Saturday, June 20, 2009

Men at higher risk for cancer

A new study has found that men are more vulnerable to developing cancer and subsequently dying from it. Excluding breast, lung and other cancers that are gender specific, the differences between the genders are reported to be considerable.

According to a study published in Men's Health Forum, men are significantly more prone to being diagnosed with and dying from any type of cancer apart from melanoma.

Men are reported to be 60% more likely to develop cancer and 70% more likely to die from it. Scientists were unable to find any known biological reason for the higher risk of cancer among men; they, however, claimed that men are less health conscious compared to women.

"What we see from this report could be a reflection of this attitude, meaning men are less likely to make lifestyle changes that could reduce their risk of the disease and less likely to go to their doctor with cancer symptoms," said Alan White, the lead researcher of the study.

Men do not seek medical advice in the early stages of the disease; many of them also follow unhealthy lifestyles. Men are believed to be less aware of the adverse effects of smoking, having extra weight around the waist, having a high alcohol intake, a poor diet and having a positive family history for malignancies contributing to the increased risk of cancer.

Scientists therefore urge men to adopt a healthy lifestyle, adding that the majority of cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes.

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Whole carrots fight cancer better

The anti-cancer properties of carrots are reported to be more enhanced when they are cooked whole and not chopped up beforehand. Carrot has long been used in alternative medicine due to its positive effects particularly in boosting night vision.

The anti-cancer properties of carrot resulting from its high falcarinol content were discovered some four years ago. A new study, however, reported that this compound remains intact if the carrot is cooked whole.

According to the study presented at NutrEvent, a conference on nutrition and health, the "boiled-before-cut" carrots had 25 percent more falcarinol than sliced and cooked ones.

"Chopping up your carrots increases the surface area so more of the nutrients leach out into the water while they are cooked," said lead researcher Kirsten Brandt. Carrots cooked whole are also reported to be tastier as they retain their sugar in this manner.

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Men suffer from mineral deficiency

The majority of men in the modern world struggle with severe deficiencies in key minerals and vitamins due to following unhealthy diets.

According to a study published in Men's Health, 77 percent of men do not take enough magnesium, the element involved in more than 300 bodily processes particularly those responsible for generating energy, in their daily diet.

The daily intake of magnesium in men is reported to be about 80 percent of the recommended 400 milligrams. Low levels of magnesium are linked to increased blood levels of C-reactive protein, a key marker for heart disease.

Scientists therefore urge men to include more magnesium-rich foods such as halibut and navy beans along with magnesium supplements in their daily diet. As for vitamin D, men are reported to suffer from vitamin D deficiency, making them more vulnerable to developing cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

Many researchers recommend the male population to take 1,400 IU of vitamin D supplements a day, indicating that this amount is seven times higher than the recommended daily dosage but is necessary to boost blood levels of vitamin D.

While men are reported to consume the daily quota of 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12, the increased consumption of certain medications such as acid-blocking drugs and diabetes medication among this population contributes to large-scale vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is necessary to protect the gray matter of the brain. Seniors with the lowest levels of B12 are reported to lose their brain volume at a faster pace over a span of 5 years compared to those with the highest levels.

While the daily diet is load up on sodium, men only use 60 to 70 percent of the recommended 4,700 mg a day of potassium, another essential dietary mineral critical for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction, and heart function.

Scientists urge men to take avocado (half an avocado contains nearly 500 mg of potassium) and banana (containing some 400 mg of potassium) each day, adding that potatoes (1,600 mg) are a good source of the mineral for those who do not like fruits.

Finally, iodine -- the mineral necessary for the accurate function of the thyroid gland which controls metabolism as well as weight and the feeling of exhaustion -- is not efficiently used by men.

The majority of salt tables are reported to contain lower than the FDA-recommended amounts of iodine. Scientists urge individuals to make up for the lack of the mineral with milk, eggs or yogurt.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vitamin E

Look at this link:

Sunshine vitamin fights 'mental decline'

Vitamin D is reported to play a critical role in keeping the brain in a good condition and prevent mental decline in old age.

While previous studies have indicated that vitamin D can protect individuals against cancer, artery disease and tuberculosis, a new study reveals that high levels of the sunshine vitamin can ward off mental decline.

According to a study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, high levels of vitamin D slow down the ageing process in the brain, preventing dementia and memory loss commonly experienced in old age.

