Monday, March 31, 2008

Fat Belly? Protect your brain now....

Today's post: Monday, 3-31-2008

If you’ve seen the health news recently (It even made our local newspaper.) or read our blog post last Friday, you’ve seen the study reported that fat or pot bellied people were found to have much more risk of Alzheimer’s disease & other forms of dementia.

Normal weight people or almost normal weight overweight people who had fat bellies were more at risk than other people of the same weight.

Fat (or obese) people were at greater risk. But even here, having a particularly fat belly multiplied your risk.

That’s the bad news. And, the data I’ve seen suggests it’s likely to be true & correct.

But the good news is that if you use the info in this post, you can protect your brain even if your belly is fat now. Plus using some of the info in this post will also make your belly less fat.

1. Many of the causes of fat bellies DO put your brain at risk. But, if you reverse the causes, you will protect your brain even if you don’t shrink your belly much.

2. There are some powerful things you can also do that protect your brain regardless of the risks or how fat your belly is.

Let’s take the first one first:

1. Many of the causes of fat bellies DO put your brain at risk. But, if you reverse the causes, you will protect your brain even if you don’t shrink your belly much.

a) People who get no exercise fail to renew their brain cells. New research shows that exercise literally grows new brain cells & brain cell interconnections.

People who don’t exercise get fat & get fatter bellies. And, people who don’t exercise fail to renew their brains. But research has found that even people who are still fat who get regular exercise are healthier than skinny people who do not.

All you need to do if you have not been exercising is to start exercising regularly each week. Then your brain cells will be continuously re-grown which will help prevent you from developing dementia. This has the added benefit that if you don’t eat more calories when you exercise than you did before you started & include strength training, your belly will also get less fat.

And, you can do more to make this renewal process work. If you take DHA supplements --or, if you take purified fish oil supplements or eat high omega 3 wild caught fish or both which are high in DHA, the DHA has been found to have the same effect in growing new brain cells as exercise.

So, if you have a fat belly & both get regular exercise and take plenty of DHA, you’ll get substantial protection.

b) Too much stress tends to cause people to eat too many “reward” foods that are high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup and transfats. And, it also releases cortisol, particularly if the stress is severe or prolonged. Both of these results tend to make your belly fat. And, both the excessive blood sugar levels from one & the excessive cortisol from the other also tend to damage your brain or the blood vessels that supply it.

So, make an effort to prevent or overcome or escape or deal with stressing events without getting so stressed.

And, if you do get overstressed, use other means to relieve your stress with social support, tai chi, yoga, & breathing exercises all being much less likely to harm you & fatten your tummy than eating more & more of junky foods.

And, make an enormous effort to eat more health OK foods that you like & NOT turn to the junky “reward” foods when you are under stress.

c) People who don’t exercise, eat foods bad for their health, & even those who eat health Ok foods but too many that are high in carbohydrates all tend to get blood sugar levels that are too high.

You can only tell if this is happening to you enough to warrant taking massive action to fix if you get your fasting blood glucose & HBA1C tested from time to time.

If your fasting blood glucose is much above 100 or your HBA1C is much above 5.8, you need to exercise more & eat better, consuming far fewer carbohydrates & sugars.

This will both tend to shrink your fat tummy & protect your brain.

d) You also should get your triglycerides tested. If they are higher than your HDL cholesterol which you should test at the same time, you are at significant risk for heart attacks, strokes, & other cardiovascular diseases, specifically including reduced blood flow to your brain.

(If you smoke, quit. It has a strong & severe multiplier effect on all these risks.)

The good news is that the same cures will bring down your triglycerides. Regular exercise, eating abundant nonstarchy vegetables & lean protein foods & health OK fats while eating far fewer carbohydrates & sugars will bring down your triglyceride levels.

So will taking DHA supplements & taking purified fish oil supplements or eating high omega 3 wild caught fish or both.

In addition, eating lots of onions will both bring down your triglyceride level & boost your HDL which moves both measures in the desired direction at the same time.

2. There are some powerful things you can also do that protect your brain regardless of the risks or how fat your belly is.

Taking Curcumin or turmeric supplements & taking PS or phosphatidyl serine supplements also tends to protect your brain & prevent dementia.

Taking DHA (or taking purified fish oil supplements or eating high omega 3 wild caught fish or both which are high in DHA) helps your brain build new cells & interconnections.

So, even without or before upgrading to a lifestyle with regular exercise & eating right, you can take these supplements that will protect your brain.

Staying mentally active from following the news, learning new things, or doing things like playing cards or solving chess or crossword puzzles also is protective.

Socializing is also protective. Your perceived stress level will be lower & new research shows you also give your brain quite a workout when you do !!

If YOU have a fat belly, why not do as many of these things as you can?

If you do, you’ll protect your brain & avoid dementia. And, with luck & extra effort, you will also shrink your fat belly.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Health OK & NOT OK sweeteners....

Today's post: Friday, 3-28-2008

Healthy people who get enough exercise can eat whole fruit & handle occasional sugar or honey, perhaps one to four times a week.

(One of the first health experts to publicize that exercise improves your body’s ability to process sugar & other carbohydrates & handle them safely was exercise specialist, Dr. Kenneth Cooper.)

And, if the sugar is in the form of honey a few times a year, you also have the intake of sugars humans evolved to eat.

Unfortunately, people who have sedentary work & get virtually no exercise tend to get fat & develop high levels & spikes of glucose & resulting diseases if they eat many carbohydrates, particularly if the carbohydrates are sugars or are eaten or drunk without fiber &/or protein taken in at the same time.

So, in today’s world, it pays to avoid all refined grains, high fructose corn syrup, & most sugar. And, since we no longer get the daily exercise built in to our normal activities that people got until a few decades ago, in order to eat ANY sugar safely, it’s critical that we get abundant regular exercise each week.

How about diet soft drinks & artificial noncaloric sweeteners?

They tend to induce overeating of other carbohydrate foods & may also cause metabolic problems. Most people who eat them in any quantity have been shown to develop the same diseases & often get even MORE fat than people who take in sugar.

Further, it’s now known that nonstarchy vegetables, health OK protein foods, & moderate amounts of health OK fats don’t make you fat. But virtually all carbohydrates not in vegetables or whole fruit or nuts or beans do tend to make you fat.

A recent issue of the email had two very interesting articles on these issues. So did a recent issue to

Taken together, these articles show why artificial noncaloric sweeteners tend to be unsafe, some natural ones may be safe (or at least much safer) & how very low carbohydrate intake needs to be for people who want to keep excess fat off their bodies.

I include them next & then will add my comments on them.

“This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit”

How to Get Your Sweet Fix Without Sabotaging Your Health

By Shane "The People's Chemist" Ellison

If you could make one simple change in your diet to help you melt fat, sleep better, and improve your memory... wouldn't you do it? What if that same simple dietary change could increase your energy, conquer depression, save your eyesight, restore your mental alertness, get your bedroom energy rockin', and increase your lifespan?
This may sound too good to be true. But it's not. And you don't have to take drugs. Nor do you have to try some newfangled experimental supplements. Or stop eating. Or even give up the foods you love.

It's as simple as reducing the amount of sugar you eat.

This is not a trick. I said you don't have to give up the foods you love. And that includes sweets. You can actually give up sugar and keep your sweet tooth happy. This is the greatest health secret of all time. And I'm gonna teach you how to incorporate it into your life.

Before I tell you how, I want you to know just why you should give up sugar.
It's not just because of all the aforementioned benefits. It's because sugar can have serious health consequences.

Have you ever been plagued by hard-to-diagnose health problems? You know something is wrong, but your doctor can't seem to figure out what's causing them? You...

• can't lose weight, no matter how hard you exercise or diet
• feel depressed, even though you're typically a happy person
• can't get a solid night's sleep
• feel sluggish at work
• lack mental focus
• have lost your libido
• suffer from rising blood pressure

Well, it's not all in your head. It could be your sugar addiction.

My six-year-old can recite all the dangers of sucrose (table sugar) in a matter of two minutes. She can also warn you of the risks associated with those artificial sweeteners in pretty packets. And because she still likes to get her "sweet fix," she can tell you which natural sweeteners are best to use in tea, cookies, and cake. Not bad, considering that the self-appointed custodians of our health - physicians - are totally clueless about the sweetener epidemic that is sabotaging us.

If a first grader can master the problems with sugar and understand how to choose the right alternatives, you can too.

We all have the need to get a sweet fix. It's part of our biological makeup. When consumed, sweets elicit a chemical cascade of events that lead to the triggering of feel-good receptors within the brain. If this happens repeatedly, an emotional bond between happiness and sugar is formed. We become fully dependent on sweets.

Sugar addiction is best illustrated by children who break down with temper tantrums if not given sugar, women who consume chocolate in times of stress, and men who suck down soda to make it through the "afternoon blues." In a study comparing the addictive properties of sweeteners, saccharin and sucrose proved more addictive than cocaine!

The irony is that your body doesn't actually need any sugar. What you do need is glucose for energy. And you can obtain it from fruit and vegetables.

If left unchecked, an addiction to sweets spikes blood sugar and the fat-storing hormone insulin, disrupts satiety (causing users to overeat), and gives rise to age-accelerating molecules known as AGE products (advanced glycation end products). These aging molecules are responsible for causing wrinkles and age-related blindness, as well as premature heart attacks and stroke.

Over time, "sweetener addiction" leads to the hard-to-diagnose symptoms listed above, and a host of dreaded diseases like insulin resistance, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. To avoid the sabotage, you must understand how to get your sweet fix without becoming addicted.

