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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Statin Alternative in Supplement Trial

A statin drug can be a lifesaver if you're at risk of heart disease, but some people who take the cholesterol-lowering drugs, up to 20 percent by some estimates, have to stop because of muscle pain, the most common side effect.

Nearly 30 million people filled a statin prescription in 2005, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Statins include popular drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor, and Zocor.

Now a new study suggests that an over-the-counter dietary supplement sold at pharmacies and health-food stores may be a workable alternative for people who have statin-related muscle pain.

It seems that when combined with diet and lifestyle changes, red yeast rice supplements can lower LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels by more than 20 percent without a substantial risk of muscle pain (also known as myalgia), according to a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"For some people, especially if they've had muscle aching, taking red yeast rice and making lifestyle changes can work as well as a statin," says lead study author David Becker, M.D., of Chestnut Hill Cardiology in Pennsylvania. Read the entire article.

Related Article: Lowering Cholesterol With Fish Oil and Red Yeast Rice

Fatty Diet Linked to Pancreatic Cancer

New research shows that people who eat a high-fat diet may be more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, especially if their dietary fat comes from animal foods, such as meat and dairy products.

That finding appears in the July 15 edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"Our study demonstrated a positive association between dietary intake of total fat, particularly fat from animal sources," researcher Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, PhD, RD, tells WebMD. "The strongest associations we observed were from meat and dairy products."

Stolzenberg-Solomon, who is a nutritional epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute, says previous studies have shown mixed results on whether dietary fat is associated with pancreatic cancer risk.

The new study included more than half a million U.S. adults. When the study started, none of them had pancreatic cancer. Participants completed surveys about their diets over the previous year, which showed fat intake ranging from 20% to 40% of calories. People who ate a lot of fat were "regular eaters of fat from animals," Stolzenberg-Solomon said.

Participants were followed for six years, on average. During that time, 865 of the men and 472 of the women were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Read the entire article.

12 Vegetables With Most Pesticides

Bell peppers are atop the list of vegetables found with the most pesticide residue; on a single pepper, there were 11 different pesticides found. The peppers also had 64 pesticides, in total, found on the sample.

The tests, conducted by the Environmental Working Group (recently named as one of our Best of Green award winners, as the Best Natural-Health News Website) and published as part of their Shopper's Guide to Pesticides, are part of the group's ongoing efforts to educate the world about the environmental health implications of what we consume and use every day.

View the slide show of the rest of the vegetables.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vinegar For Health and Weight Management

Researchers in Japan are reporting new evidence that the ordinary vinegar — a staple in oil-and-vinegar salad dressings, pickles, and other foods — may live up to its age-old reputation in folk medicine as a health promoter. They are reporting new evidence that vinegar can help prevent accumulation of body fat and weight gain.

Tomoo Kondo and colleagues note in the new study that vinegar has also been used as a folk medicine since ancient times. People have used it for a range of ills. Modern scientific research suggests that acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, may help control blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and fat accumulation.

Importantly, the new research adds evidence to the belief that acetic acid fights fat by turning on genes for fatty acid oxidation enzymes. The genes churn out proteins involved in breaking down fats, thus suppressing body fat accumulation in the body.

Journal reference:
1. Kondo et al. Acetic Acid Upregulates the Expression of Genes for Fatty Acid Oxidation Enzymes in Liver To Suppress Body Fat Accumulation. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2009; 090609114939008 DOI: 10.1021/jf900470c

Source: Science Daily

Read more on apple cider vinegar and weight loss.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vital Nutrition!

by Curtis Walcker

Vital nutrients are absolutely needed by the body to function properly. An almost endless selection of nutrients can be obtained through eating foods and taking dietary supplements. But, interestingly, for the average person, only about 45 nutrients are considered vital for human growth, development and maintenance.

These vital nutrients can be classed into six different groups: fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water. Ideally, our diets should supply us with all of the nutrients we require. But most diets fall short, and gaps in the diet can be filled with dietary supplementation when needed.

