Herbs Can Be Dangerous If You Take Chemotherapy Drugs

The study below is why you need a good nutritionist or naturopath who understands how to use herbs with chemotherapy drugs for success in your treatment. Natural health doctors are more familiar with the research that is not readily available to most medical professionals to provide you with all the information for your decisions.  Read more about my cancer services – click here.

Some Herbal Supplements May Have Dangerous Effects on Chemotherapy Drugs

Science Daily, August 2011. Several popular herbal supplements – cumin, herbal tea, acai berry, turmeric, garlic when used over a long period – may turn out to have negative interactions, in some cases highly dangerous, with chemotherapy drugs. According to a recent report given at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago earlier this year, some of them can intensify the action of the chemotherapy drugs, some can weaken them, and some can produce a toxic, even lethal reaction.

The study’s lead investigator, June M. McKoy, MD, geriatrician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said, “With the growth of the Internet, patients have better access to information about alternative products and often turn to dietary and herbal supplements to treat their illness because they think they’re natural and safe. What people don’t realize is that supplements are more than just vitamins and can counteract medical therapies if not taken appropriately.”

Dr. McKoy, geriatric oncology director at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, states that additional studies are needed to gain a good understanding of which supplements affect chemotherapy medications, and how powerful the interactions are. She advises patients to discuss the use of supplements fully with their doctors.

McKoy, who is also an assistant professor of medicine and preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, said, “Patients need to tell their doctors what medications they are taking – including vitamins and supplements – to avoid any possible interaction.”

Herbal supplements – preparations of plants or parts of plants intended for therapeutic purposes – may affect chemotherapy drugs through different means. In some cases, the herbal material interferes with the way the drug is metabolized by the body, decreasing its effectiveness. A different effect is the action of garlic, which used over a long term can increase the tendency to bleed during surgery. Although it’s generally safe to use cooking herbs for flavor in small amounts, large amounts taken for long periods can have bad effects on the bodies of chemotherapy patients.

Unfortunately, it has been shown by recent studies that half of chemotherapy patients did not inform their doctor that they were using alternative therapeutic measures. Dr. McKoy said, “Some believe it’s not important, while others are uncomfortable admitting they are pursuing alternative therapies. The truth is, integrative approaches can be beneficial for cancer patients, but it’s important to take these approaches at the right time and under the supervision of your doctor.”

She goes on to urge chemotherapy recipients to stop taking herbal supplements until more careful study can be made of the interactions – but to frankly discuss with their doctor any interest they have in complementary therapies that may prove useful.

Melinda Ring, MD, medical director for the Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group’s Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness, says, “Integrative therapies such as massage, acupuncture and meditation can address important patient needs by alleviating stress, addressing pain and helping patients cope.”

In any course of treatment McKoy emphasizes communication between doctors and patients about potential interactions between chemotherapy drugs and herbal supplements. She says, “Patients should bring in labels and bottles to their appointments. This can help the doctor calibrate drug dosage with other supplements in mind in order to prevent toxicities.”

She plans to begin a pilot study in summer 2011 about the prevalence of communications between cancer patients and their doctors about supplements. “By identifying communication barriers, we can take steps to improve doctor-patient communication in order to prevent potentially dangerous drug interactions.”

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


Why Men Are at Higher Risk for Stomach Cancer

In a new study, researchers at MIT demonstrate how estrogen protects women against stomach cancer.

Stomach cancer, as well as cancers of the liver and colon, is more common in men than women. Initially, scientists thought that lifestyle choices like smoking and eating habits could explain this disparity, but current research seems to lead to another cause – basic biological differences between the sexes.

MIT’s new study, which was published online in Cancer Prevention Research, demonstrated that giving male mice estrogen greatly reduced their susceptibility to those stomach cancers known to be caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria.

The researchers hope this new information might eventually lead to new ways to prevent these cancers.

Alexander Sheh, a postdoc in MIT’s Division of Comparative Medicine (DCM) and lead author of the paper, said: “If we can narrow in on which estrogen effect is causing this protection, we can come up with a better therapy.”

About half of the population is infected with H. pylori, which is usually symptomless. The infection itself, however, greatly increases the chance of developing gastric cancer, which is the second greatest cause of cancer deaths. The body’s immune response to the H. pylori infection can lead to a chronic inflammation of the stomach, and it is this inflammation that contributes to the development of cancer.

