Friday, January 13, 2012

Surgical Biomaterials and Tissue Regeneration Technologies

Plants, invertebrate animals, amphibians and even reptiles have the ability to regenerate lost or damaged body parts. In the case of lizards, for example, this is a defensive mechanism. When a predator attacks, the lizard can break off its own tail as a means of distraction. While the predator is busy eating the tail, the lizard escapes and regenerates the body part later on. Mammals can regenerate some skin and liver tissue, but our regenerative abilities stop there. Unlike lizards, which have nature to thank for their regenerative capabilities, we are dependent on scientists, physicians and the business community to develop new technologies that will help us repair and replace damaged tissue.
How do lizards and other animals regenerate tissue? Part of the answer has to do with stem cells. When an amphibian loses its tail, for example, stem cells in the spinal cord migrate into the regrowing tail and differentiate into several cell types, including muscle and cartilage. This occurs simultaneously with the growth and differentiation of cells in the tail stump. Eventually, this process results in a new, fully-functional and anatomically-correct tail.
The exact reasons why mammals are so limited when it comes to regenerative potential is still not known. However, there have been significant levels of investment into stem cell research over the past several years in the hope of developing new technologies that will offer the ability to grow lost or damaged tissue, and perhaps even organs. Although there have been a number of recent breakthroughs in stem cell research, technologies that will actually regenerate human tissue are still several years away from fully coming to market. In the meantime, a new market is developing for products that have the ability to interact with living tissue and in some cases promote cellular migration and growth. While these products stop well short of growing new limbs and organs, they do provide some solutions for many of the problems associated with traditional surgical and treatment options.
The surgical biomaterials market is currently one of the largest and fastest growing global medical markets. It encompasses a number of surgical specialties and has reached a market capitalization of several billions dollars. The rapid growth of surgical biomaterials has to do with their capacity to reduce procedure times, recovery times and complication rates, while providing clinicians with innovative approaches to improving the level of patient care. Medical device companies worldwide are racing to bring to market biomaterial implants and devices that are designed to help repair defects in soft tissue, skin and bones.
What are biomaterials? A very broad definition of surgical biomaterials may include any substance that has the capacity to function in contact with living tissue and not be rejected by the body. This would include products made from metals, alloys and polyester-based materials such as orthopedic implants, and a number of other products traditionally used for the reconstruction or repair of tissue. The modern definition of surgical biomaterials, however, focuses on substances and products that not only evade rejection by the body, but that can interact with living tissue. These biomaterials do the job they are meant to perform, and then are either absorbed naturally by the body over time and eliminated by biological processes or become a permanent part of the surrounding tissue.
The use of nonviable materials to repair or replace defects in the human body dates back thousands of years. Early civilizations such as the Egyptians, Romans and Aztecs used wood, ivory, gem stones and other objects to replace missing teeth and fill in bone defects more than 2,500 years ago. Since then, scientific developments have led to the use of a number of different synthetics and natural materials in the human body. From World War I through World War II a number of natural rubbers, celluloids, vinyl polymers and polyurethanes were used for grafts, artificial hearts and catheters. During World War II, silicon was used in Japan to enhance the breasts of prostitutes and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), the main component in many of today's bone cements, was used in dental and craniofacial applications. Alloys have been used as pins and plates in the human body since the early nineteenth century. The use of steel and other alloys, which have the tendency to discolor, eventually led to the development and introduction of stainless steel and titanium, materials that are still commonly used in the production of orthopedic implants today.
Biomaterials can be made either from synthetic compounds or natural substances. Synthetic materials such as hydroxyapatite and tricalcium phosphate have been used for years in dental, craneo-maxilofacial and orthopedic procedures. The use of natural substances such as human or animal tissue in the manufacture of surgical biomaterials is a more recent development. A number of years of research and development in this area have led to technological advances in the processing of natural tissue to remove its toxicity and improve its clinical properties. Natural substances generally have complex structures that are difficult to replicate with synthetic compounds, and therefore can interact with human tissue in ways that synthetic products cannot. The ongoing development of surgical biomaterials is now resulting in a number of hybrid products that integrate both natural and synthetic substances in an effort to provide products that offer the clinical benefits of both materials.
Some of the benefits of biomaterials can be seen in their use in surgeries that typically use "autografts". This is when surgeons take tissue (or bone) from one part of the patient's body and then place it in another part of their body in order to repair a defect or replace diseased tissue. One of the most common procedures in which autografts are used is spinal fusion, a surgery in which one or more vertebrae of the spine are welded together with the aim of eliminating painful motion. During a spinal fusion, the surgeon makes an incision in the patient's hip and removes a piece of bone from the pelvis, which is then implanted in the space between the vertebrae and held in place by metal fasteners. The pain and problems associated with motion are reduced over time, as the implanted bone and vertebrae grow into a single, solid bone. Some of the major disadvantages of autografts in these procedures are the additional operating time it takes the surgeon to harvest the graft, the extra postoperative recovery time needed and the added pain the patient must endure at the harvest site. Synthetic or animal based biomaterial bone substitutes provide surgeons and their patients with an option that lessens time under anesthesia and cuts down on recovery time.
Collagen implants for tissue repair and augmentation is another area where biomaterials may offer substantial benefits over traditional treatments. In recent years, the use of membranes made from natural substances such as porcine and bovine dermis or pericardium has gained in popularity with surgeons. Synthetic membranes made from materials such as polypropylene, polyester, silicone or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) have been widely used in facial aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, hernia repair, neurosurgery and other surgical procedures. While synthetic surgical meshes have good strength characteristics, they remain in the body as permanent implants and sometimes can cause adverse reactions when the surrounding tissue identifies these materials as foreign bodies. A handful of companies in Europe and the U.S. have developed new ways of collecting and processing animal collagen to produce membranes that offer the same strength characteristics as synthetic membranes, but are completely biocompatible and provide a permanent solution for the repair and augmentation of tissue. Since the structure of this collagen is so similar to human tissue, once it is implanted the membrane provides the basis for cellular ingrowth and revascularization.
Bone graft substitutes and collagen implants do not have the capacity to help us grow new limbs or organs. However, they are an important step in the ongoing developments being made in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Progress continues to be made into stem cell research and, just like amphibians and lizards, one day new technologies may be available to help us regenerate our bodies. In the meantime, the market for surgical biomaterials continues to evolve and new technologies are continuously coming to market that have the capacity to improve the quality of life of mammals around the world.

About The Author

Joseph R. Lopez is the Executive Director of BioSurgical Innovations, Inc., a privately owned sales, marketing and distribution company that focuses exclusively on new technologies in biomaterial implants, biosurgical devices and complementary products for a number of surgical specialties. These products are designed to interact with living tissue and have the capacity to improve procedural efficiencies for surgeons and enhance the clinical outcomes and quality of life for their patients. BioSurgical Innovations' sells its products through a distribution network that covers Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as key accounts in the U.S.
For additional information, contact:
BioSurgical Innovations, Inc.
Tel: 954-331-8044

New Surgical Treatment Options for Hernias

Hernia repair is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures worldwide. In fact, there are over 600,000 hernia repair surgeries performed each year in the U.S. alone. A hernia is a weakness or defect in the abdominal muscles which can result in the protrusion of tissue through an opening in the outer layers of the abdominal wall. Hernias can develop at any part of the abdominal wall, but generally occur in areas that have a natural tendency to be weak. These areas include the groin (inguinal hernias), umbilicus (umbilical hernias), hiatus (hiatal hernias) and incisions from previous surgeries (incisional or ventral hernias). While hernias generally do not pose serious long-term health problems, they can cause severe pain and discomfort for those suffering from this condition.
Hernias may be present from birth, or can be caused by strain on the abdominal muscles. In either case, hernias do not go away by themselves and depending on the degree of bulging or pain, generally require a surgical procedure to be repaired. Hernia repairs are usually done on an elective basis, which means that the patient and physician decide whether or when the procedure should be performed. Emergency procedures are only done for strangulated hernias, which are hernias that have become pinched to the point that the blood supply is cut off. These hernias require immediate medical attention since they can become infected and lead to a life threatening condition very quickly.
Hernias are typically repaired through a surgical procedure called herniorrhaphy, in which the surgeon repairs the hole in the abdominal wall by sewing surrounding muscle together or by placing a patch called "mesh" over the defect. Most surgeons make an incision at the site of the hernia in order to gain access to the defect, although some surgeons prefer to do these procedures laparoscopically.
During a laparoscopic hernia repair, the surgeon makes very small incisions to pass through specialized instruments and an endoscope, a device that allows the surgeon to see the abdominal area without opening the patient up. Laparoscopic hernia repair generally results in less postoperative pain and recovery time than open surgery. There is still a great deal of controversy over the long-term benefits of laparoscopic hernia repair, however, and it is by no means an option for every patient.
The use of surgical mesh to repair hernias is gaining in popularity with surgeons. Most meshes currently on the market are made from synthetic materials such as polypropylene, polyester, silicone or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known by the DuPont brand name Teflon®. While these meshes have good strength characteristics, they remain in the body as permanent implants and sometimes can cause adverse reactions when the surrounding tissue identifies these materials as foreign bodies.
In order to avoid adverse reactions to synthetic materials, some surgeons prefer to use meshes made of biomaterials which are gradually resorbed by the body over time and are then eliminated through biological processes. Since these meshes are not permanent implants, they generally only offer temporary repair of abdominal wall defects and additional surgical procedures are sometimes required to replace the absorbed mesh.
An alternative to synthetic and absorbable mesh is human tissue. There are a handful of companies that are now marketing processed, freeze-dried human dermis for soft tissue repair and augmentation. This material is implanted using the same technique as other meshes and provides for revascularization, cellular ingrowth and "remodeling" into the patients tissue. While this option generally provides a permanent repair with few adverse reactions, the processing and distribution of human tissue is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as are most other products that are implanted in the human body. In fact, there have been a number of recent cases of serious infections and even deaths resulting from the implantation of human cadaveric tissue during surgical procedures.
New technologies have recently been developed to solve the problems associated with the use of synthetic substances, absorbable materials and human tissue in hernia repair procedures. Scientists in Europe have been conducting research and development into alternatives to these products over the past two decades and have made major breakthroughs in this area over the past several years. New ways of collecting and processing natural materials have led to a series of products that offer the strength of synthetic compounds, the biocompatibility of biomaterials and the regenerative properties of human tissue.
What material can offer all of the benefits of the previously mentioned products without the corresponding disadvantages? Porcine dermal collagen has an architectural structure very close to human tissue, and is therefore readily recognized as friendly by the human body. A leading medical technology company in Europe has developed a patented process by which a sheet of porcine dermis is converted into a safe and effective surgical implant for soft tissue repair and augmentation. The process, which takes several weeks to complete, removes all non collageneous material from the sheet except elastin, and stabilizes the material through a cross-linking process. The result is an acellular, non reconstituted, non allergenic membrane which has excellent strength characteristics, is completely biocompatible and provides a permanent solution for the repair of abdominal wall defects. Since the material itself is a byproduct of the meat packaging industry, it is more readily available than human tissue. In addition, the harvesting and processing of the material is strictly regulated by local government, as well as international directives and quality standards.
This collagen surgical implant has been used in Europe for these types of procedures for several years and there is strong clinical evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the product. In fact, the implant has been approved for sale in the U.S. by the FDA and there have not been any adverse reactions reported after several thousand implantations in Europe. Not only is it safe, since the structure of the collagen is so similar to human tissue, once it is implanted the sheet provides the basis for cellular ingrowth and revascularization. This results in a permanent fix in even the most difficult cases. In addition to the positive clinical outcomes, surgeons like the fact that they do not need to change their surgical technique to use this product. They can use the same exact same steps they would use for synthetic or absorbable surgical mesh in both open and laparoscopic procedures.
Only physicians can properly diagnose and appropriately treat hernias. However, patients have the right to actively participate in decisions that affect their health or quality of life. Information about the various treatment options that are currently available can play an important part in the discussions between patients and their physicians regarding the best surgical treatment option for them.

