Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are You Intense About Losing Fat?

Are you logging in mile after mile on the treadmill or stationary bike and not getting the fat loss you desire? Maybe you lost some weight initially but now you have reached a plateau and losing weight has become rather difficult.

Maybe it's not you. Maybe it's your workout?

The definition of "insanity" is:

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I love to ride my bike and go inline skating. I did my first "century" (100 miles) on my bike back in the 90's. I would often ride my bike 17 miles to work and then home again. On the weekends, I would skate on my favorite bike path for 20 miles just for fun. One day, a coworker asked me, "If you workout and ride your bike so much, how come you have not lost any weight?" He was right. As a man, I was 6'2" at 235 lbs. and had stayed there for quite a while without losing much weight. I went to my doctor for advice. You can read what happened by clicking on my story (Is Your Scale Broken?). That did not help either. I was on my own. Eventually, I had to learn two things.

  1. How to eat. I was sabotaging all of my weight loss efforts by eating the wrong kinds of foods and eating them in the wrong way. Many of my meals were served out of a box or a bag and were delivered through my car window. A few hours after that, I was hungry for another bag of junk food. I loved bagels and cream cheese, burritos and french fries, italian sausages and onion rings. Of course, I always washed it down with a large "DIET COKE" and finished it off with some low fat yogurt ice cream. Who was I kidding? It was not until I learned how to replace all that with fresh vegetables, fruit and lean protein that I began to see results. Eating more fiber and consuming the right kinds of fats did wonders. Going on a traditional, calorie starving "diet" was not an option for me. I had never met anyone who had gone on a diet and was successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Diets are programmed to fail.
  2. How to exercise for fat loss. Obviously, the long steady cardio workouts on my bike and skates helped me lose a measly 5 pounds and then it seemed to stop. I knew better. I was a competitive swimmer in college. I was 90 pounds lighter (145 lbs @ 6'2") and ate over 12,000 calories a day. At that time, my ribs were sticking out and I had almost no body fat. I could not eat enough food to keep my weight up. My workouts were so hard that I was starting to lose muscle. So, what was the difference? It was the INTENSITY!! We did a lot of interval training. The theory behind interval training is this: By mixing bursts of high intensity work with low intensity periods of recovery, you're overloading both the aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time, getting the benefits of both aspects of training simultaneously. You can realistically get a complete workout in thirty minutes with interval training. These intense, but short, sessions will cut fat off your body faster than a hot knife through butter. Weight resistance training gives you an added dimension to your fat-burning capabilities. Research has shown that regular resistance training can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate by up to 15%. So for someone burning 2000 calories per day, that's a potential 300 extra calories burned every single day. Combining interval training with resistance training would be the ultimate fat burning event.
Let me illustrate what I mean by "intensity." Watch the following video as six different people do several different weight-bearing exercises. They illustrate the intensity of interval training for four minutes. ONLY FOUR MINUTES! How many of us could carve out four minutes out of our day? Watch the guy lifting the sand bag. He lost 50 pounds doing this.

Did you hear what he said?!? For every effort you burn in high intensity exercise, you burn 9 times more fat than the aerobic calorie burn! Does that mean that I could burn just as much fat in 4 minutes as 30 minutes on the tread mill or exercise bike? Let's do the math for a minute. That would also mean that 15 minutes of this kind of training would save me 2 hours of time on the bike or treadmill. If you are like me and don't have much time to work out, this information is really good news.

If you did not catch what they were doing, it was 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by ten seconds of rest. They did this four times for a total of four minutes. This is called the Tabata Protocol. It was discovered and developed in Japan for the Japanese speed skating team. They would warm up for five minutes, followed by the 4 minutes of interval training and followed by 5 minutes of warm down. This is a total of 14 minutes.

As always, check with your doctor before you start to do any kind of physical exercise like this.
Get a physical exam before trying this workout if you re over 40 or have two or more of the following risk factors: a family history of heart disease, you re a smoker, you re sedentary, you re overweight, or you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

If you are a beginner or have not worked out in a long time, it would be suggested that you start with 10 seconds of intense exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest. As you get better, you can gradually go to the regular Tabata Protocol of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off.

It does not matter what exercises you are doing as long as you are moving, it get's your heart going and is a weight bearing exercise. Here are a few examples of a few more routines that will blast the fat off your body.

Kettle Bells - I bought a 35 lb. kettle bell a few weeks ago. I'm just getting started. What a fun workout! Here is a video of various exercises that could be done with this device. The lady on the left used to weigh 195 pounds. Forty four percent of that was body fat. In four months of using kettle bells, she lost 45 pounds and went to 17% body fat.

