Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Study links antioxidant supplements to increased mortality

A meta-analysis of 68 randomised trials with antioxidant supplements published in JAMA has reported that vitamins A and E, and beta-carotene may increase mortality risk by up to 16 per cent, but vitamin C did not have an effect on mortality and the antioxidant mineral selenium was associated with a nine per cent decrease in all-cause mortality.

Many of the studies included only subjects already classified as suffering from certain diseases. Indeed, only two of the studies classified as "low bias" were carried out in the 'general population'.

The study has been slammed by the US-based Council for Responsible Nutrition, who said the researchers "misuse[d] meta-analysis methods to create generalized conclusions that may inappropriately confuse and alarm consumers who can benefit from supplementing with antioxidants."

Moreover, Andrew Shao, Ph.D., CRN's vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs said that the combined studies were far too diverse and different in terms of dosage, duration, study population and nutrients tested that the results of the analysis were "compromised".

Additionally, Dr. Shao noted that most of the trials included in the meta-analysis tested for secondary prevention, looking at how a nutrient works in diseased populations, instead of primary prevention studies in healthy populations.

"Combining secondary prevention and primary prevention trials and then making conclusions for the entire population is an unsound scientific approach," said Shao. "Additionally, many of the trials had limitations, including the expectation that a simple antioxidant vitamin could be expected to overturn serious illness, such as cancer or heart disease. These trials likely statistically skewed the results."

Daniel Fabricant, vice president of scientific affairs for Natural Products Association (NPA), another US-based trade association, supported this view.

"Despite the authors' contention, this analysis is assessing mortality of at-risk and diseased populations - versus a healthy population - in prevention trials. The risk of mortality must be attributed to the appropriate population studied, those with an existing health condition, which it isn't in this case. Instead, those findings are generalized to a healthy general population, which is wrong on many levels," said Fabricant.

"But what's most troubling is that people who are safely and beneficially taking vitamins might stop, which may actually put their health at greater risk."

Fabricant also stated that if a true mortality risk had been apparent in any of these clinical studies using antioxidants, the study would have been halted, but none were.

"Nearly 160 million people in North America and Europe use the attributed supplements. If antioxidants were a significant public health risk, as the authors speculate, it would have become clearly apparent by now," he said. "This is obviously not the case: the negative effect they refer to has not been seen in the population."

Bonnie - at the risk of sounding like a broken record, when are they going to stop with the meta-analyses! Every one of them (i.e. vitamin E meta analysis published in 2005) have been found, after the fact, to be misinterpreted, inaccurate, and discounted. Even experts from outside the industry, such as Harvard's Meir Stampfer, have already said that meta analysis is like comparing apples and oranges.
A professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health who was not connected to the meta-analysis, Stampfer told the Associated Press that the studies reviewed were too different to be able to pool them together."This study does not advance our understanding, and could easily lead to misinterpretation of the data," Stampfer said. The more they keep analyzing nutrients-for-disease model, the further they get away from the reason supplements are prescribed, for prevention. Must I reiterate that the allopathic medical community does not and may never adhere to a preventative mindset.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Recap

Here are some exciting research highlights from February's issue:
  • habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provided protection against risk of heart disease mortality among elderly participants aged >65 (except in those severely hypertensive or with cerebrovascular disease)

  • a carbohydrate-based high-glycemic index meal resulted in a significant shortening of sleep onset if consumed four hours before bedtime

  • several colorectal cancer biomarkers can be altered favorably with synbiotic intervention (in this study, the prebiotic inulin and probiotics lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium were used)

  • high intakes of vitamin A (retinol) and provitamin A carotenoids (beta carotene) may reduce the risk of gastric cancer

  • a diet rich in vegetables may reduce the occurrence of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia)

  • intake of allergenic foods and foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids during pregnancy may increase and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may decrease the risk of allergic diseases in offspring at 2 years of age.

NSAIDs Tied to Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

Doctors treating people for chronic pain should avoid using all medications -- at least at first -- the American Heart Association advised yesterday in guidelines designed to have a significant impact on the use of medications known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.

The scientific statement said that, with the exception of aspirin, there is now strong evidence that NSAIDs are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. If 100 patients who have had heart attacks in the past or are at risk for heart disease take these drugs for a year, researchers would expect to see six additional deaths in this group. NSAIDs reduce fever, pain and inflammation.

