Friday, October 30, 2009

More bad news for smokers – even light smokers....

Today's Post: Friday, 10-30-2009

Two days ago on Wednesday, 10-28-2009, HealthDay News had a story with this headline.:

“Even Light Smoking Affects Young Adults' Arteries” & this subtitle.:

“Smoking just one cigarette stiffens the arteries of young adults by 25 percent,
says a new study.”

The researcher who did the study noted that the stiffer a person's arteries, the greater their risk for heart disease & stroke.

(This is because the stiffer a person's arteries the higher their blood pressure. And high blood pressure tends to trigger or make worse heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. And, that effect is made worse when not only are your arteries made worse by this stiffening effect, build- up of arterial plaque on the inside of your arteries makes less space for your blood to circulate and your arteries even stiffer. Tobacco smoke reliably causes and accelerates plaque build-up too.)

The researcher who did the study, Dr. Stella Daskalopoulou, an internal medicine and vascular medicine specialist at McGill University Health Center in Montreal, measured arterial stiffness in smokers and non-smokers, ages 18 to 30, at rest and after exercise.

To establish a baseline measure, the smokers, who smoked five to six cigarettes a day, were asked to refrain from having a cigarette for 12 hours before their first exercise test.

Before the second exercise test, smokers were allowed to have one cigarette. Before the final test, they were asked to chew a piece of nicotine gum.

After exercise, arterial stiffness in non-smokers decreased 3.6 percent. (It went DOWN.)

But the smokers' arterial stiffness increased 2.2 percent after exercise. (It went UP.)

In smokers, arterial stiffness increased 12.6 percent after they chewed nicotine gum and 24.5 percent after they had one cigarette.

There was no difference in arterial stiffness between smokers and non-smokers at rest.

That means that even smoking as little as 5 cigarettes a day is dangerous.

"Even in otherwise young healthy people who smoke very little, their ability to safely things to respond to respond to physical stress, “such as climbing a set of stairs or running to catch a bus," she said."

She found that this occurs even in young people long before they have the additional damage of their arteries their arteries that causes them to be less flexible at rest & compromises the ability of their bodies to cope with physical stress was compromised, “such as climbing a set of stairs or running to catch a bus," That also means that if they do vigorous exercise for any health reason or particularly if they participate in any kind of athletic competition, their safety is at risk

Her study was scheduled to be presented Oct. 27 at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2009. (And, since the story was dated a day later, it probably was.)

This study is far more important than the reporter may have realized because of its many implications.

For example, on of the key reasons why smokers don’t try to quit or fail when they do is that they haven’t a clue they are actually being damaged RIGHT NOW and FOR SURE instead of the “maybe not” and “sometime later if at all” most of them now believe is the case.

That’s particularly the case for young smokers. So in addition, to being able to show smokers and young smokers their ability to breathe has become similar to much older people and their homocysteine and other heart disease risk indicators are already elevated into the danger zone from their smoking right now and for sure, we have this additional new indicator we can show them.

Next, many of the people who don’t try to quit smoking are those who smoke about 5 cigarettes a day as they think they are not being harmed. This test can be used to show them they are quite wrong and putting their safety at risk.

This also means that coaches and gym teachers should ask any of the children, teenagers, or adults ahead of time that are thinking of participating if they smoke at all or are exposed to second hand smoke. If they are, at the very least they should get the disclosure they would be at extra risk if they chose to participate due to this effect.

Lastly, second hand smoke, particularly second hand smoke you are exposed to regularly, was long thought to be relatively harmless. This study is one of many that shows that even small amounts of second hand smoke occasionally is not safe and should be outlawed and avoided by people who value their health.

So, for anyone that makes public policy on exposure to second hand smoke, anyone who still smokes even if only 5 cigarettes a day or so, any young person who smokes, any doctor who wants his or her patients to stay well, AND any smoker who is trying to quit, should know of this study.

It’s that important.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

2 successful drugs suggest new methods for fatloss....

Today's Post: Thursday, 10-29-2009

Recently there were two news stories about drugs that tested as increasing the fat & weight lost by people who were both eating a reduced calorie diet and exercising.

1. Last Friday, 10-23, 2009, HealthDay News had a story with this headline.:

“The diabetes drug liraglutide helps obese people without diabetes lose weight, researchers have found.”

The study included 564 diabetes-free obese patients aged 18 to 65 & the ones that got injected doses of 3 milligrams, the highest dose tested did the best. The second group got a placebo once a day; & the third group got 120 milligrams of the drug orlistat three times a day.

In all three groups the people increased their levels of physical activity and ate a calorie-restricted diet, about 500 calories less each day than they were expected to use.

Weight loss among patients taking liraglutide doses of 3 milligrams was 7.2 kilograms (15.8 pounds), compared with 4.1 kilograms (9 pounds) taking orlistat and 2.8 kilograms (6 pounds)with placebo.

Also, weight loss of more than 5 percent occurred in 76 percent of patients taking 3 milligrams of liraglutide, 44 percent of patients taking orlistat, and 30 percent of patients in the placebo group.

The patients taking liraglutide had lower blood pressure after the weight loss. Not surprisingly, since liraglutide is a diabetes drug designed to lower blood sugar readings, those taking the liraglutide who initially had borderline high blood sugar measures, got improved measures and lower blood sugar. (The story did not have the actual decreases in fasting glucose & HBA1C.)

Nausea and vomiting was more common among patients taking liraglutide than among those in the placebo group, the study authors noted.

The study was released online Oct. 22 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of The Lancet.

As I recall, one of the other stories on this study said that the nausea and vomiting side effect tended to go away over time in those who had it though it didn’t say how long that took or how many of those people dropped out of the study. Neither story said what percentage of the people getting the high dose liraglutide that was most effective had this side effect.

In those who had this side effect, it certainly would tend to reduce their appetite.

But in one of the stories was the information that liraglutide’s main mode of action is by delaying stomach emptying thus blunting any glycemic response & too rapid rise in blood sugar as a result.

This would result in lower insulin levels. And lower insulin levels lead directly to less fat storage.

But there’s good news in this. You can achieve each of these 3 effects without the drug injections.

Modest amounts of vinegar slow stomach emptying.

And using extra virgin olive oil, &/or nuts or avocadoes as your fat or oil source (instead of high omega 6 oils such as corn or soy or safflower and eating very little fat from animals purposely over- fattened with grain and that excessively fatty source of excess saturated fat by eating beans or fish or very lowfat dairy or eggs or very fat trimmed meat and poultry instead) has been found to have multiple health benefits. One of those is that your insulin levels will go down and you’ll tend to lose fat from your waist.

Third, nonstarchy vegetables have very few calories per pound. But more than that, they have fiber that fills you up AND slows your glycemic response to other foods.

So, eating a salad at lunch and at dinner each day with a modest amount of a vinegar you like and extra virgin olive oil as the dressing and NOT eating refined grains or artificial sweeteners or sugar at those meals, may well have a very similar effect to the injected drug.

Also, I’ve been reading fatloss books by doctors who have been successful at helping patients lose weight and excess fat.

One insists that, at lunch and dinner, this kind of salad be the first course & a large serving of a variety of nonstarchy vegetables be the second course to help slow glycemic response and fill up his patients before they have any main dish or other foods.

A second doctor, also directs his patients to eat a lot of vegetables at each meal AND to take a special fiber supplement before each meal that he has found slows glycemic response.

The third doctor has found a protein and fiber supplement that can be made into a shake and has his patients start by having that at breakfast and lunch and then just a breakfast. Between the strong appetite turning off effects of the strong amount of high quality protein and the appetite turning off effects of the fiber supplement, he reports that his patients tell him they are delighted to find they can stay on his program without any excess hunger to overcome.

Lastly, having some of your exercise each day be quite vigorous even if only for 30 seconds or so has been found to lower blood sugar levels and insulin levels.

These things have been independently shown to increase fat loss. They replicate the effects of this drug. And, you needn’t spend the money on the drug, put up with shots, or worry about the side effects to use them. Further, each of them has other health benefits.

2. The second story appeared a day later on Saturday, 10-24, 2009.

Reuters had this headline.:

Orexigen obesity drug shows added benefits: studies

Nearly half of patients who completed 1 yr pus 4 weeks of treatment with the drug, Contrave, from Orexigen Therapeutics Inc's experimental obesity treatment, lost at least 10 percent of their weight. And, they also had improved cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

61.8 percent and 75.8 percent of the people in the two groups that took the drug and completed the study lost at least 5 percent of their weight.

And 23 percent lost 15 percent of their weight in one of the groups studied.

All of these results were dramatically better than those in the placebo group, roughly three times as many lost this much weight who were taking the drug compared to the placebo group.

People with indicators of being at high risk of heart disease improved these measures even more than the average for the group.

That also included all the patients who began the studies, including those who discontinued the medicine at any time.

The study also found that people lost inches on their waist and inflammation improved as well as cholesterol measures and blood sugar levels.

Here’s the good part both as a reason for some people to try the drug and a key to how to get these effects without the drug.

Contrave combines the antidepressant Wellbutrin, known generically as bupropion, with a sustained- release version of naltrexone, an opioid blocker used to treat alcoholism and other addictions.

Wellbutrin is also known as Zyban and used by itself to help people quit smoking.

(I would guess that using this combination drug, Contrave, would improve the results for people quitting smoking as well. And, I presume that will be tested next.)

