New Study: Standard American Diet Causes Nearly Half of All Deaths from Heart Disease, Stroke and Type 2 Diabetes

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It should come as no surprise that our diet plays a critical role in our health and longevity, but the sheer level of influence may come as a shock to you.

A new study published in the March 7 issue of JAMA found that poor diet is responsible for an astonishing 45 percent of all deaths from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes in the US. The researchers attributed this high mortality rate to the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is high in sodium, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meats.

The good news is, just as diet can be our downfall, it’s also just as powerful in promoting exceptional health and longevity — as seen in “Blue Zone” cultures, who are known for their extraordinary lifespan and phenomenal vitality.

A Deadly Trinity of Disease, Directly Linked to Poor Food Choices

According to the newly released JAMA study, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), nearly half of all US deaths in 2012 caused by cardiometabolic diseases — like heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes — are due to poor diet. Out of the 702,308 adult deaths from cardiometabolic diseases, 318,656 — about 45 percent — were linked with over-consumption of certain unhealthy foods, as well as low consumption of specific nutrient dense edibles.

“Nationally, estimated cardiometabolic deaths related to insufficient healthier foods/nutrients remained at least as substantial as those related to excess unhealthful foods/nutrients,” said lead researcher Renata Micha, RD, PhD, of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Boston.

Excess consumption of sodium was associated with the highest percentage of death. Consuming high amounts of processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meat were also linked with high mortality. Americans also don’t eat enough of certain health-promoting foods — like fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, polyunsaturated fats and seafood omega-3 fats.

“Among unhealthful foods/nutrients, the present findings suggest that sodium is a key target,” noted the researchers. “Population-wide salt reduction policies that include a strong government role to educate the public and engage industry to gradually reduce salt content in processed foods (for example, as implemented in the United Kingdom and Turkey) appear to be effective, equitable, and highly cost-effective or even cost-saving.”

According to a press release from the NHLBI:

“The study also shows that the proportion of deaths associated with diet varied across population groups. For instance, death rates were higher among men when compared to women; among blacks and Hispanics compared to whites; and among those with lower education levels, compared with their higher-educated counterparts.”

The findings of the study were based on death certificate data from the National Center of Health Statistics.

With annual US healthcare spending hitting $3.8 trillion in 2014 and $3.2 trillion in 2016 — heart disease and stroke costing nearly $1 billion a day in medical costs along with lost productivity, and diabetes totaling $245 billion annually — the results of this study come as a stark reality check. However, they can also help encourage positive outcomes, such as new public health strategies, public education programs, and revamped industry standards.

For inspiration, we can also look to cultures and communities that have outstanding health and longevity for guidance — and a perfect place to start is with the Blue Zones.

The Island Where People Forgot to Die

Just off the coast of Turkey, very close to Samos, where Pythagoras and Epicurus lived, is a Greek island named Ikaria that is renown as “the island where people forgot to die” because of the exceptional lifespan of its inhabitants. Included in what is referred to as the Blue Zones — five regions in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the US with the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world — the people of Ikaria live about eight years longer than average and have exceedingly good health. These communities are also largely free of health complaints like obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Moreover, they’re sharp to the very end, whereas in the US, almost half the population over 85 suffers from dementia.

Diet is a key ingredient to their robust health and longevity. In Ikaria, they’re eating a variety of a Mediterranean diet, but with lots of potatoes. They also consume high amounts of beans. One unique foodstuff is called horta, a weed-like green that’s eaten as a salad, lightly steamed or baked into pies. Goat’s milk, wine, honey, some fruit and small amounts of fish are also enjoyed. Other foods include feta cheese, lemons and herbs such as sage and marjoram, which are made into tea.

Lifestyle also comes into play. Plenty of sex (even in old age) and napping are integral aspects of the culture, as is physical activity. There are no treadmills or aerobic classes here. Instead, exercise involves planting and maintaining a garden, manual labor (houses in Ikaria only have hand tools) and walking to run errands.

Another Blue Zone region is Sardinia, Italy where goat’s milk and sheep’s cheese are staples, along with moderate amounts of flat bread, sourdough bread and barley. They also eat plenty of fennel, fava beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, almonds, milk thistle tea and wine from Grenache grapes.

Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California made the list as well. The community shuns smoking, drinking and dancing, while also avoiding movies, television and other media distractions. Their diet focuses on grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables — and they only drink water. Sugar, except for natural sources found in whole fruit, is taboo. Adventists who follow the religion’s lifestyle live about 10 years longer than those who don’t. Interestingly, pesco-vegetarians in the community, who include up to one serving of fish per day with their plant-based diet, live longer than vegan Adventists. Avocados, salmon, beans, oatmeal, avocados, whole wheat bread and soy milk make up the bulk of their diet.

Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica also has a high number of centenarians. Theirs is a traditional Mesoamerican diet of beans, corn and squash — plus papayas, yams, bananas and peach palms (an oval fruit dense in vitamins A and C).

