Sunday, 9 December 2007

Honey is better than cough syrup?

Click here.

Conclusions In a comparison of honey, DM, and no treatment, parents rated honey most favorably for symptomatic relief of their child's nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty due to upper respiratory tract infection. Honey may be a preferable treatment for the cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infection.
Looks like an ages-old remedy is still better than chemicals concocted in a lab.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Vitamin C Gives Staying Power to Antioxidants

Click here.

To get more out of your next cup of tea, just add juice.

A study found that citrus juices enable more of green tea's unique antioxidants to remain after simulated digestion, making the pairing even healthier than previously thought.

The study compared the effect of various beverage additives on catechins, naturally occurring antioxidants found in tea. Results suggest that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C likely increases the amount of catechins available for the body to absorb.

Interesting. It was found out that many nutrients work in synergy -- that is, they complement each other. This is another example. Which makes taking in a variety of fruits, vegetables and multivitamins and minerals all the more important of deciding what to take for your health.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Drugs for ADHD 'not the answer'

Click here.

Treating children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with drugs is not effective in the long-term, research has shown.

A study obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme says drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta work no better than therapy after three years of treatment.

The findings by an influential US study also suggested long-term use of the drugs could stunt children's growth.

It said that the benefits of drugs had previously been exaggerated.

The Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD has been monitoring the treatment of 600 children across the US since the 1990s.

Well, bad news for Big Pharma, good news for the rest of us. I don't really get why perfectly rational doctors prescribe drugs that can harm the patient. Perhaps it's their training? Were they hardened to the point that side effects (or no-effects) are part or treatment? I have to interview a fresh graduate for this.

Fish for brain health supported by trio of studies

Click here.

Omega-3-rich fish consumption may improve brain function across a broad demographic spectrum, suggest three new studies from around the world.

The studies pull together data from New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Norway, and all suggest significant benefits of fish consumption, specifically the omega-3 fatty acid content, and cognitive health.

The majority of science for the health benefits of fish and omega-3 consumption has focused on cardiovascular health, but the science for cognitive benefits is growing and almost as compelling as the heart health data.

Moreover, the number of studies reporting potential risk reduction of certain cancers, improved development of a baby during pregnancy, joint health, and improved behaviour and mood, are also growing.

Good news for people who are taking Omega-3. Surely, the benefits extend beyond just good cardiovascular health.

For those who are not yet taking omega-3, or are dissatisfied with their current brand, you may want to take a look at one of the products I carry: Marine Omega.

For more information on availability and how to order, just send me an email.

Long-term beta-carotene may slow mental decline

Click here.

Men taking beta-carotene supplements for 15 years or more may experience a slower rate of age-related cognitive decline, according to a new study from Harvard.

The study highlights the benefits of long-term nutritional support, noting that no short-term benefits were observed in the 1,904 men taking the supplements for less than ten years.

"In this generally healthy population, the extent of protection conferred by long-term treatment appeared modest; nonetheless, studies have established that very modest differences in cognition, especially verbal memory, predict substantial differences in eventual risk of dementia; thus, the public health impact of long-term beta carotene use could be large," wrote the authors in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

With growing concern over cognitive decline, this news is welcome news.

AstraZeneca's Crestor fails in heart-failure study

Click here.

Heart-failure patients given AstraZeneca Plc's Crestor and standard drugs are just as likely to have heart attacks and strokes or die of cardiovascular problems as those on standard therapy alone, researchers said on Monday.

The news is a blow for Britain's second-biggest drug company, which had hoped to establish Crestor as the first cholesterol-lowering statin to show clear benefits in treating elderly patients with the chronic heart condition.

Why these benefits did not translate into better outcomes is not clear but could be due to the nature of heart failure, John Kjekshus of the University of Oslo and colleagues told the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) in Orlando, Florida.

"Our findings suggest the major cause of death in these patients was likely not to be related to atherosclerotic events, where benefit with statins in non-heart failure patients has been demonstrated, but instead may have been caused by the deterioration of failing heart muscle damaged beyond repair," he said in a statement.


For those who are familiar with the real deal between cholesterol lowering drugs (i.e. statins) this news is no surprise.

Taking statin could lower your cholesterol, but it could also deplete the muscles of a vital compound called CoEnzyme Q10. The heart, which is an organ mainly composed of muscles, is of course also affected. But it does make me wonder why the researchers didn't speculate on this. Supplementing patients with CoEnzyme Q10 should have been a recommendation for future study. Instead, based on the last paragraph I quoted above, no explanation was given on why the heart muscle deteriorate.

It could have been due to degeneration of heart tissue that resulted from heart failure. But I feel that it's more likely because of the depletion of CoEnzyme Q10.

On the other hand, it could save patients money if doctors realize the uselessness of the drug. But doubt this will happen anytime soon. Not with the highly effective Big Pharma propaganda machines (med reps and advertisements) still rolling.

How Phytonutrients and Bio-Energy Benefit the Human Body

Click here

There is much talk about phytonutrients lately. What are phytonutrients and why are they so important? Well simply put, phytonutrients are certain compounds found in plants that evidence has shown to increase overall health and protect against certain diseases including cancer. The term “Phyto” comes from the Greek work for plant so phytonutrients are plant nutrients, though they’re of a different class then the traditional nutrients of fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

These nutrients are not considered “essential for life” but they are important for health and longevity. Fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and teas are rich sources of phytonutrients. Fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids appear to protect humans against certain cancers, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration.


