“They suggest strongly that people don’t have to

lose muscle mass and function as they grow older.

The changes that we’ve assumed were due to ageing

and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity.

And that is something which can be changed.”

 

Aging Well Through Exercise

NYT News Service, January 11, 2012 

 

Is physical frailty inevitable as we grow older? That question preoccupies scientists and the middle-aged. Until recently, the evidence was disheartening. Many studies in the past few years showed that after age 40, people typically lose eight per cent or more of their muscle mass each decade, a process that accelerates significantly after age 70. Less muscle mass generally means less strength, mobility and among the elderly, independence. Moreover, less muscle is also linked with premature mortality.

 

But a growing body of newer science suggests that such decline may not be inexorable. Exercise, the thinking goes, has the potential to change your muscle tone and body composition for the better.

 

The results of a stirring study published last month in the journal The Physician and the Sports medicine is worth considering. For the purpose of the study, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh recruited 40 competitive runners, cyclists and swimmers of various age groups. All were enviably fit.

 

They completed questionnaires that comprised detailing their health and weekly physical activities. Then the researchers measured their muscle mass, leg strength and body composition, determining how much of their body and, more specifically, their muscle tissue was composed of fat. Other studies have found that as people age, they not only lose muscle, but the tissue that remains can become infiltrated with fat.

 

There was little evidence of deterioration in the older athletes’ musculature, however. The athletes in their 70s and 80s had almost as much thigh muscle mass as the athletes in their 40s, with minor if any fat infiltrtation. There was, as scientists noted, a drop-off in leg muscle strength around age 60 in both men and women. They weren’t as strong as the 50 year olds although the difference was not huge. The 70 and 80 year old athletes were about as strong as those in their 60s.

 

“We think these are very encouraging results,” said Dr Vonda Wright, an orthopaedic surgeon and founder of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who oversaw the study. “They suggest strongly that people don’t have to lose muscle mass and function as they grow older. The changes that we’ve assumed were due to ageing and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity. And that is something which can be changed.”

 

Other recent studies have produced similar findings. Last year, researchers at the Canadian Center for Activity and Ageing, for instance, examined muscle tissue from older competitive runners, checking for the density of their motor units, a measure of muscle health.  The more motor units in a muscle, the stronger it generally is.

 

In multiple earlier studies, people over 50 have been found to possess far fewer muscle motor units than young adults. But that wasn’t true for the sexagenarian runners, whose leg muscles teemed with almost as many motor units as a separate group of active 25 year olds. Of course, the volunteers in both Vonda’s and the Canadian study were, for the most part, lifelong athletes.

 

Whether similar benefits are attainable by people who take up exercise when they are middle-aged or older ‘isn’t yet clear’, Vonda said, In an encouraging animal study from last year, elderly rats that had been sedentary throughout their adult lives were put on a running programme. After 13 weeks, their leg muscle tissues had filled with new satellite cells, a specialised type of stem cell that repairs muscles. Comparable experiments in older people have yet to be done, though.

 

Other questions about the impacts of exercise on ageing muscle also remain unanswered. “We don’t know what kinds of exercise are best,” Vonda said. “In particular, whether endurance exercise is necessary for muscle sparing or whether weight training might be as good or even better.

 

“What we can say with certainty is that any activity is better than none, and more is probably better than less. But the bigger message is that it looks as if how we age can be under our control. Through exercise, you can preserve muscle mass and strength and avoid the decline from vitality to frailty.”

 

 

 

Why You May Be Drinking Soda That Contains a Dangerous Flame Retardant Banned in Europe and Japan

MARIETTA, Ga. – It’s Monday night at the Battle & Brew, a gamer hangout in this Atlanta suburb. The crowd is slumping in chairs, ears entombed in headphones, eyes locked on flat-screen monitors and minds lost in tonight’s video game of choice: “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.”

To help stay alert all night, each man has an open can of “gamer fuel” inches from his keyboard. “I’ve seen some of these dudes plow through six sodas in six hours,” said Brian Smawley, a regular at the gamer bar.

