Friday, May 30, 2008

How to exercise without injury...
(How to KEEP exercising without damaging yourself.)

Today's post: Friday, 5-29-2008

Today’s online health news had this story from Reuters.:

Baby boomers' bodies hit by years of wear and tear

By Megan Rauscher

Fri May 30, 9:50 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors who specialize in disorders of the skeletal system and associated muscles, joints and ligaments are being kept busy these days, as increasing numbers of baby boomer athletes and exercise enthusiasts hit middle age and beyond.

"We are seeing a number of overuse or 'wear and tear' injuries in the foot, ankle, knees, hip, shoulders and elbows, in baby boomers," Dr. Jeffrey A. Ross, a foot and ankle podiatrist from Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, told Reuters Health. "Baby boomers suffer injuries over a period of time and a lot has to do with biomechanics, poor flexibility, wear and tear, and pounding on hard surfaces" that come with sports like running, tennis, step aerobics and basketball, Ross added.

As people age, Ross believes it's worth considering alternative activities that put less stress on joints. "It is really important that people continue to be physically active, but they need to think logically about how to remain active as they age," he said.

Ross spoke about overuse injuries in baby boomers at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine underway in Indianapolis. "We need to be rational and logical without hurting ourselves and developing overuse injuries that can really become debilitating as we get older," Ross told Reuters Health. ….”

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The authors knew how important regular exercise is for good health. And, some were baby boomer-aged exercisers themselves.

So they recommended changing & adapting your exercise program to avoid these kinds of injuries & allow you to continue exercising without either permanent damage or continuous minor injuries.

The examples they gave tend to be from running & competitive sports.

Both can be great for keeping off fat, raising HDL cholesterol, & aerobic fitness. But they tend to be the best fit for people under 30 or 40.

But anyone over 30 or 40 can run into injury problems with these kinds of exercises as they often have sudden high stress or pounding impact or overuse of joints.

There are several solutions. One is to do less of these kinds of exercises. (The article focused on that strategy. Its authors suggested running 5 kilometer races instead of Marathons or running every other day instead of 7 days a week.)

Other people have focused on minimizing the stresses of these exercises with such strategies as learning to run more smoothly, running on a soft track instead of concrete, getting excellent quality & impact absorbing running shoes or doing all 3.

For me, these strategies were not enough. Once I started getting a regular problem with my right Achilles tendon every time I got into decent shape & running even half way decent times nowhere close to competitive with real athletes, I’d have to stop running as it would become strained.

It became clear that if I wanted to become fit & keep exercising I’d have to do something else. Running no longer worked.

So, I switched to a Nordic Track. That worked until I developed knee strains. Mercifully, by doing an interval style shorter workout every other day instead of 7 days a week & adding ChoPat kneecap braces, I was able to stay very fit doing three 25 minute interval training style sessions each week.

Elliptical trainers, tai chi, walking, routines from other martial arts from Tae Bo to Karate to Kung Fu to Tae Kwan Do, swimming, & -- if you are careful, stationary bike riding or walking on an incline with a treadmill, & using a mini trampoline can also work.

In my case, I’m considering trading some of my sessions on my Nordic Track, which are now 10 minutes of interval training instead of 25 -- for some sessions with the UrbanRebounder mini trampoline. (It seems if I don’t, my hip sockets will give me fits from overuse.)

The bad news is that I really liked running & using my Nordic Track enough to be very fit.

But instead of messing my body up or being unable to exercise, I’ve made lower impact & slightly less frequent exercises fill in.

I’m still decently fit by my standards & even very fit compared to people my age. And, my Achilles tendons, knees, & hips still operate pain free & are un-replaced.

So, if you start getting injuries over & over from your exercise routine, the data reported today & my personal experience suggests that if you make similar adjustments, you’ll feel better, get to stay fit & continue exercising, & your medical bills will be a LOT less.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tomatoes help prevent prostate cancer...

Today's post: Thursday, 5-29-2008

Recently a study was announced that strengthens the evidence that this is very likely true.

It’s been known that men who eat a lot of cooked tomatoes & particularly tomato sauce with extra virgin olive oil have a much lower incidence of prostate cancer than men who eat very few tomatoes or cooked tomato foods.

(It’s thought that the cooking & concentrating of tomatoes in sauce helps make the lycopene & other phytonutrients in tomatoes more bioavailable. And, since the extra virgin olive oil has its own phytonutrients that may be complementary & makes oil soluble nutrients more bioavailable it seems to increase the effect.)

And, it made TIME magazine when a study was announced that found that 30 mg a day of lycopene, the main carotenoid in tomatoes, seemed to help shrink existing prostate cancer if I remember the study correctly.

As someone who has a family history of prostate cancer, I’ve been using both these approaches ever since I read about them. Tomato sauce with extra virgin olive oil also is a part of the Mediterranean Diet that seems to be unusually heart protective. So that looks like a very good idea if you can do it. And, 10 mg Lycopene capsules are available at most health food stores. So I take 3 a day.

I’ve also found I really like sundried tomatoes. So, when I have the opportunity occasionally, I enjoy their intense burst of flavor.

Now, according to this new study, it seems that a component of dried tomatoes may have some ability to prevent prostate cancer. The researchers found that combining this ingredient with lycopene was strongly preventive of prostate cancer – in rats. If I remember the statistics right, it was 98% effective.

The researchers were careful to say that they did not test people. And, it is true that there are other studies on rats that show results that human studies simply do not.

However, given the previous background, it looks quite likely that this result does apply to human males. (And, it may also be that the lycopene plus cooked or dried tomatoes method may help prevent breast & ovarian cancer in women also.)

We’ve posted before that selenium, resveratrol, and exercise help prevent cancer.

So does staying away from all tobacco smoke.

And, we posted that while it doesn’t seem to reduce non-aggressive prostate cancer much to eat raw broccoli &/or raw cauliflower, it DOES cut the incidence of the dangerous kind of prostate cancer in about half.

Now it looks even more likely that dried or cooked tomatoes plus lycopene also help prevent prostate cancer.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Exercise Essential for your brain...

Today's post: Tuesday, 5-27-2008

The recent issue of Time magazine, 5-19-2008, has a cover story on “Forget-Me-Not
How to Keep Your Memory sharp.”

Inside, it’s on page 42.

We’ve posted on how it has been discovered that regular exercise grows new brain cells & suggested that if you want your brain to resist losing function, it makes good sense to increase the repair of your brain by doing regular exercise.

This article takes that to a more advanced level. My idea was that exercise gives your brain extra protection. This IS correct. In addition to reducing “normal” memory loss, it also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

But the article cites research that shows that “normal” memory loss & Alzheimer’s disease are two different problems & attack your brain differently.

Apparently, regular exercise -- by growing new brain cells -- helps to prevent both.

But the article makes it very clear, the findings go beyond saying exercise is a good idea.

It makes it quite clear that NOT exercising regularly for at least 1,000 calories of exercise a week will cause you to develop “normal” memory loss.

You’re not just less likely if you do exercise, you are certain to lose some of your memory function if you don’t.

The article also points out that in addition to growing new brain cells, regular exercise helps prevent your blood sugar from being too high.

That’s also essential to protect your brain it turns out.

Interval cardio & strength training that we have been posting about do best at preventing your blood sugar from being too high.

But even regular walking is enough to help your blood sugar from being too high at least some & it apparently is enough to prevent most “normal” memory loss if you do enough of it.

(Interval cardio & progressive strength training burn that many calories in less time in addition to their other benefits. But even walking will do the job.)

The article also mentions that eating blueberries is very likely protective of your brain & adds that, for people who aren’t allergic to them, eating raw walnuts apparently is also.

But the main value of this article is that it shows that exercise is essential to keep your brain working well.

So, if like most of us, your work uses your memory & thinking skills, to continue to do it well, it’s very important that you exercise regularly.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Proven long life strategies...

Today's post: Friday, 5-23-2008

A few days ago, I read that there is a new book out in which the author lists the factors he found in common in four parts of the world where a large number of the people live into their 90’s & to be over 100 AND where they tend to stay in good health in their later years.

So, when Early to Rise did a review yesterday including some of the strategies he found, I decided to post it here & add some of my own comments.

(As some of you know, we did a post on Friday, 3-14-2008 called 21 ways to live to be 100. And, as you’ll see many of those overlap this article & suggest similar strategies.)