Elderly folk who achieve vitamin D levels higher than 35 nanomoles per liter are reported to perform better on visual scanning, memory and information processing tests.

Produced by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D protects cells and key signaling pathways in the brain, perking up its performance.

Scientists conclude that inadequate amounts of vitamin D in a person's regular diet can alter the mental performance in old age; they therefore urge individuals to add vitamin D supplements with the aim of tackling or preventing dementia.

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Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D see link this link

Alternative medicine: Garlic

Garlic has long been considered as herbal 'wonder drug' due to the marvelous therapeutic effects and healing powers ascribed to it.
Botanical: Allium sativum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
Synonym: Poor Man's Treacle.

Habitant: The Common Garlic, a member of the same group of plants as the Onion, is of such antiquity that it is difficult to tracethe country of its origin with certainty.

Description: Garlic leaves are long, narrow and flat like grass. The bulb is of a compound nature, consisting of numerous bulblets, known as 'cloves,' grouped together between the membraneous scales and enclosed within a whitish skin sac.

The flowers placed at the end of the stalk are whitish and grouped together in a globular head, or umbel, with an enclosing kind of leaf or spathae.

Part Used: Bulb. Constituents: Garlic bulb contains Alliin, enzymes (allinse, peroxidase, myrosinase), protein, minerals, vitamine B and C, lipids, aminoacids, and volatile oil (allicin, diallyl disulfide, linalool and allicin).

The active properties of Garlic depend on a pungent, volatile, essential oil, which may readily be obtained by distillation with water.

It is a sulphide of the radical Allyl, present in all the onion family. This oil is rich in sulphur, but contains no oxygen. The pecular penetrating odor of Garlic is due to this intense smelling sulphuret of allyl.

Medicinal Uses: In ancient times, Garlic was employed in treating leprosy, and was also believed to have beneficial results in smallpox cases. Its use as an antiseptic has long been recognized. Ointments and lotions containing garlic are often used to disperse hard swellings.

It is also employed as a poultice for scrofulous sores. Garlic syrup is an invaluable medicine for common colds, asthma, hoarseness, coughs, difficulty in breathing, and many other lung disorders, especially in chronic bronchitis, on account of its expectoration powers.

Rubbing its crushed-mix with lard on the chest and between the shoulder-blades has proven to relieve whooping-coughs. An infusion of the crushed bulbs, taken before and after every meal, is said to have a good effect on epilepsy.

A clove or two of Garlic, pounded with honey and taken two or three nights successively, is good in treating rheumatism and artheriosclerosi. The diuretic effects of garlic treat edema and prevents its future accumulation. When sniffed it revives patients suffering from hysteria.

Garlic juice made by boiling the crushed bulbs in milk is used as a vermifuge. Raw garlic is used to treat acne. There is evidence that it can help lower cholesterol levels. Allicin may prevent the production of artery clogging cholesterol.

Garlic can cut the risk of pre-eclampsia (raised blood pressure and protein retained in the urine) during pregnancy. It can also help improve the birth-weight of babies destined to be too small. Modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic.

As the body does not build up resistance to garlic, its positive health benefits continue over time. It is the only antibiotic that can actually kill bacteria and at the same time protect the body from the poisons causing infection.

Allicin, the garlic's main biologically active component, has an antimicrobial and cardioprotective effects and is used to alleviate cardiac pain.

Garlic also has antifungal effects. Allicin disables dysentery-causing amoebas and can even be a natural mosquito repellent.

Studies have shown that garlic has a powerful antioxidant effect. It helps digestion, keeps the coats of the stomach healthy. Garlic has always been known as an aphrodisiac and from a medical point of view it can significantly improve blood circulation.

Much information has been published regarding the role of garlic in cancer especially stomach and breast cancer. It is well known that garlic can strengthen the immune system which is vitally important for fighting cancer.

Recent findings support a growing body of evidence that garlic works as an anti-carcinogen in both cancer prevention and treatment.

Preparations: Raw garlic juice diluted with water, put on sterilized Sphagnum moss swabs, and then applied to the wound has antiseptic effects. It is used on infected wounds, acne, warts and varices. 2 grams of dried garlic powder used daily is shown to be effective in treating high levels of blood sugar and cholesterol.

Garlic syrup, made by boiling the bulbs till soft, adding an equal quantity of vinegar, and then sugaring and boiling down to syrup, was a popular remedy for asthma and non-inflammatory coughs for many years.

