Friday, February 26, 2010

Cash starved governments can get help & protect our health, part 2....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-26-2010

(Part 1 on cigarette and tobacco taxes was posted on Friday, 2-12, two weeks ago today.)

The analysis I include next is true I think. I include it next in case you missed it two weeks ago.

The really good, current news is next just after the analysis. Because this new research was done, it is increasingly likely these kinds of taxes will be enacted now.

1. From the United States government to local cities most governments today are now extremely pressed for cash and revenues.

Yes. Governments can cut service levels and programs; and they have been.

But cutting back on things like libraries, parks, education, programs for pregnant women and babies and preschool children, and public health and public safety cause real harm now and later and definitely would be best avoided. Cutting back some kinds of health programs can even directly kill people and does. Cutting back on supporting mass transit not only harms people who have less money and harms the economy, it tends to increase driving and air pollution.

Governments can also increase the dickens out every possible kind of fee and they have been. Permits cost more as do traffic tickets – increasingly a LOT more – than they used to cost.

But whether young or old or less educated or less fortunate many people find these higher fees a problem because they are already themselves short of money.

Governments could raise their sales taxes by a lot and some may do so. But even though sales taxes are the easiest to be sure you can collect and tend to be fair since everyone has to pay them, doubling them or more will slow the economy and tend to impoverish people.

So that’s not a great idea either unless the taxes were very low to begin with.

The federal government and the states can also increase income taxes, particularly – at least on paper – on higher income earners. But that tends to cause collection problems and also tends to slow the economy and lower people’s standard of living if overdone.

There is some evidence that having capital gains taxes at all slows the economy and tends to prevent efficient changes in the economy by disincentivizing property transfers. It also tends to penalize people for inflation. Increasing them is an even worse idea.

Yet with virtually every part of their revenue down from the severe recession, hard pressed governments have to do something to compensate!

2. But since these other alternatives they have often cause as many problems as they solve and many worsen the economy besides by therefore tending to reduce the governments’ revenues even more, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way governments could raise more revenues without slowing the economy?

It’s not yet being used as much as it could be and should be; but there are several taxes that could be implemented that by making health harming actions cost more would not only raise the revenue the governments need but not slow the economy and would in fact increase it by sharply cutting health care costs.

It is as yet not as well recognized or used as it will be; but many kinds of food and drinks can and should be taxed for exactly that reason.

So far, since most people really don’t yet have a clue how dreadfully bad for you it is to drink soft drinks and to eat junky commercial desserts and snacks but do know they are enjoyable and everyone they know consumes them and likes them and any for one single serving, they are modestly priced, taxes on soft drinks and these junky foods tend to get vigorously opposed because these people simply have no idea what the consequences are.

3. But as of the news last Wednesday, 2-24, that is about to change big time!

Leaders in business, medicine, public health, and government know that health insurance rates and medical costs are going up enough to significantly slow and harm the entire economy. Worse, now that so many younger people are fat, the trends are for this bad situation to get even worse.

So, if it were definitely proven that taxes on the soft drinks and foods responsible for the sharp increase in fatness and obesity would help reverse that, it’s simply a matter of time until every bit of this junk is taxed everywhere.

The exciting news day before yesterday is that just exactly that HAS now been demonstrated to be the case!

AFP online health news ran a story they titled:

“Junk food tax could help fight obesity: US study”

They put it online on, Wed Feb 24, 2010 at 6:52 pm ET; & the story was datelined: WASHINGTON (AFP.)

“Taxing high-fat and sugary junk food is a more effective way to fight obesity than making healthy foods like fruit and vegetables more affordable, a study published Wednesday shows.”

Researchers at the University of Buffalo in New York, led by psychologist Leonard Epstein, tested this.

They first tested the women in their group with prices for both junk foods and soft drinks and healthier foods at about the prices they would find at their local supermarket.

Then they tested twice with the prices of healthier foods noticeably lower than normal and then twice with the prices of the unhealthy food and drink items increased as much as they would be if taxed moderately.

The researchers found that lowering the prices of healthy foods like broccoli, yogurt, grapes, eggs, and fish actually INCREASED the overall calories in the foods and drinks the women put in their shopping carts.

“"It appears that mothers took the money they saved on the” less expensive “fruits and vegetables and treated the family to less healthy alternatives, such as chips and soda pop," said the authors of the study, published this week in Psychological Science.”

Taxing junk food, however, WAS effective in getting the women to cut back on the high-calorie, low-nutrient, high health harming foods and drinks; AND induced them to buy more healthy foods that were lower in calories.

In fact, in this study, taxing junk foods by 10 % resulted in the women buying 14.4 % less of the high-fat and sugary and health-harming foods and drinks. And, their week's shopping contained 6.5 % fewer calories.

In short, this study shows quite conclusively that simply taxing the foods and drinks that make people fat will cause them to become up to 6.5% less fat as shown on the scale. And, it will help keep them from getting even fatter besides.

Since even in fat people, there is still some bone and muscle, the percentage of bodyfat will actually improve and go down a good bit MORE than 6.5%.

(If someone is 30% fat and weighs 200 pounds, they have 60 pounds of fat. But if they lose 6.5% of their bodyweight as fat and then weigh 187 with 47 pounds of fat, 21.67 % of their fat will disappear. Their chances of getting heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers will drop sharply. Their blood indicators of health status will all improve without taking drugs to improve them; and their likely bills at the pharmacy, doctor’s office, and hospital will shrink enormously.)

We cannot leave governments with no way to increase their taxes and revenues and we cannot have them increasing taxes or increasing them much in ways that will harm the economy.

We also will have endless recessions if health care costs keep going up.

Now that a solution to BOTH things has been found, such taxes are inevitable.

And, that looks like a great idea to me!

Both regular and soft drinks tend to make people fat, so they will both be taxed. And, since excess sugar tends to make people fat, the regular soft drinks may get taxed twice, once for being a soft drink and once on their sugar content.

Refined grain foods that most of the junkier commercial desserts and snacks are made from will be taxed. Eventually bread made with refined grains and refined grain flours will be taxed. (The average man or woman does NOT yet know that the body reacts about the same to refined grains as it does to sugar. But since that’s so, refined grain and foods made from it will likely be taxed also.)

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

New discovery suggests maybe you DO have time to exercise....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-25-2010

Today AP online health news ran a story about a study confirming the work of Dr Al Sears who already has been promoting his PACE program and how effective it is for fat loss.

The bottom line is that properly done interval cardio (& similar strength training) are safe, effective, and can take an astonishingly short time to do at each session.

(See more from that story below. First, I include some information on why it’s so useful and beneficial and ways to make it even safer)

Dr Sears has said for quite a while now that the kind of interval cardio he teaches is far safer, uses much less time and is more effective at improving your health and getting fit than steady state cardio that takes far longer.

He literally has had patients unable to walk more than 45 seconds without stopping progress to very fit and dramatically more intense exercise while losing amazing amounts on the scale and from their initially overfat bellies.

His program, or a similar one, becomes intense by gradually making small improvements continuously even if you start out at a tiny bit of incredibly little exercise.

By doing this, and by progressing a bit on the slow and steady side in the early stages while progress comes easy, your body acclimates to the gradually more intense exercise well enough that studies show it’s quite safe.

The kind of exercise normally that can cause injury or worse is either going far too suddenly to very intense exercise such as someone who is unfit shoveling snow which is far more intense than they perceive it to be or someone who increases the amount or intensity they do by double each week instead of by closer to 5% per week. Yikes!

The other kind is pushing your body past it’s ability to recover by doing the exercise so long that you overdo your body’s current fitness and ability to adapt and not slowing down or resting between spurts of much more vigorous exercise that your body CAN handle.

Properly done interval cardio such as Dr Sears’ PACE program solves all those problems.

You do rest between the more intense exercise sections, particularly at first, and you slow down or rest each time BEFORE you overdo it, or burn out mentally.

You also limit the total amount of time you take each day to both allow for the exercise to be quite vigorous and to avoid overuse injuries.

This quite literally means that you can get effective fat loss and health benefits producing exercise in as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day on three days a week.

One study found that even a single one or two minute session a day works!

Bet you have time to do that! And, there are many ways to do interval cardio at home too.

That means you can actually fit exercise into your life even if you have very little time.

To be sure, a bit over 10 minutes a day 3 days a week of interval cardio and 20 or 30 minutes on the alternate days two or three days a week of strength training is better. But you CAN get an effective start in very little time by using interval cardio alone.

Here’s some info from the AP story today.:

Their title was: “Interval training can cut exercise hours sharply.” AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng wrote it; & it appeared earlier today, 2-25-2010, & was listed as coming from LONDON.

I loved their first line.: “People who complain they have no time to exercise may soon need another excuse.”

As you’ve seen and will see, that is quite literally true.

"High-intensity interval training is twice as effective as normal exercise," said Jan Helgerud, an exercise expert from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.”

That actually understates the case once you build up to higher levels of intensity.

The AP story said that interval training means working very hard for a few minutes with rest periods in between sets.