Gamers say they chug their fuel for the sugar and caffeine, but drinkers of Mountain Dew and some other citrus-flavored drinks are also getting a dose of a synthetic chemical called brominated vegetable oil, or BVO.

Patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant, and banned in food throughout Europe and Japan, BVO has been added to sodas for decades in North America. Now some scientists have a renewed interest in this little-known ingredient, found in 10 percent of sodas in the United States.

After a few extreme soda binges — not too far from what many gamers regularly consume – a few patients have needed medical attention for skin lesions, memory loss and nerve disorders, all symptoms of overexposure to bromine. Other studies suggest that BVO could be building up in human tissues, just like other brominated compounds such as flame retardants. In mouse studies, big doses caused reproductive and behavioral problems.

Reports from an industry group helped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration establish in 1977 what it considers a safe limit for BVO in sodas. But some scientists say that limit is based on thin, outdated data,  so they insist that the chemical deserves a fresh look.

“Aside from these reports, the scientific data is scarce,” said Walter Vetter, a food chemist at Germany’s University of Hohenheim and author of a recent, but unpublished, study on BVO in European soda imports.

Flame retardant soda?

The next time you grab a Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade or Fresca Original Citrus, take a look at the drink’s ingredients. In Mountain Dew, brominated vegetable oil is listed next-to-last, between disodium EDTA and Yellow 5. These are just a sampling of drinks with BVO listed in their ingredients, which is required by the FDA. The most popular sodas – Coca-Cola and Pepsi – do not contain BVO.

[ full article at link ]

 

“Iceberg lettuce can now contain a whopping 180 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride –

that’s 180 times higher than what’s recommended in drinking water.”

 

This Food Blasts Your Body With Up to 180 Times the Fluoride in Drinking Water

(follow link to watch video interview)
* One of the primary sources of fluoride exposure is not fluoridated drinking water but non-organic foods, due to the high amounts of fluoride-based pesticide residues on these foods. Non-organic foods may account for as much as one-third of the average person’s fluoride exposure

* Foods particularly high in fluoride include non-organic fresh produce, breakfast cereals, juices (particularly grape juice), deboned meats such as lunch meats, and black- or green tea (even if organic)

* Fluoride has the ability to affect other chemicals and heavy metals; in some cases making them even more harmful than they would be on their own. For example, when you combine chloramines with the hydrofluorosilicic acid added to the water supply, they become very effective at extracting lead from old plumbing systems, promoting the accumulation of lead in the water supply

* Studies have shown that hydrofluorosilicic acid increases lead accumulation in bone, teeth, and other calcium-rich tissues. This is because the free fluoride ion acts as a transport of heavy metals, allowing them to enter into areas of your body they normally would not be able to go, such as into your brain

Jeff Green has been an activist in the movement to eliminate a toxic fluoride from your water supply for the past 15 years.

With more than 60 percent of U.S. water supplies currently fluoridated, chances are you’re one of the 170 million Americans who drink fluoride on a daily basis.

In a previous interview, Green delved into the sordid history that made water fluoridation a reality in the first place.

If you missed it, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it now.

But fluoridated water is not the sole source of harmful fluoride. Here, the discussion focuses on some of the lesser known sources of fluoride exposure.

A Primary Source of Fluoride: Your Food!

While toothpaste and drinking water would appear to be the leading sources of fluoride exposure, probably the most common source of exposure is actually non-organic foods! The reason for this is because of the widespread use of fluoride-based pesticides.

According to Green, non-organic food could account for as much as one-third of the average person’s fluoride exposure!

This is important, as many people are under the mistaken assumption that by avoiding fluoridated water, they’ve eliminated the primary source of fluoride. But if you’re still eating conventionally-farmed foods, your fluoride exposure is still likely very high.

