Once commonly used Thimerosal now viewed as toxin

It was a few decades ago and my sophomore year in college when I developed a case of severe red-eye and conjunctivitus. It took several months to figure out that I had developed a severe allergic reaction to the preservative in my contact lens solution. This preservative was called thimerosal, which was also commonly used as a preservative in immunization shots. Well by now I hope everybody knows this substance is a mercury containing toxin. I believe most immunizations no longer contain thimerosal. However what else they may contain in its place is probably a good question to ask.

Publication Cover
(research / study results article:)

Mitochondrial dysfunction, impaired oxidative-reduction activity, degeneration, and death in human neuronal and fetal cells induced by low-level exposure to thimerosal and other metal compounds

Big League Fitness for Golf DVD

Recommended exercise DVD for anyone (not just golfers) looking to improve their fitness

A few years ago, when I obtained my certification as a Golf Fitness instructor from the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), co-founder Greg Rose led our group through a great shoulder rehab exercise routine available on this DVD, developed by Tom House, former big league baseball player and baseball fitness guru, to help major league players and particularly pitchers. Tom worked with TPI to make these routines available on DVD for golfers. There are many physical requirement similarities between golf and pitching.

This three-part DVD will take you through exercises targeting your upper body, core, and lower body in an effort to help your game as well as your quality of life. Players of all ages and skill levels can enjoy the benefits of this feet and fingertip program. See how Tom's fitness secrets that he uses with the best baseball players in the world will directly improve the movements in your golf swing.

These exercises are simple to perform and very well designed. I recommend similar routines to most patients. So this DVD is not just for athletes, but anybody looking to improve their fitness. This is a great DVD that will lead you through the exercises in a straight forward and easy-to-understand manner.

Google Search for this DVD

Capsaicin weight loss mechanism suggested

Researchers in Korea have published new evidence that suggests the mechanisms behind why capsaicin may aid weight loss

Capsaicin is found in the white pulp of chili peppers and is the compound that gives them their ‘heat’, causing a burning sensation in any tissue it comes into contact with. However studies have investigated the compounds potential health benefits, including helping weight loss, having anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant activity, and inhibiting a number of cancer cells.

Previous laboratory studies have hinted that capsaicin may help to fight obesity by reducing the amount of calories absorbed in the gut, reducing fat tissue, speeding up metabolism, and lowering lipid levels in the blood. However the mechanisms behind how it might have such a dramatic effect on weight loss have until now remained a mystery.

Research led by Professor Jong Won Yun at the Daegu University in South Korea, suggests that capsaicin may cause weight loss and stop fat build up by stimulating the expression of certain fat degrading proteins, and down-regulating other proteins that work to synthesize fat.

The study involved feeding rats a high fat diet, with one group also being given a treatment of capsaicin. The capsaicin-stimulated rats lost 8 percent body weight compared to the non capsaicin fed rats fed on the same diet. Importantly the new research also showed that capsaicin fed rats showed changes in expression of over 20 key lipid processing proteins.

(more at NutraIngredients): Capsaicin weight loss mechanism suggested

What Do You Lack? Probably Vitamin D

NY Times.com
Published: July 26, 2010

Vitamin D promises to be the most talked-about and written-about supplement of the decade. While studies continue to refine optimal blood levels and recommended dietary amounts, the fact remains that a huge part of the population — from robust newborns to the frail elderly, and many others in between — are deficient in this essential nutrient.

(more) NY Times Article on Vitamin D

USDA examines diabetes benefits of cinnamon

Spices such as cinnamon could be used in the battle against type 2 diabetes, according to United States Agricultural Department (USDA) scientists.

Nutrition researchers from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are purifying, characterizing and evaluating the components of cinnamon and other spices to explore their beneficial effects on insulin levels and related functions.

Research by chemist Richard Anderson, at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Maryland and colleagues suggests certain spices may be beneficial to some people with diabetes.

(more) USDA examines diabetes benefits of cinnamon

Controversial food dyes in U.S. to be labeled in Europe

American food products containing potentially harmful dyes will now be forced to carry warning labels when sold in the European Union -- a precaution not required for American consumers, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

The 27-member European Union (EU) recently mandated that most foods containing artificial food dyes must bear warning labels declaring that the food "may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children." It's unclear exactly how many food products will now be required to carry the warning label, says the CSPI, since Europeans have traditionally used far less artificial dye than Americans. The British government asked companies to remove most artificial dyes in December 2009.

The CSPI hopes the new EU labeling rule catches the attention of officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which it says has not shown interest in protecting American consumers from the dyes.

Because the FDA hasn't required U.S. food manufacturers to switch to safer natural colorings, the CSPI says, many American companies sell artificially dyed food in the United States but not in Europe. For example, the topping in McDonald's Strawberry Sundae sold in the United States contains Red 40, while in the United Kingdom, the topping's color comes from strawberries.

