NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. Post-menopausal women lower breast cancer risk by following simple dietary guidelines

    According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition eating lignans may modestly cut your risk of breast cancer, especially if you're a post-menopausal woman.

    Sounds great, right? But what's a lignan?

    Well, it's a nutrient found in whole grains, berries, fruits, and veggies. By far, flax seeds are the richest source of plant lignans. And a new meta-analysis (a giant mega-study that combines results from 21 different published studies) found that post-menopausal women who eat plenty of lignans cut their breast cancer risk by about 15 percent.

    So, for those of you already eating whole grains, fruits and veggies, think of it as an added bonus that you're probably lowering your breast cancer risk as well!

    And for those of you who aren't eating enough whole grains, fruits, and veggies - - this is just more reason to get going. Start by sprinkling a handful of ground flax seed on your Greek yogurt in the afternoon. Not only is it great for your immune system, it's an added safeguard against breast cancer.

  2. Reading the vitamin E bottle -- the right way

    Last week, in an article about the benefits of taking vitamin E, I sounded about as sharp as a bowling ball. I intended to give you some helpful hints in scouring the vitamin aisles. But a mistake occurred in the editing process and my directions didn't make much sense.

    In any case, here's what you should look for on the bottle, when buying vitamin E:

    Look for a gel capsule that contains 400 IU of 100 percent natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols. This will provide will provide balanced antioxidant protection. At the very least, the bottle should say it contains d-alpha or D-alpha. Skip any bottle that says it contains Dl-alpha (note the different "Dl" prefix). This means it's a synthetic, cheap imitation of vitamin E.

  3. The hidden dangers of stomach-acid reducers

    This month the FDA announced that taking proton pump inhibitors like Nexium or the latest to hit the market—Zegerid—to reduce stomach acid may increase your risk of hip, wrist, and even spine fractures. You're especially at risk if you're over 50 or if you have been taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) for more than a year. Taking a high dose of a PPI especially increases your risk for these fractures. Now, I'm sure the FDA announcement will take some by surprise. After all, what does a proton pump inhibitor have to do with bone fractures? But consider this... Proton pump inhibitors reduce stomach acid. And that acid in your stomach is there for a reason: Not only does it help break down the protein in the foods you eat; it plays a major role in how your body absorbs calcium. Is it really any surprise then, after years of taking a PPI (and not absorbing calcium and other nutrients critical for tissue repair and overall health) that you fracture your hip getting out of the car? But that's not all... Once you start taking a PPI, it's hard to stop Here's another big problem with PPIs: In my opinion, they're addictive...meaning once you start one, you can't get off it. Just last year, I told you about a clinical trial that proved why it's so hard to wean yourself off of a PPI. The study's authors called it a "rebound" effect... Here's how it works: Say you go on vacation. You eat terrible and have a bad bout of indigestion. You start taking a PPI to resolve your issues. After a few weeks, you think you have the problem under control and you stop taking the drug. But your body goes into withdrawal and your stomach starts to produce too much stomach acid to make up for the loss. As a result, the reflux returns. So you go back on the drug and just like that, the drug company has a lifelong user. In my book, that's the definition of an addictive drug. Plus, you can now get several PPIs without a prescription. So instead of getting a 14-day prescription for the drug, you can pick it up at the drug store and take it for as long as you want. And that's a huge problem because your fracture risk increases once you take a PPI longer than a year. Getting to the truth about stomach acid The truth is, most people who complain of acid reflux or heartburn actually have TOO LITTLE stomach acid. You see, as the body ages, it produces less digestive enzymes and stomach acid. As a result, your stomach doesn't break down food all the way and you begin to feel some of it gurgle back up. Then, you compound the problem even further by taking an acid reducer. So then, with even fewer digestive juices flowing, you pretty much guarantee that your body won't properly break down food. Vital nutrients never get absorbed. They're just sent down the drain undigested. The good news is you can combat reflux, heartburn, and other nagging GI problems without resorting to harmful drugs that rob your body of essential nutrients. The goal is to create an environment in your stomach where GI problems can't occur. How? Take digestive enzymes. Natural enzymes jumpstart your motor The body, of course, is supposed to make its own enzymes and stomach acid for proper digestion. But as we age, our bodies produce less and less of it. Plus, years of antacids, PPIs, antibiotics, and even poor eating habits tend to aggravate stomach problems. The solution is to give your body the natural enzymes it's missing to jumpstart your motor. And you can find these almost anywhere these days, even the grocery store. Basically, you want to look for digestive enzyme capsules that say FULL SPECTRUM. These will help you break down and digest all three types of food groups: proteins, fats, and carbs. If the words FULL SPECTRUM don't appear on the label, just make sure capsules contain all three types of enzymes:
    • Proteolytic (proteo means protein)
    • Lipolytic (lipo means fat)
    • Amylolytic (amylo means carbohydrate)
    You also want to make sure your digestive enzyme supplement contains betaine hydrochloride (or HCl). It's a plant-based substitute for hydrochloric acid (the type of acid I mentioned earlier that helps your body absorb calcium). The bottle will probably suggest you take your enzymes before meals. But that's a mistake. In most cases, it's best to take digestive enzyme immediately after meals (or toward the end of your meal, if your symptoms are really severe). This will ensure you just augment--not replace--the body's manufacture of its own enzymes. Create a healthy digestive tract Besides digestive enzymes, you'll also want to make sure that you're taking a probiotic that contains billions of units of active cultures of "friendly" bacteria. And for anyone suffering upper GI problems, I recommend you pour the capsule contents down your throat. Let your natural saliva wash it down. This way, all the friendly bacteria coat your throat and esophagus. It will also aid in your overall digestion. Following this two-part regimen, you should notice an improvement in about a week, if not days. For really tough cases, try DGL. It's a form of licorice that has one component removed that helps your digestive system. Chew or suck on it 20 minutes before eating. You'll also want to avoid known triggers such as spicy and acidic foods, flour products, sugar, and alcohol so you won't trigger your symptoms even more. In closing, I know the new commercials with the guy painting on his stomach are pretty nifty. And the promised benefit of immediate relief sounds appealing. But don't buy into the hype. Zegerid – even with the nifty stomach paint – is still a proton pump inhibitor. Don't fall for the short-term fix, but work on your long- term solution that will also keep your bones intact. Until next time, Allan Spreen, M.D. NorthStar Nutritionals
  4. If you are not taking this vitamin yet...what are you waiting for?!