Caution: Raw garlic is very strong, so eating too much could cause irritation or digestive tract damage. Some people are allergic to garlic. Symptoms of garlic allergy include skin rash, fever and headaches. Garlic can also disrupt anti-coagulants, so it is best avoided before surgery.

A harmful interaction between garlic supplements and anti HIV/AIDS drugs has been reported in many studies. Garlic makes the retina more sensitive to strong light.

Pregnant women and those breast feeding should not use garlic, as it may result in cardiac discomfort in the fetus or infant. Garlic odor can be countered by consuming a tea spoon of honey, raw parsley or an apple.

Diet reduces heart attacks, strokes

A new study in the US offers strongest evidence a diet recommended for lowering blood pressure can save people from heart attack and stroke.

Researchers say they pursued more than 88,000 healthy women for almost 25 years, examining their food choices and seeing how many suffered from heart attacks and strokes.

Those who fared best had eating habits similar to those recommended by the government to stop high blood pressure.

The women followed the recommended plan, called the DASH diet, of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and plant-based protein over meat.

Women with those eating habits were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 18 percent less likely to have a stroke than women with more typical American diets, Associated Press reported.

Women in the study were in their mid-30s to late 50s when the research began in 1980. Previous research has shown this kind of diet can help prevent high blood pressure and cholesterol, which both can lead to heart attacks.

People might think, "I don't have high blood pressure, so I don't have to follow it," said Simmons College researcher Teresa Fung, the study's lead author. However, the results suggest, she said, that "even healthy people should get on it."

About 15,000 women in the study had diets that closely resembled the low blood pressure diet. They ate about twice as many fruits, vegetables and grains as the estimated 18,000 women whose diets more closely resembled typical American eating habits.

Sleep pattern predicts stroke risk

Scientists have suggested that habitual sleep patterns can predict the risk of suffering ischemic stroke in postmenopausal women.

According to a study published in the Stroke, getting nine hours or more of sleep every night is associated with a 60 percent increased ischemic stroke risk.

Findings also revealed that women suffering from sleep deprivation (less than six hours of sleep), are at a 14 percent higher risk of suffering stroke.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers believe sleep apnea or restless sleep can be the underlying cause of the increased risk; however, the main reason is still unclear.

The study also showed that being retired or unemployed, smoking, being physically inactive or having cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol or depression are other factors associated with long hours of sleep.

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Poor quality sleep linked to high mortality

People suffering from inability to sleep well -- irrespective of insomnia, sleep fragmentation or nightmares being the problem -- are at a higher risk of death.

According to several studies presented at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, poor sleep increases the risk of several adverse health outcomes as well as death.

The findings of one of these studies found that sleeping for less than 5 hours per night increases the risk of death among elderly women but not elderly men.

Another study similarly showed that insomnia and sleep durations of at least 6 hours are as troublesome as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), indicating that insomnia increases mortality rate five-fold.

Based on the Sleep Heart Health study, sleep fragmentation, transition from being awake to non-REM sleep and from non-REM sleep to being awake, is another risk factor tied to significantly higher mortality.

A US study reported that sleep habits have a significant impact on weight and BMI, indicating that twins who slept between 7 and 8.9 hours each night had a lower mean BMI (25.0 kg/m2) compared to those who regularly slept either more (25.2 kg/m2) or less (26.4 kg/m2) per night.

Other studies also reported that individuals with insomnia and objective short sleep duration are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and mood disorders -- particularly depression.

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Cornflakes linked to heart disease

Adopting a diet rich in carbohydrates interferes with the function of blood vessels, placing the individual at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Previous studies had considered high blood sugar levels after meals as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, not only in patients with diabetes but also in the general population.

High-glycemic meals, such as white bread, cornflakes and instant potatoes, are reported to increase blood sugar levels more than foods with low-glycemic index -- oatmeal, most fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, a diet rich in high-glycemic food is linked to higher risk of heart disease. High-glycemic foods not only increase postprandial blood sugar levels but also interfere with the function of blood vessels, a key variable in the development of hardening of the arteries and heart disease increasing the cardiac events.

"The main take-home message is that high-glycemic index carbs are dangerous since they reduce or inhibit endothelial function, which is the 'risk of the risk factors,' leading to atherosclerosis and potentially leading to heart disease," said Michael Shechter, the leader of the research team. Scientists therefore urged individuals to substitute high-glycemic carbohydrates with low-glycemic ones with the aim of lowering possible health concerns.

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