The final Blue Zone is Okinawa, Japan. Their “top longevity foods” are bitter melons, seaweed, turmeric, sweet potato, tofu, garlic, brown rice, green tea and shitake mushrooms.

All Blue Zones share the following characteristics:

  • Only eat until you’re 80 percent full.
  • The smallest meal of the day is always in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Diet consists mostly plants, especially beans. Meat is eaten rarely — on average of just five times a month — and in small portions of about 3 to 4 ounces.
  • Moderate amounts of wine is consumed with 1-2 glasses per day (doesn’t apply to Seventh-day Adventists).
  • A sense of community and close social bonds, often with religious underpinnings.

Although the secret to Blue Zone longevity doesn’t rely exclusively on diet, it’s certainly a core foundation for their exceptional health and vitality. We can take a cue from these regions and integrate their wisdom into our own lives for improved well-being. Have a look at these quick and easy Blue Zone recipes for inspiration.

Written By: Carolanne Wright

Article Source: https://wakeup-world.com/2017/04/24/new-study-standard-american-diet-causes-nearly-half-all-deaths-heart-disease-stroke-type-2-diabetes/

 

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Shoulder blade (scapula) pain causes, symptoms, treatments, and exercises

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Shoulder blade pain can occur for numerous reasons, and we are going to look into those causes along with the symptoms, treatments, and exercises that can help improve shoulder blade pain.

The shoulder blades – known as the scapula – are two triangle-shaped bones located at the top of your back. The scapula is connected to the humerus (upper arm bone) and clavicle (collar bone) along with the muscles of the upper back, neck, and arms.

Shoulder blade pain can be experienced above, within, over, or under the shoulder blades, as well as in-between and below the shoulder blades. As mentioned, there are numerous reasons for shoulder blade pain ranging from mild causes like muscle strain to more severe like lung conditions or tumors.

Causes of shoulder blade pain

Below are 27 different causes of shoulder blade pain to help you narrow in on what may be causing your pain.

Muscle strains, muscle contusion (bruise): Overuse of the muscles surrounding the shoulder can result in shoulder blade pain. Other causes of muscle strain are changing workout routine, overusing the muscles, lifting heavier weight than what you are used to, or sleeping in one position for too long.

Disc disease: Compression of nerves in the neck due to a collapsed or displaced disc can result in shoulder blade pain. You may also experience pain in your neck, or tingling or numbness down your arms to your fingers.

Heart conditions: More commonly seen in women, shoulder pain can be sometimes a result of a heart condition. Heart attacks, pericarditis, or aortic dissection can cause pain in the left shoulder.

Fractures: It is quite difficult to fracture the scapula, but it is possible. Fractures of the scapula commonly occur as a result of a car accident or fall and can lead to shoulder blade pain.

Shingles: Shingles is an infection from the chickenpox virus. This type of shoulder blade pain is often a burning sensation followed by a rash.

Bone metastases: Bone metastases occur with the spread of a cancerous tumor. The shoulder pain is often a result of the spread of breast, lung, esophageal, and colon cancer.

Lung conditions and tumor: Lung conditions like pulmonary emboli or a collapsed lung along with lung tumors can contribute to shoulder blade pain.

Arthritis, osteoarthritis: Arthritis or osteoarthritis can affect the scapula causing shoulder blade pain.

Snapping scapula syndrome, broken scapula, scapular cancer: There are conditions that solely affect the scapula, such as snapping scapula syndrome, broken scapula, and scapular cancer, leading to pain.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a bone disease, which causes the bones to become thin and fragile. The scapula can be affected by osteoporosis resulting in pain.

Abdominal conditions (GERD, stomach disorders): Sometimes, a shoulder blade pain can result from stomach and digestive issues. This type of pain can occur in the right shoulder and is a result of gallstones, peptic ulcers, and liver disease. Ailments that lead to pain in the left shoulder blade include pancreatitis.

Gallbladder disease: A gallbladder attack can cause pain under the right scapula and the pain can radiate from the upper abdomen to the shoulder.

Liver disease: Liver disease can lead to pain under the right shoulder because the liver is located under the right rib so the pain radiates to the shoulder.

Overuse of shoulder muscles: As mentioned, the overuse of shoulder muscles, whether through exercise or work, can cause pain.

Sleeping the “wrong way”: Sleeping for prolonged periods of time on one side or simply sleeping at an odd angle can cause shoulder blade pain.

Nerve impingement: If your shoulder blade pain radiates down your arm it could be a result of nerve impingement. You may also experience a burning sensation in your hand.

Rotator cuff injury: This injury is most common among athletes and affects one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff.

Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine, which can cause pain between the two shoulders.

Paget’s disease: Paget’s disease is a chronic viral infection of the bones which can cause shoulder blade pain.

