Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Research Finds The Best Strategy On How To Lose Weight

Most of us know that the best strategy on how to lose weight is to reduce our calorie intake. But actually reducing the amount of calories that we consume is easier said than done.

A new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center may help us with basic strategies on how to eat less and lose weight safely.

After studying 123 overweight to obese and sedentary women ranging in ages from 50 to 75, researchers find that
  • Women who keep journals on the type of foods, and the amount of food that they eat lose more weight than women who do not keep food journals
  • Women who do not skip meals lose more weight than women who do skip meals
  • And women who do not eat out for lunch often lose more weight than women who do frequently eat out for lunch.
Based on their findings, the researchers recommend that postmenopausal women maintain a food journal, eat out less often, especially for lunch, and eat at regular intervals to help lose weight successfully.

When keeping a food journal, the researchers also recommend that you
  • Be honest by recording everything that you eat
  • Be accurate by measuring portions and reading labels
  • Be complete in you recording by including how the food is prepared and whether any toppings or condiments are added to the food
  • And be consistent by always carrying your food journal with you and faithfully record what and when you eat
These are simple tools that you can use to help you lose weight successfully.

Charles A. Pennison

Reference:

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center: " Want to lose Weight? "


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Suicide - Is A Parasite To Blame?

The big question - Are people with risk factors for suicidal behavior more likely to be infected with the parasite, or does the parasite's affect on the brain cause people to be suicidal?

The parasite in question is Toxoplasma gondii. It is spread through contact with cat feces or eating undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables. This bug resides in brain and muscle cells, and is linked to mental illness and behavioral changes.

A new study of 45,000 Denmark women indicates that those infected with T. gondii are at an increased risk of attempting suicide. The researchers stress that they can not say that the parasite cause the infected women to commit suicide, but there is a predictive association between the parasite infection and suicide attempts later in life. More research is needed to determine a possible connection between infection and suicide attempts.

One-third of the world's population is estimated to be infected with the parasite. We can become infected by
  • changing an infected cat's liter box
  • eating unwashed vegetables
  • eating undercooked or raw meat that is infested with the parasite cysts
  • drinking contaminated water
  • and by not properly washing knives used to cut raw meat
Pregnant women can pass the parasite directly to their fetus. That is why it is advisable that pregnant women avoid changing cat liter boxes.

To reduce your risks of infection, properly wash and cook vegetables and meats, and always wash your hands after handling liter boxes and raw meats.

Charles A. Pennison

Reference:

University of Maryland: " Women Infected With Toxoplasma Gondii Parasite Have Increased Risk Of Attempting Suicide "

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Research Determines Which Diet Is Most Effective On How To Maintain Weight Loss

New research shows you how to keep those unwanted pounds off for good after working so hard to lose it in the first place.

A frustrating fact for those trying to maintain a healthy weight is that only one in six overweight people can maintain their weight loss over a long period of time. Many feel that finding a method on how to maintain their weight loss can be as allusive as the proverbial pot of gold.

One of the reasons why people tend to regain their weight after losing excess pounds is that their bodies experience a reduction in metabolism. In other words, their bodies burn fewer calories. This reduction in their metabolism makes it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

Researches at the Boston Children's Hospital have a solution to this problem after studying the effect on metabolism of three types of diets:
  1. A Low Fat Diet with 60% of daily calories from carbohydrates, 20% from fat and 20% from protein
  2. A Low Glycemic Index Diet with 40% of daily calories from carbohydrates, 40% from fat and 20% from protein and
  3. A Low Carbohydrate diet with 10% of daily calories from carbohydrates, 60% from fat and 30% from protein.
The results show that the low carbohydrate diet produces the best improvement in metabolism after losing 10 to 15% of body weight. However, the low carbohydrate diet also causes hormonal changes that can lead to insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease.

The low fat diet has the worse effect on metabolism of the three diets studied. Metabolism plummets with the low fat diet, which can make it difficult for weight loss patients to keep the excess pounds off.

