Researchers in Australia at the University of Queensland have discovered a traditional extract of Kava, an herb from South East Asia, to be effective and safe in reducing anxiety.
The results which are published in the Springer journal of Psychopharmacology show a clinical trial which found that a water-soluble extract of Kava was effective in treating anxiety and boosting mood.
Jerome Sarris, a PhD student from University of Queensland’s School of Medicine, said the placebo-controlled study found the herb Kava to be an effective and safe treatment option for people dealing with chronic anxiety and varying levels of depression.
Jerome Sarris stated “We’ve been able to show that Kava offers a natural alternative treatment for anxiety, and unlike some prescription drugs, has less risk of addiction and less potential side effects,”
Participants in the study were given a clinical assessment as well as a self-rating questionnaire every week to determine their anxiety and depression levels. The research showed that anxiety levels decreased drastically for participants taking five pills of Kava per day as opposed to the placebo group which took sugar pills.
The study also found that Kava had a positive impact on reducing depression levels Jerome Sarris said. During 2002 Kava was banned in Europe, UK and Canada due to concerns over liver toxicity.
Jerome Sarris states, “When extracted in the appropriate way, Kava may pose less or no potential liver problems. I hope the results will encourage government agencies to reconsider the ban.”
An issue with liver toxicity can be that ethanol and acetone extracts, which sometimes use the incorrect parts of the Kava, were being sold in Europe. That is not the Pacific Islands way of prescribing Kava. The study used a water-soluble extract from the peeled rootstock of a medicinal cultivar of the plant, which is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia and is currently legal in Australia for medical use.
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Sarris et al. The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study (KADSS): a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial using an aqueous extract;. Psychopharmacology, May 2009.
Dr. Robert Galarowicz
New Jersey Anxiety Relief Expert
Enjoy the article below about how to naturally lower your blood pressure and if you would like to learn more about my heart health services click here…
An apple a day can keep the doctor away but it can also lower levels of bad cholesterol and improve levels of good cholesterol while also causing weight gain, according to a recent study.
According to study researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi, professor and chair of the department of nutrition at the Florida State University, found that Women who ate 75 grams (about one-third of a cup) of dried apples every day for six months had a 23 percent decrease in bad LDL cholesterol. The study participants also had their good HDL cholesterol increased by about 4 percent.
The study randomly assigned 160 women ages 45 to 65 to one of two groups. One group ate 75 grams (roughly 2.64 ounces) of dried apples every day for a full year. The second group ate another dried fruit for a year. Their blood samples were taken after three months, six months and at the end of the study period.
At the end of the one year study the women who ate the apples had lower levels of bad (HDL) cholesterol, lipid hydroperoxide (a cell damaging substance) and C-reactive protein, an indicator of inflammation in the body.
Researchers also found that the women lost an average of 3.3 pounds over the year.
Even though the study participants ate dried apples, the effect would likely be the same if they ate fresh apples, too. Though it’s hard to make an exact comparison, one cup of fresh apples would be about equivalent to a quarter cup of dried apples.
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Over the past few decades holistic alternative health professionals, including doctors, have seen increasing needs to shift from a natural science that was once based on tradition or also known as anecdotal evidence to a situation where decisions are based on the best available scientific treatments. In May 2011 a study was published in Australia that showed most holistic natural health professionals were not using scientific evidence and treatments in their practices.
There were 351 questionnaires sent out to alternative medicine doctors and practitioners. 126 were returned, which accounted to 36%. The majority of alternative holistic natural medicine practitioners and doctors believed scientific evidence and treatments are useful and necessary. This accounted for 93% which was 74% in natural holistic medicine practices.
Most of the practitioners (including doctors, nutritionist, and naturopaths) of alternative medicine reported participation in scientific treatments, infrequently, only a small amount of natural holistic treatments were based on scientific evidence. Majority of doctors and natural alternative medicine practitioners made serious decisions on traditions and unscientific books. Most alternative natural medicine therapist said readily available evidence, time, and lack of skills was what stopped them from using more scientific treatments.