Fats and similar substances like cholesterol and phospholipids are referred to as lipids. They are important sources of energy, they provide structure in cell membranes, they transport fat-soluble vitamins, and they can be precursors for hormones.

Types of fats categorized as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential and must be obtained from the diet. They play significant roles in cardiovascular health, mood and behavior; healthy inflammation response, and more. Omega-6 fatty acids are usually abundant in the diet; omega-3 fatty acids often need to be supplemented for optimal health. Products such as Super Omega-3 EPA and DHA contain beneficial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Flax Seed Oil Liquid provides both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Dietary carbohydrates come in the form of simple sugars, starches and fibers. They provide the major source of energy for the body. It is quite easy to obtain ample amounts of carbohydrates from the foods we eat, but choosing how much of each type to eat can significantly impact health and bodily function.

Simple sugars are made of one or two sugar molecules that are easily digested and absorbed, and increase sugar levels in the blood quickly for fast energy. Berry Healthy Drink Mix and Recovery Drink Mix both contain the simple sugar fructose and are ideal for active or stressed individuals. Starches are chains of three or more sugar molecules that take longer to digest and absorb. This makes them ideal for sustained energy.

Glyco Essentials contains essential sugars that may improve cellular communications. These essential sugars are supplied by many sources, including rice starch. Fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates that may help promote bowel regularity, maintain already normal cholesterol levels and much more. Psyllium Hulls Combination and Everybody's Fiber each provide significant amounts of dietary fiber.

The word protein is derived from the Greek word protos, which translates to, "of prime importance." Individual amino acids can affect the body on their own, but when proteins are eaten, the amino acids that they provide combine with others produced in the body to make other functional compounds.

Thousands of proteins in our bodies form structures, act as hormones and enzymes, provide energy, form antibodies, balance fluids and pH, provide nitrogen and sulfur, and transport substances. Nature's Sunshine Products that provide excellent sources of protein include Nutri-Burn Chocolate, Nutri-Burn Vanilla and SynerProTein. Free Amino Acids also provides a good source of protein in a convenient tablet.

Vitamins and minerals constitute a major portion of vital nutrients. They have a diverse range of functions in the body. These nutrients are needed in small amounts compared to fats, carbohydrates and proteins, and are referred to as micronutrients as opposed to macronutrients.

A varied diet consisting primarily of unprocessed foods is expected to provide sufficient quantities of essential vitamins and minerals. However, this ideal diet is not often practiced. Supplemental vitamins and minerals are a wise choice for those interested in maintaining good health. With a selection of Super Supplemental Vitamins & Minerals; Multiple Vitamins & Minerals, SynerPro®; Multiple Vitamins & Minerals, Time Release Tablets; VitaWave Liquid Vitamins & Minerals; Nature's Prenatal, Multiple Vitamins & Minerals; and Herbasaurs Multiple Vitamins & Minerals Chewable Tablets, it should be easy to find the right products to suit the needs of virtually anyone.

If you look at which nutrients you can do without for the shortest amounts of time, you might conclude that water is the most vital of all nutrients. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60 percent water. Transporting nutrients and wastes, controlling body temperature, lubricating joints and aiding in digestive processes are but a few functions water performs in the body.

Most guidelines recommend eight to 10 glasses of water per day, in addition to the water obtained from foods and other beverages. Nature's Sunshine Products offers many products such as Ultimate GreenZone, RG-Max, and Vita Lemon Drink Mix (Stock No. 2932-7) that are mixed with water, to add extra nutrition to daily water intake.

While it is essential to ensure that you consume adequate amounts of vital nutrients, it is also important not to stop there. Many other substances found in foods provide health benefits beyond those of basic nutrition. Numerous plant nutrients, or phytonutrients, have been identified as having possible actions in helping to maintain wellness. Many of these nutrients can be found in products offered by Nature's Sunshine and nicely complement a diet and supplementation program containing vital nutrients.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Knowing Which Product Is Best

Good Guide is a relatively new company that aspires to provide information on the health, environmental and social impacts of common products that we use in our home. They cover over 70,000 products so far in food, personal care, toy and household products category.

