Vitamin D May Cut Risk of Flu

Vitamin D may reduce the incidence and severity of influenza and other infections of the upper respiratory tract, new research means.
Simple steps such as eating supplements rich with vitamin D and getting more sunshine may help to reduce your chances of contracting flu and other similar diseasees, shows a study by scientists at Yale University School of treatment and Greenwich hospital in Connecticut.

“People in the South and West get more sun than in the North, which is good for them, because you get vitamin D from the sun,” study researcher James R. Sabetta, MD, of the Yale University School of treatment and Greenwich hospital, Conn., tells WebMD. “It’s not a panacea, but it helps.”

Sabetta and his team of colleagues followed 198 healthy adults during the fall and winter of 2009-2010 to see if declining levels of vitamin D in the fall and winter could be a factor in the seasonal increased prevalence of respiratory viral infections, such as flu.

The study shows people who maintain vitamin D blood levels of 38 nanograms per milliliter or more are less likely to get viral infections such as flu than people with less in their blood.

Of 18 people who maintained that level during the study period, only three developed viral infections.

But of the 180 other participants with less vitamin D in their blood, 81(45%), did get sick with viral infections.

And those with higher levels of vitamin D as well experienced a marked reduction in the number of days they were ill, Sabetta tells WebMD.

In addition to getting more sun and consuming milk and supplements with vitamin D, he recommends supplements, especially for people in areas with less sunlight and for those who spend daylight hours in darker, indoor surroundingss.

“If you have a level of 38, your risk is down 50%,” he tells WebMD. “A lot of people don’t have an adequate level, and 38 is a little on top of what you should have to be admit as true tdetested in the sufficient range. There are a billion people worldwide with levels below 30.”

And 30 is admit as true tdetested “sufficient,” he says.

Symptoms of disease

Participants in the study had blood samples drawn monthly using a sophisticated technique to exactly measure vitamin D levels. They didn’t know that vitamin D was being measured, and even investigators didn’t know until the end of the study.

All participants were asked to report symptoms of disease, such as nasal congestion, sore throat, cough with or without fever, chills, fatigue and general malaise.

Those reporting any symptoms were seen the same day at the study site by one of the infectious disease investigators.

People in the study kept a diary of symptoms and were called every one to three days during the disease to review any symptoms of symptoms until they were better. The investigators recorded the duration of each symptom, the total duration of the disease, and any antimicrobials administered.

Sabetta says the discoverings suggest that supplementing vitamin D to achieve a blood level of 38 nanograms per milliliter or higher could result in a considerable health benefit by reducing odds of contracting viral infections of the respiratory tract.

But he says more studies are needed to determine the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of infections, including influenza.

The researchers conclude that the lower levels of vitamin D seen during the winter in temperate climates may contribute to the prevalence of influenza in colder months.

The discoverings, Sabetta says, have considerable implications for public health and as well may make clear the seasonality of certain infections, and as well the higher morbidity and mortality of such diseasees in people who are predisposed to lower concentrations of vitamin D.

Sabetta says vitamin D has known effects on the immune system, and the study reinforces the association between vitamin D deficiency and susceptibility to infections of the respiratory tract.

The study is published online in the journal Plos ONE.

Vitamin D levels depend “on how big you are, your skin color, your diet and how much sun exposure you get,” Sabetta tells WebMD. “Individuals should get their vitamin D levels checked. If you are gardening a lot, you probably are fine, but people in an office all day may need supplements.”

SOURCES: News release, Greenwich hospital.

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Eat Healthy and Control Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is an disease that has been on the rise over the last century. Diabetes is diagnosed when there is a defect in the production of insulin by the pancreas. Glucose (blood sugar) is the principal energy source for the body. Without insulin, the body cannot utilize this energy source. When this occurs, the sugar that circulates in the blood is too high while at the same time, the sugar that is absorbed in the body tissues is too low.

Diabetes mellitus, the medical term, is usually divided in two classifications: type 1 and type 2. In type one diabetes, the blood sugar must be controlled with a combination of insulin and food. In many cases type 2 diabetes can be controlled by food alone.

