March 28, 2012
By Alice Park
“Thank God chocolate is healthy. But NOT Hershey’s.” –KTRN
When it comes to chocolate, you might just be able to have your sweet and eat it, too.
That’s what researchers report in the first study to balance all of the known health benefits and harms of chocolate. Publishing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. Beatrice Golomb and her colleagues at the University of California, San Diego, say that the sweet’s extra calories may be more than offset by its positive effect on other conditions, such as heart disease, blood pressure and glucose control.
Most notably, the team found that people who reported eating chocolate more frequently were thinner than those who ate less, as measured by their body mass index (BMI). Golomb says that based on previous studies documenting the health benefits of chocolate, she expected that these metabolic benefits might, at best, compensate for the extra calories. “I wasn’t expecting that BMI would be favorable,” says Golomb. “That was a nice surprise.”
Golomb’s team asked 1,000 men and women how much chocolate they consumed in a week, and recorded how much exercise they did over the same time period. Eating chocolate five times a week was linked to a 1-point drop in BMI, though the amount of chocolate the participants ate did not seem to have a significant effect on weight. The chocolate-lovers’ lower BMI also could not be accounted for by exercise or eating less overall. It “clearly wasn’t explained by the fact that people who ate chocolate ate less food, because they ate more. And they didn’t exercise more than those who didn’t eat as much chocolate,” says Golomb. “So there is no evidence that this effect can be explained by any confounder we looked at.”
March 26, 2012
By Jonathan Benson
“Once a natural product becomes popular, the mainstream machine always tries to say that it’s dangerous – just like they did with colloidal silver.” –KTRN
Kombucha tea is becoming all the rage in popular culture today, with entire refrigerator cases at health food stores now exclusively stocking the stuff, and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, and Orlando Bloom regularly drinking it for increased longevity and improved health. But with its growing popularity has come a whole lot of scaremongering by the disease industry over its supposed dangers, which begs the question — is kombucha tea a potentially-dangerous fad, or is it truly the health-promoting wonder elixir that many people claim it is?
First of all, kombucha tea has been around for thousands of years, and has long been used by traditional cultures to improve digestion, boost immunity, eliminate kidney stones, reduce high blood pressure, and create sustained and lasting energy. Though there is still much debate over precisely where it originated, this unique, fermented tea — kombucha tea is a simple combination of tea, sugar, water, and starter culture — has no doubt been used safely and effectively by Asian, European, and now North American cultures alike for many centuries without issue (http://www.thedailybeast.com).
It is only since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its cohort of likeminded allies in Western medicine became aware of kombucha’s existence and popularity that it somehow became an untested and potentially dangerous concoction that the public should avoid. Though nobody has ever proven that kombucha is in any way dangerous, the mainstream media has published numerous scare stories over the years questioning kombucha’s safety.
Single death linked to kombucha actually caused by underlying health conditions, pharmaceuticals
One myth you may have heard about kombucha tea is that it can kill you, a claim made by the FDA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others based on a single incident back in 1995 where a woman was admitted to the hospital with severe acidosis and elevated levels of lactic acid in her body, and later died. According to reports, she had been consuming kombucha every day for two months prior to her death.
But if you read the report in closer detail, it clearly states that no direct link was confirmed between kombucha tea and the woman’s death. In fact, the report states that she had already been suffering from other underlying health conditions, and that she “took medications for hypertension, anemia, and mild renal insufficiency.” An autopsy later showed that her actual cause of death appeared to be “peritonitis with fecal contamination of the peritoneal cavity” (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00039742.htm).
Since kombucha is an alkaline-forming food rather than an acid-forming food, it is illogical to blame kombucha for this woman’s acidosis and resultant peritonitis. In actuality, it appears as though the woman’s underlying health conditions combined with her medication regimen were the actual cause of her death, and that kombucha tea was merely a last-ditch effort to restore her already-declining health.
If anything, drinking kombucha may have been the only thing actually helping this woman, as the anti-microbial, alkaline-forming cultures present in the brew are known to counteract acidosis and actually restore peritoneal function. But rather than perform due diligence and research both the incident and the history of kombucha’s safe use, the mainstream media took the bait and began propagating lies about kombucha.
March 23, 2012
By Derrell Jones
“If you want a healthy liver, the first thing to consider is to stop taking all pharmaceutical drugs.” –KTRN
The issue of weight is a prevalent source of discontent especially in western cultures. It seems that we have woken up and realized that weight control is about much more than keeping up appearances. Obesity rates have skyrocketed along with the associated adverse health conditions. Each year more and more people choose to eat right and exercise but still struggle with weight issues and chronic degenerative conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, etc. A seldom-discussed yet extremely important aspect of weight loss is liver function. Traditional diets see-saw between high fat, nutritionally void foods and weight loss gimmicks and products that actually causes people to gain weight in the long run. In the middle of all this is a liver that grows, quite literally, fattier and more sluggish by the day.
The liver has two distinct and highly important functions. First, it is the body’s chief blood detoxifier. Secondly, the liver is the body’s primary fat metabolizer. Once the liver becomes sluggish and fatty it performs neither job well and we begin to pack on the pounds in earnest and have great difficulty losing the weight once it is on.