That’s actually incomplete. You may need two or three minutes between sets at first even if you do only two or three sets. In fact, you want to be conservative at first in resting long enough. But one way to make the exercise progressive is to very gradually rest for shorter periods. You may get to where 30 seconds of rest is enough. You can even use slowing down or dropping the intensity instead of stopping in some kinds of interval cardio after you become fit and have done the exercises for a long enough period of time.

Jon Helgerud also was quoted with some advice for beginners, “…. try four sessions lasting four minutes each, with three minutes of recovery time in between. Unless you're an elite athlete, it shouldn't be an all-out effort.” – and, “"You should be a little out of breath, but you shouldn't have the obvious feeling of exhaustion,"

Again that understates the case, you can start with TWO sessions and one rest period in between; and once you are fit, it’s OK to be pretty out of breath at the end of each session – but he’s correct that this is NOT a great idea at first.

Here’s a real life example.:

In my own new added interval cardio of doing jumping jacks two days a week and jumping rope two days a week, I was already moderately fit and started with just two sets of 14!

For someone less fit, even 2 or 3 times per set for two sets is an OK place to start.

I now do 3 sets of 21 on the jumping rope and am holding it there until I can do each of the 3 sets of 21 without a miss. I’m getting close! I’ve done 18 or 19 without a miss several times now.

And, I now do 5 sets of 42 jumping jacks. But I have built up to that gradually over many weeks.

I hope to get to where I can do 8 sets of 98 of each where each set is a minute or less and I only need to rest for 20 seconds or so between sets. That’s 794 times in 10 minutes and likely safe to do. But I started with TWO sets of 14 and a about a minute and a half rest in between.

The story noted that: “Helgerud says the time people spend in the gym could be slashed dramatically if they did interval training instead. He said officials have been too afraid of recommending intense training, fearing it might be too much for some people.” – and they quoted him as saying: "I'm much more afraid of people not exercising at all," he said. "Inactivity is what's killing us."

And, the truth makes the case even stronger because starting at very easy and progressing slowly enough and taking a break early enough in each set makes interval cardio SAFER than exercise that takes far longer and is less intense.

This quote from the story is significant.:

“When compared to people on a normal exercise routine, like jogging, research has shown those doing interval training can double their endurance, improve their oxygen use and strength by more than 10 percent, and their speed by at least 5 percent. Even studies in the elderly and in heart patients found they had better oxygen use and fitness after doing interval training.

The reporter also interviewed, Adamson Nicholls, a 36-year-old martial arts practitioner from London, who said that by using interval training, he got into top shape last year in about six weeks, using weekly 45-minute sessions and that his experience suggests the same level would have taken about three months via regular training. He also found that, just as other fitness experts said would be the case, he got much faster and stronger and more explosive in his ability to throw punches.

The story also quoted Stephen Bailey, a sports sciences expert from the University of Exeter. He said that the intense bursts of exercise in interval cardio help your body build more fast twitch muscle fiber and to cause your body to use oxygen more efficiently and become capable of exercising a lot longer.

In addition, with both progressive strength training and well done interval cardio, the after effects – including the extra calories burned by your body -- lasts for hours. That’s so even for a few minute session of interval cardio.

"You've exercised at such a high intensity that you're going to create a massive disturbance in your muscles," Bailey said. That creates a higher metabolism for several hours afterward, which the body will bring down by burning fat and carbohydrates.

"This is definitely the way forward to save time on your exercise," Nicholls said. And he added: "The results are worth it."

More effective at increasing fitness and strength and speed and fat loss while taking less far less time and even being safer if you do it right -- with interval cardio, there’s a LOT to like.

By the way, Dr Sears not only sells his PACE system on his website, he now has a video to make it really easy for someone new to interval cardio to see how to do it.

See, .

You can do it yourself if you have some background in exercise as I do and have done. But if you need someone to show you how, Dr Sears’ information is a decent place to start.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cocoa & dark chocolate can lower blood pressure & do prevent strokes and heart attacks....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-23-2010

Today I got an email from the HSI health organization that highlights the finding that the Kuna Indians who live on a group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama have no high blood pressure and that even after age 60, the average blood pressure for these Indians is 110/70. In the United States, only healthy 16 year olds that are trim have blood pressures that low.

A friend who knows that I have an interest in nondrug ways to lower high blood pressure also emailed me a second copy since the information in it was so spectacular.

Even more surprising, these Kuna Indians eat as much salt on the average as people in the U.S.

They also have lower death rates from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.

Harvard researchers discovered that all this is because they drink about 5 cups of cocoa each day.

That’s only half or a quarter of the story though.

They drink zero soft drinks either regular or diet, repeat NONE. They clearly add no sugar or cream or milk to their cocoa. And they do NOT use a hot chocolate or cocoa mix that contains transfats that cause cardiovascular disease.

(Ghirardelli's makes an unsweetened cocoa that works. Unlike virtually all their other hot chocolate mixes, their unsweetened cocoa has no added hydrogenated oils.

Those other mixes needless to say, are NOT good for you. Do NOT buy or consume them.

But their unsweetened cocoa is decently chocolaty and health supporting. I put a two heaping spoonfuls into a large medium sized coffee cup of just boiled water leaving enough room for a bit of cold water. Then I carefully whisk the cocoa into the hot water and add the bit of cold. Not bad!)

Plus, there's even more to the story.

Why do people try to lower high blood pressure? It doesn't hurt or make you feel sick unless it's extremely high. (Blood pressure that high is a call 911 & pray kind of emergency.)

They've been told correctly I think that if they don't lower it they are more likely to get a heart attack or stroke. (The studies say that’s so for blood pressure higher than 160 over 100 and somewhat the case for over 140 over 90 but not over 160 over 100.)

People who drink cocoa with no milk or eat dark chocolate also are less likely to have strokes and less likely to die if they have one. And, they are also less likely to have a heart attack or die if they have one. That's in addition to any lowering of their blood pressure.

In fact, a study showing this is so for protection from strokes and dying from them was just in the online health news in the last day or so.

One millionaire in fact who heard that people who have eaten chocolate within the previous week are significantly more likely to survive if they have a heart attack said he now eats dark chocolate as a small desert almost 7 days a week.

Second, being too fat, obesity, is a reliable cause of high blood pressure. So one way to lower it is to lose several pounds of fat. But drinking 3 soft drinks a day tends to add 45 pounds of fat to the people who do it. Losing 45 pounds of fat can cut your blood pressure by 22 points. That's as much as a good, two drug, combination at doses that give some people side effects.

So, what do you recommend to people who insist on a drink that helps them feel good once you've told them that the soft drinks are killing them with obesity and high blood pressure they otherwise would not have?

One good answer is to have them drink hot cocoa or eat occasional treats of dark chocolate.

The hot unsweetened cocoa with no milk or sugar added is better for getting and staying free of excess fat while the dark chocolate is more of a treat and may have more of the flavonols thought to be the protective part of chocolate.

My own solution is to have one quarter of a small Hershey’s dark chocolate bar four days a week and have cocoa on Saturday and on Sunday.

That way I only have 21 calories from sugar each week. But I get very regular doses of chocolate.

I’ve not gotten my blood pressure down to 110 over 70. But it may be somewhat lower than it otherwise would have been. And of more importance, I’ve added considerably to my protection from heart attacks and strokes and from dying of either one.

Like me, you may not have time to fix 5 cups of cocoa a day or be able to do so at work.

But, as you can see, you CAN make use of this information and gain health and life protection from doing so.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

My personal fat loss progress, February report, 2010....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-22-2010

Last month, I’d only been doing my full program for a week and though I had lost 2 pounds, that could have been from other things and I lost no inches from my waist.

But this past Saturday, I’d been doing my full program for 5 weeks and in the last month I lost 3 more pounds and this time a fourth of an inch off my waist.

Since everything I’m doing is sustainable and I’m not any hungrier, that’s good news on the pounds but not so good on the inches off my waist.

At this rate, in just 3 more months, I’ll reach my weight loss goal for the whole year.

But for the 4 inches off my waist, it will possibly take 15 more months. And, that’s presuming I keep losing inches after I stop losing pounds.

The good news is that by the end of the year, I’ll have built up to more sets of vigorous exercise and added some things to add muscle, so I may still lose all 4 inches I had as a goal.

More next month.


Possibly helpful new way to lose fat....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-22-2010

Last Thursday, 2-18-2010, HealthDay News ran a story that the, amino acid, isoleucine may be helpful for fat loss.

Japanese researchers fed mice a high-fat diet with 45 % of calories from fat, and from the sound of it fat ADDED to the normal food for mice with far less, for six weeks.

Two weeks into the study, one group of mice also got added isoleucine in their drinking water while the control group did not. This continued for the other 4 weeks in the study.

Even though both groups had the added calories; and their fluid and calories were the same, the mice who got the isoleucine gained less weight than those in the control group.

Even better, the mice that got the isoleucine also had lower serum insulin apparently due to the improved glucose-lowering effects of their insulin, and had less fat deposits and greater fat metabolism.

