Poor physical fitness nearly harmful as smoking for heart health

When it comes to wellness and longevity, what might be the best method of achievement?

A nearly 50 year study in Sweden asserts that physical wellness and breath capacity are key variables for cardiovascular wellness. Basically, when compared to hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and smoking, poor physical fitness was noted nearly harmful as smoking for heart health.

What are some of the factors that help determine the length of your life? Is it diet? Is it physical activity? Is it obesity? Is it smoking? Is it genetic predispositions? Study shows poor physical fitness is nearly as harmful as smoking as risks for getting a heart attack or stroke. Does aerobic fitness determine an improved life length? I think fitness has to do with weight management AND exercise together.

How many hours do you sit in front of your TV in a week? How long do you sit in front of your Mac or PC each day? How far do you walk (or do any aerobic activity) per week? When it comes to heart health, two factors scored high as risks – smoking and aerobic exercise. This 45 year longitudinal study seems to assert that poor aerobic physical fitness is nearly as harmful as smoking, at least, in Sweden. Is it applicable elsewhere?

Swedish researchers followed up on nearly 700 Swedish men for 45 years (1967 to 2012_ years to find risk factors for heart attacks and death. This is one of many longitudinal studies that Sweden generates. The reports showed fairly obvious and startling results. Smokers, men with high cholesterol levels or hypertension ran a higher risk of a premature death. Low levels of aerobic capacity – or poor physical fitness actually represented a higher death risk than high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Only smoking was found to be a higher risk factor than poor (aerobic) physical fitness. Is it time to consider walking more than watching TV or staring at the monitor?

A longitudinal study is an observational research method in which data is gathered for the same subjects repeatedly over a period of years, decades, and longer. Compared to short studies, longitudinal studies show responses over time, sometimes lifespan.

This study, by a team from Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. A representative sample of 792 men were followed for 45 years. All subjects were 50 year old men when they were selected in 1963. The study and research aimed to investigate the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality. The remaining participants would be in their 90’s. The study inluded men born in 1913, 1923, 1933, 1943, 1953 and 1963.

In 1967, the group’s members all completed an exercise test. 656 of the subject group carried out a maximum exercise test where they were required to push themselves to the limit (the others were exempt due to health concerns that might have made the exertion dangerous). Oxygen uptake was measured using with consistent instrumentation that measure respiration and gas metabolism during exercise. Subjects were monitored every 10 years. Data on smoking habits, leisure time physical activity, mental stress and previous diseases, including hypertension and diabetes, as well as on pharmacological treatments were collected by questionnaires.

Smoking was the most likely lifestyle factor to kill a person early, but low aerobic capacity as measured by peak oxygen uptake (better known as VO2 Max) was linked to higher mortality than the other cardiovascular factors assessed. The men with the lowest VO2 Max (maximal oxygen uptake) had a 42 percent higher risk of dying of premature death than the men who were the fittest, and about 21 percent higher risk than men with average aerobic capacity.

Of course, previous mortality rates conducted by the American Heart Association indicate that high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hypertension have been evident in patients with cardiovascular incidents. LDL Cholesterol and (in less than 2% of population) Homocysteine may contribute to to artery blockages. Left unchecked, these have been observable causes of strokes and heart attacks.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week may help minimize the risk of a heart attack, a leading killer.

Of course you join a gym and use treadmills, joggers, stair-masters, or join a spinning class to boost your aerobic fitness. It’ll help meet those recommended lifestyle guidelines. Considering most people’s busy lives, is it really possible?

Cardiovascular health is likely more associated with exercise constancy. Taking routine time each day or two for 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity. It has to be integrated and mindful in your lifestyle as a routine, not as an option. Cardiovascular exercises help increase breath volume capacity, movement of body fluids, and use of calories.Sound difficult?

Try walking! Make time to walk to work, walk to meetings, walk around your neighborhood or walk when shopping. Walking briskly, even moderately may help boost aerobic fitness and improve your cardiovascular integrity. The AHA cites a recent study that indicates, “walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running.” Many studies suggest that walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress.

Just 30 minutes walking every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. Even if you don’t smoke, don’t have high levels of cholesterol, and don’t have hypertension, the benefits of walking are prime at thwarting many health risks.

While the Swedish study examined men, primarily because 45 years ago, more men had cardiovascular incidents than women. Studies indicate that women doing aerobic activities reduce risk of coronary issues in the future.