    A new study proves that Vitamin E may help supercharge your body's immune function and boost your body's response time to infection. I've been recommending for years that you take 400 IU of vitamin E along with your fish oil supplement, as it's alsoone powerful antioxidant...

    Vitamin E supercharges white blood cells

    In the most recent study, a group of scientists from Tufts University fed older mice dietary supplements containing alpha-tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) for six weeks. Older mice fed the supplement increased their bodies' response to infection. In fact, their white blood cells went into overdrive, responding to infection much quicker than the mice not given vitamin E.

    Plus, the older mice given vitamin E also had higher levels of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1) in their blood. IL-1 is a powerful protein produced by your white blood cells that helps your body fight infection. IL1 is so powerful in fact that scientists have tried to artificially replicate it in the lab and use it to treat cancer.

    The good news is; you can probably boost your IL-1 just by taking an all-natural vitamin E supplement. (Yes, the study was conducted with mice, but solid evidence abounds connecting vitamin E with immune function in humans.

    However...

    Look closely before you buy

    Vitamin E is a family of eight different molecules. Look for a gel capsule that contains 400 IU of 100 percent natural vitamin E with both tocopherols and tocotrienols. This will provide balanced antioxidant protection. Just skip any bottle that says it contains D1-alpha. This means it's a synthetic, cheap imitation of vitamin E. Instead, look for a bottle that says it contains d-alpha or D-alpha.

    One last word of caution: Vitamin E is a natural anticoagulant. So if you're on blood-thinners, make sure to check with your doctor before taking a vitamin E supplement.

  5. Pesticide exposure linked to 53 percent increased risk for Alzheimers disease

    It's hard to protect yourself against pesticide exposure, even if you're diligent. These harmful toxins are everywhere...on your produce, in cosmetic products, and even in your drinking water. In fact, just last month, EPA officials discovered that a type of pesticide called DDT had polluted all the wells in a small Michigan community (even though DDT has been banned in agriculture use in the U.S. for 30 years!). The unfortunate truth is, over a lifetime, most of us are bombarded by pesticides. And a new study has just discovered that repeated exposure to pesticides may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by 53 percent. The good news is, there are simple steps you can take to drastically reduce your pesticide exposure...and hopefully lower your associated AD risk. I'll tell you all about them in a moment. Alzheimer's risk skyrockets for farmers in Utah In recent study, Duke University scientist Kathleen M. Hayden, PhD and her team followed 3,000 elderly men and women living in rural Utah for 14 years. At the outset of the study, the scientists asked each of the participants detailed questions to determine exposure to many different types of pesticides. In addition, the scientists measured the participants' cognitive levels three times over the course of the study. They found that about 600 participants had some pesticide exposure. In fact, most of them had been exposed to two kinds of pesticides commonly used to spray food crops, called organophosphates and organochlorines. Of the 600 participants exposed to these pesticides, an astounding 500 developed "incident dementia" over the course of the study. In addition, 433 developed Alzheimer's disease. Put another way, this means that almost 70 percent of the men and women with repeated pesticide exposure over their lifetime developed Alzheimer's disease! According to the Duke researchers, these pesticides appear to wreak havoc on the central nervous system. Specifically, pesticides reduce a person's acetycholine (a type of neurotransmitter responsible for learning, memory, and concentration). And low acetycholine is also a common characteristic of Alzheimer's patients. In fact, three out of the four drugs on the market work by increasing acetycholine levels. Who's most at-risk? It's important to note that many of the participants were farmers, with routine physical contact with pesticides. Now, I'm not a farmer. But I do eat foods grown on a farm. Does eating foods treated with pesticides increase my risk of Alzheimer's disease? The study's authors didn't specify, but consider this... Another recent study published in the medical journal Pediatrics links ADHD in children with pesticide exposure. In fact, kids with high pesticide exposure are more than twice as likely to have ADHD. And how are these kids getting exposed to pesticides? You got it. By eating fruits and veggies treated with pesticides. My hunch is that these kids also have similar disruptions in acetycholine (that neurotransmitter I talked about earlier that's responsible for learning, memory, and concentration). How can you reduce your pesticide exposure? Avoiding all pesticide exposure could easily become a full-time job. And I know most of us can't go to such extreme lengths. Nevertheless, here are some good rules to follow to decrease your pesticide load: 1. Buy organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible. The Environmental Working Group puts out a great "dirty dozen" list of the produce that you should always buy organic. There's also a list of "clean 15" that are always safe to eat. 2. Use a quality water filter. Many of these pesticides (as residents of the Michigan town will tell you) leach into your drinking water. If possible, install a filter on your showerhead as well. 3. If you live near farmland, make contact with the farmer to learn if he or she uses pesticides on crops. 4. Most lawn care services use organophosphate pesticides. If yours does, never walk on your lawn after it's been sprayed. Ideally, stay away from the house for a few hours after your lawn's been treated. Ideally, I'd recommend skipping the lawn service all together or find one that offers "natural" products for your lawn care. 5. Avoid using insecticides in and around your home. There are lots of non- toxic ways to control pests. For instance, start by building outside barriers against pests, such as mulch or caulk. If ants are invading your house, sprinkle baby powder on problem spots. The smell of talc deters them. I've also heard that cinnamon and vinegar deters them as well. In closing, pesticide use is a bigger problem that anyone in the mainstream press is willing to admit. And it's just getting bigger. I guarantee the pesticide- Alzheimer's disease link is just the tip of the iceberg. So don't be a victim and educate yourself. Visit www.ewg.org to learn more common-sense ways to safeguard your health and decrease exposure to these toxins.
  6. Diabetics: One whole grain may reduce your cardiovascular risk by up to 64 percent

    If you've got diabetes, eating just this one type of whole grain every day may add years to your life. In fact, in a recent analysis, women who ate the most of this whole grain significantly reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (compared to women who ate none of it). It's no secret that cardiovascular disease is a huge problem for men and women with diabetes. In fact, if you've got diabetes, you run two to three times the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death compared to the general population. But one whole grain can help. And that's bran. According to the recent study, women who ate at least 10 grams of bran every day reduced their risk of death (from all causes) by 55 percent compared to non-bran eaters. They also reduced their risk of cardiovascular death by 64 percent (again, compared to non-bran eaters). Bottom line? Whole grains are good. But bran's the best, when it comes to diabetics. So make sure to get plenty of it into your diet if you suffer from high blood sugar. Sprinkle whole bran flakes onto your yogurt. Eat breads made with whole bran. Add bran to your favorite whole wheat pancakes. You can even throw it into your favorite fruit smoothie! Just make sure to get 10 grams of it a day. Lastly, if you want to learn about 10 drug-free ways to beat diabetes, just click on this link for your FREE REPORT. It's a must-see for anyone with blood sugar issues!
  7. Are you getting enough protein to prevent a hip fracture?

