Welcome to the August 2007 issue of the Preventive Health E-zine.
Welcome to the latest edition of my newsletter. This month I take a look at two common diseases - Arthritis and cancer. These are a couple of diseases that I believe there is a great deal of disinformation about.
I also take a look at the great cholesterol debate - or is it a conspiracy?
If you don't suffer from a degenerative disease or high cholesterol – you're very
lucky (and in a minority). But then doubtless you know somebody who
does – and who would appreciate one or two free tips on how to improve
Do feel free to pass this newsletter along. I welcome your feedback, too. Enjoy!
I wish you the best of health.
At a glance - What's in this issue?
- Arthritis - Prevention or cure?
- Cancer - Avoid becoming the "one in three"
- The Cholesterol debate - Is it a hoax?
- Asthma and teenagers
- Smoke away your muscles - Cigarettes and muscle loss
The War on Arthritis – How do we win this one?
As many of us know, arthritis is one of the most uncomfortable aspects
of aging. The worst aspect is that a significant percentage of the people suffering from the condition become immobilized by it.
It's found most commonly among people above the age of fifty-five, although some occasional cases of arthritis (including, unfortunately, rheumatoid arthritis) are found among younger individuals as well.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that out of all hospitalizations, more than sixty per cent of sufferers are women.
So what is arthritis, exactly? Actually, despite there being several kinds (osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, gout and rheumatoid arthritis), the meaning of the term has become quite homogenized – often being used to indicate the primary symptom, that is, an acute pain around the joints, accompanied by inflammation.
Osteoarthritis happens as a result of degeneration of bones at the joints and is the most common type.
Gout takes place due to deposition of uric acid crystals near the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most painful types and is known to affect other organs and systems such as the heart, the renal system and even the nervous system.
How to treat arthritis properly is now a major concern in medical science. Doctors prescribe drugs to patients already suffering from it, but these rarely eliminate the actual arthritis. Instead, they act as simple painkillers, numbing the sensations in the joints, rather than removing the harmful elements residing there.
This ends up being unsatisfactory in terms of both pain control and preventing the disease from spreading.
Fortunately, arthritis is one ailment for which doctors do prescribe alternative supplement treatments, in addition to, or instead of, pharmaceutical medication. The name of the supplement they favor particularly?
Recent clinical tests have proved that glucosamine is effective for treating osteoarthritis in a high number of those who try it.
Luckily, it's also readily available. You need to make sure your supplemental form is high quality.
Hurrah for glucosamine and its arthritis-relieving effects, then! But, as we all know by now, prevention is better than cure.
That means it's a much better idea to
minimize any probability of arthritis occurring in your body in the first place.
Did you know that people in Westernized countries, particularly the USA, suffer from arthritis more frequently than those in other countries? This is most probably due to the high consumption of meat, alcohol and other rich, unhealthy dietary elements, which contribute to the build-up of those dastardly deposits mentioned
According to doctors worldwide, lifestyle plays an important role in the prevention of arthritis.
A healthy diet
with an intake of plenty of
will help you avoid this condition.
Cancer – Are we focussed on its prevention or are we just waiting for a cure?
Have you ever visited a cancer patient? Or been one yourself? If so, you'll know it can be one of the most painful diseases to suffer through.
Unfortunately, it's also one of the most common – with almost everybody knowing somebody who's had it.
In fact, in the West, one in three of us will develop the condition at some point in our lives.
It's not suprising then, that so much medical research is dedicated to finding new treatments, and hopefully one day, a cure for cancer.
Similarly it enjoys such a high profile among causes – attracting millions of dollars of funding each year from charities and benefactors.
Unfortunately, this really isn't enough to stem the tide of cancer diagnoses and deaths right now, when we really need it.
So what can we do to help ourselves in this situation, when medical science really can't keep up with the need for answers and effective treatment?
Educating ourselves is really the biggest first step in the war against cancer. Many people know the causes, symptoms, and types of cancer.
It's a disease in which the rate of division and growth of cells goes out of kilter.
The cells proliferate and clump together, forming a tumor. Left unchecked, the cancer can then spread all over the body.
But not everybody knows that their own behavior can really make a difference to their risk of getting the disease.
Take this example: according to the American Cancer Society Only 19% of people in the US attribute lung cancer to smoking – the most common cause – responsible for nearly 87% of lung cancer deaths.
So, while it's true that we still don't yet know what causes certain types of cancer (breast, brain tumors…) for other kinds, the causes are all too obvious.
Take skin cancer, for example, caused by UV exposure; and cervical cancer, often caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, spread through having unprotected sex.
Similarly it is arguable that bowel and rectal cancer can be avoided if you stick to a healthy, varied diet, with plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals (especially fruit and vegetables).
Some healthy foods for assisting in the avoidance of bowel cancer:
• Cooked Pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes.
• Greens (keeps the intestines healthy, provides cancer-fighting chemicals, especially in the darker pigmented vegetables e.g. purple
sprouting broccoli, red cabbage).
