Friday, May 29, 2009

What is an Antioxidant?

By Collin James

By now you've heard about the green tea's antioxidant abilities, and how the quality of this antioxidant helps fight against dangerous diseases like cancer and heart disease. But what is an antioxidant? And why would anything that's anti-oxygen be good for you or for your bodies health?

Antioxidants do not do anything to oxygen. Antioxidants fight a chemical reaction called oxidation. This is the same process that causes metals to rust. Oxidation is the mingling between oxygen molecules and what they come in contact with. If it is living tissue where this occurs then that's when damage of disease occurs.

Free Radicals with in your body are highly unstable molecules that travel around your body causing nothing but major problems. Free radicals are generated by exposure to UV rays, toxins,smoking and other sources. The major source of the free radicals is from the oxygen molecule its self.

Paired together, oxygen travels through out your body and each molecule has its own electron. Often what happens is this double molecule splits into two half's which leaves one molecule with out and electron to go with it. Feeling of balanced, the single molecule races around your body trying to repair itself and find a new electron to pair up with.

The molecule does not just wait for a spare electron to pop up, but what it does is it steals one from another molecule. The problem keeps reoccurring over and over again. The process is what causes cells to be damaged, and the entire body system gets effected by it. This is believed to be the major cause of cancer, heart disease and aging.

What antioxidants do is fight against this constant stealing of electrons. Your inner body police, is the best way to look at it. How they work is they donate electrons to the free radicals so the urge to steel is gone. You body does produce a certain amount of antioxidants, but not nearly enough!

Among others, these include beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, the mineral selenium, and various phytochemicals such as lycopene and quercetin. But the catechins, especially EGCg, are among the most powerful and effective antioxidants of all.

About the Author:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Diet: We are Eating Less so Why Aren't we Losing?

Last year, the average number of calories consumed per day dropped 131 calories from 2001

Marina Jiménez

Despite the national obesity epidemic, Canadians are eating less. According to Statistics Canada data released yesterday, we consume an average of 2,382 calories per day – a decline of 131 calories since the peak, recorded in 2001.

The new data reflects a shift in diet, with Canadians eating more cereals, berries, yogurts, processed and fresh fruits, asparagus and poultry meat, and less oils, red meats and soft drinks.

Trish McAlaster/The Globe and Mail

Obesity experts applaud the trend, noting that 100 extra calories a day can increase weight by 10 extra pounds in a year.

However, Dr. David Lau says Canadians still eat too much – especially in light of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

“We rely on wheels for transport instead of our feet,” says Dr. Lau, a professor at the University of Calgary and president of Obesity Canada, a not-for-profit organization. “This is especially true in the countryside, where obesity is more of a problem than it is in big cities.”

Most healthy men consume about 2,500 calories a day, while women consume between 1,800 and 2,000. However, if you don't exercise or aren't physically active, you need fewer calories to maintain the same weight.

Half the adult population is overweight, said Dr. Lau, and one in 10 adolescents is obese.

The optimistic news is the change in our diet. Statistics Canada data shows that the per-capita consumption of soft drinks fell to 73.2 litres per person per year in 2008, from 76.4 litres the previous year. People are also eating less oils and fats, including butter, salad oils, shortening and margarine.

People are eating more fruit, especially blueberries and cranberries, which have increased by 14 per cent and 34 per cent respectively, compared to 2007. Breakfast cereals are also more popular, with people eating an average of 4.1 kg a year – an increase of 38 per cent since 1988.

Milk has gone out of fashion, a trend which began two decades ago and one which could have negative implications for bone health. Last year Canadians drank only 57.7 litres of milk per person per year, compared to 70 litres in 1988. Consumption of ice cream dropped by 14 per cent compared to 2007, though cheese remains a favourite, and so does refined sugar.

Dr. Lau notes that when new Canadians adopt the “Western” lifestyle, they typically gain weight. Asians are more likely than Caucasians to have abdominal fat, which leads to heart disease and diabetes. Experts advise patients to measure body fat by waist circumference.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wii's New Fitness-Based Game - EA Sports Active

4.jpgRoughly a year after the release of the WiiFit, Nintendo's new offering hopes to improve on the previous incarnation of fitness video games.

Here are some of the features of the new EA Sports Active game.

