Monday, February 24, 2014

Men warned of supplements risk

Men have been warned not to take a pair of popular vitamin and mineral supplements after research showed they can dramatically increase the risk of life-threatening prostate cancer.
Overdosing on the mineral selenium by taking supplements raised the chances of developing high-grade cancer by 91%, scientists found.

Vitamin E pills also boosted the risk of aggressive cancer, more than doubling it for men lacking selenium.

The researchers believe selenium can turn toxic when present in the body at excessively high levels.

At the same time, the mineral appeared to protect against the harmful effects of too much vitamin E.

The US study was a follow-up of Select, the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, which originally recruited more than 35,000 men to see if the supplements could help prevent prostate cancer.

Researchers stopped the trial three years early in 2008 after there were hints that instead of protecting men, vitamin E was putting them at greater risk, while selenium showed no benefit.

A subsequent comparison of 1,739 participants diagnosed with prostate cancer and 3,117 matched cancer-free individuals highlighted the supplement hazards.

Study leader Dr Alan Kristal, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, said: "These supplements are popular - especially vitamin E - although so far no large, well-designed and well-conducted study has shown any benefits for preventing major chronic disease.

" Men using these supplements should stop, period. Neither selenium nor vitamin E supplementation confers any known benefits, only risks."

Selenium supplements had no effect on men who started out lacking the mineral, but were harmful when added to baseline levels that were already high. For aggressive, high-grade cancers, the risk went up by 91%.

Among men with low selenium status at the start of the study, vitamin E supplements increased the overall risk of prostate cancer by 63% while the high-grade risk rose by 111%.
Of the men in the study who developed prostate cancer, 489 were diagnosed with high-grade disease.

Dr Kristal said people were often misled by the supposed benefits of dietary supplements.

"Many people think that dietary supplements are helpful or at the least innocuous," he said . "This is not true. We know from several other studies that some high-dose dietary supplements - that is, supplements that provide far more than the daily recommended intakes of micronutrients - increase cancer risk.

"We knew this based on randomised, controlled, double-blinded studies for folate and beta carotene, and now we know it for vitamin E and selenium."

The new findings appear in the latest edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In their paper the scientists warn that "men aged greater than 55 should avoid supplementation with either vitamin E or selenium at doses that exceed recommended dietary intakes".

Men taking part in the research were given 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E a day and a selenium dose of 200 micrograms.

Dr Matthew Hobbs, deputy director of research at Prostate Cancer UK, said: " It is very difficult to draw any useful conclusions from this paper that would be applicable to all men. We would need to see data from much longer studies that look at the total health impact of selenium or vitamin E supplements before we could say if the small effects on the chance of getting prostate cancer suggested by this study outweigh any general benefits to health.

"If men are concerned about their prostate cancer risk, rather than worrying about selenium and vitamin E supplements, they should talk to a GP or visit our website to find out more information."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Vaginal Cream Blocks HIV Transmission

After years of work on a microbicide, researchers in Texas and Mexico have come up with one using silver nanoparticles that works in a completely different way.

It's a long way from market, but researchers from the University of Texas, in collaboration with Humberto Lara Villegas, specialist in nanoparticles and virology from the University of Monterrey, Mexico, have created a new vaginal cream that prevents HIV transmission. The cream uses silver nanoparticles to block the virus from entering CD4 immune cells.

Lara Villegas, one of the University of Monterrey researchers, told Science Daily that HIV normally enters CD4 cells "with the aid of a protein known as GP120, which allows the virus adherence to the cells. This same principle is used by silver nanoparticles to attach themselves to this protein and block it, turning the virus inactive."

SD reports that the vaginal cream "has been tested in samples of human tissue and has proven the efficiency of silver nanoparticles to avoid the transmission of the virus through cervical mucous membrane." Villegas also told the publication that the cream take less than a minute to begin working and can last up to 72 hours, and because of the unusual blocking process, would provide protection for the woman and her partner, regardless of who might be carrying HIV.

"Right now, I am certain that this microbicide is going to avoid the virus entering the organism, but I cannot yet assure that is totally harmless, because the clinical trials are a long and expensive process," Villegas said.

