Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goals or resolutions for 2011

Today's Post: Thursday, 12-30-2010

Last year, I set two goals for myself for 2010 in Decmber, 2009. Then I did a post on Tuesday, 1-5-2010 titled:

Health Resolutions you can achieve, Part 2....

Since you may have things you'd like to have or achieve that you haven't gotten or done, now & that might be possible for you in 2011, why not set a goal to get some of them in 2011?

In doing that, it may be of value to you to read the key goal achievement part of last year's post and what I learned in from the two goals I set for 2010.

That combination may improve your chances of achieving your goals.

I. Here's that part from last January's post:

"a) Since I value self-improvement and have a ways to go on some things, I read a few articles about New Year’s Resolutions to see if I could learn any tips that might help me on my two main resolutions.

Wow !! I am so glad I did.

I learned something incredibly valuable I had no clue was so.

At least according to the stories I read it’s true.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Caroline Zinko quoted research saying that 40 % of the people who set resolutions actually were still on track to achieve them 6 months later!

And, another article said that 65% of the people made at least some progress towards their goals in their resolutions. That includes the 40 % who basically succeed and another 25% of all the people who set resolutions who get at least some progress out of doing so.

This is about five times better than I thought was the case because of all the bad jokes about people who don’t get anywhere at all with their resolutions.

b) I already knew that you are more likely to achieve goals if you:

Write them down.

Have a deadline or target date by when you plan to achieve them.

Pick only the one, two, or three most important goals to work on.

And, perhaps most important of all, you make a list of things you can for sure do that will make your goal more likely to happen or even happen for sure –
AND, begin doing the items on your list within two or three days of writing them all down.

You actually have no direct control over achieving your goal. But you do have absolutely direct control over whether or not you take the steps to achieve it."

II. My experience last year with my two goals showed those ideas to be right on the money.

My health goal was to re-lose the 15 pounds I'd gained back of the 30 I initially lost -- and do it using methods I could keep doing so it would stay off. My hope was that much lost fat would also lose enough inches from my waist to protect my health and improve my appearance.

I DID know about 14 things I could do to achieve the goal of losing 15 pounds of fat. I knew each one would have some effect. For some, I was able to calculate about what part of the 14 pounds it would help lose.

Better yet, they were things I had time to do; and I could afford to do all of them but two. THEN, I began consistently using the 12 things I could do.

I lost the 15 pounds in the first 6 months! The methods I used were not designed or expected to do more than that. And, although I did lose about 3 more pounds, I recently gained that back. So I ended the year right at my goal weight.

I also added 3 methods during the year. The two I added in the first 6 months helped get the job done. The third one I added when I gained back a bit. It worked and will help me lose back part of the 3 pounds I gained in the first part of the holidays.

I also did lose enough off my waist, two inches, to move me from the borderline of being fat enought to put myself at health risk due to being too fat to well under that.

But that was it. I did NOT lose the two more inches I had hoped I might. Worse, from an appearance standpoint, it was much farther from what I hoped than I wanted.

I looked more muscular in my arms and shoulders and chest and back and even in my legs. But because, in addition to losing two inches from my waist, I also did from my chest and hips. It was all fat; but because it was the same in each place, I looked about as pot-bellied at the end as I did at the beginning.

(I did try to add a method during the year to add more muscle in hopes of losing more inches from my waist. But I didn't just injure myself, I apparently broke something in my arm that may not be fixable. So, for now, I can's use this method. It's too bad too; because it was beginning to work just before the injury.)

So, my goal for 2012 will be to find things to do that will help me lose inches from my waist even if I wind up a bit lighter than I'd like or have to find more time to exercise than I have now. (Or I may have to have surgery on my arm and hope it does more good than harm and heals right.)

How did I do on my second goal?

Not at all well.

It was a financial goal. Why? Because I did NOT have a list of things to do and could start doing that I had time and money to do. There were those that I could do with more time and money. But with a bit more time and money going into my first goal, that was even less likely.

There are three pieces of good news though. That goal involved making money online by helping people lose fat and keep it off.

So, by proving that my methods worked by using them on myself, my first goal and achieving it actually WAS the more important of the two.

Two, I did make progress on having more money another way by starting a souce of income that enabled me to apply for a credit card since I now had the money to pay the payments on it. And, just last month, they actually increased my credit limit. (I used the card each month and then paid a payment that paid that back the next month and did this for several months in a row.) That credit increase will enable me to actually do at least one of three things that will get me started making money and by the end of 2011. I may well be able to do two more or even three.

So those taking as many of those steps as I can in 2011 is my main goal for next year.

Since I have set on my schedule how to achieve the first of these three things by early February, I actually have a shot at doing all three of them.

Three, I did find and successfully take a preliminary action that I learned something from I can use later. (This goal was in the 25% where I did at least make some progress.)

Now, how about you? What goals or resolutions are important to you where you can list things that will achieve them that you can do and will do and will start doing?

You only need one or two goals on that list. But if you can do it, it's well worth it. A year from now you'll be glad you did.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How to get the power of exercise into your life....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-28-2010

Regular vigorous exercise has so many profound health benefits it rivals ten wonder drugs none of which has many side effects.

Such exercise prevents or even can help reverse mental decline, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more. It slows aging by quite a bit. Both men and women who exercise have better sex lives. And, such regular exercise also relieves stress and often helps turn off or prevent depression. It also is a key to losing excess fat without too much hunger and then keeping it off permanently.

But, how to get into it if you haven’t been exercising?

It helps to start easy and then gradually make progress for months and months until you arrive at being strong and fit.

Dr Al Sears and others have also found it saves time and is safer to exercise in bursts of effort with easier exercise or rests in between instead of overdoing an unrelenting and long hard effort. This also gets you fit faster than other methods. This fits well with strength training and interval cardio.

Yesterday, had this story, “Best Fitness Routines Fit Your Personality, Studies Show”

1. One trait that helps people take up regular exercise and succeed with it is called, “conscientiousness” in the article.

Some people are already reliable and work well on a regular basis with following a schedule. This skill helps people to succeed with regular exercise to such an extent, it’s worth learning if only for your exercise routine.

“Conscientiousness is strongly related to taking up physical activity in general," said Martin Hagger, a research psychologist at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.”

Regardless of what kind of exercise fits you best, scheduling when you’ll do each kind and writing down what you do each time you do it, has been shown to help people succeed in getting into exercise and keeping it up.

You can use a paper form you make up or better yet a logbook that lists the date and what you did. You get control and feedback from your record. I find it helps to use a kind of short hand and to do the exercises in the same order. Then in between exercises, I get a few seconds of recovery time before the next exercise when I jot down that I did that exercise. You can also keep a log on your computer. I personally like the logbook as I don’t need to spend time getting the computer on. So, I can just open the logbook and begin my exercises.

2. Doing some exercises first thing each morning, particularly if you can do them at home makes it much easier to fit exercise into your life before the demands of the day side track you. In fact, doing this doubles your chance of success just like keeping a schedule for your exercises and some kind of written log does.

3. Everything else can be customized to you.

It’s worth doing some kind of strength training and interval cardio each week, ideally in the morning, as a kind of foundation.

a) Then you can add almost anything you like to that. Yoga, taking walks, tai chi, dancing, playing basketball at the gym, etc.

b) But if you are just getting into exercise and have never really done it before, it can help to have some kind of intro you can use.:

You can hire a personal trainer you meet at a gym or who comes to your house.

You can go to a group class at a Gym. Some workplaces even have a lunch time program you can go to.

You can join a specialty gym like Curves for women where they teach circuit training and provide the equipment.

You can take an evening class in strength training at your local community college.

Some gyms will show you how to do the exercises and give you a starter routine when you join.

You can take an aerobic dancing class. You can join a square dancing group.

You can even now buy fitness apps for your iPhone.

Today's San Francisco Chronicle had a story in their technology section they titled, "Smart-phone fitness apps for a healthy new year."

For example, Nike recently released Nike Training Club which now offers more than 60 workouts & 90 drills for a variety of fitness levels.

A beginner's workout may include a light jog and some modified push-ups; advanced level workouts include jump rope, push-ups and more & there are videos of women performing the exercises correctly help you learn and do the keep correct form as you do the exercises.

There is also an app with step by step coaching by a Terminator sounding robot voice in the app Workout Trainer, by the online fitness-tracking company Skimble.

There are 882 health care and fitness titles in Apple's App Store at the moment. And, a large number of those are fitness and exercise apps.

Dr Al Sears teaches a time efficient method of interval cardio and has a video showing one version. But you can apply his system to almost any kind of exercise from walking to jump rope, which I currently do. See .

I initially went to the gym at my local YMCA in high school where I learned and did some strength training exercises. But I kept trying too hard to improve too fast instead of simply going every week and gradually making progress as I was easily able to do. Then, in College, a good friend of mine who had joined a local powerlifting group at the YMCA there invited me along. That kept me going because I went to hang out with my friends and the people I met in that group even on days I didn’t otherwise feel like going. Of course when I kept going for months and months, I eventually got much stronger and was able to lift decent weights in some of the exercises.

I kept records then to keep track of my best sessions. Now, I can exercise at home or in a gym and from my own list of exercises and on my own. But that first time, the social group keeping me going until I learned that was the key to making progress got me started.

What can you do? Try a couple of things. At first, you can even try just one thing. Keep doing the ones that work for you and try other things if the first ones don’t work.

