Anti-Aging Blog Archive for

his Anti-Aging Blog Archive includes all blogs from the Anti-Aging Blog page, except blogs that merely point to Web pages on this site.

List of Blog Topics

Hypertrophy Specific Training: Part 2 Strategic Deconditioning

The Problem with Men

Did you get your soluble fiber today?

Not Obese? Normal and Merely Overweight People May be at Risk Too!

It's safer to look like a pear than an apple

Liquid Calories? You better believe it!

The Two Faces of Grapefruit: Health Hazard or Health Hero

Five Common Mistakes When Trying to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

FREE Online Health Food Book

Something fishy about fish oil?

How much muscle will you lose this year?

Portfolio Diet: Tough to Stay Invested In?

Exercise for a Bad Back: Daily aerobic activity is better.

Should a diabetic eat fruits and root vegetables?

Atkins Diet—New York Woman Hospitalized

Lower Cholesterol Without Drugs


Blood Thinner with Aspirin

Food and Supplements Law

Coffee and Genes

Smoking Declines in the USA

FDA Petitioned to Ban Dangerous Painkillers

Why is the FDA Picking on Cherries?

Potatoes and Diabetes

Hospitals and Transfat

Hypertrophy Specific Training: Part 2 Strategic Deconditioning

By preventing overtraining, strategic deconditioning becomes the key to Hypertrophy Specific Training

Hypertrophy Specific Training: Part 2, Strategic Deconditioning.

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The Problem with Men

Abigail Trafford writes,

'The plight of men doesn't get better with age. In retirement, men seem to have more difficulty in finding new purpose and joy in life once their identity is cut off from the workplace. They lose whatever status a job title conferred. They find themselves marginalized in a society that discriminates against older people. The risk of depression is significant -- and the highest rates of suicide are found in white men over 65.'

Source: Washington Post, Tuesday, April 4, 2006.

Men, I've got news for you!

A new career is waiting for you as a Minuteman in the Anti-Aging Army, part-time or full-time--it's up to you. The hours are flexible, with training at home and in the local gym.

While in boot camp, live on short rations. Like John Rambo, you fix your own grub. Living off the land is how we do it--food straight from fields and streams and oceans--none of that factory stuff.

Your weapons are aerobics to get lean, and weights to build muscle. You discover how to use three kinds of ammo: proteins, carbs, and fats and you gotta get 'em right.

Be proud to wear the uniform: trim slacks and a close-fitting T-shirt on a slim body, muscles toned again, skin clear and smooth.

We don't march, but we do have a spring in our step--no hobbling along, eyes to the ground, grumbling and mumbling.

What's at stake are independence and freedom from fear of decline and decrepitude.

Full article.

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Did you get your soluble fiber today?

Elke Naumann and colleagues have reported that a soluble fiber obtained from oats reduces LDL cholesterol, the 'Lousy' stuff, by almost eight per cent.

In the experiment, the participants took fruit juice with added soluble fiber derived from oats, called 'beta-glucan'.

There are cheaper and more readily available forms of soluble fiber than beta-glucan. Another concentrated form of soluble fiber is psyllium husk, available from health-food shops. (Drugstores sell a brand-name version called Metamucil.) The main advantage of psyllium husk and plain water may be that you get zero calories, but apples and pears, garbanzo beans and prunes all contain soluble fiber.

How does it work?

Possibly, soluble fiber works by binding bile acids, resulting in less recycling of bile and more excretion from the large bowel. (A side benefit of using soluble fiber is reduction in constipation and easier bowel movements.)

An eight percent reduction in LDL cholesterol may not seem much, but when you combine the effect of soluble fiber with three or four other food effects, the total reduction in bad cholesterol can add up. This additive effect is what makes the Portfolio Eating Plan work, as described in my free e-book. Download e-book.

Source: Elke Naumann, Angelina van Rees, Gunilla Onning, Rickard Oste, Markus Wydra and Ronald Mensink, Beta-Glucan incorporated into a fruit drink effectively lowers serum LDL-cholesterol concentrations, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 83, No. 3, 601-605, March 2006 Article.

