Archive for January, 2009

Magnesium

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Today we will get back to looking at some the minerals the body needs and uses.
Magnesium appears to be one of the most important health-promoting minerals and the average person’s body only contains an ounce of magnesium.
When people rely too much on processed foods they may end up short of adequate stores of magnesium. Also magnesium levels are also easily depleted by stress, certain medicines or medications. Highly intense physical exercise will also deplete this mineral.
Studies suggest that besides enhancing about 300 enzyme-related processes in the body, magnesium may also help prevent or combat many chronic diseases from asthma and fibromyalgia to heart disease.
Magnesium is one of the most versatile minerals; magnesium is involved in energy production, nerve function, muscle relaxation, and bone and tooth formation. Along with potassium and calcium, magnesium regulates heart rhythm and clots blood.
Some research shows that the risk of cardiac arrest is lower in areas where there is hard water, which contains high levels of magnesium.
Because magnesium relaxes muscles it’s useful for sports injuries and fibromyalgia. Apparently it helps ease PMS and menstrual cramps and may increase bone density in postmenopausal women, helping stem the time of osteoporosis.
The RDA for magnesium is 400 mg a day for men 19 to 30, 310 mg for women, 420 mg a day for men over 31 and 320 mg for women. But higher doses are required for disease prevention or women taking oral contraceptives.
A word of caution, if you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
Besides supplements, good sources of magnesium are whole grain, nuts, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, and shellfish.
This information taken from GUIDE TO DRUGS AND SUPPLEMENTS, Reader’s Digest, 2007

More on Omega-3

Friday, January 30th, 2009

The Global Organization of EPA and DHA (GOED) and its predecessor the Omega-3 Working group organized in 2001 to standardize purity of omega-3. With standardization of the production of omega-3 they found 95% of omega-3 supplements to be free of contaminants common in fish. The group wants to help maintain market growth for EPA and DHA by educating consumers and healthcare professionals as well as the controlling government bodies. GOED says the US market for EPA and DHA has grow 18 times larger than it was in 2001.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are found in marine sources as oily fish, and DHA can also be derived from microalgae. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is from plant food like flaxseed. The shorter long-chain omega-fatty acid ALA is the precursor to DHA, and has to be converted by the body before it can be used. EPA and DHA are 20- and 22-chain carbons, ALA is an 18-carbon. And some of the heart health, cognitive and antioxidant benefits are lost in the conversion process to the DHA 22-chain carbon.
As scientific support increases and the public becomes more aware of the benefits of omega-3 the market has blossomed tremendously.
You can follow this link on www.NutraIngredients-USA.com, January 2009

A Sad Tale

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Here is another story as old as history. It’s like the story of Galileo going against the grain. Galileo was threatened with excommunication, which in his day was the equivalent to death. Kilmer McCully, MD challenged the assumption that cholesterol was the culprit for heart disease. He lost his career and income.
High levels of blood cholesterol were presumed to be the result of high intake of meats and fats. By the 1970s a lot of money was pumped into lowering of cholesterol with drugs. Dr. McCully discovered that it was homocysteine and not cholesterol that was the source of the trouble. Cholesterol could be lowered by high priced drugs. Homocysteine could be controlled economically with eating foods rich in B vitamins.
Dr. McCully published his studies on homocysteine in the 1970s—research that told of a new pathway for the genesis of heart disease. And this new way took the wind out of the sails for the sale of cholesterol lowering drugs. Several government agencies were gearing up for a major public-health directive about cholesterol. They wanted to make cholesterol a household word. Even today look at the ads that say “No cholesterol” making people think that it must be healthy.
McCully’s unwelcome ideas cost him his job. First he lost his grant support and with it his appointments at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital. Jobless he couldn’t even get an interview for a new job in his field. Then McCully heard of “poison” phone calls from Harvard. When he hired a lawyer he was finally hired at the V.A. Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
This raises another question. When anyone questions Big Pharma, or big government and shows a better and less expensive way they are beaten down.
By the 1990s, other researchers in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Ireland, out of the reach of American science, supported the original work of Dr. McCully.
Because eating foods rich in B vitamins cannot be patented there is no rich pool of money for research. And Big Pharma wants to keep raking in the billions of dollars.
I personally have experienced this resistance to health and have been advised to stay on my meds (which I quit last August).
Much of this information was taken from the Forward of the book THE HEART REVOLUTION: THE EXTRAORDINARY DISCOVERY THAT FINALLY LAID THE CHOLESTEROL MYTH TO REST, Kilmer S. McCully, M.D. and Martha McCully; Perennial, An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

Your Body is an Instrument

Friday, January 16th, 2009

A friend of mine, Karen Lyu, has some interesting thoughts as a voice coach that I would like to share with you on my blog.

5 philosophies that shape what I offer as a holistic voice coach
1. Your body is your instrument – taking care of your body helps you create and maintain a healthy voice.
2. I teach by helping you learn body awareness, so that you physically experience what works and doesn’t work – and get it in your body memory.
3. Your voice is an extension of your identity and your soul that you share with the world. It’s so important, and with you every day of your life.
4. To me there are no “bad” voices, there are only voices that need effective training, practice and healthcare.
5. The way I see it, my job is to find fun and inspiring ways that work to help you improve your voice. If I don’t immediately know of a solution for your issue, I will either invent one, or do research to find one.

Karen Lyu, Holistic Voice Coach, karen@holisticvoicecoach.com, http://www.holisticvoicecoach.com

My whole blog is about health and wellness and how we can be healthier as we take good care of our body. Karen’s first philosophy struck me as we think of our body as an instrument.