For a variation of the old push up, why not try this other version instead? It is called the Hindu push up. You don't need any special equipment. Just your own body weight.This uses more muscle and will give you more of a workout and will increase your flexibility.

If you have a Swiss Ball, here are several exercises you can do with this device:

Finally, here is an article you should read about . . .

The interval training mistake virtually everyone makes when they're trying to burn fat..

Some of the summary points of this article

Two groups of women burned 300 calories per workout session. The ones who did interval training increased fitness levels by 13 %. The women who did steady boring cardio increased fitness levels by 0%

Changes in body fat were also greater in subjects using interval training.

According to the research team, "... even if caloric expenditure during exercise is equal, higher intensity exercise may further aid weight loss due to an acute increase in energy expenditure up to 24 hours following exercise."

These findings have been confirmed by researchers from the University of Alabama, who showed that 24-hour energy expenditure was

160 calories greater in subjects performing high-intensity interval training

rather than continuous exercise. In other words, the interval training group of women continued to burn 160 more calories in the 24 hour period following their initial workout. Amazing!

Are you ready to lose some fat?

Here are some other great blog posts on this subject

New York Times:
A Healthy Mix of Rest and Motion

Australia News: Eight seconds key to weight loss

Interval Training (HIIT) | Get Leaner with Less Cardio?

Drop Excess Pounds Like A MOFO With Bodyweight Exercises!

Remember talking about EPOC training?

The Ultimate Secrets to a Flat Stomach and Six Pack Abs

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lose Weight And Get Healthy Without Exercise??

Is this possible?

I guess that losing fat would be part of the picture of health. But can you truly be healthy and lose weight without exercise? I was reading a health blog recently that said exercise was not necessary for weight loss. Kim Klaver says, "
Yes, I used to think exercise should be on the list to lose weight also. Only then I learned it may not be necessary for weight loss. Healthy, yes, to move around for circulation and energy...but for weight loss?"
What do the rest of you think?

There was a six month study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that examined the effects of diet alone (25 percent fewer calories consumed) versus diet plus exercise (12.5 percent fewer calories consumed and 12.5 percent more calories burned) in overweight but otherwise healthy adults. Researchers hypothesized that the diet plus exercise group would lose more body fat, but results showed equal amounts of weight and fat lost in both groups.
Most diets are based on calorie restriction or deprivation. The theory is that eating fewer calories than one uses, will equal weight loss. When you do this without any exercise, you could lose more than fat. You might be losing bone and muscle as well.

It is kind of funny that they only reported the results of fat loss over a six month period. 95% of all people who take a diet pill or go on a calorie restricted diet will gain all of their weight back in a year or two. Where are these same people today? I wonder if any of them experienced some of the other results of a calorie restricted diet? These would be things like:

* Weight gain.

* Depression.* Food cravings.* Feeling tired and listless.* Constant hunger.* Reduced interest in sex.* Chronic fatigue.* Hypothyroidism.* Hormone imbalance.* Scaly skin or eczema.* Premature wrinkling of the skin.* Dandruff or dull, lifeless hair.* Mood swings.

* Chronic yeast infections.* Poor immune system- frequent colds or respiratory illnesses.* Digestive problems.

That certainly is not a way to get your health back.
On the other hand, another study reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association showed that women who exercised around three hours per week (without dieting) lost 6.9% of their body fat around their middle.
Here are a few other articles that talk about weight loss and the effects of exercise vs. diet.

Older People Who Diet Without Exercising Lose Valuable Muscle Mass

Weighing Benefits Of Exercise, Diets: Both Work For Weight Loss, But Dieters Also Lose Muscle

Exercise and weight-loss

It is a fact. You can lose weight with diet alone. People do it all the time. It might surprise you to learn what that weight consists of. It is not just fat. Bone and muscle can be a part of this equation as well. Here is an article that talks about that:
What if you are you are spending 5 or more hours a week on the treadmill or exercise bike, you are restricting calories through diet and you find yourself getting poor results. You might even be GAINING weight! That's what happened to me. Read my story by going to my post on "Is Your Scale Broken?"
The definition of "insanity" is:
Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
If you have been yo-yo dieting and can't seem to keep the weight off, you need to do something else.

If you have taken diet pills, weakened your immune system, spent hours on the toilet and gained all your weight back, you need to do get a new plan.