Brachial neuritis: Brachial neuritis is a rare neurological condition without a precise cause. Symptoms of brachial neuritis include sudden, severe burning pain above the shoulder.

Whiplash: Whiplash is a strain or sprain of the upper neck muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Pain can begin at the neck and radiate downward.

Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is characterized by allover pain with unknown cause. Fibromyalgia patients are known to have tender points and shoulder blades are among those tender points.

Pleurisy: Pleurisy is inflammation of the lung membrane caused by a viral infection.

Enlarged spleen: An enlarged spleen can cause left shoulder blade pain, which can worsen when breathing in and out.

Frozen shoulder: Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is inflammation and thickening of the shoulder capsule, which wraps the shoulder joint. The condition can take years to heal, but can be aided in physiotherapy exercises.

Avascular necrosis: Avascular necrosis is bone death as a result of limited blood supply. Symptoms include deep, throbbing, and poorly localized pain around the shoulder that can radiate down to the elbow.

Symptoms of shoulder blade pain

shoulder painThe symptoms you experience depend on the cause of your shoulder pain. Pain can be sudden, chronic, temporary, burning, radiating from one area to another, and appearing in different parts of the shoulder. Shoulder blade pain can also cause numbness or tingling, and pain can become worsened when lying on the shoulder or breathing.

Another symptom of shoulder blade pain is crepitus, which is a grating sound when the shoulder moves or when it is pressed.

Pain under right shoulder blade

Pain under the right shoulder can have minor or severe causes. Causes which typically result in pain under the right shoulder include using a computer mouse, carrying a child on the right side, incorrect posture, sleep positions, heart attack, gallbladder attack, liver disease, breast cancer, and arthritis.

Pain under left shoulder blade

Common causes of pain under the left shoulder blade include injury, aging, wrong sleeping position, cold or flu, dislocation, frozen shoulder, fracture, bursitis, torn rotator cuff, compressed nerve, trigger points, inflammation, heart attack, gallbladder attacks, and pneumonia.

Pain between the shoulder blades

Common causes of shoulder blade pain experienced in-between the shoulders are poor posture, herniated discs, gallbladder disease, heart attack, inflammation under the diaphragm, spinal stenosis, cervical spondylosis, osteoarthritis, and facet joint syndrome.

Shoulder blade pain diagnosis and treatment options

If shoulder pain does not go away within a few days, you should see your doctor as it could be an indication of a more serious injury or ailment. Your doctor will perform MRI scans in order to see what is going on with your shoulder to determine if medical intervention is required or home remedies will suffice.

Some treatment options for shoulder blade pain include stopping the pain-causing activity and resting, keeping proper posture, practicing scapular retraction exercises, applying cold and hot compresses, reducing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing acupuncture, wearing a sling, getting massages, taking medications like painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications, getting treatment for underlying illnesses like heart or lung conditions, arthritis, and other infections, which could contribute to shoulder blade pain.

Stretches for shoulder blade pain

Here are some tips, stretches, and exercises you can perform in order to help shoulder blade pain.

Improve your work station: Ensure feet are flat on the ground and knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, back is straight, arms are bent at the elbow at 90 degrees, monitor is at eye level, and your mouse is close to your keyboard.

Correct your posture: Ear, shoulder, and hip joint should be aligned when sitting with good posture. Shoulders should not be slouched and your head should not be tilted.

Massage the area: Lay your shoulder on the massage ball and roll on it with the weight of your body.

Stretch the shoulders: Intertwine your fingers together, lean back, and hunch your upper body as far back as possible, push your hands as far away from you as possible, while looking down. In this position, you can move around to feel other areas of the upper back become stretched.

Stretch the thoracic spine: Have a foam roller underneath your shoulders and lay on it. Keep your ribs downward, but don’t arch your back too much. Keep your hands behind your head in order to support it. Roll gently on the roller.

Do a chest stretch: Stand in the middle of a doorway with each hand forward flat on the side of the door frame. Gently lean into the door frame and feel your chest opening up.

Strengthen postural muscles: Stand up against a wall with your back touching. Have your arms bent at the elbow, hands facing up, palms outward (you should look like a W). Lift your hands above the head to make yourself into the letter I, hold, and return back to the W.

After completing any type of exercise, apply heat packs to the area to further relax the muscle.

Written By:  Emily Lunardo

Article Source: http://www.belmarrahealth.com/shoulder-blade-scapula-pain-causes-symptoms-treatments-and-exercises/

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Benefits Of Swearing: Saying Curse Words Makes You Stronger, Numb To Pain, And More Trustworthy

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We may have been taught to keep swearing to a minimum, as it’s seen as rude and vulgar, new research suggests that in certain situations, swearing may be advantageous. The research found that swearing out loud can actually make you stronger, adding to the many surprising benefits of this offensive behavior.

