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2021 Publication Archive

“Statins May Reduce Cancer Risk”

Nov 28, 2021

About 40 million US adults take statins to lower their cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of heart disease. But, these drugs may come with an added beneficial effect: protection against cancer. Lipophilic statins include cerivastatin, lovastatin, simvastatin, and fluvastatin, while hydrophilic statins include atorvastatin, pravastatin, and rosuvastatin. Although initial animal studies indicated that statins might increase the risk of cancer, current research is showing the opposite. In a large systematic review and meta-analysis, for example, researchers showed that patients who took statins before their cancer diagnosis had a 21% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of cancer-specific mortality. While researchers haven’t found that statins reduce the incidence of most types of cancer, statins do appear to prevent recurrence and increase survival in many cancer types. People with colorectal cancer tend to have improved overall survival if they’re already taking statins, researchers found. Interestingly, the researchers showed that statins may work better at protecting against colorectal cancer death than against statins’ usual targets: heart attack and stroke. For instance, taking statins lowered the risk of heart attack by 9% and stroke by 23%, but reduced death from colorectal cancer by nearly 40%. Statin use in patients with breast cancer is associated with 30% improved cancer‐specific survival, 34% improved overall survival, and 36% improved recurrence‐free survival. Taking statins is associated with significantly improved survival in patients with lung cancer,

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“Cholesterol Myths”

Nov 21, 2021

Cholesterol is an essential component of animal cell membranes; as such, it is synthesized by all animal cells. Regardless of its bad name, cholesterol is essential for life. Aside from its structural role in membranes, it is also vital in the production of steroid hormones, vitamin D, and bile acid. So, although high levels are a risk factor for disease, without any cholesterol, we could not survive. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that raised cholesterol levels are responsible for 2.6 million deaths each year. Given such prevalence, it is no surprise that misinformation about cholesterol is rife. Cholesterol balance is really a function of what we eat but also our genetics. A person can be born with a genetic tendency to not process cholesterol efficiently. Because it’s genetic it has been called familial hypercholesterolemia, and it might be as common as 1 in 200 people. Even if you have a healthy weight, your cholesterol can be abnormal. Other factors that impact your cholesterol are the foods you eat, your exercise habits, whether you smoke, and how much alcohol you drink. Cholesterol levels are affected by genetics, thyroid function, medications, exercise, sleep, and diet. People who exercise are less likely to see elevations in cholesterol from eating cholesterol compared with sedentary people. High cholesterol leads to silent buildup of plaque in arteries until it is so severe that strokes or heart attacks occur. You don’t go to the store and buy a package of cholesterol, but you do buy red meat, cheeses, and eggs. Red meat contains saturated fat and cholesterol.

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“Ways to Hurt Your Immune System”

Nov 14, 2021

Here is the mantra for a healthy lifestyle: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, get regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, don’t smoke, limit drinking, and wash your hands often to avoid infection. Healthy living is a good way to support your immune system, and that includes avoiding certain habits that can dampen your immune function. Here are five factors that might be harming your immune system, according to studies and health experts. 1) Day-to-Day Stress. According to an article published in Stress Challenges and Immunity In Space, decades of research have linked psychological stress to immune system outcomes, including inflammatory processes, wound healing, and responses to infections and other immune system challenges. Stress disrupts the interplay between the central nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system, which leads to dysregulation of the latter. Additionally, chronic stress can deregulate immune responses, and thereby induce inflammation and suppress the function of immuno-protective cells. 2) Not Getting Enough Sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, a lack of sleep can affect how quickly you become ill and how soon you recover. When you don’t get enough sleep, the production of these cytokine proteins is disrupted, and levels of infection-fighting antibodies and cells also decrease. Adults should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, while teens should be getting 9-10 hours, and children may need 10 or more hours.  Editor’s Note:  See the article for the other 3 ways !

