Friday, March 30, 2012

Solutions to drugs that keep you fat 4....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-30-2012

Friday, 3-9-2012, our post “Some drugs can keep you fat” listed several kinds of general strategies to drugs that tend to fatten you or keep you fat. For most of them, there is a better drug or a way to improve your condition that avoids using that drug.

Friday, 3-16, we covered anti-depressants since some of those can keep you fat. Some don’t including Zyban aka Wellbutrin that helps some people quit smoking.

Last Friday, we covered blood pressure lowering drugs.

Today, we are covering drugs for type 2 diabetes.

(Some of this post may cover type 1 diabetes. But type 1 diabetes is enough different some of it may not. The information on exercise is one area where I know the two diseases differ. And, most type 1 diabetics must take insulin.)

The best news is that for type 2 diabetes, the better you do with the things that produce permanent fat loss, the less you will have type 2 diabetes & the more desirable your blood levels and tests will be.

Not only that, when you succeed in losing over 10% of your initial body weight as fat and keep it off, you may be in the group who stops having type 2 diabetes. Many people do.

Since you have to maintain the lifestyle upgrades to keep the fat off, it’s a kind of forced remission rather than a cure. But if you achieve it, you can completely avoid taking insulin and/or the diabetes drugs that are fattening.

The drug, Metformin, aka Glucophage, is the best diabetes drug for most people for several reasons. It actually helps LOSE fat slightly! It’s one of the few diabetes drugs that won’t cause you other health problems as a side effect. And you can take smaller doses with meals to minimize the few side effects AND make a very strong effort on all the lifestyle upgrades and often get decent blood sugar control.

Metformin’s one side effect is a bit dangerous but may be easily turned off. If you take Metformin every day, it’s been found to somewhat deplete your B12 levels. However, I suspect you can compensate for this by taking 1,000 mcg a day of B12 in a sublingual supplement. You can also have your doctor test your B12 levels regularly and have his or her office nurse or nurse practitioner give you periodic B12 shots.

Since many of the other type 2 diabetes drugs do fatten you or can harm you with other health problems they cause and taking insulin is likely to fatten you, it is critical if you want to avoid health problems and avoid staying fat to see if you can use a very strong effort on lifestyle upgrades and only taking Metformin to keep your blood sugar readings at 6.9 or lower on your HBA1C test.

The better you do with NOT eating fattening foods or drinking soft drinks, eating a diet high in health Ok protein foods and nonstarchy vegetables with some health OK oils and fats such as extra virgin olive oil and nuts, getting extra activity such as walking each week, and doing both strength training and interval cardio for vigorous exercise most days, the better your fat loss will be.

And, each and every one of those steps lowers high blood sugar.

At this time, you can still get some supplements that also help. And, though they are effective for most people, it’s critical to add them to the lifestyle upgrades! People who imagine that just taking supplements or just taking the drugs will solve the problem by themselves will wind up taking the less safe drugs and having dreadful health.

Those supplements include taking 200 to 400 mcg a day of chromium polynicotinate and taking 200 to 600 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid or R-alpha lipoic acid if you can afford its higher price. Metformin is stronger; but it started as a supplement.

When my own blood sugar tested as 115 on a test of fasting glucose, I was already eating relatively well and getting regular vigorous exercise. Then when my doctor let me know this was NOT good (99 or less on this test is the desirable and safe range.), I cut half the remaining sugar from my diet and added 200 mcg a day of chromium polynicotinate and began taking 200 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid daily. Mercifully adding those things to my already good lifestyle dropped my fasting glucose to the 89 to 96 level on my later blood tests.

The bad news is that if you do NOT make that special effort on these lifestyle upgrades and do the best you can with Metformin and vitamin B12, you will likely be forced to take the drugs that have a problematic track record for safety. And, since your HBA1C is likely to often be over 7.0, you are more likely to be harmed by the type 2 diabetes besides.

The other really good news about doing the lifestyle upgrades that cause fat loss and keep it off is that each of these lifestyle upgrades also do a fabulous job by protecting you from the harms type 2 diabetes tends to cause.

Your LDL will be lower, so there will be less to carry excess sugar and cause damage. Your circulation will be better. Your heart risk blood tests will be better. And your protection for your heart and brain from harm will be much better!

So this is one area where doing a great job on your lifestyle upgrades for fat loss is actually the number one solution!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eat chocolate AND be less fat!....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-29-2012

Most people think of chocolate as a fattening food.

Sometimes they are correct; but there is new information that this is not always the case!

If you like chocolate, you may find this good news indeed!

You likely CAN eat chocolate several times a week and be less fat or no fatter.

1. A new study came out with the finding that people who ate chocolate more often up -- to 5 times a week or more! -- actually tended to be leaner than people who ate chocolate less than once a week.


Here’s the new info:

The study was recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It was reported in the online news this week.

The researcher at UC San Diego, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, interviewed 1,018 men and women between 20 and 85 years old. And the people who said they had chocolate an average of 5 times week or more had slightly lower BMI readings (how heavy they were in relation to their height) than the people who said they had little to no chocolate most weeks.

This was true even though the people in both groups reported eating the same amount of calories each week.

The researcher, Dr Golomb, said other earlier research found that epicatechin, a polyphenol in cocoa, tested as slightly boosting metabolism and had some effect on increasing lean muscle mass instead of adding fat because of this.

2. Other studies have found that eating dark chocolate NOT at the same time as milk or milk protein increases your blood flow and lowers your blood pressure a bit if it’s too high.

That research has two clues to eating chocolate more often without adding fat.:

These positive effects were slightly greater eating dark chocolate or cocoa with NO sugar added compared with eating dark chocolate or cocoa with sugar.

And, the amount needed of dark chocolate was about a quarter or half of a small dark chocolate candy bar. Eating two bars was slightly LESS effective than just eating a quarter or half a bar.

3. Did you notice that the people who ate chocolate several times each week ate about the same total calories as those who ate chocolate far less often?

That means they compensated somehow for the calories in the chocolate by eating slightly less of something else.

That set of things explains the paradox and shows how you can enjoy chocolate and its mood boosting effects often and actually be LESS fat.

A. It IS still true that if you eat a lot of chocolate that you ADD to what you have been eating you will gain weight. And if you eat chocolate or dark chocolate that contains sugar, you’ll likely be adding most of that weight as fat.

This very thing happened to me! One Christmas season our office was giving out free miniature Hershey dark chocolate bars.

I’d read about the benefits of dark chocolate and decided to have one of these miniature Hershey dark chocolate bars several times a day. And, I did this for about 3 weeks.

But when I stepped onto a scale I’d gained 6 pounds in that three weeks!

B. I now eat chocolate 5 times a week. AND I did so during the five months or so when I LOST 20 pounds.

How did I do that?!!

I did this in two ways:

I set up something like 8 ways to eat slightly fewer calories but the same amount of protein, nutrition, and fiber and did them every week. That’s how I lost the 20 pounds and have kept most of them off. (I also kept doing vigorous exercise most days of every week.)

Second, I used the information about the health benefits to cut down the amount of sugar and calories I ate while having the chocolate 5 times each week.

Two days a week with at least a day in between, I ate half a Hershey’s small dark chocolate bar for a mid-morning break snack. Then on Friday night, I’d allow myself all of one of the Hershey’s small dark chocolate bars or a small Hershey’s milk chocolate with almonds bar.

Then on Saturday and Sunday mornings I made a double strength hot cocoa drink with Ghirardelli’s unsweetened cocoa to which I added no sugar or milk.

I still do! So I get the taste and enjoyment of chocolate 5 times a week with only the sugar of two small Hershey bars.

In this way I get the health benefits and likely get the metabolism boosting benefits of chocolate 5 times a week but no weight or fat gain.

So, it IS possible to have chocolate often and be less fat at the same time!

The new information that you get a slight metabolism boost too is most welcome news indeed!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

False headlines & the truth about vitamins and minerals, niacin....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-27-2012

Most doctors know little about supplements including vitamins and minerals and are too busy to find out more unless they somehow get updated by their patients or other doctors who know more.

Some doctors have studied supplements and find they can get superior results with patients by using the indicated supplements. Since the supplements cost less than drugs and have virtually no side effects that harm quality of life, far more of their patients actually take the supplements than take many drugs.

The drug companies don’t like the competition from those supplements that do work but have none of the side effects most of their drugs do and the supplements cost less.

(Some drugs do important things and do them fast that supplements cannot do. And, for some things the drugs are the better choice. Then too some supplements may not be that effective.

But the drug companies appear to be deliberately misinforming doctors and the media and thus many of the rest of us about supplements that do work.)

So you may have seen headlines like “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” AND “Vitamin E causes Prostate Cancer.”

But the truth is far different. Very different!

1. Most vitamins and minerals are beneficial and some are spectacularly beneficial.

There a few vitamins and minerals that do have side effects in doses that are too large. But if you know what level is safe on those few, those same vitamins and minerals can benefit you.

This makes the headline, “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” false & I think deliberately misleading.

2. We know 4 things about vitamin E and prostate cancer. The headline as quoted, “Vitamin E causes Prostate Cancer" is completely false. And the other 3 things help prevent prostate cancer! (The study did not test real vitamin E but a poor artificial copy that was not real vitamin E!)

We covered vitamin E the first week in this series, on Tuesday, 3-13-2012.