Years ago, people didn't eat much sugar - as little as 10-15 pounds per year. And their health was much better for it. As time passed and sugar production became easier, people gave into their sweet cravings and began to overindulge. Today, the average consumption of sugar is a whopping 160 pounds! It's suicide in slow motion. Sugar addicts eliminate 11-20 years from their lifespan.

Few people realize how much sugar they are putting into their body. They are simply giving into an addiction while slowly ruining their health. To judge whether or not you are at risk, read your food labels for one day and count how many grams of sugar you are eating. Insert that number into my People's Chemist Death by Sugar Calculator. Watch as the graph calculates how many pounds of sugar you are stuffing into your mouth annually.

But that doesn't mean you should replace sucrose with artificial sweeteners to get your sweet fix. Artificial sweeteners are nothing more than drugs in disguise. Splenda is a perfect example.

Splenda contains the drug sucralose. Invented in a pesticide lab, this chemical is 600 times sweeter than sugar. To make sucralose, chlorine is used. Chlorine has a split personality. It can be harmless or it can be life threatening. In combo with sodium, chlorine forms a harmless ionic bond to yield table salt. When used with carbon, the chlorine atom in sucralose forms a covalent bond. The end result is deadly organochlorine, known simply as RNFOC (a Really Nasty Form of Chlorine). Unlike ionic bonds, covalently bound chlorines are a big no-no for the human body. They yield insecticides, pesticides, and herbicides - not something you want in your sports drink or your child's lunchbox.

Think aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet) is safe?

Think again. As an organic chemistry teaching assistant, I taught my students how to identify the active ingredients in soda using a technique known as TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography). The byproducts of sodas containing aspartame are all known poisons (that would slowly kill you): methanol, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. I never saw my students with a diet soda after that.

Safe alternatives to artificial sweeteners are abundant: erythritol, stevia, agave, xylitol and luo han guo.

Choosing which natural sweetener to use depends on which one tastes best to you. Agave nectar usually wins. It stimulates taste buds exactly the same way sucrose does. But unlike common table sugar, very little of its active ingredient - inulin - is absorbed. Therefore, you are protected from the dangers of sugar addiction.
As a "nectar," agave is a bit harder to bake with. This is where erythritol wins.
All natural sweeteners are known to help control appetite, keep insulin and blood sugar low, and prevent the formation of AGE products. None of them are addicting, nor will they diminish your lifespan.

Getting your sweet fix doesn't have to be deadly. If you learn to gauge your sugar intake with The People's Chemist Death by Sugar Calculator and start using natural sweeteners, you won't be plagued by hard-to-diagnose health problems. And you'll have more years to enjoy life and those you love.

[Ed. Note: Shane Ellison ( is an author, organic chemist, and contributor to ETR's free natural health newsletter. He is an internationally recognized authority on therapeutic nutrition and the founder of The AM-PM Fat Loss Discovery package.


I have only tried Stevia & luo han guo. The product I once tasted with luo han guo tasted as if real sugar had been used. I find Stevia to be overwhelmingly marshmallow flavored & maybe even a bit off for a marshmallow flavoring.

Also, erythritol & xylitol are what are called “sugar alcohols” & when eaten in large amounts give some people gas. They may be just fine tho for smaller amounts.

Also, I think people are much more likely to be healthy if they have very few sweetened food treats. And, it may turn out to be that these natural sweeteners might cause you to overeat just as the artificial ones do.

So, my take on it is to eat only occasionally sweet treats, get a LOT of exercise, & either use real sugar or use sweetening a bit sparingly in the recipes if you cook, & use half real sugar & half one of these natural very low calorie sweeteners.


Next are the two articles from :

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise’s Total Health Breakthroughs which offers alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription, visit"

The following two articles were both in their
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 edition.

Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Brain Lesions...and Alzheimer's

By James LaValle, R.Ph, CCN, ND

Over the years of working with patients, I have found people really fear losing their mind to dementia or Alzheimer's. Now, two new studies show that Metabolic Syndrome may be a risk factor of these dreaded conditions.1-2

Why? Because at the core of Metabolic Syndrome is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance goes on to become belly fat. Belly fat releases inflammatory chemicals that create the oxidative free radicals that damage our artery linings and LDL cholesterol, and create lesions in the brain. These lesions may become a precursor to stroke, dementia, or Alzheimer's disease.3-4

Armed with this information, any of us would be foolish not get serious about taking care of our health. Here's what you can do today to lower your risk of Metabolic Syndrome.

1. Eat a low carb diet: Don't eat more than 80 to 100 grams of carbs per day. Most carbs should be from abundant non-starchy vegetables -- so put down the potatoes!

2. Recondition your insulin receptors: The following supplements that are easy to obtain and affordable can help improve insulin sensitivity: chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, and zinc.

3. Exercise: Walk, run, workout, take the stairs...just get out and get some exercise. Many studies show that vigorous exercise will improve Metabolic Syndrome by creating a need for all the glucose building up in the blood stream. But take note that in our clinic I have seen many who cannot lose weight despite intense exercise. This is a sure sign that nutrients are lacking that are needed by insulin and insulin receptors as discussed in number 2.

4. Stress Management: For many people, stress plays a major role in insulin resistance. Controlling the stress hormones that are promoting insulin resistance is vitally important. Relora®, holy basil, and rhodiola are well-studied supplements shown to alleviate stress symptoms themselves and help prevent their unwanted side effects.

Remember that diet, exercise, and well-chosen supplements should be our treatment of choice. Prescriptions that are often used for the pre-conditions of diabetes and heart disease are risky (unless there is an already dangerously high blood pressure or blood sugar present). These meds can even hasten our path toward the very diseases we are trying to prevent by depleting essential nutrients from our body. (See Total Health Breakthroughs article, "Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion" in the February 1 issue.)

1. Bokura H, et al. Stroke. 2008 Mar 6.2
2. Lazaros L, et al Acta Neurol Scand. 2008 Mar;117(3):186-90. Epub 2007 Sep 14.
3. Park K, et al. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2008 Feb 12.
4. Park JH, et al. Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2008 Mar;110(3):215-21.
Epub 2007 Dec 4.

[Ed. Note: Jim LaValle is an educator, clinician and industry consultant in the field of integrative healthcare. He is a licensed pharmacist, board certified clinical nutritionist and doctor of naturopathic medicine with more than 20 years clinical practice experience in the field of natural therapeutics and functional medicine. Named one of the "50 Most Influential Druggists" by American Druggist for his work in natural medicine, LaValle has authored 13 books, including his latest, Cracking the Metabolic Code.

Healthy Living:

The Wrong Diet Can Raise Your Cardio-Metabolic Risks

By Laura LaValle, RD, LD

Americans are experiencing a shocking epidemic of health problems from insulin resistance and the Metabolic Syndrome that it leads to. It's even more shocking that many mainstream doctors are still recommending diets that are making these conditions even worse!

Here's why. A number of studies over the last few years have shown that lower carb diets are superior for control of insulin resistance and its related conditions like Metabolic Syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and high-risk cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Low-carb diets that are higher in protein and healthy fats have been shown to drastically improve the components of Metabolic Syndrome while promoting weight loss.1-5

And...they have been shown to help maintain a better metabolic rate than conventional low calorie diets.7

Yet conventional medical circles still won't recommend lower carb diets, favoring instead, low calorie, low-fat diets. This is despite the fact that studies show that conventional diets containing 50-60% of calories as carbs, not only make Metabolic Syndrome worse,6 they lower resting energy expenditure, slowing the metabolism even further.7 (This is especially true for diets containing carbs that are high on the glycemic index)8. As resting energy expenditure is lowered, it becomes harder and harder to maintain long term weight loss and control Metabolic Syndrome.

The bottom line is that conventional diets are not effective and may be setting people up for long term failure when it comes to controlling weight and insulin resistance. Low-carb higher protein diets on the other hand are effective for maintaining weight loss and controlling Metabolic Syndrome. They have even been shown to be effective in people who have progressed to type 2 diabetes.

While many mainstream practitioners are still stubbornly adhering to a low-fat, higher carb diet, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. In one published study, the authors concluded that recommending traditional diets such as the American Heart Association Diet is in error for Metabolic Syndrome.6 And in another, the authors recommend focusing on reducing high glycemic foods rather than on restricting fat as a means to improving metabolic and cardiovascular health.9

At the LaValle Metabolic Institute, we have been recommending a 25 to 30%
carbohydrate diet for years, based on some of the early research and the positive results we see in practice. If you have insulin resistance or any signs of it, you should make this dietary change as fast as you can to lower your cardio-metabolic risk!

1. Guiterrez, et al. JACN 1998;17(6) 595-600.
2. McAuley, et al. Diabetologia (2005) 48:8-16
3. JAMA. 2007;297:921.
4. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87;114-25
5. Luscombe-Marsh, et al. AJCN 81(4);762-772 Apr. 2005
6. Volek J, Feinman R. Nutr and Metab 2005,2:31
7. Pereira, MA, et al. JAMA 292:2482-2490
8. Arch Int Med, July 24, 2006
9. Hu F. Health Editorial J A Coll Cardiol 2007;50:22-24.

[Ed. Note: Laura B. LaValle, RD, LD is presently the director of dietetics nutrition at LaValle Metabolic Institute (formerly part of Living Longer Institute). She offers personal nutritional counseling at LMI for clients who need help with their diet in relation to illness or disease. Laura also provides educational services in the areas of health promotion, wellness, and disease prevention. “


The study on how people with fat bellies are more likely to develop dementia in later life is something that deserves its own post on how to protect your brain if your have a fat belly.

The study proves it’s important to do that. I’ll cover other reasons that this effect exists & the several effective ways to turn off this effect & keep your brain working well anyway.