  • Sports Active boasts a wide variety of exercises such as running, dancing, basketball, tennis, boxing, inline skating, and "gym" workouts like bicep curls and lunges.
  • Exercises are programmed into a thirty-day challenge based on your personal profile. The target to reach each day is a number of calories burned, not the pounds lost. The idea being, if you make that figure your high score, the weight loss will take care of itself.
  • EA Sports Active comes with a resistance band and a leg pouch, where the Nunchuck (the knob-like Wii controller) is placed to measure leg movement. The Wii Fit balance board is supported by some exercises, but not required because of the Nunchuck pouch.
  • As you move through lunges, side-jumps, and squats, the sensor bar tracks the changes between the two controllers (Wii Remote held in one hand and the Nunchuk accessory strapped to the front of your thigh). The difference between the two points helps it sense whether you're doing the manoeuvres correctly.
  • There are video clips of live instructors performing the moves slowly to give you a sense of how to do them in advance, and animated instructors to guide you and keep you on time during the routines. Your instructor's voice is a constant source of praise and feedback, delivering surprises and kudos when you reach past the set goals.
  • Before each workout, the program "predicts" how many calories it thinks you'll burn, and then afterwards displays a graph that shows just how and where in the workout you manage to dip above or below that prediction.
  • There is a backdrop of uplifting music with a customizable soundtrack featuring 41 songs spanning Hip Hop, Dance, Electronica, and Alternative Rock. You cannot program your own music.
  • A neat little "carrot and stick" feature holds a locked vault of exercises that you unlock by reaching certain goals.
  • Each day the routine differs, but always with a program that includes warm-ups and cool down exercises. You have the option of course, to go into the settings and create your own workouts, choosing your favorites and creating your own daily routine.

Will "Wii" Use It?

I'm always in awe of the shear speed of technological advances. I think it's a neat concept that will continue to evolve, and I delight in the irony of an industry that keeps us glued to the couch providing the outlet to get off the couch.

I've said it before and it bears repeating: Anything that gets kids and adults moving is a great thing. My concern is that this (and other activity-based games) will be a novelty that wears off (not unlike traditional attempts at boosting activity).

I would love to see data on how many teens and pre-teens are actually using these games. My guess is that many still haven't bought in - opting instead to just sit and play games such as stealing cars, shooting people, and racing.

The good news is, a newer version of activity-based games indicates there is a demand for it.

Can you see yourself using this to workout? And, if you don't exercise much already, do you think games like these make much difference?

The 30 Day Challenge has begun!

The 30 day Challenge starts today!

Ok everyone, today is June 1st. You know what that means – if you havn’t already started using EA SPORTS Active, today is the day to start! Some of you have already started your own 30 day challenge – and that’s great! For those of you that havn’t – consider today, June 1st as the day to get active! And if you havn’t tried EA SPORTS Active yet – what are you waiting for? Remember, you don’t have to sign up anywhere for the challenge. Just start it.

Many of you have posted messages in the EA SPORTS Active forums, on the facebook fan page, and on twitter – all declaring that you will be starting the challenge today! You’ve publicly stated that today is the day and there could not be a better time. Summer is upon us and many people are thinking about toning up in order to confidently rock a bathing suit for the first time this year, some are going to focus on losing weight, while others simply want to step up their usual workout routine. Whatever the reason, EA SPORTS Active can help you achieve your goals.

Those of you that have already tested it out all have one thing in common: you are surprised by how much of a workout EA SPORTS Active actually is! Hey – no one said that it would be easy. We want you to get the most out of your workout and we want you to work for it! We also want you to have fun doing it.

Visit the forums for tips and support. We’re here for you as are all of the other challengers starting today.

Good luck everyone!
Bob Greens Video

Monday, May 25, 2009

Macrobiotic Diet Shown to Prevent Cancer

(NaturalNews) Macrobiotic is a word derived from Greek roots and means "long life". A macrobiotic diet combines simplicity in eating and avoidance of toxins in food with Buddhist Zen principles. Because of it's emphasis of nutrient-rich, whole foods the macrobiotic diet has been of interest in prevention of cancer.

A macrobiotic diet is a low-fat, high-fiber diet with an emphasis on whole grains and vegetables. Followers of a macrobiotic diet avoid meat, animal fats such as butter and lard, dairy products, eggs, artificial sweeteners, and chemical additives. The diet is made up of whole grains (brown rice, millet, buckwheat, wheat, corn, rye), vegetables, beans (and bean products such as tofu), sea vegetables (nori, kombu, hiziki), and smaller amounts of fruit, seeds, nuts, and white fish. Preferably these foods are organic, locally grown, and whole or very minimally processed. Vegetables such as avocados, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, asparagus, and beets are discouraged.

Cooking food in accordance with a macrobiotic diet must be done with utensils made from materials such as wood, glass, enamel, and stainless steel. Cooking with microwaves and electricity is discouraged, as are dietary supplements.

Research is focusing on the benefits of a macrobiotic diet in the prevention of cancer. Because of the emphasis on soy products, a macrobiotic diet is high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived estrogens that have been found to have health benefits including potential reduction in breast cancer and prostate cancer. A study published in the Journal Cancer Research compared women eating a macrobiotic diet with women eating a typical American diet and found that those following a macrobiotic diet had lower levels of blood estradiol levels. Research has shown a link between high estradiol levels and breast cancer.