According to the findings from several studies, women seem to be protected from this inflammation by estrogen. For example, when estrogen is blocked by drugs such as Tamoxifen, which is used to treat breast cancer, a woman’s risk of developing gastric cancer rises. In other studies at MIT, female mice whose estrogen production ceased when their ovaries were removed became just as susceptible to stomach cancer as males, while male mice who were given estrogen became resistant to precancerous gastric lesions.

But James Fox, MIT professor of biological engineering and director of DCM, the author of these studies, is the senior author of a new study using mice genetically predisposed to develop gastric cancers. Male mice that were infected with H. pylori were given estrogen, Tamoxifen, both, or nothing; female mice, also infected, were given Tamoxifen or nothing. Since Tamoxifen blocks estrogen, researchers expected the positive effects of estrogen to diminish where it was given.

But, surprisingly, all three treated groups of males showed increased resistance to gastric cancers. Even more surprisingly, none of these mice developed cancer at all, despite their genetic background. Of an untreated control group, forty percent developed gastric cancer. Female mice receiving Tamoxifen had the same outcomes as untreated mice. This suggests to the research team that, for some reason, Tamoxifen mimics estrogen in the stomach instead of blocking it.

So how do estrogen and Tamoxifen both  protect against gastric cancer? Searching for a genetic component, the team looked at the occurrence overexpressed genes in the mice. Out of approximately 60 genes, they selected a signaling protein, CXCL1, involved in cell movement and recruitment of immune cells. It also has a human analogue, IL-8; IL-8 is frequently found to be part of the body’s immune response to H. pylori infection.

The team theorizes that a chronic H. pylori infection causes an increase in production of CXCL1 (or IL-8 in humans); since this gene’s purpose is, in part, to attract immune cells such as neutrophils and macrophages, it does so. The presence of these immune cells promotes inflammation, which lays the groundwork for cancerous growth. For reasons that are still unknown, estrogen interferes with either the recruitment or the activity of these immune cells–or both.

The MIT team are studying mice that are missing the gene for CXCL1, to see if the absence of that one protein can change the course of gastric cancers. Creating molecules that specifically block CXCL1 activity is also on the agenda.

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011, July 14). Why men are at higher risk for stomach cancer. ScienceDaily.


Hypertension Defined

Hypertension is the technical medical name for high blood pressure. “Blood  pressure” means the pressure against the walls of arteries of blood as it travels through them pumped by the heart. The arteries are the tubes, large and small, that carry oxygen-rich blood to all the parts of the body.

A description of hypertension

Because of the pump action of the heart, blood flowing along the arteries pushes against their inner walls: the greater the pushing force, the higher the blood pressure. The size, or diameter, of the smaller arteries can also have an effect on overall blood pressure. The walls are muscular, and when they are relaxed they dilate or enlarge the opening of the tube through which the blood is passing, lowering the pressure. Conversely, when they tighten, the arterial diameter decreases,and blood pressure goes up.

In the cycle of heart action, the highest blood pressure occurs when the heart contracts, or “beats”, to push blood into the arteries. When the heart relaxes so that its chambers can refill with blood, then the pressure is lowest. The high pressure at the “beat” is the “systolic” pressure, and the low, relaxed pressure is the “diastolic” pressure. When you have your blood pressure measured, the reading shows the systolic first, the diastolic second, measured in millimeters of mercury (abbreviated as mm Hg). So a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 will be recorded as 120/80 mm Hg. Any blood pressure reading above 140/90 is considered high for an adult by the American Heart Association.

One of the factors making hypertension a serious health problem is the fact that it has no symptoms, so that many people have it and are unaware of it. It is estimated that, in the US, approximately 50 million people sixty years old or older have hypertension. Men are more likely to have it than women, and older people than younger. After age 65, the percentage of those with hypertension is over 50%. African Americans are also more likely to have high blood pressure than white Americans. The condition is serious because it puts people at greater risk than normal for heart disease and other dangerous conditions. The complications can be avoided by getting regular blood pressure readings, and treating hypertension immediately if it should develop.

Untreated hypertension may lead to other serious conditions, including:

  • Arteriosclerosis (atherosclerosis)
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Heart enlargement
  • Damage to the kidneys

Arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis is what is commonly called hardening of the arteries. A normal artery wall has an elastic layer of tissue and muscle that lets it widen and narrow as  pulsing blood flows through. The effect of continuous high blood pressure can be a thickening and hardening of the walls, reducing the elasticity and narrowing the passageway for the bloodstream. This can lead to buildup of fat and cholesterol particles on the wall interiors, leading to even more constriction. The narrowing also makes it more likely that blood clots will get jammed in the passage, with the immediate danger of blood flow cutoff.