We covered vitamin D3 last week, on Tuesday, 3-20-2012.

This week we cover one of the two vitamin supplements that are spectacularly beneficial. It's niacin.

Niacin has several health a vitamin. So does the related compound, niacinamide, aka nicotinamide. Niacinamide does not have the important heart protective benefits of the niacin form of vitamin B3 however.

The Wikipedia article I saw said that niacin among other things helped your body repair damaged DNA. That’s likely to add to your cancer protection. And, by doing this for the inside of your blood vessels, the endothelium, this may also help prevent heart disease.

Taking extra niacin is so beneficial it has been found to reduce the death rate from all causes.

Increasing HDL and lowering triglycerides reduces the small particle LDL that is one of the major causes of heart disease if not the number one cause. Doing either is heart protective. Doing both at the same time is very protective.

Because small particle LDL is harmful; oxidized LDL is harmful, and all LDL that has excess sugars attached to it is very harmful, it’s desirable to have low LDL and dangerous to have LDL much over 120.

The ideal would be to have something that increases HDL, lowers triglycerides, and lowers LDL too and was safe if taken properly.

NIACIN does exactly that! Taking niacin does every one of these things.

Niacin produces a flushing sensation if you take enough on an empty stomach or a partially full one. It feels like and can look like a case of instant but temporary sunburn. You often feel a bit warm even in a cool or cold room.

This effect is from temporarily opening up your capillaries including those just under the skin,

This not only does no harm but may provide extra blood flow to your heart.

But it can be bothersome and cause onlookers to wonder something is wrong with you.

It’s temporary and you can explain to onlookers that it is both temporary and safe and you know why it’s happening.

But if it gets intense it can be a distraction to you or the work you do. So, it’s usually a good idea to minimize it.

We’ll cover that in detail as the last part of this post.

But one of niacin’s most important benefits it is that it and related actions can provide strong heart disease prevention.

And, best of all it can do so for the majority of people who get little benefit from statin drugs.

Few lay people and unfortunately most doctors know this; but it’s been found that for those people, taking niacin is more protective than taking statin drugs.

That’s really important since it can mean avoiding the side effect risks in taking statins AND deliver better heart protection too.

When the Berkeley Heart Lab had their own website, I discovered that in most of the genetic types their very sophisticated heart risk test found that:

while the overall average is that 3 or 4 people out of every 100 people who take statins escape a heart attack,

for most people, only 1 person out of 100 who takes statin drugs escapes a heart attack.

the remaining minority genetic type gets dramatically better protection from statins. My memory is that in that group, 41 people out of 100 taking likely would escape a heart attack.

But the Berkeley Heart lab test costs about $700. So even some doctors who knew about this information may have been reluctant to check this first due to that high cost.

More recently, the cardiologist, Dr Arthur Agatson, who authored the South Beach Diet, wrote an article saying there is a now a $150 test that can tell you and your doctor whether or not you are in the minority that get strong benefits from statin drugs or the majority who very likely would not. The Berkeley Heart Lab found everyone else got better protection from niacin!

So, since niacin is a better option for most people, by actual research test, than statins, how can you get that heart attack and heart disease prevention with niacin without bad problems with flushing?

If you have dreadful heart risk readings on your LDL, HDL, and triglycerides AND are unwilling to make the lifestyle upgrades to reverse that or have just had a heart attack, your doctor may prescribe 1500 mg a day or more of time release niacin. That avoids the flushing as the release is so gradual.

That level of intake of niacin can be hard enough on your liver, that you might need to discontinue the niacin or scale the dose back after giving your liver a break. And, most doctors have been trained to check your liver function tests regularly to find this early if it happens to you. (Statins do this also in some cases.)

The other way to prevent heart disease with niacin is to take far less but add other ways to protect your heart. These include specific lifestyle upgrades.

My own blood tests show that approach does work. By taking 300 mg a day of niacin just after my breakfast and just after my lunch AND doing these other things, I dropped my LDL cholesterol from 130 to readings like 73. My HDL which was in between 50 & 65 is now between 85 & 96. And, my triglycerides which were about 120 are now readings below 50 such as 41 & 46.

I eat a big breakfast and both the oatmeal breakfast I eat and the breakfast with lentils I eat are high in fiber. And rarely get any niacin flush after breakfast. My lunches are a bit lighter and about one time out of six or so, I’ll get some flushing.

(I get my 300 mg tablets of niacin at Whole Foods in their Whole Foods brand. Because I do get flushing occasionally and my test results, I’m quite confident the niacin is actually in the supplements!)

But that’s far from the only reason I can get those results with so little niacin.

Here are just some of the things I do in addition.

Sterol supplements and foods high in them lower LDL cholesterol. I take 3 tablets a day of Natrol’s Cholesterol Balance, a beta sitosterol supplement. I also eat pecans and walnuts and broccoli florets which also contain some sterols.

(When I went from 300 mg a day of niacin to taking it twice a day and began taking sterols, my LDL went from 130 to 106.)

Eating foods high in soluble fiber such as lentils, pinto beans, oatmeal, and apples and apple sauce also lowers LDL. These are my staple foods! I eat oatmeal every other breakfast and lentils the rest of the time. I eat pinto beans as all or part of my dinner about 5 or 6 times a week. And, I eat apple sauce as a snack most days each week. That and my regular exercise are why my LDL was 130 instead of well over 160 at first.

More recently, I began eating turmeric in curry powder a few evenings a week and taking curcumin both with black pepper each evening. (That’s protective against many cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.) But I found out that this also dropped my LDL from just over 100 to just over 70 -- about 106 to 73.

I didn’t know my turmeric intake was causing this effect until I read this was an effect of turmeric in Dr Dean Ornish’s book, Spectrum.

(To protect my liver, I also drink alcohol more moderately than I did when I was younger and take the supplement milk thistle.)

To avoid my LDL being the dangerous small particle kind, I also completely avoid foods that contain trans fats and hydrogenated oils which increase them. And, I get regular, vigorous exercise which reduces them.

The boiled whole eggs I eat for breakfast every other day and the wheat germ I have with my oatmeal the other days are high in choline. I take lecithin which is high in choline. That extra choline helps my HDL stay high. So does my regular vigorous exercise. And so does my daily, moderate intake of red wine. In addition, I eat blueberries and nuts and take bilberry supplements and chromium supplements. Each of those tends to increase your HDL and has other health benefits.

Lastly, to stay healthy and far less fat, I drink no soft drinks, eat virtually no foods made from refined grains, eat zero high fructose corn syrup, and have cut back my sugar intake in steps until I eat less than 10 % of what the average American eats.

I also eat some onions, use only extra virgin olive oil, take omega 3 supplements, and eat wild caught salmon two or three times a week.

That why my triglycerides are below 50 and my small particle LDL is so low in part.

The average American does the opposite and often has triglycerides well over 150 and far higher heart attack risk because of it. (We now know that soft drinks, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and refined grain foods increase triglycerides a lot and therefore increase heart attack risk besides helping to make you fat. That’s new information.)

These lifestyle upgrades dramatically increase my heart attack protection. By doing them, I can get great protection from 600 mg a day of niacin while the people who do not, may get only moderate protection from five times that much niacin.

Research found that in people who already have heart disease and have taken enough statins to get LDL readings well under 100, adding niacin was ineffective in getting better protection.

But that’s like locking the barn door after the horse was stolen! Had many of these same people been taking niacin years before and dong many of these lifestyle upgrades, most of them would not have the heart disease to begin with.

So, in conclusion, taking niacin supplements along with the right lifestyle upgrades can give you very good heart attack prevention. And you can do it without much flushing.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Solutions to drugs that keep you fat 3....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-23-2012

Friday, 3-9-2012, our post “Some drugs can keep you fat” listed several kinds of general strategies to drugs that tend to fatten you or keep you fat. For most of them, there is a better drug or a way to improve your condition that avoids using that drug.

Last Friday, 3-16, we covered anti-depressants since some of those can keep you fat. Some don’t including Zyban aka Wellbutrin that helps some people quit smoking.

This post will cover blood pressure lowering drugs.

Blood pressure medicines that can cause weight gain include:

Lopressor (metoprolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Inderal (propranolol), Norvasc (amlodipine) and clonidine (Catapres).

1. Dr Lawrence Cheskin, researcher on drugs that fatten or keep people fat said eating more foods high in fiber and water content and nutrition and eating 4 or more meals a day instead of 2 or 3 really large meals helps prevent that effect.

But he understates the value of this. It means eliminating junk foods and packaged snacks and eating far more nonstarchy vegetables each day. Guess what?

Eating a DASH II diet or a Mediterranean diet with extra vegetables and a bit less salt does this nicely. Both contain no junk foods and packaged snacks or soft drinks.

BUT that’s triple good!

If that reduces the fattening effect of these blood pressure reducing drugs directly as he suggest, that’s great.

But it also has been proven to lower blood pressure as much as one of the drugs within a few weeks of starting to eat this way!

Even better, that’s the same way to eat to lose fat permanently and without excess hunger. Then it gets better still! Particularly if you lose 20 pounds or more too, once you do, your blood pressure will drop again.

So right away after you begin eating right, your blood pressure drugs become less fattening according to Dr Cheskin.

