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Health-E-News. March 2010
empowering you to optimal health

The Importance of Good Bone Health

What can you do to ensure bone health as you age? Here are a few suggestions:

Exercise Regularly; Especially the Weight-Bearing Variety. In the past few decades, mounting evidence suggests that most people do not participate in enough physical exercise to support strong skeletal growth. A research review published in Sports Health emphasizes that weight-bearing exercises, especially those that include higher levels of strain such as running or jumping, can be effective in enhancing bone health and preventing future diseases and injury.

Eat Right and Take Bone-Building Supplements. Due to the mass consumption of processed, overcooked and nutrient-depleted foods, most people absorb and utilize too little calcium and vitamin D for good bone health - even if they're eating foods that are high in both. However, eating a diet that consists primarily of fresh organic fruits and vegetables will do the trick, since most contain healthy levels of calcium, vitamin D and many other beneficial vitamins and minerals readily absorbed by the body.

That said, for most individuals, dedicating oneself to getting enough calcium and vitamin D through an organic diet can be challenging, so supplementation becomes necessary. Remember that it's important to get adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, since the latter improves absorption of the former.

What About Dairy Products? Contrary to popular belief and advertising, dairy products, including cow's milk, while containing high levels of calcium, are in a form that is not compatible with human digestion, assimilation and absorption. Typically, they also are high in saturated fat, can have high levels of pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, and if pasteurized, contain deactivated enzymes caused by high heat. Dairy products contain lactose, which many people have difficulty absorbing due to the lack of the digestive enzyme lactase.

Many bone diseases such as osteoporosis and osteopenia are preventable and treatable. Since there are no obvious warning signs for many bone ailments, it is important to be aware of the risks and be proactive in being responsible for one's own health primarily through diet, supplementation and resistance exercise. Talk to your doctor for more information.

 

Slow Breathing Eases Pain

Slow breathing may lessen pain, according to a report in the journal Pain, which compared 27 women with fibromyalgia with 25 healthy women.

According to the article, participants “were exposed to low and moderate thermal pain pulses during paced breathing at their normal rate and one-half their normal rate. Thermal pain pulses were presented in four blocks of four trials. Each block included exposure to both mild and moderate pain trials, and periods of both normal and slow paced breathing.”


Slow breathing lessened pain and emotional discomfort in both groups of women, “particularly for moderately versus mildly painful thermal stimuli.” However, the findings were greater and more reliable among healthy women versus those with fibromyalgia.

Pain – January 15, 2010.

 

Soft Drinks Linked With Pancreatic Cancer

Drinking as little as two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week may nearly double the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, say scientists.

Mark Pereira, Ph.D., senior author on the study, explains that “the high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth.”

As part of the study, the researchers tracked 60,524 men and women in the Singapore Chinese Health Study for 14 years. During that time, there were 140 pancreatic cancer cases. Those who consumed two or more primarily carbonated sugar-sweetened soft drinks per week (averaging five per week) had an 87% bolstered risk, compared with people who refrained from soft drinks.

In contrast, no link was found between fruit juice consumption and pancreatic cancer.

Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention – February 2010;19:447-455.

 

Simple Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

As of late November 2009, the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program estimated that nearly one in two men and women born in 2009 will be diagnosed with cancer at some time during their lifetime. With those depressing odds in mind, there's no time like the present for you and your family to pursue natural ways to help ward off cancer. Here are a few to consider

Watch What You Weigh. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), approximately 100,500 cancers that strike Americans annually are the result of excess body fat, underscoring the central role that overweight and obesity play in the development of cancer (and in the ability to survive the disease).

Think Natural, Not Chemical. An October 2009 report by the American Cancer Society's Cancer and the Environment Subcommittee advises the public to minimize exposure to known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances), calling for new strategies to more effectively and efficiently screen chemicals.

High Cholesterol Is Not Your Friend. A recent large-scale study, results of which were published in November 2009, suggests that a person's risk of cancer may be significantly lower when cholesterol levels are kept low.

Try Sugar and Spice. Irish researchers have determined that curcumin, an extract found in the curry spice turmeric, promotes death of cancer cells. Another study suggests that certain compounds in pomegranate, a rich source of antioxidants, inhibit a liver enzyme and thus may confer beneficial effects against prostate cancer development.

Live the Good Life. Earl Ford, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues studied data from 23,153 German men and women, ages 35 to 65 years, who participated in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study. The researchers found that four lifestyle factors -- never smoking, body mass index (BMI) of 30 or less, exercising 3.5 hours a week, and eating a healthy diet - slashed the risk of cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, by a staggering 80 percent.

This might not seem all that important now, but think how you'll feel if cancer strikes you or a member of your family. Why risk having that happen? Now is the time to improve your health and help ensure a long, healthy life free of cancer and other diseases. Talk to your doctor for more information.

 

Excessive Internet Use Tied With Depression

Excessive internet use, or internet addiction (IA), is linked with an elevated risk of depression, according to a report in the journal Psychopathology.

Investigators pooled survey data on 1,319 people, between the ages of 16 and 51 years. According to the report, “three scales were included: the IA Test, the Internet Function Questionnaire and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).” A total of 18 (1.2%) of participants met criteria for IA.

“Across the whole data sample, there was a close relationship between IA tendencies and depression, such that IA respondents were more depressed; there were also significant differences between the sexes, with men showing more addictive tendencies than women. In addition, young people were significantly more likely to show addictive symptoms than were older people.”

“The concept of IA is emerging as a construct that must be taken seriously,” conclude the study’s authors.

Psychopathology – February 2010;43:121-126.

 

Research Suggests Antibiotics Not Necessary for Healing, Kids Can Often Get Better on Their Own

More than 75 percent of kids before the age of 5 have an ear infection, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Ear infections have routinely been treated with antibiotics, but now, new research suggests the best medicine may be no medicine at all.

CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said on "The Early Show" there's substantial evidence suggesting that many children with ear infections will get better without antibiotics and with no ill effects.

"It requires a lot of patience on the part of both the doctor and the parents to let it run its course. And most ear infections are caused by viruses, which don't get treated with antibiotics," she said. "But most will get better on their own."

CBS Report