Subscribe to Dr. Mirkin's free FITNESS & HEALTH NEWSLETTER      

Gut Bacteria and Auto-Immune Diseases

New studies show that two auto-immune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis, may be caused by having pro-inflammatory bacteria in your gut. These bacteria are likely to punch holes in your intestines, which allows bacteria to slip into your bloodstream to cause inflammation.

Be Wary of Stem Cell Clinics

Stem cell clinics have sprung up in most states, but are most abundant in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New York and Texas. Last year the FDA sent warning letters to clinics in California, Florida and New York for illegally using stem cells from people's fat tissue to treat conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

Preventing Kidney Stones

Thirteen percent of North American men and seven percent of women suffer from kidney stones which can be incredibly painful to pass from the kidneys to the bladder. Those who get one stone have a 50 percent chance of passing another stone within the next five years. Here are the current recommendations for preventing kidney stones:

Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Reduces Deaths from Prostate and Breast Cancers

Cancers of the breast and prostate look more and more like diseases of inflammation. They appear to occur more often in people with lifestyles that cause inflammation, and people who have been diagnosed with these cancers live longer when they adopt anti-inflammatory lifestyles.

Constipation and Herpes

Herpes may be a common cause of chronic constipation and urinary tract symptoms. This month a study shows that infection with herpes viruses causes constipation in mice . The researchers showed that the herpes virus spread from nerves in the genitals to nerves in the spinal cord, and then traveled from the spinal cord to nerves in the colon and killed them.

Exercise Reduces Risk for 13 Types of Cancer

Leisure-time physical activity is associated with a lower risk of cancers of the colon, breast, endometrium, esophagus, adenocarcinoma, liver, stomach, kidney, head, neck, rectum, bladder and lung, and myeloid leukemia and myeloma

Can Cancer Cells be Starved to Death?

The New York Times published a major article on the possibility of curing cancer by starving cancer cells to death (NYT, May 12, 2016), a theory first proposed almost 100 years ago by Otto Warburg, arguably the world's greatest chemist ever. With the discovery of the structure of DNA by Watson and Crick more than 50 years ago, scientists diverted their attention to a genetic basis for cancer research. However, it now appears that most cancers are influenced by environmental factors.

Reduce Inflammation to Help Prevent Cancer

Certain dietary habits are associated with increased risk for breast and prostate cancer. Of 3184 adults followed for more than 20 years, 565 were diagnosed with cancer. Those who drank sugary drinks had three times as much prostate cancer as those who took in less. Men who ate processed lunch foods (pizza, deli meats and burgers) four or more times a week had double the risk for prostate cancer. Women who ate vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes were 67 percent less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with women who favored refined carbohydrates.

Antioxidant Pills Can Cause Cancer to Spread

A study from China shows that antioxidant pills caused mice with liver cancer or colon cancer to have their cancers spread rapidly though their bodies. The authors then tested antioxidant pills on cells taken from patients with malignant cancers and grown in test tubes. The antioxidants caused the human cancer cells to grow faster and spread through the cultures. Overall, the conclusion from this and several other cancer studies is that antioxidants can help healthy cells to be protected from free radicals in the body, but they can cause already-developed cancer cells to grow and spread.

How Exercise Helps to Prevent Some Cancers

A review of 170 animal and human studies shows that regular exercise is associated with reduced cancer risk, particularly for the types of cancers that are associated with unhealthful lifestyles, such as those of the breast, colon, prostate, lung and endometrium. Exercise helps to prevent cancer by reducing causes of inflammation.

Gut Bacteria to Help Treat and Prevent Cancers

To function properly, your immunity depends on the tens of trillions of bacteria in your intestines. New cancer treatments rely on gut bacteria to help stimulate the immune system to kill cancers such as lymphomas in the blood and melanomas in the skin. If you give antibiotics that kill gut bacteria before you give these cancer drugs, the cancer drugs do not work at all

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is a common walking and sporting injury. It occurs when the ankle twists, causing damage to the soft tissues and ligaments. A ligament consists of several strands of tissue, all compacted together to form a strong structure, similar to a rope, which stabilizes the ankle joint.

Trouble Sleeping? Check Your Diet

A study from Columbia Medical School shows that a high fiber diet that is low in sugar and saturated fat can help you to fall sleep faster and sleep deeper at night. A single day of increased sugar and fat and decreased fiber intake can interfere with your sleep that night.

