Friday, April 30, 2010

Mercury in your body harms your nerves and can slow weight loss....

Today's Post: Friday, 4-30-2010

Back in March this year on 3-18, Dr Mark Hyman’s blog had an article about how low thyroid can make you feel de-energized and prevent fat loss by lowering your energy level and metabolism.

Fri, 5-7 newsflash: Avoid eating farmed fish. (Virtually all salmon in restaurants is farmed.) Not only is it high in many pollutants, I recently found out that the PCB's its very high in harm and lower thyroid output !

It seems that excessive mercury levels in your body slow or reduce thyroid function to produce those effects.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to do some of the other things he lists that can boost low thyroid to solve that problem.

But, high or excessive mercury levels in your body also harm your nerves including those in your brain and can cause or mimic Alzheimer’s disease.

Basically, the winning strategy is to avoid getting high levels and to remove any mercury already in your body.

You can get high mercury levels from having the old kind of dental fillings removed by a dentist who has not been trained to do this without exposing you to excess mercury.

But, the most common way to get high mercury levels is to often eat fish high in mercury.

Of the fish you are most likely to eat, tuna has the most mercury. So, eat it once a month or less. And, if possible only eat tuna that is pole caught as that kind of tuna is reported to have less mercury. (Sardines, herring, and small mackerel and wild caught salmon are very low or low in mercury. All are wild caught. Do NOT eat farmed fish if you can possibly avoid it. They are unusually high in several kinds of pollutants!)

Swordfish, shark, super sized mackerel called King Mackerel, and some other fish are so high in mercury, you are much safer if you never eat any.

The other thing you can do without getting tested and treated medically if your level is far too high is to eat cilantro often. It seems that it tends to bind with mercury and remove it from your body.

So, if you eat cilantro in a larger serving than is common two or more times a week, it will lower your level of mercury.

Cilantro is quite inexpensive to buy. But a bunch of cilantro is so large that you may need to buy more than you over a month’s time. It goes bad quickly. Even in the refrigerator it only lasts a couple of days. So you may need to buy it twice a week and eat a quarter of a bunch two or three times a week. You can chop it fine and add it to salads with milder flavors or to salsa.

We even tried it once diced with canned, pole caught tuna and bits of goat cheese. That made the tuna much safer to eat. The dish was very filling between the fiber in the cilantro and the fat and protein in the tuna and goat cheese. My wife loved it while I didn’t much care for it.

Next time, we’ll post on how to test for low thyroid and several other ways to increase thyroid function. Some of those also improve and protect your health and also help with fat loss.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Will your access to organic foods survive?....

Today's Post: Thursday, 4-29-2010

Last Tuesday, 4-27-2010, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story titled,

“Organic farmers fear FDA overhaul.”

1. The United States congress is considering safety regulations that might put the organic foods producers out of business.

2. Meanwhile there has been no legislation of which I am aware to cause the factory farms that raise animals and poultry for our food to ONLY use antibiotics on animals that are actually sick.

What they commonly do now is to raise animals and poultry in conditions so stressful, crowded, and unsanitary, most of their stock would get sick if they didn’t administer antibiotics to all of them to prevent disease.

This does lower food costs. But, it also is the source of the dangerous bacteria the new safety regulations are designed to protect us from.

(Denmark, with what I suspect were cleaner farms, that had less crowding, and more humane conditions than factory farms in the United States, did pass such a program. It added just 5 cents a pound to meat prices. In the United States, it may cost more like 10 to 20 cents a pound in some cases. But it IS doable. And, it will help prevent the further creation of antibiotic resistant and more dangerous bacteria as it is NOW doing.)

This is a HUGE safety issue. If this practice continues, it may mean that your doctor will be unable to save you with antibiotics if you get a bacterial infection. Because of this surgeries that are virtually safe now if done properly may have 25 or 30 % death rates even if done under the most antiseptic and careful conditions.

That makes the new regulations doubly harmful.

They will fail to address the most important cause of the problem ANDfood prevent most people from accessing the safest and most nutritious food.

Organic foods not only have dramatically less pesticide and herbicide residue, they have provably MORE vitamins, MORE minerals, and MORE micronutrients that do useful things like prevent cancer and heart disease.

In addition, there is some evidence that well run organic farms do NOT have bee colony collapse and other ecological disasters that might wipe out huge parts of our food supply.

So, for reasons of public health from the effects of the food people eat and to have islands of safety to help prevent these kinds of ecological disasters, it is critical to have any regulations leave these organic farmers able to survive and survive without being bankrupted.

That said, it’s clear we DO need to track where our produce came from and have effective safety standards.

Since the large, factory style farms can afford to pay out of pocket for these efforts in part by the savings their harmful methods give them and the organic farmers basically invest that money in producing higher quality food, it seems to me that the solutions are clear.

First, to save the better, more desirable, part of our food supply, which for many reasons I think is critical to do, small and organic farms should have ALL costs of such new regulations paid for by the government. No excuses, no evasion permitted. If the regulations are worth having but uneconomic to comply with for our most valuable food producers, the government should fund the work to avoid either losing our most valuable food producers or leaving safety to chance.

Second, where the mandated methods prevent organic farming, the government – NOT just the organic farmers should work on finding ways to achieve the health goals without preventing the food that organic farming is now producing.

Such things as poisoning animals to keep them out of fields is likely unnecessary for example. The government should work with the organic farmers to find a less ecologically harmful alternative that does the job AND fund the work.

Third, and perhaps of most importance, the government should STOP giving the factory farms a license to create super bacteria immune to antibiotics that they are now doing and which then go into the food millions of people eat and cook.

I’ll be sending this to both our Senators saying that a food safety bill that lacks these protections is a bill that they should not only vote against but speak against and lobby against most vigorously in congress.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to have a longer life in good health & look much younger….

Today's Post: Tuesday, 4-27-2010

Today this study was in several online news sources.

AP had this:

“Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer - Mon Apr 26, 2010

“Four common bad habits combined, smoking, drinking too much, inactivity, and poor diet, can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 percent. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 percent.

The risky behaviors were: smoking tobacco; downing more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men and more than two daily for women; getting less than two hours of physical activity per week; and eating fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily.

These habits combined substantially increased the risk of death and made people who engaged in them seem 12 years older than people in the healthiest group, said lead researcher Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo.

The study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

The healthiest group included never-smokers and those who had quit; teetotalers, women who had fewer than two drinks daily and men who had fewer than three; those who got at least two hours of physical activity weekly; and those who ate fruits and vegetables at least three times daily.

"You don't need to be extreme" to be in the healthy category, Kvaavik said. "These behaviors add up, so together it's quite good. It should be possible for most people to manage to do it."

For example, one carrot, one apple and a glass of orange juice would suffice for the fruit and vegetable cutoffs in the study, Kvaavik said, noting that the amounts are pretty modest and less strict than many guidelines.”

Added information from the study:

The AFP report on this study had a more restrictive addition to drinking alcohol.

I’ve not seen the actual study.

But the AFP report said that in addition to men not drinking more than 3 drinks in a day and women not more than two in a day, their weekly totals should also average half of that or less, 10.5 for men per week averaging 1.5 per day or less and 7 per week or an average of one a day or less for women.

The weekly total for men is a bit lower than some guidelines I’ve seen. Many suggest a daily amount of two drinks a day is usually OK. And, many people who live to be over 85 and do so in good health drink a bit more than these weekly guidelines.

However, men who drink more than 3 at one time or women who drink more than 2 are more likely to be in an injury accident in a car or not. So, they are more subject to severe stress if the injuries are serious or someone else is hurt. Plus drinking that much may reflect being under stress of enough severity to harm their health.

And, for men at least, they will carry less fat if they drink 10.5 drinks or less a week than if they drink more. (I’ve just cut back from 12 a week to 9.5 because the 3.6 pounds of fat I’ll lose according to one authoritative source is a bit over one fourth of the 14 pounds I set out to lose this year, 2010.)

The other 3 habits, particularly, the next two, clearly do most of the heavy lifting in this effect.

1. Not smoking, or even better, not smoking AND staying almost completely away from second-hand tobacco smoke--have separately been shown to result in far less aging, illness, and death--particularly from HEART and cardiovascular disease—but also from all kinds of cancers, than smokers and those regularly exposed to second hand smoke experience. And, because smoking accelerates aging and harms the skin, heavy smokers also LOOK far older than their age while nonsmokers tend to look somewhat younger than their age.

2. Regular exercise totaling 2 hours or 120 minutes a week or more also has been shown separately to produce exactly this same effect. Runners and those who switched to other forms of interval cardio or vigorous exercise totaling this much time exercising each week or more also were found to live far longer and in dramatically better health than their colleagues in their work who had otherwise similar lives but who did NO exercise at all.

And, since the growth hormone released by strength training, also slows aging, those who include strength training besides the moderate exercise and interval cardio not only maintain their strength and mobility better than those who do not, they also age more slowly.

Lastly, this much weekly exercise, again particularly if it contains both interval cardio and strength training, reduces the risk of heart disease and prevents or improves type 2 diabetes, increases the circulation to your brain, and grows new brain cells. So you are far less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or become mentally impaired with either vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Fruits and vegetables and their juices to some degree, particularly if they are organically grown, have very similar effects. Eating lots of nonstarchy vegetables is a key to losing excess fat and keeping it off or not gaining it in the first place. (You eat less calories with no extra effort and are NOT excessively hungry if you still eat some health OK protein foods and fats in addition.)

