Time for a Food Police Force?

Incessantly the media, scientists, doctors, self-proclaimed experts of this or that pronounce they have found the answer to some burning issue. Mostly the matters involve health. What fat is best, or are carbohydrates better than saturated fats, or is fish oil really any good, or is the rampant use of statins the product of evil pharmaceutical propaganda. The list is interminable. And everyone has a voice. Actors and actresses somehow as a consequence of their on-screen fame have absorbed knowledge beyond that which is possessed by even our greatest scientists. Newscasters weigh in and authors sell their latest tomes with promises of truth. The whole dance of the experts would be quite amusing were it not so dangerous.

What seems to be missing from all those who have managed to communicate so easily with the almighty is a sense of responsibility. When people voice their opinions with such certitude, and their audience believes in their veracity with such solidarity, what is truly opinion then masquerades as fact. As a consequence, fiery battles flare among opposing sides. The vegans pound their fists shouting, “Not even a drop of oil! No fat at all!” The Wheat Belly folk eschew the grains, while the dairy exorcists discard the milk, and the Atkins aficionados chow down on meat and more meat. Get them together on TV and you have a firestorm.

Now bring in the politicians and celebrities. They take whatever “science” they find most convincing and try to turn it into law. No large sodas for the sugar busters; no trans fats for practically everyone (that one I have to admit is compelling), nothing with a face for the vegans. In short order there won’t be much left to eat at all.

I have my own take on the diet issue. In short I’m fairly certain we are all quite different, and consequently do better with different diets. As a generalization though I’d recommend moderation in all things, avoiding processed foods, eating a balanced diet, maintaining an optimal weight, and exercising daily. Perhaps that prescription would make a good law.

Fundamentally it comes down to this. We should all be permitted to eat whatever we wish as long as it doesn’t harm anyone but us. Government should not have the right to tell an individual what he or she can or cannot consume. There is a key caveat though. This holds true, “as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.” So what do we do about the ailments that occur as a consequence of food-induced obesity – diabetes for one? Do we penalize the consumers of sugar who as a consequence of their dietary predilections become obese and diabetic? Do they pay higher health insurance premiums? Probably not a popular notion. How about the smokers, should everyone foot the bill for his or her heart disease, COPD, and lung cancer treatments? Clearly these issues are slippery slopes, ones upon which I have no desire to tread.

I will emphasize one point however, and of this I am sure. No one knows what diet is best for all mankind. And until such a discovery is made, creating a food police force is probably not a good idea at all.

Learn more about preventive cardiology at www.preventivecardiologyinc.com.

For more information more about essential vitamins and supplements visit www.vitalremedymd.com.

Comments { 1 }

Inflammation: From Discovery to Defense

Inflammation is the body’s appropriate and healthy immune response to an injury or infection.  Pull a muscle, catch a cold, or get a bee sting and your body responds with pain and swelling and a healing process begins.  But if the immune system goes awry and fails to shut off, inflammation may become chronic and cause permanent damage to the body.  Chronic inflammation refers to a maladaptive process that is believed to contribute to a variety of medical conditions including heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. This kind of inflammation may not be so readily apparent, but can be detected by high levels of certain established biomarkers like C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the blood. Reducing levels of these biomarkers has been a target for a number of nutrition studies. Omega-3s, L-carnitine, lycopene, astaxanthin, folic acid, CoQ10, resveratrol, and vitamins C and D are a few nutrients that are gaining attention as natural anti-inflammatories.  Perhaps the best studied are the omega-3 fatty acids; researchers have found that increased blood levels of the omega-3s DHA and EPA were associated with reduced levels of the inflammatory biomarker CRP.

Researchers have pointed to western diets and lifestyles as major culprits in the rise of chronic inflammation. Although these may appear hackneyed, the following healthful lifestyle choices are your best defense against inflammation:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.  Excess weight can definitely induce a pro-inflammatory state.  Doctors are concerned about your waistline because studies show that visceral fat, located deep in the abdominal area, causes more inflammation than general obesity.  Lose the weight and you will gain the benefits of reducing or even eliminating inappropriate inflammation.
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fats and rich in complex carbohydrates, including fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Avoid trans fats and sugar that promote inflammation and incorporate the healthful fats, the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which can boast powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Take an omega-3 supplement containing 1000 mg DHA+EPA. Increasing omega-3s DHA + EPA while maintaining low saturated and trans fats also helps all lipid parameters – lowers LDL and total cholesterol, raises HDL and decreases TG.
  • Exercise more.  While helping to maintain a healthy weight, exercise can decrease inflammation and CRP levels, as well as lower LDL, increase HDL, lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease, and on and on and on…
  • Don’t smoke or linger in smoke-filled areas.  Air pollution and, of course, smoking have been linked to an increased incidence of heart disease, asthma, and other inflammation-related conditions.
  • Reduce stress. At the very least make an effort to manage stress in all ways possible: set limits on the demands you face and give yourself regular time out, exercise, make proper sleep and nutrition a priority, seek out laughter and love.

Comments { 0 }

Preventive Health: A Daily Nutritional Supplement

wildflowersDo you take a daily vitamin or supplement? Perhaps you should. Research suggests that supplement users are healthy people who tend to eat a better diet than most and who consider nutritional support one of several ways to protect their health. The primary reasons cited for taking a daily multiple vitamin include:

  • Enhance energy and well-being
  • Help defend against degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and dementia
  • Help manage existing health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes
  • Slow the aging process

In fact, although we can’t make specific claims about nutritional supplements, a growing body of evidence shows a correlation between supplemental multivitamins and other nutrients and improved health, including the following:

  • Reduced incidence of heart disease and stroke
  • Protection against certain kinds of cancer
  • Decreased incidence of certain birth defects
  • Improved immune functioning
  • Decreased number of sick days caused by infections among the elderly
  • Delayed onset or progression of vision-robbing macular degeneration
  • Reduced incidence of hip fractures from osteoporosis

A study undertaken by The Lewin Group found that given the myriad potential protective benefits, daily use of a multivitamin is a relatively inexpensive yet potentially powerful way to improve one’s health. They also noted that within a health insurance context, the five-year estimate of potential net savings resulting from daily multivitamin intake for adults over 65 is approximately 1.6 billion dollars.

Research shows that 80 to 90 percent of the population does not achieve the recommended daily value (RDV) for each vitamin and mineral, nor do they even come close. As if it weren’t hard enough to get the nutrients through our diet, 12 of the top 20 medications prescribed in the United States are drugs that can cause nutrient depletion — a situation exacerbated by the pace and stress of a daily multi-tasking lifestyle. In fact, marginal nutritional deficiencies are present in about 50% of the non multiple vitamin and mineral using population. And, keep in mind that the RDV levels for each nutrient are intended to guard against only severe nutrient deficiency diseases like Scurvy (vitamin C), but are not intended to serve as levels of vitamin and mineral intake that are optimal in regard to supporting biological functions, preventing degenerative diseases, and maximizing our well-being and longevity.

I advise my patients to take a simple  multivitamin/multimineral that contains USP Pharmaceutical Grade Quality ingredients, chelated minerals that enhance absorption and bioavailability and a coating that avoids lead and other heavy metals. A daily multivitamin should be independently assayed for purity and content and contain 100% of the recommended daily value (RDV) for all the essential vitamins and minerals.

Learn more about the highest quality vitamins, minerals, and omega-3’s at vitalremedymd.com

Comments { 1 }