A holistic article for those looking for more information on the two subjects.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Consumers look to heal through functional foods

Click here.

US consumers are increasingly consuming functional products with the intention of preventing or treating disease, the Natural Marketing Institute's (NMI) Steve French told SupplySide West attendees last week.

There has been an increased tendency for consumers to use functional food and beverage in hopes of preventing disease, according to French - executive vice president and managing partner of NMI -, however he indicated the gap is closing between those consumers who also take them with the hope of actually treating disease. French delivered a presentation Wednesday in Las Vegas on new consumer research and trends.

While functional foods and dietary supplements by their very nature should not be marketed to treat disease, consumers may nonetheless take their own such health motivations into account when consuming these products.
I think more and more people are just getting smarter. Functional foods (and supplements) may not be marketed to treat disease, but some of them have been shown through clinical trials to so so. However, I think the problem is that the marketing machine for drugs is way better than that of supplements.

I once read an article by Mike Adams of NewsTarget which poses an interesting question: if drugs are so good (that they are able to -- or at least marketed to be able to -- treat disease), where are the healthy drug takers?

So now people are looking for alternatives. And from the looks of it, supplements and functional foods are among the people's choices.

Antioxidants may stop fat cells formation, says study

Click here.

Natural antioxidant compounds like flavonoids and phenolic acids could inhibit the formation of fat formation from fat cells, suggests new research from Taiwan.

A study of 15 phenolic acids and six flavonoids were studied for their ability to affect fat cells in laboratory cultures of mouse cells, with o-coumaric acid and rutin reported to inhibit activity of the glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) enzyme that forms triglycerides - fatty materials which at high levels increase the risk of heart disease.

"These results indicate that flavonoids and phenolic acids may play a role in the control of adipogenesis and they might have further implication in in vivo anti-obesity effects," wrote Chin-Lin Hsu and Gow-Chin Yen from National Chung Hsing University.
Interesting. If these research can be translated into humans, then it would be of benefit to people who want to lose weight.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

From Lifehack.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit - The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up - Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days - Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun - If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours - Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy - Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar - One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort - After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual - Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief - What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness - Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later - Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness - If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small - Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress - Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

Hmm... I feel restarting exercise myself! Now if you will excuse me, I have to tone my abs and biceps.

Weight Loss: Not One Size Fits All

Click here.

ScienceDaily (Nov. 7, 2007) — There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to weight loss through exercise, says Queensland University of Technology behavioural scientist Neil King.

"When it comes to losing weight, a lot of people assume if you lose less than the predicted weight then you aren't exercising enough, and that is why you aren't getting the desired results," Dr King said.

"This study is the first evidence-based study that shows despite people doing the same amount of supervised exercise people lose different amounts of weight."

Which means that for people who are resistant to weight loss while exercising, they may consider complementing that with other strategies such as controlling their diet, supplements and other physical activities that will help them burn up those excess baggage.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Something to think about this holiday season

With the holiday season fast approaching (if it hasn't already - I see Christmas decorations here and there) many of us are already thinking of the delicious food and drinks that will do doubt be served aplenty on our tables.

However I found this article concerning a landmark report that states some disturbing, yet somehow unsurprising news:

There is more evidence than ever that a person who weighs too much is more likely to develop cancer, a landmark report said Wednesday.

And forget eating bacon, sausage and lunchmeat. No amount is considered completely safe, according to the analysis from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund.

(Now, who's saying that everything should be taken in moderation?)

It appears that "radical" health advocates have been right all along. Now there is sufficient evidence to back up their claims.

This may be the time to be merry, but geez, if you will spend the rest of the holidays in a hospital (or the rest of your life in pain and medication) then the thought of getting overweight and eating processed meat (which most of us are probably doing almost everyday) should not seem fun at all.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Irritable? You may only just lack sleep.

Click here.

You might have guessed it, but now researchers have real proof: Sleep deprivation causes our emotions to go haywire.

That's according to the first neurological probe into the emotional brain without sleep. It was carried out by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley and Harvard Medical School.

"Most people think that when you're sleep-deprived, what happens to the brain is that it becomes sleepy and less active," says Matthew Walker, assistant professor of psychology at Berkeley and a former Harvard sleep researcher. But Walker says the imaging study published in today's issue of Current Biology found that the brain's emotional centers become "60% more reactive."

The study also suggests that lack of sleep elevates activity in the emotional centers of the brain most closely associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression.


I find this amusing because I really do get irritable if I lack sleep. I guess now I can justify scientifically my occasional irritability!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Dark Meat vs White Meat: What's the Difference?

Click here.

Misinformation, half truths, and misleading data abound both online, off-line, and sadly often from experts' mouths.

I always thought white verses dark or red meat was sort of a strange beast, and one where a few ivory-tower experts were able to confuse a nation.

The primary reason dark meat has been labeled bad - besides a large contingency of political agenda - is saturated fat content. Unfortunately, the general public was considered too dumb to understand the difference between saturated verses other fats. I cannot accept that.

A very informative blog discussing the difference between dark and white meat (including why they are colored as such.)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Garlic's heart benefits pinpointed

Click here.

