Ultraviolet: Go into the Light

Ultraviolet light is kind of a big deal and way more essential to health than you might think. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject. Have a look:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus…


…Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D.
Now check out this research on UV light. Apparently it offers a “double whammy” against cancer. Michael Kahn of Reuters reports:
Using ultraviolet light may one day offer a "double whammy" to kill cancer cells by better focusing antibody-based drugs and triggering the body's own defenses to eliminate tumors, researchers said on Tuesday.


In two studies with mice, a British team cloaked antibodies -- the immune system proteins that tag germs and cancer cells for elimination -- with an organic oil that blocked them from reacting until illuminated with ultraviolet light.

The researchers used engineered immune system proteins called monoclonal antibodies. They are made to home in on proteins known to be overactive in tumor cells.

When the light unblocked the organic coating, the antibodies switched on and attracted killer T-cells to attack the tumor, said Colin Self, a researcher at Newcastle University, who led the studies.
Pretty cool information. Kind of knew this already. Remember this quote from Dr. Fuhrman? Here it is again:
In addition to its significant cancer-protective effects, recent studies demonstrate that vitamin D also can inhibit the growth of existing breast and prostate cancer cells. Likewise, it helps inhibit the progression and metastasis of a wide spectrum of cancers, suggesting therapeutic value in the treatment of those who already have cancer.1
Got to love the UV-vitamin D link!
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Kiddie Cardio News

A lot of people don’t realize it—I didn’t either—but heart diseases actually starts to develop at a young age. Hard to believe? Well, it won’t be after this. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child. Take a look:
There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1 What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels…


… When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.2 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.3
And it seems diet isn’t the only thing upping kids’ risk of heart disease. Check this out. A new study claims too much television raises children’s blood pressure. The man, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
The finding "illustrates the need for considerable physician and family involvement to decrease TV time among obese children," study author Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer, associate professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Diego, said in a prepared statement.


His team's study included 546 participants, ages 4 to 17, who were evaluated for obesity at clinics in California and Ohio from 2003 to 2005.

Information was collected on the amount of time the children spent watching TV, along with their body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure.

The researchers found that both the severity of obesity and the amount of time spent watching TV each day were significant independent predictors of hypertension.
So, what’s the modern medical answer? Improve diet, more exercise, and less TV? No! Instead, why not just give big pharma more money—oops! I mean prescribe heart drugs to young kids. Linda Johnson of the Associated Press reports, More Young Adults on Cholesterol Drugs:
Experts point to higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol problems among young people. Also, doctors are getting more aggressive with preventive treatments.


"This is good news, that more people in this age range are taking these medicines," said Dr. Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association.

Still, he said many more people should be on the drugs that lower cholesterol or blood pressure and which have been shown to reduce risks for heart attack and stroke.

The new data, from prescription benefit manager Medco Health Solutions Inc., indicate use of cholesterol-lowering drugs among people aged 20 to 44, while still low, jumped 68 percent over a six-year period.
Pretty amazing if you ask me! I’m not a parent, but if my kid’s pediatrician prescribed him or her heart drugs I’d take that as a monumental parenting failure. What do you think?
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Exercise: Lose Weight, Boost Brain

According to a new study, exercise helps overweight kids learn. Lose weight and get smarter—one heck of a bargain! Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Three months of daily, vigorous exercise can improve overweight kids' thinking, U.S. researchers report.


Physical activity can also lower their diabetes risk, reduce their body fat, and strengthen their bones, says a team that looked at about 200 overweight, inactive children, ages 7 to 11.

All the children learned about healthy nutrition and the benefits of physical activity. In addition, a third of the children exercised 20 minutes a day, and another third exercised for 40 minutes. During the exercise sessions, the children played running games and used hula hoops and jump ropes to get their heart rates to 79 percent of maximum -- considered a vigorous workout.
When I was a kid I used to run around all day, but I was still a little dummy!

Eating and Headaches

When I was a kid I used to get a lot of headaches—not sure why—but ever since I upgraded my diet I NEVER get them anymore. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had one. I wonder why? Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject:
The major cause of both tension headaches and migraines is the retention of toxins or tissue irritants within the central nervous system. These chemical irritants may cause an oversensitivity of nerve tissue to other stimuli. It has also been shown that tissue waste, such as nitric oxide and other irritating chemicals, can be released from both the nerves and blood vessels in the central nervous systems.1 These recent findings illustrate the biochemical players associated with detoxification in the central nervous systems. Withdrawal from toxins either taken orally or self-produced within the body is a form of detoxification. This merely means the body is actively engaged in an effort to lower the levels of waste retained in our cells. Sometimes this release of waste from cells can be painful; nevertheless, it has a positive benefit to the body. Our cells and the tissue they comprise must continually strive to maintain their purity to prevent early cellular degeneration and premature cell death.


The relationship between food triggers and migraines has been the subject of much debate, with varying results from medical researchers. Headache specialists such as Seymour Diamond, director of the Diamond Headache Clinic of Columbus Hospital, report that about 30 percent of patients can identify food triggers.2

My experience in treating migraine and severe-headache patients with a more comprehensive nutritional approach has shown that 90 to 95 percent of patients are able to remain headache-free after the first three-month period. These patients avoid common migraine triggers, but also in the healing phase they adhere to a strict natural-food vegan diet of primarily fruits and vegetables rich in natural starches like potatoes and brown rice. These patients must avoid all packaged and processed foods, which are notorious for containing hidden food additives, even though they are not disclosed on the labels. They also avoid all added salt.
Hungry for more headache info? Check out this post from The New York Times blog Domestic Disturbances. Here’s Judith Warner with The Migraine Diet:
All this because I had a migraine. In fact, I was on day six of a migraine that would, by day seven, have me dissolving into tears in between the taped segments of my radio show. (Think Holly Hunter. Think “Broadcast News.” The show went on, seamlessly.)


I was suffering like this because I was Taking Control of my life. I’d recently read “Heal Your Headache,” by the Johns Hopkins University neurologist David Buchholz. And now I was following his “1-2-3 Program for Taking Charge of Your Pain.”

In Dr. Buchholz’s view, chronic migraine sufferers like me — I average around seven to twelve headaches a month — are, very often, victims of their own past treatment successes. Triptans, the new-ish class of drugs that bind to serotonin receptors and can work wonders when taken early in migraine attacks, cause rebound headaches, he says, if you take them more than two days a month. So do over-the-counter painkillers and stronger stuff like codeine and oxycodone.

Step 1 in his plan, then, involves removing such “quick fix” drugs from your life. Step 2 is about recognizing your migraine “triggers” and removing the ones – like certain foods, alcohol and caffeine – that you can do something about. (As opposed to the ones – like changes in barometric pressure, work deadlines and mothers-in-law — that you can’t do anything about.) Step 3 is daily preventive medicine – but the idea, in Buchholz’s book, is that if you do well enough at Steps 1 and 2, you might not have to go to Step 3.
I’m not sure whether or not Dr. Fuhrman would agree with everything Dr. Buchholz’s is talking about, but, its good to see some attention being paid to diet as a cause of chronic headaches and migraines—don’t you think?
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Broccoli Takes on Skin Cancer

Green veggies don’t mess around. They are packed with nutrients! Just get a load of this chart:



And the nutrients in green vegetables are serious cancer-fighters. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Green vegetables have demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects.


Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.
Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
Now, check out this new report. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports that broccoli may help fight skin cancer:
Scientists have discovered that an extract of broccoli sprouts protects the skin against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.


That's not the same as calling the extract a sunscreen, however.

"This is not a sunscreen, because it does not absorb the ultraviolet rays of the sun," explained Dr. Paul Talalay, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "We don't want people covering their bodies with broccoli and going to the beach. They will have no protection whatsoever."

Exposure to ultraviolet or UV rays is the primary cause of most skin cancers. The incidence of skin cancer in the United States is on the rise as men and women who had too many sunburns earlier in life get older and develop the disease.

Talalay started working on skin cancer prevention about 25 years ago. "Cells contain an elaborate network of protective genes that code for proteins that protect against four principal injurious processes to which all of our cells are exposed and which are the causes of cancer, degenerative disease and aging," he explained.
A bunch of green people on the beach would be funny, but we’ve heard this before. Remember this post from The Cancer Blog linking broccoli to cancer-protection. Here’s a bit:
The researchers are convinced that there is a biological mechanism behind the protective effect. It is explained in the article that a compound resulting from the digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, an isofavone in soy, reduce the two proteins needed for breast and ovarian cancer to spread…


…The study found that when cancer cells were treated with high levels of compounds found in broccoli and soy, the drawing mechanism to the organs was reduced by 80 percent compared to untreated cells.
For more on this topic, give these posts a whirl:
Oh! And if you like broccoli humor, you’ll enjoy these video posts:
Broccoli…hear it roar!

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Rocking to an Early Grave

Come on, all of us want to be a rock star. Let’s face it, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, and Joe Walsh—all cool! But, these cats are hardly the healthiest gents around. Get a load of this study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, entitled Elvis to Eminem:
Objective: This study measures survival rates of famous musicians (n = 1064) from their point of fame and compares them to matched general populations in North America and Europe.


Results: From 3 to 25 years post fame, both North American and European pop stars experience significantly higher mortality (more than 1.7 times) than demographically matched populations in the USA and UK, respectively. After 25 years of fame, relative mortality in European (but not North American) pop stars begins to return to population levels. Five-year post-fame survival rates suggest differential mortality between stars and general populations was greater in those reaching fame before 1980.

Conclusion: Pop stars can suffer high levels of stress in environments where alcohol and drugs are widely available, leading to health-damaging risk behaviour. However, their behaviour can also influence would-be stars and devoted fans. Collaborations between health and music industries should focus on improving both pop star health and their image as role models to wider populations.
Well, when you think about the likes of Motley Crew and The Doors it’s hard to say actually what these musicians should or shouldn’t be doing to improve and extend their lives, but, maybe these tips will help. Here are Dr. Fuhrman’s secrets to longevity, have a look:
Next time you’re at a concert, instead of waving a cigarette lighter in the air, maybe try a copy of Eat to Live!