The best part is that these ratings and reviews are available online or via an iPhone app and also via SMS/text messaging. You can get information on products by searching on product categories, product names, and also on the bar code.

Example: You’re in a store comparing two green cleaning products (let’s say Seventh Generation Shower Cleaner and Tilex Fresh Shower Cleaner). Text “gguide seventh generation shower” to 41411, and you get a report back showing Seventh Gen’s Shower Cleaner overall score of 8.5 and Health, Environmental and Social scores of 8.0, 9.2 and 8.4 respectively. Text “gguide tilex shower” and you soon get an overall score of 5.4 (8.0 Health, 3.5 Environmental and 4.9 Social).

The website provides much more information about what’s behind these rankings. Fast, easy and helpful! Check out


Guggul Has Gaggle of Benefits

Guggul has a long history of use in India as an aid for weight loss, as an anti-inflammatory in arthritis rheumatism, and as a remedy for skin disorders such as acne. It has also been used for neurological diseases, hemorrhoids and water retention.

Guggul is promoted in the West primarily as a remedy for helping to lower cholesterol and aid the circulatory system. Research done in India has suggested that the herb may be beneficial for reducing overall cholesterol, lowering LDL and raising HDL. It contains compounds called guggulsterones that inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. These compounds also appear to inhibit cholesterol from oxidizing.

In spite of this promising research, tests done in the Western world have not confirmed guggul’s ability to lower cholesterol. In one study, guggul raised LDL levels. Guggul does benefit the circulatory system in other ways, however.

It appears to have antiplatelet and anticoagulant activity, so it would inhibit the formation of blood clots in the circulatory system. Because of this, caution should be used when taking guggul with aspirin, NSAIDs and blood thinners.

Guggul may also help to lower lipoprotein (a) and C-reactive protein, two blood factors known to have a link with inflammation and heart disease. Because of these benefits, it is clear that guggul can be a valuable aid in preventing heart disease.

One of the common uses for guggul in India is to aid in weight loss. Part of the reason why guggul may be helpful here is because it acts as a thyroid stimulant. It appears to increase the conversion of T4, the storage form of the thyroid hormone, into T3, the active form. This would increase metabolism and the burning of fat in the body, including helping to lower triglycerides.

Guggul extracts have a definite anti-inflammatory action. A triterpene called myrrhanol A was discovered in guggul that has potent anti-inflammatory effects. This would account for its use in arthritis and rheumatism. For this reason, guggul is an ingredient in the Ayurvedic Joint Support formula.

Read the entire article.
Guggul Lipid Concentrate (wholesale prices)
Ayurvedic Joint Formula (wholesale prices)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Big Sale At The Herbs Place

ON SALE - 06/21 to 06/30/09
Expires Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 6PM EST


$2 OFF - $14.30
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Buy 9 Get 3 FREE - $146.70

Adrenal Support [for the Glandular and Nervous system] is a synergistic blend of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and adaptogenic herbs designed to support and strengthen the adrenal glands. Adrenal Support is formulated with adrenal glandular substance from New Zealand.


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Chinese Anti-Gas is a formula combining 15 herbs. Its Chinese name 'xiao dao' can be translated to “clear the congestion.” It supports both the digestive and detoxifying functions of the body, including the urinary system.


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The vitamins in Nature's Sunshine's B-complex are found in a unique base of acerola, inositol, lemon bioflavonoids, PABA, rose hips, rutin and wheat germ. This provides additional nutritive support for nervous, circulatory and immune systems plus vital nutrition.


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Clearing the blood of impurities is a safe way to prevent tissue degeneration. By strengthening body-wide cleansing mechanisms already in place, you allow your purified blood to deliver more nutrients and carry away more cellular toxins. The result? You feel better and body tissues heal more quickly. Chinese Blood Build is called "Bu Xue" in Chinese, meaning “to nurture the blood.”