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

Anti-Aging Strategies From the Longest-Lived People in the World

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

Recently, I interviewed Dan Buettner, whose latest book, The Blue Zones, is a veritable treasure trove of tips for living longer. Buettner is an explorer whose work for National Geographic led to the book. He investigated four parts of the world where there are more healthy centenarians than anywhere else - Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, CA; Okinawa, Japan; and Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula. Here's what we can learn from the folks who've done "anti-aging" better than anyone else on the planet.

1. Move. Longevity all-stars engage in regular, low-intensity physical activity, whether it be hiking, shepherding, gardening, walking, yoga, or something else. The data suggest that moderate, even easy, activity done on a daily basis will extend your life.

2. "Hara hachi bu." This Okinawan saying means "Stop eating when your stomach is 80 percent full." Clear enough? Cutting calories by a mere 20 percent will extend your life.

3. Go heavy on the plants. While readers of ETR know that higher-protein diets can be really healthy, that doesn't rule out a diet that's also loaded with vegetables. All of the long-lived peoples investigated by Buettner ate a plant-based diet with almost no processed foods.
4. Drink some alcohol. In Sardinia, it's wine. In Okinawa, it's sake. Whatever you prefer, alcohol in moderation seems to reduce both stress and inflammation. But remember that women who drink need to be getting plenty of folic acid in their diets. (Even moderate drinking raises the risk of breast cancer - but only for women who are folic acid deficient.)

5. See the big picture. Okinawans call it ikigai. Nicoyans call it plan de vida. In both cultures, the phrase translates to "why I wake up in the morning." Develop a strong sense of purpose, connection to others, and community. It's the best anti-aging "medicine" you can find.

[Ed. Note: Dr. Jonny Bowden, a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health, is the author of the new book The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth. For more information, go to]”

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1. We’ve done many posts on how regular exercise improves your health & slows aging. It seems it is even more critical to slow the aging of your brain than even our posts on the subject suggested. Our next post will be about that.

2. I haven’t read the book for the complete story on the other 3 cultures on purposely stopping eating a bit before you are completely full. Significant calorie restriction does seem to prolong life but can take some of the fun out it.
Fortunately, getting a lot of exercise, eating a lot of vegetables, & NOT eating processed or junk foods also help prevent you from being too fat. And, it looks like you can get the anti-aging effect of significant calorie restriction by taking Resveratrol.

And, it can be a LOT easier to eat moderately like this when you both are not under heavy stress & you have a good social support system. And, these four groups tended to have that going for them.

3. There are quite a good number of ways to eat that support & protect good health. The one thing they ALL have in common is stressing to eat a lot of vegetables both in amount & in variety. These groups seem to have that in common also.

In his recent book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan summarized his research in a way that summarizes the #2 & the #3 strategies this way: “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”

(Most packaged food & snacks and some ice creams, bread & other foods that contain harmful or nonfood additions, do NOT make his list as food. He calls those food-like nonfoods.)

Another related point is that for people who are not allergic, eating nuts regularly boosts longevity by almost as much as NOT smoking – 5 to 10 years or more. And, while many of the Seventh Day Adventists do NOT drink alcohol, they do often eat nuts regularly as they are vegetarians. And they were one of the four groups he studied.

4. Drinking moderately, particularly if it’s combined with meals & socializing does seem to be protective.

The good social support & regular exercise the people he studied had does help avoid the excessive stress that drives drinking enough to overshoot moderate level of alcohol consumption.

5. Having religious faith or a personal guiding philosophy that live is worth living combined with strong family & community ties and social support not only sharply increases longevity, it makes it worth doing.

From the reviews I’ve read, this seems to be the most important take away from Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones.

There are other sources for information the value of eating right and getting regular exercise. And, many people like the idea that moderate drinking has some health value. But this fifth point is significant & not stressed as often by so many different sources.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

More on interval training for fat loss....

Today's post: Thursday, 5-22-2008

This is a follow up on the article & our last post from Tuesday, 5-20.

It has some extra information on how interval training can be done.

And, in addition to my comments on that, I’ve added a few other strategies for fat loss that have appeared here before that those of you who haven’t read our blog before would have missed.

The article I quote was a follow up to the first article I quoted saying that interval cardio burned a LOT more fat & took half the time of slow even paced cardio exercise.

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

The Best Timing for Interval Training By Craig Ballantyne

If a trainer tells you interval training must be done in 30-second... or one-minute... or five-minute increments, he's misinformed. Research shows that all types of intervals will help you burn belly fat better than slow cardio - and there's never been a "head-to-head" study comparing interval workouts of various lengths. But, based on my experience, I have an opinion: I like simple 30-second intervals for fat-loss workouts.

If you do intervals on a cardio machine, it's easy to stick to the 30-second interval timing, followed by a 60-90 second recovery at a much slower pace. If the intervals were any shorter, it would be tough to change the settings on the machine fast enough.

Any type of interval training for fat loss is going to be better than slow cardio - and it allows for faster workouts.
[Ed. Note: If you are new to exercise but want to lose weight, start with a beginner bodyweight-training program for 2-6 weeks, such as the one in Craig's Turbulence Training manual.....]”

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As you might guess from just this article if you didn’t read our last post or know about interval cardio, interval training is when you warm up for a bit; then do a much faster & intense pace; then rest or go a good bit slower until you recover; & then repeat several of these intervals for a total of 10 to 25 minutes.

I personally prefer self-managed intervals rather than timed ones. The timed ones work well for powered treadmills etc. But the self-paced ones work well on elliptical trainers & Nordic Track exercisers & in walking, running, & swimming.
You can warm up until you feel ready then speed up gradually to fast over a period of a few seconds for the first one; then slow down or rest until you catch your breath & speed up faster and repeat. That works well when you are just starting interval training. Just speed up a bit less & slow down a bit sooner until you get used to the exercise.

I also like counting my strides and count for a certain number at a fast moderate pace; then a shorter number for a fast pace; & then a very fast pace for a slightly shorter number still. I also time how long a set of these 3 part intervals takes me & work to gradually go a bit faster overall. I do six of these intervals & find I also do the second 3 a good bit faster than the first 3 which then acts a bit of a warm up.

I’ve found that works great to keep me in shape.

Here are some other tips for fat loss.

1. Stop things that make you get & stay fat.:
Cut way back on sugar & foods that contain sugar. Drink absolutely no regular OR diet soft drinks. Eat no packaged snacks & avoid most packaged foods. Eat less grain foods. And when you eat grain foods eat ONLY whole grain foods & eliminate virtually all refined grain foods. (And, yes that does mean that if you eat most commercial sandwiches or hamburgers, you need to do it Atkins style & not get or totally discard the refined grain bread it comes with normally.) Be totally sure to stop ALL intake of foods or drinks containing high fructose corn syrup. It’s both bad for you AND makes you hungrier when you consume it. Ouch !!

2. Also do progressive strength training at least twice a week.

3. Eat as many cooked & raw nonstarchy vegetables each day as you can fit in. MORE is actually better. And this step also has multiple health benefits, particularly if you eat only organic vegetables. Your blood biomarkers of health will all improve & your chances of getting cancer drop in at least half. We evolved to eat these foods as a staple & our bodies don’t work well if you don’t eat them.
Even better, they make you feel full enough, you can lose fat WITHOUT getting hungry. Nonstarchy vegetables are so low in calories that Weight Watchers lists them as having ZERO points.

4. Eat some high quality, health Ok protein foods at most meals. Protein does help keep you from getting hungry the best. That’s why high protein diets work as well as they do. Plus you tend to lose weight as FAT only & keep your muscle mass if you eat protein and do interval cardio and strength training. That is both much better for you & makes it much more likely your fat loss can be permanent.

Beef fed only grass, pasture fed poultry, wild caught fish, nuts, eggs from pasture fed chickens, nonfat & very lowfat dairy, & beans and lentils all work.
5. Allow yourself some health Ok fats each day, just be moderate in the amount. Nuts, avocados, wild caught fish, nuts, and nut butters, and extra virgin olive oil all work.

It’s been shown that people who do this while losing fat are much healthier than people who overdo eating a low fat diet. Even better they lost more fat & keep it off better than people who don’t.

6. If you don’t make the progress you’d like, also join a Weight Watchers group & go to the meetings.

They have you push for cutting back more than I think works for best long term results. They don’t emphasize exercise enough. They don’t stress avoiding health damaging foods enough. And, their point system is a bit too oriented to removing fat from your diet.

So, why this recommendation?

With those exceptions, their point system is VERY will researched & accurate. If you learn to take in 5 % fewer points each week, you will eventually weigh 5% less. And if you do it right as listed above, that will all be permanent fat weight you lose.