The professional association laid out a step-by-step approach that is very different from the way physicians typically have approached treating chronic pain and inflammation.

"In the past, many physicians would prescribe the Cox-2 drugs first," said Elliott Antman, a professor at Harvard Medical School who led a group of experts assembled by the heart association to study the issue. "We are specifically recommending that they should be used as a last resort."

"This is a very firm statement we are making," he added. "It is our belief, hope and desire that physicians will take our advice, and by doing so it is our belief and hope that we will reduce the number of patients who suffer heart attacks and strokes."

Patients should be treated first with nonmedicinal measures such as physical therapy, hot or cold packs, exercise, weight loss, and orthotics before doctors even consider medication, said the AHA scientific statement published in the journal Circulation.

Patients who get no relief after those measures have been exhausted can be considered for drug therapy, but doctors should try drugs only in a certain order, the statement said:

"In general, the least risky medication should be tried first, with escalation only if the first medication is ineffective. In practice, this usually means starting with acetaminophen or aspirin at the lowest efficacious dose, especially for short-term needs."

Courtesy Washington Post

Bonnie - wow...these are huge comments coming from the American Heart Association. I was very encouraged by them stating that nonmedicinal measures should come first. However, I did not see food mentioned as a pain trigger. Until this is realized, there are going to be some very frustrated doctors who are going to have quite a time trying relieve pain in their patients without the standard medical "crutches." We would all have a much better time of it if we recognized that some food causes pain.

Monday, February 26, 2007

British Study: Breastfed Babies 41% More Likely to Be Social, Educated Adults

Breastfed babies are likely to become better educated and more upwardly mobile adults than their bottle-fed peers, according to a new British study.

The study began in 1937 and tracked 1,414 British children into late adulthood.

It found those breastfed as infants were 41% more likely to move up the social ladder, according to Richard Martin, BM, BS, PhD, an epidemiologist at the University of Bristol, in England, and an author of the study.

However, Martin is quick to offer a caveat: "It's very possible that the effect is not due to breastfeeding per se, but something to do with the mothers' choice to breastfeed, or the environment in which the child grew up in, that may be more important."

Follow-up questionnaires about educational achievements and social mobility were sent out in 1997 and 1998, when study participants were in their 60s and 70s.

The surveys showed that breastfed infants were more likely to complete secondary school; with 27% of breastfed versus 20% of bottle-fed graduating.

Breastfed babies were also more likely to move up in social class, based on occupation. Fifty-eight percent of breastfed infants moved up, compared with 50% of bottle-fed ones.

Fifty percent of bottle-fed infants stayed in the same social class or went downward, while only 42% of the breast-fed infants stayed the same or moved down.

The longer a child was breastfed, the more likely he or she was to be upwardly mobile.

The study is published online ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Omega-3 again linked to lower colorectal cancer risk

Increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids may cut the risk of colorectal cancer in men by a whopping 66 per cent, but only in men not taking aspirin, suggests new research.

Writing in February's journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, lead author Megan Hall from Harvard School of Public Health states that aspirin has also been linked to a reduction in colorectal cancer via a similar mechanism.

The new research investigated the link between the fatty acid concentrations in the blood of 178 men with colorectal cancer (cases) and 282 healthy controls free from cancer. The controls were matched by age and smoking habits. Dietary assessment was obtained by using food frequency questionnaires.

After adjusting the results for potential confounding factors, Hall and her co-workers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, report that amongst the entire population the highest versus lowest blood levels for total long-chain omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a 40 per cent reduced colorectal cancer risk.

When they examined a subset of men who were not taking aspirin, men with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a significant 66 per cent reduced risk of colorectal cancer than those with the lowest blood levels.

Nation's Largest Milk Company Says No to Milk From Cloned Cows

Milk from cloned cows is no longer welcome at the nation's biggest milk company.

Although the government has approved meat and milk from cloned animals while it conducts further studies, Dean Foods Co. of Dallas said Thursday that its customers and consumers don't want milk from cloned animals.