In addition, 48.2 percent of Contrave patients lost at least 10 percent body weight studies.

One of the results was striking & potentially of great value. In those people in the group taking the Contrave who had too high levels of the blood sugar indicator, HBA1C, that measures the 60 to 90 day average blood sugar level, there was a reduction of 1.1.

That’s extremely significant since you can go from a clearly diabetic level of 7.0 to a non-diabetic level of 5.9 with a 1.1 reduction. Similarly, you can go from a dangerous level of 8.0 for which doctors tend to prescribe multiple drugs that themselves have side effects, to a 6.9 level where they will often feel OK with you only using lifestyle measures or doing that plus low doses of the relatively safer and cheaper drug metformin.

So the combination drug, Contrave, sounds like a very useful drug for many people.

Is there a way to get these effects without that drug?

Yes there is.

A researcher in Kansas has developed a protocol that turns off depression better than drugs – about three times better according the studies. (About 75% get better on his protocol vs. about 25% with the drugs.) Even better, one of his methods is regular exercise. So using his protocol also means an extra way of ensuring that people exercise which is known to help people lose fat weight and keep it off.

My guess is that people using his methods can get the antidepressant effect of the Wellbutrin part of Contrave without needing the drug.

I did a post on the 6 methods he uses and added two methods that also work that he doesn’t yet include. See 8 ways to end depression -- proven to work better than drugs....Friday, 8-21-2009.

One of these, talk or cognitive therapy using the work of Martin Seligman, has been shown to be effective both at reducing depression and improving your chances of success at virtually everything you do.

People who get it are able to become much more self-disciplined, effective, and proactive.

We did a post on the finding that people who succeed at fat loss look first to the consequences of eating fattening foods before deciding if they will have any and how much while those who fail only look at how much they might enjoy the foods.

Clearly the sustained- release version of naltrexone, an opioid blocker used to treat alcoholism and other addictions in Contrave works in part by making this far easier to do by turning down the addictive reaction to sweet and starchy foods.

But talk or cognitive therapy using the work of Martin Seligman may even work better at doing precisely the same thing.

So, my conclusion is that you may be better off getting the effects of the drug liraglutide using other methods to achieve its effects.

You very likely can get the stronger effects of the drug Contrave using other methods. In addition, those methods are like learning to ride a bicycle or swimming, you can maintain them without outside help once you know them well enough.

However, these studies also suggest that we now have two drugs, particularly, the Contrave, that can really help people lose fat weight who have failed to do it well on their own.

So regardless of how you use this information, you now have some new tools that work to lose fat and keep it off that we weren’t sure worked that well until now.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why lowering inflammation protects your heart & dark chocolate helps….

Today's Post: Tuesday, 10-27-2009

Last Friday, 10-23, Health Day News had a story they titled.:

“Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart”

by HealthDay Reporter by Jennifer Thomas.

It seems that some researchers in Spain added about 1.4 ounces of unsweetened cocoa powder to the skim milk one group was drinking and just gave the control group skim milk only.

(That’s a decent amount as a Hershey’s Special Dark candy bar is just a bit over 1.4 ounces. Also, they might have gotten even better results making the unsweetened cocoa powder into cocoa with no added milk or sugars based on the other research I’ve seen.)

After one month, the people who drank the cocoa-flavored skim milk had lower levels of inflammatory markers than those drinking the skim milk alone.

They decided to study people at very high risk of heart disease, diabetics with an average age of 70 with at least 3 other risk factors for heart disease.

So their study shows that cocoa, or dark chocolate, even helps people at the very highest risk of heart attacks.

But the explanation of how inflammation causes heart disease in the article was very valuable also.

The measure of inflammation that this study measured was “adhesion molecules.” (My very strong suspicion is that it is because high HS CRP readings indicate a high level of these adhesion molecules that high HS CRP readings are a strong and independent predictor of future heart attacks.)

It seems the adhesion molecules are proteins that cause white blood cells to stick to the walls of your arteries -- which is a direct cause of the build up of plaque on your artery walls which then causes high blood pressure and reduced circulation and heart attacks and strokes.

So that means that drinking or ingesting cocoa or dark chocolate directly reduced this cause of heart disease.

Even better, they also found the cocoa drinking group had increases in their HDL levels.

The study is in the November, 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The author of the article also said that other research has found that it likely is the polyphenols in the chocolate that has these beneficial effects.

Even better, she then lists a substantial number of foods that are likely to be heart protective from their high content of polyphenols -- and eating or drinking them will have similar effects from the polyphenols they contain.

They include red wine, tea, green tea, & coffee.

They include broccoli and onions.

Her list also has apples which, in addition to polyphenols, have soluble fiber that lowers high LDL cholesterol.

The other fruits she lists are quite high in polyphenols; & eating them has been found to increase HDL levels; & those were blueberries, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, plums and red grapes.

The author got her list from Connie Diekman, Director of University Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

The researchers believed that the anti-inflammatory effects from cocoa may actually be less than many of these other foods rich in polyphenols provide.

The article also points out that the people who got the extra cocoa every day gained a bit of weight.

That makes adding nonstarchy vegetables such as the broccoli and onions and the low glycemic apples to your diet such a good way to balance getting unsweetened cocoa or dark chocolate into your diet more often. Those foods tend to make you less hungry for far more fattening foods and have very few calories themselves.

Lastly, every one of these foods and drinks has other health benefits as well.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Darkness at night may prevent or lessen depression....

Today's Post: Monday, 10-26-2009

Last Friday, 10-23, Health Day News had a story they titled.:

“Constant Light Linked to Symptoms of Depression”

Ohio State University researchers did a study with mice and found that mice kept in a room with light 24 hours a day had more depressive symptoms than mice that had dark conditions at night as they would in a normal 24 hour day outside.

The researchers also found that when some of the mice kept in a room with light 24 hours a day that lived in the constantly lit room, but were allowed to go into a dark tube when they decided to, had fewer depressive symptoms than mice that were not given that option.

"The ability to escape light seemed to quell the depressive effects," lead author Laura Fonken, , said in the news release from Ohio State University.

This is very interesting for many reasons.

Separate research has found that women who slept in really dark rooms got fewer cases of breast cancer than women who slept in rooms that were not very dark.

In addition, many of the healing and restorative powers of sleep seem to be mediated or triggered by melatonin. And, when the room you sleep in is dark enough or dark, your body releases more melatonin. (The article I read about the breast cancer preventive effect of sleeping in a truly dark room suggested a link to this effect.)

So, if you have curtains or added “black out curtains” that block outside light and no lights on in the room while you sleep, it looks likely to help you prevent or lessen depression, sleep better, and stay healthy better than if you don’t.

If you are older you can also consider taking the supplement melatonin at bedtime since this melatonin release is less as people get older than 50. But for most people more than 1 mg is too much and will make them too groggy and hard to become alert and fully awake the next day. 0.1 to 0.3 mg is enough to get the beneficial effects. (Since it’s easier to get 1 mg tablets, a compromise I tried once is to buy the 1 mg tablets and take half a tablet for about 0.5 mg. That allowed me to avoid feeling groggy and hard to become alert and fully awake the next day.)

I’ve not seen the dosages as yet but something that sounds interesting is that Dr Al Sears sells a spray you can spray at the back of your throat to get the melatonin and its help to go to sleep much more quickly than taking it in pill form. (If you want to try it, see .)

Lastly, where I live, I’ve not gotten around to adding a heavy or black out curtain to go over our venetian blinds to block more of the light outside. But for blocking out noise so I sleep better, I sleep on my side with two pillows one below my head and one above. That IS a bit quieter. But I’ve also noticed it’s a good bit darker. So that may be a faster solution than getting and installing new curtains.

The other reason I like this research is that it adds another nondrug way to avoid or turn off depression. Since the drugs don’t work quickly even when they do work; don’t work at all more than half the time; and often have bad side effects, I think that’s important.

(For our previous post on the other nondrug and effective ways that avoid or turn off depression, see 8 ways to end depression -- proven to work better than drugs.... on Friday, 8-21-2009. A researcher found this set of things turned off depression nearly three times as often as drugs and worked more quickly!)

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Two ways to slow aging and build muscle....

Today's Post: Friday, 10-23-2009

Dr Robert J Rowen's Second Opinion Health Alerts e-newsletter for today, Friday, October 23, 2009 (See to subscribe.)

Had this title:

Take this with Carnitine to grow muscle and increase your energy.

He apparently had already written an article I didn’t see about how taking L-Carnitine helps slow aging, increase your energy and help you build or preserve your muscles.

Since l-carnitine helps CoQ10 or ubiquinone energize your mitochondria that are the energy generators in each of your cells, it stands to reason that you would have more energy and your muscles would contract more forcefully when asked to do so which would increase your strength and how hard you could work out when strength training.

And, since your blood levels of CoQ10 or ubiquinone and the health of your mitochondria tend to drop off as you get older, this would have the effect of slowing the effects of aging on your energy and strength.

But the real news in his email was that a study has been done showing that whey protein grew muscle -- and preserved muscle in older people better than isolated amino acids or other kinds of protein. (This also slows the effects of aging since strong muscles in older people help keep them able to move on their own and help prevent them from falling or becoming frail.)

This also means that people who are strength training to build muscle thereby becoming less fat will benefit from whey.

