May 11th, 2009 cate
“A higher intake of vitamin E can cut the risk of lung cancer by more than half, researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has found.
In a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers used the National Cancer Institute’s Health Habits and History Questionnaire and Food Frequency Questionnaire to assess the dietary intakes of 1,088 lung cancer patients and 1,414 healthy participants. Participants were further surveyed about various lifestyle factors, including smoking.
The average age of the healthy participants was 60.8, while the average age of the lung cancer participants was 61.7.
Vitamin E occurs in two main groups, the tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each of these groups, in turn, contains four varieties, named alpha, beta, gamma and delta. For the current study, the researchers analyzed participants’ dietary tocopherol intake, dividing it up based on which form it occurred in.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to compare dietary intakes of the different forms of tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, gamma and delta-tocopherol) and lung cancer risk,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers divided participants into groups based on intake of tocopherols in general and the four different varieties individually, then compared the rate of lung cancer between the groups.
Participants with the highest tocopherol intake were found to have a 55 percent lower risk of lung cancer than participants with the lowest intakes. The average intakes of the two groups were more than 12.95 milligrams per day and less than 6.68 milligrams per day, respectively.
A powerful protective correlation also showed up for alpha-tocopherol, with those consuming the most having a 53 percent lower risk of lung cancer than those with the lowest intake. The highest alpha-tocopherol intake averaged more than 7.73 milligrams per day, while the lowest averaged less than 4.13 milligrams per day.
Higher consumption of beta-, gamma- or delta-tocopherol alone, however, appeared to have no influence on cancer risk.
“We found consistent independent associations for increased dietary alpha-tocopherol intake and risk reduction but did not find independent associations for gamma-, beta- and delta-tocopherol in lung cancer risk,” the researchers wrote.
The European diet typically contains vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol, while the U.S. diet tends to contain it in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin pills contain mostly alpha-tocopherol.
The study was not designed to analyze by what mechanism tocopherols in general or alpha-tocopherol in particular might act to reduce cancer risk.
“Our data should be useful in stimulating additional epidemiologic and basic science research in the relationship of different forms of vitamin E and cancer,” the researchers wrote.
Foods high in vitamin E include asparagus, avocado, green leafy vegetables, nuts, olives, seeds and wheat germ. A variety of vegetable oils, including canola, corn, cottonseed, red palm, sunflower and soybean are also high in the vitamin.
The new study is not the first to link vitamin E with cancer protection. The vitamin is well known to function as an antioxidant, meaning that it plays an important role in removing particles known as free radicals from the body. These electrically charged molecules are believed to be responsible for some of the cell damage that leads to cancer, other diseases, and the symptoms of aging.”
May 9th, 2009 cate
“New research that uses an innovative approach to study, for the first time, the relative contributions of food and exercise habits to the development of the obesity epidemic has concluded that the rise in obesity in the United States since the 1970s was virtually all due to increased energy intake.
How much of the obesity epidemic has been caused by excess calorie intake and how much by reductions in physical activity has been long debated and while experts agree that making it easier for people to eat less and exercise more are both important for combating it, they debate where the public health focus should be.
A study presented on Friday at the European Congress on Obesity is the first to examine the question of the proportional contributions to the obesity epidemic by combining metabolic relationships, the laws of thermodynamics, epidemiological data and agricultural data.
“There have been a lot of assumptions that both reduced physical activity and increased energy intake have been major drivers of the obesity epidemic. Until now, nobody has proposed how to quantify their relative contributions to the rise in obesity since the 1970s. This study demonstrates that the weight gain in the American population seems to be virtually all explained by eating more calories. It appears that changes in physical activity played a minimal role,” said the study’s leader, Professor Boyd Swinburn, chair of population health and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Australia….”
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May 8th, 2009 cate
“A lot of Americans think they’re eating a healthy diet these days. But it’s easy to be fooled by our assumptions and the ways that food manufacturers play on them.
Take chicken. The average American eats about 90 pounds of it a year, more than twice as much as in the 1970s, part of the switch to lower-fat, lower-cholesterol meat proteins. But roughly one-third of the fresh chicken sold in the U.S. is “plumped” with water, salt and sometimes a seaweed extract called carrageenan that helps it retain the added water. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says chicken processed this way can still be labeled “all natural” or “100% natural” because those are all natural ingredients, even though they aren’t naturally found in chicken.
Producers must mention the added ingredients on the package — but the lettering can be small: just one-third the size of the largest letter in the product’s name. If you’re trying to watch your sodium to cut your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, it pays to check the Nutrition Facts label. Untreated chicken has about 45 to 60 mgs of sodium per four-ounce serving. So-called enhanced or “plumped” chicken has between 200 and 400 mgs of sodium per serving, almost as much as a serving of fast-food french fries.
