We all have times when we don’t eat exactly as we should. So supplementing with a multivitamin makes sense, right? Or does it? (more…)
By Dr. Orna Izakson
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BCE) famously said “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”
Gardeners know the best way to get your veggies is fresh and organic, ideally straight from the farm or garden. But beyond simple nourishment, scientists are finding some foods specifically help prevent or reverse certain diseases. Published research from the past few months alone has shown fruits and veggies protect your heart, brain and eyes, and help fight asthma, cancer, swine flu, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Much of the research looks at isolated constituents in the foods, although of course there’s more to fresh fruits and veggies than the isolated “active ingredients” scientists have identified so far. All the components in the plant work synergistically, and do more than just one thing.
Here’s a short list to get you started. (more…)
Looking for another excuse to eat your avocados and broccoli? A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that good levels of vitamin B6 — found in those vegetables as well as whole grains, fish and meat — may cut lung-cancer risk by as much as half. In a study of nearly half a million Europeans, some of whom smoked, researchers looked at the B6 levels in people who did or did not get lung cancer after five years. While there were undoubtedly differences in diet, the B6 connection was profound and unequivocal, even for the smokers in the group. That doesn’t mean smoking is safe if you take a supplement, but it does offer a good reminder about the importance of eating right regardless of your other habits. (Via CNN.)
The World Health Organization has completed a large, 10-year study to determine if cell-phone use causes cancer. The answer? Not clear enough to make recommendations other than further study of the issue. The report, to be released later this week, does find an increase in gliomas, a type of brain cancer, in people who used cell phones for 30 minutes daily for 10 years. They also found, however, that a little bit of cell phone use can be protective against brain cancer. So while the big news of the study is that it offered little news, it’s also telling that the researchers couldn’t definitively call cell phones safe, either. (Via The Daily Mail).
You know that sugary sodas aren’t healthy, but are they really that bad? A new study reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, put out by the American Association for Cancer Research, found a huge health impact in a small number of study participants. Researchers found that people consuming two or more regular sodas each week had a whopping 87-percent increase in deadly pancreatic cancer over peers drinking juice instead. The findings are based on information from 14 years of following 60,524 men and women from Singapore. How does it work? Sugar stimulates the pancreas to create insulin, and the extra insulin may be responsible for turning pancreas cells cancerous. Soda makers find the study flawed, pointing out that only 140 study participants developed pancreatic cancer and only 30 of those drank soda at all. (Via WebMD.)
Y’all know I’m a huge fan of fish oils for almost every aspect of health — from heart and mind to skin and joints, and that’s only for starters.
But a California environmental group found there’s a fly in the ointment, so to speak: They tested 10 (out of 100) common brands of fish oils and found them to be high in carcinogenic and toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The chemicals were banned in the US 30 years ago, which just goes to show how toxins stick around in our environment once we let those genies out of the bottle. (This is a good thing to remember at a time when even the stalwart European Union is sanctioning new genetically engineered potatoes.)
You know the smell that’s left on clothes, furniture and hair after being around cigarettes? Turns out the chemicals causing that smell, dubbed “third-hand smoke,” offer a whole new kind of cancer risk. When cigarette smoke mixes with nitrous acid — a common household gas emitted by gas appliances and cars — it creates new carcinogenic chemicals called tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Some of this happens with second-hand smoke, but the process continues as the smoke settles. That means even nonsmokers are exposed, often through skin contact, and the exposure can persist. Time to toss that stinky sofa — and get serious about smoking outside. (Via Scientific American and the Contra Costa Times.)
January 15, 2010
January is Radon Awareness Month. Who knew? But now that you do, here’s the scoop on what radon is, where it comes from, what it does and what you can do about it.
What is radon?
Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas formed from the natural breakdown of uranium. The gas is found naturally in certain soils around Oregon and the United States.
Radon enters buildings through cracks in concrete floors and walls, and especially builds up in basements.
Decaying radon produces radioactive particles that can enter the lungs and cause damage, including cancer, over time. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls radon the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. (more…)