They also have a new slogan I think is accurate for many people: Diets don’t work. Meetings do.

When you are in the period when you are first losing fat & making these lifestyle upgrades, you WILL make more progress & make it more reliably if you do go to their meetings.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lose way more fat in half the time....

Today's post: Tuesday, 5-20-2008

Exercise DOES help people lose excess fat. But some people do a good bit without seeing as much progress as they’d like.

There are many reasons for this. One is that you can gain about the same amount of muscle as you lose in fat. So you look trimmer & may lose inches but the amount of weight is less than you might have expected. Another is that if you still eat too many fattening foods you can add the muscle but prevent the fat loss.

But clearly if you can be more effective at losing fat that helps. And, since people have limited time to exercise, if you can be more effective at losing fat AND cut the time it takes in half, that would be ideal.

One way that I’ve done posts on is to do progressive strength training at least two nonconsecutive days each week. THAT does work to trim fat.

But many people also do a lot of cardio or aerobic exercise & don’t see much extra fat loss from their cardio.

So, when I read the article I’m posting here in Early to Rise, I immediately decided to post it. It literally describes losing a LOT more fat in half the time.

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 Lose Your Belly and Thighs

By Craig Ballantyne

If you want to lose belly fat, you should do lots of crunches. And if you want to tone your thighs, you should reach for your ThighMaster. Right?
Wrong on both counts.

Instead, you should do a form of short-burst exercise that I've been using with clients since 1998 - long before the average trainer jumped on the bandwagon.
In one study, Australian researchers from the University of New South Wales put three groups of women through a 15-week fat-loss exercise program. One group was a control group. Another group did three sessions of intervals per week (20 minutes per workout). And the third group did three sessions of long, slow, boring cardio (40 minutes per workout).

Forty-five women were in the study - and it is important to note that they were not all overweight. On average, they had a healthy body mass index of only 23.22 (well below the cut-off of 25 that signals overweight).

At the end of the 15 weeks, only the interval-training group showed significant weight loss and a decrease in body fat and trunk fat. The interval-training group also had a significant loss of fat from their legs. And the more overweight a subject was, the better the interval-training program worked for her.

Oh, and did I mention that the slow, boring cardio workouts did NOT result in a significant loss of body fat? Something we've been saying here at ETR for a long time now...

So if you want to burn your belly fat and lose a few inches from your thighs, get started on a short, 20-minute interval-training program done three times per week. That's all you need.

[Ed. Note: If you are new to exercise but want to lose weight, start with a beginner bodyweight-training program for 2-6 weeks, such as the one in Craig's Turbulence Training manual. You will also get specific step-by-step instructions on how to do intervals at any fitness level…..] “

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There are a lot of ways to do interval training. The key is that you go at a medium pace and then go really fast for a short time and then either go back to a medium pace or rest and then repeat the process several times.

You do need to build up slowly as you become more fit. So if you go faster & run out of breath, stop until you are almost recovered before resuming or slow down to slow medium until you are almost recovered before you go faster again.

You can do this with walking, swimming, running, walking on a treadmill with an incline. You can do it on a trampoline if you are careful or a mini one like the UrbanRebounder.

I do mine on a Nordic Track.

Or, if you are already in good health & fit, you can do running fast uphill, or hill sprints, where you run up until you run up fast until you run out of breath, then walk down to where you started and repeat.

You also get in shape much faster this way than going at a steady pace, other studies have found.

And, for best results, gradually improve by going faster on the slow part, going faster on the fast part, or resting less between the fast parts. Note that this is progressive, just like progressive strength training. You gradually improve on purpose over time.

But interval training can also be done in a more playful & spontaneous way which does NOT work with strength training. You can go at a medium pace until you feel like going fast and then go really fast until you feel like slowing down. This works well for walking, running, & swimming. In running, they even have a name for it.

But as you can see, just 20 minutes three times a week of interval training got results.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Heavy drinking DOES cause high blood pressure....

Today's post: Monday, 5-19-2008

It was recently reported that sustained heavy drinking does cause high blood pressure.

In particular, a recent study was announced that showed that sustained heavy drinking caused the blood vessels of both men & women to become stiffer & less pliable thus creating extra drag on the system & requiring more pressure to drive blood through. This would tend to increase both the pulse pressure, or difference between the readings, AND the lower number or diastolic reading.

That means a desirable blood pressure of 115 over 75 might become 163 over 100 after years of heavy drinking—just from this one effect. So if the person also gained 35 pounds, ate very little vegetables or fruit & never exercised, they might well be at 177 over 105 -- or more. (Without the heavy drinking they might still only be at 129 over 80.)

Heavy drinking for men is over 3 drinks a day. For women, it is between 1 & 1/2 & twice that, more than one, or two or too often.

Also, the weekly total makes a big difference. Heavy drinking for men is 14 or over per week while for women it tends to be in the 8 to 10 or over range.

And, of course, it makes a difference how old you are, how many years you drink heavily, & how healthy you are otherwise.

However, since heavy drinking both harms your health AND increases your chances of being in a serious accident, it makes good sense to avoid it. And, it’s clear that heavy drinking every day of the week for years is really harmful.

Unfortunately, the report of this research did NOT say HOW heavy drinking caused this effect. It could be that it increased the microscopic damage in the blood vessels of the heavy drinkers and harmed their lining or endothelium. Or it could be that it increased their inflammation. Or that it might increase the amount of plaque or calcified plaque that got deposited in their blood vessels. Or it might do all of the above.

It did say that heavy drinking did tend to damage the left ventricle of the heart in women who were heavy drinkers & to produce an enlarged heart.

One or two drinks for men several days a week with one being more common or one drinks for women several days a week still looks like it produces more good than harm by reducing stress & increasing HDL.

However, this new research confirms that drinking a lot more than that DOES cause high blood pressure & related damage.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Stay fit & trim while traveling....

Today's post: Friday, 5-15-2008

I got the article I include below yesterday. Since many of you travel on business & the time of year many people take vacations is coming up soon, it seemed like a good idea to pass on the information & add some ideas myself.

I decided to put the article first & add my ideas after it.

First, here’s the article.:

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

4 Ways to Stay Fit While Traveling

By Craig Ballantyne

Last year, I flew more than 20,000 miles and visited more than two dozen airports around the world. Along the way, I learned - the hard way - how difficult it is to eat on the road. Especially when you're stuck in an airport for hours and hours at a time (as I was in Washington one night).

Today, I want to share the lessons I've learned about keeping fit while traveling.

The way to keep yourself healthy while on the road is to plan ahead. That goes for everything you do in your fat-loss program, especially eating properly.

You see, nutrition is where people fail big-time when traveling. After all, there isn't much good food for sale in airports. Not to mention all the restaurants you inevitably visit while vacationing or on a business trip. The good news is that it's possible to find nutritious food... if you know where to look. For instance, you can almost always get fresh fruit, nuts, and even grilled chicken in most airports.

After nutrition, simple laziness is the next hurdle you have to overcome while traveling. It's easy to talk yourself into skipping a workout if the hotel gym doesn't have the equipment you're used to. But the truth is, you don't need fancy equipment to get a fat-burning workout. You can do dozens of great bodyweight exercises practically anywhere.

Here are four strategies that can help you stay fit and stave off the fat while traveling.

1. Pack nutritious food for the road.

Yes, you can usually find healthy options in airports and restaurants. But you increase your chances of eating healthfully by packing your own snacks. Some healthy, road-worthy choices include water, green tea, almonds, apples, bananas, and jerky.

There's a saying in the fitness industry: "You can't out-exercise a bad diet." So no matter how often you hit the hotel gym (and not many travelers do at all), you won't be able to fight off weight gain if you continue to down processed foods and sugary beverages.

On a recent flight from Nashville to Toronto, I sat beside an overweight women who was (ironically) reading Dr. Phil's book on how to lose weight while she drank a glass of orange juice.

Now she clearly did not need the orange juice. She could have had water or a club soda (like I did) or even a coffee. Instead, she chose just about the worst drink possible. Within minutes of drinking orange juice, blood sugar levels spike, increasing levels of the fat-storing hormone insulin. To make matters worse, those spiked blood sugar levels eventually crash - making you hungry again.

Bad food choices doom travelers to stay overweight forever. But if you pack your own snacks - and ask for healthy substitutions in restaurants (replacing potatoes with extra veggies, for example) - you can control what you eat. Kelley Herring has written extensively about healthy food options. If you need some inspiration for what to eat while traveling, check out some of her past ETR articles.