Adding salt water became widespread when big discount stores began selling groceries and wanted to sell chicken at uniform weights and prices. Plumping packaged chicken helps even out the weight. But that means consumers are paying for added salt water at chicken prices — an estimated $2 billion worth every year, according to the Truthful Labeling Coalition, a group of chicken producers that don’t enhance their products.
Makers of enhanced chicken, including some of the biggest U.S. producers, say many consumers prefer it in blind taste tests and that it stays moister. Ray Atkinson, a spokesman for Pilgrim’s Pride, says the company sells both enhanced and unenhanced chicken because consumers ask for it. He also notes that even at 330 mg of sodium, the enhanced chicken qualifies for the American Heart Association’s mark of approval…..”
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May 6th, 2009 cate
First, what is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus (pronounced /tɪˈnaɪtəs/ or /ˈtɪnɪtəs/, from the Latin word tinnītus meaning “ringing”) is the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.
Tinnitus can be perceived in one or both ears or in the head. It is usually described as a ringing noise, but in some patients it takes the form of a high pitched whining, buzzing, hissing, screaming, humming, or whistling sound, or as ticking, clicking, roaring, “crickets” or “tree frogs” or “locusts“, tunes, songs, or beeping. It has also been described as a “wooshing” sound, as of wind or waves,. Tinnitus can be intermittent or it can be continuous. In the latter case, this “phantom” sound can create great distress in the sufferer.
Tinnitus is not itself a disease but a symptom resulting from a range of underlying causes. Causes include ear infections, foreign objects or wax in the ear, nose allergies that prevent (or induce) fluid drain and cause wax build-up, and injury from loud noises. Tinnitus is also a side-effect of some oral medications, such as aspirin, and may also result from an abnormally low level of serotonin activity. It is also a classical side effect of Quinidine, a Class IA anti-arrhythmic. In many cases, however, no underlying physical cause can be identified.
The sound perceived may range from a quiet background noise to one that can be heard even over loud external sounds. The term “tinnitus” usually refers to more severe cases. Heller and Bergman (1953) conducted a study of 80 tinnitus-free university students placed in an anechoic chamber and found that 93% reported hearing a buzzing, pulsing or whistling sound. Cohort studies have demonstrated that damage to hearing (among other health effects) from unnatural levels of noise exposure is very widespread in industrialized countries.
Because tinnitus is often defined as a subjective phenomenon, it is difficult to measure using objective tests, such as by comparison with noise of known frequency and intensity, as in an audiometric test. The condition is often rated clinically on a simple scale from “slight” to “catastrophic” according to the practical difficulties it imposes, such as interference with sleep, quiet activities, and normal daily activities. For research purposes, the more elaborate Tinnitus Handicap Inventory is often used. (source: wikipedia)
How to Cure Tinnitus?
“A high number of tinnitus sufferers are deficient in B-12, and Emily A. Kane, naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist, recommends a daily dose of 2,000 mcg of B-12 for one month, followed by a dose of 1,000 mcg daily, if needed. Studies indicate that nutritional supplements can reduce the severity and incidences of tinnitus. Dr. Michael Seidman, MD, Director of the Henry Ford Health System, Department of Otolaryngology, Tinnitus Clinic, in Bloomfield, Michigan, suggests a smorgasbord of antioxidant nutrients: vinpocetine, Ginkgo biloba, ipriflavone, arginine, alpha lipoic acid, zinc, vitamin A, n-acetylcysteine, magnesium, melatonin, Chinese herbs, B vitamins and garlic. Other sources list additional supplements;: vitamin E, C, zinc, and choline, to help with both tinnitus and hearing loss.
Many European doctors and a growing number of U.S. doctors use Ginkgo biloba to treat tinnitus, and a few good trials suggest that this herb may lower the perceived loudness. The advice is to use a Ginkgo product that contains 24% flavone glycosides or standardized extract. According to several health experts, the recommended dose varies from 120 to 240 mg daily of the standard Ginkgo in divided doses. Start with the lower dose, and if not effective, increase gradually to the higher dose. Ginkgo biloba improves blood flow and nerve function, and is supposed to be quite effective for tinnitus when the cause is poor circulation, but use with caution if taking a blood thinner or if you have a blood disorder. After starting this regimen of Ginkgo, not only will your thinking be sharper within 3 to 10 days, but within 6 weeks your tinnitus should be relieved, says Dr. Kane. Once relief is obtained, lower the dose to a maintenance dose of 40 to 60 mg daily (also in divided doses during the day).”