What this study shows is that holistic natural practitioners (including nutritionist, naturopaths, and alternative medicine doctors) may be supportive of scientific treatments but proper education and training is needed of many practitioners.
When speaking of holistic professionals this term can consume many areas, including naturopaths, nutritionist, natural health professionals and alternative medicine doctors.
Naturopaths or naturopathic doctors implement many different natural medicine treatments, including nutrition. Depending on a naturopaths education they may also be considered nutritionist which is one of the most powerful alternative medicine treatments available.
A naturopath can be considered a true holistic alternative medicine doctor. Their training includes nutrition and natural therapies.
When choosing a naturopath, alternative medicine doctor or nutritionist you should make sure they are trained to use scientific treatments.
To speak further about holistic scientific treatments that can help you feel free to contact me by filling out the form below or call me at 201.618.3534.
If you would like information about Doctor Robert’s natural treatments and therapies for anxiety including biofeedback click here…
Super Anxiety Control with Biofeedback Treatments.
I love biofeedback and seen many clients turn around and beat down their anxiety in a few sessions. Absolutely amazing! Real powerful stuff, anyway I wrote an article about biofeedback, what it is and how it can help you naturally control your anxiety.
What are Biofeedback Treatments?
Biofeedback is a scientifically-proven therapy/treatment that uses biofeedback equipment to monitor and show your physiological activity within your body. This expands your awareness and teaches you how to control your body.
Biofeedback training with a holistic natural professional is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, especially anxiety attacks, that produces results similar to those achieved by relaxation procedures like meditation, progressive relaxation and prescription medication with no side-effects.
Which are the Major Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders share the symptoms of persistent irrational fear and uncertainty. The American Psychiatric Association lists the following anxiety disorders:
- Panic Disorder
- Adjustment Disorder with Anxious Features
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Adjustment Disorder with Anxious Features
The most common form of an anxiety problem is generalized anxiety disorder. People suffering from this usually experience:
- Muscle Tension
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Sleep disturbance
How do Biofeedback Practitioners Assess Anxiety Disorders?
A biofeedback practitioner may conduct a psychophysiological assessment that monitors your breathing, EEG, finger temperature, heart rhythm, thought patterns, skeletal muscle activity, and skin conductance during resting, mild stress, and recovery conditions using safe biofeedback equipment. This assessment will enable your biofeedback practitioner to develop an individualized natural treatment program to correct abnormal physical changes associated with anxiety attacks.
What is Biofeedback Therapy/Treatment?
Biofeedback therapy or treatments uses biofeedback equipment to increase your control and awareness of your physiological performance. A practitioner’s biofeedback recommendations are guided by the information given by the biofeedback devices suggested by the psychophysiological assessment.
How Does Biofeedback Treat Anxiety Disorders?
Biofeedback training methods may combine many techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which is a form of psychotherapy, with one or more kinds of biofeedback training, including:
- EEG Biofeedback (brain electrical activity)
- Skin Conductance Biofeedback (sweat gland activity)
- Temperature Biofeedback (blood flow through small arteries)
- EMG Biofeedback (skeletal muscle activity)
- Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback (timing between heartbeats)
- Respiratory Biofeedback (breathing patterns)
What is Your Role in Biofeedback Treatments?
Biofeedback practitioners assign “homework” during each training session. You are expected to chart symptoms and practice self-regulation skills and lifestyle modifications in between treatment sessions.
Why is “Homework” Important to Your Success with Biofeedback?
These take home assignments help you to be more aware of your body and control it in the diverse environments and activities of your daily life. Practice allows you to develop your new skills from the treatment sessions to your everyday life. Studies confirm that your success is greatly influenced by practicing what you have learned in your biofeedback treatment sessions.