Arteriosclerosis can constrict arteries enought so that too little blood is reaching organs and other parts of the body. If blood supply to the heart is lessened or cut off, the result can be a heart attack, while a similar reduction or blockage to the brain can cause a stroke. The extra strain on the heart as it works to pump blood through narrowed arteries can cause thickening and stretching of the heart muscle. A heart can be enlarged to the point where it can no longer pump enough blood. Thus hypertension can lead directly to heart failure.

Blood flow blockage to the kidneys caused by arteriosclerosis is extremely serious, as the kidneys are the body’s disposal units, keeping waste out of the blood. If left untreated, the kidneys begin to fail, and the blood’s waste levels start to rise. Failure makes either dialysis or a kidney transplant necessary to savethe patient’s life. About one quarter of dialysis patients have had their kidneys fail due to high blood pressure.

Hypertension’s causes and symptoms

There are several normal reasons why blood pressure can go up temporarily: increased physical activity is one, reacting to a stress situation is another. Lower the activity level, eliminate the stress,  and the blood pressure goes back to normal. This kind of temporary increase is not hypertension. It’s when multiple high readings are found over a span of time that hypertension is diagnosed.

In the vast majority of cases, the cause of hypertension is unknown. 90-95% of hypertensive persons have this unknown-cause type, called “primary” or “essential” hypertension. Hypertension caused by another medical condition, on the other hand, is “secondary” hypertension, and can result from various other ailments. Kidney disorders often bring on secondary high blood pressure because the kidneys are not removing enough extra salt and water from the bloodstream, which increases the overall pressure. Such disorders can include kidney infections, renal kidney stenosis (a localized constriction of the arteries leading to the kidneys), and others.

Other causes of secondary high blood pressure include: Cushing’s syndrome causing tumors of the  adrenal and pituitary glands, leading in turn to excessive levels of adrenalin, cortisol, and aldosterone which raise blood pressure; blood vessel diseases; thyroid gland disease; alcoholism; some presription drugs; and pregnancy..

Although it is not known what the direct cause is of most people’s hypertension, it is known that there are factors that will increase the risk of developing the problem.

Some factors are:

  • Age over 60 years
  • Male gender
  • Race (higher incidence among the African American population)
  • Heredity
  • Sensitivity to salt
  • Sedentary habits
  • Obesity
  • High alcohol consumption
  • Oral contraceptives

Of these, obviously some are beyond control, like sex and age and race, or inherited familial tendency to high blood pressure. However, people who have one or more unavoidable risk factors can stay away from the factors that can be controlled, to decrease the likelihood that they’ll become hypertensive.

Diagnosing high blood pressure

Regular periodic checks of blood pressure are important precisely because the condition has no symptoms of its own. The familiar blood pressure cuff, or sphygnomanometer, is wrapped around the upper arm and tightened by inflating it with a small attached pump. The cuff’s pressure briefly cuts off the flow in one of the arm’s arteries, and then the cuff pressure is released while a stethoscope is positioned over the artery so the medical practitioner can listen to the sound of the pulsing blood returning to the artery. The stethoscope first picks up the systolic beat as the heart forces blood through the vessel, and then the diastolic part of pulse cycle as the heart and the artery relax between beats. Both systolic and diastolic pressures are recoreded on the cuff’s mercury gauge.

Temporary rises in blood pressure can come from things like pain, temporary physical and emotional stress, anxiety,  etc. Because of this, as noted earlier, a diagnosis of hypertension is not made from a single reading. If the first reading is over 140/90, the physician will take another reading at a later time. A hypertension diagnosis usually results from two or more later high readings, after the first one. Then there’s “white-coat hypertension”, the tendency of many people to have high blood pressure in doctors’ offices. This type of high reading has usually been blamed on situational anxiety, although a study done in Italy in 2001 raised questions about dismissing these results as unrelated to true hypertension.

In elderly persons, it is not uncommon to find systolic hypertension coupled with normal or low diastolic pressure, for instance a reading of 170/70 mm Hg. This systolic hypertension tends to be associated with hardening of the arteries.

These are the blood pressure reading classifications, listed by increasing severity:

  • normal blood pressure: lower than 120/80 mm Hg
  • high normal: 130–139/85–89 mm Hg
  • mild hypertension: 140–159/90–99 mm Hg
  • moderate hypertension: 160–179/100–109 mm Hg
  • severe hypertension: 180–209/110–119
  • very severe hypertension: 210/120 or higher

In order to evaluate a patient for possible hypertension, the typical exam would include:

  • Family and medical history
  • Physical exam
  • Examination of the blood vessels of the eye (opthalmoscopy)
  • Electrocardiograph (ECG)
  • Chest x-ray
  • Blood and urine testing

Taking the patient’s family and medical histories is needed to help alert the physician to other conditions that could be behind the high pressure, or making it worse. Family members with hypertension can mean that a genetic tendency to the condition is present.