That suggests that isoleucine definitely improves insulin resistance in mice and might very well do so in people as well AND make it easier to lose fat and keep it off.

I’m unsure that this would work well in people or how much you’d need to get this effect.

But, since isoleucine is abundant in mushrooms which have virtually no calories but do have flavor and protein, it looks very likely to me that adding mushrooms to savory dishes either instead of part of the meat or in addition to it or to add to a bean dish, might make a very good choice for fat loss and improving insulin resistance and lowering insulin levels.

If I hear of isoleucine being tried successfully as a supplement to do these things, I’ll do another post.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Supplements to protect your memory....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-19-2010

(Weds, 2-24 update: Eating fish high in omega 3 oils and taking omega 3 supplements, DHA, and taking turmeric or curcumin also protect your heart from heart attacks and your brain from obstructive strokes by helping avoid the excessive blood clotting that is a key cause of them.

But if you are now taking a blood thinning or clot preventing drug, to be safe from the drug becoming too powerful when added to those things, you need to work with your doctor to very carefully adjust the dose of the drug as you add them. Since the drugs have side effects and the fish and these supplements have other health benefits, the ideal is to use only the fish and supplements. But your medical reason for taking the drugs may require otherwise. So, for your safety, work with your doctor if you are taking such drugs now.

The good news is that more and more doctors know about the values of fish and omega 3 &/or have similar patients now. So if your doctor is unfamiliar, ask him or her to find a colleague with such experience to discuss the situation with and learn from.)

I. The supplements that work to protect your memory and brain function work best if you also do the other things that work that do so.

A. There are four things you can do that keep your circulation good which both protects your brain AND your heart.

AND, one of them also grows new brain cells!

1. Regular exercise each week, particularly if at least a couple of minutes of it are quite vigorous once you have worked up to it gradually, grows new brain cells. And, it both increases circulation while you do it plus directly reducing the small particle LDL in your blood that is one of the top two or three causes of cardiovascular disease.

In short, regular exercise is perhaps the best single thing you can do to protect all of your brain.
Your brain gets extra circulation every time you exercise; you grow new brain cells; & exercise helps keep your blood vessels clear to protect your brain’s circulation.

2. Eating wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils, such as salmon, herring, or sardines, once or twice a week and taking omega 3 supplements from purified fish oil daily plus NOT eating oils high in omega 6 such as corn, soy, safflower, and canola, is already known for reducing inflammation and triglycerides. Just this week news broke that doing this also INCREASES your HDL.

But that information is incredibly important. It seems that researchers have found that when HDL goes up and triglycerides go down, in your body that means your small particle LDL in your blood that is one of the top two or three causes of cardiovascular disease has gone down!

(Note that farmed fish is very high in pollutants and had dramatically less omega 3 oils and more omega 6 oils. If you value your health do NOT eat it.)

I take two capsules a day of Nordic Naturals omega-3 supplement. Most health food stores carry it. I take one first thing in the morning and one at lunch.

(I also eat wild caught salmon three times a week and do NOT use oils with omega 6. I use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil increases or leaves alone your HDL but still keeps your LDL low and does NOT boost triglycerides. Its use is one of the key reasons that the Mediterranean diet protects health.

In fact, Doctors Oz & Roizen recently said that eating a Mediterranean diet that also has lots of vegetables and beans instead of fatty meat cuts the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease by SIXTY percent!)

3. Taking niacin does the triple, it lowers LDL, increases HDL, and lowers triglycerides. Here again, that means that taking niacin also lowers your small particle LDL in your blood that is one of the top two or three causes of cardiovascular disease goes down when you take niacin.

For that reason, taking niacin lowers death rates and does so far better than statin drugs. In addition, the Berkeley Heart Lab has developed a genetically based and much more individual way to measure heart attack risk. Of the several types they found, only one does better on statins than on niacin.

IMPORTANT NOTE: More than 600 to 900 mg a day of niacin can cause liver problems just like statins. I’ve found that just 300 twice a day: one after breakfast and one after lunch -- is effective in part by combining it with the other things in this post. But some people need more to do the job. And if you are taking statin drugs, some people get extra side effect if they also take niacin. So, if you plan to take over 900 mg a day or take statin drugs, you need to be under a good doctors care with whom you work well, get regular liver function tests, and enjoy some good luck to do it safely.

4. Hydrogenated vegetable oils are heart attack starter. Never, ever voluntarily ingest the stuff. Researchers found that the transfats hydrogenated vegetable oils contain directly increases the small particle LDL in your blood that is one of the top two or three causes of cardiovascular disease.

Always read labels! If any kind of hydrogenated vegetable oil is listed as an ingredient, do not buy it or eat it. Yes, that still eliminates a lot of otherwise decent tasting commercial treats and any use of shortening in your own cooking. But there are some that do not contain this dangerous stuff. Buy those instead.

In addition, look for zero transfats. Some foods manage to have the stuff without any listed hydrogenated vegetable oils as ingredients.

Note though that having a zero transfats content is NOT true if the food has any hydrogenated vegetable oil at all. Zero on the label only means it has less than a half gram per serving. But if you eat 6 servings of .48 grams each, that’s actually ingesting 2.88 grams of transfats. They can list zero in that case. But since the product contains hydrogenated vegetable oil, it is NOT so!

B) Regular socializing may not FEEL mentally challenging since we get so much practice at it. But brain scans show it exercises the brain more than doing crossword puzzles or chess problems.

In addition, people who socialize often and are friendly with the people they socialize with experience MUCH less stress than people who do not. Since excess stress harms memory and can even damage the part of your brain that retrieves memory for you.

So, no surprise, researchers have found that people who socialize often tend to keep their memories and brains intact and functioning well much, much better than people who do not.

C) Avoid eating swordfish and King mackerel and only eat canned tuna occasionally instead of every week. And, eat cilantro often.

That helps you avoid getting excess mercury from NOT eating the fish that contain too much of it while eating cilantro I’ve read will help extract it from your body.

Too much mercury harms your mental function enough that people who have it have been diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s disease. If excess mercury goes on too long the diagnosis may become accurate. But in the early stages, getting rid of the excess mercury has restored good mental function and memory.

Meanwhile, you can help avoid this happening to you by eating salmon and smaller fish that have little or no mercury and eating cilantro often.

II. Besides omega 3 supplements (#1 supplement)and the related food practices, you can also take the following supplements.:

2. People who also take extra DHA, kind of omega 3 oil, also get extra protection from mental decline. I take Jarrow Max DHA 607 mg per capsule once a day. Nordic Naturals also makes a DHA supplement but I like Jarrow’s better.

Some of these supplements prevent Alzheimer’s disease and may even reverse it in its early stages while some of them actually restore your mental abilities to where they were 10 to 15 years ago and keep them there!

2. Turmeric in curry can be enjoyed in curried foods which is how its effects were initially discovered. But you can get the full effect from Curcumin or Turmeric supplements by taking just one a day. (Curcumin is the active ingredient though to be protective.)

Not only was this effect found in India, researchers have since verified that this compound can prevent Alzheimer’s disease and may even reverse it in its early stages by cleaning the amyloid plaque from your brain or preventing its build up.

I take NOW’s curcumin supplement one a day. That is available in many health food stores & almost all that do not have it DO have a curcumin or turmeric supplement.

3. Until recently, health professionals thought that the RDA for vitamin D3 was 400 to 800 iu a day. Just in the last 10 years or so, it’s been discovered that the real RDA for vitamin D3, particularly in the winter and to some extent all year, is far closer to 2,000 to 5,000 iu.

Further, it’s been found that taking that much D3 tends to prevent cancer and autoimmune disease in addition to keeping your bones strong. Even better, that much D3 a day also prevents Alzheimer’s disease and may even reverse it in its early stages by cleaning the amyloid plaque from your brain or preventing its build up -- just as curcumin does!

Best of all taking D3 is really affordable. I take two or more a day of 1,000 iu capsules from Carlson. I get 100 capsules for a bit under $5 at the discount place I go to. But even full price is just $7.

Taking 2,000 or 3,000 a day in summer and 5,000 or a bit more in winter looks to be a key and critical good health practice according to all this recent research. (Note that up to 10,000 a day of D3 is safe and never been found harmful though sustained 50,000 a day or 100,000 a day might be according to Wikipedia.)

4. Two things I’ve read have directly restored mental function enough to bring it back to where it was 10 to 15 year ago or to make it the same is it is for people the age you were that long ago.

a) Eating several servings a week of blueberries has been found to do this. Organic ones are available in the frozen foods section of Whole Foods for just $2.99 a package. The conventional ones they carry may only work about 70% as well and actually cost a bit more; but as a change of pace, they are nice since they are bigger and sweeter and can be more fun to eat for that reason.

b) Taking 100 mg a day of Phosphatidylserine or PS in acronym form also does this.

Dr Dharma Khalsa says that this is because this compound keeps the cell walls flexible enough that your brain cells can better take in nutrients and get rid of wastes.