What ever you try, keep records as you do the exercises. Try to do some parts of your exercises first thing in the day. Do some things on your own. Try some kind of group with other people you see regularly to see if that helps you.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Ideas for when friends & family are too fat....

Today's Post: Monday, 12-27-2010

Earlier today I read today’s Dear Abby column.

A man who was from the United States had been living in another part of the world where people were less fat.

When he came back, he noticed people here in the United States were much fatter than the people he had just left.

Then, when he went to a family gathering he noticed that almost everyone was fatter – even if they had been slim when he left.

According to his letter, when he just said something to his sister about what he noticed, she got so angry with him, she told people in the rest of the family to avoid him as having “no manners.” He also said that he thought that this increase in fatness was because of a “lazy attitude” about exercise & calories.

She also decided to not invite him to her son’s wedding from fear he would alienate her in-laws.

The key part of Dear Abby’s answer was that being too fat HAS become “an epidemic in this country. ” But “the reasons for it are more complicated than a lazy attitude.”

She also thought they he was leaving out part of the story that might help explain the reaction of his sister.

She suggested that when his sister was offended by what he said, he’d have likely done better to apologize.

Then she said, “People who have weight issues know they are fat. They don't need to debate it. And they don't need you to remind them or imply they are lazy.”

I see three issues here that make sense to look at that this letter and answer highlight very well.

1. This man has seen a real problem that much more should be done to solve.

2. There is a reason it looked even worse to him that it should have.

3. He clearly had very poor social skills and himself had a bad attitude that got him in trouble even more than the topic. But he is correct that is a topic that should be spoken about.

But how could he have or can you raise the issue without angering people and alienating them? The Dear Abby answer had some hints; but was not explicit on ways to do it differently. (This is mostly because her space for her answers is so limited. But there are answers we can give you.)

1. The people in his family who have become a bit too overweight or clearly fat when they weren’t before will likely have shorter, sicker lives and will cost the medical system far more money over the next 20 years than they would have had they not “gotten fatter.” So they would have better lives and our economy would be far better if things improved. So he WAS correct that the topic is important. And, hopefully you can talk about important things with your family.

2. As people get older, their metabolism slows down. And as they progress in their jobs, they are more likely to do all of them or more of them sitting down doing some kind of knowledge based work instead of manual labor.

So, unless they do something active to avoid it, even if they don’t do worse things or bad things to begin with, they will tend to get fatter and gain weight.

If he had known that, he would have realized that their gaining some fat and weight was unsurprising. And, they looked even more extra fat than he remembered just because they lived here and were older and did better work.

3. I just read a brief interview with Oprah Winfrey who gave a very clear explanation that people want to be noticed and liked and thought important. And, it’s a very, very strong motivation.

It sounds as if despite his accurate view of how much fatter the people in his family had become (and the other people he saw) and were compared to where he had just been, he hadn’t a clue about how critical it is to treat people as if you notice positive things about them and like them and are interested in them.

And, he sounds like he hadn’t learned to put a priority on that with family he hadn’t seen for quite some time.

Compare, “It’s great to see you after so long. What’s new with you?”

Then showing you are pleased if they have been doing well and support them and wish it were otherwise if they have problems giving them pain.

Only then, and only if there is still time for it, would it make sense to say, “People here seem so much fatter than when I left and fatter than the people I’ve been living with. "Why do you think that is?" &/or "What do you think can be done about it?"

And, unless you have knowledge of the real causes and solutions of obesity and experience helping people use them, it might make sense to leave their personal situation alone unless they bring it up or their problem they spoke of is a health problem that fat loss would help.

And, even then, a question like, “Have you tried anything to lose fat?” Is MUCH better than suggesting they are “lazy” for NOT doing something.

ONLY if they say, they wish there was something they could do to fix it or they wish they could be more effective at fixing it, is it safe really to suggest something for them to do!

Two things that might help you could use if you did get to that place are:

For people who have internet access and read well and are health oriented, suggest they read this blog.

And, for everyone, it’s now a great idea to suggest Weight Watchers: “Weight Watchers was pretty effective before. Did you know they just upgraded their program to be more effective and easier to use?” (They just fixed the two problems they did have of being a bit too strict for people to stay with long enough to do the job and not health oriented enough with their new “PointsPlus” system.)

Compare that with, “I can’t believe how fat you all have gotten. Are you too lazy to exercise and eat better?” as the first thing he said to them – as it may have been.

So, the part of her answer when she said, "they don't need you to.... imply they are lazy." was clearly right on the mark.

It IS far more complicated than that.

But one of the things she said is a part of the problem.:

“People who have weight issues know they are fat. They don't need to debate it. And they don't need you to remind them…..”

There are many people who “know they are fat”, particularly women. But many people really don’t know they are fat, particularly men, and people who live where everyone else is too fat also.

But even then, those who are fat, don’t know how important it is to reverse or have a clue on how they can do it and still have their life work.

So he saw what was happening correctly and realized it’s an important topic. But he really messed up with how he presented it.

Despite its brevity, I think Dear Abby’s answer was close to the mark.

I wanted you to have an easier to use and much safer way to introduce this topic if you are in similar circumstances.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hexavalent Chromium can be Removed by Reverse Osmosis Systems....

Today's Post: Thursday, 12-23-2010

Earlier this week there was a story that 31 cities in the United States tested as having hexavalent chromium in their drinking water at levels higher than the standard used in California to make an effort to stay under for health reasons.

But there’s two pieces of good news.

1. Actual animal testing found no short term health problems at a much higher level. In fact, only one city of the 31 had levels had levels higher than that.

If my memory serves, that level was 2 ppb. And, the scary problems were in locations over 400 ppb.

So that’s moderately re-assuring in that most people are not being quickly poisoned by the levels found by the study.

2. But, if you’re like me, you have these two questions:

a) My city or location wasn’t on that list. And the worst city had nearly 14 ppb which does look problematic. (Norman, Oklahoma tested at 13.9 ppb.)

And, even if my city tested lower, the water to my home or yours might pass through an area that manages to add some hexavalent chromium because the pipe goes through a pool of very contaminated water.

So, what if the water I drink could be that high or higher? (I haven’t the time, money, or expertise to hire that test done using tap water from my home.)


b) What if lifetime exposure can cause cancer at much lower levels than 2 ppb?

That’s where the best news comes in.

Apparently using an in home reverse osmosis filter or purifier removes 13 14ths of the hexavalent chromium in the incoming water. That would lower a 14 ppb level to a MUCH safer 1 ppb. And, if the water is really polluted at 420 ppb, it would reduce it to a less deadly 30 ppb.

Such purifiers usually also have a pre-filter which removes particulates and some other contaminants to extend the life of the reverse osmosis filter or purifier.

That means that water going through those systems will protect you from hexavalent chromium in the incoming water.

And, between the two kinds of filtration, most other kinds of pollutants will be removed as well.

(That may also include the prescription drugs other studies found in tap water.)

Plus in many locations, the water will then have no taste since many of the things causing bad tastes and smell are removed. So it is more drinkable by itself and won’t spoil the flavor of tea, coffee, or cooked foods it is added to.

Lowe’s stores, in their plumbing department, sell a Whirlpool unit that has its own faucet for only the purified water that installs under your kitchen sink. It has the pre-filter and an indicator light when the pre-filter needs to be changed or have a new filter put in.

Model WHED 20 has this & model WHER25 may have it. These run between $147 on sale to about $160.

It takes a skilled plumber about an hour or and hour and a half to install. So, since their rates run from $150 to $250, it can run from $150 to $375 to install.

So, installed, it runs about $300 to $600. But that may be a good deal for two reasons.

1. We buy 8 gallons of bottled water a week for water that is a bit better and tastes MUCH better than our tap water.

BUT, that costs about $458 per year just to buy the containers of water at the store. So, just on that alone, buying one and having it installed will repay the cost the very first year from bottled water you no longer have to buy each week.

2. Bottled water is filtered enough to remove some pollutants, certainly enough to make it taste better. But the home systems not only remove those, they do not release chemicals from the plastics in the bottles into your drinking water.

This kind of home system removes hexavalent chromium. Do the bottled water companies remove this? And, if they don’t, would they tell you?

Bottled water also uses oil to make the plastic containers. And, it takes time and effort to bring them home from the store and take them out in the recycling when they are empty. So switching to an in home system cuts down on using oil and on the costs to recycle the containers.

So, the bottom line is it may pay you to get such an at home system and, if necessary, put it on your credit card. (The $38 a month saved will clearly cover the payments!)

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some fatloss boosting methods that may work....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-21-2010

All such extra strategies work best in people who are following the basics of:

a) no soft drinks or packaged snacks or commercial desserts, limited use of sugar otherwise, and virtually no foods made from refined grains, no MSG, and little or no use of artificial sweeteners;

b) lots of nonstarchy vegetables and health OK protein foods and some health OK fats and oils and whole fruit;

c) some kind of quite moderate but extremely consistent calorie reduction in addition;

d) and abundant regular exercise most days of every week -- including vigorous exercises such as strength training and interval cardio -- and more moderate exercises such as walking in addition.

If you don’t do those, the extras are likely not enough to do much. But some of them may boost your results from following the basics by 5 to 20 %.

Today’s post has some of these extras that may work for most people or may work for you.

Yesterday I spoke of a possible new strategy to add that is said to help lose belly fat. It’s inexpensive enough I can do it for a month or two to see if it actually helps.

I decided to list it today long with three other methods.

The last method listed is not yet available but is clearly a potential blockbuster! The other strategies are readily available currently.