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

Steve - for more on this issue, see the highlight of our January Special Report Is Food From Cloned Animals Okay?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Earth's Best Recall Notice

Earth’s Best announced today that it is taking the precautionary measure of voluntarily recalling its Wholesome Breakfast Apple Peach Barley 2nd Foods in 4.5oz jars with lot code PF6J14 NP and expiration date of EXP 14 SEP 08 A imprinted on the top of the jar. These items are sold individually, as well as within a Wholesome Breakfast Variety Pack. No other Earth’s Best items are affected.

A small portion of the above lot code has been detected with incorrect pH levels. Upon opening, this product may produce a spoiled smell and show discoloration after stirring. Consumers are asked not to use the product even it if does not look or smell spoiled.

This voluntary recall is being conducted by Earth’s Best in accordance with the FDA as a precautionary measure since consumer safety and health are of our utmost concern. Due to incorrect pH, the possibility exists of potential contamination with Clostridium Botulinum. However, no illnesses have been reported in connection with this product and no contamination has been found. Since the product does not meet our quality specifications we are asking consumers not to use it at this time.

Consumers who have purchased the Earth’s Best Wholesome Breakfast Organic Apple Peach Barley 2nd foods 4.5oz jar and have questions are asked to call 1-800-442-4221.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

USA next to last for child well-being in rich countries

To echo our comments in January's What is Your Quality of Life? piece, UNICEF's 2007 Child Well-Being Report Card revealed some disturbing statistics about children living in the United States.

Overall, the United States ranked 20th out of 21 rich countries (United Kingdom was 21st), in overall child well-being. The report was broken down into six categories (we put the US rank next to it):

Material Well-Being - 17
Health and Safety - 21
Educational Well-Being - 12
Family and Peer Relationships - 20
Behavior and Risks - 20
Subjective Well-Being - insuffiucient data

One would think the most shocking was being ranked dead last in Health and Safety. However, we have seen statisitics over the last few years showing similar futility.

In our opinion, the two most telling categories are:

Family and Peer Relationships - Criteria:
(we italicized major points of emphasis)

Family structure

  • Children living in single-parent families - US ranked 21st
  • Percentage of children living in stepfamilies - US ranked 21st
Family relationships
  • % of children who report eating the main meal of the day with parents more than once a week - US ranked 19th
  • % of children who report that parents spend time 'just talking' to them several times per week - US ranked 8th
Peer relationships
  • % of 11, 13, and 15 year-olds who report finding their peers 'kind and helpful' - US ranked 19th

Behaviors and Risks -
(we italicized major points of emphasis)

Health Behaviors
  • % of children who eat breakfast every school day - US ranked 20th
  • % who eat fruit daily - US ranked 16th
  • % physically active for one hour or more of a typical week - US ranked 3rd
  • % between 13-15 overweight - US ranked 21st
Risk Behaviors
  • % of 11, 13, and 15 year-olds who smoke - US ranked 3rd
  • % who have been drunk more than twice - US ranked 5th
  • % who use cannabis - US ranked 17th
  • % having sex by age 15 - insufficient data
  • % who use condoms - insufficient data
  • teenage fertility rate (births per 1,000 women) - US ranked 21st
Experience of Violence
  • % of 11, 13 and 15 year-olds involved in fighting in last 12 months - US ranked 7th
  • % reporting being bullied in last two months - US ranked 14th
Final comment -

What we can conclude from this report? That we are an embarrassment to the rest of the world. We are the richest country in the world, yet
it is painfully obvious that our money is not being put back into our children's well-being. The state of family relationships in this country is subpar and not getting better. The report also shows that lack of physical activity in the US is not on equal footing with diet in causing the obesity problem. Other countries performing much less physical activity are not obese. Diet is the main culprit.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

IBS improvement seen after food intolerance testing and probiotic therapy

We are so excited to bring to you one of the first studies of its kind. It appeared in the Winter issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Nutrition, published by the organization that certifies me as a Nutrition Specialist. Note: it is a small study (twenty subjects), but the results were so dramatic that its significance will reverberate throughout the medical community that has for so long shunned food intolerance testing, and reaffirms what we have been doing at Nutritional Concepts for over a decade.

The twenty subjects in this study had all failed to reduce their Irritable Bowel Sydrome symptoms using the standard therapies such as anti-cholinergics, anti-spasmodics, anti-diarrheals, and serotonergic agents.