It seems that Dr Rowen has found in his practice that whey protein also is far less allergenic than casein, the other major protein in milk; is a strong booster of your immune system; and has direct anti-inflammatory effects.

He has also found that some of the peptides in whey release glutathione which has healing and health protective effects. Peptides are amino acids in specific sequences and combinations.

I disagree that the best way to use them is to take them together.

The best time to take L-carnitine is with your CoQ10 or ubiquinone supplements or right before you exercise. That way the positive effects of L-carnitine on your mitochondria and energy levels will be far less reduced by your body trying to digest whey with its peptides and many amino acids at the same time.

The best way to ingest or take whey is right after your workout or as a food with breakfast or lunch. That way your body uses the whey as a source of protein in your diet to repair and build your muscle, helps to keep you from getting hungry between breakfast and lunch and/or between lunch and dinner.

His last comment about whey was: “Be sure that your whey supplement is "undenatured." That means it's not heated, which destroys its biological activity.”

He has a brand of this kind of whey he recommends. I’ve found that Jarrow’s whey supplement with no stevia added (& the one with stevia if you like that stuff) is one of the most easy to find in health food stores.

(I’ve not yet checked to see if it is undenatured or processed without heat. But from what I’ve read virtually all whey seems to be potent enough to be effective. )

There are other supplements that make your muscles stronger, slow aging, and release growth hormone and have other important health benefits besides.

I haven’t time to write about them in this post. But they include carnosine, a relatively expensive amino acid supplement; L-arginine; & Creatine.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

More on high homocysteine....

Today's Post: Thursday, 10-22-2009

In our post B vitamins CAN help prevent heart disease last Monday, 10-19-2009, we posted that some research suggests, but to my mind does not yet prove, that bringing down high homocysteine levels may not, prevent cardiovascular disease or heart attacks and strokes.

(It does look like people who have very high homocysteine levels AND already have cardiovascular disease &/or previous strokes or heart attacks PLUS other risk factors may not be helped by lowering homocysteine after they are already damaged, particularly if the other risk factors they have are not fixed quickly and extremely well.

But, there is some reason to believe, based on many other studies, that measuring your homocysteine levels before you get into this sort of trouble and lowering them to 8.9 or below may be quite protective.)

So, in this post, we add some ways in addition to taking the B vitamins that do this.

But it’s quite clear that if your homocysteine levels are high, 9.0 or above, or very high, well above 12.0, in addition to lowering them directly, you would be extremely well advised to measure your other heart and cardiovascular disease risk indicators and work to improve them all to the desirable range from the danger or high risk levels.

If homocysteine turns out to only or mostly be a secondary trouble indicator like smoke is to a fire indicating damage from other risk factors, not only will doing this give you critically needed protection, it will likely help lower your homocysteine levels by putting out the fires.

And, if as I think likely from the body of research suggesting it, high homocysteine levels help create or cause cardiovascular damage at least initially, then you would also be extremely well advised to measure your other heart and cardiovascular disease risk indicators and work to improve them all to the desirable range from the danger or high risk level they may be at now.

In short, I believe when all the relevant research is done, lowering high homocysteine levels before your cardiovascular system is damaged.

But if you have high homocysteine levels, whether I’m correct or not, either way, if you have homocysteine levels above 9.0 or worse, above 12.0, given what we now know, it likely will benefit you to lower them because even if they are a trouble indicator it will sensitize you to measuring and optimizing your heart risk indicators as a way to prevent serious heart, brain, and other circulation problems. And, virtually all the things and supplements that you can use to lower high homocysteine, have other health benefits.

Taking 500 mcg to 1,000 mcg a day of B12 in addition to any you get in food, multivitamins, and regular B complex supplements has helped lower homocysteine.

Taking B6 in the range of 50 to 75 mg a day from all your supplements or possibly up to 100 mg a day total has helped lower homocysteine. (B6 in amounts over 100 mg may be harmful and as you get over 200 or 300 mg a day are likely to be harmful to your sensory nerves, so may be a bad idea & over 200 certainly is. I’m conservative on such things & prefer 75 mg a day or so.)

The most effective of the 3 usually used is taking folic acid. 400 mcg a day in your multivitamin, 100 mcg a day in your B Complex supplement and 400 to 1600 mcg a day from a folic acid supplement has helped lower homocysteine.

Doing that plus making a strong effort to eat green vegetables and beans and lentils high in folic acid in its form that your body can use directly may be even more effective. (Your body has to convert the folic acid in supplements to that version to use it. And, some people don’t convert it well.) In addition, eating plentiful green vegetables and beans and lentils if you aren’t allergic to legumes, is dramatically effective at protecting your health and your heart and the rest of your cardiovascular system. It helps prevent or reverse excess body fat. It helps prevent or reverse high blood pressure in several ways. And it tends to help lower or prevent high LDL and blood sugar and insulin levels. So, it’s extremely protective and worthwhile to do on its own. Plus it also helps lower homocysteine!

In addition to these steps, particularly if your homocysteine level still tests at 9.0 or more, you can do 3 other things I posted as a reply to comment to my Monday post.

“Here are three other things that lower high homocysteine.

You can take 500 to 1,000 mg a day of TMG, tri-methyl glycine.

You can take 500 to 1,000 mg a day of NAC that also raises your levels of glutathione which may prevent or reverse damage from homocysteine or other causes.

And, you can come as close as you can to completely avoiding tobacco smoke. Not only does tobacco smoke work to increase homocysteine levels, it directly causes cardiovascular disease including building up plaque in your carotid artery that you are getting examined, and it also triggers heart attacks in people who have cardiovascular disease but might not otherwise have heart attacks.”

TMG may have other health benefits according to Dr Mark Hyman due to its contribution to your body’s ability to do methylation in processes where it needs that done.

The glutathione release from taking NAC not only protects your health, it may slow aging and help you live longer. (See our post from Thursday last week, 10-15.)

And, no one who wishes to avoid ED, heart attack, and stroke should allow themselves to be exposed to tobacco smoke virtually at all. That’s for many, many reasons in addition to smoke increasing your level of homocysteine. One of the reasons too to avoid and reverse high homocysteine levels is that they appear to speed aging. Tobacco smoke for sure speeds aging & reduces longevity whether it does so by increasing homocysteine, several other ways as I think likely, or both as I also think likely.

Lastly, here are several other key points about preventing heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

1. A combination of low HDL and high triglyceride levels indicates a LARGE amount of the kind of small particle LDL that causes plaque build up in your blood vessels and vice versa. It’s literally a direct cause of heart disease. Because the particles are so tiny they literally fit into the molecules in your blood vessel walls.

Ideally you want your HDL to be at least 50 and 100 or close to it is better. Taking niacin, eating berries -- and nuts if you aren’t allergic, regular vigorous exercise, and moderate drinking of red wine all help increase HDL. Not exercising at all, never eating these foods, and eating a lot of refined carbohydrates tend to lower it. Extra virgin olive oil tends to keep HDL levels high while other vegetables oils tend to lower HDL and excessive animal saturated fat tends to increase LDL.

These same actions tend to lower triglyceride levels. So does getting adequate amounts of omega 3 oils from wild caught fish high in them and purified fish oil supplements. Eating onions and garlic also helps.

And since exercise directly lowers the amount of small particle LDL, it not only increases your HDL, it decreases your triglycerides

Since ingesting hydrogenated oils INCREASES the amount of small particle LDL on one who knows this will ingest virtually any of this heart attack starter voluntarily. Since ingesting hydrogenated oils and the transfats they contain has this effect, doing so lowers your HDL and increases your triglycerides, the reverse of what you’d like to see.

But when you look at food labels for peanut butter, ice cream, candy, commercial baked goods, microwave popcorn, and many other products a very surprising number of them, if not most, still contain this stuff. However, if you totally boycott such foods, it will likely protect your heart better than almost anything else you can do except eating vegetables, exercising regularly, and not smoking.

2. LDL levels of over 100 are moderately risky, risky above 130, and very risky above 160. Your HDL to triglyceride ratio is likely more important and, for heart attacks at least, your level of CRP inflammation may be more important. But one way to improve your HDL to triglyceride ratio is to lower your blood levels of small particle LDL. And lowering high levels of total LDL likely does help do that.

Taking niacin (I take 300 mg twice a day after meals), taking sterol supplements (I take 3 capsules a day of the sterol supplement with beta sitosterol called, Cholesterol Balance form Natrol which is quite inexpensive.), and avoiding excessive butterfat and fatty meats while eating a lot of vegetables and beans and lentils if you aren’t allergic to legumes all help lower LDL. Many doctors don’t yet know these methods lower high LDL about as well as statin drugs. Plus these methods are far safer and have other heart protective benefits.

3. It also helps to lower high CRP levels. Many of the things already listed do this. Regular exercise does for example. Getting adequate amounts of omega 3 oils from wild caught fish high in them and purified fish oil supplements lowers high CRP levels. NOT eating refined carbohydrates helps. And proper brushing and flossing and other care of your teeth and gums prevents or lowers high CRP inflammation!

4. By now we have already listed many of the actions that prevent or reverse insulin resistance, high blood sugar, and early stage type 2 diabetes. But since many people don’t know they have these conditions and they each tend to indicate poor health habits and cause damage to your blood vessels that helps cause cardiovascular disease and makes it worse when it has other causes, it’s important to know your fasting glucose and HBA1C levels and to bring them down immediately if they are high.