Besides the benefits from phytoestrogens, eating a diet low in fat and high in fiber, such as the macrobiotic diet, also helps lower cancer risk. The limitations placed on certain foods such as animal fats, eggs, and dairy also decrease risk for cancers such as colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancer. In addition, emphasis on organic foods decreases pesticide exposure which has also been shown to be associated with cancer.

Because of the restrictive nature of a macrobiotic diet, it must be followed with extreme care to ensure that nutrient requirements are met. A macrobiotic diet, with its focus on low-fat, high-fiber foods as well as including foods high in phytoestrogens is effective in decreasing risk of cancer.

The diet consists of five categories of foods (with recommended weight percentage of total food consumed):

  • Whole cereal grains (40%-60%), including brown rice, barley, millet, oats, wheat, corn, rye, and buckwheat; and other less common grains and products made from them, such as noodles, bread, and pasta.
  • Vegetables (20%-30%), including smaller amounts of raw or pickled vegetables--preferably locally grown and prepared in a variety of ways.
  • Beans (5%-10%), such as azuki, chickpeas, or lentils; other bean products, such as tofu, tempeh, or natto.
  • Regular consumption of sea vegetables, such as nori, wakame, kombu, and hiziki--cooked either with beans or as separate dishes.
  • Foods such as fruit, white fish, seeds, and nuts--to be consumed a few times per week or less often.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Skinny on The Skinny a Book about Weight Control

The Five Things That Sabotage Your Diet

Juice and Sugary Cereals for Breakfast






Who wouldn't be able to lose a few pounds if they could control feelings of hunger? Seems like the weight would just drop off -- as long as we felt full - because we wouldn't succumb to the munchies. Right?

A new book, "The Skinny on Losing Weight Without Being Hungry," ($24.95, Broadway Books) says losing weight isn't about priorities or willpower or wanting it badly enough.

"Rather, it's about biology: your body, your brain and your hormones," says the book, by Dr. Louis J. Aronne, who directs the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "If you don't first override the internal biology by fixing the 'fullness resistance' that is driving you to eat, typical approaches to weight loss, such as portion-control and calories-counting, just won't work."

His book says you can fill up on fewer calories, and you'll learn to drop your own fork because you're full. "By eating more of the right foods, dieters can more easily limit the wrong foods - and then the pounds come off."

So what are the right foods?

* Lean dairy and meat, because protein induces long-lasting fullness, but fat does not.

* Spicy flavors, because they increase the joy of eating without causing overeating, like sweet flavors can.

* Thick liquids (chunky soup, smoothies, viscous foods and beverages) because thin liquids escape your body's caloric radar, and thick liquids stimulate nerves in the stomach and intestine that move your guage to "full."

* Vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains, because they're rich in water, are heavy, take a long time to eat and a rich in fiber, which helps fill you up.

* Lean animal protein, as opposed to pastas and breads, which can lead to rebound hunger.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Naked Yoga: A stripped down exercise

South Florida
I am straight.

I repeat that to myself as I walk into a dance studio, pull off my shirt, and drop my shorts and undies onto the wood floor.

I'm surrounded by 17 other nude men — and mirrors.

In a moment, we'll start practicing yoga.

For 20 years, I've taken yoga classes in sweaty gyms, incense-drenched studios and even in an office conference room. But always with my clothes on.

Tonight will be different for me, but not for most of the men in the room. Ray Whetstone has taught naked yoga for more than 10 years in South Florida. I learned about it by stumbling across his site,

Arco iris is Spanish for rainbow; most of the men here are gay.

"The automatic assumption is that nudity is sex," he says. But not here. He notes that in all his years of teaching, every man's dog has remained downward.

I place my mat in a corner spot, so I'll have one neighbor instead of two. In the minutes before class starts, I stretch out in corpse pose, so I won't have to look. When we stand up to start the class, I tilt my gaze slightly upward, so if I see anything, it's faces and shoulders.

Then I fill my head with yoga-ese.

Yoga is all about letting go of external labels that get in your way, I remind myself. Going within. Testing your focus.

Besides, if anyone's looking to score, it wouldn't be with this 50-year-old.

"We've had straight boys here before," says Whetstone, who in 1998 became the first openly gay elder ordained by the Presbyterian Church. An optometrist, he commutes to Naples four days a week to work. Teaching naked yoga two nights a week is his recreation.

There are certain things in life I just gotta do. Bike 100 miles in a day. Marry a sports fan. Firewalk with Tony Robbins. Now, in the name of journalism, I get to stand naked with 17 other men.

