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Sunlight: More than Vitamin D

For many years I have offered my opinion that sunlight provides benefits that are not gained just from taking vitamin D pills. Recent research is confirming that opinion, and many scientists now believe that low vitamin D blood levels are only a marker for not getting enough sunlight.

Knee Pain: Treat with Lifestyle Changes

A review of 47 .studies on 22,037 patients with knee osteoarthritis treated for at least 12 months showed no clear difference in controlling long-term pain between medications and placebos. With the exception of immune suppressants that have lots of serious side effects, medications and health supplements do not prevent progressive damage to joints and are used only to help lessen pain.

Chronic Constipation

Debilitating constipation affects 16 percent of North Americans and 33 percent of those older than 60. This epidemic of constipation is largely caused by a food industry that produces mostly ultra-processed foods that contain little or no fiber. People keep looking for constipation cures in a pill, but it is usually curable just with simple lifestyle changes.

Colon Cancer Prevention and Treatment

More than 1.3 million North Americans have had colorectal cancer, a disease associated with behaviors that encourage cancer-causing bacteria to thrive in your colon. Colon cancer is linked to lifestyle factors that increase inflammation risk: an unhealthful diet, lack of exercise, excess weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Vigorous Exercise Won’t Hurt a Healthy Heart

Some recent research articles seem to warn people not to exercise too long or too hard, but the overwhelming scientific and epidemiological evidence is that vigorous exercise strengthens a healthy heart and helps to prevent heart disease. Elite endurance athletes who exercise long hours each day outlive their less-active peers, as do Tour de France cyclists. However, three studies raise the possibility that extreme exercise such as running a marathon could possibly increase risk for heart problems, particularly in people who are not adequately trained for their events.

Breast Cancer Survival Improves with Healthful Lifestyles

Almost 25 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will eventually die of that disease. Breast cancer patients who received a weekly telephone call recommending healthful lifestyles had a 35 percent greater two-year survival rate than women who were told of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in preventing recurrences of breast cancer, but were not called weekly; and a 50 percent higher two-year survival rate than breast cancer patients who were not informed of the benefits of a healthful lifestyle.

Most Type II Diabetics Could Be Cured with Lifestyle Changes

Today, more than 29 million people in North America are diagnosed as being diabetic, another 86 million have pre-diabetes, and most diabetics have not even been diagnosed. More than 88 percent of North American adults have their blood sugar levels rise too high after they eat.

Inactivity Linked to Arthritis

The majority of people with arthritis are inactive, overweight, diabetic or pre-diabetic. The CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that 32 percent of adults with arthritis have pre-diabetes or diabetes, 56.5 percent are physically inactive and 50.1 percent are obese. Anything that causes inflammation can damage joints, and inflammation is a more common cause of arthritis than wear-and-tear injuries.

How Soluble Fiber Lowers High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (greater than 130/90 before you go to bed at night) markedly increases risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and premature death. Almost 50 percent of North American adults have high blood pressure, and it causes more than 80,000 U.S. deaths each year. A plant-based diet can help to prevent and treat high blood pressure because it contains lots of soluble fiber.

Aging and Risk for Dementia

Dementia means loss of brain function, and your chance of having dementia increases with age. Doctors can now predict increased risk for developing dementia by ordering an MRI which can show decreased volume of grey matter in the brain.

Excess Weight Linked to Larger Plaques

Being overweight is associated with having larger plaques in the arteries leading to the heart and a marked increase and progression of these arterial plaques that cause heart attacks, even if a person does not have the risk factors that predict increased risk for diabetes and heart attacks.

Heart Attack Prevention Guidelines

On November 10, 2018, heart specialists presented the latest recommendations for preventing heart attacks from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association: Treat all of their patients with recommendations for heart-attack-preventing lifestyle changes, and Treat all patients with significant heart attack risk factors with medications that lower blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol.

Stents and Bypass Surgery

Virtually all doctors agree that stents can save lives if used within three hours of the start of a heart attack. However, there is no good evidence that stents prevent heart attacks in people who have chest pain during exercise. The ORBITA study showed that in patients with medically-treated heart pain and severe heart artery blockage, stents did not increase exercise time more than a placebo procedure.

Healthful Lifestyle Reduces Risk of Dying from Prostate Cancer

Almost all North American men will develop prostate cancer if they live long enough. However, fewer than five percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will die from that disease and the 15-year survival rate is 96 percent.

Replacing Meat with Poultry or Fish Reduces Diabetes Risk

Most people know that eating a diet that includes a lot of added sugar markedly increases risk for diabetes, but a diet that includes regular portions of red meat also increases risk for diabetes, and if you already have diabetes, it can drive blood sugar levels even higher. Insulin drives sugar into cells, and it also drives the building blocks of protein (amino acids) into cells.

Healthy Aging and Senescent Cells

Extensive evidence shows that aging is associated with, and partially caused by, the accumulation of "senescent cells" in your body. Recent animal studies have shown that it is possible to extend the lives of animals by reducing the numbers of senescent cells, even if treatment is started late in life.