Fasting glucose levels of 100 or more are risky. 110 or more is a red flag. And, 125 or more is usually diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

HBA1C measures the blood sugar on your red blood cells which live about 90 days so it gives you a superbly accurate 90 day moving average of your typical blood sugar levels.

You want your HBA1C levels to be 5.8 or lower. 6.0 to 6.5 is sometimes diagnosed as type 2 diabetes but does not require drugs to bring it down though low dose metformin can be helpful.

HBA1C of 7.0 or higher IS type 2 diabetes and is quite dangerous. Doctors will prescribe drugs for it. By measuring your fasting glucose and HBA1C once or twice a year and lowering levels that are a bit too high right way with the methods here you can avoid going to this level – and you and your heart will be a LOT healthier.

In addition to the above actions, particularly NOT eating refined carbohydrates; eating a lot of vegetables; and getting regular VIGOROUS exercise on most days seem to be most helpful.

Taking 200 to 600 mcg a day of chromium polynicotinate and 200 to 600 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid are known to help.

There are many other supplements that may help and may well work that I’m less familiar with.

One article I read earlier today says that 8,000 mcg twice a day of the B vitamin Biotin was effective at lowering HBA1C and excessive insulin levels. And because it lowered these things and increased a fat controlling substance adiponectin, taking Biotin may also help with fat loss.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two new ways to prevent autoimmune diseases....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 10-20-2009

Yesterday, there were two related news articles that contained information on two separate ways to prevent autoimmune diseases. These two studies strongly suggest that you can go a long way towards preventing autoimmune diseases in two ways, one of which is a bit challenging for some people and one is quite easy for most people.

1. Here’s the one some people may find harder to use.

Yesterday, HealthDay News had this headline.:

Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases

Research has found that women's exposure to household insecticides – including roach and mosquito killers – seemed to about double their risk of getting the autoimmune disorders rheumatoid arthritis & lupus.

The researcher Christine Parks, was careful to note that this finding does not prove the insecticides cause autoimmune disease since some 3rd factor might somehow cause both effects. But she also said, "It's hard to envision what other factors might explain this association."

In some multiunit apartments it can be hard to avoid using insecticide to kill off roaches and prevent them from over-running your unit.

But, if you live in such a place, you may be able to move to a duplex with neighbors who keep their place clean or to a more upscale building where people don’t do things like leave chicken bones in the hall.

And, if you live in a home, there are three ways to kill off roaches that don’t expose you continuously to insecticides.

You can be extremely careful to catch kill, and flush any roaches you inadvertently bring home on your clothes or in your groceries – and to be very careful to either not leave food crumbs around on counters or floors or clean them off often or both.

If you find they live in a certain place in the wall you can dump plentiful boric acid into the recess where they live and seal it up so they can’t get out before they eat some of the boric acid since it’s easier for them to get to.

And, if that fails, you can remove all people, pets, medicines, supplements, and food and have your house fumigated. That also kills ants, spiders and termites. It’s extremely dangerous while it’s being done. But after it’s done and your house is aired out, the poison is gone. It isn’t like often spraying a long-lasting pesticide that both you and the roaches are then exposed to over time.

For mosquitoes, you can make sure all doors and windows have screens that cover the window or door completely enough to keep mosquitoes from entering and to try to have the doors or screen doors always shut unless someone is going through them. If you have to, you can get a mosquito netting for your bed like they do in the tropics. And you can wear more clothes including hooded sweat shirts if necessary.

And, of even more importance you can do what you can to make sure that on your property or on or near your rental there are no sources of standing, stagnant water to breed mosquitoes. (You can also put mosquito eating fish in some such sources of standing, stagnant water.)

What this research suggests is that you use methods like these and only very rarely and with great reluctance use any insecticide that you have to spray personally or inside or very near where you live.

Some people simply use the stuff like water or spray starch & act is if it is totally safe to use insecticides often inside where they live.

That may well cause some cancers over time. Now it looks like this kind of careless overuse may contribute in some way to causing autoimmune diseases as well.

2. The second story has even more exciting implications and is far easier to use.

Yesterday, HealthDay News also had this headline.:

Scientists Find New Key to Lupus

Researchers say they now have new and more complete understanding of how lupus develops in mice.

Here’s the two key quotes by the researcher, Lata Mukundan, a Stanford University School of Medicine researcher & co-author of the study published online Oct. 18 in the journal Nature Medicine.

“At issue is the immune system's ability to take out the trash -- to get rid of cells that don't have long to live. Just like in mice, in humans, if you don't clear the dying cells, then that predisposes you to lupus," and "If you look at patients with lupus, they have an inability to clear those dead cells,"

Their study looked at how immune-system cells detect which other cells are dying in order to dispose of them. The process & protein they discovered that did this in mice they may be able to boost in a way to improve this process with drugs that apparently are already known as having that effect.

But to me, the two quotes are far more important. Macrophages are the component of your immune system that does this job. If they are healthy, there are enough of them, and they are effective, they remove enough of these dead or dying cells and other cellular debris to keep you healthy.

And, here’s the exciting news. We already know two cheaper and safer ways than drugs yet to be approved for us to help ensure macrophages do a good job & protect our health.

We know this because the same issue comes up with cleaning out and preventing the build up of beta amyloid in the brain causing Alzheimer’s disease.

It turns out if you get enough vitamin D3 and/or take turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin or often eat curried foods containing turmeric, your macrophages will be much more effective and your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease and possibly recovering from a very early case of it are dramatically better. (It now looks as if the true minimum daily requirement for vitamin D3 in people who aren’t outside all day in sunny climates is between 1,000 & 3,000 iu a day. And you can get turmeric or curcumin supplements of 500 to 600 mg a capsule and take one a day.)

We already knew that people in very sunny places get far less multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, than people in cloudy, darker, less sunny places.

Now we may know why.

The really neat thing to me is that taking these two supplements looks likely to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and virtually all kinds of cancers.

This researcher’s comments suggest if you take them, you get autoimmune disease protection too!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

B vitamins CAN help prevent heart disease....

Today's Post: Monday, 10-19-2009

Last week, on Tues, 10-13-2009, Reuters Health online ran this headline.:

No evidence B vitamins protect the heart

The study actually reported on in this study, as some other studies already have, tested to see if taking folic acid, B-6 and B-12 might help prevent heart complications or fewer heart attack and strokes and strokes.

Researchers have found that high homocysteine levels tend to be strongly predictive of worsening heart disease and increased risks for strokes and heart attacks. But no one has been sure if this means that high homocysteine levels cause heart disease or simply indicate high levels of other risk factors or indicate damage already caused just as smoke does when there is a fire. So, if it’s an indicator instead of a cause, lowering it would be like venting smoke without putting out the fire and not be very effective.

This study did NOT show that no B vitamins can protect the heart. (That’s actually false and easily demonstrated to be so.)

But it did increase the evidence for high homocysteine levels being indicative of other risk factors being high & of indicative of existing damage.

The trials reported on included 24,210 people with either established heart and blood vessel disease -- atherosclerosis or a history of stroke, heart attack or other heart complications -- or major risk factors for it, like diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

In this study, researchers found that having people take folic acid, B-6 and B-12 in addition to standard medical care did nothing to those people’s risks of heart attack, stroke or death over up to seven years of being studied.

It’s hard to say how much reliance to put on this study without knowing a great deal more about how high the homocysteine levels were to start with, whether or not they were brought down to 8.9 or less in all or the vast majority of the people, or what would happen if you lowered homocysteine to 8.9 or less AND managed to lower all the other risk indicators that to levels thought to be safe compared with just lowering all the other risk indicators that to levels thought to be safe.

That said, it does begin to look as if high homocysteine levels may indicate high levels of other risk factors or indicate damage already caused just as smoke does when there is a fire.

That would suggest that undoing damage to the maximum extent possible and lowering all the other risk indicators that to levels thought to be safe should be done when homocysteine levels are well above 10.0 or 12.0. And, that the focus should be on that instead of simply lowering the homocysteine.

I remain personally unconvinced that lowering high homocysteine levels to 8.9 or less has no positive effect.

But I also have absolutely no quarrel with having the primary focus be on undoing damage to the maximum extent possible and lowering all the other risk indicators to levels thought to be safe should be done when homocysteine levels are well above 10.0 or 12.0.

That’s already been proven to lower heart attack and stroke rates after all.

BUT, the headline read, “No evidence B vitamins protect the heart.“ Since there are some B vitamins that HAVE been found to lower LDL cholesterol, lower high triglyceride levels, and increase HDL levels, AND lower death rates, the title is wrong.

It’s dangerously wrong & misleading in fact.

Niacin, nicotinic acid, one of the B complex vitamins, is well known to do exactly those things. (It is possible to harm your liver by taking too much niacin, well over 1,000 mg a day. And if you take much of it on an empty stomach, you often will get a flushing effect that feels like a temporary sunburn.) Even 300 mg a day of niacin helps to lower LDL; and since it both lowers high triglyceride levels and increases HDL and it lowers mortality rates, there is strong reason to believe it directly lowers the amount of the dangerous small particle LDL that causes heart disease directly, just as exercise is known to do.

In addition, taking vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, along with a good balanced B complex vitamin or taking a variant of it called pantethine, in my experience and others tends to lower LDL and is one of the few other ways to safely increase HDL levels.

Lastly, even if B6, B12, & folic acid don’t protect your heart as much as some have believed, each of them has separate health benefits that make them well worth taking.