Also many of these foods have nutrients in them similar to the more effective supplements and also protect you from heart and related cardiovascular disease and many cancers. Berries and cruciferous vegetables are particularly powerful in those ways, for example.

4. In addition, people who eat more vegetables and fruits usually eat far less junk food, sugary food, and food containing bad fats, and drink no or far less soft drinks—and/or are more likely to know better than do so.

However, these foods and drinks and refined grains and the foods made from them are proving so fattening and harmful to your health, NOT ingesting them might well test as a strong fifth habit to form or have. People who add that fifth habit to the first four are likely to be less fat and have even less heart disease and cancer and type 2 diabetes—and have even lower death rates.

5. Lastly, a sixth habit to add that has been shown to have similar effects is brushing your teeth properly once a day, flossing your teeth properly once a day, and seeing a dentist and dental hygienist regularly for teeth cleaning and a check up. People who do this keep their teeth, tend NOT to have bad breath, and surprisingly are far LESS likely to develop heart disease, AND they also get fewer other diseases and live longer. Plus they look younger. In some cases they look as much as 20 or more years younger than people who do not.

6. A seventh habit to add that again has similar effects is to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement and the additional supplements that improve or prevent the diseases you might otherwise get.

As our regular readers have seen, some supplements prevent cancers. Some do well at preventing specific cancers. Some lower blood sugar levels that are too high. Some supplements do particularly well at preventing heart disease, particularly when added to these other habits. That includes increasing HDL, lowering triglycerides, doing both of which lowers the amount of small particle LDL in your bloodstream, lowering LDL, lowering high blood sugar, and lowering inflammation. Some supplements help lower high blood pressure. Some supplements are now being reported to help in losing fat and with losing abdominal fat as well. Some supplements also appear to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The four habits they reported on all do work.

So do the three I suggest adding.

And, it’s clear the more of these seven habits you do, the better your health will be, the longer you will enjoy good health and avoid disability, the longer you will live AND the younger you will look.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Why & how to cut sugar and refined grains....

Today's Post: Monday, 4-26-2010

People evolved to eat plant and protein foods other than grains over hundreds of thousands of years before about 10,000 years ago and to get sugars almost exclusively from whole fruit.

Then people began to eat some refined sugar and whole grains but ate very little or no refined grains and did so at a time when almost everyone got so much walking and other physical activity to mostly overcome their effects.

Today, more than half the people in the United States eat multiple servings per day of refined grain foods and sugars. And, few people begin to get enough exercise to compensate. In fact, many people are totally sedentary. Worse, more than half still drink many soft drinks each week or even each day. These add calories and boost blood sugar too but do NOT turn down hunger at all.

This has caused many diseases because our bodies are NOT adapted to this combination.

Today, in HealthDay news I found this.:

” Health Tip: Reduce Dietary Sugar Monday, 4-26-2010 (HealthDay News)

-- Sugar is added to many foods, drinks and condiments. But too much dietary sugar can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes and cavities.

The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests these ways to reduce dietary sugar:

Reduce the amount of baked desserts, sweets and candies that you eat.
Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean types of proteins.
Drink water in place of drinks that may be laden with sugar.
Avoid eating processed foods.
Choose baking recipes that call for less sugar, cut back on sugar in recipes, or use a sugar substitute.”

Most of this is true and is good advice. But it is far too weak and has one error.

Recently, it was revealed that eating refined grains, far too much sugar, and drinking regular soft drinks are a direct cause of heart disease by causing the increase of the small particle LDL that causes heart disease. (So do eating trans fats or the hydrogenated oils that contain them. So does getting NO or too little regular exercise.)

Each of the things the American Academy of Family Physicians suggests is good except for three things.

1. Refined grains and foods made from them are as bad or even worse for you than sugar. (Their glycemic index is actually higher than sugar!)

2. People today ingest so much of the things they recommend cutting back that, they could cut back some and still be ingesting 4 or 5 times what their bodies can process. These suggestions are simply not strong enough to solve this problem.

People who want to be healthy need to also avoid refined grains and foods made from them. And, they need to eliminate these foods and soft drinks or have them two or three times a MONTH instead of two or three times a day. That’s a thirty to one reduction or more. It is NOT just a 10 or 20 % reduction.

Similarly, they understate how strongly these foods and drinks work to cause disease and how effective they are at causing obesity, high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

3. “Choose baking recipes that call for less sugar, cut back on sugar in recipes, or use a sugar substitute.”

This is poor advice in one way and very bad advice in another.

Here’s how it’s poor advice.

If you do have something like chocolate cake once a month and have a half sized piece besides, you’ll feel ripped off if it doesn’t taste good.

You can cut back a bit on sugar in some recipes if you add some bits of fresh fruit or nuts or chocolate chips to compensate. And, you may be able to use flavored sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, molasses, and brown sugar in slightly smaller amounts than sugar without cutting taste too much. You can also replace half the sugar with about a quarter that much agave syrup as it’s sweeter. Those strategies can work to make a version that still tastes good.

But the bottom line is that if you eat these foods very occasionally to enjoy them, cutting back so much on sugar that you don’t is not productive.

The very bad part is to suggest using “sugar substitutes.” People who eat a lot of foods made with refined grains and “sugar substitutes” have not done much at all. The refined grains still are just as bad as they were before.

And, that’s if the sugar substitutes are safe to eat. Their proponents say artificial sweeteners are safe to eat; and most people seem to not find them dramatically harmful. But some people do. And, there are reasons to suggest that the harm from them is there but too subtle to find easily.

But the HUGE problem that diet soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, and even natural but non-caloric sweeteners have is that they seem to both teach your body that sweet tastes have no calories when in fact they usually do AND to make you strongly crave real sugar to get the effect your body expected!

The result is that people who drink diet soft drinks and eat treats sweetened with these sweeteners usually tend to be just as fat and in just as bad a health status as those who get the versions with real sugar.

Lastly, these suggestions leave out that tea, green tea, coffee, and plain carbonated water often make more satisfying substitutes for soft drinks than plain water. It’s easiest to stop drinking soft drinks, I’ve found if you use several of these methods or the ones that work best for you.

I mostly drink tea, green tea, and water—and 1% lowfat milk and some grape and cranberry juice and occasional red wine. Other people might do better with chilled plain carbonated water and coffee at other times.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Five ways to fight bacteria resistant to antibiotics....

Today's Post: Friday, 4-23-2010

All too often people with infections who take antibiotics do kill them off do one or both of two things, they stop taking the antibiotic when they feel better but before it kills all the bacteria; &/or they do nothing to help their immune system kill of some of the bacteria in other ways.

That results in having some of the tougher and less susceptible bacteria survive. After several generations of this, the remaining bacteria are immune to the original antibiotic.

Even worse, most to nearly all factory farms raising livestock in the United States both raise the animals in conditions likely to make them sick AND dose them daily with antibiotics even when they show zero signs of being sick.

People then eat the foods produced and ingest the resistant bacteria this produces. Worse, this problem is about 40 times more effective in producing resistant bacteria than the large effect from what people do when they don’t take all their antibiotics. The scale of this currently is astoundingly large.

What this can do to you is truly frightening if do you get a dangerous bacterial infection from a very resistant bacteria.

You can die when you either wait too long to get treated or your doctors cannot find a drug that works to kill the bacteria.

Even if you survive, you may have permanent disfigurement or disability from what the bacteria did to you before you were cured.

And, last but far from least, the medical bills for multiple drugs and hospitalization can be huge. For example, it can cost over $250,000 to treat someone who has TB that is highly resistant to multiple drugs.

Here are five ways to prevent this from happening to you.

I. Avoid cuts if you possibly can. But if you get a cut or gouge in your skin that cuts into it, let it bleed some at first as this helps wash out the wound; then wash the area and the area surrounding it gently with normal soap and warm water and rinse the same way; dry very gently using air flow and drying the area around the wound; then cover with a bandage; change the bandages gently either once a day or if they fill up with blood or get wet; then keep the area bandaged until it fully heals.

That prevents most infections. And the last step not only helps prevent infections but has been proven to speed healing of the wound.

II. Make sure the hospital you go to follows the practices that prevent infections and unnecessary use of antibiotics AND isolation of patients who have or who carry antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Do its doctors always wash their hands between patients and after visiting patients with infections or who carry antibiotic resistant bacteria and does the hospital and its doctors see to it this is done 100 % of the time?

Is it hospital policy to only give antibiotics if they are definitely necessary? (This was tested in Norway and found to dramatically cut MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, infections.)

Does EVERY patient who gets an antibiotic hear why it can keep them from getting well and cause bacteria that may harm them later if they fail to take ALL the doses before they stop?

Does the hospital test admitted patients and isolate those who have antibiotic resistant bacteria on their skins even if they have no infection?

Does the hospital require ALL patients take probiotics for several days before surgery or take something like three days worth just before surgery on short notice.

You are something like TEN times less likely or more to get infected with an antibiotic resistant bacteria with all the decrease in risk and costs that implies in a hospital that makes SURE to do each of these things 100 % of the time compared to one that makes no special effort to do any of them.