Obesity and Kids' Hearts

Obesity research is a funny thing. Millions of dollars and lots of effort spent proving something that even the most lay of laymen already know is bad for us, is in fact, bad for us. Anyway, Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports that obesity can harm children’s hearts. Check it out:
The study, by a team at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, included 168 children ages 10 to 18. All of the children had undergone cardiac ultrasound to check on symptoms such as heart murmur, chest pain, acid reflux or high blood cholesterol. Of the children, 33 were obese, 20 were at risk for obesity, and 115 were normal weight.


The researchers used a new tissue Doppler imaging technique called "vector velocity imaging" that can track the movement of the heart's muscular wall.

"In the patients who are obese, the rate of motion of heart muscle changed," Dr. Angela Sharkey, an associate professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine and a pediatric cardiologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital, said in a prepared statement. "As a child's BMIA (body mass index for age) increases, we see alterations in both the relaxation and contraction phase of the heartbeat. Many of these changes that have been seen in adults were assumed to be from long-standing obesity, but it may be that these changes start much earlier in life than we thought."
This study echoes Dr. Fuhrman’s sentiments. According him, it is kind of a no-brainer that heart disease starts young. He talks about it in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Here’s a quote:
There is considerable evidence that the lipoprotein abnormalities (high LDL and low HDL) that are linked to heart attack deaths in adulthood begin to develop in early childhood and that higher cholesterol levels eventually get “set” by early food habits.1 What we eat during our childhood affects our lifetime cholesterol levels…


…When we study people who died young of coronary artery disease, we find that the highest risk of an earlier death occurs in those who were above average weight in childhood.2 Findings from the famous Bogalusa Heart Study show that a high saturated fat intake early in life is strongly predictive of later heart disease burden and the higher blood pressure in childhood and adolescence is powerfully predictive of cardiovascular death in adulthood.3
On a side note I was in the supermarket yesterday and I walked past a back-to-school display and in addition to the pens, notebooks, and folders, there were plenty of snack cakes, potato chips, and nachos—unreal!
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Women's Health: The Good, The Bad

Okay, let’s start with the good. A new study shows exercise has nice benefits on women’s hearts. More from the prolific Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Researchers assessed cardiovascular risk factors and exercise levels in more than 27,000 women, ages 45-90 (average age 55) enrolled in the Women's Health Study who were followed for more than 11 years for new diagnosis of heart attack and stroke.


Women who exercised the most were 40 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who did the least amount of exercise.

"Regular physical activity is enormously beneficial in preventing heart attack and stroke," lead author Dr. Samia Mora, instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in the divisions of preventive and cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a prepared statement.
Sadly, there are two sides to every coin, onto the bad news. Another studied has determined that weight-gain increases breast cancer risk. This time Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
Women who gain weight any time after the age of 18 are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who maintain a stable weight, a new study suggests.


In other words, when it comes to breast cancer, there's no good time to gain weight as an adult.

"We found that weight gain throughout adulthood as well as weight gain at specific stages of life were associated with risk of breast cancer, compared with maintaining a stable weight," said study lead author Jiyoung Ahn, a fellow with the nutritional epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute's division of cancer epidemiology and genetics. "Specific stages include during early reproductive years, late reproductive years, and perimenopausal and postmenopausal years."
Well, if all this doesn’t convince you. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on obesity and exercise:
After carefully examining the twenty-five major studies available on the subject, I have found that the evidence indicates that optimal weight, as determined by who lives the longest, occurs at weights at least 10 percent below the average body-weight tables. Most weight guideline charts still place the public at risk by reinforcing an unhealthy overweight standard. By my calculations, it is not merely 75 percent of Americans that are overweight, it is more like 85 percent…


… Exercise is important for healthy psychological function and to maintain significant muscle and bone mass as we age. It has been shown to improve mental function; to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; and to improve sleep patterns, aiding healthful cycles of deep sleep.

Bad Beef...We Were Warned

Leading up to the recent beef patty recall, there apparently was a lot of warning signs that something just wasn’t right. Christopher Drew and Andrew Martin of The New York Times investigate:
As output rose, federal regulators said in interviews, Topps Meat factory was neglecting critical safeguards meant to protect consumers. Three big batches of hamburger contaminated with a potentially deadly germ emerged from the plant, making at least 40 people sick and prompting the second-largest beef recall in history.


Topps is now out of business, but the case points up broader problems in the nation’s system for protecting consumers from food-borne illness…

…Additionally, Topps, like many other beef processors, had bought an increasing amount of meat from overseas. Some types of meat from foreign countries — where E. coli has not been prevalent — are not required to be tested for contamination. But the Agriculture Department said the Topps case had prompted it to consider requiring such checks.

In response to the problems, the Agriculture Department directed its inspectors on Oct. 12 to conduct a nationwide survey of what meat plants are doing to fight E. coli., and it plans to send special assessment teams into any plants that seem to be lagging to urge them to adopt more stringent measures.
In my opinion, this is just another example of profit over social responsibility.

Piggy Diabetes

Newsflash! Embryonic pig cells help diabetic monkeys, may help human diabetics too. The Associated Press is on it:
Dr. Marc Hammerman says the approach has reduced the animals' need for insulin injections and does not call for immunosuppression, which is a major problem in treating diabetes with transplantation.


Before DNA technology enabled pharmaceutical companies to manufacture human insulin in the 1980's, pig and cow insulin were routinely given to diabetic patients.
Yeah, a bacon injection sounds a little frightening. Instead, why not give this a try. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on Type-2 Diabetes:
Conventional diabetologists are in a bind. They know that high glucose levels accelerate aging of the eyes and kidneys, leading to devastating complications such as kidney failure and blindness. They want to prescribe aggressive insulin therapy to get patients' blood sugars down. The problem is they also are aware that the extra insulin accelerates atherosclerosis (which leads to heart attacks) and weight gain (which eventually makes patients more diabetic)…


…The American Diabetes Association and most dieticians and physicians offer dangerous advice to the diabetic. They give lip service to weight reduction and cholesterol lowering, but since the diets they recommend are ineffective at achieving substantial weight loss and sustained ideal weight, even these recommendations are generally worthless. Typical diabetes care focuses on general glucose control, by monitoring blood glucose to determine when it is necessary to change insulin dosages and when glucose-lowering medication is warranted…

…The best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat To Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away.
Eating lots of fruits and veggies seems a lot less creepy than being injected with pig—I don’t know, call me a cynic.

Chemicals and Kiddies

This is scary report from CNN. Some new research has determined that children may have higher chemical levels in their bodies than previously thought. More from Jordana Miller:
Michelle Hammond and Jeremiah Holland were intrigued when a friend at the Oakland Tribune asked them and their two young children to take part in a cutting-edge study to measure the industrial chemicals in their bodies.


"In the beginning, I wasn't worried at all; I was fascinated," Hammond recalled.

But that fascination soon changed to fear, as tests revealed that their children -- Rowan, then 18 months, and Mikaela, then 5 -- had chemical exposure levels up to seven times those of their parents…

…"We are the humans in a dangerous and unnatural experiment in the United States, and I think it's unconscionable," said Dr. Leo Trasande, assistant director of the Center for Children's Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Dr. Trasande says that industrial toxins could be leading to more childhood disease and disorders.

"We are in an epidemic of environmentally mediated disease among American children today," he said. "Rates of asthma, childhood cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased, and it can't be explained by changes in the human genome. So what has changed? All the chemicals we're being exposed to."
Not something to be taken lightly; kind of a hot-button issue for Dr. Fuhrman. He insists safeguarding kids from chemical exposure is an important responsibility. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Young children are the ones most susceptible to toxic exposures, the National Academy of Science has issued warnings and position papers stating that exposure to pesticides in early life can increase cancer rates down the road as well as increasing the occurrence of mental and immune system disorders.1


We must be careful not to expose our children to chemical cleaners, insecticides, and weed killers on our lawns. Chemicals used in pressure-treated wood used to build lawn furniture, decks, fences, and swings sets have been shown to place children at risk. When children are around, we must be vigilant to maintain a chemical-free environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the majority of pesticides now in use are probable or possible cancer causers. Studies of farm workers who work with pesticides suggest a link between pesticide use and brain cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple myloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and cancers of the stomach, prostate, and testes.2
Honestly, the older and wiser I get, the more and more this type of stuff worries me. Continue Reading...

Health Points: Tuesday

The program, which targets childhood obesity, is in more than 100 New York City schools plus 20 schools in other states and 20 in Cape Town, South Africa, where a non-governmental organization became interested.

The children earn prizes like medals and certificates each time they notch 26 miles — a marathon — and they can track their progress on personal Web pages.

The running club is best known for putting on the New York City Marathon, which draws world-class runners and hobbyists alike on the annual race through the five boroughs. But foundation Executive Director Cliff Sperber said the purpose of the Mighty Milers isn't to raise a new generation of marathoners
Spurred by the growing crisis in child obesity, the nation’s schools have made “considerable improvements” in nutrition, fitness and health over the last six years, according to a new government survey that found that more schools require physical education and fewer sell French fries.


The survey, which is conducted every six years, shows that more schools than six years ago offer salads and vegetables and that fewer permit bake sales. More states and school districts insist that elementary schools schedule recess and that physical education teachers have at least undergraduate training. More states have enacted policies to prohibit smoking at school and to require courses on pregnancy prevention.

Perhaps most striking, 30 percent of school districts have banned junk food from school vending machines, up from 4 percent in 2000. Schools offering fried potatoes in their cafeterias declined, to 19 percent from 40 percent.
The November 29 meeting will consider a request from the Center for Science in the Public Interest to limit salt in processed food and to require additional health information on food labels about salt and sodium content of foods, among other changes.


In 2005, the group petitioned the FDA to reclassify salt as a food additive, rather than its longtime designation as a food "generally recognized as safe."