It’s a bit more expensive to take but I think it’s worth it. I take one a day of the 100 mg capsules from Jarrow. 60 capsules of 100 mg of PS from Jarrow costs about $30 per bottle after tax. The $30 does sound like a lot but that works out to 50 cents a day.

Given what it does, I think it’s worth it.

5. The mineral magnesium is in nuts and greens.

But either many older people eat too little of those or digest them less well and become deficient in this mineral.

That slows mental processing it turns out an also helps cause high blood pressure by making salt boost it more when not enough magnesium is present. Not enough magnesium also tends to make people constipated.

I take the 200 mg capsules of Magnesium Asporotate from Solaray three times a day.

6. The other nutrient older people are often deficient in is B12. This is apparently caused by not extracting well from foods and supplements as you get older.

This is a BIG deal since lack of B12 can cause enough memory loss and confusion to cause some doctors to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease even when none is present.

There are 4 solutions to this. Simply use one or more.

a) Take much more than the old RDA: 1,000 mcg or more a day is good.

b) Or get a doctor like JFK once had to give you B12 by injection or shots.

c) Or get a chewable form that allows the B12 to be absorbed directly. I take one a day of the Methyl B12 from Now in just that way. AND, I do so in addition to the foods I eat that contain B12 and the B12 in my multivitamin and in my B Complex vitamin.

Given how important it is, I think that’s justified.

d) Al Sears, see his website at , also sells a vitamin B12 spray that works even better than the chewable I use and almost as well as the B12 shots. He finds an instant energy boost when he uses it also which is a very nice extra.

7. The other supplement I take, CoQ10 in the Ubiquinol form, helps keep all my cells with their internal energy generators, their mitochondria, working well.

The notable effect of this is to protect your energy level as you get older and it has been found to even help prevent or partially reverse heart failure.

So by taking it, I help ensure my brain has enough energy and blood supply from my heart to keep working well.

(Ubiquinol is the compound your body makes when you take CoQ10. Doctors and researchers have found that taking the ubiquinol directly gives you more in your blood and keeps the level up better than taking Co Q10 -- and the effect is startlingly large up to EIGHT times better!

I take 150 mg a day. 100 mg when I first get up and 50 mg at lunch. (Since taking it boosts energy I don’t yet take it later in the day.)

I get my 100 mg capsules of ubiquinol from Jarrow and the two 25’s I take at lunch from
BlueBonnet. When I get a bit older, I may go to 100 mg three times a day.

8. The other supplements I’ve heard increase memory are Gingko Biloba, Pregnenolone, huperzine, and citicholine.

I take a bit of Gingko Biloba but the recent research on it is mixed. I’ve taken Pregnenolone but haven’t noticed a difference without it.

And, Gingko Biloba, huperzine, and citicholine may be best used by people with more severe memory problems.

The other methods and supplements in this post if you use them all will do enough, I think most people can do with out this last group of supplements.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

New ways to protect your heart....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-18-2010

Today several news organizations ran a story that said that, “Happiness protects your heart.”

That’s NOT quite what the research reported actually said. But the good news is that what the research actually said was for more useful.

There are a considerable number of ways to feel good as there are many ways to feel bad.

The summary of the research is that people who often feel good in many of the possible ways and far less often feel bad have dramatically better heart health.

The results were close to spectacular. People low in the summary measure the researchers developed had the most heart attacks; people in the middle had an average amount; and people who were high had very few.

The key to making use of this research to protect your heart is to take specific steps to enjoy more of the good feelings and reduce the bad ones.

The good news is that IS doable. Becoming happier is so elusive and challenging people have failed at doing it for thousands of years. So, if you had to do that to protect your heart, you might not do very well!!

But you CAN do the specific things. And, if you do the ones that you find doable and use other ways to protect your heart, you can and will succeed.

So, here’s the list of positive things.:

The summary of them all the researchers called, “Positive Affect.”

“Joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm, and contentment” were listed and though they were not listed, enjoyment, feelings of love, and warm emotions clearly fit. Enjoyed humor also clearly fits.

The list of negative things included depression, anxiety, hostility, and anger.

1. One key to using this information is to notice and recall things you are grateful for, successes, enjoyed experiences, and things you really liked often enough it becomes a habit.

If you aren’t used to doing this, think of it as a debating exercise with the assignment of coming up with a good sized list of such things and reviewing it. There’s no need to pretend bad things don’t also exist or invent things that aren’t there. Simply come up with a list of these kinds of things that are real and write them down. Write down anything however small.

I think this advice is even in the Bible somewhere. The quote says something like, “Seek out the things that are good and of good report and THINK on these things.”

2. This can also help you in many ways if you also notice the strengths and talents of the people around you. You appreciate people more and you can often have more and accomplish more because you know who can help with certain things because they are good at them or know a lot about them.

That also makes you act more positively towards them and be more likely to forgive them their faults and moods and bad days.

Then, by being easier to like, THEY will treat you better and you’ll feel better.

3. For similar reasons, watch for opportunities to encourage people, give them sincere and specific compliments, and do specific things to make their lives go better or achieve their goals. Wish them well and say so occasionally.

Find reasons to like people and review reasons you like the people you see most often or just before you see them.

Get used to doing this until you begin to like to do it and feel good about yourself when you do.

Don’t do it with the expectation of them doing specific things for you. For entirely separate reasons they may not want to do those things or may not be able to for reasons you are unaware of. And, people get put off if they feel you are insincere and manipulative.

But if you do it often because you’ve learned to do that and just doing it makes you feel good, you’ll be natural and unstressed and be perceived as being sincere. Then people WILL be nicer to you most of the time and much more likely cut you a break when you have a bad day.

And, sometimes, they may even do what you want even better than you would have dared asked them to do.

And, each and every one of those things will make you feel good.

4. Do the other things that turn off depression or prevent it virtually everyday. All the rest of the things in this list work better and you are more likely to do them if you aren’t depressed.

In fact, both regular mild to moderate exercise such as walking or gardening -- AND quite vigorous exercise regularly every week even if for brief periods each time -- not only work better and more reliably to reduce and prevent depression, they tend to directly prevent heart disease.

Taking more than 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 is similar. People who do this, particularly in the winter and less sunny months, are far less depressed than people who don’t AND in addition to helping prevent many cancers and autoimmune diseases and keeping your bones strong, taking this much vitamin D3 helps prevent the build up of plaque and the calcification of plaque in your blood vessels and thereby directly prevents heart disease.

Similarly coming close to eliminating omega 6 oils in your diet in favor of olive oil, nuts, and other monosaturated fat AND taking both purified fish oil omega 3 supplements and eating wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils such as herring, sardines, and salmon, ALSO sharply reduces depression and tends to prevent it AND also lowers inflammation and thereby also directly prevents heart disease.

5. This one is not easy; but any success at all doing it will protect your heart and help you feel better.

Avoid the severe stresses you can avoid in part by not doing things that risk causing such bad consequences it would put you under severe stress. Stay away from really bad and mean people and always fasten your seat belt and avoid driving if you are too drunk or too sleepy are in this category.

Find a way to solve the problems that stress you.

And, take some kind of stress relief break when you need to.

Even when you are stressed or depressed find a way to speak briefly to real people and be nice to THEM.

This is unusually effective in relieving stress even when you are so stressed, you almost don’t notice it at the time. Believe it or not, even when people forced themselves to do this when asked by their psychologist to do so found they became far less depressed because of it.

This set of things ranges from not that hard to close to undoable at times. But if you make a consistent and focused effort to do what you can to do them and do the best you can and keep trying new things that might work, you’ll succeed often enough to protect your heart far better than you would have if you did not.

6. If you get angry or feel hostile, escape that state in a positive way as quickly as you can.

Type A behavior where people tend to be driven and rush like crazy does NOT cause heart disease with two exceptions.

a) If you get too anxious about the outcome as you work it can raise your blood pressure enough to harm your heart if you are always in that state. So focus on things that are moderate challenges and avoid those that are so close to impossible or risky that that kind of continuous anxiety happens to you.

b) But the state of mind that by itself directly causes heart disease is hostility. That’s why taking steps to NOT go there or escape that state quickly and in a positive way are critical.

If you find you often feel hostile or treat other people harshly because you feel hostile towards them, regardless of whether you think they deserve it or not, YOU are at severe risk for heart disease both directly because of the physical effects of hostility on your body and as strongly though indirectly is that this can often cause other people to treat you badly even sometimes when you otherwise would not deserve it.

When someone angers you, be SURE to think about reasons what they did may have TEMPORARY and specific reasons and think of what those reasons might be. Often you’ll realize that they are NOT always like that or that you hope other people will cut you some slack when YOU are that stressed or having that bad a day.

Then, ask yourself if there is any doable and UN-hostile thing you can do to improve things.

Then ask yourself it the issue is important enough to make that effort.

If you’ve done those three things and you have some idea why the bad situation might be happening; that there IS a positive thing you can try; and that it IS worth the effort to try, do that positive thing and see if it works.

