Research Into Salad Nutrition Yields Interesting Results

Salad vegetables are chock full of important vitamins and nutirents. But according to a Purdue University study you won’t get much benefit without the right type and amount of salad dressing. So, in this study one of the targets for us was basically to look at salad vegetables as a primary source of carotenoids in the daily diet of Americans. For our bodies to be able to absorb and utilize these nutrients, we need fat to help solubilize them and extract them from foods as they are being digested, and also to help with the natural process of fat absorption in the body which carries these fat soluble phytochemicals in.

Carotenoids are compounds in nature that are believed to have health benefits beyond basic nutritional value. These benefits include lowering risks of several chronic and degenerative diseases, including: cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration. Salad vegetables is one of the main classes of vegetables which Americans seem to consume pretty regularly. This includes tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, fresh spinach. Our reason for using that was the fact that in some cases people will actually replace meals, especially lunch for example, with a salad.

Researchers fed subjects salads topped off with saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fat based dressings. Then tested their blood for absorption of these fat soluble carotenoids. These vegetable oil based dressings were chosen primarily because their common use in salad dressings. This being canola oil and soybean oil. Then we wanted to compare these vegetable oils to more saturated fat source such as butter. Our big question was not just related to how does fat influence absorption of carotenoids from these vegetables. Our question related more to the need to understand is there a logic to selection of a type and/or an amount of fat that’s going to be, let’s say optimal in the delivery of these carotenoids.

What’s the best choice to make if you are a consumer or a food processer. So our primary findings were that in almost all instances amount was more critical to driving carotenoid absorption, amount of fat was more critical to driving carotenoid absorption than type. Fat soluble, health promoting carotenoids from widely consumed salad vegetables require fat for absorption. So you need to make sure that you have some fat in your salad dressing when you’re choosing healthy. Some fat is healthy. If you feel like choosing a heart healthy oil, such as canola oil or poly-unstaturated rich soybean oil over saturated fat you’ll get the same if not slighty better absorption depending on the individual carotenoids that are in the salad that you are consuming.

It appears there’s priliminary evidence that suggests that low levels of heart healthy canola oil, mono-unsaturated rich, fatty acid rich canola oil, could be as potent as a facilitator for carotenoid absorbtion as higher levels of fat overall..

Major Advancement in Stem Cell Research

Amazingly, we are one giant step closer to generating functional lung tissue for human beings.
Complicated ethics

Research on stem cell therapy has been slow because it’s a rather controversial subject. There are those who believe that we are “playing God” by discovering the secrets to our own genetics. But this writer asks, if your loved one was dying and could be saved by such research, who would pass on that opportunity? Is it really the place of anyone else to condemn or ban such research? To each person a unique opinion lies, but when policy making cuts off public access to life-saving technology, we need to take a good hard look at what it means to be a human being in the field of medicine.

Technology Breakthroughs

Medical researchers use technology such as online surveys to query large groups of people in a fraction of the time that it takes for conventional surveying methods. With access to technologies such as these, medical firms can gather and report on real data from patients who are involved in so-called experimental treatments. This is not to say that a qualified medical doctor is not supervising the therapy all the time, but rather, these online survey tools are a great way for researchers to protect the identify of the patients while still collecting this incredibly valuable information.

Divas, Drinking, Drugs and Death… and Yes, Micronutrient Deficiency Too!

Whitney Houston was an incredible talent. She will be missed by millions and forever be remembered for her huge, incredible voice. Today, we want to use her death to remind us of something else that is huge right now. We are talking about the abuse of prescription medications. According to reports, Whitney’s prescription of choice was a daily cocktail of at least three different types of anti-anxiety sedatives including the ever-popular Xanax. We say ever popular, because this single drug was prescribed nearly 50 million times in the past year alone.