More Links Between Cancers and Sugar

The evidence is getting stronger that taking in too much sugar increases your risk for cancers as well as for heart attacks, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. A study from M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston shows how sugar may cause cancers to start and then to spread to other parts of the body (Cancer Research, Jan. 1, 2016).

A Cure for Cancer is Coming

A study from the University of California, San Diego shows that fermentation of sugar takes the least amount of energy for cells to grow and thrive (Nature, December 3, 2015). I think this study shows how cancer will be cured in the not-so-distant future. Cancer cells multiply so much faster than normal cells do...

Depression or Tiredness: Low Thyroid Function?

More than nine million North Americans suffer from low thyroid function, but many people are not diagnosed or treated because they have never been tested. One million people take thyroid replacement pills, but some are not being treated properly because they are taking only one thyroid hormone when they need two to really feel better.

Being Overweight Increases Risk for Many Cancers

Nobody knows exactly why overweight is associated with increased risk for so many types of cancer, but the most likely explanation is that storing fat in your belly means that you store excess fat in your liver. Your liver controls blood sugar levels.

Routine CT Scans Can Increase Cancer Risk

A single CT scan routinely used to evaluate patients for heart disease emits more than 150 times the amount of radiation that comes from a single chest X-ray. Radiation can damage the DNA genetic material in cells, kill some cells, and cause increased expression of genes involved in the repair or death of cells...

PPIs May Increase Heart Attack Risk

Researchers at Stanford reviewed the medical records of nearly three million people and found that those who took a type of ulcer medication called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) were almost 20 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those not taking these drugs (PLoS ONE. June 10, 2015). PPIs reduce excess stomach acidity...

How to Avoid Skin Cancer

Almost all skin cancers are caused by excessive exposure to sunlight. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are caused by cumulative exposure to sunlight over a lifetime, so every time you expose any part of your skin to direct sunlight, you are adding to the damage that you have received from previous exposures.

Night-Time Leg Cramps

Cramping during sleep is usually due to an exaggeration of a normal muscle reflex. When you turn during sleep, you contract your calf muscles and stretch their tendons. This stimulates nerve stretch receptors in the tendon and sends a message back to the spinal cord, telling the calf muscles to contract.

How Do You Catch a Cold?

Colds and pneumonia are caused by infection. You do not pick up infections from cold weather, you get germs from other people who sneeze or cough in your face or transmit germs with their hands to objects that you touch.

Delay Dementia with Lifestyle

The risk of developing dementia doubles every five years after age 65, until by age 85 almost 50 percent of North Americans suffer some degree of dementia. Finnish researchers showed that they were able to slow the onset of dementia in people at high risk with a lifestyle program.

Healthful Diet Helps to Prevent Colon Cancer

A study published this week shows that vegetarians who eat fish have a 43 percent reduced risk for developing colon cancer, compared to people who eat meat (JAMA Internal Medicine, March 9, 2015). Researchers analyzed the diets of nearly 78,000 men and women. During an average seven years of follow-up, they identified 380 cases...

Aspirin to Prevent Colon Cancer?

People who take aspirin are at reduced risk for colon cancer, unless they are among the four percent of North Americans who have a genetic susceptibility for colon cancer (JAMA, March 17, 2015;313(11):1133-1142). Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States (after lung cancer), with 1,162,426 people living...

Cancer Is Not Just a Random Disease

A recent study from respected researchers at Johns Hopkins claims that two-thirds of adult cancers are caused by random DNA mutations in your cells, and far fewer cancers are caused by genetics, lifestyle or exposure to cancer-causing agents.

Zinc Neither Prevents Nor Treats Colds

Millions of North Americans take zinc lozenges to treat their colds. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that they neither shorten the cold nor lessen its symptoms. Another study from the University of Virginia showed that zinc nasal sprays do not prevent or treat the common cold.

Alzheimer’s Disease

The most common cause of senility in North America is Alzheimer's disease, a horrible condition in which a person loses his capacity to reason, think, recognize and function. Former president Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's disease, as did some Nobel Prize winners and some of the most brilliant people who have walked this earth.

Body Odor

All people smell when they don't bathe often enough. Sweat doesn't smell when it first reaches your skin. The odor comes only after bacteria or fungi on the skin's surface break down the fat in sweat to form chemicals that smell. Most sweat glands produce sweat that contains no fat, but the sweat glands around the breasts, genitals and armpits produce sweat that contains fat.

Colon Cleansers

Colon cleansers are foods and laxatives that loosen your stool and make you go to the bathroom. The latest research shows that regular use of laxatives or colon cleansers can harm you by blocking the absorption of healthful nutrients from your colon into your bloodstream.