During the physical, the doctor may well take multiple pressure readings at different points during the visit, and with the patient in different positions. Heart and blood flow sounds will be checked with a stethoscope, and notes will be made of  pulse, height, weight, and reflexes. The doctor will manually feel (palpate) the internal organs to check for enlargement. In addition, he or she will look at the blood vessels in the eyes with an opthalmoscope, to check for hemorrhages or abnormal thickness or narrowing caused by hypertension.

The patient may be checked with an electrocardiagram, to evaluate the heart’s electrical activity, and to see whether the cardiac muscle is abnormally enlarged or damaged due to artery blockage. Enlarged heart muscle and other heart problems, and lung disease may be revealed by a chest X-ray

Testing blood and urine samples are additional ways to check for the possibility of other physical ailments that are known causes of hypertension..

Treating high blood pressure

Primary hypertension – in other words, high blood pressure with no detectable cause – has no cure, but proper treatment can nearly always bring it down to healthier levels. Treatment is undertaken to reduce the pressure to the point where heart disease and other hypertension complications are prevented. With secondary hypertension, caused by other disorders, the causing disease is treated as well as the high blood pressure. If and when the underlying ailment is cured, the secondary hypertension may be too.

The usual techniques for lowering blood pressure include changing the patient’s diet and prescribing a regular exercise routine. If no kidney or heart damage has taken place in a person with mild to moderate hypertension, such changes are often the core of initial treatment.

Some behavioral changes that are capable of bringing blood pressure down by approximately 5-10 mm Hg are:

  • Lowering salt intake in the diet
  • Lowering dietary fat
  • Weight reduction
  • Exercising regularly
  • Stopping smoking
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Stress management

There are also natural alternative methods which may be approved by the patient’s doctor for reducing blood pressure, or even keeping it from developing in the first polace. Aromatherapy is a good example, which can help reduce stress with the use of essential oils. The fragrances can be inhaled from a bottle during periods of tension, and/or the oils can be massaged into the skin before retiring, usually just below the collarbone to release fragrance and promote relaxation. Lavender and blue chamomile are two essences that have shown stress releaving effects.

Another avenue to explore is food therapy, which can have demonstrated benefits for blood pressure. For instance, celery will dilate muscles that regulate blood pressure, and celery juice is mildly diuretic. Sodium and excess fluid in the circulatory system can by lowered by eating  fresh vegetables and fruits that are high in magnesium and potassium. The reduction of dietary sodium lowers blood pressure, whether or not hypertension is present, according to a study published in 2001. Garlic has been discovered to have a similar effect. The active ingredient is thought to be allicin, which is present both in enteric-coated garlic capsules and in fresh garlic.

Lowered blood pressure can also be accomplished through relaxation and meditation. Similar techniques also have good effects: focusing on calming music, the use of mental imagery, such as imagining coolness seeping into one’s pores and spreading quietly throughout the body, bringing blood pressure to normal levels. Yoga specialists recommend two poses, the corpse pose and the knee squeeze pose, that are especially good for tension relief and healthy blood flow when combined with breathing exercises.



What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is characterized by abnormal and uncontrolled division of cells in the breast. These cancerous cells multiply and destroy the normal breast tissue around them, and can also travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or the clear lymphatic fluid that bathes cells, causing new cancerous growths in new locations.

The risk of breast cancer is a fact of life for all women. In 2002, more than 200,000 new diagnoses of this disease were made in the US alone. The risk increases with age, regardless of family history. By the time a woman is 85, she has a one in nine chance of gettng breast cancer at some point during the remainder of her life. For a 25-year-old, the risk is 1 out of over 19,500; for a 45-year-old, it has increased to 1 in 93. Eighty percent of these cancers are diagnosed in women 50 and older.

Breast cancer causes and symptoms

The risk factors for developing this type of cancer include:

  • Family history: mother or sister with breast cancer
  • Early menstruation, late menopause
  • Reproductive history: women who have never borne a child, had children late in life, and those who never breastfed are more at risk.
  • History of abnormal biopsies of the breast

Over 70% of those diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any known risk factors. A breast cancer gene was identified in 1994, but it’s believed that no more than 5% of cases are caused by this gene.