Xanax works by numbing your brain when you start to feel anxious. The only problem is that the people become reliant on this numbing effect, and rather than dealing with the cause of the anxiety, patients pop the fast acting pills at an ever increasing pace. The process of weaning yourself off this particular drug is said to be so painful that hospitalization is often necessary. So, why are our physicians dolling out these drugs like candy, drugs so addictive, and with such horrible withdrawal effects that few can successfully quit?

Additionally we need to point out that by taking three different prescriptions from this class of medication, known as benzodiazepines, Whitney was depleting her body of her vital micronutrients threefold. Her levels of vitamin C, B12 and CoQ10, the micronutrients depleted by benzodiazepines, must have been dramatically reduced. We should note here that as we discussed in Naked Calories, reduced vitamin C levels are HORRIBLE for stress levels. It becomes like a dog chasing its tale – a patient starts to feel anxiety or stress so their doctor prescribes them a pill that depletes them of the very micronutrient(s) that they need to properly deal with that anxiety and stress. In fact, research shows that the demand for vitamin C increases by up to tenfold during periods of stress and that vitamin C can be more effective than medications for relieving stress. So now instead of feeling better the micronutrient depletion causes the patient to feel worse, which causes them to use more of the drug which depletes more micronutrient(s) and so on…

Let’s add to this the numerous micronutrients she was depleting herself of through her years of alcohol consumption/abuse as well. Remember, that alcohol decreases digestive enzyme secretion, which impairs the absorption of vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B9 (folic acid). What do thiamin and folic acid have in common? Well, besides both being B vitamins that help with stress, deficiency of these specific micronutrients can cause congestive heart failure. What other micronutrient do we know, that when deficient, causes congestive heart failure? Oh yes, we are talking about CoQ10 here, which if you remember Whitney Houston would have been extremely deficient in due to her trio of anti-anxiety drugs. Remember, in Naked Calories, we explain that studies have shown that congestive heart failure is primarily a CoQ10 deficiency disease.

As of yet we cannot say what took this Divas life, however, we know that she did not drown. Did her heart give out? We don’t know this either. What we can tell you is that we know her heart was in a good position to do so, looking at it from a micronutrient perspective, due to her everyday micronutrient depleting lifestyle habits of prescription medications and alcohol.

Regardless of whether the drugs depleted the micronutrients that caused Houston’s heart to fail, or if there was a drug overdose, one thing is certain…prescription drugs killed Whitney Houston – and she is not the only star that has fallen recently due to these habit-forming pills. Kurt Cobain, Chris Farley, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, and Michael Jackson were all addicted to medications. According to the CDC, prescription drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., topping automobile accidents for the first time in 30 years! We think that Whitney’s death should be a wake up call to all of us, as to the over-prescribing and misuse of pharmaceuticals. Rather than treating the body with micronutrient-depleting drugs, physicians should prevent these conditions by creating a state of micronutrient sufficiency in their patients. We need to end this period of using prescription drugs as band-aids to mask the illness. Instead, we need to prevent the illness in the first place. With all the knowledge we have as to the body’s ability to use micronutrients to heal both body and mind, isn’t it time we start looking to them as safe and effective treatments for the health conditions and diseases that are plaguing our world?

Well, just how much safer are our vitamins, minerals and accessory micronutrients than prescription medications? According to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, there are over 100,000 Americans killed each year by adverse reactions to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals. There are 100,000 additional deaths to do overdoses of these same prescription drugs. Over a ten-year period this is over 2 million deaths! Now, let’s look at micronutrients. How many deaths are reported annually? According to the U.S. National Poison Data System the number of people killed in 2009 across America by vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbal supplements was zero.

We hope that these fallen stars can help to illuminate the bigger message. We are a nation that is killing ourselves through the misuse of medications. Medications that kill us through overdose, adverse reactions and yes, by depleting us of our essential micronutrients that we need to live long, healthy lives. Your health is in your hands. Take time today to evaluate your personal intake of prescription and over the counter medications. Consider how you can improve your health through micronutrient sufficiency and start working with your physician to take steps towards the elimination of your pharmaceutical crutches. If your doctor laughs when you tell him/her of your goal, find a new doctor – your health is not a joke. Its time to transform America from a sick, overweight over medicated nation to one were optimal health is a reality!