About The Author

Joseph R. Lopez is the Executive Director of BioSurgical Innovations, Inc., a privately owned sales, marketing and distribution company that focuses exclusively on new technologies in biomaterial implants, biosurgical devices and complementary products for a number of surgical specialties. These products are designed to interact with living tissue and have the capacity to improve procedural efficiencies for surgeons and enhance the clinical outcomes and quality of life for their patients. BioSurgical Innovations' sells its products through a distribution network that covers Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as key accounts in the U.S.
For additional information, contact:
BioSurgical Innovations, Inc.
Tel: 954-331-8044

Have you Fed your 'Good Bugs' Today?

Most consumers have heard of probiotics and know that they are foods containing live, beneficial bacteria. Foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, miso or kefir are the most recognized foods providing 'good' bacteria for the gut.
But are you aware of the health benefits of prebiotics? In a nutshell, prebiotics are the food to help the probiotics grow and multiply. They are the food for your 'good bugs'.
A quick review of probiotics will help in understanding prebiotics. The advantage of beneficial living organisms in food, particularly lactic acid bacteria, has been known for centuries. In fact, the Roman historian, Plinius, in 76 BC, recommended fermented milk for treating gastroenteritis. In the early 1900's, a Russian zoologist, Elie Metchnikoff, wrote about the health benefits of "friendly bacteria" and hypothesized that consumption of fermented milk products were responsible for the long, healthy lives that Bulgarian peasants enjoyed.
Probiotics means "pro-life". The digestive tract is home to over 400 species of microorganisms. Some are 'good bugs' and are 'bad bugs' or unhealthy bacteria. Probiotics are the 'good bugs'. Two of the most common strains are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. It is believed that if a positive balance of good bacteria is maintained, the bad bacteria are less able to cause disease and irritation.
Here are some health benefits to taking probiotics: inhibits growth of 'bad bugs', or bacteria that cause disease synthesizes vitamins, primarily B vitamins increase availability of nutrients decrease lactose intolerance decrease symptoms of GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) decrease prevalence of allergies boosts the immune response
As mentioned earlier, prebiotics are food for probiotics. Consequently, the more you can feed and care for your 'good bugs', the healthier you can be!
The Japanese have known the benefits of prebiotics for years. In fact, a commercially prepared prebiotic ("Neosugar") is currently used in over 500 Japanese food products, from infant formulas to health products. The two most common prebiotics are inulin and oligofructose. As a supplement, it will be listed as either inulin or FOS (fructooligosaccharides). Inulin or oligofructose are present in over 36,000 plant foods as plant storage carbohydrates. Excellent food sources are chicory and Jerusalem artichokes. In fact, most commercially prepared inulin comes from chicory, or else synthesized from sucrose. Other food sources include wheat, barley, rye, onions, garlic and leeks.
Because flatulence, bloating and abdominal cramps can be an undesirable consequence of taking prebiotics (and even probiotics), it is recommended that anyone considering taking these in supplement form contact a healthcare professional familiar with such products for individualized recommendations. Those who could benefit from taking probiotic and prebiotic supplements include: People taking antibiotics which kill off the 'good bugs' in the intestinal tract. People who suffer from diarrhea, constipation, gastrointestinal distress, and/or irritable bowel syndrome. Women who suffer from chronic yeast and/or Candida infections.
Probiotic supplements are available as freeze-dried, powdered, capsules, wafers and liquids. Doses of Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria are expressed in billions of live organisms and a typical dose, unless otherwise recommended, is between 3 billion to 5 billion live organisms. Because probiotics are living organisms and are fragile, they should always be refrigerated. Products found on a shelf, therefore, are not going to contain live organisms and not be as effective. The product label should guarantee a certain number of live organisms by the expiration date of the product. There should always be an expiration date.
Prebiotics can be found either with a probiotic product or separately, because FOS and inulin are food for the probiotics. If purchased separately, they can be taken together. Some people, because of the high number of 'bad bugs' in their gastrointestinal tract, cannot handle the two products taken together in the beginning. This is where an experienced healthcare professional can be beneficial. The suggested intake of FOS is 2-3 grams per day. Products containing vitamin C, whey protein, or cysteine may improve the effectiveness of probiotics.
This information is not intended to substitute for medical advice or care that you would receive from your healthcare professional, so always check with your provider. If you are taking medications, or have health issues, make sure you start these products under the care of a professional. Some people will notice no harmful effects and these products are generally very safe, but individual sensitivity can alter the effects of such products.
If something as simple as providing and feeding your 'good bugs' in the intestinal tract can improve subtle or severe health issues, it's certainly time to start feeding our 'good bugs' today!

Tips To Help You Find The Right Gym

Taking those first few steps towards establishing a Fitness Lifestyle can very well be intimidating, especially if the decision is made to sign-up for a gym membership. In fact, deciding on even using a gym can be a double-edged sword of sorts. On one hand, there are many of us who feel that we'll become more motivated towards exercising regularly if we do sign-up for a gym membership. After all, you're now investing more money into your health so you certainly don't want to just throw that money away. Additionally, there are typically many more people working out at the gym than anywhere else, so you'll probably be more likely to get caught up in the ambience and energy of others exercising as well. However, on the other hand, because there can be so many people working out at the gym, you may feel intimidated beginning those first steps towards getting back in condition in front of others. When you stop to consider all of the pros and cons with signing up for a gym membership, you may find that making this decision was a more daunting task than you first thought.
Fortunately, there are many gyms and fitness facilities available now to accommodate virtually every factor and consideration involved in your own decision making process. From the large fitness clubs such as Bally's and 24-Hour Fitness to the local YMCA or university health centers, and from the private one-on-one training studios to even mobile Personal Training trailers, chances are excellent that a gym can be found to match your own personal preferences. What's important to keep in mind is that every gym and fitness facility has it's own unique personality and subsequently, there's a gym to match your own unique personality as well. Therefore, with a little gym shopping savvy and factors that we'll providing you for consideration, you'll be on your way towards locating a gym that's a perfect match for you!
Presented here then is a brief summary of several factors for you to consider when shopping for the gym that's right for you:
1) Location
Typically, you're better off when your gym is near to your home or work. The greater the distance that you'll have to travel to exercise, then the greater the chance that you may find an excuse not to. At the same time, don't let location be your sole determining factor, as it's important that you don't join a gym that you dislike simply because it's nearby.
2) Management Attitude
When you walk into your gym, I strongly believe that you should never feel like only a dollar sign or a second-class citizen. Look for honesty, sincerity, politeness, and above all, respect. The vast majority of gyms that I have stepped foot into are operated by managers and staff members that genuinely enjoy their jobs and genuinely enjoy assisting their clients. However, if you feel like a gym is not interested in your needs at all, then you may wish to keep looking.
3) Hours
How does your own personal schedule fit in with the gym's? If conducting early-bird workouts is your best option, then at what time does your gym open up? What if you can only workout late at night? Is your gym a 24-hour gym? Is it open 7 days a week?
4) Price
This factor is actually most people's first consideration when searching for a gym. As this issue can be largely affected by your own personal taste and budget, I would simply propose the following points to consider. First, look at the entire package before you just consider the cost. Being the cheapest gym around does not necessarily make it the best fit for you. You do sometimes get what you pay for. Secondly, be mindful of the contracts you sign. There are fitness chains that have been notorious for absolutely locking you into a long-term contract and then making it nearly impossible to cancel should you decide to withdraw at a later date. If you are not convinced that you're going to stick with regularly working out at a gym, you may then prefer to sign a short-term contract instead even if it costs more per month.
5) Sanitation
For me, this is a direct reflection on management. Bathrooms, showers, pools, saunas, tanning beds, and the gym equipment should be cleaned on a regular basis. Granted, while club members are working out, no gym will ever be 100% perfect, but as long as a club still places an emphasis on proper hygienic practices, then it demonstrates responsibility and concern for their members.
6) Client Volume
If you're just beginning a gym membership for the first time and feel a bit insecure about working out for the first time, you may (or may not) prefer a smaller gym or even a personal training studio. Also, the best gym in the world for you may still be the wrong fit if you're going to have to regularly wait in line to exercise on a piece of equipment. A crowded gym can result in irritable attitudes and inefficient workouts. Your best bet may be to locate a fitness facility with the proper combination of number of members and number of equipment that will allow you to maintain a steady workout.
7) Environment
Do you prefer an "Iron Dungeon" with a perpetual cloud of hand chalk and chorus of loud yells and grunts? Or do you prefer a club that feels more like a Singles joint where the clients seem more concerned with meeting the members of the opposite gender? Just like the design of the gym's building, a gym's environment can come in all versions as well. If you feel uncomfortable upon your initial walk-through, you may wish to continue looking at other gyms and fitness facilities nearby. When you sign up for a gym membership, it's vitally important that you sign up at one that you feel comfortable at and enjoy the atmosphere because if you don't, then there's a good chance that you won't succeed in regularly working out there.
There are still many additional factors not listed here you may wish to consider before selecting the gym of your choice such as amenities, the equipment itself, and the clientele. Just be sure to give yourself a little bit of time to shop around and determine which choice is best for you based on your needs and tastes. I truly believe that signing up for a gym membership is an outstanding investment on your physical and emotional health and is well worth the time and money spent to locate the one that's the best match for you. Most gyms and fitness facilities today are ran by professionals in their field who enjoy their jobs and there is a good chance that this high level of enthusiasm will only energize you further.
So shop around, it's well worth the effort!