80 to 100 mg a day of ALL carbohydrates means no grains, not even whole grains, no sugar or sweets containing it, only ONE piece of whole fruit & possibly not every day, & no milk.

Jon Benson, see , now sells a book that promotes eating this way but just every other day.

And, Tim Ferris who eats mostly this way, does take one day a week off. He also used eating this way plus cutting out half his normal calories one day a week.

Over time the half calories one day a week idea will lose most people 1/14th of their bodyweight as fat, particularly if they exercise & do strength training each week & eat a higher protein, moderate fat, & low moderate carbohydrate diet the rest of the time.

I like these strict on some days of the week & healthy eating but less strict on carbohydrates some other days a week is a much less restrictive & sustainable way to take fat off & keep it off than doing it every day.

I tried Tim Ferris’s idea of a half calorie day with almost no carbohydrates besides nonstarchy vegetables, pinto beans, & nuts and with extra protein. I found it quite doable because I ate a LOT of nonstarchy vegetables & my normal amount of pinto beans, & nuts. That, plus the extra protein kept me from being hungry. And, I still cut out 70 % of my carbohydrate intake & cut my calories in half.

Since , I found it doable, I’ll keep doing this almost every Thursday for several weeks to see if it makes the predicted difference.

And, I’ll post the results here.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

EXERCISE slows aging....

Today's post: Thursday, 3-27-2008

We’ve already done posts on how exercise has been found to trigger the growth of new brain cells & how it protects you from things like heart disease than can slash your energy level or even kill you.

We even have posted that exercise probably helps keep your body well repaired which would tend to slow aging or its effects -- because when you exercise, particularly in & after strength training, your body releases testosterone & growth hormone. (And, yes studies DO show regular exercise improve the sex lives of both men & women.)

We’ve even posted that it was recently found that exercise helps lower your homocysteine levels & that keeping your homocysteine low enough to be in the desirable range slows aging.

But, as powerful as all those effects are, the information I got recently is astounding.

A new study has found that exercise directly slows aging at the cellular level -- which likely means in every part of your body.

Last Sunday, 3-23-2008, the San Francisco Chronicle in its STYLE section had an article with the title: “Exercise as a Fountain of Youth.”

The main cause of aging seems to be that the telomeres at the ends of each strand of your DNA gradually get shorter which gradually results in less accurate copies as your body replaces each cell.

So, if you can reduce or prevent this, you also tend to slow or reverse aging.

It’s already known that excessive stress tends to shorten telomeres and that taking 1,000 mg a day or more of vitamin C tends to prevent your telomeres from shortening.

This recent article reports research that regular exercise tends to prevent your telomeres from shortening & that you can slow aging by up to 9 years or more by exercising.

Here is a brief quote.: “A recent study down in Britain followed sets of twins and looked at their activity level. Their findings confirmed that the twin who exercised more had longer telomeres than the one who didn’t – and was as much as nine years “younger.” ….”

Apparently the average person of a given age has certain telomere lengths & by that measure the twins who exercised more had longer telomeres & were therefore less aged.

Or in even plainer language the twins who exercised least or not at all aged faster.

I’ve said for some time that if people really knew what good things regular exercise did FOR them & what bad things not exercising did TO them, very few people would get no exercise -- & almost everyone would exercise.

Now you can add how fast you age to the list of effects of how much or how little you exercise has on you.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The causes of obesity ARE obvious....

Today's post: Tuesday, 3-25-2008

Recently I saw a headline suggesting that the causes of the recent upsurge in obesity rates are not obvious.

Since they ARE obvious, I immediately read the article & decided to do today’s post.

The article actually was about the fact that, for policy makers, how to reverse the trend was not obvious or an easy question to answer. THAT there is actually some truth to.

But the causes themselves ARE obvious.

1. Until 60 or seventy years ago, very few people owned cars or relied on them for transport. So they walked or walked to & from public transit. Now increasingly in many countries people drive or ride in cars.

Then only some of the richer people failed to get the minimum amount of exercise to support good health. Everyone else tended to do so just from the walking they did. And, that alone made them lighter & less fat than people today.

2. Until 60 or seventy years ago people read or talked or played physical games or did something active while listening to the radio.

Now most people tend to use most of that same recreational time to watch TV, an activity almost always done sitting down. Sitting a lot tends to make you fat. And, watching TV induces you to sit so still it actually burns significantly less calories than lying in bed asleep !!

The evidence is in & has been for some time. The more hours a week a person watches TV, the fatter they tend to be. So when the average went from zero to twenty hours a week, the effects have been large & larger, fatter people.

3. Until 60 or seventy years ago people ate beef & poultry or consumed dairy products from animals that were all or at least largely pasture fed.

Now these animals are not only fed but over fed grain. So, the food people eat is higher in fat & saturated fat than it was then. Even worse in some ways for health is that the fat is higher in omega 6 oils & has virtually no omega 3 oils. These changes also have made these foods cheaper, so people tend to eat more. Both of these changes increase caloric intake & make people today fatter.

4. Until 20 to 40 years ago or less, sweet foods had real sugar. And, there were freshness problems with food that had been on the shelf too long.

Until very recently, this was changed to sweetening many if not most grocery store & commercially provided foods with high fructose corn syrup & substituting trans fats, or transfats, (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) for more natural fats like butter.

We now know that this tends to increase people’s appetites & give them type II diabetes & heart disease.

These developments also have tended to increase the intake by most people of refined grain foods due to their greater shelf life & improved profitability to the food companies.

These developments have made people a good bit fatter & sicker than people in the past.

Unfortunately, these food additives are not only still legal, they are still in a large percentage of grocery store food & commercially provided foods. So, you have to be quite careful, always read labels, & even deny yourself foods you may have previously liked to avoid them.

And, since many people do NOT yet know these things or give up & take what’s most convenient, at least half the people still consume them & a lot of them.

This definitely makes them fatter.

Lastly, in the last 30 years & particularly in the last 15 years, the world wide deployment of computers & internet access has made most jobs increasingly sedentary.

Then, when that accelerator was added to the previous list of things that had already happened, the percentages of people who are overweight or downright fat (obese) shot way up.

To me the cures are also pretty clear.

Every community & school should teach people these facts & how to overcome them to keep from being unnecessarily fat & to help keep themselves in good health.

Since modern work & transport is here to stay as is at least some television use, this is particularly critical in helping most people to get regular exercise.

Workplaces that now make these junk foods routinely available in the work place need to reverse course & work to eliminate them from their work places. (This is a very large, common, & so far overlooked cause of the increase in obesity.)

Grain fed animals should be gradually phased out in favor of fewer more naturally raised ones & the cheaper grain fed ones should be taxed to pay for the added medical costs they create. (The good news is that use of grains for biofuel is already having this effect to some degree.)

Lastly, as soon as food additives including high fructose corn syrup & partially or completely hydrogenated vegetable oils appear & become known for fattening or health damaging effects, they should be made illegal. In the early stages, it might work to simply tax them to the point where they cost double or triple what the more health supporting alternatives cost. Then, the same profit motive that installed them in our food would automatically remove them.

This would be a great post to comment on as most of you reading this have experienced these things first hand.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Blueberries & other foods protect your heart....

Today's post: Monday, 3-24-2008

Last week on Thursday a very interesting story was in the NewsMax Health Alerts email I get that reports research that showed that anthocyanins give your heart substantial protection.

The researchers in that story found that lab rats that had been fed anthocyanins in their food got much smaller heart attacks when the researchers triggered them on purpose than those fed with virtually no anthocyanins.

And, in human food, the foods that tend to have the most anthocyanins are berries & purple grapes. Blueberries have multiple health benefits & contain anthocyanins. Similar to this heart protective effect, eating blueberries also tends to prevent strokes.

Bilberries & the supplement bilberry extract tend to protect the capillaries in your eyes & optic nerves. Bilberries are very similar to blueberries & contain anthocyanins.

Taken together, this set of things suggests that eating such foods & taking such supplements tends to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, & heart attacks in the first place. And, this new research suggests if you do have a heart attack for other reasons, it will be significantly smaller with a much greater chance you will survive & recover. That’s double protection.

So, eating or taking blueberries, blueberry extract supplements, bilberry extract supplements , blackberries, dark purple grapes, concord grape juice & other similar foods & supplements that contain anthocyanins will protect your heart.

The researchers also stated that this class of phytonutrients called polyphenols or flavonoids may be similarly protective. That includes such foods as green tea & onions – even apples with the skin. They may be right.

Studies have found that drinking tea & green tea is protective for your heart.

Eating onions, particularly raw, boosts your HDL level by up to 20 or 30 % -- which is a very large effect. That’s quite heart protective.

And, taking aged garlic supplements &/or eating some raw garlic has been shown to keep the surface of your arteries, the endothelium, healthy & able to respond flexibly. That helps prevent or moderate high blood pressure. I’ve even seen studies reported that doing this has helped reverse plaque build up in people’s arteries. (Onions & garlic are cousins biologically. They are both high in flavonoids.)

Lastly, this information is another reason to get such foods that are organically grown if at all possible. Studies show that produce grown organically is significantly higher in flavonoids & other desirable phytonutrients than produce grown with pesticides & herbicides.

On a more practical note, I’ve found that Whole Foods Markets are a good source of organic produce. Our local Whole Foods Market carries organic frozen blueberries, organic green tea, & organic apples for example.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Dark Beer may help fight Cancer....

Today's post: Friday, 3-21-2008

Last week on Tuesday a very interesting story was in the NewsMax Health Alerts email I get that reports research suggesting dark beer may help prevent & treat cancer.

(To be more precise, an ingredient in the hops that are in dark beers is thought to do so.)