The chemical compounds behind garlic's breath-tainting properties may also be the source of its heart benefits, according to new research from the US.

Metabolism of garlic's active ingredient allicin produces hydrogen sulphide, which signals blood vessels to relax, increase blood flow and boost heart health, wrote the researchers in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research could lead to a method to standardise dietary garlic supplements, said lead researcher Gloria Benavides from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, by simply measuring the production of hydrogen sulphide in red blood cells.


This could be the first step towards creating supplements that are standardized to produce the desired results. Let's hope that more and more studies are forthcoming on this fantastic plant. In the meantime, you can still enjoy garlic in a variety of ways in a variety of foods. Just freshen your mouth afterwards. =)

Monday, 15 October 2007

Eating Healthy and Organic on $7 a Day

Click here.

Detailing the Dollars: Eating Healthy and Organic on $7 a Day

Day 1:

Breakfast: Tofu (47 cents), veggies ($1), brown rice (20 cents)

Lunch: Eggs (39 cents) and potatoes (30 cents)

Snack: Two dates (60 cents), 12 almonds (22 cents)

Dinner: Fryer chicken ($1), veggies ($1), brown rice (20 cents)


Click on the link for more details. Very helpful for those who want to eat healthy on a tight budget.


Coalition splits over fish guideline for pregnant women

Click here.

A controversial recommendation by a child-health coalition that pregnant women eat lots of fish and not worry about mercury contamination was not endorsed by many of the group's members, who are now distancing themselves from that position.

The recommendations, announced last week by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, are that pregnant, breast-feeding and postpartum women should eat at least 12 ounces of seafood a week, if not more, for the nutritional benefits. The coalition is an Alexandria, Va.-based non-profit group with nearly 150 member organizations.

The controversy surrounds the coalition's silence about the four high-mercury fish the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency say women and young children should avoid: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish.

Controversies such as this do not aid anyone in determining what is good for their health.

But it's also worth noting that it's not only mercury that is commonly found in fish. Human-raised fish are fed with feeds that may contain harmful substances. Fish in the ocean may acquire toxins other than mercury.

Until a definitive study on fish safety -- not just mercury levels -- the confusion will continue.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Epidemic obesity hurting US health, economy -- report

It appears the US is facing a... heavyweight crisis.

Click here.

WASHINGTON -- Two-thirds of US adults and some 25 million children are obese or overweight, and the fatness of the land is harming Americans' health and threatening US competitiveness, a report published Monday showed.

"In the past year, obesity rates have continued to rise in 31 states. Eighty-five percent of Americans believe that obesity is an epidemic," the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) said in its fourth annual "F as in Fat" report.

The rate of adult obesity more than doubled in percentage terms in the past 25 years across the United States, growing from 15 percent in 1978-80 to 32 percent in 2003-04, the report said.

In the same period, childhood obesity increased more than three-fold.

Poor nutrition and physical inactivity were putting Americans at greater risk for developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and even some forms of cancer.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

How to Determine Your Cardiovascular Health

In a previous post, I have provided a link to what triggers heart attacks. Now you may want to find out how to prevent heart attacks from happening.

Click here.

You may have gotten to a point in your life where you're asking, "Where is my health going and why am I in this handbasket?" Or you may be saying, "I feel fine and want to make sure I stay that way."

The fact is, the majority of Americans older than 40 years already have a major health problem. Another disconcerting fact is that the majority of illnesses are subclinical, meaning they smolder under the surface for many years before they are recognized. Whatever your condition, sickness or apparent health, accurately assessing your current health is the proper place to start on your journey to vibrant health.

Since cardiovascular health is key to health in general -- and the lack of it is so common -- it is where I'd like to begin a health review. Heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans, followed, in order of prevalence, by cancer, stroke, emphysema, and accidents.

But every 34 seconds an American dies of heart disease!

Consequently, we all know someone with heart disease, or we have it ourselves. If you're interested in avoiding or ending personal experience with this disease, I have good news for you: the majority of the causes of cardiovascular disease are in our control.

The first and foundational step in gaining or maintaining cardiovascular health is accurately measuring your current condition. Once that is clearly understood, an effective treatment or preventative plan can be made. In this article, we'll review the most important factors indicating cardiovascular health or disease. Collect the information and grade yourself.

What Causes Heat Attacks?

Click here.

Anger really can trigger a heart attack. But then, so can getting sick, being too hot, being too cold, air pollution, lack of sleep, grief, overeating, natural disasters, exercise and sex.

In fact, simply waking up is the worst thing you can do if you're trying to avoid a heart attack.

Heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrests seem to come out of the blue, but actually most occur upon rising in the morning, according to the July 2007 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter.

Well, I sure don't want not waking up due to those conditions! Better do something before such a fate befalls you, for there is not likely second chance!

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Beware of Fosamax

Cases of Jaw Bone Death Caused by Fosamax often Unreported



According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (the surgical sector of dentistry), there may be "serious underreporting" of Bisphosphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ) from Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax.

Fosamax is supposed to help increase bone density and it is mostly prescribed to menopausal women suffering from osteoporosis. But in the jawbone, this drug does the reverse and actually destroys bone.

Although jaw bone death is uncommon, it is a terrifying side effect and difficult to treat. Many patients taking Fosmax have no idea that problems with their jaw could be linked to this drug.