The food disease

Diabetes has frequently been called a food disease because it associated with the food. Diabetes, whether it be type 1 or type 2 is controlled, to a certain extent, by what the person eats. This disease is a disorder of how carbohydrates are metabolized. In this disease sweet or starchy foods are metabolized differently in diabetics. Type 1 diabetics control their disease with insulin and food. Type 2 diabetics usually control their disease with food and exercise. Exercise speeds up the metabolism and increases heart and lung health while sending oxygen through the body.

Overweight children

Until newly, type 2 of the disease was called adult onset diabetes because it was most frequently seen in overweight young adults. Now with the surge in overweight children and a parallel number of children with the disease, it has become apparent that there is a correlation of food and disease. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does generate some insulin, but the insulin generated is ineffective. Because of this, the body can restore its original function by careful attention to food and exercise.

In type 2 individuals, some insulin is generated. Many patients are given oral drug to help the pancreas generate sufficient of the insulin needed for the body to function properly. This drug may not be insulin but serves as a booster to help the pancreas continue to generate the insulin the body needs. Making wise food alternatives will help the body keep its sugar level stable. Today’s processed food is heavy on starch and sugar additives and low on fiber. This prevents the body from performing properly and using the food the way it is supposed to be used. A good rule of thumb is stay away from foods that come in a wrapper.

Choose good lean protein sources and fruits and vegetables that have not been mechanically processed. In addition to these suggestions, the benefit of daily exercise cannot be over conditiond. Exercise is the one thing that does not cost any money and is of great support to general good health.

Blood Sugar Levels

Keep track of sugar levels by testing blood in any case three times a day. Contact a physician if whatever seems out of the ordinary. Seek out a professional fooditian for the exact amount and type of foods for carbohydrate metabolism. Sweet or starchy foods are metabolized differently in diabetics.

Type 1 diabetics control their disease with insulin and food. Type 2 diabetics usually control their disease with food and exercise. comprehend your specific needs and always know your A1C level. Follow these simple suggestions and the type 2 diabetic should have well controlled sugar levels.

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Healthy Eating for Lower Stress

American Country Breakfast served around Thank...

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Our daily diet is more than just a source of nutrition. It can trigger memories, bringing forth nostalgic feelings that had been all but forgotten.

It can be comforting or exciting and the difference it can make on one’s day is impressive. But even with everything else food can be, it is still a means to an end. Food is the fuel that drives the body to keep going and just as machinery needs different categories of fluids to keep things running smoothly, the body requires various categories as well.

What Stress Does to the Body

There are good stresses and bad stresses constantly assaulting the body. Avoiding stress is an improbable venture, and one that would not be good to attempt. The body needs stress to function; it is designed to react to stress automatically. Almost no voluntary thought is needed when the body responds to a stressful condition. Muscles tense, hormones are released, the pulse quickens, adrenaline is generated, and blood pressure and heart rate are elevated involuntarily. It is a organic process that serves to prepare the body for the condition that caused it.

The Harmful Side of Stress

When harmful stresses are exerted on the body for expanded periods of time it becomes a chronic condition that the body reacts to negatively. Since the organic reaction for stress is for the body to be ready to react, a constant stress will have the body in a continuous condition of nervousness. Blood pressure and heart rates stay elevated for expanded periods of time rising the chance for either stroke or heart attack. The digestive system is slowed which may cause diarrhea or heartburn. The body is not made to be under constant attack and it cannot function properly in that surroundings.

Why is food so essential?

Food is one of the few constants in any person’s life. Food, air and water are the three basics that are needed to sustain life, so it makes sense to diligently select the ways in which we get those basic needs. Clean air and water is the preferred method of choice for two of the needs but with food the story is different. Taste buds can fool almost anyone into choosing an unhealthy dish over the healthy one. For those with a penchant for sweets, a piece of cake would be more satisfying to the palate than an apple, even though the apple contains the sugar the body needs for energy it does not comfort the mind the way that piece of cake will. That is because food is not simply sustaining the physical body it is sustaining the psychological body as well. food is cultural, regional, and familial and its preparation and presentation is as much a part of its importance as the real nutritional value is. in any case, it is to the mind.

Make Healthy alternatives

A lifetime of bad habits regarding food can be changed. It begins with a decision, the decision to begin now to alter those habits and give the body what it wants and needs to function properly.