The low glycemic index diet, on the other hand, produces similar improvements in metabolism as the low carb diet without the negative hormonal changes. Another plus for the low glycemic index diet is that it does not reduce or eliminate any food groups. This gives weight loss patients a larger variety of foods to choose for their meals, which may encourage them to remain on a healthy diet.

The combination of beneficial effects on metabolism, no negative changes in hormonal chemistry and no elimination of food groups may make the low glycemic index diet the best choice to keep the excess weight off over the long term.

Charles A. Pennison

References:

JAMA: " Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight Loss Maintenance "
Boston Children's Hospital: " Study Challenges The Notion That Calorie Is Just A Calorie "

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rid Yourself Of Intestinal Parasites In A Week Using a Natural Remedy

You say that you don't have intestinal parasites. Are you sure?

Many Americans have these pest in their gut, and don't realize it. You can easily pick up parasites from pets, infected children or food, or a visit to a nursing home.

Many parasites can live in your intestines for years without any symptoms. However, symptoms can eventually develop and include
  1. Abdominal pain
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Nausea
  4. Gas or that bloated feeling
  5. Loose stool containing blood and mucus
  6. A rash around your rectum
  7. Stomach pain or tenderness
  8. Constant fatigue
  9. Weight loss
  10. Or the passing of a worm in your stool
Your doctor can give you drugs to help kill the parasites. However, there is also a natural remedy that has proven to be effective in ridding patients of intestinal bugs.

Researchers at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria have shown that dried papaya seeds can eleminate intestinal parasites from 75% of infected patients in one week. Even if you don't have parasites, papaya seeds are nutritious. Some people may not like the peppery taste of these seeds. That is why the Nigerian researchers mixed the seeds with honey to improve their taste.

I like the peppery taste that these seeds give to a green salad.

Eat a quarter cup of papaya seeds with a tablespoon of honey to treat for intestinal parasites. Consume the seeds on an empty stomach for maximum effectiveness. 

Another method that has proven effective against intestinal parasites is eating two, raw garlic cloves each day. Personally, I prefer the papaya seeds.

Charles A. Pennison

References:

University of Maryland: " Intestinal Parasites "
NCBI: " Effectiveness of Dried Carica Papaya Seeds Against Human Intestinal Parasitosis "
Yahoo Health: " A Natural Cure for Parasites "

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jeopardy TV Host Alex Trebek Suffers A Mild Heart Attack

Alex Trebek suffered a mild heart attack on Saturday. The Jeopardy host is expected to recover in time to start the 29th season of Jeopardy in July.

Coming from a heart attack prone family, I thought that this would be a good time to review the warning signs of a heart attack, and the steps we can take to minimize our risks of having a heart attack. Many do not realize that the leading cause of death for both men and women is heart disease. The only difference between men and women is that the symptoms may be slightly different in women.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

As the American Heart Association states, "most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help." Even if you are not sure if you are having a heart attack, talk with a health profession as soon as possible and describe your symptoms. Minute can make a difference between life and death.

These are the signs that you should take seriously if you experience them.
  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of your chest. I can last for more than a few minutes, or go away and come back. I can feel like an uncomfortable pressure in the center of your chest, squeezing, a fullness sensation or pain.
  • Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck jaw or stomach.
  • You can experience shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • You may also experience a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. 
Women may be more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

The way to minimize your risks of having a heart attack is to live a heart healthy lifestyle. This includes
  • Stop Smoking
  • Choose a heart healthy diet. Eat foods low in sugars and saturated fats. Choose good foods like vegetables, fruits, cold water fish, lean proteins, whole grains and low fat dairy products
  • Reduce your blood cholesterol, especially LDL and triglycerides.
  • Lower your blood pressure. Your goal is less than 120 / 80 mmHg
  • Be physically active everyday
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage your diabetes
  • Reduce your stress
  • And limit your alcohol consumption
Even if you live a healthy lifestyle, upon experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, seek medical help as soon as possible.

Charles A. Pennison

References:

Huffpost: " Alex Trebek Heat Attack "
American Heart Association: " Prevention and Treatment of Heart Attack "
CDC: " Leading Cause of Death in Females "
CDC: " Leading Causes of Death in Males "

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

L-Carnosine As An Anti-Aging Supplement

Stop.