How Effective is Biofeedback for Anxiety?
Studies have shown that biofeedback reduces anxiety as much as many conventional treatments. It is because root problems in attention, cognitive functions, and physiological arousal are dealt with. Stress management biofeedback may help you control the circumstances that trigger anxiety attacks.
If you would like information about Doctor Robert’s natural treatments and therapies for anxiety including biofeedback click here…
Doctor Robert sees clients from the following counties in New Jersey and New York for anxiety relief.
Passaic, Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Queens, Richmond, Kings, Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx, Rockland, West Chester, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess.
If you would like more information about Dr. Robert’s holistic natural approach for anxiety click here.
Diet and Natural Treatments for Anxiety
Anxiety is not just one symptom; it includes a collection of different symptoms that interfere with the life of the sufferer. Anxiety results in the same problem: emotional upset that disturbs your life.
Nutrition, diet and natural treatments are surefire ways to control your anxiety. A healthy diet will allow for better nutrition to help produce proper amounts of brain chemicals. Anxiety when combined with natural treatments, mind/body techniques along with a good diet and a few supplements can help do away with the need for medications.
How Changing Your Diet and Nutrition Help Prevent and Treat Anxiety ?
The nutrients delivered by a healthy diet in preventing and treating anxiety cannot be overlooked. Everyone of your body’s system relies on the nutrients from different foods in order to function properly. Your nervous system that plays a role in managing and treating your anxiety with natural therapies needs proper nutrients like B-vitamins.
Vegetables and fruit have been shown to add benefits such as helping balance your anxiety. Spinach, for example, has a lot of magnesium, which has been shown to help people suffering from anxiety.
Proper diet and nutrition can be a part of a natural treatment plan to help with anxiety. A good diet rich in nutrition/nutrients can also prevent anxiety by helping to keep a strong nervous system.
How Can Nutrition and Diet, Which Are The Base Of Natural Therapies Help Anxiety?
Good nutrition that comes from a health diet can improve many bodily functions and improve your anxiety. The result is the need for less or no prescription medications which are a part of orthodox medical treatments.
Those with anxiety who don’t maintain a good diet are at risk for panic attacks. These suffers don’t acquire the nutrients provided by a good diet and their nervous system don’t have what they need to function properly.
What is Good Healthy Nutrition?
A nutrition dense diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and health fats and water constitutes what experts determine to be good nutrition.
The below guidelines will help people from suffering from anxiety:
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- No caffeine consumption
- Eliminate sugar and junk food.
- Small amounts if any of alcoholic drinks
Problems, such as anxiety, are controlled and can be part of a treatment plan by the food we eat.
Nutritional Dietary Supplements are Another Aspect Of Nutrition and Natural Health That Can Help Anxiety.
Nutritional Supplements Can Include:
Another natural treatment for anxiety are herbs. Valerian root is an herb with a history of use for anxiety that is backed with medical research and studies.
Before taking any nutritional supplement in addition to a good diet, you should check with your health care professionals, such as a nutritionist or naturopaths to determine what is best for your health.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a very common experience that people may feel in different ways. It is usually experienced by most people at some point in their lives. The feelings most associated with it are apprehensive, nervous, or fear.
Anxiety can help us be very adaptive and help us learn to cope with the world. For example, if we have a test coming up and we feel anxious, or a big project at work, that anxiety may spur us to study harder or to prepare more for our test.
However, at times anxiety can become a serious illness that can interfere with your daily life, and that’s when those feelings of anxiety are unreasonable.
How is ‘Normal‘ Anxiety Different From an ‘Anxiety Disorder’?
There is a big difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders affect one in four adults in the United States. Most likely, you know someone with an anxiety disorder. Normal anxiety usually occurs in reaction to some stressor.
However, an anxiety disorder is totally different. Whereas normal anxiety is short lived, doesn’t usually interfere with your life dramatically, an anxiety disorder tends to be a chronic illness that has a significant impact on your daily function.