The exciting data from Sweden’s longitudinal study and those of USA cross-sectional studies clearly match. All infer that the causality of cardiovascular and respiratory health and heart wellness are associated with marked levels of activity.

Aerobically poor physical fitness is near the top of the list of variables that increase risks of cardiovascular episodes, sometimes even if there are no indexes of other cardiovascular risks.

While following a healthy diet is important, a motivated routing of aerobic exercise seems to offer assurances that you will have a higher quality and longer cardiovascular life if you try to walk moderately brisk 30 minutes per day. The Swedish know it. USA medical specialists know it. So should you.

Ancient Asian practices addressed poor physical fitness with breathing as an important facet. Persia, India, and China all focused how breathing bears influence. Chinese medicine believed that poor physical fitness required Qi Gong, to achieve balance and strength. The Swedish results demonstrate the significance these ancient practices had at insuring cardiovascular health over time.

Understanding cardiovascular health means opting for lifestyle choices, with no interruptions. And no smoking.

While cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and diet may be causes of havoc within arteries leading to the heart, brain, and some other areas, the Swedish study prioritizes how crucial breathing is to upgrade your status toward cardiovascular health.

Of course, there are those that may have chronic asthma or COPD and other respiratory conditions that wouldn’t have qualified for the respiratory segment of the Swedish study. They are likely to be already treated by another specialist.

For most, however, in this cardiac risk study, healthy breathing was an important variable in assessing longevity of cardiovascular wellness.

As part of normal daily activities, if you find you lose your breath on short walks or climbing a few stairs, it may be an indicator of cardiovascular disease, even if your cholesterol and other blood indicators are within the normal range. The importance of respiration integrity with stress is a good marker for potential cardiovascular risks. This stress-test is usually given by a cardiologist exploring possible symptoms. If you don’t smoke but experience breathing problems, consider adding a cardiologist on your To-Do list.

It is also suggested if you feel changes in the way you breathe, seek medical attention as there are many serious respiratory illnesses that may occur during your aging process. Unawareness or ignoring symptoms contribute to degrees of poor physical fitness.

Overall, if you have any of the indicators that may contribute to cardiovascular events that could lead to heart attacks or strokes, be wary of them. Find out more from a medical specialist or alternative cardiologist and what you can do about them. You would be surprised that physical fitness and weight management are two common approaches to help alleviate ongoing cardiovascular diseases. The Swedish study may be valid. Poor physical fitness is, as the Swedish study asserts, is almost as bad as smoking as a lifestyle that might contribute to heart diseases.

Sweden is very serious about fitness, exercise, and diet. This could be a confounding variable in the overall results and report. Nonetheless, world organizations support physical fitness and diet responsibilities as keys for life extension. Breathe well and move.

Cardiovascular illnesses may be genetic but, in general, they may arise by lifestyle choices and poverty. While this study demonstrates the significance of physical fitness to suppress some symptoms of this silent killer, routine blood tests covering lipids are very important. Ask your physician to give you a copy of the blood test results so you can track them. You may never know whether you are a candidate or not. Becoming fit doesn’t guarantee happily ever afters. Fitness may just help sweeten and lengthen your odds of living well, as part of an integrated approach. Isn’t that what you want? What’s stopping you?

Vitamin E and metabolic syndrome

According to Ohio State University research, 1 out of 3 Americans may need more vitamin E to combat metabolic syndrome.

Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant that helps reduce free radicals (or sludge) from your body. Other major vitamin antioxidants include vitamins A and C. Antioxidants may come naturally from many fruits and vegetables. People in the study who drank milk along with the natural form of vitamin E absorbed between 26.1 and 29.5 percent of the vitamin, depending on their health status. Those with metabolic syndrome absorbed considerably less.

Those who have been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome would then have to be more vigilant in taking vitamin E supplements.

Metabolic Syndrome is not just one disease or condition. It is a cluster that brings symptoms such as high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels together. Doctors believe that these symptoms are involved in increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Studies have correlated those as cofactors that may lead to those main diseases.

As an anti-oxidant, Vitamin E helps eliminate byproducts within your body for cellular and organic wellness. Lack of dietary antioxidants may result in damaging vital networks that keep your body healthier. Some studies have been investigating a vitamin E role in preventing degenerative mental imbalances such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Good thought when applying for research grants.

Dietary sources of vitamin E include: Almonds, Raw Seeds (sunflower and pumpkin), and Hazelnuts. Plant oils also have vitamin E. The benefit with these as they are high in good fats – mono- and poly-unsaturated. The downside is that excessive consumption may lead to fat elevation because these are still high in fat content.

Kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens and Swiss chard are low calorie vegetables that eaten raw or cooked releases vitamin E with natural co-factors that may help absorption without fats.

Foods high in antioxidants help reduce bad cholesterol levels and elevate good cholesterol levels when taken as part of an habitual diet, with minimal dietary cholesterol intake from meats and fish.

As a cluster of possible conditions, metabolic syndrome may actually have several other reasons. One is called insulin resistance that may be hereditary or dietary. Under normal conditions your digestive system breaks down many foods you eat into sugar (glucose). Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that helps sugar enter your cells to be used as fuel. People that are resistant to insulin don’t respond normally to insulin, and glucose can’t enter the cells as easily. Thus results in elevated glucose. It is a pre-diabetic condition that may likely contribute to belly fat accumulation.

Age also factors in belly fat as lean muscles tend to soften and develop fatty deposits up to 5% nearly each decade of age. By the time you reach 70, you may have lost 20% lean muscles and added belly fat.

Fats and sugars are fuels that keep your body going. Excesses often result in raising glucose levels, belly fat accumulation, and cholesterol markers.

Centuries ago, metabolic syndrome was less likely as people needed to walk and labor manually. In today’s age, fewer people walk and labor is more sedentary. Metabolic syndrome may be an adaptation to technology. Yet this adaptation may elevate risks of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.

Essentially, any activity after eating, dietary vigilance, and use of vitamin supplements at moderate levels will help adjust metabolism to normal levels over time. Vitamin E is only one possible factor. There are, as you see, many more. The Ohio University study only provides a glimpse of a much larger picture.

The good news is that Cow’s milk over water promotes absorption of supplemental vitamin E.

Heart Health relies on sugar intake

The winter holidays are upon us. There are family gatherings and all kinds of festive sugary snacks to help us brave the cold. Why consider hear health? It seems that a research study last year cited evidence that foods and drinks with added sugar may be heart health threatening. Who knows what the future brings? Eat, drink, be merry, and sit. In this gambling game of life, enjoy a happy holiday season and a very happy new year.

Mary Poppins believes that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Do you regularly add spoons of sugar to your morning tea or coffee? While those spoonful or packets may help those beverages go down, they may also be hurting your hear health. According to an article in the Journal of American Medical Association or JAMA, getting too much added sugar in your diet might significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in January 2014.

The study concluded that. “Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.”

While there are many risk factors that may lead to an eclipse of the heart or some form of heart failure, the results point that added sugar rather than salt may probably influence cardiovascular health and possible mortality (or life reduction).

The American Heart Association recently updated a section devoted to heart health issues and added sugar. They indicated that sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in the American diet, often as many as 9 teaspoons of sugar as carbohydrate calories. Those excess carbohydrates may also lead to weight gain and diabetes – other potential risk factors against heart health. The problem is many people consume not one 12-ounce can but as much as 2 liters or nearly a half-gallon of these beverages daily.

That prompted a Congress representative, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), to propose an excise tax on sugared soft drinks, much like those already imposed on cigarettes and alcohol. While there are many supporters of The SWEET Act, there are many that oppose the act from passing.

We are not only talking about sodas and iced-teas/fruit drinks but also sweetened energy and sports drinks. I might accept electrolyte enhancing sport drinks if you exercised intensely but many are consumed while sitting in front of a TV or at a desk.

Can you have your cake and eat it too? I was sitting at Starbucks and noticed someone ordering coffee and a cupcake. A typical cupcake weighs about 3 ounces. It is about 235 calories, mostly from fat and sugars, based on 1 ounce. That’s 700 calories. Keeping in the Christmas spirit, the person ordered an Espresso with steamed milk and caramel brulée flavored sauce. The 16-ounce beverage contains 52 grams of sugar. Then the customer went to the convenience stand and added 3 more packets of sugar. I was drinking an espresso straight with 5 calories.

So, here we are, armed with a study that heart health may be compromised by adding sugars and beverages aren’t the only culprit. Then there are foods that add high fructose corn syrup that say “no added sugar.” Sugar is deemed as sucrose. The problem lies in economics and taking sides with the investment quotient.

Mary Poppins may have been correct about adding sugar to medicine. You’re only sick for a brief time. Not adding sugar is an acquired taste and often requires lots of adaptation.

