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Exercise Raises Growth Hormone Levels

Entrepreneurs claim that growth hormone (GH) levels decrease with age, and that their products will help you combat the effects of this process. It is true that GH levels drop as a person ages, but there is no evidence whatever that lack of GH causes aging or that taking GH slows aging, and the evidence that GH grows muscle and gets rid of fat is highly controversial. Furthermore, it is against the law to sell GH without a prescription, so these products do not contain any GH.

Products that are sold as "GH releasers" are just amino acids, the building blocks of protein, that are the same as the protein you get in your food. Anything that you eat can be called a GH releaser because all foods raise blood levels of GH temporarily. When you eat protein, blood levels of GH rise even higher. GH releaser pills cost much more than food and have not been shown to raise blood levels better than the ordinary foods you eat every day.

Exercise can also be called a GH releaser because every time that you exercise, blood levels of GH rise. Exercise raises GH levels more than and longer than eating does. Recent research shows that GH levels are lowered by having lots of fat stored in your belly. However, no one knows whether these GH manipulations have any effect on the aging process since we have no dependable tests for aging. The commonly used tests to measure aging actually measure fitness. To reduce the effects of aging and improve your performance on all medical tests of aging, start an exercise program. If you want to gain muscle and lose fat, reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and fatty foods; eat plenty of the foods that come from plants (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds); and maintain a regular, vigorous exercise program.

Note: if you are reading this e-Zine issue online, the Google adsense program probably has placed ads for GH releaser products (in the ad box at the bottom of the page.) Please note that we do not endorse any products in the Google ads and do not control which ones get placed. You may want to take a look at their claims; the same claims could be made for any food source of protein.


Reports from
Why do most diabetics have high blood pressure?
How can you tell if you have a yeast infection?
Why is eating fish good for your heart?


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Are oral hyaluronic acid supplements effective for treating joint pain?

The only approved use of hyaluronic acid is for injections into a joint. They coat the inner joint and offer some "padding". The hyaluronic acid disappears in five to nine months and symptoms return. The next time hyaluronic acid is injected, it lasts only about three months. There are no good studies showing that hyaluronic acid taken orally or in any other form treats anything. More on hyaluronic acid (Synvisc) injections


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Will a chocolate bar a day keep heart attacks away?

The candy industry keeps trying to convince us that chocolate is a health food by sponsoring and publicizing studies. The latest, in the medical journal Hypertension (July, 2005), shows that eating dark chocolate lowers high blood pressure. Jeffrey B. Blumberg, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University, gave 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day for 15 days to 20 people with high blood pressure. Their systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 11mm.

Cocoa beans are loaded with flavonoids, the antioxidants found in all fruits, vegetables whole grains, beans and other seeds, and antioxidants do lower blood pressure. However, dark chocolate by itself is bitter, so candy makers add lots of sugar and fat to make it taste good. Sugar raises blood sugar to damage cells in diabetics, and one third of Americans are or will become diabetic. Fat is a dense source of calories that makes fat people fatter. So the old adage: "If it tastes good, it must be bad." still holds for most of us. Chocolate tastes good because of the added sugar and fat.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Why is my nose is always stuffed up, even though I don’t have a cold or hay fever?

A large percentage of people with constant stuffy noses carry the bacteria, staph aureus, in their noses. Some carriers have no nasal symptoms at all. People who carry staph aureus in their noses are at increased risk for not healing when they cut themselves or have surgery, having sore nipples when they breast feed, and being unable to control skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis. Surgeons who have staph aureus in their noses are usually not allowed to operate because the germ can get into surgical wounds and delay healing.

Doctors usually treat skin infections with antibiotic pills and injections, which readily clear germs from the skin, but oral and injected antibiotics rarely clear staph aureus from the nose. After treatment, staph aureus returns to your skin to start another infection. Most of the time, you can clear staph aureus from your nose by applying an antibiotic ointment in your nose at bedtime for several weeks. You can buy inexpensive bacitracin or neosporin ointment without a prescription (in the first-aid section of your pharmacy or supermarket) and apply a small amount inside your nostrils for several weeks. Some people need to apply an antibiotic ointment into their noses for five days each month for a year to be cured. If you have a resistant staph aureus that does not respond after a year, your doctor can do a culture to tell you what antibiotic to use. More on staph aureus


Recipe of the Week
Squash Chili!

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes


June 26th, 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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