The study, presented at this year’s annual conference of The British Psychological Society, found that volunteers were able to produce more power and had a stronger handgrip when they swore out loud. However, closer examination revealed that swearing did not have an effect on heart rate, suggesting another reason for this sudden increase in strength.

“So quite why it is that swearing has these effects on strength and pain tolerance remains to be discovered,” explained study author Dr. Richard Stephens in a statement. “We have yet to understand the power of swearing fully.”

For their study, Stephens and his team from Keele University and Long Island University Brooklyn had 29 volunteers complete a test of anaerobic power, a measurement of physical effort during a short period of time where an individual will go “all out.” For the study, the anaerobic exercise consisted of a short intense period on an exercise bike. Volunteers did this bike exercise both after swearing and after not swearing to measure differences in strength. In a second experiment, 52 volunteers were asked to complete an  isometric handgrip test, a physiological test done to increase arterial pressure. Results revealed that swearing resulted in more strength in both experiments.

Surprisingly, increased strength is not the only benefit of swearing, as past research has also shown that swearing helps to reduce pain. According to a 2009 study, swearing triggered higher aggression and a “fight-or-flight” response. In turn, this led to increased heart rate and higher adrenaline, both of which help to numb pain. Although it’s not clear why some words have more physical power than others, researchers suggest it has to do with the high level of emotion tied to swear words. These emotional ties have a stronger physical reaction than other words in your vernacular.

Honesty is also another positive side effect of swearing, as research suggests that people are more trusting of speakers that use more swear words in their speech. According to The Independent, this may be tied to speech patterns. Liars are more likely to use third-person pronouns and negative words in their speech, where honest individuals prefer profanity. This may be because swearing is used to express yourself, and those who swear more regularly are thought to portray their true selves to others.

Source: Stephens R, Spierer D, Katehis E.Effect of swearing on strength and power performance. British Psychological Society annual conference. 2017

 

Written By: Dana Dovey

Article Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-swearing-saying-curse-words-makes-you-stronger-numb-pain-and-more-416927

 

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Porn Use Linked to Erectile Dysfunction

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Men who are obsessed with pornography and prefer masturbation to sexual intercourse appear to be at increased risk for erectile dysfunction, a new study suggests.

Although these results need validation, urologists and other clinicians who treat men with erectile dysfunction and other forms of sexual dysfunction should ask patients about their use of pornography, and potentially recommend abstention, said Matthew Christman, MD, a urologist at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, California.

“The latest version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has added internet gaming disorder. Internet porn has been shown in studies to be more addictive than internet gaming,” so it doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch to add something related to internet pornography use, said Dr Christman at a press briefing here at the American Urological Association (AUA) 2017 Annual Meeting.

A 2014 US armed forces health surveillance survey found that rates of erectile dysfunction had more than doubled during the preceding decade, from about 6 per 1000 person-years to about 13 per 1000 person-years, he reported. This increase was primarily accounted for by an increase in the incidence of psychogenic, rather than organic, erectile dysfunction, and coincided with the growth of pornography on the internet.

Web sites dedicated to pornography videos were first identified in 2006, “and soon after that, Kinsey Institute researchers became the first group to really identify what they describe as ‘pornography-induced erectile dysfunction,’ ” said Dr Christman.

Various research groups have postulated that sexual behavior acts on the same circuitry in the brain as addictive substances, and that internet pornography is a particularly strong stimulus of that circuitry. It is postulated that internet pornography increases sensitivity to pornographic cues and decreases sensitivity to normal stimuli, he explained.

Probably not a shocker, but men viewed pornography more than women. Dr Matthew Christman

 

To see whether there is a correlation between addiction to pornography and sexual dysfunction, Dr Christman and coauthor Jonathan Berger, MD, also from the Naval Medical Center San Diego, used an anonymous survey that included questions about sexual function, preferences, and pornography use, as well as the usual demographic and medical history questions.

The survey was offered to 20- to 40-year-old patients who presented to their urology clinic.

A total of 439 men received questionnaires, and 314 (71.5%) responded. In all, 71 women were given the surveys, and 48 (68%) responded. The majority of both male and female responders were active-duty military (96.8% and 58%, respectively).

Men were evaluated for sexual function with the International Index of Erectile Function 15-item questionnaire, and women with the validated Female Sexual Function Index. Addiction to pornography was measured by two validated instruments: the Pornography Craving Questionnaire and the Obsessive Passion Scale.

“Probably not a shocker, but men viewed pornography more than women,” Dr Christman said.

Among men, 81% reported viewing pornography at least some of the time compared with 38% of women (P ≤ .001)

There were no significant differences in the duration of pornography episodes, with the majority of both men and women reporting they used it for 15 minutes or less at a time.

Preferred sources for pornography were also similar for men and women, with internet porn on computers being the most common, followed by internet porn on telephones. Women reported using books more frequently than men.

In all, 27% of male respondents had sexual dysfunction, as defined by an International Index of Erectile Function score of 25 or less, and 52% of females had sexual dysfunction, as defined by a Female Sexual Function Index score of 26.55 or less.

