Miscellaneous

  1. Mineral cuts colon cancer risk by more than 50 percent!

    Calcium is the "little darling" of all the minerals. But magnesium's just as important. In fact, according to a new study, men who get plenty of magnesium cut their colon cancer risk by more than half.

    For this observational study, Japanese scientists recruited nearly 90,000 middle-aged men and women. They asked the participants to fill out a survey about the kinds of foods they ate and what kind of vitamins they took. Turns out that over the course of eight years, most of the men and women only received about 280 mg per day of magnesium through diet and supplements.

    But the men who received just a bit more each day of this undervalued mineral got a big return on their investment. In fact, the men who got at least 327 mg per day of magnesium cut their risk of colon cancer by 52 percent!

    That's an astounding improvement, especially when you consider that the RDA for magnesium is just 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men.

    Unfortunately, in this study, the women didn't reap the same protective benefits as the men when it comes to colon cancer. Still, that's no reason for women not to get plenty of magnesium, as it has other vital benefits. Magnesium is great for your heart and as I noted in last month's GTGH, and has been proven to improve lung function in asthmatics.

    You can get magnesium into your diet by eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. You'll also find it in nuts, whole grains, and meat. You may even find a little magnesium in your multivitamin. However, you should always take calcium with equal parts or magnesium and quality manufacturers will actually pair these two minerals together in equal amounts for you to receive the maximum benefit.

  2. Simple lifestyle change may guarantee you will never need dentures (And it is easier than flossing!)

    Gum disease is a serious condition that you'll most likely face in your golden years. In fact, as many as 90 percent of men and women over 65 suffer from it. It's also THE main reason why older adults lose their teeth.

    But a new study shows there's something--in addition to flossing--that you can and should do to keep your teeth healthy throughout your life. All you have to do is make one simple lifestyle change. Keep reading to find out more...

    Rooting out the causes of gum disease

    Unfortunately, many of us view gum disease as a minor nuisance. And that's a mistake...because solid evidence links gum disease with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

    That said, the disease often starts out benignly enough.

    For instance, did you know clenching (or grinding) your teeth--also known as bruxism--could bring on gum disease? According to one dentist I know, it's the biggest problem he sees in new patients visiting his office. And unfortunately, most people don't even realize they do it, often because they do it at night.

    Further more, certain types of medication can cause gum disease. For example, many of the drugs used to treat allergies, depression, high blood pressure, seizures, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer might increase your risk of gum disease.

    But--by far--the biggest cause of gum disease is bacteria. It builds up along your gum line and forms plaque (and eventually tartar). This irritates the gums, causing them to become infected, swollen, and tender. Eventually, your gums will separate from the tooth and form pockets where even more bacteria are able to hide.

    Plus...

    Bacteria in your mouth can also affect your overall health. Mounting research suggests that after brushing or flossing, bacteria may enter your bloodstream. From there, it latches onto plaque in your arteries contributing to blood clots and raising your risk of stroke or heart attack. One recent study conducted at the University of Buffalo showed that bacteria stemming from gum disease cause your liver to make C-reactive protein, a serious risk factor in heart disease.

    So what's the simple lifestyle change that can make all this go away?

    Just drink a cup of green tea each day.

    Now I know most people associate drinking green tea with fighting cancer. But according to the new study, drinking green tea can also help improve your oral health. It could even make the difference between whether or not you get to keep all your teeth in your golden years.

    You see, green tea is one of the world's oldest natural antibiotics. In fact, it contains a special kind of antioxidant called a catechin, which kills bacteria, especially the kind of bacteria in the mouth.

    In fact, last year scientists proved just how well these nutrients work at keeping your mouth a bacteria-free zone. They found that men who regularly drink green tea have "superior" gum health compared to men who drank less of it.

    Plus, an even newer study from last month proves that not only does green tea help prevent gum disease...it may even help you keep your teeth throughout your life!

    For this study, Japanese scientists analyzed data from 25,000 men and women between the ages 40 and 64 who drank green tea. They found that men and women who drank one to two cups a day decrease their risk of tooth loss by almost 20 percent. More over, the men who drank the most green tea cut their risk of tooth loss by almost a quarter.

    Not bad results for drinking a cup of tea. Especially for one that's good for you in so many other ways too!

    Be careful to choose your tea wisely

    So when you go out to buy yourself some green tea, just make sure to skip the sweetened, ready-to-drink green teas you'll find on the shelves. These products contain little, if any, concentrated green tea. Instead, it's filled with high- fructose corn syrup and provides no nutritional value.

    In order to get the kind of green tea that has all the healthy benefits, buy a box of green tea bags and steep them yourself. Let the bags sit in the hot water for at least four to five minutes to release all the healthy compounds. And if you like to drink it cold, just keep it in the fridge after steeping.

    And if you like your tea sweet, you can always add a few drops of Stevia, a natural sweetener you can now find at most grocery stores. Stevia has become a great alternative to sugar as well as all the artificial sweeteners out there without all the negative health effects. Just don't go crazy as it can still send your blood sugar through the roof if you add enough of it to your tea.