1. In one study, people who were working to lose fat who added 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar daily lost more fat as shown by weight loss AND they lost more inches off their belly fat.

Vinegar is relatively cheap & it’s not that hard to just take like a supplement.

But what may work best is to add it to just a bit of extra virgin olive oil in a salad with green and other nonstarchy vegetables such as diced onion and tomatoes.

So my plan is to try this for two months to see if in my case, it seems to help me lose my loss resistant belly fat.

2. Some people have trouble doing the things that help them lose fat because they are mildly depressed or they find they get hungrier for sweets than they should. One thing that may help such people lose more fat and take action more consistently is to take 50 mg of 5htp before meals &/or at bedtime according to one study I read. (It is a precursor to the calmness and feel mellow compound serotonin. Taking it some studies found increased fat loss and belly fat loss. Wikipedia’s article said that it did test as helping mild depression. It’s certainly a much safer and cheaper solution to taking antidepressant drugs to boost your serotonin levels.)

I don’t have the problems it is said to help and, not surprisingly, I found it to have little effect when I tried it. But if you have the problems it helps, it may help your fat loss.

3. Coconut oil’s “saturated” fat is actually made up of medium chain triglycerides and is said to be burned directly by your body instead of going into storage and to increase your metabolism.

Coconut also is stable in cooking at higher heat. This may mean that some kinds of baking with coconut oil instead of butter may help you lose fat.

Apparently people who eat it or cook with it a few times a week are leaner than people who don’t.

Extra virgin olive oil has the best track record of increasing your heart health and overall health. But it doesn’t work for baking pie crusts very well. And, using coconut oil or shredded coconut or coconut milk – which both have the oil – for a different taste and some variety may actually help boost fat loss.

We once tried a recipe that used diced, skinless chicken breasts with diced ginger root that was peeled and minced garlic that was all simmered in coconut milk.

That was unusually good.

Chilled coconut milk would also work as a substitute for cream in coffee.

Lastly, coconut oil is strongly anti-viral and also anti-fungal. So it may help get rid of things like cold sores and colds. And both eating it and applying it topically may help get rid of rashes and fungus infections of your skin.

4. The last method is not yet available and with good reason. It has not yet been worked out how best to use it or if it is safe to use.

But it’s a potential blockbuster!

Today in several news sources was a story about a study that said that injecting a protein called BMP-7 into deposits of white fat caused the white fat cells to become brown fat cells. Because brown fat increases metabolism and directly burns calories instead of just storing them, this would be a great extra help in losing excess fat.

Since this research was done in mice and not yet in people or even other primates, it may not be effective in people OR it may work but not be safe to use for some reason.

It seems that mice that became obese or really fat easily had little brown fat while mice with more brown fat were seldom obese and were much leaner even when eating similarly. So this could be a huge breakthrough.

My guess is that it will work and be safe to use in people when tested.

If so, it would be a dramatic improvement over stomach reduction surgery of various kinds.

Those things prevent you from having a normal life once they are done. Worse, they have a significant death rate in people who get them and rate of nonfatal but obnoxious complications.

The part that appeals to me most is that it may be possible to do as I’ve done and lose fat all over but little off my belly fat and then get a few shots into your excess belly fat which causes it to gradually disappear!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

My personal, monthly, progress report on my fatloss....

Today's Post: Monday, 12-20-2010

Last month, I reported that I lost 2 pounds where I’d gained one and a half pounds the month before that

1. The past month I again gained 3 pounds of weight and added back the quarter inch on my waist again.

2. Thanksgiving and two restaurant, holiday dinners where I drank a bit extra and ate a bit extra despite doing a decent job of eating health OK and relatively non-fattening choices otherwise definitely caused the re-gain.

The good news is that by maintaining my other fatloss food efforts and exercise is that it was NOT worse than that. Also note that I’m now at my original goal weight for this month since I was down to 3 pounds under that the previous month.

3. My left arm injury that has prevented my progress in increasing my calories burned each week and pounds of muscle added got slightly better last month.

And, I may have found an inexpensive way to speed its healing. (There are 3 other ways to speed such healing; but taking anabolic steroids is NOT a good method to use generally & I can’t yet afford either of the other two.

But, it still feels like something is loose now that wasn’t before, so this may be more than a simple case of bad muscle or tendon strain that will heal eventually.

(I want to be sure I’ve not injured my left arm in a way that needs surgical correction before I assume that it will just get better if I wait long enough.)

My plan to see one of the sports medicine doctors in our local area to check this is not doable.

One very well known local medical group advertised having a sports medicine group. But, when I called them, they turned out to have no such thing available to anyone not in one of their local sports teams. Talk about false advertising!

The local medical group that does have sports medicine wanted three times what I can afford just to do a first appointment. That won’t work!

The good news is that a local and experienced physical therapist who may well know some good information on evaluating and rehabbing my arm is just affordable. So I plan to try that.

4. I know that simply continuing my other fat loss methods will re-lose the 3 pounds if I simply continue them as I plan to do. It may take two months. But I’ve found they do work reliably when I follow them as I have been but don’t add extra food and alcoholic drinks as often.

For sure doing that will stop further weight gain once the holidays are done.

Also, earlier today, I did find a possible new strategy to add that is said to help lose belly fat. It’s inexpensive enough I can do it for a month or two to see if it actually helps. That one I’ll judge by my waist measurement and my weight loss to some degree. If I lose just a bit on both, it may not be effective since that’s what I think I’d do without it. But if I lose what looks to be an extra half inch off my waist, that will be very good news indeed & I’ll clearly continue it.

5. The bad news is that my plan to lose fat by adding muscle is still a bit stalled by my left arm injury and my priority goal for 2011 is financial. So, between the two things I may not be able to try quite as many things in 2011 as I’d prefer.

The good news is that if my financial goal works, I may be able to do a great deal more in 2012 on my fat loss plan.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Doctor recommends statins when they actually would be a dreadful idea....

Today's Post: Friday, 12-17-2010

Someone I know has a low, borderline case of type II diabetes.

She has HBA1C readings of 6.2 to 6.5 and fasting glucose readings usually about 119 to 140.

(HBA1C is the more accurate reading of average blood sugar so is more predictive and useful to know of these two readings. Her HBA1C reading is about 10% lower than where real trouble starts, 7.0 and up -- but 10% higher than the desirable range, 5.8 and under.)

She also has total cholesterol of 192, HDL of 67, triglycerides of 100, and LDL of 105.

Her doctor suggested she might do well to consider taking statin drugs.

That’s actually a dreadful recommendation. It’s clearly NOT indicated for such readings.

Worse, there IS a recommendation that IS needed for such readings that the doctor did not know to make and did not make.

As some of my readers know, there are a number of heart health indicators for which you can get your blood tested.

1. And, three of the most important are triglycerides, HDL, and the ratio between them.

That’s because some research done, I think at Harvard, found that this ratio is an inexpensive but quite accurate way to test for the small particle LDL that is actually the heart damaging and heart disease creating kind of cholesterol. (Small particle LDL is just small enough it literally fits into the chinks in your artery walls. So it’s like pouring sand into an engine to have a lot of it in your blood –NOT good!)

2. It’s also important to have normal blood sugar that tests as 5.9 or less on the HBA1C test and to usually test at 119 or below on fasting glucose. (Desirable readings are 5.7 and less and 99 or less on fasting glucose.)

Excessively high glucose readings cause microscopic damage to your capillaries and blood vessel walls. This can and has caused foot amputation and blindness. But heart disease is caused by your body depositing plaque to put patches on such damage to too large a degree. High glucose or blood sugar has just this effect. The direct damage to the blood vessels and capillaries feeding the heart also weaken it.

3. Having total cholesterol be under 240 is desirable; but the reason for that is that such readings are found most often when your LDL is over 160. Some LDL is relatively harmless since it rolls over the surface of your blood vessels like a beach balls or tumbleweeds. But LDL readings of 160 and up or to some degree 130 and up suggest that the amount of the dangerous small particle LDL is high also. So it’s likely that LDL readings of well under 129 are desirable. LDL readings of 109 or less or even 99 or less may be more desirable.

But, notice that total cholesterol and LDL are SECONDARY indicators.

Yes. Lower readings tend to be better; and very high is NOT good. But the triglyceride to HDL ratio and the blood glucose measures are the far more directly accurate measures of heart disease and blood vessel disease risk.

So, THOSE are the ones to focus most on improving if they are not good.

For HDL the minimum OK level for women is 45 or more; but the desirable range is 60 or more.

For triglycerides, one source suggests under 199 is OK. But I very strongly suspect that 149 or less is more accurate. And, 100 or less is desirable.

So, if a woman has an HDL reading of 200 and an LDL reading of 40, the ratio is 5 to one! Women with such readings are likely currently developing worsening levels of cardiovascular and heart disease. This ratio and ratios worse than this are very high risk for stroke and heart attacks and other circulatory problems!

Conversely, a woman with an HDL reading of 67 and triglycerides of 100 is at low direct risk for heart disease. The ratio is a bit less than 1.5 to one.

Statins do prevent some heart attacks. But for every 100 people who take them, they only prevent 3 heart attacks on the average. Meanwhile they cause a much larger fraction of the people who take them to have much less energy and get tired easily. For every 100 people who take statins about 3 get cataracts that would not have gotten them otherwise. And some people who take statins develop serious memory loss and/or muscle damage.