The researchers hypothesized that identifying and removing trigger foods that create inflammation (IgG) in the gut, in addition to balancing the gut microfloral environment, would reduce the IBS symptoms. Their "hypothesis" paid off.

After using food sensitivity blood testing almost identical to the testing that Nutritional Concepts' uses, the subjects were asked to the eliminate the foods that were discovered to be the strongest agitators. The most frequent positive reactions found in the subjects were (dairy does not appear because all subjects had removed dairy from their diets prior to participating in this study):

4 or more molds - 70%
Baker's yeast - 85%
Onion mix - 65%
Pork - 60%
Peanut - 60%
Corn - 55%
Wheat - 50%
Soybean - 50%
Carrot - 45%
Cheddar Cheese - 40%
Egg White - 40%

After testing each subject's microflora via comprehensive stool analysis, it was discovered that 100% of the subjects exhibited deficiencies of beneficial flora. They were put on high dose, broad-spectrum probiotic supplements.

The subjects were retested at six months and one year.

Diarrhea, a dominant symptom in the subject cohort, was drastically reduced after food elimination and probiotic supplementation. Daily stool frequency was also reduced from 4.29 to 3.43.

Pain frequency (1 - no pain to 5 - severe pain) resulted in significant improvement from 3.65 to 2.71.

Subjects also reported significant improvements in interference with activity, body image, health worry, social reaction, sexual function, and relationships.

Researchers also found significant colonization of beneficial microflora after supplementation.

The authors of this study note that the medical community's reticence concerning IgG testing should be challenged and re-evaluated as a result of these findings.

Bonnie - I am so proud of the University of Kansas researchers who had the guts to perform this study. The study's design is very similar to how we have treated clients with IBS and other digestive ailments when food intolerance is suspected. Of course, the results of the study are also very similar to what we see with clients who follow our suggestions. The authors did note that food elimination diets are extremely time consuming for the patient and practitioner. This is probably why many patients and practitioners do not engage the paradigm. It is not sexy, but very effective. As the authors said, patients and practitioners with high degrees of motivation to improve get results.

Magnesium may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes

According to research published in the Winter issue of Journal of the American College of Nutrition, higher magnesium intake was significantly associated with lower fasting insulin and better insulin sensitivity, two important factors in repelling type 2 diabetes. The non-diabetic subjects studied were from the Framingham Offspring Study. The study promotes a magnesium-rich diet.

In another study appearing in the same journal, a cross-sectional study performed in African American and Hispanic adults living in New York City, found that those with diabetes had lower serum magnesium levels compared to those classified as pre-diabetic or those with normal fasting glucose levels.

Steve - music to our ears!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Calcium, vitamin D may reduce stress fracture risk

The study, presented at the 53rd annual Orthopedic Research Society meeting in San Diego, were obtained from a randomized, double-blind study with 5,201 female U.S. Navy recruits during eight weeks of basic training.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the results of the study suggest that daily supplements of vitamin D and calcium may also provide benefits for those engaged in athletic training. One group received a daily supplement of 2,000 Mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D, and the other group received a placebo. At the end of the eight weeks of basic training, 170 women in the placebo group experienced stress fractures; 25 per cent more women than in the calcium/vitamin D supplemented group.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Philly to ban trans fats

By Sept. 1, restaurants there will no longer be able to fry food in oil containing trans fats, thanks to a bill approved unanimously by the Philadelphia City Council on Thursday. The city’s mayor is expected to sign the bill into law.

Courtesy of Crain's

Steve - what is Chicago waiting for? We were the first to suggest the ban, but now lagging behind other major cities because we're spinning our wheels.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

LA Weight Loss Nutritional Bar

A client brought this in the other day and I was a bit taken aback by its ingredients:

LA Weight Loss Centers Chocolate Caramel Crunch Bars
(they suggest eating two bars daily)

Ingredients: Glucose, milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, skim milk powder, whole milk powder, butter oil, soy lecithin, salt, vanillin), soy crisp rice, soy protein concentrate, sugar, soy nuts, honey, modified milk ingredients, brown sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrogenated palm kernal oil, salt, soy lecithin, monoglycerides, natural and artificial flavor.