2. Schedule your workouts with as much dedication as you schedule your business meetings.

When you book your hotel, make sure you have access to an adequate hotel gym or nearby fitness establishment. That way, you can continue with your regular exercise routine.

You might want to purchase a day pass at a local gym and work out with a personal trainer. If there is no time to schedule a session with a personal trainer, and your hotel gym doesn't have weights, try a bodyweight-only workout.

Here, for example, is how to do the Off-Set Push-Up:

Start in a regular push-up position, with one exception. You move one hand a hand's-length forward. (So it will be at forehead level, not shoulder level.) Do half as many push-ups as you normally do. Then, without resting, switch your hand position so the other hand is now a hand's-length forward. Do an equal number of repetitions.

This push-up works your upper body just as hard as (or harder than) regular push-ups. But it also works your abdominals a lot harder, because your torso muscles are working harder to stabilize your upper body.

Take advantage of whatever time slot is available for exercise during your travels. And don't miss it. An added bonus: Your exercise appointment can be the perfect excuse to skip unnecessary post-meeting cocktails and calories. Which brings me to my next tip...

3. Stay away from alcohol.

Whether you're on vacation or traveling for business, cocktails and wine are usually bountiful. But boozing it up adds hundreds of unnecessary calories. Plus, a few drinks can lead you to indulge in high-fat, high-glycemic foods you would ordinarily avoid. As a group of Canadian researchers reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, just one alcoholic drink can have that effect on your diet.

4. Spend waiting time walking.

If you have a layover between flights or are killing time between meetings, take a brisk walk. Some people think that walking is so low-intensity it doesn't do anything to help keep you fit. But that's just plain wrong. Researchers from Duke University found that walking the equivalent of 11 miles per week helped prevent the accumulation of deadly visceral fat, no matter the intensity of the exercise. So take a pedometer with you when you travel, and walk as often as possible.

Travel with a "maintenance mindset." Stick to your plan, and you'll return home without gaining any fat or losing any fitness.”

[Ed. Note: Fitness expert Craig Ballantyne is the creator of the Turbulence Training for Fat Loss system.

X* X* X* X* X* X*

Here are my comments & some other ideas.

1. The items on his list to pre-pack can work. My favorite of his list is the green tea. Packets of green tea or your favorite kind of black tea are dramatically better for you than soft drinks; they take up a very tiny amount of space & weigh very little; & you can usually get a cup & hot water for tea.

Almonds, pecan halves, or walnut halves or pieces make a great snack & enough for a tide over snack can easily fit in a sandwich bag in a coat pocket or purse. And, if you get them raw and unprocessed or dry roasted only -- & you aren’t allergic to them, they are marvelously filling and good for you.

However, some people have dangerous allergies to them, so eating them in your seat on an airplane with the cramped quarters filled with people you don’t know & in the enclosed, incompletely ventilated air is NOT a good idea.

Apples & bananas make great snacks if you are driving or for when you first get to the airport and have to wait at the gate before boarding. But they are a bit bulky & potentially messy to pack otherwise.

They can sometimes cause problems if you go out of state or out of the country as many places have regulations about bringing in produce from outside their area. But if you can buy apples or bananas to eat in your room locally, that can work well.

His example of the woman drinking orange juice I give a mixed review. He’s correct that a better choice for her may well have been water, club soda, tea or coffee. But it’s so much better for her than a soft drink, she may have picked the healthier alternative from those she was willing to drink. And, she actually got some vitamin C & folic acid from the orange juice.

His idea of asking for substitutes for starchy or otherwise unhealthy foods in restaurants is excellent, “replacing potatoes with extra veggies” is a great example. It’s become enough more common that most decent restaurants will be happy to do so. I’ve been requesting “extra veggies’ for potatoes or rice for quite a while.

Another great way to go is to focus on eating good quality protein foods, veggies, & fruit and treat yourself by getting them prepared and served for you with items you like but don’t have time to fix at home. If you also do that instead of eating potatoes, rice, extra refined grain bread & desserts, that helps a lot. (Do avoid processed sandwich meat & farmed fish and go a bit easy on cheese due to its high saturated fat content, however.)

One way I found to do this is to stay on the executive floor in a hotel if your budget will handle it. I went to a seminar recently where they booked me into the gold floor of a Fairmont hotel. Every morning & every evening, they provided a buffet of a variety of really good food at no extra charge for the guests on that floor. That meant I did not need to find a restaurant or pay for breakfast & dinner. And, although I did pass on a lot of good tasting refined grain goodies, the variety of well prepared protein foods, veggies, & fresh fruit was so good & so well done I did NOT feel deprived at all.

2. That hotel not only had a gym with some weights and cardio machines, they also provided clean gym clothes at no extra charge.

Exercises you can do in your room also work.

I plan to try his offset pushups. But if you do regular ones at home, they also work fine. Other exercises you can do at home or in your room while traveling include crunches, leg raises, twisting crunches where you pull up the opposite knee and touch it with your elbow, half squats, quarter squats with each leg, rising up on your toes, and what are called wall sits where you use the wall to hold you up in a position as if you were sitting down in a chair but with your legs parallel to the floor. (I do those at home & find that when I count to 250 it takes about 2 &1/2 minutes. I did start at counting to more like 80 & built up to the 250 gradually.)

Some travelers take what are called exercise bands that provide resistance for a variety of strength training exercises; use very little space; & don’t weigh much. That also works.

3. Some thoughts on alcohol. If you drink moderately at home and can afford to when traveling, I think it can make sense, particularly if when you drink at home you are able to make health OK food choices and also drink.

However, the last thing you want to do is to get drunk in a place you don’t know well when you are away from some of the resources you have or are familiar with at home. So, keep your drinking quite moderate. I also decided to only drink at my hotel at the end of the day. That way I didn’t have to drive in an area I didn’t know well or cross any streets or worry about getting lost if I got the least bit tipsy.

And, if you feel like splurging on alcohol or celebrating, try getting higher quality or more expensive drinks instead of more drinks than your normal moderate intake.

I completely agree with him that you can do enough things that really are doable that you can return without gaining a lot of fat or missing regular exercise totally.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

New ways to prevent prostate cancer....

Today's post: Thursday, 5-15-2008

We’ve done several posts on how to prevent all kinds of cancer & a few on preventing prostate cancer. And, I’ll review some of those at the end of this post.

But here are two studies that I had not yet heard of that came to my attention in the last day or two.

There have been some studies showing a low fat diet may help prevent prostate cancer.

But these two studies add considerable precision to that information.

1. One found that when they fed mice a low fat diet & another group of mice a high fat diet of corn oil that’s high in omega 6 fatty acids, the corn oil group had more prostate cancer. This suggests but does not prove that people who eat a lot of food or oils high in omega 6 oils will get more prostate cancer.

My strong guess is that the proof will arrive. And, based on other research showing that heating oils like safflower, soy, & corn oils that are high in omega 6 produces dangerous breakdown products, I think that men who eat cooked food high in omega 6 content or cooked in oils high in omega 6 will get the most prostate cancer. There is also research showing other health problems from eating too much omega 6 oils and not enough omega 3 oils. So, avoiding most omega 6 oils and getting extra omega 3 oils has other health benefits & is a good idea even if the proof hasn’t yet arrived that it also helps prevent prostate cancer. And, avoiding foods cooked with a high omega 6 oil content looks wise for the same reasons.

2. The other study found that lowering high levels of LDL cholesterol was not only effective in lowering PSA levels, where high levels tend to indicate prostate cancer, it also found that lowering LDL levels more also lowered PSA levels more. That looks very much like a cause & effect relationship to me.

The good news is that eating less fatty meats & full fat dairy products and eating more foods such as beans, apples, & oatmeal that are high in soluble fiber; taking real niacin; eating a lot of nuts & vegetables that have a high sterol content; taking sterol supplements will reliably lower LDL cholesterol. And, if you do all of these things, many people can lower their LDL cholesterol below 100.

(This kind of diet kept my LDL level to 143 where it would have certainly been over 160 on the food most Americans eat.

And, adding niacin and sterol supplements lowered it to 93.)

Statin drugs have some really serious side effects in many people who take them. So I believe strongly that while lowering your LDL is a good idea, taking statin drugs is not. This is particularly true when you can get their benefit WITHOUT taking them.

3. Also, eating less fatty meats & full fat dairy products has some other cancer fighting benefits.

It’s not widely known. But you are exposed to pesticides & herbicides MUCH MORE by eating fatty meat from grain fed animals than you are by eating produce that is NOT organic. The grain they get stuffed with is grown with pesticides & herbicides and the animals bioconcentrate it in their fat.