Further, the Berkeley Heart Lab research has found of the very detailed groups of people their technology allows them to type genetically for style of heart attack risk and what interventions are most protective for each type, only ONE is truly helped most by statins. ALL the others do far better taking niacin instead!

So, for the drug companies to sell the idea that everyone with any kind of heart disease risk at all should take statins is so incorrect as to seem unethical to me!

And, THAT’s for people at high risk!

For people at low risk based on the LDL measure and the HDL triglyceride ratio, it is most definitely NOT indicated!

So, the for a woman with an HDL reading of 67 and triglycerides of 100 is at low direct risk for heart disease by that measure and an LDL reading of 105, again with a directly indicated risk that is low, statins are clearly a very poor choice. The very tiny upside is dwarfed by the cost to take the statins alone. When you add in all the side effects from taking the statin drugs that are likely or possible, it becomes a horribly bad idea.

But there’s even more! It seems that taking statins tend to increase blood insulin levels, insulin resistance, and increase blood sugar levels. To be sure, that research is very little known! But it means that taking statins is actually contraindicated in this case! It’s a truly dreadful idea. It would likely make this woman’s real problem and heart risks worse!

However, an HBA1C reading of 6.5 is a yellow light and fasting glucose of 140 is a red light. So, a woman who wants to stay off drugs but lower her heart disease risk should focus her efforts on doing more and better of the things that improve those readings.

Vigorous exercise whether calisthenics done fast, strength training where the exercises take some real effort to do by the end, or interval cardio where the intense parts of the intervals have been gradually built up to take some real effort to do have been demonstrated to lower HBA1C even when done in a few bursts of two minutes or less a few times on most days.

So, a recommendation to do such exercises several times each week AND to keep a daily log that can be reviewed and to help insure they are actually done most days of most weeks IS indicated.

Statins are not.

In fact, that kind of exercise has also been shown to be far more directly heart protective than statins because it also directly lowers the dangerous small particle LDL in the people who do it!

This doctor apparently only knew that high blood sugar increased heart disease risk and that statins might lower such risks.

In this case, I think this is a very poor and inaccurate recommendation. It’s far more likely to do harm if followed than to produce a benefit.

As we’ve described, there are some people where statins are a good idea. But for most people they are not.

The only good news in this is that there are some things that do help most people that we have described in other posts.

For example, Niacin is potent enough that it’s best used in moderation and amounts of 1,000 mg a day or a bit less in divided doses. Levels higher than that sometimes cause liver problems and should only be used by people at very high risk who are having their liver functions regularly checked by their doctor.

But for people with bad heart health indicators it’s a far better choice than statins. And, for people with moderately elevated blood sugar, vigorous exercise every week and an almost exclusively low glycemic diet with no refined grains and few sugars does far more good than statin drugs.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Enough Exercise helps to prevent fat & weight gain....

Today's Post: Thursday, 12-16-2010

We already know that people who lose fat and the weight that goes with it who keep it all off get abundant regular exercise each week.

They can eat more so they can stay trim without excessive hunger because of the extra calories they use doing this. They lose fat instead of muscle in the first place. And, they can even have occasionally fattening treats and get away with it if they don’t happen too often. Plus they feel better and have far better health.

It also helps if they get abundant exercise most days of the week. And, it helps if they do both strength training and interval cardio each week.

But, there is another application to this it turns out.

Yesterday on several health news sites a study was featured that found that people, particularly women, who get 150 minutes a week of exercise or more gain far less fat and weight as “middle-age spread’ over time as they get older.

This study was published Tuesday, 12-14, in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The lead researcher was Dr. Arlene L. Hankinson, of Northwestern University in Chicago.

The researchers tracked the 3554 people in their study for 20 years. They looked at a summary of physical activity for each person including the exercise they got and the physical activity they got in housework or hobbies and any they got on the job or commuting.

The men who consistently were most active or got the most regular exercise during the 20 years gained about 6 pounds less than men who exercised consistently too but who averaged much less each week. They also saw about an inch less increase of their waist measurement.

The women who were most active & got the most exercise each week did even better -- gaining more like 13 pounds less and an inch and a half less on their waist.

And among women, the most active gained 1.5 fewer inches around the middle and 13 fewer pounds.

Of course they found that only 46 % of the men were consistently active during the 20 years and only 42 % of the women were. And, the most active were less than that for each group.

The journal article may have those numbers but the coverage I saw did not.

Note that if you exercise on most days and do strength training or interval cardio, you can get the total exercise their most active group got in sessions as short as 5 to 20 minutes.

Also note that if you start with 5 minute sessions and gradually do more exercise at each time, it’s far easier to begin than trying right away to do sessions of half an hour or more.

And, you can mix and match doing half an hour on a couple days when you have the time and 5 or 10 minutes each time on the other days.

It also helps a great deal to have exercises you can do at home and to do all or most of your exercises first thing each morning.

(Even I -- as someone who believes strongly in exercise --experience this effect. I do 5 to 30 minute sessions on weekdays mornings and on Sunday mornings and a bit longer one on Saturday morning. I hardly ever miss one. Recently to help my fat loss program I added a session of a bit more than 10 minutes just two evenings a week between when I get home and have dinner. I find I wind up having to skip those sessions about a fourth of the time. We get delayed getting home and by then I’m too tired or hungry to want wait on my dinner or there is a special event I go to instead.) In addition separate studies have found that two thirds of morning exercisers keep doing it while only one third of evening exercisers do because of this effect.

Lastly, you get far more health benefits besides less fat gain from continuing to do regular exercise which actually increase the more years you do the exercise a recent study found.

This turns out to be particularly important for heart health and keeping your brain full sized and working well! (Exercise sharply improves circulation and blood sugar levels and grows new brain cells we now know.)

Regular exercisers get far more benefits than just staying less fat!

So, if you want to increase your years that you are healthy -- or to be less fat, regular exercise will help you far more than most people know.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How & why to protect yourself from tobacco smoke....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-14-2010

A few days ago, The US Surgeon General issued a new report on smoking which gave details of the truly horrible impact of smoking and second hand smoke on people.

This report gives an official endorsement and some research details for why exposure to tobacco smoke is so harmful.

Most smokers have no clue. They know some smokers get cancer after many years of smoking. So, they mostly think they will be a smoker who doesn’t get cancer or if they do it will be years and years from now. Then they don’t quit.

If they knew they for sure they are already being harmed and more likely to die suddenly from every exposure to tobacco smoke, which they are, they would find quitting a good deal easier to do and be a good bit more motivated to try.

This report does a good job of highlighting that every exposure to tobacco smoke is immediately harmful and adds that it is the sharp increase of blood clotting factors exposure to tobacco smoke causes that triggers heart attacks that people could otherwise have avoided.

They also state that smoking’s total cost in negative impacts on health care costs and lost or reduced productivity at work is $193 billion a year.

These have been themes in this blog off and on for a long time.

For example, yesterday’s post was on upgraded guidelines for protecting your heart.

Here’s the section from yesterday’s post on why to include staying away from tobacco smoke is a huge part of protecting your heart successfully.:

Cancer from smoking and second hand smoke can be deadly and they cause 30 to 33 % of all cancers! But that, believe it or not is the LITTLE problem from smoking and second hand smoke.

They directly cause heart disease in EVERYONE exposed to them and do some damage EVERY time people are exposed to them. Worse, the pro-clotting effects the have recently have been found to trigger heart attacks in people who would otherwise have escaped them.

This too is as important as eating right.

1. So, if you smoke quit.

Knowing the BIG reason why to quit and how certain it is to be harming you with every single puff, makes it much easier to quit.

Believe it or not, beginning an easy, brief, and moderate exercise routine that you do a few times a week or continuing what you have been doing makes quitting twice as likely to work.

It gives you something positive to do instead and helps to lower stress and depression. So starting exercise and NOT smoking at the same time actually works better than just stopping smoking by itself. It also may help increase your circulation enough to clear nicotine and other poisons out of your system faster, so you feel better and healthier sooner.

If the side effects of withdrawal are no fun, try a nicotine replacement; and then once that cuts the side effects, gradually decrease it until you no longer need it. These are now available over the counter.

Zyban, also known as Wellbutrin also works to cut side effects from smoking withdrawal; but I recently found out has a very high amount of its own side effects. So, you might want to hold that in reserve and then have your doctor prescribe it if you need more than the nicotine replacement.

2. What if you don’t smoke and already stay away from tobacco smoke and businesses that allow it in their facilities?

You can help stop this problem too!

If every state and the United States itself were to add an extra and new dollar a pack tax on cigarettes and a comparable jump in taxes on other forms of tobacco, it might cut tobacco use about in half.

More people would quit. Fewer young people would start. And, the people who keep smoking would smoke less.

This would help the cash shortfalls in every state during the recession. It would help reduce the deficit for the United States.

And, it would boost the economy of every state and the United States! This is something badly needed now.

The money not spent on smoking would be spent on things that increase jobs in other parts of the economy.

But best of all, it would save the drain of half of $193 billion a year, $96.5 billion a year of the money that smoking now wastes!

Every part of that would boost our economy.

And, it would cut your exposure to second hand smoke in half and make it easier for you to avoid!

So, write your elected representatives to pass such a tax.

That has the added advantage of helping them not increase income tax and sales tax or cutting programs people want continued.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Upgraded heart protection guidelines....

Today's Post: Monday, 12-13-2010

A few days ago, Health Day News had an online article that listed suggestions on how to protect your heart and prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

They said that eating a “heart-healthy diet can help keep blood vessels clear of plaque, and help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.”

