Saturday, July 08, 2006

Only Some Vitamins Have Clear Benefit

A federal panel reviewed the research on vitamin supplements, and concluded that there's not enough evidence to either support or dispute their benefit. Only three vitamins have proven to have a clear protective benefit:

  1. Folic acid (taken by pregnant women to prevent birth defects)

  2. A combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and the minerals copper and zinc (for the reduction of macular degeneration)

  3. Calcium and vitamin D (for reducing the risk of bone fractures)

So much more research needs to be done to make more conclusions. My general recommendation for now: A multivitamin that gives you 100% DV is probably good insurance, but since some studies show no benefit from vitamins, and even negative side effects from too much of some vitamins, don't over-do it! Try to get the majority of your nutrients from the foods you eat. There are clear benefits from eating more fruits and vegetables, but we haven't been able to isolate all the benefits and put them in a pill!

Committed to your health,

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Secondhand Smoke Suffocates

The surgeon general released a report that should convince anyone who thinks it's just a theory that secondhand smoke kills, that it's a real threat. In surgeon general Richard H Carmona's words: "The scientific evidence is now indisputable: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and non-smoking adults."

Some of the findings:

  • Your chance of getting lung cancer increases 20 to 30 percent if you live with a smoker.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent.
  • Children exposed to second hand smoke are at increased risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), respiratory infections, asthma, slower lung growth and ear problems.

California has been a leader in banning smoking in public places, so now most secondhand smoke exposure is occurring in people's homes, or cars. Assemblyman Paul Koretz, D-West Hollywood, jumped at the opportunity of the recent press to introduce a bill that would allow police officers to stop and cite drivers smoking with children under the age of 6 in the car.

I think it's important to keep our children healthy, even at the expense of the personal freedom of smoking. What do you think? Is it going too far?

Committed to your health,

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Quick Tylenol Warning

Today the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that shows the maximum dose of Tylenol recommended (4 g daily, or two 500 mg pills every six hours) elevates liver enzymes to levels that could cause liver damage. Enzyme levels even kept increasing 4 days after they stopped taking acetaminophen, and didn't return to normal for as long as 11 days. Please use caution and moderation!

Committed to your health,

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Causes for Obesity, or Just Correlations?

A study appearing in the International Journal of Obesity looks at 10 factors that might be adding to the obesity epidemic.

  1. Sleep deprivation.
  2. Pollution and chemicals.
  3. Heating and air conditioning use.
  4. Decreased smoking rates.
  5. Use of steriods, antidepressants & contraceptives.
  6. An aging population.
  7. Children being born to older women.
  8. Genetics.
  9. Higher fertility rates among overweight women.
  10. Attraction to similar body types.

Yeah, I agree these factors might be contributing to our society's weight gain, although inactivity and huge junk food portions have to be bigger contributors. So what's the solution? EXERCISE and EATING HEALTHY!!!

  1. Sleep deprivation? Exercise helps you sleep better.
  2. Pollution and chemicals? Exercise helps purge toxins out of your body, and foods full of antioxidants (fruits and vegetables) help combat the cellular damage and hormone disruption of pollution and chemicals.
  3. Heating and air conditioning use? Exercise (especially strength training) helps you regulate your temperature better so you need to depend on external means of finding comfort less.
  4. Decreased smoking rates? Exercise and eating healthy helps offset possible weight gain.
  5. Use of steriods, antidepressants & contraceptives? Exercise and eating healthy may not be able to fully offset medication effects. Talk with your physician about alternatives that may not have weight-gain side effects.
  6. An aging population? No! It's being sedentary and losing muscle that contributes to weight gain, not age by itself. Strength train to keep up your muscle mass and metabolism.
  7. Children being born to older women? A correlation. An active and healthy lifestyle with less TV, video games and junk food should prevent obesity in children.
  8. Genetics? Maybe, but genetics can only give you a predisposition to a certain weight, not determine it. Exercise and eating healthy still work.
  9. Higher fertility rates among slightly overweight women? I believe this is skewed because underweight women may not be able to conceive.
  10. Attraction to similar body types? Start exercising and eating well, and attract those who do also!

So we already knew the problem... and the solution. Let's take this new information, and just let it add to our motivation to be solution oriented!


Committed to your health,