When they looked at correlations between erectile dysfunction and preferences for pornography in men, the investigators found that the rate of dysfunction was lowest among the 85% of respondents who reported preferring intercourse without pornography (22%). The incidence of dysfunction increased in men who preferred intercourse with pornography (31%), and was highest among men who preferred masturbation with pornography (79%).

The finding was consistent across all five domains of the sexual dysfunction questionnaire: erection, orgasm, libido, intercourse satisfaction, and overall satisfaction.

There were no significant correlations between pornography use and sexual dysfunction in women, however.

Asked by Medscape Medical News whether a patient’s use of pornography mattered clinically, Dr Christman replied that mental health providers at his center who have treated patients for pornography addiction have observed resolution of sexual dysfunction once those patients were able to curtail their pornography use.

I think these investigators are characterizing something that is a real clinical entity.Dr Joseph Alukal

“I think these investigators are characterizing something that is a real clinical entity,” said Joseph Alukal, MD, director of male reproductive health at New York University in New York City and moderator of the briefing in which the data were presented.

“This research represents a beginning to asking this question of how we identify these people and treat them,” he added.

“The clinical impact of erectile dysfunction is a common problem and a burdensome problem, so if this represents some subset of patients who have this common and burdensome problem, and we can treat them with an intervention as simple as ‘you should doing behavior X,’ that’s important,” he said in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

He routinely asks younger patients about pornography use and masturbation habits, and can confirm that for patients with a serious pornography habit, discontinuation can improve their sexual function, he said.

The study was internally supported. Dr Christman, Dr Berger, and Dr Alukal have disclosed no relevant financial relationships. Dr Christman stated that the views expressed in the presentation are those of the authors and do not reflect official policy or position of the US Navy, Department of Defense, or US government.

American Urological Association (AUA) 2017 Annual Meeting: Abstracts PD44-11 and PD69-12, Presented in a briefing May 12, 2017.

Written By: Neil Osterweil

Article Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/879982#vp_1

 

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Surprising Dangers of Elevated Uric Acid

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Elevated levels of uric acid are associated with gout, an excruciating form of arthritis.

More recent evidence demonstrates powerful correlations between high uric acid levels and some of the most deadly conditions of our time, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney failure, and cardiovascular disorders.1-5

In 2016-2017, a group of studies appeared linking uric acid elevations to bipolar disorder.6-9

Many people don’t realize that it is possible to have high uric acid without having gout. About 21% of Americans have elevated levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia), but only 4% suffer from gout.10

A 2016 study highlighted a natural plant extract, called Terminalia bellerica, that can effectively lower uric acid blood levels without the side effects associated with prescription drugs.11

Let’s look at how lowering uric acid blood levels is an important step not only in addressing gout, but also in helping prevent life-shortening diseases.11

Terminalia Bellerica Lowers Uric Acid

Terminalia bellerica is a tree native to lower elevations in Southeast Asia, whose fruit has been used for centuries in Indian traditional medicine to treat a variety of diseases, particularly diabetes.12

In 2011, a component of the T. bellerica fruit rind, gallic acid, was shown to promote antidiabetic activity in a study of diabetic rats.12 In that study, the extract lowered blood sugar levels, and, in a surprising finding, the animals’ pancreases showed regeneration of their insulin-producing islet cells.

Additional beneficial effects noted in that study included reductions in serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, urea, creatinine (a measure of kidney dysfunction when elevated)—and also uric acid.12

Other studies have shown that T. bellerica has protective properties against oxidative stress, which in turn are thought to directly inhibit the action of an enzyme involved in the synthesis of uric acid.11,13

Human Studies

These findings in diabetic rats led a group of Indian researchers to perform a randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine the efficacy and tolerability of a standardized extract of T. bellerica at lowering uric acid levels in humans.11

For the study, 110 people with elevated uric acid received one of the following: a placebo, 40 mg daily of the uric-acid lowering drug febuxostat, 500 mg of T. chebula extract twice daily, or either 250 mg or 500 mg of T. bellerica standardized extracts twice daily.

After 24 weeks, the uric acid levels in the placebo recipients had risen significantly compared to baseline levels. In contrast, all non-placebo groups showed a reduction in uric acid levels compared to baseline and to placebo subjects.11

The most effective dose of T. bellerica was at 500 mg twice daily, which reduced uric acid levels by nearly twice as much as the lower dose.

And while the T. bellerica treatment was only about 60% as effective as the prescription drug febuxostat at reducing uric acid levels, it achieved these results without the side effects associated with this drug,11 which include liver function abnormalities, rash, nausea, and joint pain.14

Because the other common uric acid-lowering drug, allopurinol, also carries a wide range of side effects—including a potentially life-threatening hypersensitivity syndrome15T. bellerica supplementation offers a leap forward in safely lowering high uric acid levels while reducing risks of the conditions associated with them.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Dangers of High Uric Acid

  • Uric acid, a byproduct of normal cell growth and turnover, builds up in our bloodstreams as we age, and is exacerbated by the modern American diet.