The point is, maybe there might be something a straight boy can learn here.

Such as the central reason behind naked yoga: learning to be comfortable with your body.

"There's so much of what we call body dysmorphia among gays, the idea of just not being good enough," says Whetstone, 50. "People don't think they're hot unless their body fat is in the single digits or they have a six-pack.

"If you can stand in front of a mirror naked 15 minutes a day and deal with the issues, you're going to be a very healthy person."

You also (obviously) see your body alignment better with no clothes, Whetstone says, and there's also a certain spirit of playfulness.

"It's like going skinny-dipping," he says. "After that, swimming with your clothes on just doesn't seem the same."

In regular classes, when someone's cell phone goes off, my blood pressure doesn't rise. I look at it as a focus check. So I figure, well, if I can get past seeing my junk in a mirror while in Warrior One, I can handle anything, even Whetstone's "assisted back stretch."

He circles the room, cracking our backs one by one. It's my turn. We stand back-to-back, cheek-to-cheek, and he hooks his elbows through mine. He bends forward, lifting me up, backward.

Aside from my squeamishness, it's a great stretch. I feel taller. Ready to yoga.

Next comes a traditional yoga series of lunges, twists and bends. There are times when it feels like any other yoga, then there are times when it's just plain uncomfortable. Like in spinal twists, when you cross one leg over the other and turn. I value underwear.

At some point, I realize Whetstone is an outstanding yoga teacher. He directs us clearly from one pose to another, and tells us to center our minds. He touches students to fix their postures and stances, rather than simply getting into his own pose, hoping we pick it up. He stops us in Warrior pose, has three star students demonstrate, then gets us back into it, walking to each one of us and fixing alignment.

He never speaks of us being naked.

After about 70 minutes of stretches that have the sweat flowing, Whetstone announces "It's Miller time." Final relaxation. I lie on the towel over my mat and close my eyes.

I did it. And I didn't freak out.

We pull on our clothes and as I exit, I realize I left my wedding ring on the wood floor, where my clothes were.

"What does that mean?" Whetstone says, just to poke at me. (I now always leave my ring on when I yoga.)

I drive home to my west Broward suburb and curl up in bed next to my groggy wife.

"Did you see enough d----?" she asks. And I start to laugh.

It occurs to me: I spent 90 minutes with 17 other naked men, and I don't remember seeing a one.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Is there a negative side to green tea dieting?

By Collin De Ruyck

Scientific views on how well green tea works for dieting are still mixed. Some researchers have stated cases that go both ways, for and against it. A recent article in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that American and Chinese researchers discuss how green tea effects cholesterol levels.

When the research was conducted, approximately 200 men and women (average age 55) who have mild to moderately high LDL cholesterol levels joined in the case study. The researchers told them to keep their usual activity levels the same as before and eat the same way. After twelve weeks, it was shown that individuals who consumed green tea extract with their normal meals lost more than fifteen percent of their total LDL cholesterol levels.

Earlier studies have proven that certain elements found in green tea play a vital role in reducing cholesterol that is absorbed by the body. Researchers are yet to explain how exactly green tea or consuming green tea can reduce your cholesterol levels but it has been made very clear that a green tea diet will reduce your cholesterol levels.

Once again, after further testing was done on the first group of participants researchers are stating that the green tea diet had no effect on cholesterol levels, that the participants using green tea lost cholesterol some other way.

The medical community really frustrates me at times. It seems that anything organic does not get the support it should get. Here is an example of what I am talking about.

When my son was 3 years old he got the chicken pox. Most kids do get it, but the problem was, he got it everywhere. There literally was not one square centimeter on him that did not have a spot on it. This kid was in so much pain we took him to the hospital 3 times to try and find something that would help ease the pain of being so itchy. Three trips to the doctor resulted in nothing being prescribed.

I finally took it upon myself to try and find an Aloe Vera plant to try the extract from that. Once I got a hold of one and tried it guess what happened. It worked like a charm and my sons itching stopped with in 15 minutes of me applying the extract.

When my youngest got the chicken pox one of the same nurses that told us there was nothing we could do for our oldest boy admitted to us that she knew that the Aloe Vera plant would work to stop the itching. I asked her why no one told us about it and why my son had to suffer for a week. The nurse told us that they are no allowed to recommend anything organic. So if you know a kid is suffering, you don't say anything??

If nurses and doctors are not allowed to recommend anything organic, I am sure they are going to find a way to not support green tea as well. If it is not made by a pharmaceutical company, then it cant be good right Doc? Whatever!!!