Then, in few weeks, you may be able to reduce the dose of a drug or two of the ones you have been taking or drop one of the drugs and still have your blood pressure be low enough.

Then in a few more months, you may be able to do this again. One man I know gradually gained 60 pounds and had to take drugs for high blood pressure. He then lost the 60 pounds and no longer had high blood pressure and stopped the drugs entirely.

So one of the best ways to counter the fattening effects of all the drugs is to more thoroughly drop soda and junk and packaged desserts and snacks and eat more nonstarchy vegetables AND get regular vigorous exercise and more moderate activity each week as best you can.

That gives you an extra motivation to do what will remove your excess fat without hunger in the first place!

Be SURE to do this one!

2. Lopressor (metoprolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Tenormin (atenolol), & Inderal (propranolol), are all beta blockers.

But beta blockers prevent exercise from benefitting you in several ways – cardio no longer makes you fit, may prevent you from responding as you need to do in a real emergency, and can contribute over time to developing and worsening heart failure.

This may be one of the ways they fatten you as the exercise you do may burn fewer calories each week.

Unless you have a terrible uncontrollable temper or anxiety or are under extreme stress or just had a heart attack & you need to give it rest for a few weeks, these are drugs most people should only take temporarily in my view.

So if none of these reasons fits you, consider asking your doctor to help you withdraw from these drugs or lower the dose ASAP.

An alterative use is to only use them just before you know you will be stressed and then stop after the event.

Some people take them for extreme stage fright if they still get it after good preparation for example.

So some family events or job or legal events that are predictable and very stressful might also be a good use.

That way you get much of the protection and reduced blood pressure but without the negative effects every day of every week

And, there are also two other solutions that have most of the benefits of beta blockers but none of the drawbacks!

If you have high blood pressure, you would do well to use one of them!

If you get and use the breathing pacer, Resparate, and use it 4 to 7 times every week, the average person drops their blood pressure by 12 over 8 or more. In fact, it is FDA approved as a way to lower high blood pressure. For people who are retired and not under time pressure, this can be a decent solution.

Doing Tai Chi regularly for 10 minute sessions 60 to 10 times a week was found to lower blood pressure as much as 17 over 11. And unlike sitting in a chair using the Resparate, doing tai chi for 10 minutes burns as many calories as walking.

The trick is to invest the time with classes until you know reliably how to do it for 10 minutes.

But if you learn it and do it a few weeks, the drop in blood pressure should help you persuade your doctor to have you drop the beta blockers.

A third alternative is to simply take a lower dose. If you are one of the people who stopped having migraines when you started taking your beta blocker, you might want to try that.

Eating right and regular exercise often prevent or lessen migraines. So doing those along with a lower dose of beta blocker may work for you as well as the higher dose was doing.

3. Norvasc (amlodipine) is a calcium channel blocker. Some people don’t have a blood pressure drop at night or they have too much of a blood pressure surge in the morning and this drug is good for such people.

(Both of those things are harmful. Some people get heart attacks in the morning from too much blood pressure surge in the morning for example.)

There are two solutions that work for some people.

High blood pressure specialist Dr Mark Houston notes that taking magnesium as a supplement has a calcium blocker effect. And taking 400 to 800 mg a day of magnesium has other health benefits as long as you don’t take tons of milk of magnesia as a stool looser too! Doing both has caused problems!

It does lower blood pressure a bit in general to take magnesium. But if you don’t have a blood pressure drop at night or they have too much of a blood pressure surge in the morning, a far better solution might well be to do 10 minutes of tai chi before you go to bed and just after you get out of bed in the morning. Taking magnesium may well not quite be enough by itself.

And the third alternative may be to continue the amlodipine but at a lower dose.

“Clonidine is a blood pressure medicine that relaxes the smooth muscle of blood
vessels, causing them to widen, or dilate.” According to Web MD.

In older people or smokers or n people who have had a bad lifestyle for years and years, the plaque build up and/or damage to the inside of their blood vessels, endothelium, this can be a problem that this drug can partially correct.

It can also help people who are always stressed like those who take beta blockers.

Avoiding tobacco smoke totally which helps anyone lower high blood pressure, can help lessen the need for this drug.

Following the eating style and regular exercise that remove fat without hunger also lessens this problem and makes your blood vessels relax once you have done it long enough.

And, tai chi or the Resparate can reduce this problem if too much stress is causing it.

But for older people taking less may be the best you can do.

The good news is that the eating style and regular exercise that remove fat without hunger plus doing tai chi or the Resparate may well allow you to do just that.

4. By the way, doing tai chi or the Resparate also helps lower stress caused cravings for sweets and lowers excess cortisol release.

That gives you better control in avoiding foods that both fatten and make you hungrier. And lower cortisol levels help remove abdominal fat or stop you from gaining it.

So doing that step is also highly recommended.

5. So is eating less omega 6 oils and adding omega 3 oils by taking the purified fish oil supplements and eating wild caught fish high in omega 3. People who do that have more responsive blood vessels, somewhat lower blood pressure, much lower chronic inflammation, and are less irritable which can also lower your stress level.

Omega 6 oils NOT to eat include corn, soy, saffola, and unfortunately, canola oil. Also minimize fat from grain fed animals. That fat contains excessive omega 6 oils from the grain the animals are fed. That’s a major reason why eating low fat dairy, fat trimmed lean beef and skinless poultry is good for you. Using extra virgin olive oil only instead of corn, soy, saffola, and canola oil -- & all margarine and most butter each help do this.

Lastly, eliminate all refined grains and the foods made from them and eat only 100 % whole grain foods and not too much of those.

6. Another strategy is to not take the drugs to lower your blood pressure unless it’s over about 150 over 80. If without drugs it’s 160 over 100 it’s dangerous not to take the drugs.

But particularly if you are just beginning to eat right, exercise, and do the Resparate or Tai chi, and your blood pressure is something like 143 over 78 or even 153 over 83, you may well be able to get to more like 125 over 70 without the drugs.

Similarly, if you take the drugs and add those things, you may get low blood pressure and able to stop taking one or more drugs.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

3 strategies to protect your eyes....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-22-2012

1. Recently one of my health emails said that eating bilberries, a kind of blue berry common in England and Scandinavia, or taking bilberry supplements protects the retinas in your eyes.

Doing this has also been found to improve night vision.

Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene are carotenes or carotenoids which also help prevent damage to your retina. And the most effective of these for protecting your retina I’ve read are lutein & zeaxanthin. They are high in egg yolks, broccoli, and leafy dark green vegetables.

Because these foods have multiple other health benefits, all the carotenoids are valuable for your health and the several dozen other carotenes may also help your eyes and health. These nutrients ARE better to eat instead take in a supplement.
(Taking lycopene for prostate cancer prevention seems to be one exception to that. But eating a lot of vegetables with the many kinds of natural carotenes may help prevent all cancers. So men interested in that protection should still eat those vegetables each day also!)

Ways of eating thought to be health supporting all vary a bit. But ALL of them suggest eating 5 to nine vegetables a day. Eating two or three servings a day of vegetables that are orange or dark green is one good way to help do that.

2. This way of eating also helps prevent cataracts where your lens to your eye gets cloudy and hard to see through.

Another way to protect your eyes from cataracts and from damage to your retina is to avoid excessive exposure to very bright lights and direct sunlight.

Eating enough carotenes does help prevent that damage by making your eyes harder to damage and easier to repair.

But things like never staring directly at the sun, wearing a brimmed hat outdoors during the day, and wearing dark glasses on sunny days or in conditions with a lot of glare also do that.

3. Getting good circulation to your eyes, optic nerve, and the part of your brain that your optic never connects to also help you keep good vision.

But there is another critical reason to keep up good circulation to your eyes.

Good circulation to your eyeball helps it to empty out fluid when needed which prevents fluid from building up.

If excess fluid does build up too far, that can cause glaucoma, an eye disease that destroys your optic nerve and tends to create permanent vision loss.

Dr Dharma Khalsa’s email also noted that taking ginkgo biloba has been found to increase circulation to your eyes.

It’s better known for increasing circulation to your brain.

But it also helps prevent eye damage too it turns out by improving circulation to your eyes.

Note that 60 mg a day of ginkgo may well be enough if you are keeping your HDL cholesterol up and your triglycerides and LDL low to protect the circulation to your heart and brain.

Also note that it takes a few weeks to take ginkgo until it builds up to full strength.

But even more importance taking it means that before surgery you should stop for a couple of weeks in advance.

Warning: Taking ginkgo and blood thinners at the same time can kill you.

It seems that taking ginkgo causes prescription blood thinners to work a few times better than usual.

So you can’t add taking ginkgo if you are on blood thinners. And you can’t safely take blood thinners if you take ginkgo.

Second, in addition to eating right and exercise to protect your heart and circulation you also need to do so to prevent high blood sugar.

High blood sugar causes excess sugar to stick to your blood cells and LDL particles. That tends to destroy capillaries.

If that happens in your eyes you can suddenly lose vision temporarily while you are driving. I spoke to a woman who found out she had high blood sugar when that happened to her!

But if this goes on too long, it can blind you.

So in addition to the protection it gives your heart, eliminate all soft drinks. Virtually eliminate eating foods that contain refined grains or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Stop eating packaged snacks and desserts. And cut back a lot on eating foods that contain sugar.

In addition to that do vigorous exercise most days of every week.