There have been studies published that implicate high-fat diets, alcohol intake, and avoidance of breastfeeding in increased risk. There may be other factors in the typical Western lifestyle that are responsible for the comparatively high rates of breast cancer in those countries compared to other parts of the world. Two examples may be the aromatic hydrocarbons in tobacco and hydrocarbons found in well-done meats. Another association addressed by researchers has been possible linkage between hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and breast cancer. Early studies pointing in this direction were not seriously received in many quarters, but an important project published in 2003 provided substantial evidence of the risk. The Women’s Health Initiative published results showing that the risk increased even with quite short-term use of HRT using combined estrogen and progestin, with diagnoses being made at a later stage of the disease, and higher than expected numbers of abnormal mammograms. The longer a subject was on HRT, the greater her risk.

Woman need to be aware that many breast lumps are NOT cancerous. These benign lumps need only to be removed. If you have several risk factors you may, statistically, have a greater chance of developing breast cancer, but bear in mind that the disease is not a simple yes-or-no likelihood, but the outcome of complex interactions of factors. Monthly self-exams are the best way to keep track, so that any lump can be found at an early stage of development. Regular mammograms – xrays of the front and sides of the breast – can detect tumors or cysts at very early stages. It’s also a good idea to get a risk assessment consultation at a breast cancer center, of which there are many across the US.

Signs that can indicate breast cancer include:

  • Changes to nipple, such as thickening, bleeding, pulling in, or discharge
  • Dimpling or reddening of skin over the breast
  • Changed size or shape of breast
  • Abnormality detected in a mammogram

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

Mammograms (low dose breast x-rays) pick up more than 90% of breast cancers. If a suspicious lump is found, a mammogram should be done to investigate it further. Doctors will order routine screening mammograms in accordance with standard guidelines. Although there has been disagreement in the medical community about the cost effectiveness of regular mammograms for women in their 40s, the majority of doctors concur with current guidelines from the American Cancer Society, for screening mammograms annually or every two years for women 40 to 49 years old, and annually for women 50 and above. Woman whose family history includes close relatives with breast cancer may choose annual mammograms after age 40.

A screening mammography usually includes two x-rays of each breast, one taken from above, one from the side. The technologist looks at the films immediately to see whether they are complete; the radiologist decides if more views or follow-up ultrasounds are needed to make a thorough assessment.

If an irregularity shows up – a mass, changes from earlier mammograms, skin abnormalities, lymph nodes enlarged – more tests may be ordered. The additional test might be an ultrasound scan of the breast, a biopsy or needle sampling of the suspect area, or a consultation with a breast surgeon.

Breast biopsy is the removal of breast tissue so that a pathologist can examine it for abnormal cells. Excisional biopsies surgically remove the whole area around the lump, plus some adjacent tissue; with a very large lump, the excision removes only part of the area for analysis. Needle biopsies can be done in two ways, aspiration needle biopsy and large core needle biopsy. In the first, a very fine needle withdraws fluid and cells from the mass, and in the second a larger-diameter needle takes out small segments of tissue. The analysis of biopsied tissue will show if the lump is noncancerous (benign) or cancerous.

If cancerous cells prove to be present, physicians will remove some lymph nodes from the patient’s underarm area to discover if cancer cells have spread into other parts of the body, and to help guide their decisions for further treatment. Sentinel lymph node biopsy, a new technique, removes only the node that is “first in line” to receive fluid draining from a cancerous area, preserving the other lymph nodes. If there are no cancer cells  in the sentinel node, the cancer has remained local. Testing for cancer cells in lymph nodes gives the physician a reliable indication of what stage of advancement the cancer has reached (“staging” cancer). Breast cancers are rated on a scale from Stage 0 (cancer-free) to Stage IV. This tells the cancer specialist (oncologist) how much the disease has spread. The stages are:

  • Stage I. The cancer is no larger than 2 cm and no cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes.
  • Stage II. The cancer is no larger than 2 cm but has spread to the lymph nodes or is larger than 2 cm but has not spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage IIIA. Tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to the lymph nodes or is smaller than 5 cm, but has spread to the lymph nodes, which have grown into each other.
  • Stage IIIB. Cancer has spread to tissues near the breast or to lymph nodes inside the chest wall, along the breastbone.
  • Stage IV. Cancer has spread to skin and lymph nodes near the collarbone or to other organs of the body.

Holistic treatment for cancer click this link to learn more..





Nutrition Recommendations for Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects an astounding twenty-five percent of Americans. Although it frequently presents few or no symptoms, this condition costs more than ten billion dollars annually.

What is Hypertension?

