Monday, February 20, 2006

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

I'm sure we are all familiar with statements like, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Or how about, "If you have your health, you have everything!"When it comes to fitness and health, a couple of recent studies show that money matters. That is, the greater the income people have, the better the odds they'll be physically fit.

In a 1998 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System report, the Centers for Disease Control notes that members of households making less than $20,000 per year are 50% less likely to exercise than those taking home $50,000 or more. Likewise, a Shape Up America study shows that people with little disposable income are more likely to fill their spare time with passive activities such as watching television. Let's face it: It's cheap entertainment. If most of your focus is on putting food on the table and paying the rent, when you do have free time you want to vegetate in front of the TV.

These studies aren't the first to show a correlation between wealth and health. In 1996, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Report of the Surgeon General stated that the percentage of the population reporting no leisure-time physical activity is higher among the less affluent than the more affluent. "In general, persons with lower levels of education and income are least active in their leisure time," the report states.

A survey by Yankelovich Partners Inc., commissioned by Shape Up America, revealed a slew of obstacles that make it more difficult for poor people to become more active and eat a better diet. Among the findings were:

One-third of respondents said they did not have anyone in the household to watch the children, which prevented them from getting more activity outside the home.
Lack of access to parks, sidewalks, and recreational areas is a major deterrent for lower-income Americans trying to be more physically active.
Over half of those making less than $15,000 a year (51%) say the inability to afford a gym or health club keeps them from becoming more physically active.
One in four Americans making less than $15,000 a year cited the cost of healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as an obstacle.
Low-income Americans worry about the safety of their neighborhoods for undertaking outdoor activity.

Although lack of money may be part of the problem, lack of time and knowledge also plays a part. Often, lower-income people don't have time to exercise. For example, to make ends meet, some poor people, especially those in one-parent households, hold down more than one job or work long hours. Still, all that's needed, according to federal guidelines, is 30 minutes of exercise five times per week -- something that can be squeezed into the most demanding schedules.

People who take an active role in staying healthy tend to have lower medical bills. When they eat right, exercise and take quality supplements, they tend to get sick less often and take fewer visits to the doctor. This translates to fewer sick days and less time taken off from work to take care of children. When I hear people complain of the high prices for healthty food or supplements, I want to ask, "Have you priced heart disease, cancer, diabetes and the like lately?" Some of the drugs that doctors prescribe for these ailments can run over $100 per month. The cost of health and life insurance can be drastically lower for someone in good health. A 35 year old (non-smoker)male can buy $500,000 of life insurance for $34 per month. If he smokes, it can be four times as much!

Take control of your health today. Carve out thirty minutes of every day to do some form of exercise that you enjoy. It could be as simple as taking a brisk walk. Choose to eat a few extra helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables too.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Alzheimer's and Dental Amalgam Fillings

The controversy regarding amalgam fillings has been raging for over 100 years. Yet one thing is clear: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have both declared the mercury in amalgam fillings as a toxic, dangerous substance that should not be touched or released into the environment. OSHA requires that dental amalgam materials be stored in unbreakable, hazardous waste containers, away from heat and no one should handle amalgam material without protection.

If OSHA has determined that the mercury released from amalgam is so dangerous that it can’t be touched, then why in heaven’s name are we putting this stuff in our mouths?”

-- Dr. Myron Wentz, Founder of Sanoviv Medical Institute and author of "Mouthful of Poison"

A Mouth Full of Poison: The Truth about Mercury Amalgam Fillings

How Mercury Causes Brain Neuron Degeneration
Watch a movie from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Physiology & Biophysics.

IAOMT: The Smoking Tooth
Watch a movie or download a PDF file that illustrates the scientific evidence of toxic mercury vapors that can leak from an amalgam filling.

Mercury-Free Dentistry at Sanoviv Medical Institute

Click here to see the chairman of the department of chemistry from the University of Kentucky talk about his findings and his ten year fight to expose some of the causes of Alzheimer's. Mercury in amalgam fillings is again the major culprit.
Nutritional supplements slow aging of brain

A study published in the December 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found a correlation between nutritional supplement use and improved cognition later in life. Cognition is the mental process of thought, including perception, reasoning, intuition and memory.

The researchers found that supplement users scored higher on mental speed tests than those who did not take supplements. Fish oil supplement users were found to have greater red blood cell membrane omega-3 fatty acid content, which was correlated with improved cognitive function later in life. A greater ratio of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to arachidonic acid was also related to better cognitive function.

The results of this study are consistent with previous reports that dietary supplements may reduce dementia risk and suggest that optimizing omega-3 fatty acid intake may improve the retention of cognitive function in the elderly.
High folate intake may reduce risk of Alzheimer's disease

Study findings have suggested an association between Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk and several vitamins when used as preventive agents. In a recent study published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia, researchers examined whether total intake of antioxidant vitamins (E, C, carotenoids) and B vitamins (folate, B6, and B12) is associated with a reduced risk of AD.

Participants were 579 nondemented elderly volunteers from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging who completed dietary diaries and recorded supplement intake. After more than 9 nine years of follow-up, AD developed in 57 participants. Higher intake of folate, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 were associated individually with a decreased risk of AD after adjusting for age, gender, education, and caloric intake. When these 3 vitamins were analyzed together, only total intake of folate at or above the RDA was associated with a significant decreased risk of AD.

The findings of this study suggest that total intake of folate at or above the RDA may be associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's and Dementia 2005 Jul:1 (1):11-18.
Both of my parents have Alzheimer's. It is a devastating disease that steals someone away form you a little at a time. Some people call it the "long goodbye." Currently there is no cure but there seem to be some things that one can do to protect themselves.

Resveratrol may help protect against Alzheimer's

A study published in the November 11 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry has shown that resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, red wine, peanuts and berries, lowers the levels of the amyloid-beta peptides, which cause much of the neurological damage associated with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers administered resveratrol to cells which produce human amyloid-beta and tested the compound's effectiveness by analyzing amyloid-beta levels inside and outside the cells. They found that amyloid-beta levels in the treated cells were much lower than those in untreated cells. It is thought that resveratrol acts by stimulating the degradation of these amyloid-beta peptides.

Although more research is needed, researchers suggest that this natural compound may have a therapeutic potential in Alzheimer's disease. Resveratrol is currently being researched for a potential role in fighting other human amyloid-related diseases such as Huntington's, Parkinson's and prion diseases.

J. Biol. Chem. Vol. 280; Issue 45: 37377-37382, November 11 2005.