The cream will now go into testing on mice that accept human cells and later to live human clinical trials, meaning the vaginal cream won't be available at your local drugstore any time soon.

 But when it is, Villegas says, it might do more than block HIV; it could be used to prevent transmission of other sexually trasmitted infections like HPV and chlamydia.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

4 Sugar Secrets The Food Industry Is Keeping Away From You

Just one sugar-sweetened beverage alone contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, which already pushes us over the edge!

Sugar has been around for a very, very long time, however, we have increased our consumption to outrageous amounts. Our ancestors, who got their food out of the ground, consumed about one ounce of sugar per day

Today, that has risen to about six and a half ounces per day, with most of the increase in consumption occurring over the last thirty years – mainly because of changes in our food supply. These changes are driven by the food industry, the government and our palate.

Just what is it that the food industry does not want us to know about sugar? Why is this white gold so valuable to them, yet so dangerous to us?

Mother Nature’s checks and balances
A high enough dose of anything can be lethal – too much water can cause a seizure, too much oxygen can cause retinopathy and iron, although necessary, can cause liver damage in excess.
Nature places limits on our ability to ingest substances such as these, which keeps us from becoming ill. In addition, none of these naturally occurring substances have a potential for abuse, so the above mentioned diseases/conditions are rare.

Sugar is indeed a different story
Paracelsus (1493-1541), a natural scientist, philosopher and alchemist, once said, “the dose determines the poison.” When it comes to sugar, a little is ok, a lot is not. We can metabolize a small amount of sugar, however, we have exceeded that by a whole lot and that is the problem.

Dietary guidelines established by the American Heart Association indicate that men should not consume over nine teaspoons of sugar a day, and women should not consume more than six. Sadly, we are consuming a whopping twenty-two teaspoons on average.

What they don’t want us to know
Why is the food industry keeping secrets from us? What is it about sugar that they don’t want us to know? What is going to happen when more people actually find out what is going on?

These are all important questions for us to be asking in light of the present rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease – we are a nation in the thick of a health crisis that is largely driven by the corruption of our food system.

Education sparks activation and the more you know about what they don’t want you to know, the better decisions you can make for you and your family. Here are just four things for you to consider:

Secret #1: What happens when you eat sugar
Food manufacturers don’t want us to know what really happens to our bodies when we consume sugar. Most of us associate sugar with energy – and rightly so, it provides an immediate source of energy. However, unless you are an elite athlete, which most of us are not, this can be a major problem.

When sugar is consumed, the bonds between glucose and fructose are broken and the fructose goes straight to the liver where it is absorbed. If there is not an immediate need for energy, the fructose is stored as fat. The overconsumption of sugar also causes insulin resistance and completely turns our internal balance upside down.

In addition, every time fructose is processed, hydrogen peroxide is released inside of cells. While hydrogen peroxide on a cut may be a good thing, it spells disaster to our cells. In fact, it kills our cells and accelerates the aging process.

Of course, the health implications of sugar are well documented. Here are just ten reasons why you should avoid it completely:
  • Sugar suppresses the immune system.
  • Sugar elevates blood sugar.
  • Sugar disrupts mineral balance.
  • Sugar disrupts digestion.
  • Sugar causes tooth decay.
  • Sugar contributes to obesity.
  • Sugar can cause heart disease.
  • Sugar can cause food allergies.
  • Sugar can cause depression.
  • Sugar increases the risk of certain cancers.
Secret #2: Manufacturers hide the sugar
Would you be surprised if we told you that of the 600,000 or so foods that are manufactured and consumed in the United States, over 80 percent of them contain added sugar? But, you say, you don’t see sugar listed as an ingredient on the label. Well, the food manufacturers have it covered – sugar actually has over 50 different names, meaning that the food industry can easily pull one over on us by listing each of these ingredients separately.

Furthermore, as they list these ingredients on the label, they may appear as ingredient #3, #4, #7 and so on – so even if they are not the #1 ingredient, when you total up their presence they do in fact become the #1 ingredient. Pretty crafty, aren’t they? The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Americans consume about 156 pounds of added sugar annually, or over 31 five-pound bags per person.