If it doesn’t work, think of something else or try another time or both. But do NOT get angry or hostile with the other person. By all means let them know if you wish it were otherwise. But focusing on it or thinking to yourself that bad results always happen or punishing the other person in some way will harm your heart and will usually NOT improve things either.

Of course, there ARE some people who you simply need to avoid or escape from or even fight past a certain point if they are truly attacking you. But in most cases, YOU can do things enough better to avoid that happening with most people. If you can’t do that, YOU need to become much more positive or skilled or find a safer and saner group of people to hang out with or both.

And, if you get hostile and angry often, you either are causing it when these skills will help you avoid it most of the time instead – OR – you are living in a situation you should escape.

And, unless you live with truly horrible people or in a war zone or something of that kind, it often is YOUR skills to prevent it that need to be improved.

Lastly, if you read this far, you likely have the skill to learn from what you read.

So, if you have problems with hostility, do all the things to turn off depression as that tends to make hostility more likely and worse. Be particularly sure to eliminate omega 6 oils in your diet in favor of olive oil, nuts, and other monosaturated fat AND taking both purified fish oil omega 3 supplements and eating wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils such as herring, sardines, and salmon. This will not only protect your heart directly and reduce or prevent depression, it will help you feel dramatically less irritable which will really help.

Then read everything you can that the doctor who discovered that hostility causes heart disease wrote that you can get your hands on from, your local library, or a local bookstore.

Redford Williams, MD wrote a book called the “Trusting Heart” initially but has written extensively since then adding to what he found about how hostility harms the heart and how to help people learn positive and effective anger management skills.

The more you read of what he found and how to fix it, the better you’ll do.

In summary, there ARE many ways to feel good, feel better, and avoid feeling bad.

They ARE doable. YOU can do them. Some of them protect your heart indirectly in part by just making life more worth living. But some of them also work directly to protect your heart.

The best news is that you can add these things to the other things that protect your heart such as staying completely away from tobacco smoke -- and taking the supplements and in some cases the drugs that turn off conditions such as high blood pressure that increase heart attack risks.

So, if you do BOTH sets of things, your risk of heart disease will be tiny indeed.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why Organic and naturally raised foods actually cost less, net....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-16-2010

Last Wednesday, 2-10-2010 I got this article from Total Health Breakthroughs: .

(Other health articles are available at under both past dates and health topics.)

Jon Herring of THB does an absolutely brilliant job of highlighting many people he knows that are paying out thousands of dollars for doctor visits, treatments, and drugs that eating right for slightly more money earlier would have mostly prevented – & with HUGE savings overall!

After reading his article, you can really see by how dramatically much NOT paying slightly more for organic and naturally raised foods when you can and eating right is “Pennywise and pound foolish.”

He then points out that there are also ways to cut costs on health OK foods in such a way that you can come very close to eating organic and naturally raised foods for the same money or even less.

He then opened up the article to comments by his readers for their ways to do that. Those comments are available at the link above.

In a bit, I’ll list my own comment. But you can read the others for ideas. (Most of the comments are from people who really liked the article and specific ideas of how they used Jon’s strategies that were in the article.)

Before I list my own comments, I want to point out that even if you believe that grain fed beef is relatively free of antibiotic residue, hormones, and bioconcentrated herbicides and pesticides -- as I personally do not though I have not seen any specific studies saying so, it IS extremely clear that grain fed meat has more total fat, saturated fat, and omega 6 oils and far less omega 3 oils than beef from cattle fed only grass. And, I have read that GMO, genetically modified grains are used for the grain the cattle eat. Since GMO foods are NOT fully tested to be safe and the companies work to ensure they are not, the list of things that grain fed beef likely does have that are either outright harmful or much less health supporting is more than sufficient to persuade me to only eat grass fed beef.

Yes, grass fed beef does cost a good deal more. But, since eating less red meat HAS been shown to improve health and vice versa, that may be a good thing. As my comment below shows, your health may be far better off and your overall food budget far less if you eat other kinds of protein most of the time and eat beef enough less that eating beef from animals fed only grass, is still affordable. Even better, the health problems that result from eating too much grain fed meat are much less likely to happen to you. The best news though is that you do NOT have to give up meat or beef entirely to be healthy. Just buy better quality and eat a good bit less.

Here are my ideas on how to eat well and choose organic and naturally raised food when I can get it.

By using these and NOT buying the packaged snacks, desserts, and soft drinks many Americans buy and consume, my wife and I spend far less than most Americans do on food.

What we do is not perfect nor is it completely how we’d eat if we had a lot more money. And some parts of it might not work for you.

But many of you can use many of our techniques. And, virtually all of you can stop buying the packaged snacks, desserts, and soft drinks many Americans buy and consume. One woman, who did this for her whole family as she personally worked successfully to lose her excess fat, found in fact that she SAVED several hundred dollars a month!

That will buy some organic produce and grass fed meat and wild caught fish for sure!

Also, the single best place, other than buying online or at local farmer’s markets, to find organic produce, meat from naturally fed animals such as for beef, lamb, and buffalo, and for wild caught fish is Whole Foods Markets.

Even better, even major chains like Safeway and Walmart now carry more and more organic foods.

Here are my 3 tips for eating in a health supporting way for less money.

1. Beans and lentils are really and truly inexpensive.

They are lower in glycemic index than whole grains. They are high in protein and work well if eaten with health OK animal protein for providing high quality protein. (Lentils are a superfood with many nutrients and the lowest glycemic index in this group of foods.)

They are as high or higher in total fiber than whole grains and have enough soluble fiber to keep your LDL cholesterol from being too high.

For breakfast on my calorie reduced days, I now eat a third of a can of cooked lentils, cost 66 cents, and a boiled egg. The salt in the canned lentils is moderately low. I also drink some nonfat & 1% fat milk. I also have some kind of fruit.

Some evenings I have extra virgin olive oil and home cooked pinto beans and some Muir Glen Organic tomato or pasta sauce. The home cooked pinto beans have zero added salt & my wife cooks a batch on the week-end every other week. That part of my dinner is therefore really time efficient and super cheap. My serving of pinto beans is likely about 20 or 25 cents since we buy the beans in a ten pound bag every once in a while. Even better, pinto beans are surprisingly high in antioxidants.

Three evenings a week I add wild caught salmon to this.

Then each evening I have a glass of red wine and some 1% lowfat milk.

So, even when I just have the beans, I get complete protein at that meal.

This combination of foods helps me to keep my HDL high and my triglycerides low enough my overall heart disease risk is extremely low.

Eating grain fed meat every night would cost far more and produce far worse health results.

In addition I get every bit as much high quality protein and far more fiber than I would eating grain fed beef.

Even better, I don't get excess inflammation to cause heart disease from the excess omega 6 oils or get the bioconcentrated pesticides and herbicides or the low level of animal antibiotics in grain fed beef.

2. My wife can eat canned sardines but has yet to find a way to make them taste very good.

I cannot eat fish that is that old due to being allergic to the accumulated histamines found in fish that old.

But if you find a way to make them taste good or put up with the taste -- and can eat them without allergic reaction, canned sardines are a superfood, particularly where nutrition per dollar is concerned.

For as little as one dollar per can for water packed canned sardines, you get huge amounts of quality protein and omega 3 oils, particularly DHA. Even better, sardines are little fish, not at all high on the food chain, and all of them in the cans are wild caught so they are a virtually organic source of protein.

What my wife does do is to eat them in a salad so she has other tastes to soften the strong taste of the sardines.

For protein, these are two ways to eat health supporting foods for very little cost.

3. Soft drinks, both regular and diet -- and packaged desserts and snacks -- both of which are made mostly of refined grains and often have hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or excessive salt or other additives such as MSG -- are NOT free to buy.

They tend to make you fat and can cause type 2 diabetes and heart disease if you eat too much. But because they are carefully designed to taste good virtually everyone who eats them does eat too much.

They add calories without making you less hungry and then give you rebound hunger a short time after you eat them.

So, since there are health supporting foods that taste good you can eat instead such as dark chocolate, berries, and nuts, virtually every dollar you spend on soft drinks or these packaged foods does you more harm than good.

So, a tremendously valuable way to save money while still eating well is to give these foods a close to 100 % boycott.

Don't buy them or have them in your home. Refuse to send the companies that make and sell them any of your money for providing you with products that make you fat and sick.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

How cash starved governments can get help & protect our health....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-12-2010

From the United States government to local cities most governments today are now extremely pressed for cash and revenues.

Yes. Governments can cut service levels and programs; and they have been.

But cutting back on things like libraries, parks, education, programs for pregnant women and babies and preschool children, and public health and public safety cause real harm now and later than would be best avoided. Cutting back some kinds of health programs can even directly kill people and does. Cutting back on supporting mass transit not only harms people who have less money and harms the economy, it tends to increase driving and air pollution.

Governments can also increase the dickens out every possible kind of fee and they have been. Permits cost more as do traffic tickets – increasingly a LOT more – than they used to cost.

But whether young or old or less educated or less fortunate many people find these higher fees a problem because they are already themselves short of money.