Don't Have a Cow Over Mad Cow Disease, Just Shop Smarter

Unless you've been trapped in a meat locker since December, you're no doubt aware that Mad Cow Disease has been detected in the US herd. Given that "bovine spongiform encephalopathy" is tougher on the mouth than one of the blow-torched steaks we get at Billy's House of Meat and Welding Supplies, we'll stick with the short form of the disease name---BSE.
The disease agent responsible for BSE is the prion, and it is unaffected by the heat of cooking or by irradiation. So forget about cooking your steak to a cinder before you eat it---that won't be any protection (and would be very upsetting to the Association of Beef Cooking Snobs).
Scientists say that the prion spreads between cows via the animal byproducts in their feed. The US Department of Agriculture is implementing new regulations that will reduce the amount of animal byproducts going into cattle feed, but indications are that there will still be a few loopholes in the rules.
Some people may just rely on the new USDA rules and hope for the best, but others may prefer to become choosier shoppers. There are a lot of different labels applied to beef these days, so let's go through what they mean under rules set by the US Department of Agriculture and talk about how they do or do not relate to BSE.
Organic --- The organic label does apply to beef and has the backing of a legal standard and a certification system. In the case of beef, organic means that the animal (1) has undergone no genetic modification; (2) was fed grain that was not genetically modified and was free of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, animal byproducts and other adulterants; (3) was not treated with antibiotics, growth hormones, or chemical pesticides. Animals raised for organic meat must also have access to the outdoors, though that doesn't necessarily mean that they spend the majority of their time roaming the open grasslands.
Free Range --- This label is still mostly ungoverned by a legal standard and shouldn't be relied on to determine whether the cow actually spent most of its time on the open plains eating grass or that it ate any particular type of feed. "Free Range" is sometimes also called "free roaming."
Natural --- This is another mostly meaningless term. As the USDA puts it: "All fresh meat qualifies as natural." Meat labeled "natural" (1) cannot contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient; and (2) can only be minimally processed (ground, for example). The USDA requires that meat packages labeled "natural" also include a statement clarifying the use of the term (such as "no added coloring"). In any event, animal byproducts are not specifically prohibited in the feed of cows raised for "natural" beef (though some beef labeled natural may indeed be free of animal byproducts).
Grass Fed --- You'd think that any package of beef labeled "Grass Fed" would mean that the cow ate only grass. But given that all cows eat grass at least in the early stages of their lives, shady dealers could legally apply the "Grass Fed" label to beef from normal feed-lot cattle, which usually get a corn-based feed mix that contains animal byproducts. This makes it necessary for you to ensure the label says "100% Grass Fed," "Grass Fed Only" or something similar that does not leave any loopholes. Beef raised only on grass may be slightly less tender than "normal" beef, but it has less overall fat, less saturated fat, higher vitamin A content, and more of the omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain healthy cells in your body. Beef that is 100% grass-fed may or may not be organic---all requirements under the organic standard would still have to be met for "100% grass fed" beef to be labeled organic.
No Antibiotics/No Hormones --- Beef with either of these labels must be from a cow that was raised without the use of antibiotics or synthetic hormones over its entire lifetime. While both of these characteristics are desirable in your package of beef, neither has any bearing on BSE.
No Animal Byproducts --- The regulations behind this label are not as strong as for the organic standard, but it's reasonable to assume that the label means what it says, that no animal byproducts were used in the feed of the cow(s).
Irradiation --- Meat that has been irradiated to reduce bacteria levels must be labeled "Treated by Irradiation" or "Treated with Radiation." However, the irradiation levels used on beef do not deactivate the BSE disease agent.
Prime, Choice, and Select --- These USDA grades are a subjective measure of quality and imply nothing about how the cow was raised or whether the cow's feed was free of animal byproducts.
Well, that's a lot of things to remember, so here are the three labels you really want to look for when you shop for beef: (a) Organic, (b) 100% Grass Fed, and/or (c) No Animal Byproducts. Beef with any one of these labels is virtually guaranteed to be free of BSE problems. Cows raised under the standards required for the organic and 100% grass fed labels yield environmental benefits too (compared to regular beef production).
Remember that we're not just talking about steaks and burgers as a potential source of BSE exposure. Processed beef products, including beef hotdogs, sausage, and meat sauce, also have the potential to contain BSE-contaminated beef. Granted, it is unlikely there would be such a problem, but since beef is available that has been raised in a way that virtually eliminates any BSE possibilities, why take any chance? And if the thought of eating ANY beef these days make you nearly have a cow, try soy-based beef alternatives---they're surprisingly tasty and beef-like these days.
No matter what your beefy fare, just remember what Mom said---"chew every bite 20 times"---and you'll be able to impress your friends with your rippling mandible muscles!
For jokes, cartoons, and more great environmental information, visit .

3 Things you want to know about Cholesterol

You wouldn't judge a book by its cover, would you?
You would want to open the book and read part of it to get a better idea about what is going on, right?
Well, judging a book by its cover is what happens when you look at LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and decide that this is the only - or even the best indicator of heart disease.
Worse yet, you are told you MUST lower your LDL cholesterol level.
#1 Naturally produced by the body, cholesterol is needed for a variety of functions.-1
Your body uses cholesterol to make testosterone and other essential hormones and is one of the best health and youth enhancing strategies for aging men and women. -2
As you age your body naturally starts to lose its ability to produce as much testosterone and you start to lose energy, strength, sexual desire and sexual capacity.-2
#2 Because the fact is cholesterol alone is not THE indicator of heart disease. Cholesterol which has been oxidized is the problem. Oxidation of cholesterol is the more specific problem which would enable the cholesterol to become "sticky" and start to form plaque in the walls of the arteries.-3
We have all seen an apple cut open and watch as it turns brown - this is oxidation. Your body will oxidize on the inside unless steps are taken to help prevent this.
One can keep oxidation of cholesterol in check by incorporating plenty of anti-oxidants in your consumption of food and supplements.-1, 3
A few of the most powerful anti-oxidants are: CoenzymeQ10 Vitamin E Vitamin A Vitamin C
Low cost, safe and proven food sources high in omega 3's and the right fats to help keep your cholesterol levels in balance-1, 3 Garlic Ginger Olive oil Olives Almonds Walnuts Flaxseed Eggplant Okra Eggs Fresh fruit
These are better, safe, proven and natural ways to prevent cholesterol from becoming a problem.
A diet heavy in grains and processed foods will actually raise your blood cholesterol levels more than foods which contain cholesterol.
A diet low in cholesterol will do you little if anything health wise -4
Focusing on raising your HDL cholesterol levels because as you raise your good cholesterol it decreases the concern about your LDL levels of cholesterol and gives you a better total cholesterol profile. -5
Some of the best ways to improve your "Good" or HDL cholesterol is through: Exercise. Vitamin D Niacin Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with raising HDL cholesterol levels - 6
There is a big difference between the cholesterol your Body produces and dietary cholesterol from the food you eat.
#3 Two factors which are of greater concern and are better indicators of heart disease are -3
1. A measure of inflammation in the blood stream called C-reactive protein
2. An amino acid produced by the body called homocysteine.
High levels of C-reactive protein and high levels of homocysteine are better leading indicators and also contribute to the formation of plaque in the blood vessels leading to heart disease -3
As reported in the July, 2003 issue of JAMA, a study was conducted which showed that a diet high in plant sterols, fiber and almonds was clearly the better way to reduce cholesterol and heart disease over statin drugs.-8
And finally …
Policosanol – An organic plant alcohol from sugar cane is one of the best natural ways to reduce bad cholesterol levels-7
Naturally, as you realize the power of these proven ways to prevent cholesterol from becoming a problem, you will find yourself taking action.
1- Dr. Al Sears Health Confidential for Men – "The biggest drug and the biggest lie" august 4th, 2003.
2- Dr. Al Sears Health Confidential for Men – "Ignore the hype focus on cholesterol that matters" April 4, 2004
3- Hyman, Mark M.D., Liponis, Mark M.D., Ultra-Prevention, The 6-Week Plan that will Make you healthy for life, New York, Scribner, 2003
4- Dr. Al Sears Health Confidential for Men – "Teaching Nutrition?" March 15, 2004
5- Framingham Heart Study conducted on healthy people in the 1950s. cholesterol misleading as only one of 240 factors in heart disease.
6- Castiglioni A and Neuman WR. "HDL Cholesterol: What Is Its True Clinical Significance?" Emergency Medicine, January 2003:pp 30-42.
7- Policosanol safe alternative just one of many. New study finds that this sugar-cane extract safely lowers cholesterol levels. By Aaron W. Jensen, Ph.D. References PR Newswire, March 5, 2002. White Plains, NY. Omar MA, Wilson JP. FDA adverse event reports on statin -associated rhabdomyolysis. Ann Pharmacother 2002 Feb;36(2):288-95. Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK. Policosanol: clinical pharmacology and therapeutic significance of a new lipid-lowering agent. Am Heart J 2002;143:356-65. Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults. Executive summary of the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). J Am Med Assoc 2001;285:2486-97.
8- Jenkins D. et al., Effects of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol- lowering foods vs Lovastatin on serum lipids and c-reactive protein. JAMA 2003; 290: 502-510
9- – Health Sciences Institute - Jenny Thompson – Article "Broken Ground" 3/11/2004

