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Exercise May Speed Healing Time

Animal studies suggest that exercise may be even more important for older people than for younger ones. A report from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows that exercise significantly decreased wound size and increased healing rate in older mice. However, exercise had little effect on the rate of wound healing in young mice. (American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, November 14, 2007).

Mice ran on a treadmill at moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day for eight days. They then were given four full- thickness skin wounds and the rate of wound healing was checked daily for 10 days. Compared to age-matched non- exercising mice, the older exercisers healed faster.

The leading theory is that aging delays wound healing presumably because aging causes your body to produce more free radicals that damage the genetic material in cells. After you eat, food travels into mitochondria, small areas in cells that turn food into energy. They do this by removing electrons and hydrogen from nutrients. The electrons then attach to oxygen to form free radicals that stick to and damage the genetic material DNA in cells. This can delay healing and presumably even shorten life. Exercise causes the mitochondria to turn food into energy without producing as many free radicals, and therefore could hasten healing from any type of injury or illness.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can drinking tea help to prevent diabetes?

Possibly. A study from King's College in London shows that a one- gram tea drink lowered the rise in blood sugar following ingestion of a drink loaded with sugar (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, October 26, 2007). Most doctors feel that the terrible side effects of diabetes are caused by the high rise in blood sugar following meals eaten by diabetics. This causes sugar to stick irreversibly to cell surface membranes, where it is converted to sorbitol that destroys the cell. This cell destruction leads to the worst consequences of diabetes: blindness, deafness, loss of IQ points, heart attacks, strokes and so forth. Tea contains phenolic compounds that stimulate the pancreas to release insulin that helps to control blood sugar levels. This study focused on black tea, but green tea is likely to have the same effect.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: How could excess weight increase prostate cancer risk?

Nobody really knows why, but fat cells are now felt to be active producers of hormones that can turn on a person's immunity. This is good if you have an infection. However, if you do not turn down your immunity after an infection, your own immune cells and proteins attack your body to increase risk for heart attacks and even cancers. A study from Harvard Medical School shows that being overweight markedly increases a man's chances of dying from prostate cancer after he is treated for this condition (Cancer, November 12, 2007. Doctors use a blood test called PSA to look for recurrences after they treat men for prostate cancer. Many previous studies show that obese men have a quicker rise in PSA after treatment with surgery or radiation, which suggests recurrence. So the message is loud and clear. If you are overweight and do not have prostate cancer, reduce to help prevent it. If you already have been treated for prostate cancer, lose weight to help prevent recurrence.

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More Clementine Recipes

Clementine-Quinoa Salad
Fennel Salad with Clementines

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

June 25th, 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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