Spotlight on Eating Disorders

Many of us have some “disordered eating” but do not actually have an “eating disorder” diagnosis.

With so much information in the media, we are increasingly more concerned about our weight, our diets and our eating habits. Knowing that certain foods are unhealthy for us, we often cannot seem to stop craving and choosing those foods. We eat too much, we eat too fast, we restrict certain food, we often eat to suppress emotions and we later pay the price in terms of feeling stuffed, uncomfortable, gaseous or in physical pain. What differentiates the average person’s poor eating habits from a more serious and eventually debilitating “eating disorder”?
Early Intervention Can Save Lives.

Eating Disorder is a disease, a serious disease, which can be masked in broad daylight for a long time. Unlike a drinking or drug addiction, a person with an eating disorder cannot abstain from food. We need food to eat, every day, several times each day. And this is a progressive disease so that relatives and friends may not quickly recognize the symptoms until the disease has already progressed to a dangerous state.You can catch it early by noticing that someone you care about is having unhealthy thoughts, attitudes and behaviors around food and eating. No longer just a young person’s problem, men and women of all ages are exhibiting eating disorders, the fastest growing group being middle-aged women and women with diabetes.

Types of Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa

When we talk about an eating disorder, what immediately comes to mind for most of us is the image of a very underweight female in her late teens or early 20’s, who has been starving herself. But the reality is that Anorexia affects both men and women of all ages. Dieting is the most common behavior that eventually leads to a full blown eating disorder. The emotions involved have a lot to do with feeling anxiety and low self-esteem yet wanting to please and toperform life activities perfectly. The process may begin with a simple diet, followed by increasing restriction of food, obsession with feeling overweight, and unwillingness to recognize the danger of inadequate food intake.

Bulimia Nervosa

A person suffering from Bulimia Nervosa can often easily camouflage his or her disorder by appearing to be of normal weight and appearing to eat normal meals. If someone is paying attention, though, they will notice a pattern of over-eating at meal time, binging or excessively snacking, and then either fasting, excessively exercising, purging (inducing vomiting, taking laxatives and enemas) or alternating between all of these actions. Disturbing the natural digestive functions of the body, increasing the acidity in the throat, and uncontrolled exercising can lead to serious physical problems.

Binging Disorder

Food can be soothing, comforting, and act like a drug. Binge eating is certainly not just a problem for women. An increasing number of men of all ages have developed maladaptive coping mechanisms that result in binge eating. This and all the other eating disorders are bio-psycho-social illnesses that can be healed and overcome with mental health, medical and body awareness counseling.

Orthorexic Nervosa

Not recognized by many as an actual eating disorder, orthorexic nervosa resulting from “clean eating” behavior can actually be unhealthy for the body. In an attempt to be exceptionally healthy, a person with this disorder may be inadvertently eliminating important foods that contain necessary amino acids, minerals and vitamins.

Eating Disorder Recovery

Treatment of an eating disorder differs depending upon many factors. Often, a team of practitioners is involved including a physician, nutritionist or dietician, psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor or family therapist.

• Specific type of eating disorder
• How early the eating disorder is detected
• If there is a co-existing addiction
• Whether there is a concurrent mental health diagnosis

There is Life Beyond Eating Disorders. to this recent interview with Johanna Kandel, founder and CEO of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness and find out more about Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Is Cancer Hereditary?

When talking about heredity and cancer it should be clarified that specialists are referring to the predisposition of developing the disease when the father or mother also had a certain type of tumor. But that does not mean that the person is doomed to have the condition.

There are many types of cancer, and in some of them there is a clear relationship with environmental factors, such as lung cancer and smoking, or skin cancer and excessive exposure to the sun. Others, however, are linked to hereditary issues. In the case of breast cancer, for example, the daughters of women who have had it are more prone to it.