  3. Post-menopausal women cut depression and anxiety by more than 75 percent with all-natural plant extract

    Depression and anxiety can hit post-menopausal women seemingly from out of the blue. This happens as hormone levels fall and a woman's body struggles to adjust to life without much estrogen. If this sounds like you, worry no more. A new study shows that post-menopausal women can cut their depression and anxiety by more than 75 percent by taking an all-natural and non-toxic plant extract. Plant used to treat hot flashes also boosts mood Scientists recruited 109 post-menopausal women with depression or anxiety. Half of the women received a placebo and the other half got an extract from the red clover plant every day for 90 days. Red clover is a plant that helps to purify the body of toxins. It also contains natural isoflavones, plant-based chemicals that act like estrogen in a woman's body, which is why so many women use it to cope with hot flashes during menopause. And now we know that red clover can even help stabilize a woman's mood following menopause. In fact, in the recent study, women who took 80 mg of red clover extract for 90 days cut their anxiety by 76 percent. They also cut their symptoms of depression by a whopping 80 percent! On the other hand, those women taking a placebo only cut their symptoms by about 20 percent. And here's the final bit of good news: unlike HRT (hormone replacement therapy), red clover is completely non-toxic and won't increase your risk of breast cancer. So just give it a try if you're post-menopausal with the occasional bout of depression or anxiety.
  4. MS patients break the rules and improve brain function

    If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), your neurologist probably gave you a list of rules to follow to keep your symptoms under control. But some MS patients have ignored conventional wisdom and broken one of the golden rules while keeping their symptoms at bay. Better yet, in MRI scans their brains appear virtually the same as healthy patients' without MS! So what's their secret? Believe it or not, aerobic exercise has made THE difference for this group of MS patients. Commenting on the new study, lead researcher Ruchika Shaurya Prakash stated: "For a long time, MS patients were told not to exercise, because there was a fear it could exacerbate their symptoms. But we're finding that, it can actually help them with their cognitive functions." MS patients peddle their way to healthy brain scans Scientists recruited 21 women diagnosed with the relapsing-remitting form of MS. It's the most common form of the disease, with symptoms that flair up and then go away for stretches of time. They also recruited 15 women without MS as their control group. To start, the scientists assessed the women's overall fitness level. The women rode stationary bikes as long and as fast as they could, while breathing into masks that measured how much oxygen they needed during the workout. Next, all women had MRI scans taken to examine their brains. In MS patients, MRI scans show areas of gray matter where nerve endings have been damaged. These lesions can cause significant symptoms in MS patients, such as difficulty controlling muscles and balance problems. They can also lead to serious cognitive problems, such as difficulty solving problems, remembering words, and processing new information. So, to assess their cognitive abilities, the participants each took a series of brain-teaser type tests. For example, in one test, the women had to write down as many words as they could think of beginning with the letter "F" in one minute, which is typically very challenging for an MS patient. As you might expect, the MS patients as a group didn't perform quite as well on the cognitive tests as the non-MS patients. And their brains did show areas of damage in the MRI scans. However, when the scientists factored in the fitness levels of the MS patients, they found a striking difference. Fit MS patients perform better on tests than MS patients without a good level of fitness First off, the brain scans of the fit MS patients showed much less damage from the disease. They had fewer brain lesions. And those lesions were much smaller than the non-fit MS patients' were. In fact, the lead researcher for the study said that the gray matter volume in the fittest MS patients looked nearly the same as the non-MS patients! And that's really important, because scientists link the gray matter with how fast the brain processes information. And, boy, did it show in the cognitive tests... In fact, the fit MS patients scored far better on the cognitive tests than MS patients with low fitness levels. Lead researcher Prakash believes that exercise is the key for MS patients because it stimulates the production of nerve growth factors (NGFs). These proteins boost the growth of healthy neurons in the brain. It may even prove true that NGFs can repair myelin sheaths. (In MS patients, their immune system misfires and attacks the myelin sheath, a protein that protects nerve endings.) Of course, scientists have already begun to experiment with other ways to boost NGFs in MS patients. Though that research will undoubtedly involve a drug...so I'd much rather see you stick with exercise. New hope for MS patients If you have MS and your neurologist has warned you against aerobic exercise, I'd show him this study. It was published in the March 2010 issue of the major medical journal Brain Research. You may also want to begin a new exercise program. But remember, the MS patients in the study with the best cognitive function had good aerobic fitness. So you'll have to choose an exercise that raises your heart rate and makes you break a sweat. Just start slowly and choose an exercise that's suited to your body. For example, exercising on a treadmill or elliptical machine isn't a great choice if you have balance problems. Instead, you can try a stationary bike, swimming, or a rowing machine. There are many options; just look at what's available and find out what works for you.
  5. Be careful how you store your vitamins

    I like a nice steamy shower every morning. But my vitamins sure don't.

    In fact, according to a new report published by Purdue University, vitamins kept in humid conditions--even with their lids on tight -- lose their nutritional punch.

    And it's important to note that vitamins C and B are especially susceptible to this type of nutritional erosion. According to PU scientists, these vitamins can lose their viability in as little as ONE week in a humid room.

    This means keep your vitamins out of the bathroom. Store them in the driest spot in your house. Most people think the kitchen is the best choice. However, this room can be almost as humid as your bathroom. A better option might be in the dining room or in your home office.