They then listed these guidelines from

I list those here but also list my upgrades just below their initial point.

1. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.

This does work. But this guideline is stated in too weak a form and too general.

It’s actually one of the most effective guidelines on this list!

But it’s much more useful to know why and how much of these foods to eat each day!

Fruit and nonstarchy vegetables contain natural vitamin C which is strongly heart protective.

Organic berries have other antioxidants and eating them tends to increase your HDL cholesterol.

Apples and beans and lentils and other fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber and sterols which lower LDL cholesterol.

Eating 3 to 5 servings a day of nonstarchy vegetables makes it easy to NOT eat foods with more calories and less nutrition. Yet you aren’t hungry because they are filling yet they have very few calories. So people who do this are virtually always less fat. And people trying to lose excess fat who gradually build up to doing this and keep doing it are much more likely to lose excess fat weight and keep it off.

This makes virtually all your heart risk markers improve. Your LDL and triglycerides will be lower and your HDL higher. Your blood sugar will be lower or less likely to get too high. Keeping your blood sugar low prevents the blood vessel damage that worsens heart disease from type 2 diabetes.

Lastly, if you eat 3 to 5 servings a day of nonstarchy vegetables, a serving of whole fresh fruit, and a single glass of fruit or vegetable juice once a day AND avoid overdoing salt, your blood pressure will be lower. This is the basis of the proven effective DASH 2 diet. Both fruits and vegetables are high in potassium and have little if any sodium AND people who do this are less fat. These two effects lower blood pressure if it’s high and prevent it from getting high if it’s normal. This is also heart protective.

2. Making at least half of your daily grain consumption whole grains. These may include whole-grain barley, brown rice, whole-grain corn and oatmeal.

Oops! This is seriously incorrect.

It is dramatically more heart protective to eat NO -- or almost no -- foods at all that contain refined grains. If you’ve been eating them, continuing to eat half of them is bad for your heart because it also causes you to get fat and get high blood sugar.

Eating half as many grain foods or less and having them always be 100 % whole grains is better. Some people do even better if they cut back grains to 10 % as many and to only whole grains -- or to no grains at all and eating beans and lentils and vegetables instead.

3. Eating low-fat dairy foods, such as yogurt, cheese and milk. The studies of the DASH 2 diet show this does help. And, it helps even more when the dairy foods come from grain fed cattle instead of those fed only grass and their native foods. The omega 6 oils you avoid help prevent inflammation which helps cause both cancer and heart disease.

4. Eat lots of nuts and dry beans, lean meat, fish and poultry without the skin.

This too is an excellent idea but includes too little information to be used correctly.

Raw nuts and dry roasted nuts are extremely heart health sources of both health OK protein and heart protective oils. For those who are not allergic to them who eat such nuts, their fiber and sterols lowers LDL cholesterol; eating them increases HDL; and they are zero on glycemic index so they make you feel full with no boost at all to your blood sugar.

But, some people are allergic to tree nuts. And nuts that have been coated with junk oils and or salt, are NOT good for you and should be avoided.

Soaking and cooking dry beans and lentils and then eating them is a very inexpensive way to get antioxidants, health OK protein, and an excellent way to get enough soluble fiber to sharply reduce your LDL cholesterol.

Eating fish is extremely good for you, particularly those high in omega 3 oils. Omega 3 oils lower inflammation which is heart protective. Eating them lowers the dangerous triglycerides in your blood. And, their protein allows you to NOT eat fatty meat and full fat dairy from grain fed animals which have too much omega 6 oils and saturated fat but still get enough protein.

But farmed fish are so polluted that they are simply NOT safe to eat. And some fish such eating tuna too often or swordfish at all, are dangerously high in mercury. And, some people are allergic to fish. Stick to wild caught fish that are from kinds not high in mercury and include more kinds that are high in omega 3 oils; and take purified omega 3 supplements.

Eating lean meat and poultry without the skin is particularly important when they have been fed grain instead of their natural diet. Their fat is too high in omega 6 oils and saturated fat. It also helps to not eat them often either.

5. Favor eating polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from vegetable oils, fish and nuts.

This one is, in part, dangerously wrong. It’s also partly very correct but not explained as to why.

Fish and nuts we already covered. Eating the right kinds are good for your heart and a good way to get protein and either monosaturated oils or the polyunsaturated omega 3 oils.

Extra virgin olive oil and its monosaturated fat also does NOT increase LDL or inflammation and increases LDL. People who eat it often have better health by far in many ways than people who do not.

The part that is dangerously wrong and proven wrong is left over from when this was not yet known: Polyunsaturated vegetable oils of other kinds, such as saffola, corn, soy, and canola can lower LDL cholesterol compared with dairy and meat fat. But that’s not their unsafe effects. They also lower the protective HDL AND their excessive omega 6 oils actually help CAUSE heart disease and cancer. Yikes!

Do your heart a favor and stick to extra virgin olive oil, wild caught fish, nuts, and avocados. Even full fat dairy products or meat from animals fed only grass is better for your heart than these oils!

6. Avoid: saturated and trans fats, sodium (salt), cholesterol and added sugars.

If you eat foods from this list which reduce LDL cholesterol and completely avoid the oils high in omega 6, eating some saturated fats from animals fed only grass is less harmful than was once thought. Because grain fed animals have about twice as much saturated fat AND excessive omega 6 oils in their fat, saturate fat from them should be avoided close to 100%.

So, with saturated fat, it depends on the source and the rest of what you eat as to how much you should stress cutting back on it.

>>> Trans fats and all, in ANY amount, of hydrogenated oils, are something to completely and totally avoid. It’s quite literally heart attack starter. It increase the small particle LDL that causes heart disease in people unlucky enough to eat any. This is shown by increases in triglycerides and drops in HDL. To protect your heart, you want to do the reverse!

If a food has a label and that label shows any trans fats OR has any kind of hydrogenated oil as an ingredient, do NOT buy or eat any! (Unfortunately, this quite often includes commercially baked goods of all kinds and it includes pie crusts where shortening was used.)

If you eat right and exercise, your body can process occasional sugar treats. But eating ten time that much or more or getting the sweet taste from high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, tends to make people fat, get type 2 diabetes. Worse, we now know that it causes heart disease as well as eating trans fats does! (People who ingest that much get high triglycerides and low LDL which means they have lots of the small particle LDL that causes heart disease. Yet this is the current AVERAGE consumption!)

This one is HUGE to know and follow. It means: drinking no soft drinks – either regular or diet; eating or drinking no foods that contain high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners; and making foods with real sugar a few times a week or less treat and NOT a several times a DAY treat that is now the average.

Lastly, their list misses two whole categories that are as important in preventing heart disease as what you eat.

A. Getting regular vigorous exercise makes your blood vessels more flexible and the circulation to your heart better and tends to lower high blood pressure all day every day you do it.

It also directly protects your heart by lowering the amount of the dangerous small particle LDL in your blood that causes heart disease. Your HDL goes up and your triglycerides and LDL go down. Even better, the longer you keep doing it, the more effective it is and the better your readings get!

It also slows aging; grows new brain cells; and helps prevent or improve high blood sugar and obesity. Those things also help protect your heart.

It also allows you to be less than perfect at eating right. Without exercise, you have to be close to 100% perfect on eating right. But if you get abundant regular exercise on most days, you can be closer to 90 to 95% on what you eat and still be protected.

B. Cancer from smoking and second hand smoke can be deadly and they cause 30 to 33 % of all cancers! But that, believe it or not is the LITTLE problem from smoking and second hand smoke. They directly cause heart disease in EVERYONE exposed to them and do some damage EVERY time people are exposed to them. Worse, the pro-clotting effects the have recently have been found to trigger heart attacks in people who would otherwise have escaped them.

This too is as important as eating right.

So the guidelines are:

Eat right according to what we now know that is.

Get regular vigorous exercise, even if just for a few minutes, most days of the week.

And stay away totally from tobacco smoke.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Why taking vitamin D & curcumin together DOES prevent Alzheimer's disease....

Today's Post: Friday, 12-10-2010

Yesterday, Reuters had a story reporting research published in the journal Science recently that verified that normal brains and the brains of Alzheimer’s victims produce the same amount of beta amyloid protein.

The problem is that the people who get Alzheimer’s disease clear out beta amyloid at least 30% less efficiently and effectively. Over time, the beta amyloid then builds up to over 100 times the normal amount -- which then begins the damage that causes Alzheimer’s disease.

OK. What if there was an inexpensive and safe way to ensure that your brain does a good job of removing this stuff?

If you started soon enough, you wouldn’t get Alzheimer’s disease.

This DOES exist and you can begin to use it right away.

I’d heard that taking curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice, turmeric, that gives mustard and curries their yellow color and taking vitamin D3 together might do this job according to some research done at UCLA.

Also, taking curcumin and eating curried food may also prevent many cancers. (Doing both may be the most effective way to go. The other spices in curries apparently cause the curcumin to be more effective. But you can take the supplement curcumin everyday while you may only want to eat curried food a few times a week.)

Plus taking vitamin D3 has recently been found to have multiple health benefits including preventing about 40 % of flu people would get otherwise and keeping their bones strong, so I’ve been taking both for some time. (The evidence suggests you need to take 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 or more for best results.)

Today, I got some great news. Not only does taking D3 and curcumin work to make sure your brain removes the beta amyloid proteins from your brain, the UCLA research found out why this works!