It should be noted that cancer is a broad group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. While normal cells reproduce in an orderly fashion and grow with purpose – such as, for example, closing wounds – cancer cells grow without a special reason. They multiply without control destroying normal tissues and can spread to various parts of the body.

In men, the most common tumors are those of the skin, prostate, lung and colon or rectum. In women, skin, breast, colon, rectum, lung and uterus. For both sexes combined, the most common types are lung, colon, rectum and skin.

Cancers with Inherited Mutations

The importance of the environment

Some types of cancer can be prevented, but not all. Most lung tumors can be prevented if you do not smoke cigarettes. And skin can be prevented by avoiding excessive exposure to the sun or using sunscreens. Also, certain types of tumors produced by occupational or environmental factors can be avoided by eliminating or reducing contact with carcinogenic elements.

Prevention is to prevent something from happening; on the other hand, when talking about early detection, doctors refer to the possibility of finding out early enough that something is happening to be able to do something about it. If a cancer can be detected before it moves from its place of origin, it is much easier to perform a successful treatment. For example, a breast cancer detected early in its local stage has a survival rate of 91 percent. But this rate drops to 69 percent if it is detected once it has spread to the armpit nodes.

On the other hand, the specialists identified some specific cases in which it has been shown that there is a hereditary factor related to the disease. In the case of women who have been treated with estrogen in high doses, their daughters developed vulvar cancer. It is a frequently seen relationship and is well established with studies of large numbers of patients in the United States. These treatments with high doses of estrogen were done in the past, but now are no longer utilized.

Predictive genetics

Another disease that is inherited is the so-called multiple polyposis, which attacks young people and is an early manifestation of colon cancer. It is a very aggressive variety and very difficult to treat.

With regard to prostate cancer, which is one of the most common in men and is on the rise, a direct relationship with heredity has not been established. However, in cases where there is a family history, specialists recommend starting periodic checks at an earlier age, starting at age 45. This type of tumor has the advantage that, if detected early, it allows the control of the disease.

These cases are the best known; however, as knowledge of the human genome progresses, it will be possible to know more precisely what diseases can be endured for genetic reasons. In this way, it will be possible to anticipate several years to the development of a tumor, especially in those families where there is a predisposition to suffer it, since what is inherited is a predisposition.

It is anticipated that in the near future the realization of genetic studies will allow to establish almost exactly who will suffer each type of cancer.

Vertex Cystic Fibrosis Drug Works in Study with Children

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Pharmaceuticals Vertex on Tuesday unveiled positive data for its promising treatment of cystic fibrosis in children by showing that experimental medicine improved lung function in a final-stage study.

Data from the 6-to-11-year study of the oral drug known as VX-770 are released after Vertex reported last month encouraging results for another late-stage trial in older patients who boosted the price of actions of the biotechnology firm.

Stocks rose 3.1 percent on Tuesday to $ 48.79, after the revelation of the results of the study in children.

The data highlight Wall Street’s perception that the firm has promising prospects. Vertex is awaiting approval for a hepatitis C drug that hopes to become the standard treatment for that liver disease.

VX-770 points to a defect in a protein that causes cystic fibrosis, a disease that damages the lungs and digestive system and affects about 30,000 people in the United States.

The latest study involved 52 children who have the genetic mutation that Vertex says affects only four percent of patients with cystic fibrosis.

At 24 weeks of use, patients who received VX-770 had improved lung function by 12.5 percent compared to their baseline levels, meeting the main objective of the study. This means that the relative improvement compared to those taking placebo was 17.4 percent.

Thomas Russo, an analyst with Robert W. Baird, said the drug’s characteristics make it difficult to demonstrate significant improvements.

“The results were, in fact, highly significant and very impressive,” Russo said in a research note.

The company said it was on track to file regulatory approval applications in the United States and Europe in the second half of 2011.