“Cryolite is actually sodium aluminum fluoride… This sodium aluminum fluoride is especially effective at killing bugs,” Green explains. “It’s also very sticky, so when they spray it, it’s more likely to stick on your produce, unless you’re… really working at trying to get it off of it. As time has gone on, and… everybody said fluoridation must be really great, they ramped up the amount of residue [allowed on food] from these fluoride-based pesticides. They have petitioned the EPA to be able to allow it, and they come out with larger and larger [allowable] amounts.”

Amazingly, based on the assumed safety of such fluoride-based pesticides, iceberg lettuce can now contain a whopping 180 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride—that’s 180 times higher than what’s recommended in drinking water!

“The assumption is that on a head of lettuce, you’re going to peel off those outer layers and you’re not going to eat much of that. Whether you do or not; that’s up to you… Romaine lettuce and what we call leaf lettuce are allowed to have 40 ppm, with the assumption that it’s down inside there and you’re going to have to do more cleaning. But because it’s so sticky, it’s almost impossible [to wash off] unless you go back to the old ideas of the Fuller brush… produce brushes that you… scrape this stuff off with. The majority of people don’t make that extra effort to be able to take it off.”

Citrus fruits are allowed to be contaminated with 95 ppm’s of sodium aluminum fluoride. Potatoes may have 22 ppm’s on the outside and up to two ppm’s on the inside. Raisins can have up to 55 ppm’s. But of all the foods, grapes are perhaps one of the foremost sources of fluoride exposure.

Bet you would not have guessed that!

Grapes are a major source of fluoride because, first of all, they’re heavily sprayed with cryolite, and second, white grape juice is typically used as the base, or filler juice in all sorts of juice drinks. So if you drink any kind of juice on a regular basis, you’re probably getting hefty doses of cryolite, i.e. fluoride-based pesticide… Cereals, mechanically deboned meats, and black or green tea are a few other sources that may surprise you.

“Wheaties for example was measured at 10 parts per million,” Green says. “Shredded Wheat: 9.4 parts per million. Why is it so high? One, they use pesticides on the grains. Two, they use [fluoridated] water… So you actually have higher concentrations than you ever found in the water where it was being made.

As for mechanically deboned meats, the source of the fluoride is the animal itself, which is exposed in the same manner as humans—through feed and water—which then comes out during the manufacturing process. Black and green teas are naturally high in fluoride, even if organically-grown without pesticides. This is because the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system, including naturally-occurring fluoride in the soil. According to Green, there are reports of people who have developed crippling skeletal fluorosis from drinking high amounts of iced tea alone.

Is Bottled Water More Pure than Tap Water?

Besides food though, drinking water is certainly a primary source of fluoride exposure. Many mistakenly believe that bottled water is the answer, but this is a serious misconception.

As a general rule, I don’t recommend or encourage using bottled water on a regular basis—for a number of reasons. Not only does it contribute to profound amounts of environmental pollution, but a variety of toxins can leach from the plastic, contaminating your water. Not to mention the fact that you’re not guaranteed a more pure product to begin with. An estimated 40 percent of all bottled water is just bottled tap water that may or may not have received additional water treatment. No, buying bottled water certainly is not a guarantee of getting either pure or fluoride-free water!

For pure drinking water, your best bet, from a practical perspective, is to filter the water coming into your own home. Unfortunately, fluoride can be quite difficult to remove from the water once added in. Reverse osmosis systems have typically been recommended to remove fluoride, but according to Green, many home systems may not be very efficient at this task. Commercial systems are typically much better, as they have redundancy features not found in smaller-scale residential models.

“[Y]ou’ve got to remember that the free fluoride ion, which is the part that we are concerned with… is smaller than the water molecule. You can’t… “filter” it out. You can’t screen it out because of the size, obviously… If you look at what the literature tells you, when you’re looking at reverse osmosis, they almost always say that if you had eight parts per million of fluoride [which is eight times higher than recommended]… they could bring it down to 0.9. So you get a 90 percent reduction.

But nobody says take your 0.9 and take it down to 0.1. Because what it’s basically doing is it’s taking out the fluoride compounds, which is still a good thing in some ways, especially if you had eight parts per million in it… but you’re still not getting out that free fluoride ion.”

