Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jon's Health Tips - Latest Health Research

1. I eat some soy foods, but don't use soy supplements:

Soy foods good, soy supplements not so good?

Soy isoflavone supplements did not decrease breast cancer cell proliferation in a randomized clinical trial, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Although soy-based foods appear to have a protective effect, we are not seeing the same effect with supplementation using isolated components of soy. Beta-carotene and selenium supplementation have also been shown to lack benefit in lung cancer prevention studies.

But I do continue to take several vitamins and supplements:

Regular use of vitamin and mineral supplements could reduce the risk of colon cancer

2. After two skin cancers, and several pre-cancerous growths, I am a big fan of sunscreen. But I also have eczema I wonder if some people may be overdoing it. Or is taking Vitamin D the answer?

Sunshine may help to prevent allergies and eczema

Increased exposure to sunlight may reduce the risk of both food allergies and eczema in children, according to a new scientific study published this week.

3. I have started to drink coffee for the first time in my life, mainly to enhance athletic performance, but there do seem to be some side benefits: (and 4 strong cups of white tea almost daily should help as well):

Caffeine consumption = decreased risk of liver disease

4. I'm good on fish oil and green (actually white - same difference) tea, but have a hard time lowering carbs: ( I don't feel full w/o them and don't have a lot of alternatives readily available.)

Triglyceride levels predict stroke risk in postmenopausal women

A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and colleagues found that traditional risk factors for stroke – such as high cholesterol – are not as accurate at predicting risk in postmenopausal women as previously thought. Instead, researchers say doctors should refocus their attention on triglyceride levels to determine which women are at highest risk of suffering a devastating and potentially fatal cardiovascular event. "We've always believed that total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels were the most important biomarkers for identifying stroke risk, but this study gives us strong evidence to question that approach," Dr. Berger said.

To lower triglyceride levels:

1. lower your carbohydrate intake
2. fish oil (Omega 3)
3. green tea

5. I've never had a massage - Maybe I should?

Massage reduces inflammation following strenuous exercise

Most athletes can testify to the pain-relieving, recovery-promoting effects of massage. Now there's a scientific basis that supports booking a session with a massage therapist: On the cellular level massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle.

6. What else is good for me?

A. Exercise

Vigorous exercise improves prostate cancer recovery prospects

B Statins

Statin Effects in Women Versus Men

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of statins in decreasing cardiovascular events in women and men.

Background: Published data reviews have suggested that statins might not be as effective in women as in men in decreasing cardiovascular events.

Results: The benefit of statins was statistically significant in both sexes, regardless of the type of control, baseline risk, or type of endpoint and in both primary and secondary prevention. All-cause mortality was also lower with statin therapy both in women and men without significant interaction by sex.

C. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate Consumption Reduces Risk of Stroke in Women

Ample evidence indicates that chocolate may have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. Chocolate consumption has been shown to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in short-term randomized feeding trials (1), and has been demonstrated to improve endothelial and platelet function and to ameliorate insulin resistance (2). Moreover, flavonoids in chocolate possess strong antioxidant activity and can suppress oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

In the present study, only women in the highest quartile of chocolate consumption (median 66.5 g/week) had a significantly reduced risk of stroke, suggesting that higher intakes are necessary for a potential protective effect. The reason for the stronger association observed for hemorrhagic stroke than for cerebral infarction is unclear.

In summary, results from this cohort of women suggest that a high chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of stroke.

D. Not consuming diet soft drinks

Are diet soft drinks bad for you?

Individuals who drink diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be at increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and vascular death. . However, in contrast, they found that regular soft drink consumption and a more moderate intake of diet soft drinks do not appear to be linked to a higher risk of vascular events.

Those who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have suffered a vascular event than those who drank none, after taking into account pre-existing vascular conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and high blood pressure. Light diet soft drink users, i.e. those who drank between one a month and six a week, and those who chose regular soft drinks were not more likely to suffer vascular events.

E. Alcohol

I rarely have more than one or two drinks (only at weddings, bar mitzvahs, my own birthday parties) and I don't think I've exceeded five drinks more than once every two or three years, so I guess I'm OK:

Alcohol and your heart: Friend or foe?

"If someone binge drinks even once a month, any health benefits from light to moderate drinking disappear." Binge drinking is defined more than four drinks on one occasion for women, and more than five for men.

F. But, I don't drink milk. I guess I should!

A glass of milk a day could benefit your brain

Researchers found that adults with higher intakes of milk and milk products scored significantly higher on memory and other brain function tests than those who drank little to no milk. Milk drinkers were five times less likely to "fail" the test, compared to non milk drinkers.

7. I've started to take grape seed extract after reading this:

Grape seed extract kills head and neck cancer cells, leaves healthy cells unharmed

Nearly 12,000 people will die of head and neck cancer in the United States this year and worldwide cases will exceed half a million.

A study published this week in the journal Carcinogenesis shows that in both cell lines and mouse models, grape seed extract (GSE) kills head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

“It’s a rather dramatic effect,” says Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, investigator at the University of Colorado Cancer Center and professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Note: Here's more from Wkipedia:

Human case reports and results from laboratory and animal studies provide preliminary evidence that grape seed extract may affect heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.[1] By limiting lipid oxidation, phenolics in grape seeds may reduce risk of heart disease, such as by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reducing inflammation.[2] While such studies are promising, more research including long-term studies in humans is needed to confirm initial findings.

A polyphenol contained in grape seeds is resveratrol, which may interfere with cancer cell growth and proliferation, as well as induce apoptosis, among other potential chemopreventive effects.[3][4]

Preliminary research shows that grape seed extract may have other possible anti-disease properties, such as in laboratory models of
• wound healing —- grape seed proanthocyanidins induced vascular endothelial growth factor and accelerated healing of injured skin in mice[5]
• tooth decay -- seed phenolics may inhibit oral sugar metabolism and retard growth of certain bacteria that cause dental caries[6]
• osteoporosis -- grape seed extracts enhanced bone density and strength in experimental animals[7]
• skin cancer -- grape seed proanthocyanidins decreased tumor numbers and reduced the malignancy of papillomas[8]
• ultraviolet damage to skin -— dietary proanthocyanidins may protect against carcinogenesis and provide supplementation for sunscreen protection[9]
• anti-viral[10][11]

and from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

• Studies have found that some compounds of grape seed extract may be effective in relieving symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency (when veins have problems sending blood from the legs back to the heart) and reducing edema (swelling) after an injury or surgery.
• Small randomized trials have found beneficial effects of grape seed extract for diabetic retinopathy (an eye problem caused by diabetes) and for vascular fragility (weakness in small blood vessels). Larger trials are needed to confirm these findings.
• Grape seed extract contains antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive molecules that can damage cell function). Preliminary studies have shown some beneficial antioxidant effects; however, more research is needed.
• A study funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that grape seed extract did not reduce the hardening of breast tissue that can occur after radiation therapy for breast cancer.
• NCI is also funding studies to evaluate whether grape seed extract is effective in preventing breast cancer in postmenopausal women and prostate cancer.
• NCCAM is studying whether the action of grape seed extract and its components may benefit the heart or help prevent cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease, and other brain disorders. Another study is investigating the effects of grape seed extract on colon cancer.

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