Dark beer has been shown to be heart protective -- similar to the findings for red wine.

Plus, many people like dark beer as much as I do.

But I’ve read that once you have some cancers, drinking alcohol tends to speed it up.

So I was quite pleased to read the NewsMax story.

It looks like the following are true according to the research they reported.:

Drinking dark beer may help you prevent cancer. It may not speed cancer up if you once get it as other alcoholic beverages do – or it may do so much less. And, taking hops supplements may both help prevent cancer & help treat it if you get it.

Here’s my paraphrase of their article.:

Hops, one of the more important flavoring agents in beer, contains a cancer-fighting compound called xanthohumol.

Xanthohumol is toxic to several kinds of human cancer, including prostate, ovarian, breast, and colon cancers. It inhibits enzymes that help start cancers & helps detoxify carcinogens. So it apparently slows down cancer in its early stages.

Scientists are working to produce hops that contain even more xanthohumol, and the Germans are working on making "health" beers.

Beers that have the most hops are ale, stout, & porter. Usually, the darker the beers have the most hops.

For people who don't drink beer or who want more of the active ingredient, there are apparently supplements made from hops which have the highest concentration of xanthohumol & the other potentially beneficial ingredients in hops.

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One of the best beers for this may be Guiness. It’s certainly dark enough. And, it tastes almost like medicine. Maybe in this one respect it is.

The good news is that if you don’t like Guiness, there are many different dark beers with a lot of hops. There’s likely to be a few you like. Someone who knows beers can help you identify candidates. And, in some cities there are beer bars that not only have staff who can do this for you, they can serve you the beers to taste.

My local supplement expert says that indeed his store does carry hops supplements.

But, until now he says they have been sold as inflammation reducers. Reducing chronic inflammation & lowering CRP levels by doing so may well help prevent heart disease. So hops may be an ingredient of dark beer that help it be heart protective also.

NewsMax did not identify their source for their story. But if major German brewing companies know of and are acting on the information as NewsMax reports, the research is probably legit & may well be accurate.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Statins may help cause ALS....

Today's post: Thursday, 3-19-2008

Other than the diseases that produce quick death or severe pain, ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is one of the nastiest & most scary.

You can think & feel just fine. But your nerve commands to your muscles to move simply gradually stop working. You gradually become a prisoner in an inert body you cannot move in any way. Think of a string puppet with ALL the strings cut.

Frankly, any drug that can have causing this as a side effect is one I hope never to need to take or have prescribed to me without my knowing of this side effect.

I definitely would do EVERYTHING else to treat a problem to avoid taking such a drug.

I knew that statin drugs are often unnecessary as there are better & much safer ways to protect your heart & to lower your LDL cholesterol. (I use them & my last LDL reading was 93.) And, I knew that statins tend to produce cellular damage to your mitochondria by slashing your blood levels of CoQ10 that tends to protect & energize them.

(See my earlier & related post: Why avoid statins if you can....Thursday, 2-28-2008
& my regular posts on information on how to protect your heart & increase your HDL and lower your homocysteine levels because doing so protects your heart.)

But, although I had seen a bit that statins have produced pain by causing nerve damage, I had never heard this nerve damage can also cause ALS in some people.

So, I think the following article is important.:

(This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth, and success e-zine. For a complimentary subscription, visit )

One Damn Good Reason to Avoid Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs

By Shane "The People's Chemist" Ellison, M.Sc.

I've been called a lot of things. Science Nerd... Professor... and Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Nazi are among those that can be mentioned here. The only one I'll admit to is being a Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Nazi.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) amass billions of dollars each year pretending to be a safe and effective way to protect against heart disease. Yet science shows that these drugs represent a clear and present danger to your health. In addition to lowering cholesterol, they elicit some really nasty side effects. Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS) is just one of them.

ALS occurs when cells of the nervous system (brain and spinal chord) become inactive. This can be caused by many cellular dysfunctions. But it's usually from a protein entanglement within the nerve cell. Once tangled, these cells can no longer pass electrical messages through the body, resulting in a loss of voluntary muscle control. As time passes, muscle wasting (a Science Nerd would call it "atrophy") develops. Victims of ALS usually die from the inability to breathe when muscle loss has reached an extreme.

The national average of those who suffer from ALS is a mere .0005 percent. But - sit down for this one - among those who reported suffering from "drug-induced ALS," nearly a third were using cholesterol-lowering drugs! Apparently, this class of drugs can "tangle" something known as "tau proteins."

But protecting yourself from premature heart disease does not mean you have to put yourself at risk of wiping out your nervous system. You can do it with four simple tactics: Minimize your sugar intake, take part in interval training, maintain healthy vitamin D levels by spending time in the sun, and supplement with fish oil to boost your omega-3 levels.

[Ed. Note: Shane Ellison ( is an author, organic chemist, and contributor to ETR's free natural health newsletter. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his research in biochemistry and physiology. An internationally recognized authority on therapeutic nutrition, he is the founder of The AM-PM Fat Loss Discovery package.”

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You can, & I think should, do a great deal more to protect yourself from heart disease than his short list. (We have done & will continue to do posts on the many other ways to protect your heart.) And, you can also take 2,000 or so iu of vitamin D3 at times you cannot get tons of sun exposure. We now know getting enough vitamin D in these ways has many kinds of health benefits.

But doing the things on his list IS heart protective. If you do the other things to protect your heart first & take it easy and progress a bit slowly, you can do vigorous interval training safely in most cases. And, it will help increase your HDL & lower your triglyceride levels – both of which tend to prevent heart disease by keeping your arteries clear of plaque. And, eating minimal sugar and getting enough omega 3 oils are both heart protective things you can do.

Doing the things on his short list has many other health benefits as well.

The best doctors I know & who have patients who no longer get repeat heart attacks only use statin drugs now for the worst & sickest heart patients. They know how to reverse heart disease, lower LDL cholesterol, & prevent heart attacks without using statins -- & without the side effects of statin drugs.

Who might be a good candidate for statin drugs for such a doctor? Someone who already has heart disease or smokes heavily or has many severe risk factors at once AND who also has LDL cholesterol of WAY over 160 might get a prescription for statin drugs from them & do often in fact get them. Their other patients do not because these doctors know better ways to treat their less worse off patients.

(See: The Sinatra Solution: New Hope for Preventing and Treating Heart Disease by Stephen T., M.D. Sinatra and James C. Roberts - & keeping reading our posts for these other methods.)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Look better, feel better, AND stay healthy....

Today's post: Tuesday, 3-18-2008

Regular exercise does all three of these things. Exercise has been shown to help reduce & prevent depression. (It also improves your sex life.) So you feel better.

It builds your muscles & trims off excess body fat which helps you look better.

And, it helps prevent a whole list of diseases, notably metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes, & heart disease, to help keep you healthy.

I found out recently that there is a supplement that does these three things also. Even better, it’s quite inexpensive.

As regular readers of this blog know, homocysteine levels of 9.0 & up put you at significant risk for heart disease, other cardiovascular disease such as strokes, PAD, etc, & various kinds of senility, & death. High levels of homocysteine also increase your rate of aging. Even worse, your levels tend to go up as you get older.

Vitamin B Complex, particularly B12, B6 up to but not over 100 mg a day, folic acid of at least 1600 mcg per day, the supplement NAC at 500 mg once or twice a day AND staying completely away from tobacco smoke, all tend to lower homocysteine levels and keep them where they should be. Further, each of these supplements have other health benefits.

By taking these supplements, I was able to lower my homocysteine level from about 10.8 to 8.6.

However, since it has been a bit since I had my homocysteine level checked as 8.6 & I got just a bit older, my last test for homocysteine was 10.2. (The 8.2 I had hoped for would have been much safer.)

I’d heard that the supplement, TMG, Trimethylglycine, would also do a good job lowering homocysteine. But when my homocysteine level was 8.6 & below 9.0, I hadn’t wanted to spend extra to get it.

At, 10.2 however, I decided I’d better check into it further. Wow !! I’m so glad I did.

Yes. 1,000 mg a day or more of TMG will lower homocysteine levels. Even better, a month’s supply of Jarrow TMG was less than $12 – NOT the $25 or more I had feared.

So taking it will slow my rate of aging & protect my health.

But I found out I may also feel better, be better protected from depression, & gain more muscle mass from my strength training. That will help me lose fat & look better.

I’ve read that the supplement, SAMe, has a good track record in treating depression. But SAMe is VERY expensive.

In addition, SAMe is a form of the amino acid methionine. And, your body tends to produce homocysteine when it converts the amino acid methionine in the foods you take in. So, I was also reluctant to take a supplement that might make my homocysteine go UP.

So imagine my surprise to discover that TMG not only LOWERS your level of homocysteine, it INCREASES your body’s own production & levels of SAMe !!

Plus TMG is far, far cheaper. So taking TMG to feel better is cheaper & possibly safer than taking SAMe directly & definitely has more health benefits. Wow.

But there is still more. If you get regular exercise & do strength training each week, taking TMG will also increase your muscle mass.

That means your muscles get bigger. And, since your then bigger muscles burn some of the calories you take in that would otherwise feed your fat stores, that means you also lose fat.

That means taking TMG will help you look better & feel better in addition to protecting your health by lowering your homocysteine.

When you add in that it’s really cheap, I’m only sorry I didn’t look into taking TMG sooner.

Here is the info I found in the Wikipedia entry for TMG.:

(I’ve just included the parts that apply to this post; but include the exact URL for those who would like to read the original. I also put a * by the 4 parts I write about here.)

“Trimethylglycine (also commonly known as TMG, is an organic compound described by the formula (CH3)3N+CH2CO2H. Trimethylglycine was originally named betaine after its discovery in sugar beets (Beta vulgaris) in the 19th century.