Most of this sugar is probably consumed without the consumer even knowing it. If you eat packaged, bottled or canned foods with more than 5 ingredients, or ingredients you can not pronounce, chances are you are eating extra sugar.

Here are just a few of the names you may not be so familiar with:
  • Barley malt
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Fruit juice
  • Honey
  • Beet sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Invert sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Dextran
  • Glucose
  • Lactose
  • Buttered syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Glucose solids
  • Malt syrup
  • Cane-juice crystals
  • Diatase
  • Golden sugar
  • Maltodextrin
Of course one of the worst culprits of all time is high fructose corn syrup. This loosely bound, highly unstable sugar forms compounds that damage cells and tissue, and is linked to diabetes. When products with HFCS are consumed, there is a tremendous strain on the pancreas and, according to research, the risk of pancreatic cancer may increase.

Secret #3: Sugar is an addictive substance
A book written by Dr. Robert Lustig, Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar, is said to have caused a backlash from the food industry. Lustig is a pediatrician who specializes in treating overweight children in San Francisco. He’s spent 16 years studying sugar’s effects on the central nervous system, as well as metabolism and disease.

Lustig says that the industry has turned sugar into a diet staple, because they know it works to hook consumers into buying more. He notes, “if some unscrupulous cereal manufacturer went out and laced your breakfast cereal with morphine to get you to buy more, what would you think about that?”

They do virtually the same thing, but with sugar. He says cocaine and heroin are deadly because they are toxic and addictive. So is sugar. Sugar plays with the reward center in the brain, hijacking even our common sense and driving us back for yet another soda, bowl of cereal or frothy latte.

Paul van der Velpen, the head of Amsterdam’s health service, recently said in an online post: “This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of the times.”

Van der Velpen points to sugar’s addictive effect on the appetite as the reason for this claim: “Sugar upsets that mechanism. Whoever uses sugar wants more and more, even when they are no longer hungry. Give someone eggs and he’ll stop eating at any given time. Give him cookies and he eats on even though his stomach is painful.”

So, if the more sugar we consume, the more we want, it makes sense for food manufacturers, whose sole objective is to make a profit, to hide this dirty little secret from us.

Secret #4: When sugar pairs with other substances
As if adding extra sugar covertly to foods isn’t bad enough, the giants in the processed food industry have taken it a step further. They are combining sugar with other substances to increase profits and health risk at the same time.

Let’s take fat to start with. Is it the fat in the creamy milkshake or the sugar that we crave? Actually, it is the sugar that increases the allure of fat, making the combination irresistible for some people. Food scientists work around the clock to concoct combinations of just the right amount of sugar and fat to drive our sensory pleasure zones off the charts.

Sugar and caffeine are another dangerous duo that combine in any number of processed foods, from sweetened coffee beverages and sodas to baked goods. Although it can be argued that moderate amounts of caffeine are harmless and may even be beneficial, excess consumption may lead to agitation, problems with sleep and disorientation, especially in individuals who are sensitive and children.

Large doses can stimulate the heart, dilate vessels and increase gastric acid production and metabolic rate. Withdrawal symptoms can be horrific, as with any other drug, and can induce physical cravings.

When ten year olds are lining up at Starbucks, they are not there for a cup of black coffee, but for something entirely more dangerous. A short video posted online by the Toronto Star examined just how much sugar is in Starbucks’ famous Frappuccino beverages. The results were staggering. In addition to mounds of caffeine, these drinks contain… way too much sugar.

The Star examined three flavors of Frappuccino, all in the “tall” size. The Light Vanilla Frappuccino was found to contain 41 grams of sugar, which translates to 10 teaspoons. The Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino contained 69 grams, or 17 teaspoons. The Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino was the worst offender, with 93 grams, or 23 teaspoons, of sugar.