With each beat, the heart pushes blood through the circulatory system, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body, and carrying away debris. Blood pressure is measured by recording the force with which the blood travels. For most people, when blood pressure reaches 120/80, it is seen as high and usually requires treatment. The first number represents “systolic” pressure, which is the result of the hearts contraction; the second number measures “diastolic” pressure, which is the pressure when the heart rests.  Both numbers are meaningful, but it is a high systolic number indicates a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Who’s at Risk?

High blood pressure is implicated in the development of other conditions, including arteriosclerosis, kidney disease, stroke, and heart disease. Some segments of the population, such as African-Americans or those with a family history of hypertension, have a greater than average risk of developing the disease. So are older people. However, many known risk factors are in fact controllable through lifestyle changes; these include smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, stress, and a diet too high in sodium, caffeine, and alcohol.

What about salt?

Changes in diet and lifestyle can actually help lower the risk of developing hypertension. Although a diet high in sodium is considered a risk factor, the actual intake of sodium is not the cause of the problem. But an overuse of salt disturbs the chemical balance of the body; other minerals, especially potassium, must be properly balanced against each other. We need to ingest more potassium than sodium. Consciously lowering the amount of salt you use while increasing the high-potassium foods consumed is an important step.

Flavor-enhancers such as spices and herbs can help to replace salt in the diet; also remember that packaged and canned goods can be high in salt.

There are several simple ways to start taking control of your diet:

* To add up to 30 grams a day of water-soluble fiber, eat 6-8 servings of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables

* Include legumes such as beans and lentils as a source of protein

* High-potassium foods include bananas, avocados, oranges, greens such as kale, seaweed, asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes, and apples

* Eat less saturated animal fat; choose lean meats and fish

* Include foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold-water fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, and halibut), flaxseed oil and walnuts

* Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that produce trans fatty acids. Read labels!

* Use less salt when cooking, and don’t add salt to your food at the table

* Have no more than one serving per day of alcohol and caffeine-rich drinks

* Increase physical activity; a daily walk can make a big difference

* Ask your doctor or nutritionist about supplemental vitamins and minerals

* Monitor your blood pressure regularly



Moderate Sleep and Less Stress May Help With Weight Loss

A Kaiser Permanente study published in the International Journal of Obesity indicates that efforts to lose weight are aided by adequate sleep and stress control.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that those attempting to lose ten pounds or more were more likely to succeed if they got at least six hours of sleep and reported lower stress levels.

Lead author Charles Elder, MD, MPH, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, said: “This study suggests that when people are trying to lose weight, they should try to get the right amount of sleep and reduce their stress. Some people may just need to cut back on their schedules and get to bed earlier. Others may find that exercise can reduce stress and help them sleep. For some people, mind/body techniques such as meditation also might be helpful.”

The study, which included around 500 people, was divided into two parts. First, participants were given six months to lose at least ten pounds. Those who succeeded went on to the second part of the study, designed to test a complementary acupressure technique compared to conventional weight-maintenance strategies. (This part of the study has not been completed.)

Participants in the first part of the study were given advice as to diet and exercise; they also kept daily food diaries and attended weekly meetings. It was found that those who kept more food records and attended more meetings were more likely to lose weight during this phase of the trial.

They also were asked about their experiences with insomnia, stress and depression, as well as time spent watching television and computer use. It was found that adequate sleep and lower stress levels presaged success at weight loss, but depression and screen time had little or no effect.

Dr. Elder, who also leads Integrative Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, and the study authors warn that their findings may not apply to everyone, pointing out that most of their subjects had attended college, and were highly motivated.

Kaiser Permanente is conducting ongoing research to gain insight into the causes of successful and unsuccessful attempts at weight loss, and maintaining healthy weight. Other Kaiser Permanente studies have found that use of an interactive weight management website helped people keep weight off, and that keeping a food diary, as well as personal and internet-based support, had positive effects on weight control.

Study authors include: Charles R. Elder, MD, MPH, Christina M. Gullion, PhD, Kristine L. Funk, MS, Lynn L. DeBar, PhD, Nangel M. Lindberg, PhD, and Victor J. Stevens, PhD, all from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon.

Source: Reuters  May 2011


Most in U.S. want ban on smoking in public: poll

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Recent polling suggests that more Americans than ever want to see smoking in public banned.

In a poll taken by telephone on July 7-10, the Gallup Organization found that 59 percent supported banning smoking in public. This is the first time a clear majority has supported a ban since Gallup first began asking the question in 2001. A far smaller number, 19 percent, would support a total ban.