In addition, that SAME grain is high in omega 6 oils. So by avoiding fatty meats from grain fed animals, you prevent prostate cancer three ways.

Your LDL level is less from avoiding the saturated fat in the fatty meat. You ingest less omega 6 oils from the grain the animals eat. And, you avoid the big dose of herbicides and pesticides in their fat.

The other good news is that there are a LOT of good foods you can eat instead of fatty meats for protein.

Pasture fed poultry; beef or buffalo fed only grass; wild caught fish; nuts, beans, & nonfat & very lowfat dairy all work.

Foods such as pasture fed poultry; beef or buffalo fed only grass; & wild caught fish have several benefits. They tend to be more expensive than fatty, grain fed meat. This helps most people eat a more moderate amount of them. They are both higher in omega 3 oils AND lower in omega 6 oils than fatty, grain fed meat. The fatty wild caught fish do have more fat; but they are very high in omega 3 oils. And, the meat from animals fed grass or which are pasture fed, also is much leaner than fatty, grain fed meat. That way you get more benefits AND lower calories. Lastly, beans and lentils score a triple. They are high in protein; they are high in LDL reducing soluble fiber. And, they are MUCH cheaper than animal protein foods.

So, you can eat beans plus less of better quality animal protein foods for about the same as the cost of eating a lot of fatty, grain fed meat.

Your heart health will be better; you’ll be less fat; & it now looks like your risk of prostate cancer will be a lot less as well.

3. Other things we’ve posted on before to prevent cancer or prostate cancer include taking resveratrol supplements, taking more than 1,000 iu a day of vitamin D, taking 200 micrograms of selenium daily; eating raw broccoli & cauliflower at least once a week each; never eating farmed fish as they are now farmed; completely staying away from tobacco smoke; & getting regular exercise.

Each of these things was been proven to cut your risk of all cancers or of getting prostate cancer. If you do them all, you cut your risk by something like 70 to 90 %.

Then by adding this new information, you may be able to cut your risk of prostate cancer by even more.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Exercise & Your Heart....

Today's post: Tuesday, 5-13-2008

When I first read that regular aerobic exercise or cardio improved your health & protected you from stress, I was impressed and began running regularly.

Since I was under some time pressure I never ran long distances. Even when I ran more for a while I only ran for 4, 5, or 7 miles on my longer runs. And, during the week I only ran 2 or 3 miles. I only did the longer runs once each on Saturdays & Sundays.

Also, by the time I tried the longer runs, I had been doing the 2 & 3 mile runs for several months. So I was in decently good shape & my body was acclimated to running.

I was never tempted to run the bit over 26 miles for a Marathon or go on the even longer runs.

It now turns out my choices may have been fortunate. At that time, it was thought that more running than I was doing & longer distances than I was running were even more health protective than what I did.

We now know that as the distance you run or the time you do a cardio session get above 3 miles or half an hour at a time, you begin to stress your heart significantly. And, if you aren’t in shape; haven’t acclimated to that exercise for several weeks at shorter times & distances; & haven’t taken steps to reverse undesirable readings on heart biomarkers ahead of time, you can actually do yourself more harm than good. Some people have even died. In aerobics or cardio for most people LOTS MORE is NOT better & is often dangerous.

In some ways this is good news. It means that the shorter or less time consuming aerobic exercise that more people have time for is safer and even may be BETTER for your heart.

It also means that people are learning to build up gradually to more advanced exercise instead of trying to start off too hard.

And, it means that people, including me, are taking steps to protect their heart in other ways besides exercise. That improves the protection from exercise; makes exercise safer to do; & has direct and separate health benefits exercise alone doesn’t do.

A recent study found that both strength training & aerobics or cardio increased the muscle size & strength of the left ventricle of the heart of the people doing the exercise. However, only the aerobics or cardio benefited the right ventricle as well.

The left ventricle is the more important of the two in some ways. But the right ventricle is also important. And, it sounded like in my reading of the report that aerobics or cardio might best work to promote artery flexibility; normal blood pressure, & endothelial health.

Since both the strength to do things and the ability to do them without having stop right away to catch your breath for not doing all that much give you more control & capacity in your life, it’s been clear to me for some time that doing some of each kind of exercise – both strength training AND aerobics or cardio -- is a good idea.

Also, recently it has been found that progressive strength training to the point of being quite vigorous and doing aerobics or cardio with multiple sections of higher to high intensity do more to help you keep off excess fat or remove it than steady state aerobics or cardio does – even if the steady state aerobics or cardio lasts a long time.

And, one of the reasons that this is good news is that even sessions of this kind of “interval” aerobics or cardio that are as little as 10 minutes long are effective at fat loss if you do them right.

It seems doing progressive strength training to the point of being quite vigorous or doing aerobics or cardio with multiple sections of higher to high intensity cause your body to increase your metabolism for HOURS afterwards.

And, regular progressive strength training has the added benefit that it gradually increases your muscle mass. And THAT ensures you burn more calories even on days you aren’t exercising.

Lastly, if you do aerobics or cardio interval style where you push hard enough to get out of breath & then rest or slow down to a pace where you can catch your breath & repeat several times, it’s also been found that you will get into good shape far faster than doing steady state aerobics or cardio for the same amount of time. (Note: This is far safer & more effective if YOU decide when to speed up & when to slow down to catch your breath than if some pre-programmed exercise device decides for you. You have internal feedback on your body in real time. Programmed speed ups & slow downs do not.)

So, if you get your heart health biomarkers in shape; do some progressive strength training each week; & do some interval style aerobics or cardio each week; & you work up to higher intensity gradually in both kinds of exercise, that seems to be both safest & most effective to keep you fit, trim, & to protect your heart.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Serious health threat but easy to prevent....

Today's post: Monday, 5-12-2008

According to data I saw last week, there’s a fifty-fifty chance you already have this health problem.

And, it is obnoxious, expensive to fix if it gets too bad, can make you look bad, & helps cause heart disease. Ouch !!

The good news is that it’s easy to prevent for the basic steps that get you 80 % of the way there & relatively easy to add the remaining 20 % protection to virtually ensure you prevent it totally. And these steps will also reverse mild gum disease that you might already have without knowing it.

This problem is gum disease. When I was younger, I thought the only way you might lose your teeth other than something striking you in the face was by tooth decay.

What I didn’t know then is that most people who lose teeth lose them to gum disease NOT to tooth decay.

In addition, though it’s relatively easy to prevent, you will get gum disease if you don’t prevent it.

But there is more to gum disease to that.

It also can cause bad breath that can only be turned off by curing it. Bad cases need specialized dental care that costs hundreds of dollars & can cost thousands when you add it the dentures you may need to get for lost teeth. Worse, the bacteria it grows in your mouth are now thought to help cause heart disease & other cardiovascular diseases.

The MUCH better news is that just a little bit of extra care once a day will both prevent about 80 % of it AND will reverse it if you have it but it’s still not too bad.

The prevention has four steps. The first three are easy, fast, & super cheap to do.

The fourth costs a bit but you only need to do it every 6 months or so.

Here are the 4 steps.:

You do these three at least once a day, ideally at the same time each day.:

1. Always rinse your teeth; use Stimudents or very carefully use a toothpick to remove any big chunks of food that don’t rinse out; & then FLOSS your teeth. (It’s Ok to skip this part once or twice a week if you are extremely rushed that day. But make an enormous special effort to NEVER skip more than one day at a time or more than twice a week.)

2. Always, repeat always, bush your teeth at least once a day. Even if you rush through the steps sometimes, make sure to NEVER miss a day.

3. Use this 3 step process to brush your teeth.:

First brush your biting surfaces on the flat part of your back teeth both top & bottom. (Using a fluoride toothpaste, that does fight cavities well.)

Then brush your teeth where you focus & center your brushing on the gumline between you teeth & gums; & do that both top & bottom.

Then make a third pass where you brush each part of your gums above the gumline on top & below it on the bottom.

If you start at one side & make one pass without stopping on each of these steps, you can do each one quickly enough to only take a bit longer than someone who misses part of their mouth & does a slap dash job.

But, the second two parts that remove the tiny stuff just under your gums & then massage them are critical to include. They are what keeps your gums healthy.

These first 3 steps are critical to do & get 80 % of the job done.

4. Get your teeth cleaned at the dentist every 6 months regularly as they recommend if you possibly can. And, make a very strong special effort to at least have it done once a year.

That removes the small bits of hardened stuff that even flossing & brushing right each day misses.