    If you opt to keep yours in the kitchen, just be on the lookout for water damage. If you notice any change in color to your vitamins, throw them out and start over with a new bottle.

  6. Slash your risk of illness with the secret ingredient hiding in one of todays forgotten miracle fruits

    Before you spend a fortune on one of today's exotic, super-fruit darlings, researchers have discovered a host of immune-boosting benefits in one of the most affordable, yet underrated fruits in the produce section... Apples. In fact, researchers recently discovered that the soluble fiber found in apples— called pectin—delivers an incredible boost to the immune system in more ways than one. Not only does it help fight off infection faster, it shows valuable anti-inflammatory properties, which can help stop some of today's most deadly diseases. Researchers divided mice into two groups. One group received a dose of the soluble pectin fiber each day for six weeks. The other group received insoluble fiber. Then, researchers gave the mice bacteria to make them sick. The mice given pectin only got half as sick as the other mice. Plus, they recovered from the illness in half the amount of time. Why the faster recovery? The mice given the apple pectin produced more of an anti-inflammatory protein called interleukin-4 (IL-4). Anything that helps your body produce more IL-4 is a good thing, because it kicks your immune system into high gear and stimulates the production of white blood cells. Scientists have begun to study IL-4 for its role in fighting cancer in humans, as it has such great anti-inflammatory power. Inflammation can also contribute to major health problems such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. But that's not all... A healthy immune system begins in the gut Another recent study shows that apple pectin also improves digestive health. In the study, scientists fed rats a diet rich in apples. And what they found is that pectin boosted the amount of "friendly bacteria" in the rats' intestines. Additionally, it helped to produce butyrate, a chemical that helps feed cells in the intestinal wall. Not too bad for one of the most underrated fruits in the produce section! So the next time you've got the munchies...skip the chips and go for an apple instead. Just be careful what kind of apple you buy... Pick up a regular apple in the grocery store and it's probably got more pesticides on it than just about any other item in the produce section. That's because most apples at the grocery store have been sprayed with pesticides 10 to 20 times before you bite into one. In fact, each year, a non-profit organization called the Environmental Working Group analyzes data from the federal government to come up with its "Dirty Dozen" list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. This year, the apple is #2 (just below peaches). You can get the complete list of "dirty" fruits and veggies, on the EWG's website at www.foodnews.org. To avoid the pesticides found on most regular apples, you could certainly remove the peel. But that would mean you're missing out on another important part of the apple: the skin. Apple skins contain insoluble fiber that helps wipe out harmful bacteria and toxins in your gut. Some people rely on produce washes to wipe away pesticide residue. But I've read reports that show these products aren't any more effective than soapy water and don't really remove pesticide residue anyway. The only really safe option is to choose organic apples whenever possible. Yes, they will be more costly. But it's well worth it. Plus, here's a bit of good news... The Environmental Working Group website also contains a list of "clean 15." These fruits and veggies carry the smallest pesticide load, so you can probably get away without buying them organic. For the tech savvy reader, the organization even has a free application you can download to a smart phone to have their lists handy when you're shopping for produce. Just remember to keep your apples organic. And eat them often. You'll probably skip all those nasty bugs your friends seem to get every year.
  7. Hate needles? Try this simple trick...

    You know it's not going to kill you, but you still hate getting needles all the same. Well, a simple trick may help during your next trip to the blood lab or allergist.

    Just cough.

    Sure--coughing provides a distraction from the pain. But it may even block the moment of pain all together.

    According to a new report in the British Medical Journal, coughing causes your blood pressure to spike. And this brief spike in blood pressure may block your perception of pain. In several recent studies, patients who coughed during injections reported less pain.

    Gynecologists have also found that coughing works during pap smears. In fact, it works as well as local anesthetic to blunt cervical pain. Plus, it significantly reduced the length of the procedure.

    So next time you get jabbed, try coughing. Just don't cough so hard the technician misses the mark!