Today, in the email I get from NHD, Natural Health Dossier, I got this information.:

Dr. Milan Fiala and his researchers at UCLA are doing some of the most important research in the field of Alzheimer's.

His earlier work also found that when the protein, beta amyloid accumulates in a person’s brain, plaque builds up over time. This gradually destroys mental function and causes Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Fiala was the first to show that curcumin can combat this. He found that the macrophages, the "cleanup crew" of the human immune system, normally remove abnormal and/or too much beta amyloid from brain cells.

He found that this didn’t happen or work at well if it did in Alzheimer's patients.

But, when he treated these macrophages with curcumin they did far better at beta amyloid removal -- but in only 50% of people with Alzheimer's.

Dr. Fiala and his team recently did a new study to see if adding vitamin D3 would make this work better and in everyone instead of only half of the people.

They found that curcumin helps bind the beta amyloid to the macrophages. AND taking Vitamin D3 increased absorption of the beta amyloid by the macrophages - & in all patients.

That enables the macrophages to remove the beta amyloid in the people who would have gotten Alzheimer’s disease just as they do in people who do not get Alzheimer’s disease.

There are other causes of mental decline and senility and many other ways to prevent them.

The two inclusive strategies that these other methods fit into are

1. Practice every part of the lifestyle that produces and keeps good health.

The most important one is to get regular moderate and vigorous exercise. This slows aging, keeps the circulation of blood and nutrients to your brain high enough to do the job, AND it specifically grows new brain cells.

Following the lifestyle that produces good heart health in other ways also ensures good blood circulation.

And, taking key nutrients and supplements that protect the brain in other ways also helps. DHA and other omega 3 oils and NOT taking in excessive omega 6 oils also tends to prevent mental decline.

So does taking extra folic acid, B6, & B12. The recent research suggests that the homocysteine this prevents from building up, may prevent your macrophages from becoming ineffective in the first place.

Taking extra of other B vitamins also helps. And, a supplement called PS, phosphatidyl serine also helps. So does taking the antioxidant alpha lipoic acid and eating organic blueberries.


2. Build so many functional interconnections in your brain that you can lose a great many of them without having the system go down.

Learn a new language or two. People who speak more than one language tend to die of something else before any Alzheimer’s symptoms show up.

Getting a lot of education and continuously learning new things has similar effects.

So does playing games of strategy such as bridge or chess.

And, because it improves your quality of life, lowers stress, and – researchers recently found – it causes your brain to work surprisingly hard, make it a point to have good conversations and socialize often – on most days of the week if you can manage it.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

You can avoid the flu even easier this year....

Today's Post: Thursday, 12-9-2010

In most years, the flu vaccine prevents about 60% or a bit more of cases of the flu – but just in the people who got it that year.

Breaking news: THIS year, there are beginning to be widespread cases of the flu. But guess what! It’s a caused by a B type virus strain that this year’s flu shot prevents! You can really avoid the flu well this year if you get the shot in time.

And there’s more. Two thirds of the people or a bit more who are under 65 still have not gotten a flu shot. (Most people over 65 have gotten a flu shot so the fraction of people under 65 who have not is OVER two thirds.)

This is also NOT a good year to do that. Possibly because they are old enough to have overcome similar viruses years ago, people over 65 hardly ever got the H1N1 flu. But it killed many young adults and children last year; and it is still around this year.

Meanwhile this year’s flu shot prevents and includes protection against the H1N1 flu.

Together these two facts mean that this year you have a better than average chance of getting no flu at all if you get a flu shot this year AND a greater chance of dying from the flu than in most years if you don’t.

And, it’s NOT too late to escape the flu. If you get the flu shot today or this week, in just a couple of weeks, you’ll be protected. You may be able to get one free through your medical coverage and many stores and drug stores have it available for less than $30.

And the flu season has over three months yet to go this year.

I have 5 other topics I’d like to post about today. But this one is so important, I decided to do it first!

Second, there are more other ways known to prevent the flu or minimize its effect if you get it than we knew about in past years.

The shot may prevent 90% of flu cases this year. But even if you got the shot, why not cut your risk by more than half and get over 95% combined protection?

Take over 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3. In addition to being less likely to get depressed and having stronger bones and much more, you can cut your remaining risk of getting the flu by a bit over 40% from that alone according to a study I saw earlier this week. (Having kids take at least 1200 iu of vitamin D3 a day has the same effect for them.)

Consider taking a daily probiotic and two or three capsules a day of the herb astragalus. Research has found people who take either, let alone both, have much stronger and effective immune systems and get fewer colds and cases of the flu. (Astragalus also has been found to prevent some cancers. Nature’s Way makes an Astragalus supplement that has the capsules which I believe is both effective and free of impurities.)

The information on probiotics has been known for a while. And, it seems, so has the information on Astragalus. But I just discovered it myself a few days ago thanks to an email from Dr Al Sears.

Regular moderate exercise (and vigorous exercise that’s not overdone to the point of over-training) cuts your chances of getting a cold about in half and make the ones you do get about half as long and half as bad. The study on this came out recently. Flu is similar enough this may also work for getting the flu also.

And, exercise works even more reliably if you also take antioxidant supplements and eat fruits and vegetables high in them. Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid and blueberries and walnuts and most other berries and most nonstarchy vegetables and carrots, squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yams, and both raw and cooked tomatoes all help!

Lastly, if you do get a cold or a case of the flu, at least double your normal intake of water. Doctors SAY to do this but most are ignored because they don’t say WHY!

If you get a cold or flu, you will have a fever and feel like hell. So you may miss it if you get thirsty. Plus that will happen much sooner than you are used to because of the fever and the often overdry air this time of year.

If you know this and at least double your normal amount of water you drink and drink it more often, you will still be and feel sick. BUT, you will still be able to function and NOT feel totally wiped out. If you have to, you can go to work or do shopping and continue the things you need to get done.

BUT, if you don’t know to do this and do it, you may well drink less than usual and get dehydrated instead. You’ll be and feel debilitated and weak IN ADDITION to being and sick and it may not even be safe for you to leave your home. You won’t be able to do the things you felt you had to get done or may collapse or be in an accident or wind up in the emergency room if you do.

Worse, your chances of getting a secondary infection or other complication and even dying go up.

Too bad most doctors don’t know to tell people this!

But now YOU know it!

So, if you get a cold or flu or a fever, try to drown it! Drink at least twice the amount of water you normally drink!

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Better than aspirin to prevent cancers....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 12-7-2010

Virtually all adults should have aspirin on hand at home AND at work.

If you have a heart attack or symptoms that strongly suggest you might be having one, besides getting checked out at an emergency room, it’s wise to take an aspirin and chew one up and then rinse out your mouth with water and swallow the water.

If you are having a heart attack, I was told once at an emergency room by a doctor, this immediate aspirin dosing roughly will double your chances of surviving it.

Mercifully this won’t happen often or maybe even at all. But such infrequent use of aspirin is almost certainly safe. And for this use, it clearly can save your life.

Aspirin does have some valuable uses in such short term applications and is mostly safer than other drugs.

But is taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks a good idea?

Also, it was all over today’s health news that a study showed taking a daily aspirin tested as making some cancers less likely.

But is taking a daily aspirin to prevent these cancers a good idea?

In my opinion for most people there is a far better way that protects them a good deal more and is MUCH safer.

If you eat what is, as of today, still a typical diet for Americans with lots of refined grains, packaged treats, and desserts, and drink soft drinks daily; you often eat corn oil or soy oil or saffola oil or canola oil AND you never eat fish or exercise AND you prefer to never change any of that, your health is at grave risk. For you, taking a daily aspirin DOES look now as if it will help you prevent heart disease and some cancers.

But taking a daily aspirin and only doing that leaves most of the risks of heart disease and cancers in place and does open you up to frequent bad breath due to bleeding in your gut and may send you to the ER with sudden much greater bleeding or worse.

Does that sound good to you?

Not to me it doesn’t.

There IS a better way.

Aspirin keeps blood from excessive clotting and lowers inflammation. But health protecting upgrades to your lifestyle do a far better job of this and without the obnoxious and occasionally dangerous side effects.

For preventing cancers, there is a superb book on just this subject. It’s:
Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition by David Servan-Schreiber (Hardcover - Dec 31, 2009). (This is available on if it isn’t in your local bookstore.)

It also helps that eating the way this book suggests ALSO helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mental decline, and obesity!

It seems that refined grains, sugars, oils high in omega 6 oils, and the fat from grain fed animals are each causes of inflammation unless eating them is only quite occasional or even rare.

But the majority of people today eat little else.

Unfortunately the inflammation this causes is a potent cause of cancers and heart disease. There is even some evidence it helps cause mental decline either directly or from the reduced circulation and high blood pressure cardiovascular disease the inflammation helps cause.

It seems these foods contribute to a dramatically severe imbalance of omega 6 and omega 3 oils in your body and increase triglycerides which boosts your level of heart disease causing small particle LDL.

People evolved to eat about half omega 6 oils and half omega 3 oils. Since omega 6 oils cause inflammation and omega 3 oils reduce inflammation people who eat that way have little excess inflammation.

But the people who eat little else but the foods and drinks listed above get over ten times too much omega 6 oils and less than half of the omega 3 oils that their bodies work best consuming.

They have a ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 over 20 to one instead of one to one.

Here’s the outline of the cure for this.