If you have spent hour after hour sweating on a treadmill or bike and have little or nothing to show for it (weightloss), why would you want to continue doing something that is evidently not working?
Here are a few suggestions for effective weight loss:

1. Change the way you eat. Learning how to eat is preferable to learning how to diet. Forget counting calories and carbohydrates. Go low-glycemic.
  • The High-Glycemic Trap. Eating high-glycemic foods can sabotage even the best of diet plans because the resulting spike and subsequent drop in blood sugar leads to a more rapid return to feelings of hunger.
  • Solution: For optimal nutrition, our bodies need a balanced variety of nutrients, including the right types of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates such as white bread, white flour, pasta, white rice, and potatoes release their sugars rapidly (high-glycemic foods) and increase the blood sugars faster than if you were slapping table sugar on your tongue. Foods such as green beans, rye bread, whole apples, and cauliflower release their sugars slowly (low-glycemic foods). This rapid rise in blood sugar after a high glycemic meal stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas, which is needed to control the blood sugar level. The blood sugar drops and our body’s crave more calories and more high-glycemic foods.We simply keep repeating this pattern over and over—day after day. Medical studies are now showing us that this type of diet causes us to become less and less sensitive to our own insulin (insulin resistance). It is a lot like crying "wolf" all of the time—we are simply stimulating the release of insulin time after time.

An estimated 24% of the adults in the U.S. have insulin resistance, also known as Syndrome X or more recently the Metabolic Syndrome.

When Is A Calorie No Longer A Calorie?
When insulin resistance is involved, a calorie is not merely a calorie any more. You can exercise and starve yourself all you want. The fact is, your fat cells start acting like a sponge and soak up all the glucose and efficiently change it into fat no matter how many calories you try to burn. The concept of "a calorie in and a calorie out" that has been the mainstay of weight loss therapy throughout the past century needs to change. When you begin to recognize the effect that insulin resistance throws into this equation, a calorie is no longer just a calorie.
Insulin resistance leads to Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X) and can finally lead to full blown diabetes. Unless you can find a way to "reverse the tracks" on insulin resistance and get back to normal, you simply will not be able to lose weight even with the most aggressive diets. In this state, the body is resistant to almost any weight loss program being advocated today. Only a program designed to reverse insulin resistance will successfully "flip the switch back again."

2. Change your exercise routine - If you are losing weight with your current exercise routine and are satisfied with your progress, stop here. Don't read any further.
How many miles have you logged on the treadmill, eliptical or stationary bike, only to discover that your weight loss efforts are just not paying off like you want them too. Listen, too much aerobics burns muscle! Take a look at the vast majority of women who take aerobics classes after work: do they ever transform their physiques? Rarely.
Interval Training - Interval training has been shown to be the most effective cardiovascular training method for improving cardiovascular endurance, sport-specific performance, boosting metabolic rate, and burning fat! You might already be doing this but are you doing it in a way that will bring optimal results?? Click here to read an article called,
The interval training mistake virtually everyone makes when they're trying to burn fat..

Some of the summary points of this article

Two groups of women burned 300 calories per workout session. The ones who did interval training increased fitness levels by 13 %. The women who did steady boring cardio increased fitness levels by 0%

Changes in body fat were also greater in subjects using interval training.
According to the research team, "... even if caloric expenditure during exercise is equal, higher intensity exercise may further aid weight loss due to an acute increase in energy expenditure up to 24 hours following exercise."
These findings have been confirmed by researchers from the University of Alabama, who showed that 24-hour energy expenditure was 160 calories greater in subjects performing high-intensity interval training rather than continuous exercise. In other words, the interval training group of women continued to burn 160 more calories in the 24 hour period following their initial workout. Amazing!

Which is better for fat loss? Long or short intervals? Shorter is better. Two groups worked out at different intervals. The first one worked out for 6 seconds @100% effort, followed by 9 second rest periods. The second group worked out for 24 seconds @100% effort, followed
with 36-second rest periods.
3 x more fat calories were burned during short intervals.

If you are out riding your bike or on the stationary bike, here is a good workout for you. Warm up by easy riding for 10 minutes before you start:

Cardio equipment: stationary or spinning bike

Purpose: burning fat

Interval training protocol: 10 sec @ 100% : 30 sec @ 60% x 18 = 12 minutes

Ensure that you use a flywheel resistance that prevents you from bouncing up and down on the seat. Thus, you should feel a good amount of resistance during the 10-second work period. You can lower the resistance if you like during the 30-second recovery. This only takes 12 minutes!