Few people below the age of 30 would never consider heart health issues as threatening. Most of them continue their dietary habits and, with age, start noticing the consequences. Is it likely that added sugar will shorten your life with deteriorating heat health? Who knows? There are many habits and diseases that make up the ingredients.

This JAMA study on added sugars from last year has stirred new debate amidst health concerns, tastes, and economics.

Whether added sugar will result in diseased heart health over time may still be an open case. One can always say that life is a gamble. Any threatening research may lead with “not me” responses. So smoke, drink booze, and have sugar-rich foods. If you encounter diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular issues along the way, there are always treatments (or not).

Happy holidays! May this be a year that leads to many others with increasing happiness. We hope this won’t be your last.

New 2013 cholesterol guidelines

Sometimes it may be the binge eating you had before your medical exam. Other times it may be the dietary recommendations that eating chicken and fish are healthier than red meat. Any animal-source food has cholesterol. According to the Center of Disease Control, 71 million Americans or 1 in 3 have high LDL or bad cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is associated with lining arteries with plaque that may lead to organ damage, particularly leading to heart attacks and strokes. For some people, it is dietary, and is easily controlled. For others, these may be familial, chronic conditions. There’s no wonder why cholesterol management is a big topic and essential indicator examined on general blood tests. When the American Heart Association announces new guidelines for cholesterol management, doctors listen. The new report promotes high statin dosage to control high LDL levels.

A group of researchers from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association put their weight on new cholesterol management guidelines. Their emphasis is to increase statin treatments to more people who might be at risk of having a heart attack. The origin of these reports were designed to effectively care for those who already had some level of a cardiovascular episode.

As with all cases, the panel took a traditional approach. As with all patients, they emphasized lifestyle guidelines (i.e., adhering to a heart healthy diet, regular exercise
habits, avoidance of tobacco products, and maintenance of a healthy weight). They cited that use of one of the 4 statin groups would help those who can’t manage to keep their LDL at a normal range. They did not discuss HDL/LDL ratios.

Establishing a target range under real circumstances still remains vague but they deemed that an LDL-C of 190 is considered threatening.

The new guideline recommends moderate- or high-intensity statin therapy for these four groups:

1) Patients who have cardiovascular disease;
2) Patients with an LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher;
3) Patients with Type 2 diabetes who are between 40 and 75 years of age
4)Patients with an estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease of 7.5 percent or higher who are between 40 and 75 years of age (the report provides formulas for calculating 10-year risk).

Chronic use of statins may have negative effects on neuromuscular systems, particularly peripheral myopathies. While Cleveland University research cites that 72.5% of statin-intolerant patients may be treated with statins. There are those that have diseases like muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis for which statin use may be almost fatal. Recommendations of high stain dosages may be more dangerous holistically than cardiology specialists realize.

For example, many people suffer from rheumatism and fibromyalgia. These involve muscle pains, affecting over 10 million people, that have no succinct etiology to infer causality and results. There is little data to support that high-dose statins may induce more extreme pain or inflammation. While cholesterol management is vital, average cardiologists may not take these other common diseases into consideration when prescribing statin drugs.

Specialists that read these guidelines may take easier approaches at high-dosing statins to force cholesterol management to those that may not need it. The November 2013 guidelines of the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association seems to sanction this. Most cardiologists adhere to the average and this report definitely targets the average. Patients are then forced to seek out cardiologists that see patients as individuals instead of group numbers. Groupings are attractive at writing presentations. Patients as clients require more specific attention.

Yet statins are touted well beyond cholesterol management with research demonstrating efficacy in treating cancer and other diseases. It’s as if all the leading drug companies that produce cholesterol are behind all the experiments. In some respects, companies like Merck and Pfizer are using cardiologists as drug pushers, especially when two major heart organizations sanction high dosages of statin medications to help lower LDL cholesterol.

I have genetic cholesterol and management requires an almost vegan diet along with exercise. Because of a form of muscular dystrophy, all statins have been proven toxic. I use Source Natural Cholesterol Complex on a daily basis, along with non-statin prescription Zetia and Lopid. Policosanol is a key ingredient in my supplement mix and policosanol research shows that 20mg can help reduce LDL cholesterol by nearly 30%. For people that suffer from statin intolerance, statins are not the conclusive treatment.

Cholesterol is only one of many indicators that may lead to heart disease. Relying on statins to lower LDL cholesterol levels may be great for many people. For those that exhibit statin intolerance, there are other routes and physicians should understand and study these.