Each of these steps has been shown to work. EVERY hospital should do all of them. But that’s not done everywhere yet.

III. Make your body more able to kill the bacteria without drugs so you both are less likely to be infected even by the drug resistant bacteria AND are more likely to have killed some bacteria before you get an antibiotic and in addition to the antibiotic if you are given one.

That both protects you and reduces the amount of antibiotic resistant bacteria in circulation.

Take at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 and at least 5,000 iu a day of D3 if you get a bacterial infection. Recent research has shown that that much D3 is not only required for good health and boosts your immune system but also is needed to ACTIVATE your immune system’s killer cells. Taking this much vitamin D3 protects you against infectious bacteria something 10 to 20 times more than if you are deficient or only take 400 iu a day.

Take probiotics. They are safe for you but both occupy the niche in your body first AND defend themselves separately against invaders. (People who take probiotics before surgery are far less likely to get a c. difficile infection by a resistant strain or a susceptible one.)

Take vitamin C daily from 250 mg a day to over 2,000 mg a day and 30 mg a day of zinc. (Taking 30 mg of zinc requires you to also take 2 or 3 mg of copper to balance the zinc unless your body fails to process copper.)

These two nutrients combat infection.

It also may be important to take 5,000 iu of retinol, the animal based version of vitamin A. (Taking beta carotene and eating many foods each day that contain different carotenoids also protects your health in many ways; but to fight infection the retinol works far better I’ve read.)

IV. Mostly avoid eating meat from animals fed grain on factory farms.

You can do that in two ways.

a) Instead eat beans and lentils and nuts for much of your protein intake and nonfat and very lowfat dairy; eat wild caught fish and meat from animals fed only grass that are only given antibiotics if they actually get sick and are humanely treated while they are alive.

This set of things also tends to help you avoid ingesting large amounts of pesticides and herbicides that are bioconcentrated in the fat of factory farm, grain fed animals. It also lowers your LDL and excessive inflammation both of which lower your risks of heart disease. And, it’s been proven to lower high blood pressure.

b) Also support countries and laws that prohibit mass routine treatment with antibiotics of animals that are not sick.

A recent story explains that this was done and is being done in Denmark. Many factory farm people complained this would increase costs as if it would triple them or worse. The reality is that it cost closer to 5 cents a pound to do this.

Given how horrific the world with no antibiotics that work will be if this is NOT done, 5 cents a pound is a miniscule price to pay!!

V. Notice and support companies that are beginning to make drugs that will kill even the nastiest of the mulitply resistant bacteria.

One such company that may have such a technology is Achaogen of South San Francisco. (See .)

I’m sure other companies are working in this area given its importance. But I read about this company recently. They say the have preliminary reports of positive results using this technology.

I hope their efforts to create an effective set of drugs is successful. And, I hope those drugs have few bad side effects

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lose weight and fat while protecting your heart....

Today's Post: Thursday, 4-22-2010

It’s becoming well known that eating a lot of sugar or other sweeteners will boost your blood sugar & your insulin levels and make you fat both from that effect and the added calories your body does not need.

Worse, the more you eat or drink of sugared foods or those sweetened with the likely more fattening high fructose corn syrup, the fatter you are likely to be or become if you do it too long.

There are two things, however, that are far less well known that we have already posted about.

They made the online health news rather spectacularly this week.

1. Eating or drinking too much sugar, etc sharply increases your chances of getting severe heart disease.

2. More people in the United States eat far too much sugar than most people realize and as a result are even fatter than we realized.

The more wide-spread article makes both points.:

This version appeared day before yesterday in this Reuter’s story.: (I’ve included the key parts of the article.)

“Added sugar increases heart risks: study

By Julie Steenhuysen Tue Apr 20, 2010 CHICAGO (Reuters)

Eating a lot of sugar not only makes you fat. It may also increase a person's risk for heart disease, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

They said people who ate more added sugar were more likely to have higher risk factors for heart disease, such as higher triglycerides and lower levels of protective high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol.

"Just like eating a high-fat diet can increase your levels of triglycerides and high cholesterol, eating sugar can also affect those same lipids," Dr. Miriam Vos of Emory School of Medicine, who worked on the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said in a statement.”

Here’s the key part of the article.:

“The researchers asked 6,000 adults what they ate and then grouped them by sugar intake and cholesterol levels.

On average, nearly 16 percent of people's daily calories came from added sugar.

The highest-consuming group ate an average of 46 teaspoons of added sugar per day, while the lowest-consuming group ate an average of only about 3 teaspoons daily.

"It would be important for long-term health for people to start looking at how much added sugar they're getting and finding ways to reduce that," Vos said in a statement.

Too much sugar not only contributes to obesity, but also is a key culprit in diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.

The association warned last August that Americans need to cut back dramatically on sugar consumption, recommending that women eat no more than 100 calories per day of added processed sugar a day, or six teaspoons (25 grams), while men should keep it to just 150 calories of added processed sugar per said or nine teaspoons (37.5 grams).”

This also appeared yesterday.

“More U.S. Women May Be Obese Than Thought HealthDay Reporter by Randy Dotinga WEDNESDAY, April 21, 2010 (HealthDay News)

A new study says federal guidelines on obesity should be revised so more women fit into the category of "obese."

U.S. guidelines determine who is obese based on body-mass index, a measurement of whether a person's height and weight are proportional. The researchers found that about half the women of reproductive age considered obese under World Health Organization guidelines -- which use body-fat analysis instead -- were not obese under federal guidelines.”

Here are my comments starting with the second story first.:

The BMI is usually indicative; but actual body fat is what’s actually important.

But many people, women in particular, actually have MORE fat than their BMI suggests because they have little muscle which is certainly the point to this story.

Similarly, many male athletes in sports focusing on strength have high BMI’s but are NOT fat, just very muscular.

(By the way, the simplest measure of your body fat is to measure your waist at your belly button when you are neither making it looser—or tighter—than usual. If you are a man and you measure 40 inches or more, you are fat enough to be listed as obese. For women, some sources say this dividing point is 35 inches or more and some say 36 inches or more. Clearly 36 inches or more is above that level and less than 35 inches is desirable.)

However, it’s the first story that explains WHY this is happening. The first story also begins to explain why this is causing the heart and related diseases that have caused such severe increases in health care spending.

1. It’s pretty serious when a sane intake of sugar is about equal to 1% of the calories you eat or a bit less and the average American eats SIXTEEN times that much!


That quite literally means that if the average American man weighs 200 pounds and cuts back on sugar to a health supporting amount, they would weigh 170 pounds and all the 30 pound difference is excess fat.

Similarly, if the Average woman weighs 150 pounds and cuts back on sugar to a health supporting amount, they would weigh 128.5 pounds and all the 22.5 30 pound difference is excess fat.

That also means that the half of the people who ingest more sugar than that can and should lose far more fat and would do so if they cut back to a sane and health supporting amount of sugars, etc.

2. This study and the article about it really are as serious indictment of excess sugar as the studies that led to tobacco smoke being a definite cause of cancer.

I’ve known that eating too much sugar and the close to as bad or maybe worse refined grain foods tends to cause increased triglyceride levels and is one of the prime causes of excess inflammation. That already shows adequately that too much sugar increases the risk of heart and related diseases. These foods also increase blood sugar and insulin levels and tend to cause insulin resistance – all of which cause heart and other cardiovascular diseases.

But this study adds much more to that indictment of excess sugar. Here’s why, if in addition to increasing triglycerides, excess sugar also LOWERS your protective HDL levels, this proves that excess sugar intake is a direct cause of heart and cardiovascular disease. This proves that excess sugar causes your blood to have large increases in the small particle LDL that causes heart disease.

This is exactly the same reason that trans fats and the various hydrogenated vegetable oils are on their way to be banned from human consumption.

They do the exact same thing!

(Small particle LDL is literally so tiny it fits into the molecular structure of your blood vessel walls and tends to stay there! To avoid heart disease you want to stop or drastically minimize this from happening.)

There are two things to do about this.

If you eat that much sugar or drink that many regular soft drinks, you can slash your excess fat and heart disease risk by taking both immediate and gradual steps to cut back ending in a massive cutback when you are done.

Here are some workable ideas.:

Our strong recommendation is to simply stop all drinking of soft drinks.

For thirst, cold water, water that’s only carbonated, tea, green tea, and coffee either black or with 1% lowfat milk added work. And, as you may have noticed, for those who get caffeine from soft drinks, coffee and tea also have caffeine, they just don’t make you fat and sick!

(As you’ve seen, you can quench your thirst, get caffeine, or have carbonated water without them.) Throw out any soft drinks now in your kitchen or home. And, refuse to pay any more of YOUR money for soft drinks at stores or eating places.

Sugar is a bit tougher. It clearly DOES make food taste better. It IS a treat and is in comfort foods.

A good way to start is to refuse to voluntarily ingest anything with high fructose corn syrup in it. It has been tested in some research as being slightly more fattening than sugar. Worse, recently 30 % of all foods containing it or slightly more were tested as containing mercury, including many name brand foods.

That alone will remove a surprisingly large amount of foods from your intake. Just read every label and pass on buying or ingesting any food or drink with High Fructose Corn Syrup listed.