Resistance Training -
Aerobic exercise may burn a few hundred extra calories for dinner, but for every additional pound of muscle you gain, your body burns around 50 extra calories every day of the week. 7 days x 50 calories= 350 calories. Most of that happens while you sleep!
Research has shown that regular resistance training can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate by up to 15%. So for someone burning 2000 calories per day, that's a potential 300 extra calories, more than a Mars bar, burned every single day.

Resistance exercise can reduce bone deterioration and build bone mass, preventing osteoporosis.
Working your muscles can also inhibit the affects of sarcopenia, the age related loss of muscle mass, strength and function. After the age of thirty there is a loss of 3-5% of muscle mass per decade, making day to day tasks gradually harder to perform and slowing down metabolism - increasing the risk of weight gain.

Weight training has been proven to have a positive affect on insulin resistance, resting metabolism, blood pressure, body fat and gastrointestinal transit time, factors that are linked to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Always make your workout about quality over quantity to get effective weight loss results. Resistance training, when done correctly, allows you to lose inches fast, see results almost immediately and boost your metabolism to burn more fat and calories every day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Many Benefits Of Cinnamon

As I walked into the house, I was greeted by the aroma of hot apple cider and mulling spices. There is something about fresh apple cider on the stove with the fragrance of cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, allspice and ginger that tells you cooler weather, football games and the harvest season are upon us.

I especially love the smell of cinnamon. I put a dash in my coffee and boil prunes and cinnamon sticks together before I spoon it over my morning oatmeal. It is so warm, soothing and tasty.

Did you know that the ancients put a high value on cinnamon?In the first century A.D., Pliny the Elder wrote of 350 grams of cinnamon as being equal in value to over five kilograms of silver, about fifteen times the value of silver per weight.

Medieval physicians used cinnamon in medicines to treat coughing, hoarseness and sore throats. As a sign of remorse, Roman Emperor Nero ordered a year's supply of cinnamon be burnt after he murdered his wife. The spice was also valued for its preservative qualities for meat due to the phenols which inhibit the the bacteria responsible for spoilage, with the added bonus being the strong cinnamon aroma masked the stench of aged meats.

Here are some of the health benefits of cinnamon as found by a large number of research studies from around the world:

1. Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.

2. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.Click here for the results of another study.

3. In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.

4. In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.

5. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood. Cinnamaldehyde (also called cinnamic aldehyde) in cinnamon prevents unwanted blood platelets clumping. Cinnamon lowers arachidonic acid release from cell membranes so also has anti-inflammation or anti-inflammatory effects which decreases body inflammation.

6. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.

7. When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative. Because of this, bread may soon come wrapped in waxed paper that is made with cinnamon oil. In fact, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry recently reported that bread packaged in a cinnamon-based wrapper, stayed fresher for as long as 10 days. Not only that, but when the wrapper was tested on bread that was already beginning to mold, it inhibited mold growth by 96 percent.

8. One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
Research by Dr. P. Zoladz, presented April 24, 2004, at the annual meeting of the
Association for Chemoreception Sciences in Sarasota, Fla., found chewing cinnamon-flavored gum or smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants' cognitive processing. Cinnamon improved participants' scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program. Participants were exposed to four odorant conditions: no odor, peppermint odor, jasmine, and cinnamon, with cinnamon emerging the clear winner in producing positive effects on brain function.

9. Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.

10. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
Cinnamon, ground
2.00 tsp
4.52 grams
11.84 calories
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
manganese0.76 mg38.057.8excellent
dietary fiber2.48 g9.915.1very good
iron1.72 mg9.614.5very good
calcium55.68 mg5.68.5very good

11. Relief from congestion - Cinnamon and other spices have long been consumed to relieve congestion that comes from colds, allergies, and other common conditions.

Improved digestion - Cinnamon and other related spices have long been used as a digestive aid, and those who suffer from stomach cramps, IBS, and other common stomach disorders often find that adding cinnamon to their favorite dish aids digestion.

Relief from menstrual cramping and other feminine discomfort - Cinnamon has long been used to treat the discomfort that accompanies menstruation, and many women report that a daily amount of cinnamon greatly reduces cramping, pain, and other common menstrual complaints.

Fights tooth decay: "Cinnamon is an antiseptic that helps kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease" - Daniel B. Mowrey, PhD, author of The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine.

15. Clears up urinary-tract infections: One German study showed that cinnamon "suppresses completely" the cause of most urinary-tract infections (Escherichia coli bacteria).

16. Antioxidant capacity: Cinnamon is so powerful an antioxidant that when compared to six other antioxidant spices (anise, ginger, licorice, mint, nutmeg and vanilla) and the chemical food preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and propyl gallate, it prevented oxidation more effectively than all the other spices (except mint) and the chemical antioxidants.