Sifting through this 80 page document from November, it’s a rather unimpressive work and further extends that the two leading organizations continue to fail at examining holistic approaches to cholesterol management. Cholesterol levels correlate differently with age and this report didn’t cover that well. As people rise over 70, 190 to 200 LDL is more tolerable than that of a 25 year old.

Prescribing high intensity statins as a rule instead of an exception, may actually harm some patients in those groups due to side-effects. The fervent faith in statins for cholesterol management that seems to be shared by traditional cardiologists may be taking cardiovascular care in wrong directions. There must be more exploration into alternative approaches that place responsibilities on both doctor and patient.

Finding a reasonable target that I can maintain without statins is my goal. In the overall wellness mix, I prefer to be in control. Control requires an active goal-oriented approach. That control persists between routine visits to my practitioner.

Patients, as drug consumers, will accept statins and will likely not report intolerances. While statins for lowering cholesterol may be beneficial, the overall goal is to help patients (as clients) pursue healthy lifestyles and feel well. On the patient’s side, you must be willing to take necessary drug-free steps to improve your heart and cardiovascular health. Ultimately your health is your responsibility!

As to the new stricter standards proposed by the ACC and AHA regarding cholesterol borderlines and statin medications, everything and anything is subject to change. Each year new studies and interventions lead to new perspectives of how to approach cardiovascular conditions. The ACC and AHA are traditionalists and are likely to follow Statins as a holy sword. Statins are not exclusive. Seek out other options and, if possible, find integrative health centers that offer more holistic and educational approaches to help resolve what may be a chronic condition. There are lifestyle choices that can help you manage your LDL cholesterol levels.

Skipping supplements may be dangerous to your health

A chemistry teacher once introduced the class, saying that everything on earth is a chemical. Water is a chemical. Science can synthesize chemicals. Pharmacies, supermarkets, and online resources offer hundreds of non-prescription health remedies and dietary supplements. Health remedies are usually under some government scrutiny but dietary supplements are not. Conflicts over the integrity of those supplements, that many people rely on, arise regularly. People believe supplements offer alternate routes to health and wellness. Many articles support those beliefs but there are also many that don’t. Diseases and health conditions have always existed and remedies have always been sought. From magic natural potions to scientifically synthesized chemicals, challenges of nature and nurture have been fought for the last 150 years. Are supplements healthier than meds?

Judging from the size of pharmacy stores, we are a pill popping society. There are pills for anything from analgesics to weight loss. While traditional medicines are seen a scientific approach, supplements are being promoted. Is one better than the other?

Last weekend, the New York Times ran an article advising readers to Skip the Supplements in relationship to the amazing amounts of nutritional supplements available. Supplements are used around the world and in the USA as a form of alternative medicine or4 complementary medicine. In the USA, supplements are NOT approved and tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for therapeutic use or for possible side effects. Unless advised by a medical professional or unless you’ve taken (and excelled) a course in pharmacology, you should not use supplements on small children.

Supplements, like vitamins, herbs, and other natural nutritionals, have been used for thousands of years for general health and as cures for illnesses. Possible negative side effects were unknown or not scientifically tested. Vitamin D3 is excellent for structural support and cardiovascular health and supplements of D3 are recommended but how much is good for you? Vitamin B3 (Niacin) may improve good cholesterol levels but overdose can harm your liver over time. Drugs like opium and marijuana were once seen as supplements, and marijuana (to some degree) is now seen to help some medical conditions. Did you know that Aspirin was once considered a supplement? There are benefits and consequences with everything. For the average person, taking supplements as a substitute for medicines may not always be the better choice. That’s why the Nation Institutes of Health see supplements as complementary – able to help support medical approaches.

Historically, many of the diseases humans encounter today were seen in communities thousands of years ago, as evidenced by occurrences in less-civilized areas in Africa and South America. Medicinal leaders of various tribes attempted to find remedies to these conditions but effectiveness was a gamble, an unscientific one. Science has provided faster and more efficient ways at preventing and eliminating dreadful diseases. But are traditional medicines better than supplements? In some ways, yes. In other ways, no.

There is a war among traditional medical therapies and alternative, complementary therapies that has been waging for the past hundred years. Early medicine came from alchemy, the non-medical but serious study of medicinal naturals. Prior to that, complementary therapies were the mainstream. For the previous thousands of years, using Alchemy was one of the major therapeutic paths used to aid and restore wellness. It was a skillful art passed through generations by way of children and apprentices.