  8. Nutrient increases survival time in breast cancer patients

    As a nutritionist, my focus is on prevention. I rarely talk about ways to treat a disease like cancer. But if you had to guess, you probably know what I think of chemotherapy. Without a doubt, it's one of the most brutal treatments in the so- called modern era. But there are things you can do to counteract its effects. In fact, a new study shows that one nutrient given alongside chemo can actually increase survival time in women with advanced breast cancer. Nutrient supercharges chemo French scientists recruited 25 women with breast cancer to take part in their study. Almost 70 percent of the women had advanced stages of cancer, with metastases to the liver and other sites. Each of the women received chemotherapy to treat their cancer. They also received 1.8 grams per day of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. Why DHA, you wonder? Well, scientists believe that DHA makes cancer tumours more "sensitive" to chemotherapy. In other words, it helps the chemo to kill more cancer cells. Women with most DHA double survival rates The women followed this regimen for two to six months. Then, they went on living their lives as best they could. Scientists checked back in on the women after 31 months. They found that--on average--most of the women survived 22 months. But the women with the most DHA in their blood survived for 34 months. Now, I know these statistics are tough to read. But for anyone with cancer, it's critically important. Especially when you consider that the average survival rate for a woman with stage IV breast cancer is normally just 14 months with chemo alone. But in this study, the women with the most DHA in their blood added 20 months to their life. In other words, they more than doubled their prognosis just by adding an omega-3 supplement to their regimen. Drugs versus Nutrients In this study, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA added up to 20 months to a woman's life with advanced breast cancer. Now, let's compare that to the blockbuster drug Avastin. Avastin is not a chemotherapy drug. It doesn't kill cancer cells directly. Instead, it cuts off the blood supply to the malignant tumors. In theory, it should boost the effects of chemotherapy (much like DHA, you could argue). But Avastin can cost up to $9,000 per month. Plus, side effects include GI perforation, stroke, and heart attack. And here's the real kicker... A recent study on colon cancer showed that Avastin--despite the hefty price tag – only extends a patient's life by an average of four months. But what really makes me sick is that the company that makes Avastin wants to see the drug used to treat other types of cancer. Just last month the company wrapped up a clinical trial involving Avastin and advanced stomach cancer patients. In this trial, scientists divided patients into two groups. One group received Avastin plus another chemo drug called Xeloda. The other group received a placebo plus Xeloda. Turns out the Avastin group didn't live any longer than the placebo group did. However, despite these shameful results, Avastin is still the go-to drug for most oncologists. It pulled in roughly $6 billion in 2009 alone. Support without side effects If you're diagnosed with cancer, make sure to weigh your options carefully. And if you decide to include chemotherapy in your treatment, you should definitely consider adding a fish oil supplement. The women in the study took 1.8 grams of DHA per day. To get that amount of DHA, you'll have to take nine of the large fish oil capsules. (There are usually about 200 mg of DHA in each fish oil capsule.) And just in case you're wondering, fish oil--even at these high levels--is completely non-toxic. You'll just have to contend with the fishy aftertaste. To avoid this, take the fish oil with meals. Also, make sure to take at least 1,200 IU of all-natural mixed tocopherol vitamin E to wipe out free radicals generated by the fish oil. Additional support beyond fish oil Without a doubt, cancer takes an enormous toll on your body. So, it's critically important to give your body all the nutritional support it needs in order for it to have the strength it needs to fight the cancer. First, to support your immune system, be sure to take a good multivitamin every day along with 2,000 mg ascorbic acid or ascorbate vitamin C three times a day. In addition, you may want to consider taking alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant that's both fat- and water-soluble. Third, I'd also recommend milk thistle to help support your liver as it flushes away toxins from your body. And lastly, for anyone taking chemo, ginger tablets can really help ease nausea during treatment.
  9. Mineral improves lung capacity for asthmatics

    Last month, the FDA came out with a new warning for anyone with asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Never take an inhaled long-acting beta- agonist such as Advair, Symbicort, Serevent, or Foradil, unless you also take an inhalable steroid. According to a new meta-analysis, these drugs, when used alone to control asthma, may increase your risk of hospitalization or dying!

    Doctors prescribe drugs like Advair and Symbicort. If inhaled, corticosteroids don't control your asthma. They just relax muscles in your lungs and airways and can improve your ability to breathe. But--as the new meta-analysis shows--they can also make your asthma worse.

    Thankfully, a new study proves you can improve lung function by taking a simple mineral known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

    Every little bit counts

    Scientists recruited 55 patients with mild to moderate asthma. Half of the patients took 340 mg of magnesium daily for six months. The other half got a placebo (or sugar pill). After six months, the lung capacity in the magnesium group improved by six percent. The group taking the placebo didn't experience any improvement.

    Now--I'll admit six percent isn't a huge gain. But it's definitely an improvement. Especially if it makes the difference between taking a drug like Advair and not taking it!

    Lastly, please note that 340 mg of magnesium is probably more than you'll find in your regular multivitamin. So you may have to add a magnesium supplement to get to the amount you need. But it's nontoxic (unless you have kidney failure) and it can be taken without calcium (just don't take calcium without equal parts magnesium).