It has cited the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure. Cutting salt intake can reduce changes of developing and curtail the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
"Calcium deficiency, due either to low calcium in the diet or to vitamin D deficiency, is very common in older women, who are also the population at highest risk of breast cancer and breast cancer bone metastases," lead researcher Dr. Colin R. Dunstan pointed out to Reuters Health. Metastasis occurs as cancer progresses and the cells spread from the primary site to attack other areas of the body.


Dunstan of the ANZAC Research Institute in Concord and colleagues conducted dietary studies in a mouse model of breast cancer growth in bone. The results are published in the journal Cancer Research.

The researchers found that after breast cancer tumor was implanted into the animals, the mice that were feed a diet containing only 0.1 percent calcium showed signs of high bone turnover compared with the animals feed a diet with a normal 0.6-percent calcium content.
It's Halloween and you're watching your fat intake. However, you aren't willing to completely sacrifice the chocolately goodness of the holiday. Which of the following is the lowest fat treat to sneak from the kids loot pile?
  • Butterfinger bar
  • Milky Way bar
  • plain M & M's
  • Snickers Bar
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • Kit Kat bar
If you live in an area where shopping for organic food poses a challenge, don't throw in the all-natural kitchen towel! Many Americans in similar circumstances have found the perfect solution: community supported agriculture, or "CSA." First popular in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s, the CSA movement has -- pardon the pun -- taken root with a vengeance in the United States, where it is sometimes referred to as "subscription farming."


How, exactly, does a CSA work?

By definition, CSAs are composed of "a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The spraying is aimed at the light brown apple moth, an invasive species from Australia that has infested 12 California counties stretching from north of San Francisco to Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fears that if the moth, which consumes 250 varieties of plants, crosses into the San Joaquin Valley, the infestation could cause up to $2.6 billion in losses.


Hundreds of residents reported feeling short of breath and sharp stomach pains after spraying began. Environmentalists quickly sued, claiming the state never prepared an environmental impact report to ensure the airborne chemical droplets were safe for residents and aquatic life.

In lifting the ban, O'Farrell found the agriculture department's health-monitoring plan adequate to address concerns of residents. The government monitoring program will "accept and investigate" medical complaints after the pesticide is sprayed, the judge wrote.
British researchers found that among more than 10,000 adults who were followed for five years, women who routinely slept for six hours or less were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to develop high blood pressure.


Compared with women who said they typically got seven hours of sleep a night, those who logged in six hours were 42 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, while those who routinely slept no more than five hours had a 31 percent higher risk.

There was, however, no clear relationship between amount of sleep and blood pressure among men, the study authors report in the journal Hypertension.

Bye-Bye Kid's Cold Medicines?

We actually might be headed down that road. The FDA is considering banning the sale of over-the-counter cough and cold medicines for young children. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News explains why:
Such a ban already has the support of safety experts at the FDA, who published a 365-page review last month that showed decongestants and antihistamines have been linked with 123 pediatric deaths since 1969.


Many outside experts are also in favor of restricting children's access to cold remedies…

…"If these medicines are allegedly not effective or materially unsafe, how is the purchase of hundreds of millions of doses by parents to be explained?" asked Dr. George Goldstein, a pharmaceutical industry consultant who is a nonvoting member of the panel. "I don't believe the American caregiver or parent is, in a word, stupid."

Panel chairwoman Dr. Mary E. Tinetti, who is a professor at Yale University, said that many parents must think the drugs work and "are voting with their feet, so to speak."
She added that the number of children who are reported to have died after taking these medicines seemed relatively small compared to the millions given the drugs.
Yeah, why ban the sale of something dangerous when there is money to be made? Geez! Now, Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of these drugs, in fact, he contends they do more harm than good. Check this out from his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Suppressing the fever and cough with medication can lead to a prolonged illness. In fact, cough suppressants and over-the-counter cold medicines expose children and adults to further side effects without significant effectiveness. We were taught in medical that cough suppressants do not work well, which is good, because if the cough was really suppressed, the mucous would settle deep into the lung and cause pneumonia. The most common cough suppressants contain dextromethorphan and codeine. A head-to-head comparison between placebo and these cough remedies showed that the placebo worked just as well. All children improved significantly by day three, and there was no difference among the three treatment groups in any symptom parameter.1
For more on this, check out these previous posts:
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Hard, of Hearing

I will resist the urge to be a wisenheimer. According to the FDA erectile dysfunction drugs may cause sudden hearing loss. Reuters reports:
U.S. regulators on Thursday said warnings about the risk of sudden hearing loss linked to popular drugs for impotence, including Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, would be added to the drugs' labels.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was prompted to look into a possible connection after a published report of a man taking Viagra, made by Pfizer Inc, who suffered from sudden hearing loss, a rare condition.
Well, we had see no evil, now we have hear no evil, so all that’s left is speak no evil!
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Starbuckets of Caffeine

Let’s see. I haven’t had a cup of coffee in close to two years, maybe more. Why you ask? Well, Dr. Fuhrman considers caffeine one of those nasty foods and a major contributor to disease. Time for a couple quotes:
Caffeine addicts are at higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias that could precipitate sudden death.1 Coffee raises blood pressure and raises cholesterol and homocysteine, two risk factors for heart disease2...


…Caffeine has been a controversial topic for decades. Evidence clearly concludes that heavy coffee drinkers have an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight infants, but evidence is not clear for moderate users of caffeine.3 Nevertheless, is wise to stay away from as many potentially harmful substances as possible. The bottom line, if in doubt, don’t do it.
Now, this summer the top-notch Diet Blog showed us The 10 Most Caffeinated Diet Drinks, but get ready for this. Get a load of the SERIOUS caffeine load in many of Starbucks’ java concoctions. From Diet Blog:


Egad! So glad I don’t drink coffee anymore!
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Vitamin D, the Right Stuff

The importance of vitamin D is often overlooked. So much so, that many in the United States are teetering towards vitamin D deficiency—not good! I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. By promoting calcium absorption, vitamin D helps to form and maintain strong bones…


…Because vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulates osteoblastic (bone-building cells) activity, vitamin D has been generating lots of interest lately in the medical literature. Borderline low levels of vitamin D have been found to be very common in the United States and Canada…

…It is estimated that over 25 million adults in the United States have, or are at risk of developing, osteoporosis. Adequate storage levels of vitamin D help keep bones strong and help prevent osteoporosis in older adults. Vitamin D deficiency results in diminished calcium absorption, and has been linked to a higher incidence of osteoporosis-related bone fractures seen in post menopausal women and older Americans…

…It is extremely important for individuals with limited sun exposure to ingest supplemental vitamin D.
So, what kind of supplement should you choose? How about one like this? Check out this study in JAMA, “Fracture Prevention With Vitamin D Supplementation.” Here’s a bit:
Objective: To estimate the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in preventing hip and nonvertebral fractures in older persons.


Data Synthesis: All pooled analyses were based on random-effects models. Five RCTs for hip fracture (n = 9294) and 7 RCTs for nonvertebral fracture risk (n = 9820) met our inclusion criteria. All trials used cholecalciferol. Heterogeneity among studies for both hip and nonvertebral fracture prevention was observed, which disappeared after pooling RCTs with low-dose (400 IU/d) and higher-dose vitamin D (700-800 IU/d), separately. A vitamin D dose of 700 to 800 IU/d reduced the relative risk (RR) of hip fracture by 26% (3 RCTs with 5572 persons; pooled RR, 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-0.88) and any nonvertebral fracture by 23% (5 RCTs with 6098 persons; pooled RR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.68-0.87) vs calcium or placebo. No significant benefit was observed for RCTs with 400 IU/d vitamin D (2 RCTs with 3722 persons; pooled RR for hip fracture, 1.15; 95% CI, 0.88-1.50; and pooled RR for any nonvertebral fracture, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.86-1.24).

Conclusions: Oral vitamin D supplementation between 700 to 800 IU/d appears to reduce the risk of hip and any nonvertebral fractures in ambulatory or institutionalized elderly persons. An oral vitamin D dose of 400 IU/d is not sufficient for fracture prevention.
Now, where can you find a gentle oral vitamin D supplement that’ll deliver this dosage? What about these? Take a look:

Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo–Sun (non-vegan)







Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo–Sun (vegan)





Something Fishy Here...

A couple of weeks ago a report came out urging pregnant women to eat fish—I know, crazy—but anyway, here’s a refresher. From the Reuters report:
Women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant or breast-feeding should eat at least 12 ounces of fatty fish such as tuna every week to help themselves and their babies, experts will recommend later on Thursday.


Fish including mackerel, sardines, light tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids -- components of fat known to help brain development. Walnuts, flaxseed oil and leafy green vegetables also contain the compounds.

Women need the nutrients to prevent postpartum depression and babies need them for brain and motor skill development, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies coalition says.

The coalition, which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says "90 percent of women are consuming less than the recommended amount of fish."

But these fish can also carry high levels of mercury, which is a brain and nerve toxin.
So why is it crazy for pregnant women to eat fish? Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. This is a solid quote, here's it again:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.2 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.
Now, soon after the report came out I began to read some strange things. Like maybe there was another motive here, or maybe, all this was designed to serve a higher master. So naturally I jumped out of my boots when Dr. Fuhrman sent this over. Marian Burros of The New York Times offers up “Industry Money Fans Debate on Fish.” Here’s a bit:
The coalition based its advice on a finding by the Maternal Nutrition Group, made up of physicians, dietitians and nutritionists. It relied on recent research, including a study in the British medical journal Lancet, showing that the benefits for babies of omega-3 fatty acids and other substances in fish outweighed the risks of mercury. Another study showed that fears about mercury had kept some women from eating any fish.


But in an 1,800-word response to its critics, the coalition acknowledged that a member of the Maternal Nutrition Group, Dr. James McGregor, a visiting professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, had gotten the National Fisheries Institute to provide $1,000 honoraria to each of the group’s 14 members, with an extra $500 each to the group’s four executive committee members.

The National Fisheries Institute also gave the coalition $60,000 for its education campaign. The coalition’s leadership said that the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller “facilitated this group sharing its findings” with the coalition and is working to promote the recommendations.