Alternative therapies weren’t just derived from leaves, vegetation, and flowers. There are those that came from human contact, such as massage and acupuncture.

Science evolved in the 1800’s trying to prove the unproven. What diseases were once considered Candida, science identified as mold, fungi, and bacteria. In the 1900’s, medical researchers aimed at developing antibiotics to treat diseases resulting from these phenomena. Telescopic observation demonstrated that mold had all sorts of adaptive behaviors to infect other organisms. These were akin to Darwin’s observation of survival of the fittest. Antibiotics are natural substances that are released by bacteria and fungi into the their environment, as a means of inhibiting other organisms. Antibiosis was how mold survived over the ages.

Infectious diseases and antibiotic treatments weren’t new concepts. The ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, and Indians of central America all used molds to treat infected wounds. A 19th-century researcher, Louis Pasteur found that cooking milk helped eliminate some of the disease causing effects coming from natural milk. Pasteur lived in an era where many early medical researchers were exploring diseases like cholera and smallpox, previously identified as forms of candida.

The spread of cholera, due to poor sewage systems, were once attributed as plagues in the dark and medieval times. Churches saw these as holy curses of the unholy. Alchemists were blamed and suffered tortuous death. Yet, cholera still exists in many parts of the world. Pasteur, however, was one of those 19th-century thinkers, that helped identify treatment.

We are told that Julius Caesar and many other historic leaders suffered from epilepsy. In the 1920’s, researchers found that a ketogenic diet helped reduce epileptic symptoms, as well some other conditions.

Polio or poliomyelitis (which comes from the Greek words for grey and marrow) has stricken many through the centuries. Polio reached epidemic proportions in the early 1900s in countries with relatively high standards of living, at a time when other diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, and tuberculosis were declining. Indeed, many scientists think that advances in hygiene paradoxically led to an increased incidence of polio. There are theories that chemical toxins used on plants may have triggered the epidemic. President Franklin D Roosevelt was a major figure with this mobility-challenging disease. Scientists postulated that Polio is caused by one of three types of poliovirus (which are members of the Enterovirus genus). These viruses spread through contact between people, by nasal and oral secretions, and by contact with contaminated feces. Poliovirus enters the body through the mouth, multiplying along the way to the digestive tract, where it further multiplies. While there is no authentic medical treatment, Jonas Salk is credited with bringing a Polio vaccine that virtually eliminated onset of this disease. The idea of that vaccine is reported to have come from a virus found in a moldy orange fruit.

But even medicine has its flaws. Some FDA approved medicines have been removed because of previously unknown harmful effects. There are discussions that antibiotics are being over prescribed for colds and misused by physicians and patients. Antibiotics are used to combat bacterial infections but some common diseases may be the result of viral infections. Overuse of antibiotics reduces effectiveness as bacteria eventually adapt to the drug.

Some believe that supplements go beyond pills and supplements. Ancient ideas targeted paths of energy and created a science beyond any science we might know. But is it scientific or complementary?

The goals in pursuing healthy approaches aren’t chemical alone. Massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic are seen as popular therapeutic complementary approaches. In some ways, these non-chemical disciplines may offer healing therapy when there are no traditional therapy. Moderate exercise, Yoga, Pilates or just walking briskly may complement health and wellness. A crucial element is diet and getting proper nutrition. The George Mateljan Foundation or WH-Foods is a comprehensive and beneficial resource. Most times, people don’t have the time or the money or the taste to pursue a healthy nutritional diet. Supplements are not substitutes for food. They are designed to complement what you’re not getting.

Based on your diet, skipping supplements may actually be dangerous to your health over the course of years. The fee becomes the inconveniences and high costs of medical care, in many situations.

The average diet does not provide all the vitamins and minerals that the human body needs. Vitamin supplements are actively advertised and find their way to store shelves. Years ago, it was found that sailors, who had limited or no access to natural fruits, developed scurvy
, a disease known to cause anemia, debility, exhaustion, edema (swelling) in some parts of the body, and sometimes ulceration of the gums and loss of teeth.

There are many relationships between nutrition and health. How do consumers know the difference from synthesized nutritional supplements and those that are naturally derived? How can people be assured that the amount on the label is what their body is getting?

There are multiple vitamin supplements that seem to offer large amounts of practically everything. How are you sure that these many substances interact well with the others? How are you sure about proper absorption?