    In last year's Guide to Good Health titled Somebody Warn Sally Field, I covered how drugs like Fosamax and Boniva, two of the pharmaceutical "answers" for bone loss, may actually weaken bones and slow their ability to heal. Well, now I have another good tip for Sally Field: If you really want to prevent hip fractures, skip the Boniva and eat more steak! Scientists from Harvard Medical School have found that just eating more steak may cut your risk of hip fractures by 50 percent! Steak dinner for stronger hips? Well, to be honest, it's not just steak that's going to protect you from hip fractures. So will eggs and fish. And chicken and lentils. And raw milk and almonds. In fact, Harvard researchers have found that just about anything that contains PROTEIN can help you prevent hip fractures. You just have to make sure you're getting plenty of it. But unfortunately, most seniors don't get enough. In fact, if you're over 60, your daily meal plan may look a little like this: Breakfast: Coffee and a whole-wheat bagel Lunch: Turkey sandwich and a pear Dinner: Salmon, rice, and broccoli Sure, this meal plan looks relatively healthy. But it only boasts about 30 grams of protein. And if you eat like this day after day, year after year, you're just asking for a hip fracture. So how much protein do you need to prevent fractures? A group of Boston scientists recently figured it out... High protein diets result in fewer fractures Scientists analyzed the daily protein intake of 946 seniors enrolled in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study. They found that men and women with the lowest protein intake had 50 percent MORE hip fractures than participants with normal intakes. On the other hand, men and women who consumed adequate protein had higher bone mineral density and the fewest fractures. You see, the drug industry wants you to believe that the ONLY way to prevent fractures is to take a drug to build thicker bones. But clearly there's another way: Just don't fall. And how do you prevent falls? You build stronger muscles. And what's a key component to stronger muscles? You got it: Protein! In fact, Marian T. Hannan, lead author for the study, says women over 65 need at least 46 grams of protein per day and men need 56 grams. Sounds easy? Well it is. You just have to make a few adjustments to your meal plan, and you'll feel the difference in no time. Build protein into your diet The meal plan I mentioned earlier is a good start. But here's the biggest problem: there's not enough breakfast protein! The easiest way to get more protein in the morning is to skip the bagel and eat an egg (or two). Just one egg contains almost seven grams of protein. Plus, they're rich in other important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and choline. Just make sure to go for organic, free-range brown eggs. Get them from a local farmer, if you can! You'll know these eggs are the real deal if they have dark (almost orange) yolks and hard shells. And let me just say this to anyone's who's been brain-washed to believe that eating eggs will raise your cholesterol: It won't. Even if you eat 10 eggs a day, it won't make a lick of difference. You see, there are a limited number of receptor sites for cholesterol in your gut, so there's a limit to how much you can absorb from the foods you eat. And here's the real kicker: even if you believe high cholesterol in your blood is a factor for heart disease (which I don't), there is ZERO correlation between oral intake of cholesterol and blood serum levels. Yep. We've been had folks. So go ahead and eat an egg (or two) for breakfast, unless your doctor resolutely forbids it. (And if that's the case, I would still avoid the egg-substitutes with a 10-foot pole and opt to get your protein elsewhere.) Another easy way to add more protein into your day is to sprinkle nuts over a salad or yogurt. Just a handful of almonds alone contain 6 grams of protein! And if you use Greek yogurt, you'll get 15 to 20 grams of protein from one serving right there! Plus, it has a super creamy texture and is a real treat for your pallet. In closing, this week take the protein test. Write down everything you eat in a given day and add up all the protein. Remember, for women, your total should add up to at least 46 grams, and for men it should be 56 grams. If you don't cross that threshold, look for ways to up your protein. It just may lower your risk of hip fracture by up to 50 percent!
  8. Vegetable extract kills breast cancer stem cells

    For anyone serious about preventing cancer, broccoli should be a staple at the dinner table. That's because broccoli--besides being high in fiber and vitamin C--contains a nutrient called sulforaphane. In recent lab tests, scientists discovered that this nutrient targets and kills breast cancer stem cells (or CSCs). Why are CSCs such a big deal? Well, they're the dirtiest and nastiest of all cancer cells. In fact, they're the brains behind the whole operation. So by killing off CSCs, you don't only shrink existing cancer cells, but you also prevent new tumors from forming. In recent lab tests, scientists injected sulforaphane into human breast cancer cells. And amazingly, this powerful nutrient killed up to 80 percent of the malignant cells and in addition, prevented cancer cells from returning. Now, here's the challenge... For the study, the amount of sulforaphane the scientists used was much higher than what you can get just by eating a serving of broccoli. But don't lose hope. You can find sulforaphane supplements on the market. But beware; their concentrations widely vary so you have to be careful about where you buy them. On a positive note, researchers are starting to conduct clinical trials with concentrated sulforaphane, where they will give sulforaphane to real live human beings to see if it really can prevent cancer altogether. And, you can bet, once those results come in, I'll be the first to tell you about it.
  9. Prostate drugs increase risk of diabetes and cardiovascular events

    If you have an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) and your doctor suggests a drug, run for the hills. Because the drugs designed to fight BPH zap your testosterone and turn men into Eunuchs. And if that weren't enough to discourage you from ever taking a drug to treat BPH, a new FDA warning might.

    Ongoing FDA reviews suggest that men taking one class of drugs used to treat BPH run an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular events.

    Don't treat BPH with a machete

    Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the gradual enlargement of the prostate. It can begin in men as young as 30. But in older men, it's as common as gray hair and wrinkles. In fact, by the time a man hits 50, he's got about a 50 percent chance of having an enlarged prostate.

    Most of these men just grumble about it over beers with friends, but don't actually seek treatment. However, for about half of men over 50 with BPH, the condition does become "clinically significant," which means that they do seek some kind of treatment.

    Surgery for BPH (with a procedure called a TURP) is usually considered a last resort. More often, doctors will turn to drugs to deal with nagging BPH. One kind of drug your doctor may prescribe is called an alpha-blocker. These drugs relax the muscles in your prostate and bladder. That means they don't actually shrink your prostate, but can improve urine flow.