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Not Obese? Normal and Merely Overweight People May be at Risk Too!

Like people who live in the wild today, our remote ancestors had less body fat than what we now consider 'normal'.

Our ancestors adapted to a world where food was scarce. Perhaps this explains why 'normal' weight men may be at risk of developing metabolic syndrome.


Possibily, 'normal' weight means too much fat, at least for men. As men age and lose muscle, they replace the muscle with fat. Thus, a normal-weight middle-aged man might carry 25 to 30 per cent body fat, compared to the 15 per cent body fat he carried at age 20.

Dieting just won't achieve what is needed in men or women. To regain muscle, a middle-aged person needs progressive resistance-training. To lose fat, the same person need aerobics to burn off the fat.

From my perspective, middle age is between 50 and 75--I've still got 6 months remaining--unless I move the goal posts.

Bret Goodpaster and colleagues report:

'Subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue [skin fat] was associated with the metabolic syndrome only in normal-weight men. Intermuscular adipose tissue [muscle fat] was associated with the metabolic syndrome in normal-weight and overweight men.'

'In contrast, subcutaneous thigh adipose tissue [thigh fat] was inversely associated with the metabolic syndrome in obese men and women'. (bolding added).

Source: Bret H. Goodpaster and colleagues (including Anne Newman, M.D.) Obesity, Regional Body Fat Distribution, and the Metabolic Syndrome in Older Men and Women, Arch Intern Med. April 11, 2005.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition associated with high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure that increase risk for diabetes and heart disease. (Dr. Abe Mirkin's definition.)

Bret Goodpaster's article.

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It's safer to look like a pear than an apple

Article by Dr. Abe Mirkin

If you are woman who is thinking about getting liposuction to rid yourself of the fat in your thighs, think again. Dr. Anne B. Newman, of the University of Pittsburgh found that thigh fat may be good fat (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, August 12, 2005). Older women with lots of fat in their thighs are at much lower risk for 'metabolic syndrome,' a condition associated with high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure that increase risk for diabetes and heart disease. The bad fat appears to be stored in the abdomen and wraps around organs. In post-menopausal women, heavy thighs and buttocks are associated with lower triglycerides, blood sugar and blood pressure. However, women who also stored lots of fat in their bellies lost much of their advantage.

We aren't sure how thigh fat prevents disease. It may be a receptacle that draws triglycerides and other fats from the bloodstream or it may draw fat from the abdomen and around organs where it could be lethal. Sadly, there is no way to store fat only in the thighs. When you gain weight, you add fat everywhere. But it's safer to look like a pear than an apple.

Dr. Abe Mirkin's article.

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Liquid Calories? You better believe it!

"Save 17,528 calories per month--just by doing this one thing!"

If added to your diet in excess of what you actually need to operate, 17,528 calories would convert into 5 pounds (2.3 kg) of fat!

Elaine Magee makes it clear that's an imaginary headline, but when she reveals how she did the calculation, you begin to realize it's not that far-fetched.

One Thing I would like to add to what she says... Eating fruit is a whole lot healthier than drinking juice. First, you get all the pulp and that helps slow down the impact of the fruit sugar as well as add fiber to your diet. And second, you know for certain you're not going to get any extra sugar, flavorings, colors and preservative the manufacturer thinks you need to rate his product higher.

But Elaine's blog is about a whole lot more than just the trade-off between fruit and fruit juice. A BEST READ if ever I saw one!

Elaine's article.

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The Two Faces of Grapefruit: Health Hazard or Health Hero

Researchers studied the impact of grapefruit on cholesterol levels. Shela Gorinstein and colleagues found that red grapefruit lowers cholesterol and especially trigycerides.

Triglycedride levels before and after treatment with red grapefruit were 2.32 versus 1.69 mmol/L. (In the US: 205 versus 150 mg/dL.)