About the Author:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

3 Month Arm Challenge - Improve Your Arms in 90 Days

I am having an issue with my triceps since I lost about 20 pounds the skin is not tight at all. I thought it would make me exercise them more if I offered a 3 month Arm challenge and show you how my arms improve a week at a time with pictures of my arm. I will work them out every other day, because muscle needs a day to recover and rebuild. Your triceps are a small muscle therefore should respond quickly to an exercise regiment. I am also included the exercises I will use for this challenge. I hope you will join me and let me know your progress by emailing me at: or making a comment at the end of the post.

I am on the road every week with my job, so I will take a set of free weights starting with 5 pounds and ending with 15 pounds by the 3rd month.


If weight machines are available I will do the follow: (of course it is easier with the weight machines to start out I will use the 10 pound weights.)

If I am going to work out with machines my favorite is the lat pull down not only does it get rid of that bulge in your back right above your bra it also feels great to stretch out your back. Since your back muscles are larger try to start out with 15 or 20 pounds. Believe me your back will love it.

Baring arms for summer
It's time to get those upper limbs in shape for summer
MARK ARONOFF / The Press Democrat
Nadine Soffer, a workout advocate and personal trainer for two decades, demonstrates some of her favorite exercises at Coach's Corner in Sebastopol Tuesday May 12. Her arms reflect years of training.


Published: Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 24, 2009 at 4:03 a.m.

When Betsy Smith's son announced one January he was getting married in August, she set herself a goal: Eight months to get her arms ready for a mother-of-the-groom dress with spaghetti straps.
If you’re aiming for toned arms, here are some basic exercises from fitness trainers, designed to firm and strengthen the upper arms.

Tricep dip: Sit at the edge of a chair with palms facing down on either side. Slide off, keeping your back as close to the front of the chair as possible while lowering to the floor. Press yourself back up using your triceps. Elbows point straight behind you and not flared out to the side. Knees are bent and legs are at a right angle. For more advanced, extend legs straight out or up on a bench or stool.

Pushups: Rather than going into a standard plank position for a floor push-up, you can modify by kneeling. Or you can replicate a push-up by standing and pushing against a wall. With hands aligned at breast level and arms at a 45-degree angle, lower to the floor or toward the wall without your body touching, then push up and repeat.

Tricep extension: Wrapping both hands around a single weight, lift arms close to your head and straight overhead. Bend elbows which are pointing to the ceiling and drop hands with weight down your back. Return to overhead. For variation and for focus, do one arm at a time and use the opposite hand to support the working upper arm.

Side raises: Standing and with neutral spine, holding a lightweight dumbbell, start with your arm by your side and slowly raise the arm up just to shoulder height. Imagine moving through very thick water and do the same as you bring the weight down slowly. Do the other side.

Tricep kickback: Kneel with right knee and right arm on a bench with your back flat and parallel to the floor. Holding a small weight in the left hand and with upper arm tight to the torso, kick back or straighten the arm so the arm is parallel to the floor. Then slowly move arm back to a right angle. Change sides.

Bicep curl: Standing with your arm at your side holding a weight, slowly bring the weight up to your shoulder, squeezing the bicep muscle and then slowly lower. Keep the elbow nudged back so it doesn’t move forward. Do several repetitions and then change sides. You can sit at your desk and do this one.

Pretend swimming: With small weights in each hand, do a series of back strokes and alternate with breast strokes.


"I went to a trainer and said I refuse to have old-lady arms," said Smith, a grade school teacher in Rohnert Park and part-time fitness instructor.

She worked on special arm exercises with weights and machines three days a week, started to see some bicep and tricep muscle definition by six months and still brags about herself in the wedding photos.

It made her even more sympathetic to her own exercise students who complain to her about that pesky body part.

"Upper arms, with that little bit of flab, are always a concern for women," said Smith.

Add to that the summer season calling for skimpy tops that expose the arms and now, a new standard of upper arm fitness coming from the White House. With first lady Michelle Obama drawing commentary for her sleeveless dresses that reveal strong firm arms, the pressure is on.

The first lady even won a presidential endorsement for her toned triceps when Barack Obama said at the White House Correspondents dinner, "No matter which party you belong to, we can all agree that Michelle has the right to bare arms."

Nadine Soffer (cq), a personal trainer at Coaches Corner in Sebastopol, appreciates that Obama's athletic body puts emphasis on not only attractive but strong arms.

"I think her arms are a metaphor for her own strength and independence," said Soffer, who is in her 50s and grew up when "little girls were told they should never be stronger than boys."

She thinks it's time women's arms be admired not just for how they look but for what they can physically do.

"If you're strong, you can pick up your child, load your own groceries, stack your own firewood, haul your mulch and put your suitcase up in the overhead compartment by yourself."

Arm emphasis

Some athletes come by strong arms automatically. Soffer names tennis, golf and swimming as sports that can automatically sculpt and strengthen arms.