Of course each of these actions has other health benefits. Many people who make these health upgrades lose most of their excess fat without dieting.

And doing these things tends to slow aging which also protects your eyes.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

False headlines & the truth about vitamins and minerals....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-20-2012

Most doctors know little about supplements including vitamins and minerals and are too busy to find out more unless they somehow get updated by their patients or other doctors who know more.

Some doctors have studied supplements and find they can get superior results with patients by using the indicated supplements. Since the supplements cost less than drugs and have virtually no side effects that harm quality of life, far more of their patients actually take the supplements than take many drugs.

The drug companies don’t like the competition from those supplements that do work but have none of the side effects most of their drugs do and the supplements cost less.

(Some drugs do important things and do them fast that supplements cannot do. And, for some things the drugs are the better choice. Then too some supplements may not be that effective.

But the drug companies appear to be deliberately misinforming doctors and the media and thus many of the rest of us about supplements that do work.)

So you may have seen headlines like “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” AND “Vitamin E causes Prostate Cancer.”

But the truth is far different. Very different!

1. Most vitamins and minerals are beneficial and some are spectacularly beneficial.

There a few vitamins and minerals that do have side effects in doses that are too large. But if you know what level is safe on those few, those same vitamins and minerals can benefit you.

This makes the headline, “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” false & I think deliberately misleading.

2. We know 4 things about vitamin E and prostate cancer. The headline as quoted, “Vitamin E causes Prostate Cancer" is completely false. And the other 3 things help prevent prostate cancer! (The study did not test real vitamin E but a poor artificial copy that was not real vitamin E!)

We covered that last week, on Tuesday, 3-13-2012

This week we cover one of the two vitamin supplements that are spectacularly beneficial. It's vitamin D3.

Many of you already know that vitamin D3 has recently been found to have a large list of very valuable benefits

In fact taking vitamin D3 is one of the two supplements that have been found to lower the death rate of people taking it.

(We will cover the other supplement found to lower the death rate of people taking it next Tuesday.)

The Vitamin D council in their email recently quoted a study that found a 6% lower death rate in people taking extra vitamin D3 and 2% for people taking that much D2, the less effective form. (Your body makes vitamin D3 from sunlight exposure also. And wild caught salmon and purified cod liver oil contain vitamin D3.)

Vitamin D3 helps prevent many cancers; is now thought to help prevent Alzheimer's disease; it helps prevent some autoimmune diseases: and it helps prevent or improve SAD -- the depression some people get in mid-winter from too little sunlight.

A recent Vitamin D council article had a study that found a larger amount of vitamin D3 turned off painful periods for the women they tested.

Based on that study, it appears that taking 3,000 to 5,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 would prevent women from having that problem to begin with!

Also of interest to women:

To prevent or help reverse osteoporsis and strengthen your bones:

Take at least 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3; do NOT drink soft drinks; do weight bearing exercise several times each week; take magnesium; -- & eat a moderately high amount of foods high in calcium--or take 500 mg of calcium a day -- but only after your largest meal of the day.

New research found taking more calcium than that by itself may deposit calcium in your blood vessels and help cause heart disease. Worse, without the vitamin D3 and exercise and magnesium and not drinking soft drinks, even over 1,000 mg a day of calcium by itself was ineffective at strengthening bones.

Another had a study that found so much improvement in health and less disease that the people taking enough D3 had lower health care costs than people who did not!

One of the reasons for that is that so far so many people are severely deficient or deficient or lower than optimal in vitamin D3 levels..

Our ancestors evolved to be outside and exposed to the sun almost every day.

And, before about 50 to 100 years ago this was still true. Now most of us live and work inside and get very little sun exposure.

In midsummer, people would routinely get 20,000 to 30,000 iu of vitamin D3 from sun exposure each day. And, since even at midwinter many still got 3,000 iu a day, that seems to be the real minimum daily requirement for vitamin D3.

Vitamin D blood levels can be tested. Below 30 is clearly deficient.

Vitamin D levels of 30 to 49 are often seen in tests and above 30. So until now, many doctors didn't worry or suggest their patients do so with that level of test results.

But the most desirable health benefits don't show up until a blood level of 50 to 60.

So saying 38 was an OK blood level as a doctor did recently to someone I know is wrong. The "normal range" is 30 to 77.

But the desirable range for health is from 50 to 60 at least! And for some people, 61 to 99 may be better. (Some reseachers believe 61 to 99 is more desirable than 50 to 60. But they almost all agree that below 50 is undesirable.)

Most multivitamins have 400 iu of vitamin D. The better ones have 400 iu of vitamin D3.

You can also take 400 iu extracted from purified fish oil. You can take 1,000 iu capsules of vitamin D3. These cost less than $10 for 120 of the 400 from Solary or 100 of the 1,000 capsules from Carlson.

5,000 iu vitamin D3 capsules are also available and cost a bit more.

Some of the researchers take 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3. To be on the conservative side I take 8200 iu a day; & my blood level is 82. I prefer not to take 10,000 or more. My test results show I don't need to.

Wikipedia says that you have to take 100,000 a day or more to run into problems with vitamin D3.

But unless you test out as quite deficient, below 30, or just broke a bone and want to get extra help healing, the evidence suggests that taking 3,000 to 8,000 iu or a bit more of vitamin D3 a day is enough for optimum health effects.

10,000 to 25,000 iu on a sustained basis looks to be safe. But for most people it's overkill. To me 25,000 iu a day or more begins to approach the 100,000 level enough, I suggest avoiding taking that much.

But the bottom line is that taking enough vitamin D3 to dramatically improve and protect your health is very inexpensive. And the benefits can enormous compared to not taking it.

Vitamin D3 by itself makes the headline, “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” not only completely false but irresponsibly false!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

My monthly fatloss progress report....

Today's Post: Monday, 3-19-2012

Since last month, The good news is on building more muscle. And, so far, that news is VERY good.

I'm doing well with the higher amount of weight on my dumbells I recently bought. They are getting a bit easier to lift. And, I'm beginning to see some increase in strength on other exercises. Best of all, they are enough more work, I'm getting more of a cardio workout during my dumbbell workout.

However, since last month I gained another pound on the scale.

That’s the less bad news.

The worst news is that I gained 3/4 an inch on my waist.

Since my goal is to lose 4 to 6 inches on my waist, clearly I need to lose the 9 pounds AND at least 16 pounds more of fat more that I replace with 15 pounds of muscle.

I may be on track for the muscle gain. But I need to do a good bit more to lose fat too.

I came up with in idea I hope will work. At least it might help.

I've cut back from having tons of sugar on my oatmeal every day. Now I have been having half that much 7 times a month. That already was an 8 to one cut back. I recently realized the banana breakfast with sugar I've been having every Saturday didn't taste that much better than the version I've been eating with none!

So, now instead of 7 times a month I'll be having sugar on my cereal 3 times a month. So instead of an 8 to one cut back, I'll be close to a 20 to one cut back!

Sugar is fattening enough, that should help!

And, of course I'll maintain my other cut backs and exercise that helped me take off the weight to begin with.

My new plant to limit almond butter and add broccoli each evening has been in place.

I've been doing a decent job with it too. Apparently it may have helped but wasn't enough.

I'll continue it add more doable calorie cut backs as I find them.

(I now need to lose 9 pounds total to return to my goal weight. And, I still need to lose at least four to 6 inches off my waist.

According to pictures I’ve seen, I’m now at about 25 % bodyfat. To remove my abdominal fat, according to those same pictures, I also need to add enough muscle to stay at or just slightly below my goal weight AND lose about 12% to 15% of my current bodyweight as fat.

This translates into losing 20 to 28 pounds of fat while gaining 12 to 20 pounds of muscle.)

I'm finally putting the initial plan in place to add the muscle. But the fat loss part still needs some work. And so does my total calories of exercise and activity. I average 1400 calories a week now. But 3500 would be better. The good news is that there may be a 2100 calorie a week fix I can actually do. The next section repeats that from last time.

* X * X *X *

(Future improvements still planned:

Eventually I’ll also need to get a specialized minibike or other seated leg exerciser I can use while seated at my desk and another I can use while reading at home or at my home computer.

They don’t yet make those that I know of but most people today need them. Given the health harm of sitting too much and how many people do that, these minibikes or other seated exerciser for your legs and chairs that match them well are coming soon I think.

Walking burns about 300 calories an hour. (200 if you are skinny and walk slowly to over 500 if you walk really fast or walk somewhat fast but are much heavier.)

Using a seated minibike or other seated exerciser that you use much less effort on but keep moving slowly most of the time you sit can easily burn 50 calories an hour.

Then if like many people today you sit for 6 hours a day, you could easily add an extra 2100 calories a week by using a seated minibike exerciser most of the time you sit at home or at work. That would help people lose about 2 and a half pounds a month for a few months once they got into the habit of always using one.

If I’d used one of the seated minibikes since I began my current fatloss plan, I’d still need to add the extra muscle to be at my goal weight. But I’d be trying to add muscle weight to get back to my goal weight! That’s because I’d be 10 to 15 pounds less fat.)

I’ve also had an idea for awhile. Before sewing machines had electric power, they had an under the work area treadle that was designed to be effective but avoid distracting the person sewing from doing their sewing.