  10. One small vitamin slashes your risk of the "big three" killers

    It's probably the smallest pill in your kitchen cabinet. But it's also one of the most important. In fact, for the first time ever, scientists have conducted a "meta-analysis" of this vitamin. This means that scientists gathered data from dozens of different studies. Then, they combined the results to give us "the big picture." And the results were spectacular. They revealed that in fact, this one tiny vitamin might be the best protection you've got against the "big three" killers: Stroke, Heart Attack, and Diabetes. Gold mine found hidden among 28 different studies Scientists analyzed the blood work from 28 different studies involving 100,000 men and women and they found that one vitamin made all the difference. As it turns out men and women with plenty of vitamin D in their blood remained much healthier than their counterparts did. In fact, this group of men and women reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 33 percent. And don't forget that CVD is an umbrella term. So this actually means that they cut their risk of arthrosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke by 33 percent. And that's not all... These men and women also reduced their risk of developing type-2 diabetes by a whopping 55 percent! But results didn't stop there! Scientists further discovered that this same group never developed a collection of symptoms known as "metabolic syndrome" - also known as syndrome X. How does all of this fit together? Metabolic syndrome often precedes the "big three" killers. It refers to a group of symptoms that increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and type-2 diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, you have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the following symptoms:
    • High blood pressure
    • High blood sugar levels (when fasting)
    • Large waist circumference
    • Low HDL cholesterol
    • High triglycerides
    Almost 75 million men and women in the U.S. have these symptoms. And, therefore, they're at serious risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. But I'll tell you who doesn't have metabolic syndrome: the men and women from the study with an abundance of vitamin D in their blood. They reduced their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 51 percent. What's your number? Clearly, vitamin D is essential to preventing disease. And hopefully, you've had your vitamin D levels recently checked. If not, ask your doc for the blood test. Ideally, you want your levels between 50-70 ng/mL. If your levels are lower than that, you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Anyone living in the northern part of the U.S. should also consider taking one, due to the lack of sunshine. I usually recommend taking up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (the form of D most easily absorbed in the body) daily, especially in the winter months. You can also get vitamin D into your diet by eating more eggs (naturally found in yolks), liver, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines. For example, just one serving of wild sockeye salmon contains almost 1,000 IU of vitamin D. Don't be a guinea pig In closing, I'd like to give you a warning. There's a major government-sponsored study on vitamin D in the works. It's called the Vital Study. Scientists are currently recruiting 20,000 men and women to take part. According to a recent New York Times article, scientists in this study seek to discover "whether high doses of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids from fish-oil supplements will lower risk for heart disease and cancer." Sounds great at first blush. But here's the problem: Half of the participants will take either a D3 supplement or a fish oil supplement for five years. Not both. Or, you can be one of the really unlucky folks assigned to the placebo group. If that's the case, you'll be taking a sugar pill for the next five years! The problem is, to maintain optimum health; you need both of these essential nutrients. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for scientific research, especially on vitamins. And it will be very interesting to see the outcomes of the Vital Study. But I just wouldn't recommend you sacrifice your own good health to prove a point. Let someone else be the guinea pig.
  11. Bill Clinton should take a walk

    I sure wish Bill Clinton had read last summer's Guide to Good Health called "Skip the Angioplasty and Start Moving." He'd have been better off. Last summer German scientists studied heart disease patients just like Bill Clinton. Each of the patients in the study had angina (chest pain) with some artery blockage. But overall, they were in pretty good health. (Interestingly, this is exactly the same way doctors described the former President's condition in February. He hadn't suffered a heart attack or heart damage. He just had some narrowing of the arteries with chest pain.) If you walk into most hospitals today with these symptoms, you'd probably get a fast pass for an angioplasty. But German scientists wanted to see if that's really the best option. Which works better: angioplasty or exercise? The scientists divided the heart disease patients into two groups. The first group received an angioplasty to fix the clogged artery. For this procedure, doctors clear out the clogged artery and place a stent (or tube) in that spot. The second group didn't get angioplasties. They just began a daily exercise regimen. Doctors followed up with patients five years later. Any guesses which group fared better? Well, 63 percent of patients who followed a daily exercise regimen did not suffer a cardiac event (such as heart attack, stroke, or death). On the other hand, only 40 percent of patients who received an angioplasty survived without a similar cardiac event. The exercise group clearly fared better! They had almost 25 percent fewer heart attacks, strokes, and deaths. But don't cite that statistic to any cardiologist... You see, cardiologists perform 1.2 million angioplasties each year in this country. It's their bread and butter. Plus, angioplasties encourage repeat business. In fact, if you're anything like Bill Clinton, your first angioplasty isn't going to be your last. But in my book, the choice is perfectly clear. If you've got chest pain due to narrowing of the arteries, get moving!
  12. New study confirms there is an easy way to ease the pain of colitis