  • While initially associated with gout, rising uric acid levels are now associated with many dangerous, lifespan-shortening conditions including cardiovascular and kidney disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.

  • While all of these conditions are proving challenging to treat using modern mainstream medicine, most are proving amenable to prevention with natural compounds.

  • Terminalia bellerica is an Asian tree whose fruit contains valuable bioactive compounds long used in Indian traditional medicine.

  • Extracts of T. bellerica have now been shown to safely and effectively reduce uric acid in humans.

  • Given the anticipated benefits of across-the-board uric acid reduction, these findings make T. bellerica extracts an essential part of any disease-preventing strategy.

Why is it Important to Lower Uric Acid Levels?

Our bodies naturally produce uric acid when we break down and recycle the molecules that constitute DNA and RNA. An enzyme called xanthine oxidase is responsible for conversion of those compounds into uric acid, which is then normally excreted in the urine.

But age-related declines in kidney function lead to impaired excretion and gradual buildup of uric acid in the blood, accounting for the elevated serum uric acid levels in up to 25% of adults.16

Making matters worse, a diet rich in red meats and sugars, especially fructose—in other words, the typical American diet—can sharply increase uric acid production, further exacerbating the problem.17,18 In fact, gout has historically been called “the disease of kings” because of its association with rich diets.19

While gout was the original disorder associated with high uric acid, more recent evidence reveals that it is associated with conditions that are far worse.

Uric acid blood levels above 8.6 mg/dL in men or 7.1 mg/dL in women are classified as hyperuricemia (although some laboratories and research groups use different limits).20,21 High uric acid levels have now been found to be significantly associated with risks for:

  • Decreasing kidney function22
  • Chronic low-level inflammation, itself a major risk factor for many chronic disorders23
  • Metabolic syndrome18,24,25
  • Type II diabetes26-28
  • A wide array of cardiovascular risks, including elevated blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and risk of death from heart attacks and strokes.1,29-35

TABLE: Risk Elevations Associated with High Uric Acid Levels

Condition Risk Increase With Elevated Uric Acid
Kidney failure 7% per 1 mg/dL increase22
Chronic inflammation as measured by hs-CRP 52%23
Metabolic syndrome 410%25
Diabetes 18% per 1 mg/dL increase26
Unstable lipid-rich arterial plaques 143%36
Prehypertension 44%34
Atrial fibrillation (cardiac arrhythmia) 67%35
Heart muscle enlargement 96% in highest vs. lowest uric acid levels;
26% increase per 1 mg/dL elevation of uric acid31
In-Hospital death from heart attack 432%32
Major adverse cardiac event (death,
congestive heart failure, repeat heart attack, stroke)
184%33

 

The Table above shows elevations in risks associated with high uric acid levels in blood.

If recent findings are any indication, these conditions may represent only the tip of the uric acid iceberg.

For example, in 2016 and 2017, a group of Italian researchers published several papers demonstrating that elevated uric acid levels play a role in bipolar disorder,6-8 while a 2015 study related high uric acid with depression in adolescents.37

Several drugs can be effective for many cases of major depression. Yet very few drugs are helpful with bipolar disorder, a condition that’s possibly even more heartbreaking than depression.

Together, the evidence that uric acid plays a major role in so many human disorders presents an opportunity for intervention with a safe, effective, plant extract, T. bellerica.

Summary

Levels of uric acid rise with age, exacerbated by declining kidney function and our meat- and sugar-rich diets.

Formerly associated mostly with painful gout, we now know that uric acid elevations threaten millions more people with elevated risks for kidney disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and a wide range of cardiovascular disorders.

Exciting research has revealed the potent uric acid-lowering effect of extracts from the fruits of the Terminalia bellerica tree, a South Asian shade tree long used in traditional medicine.

These findings suggest one more natural way to combat the risks of so many age-related disorders—and they make T. bellerica an important weapon in our arsenal against premature aging and death.

 