Houston, we have a problem….
The FDA last evaluated sugar and its impact on health way back in 1986, when the average consumption was far less than it is today. Data once deemed inconclusive is today very clear, however the push needs to continue to get sugar on the docket for discussion. Researchers all over the world are compiling study after study to show that there clearly is reason for concern. Sugar provides energy, not nutrition, and it is nutrition that the American people need.

New labelling laws, continued education, consumer awareness campaigns, legislative action and regulatory intervention to slow the sugar dump into our food supply must happen. Remember, the food industry, like any other big business, has one thing in mind – to pad their pockets with profits. You must be your own advocate and declare war on sugar today!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Energy Drink Scam -- Do Energy Drinks Help You, or Can They Actually Make You Fat?

Today I have a little rant on energy drinks...

I receive a ton of questions about all of these new "energy" drinks that have hit the market over the last few years. They seem to be all the rage, and they promise you the world with outrageous claims of all of the super energy that you are going to have, and how you'll become the best athlete in the world, start lifting cars over your head, and get a perfect body.
So a couple questions arise:

Are these "energy" drinks really any good for you?
Do they actually increase your energy?
Do they really have some sort of magical energy formula?
Will they help you lose weight?

First of all, let's look at what most of these energy drinks are usually made of. Most of them are simply carbonated water loaded with gut-fattening high fructose corn syrup (or other added sugars), caffeine, the amino acid taurine, and some crappy artificially-derived vitamins added for show to trick you into thinking there's something healthy about these concoctions.

Let's start with the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Well, here we've got empty calories that will go straight to your belly fat, and that are possibly even WORSE for you than plain old refined sugar (although that's up for debate, but semantics in the big picture).  

Some energy drinks use other added sugars instead of HFCS, but it doesn't really matter, because they are all gut-fattening empty calories with no nutritional benefit.

Ok, so you say that they also have low-sugar or sugar-free varieties as an alternative to the HFCS-laden energy drinks. Yes, but now you have the problem of the harmful chemicals in the artificial sweeteners which have their own set of health dangers. 

Another problem with artificial sweeteners is that there are some research studies that indicate artificial sweetener use leads people to inadvertently consume more calories and gain more weight in the long run... in addition to having a negative hormonal effect in the body.  I won't go into all of the details on that topic because that would fill up an entire discussion by itself.

Just trust me that artificial sweeteners and artificial chemicals in food in general, are ALL bad news for your body!  It's never a good idea to try to "trick" your body with artificial tastes.

What about the caffeine?
Well, first of all, caffeine doesn't in itself provide "energy". Technically, the only substance that actually provides energy is calories (from carbs, protein, and fat). 

However, caffeine can be an aid for livening or waking some people up, by means of stimulating the central nervous system. 

Instead of caffeine artificially added to some carbonated "energy" drink, I'd rather get my caffeine from a natural source like green, white, or oolong teas (or my new favorite - yerba mate teas), which actually provide very powerful healthy antioxidants too!

Keep in mind though, if you're a regular daily coffee drinker, you probably have some level of addiction to caffeine and probably wouldn't receive too much benefit from the caffeine in an energy drink anyway.

Tip:  try to drink more tea and reduce your coffee intake to only a couple days per week max to reduce your dependency on caffeine.  Most teas contain much less caffeine than coffee, and some teas (such as green, white, and oolong) contain synergistic phytochemicals that work to slow the response of the caffeine that they do contain.  This means you get a milder response from the caffeine in green, oolong, or white teas compared to the harsher jittery response that some people get from coffee.

Now what about that so called magical blend of taurine and B-vitamins that they load into these energy drinks?
Well, big get taurine in almost any protein source. And the vast majority of those artificially added B-vitamins are simply coming right out into the toilet in your pee. 

Vitamins are best obtained naturally from a REAL food source, not artificially added to some carbonated drink. Your body just doesn't use fake sources of vitamins as readily as natural sources from real food.

So as you can see, in my opinion, I give all of these energy drinks a big time THUMBS DOWN!  Don't fall for the ridiculous marketing of all of these so-called "energy drinks".

