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Third-Hand Smoke Causes DNA Damage

A study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that third-hand smoke causes exposure to higher concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals and far more damage to the genes in human cells than second-hand smoke (Mutagenesis, July 1, 2013 28:(4) 381-391).

Second-hand smoke means you breathe in the smoke from another person's cigarette, cigar or pipe. Third-hand smoke is found in rooms formerly inhabited by smokers. Exhaled smoke from cigarettes lands on and stays for many years on all indoor surfaces (carpet, paint, paneling and so forth). Exhaled smoke contains nicotine which reacts with ozone and nitrous acid to form nitrosamines (NNA, NNK and NNN.) that pass through human tissue (Environmental Science & Technology, 2011; 45 (1): 328). Tobacco-specific nitrosamines are among the most potent cancer-causing agents known to man. The rooms that smokers lived in caused much higher levels of DNA damage than a single exposure to a person smoking next to you. This study shows that the longer a smoker lived in a room, the more toxic the room becomes to people who occupy it afterwards. The damage increases with the amount of time you spend in rooms that were formerly inhabited by smokers.

It is extremely difficult to get rid of cigarette smoke residue that has been deposited on walls, clothes, furniture, cabinets, ceilings, floors and carpeting. Vacuuming and wiping do not remove tobacco-specific nitrosamines. The only way to get rid of them is to change the carpets and repaint the entire inside of the house with special sealing paint.

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Prevent Muscle Loss that Comes with Aging

A review article from The Netherlands shows that:

• All men and women lose muscle as they age;

• All men and women make new protein in their muscles in response to exercising and eating protein;

• Older people cannot grow muscle as much or as rapidly as younger people do in response to exercising and eating protein;

• The only known way to prevent loss of muscle with aging is to exercise against progressive resistance; and

• Muscle growth in aging is enhanced markedly by taking protein and carbohydrates immediately after heavy exercise (Ex and Spts Sciences Reviews, July 2013;41(1):169-173).

The older you become, the more muscle you lose and the more difficult it is to retain the muscle that you have, even with a recommended weight program. The problem is not in getting protein to muscles, it is getting muscles to stop losing protein.

Exercising immediately before eating a protein- and sugar-rich meal markedly increases muscle growth and the increased muscle growth brought on by exercising before eating persists for up to a day afterwards (Am. J. Clin. Nutr, 2011;93:322-331).

If your muscles are becoming smaller and weaker as you age, you should set up a program of lifting weights or using exercise machines, and eating a meal that contains protein and sugar immediately after lifting weights.

1) The sugar causes a rise in blood sugar that causes your pancreas to release large amounts of insulin.

2) Insulin drives the protein building block amino acids into your muscles faster and you grow large and stronger muscles.

3) For this program to work for you, you have to do workouts that are sufficiently long and hard to grow larger muscles.

4) Any combination of carbohydrates and protein foods will increase muscle growth. You do not need to take supplements. You can eat beans and whole grains, or meat, fish or poultry along with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Why Sugar in Fruit is More Healthful than Extracted (Refined) Sugars

This week's Journal of the American Medical Association has an excellent article explaining why fruit, a rich source of sugar, is necessary for good health, while refined sugars in drinks and foods can be harmful (JAMA, July 3, 2013;310(1):33-34). Sugar is harmful when too much of it enters the bloodstream at one time. The difference between sugar IN fruit and all of the refined sugars is that fruit contains many other components that markedly delay the entrance of sugar into your bloodstream.

Refined sugars are extracted from various plant parts (sugar cane, sugar beets, corn, grapes, apples, flowers, maple trees) and concentrated so all of the fiber and most of the other nutrients in the plant are removed. Once sugar has been removed from its plant source, it can pass very quickly from the stomach into the intestines and cause a harmful high rise in blood sugar.

Definition of Sugars

All carbohydrates are made up of sugars alone, or in groups of twos, three and fours up to hundreds, thousands and millions. Before any carbohydrate can be absorbed from your intestines, it must be broken down into single sugars because only single sugars can be absorbed through your intestines. Of the many single sugars, only four can be absorbed through your intestines: glucose, fructose, galactose, and mannose. Glucose is the only sugar that is allowed to circulate in your bloodstream. The other three go from your intestines to your liver where they are removed from circulation and are not allowed to re-enter the bloodstream.

How High Rises in Blood Sugar Cause Damage

When blood sugar levels rise too high, sugar sticks to the outer surface of cell membranes to destroy the cells. That is why diabetes damages every cell in your body. It causes heart attacks, strokes, blindness, deafness, dementia, impotence, loss of blood flow to your legs, and so forth. A major key to preventing diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and even certain cancers is to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high.

Why All Sugared Drinks Increase Risk for Diabetes, Weight Gain and Cell Damage

When solid food enters the stomach, the pyloric sphincter at the end of the stomach closes to prevent food from passing into the intestines until it is turned into a liquid soup. Only then does the liquified food pass into the intestines. Since sugar in liquid form passes immediately into the intestines, all sugared drinks cause a high rise in blood sugar (Adv Nutr, 2013 Mar 1;4(2):220-5). Many studies show that fruit juices increase risk for heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity, while eating fruit appears to help protect you from these diseases (Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2013 Jul;16(4):478-84).

Why Fruit Is Healthful and Refined Sugar can be Harmful

In whole fruit, the sugars are bound up with fiber that slows the absorption of sugar from the intestines and this reduces the rise in blood sugar when you eat it. Fruits are also loaded with antioxidants that help prevent the inflammation that causes insulin resistance. You need some sugar for energy, but unless you are exercising vigorously, you don't need very much. Small amounts of sugar are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver for future use, but then all left-over sugar is converted to triglycerides, fats that block insulin receptors and cause blood sugar levels to rise even higher.

This week's medical history:
The Death of Benjamin Franklin

For a complete list of my medical history biographies go to Histories and Mysteries

Recipe of the Week:

Smoked Salmon Salad

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

July 7th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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