfast, for example, is a free range chicken egg, one that's high in beta keratine where the yolk is orange, and spinach for alkaline. You need to take B vitamins. Their role is for energy production. One of the most important things for young women is sleep. It'll effect neural functioning, so school will suffer, and performance in physical activity will suffer if you don't get enough sleep."

Questions to Ask Before Starting Supplements:

"There are three reasons why people should take supplements, and no one really thinks about these things," Villagomez explains. "First, is there a deficiency? Most people take supplements blindly, which all that really does is make their urine really expensive. The body doesn't absorb what it doesn't need. The body doesn't want to get it in supplement form. The reason you should take supplement is if there is actually a deficiency in what we're eating. Second, is it preventive? The best preventive supplement out there is fish oil. It helps with memory through neural functioning. Third, is it ergogenic? Is it going to enhance performance? Are you taking a protein shake after working out? There's all kinds of things. Once you figure out these three things, you can look at the supplements to take."

MyAchingKnees Comment: Is there a deficiency? Yes course you have deficiencies - it cannt be helped with today;s food supply. Taking quality supplements is the easiest thign to do to ensure you give your body and therefore your immune system the propert nutrients in the right doses to optimize your health. Is it preventative? Of course it's preventative! You bodies need nutrients to combat all sicknesses be it from common infections, stress or degenerating conditions. And I agree on the Fish Oil, but don't take any fish oil that isn't pharmaceutical grade because this supplements, if from non-USP sources have the highest chance of impurities and toxins.

Habits That Deplete Your Natural Health:

"As far as young women are concerned, girls are typically drinking a lot of alcohol, which is the number one depleter of vitamin B12," he explains. "If you get vitamin B12 low enough, you'll start having emotional and mental disruptions. Not disorders, but disruptions. You'll get cranky, you'll get moody, you'll get depressed. A lot of it is because you're drinking too much, so you can supplement with a B12 vitamin to curb these side effects."

Supplements for Hair, Skin, and Nails:

"Take Biotin for longer hair and better nails," Villagomez advises. "Skin wise? The best thing for your skin is what you eat. You want to eat a lot of healthy fats. People think, 'Oh it's fat, it's fried food.' No. Olive oil is great for the skin. Avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish. They all help with elastin in the skin so it keeps things tight. With Biotin, take it as directed. More isn't better, and that's simply the American view point on things. But a healthy fat content in the diet of omega-3 and omega-9, that's the best thing for hair and skin. If you think about it, show dogs are fed a lot of eggs, which helps with their nice shiny coats."

Foods That Aren't Actually Healthy:

"Agave nectar! It's highly processed," he says. "Use honey, and if you eat honey from bees that have been taken from your geographical area, you'll actually reduce your allergies during the season. Local honey is the best thing to use as a sweetener."

Alkaline Foods to Keep Your Diet Balanced:

"Green, leafy veggies, but be mindful of spinach. It's high in purines, and that rises uric acid, and if you get that high enough you can develop gout," Villagomez tells us. "With all vegetables, the brighter the better. Think about an orange or yellow bell pepper. For nature to create something so vibrant, you know it's good for you. When it comes to all vegetables, it's the preparation that really matters. Is a baked potato all that bad? No, not really, because it's still got the nutrition in it. When you fry the potato, that's when it becomes bad. Stay away from iceberg lettuce, too. There's no nutrition whatsoever. Most of it is genetically modified, so it's really got no nutritional value. Protein based, alkalizing foods, and healthy fats, which is the best thing for skin."

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Diet Supplement Causes Nearly 100 Hepatitis Cases

Original article, called Diet Supplement Causes Nearly 100 Hepatitis Cases, by Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer at Live Science

A popular diet supplement has caused an outbreak of severe liver disease, sickening nearly 100 people in 16 states since it was first reported in Hawaii last year, according to a new paper. The publication calls for a better system to remove dangerous supplements from the market.

As of February, OxyElite Pro, a dietary supplement manufactured by USP Labs that claims to help people burn fat, has been linked to 97 cases of hepatitis, including 47 people who were hospitalized, three who needed liver transplantations and one person who died, according to the paper, which was authored by Dr. Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance.

Although people who took the supplement started getting ill in May last year, the Food and Drug Administration did not learn of the cases until four months later, in September, when doctors reported a cluster of liver illnesses in Hawaii. USP Labs stopped selling the product in October.

Health officials suspect that a new ingredient called aegeline that was added to the supplement caused the illnesses, Cohen said. Because the FDA regulates supplements only after they come to market, companies are not required to prove that their products are safe and effective before marketing them.

"This really points to the fact that there's no safety testing … before a new ingredient shows up in a supplement in the United States," Cohen said. "Guess who's the experimental animal — the consumer."