From drug manufacturer Merck, which made the banned anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx, comes Fosamax, a drug so toxic they actually had to rewrite the recommended dose from "daily" to "weekly" for "your convenience." Of course, like all drugs, Fosamax has side effects, and one of its side effects is osteonecrosis of the jaw, of death of the jaw bone, a condition that is hard to treat.

Instead of taking Fosamax, why not take Bone Formula, our newest Pharmanex product that contains all known nutrients that are beneficial to the bones at the right dosage with no side effects.

  • Pharmanex's Bone Formula is a well-developed blend of vitamins, minerals, and other potent ingredients which helps maintain proper bone structure and function.
  • Bone Formula provides 500 mg of calcium and 100 IU of vitamin D per daily dosage. Both ingredients are important factors in maintaining proper structure and function of healthy bones.

  • Unlike other products, Bone Formula has the following benefits: easy to swallow capsules, trace elements boron and silicon which have important roles in bone metabolism, provides vitamin C for normal collagen structure and function.

    Wednesday, 18 July 2007

    A free way to boost your health

    Just walk. Click here for details.

    These days, it's easy for people to get confused about exercise -- how many minutes a day should they spend working out, for how long and at what exertion level? Conflicting facts and opinions abound, but one Mayo Clinic physician says the bottom line is this: walking is good, whether the outcome measurement is blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems or mental health.

    Unlike a health club membership or personal trainer, walking "is there for everyone," Dr. Levine says. "Walking doesn't cost you anything, you can do it barefoot and you can do it now, this minute."

    I personally prefer walking to riding a vehicle especially if the trip is just a short distance away. I use shoes that are comfortable to walk with. And I do brisk walking whenever possible.

    Walking is an easy exercise that one can do daily. Unfortunately, things that are easy to do are also easy not to do, so better take the initiative to make a habit of walking.

    Walking is good for you, people. Best of all, it's free.

    Monday, 16 July 2007

    China's former drug safety head executed

    Click here.

    BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Wednesday hailed the swift execution of the nation's former drug safety chief as a warning to corrupt officials while detailing a web of graft that thrived for years without punishment.

    Zheng Xiaoyu, former head of the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), dominated television and print news a day after he was executed for taking some 6.5 million yuan ($850,000) in bribes to let medicine companies slip past his regulatory net.


    Unfortunately, we are not in China. So we are unlikely to witness the same punishment for those corrupt officials.

    Mike Adams of Newstarget made this cartoon pertaining to the ludicrous situation.

    A.K.A Monosodium Glutamate

    If you're like me who would rather avoid food that contains MSG, then this is a great guide for you since MSG is known in a an amazing number of names, probably to confuse and fool consumers.

    Click here.

    However they name it, MSG is still a toxin that is used to enhance taste.

    Friday, 13 July 2007

    Selling Sickness: How the World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning us All into Patients

    If you haven't read this book, you must do so with alacrity. This book, one of my favorites, describes how the pharmaceutical industry works.

    People tend to think those companies as saviors of humanity: developing drugs for every ill. But that is far from the real story. You see, you'll learn in the book how, decades ago a Merck chief executive named henry Gadsden wanted to sell drugs to everyone. And if you people have observed, his dream has come true today: we have pills for just about everything, from emotional woes to physical vanities.

    The book examines the events that lead to the development of drugs for cholesterol, high blood, osteoporosis -- and how drug makers are profiting and continually pushing the drugs to your doctors and to you. The book is easy to read (nothing too technical), well researched and after reading it, you would wonder if the drug you are taking, if any, has any benefit to you and more likely, you'll think of how it benefits a big industry.

    I don't recommend people to suddenly throw away their pills. Rather, I suggest that they examine the evidence themselves and see if what they are taking is worth it, for there are drugs that can benefit people with certain conditions. You might want to urge your doctor to read the book (purchase it and lend it to your doctor if you must) and discuss if there are alternative solutions to your existing problems.

    This book is a real eye opener and I regularly lend it to my peers who I think might benefit from the knowledge that swallowing pills doesn't always mean you are on the way to becoming healthy. Quite on the contrary, it may be leading them to a deadly spiral of side effects that would mean more medication and even more side effects until death or debt overtakes them.

    Selling Sickness's blog can be found here.

    Wednesday, 11 July 2007

    When Science and Common Sense Collide, Part 2

    This really defies common sense. Nutritious foods will get banned unless proven to be nutritious? Read on.

    Products claiming to be superfoods will be banned under new EU rules coming into effect on Sunday - unless the claim can be proved.

    Blueberries, salmon, spinach and soy have all been hailed as so-called superfoods - foods rich in nutrients.

    Some say superfoods can protect against cancer and heart disease, but others say there is no evidence for this.

    The new laws will apply to all food or drink products made or sold for human consumption within EU nations.

    Almost 100 products have been described as superfood, and sales of products like blueberries and spinach have soared.

    But some nutritionists claim there are no proven benefits of "superfoods" and say marketing is misleading.


    I think the problem lies on how the regulatory body will decide which claim is acceptable or not. Surely they will depend on studies, but how strongly they feel that the evidence is solid may be in question. It took a LONG while for the American Heart Association to admit that omega-3 has heart benefits, and even then it has watered-down the claims.