To Distill or Not to Distill… That is the Question…

Distillation is another alternative. However, while distilled water is very clean, it also lacks structure and minerals, which is inadvisable for long-term daily use as it can deplete your body of essential trace minerals. Distilled water can be quite useful for short-term detoxification though.

Despite these drawbacks, Green prefers the distilled water over reverse osmosis, primarily because the amount of water that is wasted with the reverse osmosis (R/O) filtration systems. A reverse osmosis system can use anywhere between three to eight gallons of water to create one gallon of drinkable water.

I disagree with Green’s recommendation as the example he gave is quite skewed. The typical level of fluoride in most fluoridated municipal water supplies is about one part per million, not eight, like the example he gave. So if you reduce that by 90 percent with an R/O system you are in relatively safe range of 0.1 parts per million. You can use distilled water to remove nearly all of it, but the distillation process is a form of more severe processing than R/O and it is more difficult to restore the water minerals and structure.

Add Fluoride, and Other Chemicals Become More Dangerous…

Interestingly, not to mention importantly, fluoride has the ability to affect other toxins and heavy metals; in some cases making them even more harmful than they would be on their own. For example, when you combine chloramines with the hydrofluorosilicic acid added to the water supply, they become very effective at extracting lead from old plumbing systems—essentially, together; they promote the accumulation of lead in the water supply!

“In fact the two of them have been combined, and I believe patented to be put together so that they could extract lead,” Green says. “… In fact, you’ve seen from reports in Washington D.C. about the lead content [in the local water] that this combination can have tremendous effects.”

Studies have also showed that hydrofluorosilicic acid increases lead accumulation in bone, teeth, and other calcium-rich tissues. According to Green, this is because the free fluoride ion acts as a transport of heavy metals, allowing them to enter into areas of your body they normally would not be able to go, such as into your brain.

“Industry prizes what we call fluoride compounds,” Green says. “What’s amazing is there is so much [information] out there that’s never explained to the general public. But [fluoride] is… the most aggressive seeker of another electron. It’s the most electromagnetically negatively charged element in the entire world. It basically is the most interactive of all the elements… It will give up whatever it’s with to be with something else…

So it’s prized by industry because it actually disrupts molecular bonds… Industry also wants it because it creates tighter molecular bonds. So Scotchgard, Stain Master, Gore-Tex, ski gear… These are all fluoride-type compounds as well because they actually make it a tighter molecular bond that is more impervious to penetration.

… By the time you get to the enzyme activity, and knowing what it can do to disrupt enzyme activity, the effects are so widespread, it’s just amazing… Once [people] learn the nature of fluoride, they would never want to put it in their water.”

Are Health Epidemics Spurred by Water Fluoridation and Pesticides?

While fluoride has been linked to a long list of health problems, two that are currently epidemic are thyroid disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

“I think the important thing is to realize that fluoride affects your endocrine system,” Green warns. “… [I]n December 2006… the National Academy of Sciences… came to the unanimous conclusion that the levels of fluoride thought to be the maximum contaminant level and was safe to be in the water, weren’t protective of human health at all… and that the places where you could see that very dramatically would have to do with the endocrine system.”

Fluoride also calcifies your pineal gland, which can lead to a number of health problems, from precocious puberty to cancer—both of which are also burgeoning epidemics… So, what, if anything, can you do to protect your health if you suspect you’re getting too much fluoride?

One early sign of over-exposure to fluoride is dental fluorosis, which typically begins as white specks on your teeth, which then progress to more unsightly yellow and brown mottling of the enamel. At the first signs of dental fluorosis, if you haven’t done so already, you’ll want to immediately eliminate as many sources of fluoride as possible.

