Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jon's Health Tips

Archival research first:

A reader of my health tips inquired about Folic Acid. I went through my archives for him and sent him this: (below is a summary of what I sent him):

• Folic Acid = Increased Risk of Cancer, Death

• Folic Acid Fortification May Be Linked to Increased Colon Cancer Risk

• Possible Increase in Colon Cancer after Start of Folic Acid Fortification

• Folic Acid Supplements Linked To Higher Risk Of Prostate Cancer

• Folic Acid Linked to Increased Cancer Rate

I had an opportunity to discuss statins with my doctor recently. I had been taking a statin substitute (red yeast rice) but stopped because of concerns about possible liver damage - he advised that that was extremely rare and I should not worry about it, although we will review my liver enzyme report at my next appointment. We discussed that statins are now being approved even for people w/o high cholesterol (see below.) He told me that he now takes a statin!

So I'm hoping he will prescribe one for me at my next appointment - and I will continue taking red yeast rice with co-enzyme Q-10 (which should help avoid muscle problems.)

The evidence about all the good things statins do is overwhelming - I decided to look into my archives. Here is what I found: (links and more details here.)

• Statins have been shown to reduce heart attack and stroke in both genders.

• Statins can lower LDL cholesterol by up to 50 percent. Lifestyle changes, at best, can lower LDL by up to 15 percent.

• Muscle pain is reported in as many as seven percent of those who take statins but may ease with reduced dosage or another type of statin.

• Statins may slow progression of multiple sclerosis

• Statins may lower the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal and skin cancers

• Statins may benefit men with prostate cancer

• Statin drugs may have a protective effect in the prevention of liver cancer

• Statins cut the risks of cataracts in men by almost 40%.

• Statins reduce a person's chance of dying from all combined diseases and conditions by 40%, something in the medical community called "all-cause mortality."

• Statins fight gallstones

• Statins fight cancer, diabetes and Parkinson's

• More Evidence Statins Fight Parkinson's

• Statins may lower the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal and skin cancers.

• Statin Use Benefits Multiple Areas of Urologic Health

• Statins and Lung Fuction

• Statins slow decline in lung function in the elderly— even in those who smoke.

• Statins can protect against Alzheimer's disease

• Statins Reduce Risk of Liver Cancer

• Statins May Reduce Risk of Gallbladder Removal Surgery

• Statins Help Protect Against Heart Attacks and Strokes In High Risk Population


New research suggests that some statins can lead to an increased risk of liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, myopathy and cataracts in patients. Some of the reported effects might be simply due to better detection rates since patients taking statins will consult their doctor more.

Here's more recent research:

I get plenty of exercise which (surprise!) is good for me:

Exercise can buffer the effects of stress-induced cell aging, according to new research from UCSF that revealed actual benefits of physical activity at the cellular level.

The scientists learned that vigorous physical activity as brief as 42 minutes over a 3-day period, similar to federally recommended levels, can protect individuals from the effects of stress by reducing its impact on telomere length. Telomeres (pronounced TEEL-oh-meres) are tiny pieces of DNA that promote genetic stability and act as protective sheaths by keeping chromosomes from unraveling, much like plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces. A growing body of research suggests that short telomeres are linked to a range of health problems, including coronary heart disease and diabetes, as well as early death.

I don't drink much milk, which I guess is too bad, but do eat a fair amount of yogurt, which may have the same result. And maybe I should eat even more yogurt:

Women who drink two large glasses of milk a day after their weight-lifting routine gained more muscle and lost more fat compared to women who drank sugar-based energy drinks.
A previous study showed that milk increased muscle mass and fat loss in men.

Especially chocolate milk:

New research suggests drinking chocolate milk after a workout offers advantages for post-exercise performance and muscle repair.

I don’t drink sugary drinks, which is good:

There is an association between sugary drinks and blood pressure

This is VERY Good News for me:

Being Overweight Brings No Extra Health Problems

“A lot of people make a big deal about those overweight BMIs, but we didn’t see a difference between overweight and normal-weight adults across all age groups in the percentage of people medicated, or in the number of medications taken.”

I'll continue to drink to this ( unless I forget to):

Alcohol consumption may protect against Alzheimer's Disease

This won't do my wife any good, but I may try a little harder to take walks in the woods:

Getting Back To Nature Can Make You Smarter And Happier

If I could figure out better what to take, I'd start right away:

Anti-aging supplements may be best taken not too late in life

A B complex and vitamin C multivitamin improves mood and mental performance while also reducing stress, mental tiredness and fatigue in healthy males.

I'm not going to stop taking aspirin - it's too damn beneficial ( and I'll dig into the archives fr a summary one of these days,) but this does give pause:

Aspirin = 5 Times Risk of Crohn's Disease

Here's what the researcher says:
Aspirin does have many beneficial effects, however, including helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. I would urge aspirin users to continue taking this medication since the risk of aspirin users possibly developing Crohn's disease remains very low -- only one in every 2000 users, and the link is not yet finally proved."

I guess I should consider taking ginger capsules:

Daily ginger consumption eases muscle pain

and eating more spicy food:

New evidence that chili pepper ingredient fights fat

I sometimes take niacin to aid in forming good cholesterol - perhaps I should reconsider:
Niacin intake can lead to obesity

and here is more for me to worry about:

Calcium consumption may cause prostate cancer

Widespread use of over-the-counter calcium and vitamin D supplements increases risk of developing dangerously high levels of calcium in the blood, which could cause high blood pressure and even kidney failure.

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