Using Diet, Nutrition, and other natural treatments can control and reverse anxiety.
If you would like more information about Dr. Robert’s holistic natural approach for anxiety click here.
Dr. Robert’s holistic natural treatments for anxiety are located in Bergen County New Jersey and clients often come from New York and different parts of New Jersey to use his service. He also offers skype and phone consultations.
What Causes Anxiety?
Research shows that the causes of anxiety are not fully known, but a number of factors can trigger it in any one person — including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stresses — appear to contribute to the development of anxiety.
- Your Genetics: Some research supports the idea that family history plays a role in increasing the chances that a person will develop anxiety. This means that the tendency to develop anxiety may be passed on in families.
- Brain chemistry: Anxiety has been attributed with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in the brain. These neurotransmitters are special chemical messengers that help carry information from nerve cell to nerve cell. When neurotransmitters become out of balance, messages cannot get through the brain properly. This can change the way the brain reacts in certain scenarios, leading to anxiety.
- Environmental factors: Trauma and stressful events, such as abuse, passing away of a loved one, changing jobs, may lead to anxiety. Anxiety can also be triggered by environmental allergies and toxicities such as mold exposure. Anxiety also may become worse during prolonged stress. The use of and withdrawal from addictive substances and certain foods, including alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine (cigarettes), can also worsen anxiety.
Fortunately, all three causes of anxiety can be greatly improved with my natural health services. Click here to read more about how I have helped hundreds of people overcome their anxiety…
Dr. Robert Galarowicz
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinical Nutritionist & Mind/Body Medicine
The anxiety expert in the Essex, Monmouth, Ocean, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Richmond, Kings, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx, Rockland, West Chester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, York, Lancaster, Bucks, Spring Valley, Kenilworth, 07013, 07470, 07026, 07652,Florham Park, Summit, Mountain Lakes, New Rochelle, Irvington, Whippany, Hillburn, Sumit, Roselle, Forest Hills, Suffern, Madison, Scarsdale,New Jersey new york Livingston, Riverdale, Tappan, Palisades, Montville, Sunnyside, Pearl River, NJ, NY, East Elmhurst, Woodside, East Hanover, Lake Hiawatha, Brooklyn, Millburn, Hillside, Mahwah, Bayonne, Orangeburg, Vauxhall, Flushing, Haskell, Elizabeth, anxiety treatments in new jesrsey and new york queens and staten island NJJackson Heights, Hastings on Hudson, East Elmhurst, Wanaque, Maspeth, Short Hills, ny nj Mount Vernon, Piermont, Bronxville, Blauvelt, Parsippany, College Point, Elmhurst, Dobbs Ferry, Bloomingdale, Nanuet, Butler, Ardsley on Hudson, Corona, NY anxiety services Pelham, Tuckahoe, Tallman, Elmhurst, Middle Village, Monsey, Eastchester, Whippany, and Boonton.
Want to Look Good?
Ten Ugly Reasons to Quit Smoking.
If you smoke, you’re not surprised by the news that smoking is terrible for your insides. Heart, lungs, nervous system and brain, sex drive—all are damaged by nicotine. You know all that, but knowing it may not be enough to make you want to quit.
But suppose smoking damaged you on the outside, where you and everyone else could see…
Well, if you keep smoking, it does. Here’s an ugly “short list” of the ways tobacco gradually, inevitably wrecks your looks.
Dark bags and circles under your eyes
You sleep poorly, and the way you feel is bad enough—and then you get a look at yourself in the mirror, and that’s worse.
If that happens often, you can probably blame your smoking habit: smokers are 4 times more likely to report they don’t feel rested after a night’s sleep, says a study conducted by Johns Hopkins. It may be that smokers have a mini-nicotine withdrawal every night, resulting in disturbed sleep. Hence the dragged out feeling in the morning, and those weary, baggy eyes looking back at you.