It may be possible to find an antique sewing machine and find a manufacturer to make a design of that treadle mechanism that would do the same for people working at a desk.

It’s proven to do the job needed in actual use!)

I’ll let you know how my additional planned changes and efforts work next month.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Solutions to drugs that keep you fat 2....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-16-2012

Last Friday, 3-9-2012, our post “Some drugs can keep you fat” listed several kinds of general strategies to drugs that tend to fatten you or keep you fat. For most of them, there is a better drug or a way to improve your condition that avoids using that drug.

Antidepressants can make you fat. The worst ones include Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), amitriptyline (Elavil). and Remeron (mirtazapine).

“Wellbutrin (bupropion) and Prozac (fluoxetine) are considered weight-neutral or weight-loss drugs. "Generally, older antidepressants are typically more prone to cause weight gain than the newer SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors]," Dr. Lawrence Cheskin said.

1. Wellbutrin is also sold as Zyban to help people quit smoking. If you are taking Zyban to quit smoking, it is on the mostly OK list for avoiding this problem. It does have side effects for many people. But if you do enough other things to quit including finding out how unbelievably harmful tobacco and its smoke really are, once the tobacco smoke effects wear off in your body, you can soon after that take less and then none.

It’s worth it if you need it to quit smoking. And it won’t add extra weight while you take it.
Very carefully done vigorous exercise that you start really slow and increase really slow both helps people quit and improves depression for most people better than the drug. So start doing just a bit of exercise right when you quit. Then by continuing to do it, when you need to cut down or stop the Zyban, you won’t need it as much anyway. The exercise will also help avoid the weight gain from quitting. If you also upgrade your food to health supporting food only and go really easy on sugar and avoid overeating, you can avoid the rest of the weight gain from quitting.

2. Two, it’s beginning to look as if the entire group of studies on antidepressants shows that they are less effective for most people than exercise. The drugs have little effect for most people and exercise works for most people!

Some people need more than exercise of course. But people who do vigorous exercise regularly do become much less depressed over time. The best news is that while you focus on doing the vigorous exercises and recovering right afterwards, it shuts off the negative thoughts and you get almost immediate if temporary relief from depression!

Since antidepressants cost money and have side effects and are even somewhat addictive, another solution is to try all the nondrug methods for fighting depression instead.

Some people will need skilled talk therapy to teach them the skills described by Dr Martin Seligman in his book, Learned Optimism in addition.

Depressed people have thinking patterns that cause them to be depressed. So if you do the other things in this post that improve the physical side, learning to stop these patterns and replace them with more effective and happier ones, and if you learn this skill well, you can often stop being depressed.

In some cases, actual brain damage can cause depression.

A doctor who treats both of these is Dr Daniel Amen.

He describes the talk therapy part as learning to kill the ANTS, automatic negative thoughts. He has a new book called, The Amen Solution: The Brain Healthy Way to Get Thinner, Smarter, Happier by Daniel G. Amen M.D. that does a good job of describing getting rid of the ANTS. He calls the most damaging ones, red ANTS. Some of his patients were able to use that information to learn to kill off these thoughts on their own. And all of them who learned to do so were able to feel much better AND be far more effective at losing fat. Many rated it the most useful part of his program. (And, the rest of it is quite good!)

In that book, he also describes the different parts of your brain that can be damaged or not working well and the things he has found effective to help those people.

Then too Dr Ilardi has a book called, The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs by Stephen S. Ilardi.

He found that 85% of people who did all 6 of those steps stopped being depressed. That’s not 100 %. But it’s dramatically better than the almost no effect for most people of the drugs.

a) Adding omega 3 from wild caught fish or supplements helps. He found that most depressed people were deficient in omega 3.

When that happens, people feel physical pain more and are more irritable -- which can drive people away and can trigger feeling depressed. Other studies show that your brain literally works better and lasts longer with enough omega 3.

We did a recent post on Better than glucosamine on Tuesday, 3-6 that describes how to limit excess omega 6 and how adding omega 3 AND sharply limiting omega 6 lowers inflammation and very likely helps you be less depressed. The way of eating described also lowers high blood pressure and makes it dramatically easier to lose fat and keep it off.

b) Another thing he does to have people take enough vitamin D3. If you are deficient in this vitamin which most people are, it does tend to cause you to be depressed. In mid-winter, many people get SAD, a kind of depression caused by too little sun exposure and vitamin D you get from that. Many people do need more than just enough vitamin D3 to stop being depressed. But turning off this cause does help make sure the other methods will succeed.

Opinion is mixed for higher doses and levels. But it’s now clear to the people who research vitamin D3 that about 3,000 iu is the minimum you should take each day. And, if you test for your vitamin D level in your blood, you should be at 50 or above.

If your level tests in the 30 to 49 range many doctors who don’t know this new information will say that’s OK. (Below 30 is severely deficient.)

Opinion on taking more than 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 and blood levels above 60 is mixed. One study found that taking 4,000 to 8,000 a day was more effective in preventing cancer for example than taking less.

c) He is a very strong advocate for exercise. He found it helps.

d) He calls automatic negative thinking, ANTS, ruminative thinking. Instead of enjoying life or getting things done, he found that not only to depressed people have these self damaging thoughts they spend time running them over and over again.

He teaches people to STOP and replace these thought with more positive ones and to immediately take action on something to stop the endless loop effect.

e) He teaches people how to interact well with other people and has them begin to do it far more often. Isolation and loneliness cause depression. He found learning ways to stop that and doing them often helps turn off the depression.

f) He teaches people to be sure to get enough sleep as his step 6. People who sleep too little often have too little mental energy to think clearly. They can be too tired to do it well!

People who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night except for a tiny minority of people with a special heredity have all sorts of extra health problems. (More than 7 is a challenge for most busy people. And more than 8 suggests health problems and is not good on a daily basis.) 7 hours a night is ideal if you can manage it. 6 and a half to 7 and a half is good. But the key thing is not to sleep less than 6 hours a day.

And, it also helps to sleep well.

In addition the ways to sleep better without drugs that we listed in our post yesterday, going to bed at about the same time each night and getting up at the same exact time each morning.

Research found that people who hit the snooze button or reset the alarm clock to a later time on weekdays. Got no more rest than if they got up and then were behind schedule besides. Plus your body acclimates to getting up every weekday at the same exact time.

g) Dr Julian Whitaker says that for people who do need the serotonin boost that the drugs try to deliver can get it more safely by eating the spice saffron or taking it as a supplement.

He points out that people low on serotonin tend to crave sweets. So this is a good alternative to shut down that craving without the sugar and its effects he has found with his patients.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sleeping pills have an extremely high death rate....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-15-2012

Last Monday, 3-12, Jenny Thompson of HSI sent out an email about a new study published in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers studied 10,500 people who took sleeping pills, from hypnotics like Ambien to sedatives, during two and a half years and compared them with 23,600 carefully matched people who took no sleeping pills at all.

The higher death rate in that time period of the people who took the sleeping pills was so much higher it was truly scary!

The people who took sleeping pills 11 times a month or more were FIVE times as likely to die during that time.

The people who took less than 11 a month but at least 18 a year were four times more likely to die.

People who took 18 or less each year were more than 3 and a half times more likely to die.

A. Why is this happening?

1. The study found one reason for this. The people who took the hypnotic drugs got more of many kinds of cancer during the time period. That was particularly true of the people who took them every week.

2. Another reason is that one of the main reasons people have really serious trouble sleeping is when they are extremely stressed. And, that level of stress tends to be almost that harmful. The list of demographic characteristics the researchers matched for didn’t appear to have included that difference. The death rate for severely stressed people is elevated too.

3. A third reason is that the most mentally healthy people, Dr Martin Seligman found, think of most bad things as temporary for various reasons that are usually true. They do NOT over-generalize and see most things that severely stress them or trouble sleeping occasionally as continuing to happen forever or completely out of their control.

The people who think the opposite are far more likely to self limit themselves and be depressed. They also have MUCH poorer health most of the time.

So when the mentally healthy people see the things that stress them as temporary or fixable and see any trouble sleeping as fixable and temporary, they rarely will ask a doctor for sleep drugs.

4. The hypnotic drugs by themselves have killed people also. One man who had taken a hypnotic sleep drug went sleep walking in his light pajamas and went outside. Unfortunately for him, it was mid-winter and below zero. They found his frozen body in the morning. People have also driven and died in accidents in their “sleep” while taking hypnotic sleep drugs or eaten poisonous things and died.

In real sleep, your brain induces a kind of paralysis. That’s why people wake up from nightmares sometimes. They try to escape or stop the scary thing in their dream and find they can’t move and wake up terrified. It’s happened to me on occasion.

The sleep induced by the hypnotic drugs somehow fails to start up that effect. So at any time people taking those drugs could die in exactly such a “sleep-walking” event. Unfortunately some have been reported to have just that happen.

B. Things that help you sleep that do not require you to take drugs to do it.

Jenny Thompson in her email listed several things that people can do to sleep better that do not require drugs.

1. The best one is regular and vigorous exercise almost every day. People who do that kind of exercise have much higher stress tolerance ability. And, they fall asleep more quickly and sleep better once asleep.

She also notes that many years ago, when she was having trouble sleeping herself, she bought a new and better quality mattress and took the television out of her bedroom, and the quality of her sleep improved immediately.