Shela Gorinstein and colleagues write:

"...fresh red grapefruit contains higher quantities of bioactive compounds and has significantly higher antioxidant potential than blond grapefruit. Diet supplemented with fresh red grapefruit positively influences serum lipid levels of all fractions, especially serum triglycerides and also serum antioxidant activity. The addition of fresh red grapefruit to generally accepted diets could be beneficial for hyperlipidemic, especially hypertriglyceridemic, patients suffering from coronary atherosclerosis."

Red Grapefruit Positively Influences Serum Triglyceride Level in Patients Suffering from Coronary Atherosclerosis: Studies in Vitro and in Humans,Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 54 (5), 1887-1892, 2006.
Click for more info

Eating red grapefruit every day reduced triglycerides by 27 per cent. This result is spectacular, but the lesson to draw from this experiment is not that we should eat red grapefruit every day. The experiment confirms the words of Hippocrates:
"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food."

So what's the problem?

Grapefruit is great for anybody who is not on medication or taking herbal remedies. However, grapefruit can be hazardous for anyone taking conventional medication or herbal remedies, especially some calcium blockers and Viagra. Grapefruit magnifies the effects of some drugs and herbs.

If you intend to eat grapefruit and are taking medication, do show your healthcare provider the complete list of drugs, herbals and supplements you are taking just to be on the safe side or ask a pharmacist. Check out this Web site: Grapefruit-Drug Interactions.

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Five Common Mistakes When Trying to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle

Pauline Nordin pinpoints common mistakes and reveals how to avoid them.

1. Getting Too Much Cardio (Aerobic Exercise)

When you stress the body with exercise, the hormone cortisol is released. To cope with cortisol, cycle the cardio by decreasing the volume for a couple of weeks.

2. Cutting Out Carbs

Cutting carbs too much and too long can trigger the starvation response. When this happens, your body slows down the metabolic rate, burning less fat. Better to cycle the carbs: increase on some days and cut back on other days.

3. Using Weights that are Too Light

Dieting and cardio shed fat, but may cause loss of muscle. Keeping weights heavy can protect muscle.

4. Not Getting Fibrous Foods

Vegetables require a lot of energy to digest compared to the amount of energy they contain, unlike high energy-density foods, such as milk, protein powder, bars, yogurt and fruit.

5. Eating Fake Protein

Some protein bars look like candy bars and some are just that! Better to eat real meals with real protein. Please refer to Pauline's article for advice in her own words. Pauline's article. Pauline has opened a new Web site dedicated more to fitness than hardcore bodybuilding. Please note that the word "hardcore" on Pauline's site means "really serious", not something naughty.


Cutting Back on Cardio does not mean no cardio. It may mean dropping to three hours per week if you normally do six hours per week.

Cycling Carbs Try increasing carbs two days per week.

This doesn't mean going wild with junk food. It may mean having extra slices of whole-grain toast with a dip made from a bean paste, such as hummus and having spaghetti with one of the Italian-style sauces (hold the cheese).

Using Heavy weights Not all trainers use heavy weights and low repetitions all the time. Hypertrophy-Specific Training combines light, medium, and heavy weights over a nine-week cycle. There is more to bodybuilding than size and strength. Training with lighter weights conditions the joints helping to avoid injury from heavy weights.

For more information about how to calculate weights and repetitions check out this URL: Hypertrophic-Specific Training, Part 1.

Vegetables Eat your vegetables, but don't cut back on fruit. Scientists are discovering more and more health benefits from fruit. To reduce the impact of the sugar in fruit, avoid fruit juices. Instead, eat the whole fruit. Add fruit to salads containing lettuce, cucumber, seeds and olive oil. Add fruit to low-fat yoghurt and breakfast cereals.

Protein Do avoid protein bars. Avoid excessive animal protein too, especially red meat and poultry.

Check out this free e-book that contains a recipe for a homemade protein shake. (Name and e-mail address not required.)