No regular smoker will have a gorgeous white smile for long: nicotine permanently stains tooth enamel.
Of course, you can go the professioal cleaning route—if you’ve got the money left over after you’ve bought your ever-more-expensive cigarettes. The average pro tooth cleaning costs between $500 and $1,000.
Early skin aging
Wrinkles are fine on older folks. They’re signs of well-earned life experience. On a younger smoker, it’s a different story.
And younger smokers can count on getting them, because smoking makes skin age faster than normal. On average, by constricting the blood supply to your skin, the habit adds between 1 and 2 years worth of “old” to your face, beyond your chronological age.
Thinning, graying hair
To go with the premature wrinkles, smokers can look forward to prematurely aging hair. It will get thinner sooner than for non-smokers, and go gray sooner too. Apparently the toxins in smoke affect the hair follicles’ DNA, and form free radicals that cause cellular damage.
Particularly in men, the thinning tends to proceed to baldness. A study in Taiwan in 2007 found that, after discounting other baldness-factors like age and heredity, male smokers are twice as likely to lose their hair compared to nonsmoking men.
Few of us can expect to get through life without at least a few dings and abrasions. But if you’re a smoker, don’t be surprised if your wounds take longer to heal than your non-smoking friends. And when they do heal, you’re likely to be stuck with a larger, redder scar than they’d have from a comparable mishap.
It’s the fault of vasoconstriction—the effect that nicotine has on the blood vessels, narrowing them so that the oxygenated blood needed for healing can’t get to the injured area.
Stained teeth are one thing—but losing them altogether is something else. Smoking gives you the increased likelihood of both. Tobacco lines you up for quite a few dental problems, mouth cancer and gum disease among them.
In 2005, a study in Britain published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology revealed that tobacco use causes a sixfold increase in the risk of gum disease, leading to tooth loss.
Dull, discolored skin
“Smoker’s Face”. That’s the short, unsweet term a 1985 study used for the facial appearance that shows up again and again in smokers: premature wrinkles, general gauntness, and a dull, gray cast to the skin.
It’s really not surprising when you consider that every drag on a cigarette injects both nicotine and carbon monoxide into the bloodstream.
The monoxide displaces oxygen in the skin cells. The nicotine shrinks the delicate blood vessels, starving the cells of moisture and nutrients, including vitamin C. Result: dry, gray, lifeless looking skin.
Smoking makes you more vulnerable to human papillomaviruses, the group of viruses that cause warts. And that includes the genital variety.
Genital wart-causing viruses are transmitted by sexual contact, but for reasons that aren’t yet understood, smoking creates a much greater risk of being infected. A study of sexually active women found that those who smoke are almost four times more likely to be infected than nonsmokers.
Smoking causes cancer. Cancers of the lungs, the throat, the mouth, the esophagus, and more. And also of the skin.
If you smoke, your risk of getting squamous cell carcinoma, one of the commonest kinds of skin cancer, is three times that of a non-smoker, according to a 2001 study.
We’ve all heard that cigarettes depress appetite, and smokers often say they’re afraid that quitting will make them gain weight. It’s true that tobacco users often weigh less than nonsmokers of comparable build and lifestyle. But it turns out that smokers have more visceral fat than non-mokers, according to research done in Holland in 2009.
Visceral fat accumulates in deep pads around the internal organs, enlarging the body’s midsection. This not only contributes to an unattractive “no-waist” look, but increases the likelihood of serious disease, including diabetes.
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Recent Study: High Fiber in the Diet Decreases Risk of Death, Many Diseases
A newly-published US study of over 350,000 people over a nine-year period shows strong links between high amounts of fiber in the diet and reduced risks of death, including death from cardioascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases.
The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study began in the mid-1990s by collecting food frequency questionnaire answers from 219,123 men and 168,999 women. Researches correlated the information with data on causes of death among the participants over nearly a decade of follow-up, using national registries. The focus was on amounts of fiber in the participants’ diets.