2. An uncomfortable mattress can make it harder to fall asleep and the extra discomfort can cause you to feel pain or more tired when you wake up. So getting a new good quality mattress can help.

3. But the really huge thing she did was to get the TV out of her bedroom! Late night TV news is mostly about bad things you can’t do much about. Even good TV shows you like can cause you to go to bed too late in the day. And, the extra light from the set tends to prevent your body from releasing the natural sleep hormone melatonin. (Doing other things to make your bedroom dark also helps your body release melatonin.) This is also better than a new mattress because it’s cost no money to do.

4. And, there are some foods and supplements that can help too.

a) If you have a raw vegetable and a healthy OK protein snack and maybe some fruit, the hunger that might have kept you up is gone and you will fall asleep and sleep better. (Just keep the amount light and try to eat it an hour before bedtime.)

A couple of broccoli florets and a single string cheese and two or three strawberries would work.

I eat the broccoli florets first. Then if I’m still hungry, I have a spoonful or two of nonfat cottage cheese and unsweetened apple sauce. Then if I’m still hungry, I’ll have a single spoonful of almond butter. I’m trying to lose weight, so I don’t let myself have the almond butter often. One man I know did well with lowfat yogurt and blueberries as a night time snack.

b) You can also take melatonin about an hour before bed. A single one milligram or half of one will work. So will taking 3 mg; but you may be groggy and too laid back the next morning if you do that. That happened to me once. Try the lower amounts first!

c) There is also a safer way to calm yourself when you are super stressed. Taking the herb valerian works. People in Europe took it during World War II when their lives were in danger day after day.

But save that for really heavy duty stress and sleep problems. Valerian quite literally stinks. Worse it’s the calming compound in the valerian that smells bad. I tried it once and decided to pass unless I was under incredibly high stress. And, in that event I’d try to get sealable jar or box to keep the bottle of valerian in when I wasn’t taking it!

The good news though is that valerian does work and is safe otherwise.

d) If you take a drug every day, also check on Wikipedia or with a pharmacist to see if the drug you are taking causes insomnia.

It turns out many people taking Lipitor get insomnia. There is a genetic test you can get for about $150 to see if you are one of the minority of people statins help. Most people are in the larger group that get better heart protection from niacin than from statins.

Or you may get the same heart protecting effect but no or less insomnia with another statin.

For those two things of course, you’ll need to work with your doctor.

But for most people most of the time, it looks far safer to stick to these methods and NOT take sleeping pills at all.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

False headlines & the truth about vitamins and minerals....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-13-2012

Most doctors know little about supplements including vitamins and minerals and are too busy to find out more unless they somehow get updated by their patients or other doctors who know more.

The drug companies don’t like the competition from those supplements that do work but have none of the side effects most of their drugs do and the supplements cost less.

(Some drugs do important things and do them fast that supplements cannot do. And, for some things the drugs are the better choice. Then too some supplements may not be that effective.

But the drug companies appear to be deliberately misinforming doctors and the media and thus many of the rest of us about supplements that do work.)

So you may have seen headlines like “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” AND “Vitamin E causes Prostate Cancer.”

But the truth is far different. Very different!

1. Most vitamins and minerals are beneficial and some are spectacularly beneficial.

There a few vitamins and minerals that do have side effects in doses that are too large. But if you know what level is safe on those few, those same vitamins and minerals can benefit you.

This makes the headline, “Vitamins are a waste of money or dangerous” false & I think deliberately misleading.

2. We know 4 things about vitamin E and prostate cancer. The headline as quoted is completely false. And the other 3 things help prevent prostate cancer!

That headline isn’t just sloppy journalism it’s harmful to the public health and may even be deliberately publicized by the drug companies.

We’ll start with the vitamin E headline and go back to the other vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin E supplements come in two versions, the same vitamin E that’s in raw nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados.

The other is man made and has different effects because it is different chemically.

Biologically effective compounds are like keys. The lock they are supposed to fit, does fit the natural compound. But if you use a molecule that is the mirror image of the real thing or has another chemical added to it, it often won’t fit the lock.

To get a safe and effective one, you have to use the natural version or make a truly identical version.

The commonly used and cheap man made vitamin E has both problems. In biological terms it isn’t really vitamin E at all!

So, if you study or read about vitamin E, it’s critical to know if the real version or the not that great man made version is what you are reading about!

a) The study that was done on real, natural vitamin E that I read of found that it did somewhat lower prostate cancer risk.

b) One of the forms of the vitamin E complex, gamma tocopherol, is actually very preventive of prostate cancer. If you aren’t allergic to tree nuts, raw pecans are high in it. And you can, so far, buy it as a supplement.

c) The study the headline refers to did NOT test vitamin E, they tested a double dose of the cheap and not too great man made vitamin E substitute instead.

They did not test the real vitamin E at all. But they did find that taking a double dose of the cheap man made vitamin E substitute DID increase the risk for prostate cancer.

d) The people in the study who took the double dose of the cheap man made vitamin E substitute AND took selenium were protected from that effect.

So, if you read the headline and take no real vitamin E because of the headline, you might get prostate cancer that more accurate information would have protected you from.

The real headline did NOT show up at all that I know of:

“Vitamin E itself may be helpful but the cheap man-made substitute caused prostate cancer.”

So, what to do?

The FDA should ban using the cheap man-made substitute for vitamin E in doses over 30 mg at the very least and strongly recommend its use be discontinued.

Since they haven’t, by all means do this for yourself! Never take the cheap man-made substitute for vitamin E in doses over 30 mg.

If you take vitamin E extra, ONLY buy natural vitamin E and/or the gamma tocopherol member of the E complex.

Eat the real foods that contain all of the vitamin E complex.

And take 200 mcg of selenium.

(For preventing the aggressive form of prostate cancer, eat raw broccoli or cauliflower florets every day or most days of every week. Studies found that cut your chances of getting the aggressive form of prostate cancer in about half.)

The reality is that you can take the real vitamin E and be less likely to get or be harmed by prostate cancer.

In this case an inaccurate headline and reporting can harm you and likely has harmed many people.

I see I’m out of time for this week. But I’ll resume covering the other vitamins and minerals next week.

Far from being useless and a waste of money, two vitamins are so beneficial they actually were tested to lower the death rate of people who took them. One of those even slashed the health care costs of the people who made sure to take enough!

Two vitamins, retinol the animal version of vitamin A and B6; and five minerals, calcium, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc can be risky in doses that are too large however, and we will cover those too.

If you know to take less of those they can still be quite beneficial despite that. Just find out the amount that IS safe to take and take that.

We will cover that next week or the week after.

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Friday, March 09, 2012

Some drugs can keep you fat....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-9-2012

Is avoiding fat gain or permanently losing excess fat is a concern of yours?

1. If you have been reading our posts, you likely already know that high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners and the soft drinks that contain them with their super-sweet taste act like drugs to cause you to eat more sugary foods and drink more sugary drinks. Many people also become addicted to this effect.

Although they are not drugs, in this effect they are a powerful appetite stimulant for causing you to get and stay fat that is more effective than many drugs are for what they do.

The good news is that unlike drugs you may actually need, you can simply stop consuming them.

The bad news is that most people don’t yet have a clue how fattening they really are. So they may get and keep more people fat than all the drugs we will cover in this series.

So eliminating them and the foods containing them is the first step to avoid the problem of things that make you fat or keep you fat!

2. Sometimes the drugs may be more of a challenge to get rid of.

Except for some of the worst drugs for keeping you fat, doctors tend to prescribe drugs based on what the drug will do to help you or protect you or make your condition bearable.

Often, they don’t pay much attention to side effects or the effects on your quality of life from those side effects.

Some of the best doctors do and many of the specialists do when prescribing drugs in their specialty.

Still, you may get a drug prescribed for you that does help keep you fat that your doctor doesn’t know has that effect or knows & thinks you need its effect more.

As a result, one of the first things to know is what drugs tend to keep you fat. (Over the course of this series we will cover those we’ve read have this effect. Until we finish, we will post on this subject every Friday.)

Then there are several things you can do.

a) No matter what, even if you need that drug a lot and you know your doctor was right to prescribe it, there are two things you still CAN do.

You can still do all the things that drug doesn’t prevent or get made ineffective by that keep you healthy.

And, you can still do all the things that drug doesn’t prevent or get made ineffective by that keep you from gaining more fat and which help you lose fat.

As you likely know, those lists of things to do overlap a lot.

Simply put if a drug you must take adds 25 pounds of fat to your body and your health is pushed down some by the condition you are taking the drug for, the last thing you need is to have ANOTHER 50 pounds of fat that you could have lost or kept off!

And, the last thing you need is to have other health issues because you stopped preventing them!

For example, you still can avoid soft drinks and diet soft drinks and the packaged snacks and desserts and other foods that contain high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners and tend to be made with refined grains and oils that cause inflammation and disease.

And, for most conditions, you can still exercise most days of every week. (For some of these conditions exercise is a better treatment than the drug!)

b) That’s the next thing to look at. For some of the drugs on this list, the solution is NOT to take the drug at all and exercise and/or lose fat and eat right to treat the condition! We’ll note those as we come to them.

c) The next solution is to stop the drug and try another drug in its class that does this less or not at all or take a drug that helps the condition from another class of drugs that also does not keep you fat.