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“Avoid Added Sugars”

Nov 07, 2021

Unfortunately, added sugars are present in a lot of foods, including sodas and fruit juices, processed foods, flavored yogurts, cereals, condiments, bread, sauces, soups, and more. As a result, many of us are eating way too much of it. When it comes to sugar intake, there are two things to look for on nutrition labels. “Total Sugars” includes all the sugar that’s in the food, including the natural sugars present in healthy foods like fruits and dairy products, as well as sugars that are added to the product. “Added Sugars,” on the other hand, refers only to how much sugar was supplemented to the food during processing. These added sugars go by a plethora of names—common ones include high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose, and dextrose—and should be avoided wherever possible. Experts found, “Strong evidence from mostly prospective cohort studies but also randomized controlled trials have shown that eating patterns that include lower intake of sources of added sugars are associated with reduced risk of [cardiovascular disease] in adults, and moderate evidence indicates that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer in adults.” One study has raised alarm bells in its findings of soda—one of the top sources of added sugar for Americans.

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“Drink Wine in Moderation”

Nov 01, 2021

Research shows that the occasional glass of wine has numerous health benefits. The polyphenols—resveratrol, anthocyanins, and catechins—are the highest-profile antioxidants found in wine, and are much-touted for their health effects. But there is a startling federal report that 30 million Americans are driving drunk and another 10 million are driving drugged. Although it varies, in some states, drunk and drugged drivers are over 20 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Unfortunately, younger drivers are more likely to drive while impaired. Sadly, over ten thousand were killed by drunk drivers in 2009 and drugged drivers caused one in three car accident deaths. If someone is going to drink, then do not drive. Do not risk the life and limb of innocent people because of stupidity and irresponsibility. I applaud parents, community leaders, MADD, police, and the judicial system who fight against driving while drunk or drugged. According to a review published in Nutrients, resveratrol, for instance, “is active in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases by neutralizing free oxygen radicals and reactive nitrogenous radicals; it penetrates the blood-brain barrier and, thus, protects the brain and nerve cells. It also reduces platelet aggregation and so counteracts the formation of blood clots or thrombi.”

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“Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)”

Oct 24, 2021

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) continues to be a controversial food additive used around the world. Why are Americans so scared of MSG in their food? It all started in 1968, with a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine. In the letter, Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok observed that after eating Chinese food he felt numb, sweaty, and otherwise ill. Kwok speculated that MSG might have been the cause and started a decades-long panic in the process. But subsequent studies have repeatedly shown that Dr. Kwok’s thesis was incorrect. For the vast majority of Americans, MSG is totally safe. MSG also known as the fifth taste or umami, is the sodium salt of glutamate — an amino acid naturally occurring in many foods and food additives and an important building block of protein in the body. Glutamate was discovered from kombu seaweed in 1908 by a Japanese professor of physical chemistry, Prof. Kikunae Ikeda. He later extracted the amino acid, dissolved it in water, and neutralized it with sodium hydroxide to form MSG. Glutamate itself is bitter, but MSG has a unique flavor that led Ikeda to coin the term umami, expanding upon four basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. MSG occurs naturally in various foods, such as carrot, onion, cabbage, potato, egg yolk, cheese, soy sauce, anchovies, and shrimp. It is also produced through the fermentation of animal-based or plant-based foods, including molasses, sugarcane, sugar beet, beans, mushrooms, and seaweed.

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“Dietary Risk Factors for Cancer”

Oct 17, 2021

Before discussing which foods and dietary patterns may protect against cancer development, it is crucial to understand that engaging in activities that scientists consider significant cancer risk factors, such as cigarette smoking or excessive drinking, may counteract the potential protective effects of diet. Irrespective of diet, avoiding smoking, reducing alcohol intake, managing body weight, and being active, are critical to reducing cancer risk. Researchers have discovered that, just as some dietary patterns may increase cancer risk, nutritional choices can also have a protective effect against cancer. For example, the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fiber, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds, and low in red and processed meat and ultra-processed foods, has associations with an overall protective effect against cancer and cancer-related death. Studies have shown that diets high in fruits, vegetables, and other fiber-rich plant foods offer protection against cancer development.  Consuming a varied diet that provides optimal amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds is essential for overall health. In addition to consuming a diet rich in plant-based foods, reducing intake of processed and red meats, ultra-processed foods, and added sugars and salt may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and many other chronic conditions. Though many factors can influence a person’s risk of developing cancer, including factors that a person cannot control, research shows that some dietary patterns and
specific foods may increase the chance of developing certain cancers.