Body And Soul - Keeping It Together!

It is said that the first thing a man does when he wakes in the morning is to look out of the window to see how the weather has changed overnight, and the first thing a women does on waking is to look in the mirror to see what the night has done to her face. Enough said … but if your look in the mirror is followed by 'Oh, my God … I could do with a face-lift, etc. etc.' (don't worry, we've all been there) before you start layering on more make-up and deciding to embark yet again on another diet/exercise regime (which will probably have been forgotten anyway by the weekend), let's stop wishing, and start by trying to make the best of what we have got.
We may not be able to recapture the healthy glow of youth, but we may be able to inject a little sparkle by giving as much thought to the inside of our bodies as we do to the outside. Just think of what would happen to a house if it were not built on firm foundations. Also how would our cars run if we filled them up with the wrong fuel? Similarly, how can we expect our bodies to function smoothly if we just worry about the paintwork and not concentrate on the engine? So analyse what you are putting into your body. Is it mainly 'comfort/grab-a-snack - I'm in a hurry' food, eg buns, crisps, chocolates etc., or is it nourishing food with all the vitamins and minerals the body requires to operate efficiently?
Many moons ago, a colleague of mine, who had a connection with a pharmaceutical company, said the idea had been muted within the company that as the elderly often start the day with a cup of tea and digestive biscuit, then a good way of ensuring that they receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals was to add them to the digestive biscuit It seemed a great idea, but when you think of how we absentmindedly dip into a packet of biscuits, then we would probably overdose on vitamins. Although we need vitamins we can also have too much of a good thing. It is worth remembering that whereas the body will expel too much of say Vitamin C, the body will store Vitamins A & D and an overload of these vitamins can have a detrimental effect. So leave it to the experts to get the balance right. It is better to start the day (together with your nourishing breakfast) with a good multi-vitamin and mineral tablet. The tablet container will show the RDA (which stands for the 'recommended daily allowance'), and it will also show how the tablet equates with this.
A good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is the Holland & Barrett's
Formula for the 50 PLUS called ABC PLUS SENIOR (on half-price offer at the present time).
Another supplement I would recommend for those of us whose memory is not what it used to be is 'Ginkgo Biloba'. (Also on half-price offer at the moment). This has been in use for years on the continent as an aid to improving the circulation. It is said that it not only improves the supply of blood to the head and subsequently improves the memory (so hopefully we'll remember where we put the bottle of tablets) but it also improves the blood supply to the extremities, which is great if you suffer from cold hands and feet. Ginkgo, by the way, comes from the Ginkgo tree, which is one of the oldest trees known to man. You can therefore appreciate how vital it is that we do not allow plants to become extinct.
Remember the old wives' tale that 'fish is good for the brain'? (When I hear this saying, my mind always goes back to a lecturer jokingly saying that his mother was determined that he would do well and always made him eat fish before an examination, and, of course, to her delight he did do well). Well, now it has been proved that Omega 3 (pure fish oils) not only benefits the brain but the whole body. It is high in essential fatty acids, which help to maintain a healthy heart and circulation.
Another very good supplement is Selenium. This was naturally present in the earth and in our vegetables years ago, but sadly has become depleted over the years with intensive farming and chemicals. So we can put back this missing ingredient. I certainly felt a difference on taking this as a supplement.
Now, if you are prone to numerous infections, coughs, colds, etc., then your immune system needs a boost. In addition to the usual Vitamin C, a couple of good supplements for this are Zinc and Echinacea. It's a good idea to take Echinacea well before the 'flu time' is upon us in order to get it into the system.
We have always known the importance of making sure that we have enough calcium in order to maintain bone strength, but it is only in the past few years that Glucosamine has come to the fore as an aid to the joints. Glucosamine is believed to stimulate cartilage growth and prevent it wearing down and hopefully reducing the subsequent pain. I have a friend who swears this has helped her painful joints. Chondroitin is often added to the Glucosamine as this helps to attract fluid into the cartilage Healthy Direct ( has a special offer on this powerful combination of Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Vitamin C. They also operate a free postage and packing with prompt delivery service, which is great if you have difficulty in getting to the shops.
Notice that throughout I have been using the word 'supplement' as no tablets are going to replace a healthy diet. I remember being told by a doctor when I was in my twenties that the way towards a healthy life was to eat a small amount of a wide variety of foods and that way the body would obtain the necessary vitamins and nourishment. Whilst I agree with the 'variety' advice, I am not sure with the present day treatment and overlong storage of foodstuffs (particularly fruit and vegetables) whether there are many vitamins left by the time they reach the table. It came as a shock to hear at one lecture that when they tested an orange for its Vitamin C content, the results came back as a surprising 'nil'. Still to end on a happy note, the fibre content was there, and we must eat plenty of FRESH fruit and vegetables not only for the vitamins but also for the fibre and enzymes necessary for the digestive process to function properly. But more on that - together with a breakdown of all the essential vitamins and my favourite subject - FOOD - (I'll try not to think about or mention chocolate cake)
IT'S … 'HOLD-BACK-THE-YEARS' FOOD …… next time
Looking forward to chatting to you again and also looking forward to hearing from you …


Peptic ulcers, which are in the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the intestine leading from the stomach) can occur at any age and affect both men and women. Untreated, sufferers can look forward to a long siege with them. But today's peptic ulcer sufferers have a brighter prospect for relief than did those of even a single generation ago. There is now less than 1 chance in 18 that surgery will every be necessary and new medications act faster and better and offer more relief than ever before.
The warning sign of active ulcers you will most likely experience (if you get any warning at all) is a gnawing discomfort in the middle or upper abdomen that typically comes between meals or in the middle of the night. Food or liquids, including antacids and milk, can provide some temporary relief, but milk might not be all that good a remedy since it stimulates production of hydrochloric acid and other digestive juices which further aggravates the pain.
Antacids blended from aluminum, calcium or magnesium salts, have long been the non prescription drugs most people quickly reach for to get relief from their stomach pains. But, because antacids interfere with absorption of some medications, be sure to go over this with your doctor and get his approval.
You should never ignore any warning signs of ulcers. Ulcer complications are serious and in some cases can be life-threatening. If paid from ulcers persists after more than 10 to 14 days of self-treatment or comes back when treatment ends, you should see your doctor. The passing of blood through the bowels may be caused by some other problem, but it can also be an urgent warning of a bleeding ulcer.
Bleeding ulcers can cause anemia or, if the ulcer gets larger it may expand into a major blood vessel, a leak can turn into a hemorrhage, with only minutes available for life saving emergency treatment. Ulcers can also perforate and may erode completely through the wall of the stomach or duodenum. If this happens and the stomach's contents flow into the abdominal cavity, severe infection can result. A perforated ulcer is an emergency that requires immediate surgery.
It has been determined that smoking doubles a person's risk for ulcer disease. Physicians and researches have found that ulcers heal a lot slower for smokers, and smokers also have a higher relapse rate.
And you're definitely at risk for ulcers if you take aspirin and any of the other products containing aspirin. High-dose Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Maproxen and Piroxicam are in wide use today for many conditions, especially to relive pain and swelling among the millions of people who have arthritis. These medications can irritate the stomach's lining and cause gastrointestinal bleeding.
Ulcers have frequently been the target for humor in describing the stereotypical aggressive, pressured, goal-or-career-oriented person. But for those who have them, ulcers are certainly no laughing matter. Peptic ulcers strike 1 out of ever 50 Americans each year.
As research continues, there is now mounting evidence that something other than smoking, drinking, spicy meals, or a possible battle with the boss may be associated with ulcers. It is now believed that ulcers are the result of a combination of conditions, the dynamics of which researchers don't yet fully understand.

