“Medical Facts About Meats”Mar 21, 2021
Controversy surrounds the health impact of various meats. The consumption of saturated fats in red meats and dairy products has been considered causative of heart disease for decades. Red meat is the name used for the meat from mammals—like beef, lamb, and pork. White meats include poultry, like chicken and turkey. Processed meat includes sausage, bacon, beef jerky, corned beef, salami, and more. New research supports the notion that red meat can be incorporated into a healthier diet. Currently, 77% of Americans exceed recommended levels of saturated fat, and meat is a major contributor to this. Red meat is a nutrient-rich food, not only as a source for protein but also bioavailable iron. Experts found that consuming more than half a serving per day of red meat, which is equivalent to a 3-ounce serving three times per week, did not worsen blood pressure and blood total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglyceride concentrations. According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, a healthy dietary pattern can include lean meats and poultry, but should involve “relatively lower consumption of red and processed meats.” Beef is a great source of several vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin B12, which assists in red blood-cell production. It is also a good source of zinc, which helps the body produce testosterone, and selenium. However, increased consumption of red meat is associated with higher risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and all-cause mortality.
“Alzheimer’s, Focused Ultrasound and Hyperbaric Oxygen”Mar 14, 2021
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the nation’s most common form of dementia, and it’s on the rise. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older had Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020. By 2050, that number could rise to 13.8 million. AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death for which there is currently no cure or treatments to prevent or decelerate it. One in 3 seniors die with (not necessarily from) Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other types of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that gradually destroys brain tissue and people’s ability to remember, think, communicate, and lead independent lives. It is the most common form of dementia. West Virginia University scientists used MRI scans to show what happens when ultrasound waves target a specific area of Alzheimer’s patient’s brains. They concluded that this treatment may induce an immunological healing response, a potential breakthrough for a disease that accounts for up to 80% of all dementia cases. The ultrasound targeted the hippocampus in particular because it plays a large role in learning and memory. The focused ultrasound procedure modifies brain amyloid levels and might be used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.
“Cow and Horse Drug Poisoning in Attempts to Treat COVID-19”Mar 08, 2021
Some people are attempting to treat and prevent COVID-19 by taking ivermectin, a medication frequently used to de-worm cows and horses and they are poisoning themselves in the process. There has been an increase in calls to poison control centers because of ivermectin. Ivermectin is commonly used as an anti-parasite cream on dogs, cats, and horses. It can eliminate lice, scabies, and worms in mammals. Rather than waiting to get the drug through proper channels, people are instead getting equestrian prescriptions through their vets and using horse-sized doses on themselves. The buzz around ivermectin has been generated by the FLCCC, the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), which formed at the start of the pandemic. It comprises critical care workers who previously bonded over the controversial use of vitamin C for sepsis. While the FLCCC has held press conferences saying studies show the drug could fight against the novel coronavirus, public health agencies and many experts say the research is lacking. US regulators say there is not enough robust evidence or safety data to recommend ivermectin as a cure, treatment, or preventative medicine for COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health issued a statement earlier this month, refusing to support the use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 until clinical trials in humans find it to be safe and effective. The US Food and Drug Administration has also told Americans not to self-administer ivermectin intended for animals. Ivermectin is currently being studied in humans for treating COVID-19.
“Ups and Downs of Coffee Consumption”Feb 28, 2021
We love our coffee, but is there a scientific verdict on its health effects? Can it add years to your life? Does it help protect from cardiovascular disease? Should you stop drinking coffee if you’re pregnant? Over half (55%) of the US population drinks coffee on a daily basis, at an average of about 2 cups per day. The U.S. spends $40 billion on coffee each year. But is all this coffee affecting our health or longevity? The American Academy of Pediatrics says caffeine has been linked to harmful effects on young people’s developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems. People are bewildered by confusing medical reports related to coffee. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that moderate coffee consumption (3–4 cups per day) was associated with decreased risks of cardiovascular-specific and all-cause mortality. Other researchers found that, in any coffee-drinkers, there was a significant inverse association with the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, endometrial cancer, melanoma, and nonmelanoma skin cancer. Results showed that drinking 3–4 cups of coffee per day provided the best risk reduction for cardiovascular disease. Their analysis confirmed that coffee consumption had beneficial health impacts on longevity. Likewise, an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found that the consumption of 2–5 standard cups of coffee per day was associated with reduced mortality in studies conducted throughout the world and across various demographics.
“Common Drugs May Mimic Dementia”Feb 21, 2021
Older people often take multiple medications, and this can spell trouble for dementia patients. Dementia is increasing at an alarming rate. Alzheimer disease and other dementias are notoriously challenging to treat. While some drugs may slow cognitive deterioration, none will reverse the condition. Approximately 6 million Americans have dementia and nearly a half-million new Alzheimer’s cases will be diagnosed annually. A 2020 report in The Lancet estimates that roughly 50 million people around the world live with dementia. Dementia, which is not technically a disease but a term for impaired ability to think, remember or make decisions, is one of the most feared impairments of old age. About 5% of those age 71 to 79 have dementia, and about 37% of those about 90 years old live with it. We now know that many common drugs may lead to side effects that mimic dementia symptoms, making it even more difficult to diagnose and treat. Last year, several physicians described dementia patients whose increasing levels of confusion appeared to have been caused by a litany of medications they’d been prescribed. The phenomenon, known as “medication fog,” may be a bigger problem than we had thought. An estimated 91% of people over the age of 65 take at least one prescribed medication, and 41% use five or more, which doctors refer to as “polypharmacy.”