17. Miscellaneous: Cinnamon makes a nice nontoxic bug repellent when sprinkled in the kitchen cabinets (in large amounts it even keeps away fire ants as long as it is freshly applied around their mounds).

How to Select and Store

Cinnamon is available in either stick or powder form. While the sticks can be stored for longer, the ground powder has a stronger flavor. If possible, smell the cinnamon to make sure that it has a sweet smell, a characteristic reflecting that it is fresh.

Cinnamon should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months, while cinnamon sticks will stay fresh for about one year stored this way. Alternatively, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator. To check to see if it is still fresh, smell the cinnamon. If it does not smell sweet, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.

How do you like to eat cinnamon? What are your favorite recipes?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Politics and Alzheimer's Disease

Watch actor David Hyde Pierce share his story about how Alzheimer's disease affected his family (after a 30 second commercial). His father and grandfather suffered from the disease.

Watch CBS Videos Online

A politician running for state senate knocked on my door yesterday. She told me she was running for the office and wondered if there were any issues that were important to me. I invited her in to meet my 90 year old father who has Parkinson's disease and showed her pictures of my mother who died last year from Alzheimer's disease. I told her that I believed that these diseases will grow to epidemic proportions unless someone steps into the ring to fight it with an act of PREVENTION! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this election year, I am looking for a politician that will fix health care. One of the big elements of that will be a plan to prevent disease before it happens.

It starts by teaching our children how to eat better and to be more physically and mentally active. There is a strong link between obesity and dementia. Obesity is a huge risk factor for Alzheimer's. Get the pop machines and the junk food out of our schools. This is a message that will not get much support from the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry. Preventing people from getting sick in the first place will cut their income and profits dramatically.

Studies had shown, that exercise - even in the form of everyday activity - could stave off dementia, reducing the risk by 30% to 40%.

Diets rich in vitamin C cut the risk by about 15% and a very good study had shown that sticking closely to a Mediterranean diet could cut the chances of developing dementia by up to 40%.

Just as with heart disease and stroke, reducing blood pressure is also protective - yet less than one in three people who need it have their blood pressure properly managed.

Scientists think that as many as 4.5 million Americans (26 million people worldwide) suffer from AD. But in the next few decades, that number is expected to skyrocket by 350% as America's baby-boomers age. According to a recent study from John Hopkins University, by 2050, Asia will have 62.8 million of the world's 106 million Alzheimer's patients. The disease usually begins after age 60, and risk goes up with age. While younger people also may get AD, it is much less common. About 10 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have AD, and nearly half of those age 85 and older may have the disease. It is important to note, however, that AD is not a normal part of aging.

This year Alzheimer’s is costing Medicare $91 billion and Medicaid $21 billion. By 2015, the two programs will be spending $210 billion just on individuals with Alzheimer’s. Finding a "cure" would be beneficial. Prevention is something we could do now. Prevention will cost us a lot less in the long run. Prevention is the best cure that we have right now. There are no bad side effects to prevention.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Legal Drug Abuse

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 225,000 Deaths Every Year.
Here are the statistics according to the author, Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health as she describes how the US health care system may contribute to poor health.
  • 12,000 -- unnecessary surgery
  • 7,000 -- medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 -- other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 -- infections in hospitals
  • 106,000 -- non-error, negative effects of drugs

These total to 225,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes!!

What does the word iatrogenic mean? This term is defined as induced in a patient by a physician's activity, manner, or therapy. Used especially of a complication of treatment.
As a caregiver for my elderly parents, I have spent quite a bit of time in doctors offices over the years. It is amusing to watch the never ending line of drug reps that parade through the waiting rooms bearing gifts and samples for the doctors and their staff. Many of them look like Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders with perfect hair, perfect white teeth and perfect bodies. They seem to have bottomless expense accounts and often offer to buy lunch for the busy doctor and his whole staff in exchange for giving them a half hour presentation concerning their latest drug. Since they are not medical experts, they usually bring along another doctor to do the presentation. Click here to get an insiders perspective on how this all goes down.
Doctors can make $500 to $750 for these lunch presentations. Receiving $750 checks for chatting with some doctors during a lunch break is such easy money that it could easily leave any doctor giddy. Free vacations and fancy dinners await those who will attend a drug companies seminar or drug convention. Money to attend Broadway plays or sports events flows freely at these events. How does one remain objective and patient oriented in the shadow of these magnetic and influential events?
According to Shahram Ahari, who spent two years selling Prozac and Zypraxa for Eli Lily, the benefits could be lucrative for sales reps, who tended to earn more than researchers. On top of a base salary for starting reps of $50,000, "there were four quarterly bonuses, an annual bonus, stock options, a car, 401K, great health benefits, and a $60,000 expense account."It is a very lucrative occupation where pushing drugs is legal and you don't even have to go to jail. Here is a short video of a drug rep and why she quit the business.