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FREE Online Health Food Book

Dr. Abe and Diana Mirkin have put the entire contents of one of their most popular books, The Good Food Book, on their website.

The Good Food Book has 100 recipes, food lists, help for special situations such as losing weight or controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, and lots more. (The link takes you directly to the online book.)

Click for more info

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Something fishy about fish oil?

The benefits of fish and linseed oils as elixir of life: Another health myth?

Dr. Lee Hooper of the School of Medicine, University of East Anglia (UK) and colleagues reviewed the scientific literature for evidence that omega-3 fatty acids affect total mortality, cardiovascular events, and cancer.

They found no clear evidence that omega 3 fats have an effect on total mortality, combined cardiovascular events, or cancer.

One critic, a PhD candidate, pointed out,
"...the authors focused on omega-3 [fatty acid] intake, they excluded studies examining blood omega-3 [fatty acid] levels."

" [fatty acid] levels of adipose [fat] tissue samples...represents long-term exposure to omega-3 [fatty acid] intake and allows relatively unbiased assessment of the exposure."

"...Hooper's systematic review excluded many useful retrospective studies by selecting only prospective studies looking at dietary intake."

"By excluding [blood and fat tissue studies], the estimated effect measure is likely to be biased."

Fumiaki Imamura, PhD Candidate, Maryland, USA.

(Competing interests: None declared)

Note: I added the terms in square brackets [] and bolding for clarity and emphasis.

Source: Hooper, L. and others. Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review, British Medical Journal, 24 March 2006.

My Comment

Floyd Chilton, PhD explained how fatty acids (fats and oils) produce both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects within the body. In his book Inflammation Nation, he shows that it is the excess of AA (arachidonic acid) that is the culprit in inflammatory diseases. Read the shocking truth about farmed salmon. Can it be that lean beef is safer than chicken? If your public library does not have the book, they can borrow it from another library for you to read.

Supplementing with fish oil (omega-3) and primrose/borage oil (GLA) is like throwing water on a fire. With very high levels of dietary AA, supplementation will have little effect because the fire is too big. But with low levels of dietary AA, supplementation has a better chance of putting out the flames.

My free e-book contains more about Dr. Chilton's approach. Free e-book..

(You don't have to subscribe or even give your name and e-mail address. But do check back for the next update.)

Click for more info

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How much muscle will you lose this year?

Yes, if you're over 30, you are losing muscle.

Unless you do strength training, you lose about five per cent of your muscle every ten years.

By 60, you will lose 15 per cent of the muscle you had at 30.

After 60, you lose 10 per cent of muscle per decade. By 80, 35 per cent of muscle has gone.

Age 80? Why worry?

My grandmother was alert and active at 87. She did all her own housework and cooking.

She fell down the cellar stairs, her hands and arms not strong enough to support her weight. She fractured her hip and was never able to walk again. I remember the tears in her eyes when, near the end, she lay there looking at me, gripping the bed sheets tightly in her bony hands, saying "I don't want to go. I don't want to go".

About six months after I started strength training at age 73, I slipped going down the stairs, reached out and grasped the hand rail my wife had installed for just such an occasion. By then I was already stronger and was able to break my fall. As I was falling, my grandmother flashed into my mind.

About 40 per cent of hip fractures occur in elderly men, but I don't want to go before my time just because I failed to keep my arms and legs strong.

Strong Muscles for Safety

It's not enough to put up hand rails in the bathroom and along the stairs. You need to train the muscles in your hands and arms to support your weight when you stumble.

Can Older People Become Strong?

It takes time, but no more time than watching TV an hour a day.

After a little over a year, I can do five unassisted dips, lifting and lowering myself (132 pounds/60 kg) between parallel bars. This means I can support half my weight with one hand, enough to break a fall and avoid a fractured hip.

Getting Lean Helps

Losing a lot of fat makes your body weight easier to support. And the lighter you are, the lighter you fall.

Keep Your Balance

The more fit you become, the less chance you have of falling. And when you do stumble, you may be able to recover instead of taking a tumble.