And, when you do the first 3 steps & add that step, your risk of gum disease virtually vanishes.

Taking at least 250 mg of vitamin C a day also helps your gums stay healthy.

And, if you do get gum disease or are over 40, it also helps to take 100 mg a day of CoQ10.

A good dentist knows this information & will even tell you about it.

But most doctors are not familiar with it & so won’t talk to you about it even if they cover preventive steps to protect your health.

Of most importance though is that YOU need to know about it & do these steps to protect your health.

That’s why I decided to do this post.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Homocysteine levels ARE important....

Today's post: Friday, 5-9-2008

Recent research has found that excessive levels of homocysteine in your blood tend to cause vascular disease & plaque build up and possibly inflammation in your blood vessels & it also may harm the health of the endothelium that is the inner lining of your blood vessels.

Very high levels of 14 or more are predictive of increase risk of death from all causes & from heart attacks. They are in fact MORE predictive than most other risk measures.

And, levels of 9.0 & up, once thought to be “normal” because they were so common, are enough to cause cardiovascular disease including age related mental decline from the cardiovascular disease & may possibly help cause other forms of senility, including Alzheimer’s disease. Such levels also increase your rate of aging.

So a study reported recently saying in that the results suggest that lowering high homocysteine did nothing to protect women from heart trouble is quite likely to be coming to an incorrect conclusion.

“B vitamins fail to cut heart risk in study

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Giving B vitamins and folic acid supplements to reduce high levels of a blood protein that is a marker for heart disease did nothing to protect women from heart trouble, according to a study released on Tuesday.” (5-6-2008)

There are two reasons for this for this finding & why they did NOT find that lowering high homocysteine is protective.

Here’s a quote from that study:

“The volunteers, all women, were 42 or older at the start of the study and either considered at risk for heart disease or had already experienced heart problems.

Half the 5,442 participants took 2.5 milligrams of folic acid, 50 milligrams of Vitamin B6, and 1 milligram of vitamin B12 daily, while the rest took a placebo.

No harm came from the vitamins and homocysteine levels fell by nearly one-fifth in that group but there was no appreciable difference in the incidence of heart problems or heart-related deaths compared to the placebo group in the seven years.”

That quote means that ALL these women either had heart disease OR had dangerous readings on the other measures of cardiovascular risk --

such as high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, smoking, &/or high blood sugar.

And, the women with existing heart disease likely also had dangerous readings on those other measures.

So they already had damaged cardiovascular systems AND other causes of cardiovascular disease besides homocysteine.

Such people as the women they studied quite commonly have homocysteine readings of 14.0 & up.

That means that virtually all of them still had homocysteine readings of well over 11.2 AFTER taking the B vitamins.

This means the researchers did NOT find that lowering homocysteine with B vitamins wasn’t protective.

They found these three things instead.:

1. If, after lowering high homocysteine levels with B vitamins, the reading is still over 9.0, to get to protective levels you also need to have people stop smoking, stop any exposure to second hand smoke, AND take the supplements NAC and TMG until you get the reading to 8.9 or below. Lowering a very high reading to a high reading is likely NOT protective enough,

2. It pays to measure homocysteine levels from age 30 on & lower high levels BEFORE damage is done to your blood vessels.

3. Lowering homocysteine levels DOES help but is not enough. You also have to measure & improve the other indicators & causes of cardiovascular disease to get real protection.

That’s why it is critical your health to NOT smoke, to exercise, avoid ingesting harmful foods & drinks, & eat right, AND eat the foods & take the supplements that keep your homocysteine AND your other heart risk measures in the desirable range.

In short, if you do too little too late to prevent heart disease, doing too little after the damage has been done won’t protect you.

But to then conclude people who have not yet been damaged needn’t bother with taking protective B vitamins or that lowering homocysteine does nothing protective when that was not done enough to get to safe levels nor the other risk factors addressed is sloppy & inaccurate science.

Unfortunately that is exactly what many lay people and, unfortunately some doctors, think such studies prove.

The other research proves they are drawing false conclusions.

I’m writing this post to help prevent you from being harmed by their mistake.

The right conclusions to protect your health are:

to measure your homocysteine every year or so & take action to bring it under 9.0 if it gets above that;

to follow the other good health practices & lifestyle;

and, to measure the other risk indicators when you measure your homocysteine and also take corrective action on any of those that go into the undesirable range.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another anti-cancer agent....

Today's post: Thursday, 5-8-2008

I had read before that a fermented wheat germ extract supplement had been found to help kill off cancer cells.

Recently I was reminded of it in an article saying that it had turned off some cancers in some people just by using it -- by itself.

So, I did as I've learned to do in researching such things, I looked it up in Wikipedia.

It seems that this supplement is in fact widely used in Europe to increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments & has in fact been successful in doing so.

One of the more successful applications was in treating malignant melanoma that had metastasized. Survival odds went from below 50-50 to above 50-50.

Here is the info:

Fermented wheat germ extract

>>> <<<<<

“Fermented wheat germ extract
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE), also called fermented wheat germ powder (FWGP) is a concentrated extract of wheat germ fermented by baker's yeast, used primarily for its ability to stimulate and modulate immune system function.

FWGP is approved as a medical nutriment for supportive therapy of cancer in Hungary and is used for that purpose in other nations of the European Union (EU), and in parts of the Middle East and Asia. It is used in the US as a dietary supplement.

In addition to its use in support of treatments for cancer, in which immune system function usually is impaired prior to and/or following cytotoxic treatment, FWGE has also been studied for use in conditions in which the immune system is inappropriately over-active, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

The use and study of FWGE in conditions at such widely distant points on the spectrum of abnormal immune system function as cancer -- in which immune system function often is impaired -- and autoimmune conditions -- in which immune system function is inappropriately overactive -- occurs because the extract has been shown to support normal immune system function and normal cell metabolism.

FWGE is derived from the germ (endosperm, or seed) of the wheat plant, and is a by-product of milling of wheat kernels to produce flour. FWGE differs from ordinary wheat germ in that it is fermented to concentrate the substituted benzo-quinones, which are biologically active. Concentration allows the immunomodulatory effects of the substituted benzo-quinones to be obtained without the consumption of impractically large amounts of wheat germ.

FWGE (trade names Avemar, Avé) is identified in some research studies by the laboratory code name MSC. In proprietary formulations, the extract is standardized (formulated to always contain a specific amount of substituted benzo-quinones in a given amount of extract).

Like many other naturally occurring substances extracted from plants, FWGE was historically mainly the provence only of naturopathic doctors, holistic health practitioners, and herbalists. Currently, such substances are increasingly of interest to more conventionally trained physicians who study them for use in those instances in which adequate, peer-reviewed published research has demonstrated substantial and quantifiable benefit.

Summary of laboratory and clinical research results
Results of cell studies, animal studies, and human clinical trials focused on cancer show that FWGE has exhibited significant anti-cancer effects in a broad variety of cancer types and also positive effects in auto-immune diseases [1].

Human clinical trials
FWGE improved survival, and reduced new recurrences and metastases in colorectal cancer patients. When used in a study of 170 post-surgical colorectal cancer patients also receiving standard of care therapy such as chemotherapy, and/or radiation, addition of FWGE reduced new recurrences by 82%, metastases by 67%, and deaths by 62%, compared to use of radiation and chemotherapy alone. It also lengthened the time it took for cancer to become measurably active again after primary therapy (surgery) and adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment). [2]

In pediatric cancer patients with various cancer types, FWGE substantially reduced the risk of infections accompanied by high fever (febrile neutropenia), primarily by boosting immune system cell populations and activity. In pre-clinical tests specifically looking at immune effects, FWGP accelerated recovery of immune function following radiation and chemotherapy, inhibited immune suppression, improved NK cell recognition of target cells, and supported normal immune system function that helps white blood cells to cross through blood vessel walls and into tumors. [3]

In a melanoma study, of patients with advanced-stage (Stage III) melanoma skin cancer, FWGE added to chemotherapy resulted in a 1-year relapse-free survival rate of 54.5%, compared to 38.9% for those getting only chemotherapy.

Pre-clinical research done earlier may explain some of the compound’s antimetastatic effects; it inhibited cell proliferation and cell adhesion, and demonstrated promotion of apoptosis and antioxidant effects. [4]

In an oral cancer study, FWGP used as supportive therapy for patients undergoing standard anticancer therapies (SAT) for locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth, FWGP reduced the risk of cancer progression by 85%.