  • limit caffeine –High levels of caffeine can increase irritability and nervousness and can raise the amount of stomach acid being generated.
  • reduce sugar – Sugar that has been added to food is frequently processed in a factory and does not contain the required nutrients such as nutrients that the body needs.
  • increase fiber – Fiber slows the absorption of fat in the body and cleans the digestive system. Avocados, sunflower seeds, and chick peas are a few of the foods that are rich in fiber.
  • eat breakfast – A healthy breakfast that is low in fat and high in fiber will keep hunger at bay and provide energy throughout the morning.

Always Remember That food is Controllable

There are many things in life that are circumstantial and cannot be controlled but food is not one of them. Each person has the final say in what goes inside their mouth. That little bit of knowledge alone may be sufficient to combat some of the stress that plagues the population on a daily basis. The body never goes on break, giving it what it needs to run effectively is an easy way to lighten its load. A well oiled, properly tuned machine will last longer than a abused and neglected one will.

Sources:, *”Fiber list” (accessed May 25, 2010), *”Fiber” (accessed May 30, 2010), *”Stress” (accessed June 1, 2010)

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Health Benefits of Grapes

Wine grapes.

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Grapes have been eaten since the pre-historic era and were cultivated far back in 5000 B.C.E. In the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations, the fruit was worshipped for its use in wine making.

Nutritional Highlights of Grapes

Grapes are endowed with innumerable vital nutrients and powerful anti-oxidants, that forestall the event of several deadly ailment and proffer remarkable benefits in the treatment of a host of disorders.

  • Grapes are loaded with flavanoids, which are wonderful anti-oxidants. The darker the color of the grape, the higher is the concentration of flavanoids in it.
  • They are rich in resveratrol, a compound which is a potent anti-oxidant, and is being touted as an anti-aging agent.
  • Grapes as well supply lots of thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Health Benefits of Grapes

Grapes provide nutritional benefits similar to a lot of berries. However, their nutritional quality can be augmented by eating the seeds, which are found in some varieties. The following are the exceptional benefits provided by grapes :

  • Prevent atherosclerosis: The flavanoids present in grapes are actually strong and forceful anti-oxidants, and have the capacity to reverse atherosclerosis and its debigating effects. Atherosclerosis is the build up of plaque within the arterial walls, leading to constriction of the arteries, subsequent increase in blood pressure and a range of lethal cardiac disorders.Grapes protect against vascular damage, oxidative damage, they prevent platelets from aggregating together, thus, putting a stop to the formation of clots, which could be potentially hazardous, and reduces the plaque and cholesterol build up in the arteries.
  • Exert powerful anti-cancer effects: Studies show that flavanoids and resveratrol, offer significant protection from cancer and avert its development. These anti-oxidants are powerful free radical scavengers and battleers, that stave off DNA damage.
  • Boost immunity: Resveratrol boosts the immune system functioning and defense mechanisms of the body. It increases the body’s resilience to surroundingsal stressors, adverse weather and checks bacterial / viral infections.
  • Treat varicose veins: Grape seeds additionalcts, packed with flavanoids, have been used extensively to treat varicose veins. These additionalcts manage the varicosity of the blood vessel, prevent inflammatory conditions and handle most venous disorders successfully.

Quick Serve concepts for Grapes

Grapes, when bought, should be plump, firm and wrinkle free. It is advisable to wash grapes with a solution of additive free soap to get rid of all pesticide and insecticide residues.

  • Salads : grapes make wonderful additions to fruits salads, green salads and juices.
  • Curries and stewed vegetables : can be given an added punch and fruity flavor, by including fresh grapes in the recipe.
  • Stewed grapes can be served with podiscomfortd chicken breast as a light and wholesome dish.

Reference :

Am J Cardiol, Miyagi, Y., K. Miwa and H. Inoue, Inhibition of Human Low Density Lipoprotein Oxidation by Flavanoids in Red Wine and Grape Juice, 1997.

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Chocolate Milk Refuels Muscles After Workout

A glass of chocolate milk.

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Fat-free chocolate milk beat out carbohydrate sports drinks at helping to rebuild and refuel muscles after exercise, researchers report.
The combination of carbohydrates and protein in low-fat chocolate milk appears to be “just right” for refueling weary muscles, says William Lunn, PhD, an exercise scientist at the University of Connecticut.