Burson-Marsteller which represents the fisheries institute, had worked for the U.S. Tuna Foundation before it joined with the institute.
Honestly, it’s not all that shocking. America has a chronic problem with lobbyists, in all facets of society. This controversy reminds me a lot of yesterday’s post Medicine, Man, and Big Pharma.
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Medicine, Man, and Big Pharma

Honestly, I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories, but, I am very suspicious of drug-makers, big businesses, and there ties to doctors, hospitals, and various health organizations—and reports like this make my blood boil! A new study claims medical schools and drug makers share strong ties. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
More than half of department chairs at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals have financial ties with the drug industry, a new study finds.


These institutional relationships seemed to be just as widespread as those of individual physicians or scientists with industry.

"There is not a single aspect of medicine in which the drug companies do not have substantial and deep relationships, affecting not only doctors-in-training, resident physicians, researchers, physicians-in-practice, the people who review drugs for the federal government and the people who review studies," said lead researcher Eric Campbell, associate professor at the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"Drug companies have relationships with everyone," he continued. "They're involved in every aspect of medicine. Someone has to decide which of these is OK."

The study, the first to examine the extent of these institutional relationships, is published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although Campbell himself reported no financial conflicts, one co-author did report having served as a consultant for drug makers Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline.
I put pharmaceutical companies and diet corporations—like Atkins and South Beach—in the same dubious category; using misinformation and fear to make money at the expense of people’s health. Now, for more on the connections between big pharma and modern medicine, check out these previous posts:
I while ago I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his thoughts on all this, and, he gave up a great quote. It really brings it home. Take a look:
Some day the public will wake up to the medicalization of America and the collusion between the drug companies, the medical profession and the government. They pay doctors millions because it is money well spent. These influential doctors then market the drug to other doctors. It is a form of multi-level marketing.
Heck, Dr. Fuhrman isn’t the only one suspicious of drug companies. Even some pharmaceutical reps are getting wise. Read this post: Pharmaceutical Rep Urges Healthy Diet Over Drugs.
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Garlicky Info

Chris Ramirez of The New York Times unlocks the health benefits of garlic. Check it out:
In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers show that eating garlic appears to boost our natural supply of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is actually poisonous at high concentrations — it’s the same noxious byproduct of oil refining that smells like rotten eggs. But the body makes its own supply of the stuff, which acts as an antioxidant and transmits cellular signals that relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.


In the latest study, performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers extracted juice from supermarket garlic and added small amounts to human red blood cells. The cells immediately began emitting hydrogen sulfide, the scientists found.

The power to boost hydrogen sulfide production may help explain why a garlic-rich diet appears to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer, say the study authors. Higher hydrogen sulfide might also protect the heart, according to other experts. Although garlic has not consistently been shown to lower cholesterol levels, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine earlier this year found that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack.
Dr. Fuhrman digs garlic. According to him garlic does wonders for diabetics. Here’s a quote:
The best diet for good health and longevity is also the best diet for diabetics. It is a diet with a high nutrient per calorie ratio, as carefully described in my book, Eat To Live. When you eat a diet consisting predominantly of nature's perfect foods—green vegetables, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, raw nuts and seeds, and limited amounts of fresh fruit, it becomes relatively easy to eat as much as you want and still lose your excess weight. In my experience, those who follow my nutritional recommendations find that their diabetes disappears astonishingly fast, even before most of their excess weight melts away…


…I have achieved marked success with diabetic patients and the success at becoming "non diabetic" or almost "non-diabetic" regularly occurs on the Eat To Live program whether the patient follows a strict vegan diet or not. I describe the diet-style as a "vegetable-based" diet because the base of the pyramid is vegetables, not grains. Even though most animal products are excluded, it is not necessary to adopt a completely vegan diet to achieve the goals.
I love garlic—it’s an Italian thing! Hey, you should give these garlicky recipes a try. Look:
Summer Fresh Tomato Avocado Soup
6 large fresh tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1 avocado
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s VegiZest
1/2 teaspoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrot juice
1/2 bunch fresh basil
Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Serve topped with chopped fresh basil. Serves 2.

Creamy Vegetable Soup
4 ounces frozen chopped onions
8 ounces frozen broccoli florets
1 cup frozen edamame beans
3 tablespoons VegiZest or other no salt added seasoning
2 cups carrot juice
3 cups no-salt vegetable juice
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup raw cashews
16 ounces frozen chopped collard greens
1 15-ounce can white beans (navy or cannelloni), no salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Simmer all ingredients, except for cashews, collard greens, white beans, and lime juice, about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In blender, puree cooked ingredients and cashews with just enough soup liquid to liquefy. Simmer greens in remaining broth for 10 minutes. Add pureed mixture and beans to greens and broth. Mix thoroughly and serve. Serves 6.

"Superbug" Woes

It seems that a certain strain of ear infection has become quite the advisory. Serena Gordon of HealthDay News explains:
An emerging "superbug" that causes ear infections in children and is resistant to multiple antibiotics can only be treated with an adult medication, researchers report.


Two Rochester, N.Y., pediatricians report finding a multiple antibiotic-resistant strain of Streptococcus pneumoniae that caused ear infections in nine children in their practice over three years. The only antibiotic that was effective in treating these infections was levofloxacin, which isn't approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in children.

"We found a superbug causing ear infections in Rochester -- the Legacy strain -- that's resistant to all antibiotics approved by the FDA for use in children," said the study's lead author, Dr. Michael Pichichero, a professor of microbiology, immunology and pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and a private practice pediatrician with the Legacy Pediatric Group.

The resistant infections accounted for only 1.5 percent of the ear infections in their practice, Pichichero noted.
Could the problem be the overuse of antibiotics? More from Dr. Fuhrman:
Most doctors want to please their patients and they want to do it quickly and move to the next patient as soon as they can. Patients often expect them for common respiratory illnesses and many doctors comply with their wishes. Antibiotics as a solution work great; they enable the doctor to maintain their important role in the eyes of the patients, reinforce the value of doctor visits, and allow the patient to think their care was indispensable. The only problem is that most prescriptions are either not needed, or not in the best long-term interest of the patients.

Bloated Britons 2050

Uh-oh! Apparently our friends from across the pond are going to be in BIG trouble by 2050. Tariq Panja of the Associated Press reports that most Britons could be obese by 2050. Read on:
The government backed Foresight report_ which drew on evidence from 250 experts over two years — concluded that excess weight had become the norm and described Britain as an "obesogenic" society. The number of overweight and obese people in Britain has tripled in the last 25 years. One in four adults are now obese, according to the most recent Health Study for England.


The obesity problem costs Britain 45 billion pounds ($90 million) a year and take 30 years to overturn, the report said.

The study's authors said there was scant proof that current anti-obesity policies worked, and the government pledged to draw up new plans to combat bulging waistlines.
Sadly, obesity is always in the news. Check out Followhealthlife’s obesity category for updates.

Weight-Loss Surgery, Bad News

Dr. Fuhrman will never give weight-loss surgery his endorsement. Why? It’s risky and full of complications. He talks about it in Eat to Live. Here’s a snippet:

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), wound problems and complications from blood clots are common aftereffects of gastric bypass and gastroplasty surgery. The NIH has also reported that those undergoing surgical treatment for obesity have had substantial nutritional and metabolic complications, gastritis, esophagitis, outlet stenosis, and abdominal hernias. More than 10 percent required another operation to fix problems resulting from the first surgery.1

And some new research confirms Dr. Fuhrman’s concerns. According to Reuters death-risks increase after weight-loss surgery. Michael Conlon reports:

Patients who undergo weight-loss stomach surgery have a higher death rate than is true for the general population, including more suicides, perhaps linked to depression, researchers said on Monday.


The higher risk of death generally is due not to the surgery itself but to the health problems that accompany obesity, and the damage that the condition does to the body before and after surgery, the researchers said.

Dr. Bennet Omalu and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh said a review of more than 16,000 bariatric operations done in Pennsylvania over a nine-year period found a "substantial excess of deaths owing to suicide and coronary artery disease" compared to normal death rates found in the population at large.

Why not just eat healthfully and exercise?

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Dieting or Exercising?

Well, this is an odd report. Judy Foreman of The Boston Globe asks the question, “Is dieting or exercise better for weight loss?” Let’s find out:
In a small, randomized, controlled clinical trial, Ravussin divided three dozen overweight but healthy men and women into three groups. One group reduced their calorie intake by 25 percent. Another group cut calories by half as much (12.5 percent) while increasing energy output through exercise by 12.5 percent; and the third group made no diet or exercise changes.


The researchers looked at weight loss, body composition, and measures of superficial and deep fat. They found that it doesn't matter whether people lose weight by diet or by exercise or a combination, although exercise has the important benefit of improving cardiovascular health.

"So long as the energy deficit is the same, body weight, fat mass, and abdominal fat will all decrease the same way," said Ravussin, in an e-mail.

Fruit Fights Head and Neck Cancer

New research claims a compound in fruit helps ward off head and neck cancer. Tan Ee Lyn of Reuters reports:
Lupeol, a compound in fruits like mangoes, grapes and strawberries, appears to be effective in killing and curbing the spread of cancer cells in the head and neck, a study in Hong Kong has found.


An experiment with mice showed lupeol worked most effectively with chemotherapy drugs and had almost no side effects, scientists at the University of Hong Kong said in a report published in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research.

"It can suppress the movement of cancer cells and suppress their growth and it is found to be even more effective than conventional drugs (eg. cisplatin)," said Anthony Yuen, a professor at the University of Hong Kong's surgery department.

"It's even more effective if we combine it with chemotherapy drugs, and has very little side effects," he said.
Not exactly new news, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about this for years. Fruits and veggies have amazing anti-cancer properties. Time for a quote:
Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of raw vegetables and fresh fruits and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.
Now here’s a great recipe to go along with this information:
Green Banana Power Blended Salad
2-3 ounces washed baby spinach
3-4 ounces washed romaine lettuce
1 banana
½ avocado
5 medjool dates
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s Black Fig Vinegar (optional)
Blend well into a smooth pudding-like consistency in the food processor, Vita-Mix, or a powerful blender by shoving the lettuce down into the blades with a cucumber or carrot used as a plunging tool. Blending raw greens until smooth greatly increase the absorption of nutrients from out digestive tract, delivering a powerful nutrient punch. Serves 2.
Yummy!
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Chocolate Milk...is Good?