Because opportunities to exploit the mechanisms of action through which FWGP works (limiting access to pathways preferred by tumor cells for ribose synthesis, for example) may exist in many types of cancer, research is ongoing to learn if the results seen in colorectal cancer, melanoma skin cancer, and pediatric cancers will occur in other types of cancer.

In pre-clinical tests to determine whether FWGP might interfere with conventional therapy, the compound did not lessen the therapeutic benefit of any conventional therapy. [5] In another study, therapeutic effects of some conventional treatments used in combination with FWGP were increased, e.g., reduced metastasis, [6] and in some cases those effects were accompanied by lessened frequency and severity of common side effects of conventional treatments, such as nausea, fatigue, weight loss and immune suppression. [7] In quality of life (QOL) tests, FWGP improved cancer patients’ perception of their quality of life.

FWGP and autoimmune diseases
Results of early research using FWGE in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) suggest FWGE may be of use in these diseases for its ability to reduce inflammatory cytokines and rebalance the activity of Th1 and Th2 lymphocytes. [8] Clinical trials are underway to learn more about FWGP’s effects in SLE.

Animal studies
In animals with transplanted human lung cancer, FWGE added to chemotherapy increased survival markedly. [9]

In rats exposed to a substance known to cause colon cancer (AOM), giving the rats FWGE reduced by 46% the number of animals developing colon cancer and reduced the size and number of tumors in those rats that did develop colon cancer. [10]

In mice with a variety of cancer types (highly metastatic lung cancer; melanoma, and human colon cancer), FWGP administered with vitamin C reduced metastasis (spread) of the cancers. [11]

Toxicity studies with FWGE showed no toxicity at levels several times above the amounts recommended for use.

Cell studies
In a colon cancer cell study, FWGE caused 22% of the cancer cells to die due to apoptosis, and 28% due to direct cell-killing by FWGP. [12]

In estrogen-positive breast cancer cells, adding FWGP to tamoxifen treatment killed more breast cancer cells than tamoxifen alone, mainly by increasing apoptosis. [13]

In T-cell and B-cell lymphoma cells, FWGP increased destruction of cancerous cells via forcing more cells into apoptosis. [14]

In tests against leukemia cells, FWGE controlled cell growth and proliferation, mainly by inhibiting enzymes needed to make new DNA to support replication of leukemic cells and by triggering apoptosis. [15]

In cell studies of pancreatic cancer, FWGE limited the creation of new pancreatic cancer cells by limiting cancer cells’ access to glucose, needed to make the sugar ribose for DNA and RNA for new cancer cells. [16]

In human and animal myeloid leukemia cells, and human cervical cancer cells, researchers found FWGE limited the growth and decreased the survival of the cancer cells, mainly by increasing quantities or activity of specific cell hormone-like substances called cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which harm cancerous cells but not normal cells. [17]

In a 1983 study done by Szent-Gyorgyi and colleagues, Erlich tumor cell acites were eliminated from mice using a combination of DMBQ, one of the naturally occurring compounds in FWGP, and ascorbate. The study authors said they believed the elimination was likely due to the interaction of the acites cells and very short-lived free radicals produced by the combination. [18]

Work by Szent-Gyorgyi and colleagues in 1985 showed the compound’s effects against the acites tumor cells was likely at least partly due to one of the active ingredients in FWGE causing a loss of NAD(P)H reducing power in the cells. [19]

History of Development of FWGP

FWGP is approved as a medical nutriment in support of therapy for cancer in Hungary, where it was first developed. It is used throughout Europe, and in parts of the Middle East and Asia, which have a history of use of foods and food-derived factors as medically beneficial that is older than in some other parts of the world.

Investigation into the biological properties of fermented wheat germ was initiated by Hungarian biochemist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937: discovery of vitamin C). In the later years of his career, Szent-Gyorgyi focused his research on causes of and possible treatments for cancer, a disease that had taken the lives of his first wife, his daughter, and other family members.

An expert in cellular respiration and metabolism, Szent-Gyorgyi was a strong proponent of Hippocrates' concept of using foods as medicine. His observation that people eating refined grains developed chronic diseases such as cancer more often than those who ate whole grains led Szent-Gyorgyi to investigate biological properties of wheat germ to learn if it might be useful against cancer. Scientists already knew that cancer cells use huge amounts of glucose, compared to normal cells [the Warburg effect]. Aware that rapid metabolism of glucose could support development, growth and proliferation of cancer cells, Szent-Gyorgyi looked for substances in the wheat plant that might help explain the lower cancer rates among those eating whole grains.

In a series of early papers on wheat germ published in research journals, Szent-Gyorgyi showed results and anaylses suggesting that certain natural compounds called quinones, specifically methoxy-sustituted benzoquinones, naturally present in wheat germ, could help regulate cell metabolism, and possibly prevent the kind of overuse of glucose that supports cancer cell growth and replication.

Fermenting wheat germ with baker’s yeast concentrated the most effective metabolism-regulating quinones such as 2,6-DMBQ, Szent-Gyorgyi noted, so they could be taken as a supplement without the need to consume impractically large amounts of wheat germ.

But large-scale fermentation processes were insufficient then to produce large quantities of the powder, so Szent-Gyorgyi had the same problem he'd faced earlier working to isolate vitamin C: not enough isolated concentrate to use in further lab tests. And the problem of how to standardize the compound’s content, to ensure the same amount of active molecules in each given amount of the powder remained to be solved. Those problems remained unsolved at the time of Szent-Gyorgyi’s death in 1986.

Szent-Gyorgyi’s work was later picked up by a new generation of Hungarian scientists, starting in the 1990s. These researchers used new industrial-scale fermentation processes to produce large quantities of extract, and succeeded in standardizing the amount of active substances in any given amount of it. When initial cell and animal studies showed slowed tumor cell growth, increased cancer cell death by apoptosis, reduced metastasis, and other apparent benefits, human clinical trials were initiated. Currently, FWGE is approved in Hungary and several other European Union (EU) nations as a medical nutriment in support of cancer therapy, and is in use in the US as a dietary supplement.

Fermented Wheat Germ Extract (FWGE) is a powdered concentrate of a fermented plant extract, approved in Europe as a medical nutriment for support of therapy for cancer, and used in the US as a dietary supplement. Research has shown FWGE to support normal immune system and cell metabolic function, to support NK cell targeting ability and coordination of immune system activities such as the responses of macrophages, B-cell and T-cells, and to support cellular and humoral (Th1 and Th2) balance. Effects seen in cell, animal, and human clinical cancer research studies may explain its use in the US and Europe in a wide variety of conditions in which support of normal, as opposed to abnormal, metabolism and immunity, are viewed as important. Research with the substance continues at academic and medical institutions in the US, the EU, and in Asia.”

X * X * X* X* X

I’m glad that I read these two articles for this post. It seems that this agent, sold under the trade name Avemar directly causes aptosis or cell death of cancer cells.

Also, since it seems to work on starving the cancer cells by depriving them of access to glucose, I think it's likely to work well by doing both this one AND the resveratrol which works in part by preventing the cancer from laying in new blood supply.”

The outside link to the Sloan Kettering info on this turned up that this supplement is apparently most effective & best absorbed if it is taken 2 hours before or after vitamin C.

However, I saw that Avemar in some tests best killed off metastasizing cancer cells when given WITH vitamin C.

Perhaps the solution is to take enough vitamin C to ensure high blood levels of it but just ingest it at a different time as the Avemar. (Some alternative practitioners & doctors use intravenous vitamin C which would seem likely to work also.)

It also said that some people taking large doses of it get gas or diarrhea.

But to kill cancer or survive the most dangerous kinds, that seems a minor problem in contrast.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Protect your brain from mercury....

Today's post: Tuesday, 5-6-2008

Mercury is toxic to nerves & can harm your brain enough to cause Alzheimer’s or similar mental dysfunction.

And, there are a lot ways it can get into your body.

If you have the old fashioned fillings in your teeth, you may get some mercury exposure as mercury is in the slivery looking amalgam that dentists used to use. And, if you have those fillings replaced, you likely will get mercury exposure unless your dentist knows how to avoid it.

Until recently, some mercury has been in all flu shots & in many other vaccines. Mercifully the amount is quite small & a mercury free flu shot is now becoming available.

If you break a compact fluorescent light bulb or clean up after someone who does, you will breathe in some mercury. Although you can minimize how much but venting & airing out the area for 15 minutes before you clean up or let anyone go into that room.

The largest source though is probably from eating fish that have a high mercury content.