References

  1. Jin M, Yang F, Yang I, et al. Uric acid, hyperuricemia and vascular diseases. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2012;17:656-69.
  2. Ford ES, Li C, Cook S, et al. Serum concentrations of uric acid and the metabolic syndrome among US children and adolescents. Circulation. 2007;115(19):2526-32.
  3. Lehto S, Niskanen L, Ronnemaa T, et al. Serum uric acid is a strong predictor of stroke in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Stroke. 1998;29(3):635-9.
  4. Schretlen DJ, Inscore AB, Vannorsdall TD, et al. Serum uric acid and brain ischemia in normal elderly adults. Neurology. 2007;69(14):1418-23.
  5. Siu YP, Leung KT, Tong MK, et al. Use of allopurinol in slowing the progression of renal disease through its ability to lower serum uric acid level. Am J Kidney Dis. 2006;47(1):51-9.
  6. Bartoli F, Crocamo C, Dakanalis A, et al. Purinergic system dysfunctions in subjects with bipolar disorder: A comparative cross-sectional study. Compr Psychiatry. 2017;73:1-6.
  7. Bartoli F, Crocamo C, Gennaro GM, et al. Exploring the association between bipolar disorder and uric acid: A mediation analysis. J Psychosom Res. 2016;84:56-9.
  8. Bartoli F, Crocamo C, Mazza MG, et al. Uric acid levels in subjects with bipolar disorder: A comparative meta-analysis. J Psychiatr Res. 2016;81:133-9.
  9. Machado-Vieira R, Salem H, Frey BN, et al. Convergent lines of evidence support the role of uric acid levels as a potential biomarker in bipolar disorder. Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2017;17(2): 107-8.
  10. Zhu Y, Pandya BJ, Choi HK. Prevalence of gout and hyperuricemia in the US general population: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2008. Arthritis Rheum. 2011;63(10):3136-41.
  11. Usharani P, Nutalapati C, Pokuri VK, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-, and positive-controlled clinical pilot study to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of standardized aqueous extracts of Terminalia chebula and Terminalia bellerica in subjects with hyperuricemia. Clin Pharmacol. 2016;8:51-9.
  12. Latha RC, Daisy P. Insulin-secretagogue, antihyperlipidemic and other protective effects of gallic acid isolated from Terminalia bellerica Roxb. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Chem Biol Interact. 2011;189(1-2):112-8.
  13. Hazra B, Sarkar R, Biswas S, et al. Comparative study of the antioxidant and reactive oxygen species scavenging properties in the extracts of the fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belerica and Emblica officinalis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010;10:20.
  14. Love BL, Barrons R, Veverka A, et al. Urate-lowering therapy for gout: focus on febuxostat. Pharmacotherapy. 2010;30(6):594-608.
  15. Lupton GP, Odom RB. The allopurinol hypersensitivity syndrome. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1979;1(4):365-74.
  16. Vitart V, Rudan I, Hayward C, et al. SLC2A9 is a newly identified urate transporter influencing serum urate concentration, urate excretion and gout. Nat Genet. 2008;40(4):437-42.
  17. Angelopoulos TJ, Lowndes J, Zukley L, et al. The effect of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on triglycerides and uric acid. J Nutr. 2009;139(6):1242S-5S.
  18. Cirillo P, Sato W, Reungjui S, et al. Uric acid, the metabolic syndrome, and renal disease. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006;17(12 Suppl 3):S165-8.
  19. Giuffra V, Minozzi S, Vitiello A, et al. On the history of gout: paleopathological evidence from the Medici family of Florence. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2017;35(2):321-6.
  20. Schlesinger N, Norquist JM, Watson DJ. Serum urate during acute gout. J Rheumatol. 2009;36(6):1287-9.
  21. Sun SZ, Flickinger BD, Williamson-Hughes PS, et al. Lack of association between dietary fructose and hyperuricemia risk in adults. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010;7:16.
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  25. Rubio-Guerra AF, Morales-Lopez H, Garro-Almendaro AK, et al. Circulating Levels of Uric Acid and Risk for Metabolic Syndrome. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2017;13(1):87-90.
  26. Juraschek SP, McAdams-Demarco M, Miller ER, et al. Temporal relationship between uric acid concentration and risk of diabetes in a community-based study population. Am J Epidemiol. 2014;179(6):684-91.
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Article By:By Stephen Curtis

Article Source: http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2017/7/Surprising-Facts-About-Uric-Acid/Page-01?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=normal

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Bone Density, Anemia Improve With Testosterone in Low-T Men