How do you feel about milk? Well, if you grew up in the US you probably think it’s a wholesome part of the good ole’ American meal. But, the truth is, milk really isn’t fit for human consumption. Dr. Fuhrman tells us why in his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Granted, Dr. Fuhrman’s my boss, but truth be told. I’ve never found anything appetizing about milk, and, I still think it’s gross when people drink a big frothy glass of milk with dinner—yuck! Speaking of gross, get a load of Mutant Milk:


But evidently some “experts” think not just milk, but chocolate milk is a “good-for-you” treat. Yeah, I know, I hit the ceiling too. EMaxHealth has more:
Chocolate milk is a healthy treat in disguise. This Official Drink of Halloween has the chocolaty taste that witches, ghosts and superheroes adore, but behind its tasty chocolaty costume, chocolate milk is packed with calcium and other essential nutrients that growing kids need at Halloween or any time of year.


"Lowfat chocolate milk is one of those rare treats that kids love and moms can feel good about," said registered dietitian and mother-of-two Liz Weiss, co-author of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers. "It's a nutrient-packed form of chocolate that always seems to satisfy. Plus, chocolate milk is such a better alternative than sugar-filled sodas and fruit drinks that contain little or no nutrients."

In fact, chocolate milk may be one answer to help curb the excessive consumption of nutrient-void soft drinks, which some experts say is a major contributor to childhood obesity in this country. Studies have shown that kids who drink flavored milk tend to drink fewer sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks, which are the No. 1 source of calories and added sugars in a child's diet.
Despite this blather, Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear. Milk and dairy consumption can set you up for a whole host of diseases. Take Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and ovarian cancer for example. Take a look:
Parkinson’s disease
Recent studies have shown that men who consume more dairy products and who are big milk drinkers have a higher occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.


Honglei Chen, M.D., of Harvard University reported his findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition (December 2004) and presented a few other studies, one of which was the Parkinson’s Disease Honolulu Study, that showed the same association. The interesting finding was that it was not the fat in milk and dairy that were implicated. Usually, the high saturated fat content of dairy is blamed for its disease risk. But in this case, according to Chen, fat was “out of the picture.” Calcium and added vitamin D also were unrelated. That means something else in dairy is the culprit. The relationship between Parkinson’s and milk consumption has been suspected for decades1 and was first reported by researchers a few years ago. Chen’s and other recent prospective studies have confirmed the earlier, less definitive findings.

Heart disease
A related recent finding is that deaths from heart disease also are strongly associated with milk drinking in adulthood. Of particular interest is that (as is the case with Parkinson’s) the association is with the non-fat portion of milk. Non-fat and skim milk consumption shows the same association as that of whole milk. Researchers found that heart disease death is strongly associated with circulating antibodies against milk. These antibodies are found to bind to human lymphocytes and platelets, thus increasing the likelihood of clot formation. The researchers also concluded that the non-fat aspects of milk have atherogenic effects (plaque-building) both biochemical and immunological, and the simultaneous attack from all these directions explains why milk was found to have such a strong effect on death rate.2

Ovarian cancer
A recent study of 61,000 women found that those who consumed more than 2 glasses of milk per day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who consumed fewer than two glasses. The risk of those who drank two glasses a day was double that of women who rarely drank milk.3 Lactose in milk seemed to be the primary culprit. Again this larger study confirms earlier studies with the same findings.
Heck, who needs dairy! According to Dr. Fuhrman vegetables pack all the calcium you’ll ever need. Here’s more from his book Eat to Live:
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine…


…Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk.4 Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium.
So instead of serving your kids chocolate milk, give this nutrient-dense chocolate smoothie a try. Enjoy:
Chocolate Smoothie
5 ounces organic baby spinach
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup soy milk
1 medium banana
3 medjool dates or 6 deglet noor dates
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Cocoa Powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Serves 2.
See, you don’t need milk to have a good time!
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Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil

Astrid Pujari, M.D. of The Seattle Times insists flaxseed oil and fish oil can help people live longer. Here’s why:
Eating fish at least two times a week seems to decrease the risk of heart disease for people who have never had a heart problem. The research is mostly from population studies, though, which are not considered the gold standard in medicine when it comes to "proving" something.


On the other hand, the data on fish oil is strong for people who have established heart disease. One large study from Italy found that people who took fish oil after a heart attack were less likely to die. Flaxseed oil has not been studied as well as fish oil for heart disease. But it does seem to do things that may benefit the heart based on some small studies. For example, it seems to help increase the elasticity of blood vessels, lower inflammation and make the blood less prone to clotting.

In addition, there have been large population studies that suggest that eating high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid — which is found in flaxseed oil — lowers the risk of heart disease. For instance, one study found that high ALA intake over about six years lowered the risk of a heart attack by as much as 59 percent.
Dr. Fuhrman’s not thrilled about either oil. Take a look:
Flaxseed oil
There is no need to consume flaxseed oil. The best way to get omega-3 fatty acids is to consume whole flaxseed. Plus, when you consume whole flaxseed, not only do you get the best plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, you also get the richest source of dietary lignans. Lignans are converted by bacteria in the intestinal tract to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. In fact, consuming ground flaxseed has been shown to have beneficial properties for prevention and treatment of both breast and prostate cancer.


Fish oil
Several studies have indicated that both fish and fish oil supplements are prone to contamination with toxic materials. For example fish and fish oils have been shown to contain large concentrations of dioxins and PCBs because the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans has taken a toll. Lipid peroxide contamination occurring with aging of the oil further complicates the supposed health benefits of fish oil consumption. Fish and fish oils also contains mercury. Data from the Center for Disease Control indicates that one in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States has unsafe mercury levels, and their threshold for safety is high. The major contributor to body mercury load is fish and fish oils, not dental fillings. Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load is from the consumption of fish.

Health Points: Tuesday

J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.
Scientists reported progress yesterday toward one of medicine’s long-sought goals: the development of a blood test that can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, and even do so years before truly debilitating memory loss.


A team of scientists, based mainly at Stanford University, developed a test that was about 90 percent accurate in distinguishing the blood of people with Alzheimer’s from the blood of those without the disease. The test was about 80 percent accurate in predicting which patients with mild memory loss would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease two to six years later.
A diverse group of low-income women participated in the study, Dr. Alyson B. Moadel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, noted in an interview with Reuters Health. "Our patients really enjoyed the yoga classes, it was very well received by them," she said. "It really fit in with their own cultural interests."


There is mounting evidence that yoga can improve quality of life in both healthy and chronically ill people, Moadel and her team point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, while quality of life may be particularly affected for cancer survivors who belong to ethnic minorities and other underserved minority populations.
The ban on phthalate makes California the first U.S. state to impose severe limits on a chemical that is widely used in baby bottles, soft baby books, teething rings, plastic bath ducks and other toys, said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, the bill's author.


"I think parents will be comforted that when they buy one of these chewy products it will be safe," Ma told The Associated Press on Sunday after the bill was signed into law.
New suspected cases of foot and mouth disease in sheep have been reported in Britain, the environment ministry said on Monday, in another county from the confirmed cases in this year's outbreak.


A three-kilometre (1.8-mile) temporary control zone has been imposed around premises close to the town of Rye, near the southern English coast, after sheep showed possible symptoms of the disease. Tests were being carried out.
Good news for us early birds who grit their teeth to get through the afternoon because our evolutionary bio-rhythms are at their lowest ebb.


Research by Liverpool’s John Moores University has shown that the mere thought of an afternoon siesta can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. The length of the nap is irrelevant as it is in the minutes just before we drop off when the beneficial changes to our body take place.
President Hu Jintao said Monday China would step up efforts to improve food safety and prevent the spread of animal diseases, in a speech opening the Communist Party's five-yearly Congress.


"We will intensify efforts to prevent animal and plant epidemic diseases and improve the quality and safety of agricultural products," Hu said.

Later in the speech, he said: "We must ensure food and drug safety."
A turning point came in 2002, scientists conclude Monday in the annual "Report to the Nation" on cancer. Between 2002 and 2004, death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year.


That may not sound like much, but between 1993 and 2001, deaths rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year.

The big change was a two-pronged gain against colorectal cancer.

Asthma: Clean House, Dangerous House?

I wish I could have used this excuse to get out of cleaning my room when I was a kid. According to a new study household cleaners and air fresheners can raise asthma risk in adults. Reuters is on it:
Housework might be bad for your health, according to a study suggesting that tidying up as little as once a week with common cleaning sprays and air fresheners could raise the risk of asthma in adults.


Other studies have linked these types of products with increased asthma rates among cleaning professionals but the research published on Friday indicates others are potentially at risk as well.

Exposure to such cleaning materials even just once a week could account for as many as one in seven adult asthma cases, the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"Frequent use of household cleaning sprays may be an important risk factor for adult asthma," Jan-Paul Zock, an epidemiologist at the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, who led the study, wrote.
For more on chemical dangers, check out Followhealthlife’s toxins category.

Fat-Cancer Links

I feel like this is Health 101, but, maybe some people still don’t know this—drum-roll please—OBESITY IS BAD FOR YOU! Okay, I’ve said my piece, now here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s. From his book Eat to Live:
Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue—extra weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm.1 Overweight individuals are more likely to die from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Two-thirds of those with weight problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or another obesity related condition.2 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.3
Let’s focus on cancer for the moment. Check out these two new reports linking obesity to different kinds of cancer. The first is from the AFP. Apparently obesity and gullet cancer are joined at the hip—the very fat hips. Here’s more:
The probe, carried out in Australia, looked at 793 people with oesophageal cancer, who were compared with 1,580 counterparts matched for age and place of residence.


Risks of developing this cancer were higher among individuals who had gastric acid reflux, which has long been associated with such tumours.