    I am not a conspiracy junkie, but I think the worst thing that can happen is that the members of the board are connected with drug companies -- companies that care nothing about prevention and thrive on disease. Thus, what will happen is that there is a slim chance a superfood's claims of prevention or even treatment may not be approved because of conflict of interest.

    How Food Companies Fool You

    From one of my favorite authors, Mike Adams, comes this article on how food companies fool us with deceptive practices which are completely acceptable for the food industry, but downright wrong for us.

    Read on by clicking here
    .
    One of the most common tricks is to distribute sugars among many ingredients so that sugars don't appear in the top three.

    Another trick is to pad the list with miniscule amounts of great-sounding ingredients.

    A third trick involves hiding dangerous ingredients behind innocent-sounding names that fool consumers into thinking they're safe.


    Aside from those I quoted above, there a LOT more tricks food companies use to fool us. Actually even I have been fooled. I though all food that is brown is good (brown sugar, brown rice, etc), but apparently, food manufacturers have found a way to yet again use this belief to sell more of their unhealthy products. This article really made me a smarter buyer.

    I recommend that we pass around this article for the benefit of everyone we know.

    Monday, 9 July 2007

    When Science and Common Sense Collide, Part 1

    Sorry for the long vacation, folks. I had to take care of some personal matters. For now, let me open your eyes to a world -- our world -- where commons sense collides with science.

    First up: it is common knowledge (at least among the more well-informed crowd -- not counting "experts" being paid or "educated" by drug companies) that vitamins act as anti-oxidants that can scavenge harmful free radicals. It is also well-known that people with diabetes suffer from continuous production of free radicals, endangering them so several degenerative diseases like heart and eye problems so common among diabetics.

    Most people also would rather take natural or essential nutrients to help ease disease (sorry, I cannot say "cure" disease -- it's the drug-company-influenced law) primarily because nutrients are far safer than drugs.


    So why is it that researchers prefer a drug to help scavenge free radicals than good old Vitamin C? Personally, I don't know the answer, but I think the researchers are very much giving the public disservice by not recommending the safer alternative: Vitamin C.

    Read all about it here.

    Vitamin C could help reduce some of the complications associated with diabetes, research suggests.

    However, a University of Warwick team found the blood pressure-lowering drug Telmisarten had the same effect - and might be a safer alternative.

    Both help "mop-up" tissue-damaging molecules called free radicals which are over-produced in diabetes patients.

    Experts warned the work, published in two diabetes journals, was no reason to start taking vitamin C supplements.

    That is very strange, to say the least. But to be fair, let's compare the "preferred" drug,
    Telmisarten and Vitamin C.

    Telmisarten's side effects include dizziness and upper respiratory tract infections such as colds and sore throat.

    On the other hand, while Vitamin C does have reported side effects, none has been confirmed conclusively. And probably those side effects are experienced at a very high dosage. Linus Pauling Institute recommends
    "a vitamin C intake of at least 400 mg daily—the amount that has been found to fully saturate plasma and circulating cells with vitamin C in young, healthy nonsmokers."

    Telmisarten's side effects, by the way, can probably be prevented by Vitamin C.

    According to LPI, you would need at least 5 servings or 2 and a half cups of fruits to get half of the recommended intake so you would probably need to supplement if you cannot eat 5 cups of fruits a day.

    My take is for people to continue taking high quality Vitamin C, especially those who suffer diabetes. And ignore research that undermines common sense.

    Friday, 29 June 2007

    Warning on Women Taking Biphosphates

    Click here.

    Bisphosphonates are a family of drugs administered orally or intravenously and are used to prevent and treat osteoporosis, multiple myeloma, Paget's disease (bone cancers), and bone metastasis from other cancers. These drugs can bond to bone surfaces and prevent osteoclasts (cells that breakdown bone) from doing their job. According to Dr. Svirsky, adverse affects from oral bisphosphonates will not show up until three years after the treatment starts, and after that time, the chance of developing osteonecrosis is still low. However, the incidence of developing complications while taking bisphosphonates intravenously is much higher.


    Biphosphates, commonly taken in by women in the form of drugs such as Fosamax, a drug that can supposedly help prevent osteoarthritis, can cause osteonecrosis of the jaw, or death of bone cells in the jaw. Such drugs also have other undesirable side effects that leaves one to wonder why they were approved in the first place.

    Children Sicker Now Than in Past, Harvard Report Says

    Click here.

    The number of American children with chronic illnesses has quadrupled since the time when some of their parents were kids, portending more disability and higher health costs for a new generation of adults, a study estimates.

    An almost fourfold increase in childhood obesity in the past three decades, twice the asthma rates since the 1980s, and a jump in the number of attention-deficit disorder cases are driving the growth of chronic illnesses, according to researchers at Harvard University in Boston. The report is published in a themed issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association focusing on children's health.

    Doctors and public health officials should be bracing for a wave of chronically ill young adults with weight-related ailments that include diabetes and heart disease. In 1960, just 1.8 percent of U.S. children and adolescents were reported to have a chronic health condition that limited their activities. In 2004, the rate rose to 7 percent, researchers said.

    ``These three conditions -- obesity, asthma, ADHD -- overwhelm all other chronic conditions,'' Perrin said. ``The life of the family practitioner is very different than it was. Far more children come in with the type of chronic health problems we hardly thought about 35 years ago.''