Why DO the Japanese Have the Longest Lifespan? Part 2: Live the Lifestyle

Why do the Japanese have the longest lifespan? Last month you learned to eat the things Japanese people eat, and now you will learn how to live like they live. Fast, long, and lively best describes a usual day in Japan. The country is geared towards an active lifestyle, as the 'couch potato' concept is completely foreign. This lively lifestyle centers around three key aspects: work, socializing and recreation.
The workday begins early due to the commute by train that most people endure. This can range from 20 minutes to over two hours with the majority of people standing, as there are not enough seats. Walking is the focal point in the daily exercise regime. On average, people walk one to two kilometers to the train station in the morning. After arriving at the closest station to their office, people typically walk another one to two kilometers to their place of business. At the end of their long day, workers go through the same routine. All in all, the average Japanese individual will walk between three to five kilometers per day. Interestingly enough, these walks generally occur immediately or soon after meals, which helps with the digestive process.
Socializing is also different than that for western culture. As homes and apartments in Japan are considerably smaller, people opt to entertain outside of their home. This is one of the primary reasons clubs; hobbies and leisure activities play such an important role in the culture. In fact it is very uncommon to have dinner parties or get-togethers in Japanese homes. A popular alternative is to meet at public establishments for events and parties.
Automobiles do have some purpose, however they are viewed as a hobby or a luxury. Parking in Japan is costly and limited with simply not enough parking spaces for everyone to park. Cars are used for longer excursions to other cities or the countryside. The most common recreational activities are active ones. Trips to the mountains, lakes or open spaces are most popular.
Although the pace of life is fast in Japan, we can learn from certain aspects. Changing our eating habits is an important first step and combining low impact exercise after eating, such as walking, will have a greater impact. Involvement in clubs or activities that are active will also create an opportunity to engage in activity. Finally, being less reliant on our vehicles will require more effort for some daily physical activity.
So perhaps if you do what they do and eat what they eat you could be extending your lifespan. Your life is what you make it.
Here's to your health!
Peter McGarry
For additional free information on health issues regarding fitness, nutrition, environment and financial well being please visit This site is a guide to improving your quality of life.

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Low Carb Diet

In the last 12 months or so, low carbohydrate diets have captured the hearts and weight loss hopes of the American public. And why not? These diets promise quick weight loss and the ability to keep eating fatty foods. If you love your steak and eggs, this seems like the ultimate diet. However, before signing up, the low carb diet bears a review. Is it really the right diet for you?
The premise of the Atkins or any low carbohydrate diet is that carbohydrates are the source of all our weight loss woes. There is some real substance to the argument in that we Americans have been eating excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates which have caused many of us to become insulin resistant as the body continues to wage war against repeated blood sugar spikes brought on by our poor eating habits.
The Atkins diet and other very low carbohydrate diets take your body out of a sugar burning state by practically eliminating all carbs for an induction period that can last two weeks or more. The body will continue to burn sugar as it primary energy source until it essentially runs dry and then converts to burning fat. During the conversion, the dieter can feel tired, irritable, have headaches or get dizzy. Once you get past this incredibly tough period, you are allowed to eat a few carbs, but generally not more than 60 grams a day. That's like eating one bagel a day and then stopping. This is a difficult road to follow for a liftetime.
In fact, a recent study showed that most adults who start a low carbohydrate diet quit the diet within a year. Admittedly, there is great progress by Atkins and other food manufacturers to dramatically reduce the amount of effective carbs in some food offerings that could be classified as comfort foods (e.g., muffins, brownies, yogurt and more). This helps but you cannot have much if you want to stay within the diet guidelines.
In addition to the loss of almost all traditional comfort foods, by cutting out carbohydrates, the diet is also cutting out a lot of foods that are good for us. Fruits and vegetables have fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients that help keep us healthy. Limiting fiber while consuming a lot of saturated fat, is not the most heart healthy diet.
The low carb diet does take a person out of a primary sugar burning state into a fat burning state. However, some literature makes it sound as though you cannot burn fat any other way. The fact is that we are all burning some fat, we may just be adding more fat faster than we burn it. Modifying the diet to eliminate refined carbohydrates and focusing on high quality protein and good fats will gradually train the body to burn more fat and less sugar.
To their credit, the Atkins group have refined their diet guidelines from their original 'eat all the fat you want' stance to 'eat moderate amounts of good fats'. This is not only a heart healthy step forward but is also likely to help your weight loss efforts as essential fatty acids (the good fats) can help you actually burn more fat. However, when you consider that carbs are already limited on this diet, I'm not sure what you eat except grilled chicken breast, fat free cottage cheese and egg-white omelets. This effectively transforms the diet into a high-protein, low-calorie diet which, if it becomes low calorie, will induce the body to lower its metabolism.
But the one thing you need to know about why the Atkins diet brings about significant weight loss in the first week is that it sends the body into ketosis. Without getting technical, this is a body imbalance that causes your body to flush out toxins (ketones) through your urine like crazy! What you are losing then is primarily water – not fat. Over the long term, restricting carbohydrate consumption to the levels recommended in Atkins and other similar diets is that they overlook the fact that your body needs carbohydrates to utilize the protein you consume. Thus, just like the low calorie diet, this diet cannot help you increase or even maintain muscle mass if carbohydrates are not consumed at a higher level than they recommend.
Finally, if you go off of the low carb diet, your body will immediately stop burning fat as it's primary fuel source. Adding carbs back into the diet will usually cause weight gain as the water weight loss comes back within days.
If you are committed to fat loss success, then you cannot overlook the body's need for sufficient calorie levels to prevent the body from lowering its metabolism. You also need sufficient protein that the body can utilize to have a shapely figure (this goes for guys and gals), youthful skin and great hair. Keep the fruits and vegetables, permit yourself a serving or two of a whole grain bread or pasta, focus on high quality proteins and good fats, get calcium from low fat dairy products such as yogurt and your body will respond with a slow, steady and healthy weight loss.
Here's to your health as well as your weight loss success!

Build Health: Initiate A Health Strategy Makeover

My mother-in-law, a widow of a doctor, recently died. The way she exited was a nightmare. This was because her health strategy produced a lousy result.
Shortly before passing away, she had a colostomy to fix an intestinal blockage, the result of a decades-long struggle with diverticulitis. Poor teeth and gums, kidney failure and liver problems were also in the mix.
Not surprisingly she was riding a doctor-directed merry-go-round of prescription drugs and their side effects.
My mother-in-law went out in typical American fashion--a slow system-by-system breakdown accompanied by loss of mobility.
She learned three hard, painful lessons during her exit:
1) You can't find health in a doctors's .
2) Pharmaceuticals do not restore your health.
3) Our "health care" system manages disease, but does not improve your health.
My father, a retired dentist who can barely get around using a walker, is also following the typical American health strategy.
In spite of eating all the "right foods," he is dealing with the effects of prostate disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, stroke, Parkinson's, and has recently been fitted with a pacemaker.
He too has been riding that doctor-directed merry-go-round of prescription drugs. He has his cozaar, carbidoba, ticlid, prilosec, voltaren, lipitor, and zoloft. His vasotec and doxycycline have recently been discontinued.
You do not have to follow this common American health "strategy."
Instead, you might want to consider implementing what I call the Grandma Weiss/Uncle Wallace health strategy.
These relatives of mine lived well into their 90's, were seldom sick and rarely ever saw a doctor. They were not plagued by slow, agonizing, system-by-system breakdowns.
On their last day they made it to the bathroom unassisted, had an evening meal, drank a little tea, read a bit, went to bed and didn't wake up.
The night they closed up shop, all their metabolic enzyme systems mercifully shut down at the same time, the way nature intended it.
This kind of strategy is quite common in remote places like Vilcabamba in Ecuador and Abkhazia in the Russian Caucasus.
Dr. Weston A. Price chronicled other distant groups who did not get sick nor die like we do. He found the diets of those people to be nutrient-dense, containing four times the minerals and ten times the fat-soluble vitamins found in the American diet of the late 1930's and early 40's.
Here are two common denominators found in the strategies of Grandma Weiss/Uncle Wallace and isolated groups noted for their health and longevity:
(1) Diets loaded with minerals and vitamins that maintain their 2000+ metabolic enzymes through time.
(2) No reliance upon prescription drugs that interfere with those metabolic enzymes.
Consider what has happened to most Americans during the six decades beginning 1940:
The nutrient density of their diets, including that of the so-called "right foods" in those diets, has continued to slide downhill, and their use of prescription drugs has skyrocketed.
If you conclude you want to retool your present strategy, here are a couple of simple, logical things to do:
(1) Take advantage of the resources offered by the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation.
(2) Start looking for natural alternatives to the prescription and over-the- counter items in your medicine cabinet.