“It’s not just a dessert item, but it’s very healthy, especially for endurance athletes,” Lunn tells WebMD.

The research involved eight male runners in good physical shape who ate a balanced diet for two weeks. At the end of each week, they took a fast paced, 45-minute run.

Following each run, the men drank either 16 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk or 16 ounces of a carbohydrate-only sports beverage with the same number of calories.

Post-exercise muscle biopsies showed increased skeletal muscle protein synthesis — a sign that muscles were better able to rebuild — after the milk drink, compared with the carb-only beverage.

Additionally, drinking fat-free chocolate milk led to a higher concentration of glycogen, or muscle fuel, in muscles 30 and 60 minutes after exercise, compared with the sports drink. Replenishing glycogen after exercise helps future performance, Lunn says.

The findings were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in Baltimore this week.

While only men were studied, one would expect women to gain the same post-workout benefits from chocolate milk, he says.

While the studies were small, there’s no reason not to reach for fat-free chocolate milk after your next workout, says sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD, of Healthworks Fitness Center in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

“Athletes can consider it an inexpensive nutritional alternative to engineered sports beverages for help with post-workout recovery,” she tells WebMD.

The studies were supported by a grant from the National Dairy Council and National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

SOURCES: American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, June 1-5, 2010.

William Lunn, PhD, associate professor of exercise science, University of Connecticut.

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Exercise Recommended for Cancer Patients

New Guidelines Call for Physical Activity Before, During, and After Treatment

Though cancer patients have long been told to take it easy, they can – and should – be as physically active as possible before and during treatment, according to new guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

“We have to get past the idea that exercise is harmful for cancer patients,” says Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, lead author of the guidelines and associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Physical activity brings many benefits, including improved aerobic fitness and strength, decreased fatigue, better quality of life, and improved body image, Schmitz tells WebMD.

No one is saying you should go out and run a marathon during chemotherapy. “You know your own body, do what’s comfortable,” she says.
Many cancer patients who stop being physically active during treatment and early recovery never start up again, says Jennifer Ligibel, MD, of  Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

“If we can prevent cancer patients from decreasing physical activity in the first place, we can stop them from going down that slippery slope,” she tells WebMD.

Ligibel led a discussion on the guidelines here at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Moderate Activity Is Recommended

The 13-person ACSM panel came up with the exercise recommendations after reviewing published studies looking at the safety and effectiveness of physical activity during and after cancer therapy. The panel focused on breast, prostate, hematologic, colon, and gynecologic cancers.

In general, the same 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate-paced activity such as walking recommended for the general population is beneficial for cancer patients, even during treatment, according to the guidelines.

But it’s not a one-size-fits-all prescription, and regimens should be
tailored to individuals, taking into account their overall fitness, diagnoses, and other factors that could affect safety, the panel recommends.

For example, people with stomach or other gastrointestinal cancer as well those whose cancers have to spread to the bone may be advised to avoid heavy weight training.

People with compromised immune systems may want to avoid exercising in public gyms.

If you have loss of sensation, or feelings of pins and needles, in your hands and feet – a condition called peripheral neuropathy that’s a common side effect of many cancer treatments – a stationary bike may be preferable to weight-bearing exercise, the panel says.

Yoga generally appears safe, Schmitz says. As for Pilates, there was no
published evidence for the panel to review, so a recommendation could not be made.

Women with breast cancer can do upper body training, “but it should be done very slowly, which is not how many people approach it,” Ligibel says.

In general, cancer patients do not need any formal testing, such as stress testing, prior to starting a moderate-intensity exercise program, she says. But patients should check with their doctors.

People with heart conditions, whether related to their cancer or not, as well as those who are morbidly obese, may require additional supervision and exercise modifications, the guidelines state.

“The important thing,” Schmitz says, “is to avoid inactivity.”

American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, June 1-5, 2010.
American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting 2010, Chicago, June 4-8, 2010.

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Links between Birth Defects and Valproic Acid

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6 Birth Defects More Common in Pregnant Women Who Take Epilepsy Drug

Women with epilepsy who take valproic acid during the first trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have children with birth defects than women who took other epilepsy drugs or no medicine to control their seizures during pregnancy.