When Gallup previously polled this on this matter, in 2001 and in 2007, 39 percent of Americans supported the ban. In 1990, 14 percent wanted all smoking to be made illegal.

Gallup said, “A majority of Americans now support the concept of a full smoking ban in all public places, marking a significant change from four years ago, when Gallup last measured this attitude. Relatively few Americans support the idea of making all smoking illegal across the country, perhaps partly in recognition of the practical difficulties involved in enforcing such a ban.”

Smoking has become much less popular. 27 states, plus the District of Columbia, have banned cigarette smoking in public places.

The Princeton, New Jersey based pollster also asked about respondents’ personal habits. “Twenty-two percent of adult Americans reported having smoked cigarettes within the last week, a percentage that is essentially unchanged over the last five years,” Gallup said.

The poll results are based on a random sample of 1,016 people aged 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. There a maximum margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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Holistic Naturopath Improves Anxiety With Fish Oil

I been using high grade fish oil to help people with anxiety for many years. Below is just another study (of the hundreds) of what properly dosed high quality fish oil can do  for inflammation and anxiety. For more information about my anxiety relief services click here or call 201.618.3534.

Omega-3 Reduces Anxiety and Inflammation in Healthy Students, Study Suggests

According to a new study, just published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, of the effects of increased intake of fish oil, these substances, even in the form of supplements, reduced both inflammation and anxiety in the participating subjects.

The study’s participants were all healthy young people; however, the results suggest that those with certain health challenges, including the elderly, might receive even more benefits from such supplements.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are known to reduce inflammation by helping to reduce the level of cytokines in the body; they are also thought to reduce depression.  Stress increases cytokines; scientists have been investigating whether or not reducing cytokines will reduce stress.

A team of researchers at Ohio State University designed a study using medical students. First, they discovered that the students’ test-related stress lowered their immune status.

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychology and psychiatry, said, “We hypothesized that giving some students omega-3 supplements would decrease their production of proinflammatory cytokines, compared to other students who only received a placebo. We thought the omega-3 would reduce the stress-induced increase in cytokines that normally arose from nervousness over the tests.”

68 first- and second-year medical students volunteered for the clinical trial. They were split into six groups, and eventually each subject was interviewed six times. Each interview included psychological testing, questionnaires about diet, and the securing of blood samples for further testing. One-half of the students received omega-3 supplements while the other half were given placebo pills.

Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition and co-author in the study, described the dosage:  “The supplement was probably about four or five times the amount of fish oil you’d get from a daily serving of salmon, for example,”

To the investigators’ surprise, however, the university had altered the curriculum and testing schedule, so that the students were no longer subject to the same tensions as they had been during previous studies.

According to Kiecolt-Glaser, “These students were not anxious. They weren’t really stressed. They were actually sleeping well throughout this period, so we didn’t get the stress effect we had expected.”

However, the psychological surveys displayed a clear change in anxiety among the students. The students who took the omega-3 experienced 20 percent less anxiety than those receiving the placebo.

The blood tests showed comparable results.

Ron Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology & medical genetics and director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, explained, “We took measurements of the cytokines in the blood serum, as well as measured the productivity of cells that produced two important cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa). We saw a 14 percent reduction in the amounts of IL-6 among the students receiving the omega-3.” The cytokines are known to promote inflammation, so “anything we can do to reduce cytokines is a big plus in dealing with the overall health of people at risk for many diseases.”

Inflammation is now considered a detrimental influence in the development of many diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Nonetheless, the scientist are not ready to suggest that the public at large start taking supplements – although some of them admit that they themselves take them.

Belury said, “It may be too early to recommend a broad use of omega-3 supplements throughout the public, especially considering the cost and the limited supplies of fish needed to supply the oil. People should just consider increasing their omega-3 through their diet.”

Also taking part in the research with Kiecolt-Glaser, Glaser and Belury were William Malarkey, professor emeritus of internal medicine, and Rebecca Andridge, an assistant professor of public health.

The study was supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

Ohio State University (2011, July 13). Omega-3 reduces anxiety and inflammation in healthy students, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18, 2011, from sciencedaily.


Lower Your Blood Pressure With Soy

Soy/Milk Protein Supplements Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

A study just published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that both soy protein supplements and milk were linked to lower systolic blood pressure, as opposed to refined carbohydrate dietary supplements.

This is the first controlled clinical trial to show that milk protein lowers blood pressure for people with pre-hypertension and stage-1 high blood pressure.

Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher of the study, said that the study’s results imply that adding foods or drinks high in soy or milk protein may help to both prevent and treat high blood pressure.