Walking, running and simulated skiing all help to avoid falls by improving coordination and balance.

Click for Body Restructuring

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Portfolio Diet: Tough to Stay Invested In?

Sally Squires writes,

"It's called the Portfolio diet. And you won't find it in any bookstore."

"The goal of the eating plan's creators was simple: to see if a "portfolio" of foods, each with some minor cholesterol-lowering benefits, can have a larger effect when eaten together as part of a regular diet."

Lean Plate Club, Washington Post, March 21, 2006.

My Comment

You don't have to treat the Portfolio Eating Plan like a diet. Just substitute the recommended foods for some of the foods you eat now.

My free e-book gives details and a recipe for a shake that contains all the components of the Plan. (Go to the bottom of the "Subscribe" page.)

You don't even have to subscribe if you don't want to. Just download the e-book without giving your name or email address. Click for more info

Click for Sally's article

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Good Exercises for Bad Backs

Daily aerobic activity is better than back exercises.

"When your back hurts, getting off the couch may be the last thing you want to do--but you should probably make it the first. New research shows that exercise is exactly what you need, provided it's the right type."

Julie D. Andrews, writing for Prevention magazine.


Other remedies for back pain: This free online issue of Prevention has several remedies for back pain. The only thing I found missing was advice about strengthening abdominal muscles. Weak abdominal muscles may cause back pain by allowing the abdomen to sway forward, overcurving the spine. This can happen when excess weight accumulates around the middle.

Though few experiments last long enough to test this idea, pregnant women know about back pain in the last three months and the relief they feel when the weight comes off.

But it's not enough just to lose the weight. Flaccid abdominal muscles can let you down even when you don't have much weight around the middle.

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Should a diabetic eat fruits and root vegetables?

Dr. Abe Mirkin replies

Yes; root vegetables and fruits are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. Many studies show that diabetics who do not eat fruit and root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots or beets, are at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Recent studies from Oxford University in England and Arizona State University show that diabetics should eat fruits and root vegetables with other foods to slow the rise in blood sugar that can cause cell damage (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2006; Journal of the American Dietetic Association, December, 2005).

Diabetics are at high risk for heart attacks, strokes, blindness, deafness, kidney failure and damage to virtually every tissue in their bodies. These serious side effects are caused by blood sugar levels rising too high after meals. When you eat food, it passes into the stomach where the pyloric sphincter closes and prevents food from entering the intestines. The stomach squeezes and mixes its contents and only when solid food is converted to a thick soup does the pyloric sphincter open and permit food to pass into the intestines, where sugar is absorbed immediately to cause a high rise in blood sugar. If you eat nuts along with the potatoes or fruits, the fat in the nuts keeps other foods eaten with them in the stomach for a longer period of time and therefore blood sugar levels do not rise as quickly. Any slowly-digested foods that contain fats or protein will have the same effect, so eat your fruits and root vegetables with other foods, not alone as snacks.

My Comment

Most people can avoid late onset diabetes by diet and exercise. For those who cannot avoid the disease and those who do not wish to change their lifestyle, Dr. Mirkin provides advice about drug therapies.

Unlike lifestyle changes, drugs do not remove the causes of diabetes, but merely delay the destruction of the major organs. Lifestyle changes must be followed for life, just as the drugs must be taken for life.

For most people, there is only one side-effect of lifestyle change, the cost of buying smaller size clothing.

Click for more info

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Atkins Diet--New York Woman Hospitalized

In New York, a 40-year-old obese woman was rushed to Emergency suffering from life-threatening acidosis.

"Our patient had an underlying ketosis caused by the Atkins diet and developed severe ketoacidosis, possibly when her oral intake was compromised from mild pancreatitis or gastroenteritis... This problem may become more recognized because this diet is becoming increasingly popular worldwide," says Dr. Klaus-Dieter Lessnau, from the New York School of Medicine.

Source: Lancet, March 18, 2006;367:880-881,958.