But, according to Green, you also need to make sure you have certain nutrients in your system. These three will help bind the free fluoride ions, allowing it to be excreted from your body more effectively:

* Magnesium
* Calcium
* Vitamin C

Join the Fight to Get Fluoride Out of Drinking Water

In summary it would seem like most rational people would conclude you should avoid using fluoride for its “preventive” benefits. You can easily choose not to take fluoride supplements or buy fluoride-free toothpaste and mouthwash. You can also dramatically reduce your fluoride exposure by opting for organic foods, on which fluoride-based pesticides are not permitted to be used. However, you’re still going to be stuck with whatever your community puts in the water, and as discussed, it’s very difficult to filter out of your water once it’s added. Many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.

It’s really time to stop the archaic practice of water fluoridation.

Earlier this year I joined forces with Dr. Paul Connett to help put an END to water fluoridation in the U.S and Canada. The Fluoride Action Network has a game plan to do just that. Our fluoride initiative will primarily focus on Canada since 60 percent of Canada is already non-fluoridated. If we can get Calgary and the rest of Canada to stop fluoridating their water, we believe the U.S. will be forced to follow. I urge you to join the anti-fluoride movement in Canada and the United States by contacting the representative for your area below.

Contact Information for Canadian Communities:

* If you live in Ontario, Canada, please join the ongoing effort by contacting Diane Sprules at diane.sprules@cogeco.ca.
* The point-of-contact for Toronto, Canada is Aliss Terpstra. You may email her at aliss@nutrimom.ca.
* The point-of-contact for the Peel region in Ontario, Canada is Rob Brewer. You may email him at FluorideFreePeel@ymail.com. Also see Fluoride Free Peel’s Facebook pagei.

Contact Information for American Communities:

We’re also going to address three US communities: New York City, Austin, and San Diego:

* New York City, NY: The anti-fluoridation movement has a great champion in New York City councilor Peter Vallone, Jr. who introduced legislation on January 18 “prohibiting the addition of fluoride to the water supply.”

A victory there could signal the beginning of the end of fluoridation in the U.S. If you live in the New York area I beg you to participate in this effort as your contribution could have a MAJOR difference. Remember that one person can make a difference.

The point person for this area is Carol Kopf, at the New York Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF). Email her at NYSCOF@aol.com. Please contact her if you’re interested in helping with this effort.
* Austin, Texas: Join the effort by contacting Rae Nadler-Olenick at either: info@fluoridefreeaustin.com or fluoride.info@yahoo.com, or by regular mail or telephone:

POB 7486
Austin, Texas 78713
Phone: (512) 371-3786
* San Diego, California: Contact Patty Ducey-Brooks, publisher of the Presidio Sentinel at pbrooks936@aol.com.

 

“If someone is not gluten-sensitive, they may still remain
sensitive .. such as appetite-stimulation and mental “fog,” joint pains in the hands, leg
edema, or the many rashes and skin disorders. This represents one of the most
important examples of the widespread unintended effects of modern agricultural
genetics and agribusiness.”

William Davis, MD

 

 

My letter to the Wall Street Journal: It’s NOT just about gluten

The Wall Street Journal carried this report of a new proposed classification of the various forms of gluten sensitivity: New Guide to Who Really Shouldn’t Eat Gluten

This represents progress. Progress in understanding of wheat-related illnesses, as well as progress in spreading the word that there is a lot more to wheat-intolerance than celiac disease. But, as I mention in the letter, it falls desperately short on several crucial issues.

Ms. Beck–

Thank you for writing the wonderful article on gluten sensitivity.

I’d like to bring several issues to your attention, as they are often neglected
in discussions of “gluten sensitivity”:

1) The gliadin protein of wheat has been modified by geneticists through their
work to increase yield. This work, performed mostly in the 1970s, yielded a form
of gliadin that is several amino acids different, but increased the
appetite-stimulating properties of wheat. Modern wheat, a high-yield, semi-dwarf
strain (not the 4 1/2-foot tall “amber waves of grain” everyone thinks of) is
now, in effect, an appetite-stimulant that increases calorie intake 400 calories
per day. This form of gliadin is also the likely explanation for the surge in
behavioral struggles in children with autism and ADHD.