Governments could raise their sales taxes by a lot and some may do so. But even though sales taxes are the easiest to be sure you can collect and tend to be fair since everyone has to pay them, doubling them or more will slow the economy and tend to impoverish people.

So that’s not a great idea either unless the taxes were very low to begin with.

The federal government and the states can also increase income taxes, particularly – at least on paper – on higher income earners. But that tends to cause collection problems and also tends to slow the economy and lower people’s standard of living if overdone.

There is some evidence that having capital gains taxes at all slows the economy and tends to prevent efficient changes in the economy by disincentivizing property transfers. It also tends to penalize people for inflation. Increasing them is an even worse idea.

Yet with virtually every part of their revenue down from the severe recession, hard pressed governments have to do something to compensate!

But since these other alternatives they have often cause as many problems as they solve and many worsen the economy besides by tending to reduce the governments’ revenues even more, wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way governments could raise more revenues without slowing the economy?

It’s not yet being used as much as it could be and should be; but there are several taxes that could be implemented that by making health harming actions cost more would not only raise the revenue the governments need but not slow the economy and would in fact increase it by sharply cutting health care costs.

It is as yet not as well recognized or used as it will be; but many kinds of food and drinks can and should be taxed for that reason.

But there is one health harming set of products that is so severe in its bad health effects it’s already been recognized to be that severe and is already taxed.

But those taxes are not yet collected by many governments or are still relatively low.

This set of products is the complete set of the various kinds of tobacco products.

Smoking causes up to 30% of ALL cancers, not just lung cancer. And its heart harming and blood vessel harming effects are so severe smoking kills far more people with those than it does with cancer. Worse, those effects happen to ALL smokers, even young ones, not just the unlucky few. In fact, just the second hand smoke caused heart damage and heart attack triggering effects are so large that many communities have found death rates from heart attacks have fallen by over 30% within a few months by passing bans on smoking in public.

THAT is severe health harm. And it raises the dickens out of health care costs too.

So if many smokers quit and those that remain smoke less, it would BENEFIT the economy.

Yet so many people would continue to smoke that governments would still continue to make a huge income by increasing taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

In fact, governments are collectively leaving BILLIONS of dollars of revenue off the table and out of their income sources.

This past Wednesday, Reuters online health news ran a story titled, “U.S. would reap billions from $1 cigarette tax hike.”

Maggie Fox, their Health And Science Editor wrote the story.

She points out that just by increasing the taxes on cigarettes by a dollar a pack states would raise as much as nine billion dollars.

A group of health advocates made this point Wednesday, and said that a poll they also publicized and which was done by International Communications Research, found that a large majority of Americans would support that tax., 60 %!

The article also included this quote by John Seffrin, chief executive of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.:

"An increase in tobacco tax rates is not only sound public health policy but a smart and predictable way to help boost the economy and generate long-term health savings for states facing deepening budget deficits,"


"We have irrefutable evidence that raising the tobacco tax lowers smoking rates among adults and deters millions of children from picking up their first cigarette,"

The Cancer Action Network, which apparently released this information, advocates policies favored by the American Cancer Society, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This report is available at

They also note research that showed a 10 percent cigarette tax increase would reduce total consumption by only 4 percent.

They estimate that 1 dollar a pack cigarette tax would prompt 1.2 million adult smokers to quit.

I find this next quote very persuasive on this point.

"In 2007, Texas increased its cigarette tax by $1 per pack from 41 cents to $1.41 per pack," the report reads. The next year, cigarette tax revenues nearly tripled from $523 million to $1.5 billion, despite a 21 percent decline in sales.”

They also are quoted as saying this.:

"Each year in the United States, smoking-caused disease results in $96 billion in health care costs, much of which is paid by taxpayers through higher insurance premiums and government-funded health programs such as Medicaid."

-- and this:

"Indeed, higher Medicaid costs are one of the reasons states are facing budget difficulties."
The average state cigarette tax is $1.34 per pack, ranging from 7 cents a pack in tobacco-growing South Carolina to $3.46 in Rhode Island.

They point out that cigarette and tobacco tax increases can fix broken budgets AND score political points with voters.

So, pass this on to the governor of your state and any of the legislators in your state that might listen to you.

Why put up with cuts in services and increases in taxes that come out of your pocket when taxing cigarettes will cut your exposure to second hand smoke and avoid these other problems or at least make them better?

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

You can starve cancer and fat cells with these foods and drinks....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-11-2010

This is spectacularly good news since all of them have other health benefits.

In addition to the information we’ve posted on the many ways you can prevent cancer today’s news is that research has been done recently showing that many foods and drinks that we already knew were good for you prevented cancer both prevent cancer AND obesity.

It seems that these foods and drinks tend to prevent both cancer cells and fat cells from growing by preventing them from adding new blood supply.

The article today was a bit vague about which components of these foods & drinks do the job. But some, like cooked tomatoes, are already known to help prevent cancer, prostate and possibly breast and ovarian cancers, in the case of cooked tomatoes.

(AFP) had a story that saying that red wine & chocolate both help prevent cancer. This research was presented yesterday, Wednesday, 2-10, by Angiogenesis Foundation head William Li at the TED Conference.

The Massachusetts-based foundation is identifying foods containing nutrients that help cut off blood supplies to tumors, which starves them to death or at least keeps them from growing.

The foundation apparently has found that some foods or combinations were as effective or more so than approved anti-angiogenesis drugs.

Parsley, red grapes, berries, cooked tomatoes, dark chocolate, blueberries, garlic, and teas are included in their list. Red wine does have what amounts to an extract of red & dark purple grapes; but drinking too much of it or drinking it when tobacco smoke is present may prevent it from being as effective as grapes or grape juice.

They did report that they found that eating and drinking many of these foods and drinks was even more effective in fighting cancer than just one or two of them.

They apparently discovered that a large number of foods and herbs have anti-angiogenesis effects.

William Li also was quoted as saying this, "For many people around the world, dietary cancer treatment may be the only solution because not everyone can afford cancer drugs."

What he did not say is that for people who can afford the cancer drugs, it may be as effective as the cancer drugs if you ingest many of these foods and drinks and take the related supplements. Since that is both cheaper and safer, it may make sense for even people who can afford the cancer drugs to take that route in most cases.

Then there is this bonus discovery they made that a LOT of people will find of interest!

The foundation also discovered that anti-angiogenesis foods and drinks help prevent or remove excess fat because fat cells rely heavily on blood flow to sustain their life.

There are some people, though mercifully a tiny percentage, who literally have genes that tend to cause them to be obese or very fat.

If you think that may include you, check this out.:

They did tests showed that mice genetically very likely to be quite fat were trimmed to average mouse size by feeding them these foods.

So in addition to taking more than 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3, taking a daily curcumin or turmeric supplement, staying almost completely away from tobacco products and tobacco smoke, eating organic protein foods and produce, and otherwise avoiding herbicides, pesticides, chemical room fresheners, etc, we now have a large list of foods, drinks, and supplements that will help prevent cancer. (Just that set of things alone will prevent over half of all cancers from what I’ve seen.)

Now we know that they often work at least in part by anti-angiogenesis effects and can work in combination as well or better than anti-angiogenesis drugs.

And the bonus is that if you eat these foods, drink these drinks, and take the related supplements, you may very well be less fat too!

This is extremely good news.

Other foods, drinks, and supplements that have similar nutrients include:

Sweet potatoes, yams, squash, carrots, dark colored greens, and broccoli for carotenes similar to those found in cooked tomatoes. And, although getting a mixture of carotenes from food and eating the food for that purpose either cooked or with extra virgin olive oil works best, some natural health oriented doctors have found that supplements with mixed carotenoids have helped at least slow cancer.

Blueberries, tart or sour cherries, cranberries, black berries, blueberry juice,
100 % cranberry juice, bilberries, along with dark purple and red grapes and their juices, and red wine also contain anthocyanins, resveratrol, and related compounds that this research suggests also will fight cancer. Related supplements include, resveratrol, bilberry extract, elderberry extract, grape seed extract, and Pycnogenol.

Black tea, green tea, and dark chocolate taken without milk also have massive antioxidant effects and increase blood flow which gives them heart protecting effects. In addition, they contain vitamin k1 &, I think, vitamin K2. You can take green tea extract and vitamin K2 supplements although I think the teas and some green vegetables have enough K1 that if you do drink and eat them, you already get an optimum amount of vitamin K1. Even better, if you aren’t sure about taking these supplements for cancer, consider this, each of these supplements, dark chocolate, and the teas have been found to be heart protective. In addition, green tea extract has a bit of a fat removal effect.

Organic apples, garlic, and onions also have flavonoids and other phytonutrients. Garlic tends to work best if crushed raw just before it’s eaten or added to the food – or if taken as a deodorized garlic supplement such as Kyolic makes. And, many of these also contain quercetin which is available as supplement and said to also boost your energy and energy reserves and turn down or turn off allergies.

Lastly, if you eat these foods and drink these drinks, you are far less likely to eat nonorganic vegetables and farmed fish and grain fed meats and packaged and junky dessert and snack and will be less likely to drink soft drinks.