For example, it was in the health new just this week that any woman who might be become pregnant should be taking 400 mcg a day of folic acid. That’s because if a woman takes that much beginning 3 months BEFORE she gets pregnant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said doing so can reduce the risk of major birth defects affecting the spine and brain by as much as 70 percent in a baby she might conceive.

B12 helps protect your brain and prevent senility.

And, B6 is known to help keep high blood pressure down a bit compared to having low levels of it.

Of course each of these 3 B vitamins has other health benefits besides.

So, the bottom line is that taking niacin and B5 DO protect your heart. And, folic acid, B6, & B12 are well worth taking for other reasons if they do not protect your heart.

Further, I’ve seen no studies well done enough to totally convince me that folic acid, B6, & B12 fail to protect your heart if they are given to people who have high homocysteine levels BEFORE they develop heart disease instead of after the fact as this study did.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

New info on how to lower high systolic blood pressure....

Today's Post: Friday, 10-16-2009

Yesterday, HealthDay News posted an article they titled:

“Air pollution appears to hit the obese hardest, causing significant increases in blood pressure, a new study finds.”

The actual article and study was a bit different. The study was a good bit more important than the headline suggested.

Here’s why.:

The researchers found that air pollution increased the systolic blood pressure (the higher reading listed first) and pulse pressure (the difference between the two readings ) in everyone who lived in polluted air.

They did find that both being obese and living in polluted air was worse bad news. It increased the diastolic pressure as well & the overall blood pressure more than it did for people of normal weight/.

To make this a bit easier to follow, here are some examples. (They are examples I made up & NOT from the study.)

Someone who has lived in unpolluted air and is not obese starting with a BP of 128 over 78 moving to an area with polluted air might then have a 143 over 80 BP after a while.

An obese identical twin might well start at 136 over 86 living in unpolluted air but by moving to an area with polluted air might wind up with a BP of 158 over 95.

The other point to make is that someone with moderate high blood pressure who moves from somewhere without pollution to a new location with high air pollution might well go from a level that can be safely brought down with eating right, regular exercise, and the supplements that work to do so -- to a higher level that makes taking drugs to lower their high blood pressure necessary.

For example 153 over 93 while living in clean air might become 168 over 95 when living in an area with polluted air or 175 over 105 in someone who also is obese.

Note that working somewhere with a high and continuous level of second hand smoke or smoking yourself or living with a smoker exposes you to polluted air as if you lived right next to a busy freeway or in an area with horrible smog.

We also know that living in an area with polluted air AND being exposed to tobacco smoke every day more than doubles such effects.

There are several ways to use the information in this study.

Try to live and work in places that have low levels of air pollution if you can.

For most of us, that’s a bit challenging if we don’t already live in a location with low levels of air pollution.

But there are some other things you can do.

Stay away from tobacco smoke. If you smoke, quit even if you have to try six times to get it done. Insist on working at a job that has a no smoking policy for the places their employees work and meet.

Vote for smoking bans in workplaces, restaurants, and bars. And, if you live in a location without such bans, spend all or 95% of your money on eating out at locations that are 100 % nonsmoking or don't eat out at all often.

If you encounter a smoker, try to move away from them or into a location where the wind blows from you towards them rather than the reverse.

If you move, if you possibly can, choose a place to live more that 400 yards from the nearest freeway or busy street even if it’s a bit smaller.

If you possibly can, institute a policy of no smoking in your house or near doors or open windows in your house.

And, if you do live less than 400 yards from the nearest freeway or busy street or in a city with high air pollution, get and use effective, powered, air-filters that run all the time, or all the time you are not there if you need quiet when you are there, in the rooms where you spend the most time.

If you get a chance to vote for higher or much higher taxes on cigarettes and tobacco, do so.

Similarly, if you can vote for increased pollution control in cars &/or industrial sites that now pollute the air by all means do so.

Lastly, if you are seriously overweight or obese, find out how to eat right and exercise enough better than you do now to improve that and lose some of your excess fat.

The good news is that eating right and exercising begin to improve your health and lower your blood pressure right away even before you lose a lot of fat. Even better, if you only lose 5 to 7 % of your current weight by doing so, you get massive improvements in your health even if you started out over 50 pounds overweight or more.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Exciting new way to slow aging & live longer….

Today's Post: Thursday, 10-15-2009

We’ve posted on many ways to slow aging and live longer.

Of those, staying away completely from tobacco smoke and doing regular vigorous exercise seem to be the most effective.

Now there is news of a different kind. You actually may be able to permanently slow your rate of aging, live longer, and have fewer chronic diseases in a completely new way.

(Of course, you can do all three things!)

Here’s the news & who I got it from.:

Last Friday, 10-9-2009, I got the Doctor’s House Call email from Dr Al Sears.
(You can subscribe free to his e-newsletter at .)

His title for his email that day was: “People with this Factor Live Past 100.”

There is an antioxidant called glutathione that has some extra and extremely useful healing and protective effects in addition to just being an antioxidant.

I’d read that it has curative effects on cognitive problems and helps prevent them in The Better Brain book by David Perlmutter, MD. He uses intravenous glutathione therapy to treat people with low blood levels of glutathione and who have cognitive problems and reports excellent results. He also has found that the supplement NAC, n-acetyl cysteine, causes glutathione release and that taking 500 to 1,000 mg a day is protective for the brain because of this glutathione release.

I’ve also read that glutathione helps your liver substantially in getting rid of toxins or rendering them harmless -- including excess caffeine and alcohol.

But as far as other positive effects I’d not yet read other information.

In his email last Friday, Dr Sears says that it’s been found that people with the highest levels of glutathione routinely live past 100.

It seems that its detoxifying effects and its healing effects in addition to its antioxidant effects apparently helps glutathione to prevent or slow down the development of many chronic diseases including arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, & type 2 diabetes.

So it seems that glutathione if present in high amounts in your system either sharply slows aging or improves your health as if it did or maybe both. Given the recent press about telomeres and aging, in fact, having high glutathione levels may be a way to prevent telomeres from shortening or even restore them. That actually tends to STOP aging.

There is even some supporting evidence for such anti-aging effects.

Dr Sears reports that researchers at the University of Louisville were able to cause the glutathione levels in mosquitoes to go up by 50 to 100 percent. Those mosquitoes then lived 30 to 38 % longer than mosquitoes usually do.

In addition, Dr Sears reports that other researchers at the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute in Canada then did virtually the same experiment with mice and got very similar results.

Dr Sears also reports that, in humans, Odense University in Denmark found that centenarians ages 100 – 105 had higher levels of glutathione than people aged 60 – 79. Further, the centenarians who were most active had the highest levels of glutathione.

In the same way that high levels of glutathione increase life spans, low levels make virtually all chronic degenerative diseases older people sometimes get more likely. Dr Sears lists these chronic degenerative diseases that tend to happen more often to people with low levels of glutathione.:

Heart Disease; Cataracts; Arthritis; Renal Failure; High Blood Pressure; Leukemia; Diabetes;
Hearing Loss; Cancer; Obstructive Lung Disease (COPD); & Macular Degeneration. Yikes !!

Dr Sears reports even more good news. Researchers at the University of Michigan found people with higher glutathione levels reported a greater sense of well being, getting sick less often, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol & reduced body fat compared with people who had lower levels of glutathione.

(It may partially be that good health habits such as regular exercise increase both glutathione levels and create these beneficial effects in other ways. But the research Dr Sears reports also makes it clear that just increasing glutathione DOES create these effects directly as well.)

Eating many of the vegetables already known to have multiple health protecting effects also boosts glutathione too -- including horseradish, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, & Brussels sprouts.

Taking NAC supplements, as Dr Perlmutter recommends, is one of the best and easiest ways to boost glutathione levels. Dr Sears apparently suggests 1500 to 2,000 mg a day to some of his patients. And both Dr Perlmutter & Dr Sears say that 500 to 1,000 mg a day boosts glutathione levels reliably.

Dr Sears also lists several other supplements that also will help boost your glutathione levels.

Each of the supplements he lists have other health benefits besides boosting glutathione which makes them doubly useful to take.

Here’s Dr Sears list and my comments.:

Alpha Lipoic Acid tends to normalize blood sugar levels and one researcher at UC Berkeley found that older people who took it regained some of their youthful energy and vitality.
(I take 200 mg a day; & some people with high blood sugar issues have had good results taking 600 mg a day.)

Melatonin can help overcome jet lag more quickly, helps older people sleep better, and seems to have some direct anti-cancer effects.

Most people who take melatonin though, tend to take far too much and often wake up groggy and a bit slow witted. For most people 3 mg a day is far too much. Since the most useful amount tends to be in the 0.1 (one tenth) to 0.5 mg (one half) range, what I did when I tried melatonin was to buy 1 mg tablets and take half a tablet before bed each night. (Dr Sears sells a melatonin spray that he finds is much faster acting when you want to fall asleep; but I don’t know how much the dose is.)

Taking Bilberry extract is like taking packages of predigested blueberries without the fiber and using a kind of blueberry that has been shown to also improve circulation to your eyes, preserve your ability to see, and improve your night vision. So in addition to its eye protection and sight improvement taking Bilberry extract also increases HDL and helps to prevent or reverse mental decline as just like eating blueberries does.

Grape Seed Extract has very similar effects to bilberry extract and also has been found to lower high blood pressure somewhat too.