    Last November, I told you about a study showing how you could control ulcerative colitis through your diet. But the study involved mice, not humans. So I asked you to "stay tuned" because I was sure that scientists would get the same results, once they tested their claim on men and women. And, sure enough, three months later... a new study from Sweden proves that you can in fact control colitis symptoms by eating a simple fruit. Not only that, you can even super-charge the soothing effects adding a simple supplement. What to do when your immune system misfires... Many scientists believe that ulcerative colitis occurs when your immune system misfires and attacks a part of the body that it's supposed to protect. In the case of ulcerative colitis, your immune system attacks the lining of your intestines, creating inflammation. This can cause bloating, severe diarrhea, pain, and even fever. And over time, it can even increase your risk of colon cancer. But you can tame your immune system adding one simple fruit to your diet... Now, what is the super-food that reduces inflammation? Scientists from Sweden gave ulcerative colitis patients three different types of foods: rye bran, oat bran, and blueberries. And contrary to all the advertisements, they found that blueberries worked the best to control painful symptoms of colitis. Blueberries are particularly unique because they contain tannins. These substances help to control inflammation. Blueberries also contain plenty of insoluble fiber. This kind of fiber doesn't break down in your intestines. It stays intact and helps to flush away harmful waste, bacteria, and toxins. Plus, your body converts the insoluble fiber into short-chain fatty acids, which scientists believe, also help reduce inflammation. So, not surprisingly, when the Swedish patients ate blueberries, their symptoms improved. The blueberries acted like a sponge in the intestines. They soaked up anything that would typically cause inflammation and flushed it from the body. But then, the scientists took it one step further. They gave patients a probiotic supplement along with blueberries to see what would happen. The surprising findings about this powerful combination The scientists found that blueberries worked even better on UC patients when taken with a probiotic supplement. You see, it's all about creating a friendly environment in your intestines. Probiotics help to boost the friendly or "good" bacteria in your gut. And blueberries contain polyphenols, which kill any harmful bacteria. Plus, blueberries and probiotics boost your body's production of butyric and propionic acid. These helpful acids feed the cells in your intestines and promote a healthy immune system. Prior to this study, most doctors believed that these types of acids never left your intestines. But the Swedish scientists proved that theory wrong. They found that when UC patients took blueberries and probiotics, the helpful acids actually circulated throughout the body in the blood stream. In my book, that's an important discovery. It means that if your body makes enough of the helpful acid that some of it will spill over into your blood stream, which may help tame inflammation in other parts of the body, such as your joints. So it's true - You can heal your body with foods This study reaffirms everything we've discussed over the past year or so in the Guide to Good Health. You can heal your body with food. And if you're prone to intestinal problems, make sure to eat plenty of fruits, especially blueberries. Lastly, if you want to keep UC under control, make sure you also take daily probiotics. Yogurt's not enough. If you're lucky, a cup of yogurt will contain 10,000 active strains of bacteria by the time if reaches your mouth. But it also comes with a host of sugar, which is counter-productive. A good probiotic supplement will contain billions of units of active bacteria, which will actually give you the desired effect. Your digestive tract will thank you.
  13. Two sodas a week increases cancer rate

    Think having a soda once or twice a week isn't a big deal? Think again. According to a new study, drinking just two sodas per week can double your risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Researchers followed 60,000 men and women for 14 years. They found that people who drank two or more sodas per week had an 87 percent increased risk of suffering pancreatic cancer (compared to people who didn't regularly drink soda). Drinking soda is just bad news. It contains so much sugar that your body must unleash massive amounts of insulin to metabolize it. This overproduction of insulin – scientists believe – puts a strain on the pancreas, which may contribute to the growth of pancreatic cancer cells. It's true that pancreatic cancer is very rare. But it's one of the most deadly. In fact, only about five percent of men and women diagnosed with it survive five years. So the next time you feel like having a soda at the movies. Skip it. Order bottled water instead!
  14. Forget cholesterol...Ask your doc to check your CRP!

    You probably know your cholesterol level. But what's your CRP level? If you don't know it, you should - especially if you're over 65. In fact, according to many experts, CRP (C-reactive protein) is a much better indicator of your cardiovascular health than your cholesterol. If your CRP is too high, you're definitely at double or even triple the risk for a heart attack or stroke. But according to a new study, there's a way to control CRP. All you have to do is add modest amounts of one of the world's most common vitamins.
  15. Vitamin D protects you against Crohns disease

    Vitamin D just won't quit. It seems as though every time I pick up a medical journal, I see scientists have proven that the "sunshine" vitamin can protect you against another disease. This time, it's Crohn's disease.

    Crohn's disease is more than just an irritable bowel. It's an autoimmune disorder that creates inflammation in your intestines. Over time, Crohn's disease even puts you at risk for getting colon cancer.

    But here's the good news: Scientists now believe vitamin D can protect you against this disease. In fact, in this new study, they've gone one step further. Canadian scientists now believe that a vitamin D deficiency may actually cause Crohn's disease in the first place.

    They concluded that everyone should supplement with vitamin D to protect themselves against Crohn's disease. It's especially important – they said – if you have a family history of the disease.

    So how much should you take?

    Recently, I saw one health guru make a big deal about upping his recommended dosage of vitamin D3 (the most bioactive form of D in the body) from 1,000 IU to 2,000 IU per day. But I've always recommended taking as much as 5,000 IU per day, especially if you live in the northern half of the United States. You just don't absorb enough D from the sun in that part of the country, especially in the winter.

    Lastly, remember to take D3 with a meal containing healthy fats, such as olive oil, as this will help your body absorb the nutrient.