    But, more likely, your doctor will send you home with a drug like Avodart or Proscar to actually shrink your prostate. In fact, these are the most common types of drugs used to treat BPH. But a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that men taking Avodart (and Proscar too, I would assume) are paying a heavy price.

    According to the study, Avodart does appear to shrink the prostate gland. But among the average of 3,000 men taking Avodart for four years, sexual dysfunction was also significantly higher when compared to the placebo group.

    And that's not all...

    The men on Avodart were nearly twice as likely to experience heart failure compared to the placebo group. Plus...Avodart didn't actually reduce a man's risk for aggressive prostate cancer tumors any better than a placebo! The drug only shrunk the slow-growing and harmless tumors.

    And then there's a class of drugs called GnRH antagonists...

    Doctors use these drugs as palliative treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer. These drugs however, don't cure prostate cancer; they just shrink the tumors to make you more comfortable. They also shrink the prostate by zapping all the testosterone (and I mean ALL of it) from your body.

    Drugs that castrate men

    Eligard is one kind of GnRH antagonist. And one of the worst, if you ask me. According to the drug company's own clinical trials, men who used Eligard for just two to four weeks saw testosterone levels drop to below the "castrate threshold."

    This means that Eligard--in just two to four weeks--can push a man's testosterone so low, it's as if he's been castrated! (And, oh yes, it shrinks your prostate gland as well...because you've got no testosterone left in your body.)

    So, any doctor who prescribes a GnRH antagonist to treat BPH has to be off his rocker. Unfortunately, it happens all too often! And that's a shame...because men need testosterone for so many, many reasons. And sexual function is just one small part. It's also well known that testosterone plays a major role in regulating heart health and preventing diabetes.

    In fact, that's why I was not all surprised to receive a warning from the FDA in my Inbox a few weeks ago. Turns out, the FDA is looking into GnRH antagonists because men taking them seem to increase their risk for diabetes and cardiovascular "events."

    Now, you might not worry about those substantial risks if you've got advanced prostate cancer and just want some relief from the pain. But there's no way a sane man with BPH should take a GnRH antagonist, when he knows he might get diabetes or have a heart attack or stroke as a result.

    Shrink the prostate without drugs

    The good news is; there's plenty of ways you can help manage your prostate size without resorting to drugs. Here's a list of steps I recommend every man over 40 should take to keep his prostate healthy:

    1. Lose weight. Just getting your waistline under control can cut your risk of BPH by 50 percent!

    2. Avoid antihistamines, decongestants, alcohol, and caffeine. Each of these can make your BPH worse.

    3. Drink water when you're thirsty and urinate frequently during the day. Try not to hold it too long if you can help it.

    4. Hydrotherapy (sitting in a warm or hot bath) every day can help ease symptoms and increase circulation to your prostate region.

    5. Eat raw pumpkin seeds every day. They are rich in zinc, a mineral shown to help reduce the size of the prostate gland.

    6. Look for a high-quality prostate support formula that contains saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil, nettle root, vitamin E, selenium, pygeum africanum bark extract, and zinc.

    If you follow each of these steps, I feel confident you'll notice a difference in just two to three months.

    For really persistent cases of BPH, you may want to consider taking some straight beta sitosterol. It's a plant sterol found in saw palmetto and used widely in Europe to treat BPH. You may also consider upping your zinc intake. Zinc supplements usually come in 30 mg tablets. Just make sure to add 2 mg of copper for every 30 mg of zinc (as zinc depletes your stores of copper). Just don't go over 100 mg per day of total zinc because that can depress your immune function.

    Lastly, there's an excellent FREE report called 5 All-Natural Solutions for Banishing Prostate Problems for Good that I recommend every man read. The fact is; you don't have to go under the knife--or risk your manhood --to get your prostate back to peak condition. You do have options. Just click on the link to get your free report and exactly learn how to create a healthy prostate without drugs or surgery.