Turmeric prevents cancer and apparently both prevents and may treat Alzheimer’s disease if in its early stages.

Dr Sears also reports that taking whey protein supplements boosts glutathione. (This may be because they are a good source of cysteine or NAC or both.) And whey protein is a good way to get lots of extra protein and its appetite satisfying effects with virtually no fat added.

Lastly, I’ve never seen them in stores, and unlike the other foods and supplements he recommends I don’t know that they have other separate health benefits, nor do I know his statement that they boost glutathione levels as much as he says is accurate.

But if you are sick or have a chronic condition or simply want to boost your glutathione levels right away, it might be worth finding them and trying direct glutathione supplements.

Dr Sears reports that taking 1 to 2 grams a day of supplements of glutathione itself actually delivers up to 80 percent of the glutathione to your body.

And, as I often do, he says for best results to do all of the above. Eat many of the vegetables often & take the supplements including glutathione itself daily.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why drugs are often NOT needed for high blood pressure....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 10-13-2009

Last Friday, 10-9-2009, Dr. Robert J. Rowen, in his Second Opinion Health Alert e-newsletter email had an article with this title: “Why you don't need to treat your blood pressure”

(His essay actually covers why you don’t need to treat blood pressure below 160 over 100 with drugs.) The brilliant point he makes is why that’s so.

I don’t agree with everything he writes but I agree with most of it; & this article is brilliant.

(You can subscribe yourself it you like at: .)

Back in 2002, he said that there was no medical evidence that treating blood pressure less than 160 systolic would help you live longer. (The research that has been done has found exactly that. Above 160 over 100, bringing down blood pressure increases longevity and lowers death rates. But below that, it doesn’t seem to have any noticeable effect on death rates – or helping you live longer.)

It is true that people who have blood pressure 115/70 who are simply healthy enough to have such readings have fewer heart attacks and other diseases than those with readings of over 140 over 90. But getting your blood pressure that low from moderately high readings such as 140 over 90 BY USING DRUGS alone -- doesn't help.

In my own writing on lowering high blood pressure without drugs, I’d written that my guess was that below 160 over 90 the side effects of the drugs tended to come close to equaling the benefit of the lower blood pressure.

I’d also written that using the nondrug methods removed the CAUSES of the high blood pressure and offered MUCH better health protection than the drugs. I even had written that just lowering the high blood pressure alone was pretty weak protection and ALL people taking the drugs should also be advised to do the things that act on the causes.

(For a brief review of some of the most effective ways to lower high blood pressure without drugs or without drug side effects, see my post on just that on, Tuesday, 8-11-2009.)

Here’s his statement on why drugs don’t help much. As you’ll see, his point is totally compatible with what I’ve written before. But it makes it crystal clear why its failure to treat the causes that makes treating moderately lower with drugs alone so ineffective.

I recommend it to you highly.

“Medicine” (using drugs) “is based on treating symptoms, not causes. High blood pressure is merely a symptom of an underlying cause. Just treating the blood pressure” (with drugs) “leaves the cause untreated. For example, lead toxicity or potassium deficiency can cause high blood pressure. Yes, you can drug the pressure down. But you don't fix the problem.

Medicine hasn't learned yet that suppressing symptoms with toxic drugs may not only do no good, but it might also cause harm. I prefer to look at high blood pressure as a symptom of a risk factor, and not a risk factor itself. So you don't need to treat blood pressure. You need to treat the cause of it.

Action to take: If you have high blood pressure, have an integrative physician find the underlying cause. If you don't have access to one, you can call my office for a telephone "education" consultation. I've found that diet and lifestyle changes work wonders. And for chronically high blood pressure, a water fast can lower your pressure very quickly and safely (you can read about how to do this treatment safely on my website).

Two warnings: First, I never tell patients to stop their blood pressure drugs for safety and legal reasons. Stopping the drugs cold turkey can cause severe reactions. However, I find that with diet and lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure naturally. Once your blood pressure is in a good range, like 130/90 or less, your doctor can SLOWLY wean you off of them.

Second, if your BP is more than 160, you are at increased risk of stroke (blood vessels can break at high pressure). There is a clear place for medical intervention — to prevent a vessel from blowing out. So if you have extremely high blood pressure, you need medication until you can find the cause.”

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

Yesterday, I emailed Dr Rowen this:

“Your essay on "Why you don't need to treat your blood pressure" was brilliant; and all doctors should know this information.

Many people take blood pressure medications that have marginal effects on protecting their health but do have dollar costs, and often unpleasant side effects, where their initial blood pressure was in the undesirable range but less than 160 over 100.

I wrote but have not yet published an eBook on how to lower blood pressure without drugs.

In it I note that research has found that using drugs to lower blood pressure of over 160 over 100 did reduce mortality rates but was close to ineffective in doing so when used to lower blood pressures much less than that even if over 140 over 90.

I theorized that this was due to the drug side effects offsetting any health benefits at the lower readings.

I also point out that if your blood pressure is over 125 over 75, it will be health protective to bring it down to levels below that; but the most health protective ways to do so, unlike drugs, work on the causes of the high blood pressure and have other health benefits. Similarly, even if you were at blood pressure over 160 over 100 and taking drugs, your health protection is quite modest if you do not ALSO take the steps that begin to remove the causes of the high blood pressure.

The drugs alone offer only very partial protection without doing anything to remove the causes.

But I did not take the next logical step as you did -- to say that much of the reason the drugs do so little below 160 over 100 was because they fail to address the causes.

Good job!”

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Effective ways to overcome stress....

Today's Post: Friday, 10-9-2009

1. Exercise. Many health writers include exercise. But I’ve just found out they massively undersell exercise as a way to reduce stress and overcome it.

One of the most challenging aspects of severe stress is that it can get in the way of doing the things necessary to solve the problems that created it. Your perception of the severity of the stress creates such a fight or flight reaction it gets in the way of thinking straight or with any flexibility. It even can cause memory lapses that also cause more problems.

Sometime last week, I think in an email from a Dr Wascher, I read of an extremely significant study. Two groups were under stress they perceived as severe.
One group exercised & one did not.

At the end of the study all the people who didn’t exercise still had the perceived severe stress.

Meanwhile 60% of the exercisers no longer felt their stress was severe. The exercise either increased their feelings of efficacy or turned off the stress over-reaction or both.

Clearly the causes of the stress were still there in both groups.

Second, sometimes chronic stress causes depression which in turn causes low energy & less action to solve the problems causing it. We now know that exercise is reliably good at helping reduce or turn off depression.

Third, vigorous exercise demands enough of your attention it can completely turn off your worries mentally just like drinking enough alcohol. Giving it a rest can really help; & even if it’s brief, vigorous exercise does the job. In fact, it is one of the fastest depression reducers known.

2. Only drink alcohol moderately. This one can be a bit tough to do when you are stressed enough. But drinking more than 2 drinks a day for men or one a day for women can cause health problems while drinking a lot more than that in one day often causes accidents and other even worse problems that can multiply your stress. Plus it gets expensive.

Even worse, your problems that were stressing you are still there when you recover.

Drink some if you drink at all. Some is actually good for stress relief. But for more stress relief than some alcohol, force yourself to do something else. Exercise, solve the problems causing the stress if you can, or do something else on this list.

3. Eat right. Eating foods that support your health gives your brain the fuel to help you solve your problems. Eating or drinking junk foods causes your thinking to be foggy or adds extra mood swings. So avoid that to the max.

4. Relax a bit daily in some way. Read one of your favorite books even if only for 20 minutes. If you already know how, do Tai Chi because it’s both exercise AND stress relief. Meditate if you do that if only for 5 minutes. Take a brief nap if you need one and have the time.

5. Make well organized efforts to solve or escape the problems causing your stress if you can. And, research some things that might work if you know of no useful solutions. You might succeed. And, you’ll feel more in control and less stressed by doing this.

6. Remind yourself of what you do well and previous success in the past. That forces your brain to include some actual assets & the more assets you remember you have the less overwhelmed and stressed you feel.

7. Get social support and recruit actual help.

a) Just talking to people who you know or where you care about them or vice versa calms you down and focuses your mind away from worry just like exercise. And, it also has strong anti-depression effects just like exercise.

b) You may not even know how to solve the problems you face that are stressing you. BUT, you may know or be able to find someone who does. In fact between who you know and who the people you know know or know of, you probably do.

If you ask people for help or advice and are willing to accept whatever they are comfortable supplying whether it’s exactly what you need, some advice that might help, or nothing at all, but you DO ask & you ask many people, you can often create miraculous solutions.

8. Start your day with a positive. Do some exercise that makes you feel good. Do something nice for someone you can do something nice for. Take a step towards solving your problems that might work. Read a bit in a favorite book. Pray if you find it helpful. (Interestingly, this can really help even if you are not much of a believer.)

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Two more ways to reduce inflammation….

Today's Post: Thursday, 10-8-2009

We’ve already posted on many ways to lower inflammation & that inflammation as measured by the HS CRP test is heart protective if kept low & indicative of increased heart attack risk or active cardiovascular disease if high.