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SynerPro Calcium - Magnesium contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, zinc, copper, and boron in an antioxidant base of dehydrated broccoli, carrot, red beet, rosemary, tomato, turmeric, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, grapefruit, and lemon bioflavonoids and hesperidin. No sugar, starch, artificial colors or flavorings, and as with all their products - yeast free!


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Harsh, over-the-counter laxatives hardly constitute a cleansing program. A gentle, but thorough, natural approach is easier on the body and stimulates other body-cleansing mechanisms besides the bowels. This approach should include balancing ingredients (to prevent unwanted side effects) and should replace minerals that may be removed during cleansing. Nature's Sunshine's CleanStart™ meets all of these requirements!


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Chinese Kidney Activator is a combination of 14 herbs designed to support the urinary and lymphatic systems. The formula promotes kidney function and helps clear retained water from the body, which may positively affect joints.


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Noni has been successfully used for over 2,000 years in Polynesia, China, India and elsewhere. Like Aloe Vera, Kelp, Papaya, Grape Seed Extract and other botanicals, the extract of the Noni plant has been demonstrated to improve a wide variety of health conditions.


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Nature’s Three includes psyllium, oat fiber and apple fiber to support the normal functions of the bowel. Each serving provides 2 g of dietary fiber—1 g of soluble and 1 g of insoluble fiber. Both are naturally present in food and are important to colon health, but are not present in many foods in today’s typical diet.


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In times of stress, the body uses more of certain nutrients, especially vitamin C and B complex. Because these nutrients are water-soluble, they are easily washed away and must be replenished on a regular basis. Nutri Calm is a blend of vitamins, minerals and herbs designed to supply important nutrients necessary for optimal nervous system function.


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Proactazyme Plus - contains a blend of protease, amylase, glucoamylase, lipase, pectinase, and cellulase enzymes in an herbal blend of beet fiber, caraway seed, ginger root, fennel seed, gentian root, dandelion root, and potassium citrate. It also contains a blend of protease enzymes (3.0, 4.5, 6.0) formulated to digest proteins at various pH levels ranging from 3.0 to 6.0. The herbal blend serves three purposes: 1. Relaxes and soothes the stomach, 2. Activates the enzymes, and 3. Buffers and stabilizes the enzymes.


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Slippery elm is rich in nutrients, easy to digest and soothing to the digestive system. For centuries people have used it to soothe the digestive system and to maintain regular waste elimination for adults and children.


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Only Nature's Sunshine offers this unique, nutritious combination. Our scientists worked with seasoned herbalists to create this formula that works naturally to promote healthy blood sugar levels while providing antioxidant and protective nutrients that support the body in its efforts to deal with varying blood sugar levels.


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Most diets today do not meet the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances for essential vitamins and minerals. These guidelines were established for use in labeling foods. Nature’s Sunshine’s Super Supplemental is a well-balanced formula that provides important vitamin and mineral nourishment for inadequate diets.


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Vitamin E and selenium are antioxidants. They work together to help quench free radicals that form as byproducts of metabolic activity and as a result of exposure to damaging environmental chemicals. Both nutrients play key roles in the production of certain enzymes that are needed to maintain overall health, prevent premature aging and keep tissue supple.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Battling Bedbugs

Bed bugs are increasingly becoming a problem within residences of all kinds, including homes, apartments, hotels, cruise ships, dormitories and shelters. The Harvard School of Public Health has drafted a document to provide basic information about the biology and health significance of these pests, and to offer guidance on how to safely and effectively manage an infested residence.

View an ABC News video.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

FDA Takes Power Over Tobacco

Times have changed now that even tobacco states have smoking bans. Today, after two weeks of wrangling and a decade of considering the change, the U.S. Senate endorsed increased regulation of tobacco.

Senators voted 79-17 to regulate tobacco in the same way the government regulates everything else you put in your body -- from Froot Loops to aspirin.

At Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, organization president Matthew L. Myers called the vote "a truly historic victory" and "the strongest action Congress has ever taken to reduce tobacco use."