Swordfish is reported to be high enough, it’s probably wise to not eat it all as is a kind of Mackerel called King Mackerel. And, of the commonly eaten fish, tuna, unfortunately, tends to be moderately high in mercury.

In fact, people who were eating tuna fish for the health value of eating fish & not eating fatty meat, but who were making tuna fish a several times a week staple, began to get sick enough from the mercury poisoning effects to go to their doctor. And, it took a while before the doctors realized why these people were sick.

Needless to say, it’s far better to restrict eating tuna to eating pole caught only as those are a bit lower in mercury & to eat it only up to two or three times a month instead of three or more times a week. You can also eat wild caught salmon or halibut or even regular mackerel or other kinds of wild caught seafood instead of tuna.

But, it’s clear most people already have mercury in their bodies & are at risk to get more.

Wouldn’t it be great if a common food would remove mercury from your body at least to some degree?

Apparently there is one.

Here are two articles from the twice a week health email newsletter I get.

The first one reveals the mercury removing food while the second one has a recipe using it.

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

Staying Healthy in a Toxic Environment

By Laura LaValle, RD, LD

We live in an environment that continues to dump toxins into our air, water, and food. A growing body of evidence has shown the negative impact of different classes of toxins on human health. Are we being affected, is no longer a useful question. What to do about it is.

I'm a dietitian at LMI, working in partnership with clinicians that really understand the role of environmental toxins in a number of health conditions. I've seen patients with conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol significantly improve their health by taking steps to help rid their bodies of toxins.

My first advice to anyone concerned about the potential impact of toxins on their metabolism would be to find a professional clinician knowledgeable in integrative or functional medicine. S/he can measure the levels of toxic chemicals in your body, design a safe and controlled detox program, and closely monitor your health during this entire process.

Unfortunately, there's almost no way to completely avoid exposure to environmental toxins. Even the residents of pristine rural communities who tested their blood for its "body burden" of industrial chemicals were stunned at the unpleasant results. They found mercury, bisphenol A, phthalates, PFOA, PDBE's, and several more.

So what can you do right now to safeguard your family's health? You can reduce your exposure to some of these chemicals by selecting clothing and furniture without fire retardants, using stainless steel cookware instead of non-stick, and heating and microwaving in glass and ceramic rather than plastic. But how do you avoid pollutants you don't even know are there. Unfortunately, you can't.

But you can choose to eat foods that are known to enhance your body's ability to remove toxins. Today I'm beginning with a familiar herb that's a "detox superstar" -- cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley. Most of us are familiar with cilantro as it's used in Mexican foods -- but it's also an ingredient in some Asian dishes like Vietnamese soups.

Cilantro has been shown to help the body eliminate heavy metals, and it's one of the few substances known to be effective in removing mercury. We've known for years that heavy metals like lead and mercury are neurotoxins, and particularly dangerous to human health. They interfere with our thyroid hormones and other important metabolic enzymes, and cause a lot of free radical damage.

Cilantro appears to actually change the chemical properties of these minerals. It's also exceptionally rich in phytonutrients. Finally, it contains important trace minerals like iron, magnesium, and the manganese used in one of the very best enzymes your body makes for detoxification and free radical neutralization!

Cilantro has a sharp pungent flavor. Some people enjoy its taste all on its own, but I prefer it chopped up in salads, salad dressings, salsas, soups, etc. You can also make an "alternative pesto" -- substitute cilantro for basil and your favorite nuts and seeds for pine nuts -- pistachios, sunflower seeds, and/or cashews are great choices.

[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..]

Healthy Recipes:

Chili Lime Grilled Chicken: A Metabolic Code Recipe

By Laura LaValle, RD, LD

A delicious marinade of lime juice and healing herbs makes this Mexican-inspired grilled chicken recipe a perfect choice for a weekend cookout with friends. And best of all, it's a really tasty way to use the "heavy metal removing herb," cilantro.

Excellent source of vitamin B6, niacin, and selenium
Good source of riboflavin, pantothenic acid, zinc, and vitamin C

Serves 6

1 3- to 4-lb organic chicken cut up with skin on (or one packaged chicken, already cut up)
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
3 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
2 T. cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/4cup grape seed oil

*Use organic ingredients for optimal nutrition.

Wash chicken parts and pat dry with paper towels. Mix together minced garlic, sea salt, cumin, chili powder, and cilantro and rub well over each chicken piece. Combine lime juice, coconut oil and grape seed oil and pour over chicken in pan. Marinate overnight or as long as you can prior to cooking. Remove chicken from pan and allow marinade to drip off. Grill chicken parts over hot coals or on gas grill at lowest setting for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

This recipe is more flavorful if you do the preparation the night before, allowing the chicken to marinate in the garlic and spices. However, it's still very tasty even if you do the preparation right before cooking.

Recipe Nutrient Analysis:
336 calories, 23 g. total fat, 8 g. saturated fat, 6 g. monounsaturated fat, 6 g. polyunsaturated fat, 88 mg. cholesterol, 4 g. carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 1g. sugar, 28 g. protein, 510 IU vitamin A, .2 mg riboflavin, 9 mg niacin, .5 mg vitamin B6, .3 mcg vitamin B12, 1 mg pantothenic acid, 10 mg vitamin C, 9 mcg folate, 30 mg calcium, 189 mg phosphorus, 280 mg sodium, 300 mg potassium, 27 mg magnesium, 24 mcg selenium, 2 mg zinc, 1.7 mg iron.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

3 good websites to use to look up supplements....

Today's post: Friday, 5-2-2008

Have you ever read or heard about a new supplement and entered that supplement name into one of the search engines?

All too often you get pages of websites that sell that supplement or that have the ad to sell the supplement – but NO information. And, if you do get information, it’s on a website that sells that supplement -- so it may or may not be completely accurate.

What the supplement is best used for or its other uses, one of which may be important to you, any known drug interaction effects, & how much it is useful to take for various reasons, etc, sometimes one of sales sites has that info at least some. But this often doesn’t happen or all show up.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have easy to find & useful information about supplements that you could go to directly?

Here are 3 websites I’ve found to do a good job on at least some of the supplements I’ve looked up on them.:

1. Wikipedia is often the best one of the 3.

Some of the chemistry explanations are very technical & hard to follow. But I find it is the best one to start with. Their entries tend to be very thorough & complete. They give you enough info that you may not need the other two sites for some supplements.

For the ones that are or very easily could be supplements that are important for you to use or consider using, you have enough information to already be familiar with the basic info when you look at the other two websites or sales pitches for the supplement you are researching.

However, their HUGE advantage is that they virtually always have a listing & info for a supplement you look up !! A related advantage is that the info you get is relatively up to date.

You can go to & go directly to the search box on the very first page; check the language is English in the box to the right; enter the supplement name in the search box & click the go button that has the > symbol or hit enter on your keyboard.

I have Yahoo as my default website page; & it also works to enter
the name of the supplement AND Wikipedia in the search box there & hit enter.

2. A major online seller of supplements is

There is a search box at the left of the initial page just under their stylized name. Simply click on Health Library -- the default is to look up products with that supplement. And, one good way to use this website as a resource is to look up the products just after you look up the information on the supplement.

This website also tends to have most supplements & be reasonably up to date. The information is useful & sometimes complete enough for what you wanted to know. The drawback is that it is neither as complete or well organized as Wikipediaor the third website we discuss next.

3. What if you are looking up a well known supplement that sells well & has been around for years & you want well thought out easy to follow info that includes:
what the supplement is thought to be good for,
which of its purported benefits have the best & track record are best supported by research,
what dosages or amounts are often used or recommended,
any cautions or special info you need to know about that supplement,
& any known drug interactions?

And, it’s OK with you if the info is possibly two or three years out of date?

In that case, try ; click on the Reference Library link in the middle of the page; click on supplements on the box on the upper right hand side of that page & it takes you to the alphabetical list of the supplements they cover. They also have the letters of the alphabet so if you want to look up a supplement late in the alphabet such as selenium or turmeric, you can go to S or T without having to scroll through the entire list of supplements.

The bad news is that where there have been important new studies done in the past year or two on a supplement, they likely won’t have arrived in this set of information.

And, they mostly only list the most common & well known supplements.

In some ways however, it is the best of the 3 for going directly to what you most want to know in an easy to follow way. So if there has been no new info on that supplement, it’s been around for a few years & is well known, it can be a great resource.

As you can see, if you look up a supplement on all 3 sites, you can get a very good understanding of the information about that supplement if it appears on all 3 sites. And, by including Wikipedia in the set, you’ll virtually never come away with no info at all no matter how new or little known the supplement is.

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