Junk Food Raises Cancer Risk

Results from the huge EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) confirm that eating a lot of junk food increases risk for many cancers. Researchers in Paris followed 471,495 adults in 10 European countries for an average of 15.3 years, and the participants developed 49,794 cancers. The participants' diets were scored using the British Food Standards Agency's Nutrient Profiling System (FSAm-NPS), which ranks foods according to their healthful and harmful components. Those who ate more of the harmful and less of the healthful food components were at significantly greater risk for developing cancers, particularly cancers of the breast, prostate, colon-rectum, mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, lung and liver.

Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when excess fat is stored in your liver. The most common cause of liver disease used to be alcohol, but now it is far more likely to be caused by eating sugar-added foods and drinking anything with sugar in it. Up to 12 percent of people with fatty livers keep on adding fat to their livers to develop Non-Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis (NASH), which is liver inflammation and permanent liver damage called cirrhosis and can cause liver cancer .

Risk for Dementia Goes Down with Steps to Prevent Heart Attacks

You can reduce your risk for suffering from dementia by up to 70 percent when you follow the same healthful habits that help to prevent heart attacks. A study of 6,600 people over 65, followed for 8.5 years, found that each lifestyle risk factor for heart attacks is also a risk factor for dementia, and that correcting each heart attack risk factor reduces risk for dementia.

Can Cell Phones Cause Memory Loss or Cancer?

Two recent studies show that non-ionizing radiation from cell phones may be associated with impaired ability to recall images, but not words, in teenagers; and at high levels, can increase brain and heart tumors in rats. Most studies on cell phone use have not shown increased cancer risk or memory loss.

High HDL Cholesterol May Not Protect You from a Heart Attack

Several recent studies show that high levels of HDL cholesterol are not always associated with preventing heart attacks. Today, doctors depend far more on the results of your LDL cholesterol test and how much plaque you have in your arteries.

Inactivity Increases Risk for Diabetes

Being inactive for as little as a few days makes muscles weaker and smaller, but that is not all you lose. Two new studies show that just two weeks of decreased physical activity brings you closer to becoming diabetic by decreasing your body's response to insulin, raising blood sugar levels after meals and making you fatter.

New Drug May Slow Down Alzheimer’s Disease

A study of 856 patients with a mild, early form of Alzheimer’s disease, found that a new drug called BAN2401 may reduce the amount of amyloid plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The drug reduced the amount of Beta-amyloid in sticky plaques that form around nerves in the brain to prevent messages being sent from one nerve to another.

Exercise and Plaques

Paul D. Thompson, M.D., an accomplished competitive international marathon runner as well as a respected cardiologist, has written an editorial on two studies that show how important regular vigorous exercise is to prolong lives and prevent heart attacks and strokes. The results of these studies should stimulate every able-bodied person to try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day for as long as they can.

Skin Cancer Treatments

Injections of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine into the multiple squamous and basal cell skin cancers of a 90-year-old lady got rid of all the cancers in 11 months. This is just one of many studies showing that some skin cancers can be cured by boosting a person's immunity against the HPV viruses. At one time or other, more than 70 percent of North Americans are infected with HPV, a class of more than 200 different viruses.

Vegetarian Diet Helps to Control Diabetes

A review of nine separate trials showed that diabetics who switched to vegetarian diets had significantly lower HbA1c (a measure of cell damage from high blood sugar levels), fasting blood sugar, LDL (bad) cholesterol, body weight and waist circumference. The studies included 664 diabetics who were taking oral sugar-lowering drugs, insulin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and/or blood pressure medications.

Alzheimer’s Disease May Come From an Infection

Nearly fifty percent of people over 85 suffer from symptoms of dementia of which Alzheimer's disease, a progressive loss of brain cells, is the most common form. The second most common type of dementia comes from repeated strokes. This month researchers offer strong evidence that Alzheimer's disease may be started by an infection.

All Cancer Treatments Should Include Lifestyle Improvements

The recent medical literature shows that certain lifestyle factors are associated with developing prostate, breast, colon, pancreatic and many other cancers and that changing these same lifestyle factors should be part of every treatment for people who are diagnosed with any type of cancer. Up to 40 percent of human cancers are at least partially caused by modifiable lifestyle factors.

Cancer Treatment Should Include Lifestyle Improvements (Long)

The recent medical literature shows that certain lifestyle factors are associated with developing prostate, breast, colon, pancreatic and many other cancers and that changing these same lifestyle factors should be part of every treatment for people who are diagnosed with any type of cancer. Up to 40 percent of human cancers are at least partially caused by modifiable lifestyle factors.

FDA Warns Not to Use Sunscreen Pills

There are no pills or capsules that you can take to prevent the sun from damaging your skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to several companies illegally marketing and selling pills claiming to prevent skin damage from sunlight.