Betaine hydrochloride is merely glycine betaine with a chloride counterion and is usually the first crystallised form obtained after extraction from beets. Glycine betaine is a byproduct of the sugar industry.

Betaine is obtained by humans from foods, either as betaine or choline-containing compounds. Food items with the highest content of betaine are wheat, spinach, shellfish, and sugar beets. Estimates of betaine intake are from 0.1 to 1 g/day and as high as 2.5 g/day for a diet high in whole wheat and seafood. Thus, the intake depends on food composition but is probably also related to production of the food items, including growing and osmotic conditions. Alternatively, betaine is formed from choline.

* Trimethylglycine is used to treat high homocysteine levels.[1] Kilmer S. McCully, MD, theorised that cholesterol and clogged arteries were symptoms rather than causes of heart disease and proposed homocysteine as a more likely culprit. If it were not for his work, homocysteine would not have been thought harmful and so supplements to lower homocysteine would not have been thought necessary.

* TMG is used by the ton in livestock farming, paired with lysine to increase "carcass yield," to help increase muscle mass.

Betaine hydrochloride ("betaine HCl") is the chloride salt of TMG. Used as a digestive aid, the hydrochloride is particularly helpful for persons with insufficient acid production in the stomach. Betaine HCl has an acidic taste whereas anhydrous TMG ("anhydrous betaine") tastes sweet with a metallic aftertaste and is usually produced from sugar beets (as is betaine hydrochloride). Both are active as methyl donors, as 'betaine' is retained in both forms

*TMG functions very closely with choline, folic acid, vitamin B12 and S-adenosyl methionine SAMe. All of these compounds function as methyl donors. They carry and donate methyl functional groups to facilitate necessary chemical processes. The donation of methyl groups is important to proper liver function, cellular replication, and detoxification reactions. TMG also plays a role in the manufacture of carnitine and serves to protect the kidneys from damage.

* Trimethylglycine / betaine donates a methyl group to convert homocysteine to methionine in a reaction catalysed by BHMT (Betaine Homocysteine Methyltransferase, E.C., a zinc metalloenzyme). Methionine is then converted to SAMe by Methionine Adenosyl Transferase (MAT) using magnesium and adenosine triphosphate as co-factors.”

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Also notice that TMG helps to protect your liver & kidneys directly. And, since it is related to choline, it may also increase your HDL levels.

To help TMG convert homocysteine to SAMe, it also looks like taking 400 mg of so of magnesium would be a good idea. Since that much magnesium also helps protect your health, I think that’s a good idea.

Lastly, betaine HCl is a form of TMG; but it is essentially TMG plus Hydrochloric acid. It tastes like it & tends to give you heartburn. I suggest taking the TMG form, “anhydrous TMG.” My understanding is that this is the form in the Jarrow TMG supplement.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Brain fitness in new AND old ways....

Today's post: Monday, 3-17-2008

This has many aspects. Three of the most important are:

to help children who have ADD & are having trouble learning in school.

to optimize work performance.

& to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease or other mental decline in older people.

A. The new ways include companies that have developed ways to exercise specific brain abilities.

I found this article recently in the online Yahoo News’ health section.:

“Brain fitness seen as hot industry of the future

BOSTON (Reuters) Weds, 3-12-2008 (On Yahoo Health online news)

Brain fitness seen as hot industry of the future by Toni Clarke

- When her son Alex was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the age of 10, Karen George was reluctant to put him on medication.

Instead, she enrolled him in a clinical trial designed to test the efficacy of a brain stimulation program made by Cogmed, a private company that uses computer programs to exercise parts of the brain responsible for short-term memory.

The five-week program required Alex to spend up to an hour a day on a computer, pitting his wits against a robot. Among other exercises, the robot blinked out sequences of flashing lights that Alex was required to replicate.

The program made a dramatic difference in Alex's ability to concentrate, remember and act on daily chores, his mother says.

"I noticed it immediately," said George, 47, who lives with her physician husband in Santa Rosa Valley, California. "The program was like a game and my son was loving it."

Cogmed is part of an emerging brain fitness software industry that could expand rapidly as aging baby boomers seek ways to stave off dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The size of the U.S. market for brain stimulation products -- which can range from games such as Nintendo Co Ltd's Brain Age to programs backed by research showing they can improve memory or other cognitive functions -- more than doubled between 2005 and 2007 to $225 million, according to a new report by the consulting group SharpBrains.

Just as baby boomers' desire to delay cardiovascular and other diseases fueled the health club boom, their desire to delay dementia is expected to keep the market for brain stimulation products growing.

Even health insurers are getting in on the act. Humana, for example, has teamed up with Posit Science, which makes programs to enhance learning and memory, to offer brain fitness programs to certain Medicare members at a discounted price.

The industry is so young, however, that it is unclear which business model will be most successful over time: companies like Nintendo that develop games that are fun but have no proven clinical benefit, or those such as privately held NovaVision Inc, whose product has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to improve vision in patients recovering from stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Jonas Jendi, chief executive of Cogmed, says games without clinical data will never be successful in the long run.

"I think it will be very difficult to make money in the field of games, even though I think a lot of people will try," he said. "Our approach is to prove our product works through proper research."

Cogmed's product has not been cleared by the FDA as a treatment for ADHD or any other memory or attention-related disorder, yet the company can point to a certain amount of published research to support claims that its program helps improve short-term memory. It distributes the product through networks of clinicians.

Stephen Bozylinski, a child neuropsychologist in Ventura County, California, who tests children with learning and attention difficulties and is a paid adviser to Cogmed, says the short-term results are encouraging but it is unclear how long they will hold up.

Karen George said she noticed Alex begin to relapse after about a year, and two weeks ago she put him on medication for his ADHD.

"For the program to work, a parent needs to supervise and coach their child, and right now we don't have that amount of time to invest," said George. "We might try it again later."

Alvaro Fernandez, co-founder of SharpBrains, said that while circumstantial evidence exists that brain stimulation software programs work, especially over a short period, it is too early to tell if they lead to a lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease long term.

Dan Michel, chief executive of privately held Dakim Inc, says the only way discover that is if products are used for long periods of time, much like studying the impact of long-term training on the physical body. And for that to happen, programs must be fun, at least to a certain degree.

"We start from the position that there is tons of research out there showing that significant cognitive stimulation delays the onset of dementia," said Michel, who markets his products to retirement communities. "What we are offering is not short-term memory stuff where you need to work on specific tasks; we are talking about preserving overall brain health."

Marian Harris is a case in point. The 81-year-old resident of Belmont Village Senior Living in Sabre Springs, a suburb of San Diego, exercises her mind three times a week using Dakim's device, which combines hardware and software with a touch screen that is easy to use and fun.

"I feel like my mind is pretty good right now but I want to keep it that way," said Harris. "I want to stay interested in life and not go into my little world as I get older."

And using the system, which might require her to identify a song or gradually increase her memory for numbers, "is just a fun thing," she says.

Bill Reando, activities coordinator at the retirement center, said he notices a difference in the residents who use the Dakim machine.

"Their confidence is higher, they are more active, they are quicker in remembering what they had for lunch."

So far, not much money has been made in the sector. One of the leaders, Scientific Learning Corp, has struggled with its marketing strategy, said Fernandez, and most other companies in the field are venture-funded.

But the industry is young and only just finding its feet.

"My subjective feeling is that many of these companies will be acquired," Fernandez said. "I think the health companies, the educational companies, will be interested in adding these products to their portfolios." “

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So, there are beginning to be computer based exercises for specific brain functions & skills.

That’s certainly a promising development.

Another recent news item is of considerable interest. It has been separately shown that both regular social contact & older kinds of brain exercise such as knowing or learning more than one language, doing crossword puzzles, or learning new facts or skills help prevent or dramatically slow Alzheimer’s.

The new research on brain function while conversing socially shows that doing so takes more brain processing power & provides more mental exercise than the average person would dream it does. In fact, it was as good or better as the other kinds of mental exercise mentioned in this post.

This means in addition to any emotional support, companionship, loneliness prevention, or mutual support one gets from social contact, it’s also a great brain exercise. And, that’s true even if it seems easy & fun to do at the time.

B. Another way to improve brain fitness is to use your brain in more effective ways. This is very similar to getting better software for your laptop. But it goes beyond that to actually growing new brain cells & adding new neural networks.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon once studied chess masters who could find forced checkmate in two to five moves to see how they did it. It turns out they did NOT have superhuman intelligence. They simply knew to use simple search methods & strategic opportunities to look for & use -- with limiting the moves of your opponent’s king, getting a new piece of yours involved, & using discovered or double checking moves being specific examples.

Similarly, music teachers & dolphin trainers have found that what I term a reverse stacking memory technique to learn new material or performance routines makes both the initial learning & remembering later -- work enormously better.

To use this technique learning a new phone number for example, instead of trying to remember the area code first & then the prefix & lastly the last four numbers that is most intuitive, you do it in reverse. You memorize & practice the last 2 numbers; then the last 4 numbers; then the prefix followed by the last four numbers; & only then memorize the area code and the prefix & the last four numbers.

Then of course you rehearse the whole number a few times. Then you test yourself in a few seconds to see if it got fixed & remembered. And, if necessary, you repeat the whole process quickly or just redo the whole thing but with particular emphasis on the part you didn’t remember in your test that you did.

Using such superior strategies makes you more mentally able, just like better software. But with the human brain, you get a bonus. You lay in increased neurons & neuron interconnections to support your new skill if you keep using it.

It was once thought that only children below 24 months of age did this. We now know the process still works in people into their seventies, eighties, & nineties.