Instead, here's my recipe for my own home-made energy drink:
1.  Make a big iced tea mixture using green tea, white tea, and yerba mate tea.  I like to add a little fruit flavor, so I'll use 1 tea bag of a raspberry or blueberry hibiscus tea, and then use 2-3 green and/or white tea bags, and 2-3 yerba mate tea bags, and make a gallon container of iced tea.  I just use a small amount of stevia to lightly sweeten the batch of tea.

2. I buy a container of organic coconut water from a health food store, or buy fresh coconuts to obtain the coconut water from the inside.

3.  For my healthy energy drink, I mix a half of a glass of the white/green/yerba mate iced tea mixture and fill the rest of the glass with the coconut water.

This is actually a delicious and truly healthy energy drink instead of the chemical-laden crappy energy drinks that everybody is getting suckered into buying these days.

The green, white, and yerba mate teas contain a small dose of caffeine along with a diverse mixture of powerful antioxidants and synergistic phytochemicals.  Plus, the coconut water is a rich source of electrolytes and a diversity of vitamins and minerals.  

Coconut water is known to provide a good instant energy source, and also contains a small dose of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are healthy fats that are readily used for energy and also aid your immune system.

So enjoy this natural healthy energy drink, knowing that you're doing your body good instead of filling it with chemicals with normal store-bought energy drinks.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


If you want beautiful glowing skin, and an immune system powerful enough to fight off just about anything, don’t forget this highly nutritious but common vegetable.

Cabbage is powerful. Ancient healers declared it contained moon power because it grew in the moonlight. Modern nutritional science understands its power comes from its high sulfur and vitamin C content. Either way – it’s worth adding this Powerfood to your weekly diet.

1. Ideal for weight loss!
It has only 33 calories in a cup of cooked cabbage, is low in fat and high in fiber. It is definitely a smart carb.

2. It is a brain food!
It is full of vitamin K and anthocyanins that help with mental function and concentration. These nutrients also prevent nerve damage, improving your defense against Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia. Red cabbage has the highest amount of these power nutrients.
All vegetables are good for the skin, but cabbage is one of the best!

3. High in sulfur, the beautifying mineral.
Cabbage helps dry up oily and acne skin. Internally sulfur is essential for keratin, a protein substance necessary for healthy hair, nails, and skin. Check out this Homemade Cabbage Face Mask

4. Helps detoxify the body
The high content of vitamin C and sulphur in cabbage removes toxins (free radicals and uric acid); which are the main causes of arthritis, skin diseases, rheumatism and gout.

5. Has well-known cancer preventative compounds
lupeol, sinigrin and sulforaphane.
They stimulate enzyme activity and inhibit the growth of cancer tumors. A Study on women showed a reduction in breast cancer when cruciferous vegetables like cabbage were added to their diet.

6. Helps keep blood pressure from getting high.

The high potassium content helps by opening up blood vessels, easing the flow of blood.

7. Cabbage for headaches:

A warm compress made with cabbage leaves can help relieve the pain of a headache. Crush cabbage leaves, place in a cloth, and apply on the forehead. Also, drink raw cabbage juice 1-2 oz. (25-50ml) daily for chronic headaches.

8. Hangovers from heavy drinking were reduced by using cabbage, since Roman times.

9.  Anti-inflammatory and Blood Sugar Regulator.
The natural red pigments of red cabbage (betalains) is said to lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production. Of course it has no white sugars and very few simple sugars. Betalains have powerful anti-inflammatory properties just like beets.

Cabbage Trivia
  • Some children’s legends say babies come from ‘Cabbage Patches’.
  • Cabbage is considered Russia’s national food. Russians eat about seven times as much cabbage as the average North American.
  • Chinese scrolls from1000 BC declare white cabbage as a cure for baldness in men.
  • “It will make you feel as if you had not eaten and you can drink as much as you like.”  Said Cato, a Roman who lived till he was 80 and ate cabbage before and after meals.
  • Babe Ruth used to wear a cabbage leaf under his hat during games which he would switch out for a fresh leaf halfway through each game.
  • See the world’s biggest cabbage, a prize-winning cabbage more than 125 pounds with leaves reaching more than 5 feet. - Big Cabbage