Statin drugs are expensive & have what to me are an unacceptably high level of side effects some of which are quite dangerous. But there is research to show that they lower inflammation; that people with high HS CRP, or high sensitivity C Reactive Protein, do get more heart attacks, and that people who have high HS CRP readings who take statins to lower them do get somewhat fewer heart attacks even if their LDL cholesterol levels are below the danger zone. And, though statin drugs do lower LDL cholesterol, there is also some evidence that the somewhat fewer heart attacks in people who take statins may be mostly due to their inflammation reducing ability NOT their cholesterol lowering.

We’ve already posted on a wide variety of things you can do that effectively lower inflammation & HS CRP readings. Since each of these actions have other health benefits instead of side effects as statins do, I’ve posted that these actions are a MUCH wiser course than taking statin drugs to reduce inflammation.

(At the end of this post, I’ll list most of those actions in case you missed those posts.)

So, as you might imagine, if I read ways that I was unaware of before that lower inflammation, I pay close attention.

I. I’ve read that drinking celery juice or taking celery seed extract has a modest but definite effect on lowering high blood pressure. But what I did NOT know until a bit over a week ago, is that this effect may largely be due to the several ways the active ingredient that does this lowers inflammation. That specifically means that if your HS CRP reading is high, taking celery seed extract or drinking a glass of celery juice daily, may help to bring it down.

Celery seed contains 3-n-butylphthalide. It gives celery its unique flavor. And it’s the ingredient that is known to lower high blood pressure.

But here’s the information I did NOT know, this compound lowers the levels of uric acid in your bloodstream. That’s really significant since high uric acid levels cause crystals to form in your joints which damages them & hurts like hell. The disease is called Gout. And, I’ve also read that high uric acid levels may cause high blood pressure and heart disease.

3-n-butylphthalide also lowers most of the markers of inflammation that cause pain but without the serious side effects of the drugs that do so.

So for those reasons, it makes sense to try taking celery seed extract for joint pain. Apparently it often works & reduces pain a great deal.

II. Dr Al Sears says that excessive levels of homocysteine also cause inflammation. That’s good news since we know how to lower high homocysteine levels.

(Ideal levels of homocysteine are between 6.0 & 8.0. Damage to your blood vessels apparently begins to happen above 9.0 & gets severe above 15.0. This has been shown to cause mental decline and heart attacks.)

If your homocysteine levels test as being 9.0 or higher you can bring them down to safer levels with a combination of 4 things.

1. Take the supplements that lower it:

800 to 2100 mcg a day of folic acid;

up to 100 mg a day of B6;

500 to 1,000 mcg a day of B12, ideally as a sublingual tablet;

500 to 3,000 grams a day of TMG, also called betaine;

500 to 1,000 grams a day of NAC.

It’s also wise to take multivitamin and a B Complex vitamin for these and other the B vitamins.

And, since these vitamins help support and increase something called methylation, taking other supplements that do the same, is likely a very good idea. CoQ10 or its active form ubiquinol do this. And, I’ve read recently, so does L-Carnitine.

2. Eat the foods that are high in these nutrients:

Leafy greens and other green and nonstarchy vegetables and beans and lentils as these foods have the active ingredient directly that folic acid is transformed into that actually has the many health benefits. These foods also help you stay trim without getting too hungry.

Wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, & some other whole grains such as non-instant oatmeal and liver-but only from completely naturally fed and organically raised animals. These foods are rich in all the B vitamins

Eat some health OK animal protein foods, wild caught fish, and beef fed only grass, nonfat and very lowfat dairy products, eggs, pasture raised poultry. These foods are high in B12.

3. Stay completely away from direct and second hand tobacco smoke. It boosts homocysteine levels and also speeds aging and causes heart disease in other ways.

4. Avoid excessive drinking of alcohol and to the extent you can avoid excessive stress. These things tend to increase homocysteine.

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

Here are some of the ways to lower inflammation that we’ve already posted on.

A. We’ve already posted that eating walnut if you aren’t allergic, using extra virgin olive oil, and eating wild caught fish and seafood & taking purified fish oil supplements while completely avoiding oils like soy, canola, safflower, and corn oils that are high in omega 6 oils and completely stopping eating refined grain foods and to the extent you can meat from animals fed grain – which are high in omega 6 oils, very sharply lowers inflammation. Doing this set of things also increases your HDL cholesterol and lowers your triglycerides and LDL levels which also prevents heart disease. Most people in this culture now get 15 to 20 times more omega 6 than omega 3. The balance that supports good health is one to one. So, it does take a bit of effort to lower the excessive omega 6’s and increase the omega 3’s. For best results you need to do all of the above.

Eating nuts such as almonds and pecans as well if you aren’t allergic and eating avocados has similar effects & is known to lower inflammation.

B. Ingesting trans fats and any and all hydrogenated oils causes inflammation and directly causes heart disease. So NEVER ingest this stuff. Eat natural foods that this junk is NOT added to and AWAYS read the labels on all packaged foods to be sure to avoid it. Unfortunately, it’s still in a huge percentage of packaged foods. Candy, snacks, and baked goods seem to be the worst. But I’ve seen the stuff listed in ice cream and peanut butter too.

C. Stop eating refined grains and foods made from them and ingesting high fructose corn syrup. (Specifically, never drink soft drinks.) And eat very little sugar and then in modest amounts and not every day. These foods also boost inflammation.

D. Get regular exercise. As long as you don’t injure yourself, regular exercise actually has a strong inflammation reducing effect.

Between the previous things and the ones we posted on today, that’s quite a bit. But each of them does lower inflammation. The more of them you do the lower your inflammation will be.

And, even better, each and every one of these actions has huge amounts of other health benefits.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New way to prevent or slow prostate cancer....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 10-6-2009

We’ve already posted on many ways to prevent prostate cancer and cancer in general.

Before I list the new information here is a very brief summary of things we’ve already posted about.

1. Ways we’ve posted on to avoid all cancers:

Avoiding tobacco smoke prevents 30 % or more of ALL cancers.

Taking at least 1400 iu a day or more up to 5,000 iu of vitamin D3 daily and also taking a curcumin or turmeric supplement and eating a lot of different kinds of cruciferous vegetables from radishes to kale to Brussels sprouts to cabbage helps to prevent all cancers. So does eating a wide variety of vegetables that contain carotenoids such as carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, yams, and greens that contain it plus taking the carotenoid lycopene &/or eating cooked tomatoes. Staying away from most pesticides and herbicides and room “fresheners” as much as humanly possible also helps. Eating all or mostly organic produce helps. But either eating hardly any meat from grain fed animals or eating it very rarely in small portions and in the most fat-trimmed and lean versions is even more important because most people get more herbicides and pesticides that have been bioconcentrated in the fat of grain fed animals than from almost any other source. Mostly staying with nonfat and very lowfat dairy foods also helps for the same reason. Using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter is another way to avoid such fats. Staying away from radiation and excessive or unneeded x-rays also helps prevent all cancers.

Taking resveratrol and CoQ10 or ubiquinol also may help prevent all cancers. Some evidence suggests these two supplements may even help treat cancers.

2. Ways we’ve already posted on to prevent prostate cancer:

Time magazine reported studies showing that eating cooked tomatoes, particularly if eaten with extra virgin olive oil, &/or taking 30 mg a day of lycopene actually may help kill or prevent prostate cancer. Other studies show that eating either raw cauliflower or raw broccoli at least once every week, cut the incidence of the kind of aggressive prostate cancer that’s actually dangerous by about 50 %. (Cauliflower was actually a bit more effective, which is good news for people who dislike the taste of broccoli since cauliflower has a much milder taste.) Lastly Dr Al Sears reported a study that found taking 3 mg a day of Boron cut the incidence of all prostate cancer in half.

Many of these methods to prevent all cancers and prostate cancer have other health benefits as well. Some slow aging, some prevent obesity, some prevent heart disease, & some prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of mental decline.

Finally, many of the things that prevent prostate cancer, very likely have similar effects in preventing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

In fact, separate studies have found that the new method we are adding today DOES help prevent some kinds of breast cancer and other studies suggest it may even help prevent all cancers to some degree.

The Health News Weekly from Health Resources email I got on Thursday, 10-1-2009, has this:

“Based on animal studies, researchers at the Duke Prostate Center determined that insulin and an insulin-like growth factor contribute to the growth and proliferation of prostate cancer, and that a low-carb diet decreases serum insulin levels, thereby slowing tumor growth.”

That means that eating right can actually help treat cancers in addition to preventing them.

Even better, doing all the things that keep insulin levels in the lower and more desirable zone also has massive other health benefits. High insulin levels cause fat gain. They can make you fat or prevent you from losing fat. And, high insulin levels help cause dangerously high levels of blood sugar when the high insulin levels are from insulin resistance. If it gets bad enough, the doctors call that type 2 diabetes.

1. Eating all the vegetables we listed above due to their low starch content and very high fiber content provide the carbs you actually need without spiking your blood sugar or producing high insulin levels. And they have relatively low amounts of carbs and even less calories. So does eating low starch vegetables that aren’t cruciferous such as asparagus and green beans and others.

Eating beans and lentils also helps. They are very high in fiber and have enough protein to help eat less fatty meat. They slow blood sugar rises. And lentils are the lowest glycemic of the legumes. Better yet, beans and lentils are quite inexpensive.

On the flip side, eating very little sugar and then not every day; ingesting no high fructose corn syrup; drinking no soft drinks—either regular or diet; not eating refined grains or foods made from them; & even going quite easy on the healthier high carb foods such as real fruit juice & whole grains also helps.