Everyone else has to work on it, including Michelle Obama whom Soffer said "probably works really hard to have that arm definition."

For upper arm emphasis, Soffer recommends strength training, 25 minutes to an hour three to four days a week. She advises choosing exercises that work on all three areas -- triceps, biceps and shoulders.

"You need all three. You might have nice shoulders or upper arms but if the skin underneath is soft you need to also concentrate on your triceps," she said. Triceps are the trickiest, she said, because there's naturally more body fat in that part of the arm.

Some of her favorite arm exercises include the tricep kickback, pushups, simple bicep curls and the cat bow and dolphin movements in yoga.

When using weights it's important, she said, to squeeze the muscle and relax the grip on the weight itself. "Make every repetition count and visualize the muscle as you do it."

Avoid "locking out" the joints, protect the lower back and neck, suck in the stomach, don't compete with the 30-year-old next to you and keep the spine in a neutral position. Then, stretch when you're finished.

The pay-off, she said, is "you feel like you're superwoman. Tiny arms on pretty thin women were the old standard. And thin is not necessarily strong."

Sports medicine doctor Todd Weitzenberg(cq) agrees. "With Michelle Obama, we're looking at toning. Shapely looking arms that are strong in a healthy way."

Target excess fat

The Kaiser doctor said it's possible for women and men of any age to improve tone, but that often means working on excess fat first.

"Every one of us has a sleek looking arm in us. It's just how much fat you have hiding it. Get into a sustained aerobic exercise program to burn fat -- and everything will look better," he said, including your arms.

Then, he said, to focus on biceps and triceps, "You want a combination of low weight and high frequency exercises. They'll put less stress on the joints and cause less injury." Instead of using a 25-pound weight and doing five bicep curls, he said it's better to take a five-pound weight and do 25 repetitions.

While arms may be thought to be more of a concern to women -- there's the old joke about what part of grandma keeps waving even after she stops waving goodbye -- men also have their upper-arm worries.

Testosterone in men holds muscle mass and allows them to generally stay leaner longer than women, said Weitzenberg. "But after a certain age the natural testosterone level decreases and men begin to lose a certain percentage of lean muscle mass."

To them and all his patients who fret over signs of aging, he says, "It's not how strong or fast you are now compared to what you used to be. But being the best you can be now."

Rejuvenate muscles

In its encouraging studies on exercise, the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato found that strength training can rejuvenate muscle tissue in healthy older adults.

That is what Smith, 56, found out. To prepare for her son's wedding, she worked out three days a week doing pushups, chest presses and other arm movements using the exercise ball, stretch bands and weight-resistance machines.

After the wedding, even as she continued to exercise in a general way she backed off on the arm routines and said, "Now, I still have a little bit hanging. You have to keep at it. As we get older and the hormones and the gravity and our bones do their thing, we have to fight back."

She tells her students to just keep moving, whether the results are visible or not.

"If you're working out that means your blood pressure is probably going down and you're losing some weight," she said. "If that's happening, I say, mission accomplished. Even if you don't have Michelle Obama arms."

Send yourself an E-nag it can increase healthy activity

Kaiser Permanente researchers conducting a clinical trial on the impact of e-mailed reminders on diet and physical activity found gentle electronic nagging actually worked: People who received regular messages suggesting modest lifestyle improvements increased their activity level and made healthier food choices.

The study, conducted in 2006 and published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is considered the first randomized, controlled study to look at the effect of e-mail on health.

The results showed trial participants who received regular e-mails recommending small health goals - such as a 10-minute walk - increased activity by 55 minutes per week and decreased sedentary activity by two hours a week, as compared with those who only received one message at the onset of the study.

The 16-week trial involved 787 Northern California Kaiser employees in administrative or technical positions.

"The takeaway message here for people who want to improve their diet and physical activity, and for employers who want a healthier workforce, is that e-mail intervention programs are a very cost-effective way to get healthy," said Barbara Sternfeld, senior research scientist for Kaiser's Division of Research and lead investigator for the study.

The e-mail program, developed by a Berkeley company called NutritionQuest, tailored the messages to personal goals and the individual's lifestyle and schedule based on participants' answers to a questionnaire.

Workplace E-Mail Intervention Program Helps People Sit Less and Eat Better, Kaiser Permanente Study Finds

Tailored E-mails Suggest Fruit Snacks and 10-Minute Walks

OAKLAND, Calif., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A behavioral intervention program delivered by e-mail significantly improved diet and physical activity by helping people move more, sit less, and make healthier food choices, according to a Kaiser Permanente Division of Research study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study was a randomized controlled trial of the ALIVE (A Lifestyle Intervention Via E-mail) program conducted among 787 Kaiser Permanente Northern California employees at their worksites. Through the ALIVE program, developed by NutritionQuest (, weekly e-mails were sent to the 351 employees randomized to the intervention group; the 436 employees in the control group received only immediate e-mail feedback at the start of the intervention indicating whether or not their reported physical activity and diet met national guidelines. The messages to the participants in the intervention group suggested small, practical, individually tailored goals, such as eating fruit for a snack three times a week, walking for 10 minutes a day at lunch time, or walking to the store instead of driving.