Friday Night Fitness Dates

Close your eyes and imagine this romantic setting: an intimate picnic on the beach, you and your mate enjoying strawberries from a fresh fruit salad, and both of you enjoying the ocean breeze as plans are being made for your next date. All of this, of course, after you jogged with your sweetie on the beach at sunset. That's right, "jogged"!
While many couple's idea of a romantic date will still include a walk on the beach at sunset, other couples are increasingly opting for inclusion of a healthful fitness activity instead. Around the country, these "fitness dates" have become more and more popular as people are searching for a different, if not healthier, option to the customary "dinner-and-a-movie" routine. These fitness dates can include everything from an actual workout together at the gym, to a nighttime game of tennis, to even a canoe-by-moonlight excursion. What's important is that an activity is found that both of you like to do and then use it as a platform to have some fun and enjoy each other's companionship. Granted, it may require a different mindset to appreciate a date at a gym, lake, or track as a dating alternative, but it does reap an extraordinary amount of benefits and it can genuinely be a lot of fun as well.
To begin with, these fitness dates do allow for some actual quality time together for the both of you to bond. This time together is yours to share and the exercise itself does release hormones in the body that helps promote a general feeling of relaxation and well-being. Bottom line is that you'll both feel better about yourself and will enjoy each other's company even more. Besides, workout sessions are always more fun when your partner is along and that's part of the point in even inviting a partner with you in the first place.
Fitness dates also encourages the practice of healthy behaviors between the both of you. Just like the saying, "birds of a feather, flock together", it is a well-proven fact that the health practices of one partner will greatly influence the condition of the other. Chances are that if you and your date routinely include a fitness date into your calendar, then both of you are also more likely to be maintaining a healthier lifestyle during the week as well.
Additionally, these fitness dates tend to do amazing wonders for stimulating a couple's intimacy with one another. Research has confirmed that regular exercise does result in greater levels of desire, frequency, and increased confidence. The increased blood flow to all body parts also enhances your ability to be aroused. Needless to say, the visual appeal of your mate working up a sweat probably won't dampen the attraction either.
As for arranging Friday nights for your fitness dates, just remember that this could also be a great, healthy way to wind down at the end of your work week. Looking forward to meeting your date will only add to the motivation. However, if your schedule doesn't necessarily allow a Friday night for the both of you to meet in a gym or attend a spinning or yoga class, then the truth is that any day or time of the week will work as an ideal time for a fitness date. Just remember to enjoy the moment and time together with your significant other and have some fun!

Red Bull, Does it Give You Wings?

I was driving to work the other day, enjoying my obligatory glass of morning stimulant. This morning it was a can of Red Bull, I didn't have time to stop at Starbucks, and I noticed that the primary ingredient in Red Bull is Taurine. After hearing their commercial on the radio, I got to thinking. How exactly does Red Bull work, and does it really give you wings? Does it give you more energy? Does it make you more alert?
Well, upon inspecting the ingredients and doing some research, which wasn't hard working as a bulk vitamin distributor, I found that the Red Bull wings reference may be more geared to mental well being than to actual body energy. At least this may be the case with Taurine. As it turns out, Taurine is an amino acid that is used in our body for a number of activities. A couple of which are to act as a neural regulator, and to protect heart function. Substantial amounts of Taurine are also found in our eyes and stomach bile. There is no doubt that Taurine is beneficial, but I could not find any data that indicated it would give you an energy boost.
After searching and searching, I realized that the "wings" reference may be geared more toward your mental state. As I indicated, Taurine acts as a neural regulator. In fact, it is one of those chemicals in our brain that is responsible for a calm positive mood. Perhaps the wings effect is referring to the fact that the Taurine in Red Bull will make you calm and clear-headed. There has certainly been data to demonstrate that Taurine is effective when dealing with stress. Another ingredient that would indicate that the "wings" tag line may refer more to your mental state is the ingredient Inositol. This is another compound that has been shown to have a positive, calming, effect on your mood.
What about an energy boost? In looking at the ingredients, Caffeine certainly jumps out as a major stimulant. Other than that, sugar is always effective at providing a good short-term energy boost. These are probably the main ingredients that will make you more "vitalized."
So does Red Bull give you "Wings?" Well, the Taurine and Inositol in it will certainly make you feel good. It has caffeine, so there should be a small energy boost, and the other compounds listed can help with your metabolism. Overall, it should have a positive effect on your body, and at least make you feel a little calmer and more energized. As for wings, well, what would we do with them if we had them anyway?

Beating the Weight Loss Bandits

If you're on a weight loss program you're under constant attack - attack from the food bandits all around you.
There is food waiting to ambush your weight loss efforts at every turn. It's there on every street corner: available, fast, in huge portions and full of fat. It's there at every checkout: convenient, brightly-packaged and calling "Eat me! Eat me!" It's there at work for every occasion: birthdays, promotions, leaving parties, "because it's Friday". It's there at home brought to you larger than life on every TV set, seductively advertised, calling from the fridge and pantry "I'm here! Come and get me! You know you want to!"
Given that the food bandits are out there, what can you do about them?
Be ready to defend yourself!
Know your weak spots – those food temptations you find hard to resist, and plan to
1. Avoid Them
Keep away from fattening food as much as you can. Don't drive past fast food outlets even if it means a detour. Keep tempting high-fat snacks out of your home. Give TV ads a wide berth – in fact give TV a miss altogether and get out and do something. Walk away from offers of food, declining as politely and firmly as possible. "No thanks, I'm not hungry just now" should be enough.
2. Use humour
Treat your encounter with food bandits with a sense of fun. Make a note in your mind that you've spotted one "Alert! Food bandit on left flank. Eyes right! Defeat!"
3. Don't let them upset you
If you succumb once in a while to the food bandits, don't let it get you down. Brush yourself down and be ready to come out fighting against the next lot.
4. Celebrate your successes no matter how small
Be delighted each time you spot and overcome a food bandit. Feel proud that you were able to show who's in charge. You're the boss!
Once you recognise the food bandits for what they are, they lose their power. Each time you take them on and defeat them, you'll notice their influence over you diminish.
Gradually you get into the habit of ignoring the bandits. Long term result? – a slimmer, healthier, beautiful you, in total control of the food you eat.

L-Glutathione, The Wonder Antioxidant

A naturally occurring compound, L-Glutathione (Tathion,) has demonstrated that it is effective in fighting cancer, environmental poisons, and even cataracts. Sound like snake oil? Well, that is what I thought until I started doing research. It turns out that L-Glutathione is one of the most effective antioxidants that our body produces. It works to protect our bodies from the thousands of daily hazards that we are exposed to such as pollution, second hand smoke, alcohol, and food chemicals and poisons. In fact, it is so effective that some researchers believe that it can actually slow down the aging process.
L-Glutathione is an antioxidant that our body produces from three basic amino acids that are found in our food. Our body makes it and uses it, along with the other vitamins that we ingest, as a hard line defense against all of the hazards that cause us to grow sick and old. This is important because research into this specific anti-oxidant has shown that it can actually cure disease, regenerate damaged tissue, minimize the side effects of chemotherapy, and treat cataracts.
It works by acting as a guardian to the toxic compounds that attack our cells. These compounds, typically called free radicals, are extremely aggressive and attack the molecules that make up the cells in our body. These free radicals change the chemical structure of the molecules in our cells and make them ineffective. This in turn either kills the cell, makes it ineffective, or turns it cancerous. L-Glutathione and other antioxidants attack the free radicals and destroy them before they have a chance to attack the cells.
Because it protects our cells by attacking the external poisons, the levels of L-Glutathione in our blood have the potential to significantly impact our overall health. Studies have demonstrated that administration of L-Glutathione is extremely effective in treated diseases such as Hepatitis. It has also been shown to be a key player in the regeneration of the liver, and to combat cirrhosis. The compound is useful in treating jaundice and protects the brain and body tissues in the event of poisoning. In addition, the level of tissue damage from Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Sulfide, heavy metals, pesticides, and environmental poisoning has been demonstrated to be significantly lower with adequate L-Glutathione in the blood stream. Finally, the side effects of chemotherapy and the growth of cataracts have been demonstrated to be significantly reduced with the addition of L-Glutathione.
So what does all of this mean? Essentially, it is time to supplement your diet with L-Glutathione or the proteins that help your body make more of this essential nutrient. Although L-Glutathione is readily made by your body, supplementation with it and its precursors may increase your overall level of protection. Glutathione and its precursors, Cysteine, Glycine and L-Glutamic Acid, are all readily available as food supplements in your local health food store. In addition to eating a healthy and balanced diet, supplementation with Glutathione and its constituents can only help to increase your overall level of health, and may even slow down the process of growing old.

Major Depression and Manic-Depression . Any difference?

Countless number of patients and their family members have asked me about manic–depression and major depression. "Is there any difference?" "Are they one and the same?" "Is the treatment the same?" And so on. Each time I encounter a chorus of questions like these, I am enthused to provide answers.
You know why? Because the difference between these two disorders is enormous. The difference does not lie on clinical presentation alone. The treatment of these two disorders is significantly distinct.
Let me begin by describing major depression (officially called major depressive disorder). Major depression is a primary psychiatric disorder characterized by the presence of either a depressed mood or lack of interest to do usual activities occurring on a daily basis for at least two weeks. Just like other disorders, this illness has associated features such as impairment in energy, appetite, sleep, concentration, and desire to have sex.
In addition, patients afflicted with this disorder also suffer from feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Tearfulness or crying episodes and irritability are not uncommon. If left untreated, patients get worse. They become socially withdrawn and can't go to work. Moreover, about 15% of depressed patients become suicidal and occasionally, homicidal. Other patients develop psychosis—hearing voices (hallucinations) or having false beliefs (delusions) that people are out to get them.
What about manic-depression or bipolar disorder?
Manic-depression is a type of primary psychiatric disorder characterized by the presence of major depression (as described above) and episodes of mania that last for at least a week. When mania is present, patients show signs opposite of clinical depression. During the episode, patients show significant euphoria or extreme irritability. In addition, patients become talkative and loud.
Moreover, this type of patients doesn't need a lot of sleep. At night, they are very busy making phone calls, cleaning the house, and starting new projects. Despite apparent lack of sleep, they are still very energetic in the morning — ready to establish new business endeavors. Because they believe that they have special powers, they involve in unreasonable business deals and unrealistic personal projects.
They also become hypersexual — wanting to have sex several times a day. One–night stands can happen resulting in marital conflict. Like depressed patients, manic patients develop delusions (false beliefs). I know a manic patient who thinks that he is the "Chosen One." Another patient claims that the President of USA and the Prime Minister of Canada ask for her advice.
So the big difference between the two is the presence of mania. This manic episode has treatment implications. In fact the treatment of these disorders is completely different. While major depression needs antidepressant, manic-depression requires a mood stabilizer such as lithium and valproic acid. Recently, new antipsychotics, for example risperidone, olanzapine, and quetiapine, have been shown to be effective for acute mania.
In general, giving an antidepressant to manic–depressed patients can make their condition worse because this medication can precipitate a switch to manic episode. Although there are some exceptions to the rule (extreme depression, lack of response to mood stabilizers, among others), it is preferable to avoid antidepressants among bipolar patients.
When considering the use of antidepressant in a depressed bipolar patient, clinicians should combine the medication with a mood stabilizer and should use an antidepressant (e.g. bupropion) that has a low tendency to cause a switch to mania.