Getting Fit

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

As a sedentary society we have a lot to learn about getting fit and staying that way. Here are a few simple steps to getting fit.

1) Plan on getting 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This will burn 150 calories. Brisk walking, yard work, running, stair climbing, inline skating, bicycling, swimming, bowling, dancing, and other physical activities. Here in Minnesota in the winter when it’s below zero my wife and I walk the skyway in downtown Minneapolis.
2) Strength training should be done two or three times a week. Be sure to leave one day between each strength training workout. At home you can carry heavy water bottles standing then squatting (water weighs 8 pounds a gallon), do push-ups, leg lifts, etc. At the gym your personal trainer will guide you for your age and physical condition.
3) It’s also important to stretch the major muscle groups every other day as well. Warm up before stretching.
4) Set a goal for yourself, exercise with a friend, or read while on the treadmill.
5 Wear exercise clothes that don’t make you feel fat.
6) Focus on being healthy, not thin.

Fructose & High-Fructose Corn Syrup

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Dr. Andrew explains the difference between fructose and high-fructose corn syrup. Fructose is a sugar found naturally in fruits and some vegetables. High-fuctose corn syup is a liquid sweetner made by treating starch extacted from corn with enzymes. High-fuctose corn syrup is a highly processed ingredient that doesn’t exist in nature. It’s found in everything ffom sodas, fruit drinks, and baked goods, to condiments, salad dressings, and baby food.

High-frutose corn syrup can harm the liver, raise triglyceride levels, and promote insulin resistance.

Dr. Weil considers high-frutose corn syrup as a mark of low-quality processed foods. Look at the label before you buy. Your health will thank you for it.

from Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing newsletter, August 2008

Minerals-Calcium

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

In addition to the vitamins our body needs are the minerals. However minerals are in our body in small amounts. They only comprise about 4 percent of our body weight. Yet these inorganic substances found in the earth’s crust as well as many foods are esential. They are necessary in bone formation as well as digestion and normal functioning of the heart.

The body contains more than 60 different minerals, but only 22 are thought to be essential. Then seven of these–including clacium, chloride,magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and sulfur–are usually called macrominerals. The other 15 minerals are called trace minerals, or microminerals, because the amount the body needs is extremely small.

Today we’ll look at calcium.

Calcium is essential for many bodily functions. This includes the transmission of nerve impulses, the regulation of muscle contraction and relaxation, blood clotting, and various metabolic activities. Calcium is most known by the average person for making strong bones. So with taking calcium for preventing osteoporosis vitamin D is included to help in the absorption of calcium.

There are numerous forms of calcium supplements: calcium carbonate (the most common and inexpensive), calcium citrate (the best absorbed but relatively expensive), calcium phosphate, calcium lactate, and calcium gluconate. Since calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate are hard to absorb the other calcium products are preferable.

Although it’s the most abundant mineral in the body, most adults get only half of what they need each day. The majority of the body’s calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. The small amount in the bloodstream helps move nutrients across the cell membranes. If there is not enough calcium in the bloodstream it will steal calcium from the bones.

Newer studies have increased the daily intake for men and women up to age 50 at 1,000 mg and 1,200 for people over 50.

If you get too much, say 2,500 daily from food and supplements, it may hinder the absorption of zinc, iron and magnesium.

For more information on calcium you can check: Guide to Drugs and Supplements, Reader’s Digest, 2007

What’s in Your Beer?

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

For several years the joint venture between Miller Brewing Company and Molson Coors US and Puerto Rican operations have been putting caffeine in some of their beers. After complaints and consulting with the US attorneys general MillerCoors will remove the caffeine from their Sparks brand of beer.

The health advocacy group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sued the brewer in order to get the change.

Anheuser-Busch said they were removing the same ingredients from its malt beverage brands like Tilt and Bud Extra after getting pressure from consumer organizations.

We won’t even go to all the soft drinks that are loaded with caffeine. I mentioned that in an earlier article on this blog.

BUYER BEWARE

Friday, January 9th, 2009

The Gerber Products Company, which has been a trusted name in infant foods, has come out with a corn syrup and sugar product called “Fruit Juice Snacks”. When a private citizen brought the case against Gerber it was initially dismissed by a Federal Court in California. It was reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on December 22.

Gerber argued that the consumer could turn the package over and read the very fine print that said it was basically corn syrup and sugar. Fortunately the court ruled that junk food looking like healthy nutritious fruits should not be allowed.

I know we are told to read the label but I sometimes need a magnifying glass to read the small print and skip over some very critical information. Unfortunately it’s not just Gerber, Coco Cola was trying to pull a fast one by making false claims on its “nutritious” Coke.

Buyer Beware! You are the first line of defense for your health and wellness.

WARNING EXERCISE & HEALTH

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Remember when you finally decided to get serious about exercise the first thing you heard was “Before engaging in any type of physical activity, please consult your doctor”? It’s written on your gym membership, you see it in fitness articles. In fact it is stressed very strongly your doctor knows best.

When doctors are asked if they had any training in exercise in medical school you find that almost no one has. That statement “check with your doctor” gives the impression that doctor knows best, even if they have had no training. To find the “expert” in physical fitness go to your professional who knows more about fitness and exercise—your personal trainer.

I remember as I was recovering from my cardiac arrest I asked my cardiologist about strenuous exercise and he just said do what I want.
The 2001 May/June issue of Public Health Reports went to 128 medical schools and asked about exercise education. The results were the schools felt only 10 percent of their students could design a meaningful exercise prescription.
Read the full story in TWIN CITIES …NATURALLY, January 2009, “MovementasMedicine”