Ex Drug Rep -- Manipulating Doctors

This is not a slam on doctors and those in the medical profession. I have tremendous respect for the doctors and nurses who have treated me and my family over the years. Without them, we would all be in a world of hurt or even dead by now. I'm not slamming drugs here either. In the proper circumstances, they can be a life saving and therapeutic miracle. I am just wondering if many medical professionals have lost their way due to greed and arrogance? I am just wondering if the big pharmaceutical companies have been given too much influence over our medical schools and the continuing education of medical personnel?

Many people are under the false assumption that the FDA is protecting them. They think the FDA has thoroughly looked at and approved all of the drugs that have come on the market. If enough money and pressure are available, the FDA looks the other way and approves the drug any way. The human trials (that should have been done before the drug is approved) end up being done after the drug is approved. Surprise, surprise! It is being tested on YOU! Remember Vioxx? It was pulled off the market after 55,000 people were reported to have died from a drug induced heart attack. Baycol, a profitable cholesterol-lowering drug, was pulled from the world market because thirty-one patients died while taking it. The drug caused an unusual condition in which muscle tissue broke down.
"The FDA 'protects' the big drug companies and are subsequently rewarded, and using the government's police powers they attack those who threaten the big drug companies.
People think that the FDA is protecting them.
It isn't. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it is doing are as different as night and day."

Dr. Herbert Ley
Former U.S. FDA Commissioner
So, what is the definition of "Safe?" According to Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), "safe" means that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks for the population the drug is intended to treat and for its intended use. "Safe does not mean harmless," Woodcock says. "Every drug comes with risks, and our tolerance for risk is higher for drugs that treat serious and life-threatening illnesses."
Why should we trust the FDA? Why don't you decide for yourself what "risk" you are willing to take? Make sure you read all of the side effects on any drug label before you take it. I have seen some people who are taking up to 17 different drugs. Many of them are to treat the side effects of some of the other drugs. Here is a humorous video about drug side effects and the abuse of legally prescribed drugs.

The Drugs I Need

The FDA recently (September 5, 2008) published a list of drugs that are potential problems. It reports the top 20 potentially harmful drugs in compliance with a bill passed by Congress last year forcing them to report potentially unsafe drugs to consumers. It is from the first quarter of this year. Why did it take four months for them to finally publish this report? Whose side are they on? The consumer or the drug companies?
Our health care system is broken. Right now, it is all we have but it is broken. Doctors are too drug oriented. Most people expect to be given a prescription for something before they leave the doctors office or they don't feel the doctor has done his job. It is like the builder of a house whose only tool is a hammer. If you only know how to use a hammer, everything you see becomes a nail. The answer to all sickness will always be a drug. Is that why we get sick? Because of a lack of drugs? Have you ever seen a house that was built, using only a hammer? Not to pretty.
So, here is my open letter to medical professionals everywhere:
Dear Medical Professional,
First, I want to thank you for answering the call of a profession that deserves much respect and admiration. What you do, makes a tremendous difference in the lives of your fellow man. Where would we be without you? You have my never ending respect. You heal the sick and bind up the wounded. I am truly in awe of your gift.
I know that it must bother you deeply that you cannot help everybody. We both know that you are not God. Today's medical knowledge can only take us so far but I hope you can join me in my desire to make the American medical system better than it has been in the past. I call for an open mind and a return to your roots. Why did you become a medical professional in the first place? Remember the Hippocratic oath. Remember the part where it says "first of all, do no harm?"
Don't let greed influence your decision to prescribe surgery or drugs. When you do, you cast a shadow on your profession and make us trust you less than we should. We expect to be taken advantage of by a used car salesman. Please don't lower yourself to that position. It is my life we are dealing with here, not a car.
Make decisions based on real science. When the drug companies tell you about their studies concerning their latest wonder drug, don't believe them unless you do some digging on your own. They might be cherry picking the most favorable studies and hiding ones that might concern you. Ask other doctors what they think. Do your homework.
Don't always make drugs and surgery your first choice in modalities. Have an open mind. Try safer things first. Give it a chance to work. You can always go back to drugs or surgery later.
Don't look down your nose at chiropractors, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, physical therapists, nutritionists and dietitians. Just because you cannot see the science behind their advice does not mean that it is not there. It just means that you have not seen it. A true scientist has an open mind, an open ear and a discerning attitude. Too often, like politicians, we demonize things we do not understand or are not in our own selfish interests.
I know that treating the symptoms of disease is your bread and butter. You are like a person that faithfully stands at the bottom of the cliff. When someone falls off, we are so grateful that you are there to pick them up and hopefully put them back together. We need you to stand at the top of the cliff too. Benjamin Franklin once said that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Alzheimer's and Diabetes will soon be reaching epidemic proportions. I know you might not make as much money in a prevention mode, but we are asking you to do the right thing and help us to do more to prevent disease before it happens.
Distance yourself from the pharmaceutical companies. Don't allow them to cloud your good judgment. Look yourself in the mirror every evening with a clear conscience and be able to say that you did the right thing today. Be an agent of healing and not harm.
Thanks for all you do,