  10. New osteoporosis drug, same old problem

    This month the FDA approved the sale of the osteoporosis drug Prolia aimed at preventing bone fractures in post-menopausal women. It's already been hailed as a "blockbuster" for Big Pharma because it works differently than other osteoporosis drugs on the market. And if you've got certain types of cancer, it may even prevent metastases to your bones! But don't be fooled by the pretty picture. Prolia's just like (if not worse than) the other osteoporosis drugs on the market. I'll explain exactly why in a moment. But first consider this... 1 out of 2 women over 50 are at risk Osteoporosis is a massive concern for older women. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, one out of every two women over 50 will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime. And as painful as breaking a bone when you're 65 sounds, it isn't the worst part. Often when you suffer a fracture like this later in life, the recovery is grueling. For many, it means spending time in rehab. And I can tell you this...NOT ONE woman I know wants to spend four weeks in a rehab facility. Not one. And Big Pharma knows this. That's why a drug like Prolia is so popular AND dangerous...taking it makes you feel safe. But... Here's the truth about Prolia (and you won't learn about it in the TV ads) They say Prolia is different from all the other bisphosphonate drugs used to treat osteoporosis because it contains human antibodies. These antibodies block a chemical that signals the breakdown of bone in the body. Women will receive it by injection once every six months. And each injection will cost roughly $800. But if I were you, I wouldn't pay one red cent for it. Why? First off, the FDA approved this drug based on clinical trials that lasted three years. Just three years. Heck, I know companies spend more time than that testing and developing hand lotion for Pete's sake. How do they expect to know the long- term effects of a drug that blocks bone turnover after only three years of testing? In fact, in one of the three clinical trials the FDA looked at for Prolia, 22 women developed osteonecrosis (or ONJ), a rare jaw-decay problem. (And by the way, any guesses why there are about 900 lawsuits pending against Merck and its bisphosphonate drug Fosamax? Yep, you got it. Patients who took the drug claim they also got the disfiguring jaw-decay problem. A freakish coincidence? I think not.) But that's not all that Prolia's got going for it. Additionally, the drug appears to tinker with a woman's immune system. In fact, according to WebMD, "In clinical trials, women taking Prolia had a higher risk of serious infections leading to hospitalization, including heart infections." Heart infections? Really? How's that even possible from a bone drug? And yet that's still not the end of Prolia's list of problems. The drug also appears to lower your calcium levels. And it doesn't take an expert to figure out that you won't build strong bones without enough calcium. Prolia blocks natural cycle of regeneration Most people think of bones as solid and unchanging. But that's a fallacy. Your bones are in constant flux: breaking down old bone, sending it into the blood, absorbing new calcium, and building new bone. But Prolia interrupts that natural cycle of regeneration. It blocks bone from breaking down. (So technically, you never lose bone density.) But it also appears to block the building of new bone. And that makes for brittle bones. And brittle bones fracture easily. Is it any surprise, then, that the FDA has already warned physicians to be on the look-out for increased fractures in women taking Prolia (not to mention the small jaw decay problem the FDA has also warned us about)? Natural ways to prevent osteoporosis Unfortunately, there's no quick, shot-in-arm approach for treating osteoporosis. For prevention, make sure to take plenty of calcium and magnesium. (Look for a supplement that contains two parts calcium for every one part of magnesium. Your body needs magnesium to absorb the calcium.) Also, make sure to get plenty of Vitamin D. Like magnesium, it builds your bone density by helping your body absorb calcium. You may want to even consider a multi-mineral supplement, as treating osteoporosis also involves less well-known minerals, such as manganese, molybdenum, silica, boron, zinc, copper and strontium. In addition, every woman over 50 should also take digestive enzymes and betaine hydrochloride with each meal. We talked about these digestives aides last week. As you'll recall, your digestive juices diminish as you get older and your body can't break down your food properly. As a result, your body fails to absorb vital nutrients -- like calcium. By adding natural digestive enzymes into your regimen, you'll improve your absorption of calcium and other nutrients. Next, you should get plenty of exercise, especially weight-bearing exercises. You see, your bones are built to bear weight. In fact, that's why overweight women rarely get osteoporosis. (Not that I recommend you gain weight to prevent fractures. Far from it.) It's also why astronauts who spend a lot of time in zero gravity conditions lose bone mass. Lastly, to prevent bone loss, you'll also need to avoid caffeine and, yes, alcohol. They rob your body of nutrients. Just follow those rules and you'll have a head start at preventing osteoporosis. But what about treating the disease... Can you really cure osteoporosis naturally? Of course, you can. In fact, many women with osteoporosis have either low progesterone or low testosterone (yes, women have it too). And these hidden hormonal imbalances can even cause osteoporosis. Correct the hormone imbalance and you'll correct the bone problem too. So if you've got osteoporosis, I recommend getting a blood test to check both your progesterone and testosterone levels. If either number is low, find a good naturopath who can help you investigate these hormonal causes for osteoporosis. My own mother, at age 65, was diagnosed as 'severely osteoporotic.' I began treating her with natural (or bioidentical) progesterone. Over three years, every bone density scan kept improving until she was completely out of the high-risk category. In fact, her doctors were so amazed they said her first scan must have been wrong. To find a good naturopath in your area who has expertise in treating osteoporosis and hormone disorders, visit www.naturopathic.org. As always, be wary of the next new wonder drug, no matter how good the TV ads look. Chances are; it's just a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing.
  11. Retire to the sunshine state...it is good for your muscles

    Many people strive to retire to Florida, just to enjoy their free time in warm and sunny weather. But a new study links vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, to muscle strength among seniors. In fact, if you don't have enough of it in your blood, chances are, just rising out of your favorite easy chair isn't as easy as it used to be. By now, you probably know that vitamin D is essential to maintaining good health. But can it really make you stronger? Yes, it can! You see biochemists have long known that vitamin D is essential to muscle development. Without it, your tissues tend to accumulate fat instead of building muscle. To build on this theory, scientists from Wake Forest University recruited 3,000 men and women over the age of 75 to take part in a new study. They chose this age group because these folks – by and large – tend to be deficient in vitamin D. So to get things started, the Wake scientists tested each of the participants' blood for vitamin D. Then, they gave each of the seniors three simple physical tests. For the first test, they asked the seniors to rise quickly from a chair five times. Then, they asked them to walk six meters (about 18 feet) as fast as they could. And lastly, they measured how well the seniors could maintain their balance in a challenging position, such as standing on one foot. Not surprisingly, those with the highest levels of vitamin D levels scored excellent marks on all three of the physical tests. On the other hand, of the seniors who scored lowest on the physical tests, 90 percent of them had deficient levels of vitamin D. These findings back up another similar study from 2003, where men and women with low vitamin D were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss). So the take-home message today is to boost your vitamin D, especially if you're in your golden years. It just may help you keep up with the grandkids! And now that good weather has reached most of the country, aim to spend 20-30 minutes outside in the sunshine without sunscreen each day. And once the winter months are back (or if you live in the northern half of the country), take up to 5,000 IU of vitamin D each day.
  12. Block antibiotic-related colitis with simple measures

    When you take an antibiotic, you have a one in four chance of getting diarrhea. Plus, if you're over 65, staying in the hospital, or taking more than one antibiotic, your risk of intestinal infection skyrockets. And some of the worst offenders are the most common antibiotics--such as penicillin. But a new study shows there's a simple tool that can help you prevent antibiotic- related intestinal disturbances. Why is C. difficile so difficult? One common type of bacteria--called the C. difficile--causes most antibiotic-related GI infections. In fact, even the healthiest men and women have it in their guts. But when it's only a spore, C. difficile just hangs out and doesn't cause trouble. The problem arises when you take an antibiotic, because these drugs kill all the "friendly" bacteria in your colon that supports your digestive system. Additionally, it allows the harmless spore to transform into an active menacing bacterium. As a result, you suffer from watery stools and stomach pain. And if the infection progresses, you may even get a fever. At this point, most doctors will give you another antibiotic such as metronidazole and vancomycin to try to clear up the infection. But in severe cases, antibiotic-related colitis damages the colon and surgery is required. Unfortunately, this is far too common. In fact, experts believe that the C. difficile bacteria causes between 15,000 and 30,000 deaths each year. The good news is, there's a simple way to prevent painful antibiotic-related colitis. Just take a probiotic. (For new readers to the Guide to Good Health, a probiotic is a concentrated supplement that contains billions of "friendly" bacteria, similar to those normally found in your digestive tract.) Probiotic blend reduces antibiotic misery For the study, scientists recruited 225 men and women due to take an antibiotic during hospitalization. They randomly divided the patients into three groups. The first group received a placebo. The second group received a low-dose probiotic (50 billion units). And the third group received a high-dose probiotic (100 billion units). Patients began taking their placebo or probiotic within 36 hours of starting an antibiotic. And they continued to take it for five days after completing the antibiotic. And boy, did it make a difference in how well they recovered. About 25 percent of the patients taking the placebo got C-difficile-associated diarrhea (a one in four chance, just as I mentioned earlier). Just 10 percent of patients taking the low-dose probiotic got the infection. And only 1 percent of the high-dose probiotic group got the infection. Plus, of the probiotic patients who did get diarrhea, their symptoms weren't as severe and didn't last as long as the placebo group. Now, I must note that the probiotic used in this study was a proprietary blend. A proprietary blend is a unique recipe of "friendly" bacteria that a supplement company puts together and patents. So the company says you can't assume that all probiotics will work the same way as their proprietary blend. But I heartily disagree. I feel quite certain that there's no particular magic within the company's proprietary blend other than it contains a shotgun spray of different cultures, such as acidophilus and casei bacteria. But you can (and should) get billions of these cultures in just about any high-quality probiotic supplement. Prepare and prevent all year long To wrap up, just remember to take an antibiotic only when absolutely necessary. And if you must take one, be sure to load up on extra probiotics and after your course of antibiotics. This is especially important if you're over 65, staying in a hospital, or taking more than one antibiotic at a time. That way, your one in four chance of infection will drop virtually to zero! For routine use, look for a probiotic that delivers billions of "colony-forming units" (CFUs) from several different strains of bacteria. But during any course of antibiotics, you may want to double your dose to contain at least 100 billion CFUs. That's how much the patients from the study took to prevent intestinal infections.
  13. "Blacklisted" vitamin slashes risk of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