16 grams of sugar in each bar (32 grams for two bars)

Bonnie's Breakdown:
5 types of sugar
Two forms of trans fats
Two forms of artificial flavor

Diet Pill "Alli" approved for over-the-counter use

Alli is the over-the-counter version of a prescription drug called Xenical, which has been sold in the United States since 1999.

The drug works by blocking the breakdown and absorption of fat in the intestine, at the same time blocking absorption of calories from that fat. Fat that is not absorbed merely passes through the system, the reason Alli also causes annoying side effects — ranging from flatulence and oily stool to occasional loss of bowel control.

In studies, about half of patients taking Alli in combination with a diet and exercise plan lost 5 percent or more of their body weight in six months. The product’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, said it planned sell Alli for about $2 to $3 a day.

Bonnie - I have received many complaints over the years from clients who tried this medication through their physician. GSK's decision to make this over the counter is a head scratcher.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

EPA/DHA can lower triglycerides

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded that the American Heart Association's recommended cardioprotective dose of omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglycerides in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) - whether the lipids come in the form of DHA combined with EPA or just DHA alone.

The study, conducted through Kaiser Permanente Colorado, involved 116 patients with coronary artery disease and triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dL, approximately 90 percent of whom were on statin drugs. The groups of participants were supplemented with 1 gram of DHA alone, or 1.25 grams of DHA combined with EPA. The aim of the prospective, randomized, double-blind study was to compare DHA to DHA + EPA.

Triglycerides were lowered an average of 21.8 per cent in the DHA group and 18.3 per cent in the DHA + EPA group.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Using light as a cure

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) most often are used to apply concentrated doses of light to patients. LEDs are not lasers, so tissue does not get hot, and the treatment is pain-free. "It presents a quantum leap in medicine," according to Harry T. Whelan, MD, who is professore of neurology at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a leading researcher in the field. "It's a change from the standard medical models of drugs and surgery, where you are basically either poisoning or cutting the patient."

Light apparently works at the cellular level, allowing the body to repair itself. Light can be used in many ways depending on its different colors:

Near infrared light - this has the most dramatic potential for revolutionizing medicine; in his Children's ward, Dr. Whelan has eliminated oral sores that are a side effect from chemotherapy and radiation treatments from near infrared

Red light - seems to help wounds heal more quickly, promote collagen formation (which smoothes out wrinkles), and treat severe cases of acne

Blue light - believed to be far more effective at fighting seasonal affective disorder than full spectrum sunlight boxes; has also been studied for insomnia

Ultraviolet light - may be used to keep bacteria and viruses from reproducing; it is being tested in a Manhattan office and retail building; the UV light treats the air being circulated throughout the building as a way to sterilize the environment; it is also being used in water treatment plants in New York City

Courtesy of USA Weekend

Bonnie - I can say already that infrared has helped some of my clients. I have recommended Infrared Saunas treatments to clients who require heavy metal detoxification or have yeast overgrowths. So far, the results have been positive.

I am eagerly anticipating more research on light therapies.

When is a little sun too much?

University of New Mexico researcher Marianne Beriwck believes that a little bit of sunlight is good for people, but the problem that she, dermatologists, and The American Cancer Society have is how much?

A controversial study in 2005 showed that melanoma patients with higher levels of daily sun exposure actually had better survivial than patients who spent less time in the sun. Immunologists at Stanford University have found that sunlight initiates a defense mechanism in the skin.

Where does this leave us? More research needed, of course.

Courtesy of Health Day News

Steve - Bonnie suggests 15 minutes of unencumbered sun exposure (without sunscreen), in the early morning or late afternoon, three to five times weekly is ideal.

Building bones, no dairy case needed

If you were asked to name a few foods that promote healthy bones, you'd probably list dairy products for their bone-building calcium and vitamin D.

It's a lot less likely that prunes, onions and fermented soybeans would come to mind.

In fact, it has been known for some time that a high intake of fruits and vegetables helps keep bones strong and prevents fractures as people age.

In a study underway at Florida State University, older women who have osteoporosis will be adding either a daily handful of dried apples or about 10 dried plums to their diet for a year. The investigators are betting that the prune eaters will have measurable restoration in their bone mass based on observations they made in a similar but shorter study.

Although that study was too brief to measure changes in bone density — something the new study will allow — the women who ate 10 dried plums daily had significantly higher blood levels of two compounds (the hormone IGF-1 and the enzyme BSAP) that are associated with greater rates of bone formation.