Death from Iatrogenic Causes

Dr. Drug Rep

The Drug Pushers

ABC News: Ex Drug Sales Rep Tells All

Following the Script: How Drug Reps Make Friends and Influence Doctors

Former Eli Lilly Drug Rep Details Marketing Efforts

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Laughter Is Still The Best Medicine!

The old saying that laughter is the best medicine appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart.
A University of Maryland study says watching comedy boosts blood flow to the heart in the same way aerobic exercise does. “We do not yet know why this is so, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium which is the protective barrier that lines our blood vessels," says Michael Miller, M.D., F.A.C.C., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to cholesterol and fat build-up in the coronary arteries and in the end to a heart attack
Blood flow rates dropped after participants watched distressing movie scenes - and "increased" in nearly 100 percent of people after watching a comedy.
When volunteers watched a movie that caused mental stress there was a reduction in the diameter of the blood vessel which would reduce in some reduced blood flow.
It also released chemicals that may increase blood clot formation and that may have adverse affects that may promote hardening of the arteries.
The study seems simple but it mimics what researchers have long suspected that there is a link between depression and the development of heart disease.
If you have heart disease and you're depressed your outcome of survival in fact can be affected.
So along with regular excercise, experts prescribe 15 minutes of laughter a day wherever you can find it.
So, here is your daily prescription of laughter. Watch a few of these videos and call me in the morning!





Monday, September 01, 2008

Which Is Better? Eating Fish Or Taking Fish Oil Capsules?

There is nothing like a day out on the water, FISHING! The only thing better than a fish dinner is eating fish that you have caught by yourself. Somehow, it seems to taste better! You can always guarantee the freshness and handling that way. My favorites are walleye, northern pike, bass and trout. I live near the Chicago area and this is some of what is available in my local waters. If I lived on the coast, I'm sure you would find me surf casting on the beach in most of my my spare time. I usually catch just enough to eat and I let the rest go until another day.

What is so great about fish? Other than it tastes good, it is good for you! It is a great source of protein and the Omega 3 Fatty Acids are good for your brain and your eyesight as well as your heart. Fish and fish oil contain two important omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). We do not get enough of these in our western diet.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are the biosynthetic precursors of a family of compounds called eicosanoids (prostaglandins, thromboxins, and leucotriens). These compounds are hormone-like substances that help retain normal health processes in our bodies. It is important to maintain an appropriate balance of omega-3 and omega-6 in the diet as these two substances work together to promote health. Yet despite the clear health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids, dietary surveys indicate that most of us do not obtain enough omega-3 fatty acids from our diets.

Here is a list of some of the benefits of eating fish and their Omega 3 Fatty Acids:


  • They make your platelets less sticky and lower fibrinogen levels (fibrinogen is a blood-clotting factor). This means they decrease the chance of forming blood clots throughout your body, thus reducing the likelihood of a heart attack, stroke, or embolism (clot)

  • They make your red blood cells more flexible so your blood flows more easily, lowering your blood pressure and improving delivery of nutrients and oxygen to your cells

  • They lower blood fats (especially triglycerides) and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels

  • They stabilise your heartbeat, preventing heartbeat abnormalities (arrhythmia) that can lead to cardiac arrest

  • They may reduce microalbuminuria (an abnormally high amount of protein in the urine) and thus help patients on dialysis (a machine to filter the kidneys)

  • They may elevate your mood, lift depression and improve your ability to deal with stress

  • They reduce inflammation and can relieve symptoms of arthritis, and

  • They may reduce the output of the stress hormone adrenaline.’
If you think this is a bunch of nonsense and wishful thinking, think again. The FDA does not allow health claims on most supplements unless there is overwhelming evidence to back up that claim. Next time you pick up a bottle of fish oil capsules, read the label. I think you will find several different claims as to the effects on heart health. One of them is "consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." The American Heart Association says, "Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the heart of healthy people, and those at high risk of —or who have — cardiovascular disease."