    Two weeks ago, I wrote about how vitamin K may help reduce your risk of prostate and lung cancer by up to 60 percent. Well, this week there's another incredible study involving vitamin K. This time, researchers from the Mayo Clinic tied low vitamin K intake with an increased risk for developing a form of lymphoma. (Yes, it appears that our once-blacklisted vitamin has gone mainstream. And for good reason...) Researchers from the Mayo Clinic recruited 1,007 health patients and 603 patients recently diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma to take part in the study. (Non- Hodgkin lymphoma is a form of cancer that starts in your white blood cells and moves on to other sites in the body.) Each of the patients filled out detailed dietary surveys. Researchers then examined the data, and the results were remarkable. They found that patients with daily vitamin K intake of at least 108 micrograms a day had less risk of developing lymphoma. In fact, their risk dropped 45 percent compared to men and women whose intake was less than 39 micrograms per day. Interestingly, you don't need a whopping amount of vitamin K to reap the benefits. In fact, the men and women with the highest intakes didn't fare any better than those getting just 108 micrograms. Heck, 108 mcg is less than the RDA for vitamin K (120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women). This just goes to show you that more isn't always better. Plus, it certainly proves my point from two weeks ago: you don't need to take a vitamin K supplement. In most cases, I'd rather see you focus on eating foods that contain vitamin K. Just remember, you'll get plenty of K1 by eating green leafy vegetables. And you'll get K2 from cheese, meat, fish, as well as fermented foods like sauerkraut and natto. So, it's as easy as a having a healthy meal to keep your risk of this disease to a minimum.
  14. Nutrient-vitamin combo slows genetic vision loss

    Retinitis pigmentosa is a disease that affects the retina. Over time, the disease leads to the loss of peripheral vision. But a new study says that lutein and vitamin A may block the progression of this inherited disease. For the study, researchers recruited 225 healthy men and women between the ages 18 and 60 with retinitis pigmentosa. They randomly divided the participants into two groups. One group received 15,000 IU of vitamin A daily for four years. The other group received the same amount of vitamin A, plus 12 mg of lutein each day for four years. Then, at the end of the study, each of the participants took a vision test. Vitamin A and lutein adds 10 years of vision Researchers found that the patients who took vitamin A plus lutein didn't lose their peripheral vision nearly as fast as the control group did. In fact, the data suggested that a 40 year old who took vitamin A plus lutein would not lose peripheral vision until the age of 61. That's a significant improvement, when you consider that same 40 year old would normally lose most peripheral vision by age 51. And even though this isn't a cure for the disease, it's a big step in the right direction. Plus, it's completely non-toxic. You'll find vitamin A, the powerhouse for your eyes, in lots of bright, colourful vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Lutein is found in green leafy vegetables and eggs and is also taken to reduce the risk of macular degeneration. So you can easily stock up on this important combo, simply by making yourself a delicious summer salad.
  15. Common vitamin slashes Parkinsons disease risk by 54 percent

    It's been 12 years since Michael J. Fox announced he has Parkinson's disease. And truthfully, we're not much closer to finding a cure than we were back then. But we may have discovered a way to lower your risk. In fact, two recent studies show that a common vitamin may slash your risk of ever developing this brutal disease by up to 54 percent! And unfortunately, it's far too easy to become deficient in this vitamin. Older adults and alcoholics in particular, are prone to low levels. Additionally, commonly used drugs -- such as corticosteroids, birth control pills, oral estrogen, diuretics, and Tamoxifin (used to treat breast cancer) -- can deplete your levels even more. How do you know if you're deficient in this vitamin? Well, your body often raises a red flag. More about that red flag in a moment... Parkinson's disease is so hard to treat, nutritionists focus on prevention Parkinson's disease typically strikes men and women in their 50s and 60s and your risk increases with age. But it affects younger people as well. It begins when the cells in the brain that produce a chemical messenger (called dopamine) die or become impaired. Trademark symptoms of the disease include tremor, muscle stiffness, and slow movements. And as I mentioned earlier, once you've reached this stage, treatments for the disease are limited and unproven. Neurologists use drugs -- like Levadopa -- to slow the progression of the disease. But your body can become immune to these drugs over time. There's also been limited success using surgery -- such as deep brain stimulation -- to treat the disease. In addition, scientists have experimented with stem cells to treat Parkinson's disease patients. Politics aside, these procedures are still highly experimental and not widely available. Plus the verdict is still out on how effective they really are. Now, here's the good news: two solid studies done over the last five years connect a vitamin deficiency with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease. B6 slashes risk of Parkinson's disease in half In the first study, Japanese scientists recruited 249 adults with Parkinson's disease and 368 healthy patients to answer questions about their diet. When the scientists analyzed the data, they found that men and women with low B6 intake were 50 percent more likely to have the disease. Back in 2006, Dutch researchers came up with the same results. Their study involved more than 5,000 men and women over 55. They found that those with daily B6 intake of more than 230 micrograms (mcg) had a 54 percent lower risk of Parkinson's disease when compared to those with daily intake lower than 185.1 mcg. So what's the bottom line here? Well, we all know too well that Parkinson's is very difficult to treat, much less cure. So focusing on prevention is essential. And from these two solid studies, it looks like B6 is one major key to preventing this brutal disease. Now why's B6 so important? First off, all the B vitamins play a role in cell metabolism. B6 also regulates an amino acid called homocysteine. In fact, scientists believe that when you don't get enough B6 your homocysteine levels skyrocket. And too much homocysteine is not a good thing. Some evidence shows that homocysteine can kill cells that produce dopamine in the body. One sign that you're not getting enough B6 is splitting or cuts at the corners of your mouth. Also, if you suffer from the scalp condition seborrhea or eczema, it could also be a sign you're low in B6. So without a doubt, we should all strive to get more of it into our diets. It's a water-soluble vitamin, so you must replenish its supply each and every day. Major food sources of B6 include bananas, sweet potatoes (with the skin), bell peppers, garlic, carrots, spinach, meat, and fish. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol lessens your body's ability to absorb B6. Plus, as we get older, our bodies tend to absorb less of the nutrient from the foods we eat. So if you're over 50, you may want to consider adding a B-complex supplement to your regimen as some added insurance against Parkinson's. I would recommend taking 50 to 100 mg of a good B complex vitamin each day. (If your multi already includes that much B, you're all set!) And -- yes -- that's much higher than the amounts cited in the two B6 studies. But remember, these are water-soluble vitamins! You wash away any excess by the end of the day, so there's little risk of an overdose.
  16. Plant seed soothes stomach woes