Eating nuts and extra virgin olive oil and avocados that are high in monosaturated fats increases HDL, lowers LDL, AND doing so lowers insulin levels!

2. Getting regular exercise, particularly the vigorous kind from interval cardio and strength training tends to prevent or turn off insulin resistance. Even a few walks a week helps some.

That directly lowers blood levels of insulin and excessive blood sugar.

3. Lastly taking 200 mcg a day of chromium polynicotinate, 200 mg of alpha lipoic acid, and 400 – 600 mg a day of magnesium also helps your body avoid insulin resistance.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

New info on how much vitamin D to take....

Today's Post: Monday, 10-5-2009

They once believed RDA or best to take level of vitamin D was 400 iu.

1. Since, there is information that most people’s bodies will use 3,000 iu of vitamin D if it’s available; & getting lots of sunshine tends to cause people to make over 15,000 iu, it’s begun to look as if the 400 iu level is very possibly as much as seven times too low. The real RDA for vitamin D3 looks to be between 3,000 iu and 10,000 iu a day.

2. The safe to take amount of vitamin D daily is clearly at least 10,000 iu.

But that leaves two questions. In today’s world where people wear clothes and often hats when outside &/or use sunscreen and are outside far less than people were as recently as 100 years ago, what is the minimum amount of vitamin D to get good health effects? & How much is enough to actually be undesirable or dangerous?

Last Friday, I read two sources that may have these answers.

One reports research that suggests the true MDR, or minimum level of vitamin D3 it’s good for people to take to protect their health is about 1,000 iu a day.

The other reports directly that taking 100,000 iu of vitamin D3 is actually dangerous. For young people that number is less by the difference in the size of the young person compared with an average adult size. So if the average healthy adult human is 160 pounds, a 40 pound child would have one fourth the level that an adult would, etc.

3. The research showing results that suggest the true MDR of vitamin D is 1,000 iu (or 700 iu for partial health benefits, was done on the finding that having older people take vitamin D resulted in significantly less falls. Since falls in older people often cause death, disability, and sharply increased medical costs, that’s quite valuable to know.

However, amounts less than 700 iu a day had no effect. 700 iu a day reduced falls by 19 % & 1,000 iu a day reduced falls by 26 %. (Somewhat more vitamin D might work better or might not for this purpose. The researchers note that research has not been done.)

(Strength training for legs, specific balance training, and doing tai chi as well as taking actions that prevent reduced circulation to your inner ear -- & help prevent heart disease, strokes, and age related mental decline as well -- also help to reduce falls.)

This study does suggest that the minimum amount of vitamin D3 it’s best to take each day is in the range between 700 & 1,000 iu a day.

4. The news report summary of this research that I found online added that too much vitamin D could be harmful but did NOT specify how much is too much.

5. So I took my own advice and entered, “Vitamin D” AND Wikipedia into Yahoo.

The Wikipedia entry quoted studies showing that in adults, sustained intake of 100,000 IU per day can produce toxicity within a few months. And, for babies (birth to 12 months) the tolerable UL is 1,000 IU. (100,000 iu of vitamin D is 2500 micrograms.)

Other sources suggest the threshold for vitamin D toxicity in humans is 500 to 600 micrograms per kilogram body weight per day. 500 mcg equals 20,000 iu, so if the average healthy adult weighs 154 to 165 pounds, 7 to 7.5 kg, times 20,000 iu per kg which equals 140,000 to 150,000 iu.

A. Since the evidence is that 10,000 iu is clearly safe since our bodies make considerably more than that when exposed to sunshine; & taking 100,000 iu or more in supplement form is clearly risky or harmful, my take is that only those who have gotten a pretest from a doctor showing vitamin D deficiency or undesirably low readings should take more than 10,000 while those taking as much as 50,000 iu should also be getting post tests regularly so that when they get to desirable levels they can cut back to 10,000 iu or less.

B. But, taking 1,000 iu a day to 10,000 iu a day of the more effective vitamin D3 looks to be both safe and desirable. Since vitamin D3 is quite inexpensive, this looks like a good idea.

So, if you are quite conservative or want to take less in the summer time, take 400 iu in your multivitamin and 1,000 iu in addition. If you want to be sure to get enough & are less conservative, taking 400 iu in your multivitamin and 10,000 iu in addition looks to be safe.

(I do in between myself. I take 400 with my multivitamin & 2800 additional daily, totaling 3200.)

C. But it looks like you should only take much over 10,000 iu if you have tested as deficient and are working with your doctor.

Some doctors are having their patients take 50,000 iu. But they only suggest that for people who have very low levels and have their patients discontinue taking much when they reach desirable levels and try them on 10,000 iu to see if the levels stay high enough. I’ve heard that some people are so deficient they actually stay on 50,000 for a while. But that is NOT a safe do-it-yourself project.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

Why being fat is a health emergency....

Today's Post: Friday, 10-2-2009

Here’s the bad news first. (There IS a good news section that follows.)

In many of the online health sources in the past few days was another very important story.

On Wednesday, this week Reuters had a story with this title.

Obesity in middle age bodes ill for old age

“Women who are obese in middle age may live to be at least 70 but they are nowhere near as healthy as women who”….did not become that fat.

A very large study of American female nurses found that women who steadily gained weight from age 18 tended to have the worst health the researchers found in this study.

“Most had some kind of physical or mental limitation, and more than a third had both chronic diseases and also mental or physical limitations.”

There are two reasons for this.:

1. Being fat directly causes some health problems either because of the effects of the weight or volume of the fat or the metabolic changes caused by the fat itself.

Some health problems that this makes worse or even causes are acid reflux, high blood pressure, and arthritis. One study reported recently that the high leptin levels often found in obese people may actually be a direct cause of osteoarthritis. Then the weight itself makes the problem worse once caused, particularly in the knees and hips.

2. Being fat is to good health what smoke is to a fire. It’s a signal that certain acts and the lack of others that cause good or bad health have consistently been in the undesirable range and may have been for some time.

a) These include eating far too many fast acting, or high glycemic, carbs such as refined grains and foods made from them, concentrated sugars and similar compounds, and the artificial sweeteners that cause you to crave and eat more high-glycemic carbs.

It includes NOT eating an abundant amount and variety of nonstarchy vegetables.

b) And, it includes being sedentary, including a good bit of time each week watching TV which burns less calories that sleeping.

This tends to cause high insulin levels, then insulin resistance, and high blood sugar levels. And those can cause type 2 diabetes, serious harm to your capillaries and circulation, and both circulation impairment resulting in age related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

High insulin levels cause fat gain. And some studies are beginning to show they tend to cause some cancers. (Switching to extra virgin olive instead of other kinds of fats or oils lowers insulin levels.)

This kind of eating plus not exercising also tends to cause high levels of LDL and inflammation and triglycerides AND low levels of HDL. That causes cardiovascular disease and results in more circulation impairment which causes mental decline and erectile dysfunction and PAD, peripheral artery disease. Even worse, if it goes on too long, it can cause heart attacks and strokes.

In short, being fat harms you directly and is diagnostic of bad health habits that are causing you additional harm in ways that cause health problems, many of them quite serious and expensive to treat once you have them.

That’s why being fat is a health emergency.

Recent studies have found that the best diagnostic tool for measuring if you are too fat or not is your waist measurement. Unless you are unusually tall or short – in which case slightly increase or reduce the number, if you are a man, you are too fat if your waist is 40 inches or larger; & if you are a woman, you are too fat if your waist size is 35 inches or more.

So, what’s the good news?

You can fully or partially reverse the causes of obesity and some of these bad health effects.

The basics for fat loss and good health are beginning to be well known.

1. Don’t eat refined grained foods or foods made from them. Don’t drink any soft drinks.
Don’t use artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup. Eat sugar only in small amounts and not very often. If you eat foods made from grain at all eat them in moderation only and only eat whole grain foods.

Do eat an abundant amount and variety of nonstarchy vegetables. Eat some whole fresh fruit each day; but go very easy on fruit juice. Eat only health OK protein foods and oils.

2. Do regular, vigorous exercise, even if just for a few minutes virtually every day. If you can possibly fit it in, also do half an hour a day of walking or gardening or Tai Chi most days.

Cut back TV watching time if you watch hours every day. Be more selective &/or once or more a week go to the gym or go visit a friend in person and actually talk to them fact to face instead of spending the evening watching TV. Never have a TV in your bedroom if you can possibly avoid it. For long or low mental demand TV but which you like, you can also watch from a stationary bicycle while you put the effort into riding it that is equal to a walk or a brisk walk – or, even better alternate between the two.

3. Take the supplements, or it’s really seriously bad, the drugs, that protect you from the effects of the bad health status being fat has caused you.

This may only give you modest protection by itself or even very little. But doing that AND eating right and doing regular exercise can protect you a great deal.

Here are two other pieces of good news.

Exercise is so potent that fat people who exercise regularly actually are usually in better health than sedentary skinny people.

In fact, after just two or three weeks of modest amounts of regular exercise that is not too hard for you, your health will be substantially better. This specifically means that, if you are fat, exercise will begin to protect your health right way – long before you’ve done enough exercise to become less fat.

Remarkably, for many health problems, you can get over half the potential health improvements by just losing 5 to 7 % of your current bodyweight. Even better, most people who follow a decent lifestyle change by eating a LOT better and exercising as we’ve described here can lose that much. And those who simply keep doing it keep the fat off too.

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