The findings appear in the June 10 issue of the New England Journal of

Valproic acid is also used to treat other illnesses, including bipolar disorder and migraines. Brand names include Depakote, Depakene, Depacon, and Stavzor.

Almost 3 million people in the U.S. have some form of epilepsy, according to
the Epilepsy Foundation.

“Our findings provide further support for the recommendation of the American Academy of Neurology to avoid the use of valproic acid, if possible, in pregnant women,” conclude the researchers, who were led by Janneke Jentink, MSc, of the University of Groningen in Groningen, Netherlands. “Since switching drugs during or just before pregnancy is difficult, the risks associated with valproic acid use should be routinely considered in choosing therapy for women with childbearing potential.”

The researchers reviewed data from eight studies that highlighted 14 birth
defects that were more common among offspring of women who took this epilepsy
drug during the first trimester. Next, they identified infants with these 14
birth defects from the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT) antiepileptic-study database, and compared them to a group of infants with birth defects not previously connected to use of this drug and to a group of infants with chromosomal abnormalities.

6 Birth Defects Linked to Valproic Acid

The researchers found that six birth defects were more common among children of women who took valproic acid during first trimester than children of women who did not take antiseizure drugs:

  1. Spina bifida
  2. Atrial septal defect (a hole in the heart)
  3. Cleft palate
  4. Hypospadias (an abnormality in the opening of the urethra in boys)
  5. Polydactyly (extra fingers or toes)
  6. Craniosynostosis (one or more sutures on a baby’s skull close prematurely)

When compared with other epilepsy drugs, valproic acid increased the risk for all of these birth defects except craniosynostosis, the study showed. It also showed an increased risk of ventricular septal defect (a hole in the heart) when compared to other epilepsy drugs.

“These findings support a relationship of these malformations with valproic
acid specifically rather than to antiepileptic drugs generally or to underlying
epilepsy,” the researchers write. The use of this drug is not considered a
marker for more severe epilepsy, but information on the type or severity of
epilepsy was not available. The new study also did not include information on
the doses of valproic acid that women used during pregnancy.

“It’s a phenomenal drug for seizures and bipolar illness, but I won’t use it
during pregnancy if I can help it,” says Catherine Birndorf, MD, a reproductive psychiatrist in New York City and the founding director of the Payne Whitney Women’s Program at The New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. Birndorf typically counsels women who take this drug to treat bipolar disorder, not epilepsy.

It all comes down to a woman’s personal risk and benefit profile, she says. “The risk of untreated illnesses are great to both the woman and fetuses, and
sometimes taking this medication may be the best choice,” she says. “You need to look at it on a case-by-case basis, and look at reasonable alternatives.
Sometimes there are no other choices because to stay well, you must be on this specific medication at high doses.”

“If you are on [valproic acid] and it’s working well, don’t do anything rash
like going off your medication,” she says. “Go to your doctor and figure out if
there are safer alternatives for treating your seizure or bipolar disorder
during pregnancy.”

Ideally this conversation should take place before you become pregnant. “Once you are pregnant, it’s a different can of worms,” she says.

Counseling Women Before Pregnancy

“The study provides further verification of our concerns of valproic acid
standing out as high risk for birth defects during pregnancy and [conferring a]
higher risk than other medications we can choose to prescribe for treatment of epilepsy, migraine, and bipolar disorder during pregnancy,” says Page B.
Pennell, MD, a neurologist and the director of research in the division of
epilepsy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the chairwoman of the professional advisory board for the Epilepsy Foundation.

The study also provides information on the specific birth defects that are
increased in the offspring of women with epilepsy who took the drug during their first trimester, she says.

“It is necessary to discuss these risks with women prior to pregnancy,” she
tells WebMD. “I tell all my patients to try and switch to a safer medication
because these birth defects can have a huge impact on a child’s life.”

“It is prudent and necessary for us to try and find another medication to
control epilepsy or bipolar disorder among women of childbearing age,” she says.
“There are several medications that we can choose from, and almost any other medication will be a safer option for the developing fetus.”

The good news is that more than 90% of women with epilepsy will have normal, healthy infants, according to the Epilepsy Foundation.