The Psychology of Impotence

Looking at the psychology of impotence is a little like taking a trip down the Amazon during the wet season. It's a subject fraught with hidden currents, treacherous shallows and wide meanderings.
There is no doubt that Viagra, the little blue pill that revolutionized the treatment of impotence has had a profound effect on men who have erectile dysfunction. But simply finding a "quick fix" for impotence doesn't overcome other problems that may have been there before treatment began.
Overcoming impotence often gives men unrealistic expectations about their ability to immediately cure their emotional problems as well as their physical ones.
The Psychology of Impotence
Sadly it seems that for a large number of men, their ability to get an erection and have sex is viewed as an integral part of their masculinity and potency. So it's no wonder that the onset of impotence, even when triggered by an underlying physical condition, can produce psychological problems that further impact on the impotence.
Performance anxiety is a very real issue for most men at one time or another. The fear of not being able to perform adequately, dissatisfaction with penis size, and self-consciousness about body appearance can all lead to the very thing that most men wish to avoid - failure to get an erection.
So, when this anxiety is coupled with the knowledge there may have been an occasional episode of impotence in the past, or when erectile dysfunction has been in existence for a period of time, this anxiety is multiplied. From a strictly physiological viewpoint, anxiety can effectively prevent a man from becoming aroused and getting and maintaining an erection.
And performance anxiety isn't the only issue men have to contend with. The highest risk category for the onset of impotence is the so-called "baby-boomers" - men born in the period from 1946 to 1964. Most of these men are in their peak performance years in terms of their job, status, family and financial success. And all these factors lead to an increase in stress levels and anxiety - one more reason for impotence to occur.
Taking a pill may temporarily overcome the impotence, but relieving the self-doubt and mental stress, which may have been brooding for any number of years, is harder to alleviate. The ability to regain quality of life by restoring sexual function is viewed by some men as a near miracle and by others with fear and trepidation.
It's important to honestly assess how you feel now and compare it to how you felt before the impotence treatment began. Easier said than done, but unless the negative feelings tied to the impotence can be viewed objectively, it's akin to the stories people who have gained a great deal of weight often say "I feel like a thin person trapped in a fat person's body". For men it's "I feel like an impotent man trapped in a body that now has full sexual function."
The psychology of impotence is about viewing your new life - with sexual function - as a new beginning, complete with all the new emotions that may be experienced. There's no point in trying to "recapture" your life the way it was prior to impotence, regardless of whether that was only months ago or many years ago. Time moves on, and trying to live out life the way it used to be is a sure-fire bet for failure.
The Psychology of Impotence in a Relationship
Finding an effective treatment to restore erectile function is not a guarantee that you will find an effective treatment for a relationship in need of psychological, physical or emotional repair. And in most situations it's not a "cure" for intimacy, romance or monogamy.
The restoration of erectile function can quickly and unexpectedly alter the dynamics of a relationship, particularly when impotence has been a long-term problem. A profound, and often immediate, change in male sexual function is no small matter, and cannot be dealt with in the time it takes to swallow a little pill.
We live in an age of "quick fixes", and while it's true that impotence medications can quickly help overcome physiological problems, it's the couple who must resolve their relationship issues. And that takes dedication, effort - and time.
The renewal of sexual function is viewed by a number of men as being given a "second chance". They don't take their restored function for granted and are usually willing and eager to explore their feelings and their relationship with renewed hope and vigor.
Sadly, that's not always the case. Many men who have dealt with impotence for a long period of time find that being able to resume intercourse is not the solution for a disintegrating relationship. New and unfamiliar pressures can be exerted on both partners and it's often a time when a couple need to seriously evaluate the health of their relationship.
Evaluating your relationship and your sex life in an honest and candid way can have an impact on both of you.
It's no secret that men and women react differently to sex - before, during and afterwards.
As part of the solid foundation between two people, it can bring intimacy, joy and trust to each partner. However, as the sole pillar in a faltering relationship, it can be the weak link. In between these two standards is an entire universe of emotions and experiences that are unique to each couple.
Think about your feelings regarding your relationship: How happy are you with your partner? How satisfied are you with your sex life? How satisfied is your partner with your sex life? Is your relationship based on friendship, mutual understanding and trust, family commitments, or sex? How well do you both communicate your feelings about all aspects of your relationship?
Remember that a mutually satisfying sex life is an integral part of a healthy relationship. When the physical aspects of your relationship are on track, you create an experience that is greater than the two of you, and one that adds to your overall mental and physical contentment.
Close examination of your sexual partnership with a view to solving any problems that exist is an extremely delicate matter. Being able to openly and candidly express the things that make you uncomfortable, cause embarrassment, or deny you pleasure requires a great deal of tact and diplomacy. Communicating your desires, the things that bring you pleasure and what it takes to bring you sexual fulfillment can be equally embarrassing to express.
Good communication is the key to a happy and healthy sexual relationship. Being able to speak frankly about what makes you happy and what doesn't requires courage and empathy - the ability to say how you feel and what you want without upsetting your partner or causing them to go on the defensive.
In many cases, couples who have experienced communication problems often seek the help of a mediator or sex therapist to help them clearly and objectively state their case. Having a third party present in such situations can help diffuse tension and ease any difficulties partners may have communicating their feelings to each other.
Some of the situations where sexual problems can arise include: When one partner desires sex more frequently than the other. When there is dissatisfaction or a lack of pleasure in your sex life. When one partner feels they give more than they receive. When there is guilt, fear or anxiety about sexual activity. When your preferred sexual activities are at odds with each other.
The psychology of impotence is about sometimes stepping into uncharted waters. It requires confidence and the experience that comes with learning, understanding and embracing your own sexual desires and those of your partner.
We're not all mind readers, so communicating openly and honestly, and defining what satisfies you sexually is the first step. Listening to your partner in an equally honest and open manner is just as important. Empathy, patience, perseverance and compromise are the markers of a highly successful sexual relationship.

Male Impotence Myths

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, said: "There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance". Those words still ring true today.
Many of the myths and legends about impotence, borne out of ignorance thousands of years ago, still influence our sexual culture. Primitive cultures believed that male virility was intricately interwoven with power, wealth and domination.
So it's not surprising that beliefs still persist in a number of cultures that to lack virility, or worse still, to be impotent, is to lack the very essence of life. Manhood and the "ability to perform" are inextricably linked, so impotence is viewed as a "lack of manhood".
Despite the fact that the twentieth century brought about radical changes in gender roles, on ethnic, economic, social and cultural levels, sexuality and impotence are still shrouded in mystery, secrecy and a good deal of confusion.
Myth #1 - "Real men" don't experience impotence
ALL men over the age of 30 experience impotence as least once in their lifetime. It's estimated that over 150 million men worldwide have impotence; in fact, reports suggest this figure could be as high as 300 million or more. Estimating the numbers is difficult because less than 2 men in 10 seek treatment for impotence problems.
Impotence (or erectile dysfunction) is defined as the inability to produce and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Impotence is not considered to include lack of libido, inability to ejaculate or achieve orgasm, a lack of strength or the loss of "manhood".
Myth #2 - Impotence is "all in the mind"
Less than 20% of impotence cases have a primary psychological cause. The majority of men with impotence have an underlying physical condition such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or prostate cancer. Stress, anxiety and loss of self-esteem are often secondary psychological factors that occur if the impotence remains undiagnosed and untreated.
Myth #3 - Impotence is a natural part of growing old
Although it's evident that the chances of experiencing impotence increase with age, this is largely due to the increased risk of having an underlying physical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. To compound this factor, a number of medications prescribed for these conditions can cause impotence.
Myth #4 - There is no "cure" for impotence
Although medical science hasn't come up with a permanent "cure" for impotence, a number of very effective therapies are available. Oral medications such as Viagra have revolutionized the treatment of impotence, however impotence pills don't work for everyone. Other safe and effective treatments include vacuum pumps, injections and penile implants.
Once the impotence is effectively treated, most men go on to lead active, satisfying sex lives.
Myth #5 - Impotence is a man's problem
Both partners in a relationship can experience problems when impotence goes untreated. Often failure to communicate and denial of the problem lead to depression, anxiety, and lack of self-esteem for both partners. A tendency to avoid sexual contact can often leave the partner feeling unloved, unattractive and unwanted.
Myth #6 - Impotence is too embarrassing to discuss with anyone
A number of men find it very difficult to discuss any problems they may be experiencing, particularly impotence. Impotence can often be the symptom of an underlying medical condition and won't simply "go away" if it remains untreated.
Once the condition is diagnosed, suitable treatment can begin immediately and the problem can usually be alleviated.
Myth #7 - Men should know all about sex
The general consensus of opinion is that men instinctively know how to have sex. But clinical studies confirm that impotence can result from lack of knowledge and ignorance about the "mechanics" of sex.
A common misconception is that sex is a simple and straightforward process for men. Not true. Many men find it difficult to discuss the subject, and asking questions would reveal their ignorance and lack of knowledge and possibly threaten their masculinity. Media images of the virile male in action only serve to further alienate those men who don't understand "the basics".
Talking to a specialist counselor or therapist will quickly clear up any misconceptions and help overcome problems due to lack of knowledge.
Myth #8 - Men always want sex
The myth that men are always "ready, willing and able" is simply not true. The commonly held misconception of the "dominant male" has been proven to damage the sexual, physical and psychological wellbeing of a number of men.
A recent Swedish study on sexuality and marriage carried out on 286 couples of varying ages found that men who perceived themselves to be the "dominant male" were more likely to experience temporary impotence if sex was requested by their partner, when they weren't in the mood.
Healthy relationships should be about equal partnerships, good communication and respect for the feelings of both individuals. It's not uncommon for one partner to want more frequent sexual activity, and sexual desires can fluctuate between partners and at various times. Discussing these issues reasonably and rationally so that each partner understands the needs of the other helps maintain a happy and healthy sexual relationship.
For more information about impotence, male sexuality, female sexual dysfunction, and many other topics related to impotence and sexuality, please visit