Cabbage History
  • Cabbage is one of the oldest known vegetables.
  • Cabbage dates back to 4,000 B.C. in Shensi province in China.
  • Around 600 B.C. the Celts brought cabbage to Europe from Asia.
  • In 1536 French navigator Jacques Cartier brought cabbage to the Americas.
  • In Captain Cook’s famous first voyage, (17th century) many of the crew members were saved from gangrene when the ship’s doctor made poultices of cabbage to apply to their wounds.
Cabbage Caution:
Those with thyroid problems should avoid eating large amounts of cabbage. It interfere with the body’s absorption of iodine, needed by the thyroid gland. This applies to all cruciferous vegetables.

Types of cabbage:
There are many different types of cabbages with different taste and uses.
They include: green cabbage, Nappa cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, bok choy and brussel sprouts.
Cabbage is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibre. It also has phytonutrients known to prevent cancer. For more information click Cabbage Nutrition!

Cabbage Recipes :
Cabbage Walnut Salad:  This classic salad is delicious and healthy.
Warm Winter Crunchy Salad:  This has all the grounding warming foods suitable for winter rather than cooling lettuces.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

3 Reasons to Start Your Day with Warm Lemon Water

Ayurvedic philosophy states that the choices that we make each day can either build us up or make us more susceptible to life-destroying disease.

Because we are exposed to so many environmental toxins from what we breathe in to what we put on our skin, in addition to the damaging impacts of our Western diet, our body quickly shifts into toxic overdrive.

We may go to sleep each night, our body continues to work to rebalance, heal, repair, restore and revitalize so that we can have ample energy to face the next day. you knew that there was one simple, inexpensive thing you could do every day to help build health and rid your body of disease, would you do it?

Consuming a cup of warm lemon water upon rising is one small change that can make a dramatic impact on how our bodies function. If this seems too simple to be true, we invite you to read on.

The health promoting benefits of lemons is old news. For centuries, it has been known that lemons contain powerful antibacterial, antiviral and immune boosting components. We know that lemons are a great digestive aid and liver cleanser.

Lemons contain citric acid, magnesium, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, pectin, calcium and limonene, which supercharge our immunity so that the body can fight infection.

How to Make Warm Lemon Water
While it is not rocket science, making warm lemon water involves paying particular attention to a couple of things. The water you use should be purified and lukewarm. Don’t make the water super hot, and avoid cold water.

It is hard on the body, especially first thing in the morning, to ask it to process ice cold water. Always use fresh, organic lemons in your water, never bottled lemon juice. Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon into each glass of warm water. Be sure to drink the lemon water before you eat anything. This also makes a nice pre-workout drink.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider adding a warm glass of lemon water to your daily routine.

Improves Digestion: Your body works hard to digest all that you give it. Lemon juice helps flush away unwanted materials and toxins left from the digestive process. Because lemon juice is similar in atomic composition to digestive juices and saliva, it does a great job breaking down material and encouraging the liver to produce bile.

Warm lemon water is a great tonic for heartburn, indigestion and bloating. The American Cancer Society recommends warm lemon water to encourage regular bowel movements.

Balances pH: Lemons are considered one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat. This may seem untrue as they are acidic on their own. However, in the body, lemons are alkaline; the citric acid does not create acidity once it has been metabolized. The minerals in lemons are actually what helps to alkalize the blood.

Most people are too acidic, and drinking warm lemon water helps reduce overall acidity, drawing uric acid from the joints. This reduces the pain and inflammation which many people feel.

Boosts Energy and Improves Mood: Have you ever gotten up on the “wrong side of the bed?” If you are often lethargic and cranky in the morning, or any time of the day, for that matter, you may want to consider a little glass of lemon and water. Our energy comes from atoms and molecules in our food.

When positively charged atoms flood the digestive tract and mingle with those that are negatively charged, a positive reaction occurs. Lemons contain more negatively charged ions than positive ions, which gives you a boost as the warm drink enters your digestive tract.

Just the scent alone of lemons can improve your mood and elevate energy levels. Lemons also promote clear thinking and help reduce anxiety and depression.