"Forty-five years after the first U.S. Surgeon General's report linking cigarette smoking to lung cancer, the most deadly product sold in America will no longer be the least-regulated product sold in America," Myers said in a statement.

The bill would give the federal government the power to regulate cigarette ingredients, to ban the marketing of "light cigarettes" and to require graphic warning labels.

Newfound authority over tobacco would mean the FDA could hold cigarette manufacturers to the same standards for quality control and marketing as makers of breakfast cereals and pharmaceuticals. It could also move to reduce nicotine levels and harmful chemicals in cigarettes.

And it could mean cigarette makers would be required to include new, larger warning graphics with more health information on their products and would be prohibited from using words like "light" and "low tar" in their marketing. Read the entire article.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Milk Alternatives

Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat. They're rich in magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. Almond milk has only about 45 calories in a cup, whereas 2% cow's milk has 122 per cup. Not to mention missing all the hormones and antibiotics in cow's milk and the mucous-producing qualities of dairy products. Making your own milk eliminates the waste of packaging too if you're thinking green.

Organic Vanilla Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
4 cups filtered water
Pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp raw honey

Soak the nuts in water for 12 hours. You should rinse and drain the nuts at least once during this period.

Combine the nuts with the filtered water in a blender. Break all the nuts down but don't let the blender heat the mixture.

Strain the mixture through the nut bag. Add sea salt, raw honey, and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

The milk should keep for about five days.

You can get the nut bag mentioned below at your local health foods store or substitute a sieve.

Source: Happy Foody

I love the taste of almond milk, but I like the calcium factor of soy milk, so I use Tofu Moo most of the time with almond milk being a treat. I like not having a deadline to finish the Tofu Moo since I can make as little as I need at the time since it's a powder. I alter the directions by using half the amount of powder recommended which makes it $.70 a quart. It's also easy to travel with since I can take it in a jar and just add water for those hotel breakfasts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quality Essential Oils For Effectiveness

Comprehensive Testing Reveals Discrepancy In Quality

Nature’s Sunshine (NSP) 100-percent-pure lavender oil was compared with a popular brand using several different testing methods. These tests included sensory evaluation, checking color and clarity, verification of plant species and country of origin, and laboratory analysis using both Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC/ MS).

The GC/MS is widely known as the most important tool for identifying and analyzing volatile oils. We found that the NSP product outperformed the competitor’s product in every test. Our GC/MS tests showed that NSP lavender oil contains greater amounts of many key constituents than the competitor’s product.

Higher peaks on the NSP graph show that our lavender oil is a much more powerful product. Using Mass Spectrometry, we can identify individual peaks (constituents) represented on the chromatograph and verify that each is a pure substance. Many competitors do not use Mass Spectrometry in analyzing essential oils. Consequently they can neither detect impurities nor positively identify constituents (components).

The label of a well-known competitor also indicated the use of two different species of lavender, something you’ll never find in NSP’s pure, AOC-certified* lavender oil. When two different species are mixed, you never know exactly what you’re getting.

NSP only uses true lavender, Lavendula angustifolia (no hybrids), in its product. The quality of essential oil products differs greatly. Count on Nature’s Sunshine for the premium quality you expect and deserve.

*AOC stands for Appelation d’Origine Contrôlée (Controlled Designation of Origin). AOC certification means that NSP lavender is pure Lavendula angustifolia and that it is harvested from specific, quality-controlled lavender fields in France.

Purchase Nature's Sunshine Lavender Oil and other 100% pure essential oils at The Herbs

Monday, June 8, 2009

5 Spices With Health Benefits

These five hot spices can be good for everything from easing arthritis pain to keeping your heart healthy.

Recent studies suggest that when it comes to cuisine, kicking it up a notch can be as good for your health as it is tasty for your palate. Some spices, particularly hot ones, contain phytochemicals that may help ward off cell damage associated with chronic diseases.