To reap the benefits of eating fish or taking fish oil capsules, it will depend on what kind of fish it is and where it comes from.

The FDA put out a warning a few years back about the risks of mercury in fish. They warned pregnant women that they should not eat more than 12 ounces of fish per week. It is the larger fish like the list below that seem to contain the highest amounts of methylmercury. Smaller fish have a little bit of mercury in them and these larger predators eat them and develop higher concentrations that can be dangerous to the nervous system and the brain.

King mackerel

Man has "polluted the nest" by emitting toxins into the air we breathe and the water that our fish swim in. If you test fish for contaminants, you will find other things like heavy metals, PCBs, pesticides, and organic residues. Unless your fish comes from the pristine waters off the coast of Alaska or Iceland, they probably contain some of these contaminants.

So, is there another way to get these Omega 3 Fatty Acids without ingesting the dangerous contaminants? How about fish oil capsules?

Unfortunately, the fish oil capsules that you buy at the grocery store or pharmacy could possibly contain whatever you are trying to stay away from. Many of them contain algae and other things that could cause stomach bloat and gas. A bad experience here could keep you from benefiting and having a positive experience from taking fish oil. Results from a study published in 1998 indicate that tests of 44 different fish oil supplement brands sold in 15 countries between 1994 and 1995 revealed appreciable quantities of organochlorines including PCBs and pesticide residues.

The difference comes in the quality of the fish oil. How can you tell the difference? A quality fish oil product has gone through a molecular distillation process. This removes the dangerous contaminants and concentrates the amounts of
eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). Some people call this a "pharmaceutical-grade" fish oil. Actually, there is not such thing as pharmaceutical-grade fish oil just as there is no such thing as pharmaceutical-grade apple juice. At the crux of the issue is the fact that there simply is no agreed-upon set of standards (in technical terms, a monograph) for fish oil supplements to date. These official monographs are set by the US Pharmacopoeia Convention (USPC) to provide standards for the active ingredients in drugs, biologics, dietary supplements, and devices, defining their 'strength, quality, and purity' for human use. Simply put, nothing can truthfully be deemed ‘pharmaceutical grade' until it has been officially defined by an approved USPC monograph.High quality fish oil is a natural product that is obtained from fish but is highly filtered and concentrated for purity and safety. If you look at the grocery store brands, they usually contain a lot less of the Omega 3 fatty acids compared to a quality "pharmaceutical-grade" brand. Here is an example of what is contained in the Costco brand of fish oil capsules:

Fish Oil Concentrate 1000 mg
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) 180 mg,
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) 120 mg

Here is an example of a brand that has gone through a molecular distillation process:

Fish Oil Concentrate 1000 mg

The higher quality pill has the toxins filtered out and is more concentrated. It should also contain some vitamin E. This is an antioxidant that will keep the pill from going rancid while it sits on your shelf at home. Look at the vitamin E as a natural preservative. You could also keep it in your refrigerator after you open the bottle, if you wish.

Most purification processes for fish oil remove any vitamin D from the product. Yet, experts now widely believe that a majority of people are
not getting enough vitamin D, which has been shown to have many health benefits, such as supporting bone health and healthy lung function. If you can find a high quality fish oil that contains vitamin D, that is a plus. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and vitamin D are also important structural components of retinal and neural tissues and may help retain eye health.

I take four pills (4 x 1000 m
g.) spread throughout the day. My 90 year old father takes the same amount. He used to have arthritis pains in his shoulder that would wake him up at night. Those pains have been gone for the last three years now. He sleeps like a baby. His cholesterol levels (as well as mine) are perfectly normal without the use of statin drugs that have dangerous side effects.

If you are a vegetarian or have any problems with eating fish or taking fish oil, here is an alternative for you.

I take a fish oil capsule called Biomega by Usana Health Sciences. It goes through a double molecular distillation process and contains vitamin D and E. It does not get any purer than that. Other good brands are made by Carlson and Icelandic.

Here are some links to articles about the benefits of taking fish oil capsules:

If you are trying to keep from getting Alzheimer's Disease, read these articles.

Brain health dramatically improved by intake of omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils

Staving Off Alzheimer's Disease With The Right Diet, Prescriptions

If you are pregnant, read this article

If you have arthritis

Research: Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acid in Fish Oil