Fully half of all pregnancies are unplanned, Pennell says. This conversation
needs to take place as soon as a woman hits puberty and continue through all of her childbearing years.

Depakote Manufacturer Responds

Depakote is manufactured by The Abbott Laboratories in Abbott Park, Ill.

“The risk of birth defects associated with valproic acid is well known and
clearly stated in Depakote’s medication labeling,” says Abbott spokeswoman DeAnna DuBose.

“Because both the seizures themselves and the medications used to treat those seizures pose risks, it is crucial that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant work extensively with their physicians to balance the importance of seizure control with any potential effects of epilepsy therapy,” she says.

Epilepsy Foundation web site.
Catherine Birndorf, MD,founding director, Payne Whitney Women’s Program, The New
York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York.
Page B. Pennell, MD, director of research, division of epilepsy, Brigham and
Women’s Hospital, Boston; chair, professional advisory board, the Epilepsy
DeAnna DuBose, spokeswoman, Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill.
Jentink, J. New England Journal of Medicine, 2010; vol 362: pp 2185-2193.
© 2010 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Dieting can be dangerous

Malnutrition can result from dietary regimens which happen to be very unbalanced nutritionally. Some of these were introduced by medical graduates, others are unscientific. The following are only a sample.

“Liquid protein” combined with fasting

In the United States of America in the late 1970s this diet led to at least 60 deaths from cardiac arrhythmias in people with no history of heart disease. The product “Prolinn”, an extract from
beef hides, lacked several essential amino acids. It was withdrawn, but prolonged fasting with or without protein supplements (even those of good biological value) carries the risk of sudden fatal arrhythmias and has been criticized authoritatively.

Zen macrobiotic diets

These diets consist of 10 levels. The highest level is 100% cereals and prescribes a very low fluid intake. These diets have led to scurvy and/or impaired renal function, anaemia, hypocalcaemia, and emaciation. In some cases these have been fatal. These diets have been condemned by the American Medical Association.

Dr Atkins’s diet revolution

This weight reducing diet in a popular paperback written in 1972 prescribed a minimal carbohydrate intake. Ketosis is inevitable; and the diet raises plasma lipid concentrations.
It was condemned by the American Medical Association but the book can still be found on bookstalls, having sold millions of copies. It has been revived recently. This time it should be thoroughly tested for efficacy and safety.

Strict vegan diets for infants

Plant foods contain no vitamins B-12 or D. The latter can be synthesised in the skin if a child is exposed to sunlight, but the most serious nutritional complication of strict vegetarian diets
is vitamin B-12 deficiency in infants. The milk of vegan mothers contains insufficient vitamin B-12 unless she takes a supplement. This vitamin is required for normal myelin formation, and infants’ nervous systems are especially susceptible to deficiency. They can show impaired mental development, involuntary movements, and even coma responsive to vitamin B-12, as well as megaloblastic anaemia.

The Beverley Hills diet

This weight reducing diet requires consumption of nothing but fruit (all in a certain order and only the designated fruits) for the first 10 days. Some bread, salad, and meat are added later.
The theory behind this diet is unscientific, and it has been criticised in detail in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person

Can thinking and eating like a thin person be learned, similar to learning to drive or use a computer? Beck (Cognitive Therapy for Challenging Problems) contends so, based on decades of work with patients who have lost pounds and maintained weight through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Beck’s six-week program adapts CBT, a therapeutic system developed by Beck’s father, Aaron, in the 1960s, to specific challenges faced by yo-yo dieters, including negative thinking, bargaining, emotional eating, bingeing, and eating out. Beck counsels readers day-by-day, introducing new elements (creating advantage response cards, choosing a diet, enlisting a diet coach, making a weight-loss graph) progressively and offering tools to help readers stay focused (writing exercises, to-do lists, ways to counter negative thoughts). There are no eating plans, calorie counts, recipes or exercises; according to Beck, any healthy diet will work if readers learn to think differently about eating and food. Beck’s book is like an extended therapy session with a diet coach. (Apr.)

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Teens in South Getting Too Little Vitamin D

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Vitamin D deficiency are commonly observed in children in northern states, often due to insufficient sunlight and dietary intake.
But emerging research indicates that young people who live in the South, where sunlight is ample, also have low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D promotes bone growth and other important body functions. The body uses sunshine to make vitamin D, and it is also found in some foods.