Second, begin to step down your intake by cutting it in half. Then once you acclimate to that do it a second time and then a third time.

(That strategy has worked well for me. I love sugar. I used to have 3.5 tablespoons of brown sugar on my cereal seven days a week. It began to dawn on me that this was excessive. I then cut back a bit more than half. I began only having added sugar three days a week and using about two tablespoons per day instead of 3.5. That reduced my intake from 73.5 teaspoons a week to 18.

Now, as part of my current weight and fat loss effort, I’ve cut back to only 3 days every two weeks. That means I still have and enjoy sugar; but I only average 9 teaspoons of it a week. It also helps that I do NOT drink any soft drinks.

Third, many foods with sugar or high fructose corn syrup that might have tempted you before, by realizing that the all of their components are different kinds of heart attack starters, it may be easier for you to pass on having any most of the time.

Today, in my office, I saw a commercially baked chocolate cake in our break room that someone put out for people to eat for free.

I read the label. It had multiple kinds of partially hydrogenated oils; multiple kinds of sugars; and refined grains.

I found it easy to pass on having any even though I do like both sugar and chocolate.

I was very tempted to put a sign by it that said,

“Contains three proven heart attack starters:

hydrogenated oils, sugars, and refined grains.

Eat this only if you are now in good health and entirely at your own risk.

You have been warned!”

If you mentally see that sign or remember these words, you too will find it increasingly easy to pass on such foods.

Remember, research has shown this sign is a set of true and accurate statements.

By the way, the first article ended with the idea that a penny an ounce tax be placed on soft drinks.

Given their effects, I think that tax is far too low. Ten cents an ounce is much closer to what the facts clearly justify.

So, the last thing you can do to protect yourself from excess consumption and to protect your medical care costs from excess consumption in other people is to vote in favor of such taxes and support them when they are proposed.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Effective ways to prevent breast cancer without drugs....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 4-20-2010

Our post yesterday on improving low libido in women touched on this topic. And, we repeat that information here since those methods both are inexpensive and have other health benefits – substantial ones.

But, there are other methods that are likely to work which also have other health benefits from preventing heart disease to preventing other cancers.

So I thought it made sense to do this separate post today.

It was also prompted in part by the article I read yesterday, 4-19-2010 on the online health news from AP titled:

“Study: 2 good choices to prevent breast cancer”

These two “good” choices were pretty dreadful! One is a bit pricey. Both tend to cause hot flashes. One apparently tends to INCREASE your chances of getting uterine cancer. The other you can only take AFTER menopause when many women get breast cancer long before that.

As you’ll see, the nondrug methods may be even more protective if you do them all and produce NONE of these side effects and have other health benefits.

Here are some quotes from that article.:

“Tamoxifen cut the chances of developing the most serious forms of breast cancer in half, the research shows, but with a higher risk of uterine cancer. Evista cut the cancer risk by 38 percent, with fewer uterine problems and other serious side effects.

"We've now documented that it's far less toxic" than tamoxifen, said study leader Dr. D. Lawrence Wickerham. He is a cancer specialist at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh who has consulted for makers of both drugs.

Tamoxifen has long been used to treat and prevent breast cancer. It blunts estrogen, which fuels the growth of most tumors that occur after menopause.

Evista, sold by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co., more selectively blocks estrogen. It is only for use after menopause; its safety and effectiveness before then are unknown.

Generic tamoxifen costs about 30 cents a day, versus up to $3 for Evista. Both can cause hot flashes.”

1. The method I decided to list first may well have similar effects to these drugs and while some people may find it more challenging to do than others, it’s inexpensive and has many other health benefits.

Research was done that found that in men, eating either RAW broccoli florets or RAW cauliflower at least once each week the incidence of the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer was cut in half. (Cooked, these vegetables are still good for helping you to lose excess fat or avoid gaining it; but their direct cancer fighting abilities are apparently destroyed.) I now eat a serving or two of raw broccoli florets five days a week at my lunch since I read this research.

(Cauliflower was as effective as the more famous broccoli and some women may find it easier to eat if they find broccoli too harsh a taste.)

Since it’s been found that a very large number of chemicals people are now exposed to have very similar effects to estrogen which is turned down by the two drugs, many women may develop breast cancer from exposure to these chemicals. Eating these cruciferous vegetables reduces excessive estrogen in the blood stream and so may well have quite similar effects to taking these drugs; and some health writers believe it also can combat these estrogen like chemicals.

2. Even better, eating cruciferous vegetables, particularly organic ones also prevents OTHER cancers. For variety, you can also eat Brussels sprouts, radishes, watercress, cabbage, horse radish and more. In addition to preventing cancer they all also help you to lose excess fat or avoid gaining it. Since obesity tends to go with an increased chance of getting many cancers, that effect is protective also.

In addition, eating a robust amount of many kinds of carotenoids is believed to help prevent cancer. Broccoli, if you are OK with eating it, also is a good source of carotenoids. So are carrots, tomatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and most greens.

3. Even better, you get MORE of the carotenoids into your body if you eat these vegetables in a salad with extra virgin olive oil. Tomatoes also give you more lycopene and other carotenoids when cooked and eaten with extra virgin olive oil.

The extra virgin olive oil also may help prevent cancers and DOES help prevent heart disease, particularly when eaten instead of oils like canola, soy, corn, and safflower that are high in omega 6 oils or butter or lard. It helps keep your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides low and either keeps your HDL high or increases it. (Butter and lard tend to increase LDL cholesterol.)

But, eating extra virgin olive oil instead of omega 6 oils also helps prevent excess inflammation which has been implicated in helping to cause all cancers, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

And, there’s more.

Today, HealthDay news had this.:

"Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits

TUESDAY, April 20, 2010 (HealthDay News)

The heart-healthy effects of the famous "Mediterranean diet" may have something to do with components of virgin olive oil that repress genes that promote inflammation, a new study reports.

"These findings strengthen the relationship between inflammation, obesity and diet and provide evidence at the most basic level of healthy effects derived from virgin olive oil consumption in humans," study leader Francisco Perez-Jimenez of the University of Cordoba, Spain, said in a news release from BioMed Central, publisher of BMC Genomics. The study was published online April 19 in the journal.

Perez-Jimenez and his colleagues studied how a diet rich in so-called phenol compounds -- which are found in olive oil, especially extra-virgin types -- affected the workings of genes in 20 people with a common condition called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome puts people at risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes."

That means that extra virgin olive oil also reduces inflammation DIRECTLY – not just by eating it instead of omega 6 oils.

4. Yes it’s true that you can get less exposure to herbicides and pesticides by eating organic vegetables. And organic vegetables are much higher in nutrients including the cancer fighting ones particularly.

So buy only organic produce when you can.

But if that’s all you do, it’s like closing a small window and leaving a large sliding glass door open in terms of keeping these chemicals out of your body.

Most of the herbicides and pesticides people ingest are in the fats in meat of the grain fed animals they eat.

You can eliminate close to 100 % of these pollutants from your food, if instead of eating lots of full fat grain fed meat, you get your protein from nonfattening plant sources such as nuts, beans, lentils, and some whole and very low glycemic grains like wild rice and barley; you get your protein from wild caught fish (farmed are worse than grain fed meat for pollutants); animals such as cattle, buffalo, and lamb fed ONLY grass; some eggs – ideally from pasture fed chickens, and only leanest most fat trimmed version of meat from grain fed animals when you eat that kind of meat.

What happens is that the grain grain-fed animals are fed and even stuffed with is from grains that are sprayed with both pesticides and herbicides and they become bioconcentrated in their fat. For similar reasons, it’s good to mostly use nonfat and very lowfat milk and yogurt and go VERY easy on cream, butter, and cheese unless you are sure it’s from animals fed ONLY grass.

5. To the absolute maximum you can avoid having pesticides and herbicides and chemical room “fresheners” used in your home, garden, and yard.

Try to never use these yourself. If you must use them, use the least you can. Read the cautions and directions first. And, ventilate the area about three times as much as they recommend while trying not to be in that area for several hours after these are applied.

Why poison yourself if you can avoid it?

6. That leads to the next to last point. Smoking and second hand tobacco smoke are not only perhaps the most effective cause AND trigger for heart attacks and strokes, they cause about 30% of ALL cancers including cancers of the breast, uterus, and ovaries.

7. There are two supplements that may, BY THEMSELVES, do better than these two drugs at preventing breast cancer if you take both of supplements.

This was in yesterday’s post.:

"....cancer rates in general are low in India where the spice turmeric is used in curry in their food. One set of follow up studies on this was in Frank Mangano's health email today.:” (Monday, 4-19-2010)

"The University of Missouri found that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) decreases breast tumors. They also found that turmeric could reduce breast cancer risk in women who use hormone replacement therapies. Turmeric has also been shown to fight cancerous polyps." (That means it also helps prevent throat and colon cancer.)

Since this newly understood intake level of vitamin D3 has been discovered to be needed, taking that much each day has been found to also help improve resistance to infection and help prevent heart disease and autoimmune diseases.

And, since turmeric has been found to prevent Alzheimer's disease in part by removing the amyloid plaque that causes it, it makes excellent sense to take a curcumin supplement for other health protective reasons."