Drink no soft drinks and eat virtually no foods containing high fructose corn syrup or refined grains or oils high in omega 6 such as corn, soy, saffola, or canola. Eat foods containing sugar only rarely. And either eat no whole grains or eat modest amounts only.

Try to get animal protein from animals fed their natural diet such as wild caught fish and beef or lamb from animals fed only grass. Wild caught salmon, herring, sardines, and smaller mackerel are all even better since they are high in omega 3 oils.

And, when you do eat the cheaper animal protein foods from animals fed grain go with nonfat, very low fat, low fat, or super lean versions for most of your food if not all. (Such fat is super high in omega 6 oils from the grain and the bioconcentrated pesticides and herbicides from the grain that such fat contains are not that good for you either.)

Take omega 3 supplements from purified fish oil or algae every day.

For fats and oils, use mostly extra virgin olive oil. Or eat nuts or avocados. Or use some butter, on occasion, from cows only fed grass. (I was told this is the case now for Irish butter that is currently sold at Whole Foods Markets.)

Also never knowingly eat foods that contain ANY kind of hydrogenated oils. This is even worse for your heart than omega 6 oils.

(To avoid hydrogenated oils, always read labels AND reject any food that has a trans fat reading above zero or lists ANY hydrogenated oils as an ingredient.)

It also helps to get regular exercise as this lowers inflammation. And, regular exercise that is vigorous at least in spurts or short duration speed ups as strength training and interval cardio are also boosts your HDL; lowers your triglycerides; and directly lowers your heart disease causing small particle LDL.

You also can cut down on excessive blood clotting by eating minced raw garlic or raw or cooked onions in salads and savory dishes. Taking Kyolic deodorized garlic also works.

These may also lower inflammation. The doctor who wrote the Anticancer book also rates garlic and onions as extremely effective preventers of many kinds of cancers.

Taking curcumin or turmeric supplements and eating curried foods containing them lowers inflammation, prevents many cancers, and prevents Alzheimer’s disease. All this may work even better if you take or eat black pepper at the same time. And taking vitamin D3 at the same time may also work.

Last but far from least make an enormous and focused effort to stay completely away from tobacco smoke.

Cancers are the “little” problem it causes. Some “little” problem! A full 25% of heavy smokers get lung cancer. And both smoking and second hand smoke combined cause about 30 % to a third of ALL cancers.

Tobacco smoke is dramatically more effective in both causing heart disease and triggering heart attacks. Few smokers have any clue that while they might escape cancer, ALL of them have some degree of heart disease from the tobacco smoke.

So, avoiding all tobacco smoke is far more effective at preventing cancers and heart attacks than taking a daily aspirin.

These lifestyle upgrades may take some effort to get done if you’ve not been doing them.

But they are dramatically more effective at preventing heart disease and cancer than taking aspirin. And, instead of side effects, they produce other health benefits!

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Monday, December 06, 2010

Eating protein and low glycemic produce powers permanent fat loss....

Today's Post: Monday, 12-6-2010

Setting it up so you use more calories than you take in causes weight loss.

But there are some problems that weight loss programs too often have missed that have caused most people to fail at losing their excess fat and its weight.

Even without problems with your body’s famine response, if you get hungry too often for too long, you get tired of it. And, if that’s how you have been losing weight, you’ll either stop before you lose all your fat or, even worse, you’ll gain all the weight back.

And, worse than that, if some of the weight you lost was muscle or bone, more of the weight you gain back will be fat than you had to begin with!

What happens if you cut way back on how much you eat? You get health problems from lack of nutrition and, far worse, you trigger your body’s famine response.

When that happens, fail safe mechanisms that are not under your conscious control cause you to lose a good bit of your energy to move and do things; and your metabolism slows down. So you rapidly begin to use fewer calories. Similarly, you get uncontrollably hungry and develop a strong preference for sweets and fatty foods.

So, you need to have a way to lose fat and its weight that avoids making you too hungry too often or shorts your body too much on fuel or nutrition.

The good news is that this set of things DOES exist. And when people use them, they lose their excess fat and keep it off.

People can temporarily lose weight by simply eating less without eating differently or exercising. But virtually none of the people who do this lose all the fat they would benefit from losing or want to lose. And, virtually all of them gain it all back.

Permanent fat loss is a bit of a challenge for someone who is new to following the lifestyle that leads to permanent fat loss. For some people, it’s comparable to learning a new language.

But it is quite doable. Chances are YOU can do it too!

The key to it as one of Jillian Michaels’ emails explained is hunger. If you lose fat without getting extra hungry, you can keep doing it until you lose it all. And, since you can keep doing it, you can keep it all off.

A. Part of the solution is to eat only foods that turn off hunger but don’t make you fat.

From an Everyday Health email to people on Jillian Michaels’ elist, I found this:

"Food Strategies For Losing Weight

If you want to feel full all day on less food, focus on these eating strategies:

Get enough lean protein and fiber. A study of 22 men who changed the amount of protein in their diets for 18-day periods showed that those who ate the least protein were the most likely to report being hungry. "Protein is the number one thing to help you feel full," says Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at Houston Northwest Medical Center. "The second thing is fiber."

Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Researchers tracked the weight-loss success of 71 obese women between 20 and 60 years of age on a low-fat diet. Half of the women were also told to increase their fruit and vegetable intake.

At the end of one year, both groups of women had lost weight, but the women who ate the most fruits and veggies reported the greatest weight loss and were less likely to say they felt hungry on any given day.

In fact, when the researchers crunched the data, they found that whether the women reported feeling hungry frequently predicted their ability to lose weight. Other studies have shown that changing your eating habits to focus on these water- and fiber-rich foods will help you maintain weight loss for up to six years. " “

A recently published Danish study found virtually the same thing. People who ate mostly to close to all their food from protein and low glycemic fruits and vegetables were far more likely to lose fat and keep it off.

The second key is this, the people who ate higher glycemic foods were far less successful.

So, the permanent fat loss plan is this:

A. If a food or drink does little to make you less hungry or even worse makes you more hungry or harms you to consume or provides little nutrition, it will be dramatically easier for you to cut calories without getting hungrier if you eliminate these foods and drinks totally.

It’s easier for most people to only have the ones you most like but only a few times a week to a few times a year instead of several times every day. This does work also; but only if it’s controlled and a small minority of what you eat.

Regular and diet soft drinks both are in this category and are the worst for you and most fattening things you can ingest.

Foods with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup by whatever name is used or most artificial sweeteners fit in this group. (Foods with real sugar but consumed MUCH less often can work are look to be the best choice in this group to have sometimes. The others should ALL be replaced with real foods or drinks that provide protein, fiber, nutrition, & health OK fats and oils.)

Foods made with refined grains also fit in this group. Foods made with 100 % whole grains and lower glycemic grains such as wild rice or quinoa or barley or lightly processed oatmeal should be eaten by those who want them but far less often. They are less glycemic than refined grains or more glycemic whole grains like wheat; but still are a bit on the high side.

The other thing you can do with foods that contain grain or sugar is to only eat them with much lower glycemic foods. Eat them with nuts or nut butters or extra virgin olive oil. Eat them with protein foods like egg or dairy foods.

B. Find many kinds of nonstarchy vegetables and low glycemic fruits that you like or are OK with eating often. And, do just that.

Get the book, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition by David Servan-Schreiber (Hardcover - Dec 31, 2009). (This is available on if it isn’t in your local bookstore.)

This book has a way of eating that, in addition to helping to prevent cancer ALSO helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mental decline, and obesity!

Best of all it lists dozens of the most nutritious and protective vegetables and fruit.

Having this book gives you a really large list of foods that are actually good for you.

And, by eating some raw and some in salads or savory dishes with spices and health OK protein foods and health OK fats such as nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and some others is the basis of eating that will provide food that turns off hunger and keep it off.

For example, except for people who are allergic to them, nuts are actually extremely good to include when you want to lose fat and keep it off. A recent RealAge email had this:

“Despite their high fat and calorie count, nuts are the perfect diet food. Research shows that people who eat nuts lose more weight and are more likely to stick to their weight loss plans than people who don't nibble on this ultrasatisfying munchy.

Nuts boost weight loss efforts in three ways.

First, they satisfy hunger, helping people to eat less later.

Second, research shows that eating nuts helps people burn more calories at rest.

And finally -- because of how the body digests them -- nuts might actually deliver fewer calories than you think (in fact, fewer calories per serving than nutrition labels suggest).”

Raw and dry roasted nuts are easy to get today at Whole Foods Markets. (Nuts with junk oils and or salt added are, unfortunately, really bad for you and should NOT be eaten except for small amounts on VERY rare occasions.)

The reason people who eat them can more easily lose fat and keep it off is that nuts both taste good, and, because they have health OK oils AND protein AND fiber, they are low to zero glycemic and strongly turn off hunger and keep it off for a long time.

Health OK protein foods also work. These range from nuts and algae and seaweeds and sprouts and beans and lentils to wild caught fish from unpolluted waters to eggs and dairy and meat from animals eating their natural foods and ONLY their natural foods in unpolluted places.

(Some very lowfat dairy and meat from grain fed animals is OK and as it’s easier to find an afford. But the fats and oils are somewhat cancer and heart disease producing, so the leaner the better is the rule. And, having them be only part of your protein and including many kinds of plant proteins gets far better health results.)

If 98 % or more of what you eat is from these health supporting and low glycemic real foods, you can eat and even eat well and still lose fat and keep it off.