• Peas, natural (non-processed) soybeans (good for lowering harmful
levels of estrogen, which could lead to breast cancer)
• Onions and garlic (contain allicin, a cancer-fighting chemical)
• Olive oil or canola oil (high levels of polyphenols)
• Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerels etc (contain omega oils, which
help regulate estrogen levels)
• Fresh fruits (blueberries probably being the best in terms of
• Black or red grapes
• 1 cup of black/red grape juice per day (high levels of polyphenols)
• Green tea (high levels of antioxidants)
Foods to try and avoid:
• Excessive amounts of red meat
• Hydrogenated oils / trans fats
• Deep fried anything
To make the task of consuming all these healthy substances easier, be sure to regularly take a high-quality antioxidant supplement containing grape seed extract - a multi-vitamin and multi-mineral will also maximize your chances of absorbing enough cancer-fighters.
Check out our antioxidants page
Cholesterol – Which kind is good? Which is bad?
The infamy of cholesterol is largely due to the general public awareness of its adverse effects.
In fact, the adverse effects of cholesterol are better known than its beneficial effects today, thanks to public advertisements and pharmaceutical companies.
Yes! There are beneficial effects! In fact, your body makes cholesterol itself (in
the liver) and couldn't survive without it.
It actually has a very important role to play in the formation of cell membranes (or the plasma lemma), of which it's a component. Cholesterol is insoluble in blood, so lipoprotein carriers transport
it through the body.
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) are the two kinds of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol, also called "bad cholesterol" is responsible for cardiac ailments. This is the kind that gets so much publicity. It tends to get deposited along the arteries that supply blood to the central nervous system and the heart.
HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, diminishes the chances of cardiac arrests, and is therefore often referred to as "good cholesterol". If your concentration of HDL falls below 40 mg/dL, your chance of having a heart attack is increased.
Pharmaceutical companies market a number of drugs to control or arrest the level of cholesterol, especially LDL in the blood.
Some of the drugs function by inhibiting the secretion of cholesterol from the
liver, or by reducing the body's ability to absorb it. A large number of these pharmaceutical companies earn huge profits from the sales of these drugs.
Lipitor, for example, is probably the most popular drug ever sold worldwide. Its annual sales amount to as much as nine billion dollars.
It's a sad fact that many companies tend to exploit this market and the ignorance of consumers by modifying the levels of cholesterol designated as being "dangerous" for the body, in order to increase their sales.
I recently came across a great little book on this exact topic called “The Cholesterol Conspiracy” by Doctor Ladd McNamara – it makes an interesting read.
Despite so much publicity about how cholesterol can be lethal for the human heart, the fact is that the drugs themselves can result in side effects equivalent to a cardiac arrest.
Overuse or constant use of these drugs can result in the deficiency of the substance known as
This deficiency itself can cause heart failure! Moreover, it's
been reported that low cholesterol levels are sometimes responsible for depression and even violent behavior.
Lifestyle and food habits influence cholesterol levels substantially. You can do as much (and probably more) for your body by taking preventive, natural action against "bad" cholesterol, as you can from taking cholesterol-reducing pharmaceuticals. (But of course you need to speak with your health professional to seek advice.)
For example, reduce cholesterol-rich food such as prawns, butter and cheese, and avoid overheating cooking oils.
Most importantly, take a good quality supplement. Why? Because it's recently been discovered that it's not the level of the LDL that actually determines the severity of a heart attack - it's really down to the levels of oxidized LDL. You can bring this down to safe levels by absorbing the correct amount of vitamins and minerals, and CoQ10 can also be taken in supplement form. Arm yourself with these in the battle against "bad" cholesterol!
In other news….Some bite-sized bits of health info from this month:
It turns out those teenagers who don't eat enough vegetables and fruit could develop asthma. Apparently, a lack of vitamins C and E and omega-3 fatty acids are linked to decreased lung function – and there's only one way out of that situation!
Yes, teens will have to eat up their greens, and take a vitamin and omega supplement (as well as cut out the cigarettes, of course), if they want their lungs to remain in top working order.
Are you in need of (yet another) reason to give up smoking? Well, here's another:
Researchers have found out that it actually shrivels up your muscles. I guess Popeye coldn't have been puffing too hard on his pipe, eh? Yes, smoking speeds up sarcopenia – the loss of muscle mass with ageing, which causes falls, poor balance, and fractures.
Tobacco stimulates a muscle growth inhibitor and an enzyme, which breaks down muscle protein, new studies show. This impairs the daily upkeep of muscle – and makes your gym membership a whole less worthwhile!
Give up smoking now!
If you want to suggests something for the e-zine then go ahead and
*What's the real meaning of P.S.?
A few of my readers have asked why I called the E-zine for preventive-health-guide P.S.
The obvious answer is that it stands for Post Script; that little notation you put at the end of a letter when you've left something out.
The real P.S. stands for Paradigm Shift.
That is what this whole website and news letter is about - turning the current health system upside down and inside out - focussing on prevention rather than cure.
For more information go to
the health paradigm shift.