I do take over 5,000 iu of vitamin D3 and a curcumin supplement daily and spice my food at least twice a week with a curry spice containing turmeric since I want the protection from excessive infections, autoimmune disease,
Alzheimer’s disease, and many cancers that this gives me.

But note that this combination may be particularly effective in also preventing the same estrogen driven kinds of breast cancer that the two drugs target.

By also eating the raw cruciferous vegetable and doing these other things, you may be able to prevent breast cancer as well or very possibly better than the drugs. You don’t need to be past menopause to use them and they still work well if you are.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Improving low libido in women – new information....

Today's Post: Monday, 4-19-2010

One of the rewards of a health supporting lifestyle is that your sex life is often far better than it would have been.

We also know that regular exercise tends to improve sex for BOTH men and women.

A recently released study shows some of the reasons why that’s true for women.

The first part of the rest of this post describes that study and suggests ways to use this research now even before any drugs are developed to do it.

It’s a bit graphic. So, if that would bother you to read, just be sure to exercise including some vigorous exercise each week and pass on reading the rest of it.

(The second part has an added solution for post-menopausal women.)

This study was reported in:

“Study Explores Possibility of a Female Viagra
WEDNESDAY, April 14, 2010 (HealthDay News)”

The drug company, Pfizer, that paid for this research wants a chemical similar to Viagra that will work for women to produce the effects they produced with electrical stimulation of the pelvic nerve.

“In tests on female lab animals, a team from the drug maker Pfizer found that electrical stimulation of the pelvic nerve increases blood flow to the genitalia.”

“Blood flow to the vagina, labia and clitoris increases when a woman is sexually aroused. The increased blood flow causes the organs to swell and the vagina to relax, and also increases vaginal lubrication and genitalia sensitivity, according to background information in a news release about the study.”

The idea is that if a woman doesn’t respond much to sexual stimulation, increasing the circulation of blood to her sexual area will likely partly act as if she had responded – and, of more importance and potential value, will increase her sensations and her responses to sexual stimulation that follows.

But having a woman get healthy circulation with lifestyle & lifestyle upgrades for sure including regular and vigorous exercise and eating a good health protective diet etc clearly are a good idea for health reasons!

This suggests that women who have low sexual response can improve it by doing and sustaining these health protective practices.

But, it does more than that. If a woman or her partner uses a powerful vibrator on the area surrounding but not on her most sensitive sexual parts – such as on her larger outside labia or just outside them until it induces increased circulation, she may well become more sexually responsive to lighter stimulation on or closer to her most sexually sensitive parts such as her inner labia and clitoris or just next to it.

Since this can overdo things, and holding a powerful vibrator vibrates your hand enough to be distracting, the best solution would be to have her partner hold the vibrator but for the woman herself to guide where it goes and ask for a lighter or harder touch so that her circulation is increased but she isn’t overstimulated or feels it’s too harsh.

In fact, there is already evidence that having women use milder vibrators on their own to train her nerves to respond does work. The relatively recent movie about the sex researcher Kinsey including some information that was NOT in the more scholarly books. One of their women subjects who was elderly asked if she could try a vibrator as she had never had an orgasm but wanted to see if she could. It worked.

So, without drugs or medical devices, a health promoting lifestyle including exercise and foods and supplements that support good circulation and heart health AND vibrators can make successful use of this research with no drug or medical devices needed.

Slightly warmer than body temperature lube to increase circulation might help.

So might vigorous exercise right before to boost overall circulation.

And, all of this is doable now with no new drug or an electrical stimulation device !!

It seems that if the blood flow shows up, the more sensitive and responsive areas like the clitoris become more responsive sexually -- a self-reinforcing upward spiral !!

(Second, there MIGHT be a way to make a device to provide safe and pain free electrical stimulation of this nerve in women she or her partner could use.

In addition to drugs, that might also be worth trying.)

Lastly, for women over menopause, synthetic estrogen has a potential side effect of causing cancer.

But Al Sears, MD has found in his practice that as little as two weeks of supplementation with bioidentical progesterone –NOT synthetic estrogen -- not only tends to restore previously normal sex response in post menopausal women, but often helps to reverse fat gain and increased insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.

Since many breast cancers are estrogen dependent and synthetic estrogen tends to cause that kind of cancer, Dr Sears makes the case that what he uses is far safer and gets the results women want.

Even better, there are two supplements that may be as effective as the breast cancer preventing drugs but without their side effects.

We now know that 2,000 to 5,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 is closer to what people’s bodies actually need each day than the 400 iu once believed sufficient. What is truly exciting is that taking this much vitamin D3 this tends to boost your immune system enough that it prevents many kinds of cancer.

Second, cancer rates in general are low in India where the spice turmeric is used in curry in their food. One set of follow up studies on this was in Frank Mangano’s health email today.:

“The University of Missouri found that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) decreases breast tumors. They also found that turmeric could reduce breast cancer risk in women who use hormone replacement therapies. Turmeric has also been shown to fight cancerous polyps.” (That means it also helps prevent throat and colon cancer.)

Since this newly understood intake level of vitamin D3 has been discovered to be needed, taking that much each day has been found to also help improve resistance to infection and help prevent heart disease and autoimmune diseases.

And, since turmeric has been found to prevent Alzheimer’s disease in part by removing the amyloid plaque that causes it, it makes excellent sense to take a curcumin supplement for other health protective reasons.

Since that’s the case, Dr Sears method of hormone replacement, particularly when used with both of these protective supplements, may make good sense in post-menopausal women with low libido.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Progress report on my fat loss plan:

Today's Post: Sunday, 4-18-2010

I lost 3 more pounds this month. So, I've lost 11 of the 14 pounds I set out to lose during all of this year in four months. This is an average of 3 pounds a month since I got most of my multistep program in place.

The past month has had a lot of adversity. Since I rarely get sick, it was a shock to be coughing so much that I had to go get a prescription narcotic cough syrup to allow me and my wife to sleep at night.

The good news is that I was able to keep doing all my food strategies. And, although I did have to cut back on my overall exercise amount and stop or do less of my most vigorous exercises for a while, I may have had help from having a bit less appetite.

So, I'm losing pouunds and presume it's fat coming from somewhere since I'm not getting weaker or smaller in my muscles. But the bad news is that this month I lost nothing on my waist measurement -- not even a fourth of an inch.

Howver, by the end of the month I did my jump rope for 3 sets: 42, 35, and 28. Since I started with one set of 14 in several parts and now go all the way through a set without a miss or only a couple, I'm doing a lot better. And, I'm still on track to get to 6 to 8 sets of 98. At that point, I hope I will have added some msucle to my legs and butt which will help take inches off my waist.

It does look like I'll likely lose MORE than the 14 pounds I set out to lose by the end of the year. (By next month, after 5 months, I'll likely have lost all 14 pounds.)

Then my goal for the rest of this year and next year will be to keep up my fat loss food plan but also add some things that will help gain MORE muscle to help my cut inches off my waist.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

AVOID short sleep AND “diet” foods to lose fat....

Today's Post: Friday, 4-16-2010

Part I: Avoid short sleep

Yesterday, I got an email from Dr. Allen S. Josephs Co-Founder & Director of .

In it he notes that a recent meta-analysis of sleep duration & obesity analyzed 30 different studies involving about 635,000 men, women and children.
These Researchers defined short sleep duration as less than 10 hours a night for children and less than five hours a night for adults.

Their meta-analysis found a reliable link between such short sleep duration and increased average body mass index (BMI) AND the incidence of obesity in both children and adults.

And, earlier this week, this news item came out that had recent research showing that for most adults, even younger ones, that 4 hours sleep was clearly enough to trigger this effect.:

“People get hungrier when they're starved for sleep Reuters Mon, Apr 12, 2010

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who are trying to stay trim may want to make sure they get plenty of sleep.

In a study, researchers found that normal-weight young men ate a Big Mac's-worth of extra calories when they'd gotten four hours of sleep the night before compared to when they slept for eight hours.

Given the findings, and the fact that people have been sleeping less and getting fatter over the past few decades, "sleep restriction could be one of the environmental factors that contribute to the obesity epidemic," they write in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”

In this same study, they found that the normal sleep pattern of these young men did NOT produce this effect. And, if I recall correctly that was about 6 & ½ to 7 & ½ hours a night.

I think there are separate four reasons for this finding or separate causes of the short sleeping that have implications for how to best use this info to lose fat.

1. Some people are so strapped for funds they work two or three jobs or have such a bad commute to work, they get such short sleep. This may not be easy to fix.

But, you can do some things in some cases to make it temporary.

Arrange to telecommute two or three days a week and/or commute after and before the rush hour to both cut your commute time and increase your time at home. For example, if you telecommute Monday and Friday and work from 10:30 am to 3 pm with a 15 minute at your desk lunch on Wednesday, you only need do the 5 am to 8 pm workday on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then allow yourself to eat a lot but of health OK NON-fattening foods on Tuesdays and Thursdays and do your calorie restriction on the other five days.

If you work two or three jobs, arrange to make it just two jobs and make one an hourly plus commission sales job. Then get good enough at that job to only do that one and make more than you make now with two jobs.

2. Some people get such short sleep because they watch a lot of late-night TV.

That’s deadly for fat loss. You burn fewer calories watching TV than you do sleeping. Then by staying up to do it, you eat MORE the next day! Yikes!

