Friday, January 1, 2010

Jon's Health Tips - Latest Reports

Here is a summary of the latest health research reports.

The good news for me from these reports is that 1. I don't take Ginkgo biloba, 2. I stopped taking Vitamin E, 3. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables, 4. the few times I drink hard liquor it's vodka, not bourbon, 5. I eat lots of fish and take Omega-3 supplements, 6. I drink lots of tea 7. I take red yeast rice which is supposedly a statin and 8. I get lots of exercise.

The bad news for me is that 9. I'm heavier, don't always wear sunscreen, and have had skin cancer; 10. I take 3 aspirin before every soccer game, and 11. I eat canned foods.

See below why these habits are good or bad news:

1. Ginkgo biloba no help for cognitive decline

"Ginkgo biloba is marketed widely and used with the hope of improving, preventing, or delaying cognitive impairment associated with aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer disease," the authors write. "Indeed, in the United States and particularly in Europe, G biloba is perhaps the most widely used herbal treatment consumed specifically to prevent age-related cognitive decline." However, evidence from large clinical trials regarding its effect on long-term cognitive functioning is lacking.

2. Vitamin E may do more harm than good

The average quality-adjusted life years (QALY) of Vitamin E-supplemented individuals was 0.30 less than that of untreated people. This, of course, does not mean that everybody consuming Vitamin E shortens their life by almost 4 months. But on average, the quality-adjusted longevity is lower for vitamin-treated people. This says something significant.

3. Chlorophylls effective against aflatoxin

A new study has found that chlorophyll and its derivative chlorophyllin are effective in limiting the absorption of aflatoxin in humans. Chlorophyll and its derivative chlorophyllin are present in green vegetables and are available as supplements.

Aflatoxin is produced by a fungus that is a contaminant of grains including corn, peanuts and soybeans; it is known to cause liver cancer – and can work in concert with other health concerns, such as hepatitis.

Eat Fruits and Vegetable for Better Vision

Carotenoids, found in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, have been found to increase visual performance and may prevent age-related eye diseases.

4. Bourbon Hurts More the Next Day

Many alcoholic beverages contain byproducts of the materials used in the fermenting process. These byproducts are called "congeners," complex organic molecules with toxic effects including acetone, acetaldehyde, fusel oil, tannins, and furfural. Bourbon has 37 times the amount of congeners that vodka has. A new study has found that while drinking a lot of bourbon can cause a worse hangover than drinking a lot of vodka, impairment in people's next-day task performance is about the same for both beverages.

5. Moderate Fish Consumption May Lower Heart Risk

Including fish in a balanced diet has long been associated with the prevention of heart disease, and scientists now believe that it can help preserve heart function in patients who have experienced heart failure.

Omega-3 = better nervous-system function

The omega-3 essential fatty acids commonly found in fatty fish and algae help animals avoid sensory overload. The finding connects low omega-3s to the information-processing problems found in people with schizophrenia; bipolar, obsessive-compulsive, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders; Huntington's disease; and other afflictions of the nervous system.

The study provides more evidence that fish is brain food. The key finding was that two omega-3 fatty acids – docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – appear to be most useful in the nervous system, maybe by maintaining nerve-cell membranes.

6. Coffee, Tea = Reduced Risk of Diabetes

Drinking more coffee (regular or decaffeinated) or tea appears to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

7. Statin Recommended For Prevention Of Heart Disease

AN FDA advisory panel has voted 10 - 4 to recommend Crestor for patients without high cholesterol but with the following characteristics: Low or normal levels of the variety of cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein, or LDL; elevated levels of C-reactive protein (hsCRP), a marker of inflammation in the body, and at least one of the conventional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. (The “conventional risk factors” are smoking, age, high blood pressure, low levels of the good cholesterol, HDL, and a family history of heart disease).

8. Exercise improves survival from colorectal cancer

Men who have been treated for colorectal cancer can reduce their risk of dying from the disease by engaging in regular exercise.

9. Factors Associated With Skin Aging

Smoking, being heavier, not using sunscreen and having had skin cancer appear to be associated with sun damage and aging of skin on the face.

10. Don't Take Aspirin Or Advil Before Sports

Athletes' superstitions and rituals can help them get psyched up for contests, but when these rituals involve non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which many athletes gobble down before and during events, they could be causing more harm than good.

Studies have found that many elite athletes, (like me!) however, take these over-the-counter drugs -- and often several different kinds -- before contests and challenging workouts because they think they will reduce anticipated inflammation and soreness that could occur after the event.

Warden says there is no scientific evidence for this prophylactic use of NSAIDs. Such misuse, however, can cause a range of problems, from interfering with healing and inhibiting the body's ability to adapt to challenging workouts, to the development of stomach ulcers and possibly an increased risk for cardiovascular problems.

"I want people, including recreational athletes, to think about the perceived benefits versus potential risks of taking NSAIDs, and to ask themselves why they are taking these agents," said Warden. "They need to ask, 'Do the benefits outweigh the risks?"

11. Consumer Reports: BPA in Most Canned Foods

Consumer Reports’ latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods tested contain measurable levels of Bisphenol A (BPA). The new findings show that BPA can be found in a diverse assortment of canned foods including those labeled “organic,” and even in some foods packaged in “BPA-free” cans.

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