  16. Slash five years off your age with a supplement you should already be taking

    How would you like to take a magic pill to slow down your aging process? I'm talking about literally adding years to your life. Sounds like something from a fairy tale, I know. But especially for heart disease patients, this magic pill is for real. It all starts with your telomeres... A telomere is a tiny "cap" found at the end of each of your chromosomes. Some experts liken a telomere to the plastic wrap at the end of a shoelace. The plastic stops the shoelace from unraveling. Likewise, telomeres protect your chromosomes from mutating or fusing with each other, which can lead to cancer and other diseases. But your telomeres change with age. They get shorter. In fact, each time one of your cells replicates, the telomere on those chromosomes become shorter. Things like poor eating habits, smoking, drinking alcohol, and oxidative stress can also shorten your telomeres. When a telomere is totally gone, the cell dies. This has led many scientists to conclude that the shorter your telomeres, the older your biological age. In fact, Dr. Richard M. Cawthon and his colleagues at the University of Utah discovered that your telomere length has a direct affect on your lifespan. They found that men and women over 60 with shorter telomeres are three times more likely to die from heart disease. And they're eight times more likely to die from infectious disease. And that's not all... When Cawthon divided men and women into two groups based on telomere length, they found something interesting. The group with longer telomeres lived five years longer than the group with shorter chromosome caps. In fact, in a recent interview, Dr. Cawthon said that if you could find a way to protect your telomeres, he believes you could add 10, 20, or even 30 years to your lifespan. And now – thanks to scientists from the University of California, San Francisco – we know there is one thing you can do to prevent your telomeres from shortening... Get more omega-3 fatty acids! Omega-3s protect DNA Scientists from SCSF recruited 608 outpatients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD). Why'd they pick CAD patients? Well, it's an established fact that omega-3s have a positive impact on heart health. But until now, scientists haven't understood why (or how) this nutrient protects the heart. So they measured the length of the patients' telomeres and the level of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood streams. Then the scientists made a note of those scores and rechecked these patients five years later. And what did they find? Well, as you'd expect, the patients with plenty of omega-3s in the blood stream had the slowest rates of telomeres shortening. Patients with low levels of omega- 3s had the fastest rates of telomere shortening. Translation? Getting plenty of omega-3s slowed down the aging process in these heart patients. In fact, I'm quite confident, you'd get the same results using healthy patients or even patients with other diseases, such as cancer. So what's the bottom line for you? It's pretty simple. Just get plenty of omega-3s into your diet. The best way to do that is by taking a fish oil capsule. And be consistent. Take it every day. Just be sure to take extra selenium and 400 IU of natural mixed tocopherol-type vitamin E along with it for extra antioxidant protection. Also, if you want to learn more about omega-3 fatty acids, you can always look through back issues of my Guide to Good Health. Just visit http://www.northstarnutritionals.com/article_list_all.php. Type "omega-3" into the KEYWORD search box and you'll find 13 important articles on the topic.
  17. Diabetics strengthen blood vessels with Folic Acid

    Last summer, I told you about a study of women who used folic acid. In just 21 days, the women decreased their homocysteine levels. (Homocysteine is an amino acid—which if you have too much—puts you at risk for heart disease). They also lowered both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. And they improved their bodies' response to sugar. Not bad for 21 days, right?

    Well, I've recently found a study that might explain why these women experienced such robust gains in heart health in just 21 days.

    Scientists from China gave folic acid to mice with diabetes. (Why'd they use diabetic mice, you ask? Well, diabetes contributes to heart disease. It weakens blood vessels and can cause blood clots. In fact, most people who have diabetes don't die of too much sugar. They die of heart disease because the sugar's damaged their blood vessels.)

    The scientists divided the diabetic mice into two groups. One group received a daily dose of folic acid. (They received a daily folic acid supplement equivalent to taking 5 mg per day if you weight about 150 pounds.) The second group of mice received no supplementation.

    After one month, scientists found that mice given folic acid reversed harmful damage (caused by diabetes) to the lining of their blood vessels. Scientists also saw marked improvements in a protein pathway that dilates blood vessels and prevents clotting. On the other hand, the mice not given folic acid did not experience these improvements.

    Bottom line: here's more proof that folic acid's an important tool in warding off heart disease, especially if you have diabetes. You can get some from the foods you eat. I'd skip the fortified cereals and other processed foods. Instead, eat plenty of green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and asparagus. Also, you can take a folic acid supplement. Go for 800 micrograms (mcg) of it per day. Also, make sure to take folic acid along with 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12.