Keep cutting back on lower priority shows until you get your hours of TV a week below 20 or 15 or 10. Tape those shows that you really like enough to keep after you do this that show late at night and watch them earlier the next day or the next weekend. (In fact, you may be able to spend less time watching commercials you don’t like this way.) AND, avoid eating junk foods and drinking soft drinks while you watch TV. Instead get a treadmill or exercise bike to use at low moderate exertion while you watch TV.

Except for special occasions, get your news, weather, and sports from the faster and more flexible to schedule newspaper reading or online. Simply refuse to sit for hours late at night on the schedule of TV station to get news you could get earlier or later & at a better time of day and can access in less than half that much time.

3. You, like Dr Josephs admitted to in his email, are so motivated and interested in life that you have trouble getting enough sleep because you fill your days with so much.

That one is also tough to fix. But, here are two suggestions.

Simply refuse to sleep less than 5 hours a night, try for at least 6 or 6 & ½ hours most nights; and let yourself have more on weekends. And, try to get closer to the 6 or 6 & ½ hours most nights than 5 or 5 & ½.

Take multiple actions to ensure you get QUALITY sleep at virtually the same time each day so you aren’t getting 4 hours worth of sleep in your 5 to 6 & ½ hours in bed. Sleep on your side instead of on your back. Exercise vigorously for at least 10 minutes almost every day. (And, if you have sleep apnea, make sure to keep losing fat until you’ve lost all you need to lose and keep it off. In addition, get the Pillar procedure done if you can. It hardly requires any time off work and has turned off sleep apnea in even people who are still obese. ) Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and warm and/or cool enough you can sleep well.

4. If you have trouble getting to sleep and are already doing this first set of things, try taking valerian &/or going to Dr Al Sears supplement website at and getting his “instant sleep” spray dispensed melatonin, NATIVE REST. That way you don’t make yourself groggy for an hour before bedtime or take it by mouth at bedtime and not have it work until an hour or two later.

And, stay completely away from prescription sleep drugs. Some are dangerous because they tend to cue mindless and not conscious sleepwalking and other actions. (People have died during these.) They are virtually all addictive. They tend to NOT produce very restful sleep. And, even worse, they make it really hard to get up the next day.

Valerian does none of those things and wears off overnight. And if you are a bit too groggy or laid back the next day from the spray melatonin with the recommended 3 or 4 puffs, do one or two brief puffs instead. If you do the regular exercise and go to bed at virtually the same time each night—and take the valerian if you are a bit too wound up—that will still help you sleep.

Part II. Avoid “diet” foods

Eating real, organic, produce and naturally raised or wild caught animal protein foods -- mostly nonstarchy vegetables and some beans and lentils -- is what you should be eating to lose fat.

“Diet” foods tend to be fattening refined grain foods, semifoods that are fake versions of snack foods and desserts with natural foods like butter and cream replaced by fewer calories of hydrogenated oils or sugar or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.

They then have few calories per serving the real food versions they replace. But their downside is obnoxious and tends to sabotage permanent fat loss.

They are still made with refined grains and since they have fewer calories people tend to eat them every day or eat more of them per day. A recent study even found that people tend to begin to not enjoy them very much and to return to the full calorie versions which can help prevent permanent fat loss.

These foods tend to still be high glycemic, to be made with refined grains, and to substitute for the real foods you should be mostly eating instead. That means they cause rebound, excess hunger too—just like the regular treats do!

Even worse, their artificial sweeteners tend to cause you to want more real sugar and are very, very likely directly bad for your health besides.

The solution is to have the real thing instead that has sugar and butter. But have tiny servings just a few times a week or normal servings just a few times a month AND eat them after a meal of real and low glycemic foods to lessen their sugar shock on your body. In some cases, such as chocolate, the unsweetened versions can still be a treat. Those you can have more often.

The other thing you can do is to make your produce and protein foods so tasty and savory from extra virgin olive oil and spices such as garlic and basil and more that you find them an enjoyable treat that you can have every day.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

New info helps us prevent heart disease & Alzheimer's disease....

Today's Post: Thursday, 4-15-2010

Yesterday, Weds, 4-13, several of the online news services had the information that about 9 % of people have a mutation that prevents them from using folate, an important B vitamin in green vegetables and other plant foods as well as everyone else.

HealthDay had this headline and lead:

“New Alzheimer's Gene Identified

By Jenifer Goodwin HealthDay Reporter WEDS, April 14, 2010 (HealthDay News) --

Researchers have pinpointed a gene variant that nearly doubles the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, a new study says.”

As some of you know, getting too little folate tends to prevent your body from keeping your homocysteine levels below the level where they seem to cause cardiovascular disease and as the story’s yesterday found Alzheimer’s disease if they continue long enough.

People with this mutation therefore tend to test as having high homocysteine levels at decades younger ages than people without it for this reason. (As you get older your homocysteine levels tend to go up. Teens and very young adults tend to test in the 6.0 to 8.0 range. And, it’s already known that levels of 9.0 or above, let alone the 12.0 and above many older adults often test at, increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and mental decline from all reasons.)

Your body makes homocysteine from the amino acid methionine.

So, if you have this mutation, OR if your homocysteine tests above 9.0 or higher, you clearly need to do a number of things, to protect your brain and heart.

1. The first thing is to get your homocysteine level tested. This can be a hassle or cost extra in many medical plans for a number of reasons. But, particularly if you aren’t already over 65 or already have some kind of mental decline or heart or cardiovascular disease, this new research suggests it is critical to know. Find a way to get tested even if you have to find and pay an independent doctor to order your test and pay full price for the test. It will be a lot cheaper than getting the genetic test for this mutation! If you simply can’t do it, assume your homocysteine level is high to be on the safe side.

(Hopefully, because of this new research, testing for homocysteine will one day be included along with the lipid panel of HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol; blood pressure; waist measurement; and the blood sugar related tests of fasting glucose, HBA1C, and insulin -- that everyone gets so they and their doctors can prevent bad trends from getting worse and causing avoidable diseases.)

2. Since homocysteine is made from the amino acid methionine, it may make sense to get low or moderate levels of methionine in your food instead of high or very high levels.

The Wikipedia article on methionine includes some helpful information that relates to this.:

Wikipedia said these things about methionine.:

"Improper conversion of methionine can lead to atherosclerosis"

"Methionine is converted.... to homocysteine." in a series of steps listed in the Wikipedia article.

"There is a growing body of evidence that shows restricting methionine consumption can increase lifespans...."

"Most fruits and vegetables contain very little of it. Most legumes are also low in methionine."

"High levels of methionine can be found in sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, fish, meats and some other plant seeds; methionine is also found in cereal grains."

This is quite consistent with the information in the diet that tended to protect against Alzheimer’s disease that we posted on earlier this week.

That diet was very high in vegetables and low in meat. It did have wild caught fish and nuts and some grain foods and some poultry; but it did NOT have a lot of meat.

Clearly this diet has less methionine than one that is very low in vegetables and high in meat.

(Since refined grains we now know are horribly bad for you and foods other than whole grains, notably nonstarchy vegetables are better at avoiding the gain of excess fat, eat NO refined grains and only a moderate amount of whole grains may also be wise since this helps limit methionine. That also allows you to have some wild caught fish and their omega 3 oils; nonfat and lowfat dairy with their lysine, B2, and calcium; and eggs with their B vitamins and choline without getting excessive amounts of methionine.)

3. Since increased folate intake lowers homocysteine levels and people with this mutation may need five or more times as much folate to be effective than the rest of the people do, they may need to add more green and nonstarchy vegetables and the legumes beans and lentils to their diet almost daily to be protected.

Those foods do the double of having virtually NO homocysteine and LOTS of folate.

People with this mutation may also do less well at converting the folic acid in supplements to folate than other do. This clearly indicates eating more of the foods that are high in folate as it’s already in that form in the food. Green and other nonstarchy vegetables and beans and lentils are high in folate.

(Note that these foods also are in the DASH and DASH II diets that lower high blood pressure and in the food eaten by people who are NOT too fat or obese.)

And, the jury is still out on if this is a for sure good idea--but it may also be prudent to take something like 2,000 mcg of folic acid. There is some evidence that this may cause problems in people who don’t also supplement with 1,000 mcg of B12. Some doctors and researcher say you should do so and some disagree. What IS clear is that eating a lot of the foods high in folate is wise for sure. (I take 2100 mcg of folic acid and 1,075 mcg of B12; eat beans and lentils daily and am adding more and other nonstarchy vegetables.)

4. Tobacco smoke increases homocysteine levels. It protects your heart in many other ways and cuts your cancer risk by at least 30% to avoid tobacco smoke by NOT smoking and coming as close as you can to no exposure to second hand smoke.

But, for someone with this mutation or who has high homocysteine levels avoiding tobacco smoke may be truly a critical, life and death deal not just extremely important!

5. Clearly you should also take the other steps to avoid Alzheimer’s disease.

Our post from last Friday, 4-9-2010, “Good news on preventing Alzheimer's and mental decline, “ wound up having almost all the ways to prevent mental decline effectively in it.

6. Clearly you should also take the other step to avoid heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

Our post from last Thursday, 4-8-2010, "The best ways to prevent heart disease, " wound up listing most of the effective heart protecting steps you can take.