But another big risk factor was obesity.

Those with a body mass index (BMI, a measure of fat) of 40 or more were six times more at risk than people with a BMI of between 18.5 and 25, which is deemed to be a standard for good health.
Now, after you finish giggling over the word “probe.” Feast your eyes on this report. According to new research obese people have an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. More from Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Obese people are six times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than people with healthy weight, says an Australian study that looked at 800 people with esophageal tumors and 1,600 people without the disease.


People with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more were six times as likely to have esophageal cancer as those with a BMI between 18.5 and 25 (a BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity).

According to a team from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, the finding held true even after accounting for other factors known to be linked to the disease, such as high alcohol consumption and smoking.

This suggests that obesity is an independent risk factor for esophageal cancer, said the study authors, who explained that higher levels of fat tissue in the body increase insulin production. This, in turn, boosts levels of circulating insulin-like growth factor.
I’m no scientist, but, I do a lot of reading—I plow through health news like a tazamian devil. And from what I’ve noticed, through my layman eyes, is being overweight or dare I say “fat” is never good; especially for cancer-risk. More proof:
All this is a huge reason why I decided to change my life, slim down, and get super-healthy. In fact, maybe I should share my story with you all one day—wink, wink. To be continued…


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The New York Times: Diet and Fat

John Tierney of The New York Times examines the debate surrounding dietary fat. Here’s a bit:

Gary Taubes demonstrates in his new book meticulously debunking diet myths, “Good Calories, Bad Calories” (Knopf, 2007). The notion that fatty foods shorten your life began as a hypothesis based on dubious assumptions and data; when scientists tried to confirm it they failed repeatedly…

…In the case of fatty foods, that confident voice belonged to Ancel Keys, a prominent diet researcher a half-century ago (the K-rations in World War II were said to be named after him). He became convinced in the 1950s that Americans were suffering from a new epidemic of heart disease because they were eating more fat than their ancestors.

There were two glaring problems with this theory, as Mr. Taubes, a correspondent for Science magazine, explains in his book. First, it wasn’t clear that traditional diets were especially lean. Nineteenth-century Americans consumed huge amounts of meat; the percentage of fat in the diet of ancient hunter-gatherers, according to the best estimate today, was as high or higher than the ratio in the modern Western diet…

…To bolster his theory, Dr. Keys in 1953 compared diets and heart disease rates in the United States, Japan and four other countries. Sure enough, more fat correlated with more disease (America topped the list). But critics at the time noted that if Dr. Keys had analyzed all 22 countries for which data were available, he would not have found a correlation. (And, as Mr. Taubes notes, no one would have puzzled over the so-called French Paradox of foie-gras connoisseurs with healthy hearts.)

Yeah, this made me say, “What the—?” So, here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about it:

Amazing how stupid people are. Gary Taubes is a known Atkins' devotee and nutritionally naïve and led by the Atkins' crowd. Now he has his own book. All I can say is that this makes me look like a genius comparatively when I am only stating the obvious. All I can say is:

Health = Nutrition / Calories

Not sure what this means? Well, Dr. Fuhrman explains it in his book Eat to Live. Take a look:

Your health is predicted by your nutrient intake divided by your intake of calories. Health = Nutrition / Calories, or simply H = N/C, is a concept I call the nutrient-density of your diet. Food supplies us with both nutrients and calories (energy). All calories come from only three elements: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nutrients are derived from non-caloric food factors—including vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytochemicals. These non-caloric nutrients are vitally important for health. Your key to permanent weight loss is to eat predominantly those foods that have a high proportion of nutrients (non-caloric food factors) to calories (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). In physics a key formula is Einstein’s E = mc2. In nutrition the key formula is H = N/C.

Every food can be evaluated using this formula. Once you begin to learn which foods make the grade—by having a high proportion of nutrients to calories—you are on your way to lifelong weight control and improved health.

Oh! And for more on the Atkins foolishness, be sure to read these previous postings. Enjoy:

And don’t forget about our friends over at AtkinsExposed.org!

Kids Can't Keep the Weight Off

The pursuit of weight loss is a big deal. Millions of dollars and a whole-lot of effort are being expended in order drop a few pounds, and apparently, it’s all in vain. At least as far as kids are concerned. According to the Associated Press, kids just can’t keep the weight off. Here’s more:
A team led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that obese children who lost weight kept it off if they were in a maintenance program, but its effectiveness waned over time.


The research involving 150 overweight 7- to 12-year-olds is one of the first large-scale studies to evaluate the long-term effects of weight-loss maintenance strategies in children.

The study, which appeared in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, also is the first to look at whether heavy kids benefited from being encouraged to play with more physically active peers, cope with teasing, and develop an improved body image.

"We know from the adult field that the biggest challenge is not losing weight — it's keeping it off in the long term," said lead author Denise Wilfley, who heads the weight management program at Washington University.
Now, regarding kids, the answer is clear. It all starts with the parents. Dr. Fuhrman will tell you, you want your kids to eat healthfully and stay fit? It’s all up to you. He talks about it in great detail in his book Disease-Proof Your Child. Take a look:
The number of children who are overweight in the United States has more than doubled during the past decade. Social forces, from the demise of cooking to the rise of fast food, as well as dramatic increases in snack food and soda consumption, have led to the most overweight population of children in human history. Added to this dietary disaster is television, computer, and video technology that entertains our youngsters while they are physically inactive. Unless parents take a proactive role in promoting and assuring adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle, you can be sure the children of American will continue this downward spiral into obesity and ill health. Obese children suffer physically and emotionally throughout childhood and then invariably suffer with adult heart disease, and a higher cancer incidence down the road…


…Parents must be responsible for our health and the health of our children. We parents have a huge responsibility and can help guide and shape our offspring into health and happy adults, or, through abuse, neglect, ignorance, and even convenience, we can damage their future. We know with certainty that the foods we feed our kids during childhood play a large role in dictating their future health…

…It is important to realize that it is never too late to teach your children the importance of eating healthy. As you learn, share enthusiastically with them. Work on improving your diets together. If your child is a teenager, let her read what you are reading. You may want to add that it will help their complexion and body shape. Even teenagers will make beneficial improvements in their diets when presented with compelling reasons. I have lectured to high school assemblies many times and am always impressed by how interested, enthusiastic, and willing to make changes teenagers can be. Research supports this willingness of adolescents to make significant dietary change when presented with accurate compelling information.1
If this seems hard or too much responsibility, consider these tips, they’ll help you out. Here’re Dr. Fuhrman’s secrets to getting your children to eat healthfully:
1. Keep only healthy food in the house. Every person in the household should have the same food choices available.


2. Offer and feed a wholesome diversity of natural foods, vegetables, beans, raw nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit, while giving each child as much latitude as possible to eat what they prefer.

3. Don't attempt to manage your children's caloric intake. They can do that on their own.

4. If you, as parents, do not demonstrate proper respect for your own bodies by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthful lifestyle practices, don't expect your children to do any better than you, now or in the future.

5. Educate your children about their nutritional needs and the importance of eating healthfully. Start this when they are young and continue to reinforce their learning, as they will be exposed to more toxic food choices as they get older and spend more time out of their home.
Sure, it might be a little hard work and require some thought, but isn’t your children’s health worth it?
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Fat and Ovarian Cancer

If you read this blog often enough, you’ll soon realize that consuming too much animal products, too often is hardly health-promoting—but don’t take my word for it! I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain. Here’s a quote:
There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get…


…In rural China where the diets are nearly vegetarian, the average cholesterol levels are low and you see lower cancer rates, not higher. Those with the lowest cholesterol in the China study actually had the lowest cancer rates as well. Obviously, there is a difference between one who has a low cholesterol because his dietary style earns it, and one whose cholesterol seems unjustifiably low on a modern heart-disease-promoting diet that almost everyone in the west eats…

…Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.2 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.3
Now, if you’re still a non-believer in the power of fruits and vegetables, check out this report in HealthDay News. According to a new study plant fiber and less fat helps prevent ovarian cancer—who would have thought? Read on:
On average, the women had managed to add one serving of fruits or vegetables to their daily diet by end of the six-year follow-up. They had also reduced their daily fat consumption by about 8 percent.


The findings support "the idea that lifestyle changes can be made with intensive help," said Dr. Robert Morgan, section head of medical gynecologic oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif. He was not involved in the study.

Morgan noted that many of his patients ask him about ways they can reduce their cancer risk through diet and exercise. But he said he's found that "it's difficult to change habits, especially if they are longstanding."

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cancer killer of women. Some 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with the disease every year, and about 15,000 women will die from it during the same time frame.
Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Fruits and veggies taste great, and, they’re great for you! Kind of win-win—know what I mean?
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Relations of the Heart

Here’s an interesting report. A new study claims bad relationships can actually cause heart attacks; reminds me of this post on stress cardiomyopathy. More from Reuters:
The study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found the stress and anxiety of hostile, angry relationships can boost the risk of developing heart disease. Chances of a heart attack or chest pain rose by 34 percent compared to people on good terms with a spouse or partner.


"A person's heart condition seems to be influenced by negative intimate relationships," researchers wrote. "We showed that the negative aspects of close relationships...are associated with coronary heart disease."

Other research has shown more social connections can mean a healthier life -- the "protective effect" -- but few studies have looked at how close friendships or marriages affect health, said Roberto De Vogli, an epidemiologist at University College London, who led the study.
If this is true—I should be dead by now!

Health's Hard Times

Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times shows us that economic hard times can actually be healthy times—or at least was the case for Cuba. Take a look:
Using national vital statistics and other sources, the researchers gathered data on energy intake, body weight and physical activity in Cuba from 1980 to 2005. In Cienfuegos, a large city on the southern coast, obesity rates decreased to less than 7 percent in 1995 from more than 14 percent in 1991. As more food became available, obesity increased to about 12 percent again by 2002.


Nationwide, coronary heart disease mortality declined 35 percent from 1997 to 2002. Diabetes mortality was down to less than 10 per 100,000 in 2003 from 19 per 100,000 in 1988. The death rate from all causes declined to 4.7 per thousand in 2002 from 5.9 per thousand in 1982.
I can see it now…The Poverty Diet!