We are a naturally pill popping society. Recently, there were warnings that Bufferin has a toxic chemical in their pills. Scientists, when creating marketable pills, add inert (inactive) ingredients that allow the creation of the pill with long-term shelf storage. In the case of those popular over-the-counter drugs, the inert mix was toxic. In inexpensive vitamin supplements, those inert pill ingredients can actually mar the performance of those nutritional supplements and (possibly) your health.

Tinctures are a way to get around those inert ingredients found in pills. These are in liquid form and are dropped beneath your tongue. Why beneath? Some of these may not suit your tastes.

When taking herbs or spices, these supplements may not be as effective in pure forms as they are in their natural form. Phytophenolic combinations in natural foods may lose some properties in the conversion process.

If you are really leaning toward using supplements as a guide to health and wellness, seek out a competent nutrition practitioner or Nutritionist. Seek out one who is a Registered Dietician (RD) and fulfills the requirements of the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). There are undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered by many universities.

In New York City, medical facilities feature nutritionists as a way of providing integrative, holistic approaches to balance traditional medicine and supplements. Lenox Hill Primary Care, Beth Israel Center for Health and Healing are two very good places that help you find medical and nutritional health. The use of Integrative Medicine is spreading across the country, combining both traditional and alternative-complementary health care. Choose and check health insurance policies that offer this.

Standards and purity effect medicines and supplements. FDA or some other organization shouldn’t be your guide. Your life and sense of living is your primary path. While all things may not make you happy now and after, pursuing health and wellness is your responsibility. Fortunately, you live in a society that offers many choices. Whether you want to trust traditional medicine or supplements is your decision. Integrating both may be wiser but there are no guarantees. No one thing may treat what ails you. The methods may seem unorthodox but healthy aging is a good thing as life expectancies extend.

Happy Heart Thanksgiving and Inflammation Diet

Although there is some dispute whether the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in November or December, historians believe that Thanksgiving celebrates their first meal in the New Land, shared with the Indians. The Indians had taught the pilgrims how to catch fish, hunt animals, and find shelter. Yet Thanksgiving also has British roots as far back as 1536, when it was a day of thanks celebrated after the English Reformation from the Catholic Church. In the USA, Thanksgiving has become a day of feasting – gorging huge amounts of Turkey and all the trimmings. Heart attacks and heart related diseases rise about 5% on Thanksgiving compared to average days in the year. There can be many reasons but one may be that the tradition is tied to Thanksgiving and Inflammation.

The reason for Thanksgiving peak in heart attacks is associated with the lack of indulgence related to feasting at the meal. While you may have cardiovascular issues waiting to happen, it’s more likely that the meal itself may be part of the cause.

Your body doesn’t know it is Thanksgiving and is not expecting huge portions of Turkey, meat, gravy, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and other rich trimmings. The cells, fluids, tissues, organs, and muscles of your body work each second to maintain balance in your body. This is called homeostasis.

Homeostasis is a state of balance inside the body, where the body systems work together to keep it functioning normally. The endocrine system keeps this internal balancing act going by releasing chemicals called hormones. The release or reduction of the hormones is controlled by the body’s natural negative feedback mechanisms that are responding to your eating and other (lack of) activity. The language that sets off the thermostat of homeostasis is inflammation. Inflammation is the first response of the immune system to irritation and your feast may be what’s causing the Thanksgiving and Inflammation alert.

Your body reacts in a stress-related fight or flight system. Your heart speeds up, neurotransmitters are released to muscles and your brain as alerts. Failure to acknowledge these alerts may result in heart attacks, strokes, and digestive disorders.

Inflammation studies have been studied at various Universities that demonstrate how certain foods negatively affect the body’s immune system. Small studies have shown that dementia or Alzheimer symptoms may be reduced by keeping inflammation under control. The Cleveland Clinic supports research in anti-inflammatory foods and new anti-inflammatory diets are emerging.

Blood test analysis should show C-RP and this is an inflammation indicator. It stands for C-Reactive Protein. It is rarely included in average blood testing. If you have a score of less than 3, it represents that body inflammation is very low but there are those who have normal lipid (cholesterol and plaque) indicators that have extremely high C-RP scores. One study showed that Omega-3 consumption (found in fish and flaxseed oils) may reduce C-RP levels in a study of 1395 men aged 42-60. Markedly increased levels of C-RP are observed, for example, after trauma, heart attack, with autoimmune disorders, and with serious bacterial infections but few people have before and after comparisons to make an association of its role.