To be sure, that entire set of these lists sounds like a lot to do. But there are 3 pieces of good news.

You likely are already doing many of the things on these lists.

Even better, about 80 % of the things you should do wind up on almost every list.

And, third, you can add things you aren’t doing one at a time and in order of their priority.

For example:

If you have high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease and are a bit too fat, but have little family history of mental decline and you already exercise, put priority on those other things that lose fat, lower high blood pressure, and protect your heart.

But if you are trim and do have parents or grandparents who had mental decline and don’t exercise and are less educated, begin to learn new things, add exercise, and do all the things that prevent mental decline or Alzheimer’s disease or both.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Eating right does more for you than most people know & too few do it yet....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 4-13-2010

Today, three of the major health online news services all had the story that eating right cut the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease by 38%.

If you also exercise, keep mentally and socially active, and take the right supplements, notably curcumin and vitamin D3, and some others, you can prevent perhaps 90% of the remaining 62% of the risk -- perhaps over 94% overall. That means if you know how, you can come close to eliminating the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. (See our post last Friday, 4-9, for more details.)

HealthDay news had this today.:

“Eating a diet high in vegetables, fish, fruit, nuts and poultry, and low in red meat and butter may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, new research finds.

Those whose diets included the most salad dressing, nuts, fish, tomatoes, poultry, cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower and broccoli), dark and green leafy vegetables, and the least red meat, high-fat dairy, organ meat and butter had a 38 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's than those whose diets included fewer fruits, vegetables and poultry and more red meat and high-fat dairy."

Reuters had this today.:

“A diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fish, poultry and certain fruits and vegetables may have a powerful effect at staving off Alzheimer's disease, researchers reported on Monday.”


“While other studies have looked at individual nutrients,” these researchers ….”studied groups of foods high in nutrients that have been shown to be associated with Alzheimer's disease risk.

Some, such as saturated fatty acids in red meat and butter, need to be avoided. Others, such as omega-3 fatty acids, …. vitamin E, vitamin B12 and folate, benefit the brain.”

The salad dressing in the study was olive oil based – NOT on one of the omega 6 oils like soy.

So, the diet they used or found people who ate was a combination of the high vegetable intake with restricted intake of saturated fats found in the DASH & DASH II diets, the olive oil, nuts, and fish – and salad vegetables from the Mediterranean diet, and very little refined grains, sugars, packaged foods, and likely no soft drinks.

That diet is also found to cut the risk of stroke and heart attack and some cancers! And, by adding regular exercise, particularly vigorous exercise, this diet helps prevent obesity, high blood sugar and insulin and type II diabetes which is also protective of your circulation to your brain.

One of the researchers noted that this is no accident. It’s beginning to be common knowledge that protecting your heart and circulation also protects your brain.

Here’s one reason why.: In the HealthDay article I found this:

“Doctors used to believe there were two separate causes of dementia: vascular dementia, due to blood vessel disease; and Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative process.”

Dr. Samuel Gandy, a neurologist and cell biologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said "We now know that most people with dementia have some of both…."

Yesterday, a story that women who eat a diet high in sugary foods, refined grains, soft drinks and other high glycemic foods are particularly prone to developing heart disease. That research found this was less true for men. For the women though, their heart disease risk doubled if they did this. This study was published yesterday, 4-12-2010, in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

These kinds of foods also tend to push people into type 2 diabetes. And, if women are more susceptible to this effect, this may explain in part why women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Other research has found that high blood sugar combined with poor circulation may be one of the most effective causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

My suspicion is that if they compared their group that ate a lot of this stuff to one that ate virtually none instead of one that just ate less and which ate the kind of diet found to be protective in the Alzheimer’s study, that they would have found more of an effect in men also.

There’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that health knowledgable and proactive people are beginning to know how to eat right in this way and are doing so. And, most of them are also regular exercisers.

The bad news is that the average person in the United States all too often has been eating junk food, high glycemic foods, fatty and grain fed meat, and drinking soft drinks instead. Most of these people are NOT exercising either. Some of them smoke or allow themselves to be exposed to second hand smoke a lot.

They are paying for it with the harm they have done to their bodies.

Last Saturday, 4-10, 2010 HealthDay news had this story.:

“Severe Arterial Disease Found in Younger Adults.”

“Researchers analyzed data on 994 men and women, age 55 and younger, treated in the Wake Forest University School of Medicine Vascular Center between 1998 and 2009. They found that most of them had premature atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Severe premature arterial disease of the legs (64 percent) was the most common finding.”

To be sure these are the people who did many things wrong and who showed up at this center for treatment of some kind.

But it is significant that this was found in people from 35 to 55 years old. At one time, this did not happen to the average person until they were over 65 or 70 at the very least.

With many 3 year olds now drinking soft drinks and having several high glycemic treats a day and not getting anywhere the exercise children used to get as they grew up, many of them will have this begin to happen to them when they are less than 35 I suspect.

The potential is there for people to begin to learn how to eat right, to exercise, and to not smoke or be around tobacco smoke and for most people to do these things.

But until that happens, more than half the high medical costs we now pay go to treat diseases that could likely have been prevented. And as these children grow up, that may get worse instead of better unless something is done.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Fast weight loss pro & con – good & bad....

Today's Post: Monday, 4-12-2010

Ad after ad promises FAST weight loss or has testimonials from people who lost a lot of weight their first month.

Clearly that sells more of whatever the ad sells.

But, is it a good idea?

The answer is that most of the time it’s a horrible idea! But, sometimes it isn’t.

This post has two parts.

1. Why it’s a bad idea most of the time & is in fact a horrible idea for most people to aim for.

2. Why and under what exact circumstances it can be a good idea instead – but ONLY then.

Here’s why fast weight loss is a bad idea most of the time & is in fact a horrible idea for most people to aim for.:

It’s very simple why it’s usually a horrible idea.

a) The people involved think of losing weight as a temporary starvation plan.

And, although carefully programmed calorie restriction of some kind IS a key method of weight loss and, more importantly, a method, for losing excess fat, if the calorie restriction isn’t sustained, two truly horrible things happen. It’s temporary for sure.

And, people stop trying to lose weight before they lose all the fat they want to lose or should lose.

Even worse, they gain back whatever they lost when they stop!

And, since fast initial weight loss is often from restricting calories enough to produce a starvation effect, virtually everyone who does it stops too soon and gains all the weight they lost right back!

Why does this happen? Our bodies are descended from ancestors who survived famines. In fact many people are descended from many generations of famine survivors!

So, guess what happens when you starve yourself for two or three weeks or more?

Your body’s famine program kicks on full blast. It sets every one of your hunger subprograms on MAX. You think about food. You get cravings for food and fattening food far greater than normal. Food smells and tastes better. Your ability to stop eating or even want to stop eating is slammed down to zero.

And, that’s just part I! Part II is when your body lowers your metabolism and drops your energy level enough to ensure that you move less. It may also prevent you from burning fat to some extent and may use your lower priority muscles and bones for energy instead.

It’s a failsafe that ensured your ancestors survived long enough to have you exist at all. It’s very reliable and virtually never fails.

You feel like eating -- irresistibly so. And, even if you manage to not eat, you lose very little weight and feel like you are weak and sick and tired all the time.

So your weight loss and fat loss plan fails. Worse, if this happens several times to you, you begin to wonder if losing weight is possible and begin to feel it may not be possible for you to ever do.

Since losing excess fat – losing all of it -- & keeping it all off IS possible and you very likely can do it, this kind of fast initial weight loss and the resulting crash and burn and feeling helpless is horribly bad. It’s typical, unfortunately.

Why go there?!

The secret is to cut calories ONLY SOME and do it in ways that neither make you a lot hungrier nor do they trigger your famine response – AND you simply upgrade your lifestyle to make these changes part of your new every day and every week routine. Since they become normal for you and you keep doing them, two wonderful things happen. You can keep losing your excess fat until it’s ALL gone. And, it never returns.

So, what are the two exceptions?

The first one is why many weight loss plans start out with a stricter initial break-in program though usually just for a couple of weeks. People want results. So if they see none after two weeks, they quit trying. That clearly is a bad idea. You won’t lose excess fat if you make no effort to do so.

Even so, I disagree with this approach. Too often it winds up failing anyway for the reasons we just covered.

You need to focus at first on learning how to do the many things that remove fat but don’t make you hungrier and to begin doing them and get used to doing so.

You also need to have a positive but much longer focus. Think of how much you’ll lose in one to five years if you continuously lose just 1.5 to 5 pounds a month.

Wait at least a month to weigh yourself to check for results. If you install enough effective things and keep doing them, the fat loss is virtually guaranteed. But by making them mostly small changes, they are far more doable and sustainable. And here’s the really HUGE benefit. Your famine response NEVER kicks in! No 100 % effective sabotage ever shows up!

Here’s two typical tracks.

The fast fat loss person eats a quarter of what they are hungry for and virtually eats no fats or oils and keeps that up for three weeks. They lose 4 or 5 pounds a week. Then in the fourth week, they lose no weight and feel horrible and so tired it’s like being sick. Then in the fifth week they begin stuffing themselves and gain back the whole 18 pounds they lost in just three weeks. End of experiment. Total failure. Oops!