The PSA Test Debate

In August a report came out which called into the question the effectiveness of frequent prostate cancer screenings. More from HealthDay News:
The researchers looked at more than 17,000 men who had prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing every two years or every four years. Among 4,202 Swedish men screened every two years, the overall incidence of prostate cancer diagnosis over 10 years was 13.14 percent, compared to 8.41 percent among the 13,301 Dutch men who were screened every four years, said the researchers from Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The total number of interval cancers -- those diagnosed based on symptoms during the years between screening tests -- was 31 (0.74 percent) among the Swedish men and 57 (0.43 percent) among the Dutch men.

The differences in the interval cancer rates and aggressive interval cancer rates between the two groups were not statistically significant, the study authors said. This indicates that two-year screenings don't reduce the number of interval cancers, as might be expected.
So, I guess this tells us prostate screenings are “kinda” effective. Certainly contrary to this study contending that PSA testing is still “valuable.” Dennis Thompson of HealthDay News reports:
The cancer society recommends annual screenings for prostate cancer beginning at age 50 for most men, and at age 45 for men at high risk. Those at high risk include blacks and men who've had a close relative suffer from prostate cancer before age 65.


The screening involves two steps: undergoing a digital rectal exam and testing for PSA levels in the blood.

In the rectal exam, the doctor feels the prostate to see if there are any bumps or hard spots that might signify cancer.

And although PSA is not an indicator of cancer, but a protein created during inflammation of the prostate, doctors have found that highly elevated levels indicate an increased risk for cancer.

Studies now show that the regular testing of PSA levels can indicate cancer risk by showing rises or falls in the protein's levels.
And here’s one more side of the debate. Dr. Fuhrman isn’t sold on PSA tests. In fact, he believes they’re wrought with false confidence. Some of his thoughts:
Incredible as it may seem, the PSA test does not accurately detect cancer. If you are over 60 years old, the chance of having a prostate biopsy positive for cancer is high, and the likelihood you have prostate cancer is the same whether or not you have an elevated PSA. More and more studies in recent years have demonstrated that prostate cancer is found at the same high rate in those with lower, so-called “normal” PSAs as those with elevated PSAs.1 An interesting study from Stanford University in California showed that the ability of PSA to detect cancer from 1998 to 2003 was only 2 percent. The elevations in PSA (between 2 and 10) were related to benign enlargement of the prostate, not cancer.


Remember, the pharmaceutical/medical industry is big business. Too often, treatments are promoted from a financially-biased perspective, leading to overly invasive and aggressive care without documented benefits.

If you want to have your prostate biopsied, radiated, and cut out, go ahead, but you do not need a PSA blood test first to decide. The PSA test is just an excuse to give men a prostate biopsy.
Ultimately it’s your decision, but, all this will certainly have you scratching your head.

Bad Belly Fat--Bad!

This is hardly earth-shattering, but, I guess it serves as an important reminder. Reuters reports belly fat is bad and can up cancer risk. Look:
Postmenopausal women who are overweight or obese appear to have a greater risk of developing, renal cell carcinoma, a common form of kidney cancer, and study findings suggest that a larger waist girth and a history of weight loss and regain further increase this risk.


"Our study suggests that the risk of renal cell carcinoma can be lowered if overweight individuals lose excess central body fat and then maintain stable weight at a more desirable level," Dr. Juhua Luo, of Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden told Reuters Health.

Luo and colleagues analyzed data from more than 140,000 U.S. women, aged 50 to 79 years, enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative study.

They compared associations between the development of renal cell carcinoma, a cancer of the lining of the kidney, and the women's body weight and frequency of weight loss and regain (weight cycling) over an average of 7.7 years.

Fish: Good for Pregnancy?

I always thought women shouldn’t eat fish when they’re pregnant. Why? Well, remember this little list? From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Disease-Proof Your Child:
  • Caffeine
  • Nicotine, including secondhand smoke
  • Alcohol
  • Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • Herbs and high-dose supplements, vitamin A
  • Fish, mollusks and shellfish, sushi (raw fish)
  • Hot tubs and saunas
  • Radiation
  • Household clear, paint thinners
  • Cat litter (because of an infectious disease called toxoplasmosis caused by a parasite found in cat feces)
  • Raw milk and cheese
  • Soft cheese and blue-veined cheeses such as feta, Roquefort, and Brie
  • Artificial colors, nitrates, and MSG
  • Deli meats, luncheon meats, hot dogs, and undercooked meats
Did you see it? “Fish!” Right there on the list. Makes me wonder what the heck this report is all about. According to Reuters, a coalition recommends women eat fish while pregnant. Here’s a bit:
Women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant or breast-feeding should eat at least 12 ounces of fatty fish such as tuna every week to help themselves and their babies, experts will recommend later on Thursday.


Fish including mackerel, sardines, light tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids -- components of fat known to help brain development. Walnuts, flaxseed oil and leafy green vegetables also contain the compounds.

Women need the nutrients to prevent postpartum depression and babies need them for brain and motor skill development, the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies coalition says.

The coalition, which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says "90 percent of women are consuming less than the recommended amount of fish."

But these fish can also carry high levels of mercury, which is a brain and nerve toxin.
Eat tuna! Have they gone loony? Dr. Fuhrman is very mercury-phobic—especially for pregnant mothers! And tuna is hardly a safe fish. More from Disease-Proof Your Child:
Higher levels of mercury found in mothers who eat more fish have been associated with birth defects, seizures, mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and cerebral palsy.1 This is mostly the result of women having eaten fish when they were pregnant. Scientists believe that fetuses are much more sensitive to mercury exposure than adults, although adults do suffer from varying degrees of brain damage from fish consumption.2 Even the FDA, which normally ignores reports on the dangers of our dangerous food practices, acknowledges that large fish such as shark, swordfish, and yellowfin and bluefin tuna, are potentially dangerous. Researchers are also concerned about other toxins concentrated in fish that can cause brain damage way before the cancers caused by chemical-carrying fish appear.


Fish with Highest and Lowest Mercury Levels

Highest
  • tilefish
  • swordfish
  • mackerel
  • shark
  • white snapper
  • tuna
Lowest
  • salmon
  • flounder
  • sole
  • tilapia
  • trout
I have one final question. Who writes these reports? Bozo the Clown!
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Fat and Meat DON'T Impact Prostate Cancer?

I know. Kind of an unbelievable headline, but by now you’ve got to be used to a certain level of junk science, after all, low-carb diets are founded on it! Anyway, Reuters reports on a new study claiming fat and meat are unlikely to impact prostate cancer risk. Take a look:
In an email to Reuters Health, principal investigator Dr. Laurence N. Kolonel and first author Song-Yi Park of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, said: "Although diet is likely to influence prostate cancer risk, the intake of total and saturated fat do not appear to be important contributors. However, because high intake of fat can lead to obesity as well as other cancers, the consumption of high fat foods should be limited."


Fat and meat in the diet as potential risk factors for prostate cancer have been the focus of numerous studies, but the results have been inconsistent, the study team notes in a report of their study published in the International Journal of Cancer. Some studies have found a positive relationship between prostate cancer and diets high in fat and meat, while others have found no relationship.

Kolonel, Park, and their colleagues looked for ties between prostate cancer risk and the consumption of different fats (including total, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat, and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids), cholesterol, meat (including total, red, processed and poultry), fish and fats from meat in 82,483 men enrolled in a study of diet and cancer. The men were age 45 or older at enrollment between 1993 and1996 and they resided in Hawaii or Los Angeles.
Now, I’d love to rap on this, but, I’m just a snarky blogger. This calls for an expert. “Who you gonna call?” Dr. Fuhrman! Here’s an excerpt from a previous post. Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that animal products don’t do prostate cancer risk any favors. Check it out:
Men's diets as toddlers and children most powerfully affect the age when they mature and develop facial hair. The prostate gland is essentially a dormant organ until puberty (much like the female breast), when heightened testosterone levels stimulate its development…


…When the death rates for prostate cancer and testicular cancer were examined in forty-two countries and correlated with dietary practices in a carefully designed study, they found that cheese consumption was most closely linked with the incidence of testicular cancer for ages twenty to thirty-nine, and milk was the most closely associated with prostate cancer of all foods.1 Meat, coffee, and animal fats also showed a positive correlation.
Feel free to enjoy the original post: Prostate Cancer: A Growing Disease In Men.
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Red Wine and Diabetes

New research claims a chemical in red wine may help fight diabetes. Get drunk to fight type-2? Sounds too good to be true. Ed Edelson of HealthDay News is on it:
Chinese researchers have outlined the molecular chain of activity that makes resveratrol, a chemical found in the skin of red grapes and in red wine, a promising candidate for treatment of diabetes and other conditions.


The study focused on how resveratrol improved the sensitivity of mice to insulin, an effect that could lead to new treatments for type 2 diabetes, in which human cells lose their sensitivity to insulin.

And U.S. experts said the chemical's effect on a number of different tissues could eventually lead to such dreamed-of medications as an effective diet pill.

The study, by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, showed that resveratrol activates an enzyme called SIRT1. This enzyme, in turn, suppresses the activity of a molecule called PTP1B, which ordinarily works to decrease insulin activity. SIRT1 levels were reduced in the animals' insulin-resistant cells. Increasing SIRT1 activity with resveratrol improved insulin sensitivity by acting on PTP1B.
Alcohol and health is a touchy subject. Check out this study Dr. Fuhrman brings up in a previous Healthy Times newsletter. Here:
A few years ago the University of California’s Berkeley Wellness Letter reported on new research about the so-called heart-healthy “benefits” of alcohol consumption. Previous studies had led to a recommendation that moderate consumption of red wine—but not other alcoholic beverages—helped reduce the risk of heart attack. What did the new research reveal?