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“How Safe is Stevia”

Oct 10, 2021

The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has increased fivefold since the 1950s and is linked to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Artificial sweeteners may drive diabetes and obesity. A Nature study suggested artificial sweeteners – including saccharin, sucralose and aspartame – interfere with gut bacteria, increasing the activity of pathways associated with obesity and diabetes. Randomized controlled trials of artificially sweetened beverages have shown either no effect at all on weight loss, or only minor reductions. The main attraction of artificial sweeteners is that they can replace sugar. There is a huge amount of evidence suggesting high sugar consumption is bad for health. Sugary drinks can lead to weight gain, metabolic diseases, and, and type 2 diabetes. As for weight loss, a 2018 meta-analysis study, which combined the results of 56 different studies, concluded that in most cases groups of people using artificial sweeteners did not lose more weight than those using sugar. On the whole, switching from sugar to sweeteners has a neutral to positive effect on weight loss. It is likely that the impact of sweetener on weight loss depends on the original weight and diet of the individual. Stevia is a kind of sweetener processed from leaves. It is described as a low-calorie substitute for sugar, and, because of its “natural” designation, many people consider it as a safer and healthier option than artificial sweeteners available in the market today.

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“Are Superfoods Real ?”

Oct 03, 2021

Presently, there is no set scientific definition for what counts as a superfood. Generally speaking, the term describes foods rich in nutrients and known to offer significant health benefits. Companies make millions on labeling products as superfoods — the global superfoods market size was estimated at $137 billion in 2018. Many health experts are wary of the term superfood. There is no set definition of the word and no regulations surrounding the use of the term on packaging labels. Because of this, there is no guarantee that a product with the superfood label offers any special health benefits or contains certain nutrients. Consumers may often think that products with superfood on their label are healthier than other products, which isn’t necessarily true. This could lead to consumers spending money on expensive products marketed as healthy, such as superfood powders, protein bars, and supplements, when they could be receiving more benefits at a lower price by purchasing whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. The European Union has even banned the use of this term on labels unless accompanied by explicit detailing of the product’s nutritional content. One expert said, “The term superfoods is at best, meaningless and at worst harmful. Not only is there no scientific definition of a superfood. Moreover, nominating some foods as nutritional talismans gives the impression that ordinary, affordable, and everyday foods are somehow deficient.”

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“Drugs That Flopped”

Sep 26, 2021

Drug companies withhold unfavorable data (negative studies) on profitable drugs and fail to file timely reports on safety and effectiveness, sometimes for years. Avandia, Celebrex, Zyprexia and Vioxx come to mind. They hire “investigators” and consultants to produce questionable favorable studies and have them published in journals to legitimize their exalted and mellifluous claims. About 350 people die daily from drug reactions or 128,000 per year. There appears to be an epidemic of harmful allowable FDA approved drugs, which have scarce benefits to any patients. Massive lobbying programs and political contributions perpetuate the corruption and abuse of patients. Pharmaceutical companies continuously emphasize how deeply society depends on their development of innovative products to improve health. But in fact, these companies are mostly developing drugs that are mostly little better than existing products but have the potential to cause widespread adverse reactions even when appropriately prescribed. Drug companies pour hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars into pharmaceutical development, hoping that one will bring in the big bucks and make the whole process worthwhile. Pharmaceutical companies pour fortunes into drug development but sometimes their products are still colossal failures. There are plenty of drugs that fail to live up to their initial promise.

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