There is also a growing body of research on the role played by vitamin K, which influences the binding of calcium to bone. Most of the vitamin K we consume is in a form called phylloquinone, found in green vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce and spinach. Another form, menaquinone, is obtained in much smaller amounts from certain foods (butter, cheese, liver, egg yolk) but can also be made by bacteria in our intestines.

One of the menaquinones, MK-7, shows particular promise in promoting bone health. It's found in abundance in natto — a fermented soybean product and Japanese dietary staple with a sticky texture and strong cheesy odor that may make it a hard sell for American taste buds.

A recent study in Japan followed nearly 1,000 women for three years to determine the effects of natto and other soy products on bone mineral density. Natto had the strongest protective effect: It reduced bone loss at the top of the thighbone by more than 80% — and, interestingly, this benefit increased as the women got older.

But other soy foods were not nearly as protective as natto, leading researchers to lean toward vitamin K as the source of the bone protection.

Although fruits and vegetables are known to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, many people still fall short in consuming enough of them. Perhaps if we add osteoporosis prevention to the list of reasons to consume a plant-rich diet, it will push us to actually do so.

Susan Bowerman is a registered dietitian and assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.

Courtesy LA Times

Bonnie - well, well, well...I finally feel like I'm off the desert island! What have I been "playing like a broken record" for 15 years? The Okinawans are the healthiest people in the world. Only 2% of their diet comes from cow's milk products. Their calcium intake is typically 500-600 mg. daily and yet have far less bone loss than Americans.

More U.S. kids having obesity surgery

As the popularity of stomach surgery has skyrocketed among obese adults, a growing number of doctors are asking, "Why not children, too?"

A group of four hospitals, led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, are starting a large-scale study this spring examining how children respond to various types of weight-loss surgery, including the gastric bypass, in which a pouch is stapled off from the rest of the stomach and connected to the small intestine.

Three more hospitals have approval from the Food and Drug Administration to test how teens fare with a procedure called laparoscopic gastric banding, where an elastic collar installed around the stomach limits how much someone can eat.

The FDA has hesitated to approve the gastric band for children, but surgeons at New York University Medical Center reported in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery this month that the device holds promise.

Similar studies are underway at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago and at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, which recently opened a weight-loss surgery center for teens. Doctors there expect to conduct about 50 operations this year.

Children are only considered candidates for surgery after they have spent six months trying to lose weight through conventional methods under hospital supervision. But so far, not a single one has slimmed down enough to take surgery off the table, said Dr. Jeffrey Zitsman, associate attending surgeon at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

"That battle can only be won in a few instances," he said.

The studies have followed a huge surge in the popularity of obesity surgeries among adults. The American Society for Bariatric Surgery estimates that more than 177,000 Americans had weight-loss surgery last year, up from 47,000 in 2001.

Not everyone is pleased that kids might be next.

"I don't think altering the human digestive tract is a solution to the problem of excess weight," said Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. "It's one of these quick-fixes that isn't a fix at all."

Doctors, she said, still know relatively little about the long-term effects of such operations on the very young.

The federal Agency for health care Research and Quality released a study in July that said four in 10 weight-loss surgery patients develop complications within six months. Among adults, mortality rates among gastric bypass patients remain at between 1 in 100 and 1 in 200 patients.

Laparoscopic gastric banding has been shown to have a much smaller death rate — about 1 in 1000 patients — but complications do occur.

Of the patients who participated in the NYU study, two needed a second operation to adjust a slipping band; two developed hernias; five got an infection; five suffered mild hair loss and four had iron deficiencies related to their new diet. After the study was complete, one patient asked to have her band removed because of discomfort, said Evan Nadler, a pediatric surgeon and co-author of the study.

Thomas Wadden, an obesity expert at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said surgery can be of immense benefit to some teens, especially those already experiencing health problems.

But he also advised caution.

Egged on by TV shows and commercials expounding the benefits of weight-loss surgery, adult patients have begun showing up at Penn's Center for Weight and Eating Disorders demanding an operation as an easy first step to thinness.

"When we ask them, 'What have you done so far to lose weight?' The patients say, 'Nothing,'" Wadden said. "They're going right to a $25,000 operation for which they are ill-prepared."