C. In addition, we now know that regular physical exercise not only improves circulation to the brain & releases growth hormone in the case of vigorous exercise & strength training –
Exercise also directly causes your brain to grow new neurons.

Lastly, everything you do effectively to protect your heart and keep your blood vessels healthy also improves & protects your brain.

The spice turmeric & the turmeric & Curcumin supplements based on it, physically protects your brain & seems to prevent the cellular damage that creates Alzheimers disease. And, it has antioxidant properties that also protect your heart health & blood vessels.

Similarly, taking the supplements & eating the foods that do things like increase your HDL cholesterol & lower your LDL and Triglycerides also protect both your brain & heart.

And, it’s particularly important to measure your homocysteine levels and lower any readings of 9.0 or higher. Such readings have been found predictive of both heart disease & senility. (This is similar to LDL cholesterol & triglycerides. As the level goes up past the top of the optimum range, the risks also go up.) So, a homocysteine level of 9.1 is too high, & in my opinion needs to be lowered to 8.9 or lower. But a reading of something like 13.1 is much more serious.)

PS: Smoking, & second hand smoke, INCREASES your homocysteine levels.

So, as you can see, brain fitness is beginning to be as big a field as physical fitness.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

21 ways to live to be 100....

Today's post: Friday, 3-14-2008

(The first 8 were in the Sunday, 3-9-2008 Parade Magazine supplement in my Sunday newspaper. The first 8 things to do are theirs. The commentary on each is mine.)

1. Eat a heart healthy diet. They say that the Mediterranean diet is the best according to research. That contains a wide variety of vegetables, raw & cooked garlic, tomato sauces, extra virgin olive oil, wild caught fish, & some nuts, fresh & whole fruit, whole grains, & wine – mostly moderate intake of red wine.

Note that it does NOT contain ANY soft drinks or packaged snack foods. And the amounts of sugar & refined grains are very low if any. It has virtually no hamburger from grain fed cattle. And, although it has some poultry in some regions, it tends to be quite low in fatty cuts of meat & dairy fat.

2. Read the newspaper. Be actively interested in current events & read about them in print – in newspapers; online; & in books & magazines. Staying connected & mentally active ( & educated ) tends to predict longevity.

3. “Go forth & multiply.” Women who have children outlive those who do not (with the proviso that they survive childbirth.)

And, studies show that men who have children in their twenties are unusually long lived. (That could be because saner & richer men are more likely to do this than men who are poor & mentally unstable. Or it could be that enduring the extra work of little kids is better for you when you are young enough to have extra energy reserves than it is when you are older.)

4. Drink up! People who drink things that tend to promote good health live longer.

Tea, green tea, moderate consumption of coffee, & moderate alcohol intake “(up to 5 ounces a day for women, up to 10 ounces a day for men)” -- of wine. Beer can be a bit more & stronger drinks less. It works out to a bit less than one drink a day for women & two for men—with a few days with one or none each week.

Tea, green tea, & red wine drinkers get less cardiovascular disease, particularly heart disease. And that level of alcohol intake increases your HDL.

Coffee may help prevent Parkinson’s disease & liver cirrhosis.

And, the people who get 100 to 400 mg a day from tea or coffee tend to be more alert & think better than people who don’t.

5. Watch Your Waist. Being fat in the waist area is more health dangerous & more indicative of health risks than fat elsewhere. And, people who have fat tummies are much less sexually desirable than people who don’t – for BOTH men & women,

And, having a fat waist is indicative of eating fattening, unhealthy foods, not exercising, & excessive stress.

6. Get married. “Singles don’t live as long as married people.” It’s pretty simple, failure & loneliness harm your health. And, teams that work even marginally well together can succeed better than individuals. They’ve even found that married couples who don’t get along well are happier than single people. You can improve your own ability in ways that improve your marriage. And, happy married people tend to live a long time.

7. Have Faith. Clergymen & nuns & people who regularly attend religious meetings & have some kind, any kind, of religious belief do tend to live longer than people who don’t have any religion at all.

(Some of this is a positive outlook on life, a giving orientation, & regular social interaction. And, studies show that “open-minded” believers AND nonbelievers are mentally & often physically healthier than more closed minded people. As a result, people who are Unitarian-Universalists, Quakers, Reform Jews, & open-minded members other beliefs -- & who get regular social contact tend to live longest.)

8. Buy the farm. “Studies show living out in the country extends life compared with city dwelling.”

Some of the research this reflects is because people who are 100 & up in recent years were more likely to live on farms as young people than young people are today. But it may also reflect getting more exercise, & in those days being less exposed to pollution, & being less exposed to dangerous communicable disease – or to being outdoors more often than city dwellers & thus getting more sunshine & vitamin D.

Here are the rest of the 21 # 9 to 21.:

9. Eat raw cruciferous vegetables – every day-- such as broccoli, cabbage, horseradish, kale, & watercress. This has been found to prevent cancer, prevent the more dangerous forms of cancer, & prevent damage to your DNA, thereby SLOWING aging. It also has been proven to help you keep off excess body fat—including fat on your waist.

10. Eliminate or come very close to eliminating ANY amount of ingesting by eating or drinking any refined grains, high fructose corn syrup, transfats, fully hydrogenated vegetable oils, & both regular or diet soft drinks. And eliminate eating any foods or snack foods that contain them. This junk makes you fat & sick. Why spend money on it or harm yourself with it. You will live longer & there ARE other enjoyable foods, drinks, & good things in life without these horrible side-effects.

11. Develop personal interests. And keep learning new things that relate to them or are of interest to you or are useful. This is related to point #2 & others. People who enjoy life & are active mentally think better, keep their brains younger & their memories working much better than people who don’t. As a result they also live longer.

12 Spend time with your family. And do your best to be good to them, particularly in ways they like. Support them when they need it. People who manage to do this with all or part of their families are happier, have more social contact, & get more personal support than people who don’t. And they live longer usually.

13. Drink hot cocoa made from only from unsweetened cocoa -- & with no sugar or milk. This will help keep your blood vessels flexible, prevent or lower high blood pressure, increase blood flow & give you abundant antioxidants.
Eating dark chocolate with some sugar is almost as good if you only do it once or twice a week. But unsweetened cocoa works better & is far less likely to make you fat.

Adding milk tends to prevent most of these health effects.

14. Get regular exercise each week, including strength training. And be somewhat physically active at times each week also. This has been shown to both give you massive health benefits & help prevent many illnesses nonexercisers tend to reliably get. Doing this slows aging & even has been shown to grow new brain cells. And, if you do it safely, you WILL live longer AND be healthier each year you live.

15. Eat lots of vegetables each day – NOT including potatoes or French fries. Eating a variety of nonstarchy, cooked & raw vegetables from safe sources has multiple health benefits & is a secret to keeping off excess body fat. Eating vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, tomato sauces, broccoli, carrots, & many kinds of greens give you mixed carotenoids that tend to prevent cancer & have many other health benefits.

16. Get key health biomarkers, particularly those testable by blood tests, checked regularly. And, learn & use foods, supplements, & other lifestyle upgrades such as exercise that optimize any that are even somewhat too high or too low. Many of these other 20 methods have worked for thousand of years. This one is relatively new. But it’s extremely powerful. We’ve done many posts on it. Blood glucose, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, & homocysteine levels that are too high will age you rapidly; cause cardiovascular disease, tend to make you senile, & /or kill you. So will having too low a level of HDL. If you know these measures, know what levels you should shoot for, & optimize them, you WILL live longer & be healthier every year you live.

17. Socialize. Phone friends & spend time with your friends & family. Meet new people. Network in your work & areas of interest. Research shows this will make you happier & more long lived. In fact, recent research shows it also is a remarkably effective way to exercise your brain.

18. Find some kind of mental puzzles you like & spend some time on them most weeks.

Some people combine this with socializing by playing cards. Some like crossword puzzles. I happen to like solving the chess problems in the newspaper. Regardless of which one you like, doing it has been shown to extend longevity & help prevent senility and memory loss.

19. Avoid poisons. This one sounds like a no-brainer. And, to some extent it is. But some things many people think are safe expose them to poisons. And, doing this can be a good bit harder to do than it should be. (See yesterday’s post on safe water to drink for example.)

This specifically includes NOT smoking or staying around second hand smoke.

And, it also means eating mostly organic produce & avoiding excess animal fat from grain fed meat animals, poultry, & from farmed fish. (Most of the pesticide & herbicide exposure for most people comes from such fat where it is bioconcentrated – NOT from produce.)

It also means keeping away from pesticides, herbicides, & “household products” like air fresheners.

20. Take key supplements. Virtually everyone should take a good multivitamin/mineral supplement, a good B complex supplement, some extra vitamin C, & 200 iu of natural vitamin E each day. Many people need the supplements that optimize their health biomarkers. And, supplements such as CoQ10, Ubiquinol, Resveratrol, & DHEA slow aging -- &/or partially reverse it in older people.

21. Be prudent, proactive, & optimistic and build a worthwhile life. This set of things has been proven to help you be happier, less depressed, have more friends, think better, have more money, achieve more – AND be healthier & live a longer life.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

How to get safe water to drink....

Today's post: Thursday, 3-13-2008

1. Recently, it was in the news that, albeit at very low levels, almost all of the municipal water systems that were tested contained multiple chemicals. The drugs included caffeine, antibiotics, sedatives, & forms of artificial estrogen. The tests also found some solvents.

And, I also got an email that said that some municipal water systems also had other pollutants due to aging of the pipes and other infrastructure through which the water flows. In addition, the email pointed out the giardia parasite has been found in some water systems. The pipes in your home can also leech copper, lead, & plastic chemicals depending on what kind of pipes your home has.