That will help you avoid pesticides and herbicides in your food and strongly help protect from being too fat or make it dramatically easier to lose excess fat.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Potentially health harming bill in the US Senate....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-9-2010

I addition to eating foods that support health and NOT ingesting foods and drinks that harm it, there are many other things that people can do to stay healthy or return to health. By itself exercise can work wonders. When combined with eating right, it can be quite powerful.

But for some kinds of health risks and for people who are already at risk from genetic sources or family history or having bad health habits previously, it has been very useful to life saving to be able to have access to supplements in the United States.

It’s probably possible to write a several hundred page book with all the supplements that have been proven to have such positive effects. But here are just two examples.

1. In my own case, there is a family history on my Dad’s side of the family for a risk of heart disease. Had I not learned to eat a heart healthy diet and already begun taking some heart supporting supplements, if I hadn’t already had a heart attack, my LDL cholesterol would likely have been well over 160 and my triglycerides over 150 which would have put me at high risk. But since I had done those things, when tested, my LDL was 130, low moderate risk; but not yet low. So I began taking 300 mg of niacin twice a day instead of once and taking 3 tablets a day of the sterol supplement beta sitosterol. When retested and since then, my LDL cholesterol has ranged from 95 to 106 which IS low risk. Even better, by eating wild caught salmon and taking omega 3 supplements and NOT eating junk food, my triglycerides are UNDER 50. Since my HDL also went from the 60’s and 70’s to the 84 to 96 range, my heart attack risk now is very, very low.

The evidence is clear. By combining eating right plus the exercise I was doing AND adding these supplements, the actual blood tests show, the supplements dramatically increased my chances of avoiding a heart attack completely or at least into my late 90’s instead of having one for sure instead or much earlier.

Had these supplements not been available or ten or more times as expensive, I would NOT have been able to do this and might even have already died of a heart attack.

So, continuing to have easy access to these supplements at their current moderate prices is extremely important to me personally.

In addition, tens of thousands of people who are doing likewise will add a massive load to our health care costs if they have the heart attacks and strokes they have been preventing because such supplements become unavailable or only available at levels too low to work or only available at horribly high prices.

2. We now know that a majority of people in the United States are deficient in vitamin D. And, perhaps less than 20 % of the people have blood levels high enough to support continued good health.

Recent research has also found that people actually need to take 2,000 or more iu a day of vitamin D3 to be in the best health and likely to stay that way. The old RDA of 400 iu is simply too little to do much more than prevent the very worst deficiency states.

The good news is that taking the amount of vitamin D3 we now know is enough to support good health is extremely cheap. It can literally cost less than $10 a month!

If this were to be changed due to vitamin D3 only being available in 400 iu doses or at $50 or more a bottle instead of $5, it would be a massive public health disaster adding millions of dollars to our health care costs and even braking our economy into a depression.

Here’s why it would be far better to make vitamin D3 available virtually for free instead of less available or only at extremely low dosages and far more expensive.

The other recent research shows that getting an optimum level of vitamin D3 tends to prevent autoimmune diseases and many if not most cancers. It sharply lowers the risk of getting heart disease and osteoporosis. It tends to prevent depression, particularly in the winter. It even helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease one recent study found.

There is a proposed bill not in the United States Senate that would virtually wipe out all our access to supplements once signed into law.

That’s why I think it’s extremely important for all the senators in the United States congress to vote against it and speak against it as well.

If it passes, hundreds of thousands of people will get diseases they otherwise would have avoided; and instead of our health care costs going up a bit more or going down they will increase sharply instead.

It would cause massive and avoidable suffering and great harm to the economy as well.

Here’s the information on the bill. This text explains why the bill is not necessary and how it would have these horrible effects on access to these supplements.


Senator McCain’s bill is called The Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA). It would repeal key sections of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). DSHEA protects supplements if 1) they are food products that have been in the food supply and not chemically altered or 2) if they were sold as supplements prior to 1994, the year that DSHEA was passed. If a supplement fits one of these two descriptions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot arbitrarily ban it or reclassify it as a drug.

These protections are far from perfect. They discourage companies from developing new forms of supplements. New supplements may be arbitrarily banned by the FDA or adopted by drug companies in a way that precludes their further sale as supplements.

McCain’s bill would wipe out even the minimal protections contained in DSHEA. It would give the FDA full discretion and power to compile a discreet list of supplements allowed to remain on the market while banning all others.

Everyone knows that the FDA is friendly to drug companies (which pay its bills and provide good revolving door jobs) and hostile to supplement companies. Under this bill, this same Agency could quite arbitrarily ban any supplement it wished or turn it over to drug companies to be developed as a drug and sold for multiples of its price as a supplement.

The FDA will like this because it believes that it can more easily control a few industry giants. But isn’t it more likely that the industry giants will eventually gain control over the FDA?

The FDA is already misusing the adverse event reporting process that exists. Drugs rack up thousands of adverse event reports without any action. Just recently, the FDA yanked from the market a supplement product based on just a couple of alleged adverse event reports without even allowing the company (an old and respected firm) to provide any counter-evidence or counter-argument.

The bill also allows the FDA to yank a product (at the company’s expense) if there is a “reasonable probability” that it is “adulterated” or “misbranded”. Let’s remember that “adulterated” could mean there is a minor record keeping error on the producer’s part and “misbranded” can mean that the producer simply tells the truth about the product. An “adulterated” and “misbranded” supplement in Orwellian FDA speak may actually be both completely safe and effective.

We must prevent this bill from gaining traction! Protect your access to supplements by contacting your senators today and asking them NOT to co-sponsor the Dietary Supplement Safety Act but rather to oppose it.


McCain’s Dietary Supplement Safety Act (DSSA) appears to be supported by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) which is funded by major league sports teams including baseball, football and others. The recent suspensions of NFL and other professional sports figures is much in the news, and the goal of the sports industry appears to be to shift the spotlight from their players to the supplements industry. In his comments, Senator McCain cited six NFL players recently suspended for testing positive for banned substances and purportedly exposed to these substances through dietary supplements.

The problem here of course is one of illegal sale and use of steroids. So why dismantle the supplement industry in order to control already illegal substances?

The FDA currently has complete and total authority to stop illegal steroids and, more broadly, to regulate dietary supplements. If the agency were doing its job, it could and would have prevented the sale of illegal steroids. The answer to this problem is not to give FDA more power. The Agency simply needs to do its job.


Why would a bill be offered to solve an illegal steroid problem that does not really address the steroid problem but instead gives the FDA complete and arbitrary control over all supplements? The answer is simple.

There are a lot of vested interests which are threatened by supplements. Drug companies do not like them because they represent a low cost, safer, and often more effective alternative to drugs. The FDA does not like them because supplements do not come through the FDA approval process and therefore do not support the FDA budget.

Why not simply require that supplements be brought through the FDA’s drug approval process? Wouldn’t that create a level playing field?

That is probably the argument that Senator McCain has been sold. But it is a completely false argument. The FDA drug approval process costs as much as a billion dollars. It is not economically feasible to spend such vast sums on substances that are not protected by patent, and natural substances cannot legally be patented.

This is the great “Catch 22” of American medicine. The FDA, which is supposed to guard and promote our health, is hostile to the kind of natural medicine—based on diet, supplements, and exercise—that represents the real future of healthcare. The Agency has either been captured by drug interests or is trapped in a catastrophically expensive, toxic, and ineffective patented-drug model.

Senator McCain has no doubt offered this bill in good faith. But he has been sold a bill of goods by special interests..


This exceptionally bad bill also requires the reporting of all minor adverse events related to supplements. This is in addition to the already existing requirement to report adverse events. This will further stack the deck against small supplement companies by creating new, unnecessary, even more cumbersome, and of course very expensive administrative hurdles. The result: the consolidation of the supplement industry into a few big companies. If passed, this bill will likely result in the disappearance from store shelves of many supplements currently on the market. In addition to fewer supplements, there would likely be much lower doses available. Unbridled authority would be handed to the FDA, an agency that needs a top to bottom overhaul, not ever more power over our lives.

If McCain’s bill passes, we can look to Europe for a snapshot of what we may be in for: EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, has sharply reduced the list of available supplements and is in process of reducing potencies to ridiculous levels, such as less beta carotene than can be found in half of a large carrot. Europeans already look to the US to obtain their dietary supplements. If this bill passes, where will we obtain ours?”

To be sure there are supplements that are less effective or less health protective than the ones I’ve covered in this post. But there are so many that are of value, losing our access to them all will have undreamed of negative consequences of great magnitude.

So, please join me in asking your senators to oppose this bill also.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Pale Ale better for you than soft drinks....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-8-2010

Several online news sources today had two stories of interest. Each of the two stories was reported by more than one source.

1. Readers of online news and this blog in particular already know that both regular and diet soft drinks tend to make people fat and to make it dramatically hard for people who drink them to lose fat and keep it off.