    Last month, Baron Davis, a pro basketball player for the L.A. Clippers missed a big game because of stomach problems. Now, I'm a huge sports fan, so I hate to see a player miss a game because of something that's so easy to fix! Shame on his trainers! They should have given Davis an all-natural plant seed that can soothe even the sourest of stomachs. Stomach problems -- like Davis's -- can hit you out of the blue...even if you follow a healthy diet. But there's something that can help: Fennel. Fennel is a member of the carrot family. And for thousands of years, the seeds of the fennel plant have been used to treat bouts of gas, cramping, and bloating. You see, these tiny seeds are full of minerals, especially magnesium, which soothes even the unruliest gut. Fennel seeds also contain nutrients that can help: prevent spasms in your stomach push gas bubbles through your colon smooth out the muscles in your intestinal tract. Plus, if you have a hard time passing a bowel movement, fennel seeds can help to get things moving again. You can add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to a glass of warm water and drink it before bedtime. It's probably not the tastiest drink, I'll admit. But you can also try NorthStar Nutritionals product called Digesulin. Digesulin comes in tablet form and contains freeze-dried fennel seeds as well as vegetable charcoal, known to soak up excess gas in your stomach. A good friend of mine takes one small Digesulin tablet before meals when she's traveling to prevent stomach discomfort! But you can really take them any time a sour stomach strikes.
  17. "Blacklisted" vitamin may decrease your risk of lung and prostate cancer by up to 60 percent

    This week, I want to talk about one of the world's least understood vitamins: vitamin K. Discovered in 1929 by a Danish scientist, this vitamin plays a role in helping your blood to clot. But try to use the three words "vitamin" + "blood" + "clot" together in a sentence and it's like screaming the word "FIRE" in a crowded movie theater. It sets off panic, especially for anyone worried about having a stroke or heart attack. No one wants to take a vitamin known for helping your blood to clot. For this reason, most manufacturers omit it from their multivitamins (except the most high-end formulas). Nevertheless, vitamin K is essential to good health. It may even protect you against cancer. In fact, a new study has found that this once-blacklisted vitamin may decrease your risk of lung and prostate cancer by up to 60 percent. The many uses of vitamin K Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps our blood to clot. To be more precise, it helps your body clot exactly the right amount. And, yes, you do need your blood to clot in certain instances, like when you get a cut or following surgery. On the other hand, no one wants his or her blood to clot too easily, as that could put you at risk for a stroke or heart attack. To prevent blood clots, some people are prescribed aspirin or blood-thinning drugs like Coumadin. These drugs prevent clots by destroying any vitamin K stored in your body. But taking these drugs often sets the stage for the opposite problem: blood that doesn't clot ENOUGH. And when this happens (and it actually happens fairly often) doctors try to add vitamin K back into your system. Additionally, recent research has found that vitamin K is important to bone health. Naturopath docs also use vitamin K to fight tooth decay, varicose veins, and menstrual problems (especially when blood clots are involved). Most recently, vitamin K has been found to have a role in stimulating the immune system (though probably not as much as D). I suspect that this is how scientists, in the most recent study, stumbled upon the connection between vitamin K and cancer. New cancer research on vitamin K... In recent lab tests, vitamin K has already been shown to block cancer cell growth. The vitamin does this by setting off a chemical reaction called "apoptosis." So instead of multiplying wildly -- as cancer cells normally would do -- the cells exposed to vitamin K die off. With that lab research in mind, German scientists wanted to see if people with high vitamin K intake would have some added protection against cancer. They enrolled nearly 25,000 healthy men and women ages 35 to 64 and asked them to complete dietary questionnaires. Then, they analyzed the food diaries to gauge the participants' intake of vitamin K. Over the next decade, 1,755 of the men and women from the study got cancer. But when the team examined which participants got cancer, they found a powerful connection to vitamin K. In fact, men and women with the highest intake of vitamin K2 (a form of vitamin K) developed 50 percent fewer cases of lung cancer (compared to those with the lowest intake). Plus, men with the highest intake of K2 developed nearly 60 percent fewer cases of prostate cancer (compared to men with low K2). A little bit goes a long way There are two natural forms of vitamin K. The first -- K1 -- is found in green leafy vegetables, like spinach. The second -- K2 -- is found in meat, cheese, and natto (Japanese fermented soybeans). But if you follow a vegan or carb- heavy diet, it's very easy to become deficient in K2. And that's unfortunate. Because -- as you'll recall -- K2 is what the German scientists found protected the men and women from cancer. But you don't need a ton of it. In fact, the men and women from the study with the most vitamin K in their diets actually came in slightly under the recommended daily intake (120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women). So this just goes to show, you don't need mega-doses of the vitamin to reap the benefits. In most cases, I don't recommend taking a separate vitamin K supplement. Sometimes you'll find a dusting of K2 in the highest quality anti-aging nutritional formulas. When you take this kind of mega multivitamin, it's actually quite safe and beneficial to get a little extra K2. That is, unless you're prone to blood clots. So make sure to check with your doctor if that's a concern. For most people, I recommend focusing on eating K-rich foods. You'll get plenty of K1 by eating green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale. You'll get K2 by eating fermented cheese (like feta), butter, sauerkraut, organ meats, and egg yolks. Just remember, always eat eggs poached, over-easy, or hard-boiled to leave the yolk intact. This way, the yolks will actually retain all their nutritional value.
  18. Exercise improves fibromyalgia symptoms