Courtesy of Associated Press

Bonnie - I commented on this issue in October. Using surgical means for obesity in children and teens, unless life-threatening, is indicative of the state of our medical system and society. It is an easy way out, a "quick fix," and does not get to the root of the problem. The long-term effects are unknown in adults, much less children. There sure is a windfall awaiting the bariatric surgeons though.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Study Compares Arnica Gel to Ibuprofen Gel

A randomized, double-blind study comparing Arnica Gel to 5% Ibuprofen Gel, evaluated the Arnica Gel to be more effective by the patients and their doctors. Rheumatology International, a prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal will be reporting this study shortly.

The study of 204 individuals with multiple osteoarthritis in the fingers was performed from May 2003 until March 2004 by 20 medical doctors (12 general practitioners, six rheumatologists and two specialists in general medicine) in Switzerland. The study used detailed patient questionnaires for first visit and second/last visit, three weeks later. Each group, the arnica gel group and the ibuprofen gel group, applied the product three times daily to affected finger joints.

Arnica gel was shown to be as effective as 5% ibuprogen gel, and was equally well tolerated.The arnica gel was evaluated as more effective by the patients and their doctors.

This study was planned and performed according to strict international guidelines for studies of multiple osteoarthritis of the fingers (OARS; Osteoarthritis Research Group International), EMEA (European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products) guidelines for controlled studies and their statistical evaluation, as well as according to GCP Good Clinical Practice rules.

Bonnie - if you have not used arnica gel for arthritis, bruises, muscle soreness, try it. It is a great topical that does not come with the side effects of NSAID gels.

Binge-eating is major U.S. health problem - study

Out-of-control binge eating is the biggest eating disorder in the United States, more common than anorexia and bulimia combined and contributing to a rise in obesity, researchers said on Thursday.

Binge eating afflicts 3.5 percent of U.S. women and 2 percent of men at some point in their lives, according to a study by psychiatric researchers at Harvard University Medical School and its affiliate, McLean Psychiatric Hospital.

He said binge eating - where people cannot stop from eating well beyond the point of being full at least twice a week - is a chronic and persistent condition in the United States that is under-reported and under-diagnosed.

Courtesy Reuters

Bonnie - binge eating is a socially acceptable addiction, much like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. People often crave foods to which they are intolerant. When they try to stop eating them, they go through an uncomfortable withdrawal, so continue eating them.

A yeast imbalance (causing extreme carbo cravings) is another common cause of binge eating.

In addition, when macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) are out of balance, and key micronutrients (especially magnesium and zinc) are missing, people do not get the comforting feeling of fullness and satiety, so they continue eating more and more.

I have been very successful in treating binge eating in my 22 years of practice because I look for the causes, and work to fix them.

Jay Robb Egg White Protein Recall

Jay Robb enacted a voluntary recall for all of its Egg White Protein products. The company found traces of whey protein in the egg products. For people consuming these products with severe dairy allergies, it is not acceptable.

They said that it would take 3-4 weeks until they can finish dispensing brand new batches of the product.

Unfortunately, there are no other egg protein products on the market that we endorse.

In the interim, for those with dairy allergies, NutriBiotic Rice Protein (or comparable non-sweetened brand) is an alternative. Otherwise, Metagenics BioPure Protein (98% lactose-free whey protein) is a very good bioavailable alternative.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Crisco launches trans fat free shortening - don't be fooled!

Bonnie - good timing on our part? Our previous blog entry covered the trans fat alternatives coming to market. Low and behold...Crisco comes out with trans fat-free All-Vegtable Shortening. For healthier choices, access my blog entry, Trans Fats - Are they Healthier?



I can tell you that this is not an improvement. These two ingredients that warrant further investigation:

Fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil - this is produced by interesterification (a chemical process); a study that appeared in January's Nutrition and Metabolism showed that in 30 subjects, interesterified fat siginifcantly elevated both LDL/HDL ratio and raised glucose levels by 20%. You can access the study here.

Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oils - these are trans fats. How can Crisco get away with putting zero trans fats on the label and market it as such? The USDA/FDA allows it if the product has less than .05% trans fat.

Do not pay attention to the marketing! Read the fine print on the label.