How might someone lose weight safely while reducing only carbs?

Julia is a sedentary 57 year-old woman. She weighs 180 lbs (81.8 kg) and is 5 foot 7 (170 cm). Her BMI is 28. She wants to become as slim as she was when she was 20 years old, with a BMI of 21.

Julia's adjusted base metabolic rate is 1800, based on her sedentary occupation. On 1800 calories per day, Julia does not gain or lose weight.

Julia decides to lose weight by exercising six hours per week and reducing calories by 20 per cent to 1440 calories. She intends to do this by cutting only carbohydrates from her diet.

Before starting, Julia's macronutrient ratios are: Protein 20, Carbs 50, Fats 30 (percentages), 1800 calories. If Julia cuts 360 calories of carbs, her ratios will be Protein 25, Carbs 37.5, Fats 37.5 (percentages), 1440 calories. With exercise, Julia's calorie deficit will be 700 calories per day.

This is a "lower carb diet", at only 540 carb calories, but the carbs are not low enough to cause ketosis, which is what all the fuss is about.

Will Julia lose weight? Julia will lose 6 pounds (2.7 kg) per month. Within nine months she should reach her goal of 135 pounds (61 kg).

As Julia loses weight, she will need fewer calories. Thus, she will need to readjust her program after three months, reducing carbs by another 180 carb calories, still without risk of ketosis.

Anything else?

If Julia does weight training three hours per week as part of her exercise, she won't lose much muscle as she sheds fat. She will not become muscular, just firmer.

Would you do it this way?

I would increase protein to 30 per cent and reduce fat to 20 per cent, targeting saturated and trans fats. To do this, I would substitute a whey protein supplement and fish for some meat and eliminate almost all fried food.

Click for more info

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Cholesterol-Lowering Diet Packs Punch

Diet Rich in Cholesterol-Lowering Foods Lowers Cholesterol Level by 20%

Jennifer Warner, writing in WebMD Medical News, reports research that shows eating certain foods can lower cholesterol as much as a statin drug. (WebMD Article.)

For one year, 55 adults with high cholesterol followed a mostly plant-based diet including soy protein, plant sterol-enriched margarine, increased fiber, and almonds. The people were also asked to eat five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and eat more plant protein, such as beans and tofu.

People who followed the diet for one year lowered their cholesterol levels by 20%, comparable to the reduction experienced by many people who take a statin drug.

Source: Jenkins, D. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2006: vol 83; pp 582-591.


If you want to try this approach, but don't like soya milk or tofu, try this. Buy soy protein isolate in a health food shop and blend 20 to 40 grams per day in water with a fresh orange and either dried apricots or prunes to make a tasty shake. (The fine print on the container might refer to Supro, a high quality complete protein with all the amino acids needed by the body.)

You can lower your cholesterol without drugs

I have written a mini e-book containing details of Dr. Jenkins Portfolio Eating Plan and examples of foods that lower cholesterol. Not everyone responds as well as I did--lowering cholesterol by 36%--but if you don't try, how will you ever discover if your are a "responder" or not?

Go to the link below and scroll to the bottom of the page to download your cope now. The mini e-book is FREE and your name and e-mail address are not required.

Click for more info

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Two Studies Deflate Benefits of B Vitamins

Taking Vitamin B May Not Protection Against Heart Attack

Rob Stein, writing for the Washington Post reports on the results of two recent studies that asked if vitamin B will help stave off another heart attack in those who have already had one or more attack.

The studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirm the results of a study that was published in 2004 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an editorial, Joseph Loscalzo of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said, "The consistency among the results leads to the unequivocal conclusion that there is no clinical benefit of the use of folic acid and vitamin B12 (with or without the addition of vitamin B6) in patients [with heart disease]".

Until recently, scientists accepted the theory that vitamin B is beneficial in cutting the risk of heart disease because it reduces homocysteine. Kilmer McCully of the V.A. Boston Healthcare System in West Roxbury, who proposed the homocysteine theory, says, ""You really can't deny that homocysteine is involved in the disease process. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of papers showing that."