At the end of the 16-week trial, the participants in the intervention group were more physically active, eating more fruits and vegetables, and reducing their intake of saturated fats and trans fats, compared to the control group. The biggest changes occurred among those in the intervention group, who did not meet minimum national standards for exercise and diet at the start of the trial. For example, employees who were not regularly active before receiving the intervention increased their participation in moderate intensity physical activities by almost an hour a week and decreased the amount of time they spent in sedentary activities, like watching TV and videos, by about two hours a week. These changes had a lasting effect four months after the intervention ended, the study found.

"The takeaway message here for people who want to improve their diet and physical activity, and for employers who want a healthier workforce, is that e-mail intervention programs are a very cost-effective way to get healthy," said study lead investigator Barbara Sternfeld, Ph.D., senior research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and the study's lead investigator. "A tailored e-mail program includes all the things that behavioral scientists have said for years about changing behavior: small goals tailored for the individual, reinforcement, and tracking but delivered in a mass, cost-effective way."

Funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this study offers additional support for the potential of the Internet and e-mail to reach large segments of the population to inspire healthier lifestyle choices. It is one of the first studies to send messages directly into individuals' e-mail inboxes, rather than requiring individuals to actively access messages via the World Wide Web.

Given that the majority of Americans eat poorly and fail to exercise enough, effective e-mail programs could be a useful way to improve health, researchers say. According to the CDC, 55 percent don't perform the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Additionally, the daily diet for about three-quarters of the population consists of more than 30 percent fat, a percentage that's generally considered too high.

Participants received weekly e-mails in their work or home accounts for four months that were tailored to their individual needs and life situation (for example, whether they had small children at home or busy schedules that posed barriers to exercise and diet improvement.) The e-mails linked to a personal home page with tips for achieving the small-step goals the respondent had selected, educational materials and tracking and simulation tools. Reminder messages were sent between each intervention message.

The study cohort was composed of employees who worked in the regional offices of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

The employees worked in administrative, financial, regulatory, technical and professional services and were not involved with direct patient care. They tend to use computers for much of their work. Participation had no bearing on job performance, employment status, or health benefits. The participants' information was kept confidential and did not appear on medical records or employee files.

Before the program began, participants were evaluated on their eating and exercise habits by answering a short, online questionnaire, to which they received immediate feedback. They filled out the online questionnaire twice more, at the end of the program and four months later.

Another paper published in January in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that the ALIVE e-mail program reduced presenteeism among the trial participants and reduced bodily pain. ( Presenteeism is lost productivity that occurs when employees come to work but perform below par due to any kind of illness. The study did not look at whether employees used the e-mail program during their lunch hour or during their regular work hour.

"Using e-mail to get people active is a great use of existing technology that is cheap and readily available," said Bob Sallis, MD, a Kaiser Permanente family physician who is the regional exercise champion for Kaiser Permanente'sSouthern California region and immediate past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. "Anything we can do to increase activity level is going to improve health because we know that exercise is medicine. It's medicine you can take to live a longer and healthier life."

This research was a collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and NutritionQuest (, and is part of an ongoing body of research by Kaiser Permanente that looks at using technology - mobile phones, wireless PDAs, the Internet, etc. - to help individuals manage their weight, get more physically active and make healthy food choices.

Kaiser Permanente also offers its 164,000 employees and 8.6 million members free online Healthy Lifestyle programs to spur healthy lifestyle choices to prevent disease and improve health through customized online tools for weight management at that links with Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect(TM), the world's largest civilian electronic health record.

Additional researchers on the Kaiser Permanente study include: Charles P. Quesenberry, Jr., Ph.D., Gail Husson, MPH, and Melissa Nelson, MA, MPH, of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research; Gladys Block, Ph.D., Torin J. Block, BA, Clifford Block, Ph.D., and Jean C. Norris, DrPH.

About the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research (

The Kaiser Permanente Division of Research conducts, publishes, and disseminates epidemiologic and health services research to improve the health and medical care of Kaiser Permanente members and the society at large. It seeks to understand the determinants of illness and well-being and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Currently, DOR's 400-plus staff is working on more than 250 epidemiological and health services research projects.