Noise in the Workplace

The Cause:
Machinery, people and the environment all contribute to noise in the workplace.
Machinery, such as copiers, printers, fax machines, fans, air conditioner, computers, phones and many other types of specialized equipment are a source of noise in the workplace.
People, added to the above by talking, typing, moving around and moving things around in doing their work are another cause of noise in the workplace.
The environment also contributes to the noise by reflecting and amplifying noise off of hard surfaces like walls, windows or ceilings. Vehicular traffic noise and other worksites nearby also add to the din.
The Facts:
Machinery noise is low frequency. Low frequency noise can cause reduced efficiency and even make us sick. Over time, it can do damage to internal organs, if the amplitude is high enough. Sometimes, noise problems in air conditioning or air conditioning ductwork can cause the sickness rate to soar.
People noise is usually a higher frequency. Depending on the volume and pitch, this can sometimes be extremely annoying. The louder others get, the louder we get - setting off an out of control spiral of noise.
Add to this the environment - box like walls, ceilings and windows. The sounds just get louder and louder by reflecting off the hard surfaces. This creates more sickness, annoyance and reduced efficiency.
The Solution:
Reduce or eliminate the noise, either at the source or after the fact.
It would be hard to eliminate people and still run a business. Usually, there is little we can do to reduce the noise that machines make.
There are many ways to accomplish noise reduction. The best, or course, is to build the structure with noise reduction in mind. Short of that, we can do a lot to make it better.
There are three major methods of sound reduction and control.
Masking is the use of sound to cover up the unwanted or annoying noise.
Absorption is the use of sound absorbing or sound energy conversion material to lessen noise.
Deflection is the use of sound reflective material to direct the excessive noise away.
Find out more at:
Arizona Acoustic Art Gilbert, Arizona

Heart Disease and Homocysteine

Are you aware that one of the most important indicators of heart disease is homocysteine? -1
A naturally occurring amino acid in your body, homocysteine can cause inflammation and damage to your blood vessels when levels become elevated because of a functional deficiency of B vitamins and Folic Acid. -2
Every week we read or hear about heart disease being one of the biggest health concerns facing America today. Most people have experienced this problem because they know a friend or family member with one of these health problems.
In many cases, they may be facing one of these conditions themselves.
Would it be fair to say you really want to take control of and improve your health?
All it takes is a special blood test (just like a test for cholesterol levels), to measure the level of homocysteine in your blood. It is NOT a routine test so do yourself a favor and ask your Doctor for the test.
Also this test may not be covered by your insurance – however, because it is so important to your health - get it anyway.
So what is the normal range for homo- cysteine levels? Your level should be under 8, below 7 is even better for your health.
How you can naturally and easily keep your homocysteine levels in the normal range? One can accomplish this with a few supplements and better eating habits for life.
And guess what? You are going to feel better and gain more energy in the process!
The first thing you may want to consider is taking a pharmaceutical grade natural multi-vitamin which contains B vitamins (B2,B6 and B12) and Folic acid 2-3 times a day. Why should I take a vitamin 2-3 times a day you ask? Because the body can only absorb so much nutrition at any one time.
Most quality vitamins will only contain about as much of a certain vitamin and mineral which can be absorbed by your body at one time.
Because the body needs nutrition throughout the day, this is one of the best ways to feed your body what it needs.
Coenzyme Q10 – or CoQ10. Research has shown and proven this to be effective in fighting heart disease: -3
Slows the effects of LDL cholesterol to fight heart disease.
Inhibits formation of free radicals
Replaces natural CoQ10 levels depleted by statin drugs and poor diet.
Next, here are some great natural food sources to keep your homocysteine levels in the normal range.
Vegetable proteins do not raise levels like some meat proteins can so eat plenty of leafy dark green vegetables.
Legumes (beans) of all kinds which are a great source of protein.
Eggs are a great source of protein – (the only protein with all 20 amino acids in the correct ratios for your body) and also a great source of Folic Acid, which helps to control your level of homocysteine.
Great sources of Soy like tofu, soy beverages, soy nuts.
Nuts - in particular - Brazil, walnuts, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts. As well as seeds – like sunflower seeds and flaxseed, which is also high in Folic Acid.
High quality grass fed organic beef, wild game, wild Alaskan salmon and sardines.
Poor quality sources of meat protein can actually raise your level of homocysteine.
So as you have learned, you can naturally and easily help your body avoid one of the factors which leads to heart disease with these proven, simple and low cost methods.
And guess what? Just imagine how you are going to feel better and gain more energy in the process in a short period of time!
1- Physicians Health Study, Milosevic-Tosic M. ,et al. Hyperhomocysteinemia – a risk factor for development of occlusive vascular diseases Med pregl. 2002 Sep-Oct;55(9-10):385-91
2- Hyman, Mark M.D., Liponis, Mark M.D. Ultra-Prevention, The 6-Week Plan that will Make you healthy for life, New York, Scribner, 2003, pgs 43, 50.
3- Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., The CoEnzyme Q10 Phenomenon, McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Books,1998

Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease With Lipitor and Pravachol

Results of a new study comparing the effectiveness of Pfizer Inc.,'s Lipitor with Pravachol, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb, was recently published in the New York Times. The study details the clinical observation that Lipitor was significantly more effective than Pravachol in lowering patient's LDL cholesterol levels. However, the study did not comment on the overall effect that Statin drugs have on patient health, or the research that indicates Statins may actually increase your risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Statin drugs have been proven effective in the reduction of LDL cholesterol in most patients. However, the bio-chemical reactions that the drugs use to decease cholesterol also inhibit the production of an important nutrient that is essential for good heart health; specifically CoQ10.
Lipitor and Pravachol work by inhibiting the body's ability to make an enzyme called HMG-CoA. This enzyme is the precursor to two compounds, cholesterol and CoQ10. Because the intent of Statin drugs is to inhibit cholesterol production, this method of suppression is very effective in reducing cholesterol levels. However, by suppressing the manufacture of HMG-CoA, and subsequently CoQ10, the body actually becomes more susceptible to heart attack, angina, congestive heart failure, and many other pulmonary-related diseases.
CoQ10 is found in every cell in the body and is necessary for proper energy utilization, resistance to disease, and cardiac health. The compound is so necessary that it's chemical name is actually ubiquinone, because of its ubiquitous presence in the body. By suppressing the mechanism that makes CoQ10, Statin drugs such as Lipitor and Pravachol put patients at significant risk of heart disease, as well as reduce overall resistance to cancer and other diseases.
CoQ10 is used by the heart and other muscles to facilitate contraction as blood is pumped through the body. If the body's source of CoQ10, is lowered, either through Statin drugs or environmental factors, the hearts ability to contract is greatly diminished. This subsequently results in significant cardiac complications; including angina, heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia and heart attack.
In addition to its contribution to proper heart function, CoQ10 is also a significant ant-oxidant. When our ability to product CoQ10 is reduced, our body's immunity to cancer, pollution and disease can be greatly diminished. This has been documented in a number of studies where CoQ10 levels have been measured in people with specific cancers, degenerative diseases, or HIV.
The relation between HMG-CoA, cholesterol, and CoQ10 has been well documented and is freely available. Subsequently, the solution to reduced CoQ10 levels has been made extremely simple. The solution is simply dietary supplementation with CoQ10 if you are taking a Statin drug. Much of the diminished CoQ10 supply can be made up through dietary supplementation. In fact, CoQ10 supplements can be purchased in the supplement section of your local health food store.
CoQ10 is essential to proper heart health and resistance to disease. Statin drugs such as Lipitor and Pravachol inhibit the body's ability to product CoQ10. If not addressed, this can increase a patient's risk of heart disease and other cardiac conditions. However, supplementation of CoQ10 by the use of a dietary supplement can balance the effects of Statin drugs and ensure that the patient's risk of overall heart disease does not increase while his/her cholesterol levels decrease. If you are currently taking a Statin drug to reduce your cholesterol, talk to your doctor about supplementation with CoQ10 to ensure your continued good health.
Barrett Niehus is a principal for IP Ware software as well as a technical specialist for Compound Solutions, http:/// in Escondido, California.