Dangerous supplements are supposed to be identified and removed quickly, but this is often not the case, as demonstrated by the hepatitis outbreak, Cohen said. Doctors can report adverse events tied to dietary supplements through an online portal called MedWatch.

But in most cases, the FDA does not receive reports of the harmful effects of supplements, Cohen said. Those cases might be reported to a poison control center, which does not communicate with the FDA, or they might not get reported at all, he said.

"Dangerous supplements remain on store shelves for weeks, months or years" because the FDA has a fractured system for monitoring supplements, Cohen said.

He proposes that all dietary supplements should be registered, and information about the supplements and their ingredients should be incorporated into a database maintained by the FDA and poison centers.

Under this organization, if a person has an adverse reaction to a supplement, it would be reported to a response team made of up doctors, toxicologists, pharmacologists and chemists. The team would then investigate the case, report to the FDA and offer advice about treating the patient.

"In the situation where we know that some supplements out there may be dangerous, we'd better have a really good system" to detect them, Cohen said.

While improved monitoring of supplements is needed, it is not the ultimate solution, Cohen said. Congress should change the law regulating supplements to require that all supplement ingredients undergo safety testing before they come to market, he said.

"Until that happens, consumers and physicians cannot be assured that the pills, powders and potions labeled as dietary supplements are safe for human consumption," Cohen wrote in the April 3 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

MyAchingKnees comment:  Let the buyer beware.  When you by non-pharmaceutical grade supplements without any certification or guarantee, you are taking a chance, possibly a large chance, on not getting what is on the label as well getting some ingredients that are not on the label.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Sent to me by a reader with the source listed as xposethereal:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy. ‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’ The origin of this awesome letter is unknown.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Surprising New Supplement Trend Emerges

Good article on supplement trends by Americans, by Dr. K.J. McLaughlin, and posted on the International Forecaster

According to a new research report by Ipsos Public Affairs, a market research company, Americans are taking nutritional supplements in numbers that are surprising, given the previous estimates. The Council for Responsible Nutrition looked at the data from five years of market research following the results gleaned from online surveys.

The analysts found that Americans were using nutritional supplements with greater frequency than previously estimated through the National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys.

This new research is quite interesting because not only does it tell us what Americans are taking, but it also provides an important demographic profile for this specific group of people.

The issue here, when it comes to comparing the results to past studies, is that this new information is very accurate, as it considered those folks who use supplements regularly, occasionally, or seasonally throughout each year; previous government data only provided supplement use in people who had taken them in the last 30 days.

As of the year 2011, approximately 65%–70% of respondents indicated that they had taken nutritional supplements over the last five years. The number of people reporting regular supplement use came in at 48%–53%. What is interesting in this case is that within this group of “regular users,” individual nutrient use increased, while the use of multivitamins gradually diminished over the five-year period. This trend indicated that most people were taking nutrients for specific reasons and were shifting their usage in a more concentrated effort.

The main rationale that regular users of nutritional supplements gave for their continued usage over the study period was to improve their overall health and wellness or to compensate for nutrient gaps in their diets.

The study also indicated that those people who used nutritional supplements on a regular basis were much more likely to be involved in a regular exercise program, consume a normal, healthy type of diet, maintain a normal weight, get enough sleep every night, and arrange check-ups with their physician.

According to the study’s co-author, Judy Blatman, “What the data tells us is that dietary supplement usage is a mainstream practice, and, contrary to some assertions, supplement users do not use these products as a license to slack off on eating right or exercising, but instead are health conscious individuals trying to do all the right things to be healthy.”

This study also continues to indicate that people in the U.S. are taking nutritional supplements as part of their own personalized health and wellness strategy. There is a definite intent among this group of people to maintain a healthy status, and they view the use of supplemental nutrients as one strategy to accomplish this task.

This new evidence is quite revealing, given the reports following the release of research data that implied that taking nutritional supplements was a waste of time and money simply because the particular research methods used in that study did not show that supplements could prevent death from chronic disease.

It’s obviously clear from this new report that most people are not taking nutritional supplements for that reason! comment:  I believe quality supplements are part of the overall strategy to have optimal health, along with eating right and minimizing bad food, living a physical life and avoiding toxins.   After nine years, I know that supplements are a key cornerstone of my health not to mention living pain free from previous joint issues.  Even though taking supplements is relatively cheap and not invasive compared to prescription drugs and surgery, it always amazing me about people who are sick, or complaining about their aches, pains and weight gain who will spend $50-$75 each week for a restaurant meal, but won't spend $50 a month on quality supplements ensuring they are providing their bodies with the necessary nutrients in the right doses for optimal health.

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