“Some Foods Not As Bad As Claimed”Feb 14, 2021
We are constantly warned about eating harmful foods. However, many may not be as harmful as claimed. Some foods are best eaten in moderation rather than eliminated entirely from the diet. Fried Foods. In North America, 25-36% of adults consume foods, usually fried, from fast food restaurants every day. Moderation and variety with any food is the key to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Total fried food consumption of at least one serving per day was associated with a modestly higher but not significant risk of cardiovascular mortality. Over-consumption gets you into trouble so enjoy fried foods in moderation. Meat. The newly revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, recommend that we limit our intake of red and processed meats, stating they are “in and of themselves, associated with detrimental health outcomes.” What remains up for debate is the amount of red meat consumption that is considered safe. Some evidence suggests that moderate amounts of meat may offer health benefits. For 12 centuries, the consumption of meat was largely banned in Japan, for religious and health reasons. This changed in the period following World War II when intake of animal products began to increase. According to an article published in Nature in 2020, one of the reasons for Japan’s high rates of cerebrovascular mortality was that people were not getting enough cholesterol, which is an important part of building strong blood vessel walls.
“Six Foods To Eat At Your Own Risk”Feb 07, 2021
Moderation and variety with any food is the key to healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. However, there are some foods to intentionally avoid at all costs. Certain foods that are unhealthy and it’s not always obvious which ones they are. So, here are six that need recognition. 1) Doughnuts. Some claim doughnuts are not intended for human consumption. One single glazed doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts packs a whopping 14 g of fat, which equals 22% of your recommended daily intake (RDA). Unbelievably, it would take the average person 70 minutes of walking at 3 miles per hour to burn off one glazed doughnut. 2) Processed deli meats. Preservatives are the main difference in processed versus unprocessed meats, with sodium levels being about 400 times higher in processed meats. Too much sodium is bad for you. Researchers of a meta-analysis found a moderate positive correlation between processed meat consumption and mortality—not only from cardiovascular disease but cancer as well. To see the rest of the list, please download the complete article.
“Tips To Increase Longevity”Jan 31, 2021
According to the CDC, Americans have a shorter life expectancy than almost all other high-income countries. In 2016, the United States ranked 43rd among all nations’ life expectancies, with an average lifespan of 78.7 years. In 2019, the agency calculated that the average American has a life expectancy of 78.8 years. That falls short of comparable countries like Australia or France, whose residents can expect to live 82.6 years, and for the United Kingdom and Germany, about 81 years. But the future of the world’s health is not preordained. Experts say that the top three health drivers behind the future trajectory for early death will be metabolic factors—high blood pressure, high body mass index, and high blood sugar. Other top drivers of premature mortality will be tobacco and alcohol use, and air pollution. Admittedly, COVID-19 and its death toll dominated 2020 and may extend well into the future. Here are some tips to adopt for a longer life, based on the latest studies and expert opinions. Recommendations are to avoid meat and consume a diet composed of 90%-100% plants. However, I would personally have a difficult time following this course strenuously. Journalist Dan Buettner, who wrote the book, The Blue Zones Solution, found vegetarians in Loma Linda (a Blue Zone in California) often outlive their meat-eating peers by up to 8 years. Consider making olive oil a staple. Buettner found that taking in about 6 tablespoons of olive oil daily appears to cut the risk of premature mortality by 50%, which I personally have difficulty believing.
“Worsening New COVID-19 Dangers and Concerns”Jan 24, 2021
Recently, the Journal of the American Medical Association, announced that COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does. COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading daily cause of death in the U.S. We are now being informed that the coronavirus variant detected in South Africa poses a “significant re-infection risk” and raises concerns over vaccine effectiveness. Several new variants—each with a cluster of genetic mutations—have emerged in recent weeks, sparking fears over an increase in infectiousness as well as suggestions that the virus could begin to elude immune response, whether from prior infection or a vaccine. These new variants, detected from Britain, South Africa, and Brazil, have mutations to the virus’ spike protein, which is key in vaccination immunity. And it is one mutation in particular—known as E484K and present in the variants detected in South Africa and Brazil but not the one from Britain—that has experts particularly worried about immunity “escape.” Another variant found there—called 501Y.V2—was resistant to neutralizing antibodies built up from prior infection. In short, it resists “monoclonal antibodies,” which helped in the recovery of President Trump. The 501Y.V2 lineage is largely resistant to neutralizing antibodies elicited by infection with previously circulating lineages. In other words, the immune response is not working against this variant. Experts said, “This suggests that, despite the many people who have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 globally and are presumed to have accumulated some level of immunity, new variants such as 501Y.V2 pose a significant re-infection risk.” Also, this might additionally affect the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for COVID-19.
“Seafood Has Few Downsides”Jan 10, 2021
Health experts often advise: “Eat more fish.” The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet. As a lean, readily available protein, fish is widely considered a healthy food choice that billions of people around the world rely on for nutrition. Seafood, which includes fish and shellfish, offers health benefits for the general population—including pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition to protein, fish provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B12, and E, plus iron, selenium, zinc, and iodine. Fish are also good sources of vitamin D and phosphorus. The guidelines note that eating about 8 ounces of seafood per week is linked to fewer cardiac deaths among people with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease, based on scientific evidence. However, fish has also been the subject of public health advisories, due to the presence of contaminants that can be harmful to health. Seafood is the main source of human exposure to methylmercury, a powerful neurotoxin. In the United States, 82% of population-wide exposure to methylmercury comes from eating marine seafood and nearly 40% is from fresh and canned tuna. When ingested at high levels, this heavy metal can cause nerve damage in otherwise healthy adults, young children, and during fetal development. The fish with the highest mercury levels include king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, bigeye tuna, and tilefish. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend that pregnant women eat 8 to 12 ounces of fish (the kind with lower mercury levels) per week and that adults, in general, eat at least 8 ounces per week.