Your doctor may be able to do this kind of substitution for you. Some can and will happily do so.

If not, you can see if another doctor who works more with people willing to make an effort to stay healthy or to lose fat might be a better doctor for you.

Or, if you and your doctor know each other and like each other and your doctor is a good doctor otherwise, the solution may be to get a second opinion or second doctor’s help who works more with people willing to make an effort to stay healthy or to lose fat might be a better doctor for you to find out what drug to substitute.

It used to be before there were so many drugs and pharmacists had to know directly instead of looking things up online, you could ask 3 local pharmacists and be able to tell your doctor the answer that way. One or more of them would know what you need to try next and get it right.

Even today, if you find an older and more experienced pharmacist or one willing to research it for you, a pharmacist might help.

d) The next way to do it is to see if there are other ways to improve your condition besides taking the drug and the lifestyle upgrades that keep you healthy generally or which avoid fat gain or remove the excess.

Sometimes there aren’t any we yet know about. But in some cases there are. An online support group of people who have that disease may have several other treatment methods besides that drug that have worked for other people that you could try.

Another way to do this is to look at things that may be causing the condition or disease and try removing those or making them better.

That has also worked in many cases.

e) In some cases there may be a chance that working harder at fat loss will overcome the effects.

Or you may be able to do things that cut your excess appetite that the drug causes or you may be able to take a diuretic to keep down the water weight a drug causes.

f) You may be able to get enough treatment effect at lower doses that are less fattening. That might make the extra effort at fat loss strategy work for example.

Or in some cases you may be able to alternate a few days taking the drug with a few days off to take the added fat back off. For drugs that have longer lasting treatment effects that last a few days and it’s safe to do this, that could avoid the problem close to 100 %.

So to summarize, if you can’t stop taking a fattening drug, you can still do all or most of the things that will keep you healthy and less fat. Do them! That way you won’t be even fatter and sicker than necessary.

And, in many cases there IS a way to stop taking the drug which is safe to do or even treats the condition better than the initial drug. So always check that.

And re-check it occasionally if you don’t find anything at first. You may have missed something on your first pass. Or someone may have discovered something since your first or last check.

There was an online article on Friday last week, 3-2-2012 that listed many of these fat promoting drugs, “Prescription Meds Can Put on Unwanted Pounds” from (HealthDay News).

The two experts they found were Ryan Roux, chief pharmacy officer with the Harris County Hospital District, in Houston & Dr. Lawrence Cheskin, who researched this subject and is now, Director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, in Baltimore.

Ryan Roux researched a list of drugs that fatten and where possible a list of drugs for the same conditions that did not

Between them they came up with a list of drugs that fatten and some drugs for those conditions that do not.

We will cover those drugs and add our ideas to the discussion of each one and begin that next week.

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ways to avoid or turn down type 2 diabetes....

Today's Post: Thursday, 3-8-2012

I’ve seen several different sources of information lately likely to be valuable for almost everyone. And I realized that they all would fit this topic.

1. One of the more interesting is a way to protect your health and take a very large bite out of high blood sugar readings.

Note that it works to do this whether you already know you are in trouble and measure your blood sugar or are on your way to type 2 diabetes but have not had it tested and are unaware you are in trouble.

People who sit for hours at work or watching TV with few breaks are at significant risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes and obesity and even some cancers.

So, for myself I not only get up 5 times a day to get a cup of tea and the many extra trips that causes to the bathroom each day every day during the week, I added something.

When I’m done with each of the 5 cups of tea I stand up from my desk and do about 45 seconds of exercise. Then I mark down that I did it in a super simple logbook I keep.

(I thought of doing that but found without the logbook step and the link to something I was already doing, it never actually happened. But since I added the logbook and the link to what I was already doing, I’ve done it every workday for the last two years now.)

So, what’s new?

People who don’t exercise as I do in addition may need to do this twice as many times a day and exercise more than 45 seconds.

BUT they haven’t tested to be sure of that! What I do may also work.

What they did test was if getting up every 20 minutes and walking at a moderate pace or a brisk one -- for two minutes a time would lower high blood sugar. That cut the boost from eating something that was a bit sugary or high glycemic by close to 30%.

That’s a very significant drop.

A measure of average blood sugar for the last 60 to 90 days is called an HBA1C test. If it’s 5.9 or higher you are in trouble. And, every tenth of a point you go above that is dangerous to your health. Some diagnose type 2 diabetes at 6.0 or above, some to most at 6.5 or above, and everyone at 6.9 or above. Above 7.0 is deadly dangerous no matter what you call it!

So suppose you are at 7.7 without doing this active sitting break several times a day, with it a 20% drop would put you at 6.2, a dramatically safer reading.

The next step we’ll list could easily drop you another 10 % or more. That would put you a relatively safe 5.6.

Whether you are cured of diabetes at that point or in forced remission is semantics.

You may need to do the two steps every day to avoid it regardless of what you call it.

2. The second step is to avoid ALL high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.

(And, cutting back on real sugar and virtually eliminating eating foods made from refined grains would double that effect or more.)

Why cut out ALL high fructose corn syrup?

High fructose corn syrup tastes sweeter than sugar and costs less than real sugar. So for the soft drinks and packaged dessert industry high fructose corn syrup is a cheap way to make that food or drink more addicting than regular sugar & people tend to eat or drink more and buy more.

In addition, the sweeter taste may cause you to release more insulin which then causes low blood sugar a half hour later causing you to crave a sugar fix. The combination of that & eating or drinking more than you would had it been real sugar, will make your blood sugar average levels higher. Worse, it will possibly also cause your body to down regulate its response to insulin. Then your blood sugar will tend to stay even higher.

Then your overall intake will tend to get so high that even though high fructose corn syrup only has 5% more fructose than regular sugar, at that intake level that adds up to a lot of free fructose in your blood each week. That in turn helps cause type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

(Another serious health risk with high fructose corn syrup is that 30% of all of HFCS contains mercury due to how it's processed.)

Lastly, the foods and drinks high fructose corn syrup is in often are those that it would be wise to pass up almost every time. So making them taste extra good is harmful & high fructose corn syrup does that better than sugar. )

Bottom line if you avoid ANY high fructose corn syrup, your blood sugar will be lower.

Oddly, in addition to whatever health risks artificial sweeteners may have, despite having no calories they are sweeter than sugar too. And the addicting effect and the blood sugar roller coaster and sugar cravings and eating more sugary foods that you get from high fructose corn syrup show up with artificial sweeteners too!

(The makers claim no other health harm but many people seem to experience some that seems to come with artificial sweetener intake. I have no direct experience or know of massive tests results to quote proving this. But I’ve seen enough supporting analysis and reports of harm to make me quite adverse to ever ingesting any artificial sweeteners!)

Note that if you switch from regular to diet soft drinks you may lose weight at first, but studies show you will be as fat or even fatter a few months later! The extra hunger and craving for sweets the artificial sweeteners induce will fatten you eventually. Water and tea do work to replace diet and regular soft drinks for fat weight loss by the way.

Bottom line, if you also avoid ALL artificial sweeteners, your blood sugar will be lower and your fat weight will be less.

3. Chronic inflammation makes the damage from high blood sugar worse. And, I just found out it can help cause low thyroid in people who otherwise would have avoided it. That tends to make people have low energy and be fatter. Neither of those help you lower blood sugar!

Even better, the kind of eating right that avoids chronic inflammation contains no to very little sweets which also can help lower high blood sugar.

(See our post on avoiding chronic inflammation as the most effective way to lower or prevent joint pain we did on Tuesday, 3-6, this week for that info.)

4. Did you know that even two minutes once a day of really vigorous exercise lowers your HBA1C levels?

Recent research found that it does!

Did you know that doing strength training a few times a week and interval cardio a few times a week and/or 6 miles of walking or more each week tend to make your insulin effective even if it wasn’t before and lower your HBA1C because of it?

(Strength training AND interval cardio do more than the same time spent doing only one or the other research found.)

Did you know that such regular exercise slows aging and helps prevent the damage caused by high blood sugar?

It does that too.

So, if you:

Use a logbook to ensure you take active sitting breaks,

Avoid ALL soft drinks, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners,

Eat right to avoid high chronic inflammation,

& Do these kinds of exercise every week,

Then your blood sugar and its measure HBA1C will stay in the safe zone for most people.

Is that a diabetes cure or forced remission you must continue?

That is semantics. But it does work whatever you call it!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Better than glucosamine for joint pain....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 3-6-2012

1. A family member asked if I had heard or knew if glucosamine helped for joint pain.

He also asked if MSM helped and if so, if it caused liver problems as he had heard that it might.

One study I saw did find that glucosamine was helpful for moderate joint pain but not much help for severe joint pain.

And, though the studies for MSM are less, many users report it as effective. MSM tested as not lowering inflammation in two tests; but it likely does provide sulfur used as a building block in your joints and increase blood flow. And, it may reduce pain a bit too.

High doses of MSM, above 750 mg a day or above 1,000 mg a day, may cause extra blood thinning and temporarily boost a test for liver distress or overload.

So, if you are taking a blood thinner or multiple supplements for preventing heart disease or blood thinning, keeping MSM at or below 1,000 mg a day may be wise.