2) The amylopectin A of wheat is the underlying explanation for why two slices
of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar or
many candy bars. It is unique and highly digestible by the enzyme amylase.
Incredibly, the high glycemic index of whole wheat is simply ignored, despite
being listed at the top of all tables of glycemic index.


3) The lectins of wheat may underlie the increase in multiple autoimmune and
inflammatory diseases in Americans, especially rheumatoid arthritis and
inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s).

In other words, if someone is not gluten-sensitive, they may still remain
sensitive to the many non-gluten aspects of modern high-yield semi-dwarf wheat,
such as appetite-stimulation and mental “fog,” joint pains in the hands, leg
edema, or the many rashes and skin disorders. This represents one of the most
important examples of the widespread unintended effects of modern agricultural
genetics and agribusiness.

William Davis, MD
Author: Wheat Belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health

 

“Not all calories are the same.  Some calories make you store fat, while others make you store muscle.

Somehow we are still duped by the idea that all calories are the same. They are not.

Hopefully soon the practice of nutrition and medicine,

and our government nutrition advice will catch up with the science.

Then perhaps we can make a dent in the tsunami of obesity,

diabetes and chronic disease coming right at us.”

Mark Hyman, MD

New Study Finds Secret to a Faster Metabolism

Eating carbohydrates makes you store belly fat.  Eating protein puts on muscle. Most people know that. But a recent study1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when you over eat on a low protein diet, you store bad fat around your organs including the liver, kidneys and pancreas.  But if you eat a high protein diet, you add muscle and increase your resting metabolism and muscle mass.  Since muscle burns seven times as many calories as fat, that’s a good thing.

In the study, researchers admitted 25 brave volunteers to a hospital ward for 12 weeks.  They controlled everything they ate and did.  But they made them all overeat about 1,000 calories a day. The only different was where the calories came from – protein or carbs.

The low protein group (5% protein) lost 1.5 pounds of muscle, and gained 7.5 pounds of fat.  The high protein group (25% protein) gained 6.3 pounds of metabolically active muscle. They also gained fat because they were being force fed. But even though they gained more total weight, they were LESS fat than the low protein group.

This has important implications for our thinking about calories.

Bottom line: Not all calories are the same.  Some calories make you store fat, while others make you store muscle.

In a world where for the first time in history more people are overweight (2.1 billion) than underweight this has important implications.  And the world is getting bigger – over the next 30 years, the prevalence of obesity will double and mostly in countries like China and India (because how do you get twice as many fat people in a country like America where 65% are already fat)!

Here’s the take home.  Quickly absorbed carbohydrates from the bulk of the American and increasingly the world’s diet – from sugar, high fructose corn syrup and white flour, are very efficiently turned into belly fat in the body.2  And that leads to obesity and diabetes, or what I call diabesity.

Another recent study found that the free fructose in high fructose corn syrup (not in fruit), led to dramatic increases in belly fat, inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar and even pre-diabetes in adolescents.3

Carbohydrates and protein trigger produce very different chemical messages in the body independent of calories.  Carbs lay down the fat, while protein lays down muscle. 4

This study on protein adds to a whole slew of research that proves that higher protein diets (25%) does all sorts of obesity fighting things to your body and your brain.

  1. It makes you feel more full than an equivalent amount of calories from carbs.
  2. It leads to more weight loss in “free-living” humans as compared the ones who were force fed extra calories.
  3. It prevents gaining weight back after you have lost weight.5
  4. It speeds up metabolism and builds muscle so you burn more calories all day long and even while you sleep.

Reducing belly fat and building muscle is quite simple.  And it is not just about the calories you consume. It is about where those calories come from.

Here are a few simple tips to speed up your metabolism and get rid of belly fat.