(more) Controversial food dyes in U.S. to be labeled in Europe, not here
(complete report from CSPI - pdf, 3meg) Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risks

Anti-Aging Strategies: Caloric Restriction

Properly done, a nutritious diet can reduce calories AND cravings; leading to better health and a longer life

When it comes to anti-aging strategies, caloric restriction probably has the largest base of evidence. The key is to avoid excessive and empty calories, while eating a nutrient-rich, but low calorie diet.

Life Extension Foundation (LEF) refers to this as "caloric restriction with optimal nutrition", or CRON. Caloric restriction activates genes that amongst other things, up-regulate repair and regeneration activities. More recent research is investigating the ability of certain natural substances, such as resveratrol, to activate these same gene sequences.

For more information, consider reviewing:
LEF: Caloric Restriction for Improved Health and Longer Life

Do you have a Vitamin D deficiency?

This video clip from YouTube provides an excellent overview:

(goto embedded video link from YouTube)

Low vitamin D levels can predict Parkinson's disease

In yet another study to reveal the far-reaching benefits of vitamin D, researchers at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland report in the July, 2010 issue of the AMA journal Archives of Neurology the finding of a correlation between reduced blood levels of vitamin D and an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

(more) Life Extension Foundation newsletter

Vitamin D - Why You Are Probably Not Getting Enough

Please check out this great article by Dr. Mark Hyman MD:

What vitamin do we need in amounts up to 25 times higher than the government recommends for us to be healthy?

What vitamin deficiency affects over half of the population, is almost never diagnosed, and has been linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic muscle pain, bone loss, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis?

What vitamin is almost totally absent from our food supply?
What vitamin is the hidden cause of so much suffering that is so easy to treat?

The answer to all of these questions is vitamin D.

(more) article by Mark Hyman MD

Measuring Vitamin D Blood Levels

What to test?
25-OH vitamin D (25 hydroxy vitamin D)

How to interpret results?
There are different units of measurement that may be utilized depending on the lab that takes the measurement. The most common units of measurement will either ng/mL, OR nmol/L. So when you get your lab results just remember to compare them to the appropriate targets per the unit of measurement that was utlized in your test.

Here are the units and my target ranges for optimal levels:
  • 50-80 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter)
  • 120-200 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter)

Osteoporosis Canada calls for big vitamin D dose rise

By Stephen Daniells, 13-Jul-2010

Adults under the age of 50 should be taking up to 1,000 International Units of vitamin D, according to new guidelines from Osteoporosis Canada. And people over 50 should be taking supplements up to 2,000 IU – the current ‘tolerable upper intake level’ – add the updated guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Current Canadian recommendations are over a decade old and were not based on properly conducted dose-finding studies, says the journal.

“A daily supplement of 800 IU should now be regarded as a minimum dose for adults with osteoporosis,” states co-author Dr David Hanley from the University of Calgary Health Sciences Centre. “Canadians can safely take daily vitamin D supplements up to the current definition of tolerable upper intake level 2000 IU, but doses above that require medical supervision.”

The guidelines echo similar calls for the population to boost intakes of vitamin D. Typical recommended daily intakes (RDIs) lie between 200 and 600 international units (IU) per day while more and more science shows the above benefits can be better achieved with levels closer to 2000IU per day without safety concerns.

Vitamins D and E May Affect Dementia Risk

Studies Show Blood Levels of Vitamins D and E Are Linked to Risk of Cognitive Decline
By Denise Mann

WebMD Health News July 12, 2010 -- Two new studies help clarify the role that certain vitamins may play in the onset of cognitive decline, including risk of Alzheimer's disease.

One study suggests that low blood levels of vitamin D may increase risk for cognitive decline, while another study shows that consuming a diet rich in the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin E may help reduce the risk for dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

In the vitamin D study of 858 adults aged 65 and older, those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D -- less than 25 nanomoles per liter of blood -- were 60% more likely to show signs of general cognitive decline during the six-year study and 31% more likely to show declines in their ability to plan, organize, and prioritize (so-called executive function), than their counterparts who had sufficient blood levels of vitamin D.

The findings appear in the July 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Vitamin D is often called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it in response to sunlight. Vitamin D has become the "it" vitamin in recent years, as growing research links its deficiency to a host of health problems including heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes, schizophrenia, and some autoimmune disorders.

Anywhere from 40% to 100% of older adults in the U.S. and Europe may be vitamin D-deficient, according to information cited in the new study.

(more at WebMD) Vitamins D and E May Affect Dementia Risk

Low vitamin D linked to metabolic syndrome in seniors

By Stephen Daniells, 02-Jul-2010

Insufficient and deficient levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by about 40 percent, according to new findings.

According to findings presented at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, of the 1,300 white Dutch men and women ages 65 and older surveyed almost 50 percent were vitamin D deficient, and about 37 percent of the total sample had the metabolic syndrome.