Fiber, defined as the portion of any food plant that is not readily digestible, is thought by many scientists to help protect humans from heart disease, obesity, and some types of cancer. Fiber reduces blood cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, promotes healthy bowel function and blood glucose levels, reduces inflammation, aids weight loss. It also binds to some carcinogenic substances, making their safe excretion more likely.
In a preliminary online report in February 2011, Dr. Yikyung Park of the National Cancer Institute and colleagues summarized their findings. The study participants’ questionnaire responses showed that they consumed fiber in a range of 13 to 29 grams per day for men and 11 to 26 grams per day for women.
During an average of nine years of follow-up, 20,126 of the 219,123 men died, and 11,330 of the 168,999 women. Higher levels of fiber correlated with significantly lower risk of total death, that is deaths counted without referring`to specific cause. The men and women in the highest fifth of fiber-intake rate (29.4 grams/day for the men, 25.8/day for women) had a 22% lower mortality rate than those who were in the lowest fifth for fiber consumption (12.6 grams/day for men and 10.8 grams/day for women).
Even better were the decreased risk factors for specific diseases. High fiber consumption was associated with a 24% to 56% reduction in risk of cardioascular, respiratory and infectious disease in men, and a 34 to 59% reduction in women. High dietary fiber from grain sources (though not from fruit and vegetable sources) correlated for both sexes with lessened risk of total deaths, as well as from death specifically due to respiratory, cancer, and cardiovascular illness.
The authors wrote in the online report, “The findings remained robust when we corrected for dietary intake measurement error using calibration study data; in fact, the association was even stronger with measurement error correction.” In conclusion, “The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains frequently and consuming 14 grams per 1,000 calories of dietary fiber. A diet rich in dietary fiber from whole plant foods may provide significant health benefits.”
The complete report is due to be printed in the June 14, 2011 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
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A recent French study suggests that young children are more responsive than adults to others’ facial expressions while eating. They’re more likely to want a given food after seeing a picture of someone looking happy while eating it.
The small research project studied the responses of 120 adults and children. The subjects were shown photos of people eating different identifiable foods, and then asked if they would like to eat some themselves. Some people in the photos were fat, some slender, some looked pleased while eating, while others wore expressions of disgust.
Across the board, the adults in the study responded most to the body weight of the photographic subjects, showing less desire to eat items that were being eaten by an overweight person.
But the children, who were 3 to 8 years old, were influenced by multiple factors. They were swayed to some degree by the diner’s weight, but more important was whether the food itself was something they already liked, and what emotion the diner was expressing while eating.
If the picture showed one of their favorite foods, the kids said they wanted some, no matter what the depicted diner’s weight was. Their desire for it was increased if the food was visibly pleasing to the diner, and lessened if the diner had a disgusted expression, with fatness or thinness apparently having no effect on their response.
In the case of foods they didn’t like, depicted emotions had a decisive influence. Pleased expressions made the children more likely to say they’d be willing to try the food, disgusted expressions had the opposite effect. Also, with disliked items, the body weight of the diner in the photograph counted more than with favorite foods: a slender diner looking happy prompted more openess to trying the questionable item than a fat one. An obese diner shown eating a disliked food had the kids expressing increased dislike for it.
Sylvie Rousset of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research discussed the findings, which have been published in the journal Obesity, via e-mail with Reuters Health. “The children’s reactions were unexpected. To our knowledge, no experiment has shown the influence of ‘disgusted’ or ‘pleasant’ faces on children’s desire to eat.”
She explained that with children in this young age group, imitation of emotion shown by those around them may play a significant part, moreso than for adults.
To the degree that the youngsters were influenced by the body weight of the depicted eaters, they showed some awareness of the negative cultural attitudes about obesity, though not nearly to the degree shown by the adults.