  1. Skip the sugar  – in all of its forms. Especially liquid calories from any source (soda, juice, alcohol) all of which store belly fat. Be on a mission to get high fructose corn syrup out of your diet, it is especially good at laying down belly fat.
  2. Ditch the flour – wheat flour, especially, is just like sugar. Did you know that 2 slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of table sugar?
  3. Start the day with protein not starch or sugar.  Try whole omega-3 eggs, a protein shake, nut butters or even kippers! Skip the bagels, muffins and donuts.
  4. Have protein with every meal – try nuts like almonds, walnuts or pecans, seeds like pumpkin, chia or hemp or have beans, chicken or fish.

Somehow we are still duped by the idea that all calories are the same. They are not. Hopefully soon the practice of nutrition and medicine, and our government nutrition advice will catch up with the science. Then perhaps we can make a dent in the tsunami of obesity, diabetes and chronic disease coming right at us.

My personal hope is that together we can create a national conversation about a real, practical solution for the prevention, treatment, and reversal of our obesity, diabetes and chronic disease epidemic.

“Our study emphasizes the importance of healthy eating and drinking

in the prevention of chronic diseases like asthma and COPD.”

 

Drinking large amounts of soft drinks associated with asthma and COPD

A new study published in the journal Respirology reveals that a high level of soft drink consumption is associated with asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Led by Zumin Shi, MD, PhD, of the University of Adelaide, researchers conducted computer assisted telephone interviewing among 16,907 participants aged 16 years and older in South Australia between March 2008 and June 2010 inquiring about soft drink consumption. Soft drinks comprised Coke, lemonade, flavored mineral water, Powerade, and Gatorade etc.

Results showed that one in ten adults drink more than half a liter of soft drink daily in South Australia. The amount of soft drink consumption is associated with an increased chance of asthma and/or COPD. There exists a dose-response relationship, which means the more soft drink one consumes, the higher the chance of having these diseases.

Overall, 13.3% of participants with asthma and 15.6% of those with COPD reported consuming more than half a liter of soft drink per day.

The odds ratio for asthma and COPD was 1.26 and 1.79, comparing those who consumed more than half a liter of soft drink per day with those who did not consume soft drinks.

Furthermore, smoking makes this relationship even worse, especially for COPD. Compared with those who did not smoke and consume soft drinks, those that consumed more than half a liter of soft drink per day and were current smokers had a 6.6-fold greater risk of COPD.

“Our study emphasizes the importance of healthy eating and drinking in the prevention of chronic diseases like asthma and COPD,” Zumin concludes.

###

This study is published in the journal Respirology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact healthnews@wiley.com.

Full citation: SHI, Z., DAL GRANDE, E., TAYLOR, A. W., GILL, T. K., ADAMS, R. and WITTERT, G. A. (2012), Association between soft drink consumption and asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among adults in Australia. Respirology, 17: 363. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.02115.x

URL: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.02115.x.

“This research is interesting, especially for medical historians,

because it confirms that what we eat affects our bodies.”

Ancient Greek Pills Found in Greek Shipwreck

By on February 5, 2012 in News

In 130 BC, a ship fashioned from the wood of walnut trees, bulging with medicines and Syrian glassware, sank off the coast of Tuscany, Italy. Archaeologists found its precious load 20 years ago and now, for the first time, archaeobotanists have been able to examine and analyse pills that were prepared by the physicians of ancient Greece.

DNA analyses show that each millennia-old tablet is a mixture of more than 10 different plant extracts, from hibiscus to celery.

“Medicinal plants have been identified before, but not a compound medicine, so this is really something new,” says Alain Touwaide, director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions, which has the world’s largest digital database of medical manuscripts.

The pills, which researchers believe were diluted with vinegar or water to make them easier to ingest, were preserved inside tin boxes and were the size of coins.

“What is remarkable is that we have written evidence [from the ancient Greeks] of what plants were used for which disorders,” says Alisa Machalek, a science writer for the National Institute of Health, one of the world’s leading research centres.

“This research is interesting, especially for medical historians, because it confirms that what we eat affects our bodies.”

The shift toward synthetic chemical medicines occurred in the 20th Century, but according to Mark Blumenthal, the founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, there is renewed interest in the medicinal benefits of natural foods – including those found in the pills.