  18. Is krill better than regular fish oil?

    A Guide to Good Health reader recently asked me a question about fish oil. She wanted to know if krill oil is better for you than fish oil. Of course, the answer's never simple when it comes to your nutrition. So let's first start by discussing the ABCs of fish oil. The catch-22 of fish oil As you'll recall from previous issues of the Guide to Good Health, omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish or cod liver oil) are basic building blocks of good health. In fact, that's why we call them "essential" fatty acids. These vital nutrients support your immune system, heart, mood, blood sugar, joints, brain, and so much more. But they also increase free radicals in your body. Free radicals are charged molecules that can speed up the aging process. In addition, many scientists believe that free radicals can damage your DNA. They disrupt the natural life cycle of your cells, which over time can lead to diseases like cancer. That's why I always remind you to take plenty of antioxidants (especially vitamin E and selenium). These antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Finding the right fish oil Our bodies need omega-3 fatty acids for survival, but we can't produce the essential omega-3 ourselves. So we've got to get it from the foods we eat. Unfortunately, very few of us do. In that case... A bottle of high-quality fish oil capsules should always be a staple in your kitchen cabinet. Find a brand that you trust. Look for the bottle to say 99.99 percent purified fish oil. But don't worry. The last .01 percent doesn't contain mercury. Just small impurities that are nearly impossible to refine away. (It's the same with gold. You'll only find 99.99 percent pure gold. There's no such thing as 100 percent pure gold.) So if you can find good fish oil, what's the big deal about krill...? The pros (and cons) of taking krill oil As far as I can tell, there are four big reasons why people opt for krill instead of fish (or cod liver) oil. First off, krill oil contains a decent dose of the antioxidant astaxanthin. So some natural medicine practitioners say you don't need the added vitamin E and selenium when you take krill. But I disagree. Even if you opt for krill oil, you should still take a natural mixed tocopherols-type vitamin E along with it. Secondly, some people like taking krill better. There's less of a fishy aftertaste. (This isn't a huge problem in my book, especially if you take your fish oil before meals. But I know that trick doesn't work for everyone. And some people don't like to belch fish.) Thirdly, sometimes people take krill because they want a "more pure" product. You see, fishermen catch krill in the deepest, darkest waters of Antarctica. So some people believe this pretty much guarantees that your krill oil won't contain any pollutants or heavy metals. (But as I said earlier, I wouldn't worry about it too much if you find a major brand of fish oil that says 99.99 percent pure on the bottle.) The last benefit to taking krill has to do with the environment. You may have seen the recent TIME magazine article about fish oil. Apparently, the market for fish oil supplements has skyrocketed to $1 billion since 1996. As a result, some environmentalists say we're putting certain types of fish at risk. Scientists have seen declining numbers of one type of fish used primarily for their oil, called menhaden. These fish eat algae in the ocean. But when menhaden levels drop off, algae grow out of control. This depletes oxygen in the ocean and—according to some environmentalists—upsets the ocean's ecosystem. From this point of view, krill's a great option. It's a "sustainable" or "renewable" form of fish, which means even if everyone on your street starts taking krill; the fish won't disappear off the planet. One of the biggest reasons against taking krill has to do with the cost. A 30-day supply of krill oil costs at least twice as much as regular fish oil does. Plus, research for this relatively new supplement is still pretty limited. I've yet to see overwhelming research convincing me that nutritionally it's any better for you than regular fish oil. So unless you feel strongly about one of other the reasons cited above, the benefits might not warrant the big price tag. Decide for yourself Look at the pros and cons and decide for yourself about krill oil. I do take it from time to time. Though, it's certainly much more expensive than regular fish oil, so I really only take it when I'm feeling extravagant!
  19. Worlds "natural antibiotic" banned in Europe

    Welcome to the New World Order...

    As of January 1, the European Union banned the sale of colloidal silver as a nutritional supplement. Now, you'll need a doctor's prescription to get it.

    Forget that we've safely used colloidal silver for thousands of years to zap bacterial infections, fungus, and parasites from the body! Some call colloidal silver the world's strongest "natural antibiotic" because it's so good at wiping out infections.

    In fact, you'll find colloidal silver in just about every water treatment system on the market. It's also the main ingredient in Silvadene, a medicated cream used on burn victims to prevent (and treat) skin infections. You'll even find it in creams used to treat diaper rash in babies.

    I especially like to use it nebulized (or inhaled). It does an amazing job wiping out bacteria from the body if you're sick. Plus, as bacteria become more and more resistant to antibiotics, colloidal silver is a viable alternative.

    But according to CODEX ALIMENTARIUS colloidal silver's unsafe. Created in 1963 by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, CODEX sets food safety standards. It also sets restrictions on nutritional supplements.

    The European Union follows CODEX rules to the letter. And in the U.S., there's immense pressure for us to adopt CODEX regulations as well. So far, lobbyists have been unable to pull the U.S. into the CODEX clique. But I don't know how long this will last. If I were you, I'd stock up now on colloidal silver. You might not see it on U.S. shelves much longer.

    To learn more about the history of colloidal silver and how to take it safely, visit the Healthier Talk web site at: www.healthiertalk.com/stop-super-germs-their-tracks-one-powerful-silver-bullet-061

  20. Do not use St. Johns Wart for IBS

    This month, I came across a misguided study conducted by scientists at the Mayo Clinic. They tried to treat their IBS patients with St. John's Wort.

    Of course, the herb didn't make the patients' IBS symptoms any better. And it didn't work for the same reason why you don't use tomato sauce to paint your house: It's really great on pasta, but not so good on your walls. St. John's Wort works great for mild depression, but not for IBS.

    Now, I would have been the first one to rejoice if the scientists had discovered that St. John's Wort could work for IBS. But it didn't. And I have a sneaking feeling that this study was designed from the beginning to fail.

    Plus, what happens as a result of a study like this is that "Middle America" hears that another herb hasn't lived up to expectations. They don't know that we've used St. John's Wort with great success for roughly 2,400 years to treat mild depression, but it's never been considered a real treatment for IBS.

    In any case, keep your St. John's Wort in the kitchen cabinet for slight bouts of depression we all run into from time to time. But if you suffer from IBS, you'll need more than one pill to fix the problem. And that's because IBS is a direct result of a SAD diet (SAD stands for Standard American Diet). The good news? It's nearly always curable. If you suffer from IBS, here's a quick crash course on how you can improve your symptoms:

    1. Cut out white flour.
    2. Cut out sugar and fried foods.
    3. Cut out caffeine.
    4. Cut out milk (and milk products). Go for rice or almond milk instead.
    5. Cut out processed foods.
    6. Add more whole grains to your diet (100 percent whole wheat, brown rice, barley, oats, etc.).
    7. Drink more water.
    8. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.

Items 301 to 320 of 490 total