The study included 352 adults with either a mild case or an increased risk of high blood pressure. Those taking a milk protein supplement had a 2.3 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) lower systolic blood pressure, compared to when they took a refined carbohydrate supplement. Those taking a soy protein supplement had a 2.0 mmHg lower systolic blood pressure when compared to the refined carbohydrate supplement. Refined carbohydrate supplements themselves were not linked to changes in systolic blood pressure.

Dr. He, an epidemiologist at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, La., explained, “Some previous observational research on eating carbohydrates inconsistently suggested that a high carbohydrate diet might help reduce blood pressure. In contrast, our clinical trial directly compares soy protein with milk protein on blood pressure, and shows they both lower blood pressure better than carbohydrates.”

Participants were age 22 or older, with systolic blood pressure ranging from 120 to 159 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure from 80 to 95 mmHg. Each was randomly assigned to take 40 grams of soy protein, milk protein or a refined carbohydrate supplement every day, for eight weeks each. The supplements used were formulated to allow researchers to compare the effects of soy protein, milk protein, and refined complex carbohydrate on blood pressure without changing sodium, potassium, and calcium.

Participants, who were all aged 22 or older, took the supplements for eight weeks, followed three-weeks without any supplements.

Blood pressure readings were taken before and after each supplement phase, showing a net blood pressure change.

Dr. He said, “The systolic blood pressure differences we found are small for the individual, but they are important at the population level.” Research has shown that even a small decrease in systolic blood pressure might bring 6 percent fewer stroke-related deaths, a 4 percent lower rate of heart disease deaths, and a 3 percent reduction in overall deaths among Americans. Long-term studies would be needed to make specific recommendations for dietary changes, Dr. He said.

American Heart Association (2011, July 18). Soy/milk protein dietary supplements linked to lower blood pressure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2011.

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Low-Carbohydrate, High-Protein Diets May Reduce Both Tumor Growth Rates and Cancer Risk

Shrink tumors with nutrition … alternative medicine for cancer click here…

The results of a new study might have an effect on cancer prevention and treatment, scientists say. The study, published in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggests that a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet may reduce cancer risk and slow the growth of tumors.

The scientists say that although the study was conducted in mice, the findings are authoritative enough that an effect in humans should be studied.

Lead researcher Gerald Krystal, Ph.D., of the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre and his colleagues assigned certain strains of mice that had been implanted with mouse and human tumor cells to one of two different diets. The typical Western diet contained about 55 percent carbohydrate, 23 percent protein and 22 percent fat; a second, extremely high-protein diet, had 15 percent carbohydrate, 58 percent protein and 26 percent fat. The study found that the tumor cells grew slower on the high-protein diet.

In another aspect of the study, breast cancer predisposed mice were put on these two diets. Nearly half of the mice that consumed the Western diet developed breast cancer before reaching one year of age; but none of the mice that ate the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet did. Additionally, only one of the mice that ate the Western diet lived to a normal age (approximately 2 years). 70 percent of these mice died from cancer. Just 30 percent of those on the low-carbohydrate diet developed cancer, and more than half these mice reached a normal age.

Also tested were the effects of an mTOR cell-growth inhibitor, and a COX-2 inhibitor, which acts to reduce inflammation, on tumor development. These agents were found to positively affect the mice fed the low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet.

Dr. Krystal suggested that since tumor cells need much more glucose to grow than normal cells, decreasing carbohydrate intake, which limits blood glucose, could negatively impact tumor growth. Insulin, too, which has previously been shown to promote tumor growth, is limited by this diet.

A low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet might also strengthen the immune system’s ability to kill cancer cells and also avert obesity, which has been shown to promote chronic inflammation and cancer.

Dr. Krystal said, “This shows that something as simple as a change in diet can have an impact on cancer risk.”

Cancer Research editor-in-chief George Prendergast, Ph.D., CEO of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, who was not involved in the study, agreed with Dr. Krystal. “Many cancer patients are interested in making changes in areas that they can control, and this study definitely lends credence to the idea that a change in diet can be beneficial,” he said.

American Association for Cancer Research (2011, June 15). Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets may reduce both tumor growth rates and cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 18,

Holly Kramer, David Shoham, Leslie A. McClure, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, George Howard, Suzanne Judd, Paul Muntner, Monika Safford, David G. Warnock, William McClellan. Association of Waist Circumference and Body Mass Index With All-Cause Mortality in CKD: The REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) Study. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 2011; DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.02.390

Source: ScienceDaily (June 15, 2011)