The long term person who makes lots of tiny changes that they expect to keep doing only loses 2 pounds the first month. Then they add something and try a bit harder and find they lost 3 pounds the second month. Then over the next 10 months they keep losing 2 or 3 pound a month for a total of 25 more pounds. At the end of the year, they have lost 30 pounds. And if they need to lose more, they will keep losing until they do.

Even better, since their new lifestyle is now normal, familiar, and easy to do AND they don’t want the fat back, they keep following it and the fat never returns.

This method produces success. And almost everyone can do it.

What’s the second way fast fat loss can be OK? There are some people who are doing a lot of things wrong. It’s why they have excess fat and weight they want to lose. But they are able to begin immediately doing each of the things that ARE sustainable and which do NOT trigger hunger or the famine response.

Such people sometimes do lose 10 or 12 pounds a month for several months.

Suppose someone is relatively young but has been drinking four regular soft drinks a day for 15 years and is just from that alone 60 pounds of excess fat too heavy. Suppose that they do some walking and once jumped rope when they were a much younger person but did it then until they got good at it. And, let’s further suppose they virtually never eat any nonstarchy vegetables. Lastly, let’s say they know a great personal trainer who can tutor them in getting into an effective and progressive strength training plan and that they can afford to do this and do it.

They also drink water, black coffee, or tea with no milk and never ever drink another soft drink. They go on the DASH II diet that features several servings of vegetables a day.

And, in addition to the strength training, they use Dr Al Sears Pace method and work up from one set of 25 reps in the jump rope to several sets of 100 in the first 3 months.

By doing ALL these things and by both being a worst case to begin with AND being a bit younger with some background in exercise, this person might well lose 30 pounds their first 3 months.

Going from tons of soft drinks to none will get this kind of results. Research has recently confirmed you don’t get any hungrier by doing this either!

Doing well with a progressive strength training plan does make you a bit hungrier. But if you mostly stick with what you planned to eat without pigging out on fattening foods, it burns a LOT of calories and ensures the weight you lose is virtually all fat.

The same is true of a PACE style work out with a jump rope. In fact, one many who had jumped rope regularly once who got back into it lost 20 pounds in two months just from doing that one thing.

Eating regular daily servings of nonstarchy vegetables, which have very few calories but do have a lot of nutrition and fiber, allows you to cut calories with very little if any increase in hunger. In fact, if you eat some health OK protein foods and oils too, your famine response will not kick in.

So, what happens if someone does all of the above well right off the mark? They CAN safely lose a lot of fat just in the first 3 months.

Most people need to start a bit slower and gradually add more to get all this in place and won’t do that well. But if they keep finding ways to do these things that they find doable and sustainable and doing them week after week, their success is just as certain.

Think about it.

Would you rather lose 15 pounds in three weeks and have it all come back about that fast?

Or, would you rather lose 15 to 30 pounds of fat a year until it’s all gone and have it never come back?

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Good news on preventing Alzheimer’s and mental decline....

Today's Post: Friday, 4-9-2010

Last Wednesday, 4-7, I got my daily email from Dr Al Sears, MD.

(See his website at: .)

It focused on new research showing how protective blueberries actually are for preventing Alzheimer’s disease. We already knew from other studies that people who ingest blueberries could actually regain enough mental function by beginning to eat blueberries or drink 100 % real blueberry juice.

He then added some other ways to prevent Alzheimer’s and mental decline.

This post has his new information and most of his other points. I add my own comments.

Then I add some things I posted on recently for those that missed that post that also prevent Alzheimer’s and mental decline. I also point out why the information in yesterday’s post can help you prevent Alzheimer’s and mental decline.

It turns out there is a very great deal you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s and mental decline.

Some of these things may even reverse Alzheimer’s disease if it is still in its early stages. Some of them keep your mental functions usable even if there is some damage from Alzheimer’s disease. All of them tend to prevent it. And most of them will slow its progression if someone already has it.

Here’s the information from Dr Sears’ email.:

1. “The National Institute of Aging studied the effectiveness of blueberries at protecting the brain from injury in rats.”

One group of rats received a blueberry-enriched diet, the other did not. “Both groups were injected with kainic acid (a toxic chemical that produces the same type of damage to the brain caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s). “

The results were excellent

The rats with brains pre-protected with the blueberry- enriched diet, had significantly less impairment than those that didn’t. The reason for this at least in part was that the rats pre-supplemented with blueberries had far less of a loss of brain cells than the rats who did not.
Dr Sears also read another study that found that blueberries limit the brain injury caused by ischemic stroke. Since some cases of senility and mental decline are caused by many such strokes that can be quite small, called multi-infarct dementia I think, this is a second and very significant way that blueberries are protective.

Dr Sears notes this is likely because Blueberries protect your brain against oxidative damage and inflammation. These are two of the main causes of mental decline.

Dear Sears then suggested eating a large serving of blueberries daily, or drinking 2 to 2-1/2 cups of blueberry juice.

(Since I long ago read about the power of blueberries to keep my mind sharp; but I am working hard to lose some extra fat I eat 2/3 of a 10 ounce package of organic wild blueberries three times a week. I also do three related things that likely have similar effects.

I also take 3 capsules a day of Nature’s Way bilberry extract. Since those are a variety of blueberry, this very likely has similar effects for close to zero calories.

And, separate studies found that people who drink a single glass a day of real fruit or vegetable juice daily get less mental decline, so half the time I drink Concord Grape Juice while half the time I drink 100 % cranberry juice which has about half the calories of grape juice.

As you can see, this set of things gives me a lot of protection and without too many calories.)

2. Dr Sears next notes the research showing that those who can drink coffee and do so daily will likely have less of the beta amyloid protein that is one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease form at all in their brains.

(This is one area where coffee is actually better for you than tea or green tea.) The researchers in the study Dr Sears read from Disease found that people drinking five cups of coffee a day had significantly lower amounts of beta amyloid protein in their brains than nondrinkers of coffee. (5 cups is a bit excessive for some people. But I remember reading that 1 to 3 cups a day of coffee is also protective AND that decaf coffee was also.

It seems there is some extra protective effect in the coffee bean besides the caffeine that guarana and teas also have. Caffeine improves current mental performance, speed, and alertness. But caffeine apparently does not have this extra Alzheimer’s disease protection. (I also remember reading that there is a coffee bean extract supplement. That may also be protective.)
3. Regular exercise every week is dramatically protective for your brain. This is particularly true for the kind of repeated but relatively short bursts of vigorous exercise that Dr Sears himself recommends in his PACE program.

Dr Sears noted that it helps reduce inflammation, one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s.

Dr Sears also said that there is a direct link between obesity and dementia. And that research suggests that obese people have three times the risk of developing dementia than thinner people. The kind of exercise he recommends in his PACE program has an excellent track record of helping people lose and keep off extra fat.

But there is reason to think that such exercise is even more protective than that for your brain. It improves your blood flow and the responsiveness and health of your blood vessels AND it has been shown to help reverse insulin resistance and lower high blood sugar including its best measure, HBA1C levels. THAT IS a HUGE protection. Most kinds of mental decline are caused or worsened by bad blood circulation to your brain. And, of even more importance, high levels of blood sugar has been found to be a direct cause of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, some researchers go so far as to call Alzheimer’s disease “type 3 diabetes.)

And, there’s even more, exercise releases growth hormone, slows aging and has been proven to GROW NEW BRAIN CELLS.

3. Eating vegetables and fruit daily, particularly if it’s organic and most to all of the vegetables are nonstarchy was found in another study reported by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease was to produce people who scored much higher on cognitive tests than those who ate far less. Even more exciting and significant, they also had lower biomarkers that are normally associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (This also helps combat or prevent obesity, insulin resistance, and high blood sugar!)

4. Keep Your Mind Active Dr Sears calls “one of the best things you can do to ward off dementia.” Dr Sears suggests doing some kind of puzzles regularly that you like or learning a new language.

Researchers at the University of California found that learning new things causes your brain to grow new brain cells and new brain cell interconnections and does so even in people over 80 years old!

In addition to that, your brain function is much like the internet itself, the more parts and interconnections it has, the more reliable it becomes at continuing to work when parts of the network are damaged. Educated people and those who speak two languages or more can sustain some Alzheimer’s type damage and other brain damage while having no or very little decline in mental performance or memory.

So mental activity and learning new things protects you double. You GAIN new brain cells and function plus the more brain cells AND you have a better network that can sustain damage and still work decently.

Lastly, we converse from the time we are tiny and so doing so feels easy and natural. But brainwave research reveals social and work conversations produce profound increases in mental activity. So people who maintain and converse often with a varied set of social contacts often tend to get little dementia or mental decline compared with people who do not.

The second major set of things that protect your brain and maintain good mental function have already been partly listed here. They are those things that protect your heart and the health of your blood vessels. They help maintain your blood flow to your brain and to prevent direct damage to it from strokes.

(See yesterday’s post for a complete list of the better ways to do this.)

I also recently did a post with some of this same list but which also adds taking some other supplements and foods that are protective. (Some of those supplements have been found to both prevent Alzheimer’s disease and possibly to reverse it in its early stages.)

Here it is:

Supplements to protect your memory....

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

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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