What are some causes of a fatty liver
A high fat diet (primarily animal fat) will most likely cause the liver to malfunction over time. Animal fats tend to contain toxic materials that were trapped by the animals body. When we ingest these fats the toxins are released in the liver where they have the ability to cause damage, inducing poor liver function.
Another cause of fatty liveris artificial sweetener use. Artificial sweeteners have been touted by industry as a zero calorie marvel that will help consumers reduce calories and lose weight. What is not revealed is that artificial sweeteners generally lead to long term weight gain. How, do you ask? Artificial sweeteners completely bypass the normal digestive stages and are immediately taken into the liver. The liver basically shuts down all other metabolic processes, including metabolizing fat, to contend with the sweetener. The fats in the liver are either released – without being fully metabolized – into the blood stream to be stored as unprocessed material or theyattachthemselves to the liver. Either way,this is bad news for your weight and health.
An additional prevalent culprit behind fatty liveris excessive alcohol use. Before the alcohol causes cirrhosis it makes the liver fatty, which is the beginning of the road to dysfunctional health and weight gain.
March 21, 2012
By Ethan A. Huff
“Think you’ve heard it all? Pretty soon, psychiatrists are going to call racism a mental disorder so big pharma can create a drug for it.” –KTRN
There is no doubt that soon there will be a pharmaceutical drug for every condition, feeling, emotion, and sentiment, as drugs that supposedly treat perceived notions of racism or racial preference are already in the works. Researchers from Oxford University in the U.K. recently conducted a study they claim illustrates the alleged racism-curing benefits of certain heart medications that lower blood pressure and ease anxiety.
Birthed out of an apparent curiosity as to whether or not heart medications that target areas of the brain responsible for dealing with emotions and fear could also address racism, Dr. Sylvia Terbeck and her colleagues decided to conduct a study. Using 36 “white” people as test subjects, Dr. Terbeck and her team administered propranolol, a blood pressure and heart medication, to half the group, and a placebo to the other half.
From there, the team asked the two groups to fill out a questionnaire about which racial groups they liked and disliked, and also had both groups take an “Implicit Association Test.” This particular test involved evaluating the participants’ thought processes, both conscious and subconscious, as they concerned various images, words, and concepts related to racial groups.
January 27, 2012
by Anastasia Stephens, SMH
It’s a piece of advice yogis have given for thousands of years: take a deep breath and relax. Watch the tension melt from your muscles and all your niggling worries vanish. Somehow we all know that relaxation is good for us.
Now the hard science has caught up: a comprehensive scientific study showing that deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level has just been published. What researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered is that, in long-term practitioners of relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, far more ”disease-fighting genes” were active, compared to those who practised no form of relaxation.
In particular, they found genes that protect from disorders such as pain, infertility, high blood pressure and even rheumatoid arthritis were switched on. The changes, say the researchers, were induced by what they call ”the relaxation effect”, a phenomenon that could be just as powerful as any medical drug but without the side effects. ”We found a range of disease-fighting genes were active in the relaxation practitioners that were not active in the control group,” Dr Herbert Benson, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the research, says. The good news for the control group with the less-healthy genes is that the research didn’t stop there.
The experiment, which showed just how responsive genes are to behaviour, mood and environment, revealed that genes can switch on, just as easily as they switch off. ”Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practising relaxation methods every day,” says Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London’s BodyMind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. ”After two months, their bodies began to change: the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer all began to switch on.”
More encouraging still, the benefits of the relaxation effect were found to increase with regular practice: the more people practised relaxation methods such as meditation or deep breathing, the greater their chances of remaining free of arthritis and joint pain with stronger immunity, healthier hormone levels and lower blood pressure. Benson believes the research is pivotal because it shows how a person’s state of mind affects the body on a physical and genetic level. It might also explain why relaxation induced by meditation or repetitive mantras is considered to be a powerful remedy in traditions such as Ayurveda in India or Tibetan medicine.
November 3, 2011
BY DR. AXE
Sleep is one of the most undervalued essential practices in modern society. In 1910, an average night’s sleep was 9 hours. By 1975, it was down to 7.5 hours. From 2000 to 2002, polls found that it had fallen to 6.9 hours. Today, many people average just 5-6 hours of sleep per night.
At the same time, obesity rates have doubled! Sleep and the neuroendocrine system are intricately entwined. Chronic lack of sleep is thought to be linked to diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss. Lack of sleep increases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
A recent study by the University of Chicago found that cutting sleep from 8 hours to 4 hours a night for less than one week produced physiological changes that resembled the effects of advanced aging and early diabetes.
Those changes happened in less than one week!
The study’s participants took 40% longer to regulate their blood-sugar levels after eating and their ability to secrete insulin and respond to it decreased by 30%.
Lack of sleep affects the secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone and increased levels of the “stress hormone,” cortisol.
The study found that recovery occurred and above-average functioning occurred when the subjects slept more than 8 hours a night.