My Comment

The possibility remains that vitamin B can prevent heart disease in people who do not yet have it. However, the consensus view is shifting to an alternative theory that says, "Homocysteine is not a cause of heart disease, but a marker for something else that has gone wrong in the body". According to this theory, using vitamin B to remove the marker will not remove whatever is causing the problem. There is no point in shooting the messenger.

The connection between high levels of homocysteine and heart disease must soon become a research priority.

Don't Stop Taking Vitamin B

Vitamin B may provide other benefits apart from preventing heart attacks. Although I eat fish almost every day, I hardly ever eat meat. To make sure that I get enough B12, I take metacobalamin, the biologically active form of vitamin B12. You may have other reasons for taking vitamin B.
Click for more info

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Blood thinner with aspirin proves risky

Some people taking the blood thinner Plavix on top of aspirin to try to prevent heart attacks may be advised to stop.

In a recent study, people without clogged arteries who were taking both aspirin and Plavix, doubled their risk of death from heart-related causes compared with taking aspirin alone.

People who are taking the two drugs because they have had a recent heart attack or who have recently undergone a procedure to explore or unclog an artery should continue to take the drugs.

If you are taking both drugs, you should discuss this study with your doctor.

Click for more info

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Message from an Alien about Dietary Supplements

In this message, I am writing as one of those creatures known in America as a Non-Resident Alien.

I am writing to Americans about a proposal before Congress to regulate labeling of foods, The National Uniformity for Food Act.

Why Aliens Care

Many aliens care both about the quality of American supplements because the supplements we use come either from America or from countries that tend to follow America's example in protecting consumers.

National Uniformity for Food Act

What's the problem? A last-minute amendment excludes dietary supplements from the House Version of the National Uniformity for Food Act.

Why is this a problem? Many brands of supplements do not contain what they say they contain (

How might the new law solve the problem? If dietary supplements are included in the new law consumers will be better protected from the sharks who are out to make a fast buck.

The link below leads to the website of The Coalition to Preserve the DSEA, the 1994 law that permits access to and information about dietary supplements.

Click for more info

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Special gene may be at the heart of coffee dangers

Genetics may play a role in how coffee affects your heart

Yes, but if you drink four or fewer cups of coffee per day, don't lose any sleep because of this study. That advice was among the conclusions of the researchers.

The Kind of Coffee You Drink May Matters Even More than Genetics

The subjects in this study made paper-filtered coffee, which is known to be less risky than other methods of preparation.

So a "four-cup rule" might apply to paper-filtered coffee, but not to coffee made by other methods.

At least one unconfirmed study has suggested that decaffinated coffee may not be a safe alternative, but nobody really knows for sure.

I'm sticking to my Americano (espresso plus hot water) and not more than two per day.

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Smoking In U.S. Declines Sharply

Cigarette Sales At a 54-Year Low

"Federal studies show that about 21.7 percent of high school students still smoke, as do 20.9 percent of adults -- about 45 million Americans 18 and older. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death, causing more than 400,000 deaths a year." Marc Kaufman, Washington Post, March 9, 2006.


The decline in cigarette smoking in the US parallels the remarkable gains in longevity (length of life) during the last 50 years.

Many countries have seen that those who quit smoking and who have never smoked tend to be the better educated with what used to be called "white collar jobs". In most developed countries, including the US, improved public education and the shift away from "blue collar" jobs may be the most important factors in the decline in tobacco use.

While public officials now congratulate themselves for the success of "their campaigns against tobacco", almost certainly these officials were following public opinion rather than leading it.

What's the Bad News?

The bad news is that the same companies that profited from tobacco are now leading producers and distributors of processed foods, the very foods that fuel the surge in body-fat that threatens to undo all the gains in longevity from the decline in tobacco use.

