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

The Current Coronavirus Pandemic – Updated

The World Health Organization (WHO) gave the new coronavirus the name "COVID-19" on February 11, 2020, and declared it a pandemic on March 10, 2020. COVID-19 is not more severe than many flu viruses. However, it is incredibly contagious.

The Latest on COVID-19

I am following the latest developments on COVID-19 and our efforts to control the pandemic. I will update this page regularly, so if you are interested, check back often.

Statins and Alternatives to Lower Cholesterol

Having high cholesterol increases risk for a heart attack, but a review of 49 studies showed that the reduced risk for suffering a heart attack is the same for statins as it is for dietary changes.

DASH (High-Plant) Diet for Heart Health, Weight Loss and Diabetes Prevention/Control

Reports from Harvard School of Public Health shows that a diet rich in plants lowers high blood pressure (1,2). It's called the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.) Other studies show that similar eating patterns lower cholesterol, help to control diabetes and cause weight loss in people who are overweight.

Inflammation Can Help or Harm

Your body uses inflammation to protect you from invading germs and to heal injuries. When a germ gets into your body, you make cells and proteins to kill that germ. As soon as the germ is gone, your immune system is supposed to dampen down and stop making large amounts of these cells and antibodies.

Latest Advice on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Federal guidelines now require most Americans to avoid non-essential travel, non-essential work, eating at bars and restaurants, and gathering in groups of more than 10, at least through April 30, 2020. Many states and local governments have stricter directives that take precedence over the federal guidelines.

A Big Belly Increases Risk for a Heart Attack

Having excess fat in your liver is associated with increased risk for a heart attack. A review of 36 studies on 5,802,226 middle-aged individuals with 99,668 cases of heart attacks, in a median follow-up period of 6.5 years, found that those with fatty liver disease had 1.5 times the incidence of heart attacks as the general population.

Safety of the Messenger RNA Vaccines for COVID-19 (Pfizer and Moderna)

Results from clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines showed about 95 percent effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infections, and they were given Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 13 and December 20, 2020. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says...

Check Your Own Blood Pressure

You can’t depend completely on blood pressure measurements done only in a doctor’s office because being active, having “white coat syndrome,” (feeling nervous or stressed), or an improper hurried measurement can raise blood pressure considerably. In one study, systolic blood pressure was 7.3 mm Hg higher in a doctor’s office than when measured more precisely in a research setting.

My SHOW ME! Diet

If your doctor has told you that you have high blood pressure or that your cholesterol or triglycerides are too high, ask him or her for your numbers. If would like to find out whether you are one of the 80 percent of people who can control high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides with diet alone, follow my SHOW ME! Diet for just two weeks. Then have your doctor re-check your cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. You'll probably also find that you have lost several pounds.

Resting Heart Rates Can Be Too High or Too Low

A resting heart rate greater than 80 beats per minute is a strong predictor for future heart attacks, diabetes and even cancer. From 1974 to 2002, 53,322 healthy people were followed at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas. Those with a resting heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute were far less likely to suffer heart attacks or to die than those with a resting heart rate greater than 80 beats per minute

Should You Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Are you concerned about getting one of the new COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are approved? We have no long-term safety information because no one has more than 10 months of experience with this disease. However, we do have decades of experience with other vaccines.

Arthritis and Colon Bacteria

A study of 1,388 women with hand arthritis, average age 61, showed that they had higher levels in their colons of the bacteria Bilophila and Desulfovibrio that try to invade their colon cells, as well as a lower level of the genus Roseburia that do not invade colon cells. An anti-inflammatory lifestyle has been shown to help grow healthful bacteria in your colon, which can help to treat arthritis.

Night-Time Urination May Be Caused by Excess Salt

One in three North American adults have to get up to urinate more than twice a night, and a study presented at the European Society of Urology shows that the most common cause may be taking in too much salt.

Alcohol At Any Dose Can Increase Cancer Risk

Compared to non-drinkers, people who take one or two drinks per day for one year are at increased risk for cancer, and drinking even one glass of wine a day raises the risk of cancer of the throat, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum or breast.

Dementia Risk May Be Increased by Some Common Drugs

A study of 58,769 patients over 55 years of age diagnosed with dementia and 225,574 people of the same age without dementia found a 50 percent increased risk of dementia among people who used a strong anticholinergic drug daily for about three years within the 10-year study period

Herd Immunity With Vaccines

The only way that the pandemic will end is when a sufficient percentage of people become immune to COVID-19, most by being vaccinated plus a lesser number of people who have been infected with the virus and recovered. This is called herd immunity. Researchers tell us that in the U.S., the pandemic will not end until about 40 to 70 percent of the population is immune.

Many Common Drugs Linked to Risk for Dementia

The American Geriatrics Society strongly recommends avoiding the use of anticholinergic medications in older adults, because seniors may be more likely to experience unwanted side effects than younger people. One out of every three drugs prescribed for men and women over 65 are anticholinergic drugs, which are associated with increased risk for dementia.

Fungus Toenails – Deformed Toenails

Fungus infections cause less than five percent of deformed nails. Drying of skin and skin conditions such as psoriasis are more common causes. The part of nails that you see is dead. Living nails are located underneath the skin at their base.

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.

Blood Pressure Guidelines

The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and nine other heart health groups now agree that you have high blood pressure if your blood pressure is above 130/80, not 140/90 as the previous guidelines recommended.

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.

Some Cases of Dementia Have Effective Treatments

More than six million North Americans suffer from dementia, which affects three percent of people age 65-74, 17 percent of age 75-84, and 32 percent of those age 85 and older. Anything that damages brain cells can cause dementia and many of the causes are treatable.

Heart Attack Prevention

The majority of heart attacks are caused by unhealthful lifestyles, not by genetic defects. Statins remain the major choice of preventative drug, but everyone should realize that many studies show that lifestyle changes are probably more effective than statins in preventing heart attacks.

Chronic Constipation May Need a Medical Workup

The first-line treatment for chronic constipation is to eat lots of foods that are full of fiber such as fruits and vegetables, to severely restrict processed foods, particularly those made from refined carbohydrates (bakery products, pastas and many dry breakfast cereals), and to exercise. If these lifestyle changes do not solve your problem, you may benefit temporarily by taking over-the-counter laxatives

Plaques in Arteries are Reversible

Almost anyone can get rid of plaques in their arteries, even if they have already had a heart attack or already have severe narrowing in the arteries leading to your heart. However, you have to do far more than just take drugs. The formation of plaques in arteries that eventually leads to heart attacks and strokes comes from chemical processes that start in the liver. Plaques can be reversed by changes in diet, exercise, weight, environmental exposures and medications.

Night-Time Leg Cramps

Up to 60 percent of North American adults suffer from night-time leg cramps, a sudden painful contraction usually of the calf muscles that can last from a few seconds up to 10 minutes or more. Doctors do not know what causes most cases of leg cramps, but usually they are not caused by dehydration or lack of minerals.

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.

Daily Aspirin May Not Save Lives

Aspirin has been shown to help prevent a second heart attack in people who have already had a heart attack. However, aspirin also causes bleeding that can kill a person, so researchers wanted to find out if the heart-attack-preventing effects of aspirin would be offset by the complications of bleeding that aspirin can cause.

A First Vaccine for COVID-19

Oxford University in England has developed a vaccine and will start trials on more than 6,000 people on Thursday, April 30, 2020, to see if their new vaccine is safe and effective.