The aim of this study and others like it, said Rousset, is to determine the “psychosocial” elements that form youngsters’ attitudes and long-term habits about food and eating. Do these findings translate into helpful suggestions for parents?
Parents would probably do well to be aware of the cues they give children at mealtime – often adults convey their feelings and opinions about different dishes without being aware of it, through those tell-tale facial expressions. Looking pleasant while eating healthy foods that you want your kids to like is probably a good idea.
Of course, real life situations don’t really mirror the conditions of scientific studies. The social aspects of food and dining are complex. For instance, the adult participants were at least partially turned off the idea of eating after seeing pictures of fat people eating—but other research has shown that people eat more when eating with a friend than with a stranger, particularly if both were overweight.
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Menthol Cigarettes: No Increased Cancer Risk, Says New Study
A surprising result from a new US study released in March 2011 indicates that menthol cigarettes pose no greater cancer risk to smokers than non-menthols. This contradicts an assumption held by many scientists that the addition of menthol leads to more exposure to toxins, therefore upping the risk for developing cancer. The new finding could have a significant effect on regulatory efforts to ban menthol smokes in the United States.
The study centered on a large number of older smokers utilizing community health centers. According to Prof. William Blot at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN, “The key finding was that the risk of lung cancer was no higher in menthol smokers.
“In fact, it was a bit lower in mentholated compared to non-mentholated smokers and there was no significant difference in the rate of quitting smoking,” he elaborated in a telephone interview, saying that the lower risk rate surprised the researchers. “It was about 30 percent lower,” a number he called “statistically significantly lower.” “The hypothesis going in, although it wasn’t well supported, was that mentholated might be more toxic.”
Prof. Blot’s researchers studied adults 40-79 years of age who enrolled in the study through public health clinics in 12 states. Of these, 440 lung cancer patients were compared with 2,213 people of comparable sex, age, and race who did not suffer from lung cancer. Menthol smokers smoking 20-plus cigarettes daily were approximately 12 times more likely to have developed lung cancer than persons who had never smoked at all. Non-menthol smokers who smoked similar amounts were 21 times more likely than non-smokers to be lung cancer sufferers.
For example, among people who smoke 20 or more cigarettes a day, menthol smokers were about 12 times more likely to have lung cancer than people who had never smoked, while non-menthol smokers were about 21 times more likely to have the disease.
Menthol cigarette brands have been rising in popularity with adolescents and the highest use has been among younger, newer smokers.
Blot, who has no ties with tobacco companies, said his study only looked at older smokers and could not address concerns that adding menthol to cigarettes made it easier for younger smokers to tolerate smoking.
Menthol cigarettes are a particular issue partly because of their increasing popularity with adolescents and other young smokers new to the habit. Some health advocates have held that the minty quality cuts the harsh quality of plain tobacco and thus makes it easier for kids to start, harder for them to quit. Tobacco companies say that menthol has no effect on the riskiness or addictiveness of cigarettes.
Prof. Blot, who has no connection with any tobacco company, said that because hisresearch only dealt with mature adults, its results have no bearing on whether menthol makes it easier for a young, beginning smoker to tolerate tobacco.
The study was designed to discoer if the toxicity and resultant cancer risk of menthols is, in fact, greater than regular cigarettes. Blot summarized: “The answer is, no, they are not.” The other issue covered was the comparative addictiveness of menthol smokes for adult smokers. “Our data indicated there is no evidence that menthol smokers have a harder time quitting smoking.” Prof. Blot said that the results suggest that menthol smokers smoke fewer cigarettes than non-menthol users. He said that he is comfortable with making a general statement that menthol cigarettes are no more damaging than regular cigarettes, and may be slightly less risky.
Asked what the FDA’s policy should be, he was definite: “Our take on this is that smoking is bad. There is no doubt about that. We’ve known it for years and years. To single out mentholated cigarettes compared to other types of cigarettes may not be necessary.”
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