Further, in many agricultural or farming communities that are mostly farmed with pesticides & herbicides, you can smell that the tap water contains some.

Lastly, although bottled water often does taste better it often has some of these same pollutants -- either because the water they use has some pollutants also, even if less, or because they use water that is only filtered tap water where the filters let some kinds of pollutants pass.

In addition, particularly in hot weather, bottled water leeches plastic chemicals. And the plastics are made from chemicals taken from oil & the bottled water is transported & shipped mostly by using fossil fuels.

2. Since -- other than some wine or dark beer or other alcoholic beverages & real fruit juices -- water, tea, green tea, & coffee are the drinks that support good health -- to drink safe water, tea, green tea, & coffee you need a source of pure unpolluted water, all these points are bad news.

3. The email I got was selling an at home, water purification system that used distillation.

I don’t include their contact info as I have no idea of the quality or usability of their product nor have I researched to see if there are better units or units as good that cost less.

I have heard good things about the Brita water filters for at home use (from Brita® Filtration Systems –“ Transform tap water into healthier, great-tasting drinking water.”)

Such filters won’t remove some kinds of pollutants; but it does remove many; it does make water taste much better; it’s widely available; & using it with your tap water is cheaper per glass or gallon of water you drink than bottled water. This also avoids the construction & transport use of petroleum involved in bottled water. Such filters will help some & are far better than doing nothing.

Further, it may improve the efficiency, reliability, & lower maintenance costs & increase the useful life of a distillation unit, to use such a filter on tap water BEFORE it goes in the distillation unit.

4. Another point is that in many places, if not most, it’s important to have about a week’s supply of drinking water on hand. Earthquakes & other natural disasters & some other kinds of bad events can shut off your tap water supply that long. And in such conditions, bottled water gets sold out at stores.

So, it occurs to me that getting about a tenth or so of your water supply from bottled water once you buy enough to last you & your family a week might make sense. Then run both your little bit of bottled water & your tap water though the filter & the distillation system for your supply of safe, pure water.

That way you eliminate 90 % of the problems & costs of only getting your drinking water from bottled water. And, by rotating your bottled water supply, this system also ensures that none of your emergency water reserve has sat too long to drink safely if your filters & distillation unit are also taken out by a disaster.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New way to double success at quitting smoking....

Today's post: Tuesday, 3-11-2008

Last week, Reuters health news on Yahoo online news had a story that was fascinating.

As our regular readers know, one of the problems of helping people or getting people to quit smoking is that the only thing that most smokers know is that smoking MIGHT give them lung cancer at some future time.

That’s simply too weak to motivate most smokers to quit.

However, the reality of the negative health effects of smoking is far, far worse than that.

Smoking actively causes cardiovascular disease in ALL smokers. And, in fact, it boosts the levels of harmful homocysteine enough to do that AND increase the rate of aging in smokers.

Further, now we know how low your homocysteine level really needs to be for good health, well below 8.9, ideally between 6.0 & 8.0, we can now test smokers & show them that, yes, RIGHT NOW, they are being seriously harmed & FOR SURE. This has none of the maybe it won’t happen to me & if it does it will be years from now that worry about lung cancer does.

As the Reuters story reminded me, there is a second way to show smokers that they are for sure & right now being harmed by their smoking.

It seems that the coaches in my high school were correct. Smoking IS undesirable for athletes as, in their words, “Smoking cuts your wind.” In doctor’s terms, it impairs your lung function. It reduces your capacity to take in air, to breathe it out well, & to get oxygen from it.

The researchers the story reported on also knew that as people get older they tend to be able to breathe in less air volume, their lungs shrink, & their ability to breathe air out quickly diminishes. AND, there are averages for these measures for each age.

What they then did was to get some teenaged smokers & tested their lung function.

They then gave each teen their measured “lung age” – saying in effect, “Because people 45 year old have similar lung functions to yours, we can say your lung age is 45.”

They then observed that more than twice as many of these teenaged smokers quit.

Two things happened to these teens.

1. They had objective evidence based on their own performance in a test that smoking WAS harming them & in fact had already done so FOR SURE.

2. At an age when people over 30 seem to be very old, they discovered that smoking had made their lungs an age, funtionwise, that to them felt VERY old.

And, for many of them, those two things got their attention enough to quit when they otherwise would not have been able to do so.

To repeat, more than twice as many of these teens quit smoking than teenagers who didn't get this information.

So, if you smoke, get your homocysteine level checked. You’ll find it well above the 9.0 level where it produces damage.

And, get the “age” of your lungs as revealed by a lung function test. Unless you exercise regularly & smoke very lightly, just as the teenagers in this study were, you’ll be startled at how “old” this shows your lungs to be.

The good news is that once you quit, you can take the supplements that lower homocysteine & have doing this actually do your health some good without smoking screwing it up. (We’ve done several posts on those supplements.)

And, once you quit, you can build up to doing vigorous interval cardio exercise that will begin to restore your lung capacity.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Vaccine may treat high blood pressure....

Today's post: Monday, 3-10-2008

High blood pressure is both an indicator of underlying problems, see the next paragraph for some of them, & is a direct cause of problems as well as a risk for heart attack, stroke, & kidney damage & other problems.

(Being way too fat & heavy; sleep apnea, eating too much salt & too few vegetables & fruits; plaque build up in your blood vessels, lack of exercise, exposure to some pollutants, taking over the counter pain drugs, unrelieved stress, blood vessel damage from too high levels of blood sugar, & too much noise at night all are known causes of high blood pressure.)

If you have it, you need to check the potential causes to reverse those you can. And, you need to bring it down as close to the ideal of 115 over 75 as you can to best protect your health regardless of your progress on the causes.

The problems with lowering it with drugs are many however. Having it is mostly unnoticeable to you unless it gets horribly & dangerously high. And, the most commonly prescribed drugs often make you feel worse & less healthy than before; & many cause sexual function problems.

So many people who have high blood pressure refuse to take the drugs or stop taking them. Even worse, taking them irregularly or stopping taking them suddenly is in itself quite dangerous.

And, drugs are expensive. Worse, many of the most commonly prescribed blood pressure drugs actually have health harming side effects.

Not only that, but to protect your health, the most important times of day to have your blood pressure be low enough are at night & early in the morning. And, though some kinds are a bit better, the drugs often don’t do that well.

That means that a vaccine that lowers high blood pressure; has few side effects; & lowers blood pressure best at night & early mornings would be extremely valuable indeed.

It may now exist & might be available soon.

I found this news on Yahoo online Health News from Health Day, dated, 3-6-2008.:

“We found the vaccine was well-tolerated, and it did lower blood pressure in hypertensive people," said vaccine inventor Martin Bachmann, of Cytos Biotechnology in Schlieren, Switzerland.

Currently, there are two problems with high blood pressure drugs, Bachmann said. "On the one hand, people just don't take them, and, on other hand, the drugs don't work very well early in the morning," he said.

In the United States, only about one-third of people with high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) have their blood pressure under control, according to background information for the study. Many people don't take their blood pressure medications because of side effects, concerns about the long-term effects of the drugs, and their lack of perceptible symptoms, Bachmann noted.

"Our vaccine would only have to be taken maybe twice or three times a year, not every day. In addition, it works best early in the morning," Bachmann said.

In the new study, Bachmann's team presented the results of an early trial of 72 patients with mild to moderate high blood pressure who were randomly assigned to receive the vaccine at two different doses or a placebo.

The patients' blood pressure was measured before the trial and 14 weeks after the trial began. The outcome the researchers were looking for was whether the vaccine was safe and well-tolerated.

Bachmann's team found that patients who received the higher dose of vaccine had a drop in their systolic blood pressure of 9 mm Hg and a 4 mm Hg drop in their diastolic blood pressure. The blood pressure drop was particularly significant in the early morning, where patients showed a 25 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure and a 13 mm Hg drop in diastolic blood pressure, compared with patients receiving a placebo.

Overall, the vaccine was well tolerated, with only 10 patients reporting flu-like symptoms after the injection. Such reactions are common with several vaccines, the researchers noted. In addition, some patients experienced mild irritation at the injection site.

The study results are published in the March 8 issue of The Lancet.

More extensive testing is needed before the vaccine could be made available to the public, Bachmann said. "We are moving on to eventually large trials," he said.

One expert thinks this finding could be a breakthrough in helping patients control their blood pressure.

"Poorly controlled blood pressure remains a worldwide health-care problem and contributes greatly to heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Although there are lifestyle modifications and a number of effective and reasonably well-tolerated medications that can help control blood pressure, many patients don't adhere to their regimens in a way that works effectively, Fonarow said. "A (vaccination) for controlling blood pressure, if proven to be safe and effective, could represent an important therapeutic advance," he said.

This study is the first to show promising data with a vaccine against angiotensin II, a potent constrictor of blood vessels, in patients with mild to moderate hypertension….”

X * X * X* X

Drugs called ARB’s, that have this effect, are one of the best kinds drugs to control high blood pressure as they seem to work & tend to have the fewest side effects for your quality of life & your health.

However, the doses needed, even of ARB’s, to get the kind of early morning improvement of this vaccine are high enough to literally make you feel sick & depleted.

Only about one seventh of these people who were given this vaccine had any side effects. And the people who did had temporary side effects only.

If this passes safety screens & becomes available, it will be one the very first good treatments for high blood pressure available.

1. Keep watching to see if it gets approved. I will & will do a post here if it does.

2. I’m also working on an eBook listing the nondrug methods that lower high blood pressure, many of which turn off the causes of high blood pressure & almost all of which have other health benefits & virtually no side effects.

If you’d like me to email you when it’s ready, email me at: iehealth @ .

