Saturday, 17 November 2007

Vitamin C Gives Staying Power to Antioxidants

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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'

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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