Vitamin D and Teens

Researchers measured vitamin D levels in 559 African-American and white adolescents between 14 and 18 in Augusta, Ga., which gets plenty of sunlight year-round. Vitamin D levels were tested in all four seasons of the year.

Kids were excluded if they were taking medications or had chronic medical conditions that might affect growth and development or affect study results.

Of the 559 participants, 49% were female, 51% male, 45% African-American, and 55% white.

Researchers say participants were in various stages of maturation and that 268 of the 274 girls had started menstruation.

About half (56.4 %) of the youths tested had vitamin D insufficiency,
meaning the level was low but not affecting health. But 28.8% had vitamin D deficiency – a level low enough to cause health problems.

The vitamin D levels were lowest in winter. But African-American teenagers had significantly lower vitamin D levels in every season of the year, compared to white teens.

Also, adolescents with a higher body mass index had lower
vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D Deficiency Higher in African-Americans

Overall, the researchers write, vitamin D levels were higher in white
children than in African-American teens, and higher in boys than girls.

Researchers report that:

  • Vitamin D insufficiency rates were 94.3% in African-American girls and
    83.1% in African-American boys, compared with 29.6% in white girls and 30.3% in
    white boys.
  • Vitamin D deficiency rates were 73.8% in African-American girls and 46.9%
    in African-American boys, compared with only 2.6% in white girls and 3.9% in
    white boys.
  • Severe vitamin D deficiency was found only in African-American adolescents,
    or 5.2%.
  • In summer, no white kids had vitamin D deficiency, but 55% of
    African-American youths did.

Adults Need Vitamin D, Too

Vitamin D deficiency can result in thin, brittle, or misshapen bones; having enough Vitamin D can prevent rickets in kids. It also helps
to protect older adults from osteoporosis.

Researchers say their study is one of the first to investigate vitamin D
status in children in the southern part of the U.S. in African-Americans as well as whites.

They also say that low levels of vitamin D is a growing national problem for young people in the U.S. regardless of where they live.

“One of the key findings in our study is that a substantial proportion of
black adolescents may be at risk for low vitamin D status not only in winter but throughout the year,” the researchers write.

Researchers say more work is needed to investigate the implications for low vitamin D status and how to improve the situation.

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Hemorrhoid Treatment for People with Diabetes

Medical Author: Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)
Medical Editors: Jay W. Marks, MD

Some medications used to treat hemorrhoids can have negative effects on blood glucose levels, and thus, may cause physical problems for individuals
with diabetes who are taking diabetes medications. There are options for
patients with diabetes, who also suffer from painful hemorrhoids.

Some simple treatments for hemorrhoids in patients with
diabetes are as follows:

  • Eat plenty of high-fiber foods including bran, fresh fruits and vegetables. Psyllium-containing products also may be used to add fiber to the diet.
  • Avoid straining during defecation or sitting on the toilet for a prolonged period of time. In general, do not sit for prolonged periods of time. Ice compresses may ease the swelling.

Read more on safe hemorrhoid treatments for people with diabetes »

Hemorrhoid Overview

Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins located in the lower part of the rectum and the anus. They become swollen because of increased pressure within them, usually due to straining at stools and during pregnancy because of the pressure of the enlarged uterus.

Internal hemorrhoids are located in the inside lining of the rectum and cannot be felt. They are usually painless and make their presence known by causing bleeding with a bowel movement. Internal hemorrhoids can prolapsed or protrude through the anus.

External hemorrhoids are located underneath the skin that surrounds the anus. They can be felt when they swell and may cause itching or pain with a bowel movement, as well as bleeding. A thrombosed external hemorrhoid occurs when blood within the vein clots, and can cause significant pain.

Picture of hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoid Causes

Hemorrhoids are associated with constipation and straining at bowel movements. Pregnancy is also associated with hemorrhoids. These conditions lead to increased pressure within the hemorrhoidal veins causing them to swell.

Other conditions, for example chronic liver disease, may also cause increased venous pressure and may be associated with hemorrhoid formation. Hemorrhoids are very common and are estimated to occur in up to one-half of the population by age 50.

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