Chili Powder

Potential health perk: Relieves achy joints. Research shows that capsaicin, found in chili peppers, has an anti-inflammatory effect, which may help ease arthritic swelling and pain. Hot way to dish it: Sprinkle a few shakes of chili powder and salt on baked French fries.


Potential health perk: Protects against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A 2003 study found that about half a teaspoon lowered blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Hot way to dish it: Mix half a teaspoon of cinnamon into your coffee, or jazz up whipped cream with a couple of pinches.

Curry Powder

Potential health perk: Safeguards your brain. The yellow curry pigment curcumin may fight Alzheimer's by thwarting development of the disease's signature amyloid brain plaques, says a study. Hot way to dish it: Whisk 1 1/2 teaspoons mild curry powder into mayonnaise to dress up sandwiches.


Potential health perk: Improves your heart's health. Brigham Young University researchers found that garlic consumption can lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by an average of 10 percent. Hot way to dish it: Add minced garlic and chopped cucumber to plain yogurt for a light dip or salad dressing.


Potential health perk: Prevents ulcers. A 2004 South Korean study suggests Japanese horseradish can kill ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Plant chemicals may also prevent tooth decay. Hot way to dish it: Mix a smidgen of wasabi paste with mashed avocado for a snappier guacamole.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, May 2005.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Men's Health

May is Men's Health Awareness Month. In the current trend of personal interest in one's own health care, men are becoming more and more involved in their health choices. Women led this mindset for many years since they're known as the caregivers of the family.

With increased reasons to avoid the side effects of drugs, men are looking for simpler answers to health concerns. That's where herbs come in. Having been effectively used for thousands of years, our modern society has now returned once again to the earth for herbal remedies. Check out some natural health builders for men.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Doctor Reviews Being Shut Down

From AARP Bulletin.

Doctors don’t like getting bad reviews, and now they’ve possibly found an antidote. So far, about 1,000 physicians have asked their patients to sign a legal form promising not to “publish or air” any unfavorable information about the doctor’s care, manner or office staff. The waivers mainly target online ratings sites such as

“We think bad information is harmful,” says Shane Stadler, marketing director for Medical Justice Services, the Greensboro, N.C., company that developed the waiver language and began licensing it for a fee to physicians about two years ago. He characterizes the document as a “mutual privacy agreement” good for both doctor and patient.

But patient advocacy groups disagree. “It’s critical that the doctor-patient relationship be open and trusting,” says Jennifer C. Jaff, executive director of Advocacy for Patients With Chronic Illness in Farmington, Conn. “These waivers set up adversarial boundaries from the start.”

But will the waiver stand up in court? “Courts will not enforce contracts that violate public policy,” says John Weistart, a contracts professor at Duke University School of Law, who has reviewed the document. “So attempts by physicians to suppress evaluations by patients are very doubtful.”

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fish Oil Deflects Sun Damage

In recent months, leading cancer and vitamin D researchers have voiced concerns about extreme sun avoidance. They calculate that more cancers may be caused by under-exposure to sun than by moderate exposure (20-30 minutes per day).

For example, Harvard’s Edward Giovannucci, M.D. told NPR recently that for every person who dies from skin cancers caused by excessive sun exposure, an estimated 30 people may die of non-skin cancers related to vitamin D deficiencies caused by insufficient sun exposure or dietary intake.

This seems to leave us on the horns of a dilemma. We need to get sufficient sun exposure to prevent cancer, but not so much that we will suffer sunburns or increase the risk of skin cancers.

Sunscreen offers some protection, but statistics suggest that its anti-cancer benefits may have been oversold. They offer relatively weak protection against UVA rays, which penetrate much more deeply into skin, and appear to play a much larger role in cancer promotion and skin aging than we thought.

The omega-3s in fish (EPA and DHA) exert significant anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body, and the results of new research suggest that, as a consequence, omega-3s can help counteract the deleterious effects of solar radiation.

Read the entire article.
Purchase quality Omega 3's
Related Article: Sunscreens Increase Rate of Skin Cancer