“Because the metabolic syndrome increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, an adequate vitamin D level in the body might be important in the prevention of these diseases,” said study co-author Marelise Eekhoff, MD, PhD, of VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam.

The study supports previous findings from other studies. A report in Diabetes Care last year showed that about 40 percent of elderly Chinese people may have metabolic syndrome, linked to insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D.

The link between vitamin D and metabolic syndrome is plausible biologically. Vitamin D deficiency has previously been linked to impaired insulin secretion in animals and humans, and has also been linked to insulin resistance in healthy, glucose-tolerant subjects.

Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a condition characterised by central obesity, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Key findings

Eekhoff and her co-workers analysed blood samples of almost 1,300 people participating in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. People with blood levels of vitamin D (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D) lower than 50 nanomoles per liter were likelier to have the metabolic syndrome than those whose vitamin D levels exceeded 50, said the researchers.

No differences in risk were observed between men and women, added the authors. NutraIngredients has not seen the full data.

"It is important to investigate the exact role of vitamin D in diabetes to find new and maybe easy ways to prevent it and cardiovascular disease," said Eekhoff.

In addition to a potential link to an increased risk of MetS, vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. There is also some evidence that the vitamin may reduce the incidence of several types of cancer and type-1 diabetes.

(more at NutraIngredients) Low vitamin D linked to metabolic syndrome in seniors

Fish oil may reduce risk of breast cancer

Contact: Jeremy Moore
American Association for Cancer Research

PHILADELPHIA — A recent report in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, adds to the growing evidence that fish oil supplements may play a role in preventing chronic disease.

Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., led by Emily White, Ph.D., a member of the public health sciences division, asked 35,016 postmenopausal women who did not have a history of breast cancer to complete a 24-page questionnaire about their use of non-vitamin, non-mineral "specialty" supplements in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort study.

After six years of follow-up, 880 cases of breast cancer were identified using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results registry.

Regular use of fish oil supplements, which contain high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, was linked with a 32 percent reduced risk of breast cancer. The reduction in risk appeared to be restricted to invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type of the disease.

(more at EurekAlert!) Fish oil may reduce risk of breast cancer

High-flavanol cocoa repairs blood vessels in CVD patients - Mars

By Jane Byrne , 08-Jul-2010 at www.NutraIngredients.com

Cocoa flavanols could improve poor blood vessel function in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), according to research by a team of researchers, including scientists from confectionery maker, Mars Inc.

Poor blood vessel function is recognized as an early stage in the development process of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including coronary artery disease.

CVD is one of the leading causes of morbidity, mortality, and disability in many parts of the world, especially in Western countries, and accounts for one-fifth of all mortality in the US.

The results of the research, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), found that daily cocoa flavanol consumption more than doubled the number of circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) in the blood.

The study was supported by a grant from the American Heart Association, and an unrestricted research grant from Mars.

Blood vessel health

CACs have been shown to have vessel repair and maintenance functions, which can contribute to healthy blood vessels. The researchers said that increasing levels of CACs have also been associated with a decreased risk of death from CVD causes, citing a 2005 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The authors of the JACC study claim that while other cutting-edge research has demonstrated that physical activity and experimental drug therapy can increase CAC levels, theirs is the first to demonstrate such benefits from a dietary intervention.

“Perhaps most importantly, for the first time, we found that cocoa flavanols might even directly mobilize important cells that could repair damaged blood vessels. The benefits are substantial, without any observed adverse effects," said one of the authors of the study, Christian Heiss, who is based at Heinrich-Heine University.

(more) High-flavanol cocoa repairs blood vessels in CVD patients - Mars

Supplements beat sun for vitamin D boost: Study

By Stephen Daniells, 18-Jun-2010 at www.NutraIngredients.com

Adequate vitamin D levels are best achieved by supplements because of the side-effects of UV exposure, says the results of a new computer simulation model from the US.

We can produce vitamin D in our skin on exposure to sunlight, but the merits of getting the supplement via sunlight or supplements is a source of ongoing debate.

In the US, where over 1.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, experts are pushing supplements, claiming recommendations for sun exposure are "highly irresponsible".

(source:) Supplements beat sun for vitamin D boost: Study

Pregnant women advised to take vitamin D

By Shane Starling, 05-Jul-2010 at www.NutraIngredients.com

British researchers have concluded pregnant women should be advised to take vitamin D after determining there is a “strong case” to back the vitamin’s benefits.

The researchers from the University College London Institute of Child Health wrote in the British Journal of Nutrition that supplementation of vitamin D will benefit pregnant women and reduce the risk of diseases such as infantile hypocalcaemia and rickets.

They said the UK was the only country in 31 that did not officially recommend vitamin D use women of reproductive age, even though the Department of Health advises pregnant women to take 10 micrograms per day.

(more) Pregnant women advised to take vitamin D