    These is alarming but hardly surprising news. Even in the Philippines where I live, I see children more and more children with asthma and those who are obese. Almost every time I go to a super market, I see a very fat kid on a shopping cart, perhaps too fat to move. And I also observe that these children do not have the inquisitive, curious eyes normally associated with children. They have dull, lifeless eyes that appear to be depressed, probably because he had to be removed away from TV.

    A deadly combination of unhealthy food, sedentary lifestyle, and considerable lack of its parents' role in physical development are in my opinion the culprit that threatens the well being of children not only in America, but in the whole world.

    Thursday, 28 June 2007

    Finally: Reinforced Regulations Can Help Protect the Supplement Buyer

    Good news for all consumers: regulations are tightening over supplement manufacturers, forcing them, if they haven't already implemented such procedures, to up their standards.

    FDA issues new safety rules for vitamins

    For the first time, manufacturers of vitamins, herbal pills and other dietary supplements will have to test all of their products' ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration said Friday it is phasing in a new rule that is designed to address concerns that existing regulations allowed supplements onto the market that were contaminated or didn't contain ingredients claimed on the label.

    Last year, the agency found that some supplements contained undeclared active ingredients used in prescription drugs for erectile dysfunction. In the past, regulators found supplements that didn't contain the levels of Vitamin C or Vitamin A that were claimed.

    If, upon inspection, the FDA finds that supplements do not contain the ingredients they claim, the agency would consider the products adulterated or misbranded. In minor cases, the agency could ask the manufacturer to remove an ingredient or revise its label. In more serious cases, it could seize the product, file a lawsuit or even seek criminal charges.


    GMPs could force manufacturers to clean-up

    On Friday, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued the final rule on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), which some say is the most important regulatory development for the dietary supplement in over a decade.

    A statute of the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA), GMP legislation has been the missing link in governance of the dietary supplement industry. The legislation is set to provide standards specific to this industry for inspectors to check for purity, safety and legality in manufacturing.

    Considering that most people do not even think about what's inside their supplement, these new regulations will (hopefully) insure quality in supplements. Of course, prices of supplements which have not before complied to these standards will go up, unless they cut costs elsewhere.

    The truth is, most of the cheap brands you find in the market are of sub-standard quality. They are what made the FDA to reinforce rules on them: they may contain less nutrients than the specified amount on their label, may contain illegal substances or probably both. Some supplements do not even get digested; they just pass through the digestive track not absorbed by the body. This is most especially true if they come in rock-hard tablets. The obvious way to check this is to have your solid waste examined or have your abdomen x-rayed, but of course, most people would not want to do these if possible.


    Fortunately, for those who would rather take supplements from a manufacturer that is reliable, and has already been up to those standards for years, you might want to check out my parent company Pharmanex.

    To start, take the Lifepak Challenge. Compare Lifepak with your multivitamin. Lifepak is our comprehensive multivitamin, mineral and phytonutrient product. No other product in the market even comes close to Lifepak. It's unique, it's complete. It has clinical studies (the product itself, not just the ingredients) that proves its claims. It has already passed several 3rd party tests, including test for banned substances. For everyday supplementation, Lifepak is perfect. If it doesn't work for you, you can have a money back guarantee.

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    Click here.

    Monday, 25 June 2007

    Why we shouldn't be concerned about negative results from clinical trials

    During my long research about nutrition, I often come across clinical trials that tell us that anti-oxidants and other nutrients are useless or does not cause disease to regress. And those trials seem to be valid -- they are the "golden standard" for clinical trials after all: randomized, placebo controlled clinical trials. But as this article argues, clinical trials may not be the best gauge of the effectiveness of nutrients, especially when they are individually tested (like drugs) or when they are used to cure disease, rather than prevent them.

    Click here for the whole article.

    Randomised clinical trials are the ultimate. Forget what the observational studies tell us, if the RCT gives us an answer it must be the final word, right? Wrong.

    The value of such trials for the food industry is undeniable, but too often nutrients are pulled out of context, following the same methodology as used for the testing of drugs.

    But let's not forget that by following the drug model we are supplementing the diet with one or two nutrients, each at a single dose, for a set period of time. Can a time-constrained randomised trial really capture a lifetime of consumption with respect to chronic disease?

    Despite a vast body of observational/ epidemiological studies linking an increased dietary intake of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables to reduced risks of a range of disease, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, when such antioxidants have been extracted and put into supplements, the results, according to RCTs, do not produce the same benefits and may even be harmful.

    So the author of the article, Dr. Lisa Melton from the London-based registered charity, the Novartis Foundation, concluded that antioxidant supplements are too good to be true.

    It certainly begs these questions:

    Is this really the answer or is it due to poor study design? Would a two-year trial of vitamin E, let's say, really produce a reduction in the risk of a chronic disease?

    The answer is probably "no" or "negligible." The design was flawed from the start. No wonder population-based studies often clash with clinical trials.

    Besides, we have to consider that not all supplements are created equal. If the supplements used were sub-standard, then disappointing results really shouldn't come as a surprise.

    I think that if only the scientific community will agree that nutrients should be tested differently, perhaps with more consideration to their nature that nutrients work over time and that they work in synergy (with other nutrients) then we would get a clearer and more encouraging results.