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Study Highlights

  • Snyder and colleagues:
    • Study participants were men at least 65 years old with 2 serum testosterone results of less than 275 ng/dL.
    • Men were randomly assigned to receive testosterone gel with titration to maintain serum testosterone levels commensurate with those of a young man, or placebo gel. The treatment period was 12 months.
    • The main study outcome was BMD. Participants underwent BMD testing with quantitative computed tomography and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry of the spine and hip at baseline and at 12 months.
    • 211 men participated in the trial. The mean age of participants was 72.3 years, and the baseline mean testosterone level was slightly more than 230 ng/dL.
    • vBMD increased in the testosterone group by a mean of 7.5%, compared with an increase of only 0.8% in the placebo group (P <.01).
    • Measurements of hip trabecular and peripheral vBMD were also superior in the testosterone group vs the placebo group.
    • Testosterone appeared more effective in increasing trabecular vs peripheral BMD, and in improving BMD in the spine vs the hip.
    • 19 fractures were reported during the treatment year and 1 year after the treatment period, with no evidence of a difference in fracture rates in comparing the testosterone group vs the placebo group.
  • Roy and colleagues:
    • The study was conducted as a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial among men 65 years or older. All participants had a serum testosterone level of less than 275 ng/dL.
    • Men were randomly assigned to receive testosterone gel with titration to maintain serum testosterone levels commensurate with those of a young man, or placebo gel. The treatment period was 12 months.
    • There were 788 men in the study, of whom 126 were anemic, as defined by a hemoglobin level of 12.7 g/dL or lower. Approximately half of men with anemia had no known cause for anemia.
    • The main study outcome was the effect of testosterone therapy on hemoglobin levels among men with anemia.
    • The mean age of participants was 74.8 years, and the mean serum testosterone level among men with anemia was 222 ng/dL at baseline.
    • 54% of men with unexplained anemia who were treated with testosterone experienced an increase in hemoglobin levels of 1.0 g/dL or more, compared with only 15% of men with similar anemia treated with placebo (adjusted OR, 31.5; 95% CI, 3.7-277.8).
    • 58.3% of men treated with testosterone experienced resolution of their anemia, compared with 22.2% of men treated with placebo.
    • Testosterone also raised hemoglobin levels vs placebo among men with a known cause of anemia.
    • Hemoglobin levels increased past 17.5 g/dL in 6 men without anemia at baseline.

Clinical Implications

  • A retrospective cohort study by Cheetham and colleagues finds that testosterone therapy among men with evidence of testosterone deficiency is associated with lower risks for cardiac disease and cerebrovascular disease, even among men older than 65 years and those with preexisting cardiovascular disease.
  • Two new studies demonstrate that testosterone treatment can correct anemia and improve BMD among men with low testosterone levels at baseline.
  • Implications for the Healthcare Team: The current studies further demonstrate potential benefits of testosterone therapy among men with testosterone deficiency. Testosterone therapy was also associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular events in one study. Nonetheless, clinicians should continue to perform shared decision making regarding testosterone therapy and apply this treatment only among men with established testosterone deficiency.

Article Source: http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/876307

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Colon Cancer Screening: What You Need to Know

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Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States today. It’s a serious American health problem, says Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Francis Giardiello, M.D.

However, there are many ways you can decrease your risk or even prevent colon cancer. The single best thing you can do to prevent colon cancer is to get screened.

Giardiello breaks down what you should know about the colon cancer screening options available today.

Q. Why is colon cancer screening important?

A. Colon cancer develops from a small polyp that occurs in the lining of the colon. That small polyp slowly grows larger and larger. Once large enough, that polyp develops cancer and starts to spread.

It’s important to remember the process of polyp to cancer takes about 10 years to occur. That’s plenty of time to get a screening to catch it — and get rid of it — before it turns to cancer.

Think of a polyp as a mushroom sitting on a stalk (your intestine’s lining). If a doctor identifies it on a colonoscopy, he or she can easily put a lasso (or a loop) around the stalk and cut off the mushroom. No mushroom means no cancer.

Q. How do you screen for colon cancer?

There’s more than one way to be screened for colon cancer today.

These options include:

Colonoscopy: Before a colonoscopy, you’ll be asked to prep your bowel by drinking a liquid that helps clear out your colon. Then, doctors use a scope that has a camera attached to one end to examine inside your colon for polyps or cancer. Because the scope movement can cause discomfort, you’ll be sedated during the procedure. If a polyp is found, your doctor can remove it at the same time.

Fecal occult blood test: This test looks for blood in your stool. You place a small bowel movement sample on a provided card and send it to a lab, where it is tested for blood. If blood is detected, your doctor might recommend you get a colonoscopy for further testing.

Fecal immuno testing: This is similar to fecal occult testing, except you place the bowel movement sample in tubes. Depending on the results, you may require further testing.

Sigmoidoscopy: A sigmoidoscope is another type of scope that only looks at the bottom third of the colon, where 60 percent of cancers occur.

Barium enema: During this test, barium liquid is placed in the rectum through an enema, and then an X-ray is taken. The barium highlights any polyps or cancer for the doctor viewing the X-ray.

Virtual colonoscopy: You undergo a CT scan that takes a detailed picture of the colon.

Stool gene testing: This is a newer type of stool sample screening. Instead of testing for blood, the lab looks for certain gene changes that can indicate colon cancer.

Q. How do you know which screening is right for you?

A. Many physicians recommend most healthy people get a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50 — that’s when most colon cancers start to develop. A colonoscopy is the most effective way doctors identify colon cancer.

Each type of screening has its own pros and cons. Your doctor can provide more information on screening options and recommend which is best for you based on several factors, including your:

  •  Family history
  • Overall health
  •  Personal preferences

 

Article Source: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and-answers/ask-the-expert/colon-cancer-screening-what-you-need-to-know?utm_medium=social&utm_source=Facebook&utm_campaign=Surgeryh&utm_content=RectalCancer

 

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