(I’ve listed my email so you have to delete the added spaces to use it. I understand that protects me from “spam robots.”)

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Friday, March 07, 2008

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a heart disease starter....

Today's post: Friday, 3-7-2008

I get an email called the HSI e-Alert. I don’t agree with everything it says; but it does have some very useful information from time to time.

Last Monday, 3-3-2008, the HSI e-Alert email compared a self-described “healthy” breakfast cereal to a standard highly sugared, “children’s” cereal.

The sugared cereal for kids (or at least for the kids who don’t have parents who know better) had less grams of total sugar than the self-described “healthy” cereal.

Even worse, while the cereal marketed to kids had real sugar (which people, particularly kid, can safely use if they don’t eat too much & do get enough exercise), the self-described “healthy” cereal used high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, instead.

Then to show how bad for you high fructose corn syrup really is, the email had this gem.:

“Steady HFCS intake has been linked to weight gain, higher triglyceride levels, higher LDL cholesterol, and a decrease in insulin sensitivity - not really what you're looking for when you want to help your heart.”

Translated into plain English that says that if you eat high fructose corn syrup most days of the week, you WILL be fat; you will likely get type II diabetes; & you’ll very probably get heart disease.

And as our regular readers know, if you also don’t get regular exercise, you put all these bad things on steroids so they happen faster & to a larger degree.

Every single one of those effects sharply increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, other circulation problems, & early death or disability.

So, that means, in a very real sense, eating high fructose corn syrup is very much like adding lighter fluid or fire starter & fire to accelerate a fire quickly -- only high fructose corn syrup does this for getting fat & getting heart disease -- & related diseases.

If you value your health, how often should you eat or drink foods or drinks with high fructose corn syrup?

It’s very clear the answer to that is as close to never as you can manage.

The problem is that perhaps half the packaged foods in most grocery stores, many commercially baked goods, possibly packaged candy that has no labels & some that does, maybe some restaurant & fast food, & the vast majority of regular soft drinks all have high fructose corn syrup today.

At this time, virtually all pancake syrup sold in stores, except real maple syrup, has high fructose corn syrup in it.

Almost all jams & jellies contain high fructose corn syrup. I’ve even read that “energy bars” sold to people who want to be healthy often contain high fructose corn syrup.

Ice cream & snack foods often have high fructose corn syrup also.

In order to not eat this stuff you have to read EVERY label on the packaged foods you buy.

Unfortunately, since high fructose corn syrup is a bit sweeter tasting than real sugar & costs less, until almost everyone learns not to eat this junk & stops buying the food that contain it, or unless it’s made illegal, this will likely continue.

Now you know what eating it does to you, you can escape it now without having to wait.

Eat more real foods: vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts & other health OK protein foods & fats. Eat way less packaged treat & snack foods. ALWAYS read labels & simply don’t buy or eat the food if it has high fructose corn syrup in it.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

4 ways to have more energy & focus....

Today's post: Thursday, 3-6-2008

Doctor Allen S. Josephs writes the email & his Friday, 02/29/2008, issue is interesting.

He points out that most of us want or need more energy to feel good & do well in our lives.

1. A study found that people who took 200 mg a day or more of CoQ10 felt less tired after working hard physically than people who took only 100 or none.

He points out that “published peer reviewed medical journal studies over the last 30 years” show our CoQ10 levels get lower which results in bad “cardiovascular and brain health.” Unfortunately, our diets only contain a few milligrams of coenzyme Q10 and even

Even worse, statin drugs “inhibit natural coenzyme Q10 production.”

I found this quote to valuable to not include in his exact words.:

“These drugs produce serious side effects in thousands of people including muscle and nerve damage. The evidence indicates this is a result of their adverse effects on coenzyme Q10 production. I recommend that my patients consume 200 – 400 mg per day of coenzyme Q10 for general immune, energy and cardiovascular health. For my patients with neurological/brain health concerns I recommend 1,200 mg per day based on the most recent published medical studies in humans.”

So, if you are over 40 & want to stay healthy & keep most of your youthful energy levels, you would do well to consider taking 200 mg a day of CoQ10.

And, if your doctor has put you on statin drugs, you should take that much or more to avoid the side effects of the drugs caused by otherwise lowering your CoQ10.

These effects on your energy level are no surprise as CoQ10 helps power your mitochondria & keep them in good health. And, they are literally the power & energy center of all your cells.

2. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) also has similar effects. IN studies older people who took ALC “had a significant decrease in physical fatigue and mental fatigue along with significant improvement in cognitive functioning compared to placebo.”

Another study found that boys from 6 to 13 with ADD who took between 9 & 22 mg of ALC per pound each day improved “in social behavior and attention compared to the placebo group.” This study was also double blinded. So the results look quite real to me.

To get an idea of what you might take of ALC yourself just multiply your weight in pounds by 9 or 10. And, you might get decent effects with less. At my weight that comes to 1500 mg a day. That costs enough, I may try 500 mg myself at least initially.

3. Dr Josephs also recommends “alpha lipoic acid at 600 mgs per day.”

He points out that: “it is proven to be a powerful ‘universal antioxidant’; in addition to assisting with burning blood glucose for producing cellular energy.”

And, researcher Bruce Ames found that taking ALC and alpha lipoic acid together seemed to get better results for energy & mental focus than just taking ALC by itself.

Taking alpha lipoic acid certainly adds health benefits. It helps you get more benefit out of any other antioxidants like vitamin or E that you take or get in your food. And as little as 200 mg a day helps prevent or reverse too high blood sugar levels.

4. The fourth way to improve your energy & mental focus is to get regular exercise. Doing that improves your circulation & neurotransmitters.

A recent study even found that sedentary people who felt overtired got more benefit, at least in the short run, from relatively mild exercise like light gardening or taking a short walk.

More vigorous exercise plus adequate rest does better if you once get into it & your body gets used to it.

But this recent study suggests that, if you are sedentary now, you’ll get more immediate energy benefits if you start at an easy level & work up to more vigorous exercise gradually.

Progressive strength training works well for this because you can start with weights that feel & are quite light & then increase the amount very gradually over several weeks.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Be sexier & healthier two ways....

Today's post: Tuesday, 3-4-2008

As health writer & innovator Al Sears, MD says & has found in his practice to be the case, increasing testosterone in people over 40 makes them sexier – for BOTH men & women.

He reports that in such patients, people not only report being sexier but their mood & energy levels also improve.

In fact, just today I read of a study that did show that people with low testosterone were three times more likely to be depressed.

In addition, testosterone is a growth hormone that helps keep your muscles strong & helps prevent them from shrinking. That in turn helps prevent aging & getting fat from having less muscle mass.

1. One of the best ways to boost your testosterone also releases growth hormone & directly helps keep your muscles strong & helps prevent them from shrinking. In fact if you do it right & do it regularly it makes you stronger over time.

That’s doing progressive strength training. In men, regular, progressive strength training both increases muscle weight & density; and it tends to increase the size of your muscles. In women it increases muscle weight & density but produces little visible size increase.

In fact progressive strength training is itself a triple plus for being sexier & healthier – in addition to increasing your testosterone. You age more slowly; you get the benefits of exercise; & what you eat feeds muscle instead of fat.

So by doing progressive strength training regularly, you look better; you feel better; you tend to be in better health; & you feel sexier. That can really perk up your sex life.

2. Dr Sears has found that taking the supplement Tribulus increases testosterone levels in both men & women.

So if you do both progressive strength training & take tribulus, you may well boost your testosterone enough to get noticeable effects.

Some of his women patients who had hoped to improve their sex lives were so pleased that they wrote him some very positive thank you letters after following his advice & boosted their testosterone levels.

Some other health related points.:

Dr Sears has found that you can optimize the way your body processes your so it tends to prevent your body from creating a testosterone by product that causes problems – if, you also eat abundant amounts of cruciferous vegetables. This also tends to increase your “free” or effective testosterone levels.

Eating raw, uncooked broccoli & cauliflower not only does this but tends to prevent the most dangerous kind of prostate cancer. Doing this also tends to prevent most cancers, including breast & ovarian cancer in women. This is a well known effect of eating these foods.

(But it’s much less well known that the cooked versions lose this effect. They still are great for losing fat & keeping it off if they are cooked; but most of their cancer prevention ability is lost studies show. Since they may also optimize your testosterone levels uncooked, we suggest eating them that way.)

Watercress is a cruciferous vegetable also. And, it studies show that eating it raw protects your DNA so well it not only prevents cancer, it tends to slow aging. Try it salads or on sandwiches if you eat them.

Do you like spicy foods sometimes? Horseradish is a cruciferous vegetable as well. And, it’s so concentrated that using enough to spice up a glass of tomato juice or other food is almost like eating a serving of broccoli.

In addition, another way to prevent cancer & keep your testosterone safe and effective for you is to eat foods or take supplements with lycopene.

There is some evidence this prevents cancers. It may help prevent heart disease. And, last Friday, 2-29-2008, the article published research that it tends to prevent or improve BPH in men also. This strongly suggests that it helps keep your testosterone safe and effective in addition to helping prevent cancer.

(My belief is that it very likely has comparable effects for women although I know of no direct studies of this as yet.)

Fresh tomatoes are a decent source of lycopene. They have some heart protective qualities & vitamin C. And they are a nonstarchy vegetable that can help you lose fat or take it off.

But if they are made into juice or cooked or cooked into a tomato sauce & then eaten with health OK fats like extra virgin olive oil, they are a SUPERB source of lycopene. This both concentrates the lycopene & makes it more bioavailable.

You can also get lycopene as a supplement. Taking 2 or 3 of the 10 mg capsules a day is another way to get lycopene that works.

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