A high C-RP result means you have inflammation in the body. This may be due to a variety of different conditions, including (inconclusive):
Cancer
Connective tissue disease
Heart attack
Infection
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Lupus
Pneumonia
Rheumatoid arthritis
Tuberculosis

and C-RP results are factored into the blood analyses of all those who may have a possible diagnosis.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, a noted naturalist physician, indicates:

“an anti-inflammatory diet that includes two to three servings of fish such as salmon or sardines per week. If you don’t eat fish, he suggests taking fish oil supplements. He also recommends taking anti-inflammatory herbs including ginger and turmeric and following your doctor’s recommendations for heart health – quit smoking, watch your diet (particularly avoid foods that predominantly consist of flour and/or sugar), and get regular exercise.

A recent study at Johns Hopkins showed that as fitness levels decline, CRP levels go up. The researchers weren’t sure if poor fitness leads to an increase in CRP or vice versa, but exercise is an important part of maintaining heart health in any case.”

High C-RP levels aren’t merely associated with organic conditions. Studies cite evidence that chronic anxiety, stress and social rejection may lead to high inflammation C-RP scores. In a rather unique study, it was shown that inflammation may aid in muscle healing but that may be as a result of the body’s auto-immune response for homeostasis.

Returning to Thanksgiving and Inflammation, that recurrent heartburn after the big meal may only be heartburn or an early heart symptom. Foods may cause inflammation. How do you find the Inflammation Factors of your meal? The Inflammation Free Diet Plan book is available at Amazon and offers comprehensive listings.

According to Inflammation Factor, Inflammation scores are as follows:

200 or higher Strongly anti-inflammatory
101 to 200 Moderately anti-inflammatory
0 to 100 Mildly anti-inflammatory
-1 to -100 Mildly inflammatory
-101 to 200 Moderately inflammatory
-201 or lower Strongly inflammatory

and so, according to Inflammation Factor:

Turkey, breast, roasted 3 ounces -104 (Generally you might have 3 times that)
Pork sausage, cooked 3 ounces -86
Stuffing, bread, from mix 1 ounce -6
Ham, spiral cut, roasted 3 ounces -39
Cranberry sauce 1/2 cup -177
Potatoes, mashed 1/2 cup -69
Pie, pumpkin, commercial 1 ounce -26
Cake, fruit 1 ounce -69
Pie, apple 1 ounce -36
Chocolate, dark 1 ounce -76
Bread sticks, plain 1 ounce -79
Coffee, brewed 8 ounces 1
Cola 8 ounces -28

Basically, this possible Thanksgiving dinner has many inflammatory foods. Move the servings into real proportions and your batting well over 1000 in the inflammatory scale. Your body’s auto-immune system is working on high and your heart and arteries are beating rapidly. Thanksgiving and Inflammation might bring you to the edge of having a heart attack or a stroke.

Each year heart attacks kill more than 150,000 Americans, nearly half of them women. Many aren’t fatal if you seek a cardiologic check-up and follow a diet and exercise program. Exercise cuts inflammation that simultaneously reduces your risk of heart disease as well as many types of cancer. Walk 30 min recreationally every day at minimum-with more vigorous/longer exercise as advised by your doctor.

Extra belly fat is an inflammation factory-actually churning out inflammatory chemicals that wreak havoc elsewhere.

A list of anti inflammatory foods include:

a. Berries: especially dark reds and blues like strawberries and blueberries

b. Vegetables-darker the color the better, including dark green kale and spinach

c. Whole grains-including oatmeal, quinoa, barley and farro. Avoid sugary or starchy foods that jack up your sugar level.

d. Healthy oils-found in nuts and fish. Saturated fat found in full fat dairy and meat fuel the inflammatory fire.

There are many factors associated with the risk of developing life threatening diseases and conditions. Some are genetic and some are dietary. The idea is to consider what you can change and whether you’re willing to effect those changes that you can control in a path towards wellness. It’s a lifestyle choice that is up to you. The sacrifices may help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. After a while, they won’t seem like sacrifices. There are no guarantees, however. That’s where the Pleasure Principle remains dominant.

So this Thanksgiving, as in previous Thanksgivings, I ask the host of the dinner to prepare a fish dish for me. After all, the Indians that met the Pilgrims showed them how they caught fish. Fish, like Salmon, is rich in Omega 3 fatty acid and the Inflammation Factor (Salmon, Atlantic, farmed, baked 3 ounces 843) is great. Does it have cholesterol? Yes. But it’s a healthier way to celebrate Thanksgiving. You really don’t need Thanksgiving and Inflammation.