As we’ve posted often, just cutting out soft drinks alone can help many people who drink soft drinks lost 40 to 60 pounds of fat with NO increase in hunger or even becoming LESS hungry. (Unfortunately, the information I’ve seen is that diet soft drinks tend to make people so much MORE hungry for sweets, you have to stop drinking those also to avoid or stop being fat.)

But soft drinks do have other health dangers. For some people, knowing those other health dangers can help them to switch to coffee, tea, green tea, some real fruit juice, or water or even plain, carbonated water instead.

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly as metastasizing melanoma – virtually incurable with today’s knowledge -- and deadly. In fact, pancreatic cancer may be worse. There are now some promising therapies for late stage melanoma.

These things make today’s news very important and significant indeed.

A study published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, said that the researchers who kept track of 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years found that some people, 140, developed pancreatic cancer.

The real surprise was that they also found that people in the study who drank as little as two or more soft drinks a week had an 87 % higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer than those who didn’t drink soft drinks!

The NewsMax article listed other risk factors for pancreatic cancer. To be fair, smoking increased the risk by 300%.

But the astounding finding in this study was how little was needed to produce this 87% higher risk. That’s two soft drinks a WEEK folks. NOT two soft drinks or more a DAY -- which is more typical of people who drink soft drinks. If that risk goes up when people drink seven times as much, typical drinkers of soft drinks, two or more a day, may face risks for pancreatic cancer comparable to smokers! Yikes !!

2. The story with dramatically better news about a common kind of recreational drink was for the kind of beer called Pale Ale. We know separately that men can drink a drink or two a day and usually have more health benefits than health harm. (More than that begins to be harmful and already is in some cases.) Women get less heart protection from drinking alcohol than men according to a recent Spanish study. (See our post last Friday, 2-5.) And they can only drink about half that much, one some days and rarely two for a total of 6 a week or less, before it does them more harm than good.

But the several stories today revealed that beer has an unusually bioavailable form of silicon which helps your bones become stronger and more dense.

Even better, the ales and pale ales in particular have so much of this form of silicon that just drinking two a week total has been found to help prevent osteoporosis.

So now, red wine has a good for your health competitor. In our area of the country, Sierra Pale Ale is often readily available. It’s good beer. And it’s just dark enough for people who like dark beer normally and just light enough for people who like beer that’s not dark.

The form of silicon in Pale Ales was found to be 50% bioavailable compared to the kind in bananas that’s 5% bioavailable. And, since Pale Ales have 30 to 56 mg of this kind of silicon per drink, drinking just two a week gives you 60 to 112 mg a week or an average of about 8.5 to 14 mg a day over a week’s time.

So, if, most weeks, you want to have a recreational drink or two with health benefits, you’ll prevent both pancreatic cancer and osteoporosis according to these stories if you stop drinking soft drinks and drink Pale Ale instead!

On a more serious note, you CAN get this form of silicon in hops supplements or by eating whole grain barley which is how it gets into the Pale Ale. So, if you’d like to get the bioavailable silicon without the alcohol, you can.

I was just struck by the two stories appearing on the same day and by the knowledge that both soft drinks and beer are drunk by people for enjoyment.

Why hurt your health with your recreational drink by drinking soft drinks, when you can make your bones stronger and get a bit of stress relief too by drinking a bit of Pale Ale instead?

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Women’s heart health....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-5-2010

The American Heart Association and others are sponsoring a Wear Red for Women Day today to highlight that women need to protect themselves against heart disease too.

It isn’t just men who have to worry about heart disease, particularly for women over 50 who are also past the age of menopause.

Before that age, women seem to have some immunity to heart attacks and other manifestations of heart disease. Their higher estrogen and lower testosterone and higher HDL levels than men on the average -- in their younger years -- gives them some protection.

At menopause though, much of that protection disappears. And, since huge numbers of women in the United States in the baby boom generation are now over 50, this is a significant problem.

In addition, the initial research on heart disease was done by mostly male doctors on men since many men in their most productive work years were being cut down by heart attacks.

The good news though is that it does look as if most of the actions that help prevent heart disease in men also protect women over 50 from heart disease. And, since most healthy women under 50 will be over 50 one day, it can’t hurt and likely will help if women adapt this lifestyle well before age 50. Last but very far from least, this same lifestyle tends to prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity that many women under 50 would otherwise get.

For example, a woman might well have an HDL reading of over 60 while a man with the same lifestyle might have an HDL reading of under 40. So regular moderate drinking and regular vigorous exercise that are unusually protective for men in part by increasing their HDL may provide less direct heart protection for women. (HDL over 60 is protective; and HDL under 40 is a risk indicator for heart disease.)

In addition, women can only drink about half as much alcohol as men and still stay safely in the moderate category. (Apparently women’s livers process alcohol about half as well as men do for some reason.) And, since women need their HDL increased less usually than men do, drinking a drink or two a day that does have heart protective effects for men, is likely both not protective for women but bad for their health overall. (In fact, a recently reported Spanish study found exactly that: Drinking protected men from heart disease but seemed not to do so for women.)

But, regular vigorous exercise is very likely every bit as heart protective for women as for men. That’s because it does a LOT more for your health than just raise your HDL. It also increases your circulation, strengthens your heart, improves the health of the endothelium or inner surface of your blood vessels so plaque build up and high blood pressure are less likely, and it helps to keep blood sugar and insulin low enough for good health -- & THAT tends to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise, I recently found out, also lowers excessive inflammation which is a significant cause of heart disease.

Since every one of those effects is heart protective, every woman who wants to avoid heart disease, should do regular vigorous exercise.

Strength training and interval cardio are ideal and can be done at home in 10 to 15 minute chunks. Even better, even a woman who has never exercised can build up to doing them well by starting with a minimal amount that is already doable and building up gradually to more and then much more by simply doing a bit more each month from now on.

Eating wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils, taking purified fish oil supplements for their omega 3 oils, and eliminating almost all oils like soy, corn, and canola that are high in omega 6 oils, sharply reduces inflammation; and this too is protective for women as it is for men. (Note that the monosaturated oils in extra virgin olive oil and nuts and avocados do NOT increase inflammation or lower HDL levels and DO lower LDL. As a result they support good health and heart health for both men and women.)

Also, while men often indulge in eating too much fatty, grain fed meat, since women have traditionally been cooks, and many still are, in their families and often cook desserts and other foods using refined grains, women have to be extremely careful to avoid foods or cut way back on foods that are made of refined grains and/or have added sugar. These foods increase inflammation, increase triglycerides, & increase the chances of blood sugar levels of sugar and insulin that are too high. That tends to result in heart disease in both sexes but can be particularly bad for women who tend to eat more of these foods.

Even worse, when these foods are bought pre-made at the store, they still often contain hydrogenated oils which act as heart attack starter by directly causing your level of small particle LDL that quite literally helps clog up your blood vessels to increase sharply. So, the result of eating things like store bought cookies can be similar to mainlining a kind of fatty sand into your blood – in addition to the sugars or high fructose corn syrup and refined grains making you fat and tending to make you diabetic.

So, when you want a dessert, eat it far less often, make it homemade with real butter or olive oil and sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils and with whole grains. Even better, eat more, healthier and lower glycemic treats, instead of baked goods. The nuts and strawberries in yesterday’s post about health OK Super Bowl snacks work for this. So do moderate amounts of dark chocolate and other kinds of fruit. Berries and cherries are great for this. My wife also likes fancy imported cheeses for dessert. She has to eat them sparingly because of the cost and too much of them might boost LDL cholesterol. Consider that a dessert with a bit of your favorite cheese, some cherries, and some dark chocolate can be just as satisfying as a piece of store bought chocolate cake or even more so; but will be much better for your heart. If you also have dessert 3 or 4 times a week instead of two or three times a day, that too will protect your heart.

And, just like men, it can help to take supplements that promote heart health in some way. Chromium polynicotinate helps your body regulate your blood sugar for example, particularly if you take 400 mcg a day. So if your fasting blood sugar tests as 110 instead of something like 89, take chromium polynicotinate and eat dark chocolate and cherries and home-made oatmeal cookies occasionally instead of eating store bought cookies and cake every day. Taking niacin may also be worthwhile for women. Women need its HDL increasing effect less but may need its LDL lowering and triglyceride lowering effects every bit as much as men do. In addition, taking sterol supplements, such as beta sitosterol, lowers LDL cholesterol. So if yours is over 129, you also might want to consider taking sterol supplements.

Another thing you can do that is just as heart protective for women as for men is to simply totally discontinue drinking soft drinks whether regular or diet.

That’s heart protective and tends to prevent or help reverse obesity in both men and women.

Soft drinks either add calories that do NOT turn off your hunger initially in the case of regular soft drinks and boost your blood sugar levels and insulin levels too high or they cause you to become much MORE hungry and hungry for sugar in particular in the case of diet soft drinks.

Lastly, avoid as close to all tobacco smoke as possible. Most smokers don’t yet know this but cigarettes are like hydrogenated oils, they are heart attack starters. They directly cause cardiovascular disease by triggering the build up of plaque in your blood vessels.

This is just as heart protective for women as it is for men.

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