    If you have fibromyalgia (FM), the last thing you probably feel like doing is going for a brisk walk or working in the garden. But that's exactly what researchers from Johns Hopkins say will help improve your symptoms. Recently, JHU researchers recruited 84 FM patients with sedentary lifestyles to take part in a 12-week study. They asked half of the participants to increase their daily physical activity to include 30 minutes of moderate exercise five to seven days a week. (And we're not talking about strenuous exercise. Researchers just wanted the patients to exercise enough to get short of breath, but still be able to hold a conversation.) The other group of FM patients didn't make changes to their physical routine. Instead, they received education and support about fibromyalgia. The researchers also outfitted all the participants with a pedometer to record how many steps they took in a given day. After 12 weeks, the exercise group increased the number of steps they took per day by 54 percent. They reported significantly less pain and fewer problems functioning in their daily lives. In his report, lead researcher Kevin R. Fontaine, PhD, concluded, "Although exercise has been shown to be beneficial, the symptoms often create obstacles that deter many from exercising consistently enough to derive benefits." However, he continued, "Accumulating 30 minutes of [exercise] throughout the day produces clinically relevant changes in perceived physical function and pain in previously minimally active adults with FM." Now, if you have fibromyalgia, try starting out slow with a brisk walk up and down your street. The following week, try going a little further. Plus, remember that you don't have to get all 30 minutes of exercise at one time. You can do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. The goal is just to get moving to get you feeling better in the long run!
  19. "Prep" your body NOW for flu season with a tiny vitamin that packs a wallop

    I know that getting the flu is probably the furthest thing from your mind right now. But believe it or not, now's the time to "prep" your body against next winter's flu virus. A new study published in the Clinical Journal of Nutrition shows that one tiny vitamin may cut your risk of getting the flu by 40 to 74 percent. But it also takes time to build up in your system...so you need to start now, so you ARE ready in time for flu season to hit! Now, I know you may wonder, "Can't I just get a flu shot in November, like always?" And sure, you could do that and hope for the best. But it's not the smartest decision, especially if you're over 65. Here's why... Flu shot fails for men and women over 65... If you're over 65, I bet that your primary doctor urges you to get a flu shot every fall. And his intentions are in the right place; the flu can be very harsh on older men and women. In fact, adults over 65 account for about ¾ of the flu deaths every year. But your well-intentioned doc may be leading you astray. According to a new report by the Cochrane Collaboration, there's very little solid proof that flu vaccines effectively protect older adults. In fact, Cochrane scientists found that 74 out of 75 vaccine studies were biased and of poor caliber. Plus, according to Dr. Tom Jefferson (lead researcher and vaccine expert), the data that gets reported in the press is just plain wrong. In a New York Times interview, Dr. Jefferson stated, "What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth." Jefferson also stated that "until we have all available evidence, it is hard to reach any clear conclusions about the effectiveness of influenza vaccines in older people." But this really isn't new news. About five years ago, another analysis of 64 different studies uncovered basically the same thing. That time scientists found that flu shots--at best--reduced an elderly person's risk of hospitalization by only 27 percent. Bottom line here folks is that the flu shots--although they're heavily marketed to older adults--probably don't protect you very much. But here's the good news: Even if a vaccine can't protect you from the flu, something else can. Tiny vitamin packs a wallop against flu... Vitamin D is one of your best defenses against the flu. And it's always been a favorite among nutritionists like me. Vitamin D is the power vitamin that kicks your T cells into action. And these cells track down and kill foreign invaders, especially bacteria and viruses. Recently, a study showed that vitamin D also packs a wallop against the flu. For this study, scientists divided healthy patients into two groups. One group received 1200 IU of D3 (the most active form of D) each day for four months. The other group received a placebo. During the four-month period, 40 percent fewer participants taking D3 got the flu compared to the placebo group. Plus, the patients going into the study with the lowest levels of D got the biggest protection. These patients experienced a 74 percent reduction in the incidence of the flu. Interestingly, the researchers also found that the D3 patients with asthma experienced fewer asthma attacks compared with patients in the placebo group. And these results only stem from a period of four months! I have a feeling that these results would have been even better had the participants received vitamin D supplements all year long. You see, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that gets absorbed into your body through your intestinal tract. Plus, your body can store it for up to 60 days. So really--even though spring is here--now's the time to kick your immune system into high gear and "prep" for flu season. I recommend taking up to 5,000 IU of D3 a day. And if the temperatures are warming up in your neck of the woods, spend some time outside without sunscreen. Just 30 minutes of sunshine will give you 20,000 IU of vitamin D. This limited amount of sun exposure is not only safe, but it's also healthy and will give you some added ammunition against next year's flu!
  20. Nuts slow prostate tumor growth

    There's not a man I know who doesn't worry about prostate cancer. One in six will get it in their lifetime. But the truth is...prostate cancer is usually so slow growing that you're much more likely to die with it than from it. Plus, a new study shows there may be a way to slow down prostate tumor growth even more: Eat more walnuts. Scientists from UC Davis made this discovery when they programmed mice to develop prostate cancer. They gave one group of mice walnuts every day (the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces). The other mice just ate a regular diet. After just 18 weeks, they found that eating walnuts every day resulted in smaller and slower-growing tumors. In fact, it appeared to reduce the growth of tumors anywhere from 30 to 40 percent. Now, I know we're talking about mice, not men. But the researcher is hopeful and so am I. He said, "This study shows that when mice with prostate tumors consume an amount of walnuts that could easily be eaten by a man, tumor growth is controlled. This leaves me very hopeful that it could be beneficial in patients." Bottom line, men? Eat a handful of walnuts every day. It makes a great snack. Plus, not only are they good for your heart...they may also help support your prostate health.