And, if you are taking niacin or statins or drink alcohol more than 7 drinks a week most weeks, all of which tax the liver a bit, keeping MSM at or below 1,000 mg a day may be wise.

MSM apparently does not cause liver damage because the test drops back to normal if you stop taking MSM 4 days before the test. But it might cause your liver to overwork somewhat if those other things are also going on.

(Note: Because that liver test when I’ve taken it is usually on the borderline between high normal and a bit too high and I do take niacin and drink wine daily, I decided to drop my own MSM intake from 1750 mg a day to 750mg. I’ll keep taking my glucosamine + MSM combination supplement but have stopped my 1,000 mg of extra MSM that I was taking.)

2. But that's the secondary issue. You can do a lot more for your joints in another way!

In the first part of this post, I list the 4 supplements I do take to avoid joint pain and damage. They may help.

Then in the second part of this post, I describe the far more effective method which not only DOES work, it also helps prevent heart disease, many cancers, and one part of it helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease!

1. I take a glucosamine and MSM combination supplement from the NOW company. I think the product actually contains these things. You can buy many supplements at Trader Joe's at lower cost of their own label (& may also be able to at Walmart or Sam's Club). Walmart may be able to sell the real thing for less; but to be sure I'm actually getting the supplements I intend to take, I only by supplements from real supplement companies.

Glucosamine, MSM, a supplement called hyaluronic acid, and a shea oil supplement, FlexNow, all have proponents who say they reduce joint pain or even help avoid joint breakdown.

I take each of the four since I'm active and do NOT want to get the hip pain or the hip replacements my Dad had.

I take them in hopes they actually do work. Hopefully the study was right about glucosamine and one or more of the other 3 actually work.

I think each one works a bit but the effect is not robust. Hopefully the combination will do a bit more than that.

2. But those supplements are the secondary issue. You can do a lot more for your joints in another way!

Chronic inflammation actually causes joint breakdown and makes any problems in your joints painful or more painful. (The discovery that chronic inflammation actually causes the damage is new.)

First, People who eat vegetables, fruit, and fish and meats that are from critters that ate their natural diet have a balance of omega 3 and omega 6 oils and tend to have close to no chronic inflammation unless they have gum disease or some other infection.

But grains are quite high in omega 6 oils as are oils such as soy, corn, canola, and safflower oils. People who eat treats and snacks made from refined grains and these oils and hydrogenated versions of these oils AND who eat meat and fish and poultry fed grains that are high in omega 6, have 16 to 20 times as much omega 6 as omega 3 and have quite high levels of chronic inflammation, they have more heart disease, cancer, joint damage and pain from joint damage.

(One doctor, Russell Blaylock, MD also stated that these oils high in omega 6 increase inflammation directly: “They are rapidly oxidized within foods before they are eaten, and this generates inflammation within blood vessels, which leads to rapidly advancing atherosclerosis." This would also affect your joints and the blood flow to them if this is accurate -- as it may be.)

The solution is to eat a combination of the DASH diet that eliminates to cuts way back on the bad stuff and by aiming to use lowfat proteins such as lowfat milk, very lean beef, and skinless white meat and lots of vegetables -- and the Mediterranean diet that also has extra virgin olive oil and nuts which are omega 9 oils and neutral to the omega 3 and 6 balance and then add extra vegetables.

The second part of this diet solution is to take omega 3 oil supplements and eat fatty, wild caught fish. (I take DHA, an omega 3 supplement that benefits the brain extra; and an omega 3 oil supplement; and I eat a large serving of canned wild caught salmon 3 times a week.)

Otherwise I eat beans and lentils and oatmeal and olive oil and only rarely eat chicken. I eat ham on occasion or turkey at Thanksgiving. On those very rare occasions I eat beef or lamb, I ONLY eat it if it was 100 % grass fed.

I get at least double or triple the omega 3 of most people and half or a third or even less of the omega 6 oils of most people.

Unlike the first set of supplements that 4 to one to over 10 to one advantage is a HUGE and guaranteed effect.

But that's not all! I at least double that effect by eating foods three to five times a week that have curry containing turmeric and black pepper AND taking curcumin supplements, the active ingredient in turmeric, also along with some black pepper -- which I do every day.

There's beginning to be good evidence the turmeric black pepper combo lowers chronic inflammation significantly.

This helps prevent heart disease because the build up of plaque or blockages in your blood vessels is triggered by inflammation of your blood vessel walls.

AND, turmeric plus black pepper prevents Alzheimer's diease and many cancers TOO!

Oh, and it also lowers LDL cholesterol about 30 points in addition.

2. Part B:

The other way to avoid high chronic inflammation is to brush your teeth at the gumline at least once every day and floss at least once every day and to get your teeth cleaned and checked every 6 months at the Dentist’s office.

This not only saves more money over time than it costs, it improves your breath and appearance by avoiding gum disease, losing teeth, and having to get false teeth.

But the health effect is massive. Doing this removes one of the worst causes of high chronic inflammation to such an extent your chances of getting heart disease or a heart attack or dying of any cause all drop significantly!

The side benefit is that your joints will be less damaged and hurt less. But the effect IS robust!

Conclusion: As you can see, I do hope glucosamine and the other supplements like it work and take them.

But the really huge effect is in part two. And each part of it DOES work!

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Friday, March 02, 2012

Two ways to cut down on smoking without scary pictures....

Today's Post: Friday, 3-2-2012

It’s in the current health news that the FDA’s attempt to add scary pictures to cigarette packs got stopped in court by the tobacco industry.

But there are three reasons that’s possibly OK.

First: Reducing the amount of smoking by at least 4 to one is in everyone’s interest.

So, the goal of the scary pictures was sound and desirable.

The health care costs generated by smokers to treat them and the health care costs generated by people exposed to their second hand smoke runs into the billions of dollars a year.

So, if 4 or 5 % of people smoked instead of 20%, your health care costs and the increased cost of most things you buy due to those costs would be a good bit less.

That’s true even if you don’t smoke.

Second hand smoke is almost as bad for you as smoking yourself. Within minutes it can raise your blood pressure and decrease your blood oxygen levels. That’s likely how exposure to smoke triggers heart attacks in people who otherwise have escaped them.

So, if your chances of being hit with second hand smoke dropped by four or five to one, you would be healthier and safer in many ways.

So, how on Earth can this tobacco company victory quite possibly be OK??

Here’s why:

Most smokers have heard smoking causes cancer. But they also know or think they know that many smokers don’t get cancer.

Both of those things are true as it happens.

But smokers ALSO think magically and believe that someone else will get cancer and they will be fine and one of the lucky ones who don’t.

1. So, even if they see the scary pictures, few of them have any interest in stopping.

They literally think the pictures don’t apply to them. Worse, many of them resent the attempt to scare them into stopping something they don’t believe is really that harmful.

So, it likely was only a small loss that the pictures won’t show.

2. Far better than scary pictures would be a message on the packs with the real risks of smoking written by a good direct marketing copywriter:

Here’s the facts most smokers really have never heard of yet.:

As horrible as cancer is for the smokers who get it, cancer is the LITTLE problem from smoking.

The BIG problem is much worse, AND -- ALL smokers get it!

So, few smokers quit or try hard to quit because hardly any of them now have a clue this is so.

Many of them WOULD quit if they found out!

“You mean smoking really IS killing me and I can’t escape by being lucky?” Yes!!

As I understand it, the FDA HAS the ability now to do this even with the turn down on the scary pictures.

Here’s my version. But to be effective, twenty other versions should be tested with smokers to find out which ones work best and which ones work best overall and with young or new smokers and with heavy smokers and with light smokers.

“Did you knew that EVERY single puff of cigarette smoke begins to close down your blood vessels and cause disease?

Did you know that NO smoker escapes this -- even light smokers and new smokers?

If you smoke, be warned, BOTH of these are true!

ALL smokers begin to develop heart disease, mental decline, and ED from reduced blood circulation.”

3. There’s a way to raise money for the government that saves more in health care costs than it takes out of the economy!

NO other kind of tax does that.

It would cut back smoking dramatically -- and within weeks. It would cut down on new smokers too.

And, it even works with smokers who have no clue smoking is harmful !

(Unfortunately, there are thousands of smokers who have no beginning clue smoking is harmful at all.)

So, here’s what that is:

The court decision did NOT prevent it and it would cut smoking far, far more – and faster!

Have the federal government immediately tax every pack of cigarettes a new and added dollar or two a pack. And have all other kinds of tobacco taxed at a comparable rate with new and additional taxes.

Secondly, offer each state some of those funds in exchange for bringing their per pack tax to a dollar OR adding a dollar, whichever is more.

This has been proven to work.

More people try to quit. More people succeed. Fewer younger people start smoking. And the people who still smoke, smoke a good bit less. And the effect is evident within just a few weeks of beginning the tax.

Of course, it would be more politically doable if the direct marketing copy tested as most effective about the real risks of smoking were publicized heavily first.

What can you do?

If you personally know anyone who:

works in an antismoking group or in the American Heart Association, or the American Lung Association, or the American Cancer Association or who is an oncologist, a cancer doctor, or a cardiologist who passionately hates smoking,

Cut & paste this post and see to it they get it and ask them to forward it to people who might be influential enough to get these actions used.

Even one such try could help!

Your one try might be the one that eventually gets to the head of the FDA or a Senator influential enough to get it used or to the President.

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