The struggle for wellness has not diminished by the decline in tobacco. The battle has opened on another front. We must now focus on the nutritional quality of the foods we eat. We face the same opposition as before—often the very same people. Their weapons are the same too: shady advertising and research techniques and a willingness to sacrifice the lives of their neighbors for profit.

You could always have escaped tobacco by not smoking and by avoiding smoke-filled places. But how can you avoid foods that will just as surely shorten your life?

Yes, it can be done. You can prepare food from unprocessed ingredients, eliminating refined starches, sugar and salt. You can lower cholesterol and blood pressure without drugs and you can ramp up the anti-oxidants in your diet.

You can do all of these things, but not without a struggle. The price of wellness is eternal vigilance.

Click for more info

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Group petitions FDA to ban pain drug

"Darvon, Darvocet tied to thousands of deaths between 1981 and 1999"

"Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the group’s director, said the main active ingredient in the drugs, propoxyphene, is a relatively weak painkiller and poses an unacceptable toxic risk to the millions of patients prescribed it each year. It’s been sold since 1957."

Source: MSNBC, February 28, 2006.

In January 2005, this drug was banned in the UK. Because of its narcotic effects, it has to be phased out slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Comment: Appears as if the FDA is too busy picking on cherries! (See blog "Why is the FDA picking on cherries?"

Click for more info

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Why is the FDA picking on cherries?

"While various agencies of the [US] federal government encourage us to eat more fruits and vegetables, the FDA has issued an edict that precludes cherry companies from posting scientific data on their websites. This censorship of published peer-reviewed studies denies consumers access to information that could be used to make wiser food choices."

Source: Life Extension Foundation, March 2006.

Click for more info

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Eating Potatoes May Increase Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

"Eating Potatoes May Increase Risk for Type 2 Diabetes", say researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital

"Potatoes, a high glycemic form of carbohydrate, are hypothesized to increase insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes."

"Our findings suggest a modest positive association between the consumption of potatoes and the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.... This association was more pronounced when potatoes were substituted for whole grains."

(Halton TL, Willett WC, Liu S, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Hu FB., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February, 2006)


In obese and sedentary women, the association between potato consumption and risk for type 2 diabetes was more pronounced. These subgroups were thought to be more likely to have underlying insulin resistance, which may exacerbate the adverse metabolic effects of higher glycemic carbohydrates.

A limitation of this study is the inability to completely separate the effects of potatoes and french fries from the effects of the overall Western dietary pattern.

Laurie Barclay, M.D. Medscape Medical News (CME), March 2, 2006.

My Comments

Dr. Barclay's comment about the limitations of the study refers to the possibility that the habit of potato eating may simply tell us that the person has a typical modern Western diet. Eating potatoes would then be a "marker" that points to a pattern of eating, rather than a food that by itself causes diabetes type 2. Note that the study mentioned that the effect of eating potatoes was more pronounced if the person ate less whole grain foods.

People who eat a lot of potatoes and not much grain may be less conscious about the health impact of what they eat.

Nothing in the study says that people should stop eating pototoes.

Based on this study, the best we can say is:
  • Avoid eating potatoes every day as your carbohydrate staple, especially potatoes alone as a snack
  • Eat more whole-grain food, including seeds eaten like grain, avoiding food loaded with sugar.
  • When you eat carbohydrates, balance the carbs with fats and proteins
  • Eat more beans, nuts, and oily seeds like pumpkin and sunflower, avoiding food loaded with sugar.
  • Use fresh and dried fruit for sweetening rather than honey or sugar, whether refined or unrefined.

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Another Way Hospitals Can Harm Your Health

"Eighteen of the [United States] top hospitals are unnecessarily harming their faculties and staffs, their visitors, and some patients by serving foods prepared with partially hydrogenated oil-the biggest source of artery-clogging trans fat in the American diet."

Do as I say, not as I do:

"But the fries served at the main cafeteria at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-the government's lead agency for nutrition education-had a heart-stopping 5.8 grams of trans per 6-ounces."

Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

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