December 22, 2011
By Alice Park
There are several ways doctors predict your vulnerability to heart disease, among them: cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and weight. Now a new study adds another measure to the list — your pulse rate.
Researchers in Norway analyzed data on nearly 30,000 men and women, and found that those whose resting heart rates increased over time were more likely to die from heart disease. The participants were healthy, with no history of heart conditions, and agreed to have their resting heart rates measured twice, 10 years apart, in 1984-86 and again in 1995-97.
Those whose resting pulse crept from under 70 beats per minute at the first reading to more than 85 beats per minute at the second measurement were twice as likely to die over a 12-year follow-up, compared with people resting heart rate remained below 70 beats.
People who started out with pulse rates between 70 and 85 beats per minute were also at risk of heart-related death; if their heart rates rose beyond 85 beats per minute by the second reading, they had an 80% increased risk of dying from heart disease, compared with people whose heart rates remained stable.
The opposite effect emerged in people whose heart rates dropped over time: those whose resting heart rate started out at 70 to 85 beats per minute and fell to less than 70 beats at the second reading were 40% less likely to die of heart disease than those who maintained their pulse rates.
Many factors go into your resting heart rate, including your weight, blood pressure, the medications you take and how much you exercise. Whether you are standing up or lying down when you take your reading can also affect pulse (that’s why your heart may race a bit when you first get up in the morning). Experts say healthy adults can have pulse rates ranging from 60 to 100 beats per minute. Elite athletes typically have lower heart rates, around 40 beats per minute because of their better heart fitness.
December 21, 2011
By Dr. Mike Evans
Illustrated by Liisa Sorsa
Produced, directed, and filmed by Nick De Pencier
A Doctor-Professor answers the old question “What is the single best thing we can do for our health” in a completely new way. Dr. Mike Evans is founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.
December 20, 2011
Dr. Ben Kim
By Dr. Ben Kim
As a follow-up to my outline of the three most important determinants of cardiovascular health, this post reviews six reliable measures of how healthy your heart is.
Clearly, it’s not practical or even possible for some people to track all six measures on a regular basis. But tracking one or even a few of the following measures once a year is recommended if you want to have some idea of how healthy your heart is.
The amount of adipose tissue (fat) that’s found around your waistline is strongly correlated with your risk of suffering a cardiovascular accident.
A study published in Circulation indicates that having even a small amount of fat in the abdominal region increases risk of experiencing heart failure.
A study published in Stroke indicates that even when hypertension, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking are accounted for, people with excess fat tissue around their midsection have a higher-than-average risk of experiencing a stroke.
You can calculate your body mass index to track your body fat relative to your height and weight, but it’s far easier to keep an eye on your waistline. The less excess fat tissue you have around your belly, the lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
2. Blood Pressure
Chronic high blood pressure (systolic or diastolic) can injure the inner walls of your blood vessels, which can trigger scar tissue formation that can contribute to clogged vessels. Repeated bouts of injury and scar tissue formation can decrease the lumen size of your blood vessels, which elevates your risk of suffering congestive heart failure or a stroke.
For a comprehensive look at blood pressure and what you can do to promote a healthy range now and over the long term, please view:
Understanding Blood Pressure
3. Blood Sugar
Having a chronically high blood sugar level is like having thick molasses or maple syrup clogging up your circulatory system. Over time, high blood sugar leads to less delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your cells, and less removal of carbon dioxide and other wastes from your cells.
In short, chronic high blood sugar increases your risk of experiencing nerve damage, congestive heart failure, stroke, and all of the other health challenges associated with diabetes.
For a comprehensive look at blood sugar and blood insulin, including recommendations on how to keep both in healthy ranges, please view:
Blood Sugar & Insulin: The Essentials
December 1, 2011
By Vera Tweed
“When consuming whey, make sure to check the ingredients. Some whey protein has artificial colors and flavorings. It’s also important to look at the sugar levels and if the whey comes from cows not treated with growth hormone. Get your whey at a health food store and read the label. Avoid GNC.” –KTRN
If there’s a bullet among proteins, whey is the one. Studies have shown that it helps the human body stay lean, maintain a healthy heart, reduce risk for diabetes, and boost our resistance to illness.
According to reviews of available research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and Alternative Medicine Review, whey enhances the human body’s production of glutathione—our most important internal antioxidant—which increases our ability to withstand toxic assaults from the environment and even slows down the aging process. Glutathione is difficult to absorb as a supplement, but your body can make its own from whey.
Whey can help you stay lean because it’s rich in the branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which preserve muscle and help it grow. Research shows that in a weight-loss program, whey can lead to greater loss of body fat than other proteins.
In addition, whey helps control inflammation and aids the immune system in resisting bacterial and viral infection. Individual studies have also found that it improves bone growth, blood pressure, cholesterol, mood, blood sugar, and wound healing.
Whey can also help us deal with day-to-day stress. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that whey with high tryptophan content improved mental reaction time in people with high stress levels. The tryptophan in whey also improves mood, sleep, and morning alertness—benefits most of us would appreciate.