Why? Because you can eat a modest calorie intake diet that does NOT make you excessively hungry all the time or trigger your famine response.

B. The other part of the solution is to burn off calories with exercise and do some exercises that cause you to burn calories even when you are resting.

Almost all of the people who lose fat successfully and keep it off follow this strategy.

They can literally eat a few hundred calories a day more without slowing their fat loss or gaining any fat back. That really helps keep them from being hungry or under-nourished!

I’ll post more on that later this week as I’m out of time today.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

A tested way to survive chemo treatments and to prevent some cancers....

Today's Post: Friday, 12-3-2010

The best source that I know of and possibly the best one that exists for preventing cancer is the book, Anticancer, A New Way of Life, New Edition by David Servan-Schreiber (Hardcover - Dec 31, 2009). (This is available on if it isn’t in your local bookstore.)

It also helps that eating the way this book suggests ALSO helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, mental decline, and obesity!

But it always helps to have more ways to prevent cancer or slow it if you get it.

And, of even more importance it can literally be life-saving to have a way to help you and the healthy part of you survive the chemotherapy or radiation used to treat cancer if you undergo it. It certainly can help improve your quality of life and make getting chemo or less nasty! This is also true for getting targeted radiation treatments.

Apparently, the herb astragalus, has been tested successfully as doing this.

It may prevent some cancers including some kinds of breast cancer and it may slow tumor growth on its own. But in tests it substantially cut side effects from chemo and radiation and increased the number of people treated with them who survived.

Dr Sears email recently had this information. (He isn’t perfect. But much of the free information in his emails is very valuable as it was in this case.)

And, it checked out in other online sources including, .

There is even a bonus. Taking astragalus also helps prevent getting colds! For people with type 2 diabetes it can take them from getting more colds than most people to getting less!

It’s available in several forms at health food stores, tea, tincture, etc. But the simplest way to take it is by taking the supplement from Nature’s Way. (They focus on good quality herbal supplements.) Three capsules a day is what Dr Sears suggested.

Here’s some of the information I saw on it.:

If I remember correctly, I found this on WholeHealthMD:

“The Research Studies Show Positive Benefits

One clinical study of 115 patients receiving various forms of chemotherapy found 83% higher white blood cell counts from the use of Astragalus, exactly what is needed to fight the battle of cancer. When white blood cell counts are higher, then it is possible to strongly ward off infections.

In another study, Astragalus was added to a petri dish containing white blood cells and tumor cells. The white blood cells began attacking the tumor cells. This is an important finding because tumor cells usually produce chemicals that turn off the white blood cells' ability to attack tumors. Astragalus clearly helps the white blood cells become faster and more efficient at fighting the tumor cells.

One study showed that lung cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy who were given Astragalus improved their overall response rate to all four treatments. In another study, patients with small cell lung cancer who took standard chemotherapy drugs like vincristine, carmustine and cyclophosphamide along with Astragalus and ginseng survived as long as 17 years from the combined therapy.

Astragalus was also found to stop the spread of cancers known to respond to the p53 gene, a tumor-suppressing gene that keeps defective cells from multiplying.”

This was either on Wikipedia or Dr Sears email: (His site is .)

“The immune-enhancing properties of astragalus seem to be particularly useful in cases in which the immune system has been damaged by chemicals or radiation.

A 1988 University of Texas System Cancer Center study of immuno-depressed mice found astragalus reversed T-cell abnormalities caused by radiation. (5)

Other preliminary in vitro and animal studies also indicate efficacy in restoring T-cell function suppressed in cancer patients. A 1983 in vitro study evaluating the effect of 10 mcg/ml of astragalus Extract on grafts from 19 cancer patients and 15 healthy donors found the extract seemed to induce T-cell restoration in cancer patients. (6)

In addition to immune-boosting properties, the monograph says preliminary evidence also indicates astragalus may help to increase survival rates in breast cancer patients who are also undergoing conventional treatment. (3)

And preliminary research regarding lung cancer (mostly low-quality studies) suggests taking herbal products containing astragalus may increase the effectiveness of platinum-based chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. A 2006 meta-analysis of 34 randomized trials of 2,815 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer compared the use of astragalus treatment combined with platinum-based chemotherapy to treatment of chemotherapy alone.

Twelve studies reported treatment with astragalus reduced the risk of death in cancer patients after a 12-month follow up, and 30 studies reported improved tumor response in cancer patients. (7)”

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

New information on a powerful way to fight depression....

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

1. is well known for their methods of estimating how much of a positive effect you get on your longevity statistically speaking for health or life protecting actions.

And, to make that more interesting, they set that up to give you the resulting age that is that of average people who will live to that point.

If you are doing a good job in most areas, it’s nice to get your real age as 10 or more years younger than your age on the calendar.

And, if you smoke and do several similar things it can be sobering to see your “real age” calculated to be 15 years older than your age on the calendar.

>>> But, they ALSO send out free health emails on a variety of topics to people who ask to be put on their list.

Most of those articles are decently good. Ten days ago, on Monday, 11-22, they sent an email with extremely important information.

2. For dozens of reasons, a lot of people today are more depressed and depressed more often than people once were. So, we’ve posted on many ways to prevent or lessen being depressed before.

Since many people have the problem and the drugs for it are not very effective for many and have obnoxious side effects, every effective way to make depression less likely or turn it off that does NOT use drugs is extremely valuable to know and use.

For example, in the winter low light levels and very little vitamin D from sunshine cause many people to get winter depression. This is called SAD, seasonal affective disorder.

Since it’s winter now, here are three cures for SAD.

You can use a special light box therapy every morning or set up similar lights in your kitchen or bathroom where you already spend time in the morning.

You can, in locations where it’s safe and you can make the time available, take a ten to 15 minute walk outside near noon which works -- & it works even in overcast, gloomy looking weather because the level of absolute light is so much higher than our eyes see.

And, you can either take vitamin D3 supplements or take more than during the rest of the year.

It’s my understanding that taking 2,000 to 7,000 iu a day of D3 in addition to what is in your multi and food does help stop or prevent depression at any time; but is most effective for winter blues. (In the summer, people who spend time outside get from a few thousand iu to well over 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D from sunshine – and with NO bad side effects. Some people get sunburn maybe; but that level of D intake is safe.)

We’ve also posted on how vigorous exercise fights depression and moving from a pessimistic thinking style to an optimistic one helps stop depression. Vigorous exercise can get FAST results which drugs do not do. And, thinking style upgrades have been effective in people where the drugs were not.

3. Now, in addition to that, RealAge’s email had some very important new information that you can use in addition to these other methods.

They title their article: “Cheer Up with This Vitamin Choice”

It seems that vitamin B6 and B12 were found to be strikingly effective at slashing the risk of depression in a study of a bit over 3,000 older adults for seven years.

The researchers in that study found that each 10 mg increase in daily intake of B6 cut their risk of depression by two percent. Even more striking, so did each daily increase in intake of vitamin B12 of 10 mcg.

Their article went on to add that other studies have linked B12 deficiencies to both depression and cognitive decline. (B6, B12, and folic acid and certain supplements reduce homocysteine levels which a recent study shows may partly explain why these deficiencies produce depression and mental decline. Homocysteine may not be the initiator of heart disease it was once thought to be; but this recent study shows it IS a cause of physical damage in the brain. These three vitamins can help prevent or reverse this.)

RealAge reports that the researchers who did the study on B6 and B12 suspect that since B6 is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, it assists in production of mood-lifting serotonin. (Serotonin helps you feel less stressed and more calm and to have a feeling of well being.)

Since the antidepressant drugs are designed to force increases in the blood level of serotonin, that would mean that B6 may be a side effect free and natural way to do well what the drugs do badly. B6 may also be faster acting and more reliable.

And, if B6 also helps ensure you have enough dopamine, another neurotransmitter, and to respond to it well, that may also be even more effective in fighting depression since dopamine literally helps you feel rewarded and to enjoy pleasurable things.

There are some other considerations to include.:

B6 is quite valuable and beneficial –
but only up to a certain point, depending on the person and their individual biology, at some point between 100 mg a day of B6 and a bit over that, B6 begins to produce numbness and at higher doses actual nerve damage.

Amounts of 100 mg a day of B6 and over have some risk; and over 200 mg a day is definitely dangerous.

Second, most multivitamins contain a bit of B6. Mine has 10 mg. Third, B vitamins are much more likely to be beneficial if you take a balanced B complex supplement, not just folic acid, B6, and B12. And the “Stress Formula with C” balanced B complex supplement by Solgar that I take has 25 mg of B6. This means that to be conservative, the most B6 beyond that which is virtually certain to be safe is another 50 mg a day. That’s what I have been taking and suggest you consider.

B12 both may have more room on the upside -- and some people may need more to get an effective net increase.

First, you can get 500 mcg and 1,000 mcg doses of B12. Note that at the 1,000 level, that would be 100 times 10 mcg. This research suggests that would cut depression by 200 %!

That might vary by whether or not the person was a vegan vegetarian who has been getting no B12 from food or with how much homocysteine a person had in their blood. A vegan with high homocysteine might have a huge effect and someone who eats a lot of animal foods containing B12 with low homocysteine might have less of an effect with the extra B12.

Lastly, elderly people and people who take drugs for heartburn or GERD – reflux disease, have low acid in their stomachs and may need to take B12 in a supplement that allows you to absorb the B12 from your mouth by being chewable or quick dissolving to hold in your mouth or under your tongue to get the B12 effectively.

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