    Wednesday, 20 June 2007

    CRN gives details on PR campaign aimed at consumers

    Click here.

    The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has announced further details of a comprehensive public relations campaign geared at presenting the mainstream side of supplementation it says shows its face less often than the controversial side.

    The trade association has been giving hints on the upcoming project since 2006, but this announcement represents the first concrete indication a multi-year project is in fact taking place. Dubbed "Life…supplemented", the campaign has the support of 25 dietary supplement companies and will involve online projects as well as advertising aimed directly at consumers.

    "We also think that it's going to bring back pride to the industry, because it focuses on the more than 150 million Americans already taking supplements," said Blatman.

    CRN wants to encourage a perception that taking dietary supplements is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, in much the same way as it is widely accepted that exercise and a well-balanced diet are pillars of such a lifestyle.

    "We want to promote the understanding that supplements are one of the smart lifestyle choices you can make," said Blatman.
    It's about time a group takes a step in promoting supplementation. I think the industry has suffered enough blows from not-so-well-meaning opponents, most notably big drug companies. True, the supplementation industry has its own cases of black spots, but overall, the industry has withstood constant barrage. Now it is its chance to clean up its blemishes.

    Tuesday, 19 June 2007

    A sobering thought for the alcohol industry

    Click here.

    Much against my own better judgement, there are some issues it seems, where corporate social responsibility must really live up to its name and truly look after its consumers.

    One issue in particular illustrates this point - irresponsible drinking.

    The measures are supported by a number of leading industry players and associations like Diageo and Heineken, but are they truly addressing the issue amongst core drinkers? I feel they are not.

    Manufacturers of alcohol must look beyond simply restricting advertising practices and make some difficult choices if they wish to retain their freedom to operate unhindered by legislation.
    I don't drink alcoholic beverages. I remember my childhood when my dad was a heavy alcohol drinker. He never just seem to get enough. And when he's drunk, you'd better get out of his way or be beaten. Sometimes, he's in a mirthful mood when drunk and seem to be very susceptible to suggestions and boisterous laughter.

    I find that drinking alcohol is a weakness -- a weakness in body, in mind and in spirit. I don't know personally how drinking intoxicating drinks must feel, and certainly I don't know how it feels to be drunk. But I have been with friends who do drink and get drunk and I observed them while they are in the act. Most of the time, they do this for merriment but sometimes too in gloomy sadness. Alcohol, it seems, has the power to enhance and dampen moods.

    It also appears to alter consciousness. After so many toasts most get drowsy and fall asleep, if sleep is what you can call such stupor.

    And therein I find the weakness: a dependency on a substance that can alter moods and consciousness. How many women got pregnant because they were powerless to halt or perhaps even willing to couple with a man? How many people were beaten or killed by drunk companions or drunk strangers? How many suffer from debilitating illness resulting from chronic imbibing? How many vehicle drivers met an accident or an untimely death due to an obvious inability to drive with alertness? I wonder how many will fall victim to this dread substance.

    Perhaps there is another weakness involved. Not of the drinker, but of the people who know him -- friends and family members. Perhaps if they were more supportive, more caring, more understanding, more loving then they probably wouldn't be in a downward spiral to the bottom of a bottle.

    Or perhaps not. Ultimately, it is a choice whether or not we allow ourselves to such addicting and dangerous habits. Unfortunately for alcoholic drinkers, the choice seems more and more blurry with each gulp.

    Sunday, 17 June 2007

    Additional PR for McDonald's?

    Click here.

    In a bid to convince health-conscious moms that its food is nutritious, McDonald's says it will bring the group of mothers fully inside the company. The moms will visit restaurants, processing plants, orchards and test kitchens.
    Apparently, McDonald's is bent on changing its image to appeal to the health-conscious. It recruits 6 moms for inside access to its facilities -- processing plants, restaurants, orchards and test kitchens -- and then they tell what they think in a journal.

    Personally, I wonder why they couldn't have brought in 6 respected doctors or nutritionists instead for a more professional look. Then again, this is exactly what they probably would wish to avoid.

    I rarely eat at McDonald's nowadays. Before, I was a voracious muncher of its french fries and quarter pounders. That is, until I found out of my health condition (mitral valve prolapse) and I developed gouty arthritis at an early age of 22 years (gouty arthritis usually appears in men in their 40's). I only eat there only when I have no other choice. And I avoid their burgers at all costs.

    I wonder how can those moms provide objective evaluation.

    To quote a participating mom:

    "It's better than eating nothing — and at least it has some protein."

    Maybe that's all there is in McDonald's food: some nutrients. The sad thing is, because of its lack of vital nutrients (like vitamins and minerals) and abundance in calories and trans-fat, it may be causing more harm than good.

    Cheers for Cherries

    I got this from one of my favorite sites, Mercola.Com.

    It looks delicious!

    This is a "scrum-diddly-umptious" recipe for carb types. You can have this as your main meal after having a nice glass of fresh vegetable juice, as it supplies protein and fat needs for one carb- type meal.

    Keep in mind that you can use any type of fruit that you like that's appropriate for your nutritional type.

    The cherries are slightly defrosted, nice and cold, making the smoothie creamy and refreshing. The color is gorgeous, the taste sublime.