Before you go running to buy the anti-aging supplement L-carnosine, there may be a less expensive way to boast your blood levels of carnosine than by using a carnosine supplement.

The Dr. Oz Show has tauted L-carnosine as a miracle pill to stop aging. It is found in skeletal muscle, heart muscle, skin and in your brain. Even though scientist do not know exactly what carnosine does, it does appear to slow down cellular deterioration and promote cellular rejuvenation.

Our bodies can produce this miracle molecule by combining the two amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. However, as we age, carnosine levels tend to fall. The lower levels of carnosine as we age may be partly responsible for increased cellular deterioration and reduced physical activity of the elderly.

Research at the University of Oklahoma and Ghent University show that beta-alanine supplements can increase carnosine levels in skeletal muscle, and increase the physical working ability of the elderly. So, the most cost effective way to increase the carnosine levels in our bodies may be to take beta-alanine supplements rather than L-carnosine supplements.

The study at the University of Oklahoma uses a dosage of 2.4 grams of beta-alanine per day. Dr. Oz recommends 1000 mg of L-carnosine per day to slow the aging process. Using these two dosages, it cost 11 cents per day for the beta-alanine supplement, and 55 cents per day for the L-carnosine supplement. As you can see, there is a huge cost advantage in using beta-alanine rather than L-carnosine.

Since beta-alanine is effective in increasing carnosine levels in skeletal muscle and is quite a bit less expensive, I would consider beta-alanine as the better alternative in helping us find the fountain of youth.

Charles A. Pennison

References:

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: " The effect of beta-alanine supplementaton on neuromuscular fatigue in elderly "
US Library of Medicine: " Beta-alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content "
Dr. Oz Show: " Miracle Pill to Stop Aging "
Swanson: " Beta-Alanine "
Swanson: " L-Carnosine "

Monday, June 4, 2012

A New Version Of Gastric Bypass Surgery May Cure Diabetes

A modified version of gastric bypass surgery is eliminating diabetes in its patients.

After 2 years of testing, 19 of 20 diabetic patients that have undergone the modified gastric bypass surgery no longer have diabetes.

First, let's look at basic anatomy of the upper digestive system. From the stomach, food first goes into the upper small intestine called the duodenum. This is the first 25 centimeters of the small intestine. The next 25 meters of the small intestine is called the jejunum.

In a normal bypass operation, the size of the stomach is reduced. In addition, the duodenum is bypassed, and food from the smaller stomach goes directly to the jejunum.

In the modified version of this operation, the stomach is untouched. But, the duodenum is bypassed just like in the normal bypass operation.

This modified version of the gastric bypass operation was developed by Dr. Francisco Rubino of the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. Dr. Rubino has been researching, since 1999, the possibility that gastric bypass surgery cures diabetes.

What is interesting about his findings is that these patients get cured of their diabetes long before experiencing weight loss. This indicates that something other than weight loss is curing these diabetic patients.

Due to his findings, Dr. Rubino has received approval to study experimental bypass surgery on diabetics with a healthy Body Mass Index or BMI. Normally, this type of surgery is only considered for diabetic patients with a BMI of 35 or higher.

Researchers at the University of Toronto are offering a possible explanation why the modified bypass operation is curing diabetes.

By bypassing the duodenum, the jejunum receives more nutrients than it normally gets. When this happens following the surgery, the jejunum tells the brain that it has too much sugar. In turn, the brain then tells the liver to stop making glucose. The net result is that blood sugar levels are reduced to normal levels, and no more diabetes.

Additional good news is that this surgery may also work with type-1 diabetes.

Of course, invasive surgery always comes with some risk. About 0.3% die within 30 days of the operation. And a small percentage of patients experience infections, leaking from the stomach into the abdominal cavity and gallstones. Also, there is less intestines to absorb nutrients, which may cause anemia and osteoporosis.

Each patient must weigh the risks of invasive surgery with the possibility of curing their diabetes. However, we may have a way to cure a once incurable disease.

Charles A. Pennison

References:

Reuters: " Curing Diabetes Via Surgery, Without Weight Loss "