If we were to rely on the Berkeley Wellness Letter for this information, the latest news would be that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage—red or white wine, even beer and spirits—can be heart-healthy. Unfortunately, their latest news is still woefully out-of-date. More recent studies show that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to significantly increased incidence of atrial fibrillation,1 a condition that can lead to stroke, and to higher rates of breast cancer.2,3
Not-so happy hour.
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Expensive Fat

Is it ironic or coincidence that bloated bodies are inflating US healthcare expenses? Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News reports obesity is bloating medical bills. Here’s a snippet:
Obesity is a big factor driving soaring rates of chronic disease in the United States, with many more Americans chronically ill than their European counterparts, a new study finds.


It's an expensive problem, too: According to researchers, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease account for some $100 to $150 billion in health-care spending in the United States each year.

"The United States spends twice as much as European countries on health care," noted lead researcher Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the department of health policy and management at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta. "Seventy-five percent of what we spend in this country is associated with patients that have one or more chronic conditions and most of the growth is due to obesity."
Not new news, Dr. Fuhrman talked about this in Eat to Live. Check it out:
The number one health problem in the United States is obesity, and if the current trend continues, by the year 2230 all adults in the United States will be obese. The National Institutes of Health estimate that obesity is associated with a twofold increase in mortality, costing society more than $100 billion per year.1


Obesity and its sequelae pose a serious challenge to physicians. Both primary-care physicians and obesity-treatment specialists fail to make an impact on the long-term health of most of their patients. Studies show that initial weight loss is followed by weight regain.2
People complain about the cost of buying fruits and vegetables, but something tells me, in the long run its cheaper than triple-bypasses, dialysis, and statins.
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Harmful, Harmful Cholesterol!

A new study shows us why cholesterol isn’t exactly health-promoting. David Douglas of Reuters is on it:
Cholesterol is known to promote plaque build-up in blood vessels, which raises the risk of heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems. Now, new research suggests that cholesterol does this by reducing the activity of a chemical called transforming growth factor (TGF-beta).


"The finding that cholesterol causes atherosclerosis (plaques) by attenuating TGF-beta responsiveness in...cells could lead to the development of novel and effective therapies for atherosclerosis," senior investigator Dr. Jung San Huang told Reuters Health.

Huang of Saint Louis University School of Medicine and colleagues note that TGF-beta performs a variety of beneficial anti-inflammatory and other functions and that this chemical is believed to protective against the development of atherosclerosis. The new findings appear in the Journal of Cell Science.

In a series of experiments, the researchers found that cholesterol weakened the response of TGF-beta in all cell types studied. Cholesterol also led to the rapid breakdown of the chemical.
For more on the harmful effects of cholesterol, check out Followhealthlife’s cholesterol category.

No Sugar, Sweet Life

New research claims kicking your sugar addiction could help you live a more healthful life. Reuters reports:
They found that restricting glucose -- a simple sugar found in foods such as sweets that is a primary source of energy for the body -- set off a process that extended the life span of some worms by up to 25 percent.


The key was boosting the level of "free radicals" -- unstable molecules that can damage the body and which people often try to get rid of by consuming food or drinks rich in anti-oxidants such as vitamin E, they said in a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Restricting glucose first spurred the worms to generate more free radicals, but then they quickly built up long-lasting defenses against them, said Michael Ristow, an endocrinologist at the University of Jena and the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who led the study.

Exercise: Yoga True and False

I’ve been doing Yoga for a few months now and I can tell you firsthand—it’s an amazing work out! If you’re curious about it, Health answers a few questions about Yoga. Check it out:
Claim: Yoga can help you lose weight. | TRUE
How much depends on the type, how often you do it, and your diet (of course). More-athletic styles—most notably ashtanga, a.k.a. power yoga—burn more calories and help build more muscle (which translates into an even higher number of calories torched) than more-meditative versions. A 150-pound woman can work off more than 460 calories during a single hour of power yoga (versus around 170 calories for a traditional yoga session). Many celebrities, including Serena Williams, love how yoga helps them stay in shape.


Claim: Yoga cures asthma. | FALSE
Many asthma patients believe doing certain types of breathing techniques can help reduce their symptoms. But research published in the medical journal Thorax suggests that yogic breathing isn’t one of them: Participants who used a device that mimicked the breathing technique pranayama saw no improvement in their asthma symptoms.
And don’t forget about Followhealthlife’s new exercise category!

Alzheimer's This and That

Okay busy bees, this should make you feel a lot better about yourselves. A new study claims organized driven people have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Carla K. Johnson of the Associated Press has more:
A purposeful personality may somehow protect the brain, perhaps by increasing neural connections that can act as a reserve against mental decline, said study co-author Robert Wilson of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.


Astoundingly, the brains of some of the dutiful people in the study were examined after their deaths and were found to have lesions that would meet accepted criteria for Alzheimer's -- even though these people had shown no signs of dementia.

"This adds to our knowledge that lifestyle, personality, how we think, feel and behave are very importantly tied up with risk for this terrible illness," Wilson said. "It may suggest new ideas for trying to delay the onset of this illness."

Previous studies have linked social connections and stimulating activities like working puzzles with a lower risk of Alzheimer's. The same researchers reported previously that people who experience more distress and worry about their lives are at a higher risk.
Couple this with last year’s report showing that exercise helps stop Alzheimer’s and task masters everywhere can rejoice! Now, if you also eat healthfully, you’re in really good shape because Dr. Fuhrman links superior nutrition to Alzheimer’s prevention. Here’s a quote:
Alzheimer’s dementia is an irreversible brain disorder that typically develops in the elderly. It leads to memory loss, personality changes, and a general decline in cognitive function.


With the high incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in our aging population, more and more research is underway to come up with novel treatments for this brain disease. Given the large distortion of brain architecture that occurs in Alzheimer’s, it is unlikely that drug treatment will offer a solution to this debilitating problem.

Green vegetable consumption was low and animal fat consumption was high in the past histories of Alzheimer’s patients.1,2 Japanese studies have found the same relationships: individuals with low consumption of vegetables and high consumption of meat were found to be the ones most likely to develop Alzheimer’s.3

Just as in the case of heart disease, the world’s leading researchers on the subject consider diets high in animal fat to be the major factor in the causation of Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress to our brain tissue from the combination of a diet rich in saturated fat and low in the antioxidants and phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables lays the groundwork for brain damage later in life. Deficiencies of DHA (a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid) which often are found in Alzheimer’s patients, also have been shown to promote dementia.4 Inadequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, leafy greens,and certain fish also are implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer’s.
All this certainly gives you a fighting chance against this often mysterious disease. For more on Alzheimer’s, check out Followhealthlife’s Alzheimer’s category.
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Your Lungs: Ozone, Oh-No!

New research suggests that the ozone in urban air pollution can do significant damage to our lungs. Robert Preidt of HealthDay News reports:
Ozone, a major component of urban air pollution, shuts down early immune responses in the lungs, which in turn makes the lung more vulnerable to bacteria and other foreign invaders, research shows.


It's known that exposure to ozone is associated with increased cardiovascular and pulmonary hospitalizations and deaths, but the actual mechanisms involved haven't been clarified. This study, by Duke University Medical Center pulmonary researchers, may provide some answers.

They found that mice exposed to unhealthy ozone levels showed amplified lung injury in response to bacterial toxins. The rodents also showed increased "programmed cell death" of the type of innate immune system cells that normally devour foreign invaders and keep the airways clear.

Breast Milk Good for Preemies

New research reports breast milk really helps premature babies. Reuters reports:
A second study on breast feeding found that it does not raise the risk that children will develop tooth decay later in life, as some earlier research had suggested.


Both reports were published in the October issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The premature infant study involved 773 U.S. babies born extremely underweight -- less than 2.2 pounds (1 kg) -- between 1999 and 2002.

It found that babies in the group given breast milk got higher scores on a test measuring their overall intelligence at 30 months of age, with the highest scores showing up among the children who had received the most breast milk as infants.
Dr. Fuhrman’s a huge advocate of breastfeeding. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
The antibodies derived from mother’s milk are necessary for maximizing immune system function, maximizing intelligence, and protecting against immune system disorders, allergies, and even cancer. The child’s immune system is still underdeveloped until age of two, the same age when the digestive tract seals the leaks (spaces between cells) designed to allow the mother’s antibodies access to the bloodstream. So picking the age of two as the length of recommended breast-feeding is not just a haphazard guess, it matches the age at which the child is no longer absorbing the mother’s immunoglobulins to supplement their own immune system. Nature designed it that way.
I’m no doctor, but, it seems obvious that all this would benefit preemies—right?

Chew Gum, Lose Weight?

A few years ago I asked a heavy-set friend of mine why he chewed so much gum. His response, “Dude, it totally helps you lose weight.” After I bashed him on the head, I walked away in disbelief. But apparently there’s actually research on gum-chewing and weight-loss. More from Diet Blog:
There are a few shortcomings of such research:
  • The numbers were small - just 40 women and 20 men - of which only 9 were overweight or obese.
  • The results were also skewed by those called "restrained eaters". Those who were good at denying themselves food tended to be the ones who ate less after chewing the gum.
  • This is no double-blind research. Either you were chewing the gum or you weren't. Who is to say how the gum-chewers consciously or subconsciously changed their eating habits?
  • The research was "supported" by an Educational Award from the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.
Chew tubby! Chew till the pounds melt away—sigh!

Cancer Leads to Divorce?

Obviously cancer is bad, but is it bad for marriage? Hard to believe, but a new study claims divorce-risk increases if one partner suffers from testicular or cervical cancer. Michael Kahn of Reuters is on it:
The research compared divorce rates of 215,000 cancer survivors with those among couples free of cancer over a 17-year period.


However, testicular and cervical cancer seemed to lead to a higher chance of marriages breaking up, the study found.

Women with cervical cancer had nearly a 70 percent greater risk of divorce at the age of 20, a level that fell to 19 percent at 60. For testicular cancer, the divorce risk was 34 percent at 20 and 16 percent at 60, it said.

The reason could be because both diseases affect intimacy and result in decreased sexual activity, said Astri Syse of the Norwegian Cancer Registry, who led the study.
For more on cancer—from the usual to the unusual—check out Followhealthlife’s cancer archive.