    Best of all, it's easy ... once you know the secret.

    Astaxanthin linked to improved heart health

    Click here.
    Astaxanthin, the nutrient that gives salmon its pink colour, may also have heart health benefits, suggests a new study from Finland. Results from the randomised, double-blind study, published in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research, indicated that a daily supplement of the carotenoid, alone or in combination with omega-3, reduced plasma hydroxyl fatty acids levels, indicating that astaxanthin protects sensitive fatty acids from oxidation

    "We propose that astaxanthin supplementation may decrease in vivo lipid peroxidation in healthy men," wrote lead author Jouni Karppi from the University of Kuopio.

    Astaxanthin, the antioxidant carotenoid most commonly linked to eye health, has been found to be a potent antioxidant, with tests suggesting that it may have a free radical fighting capacity worth 500 times that of vitamin E.

    At the end of the study, Karppi and co-workers report that blood astaxanthin levels increased in the carotenoid-supplemented group to 0.032 micromoles per litre. Blood levels of 12- and 15-hydroxy fatty acids were also significantly reduced, relative to the placebo group.

    "Plasma 15-hydroxy fatty acid is formed by oxidation of polyunsaturated linolenic and linoleic acids, which are the fatty acids most sensitive to oxidation," explained Karppi.

    The study also supported the safety of astaxanthin as a dietary supplement, with no gastrointestinal tract distress reported, nor were there any changes in markers of inflammation or blood pressure.
    This is an important study that puts yet another merit to the benefits of Astaxanthin. This could be very useful for people who wish to prevent heart disease or those who want to improve existing heart conditions, especially when combined with Omega-3 fatty acids.

    MarineOmega™
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    Thursday, 14 June 2007

    No, thanks, doc.

    In the Philippines, doctors are regarded highly in society. They are considered unbiased, intelligent and smart. However, this may not be the reality of it.

    A while ago I gave my friend a call and told me that her mother was admitted to the hospital for diabetes and was released after a few days. She was asking me what her mother should eat, which I found puzzling since I assume that they were given dietary advice by their doctor. Apparently not. Worse, their doctor told them that the mother can eat anything she wants.

    This is completely irresponsible on the doctor's part. The doctor should have given some dietary advice on what she can and she cannot eat so that her blood sugar won't spike up again. Or perhaps the doctor wants the mom to be admitted to the hospital again?

    I have recommended a doctor who is a fried of mine who is a also nutritionist. This doctor, Dr Romulo De Villa, is an expert in his field. I hope they can schedule an appointment so that my friend's mom can have a excellent advice.

    Now that I thought about it, another friend of mine had colon cancer and when he asked his doctor what he should eat, the doctor -- unbelievably -- suggested that he could eat anything.

    Both diseases (cancer and diabetes) are most likely caused by bad diets. If the doctor cannot recommend a good diet, then the disease may be aggravated. I don't blame the doctors themselves: most of them got rudimentary training in nutrition, nothing more. Med school should teach students nutrition and diet also, not just to rely on medication.

    Wednesday, 13 June 2007

    Flavonoids linked to improved mental health

    Click here.

    A diet rich in flavonoids, compounds in fruit, vegetables, coffee, tea and chocolate, could reduce the decline in mental function associated with age, says a new study from France.

    "This study raises the possibility that dietary flavonoid intake is associated with better cognitive evolution," wrote lead author Luc Letenneur in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

    Cognitive performance declines naturally with age, but the results of the PAQUID (Personnes Agées Quid) study suggests that this could be slowed by increased intake of flavonoids in the diet.

    Flavonoids have been receiving interest with a mounting body of science, including epidemiological and laboratory-based, continuing to report the cancer-fighting potential of a number of different flavonoids, such as isoflavones, anthocyanidins and flavonols.


    I think this is good news for people who have been dismayed about the report of Linus Pauling Institute that flavonoids are easily metabolized or broken down by the body, leaving doubt is there are any benefits. However, the article above says that:

    "This does not preclude the possibility that flavonoids may accumulate in tissues where they might exert local antioxidant effects or that very low concentrations of flavonoids may modulate cell signalling, gene regulation, antiogenesis, and other biological processes by non-antioxidant mechanisms, which may explain the purported health benefits of flavonoids," wrote Silvina Lotito and Balz Frei in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.


    Which is think good insight about flavonoids. More research is needed to confirm the benefits and mechanisms of action. In the meantime, I don't think there is harm in eating more fruits and vegetables -- main sources of flavonoids -- for our good health.

    Tuesday, 12 June 2007

    Greetings!

    Greetings! I am Jason Estimado, a Physical Therapist from UP Manila and an entrepreneur. Within a few days I will be able to finish this blog of mine and post news, articles and anything related to health and wellness.

    For now, a bit about myself. I am a PT from UP Manila who had transformed himself into an entrepreneur. It was a conscious decision. I knew that we PTs have a limited time to work -- eventually, our body will be the one needing therapy! We are much like athletes. So now, at an early age, I am trying to learn how to apply my knowledge in health and wellness no longer as a PT, but as en entrepreneur.

    I invite you to join me in my blog. I will compile every little tidbit of knowledge I will gather in the intrnet and beyond here, and will share my own views.

    See you again soon, then!

    My Bioscanner

    BioScanner in CNBC