About Kaiser Permanente Research

Kaiser Permanente's eight research centers comprise one of the largest research programs in the United States and engage in work designed to improve the health of individuals everywhere. KP HealthConnect(TM) , Kaiser Permanente's electronic health record, and other resources provide population data for research, and in turn, research findings are fed into KP HealthConnect(TM) to arm physicians with research and clinical data. Kaiser Permanente's research program works with national and local health agencies and community organizations to share and widely disseminate its research data. Kaiser Permanente's research program is funded in part by Kaiser Permanente's Community Benefit division, which in 2007 directed an estimated $1 billion in health services, technology, and funding toward total community health.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:

About NutritionQuest

NutritionQuest ( of Berkeley, California provides affordable, science-based wellness programs for employee and membership groups. The company is also one of the nation's leading providers of assessment measures for diet and physical activity and the sole source of the widely used Block Food Frequency questionnaires. NutritionQuest offers the ALIVE program commercially to employers. It also is developing a version focusing on older workers, whose health care costs are high and who need dietary and exercise support appropriate to them. For more information, contact Torin Block at (510)704-8514 or

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5 Tips And Secrets For Healthy Summer Skin


May 16, 2009 by Rachel Segal

Celeste Hilling, the host of radio show ‘Skin Health TODAY’ as well as founder and CEO of skincare line Skin Authority, has released her secrets for everyone out there who knows how important summer skin care is, but aren’t sure where to start. Each tip is designed for the savvy woman who understands being beautiful doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are ways to get the job done and still be smart with your money.

Image: Newscom

Image: Newscom

  1. Get Below The Surface: exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. When you don’t take care of your skin, dead skin cells accumulate and make your skin appear dull, no matter how much lotion you slather on. Cleansers with glycolic acid help to stimulate resurfacing and Products with micro-resurfacing properties, like pumice, crushed almond, or even corn husk can make for a good all-over exfoliator.
  2. Calming Cellulite: With itty-bitty bikinis in your future, you’ll want to smooth those bumpy patches. The appearance of cellulite can be reduced by using a body scrub with large exfoliators such as ground coffee beans, pumice or bamboo shoots to stimulate circulation. It’s also smart to use a scrub that incorporates caffeine to detoxify or release water from the surface layers of fat to make cellulite look smoother
  3. Tan the Safe Way: Find a fragrance free self-tanner that incorporates AHA for a safe summer glow that doesn’t include the risks of tanning beds or lounging for hours in the sun. Skin Authority’s Knowledge Center has a great video on how to have a positive self-tanning experience.
  4. Last Season’s Sunscreen is so Passé: don’t be so cheap that you miss out on the important stuff necessary to make sunscreen do the job. The active ingredients will inevitably deteriorate over time, so make sure you replace your sun screen every summer. Don’t just apply it once and forget either - reapply a new layer of sunscreen every 1-2 hours that you are in the sun. And make sure you have full UVA and UVB protection with a sunscreen that has more than just SPF 15.
  5. Fancy Feet: For pretty toes you aren’t afraid to show off, apply a 20 percent concentrate of glycolic acid nightly to remove calluses and deep layers of dead skin. Scrub your feet with a pumice stone when you’re in the shower and pick up an at home pedicure kit for a little extra pampering.

7 Ways to Save your Bones - 7 Best Bone Building Foods


If you’re older than 30, your skeleton’s already rebelling, tossing out bone faster than you can replace it. As doctors deliberate over when to begin osteoporosis treatments, your best bet is to get serious about diet and exercise. May is Osteoporosis Month, so it's time to bone up on how to hang onto your main frame.

We’ve all seen elderly people with humped backs or heard stories about grandparents who fell and broke their hips. Some of us even know women in their 50s who break a rib working out or moving furniture, only to learn they have osteoporosis, a loss of bone that leads to debilitating bone fractures.

Osteoporosis is a major health threat for aging females: About 8 million of the 10 million osteoporosis sufferers in the U.S. are women. Another 34 million have osteopenia, a precursor to the disease. And one in three women over 50 get fractures resulting from osteoporosis.

What Bone Loss Looks Like
Bone is not just a solid hunk of calcium; it’s living, growing tissue with a soft core and a hardened framework of calcium phosphate. The inner core, or marrow, produces our blood cells. And bones (along with teeth) act as a storage tank for more than 99% of the body’s calcium.

As a living organ, bone is constantly breaking down its older framework and replacing it. Formation outpaces destruction until about age 30. After that, destruction slowly overtakes formation, causing a net bone loss.

As the loss becomes severe, bones lose density, becoming more porous and fragile. In fact, under a microscope, osteoporotic bone looks like a sponge. The weakened bone, like a dry twig, becomes more vulnerable to fractures, even under normal stresses.

That’s one reason grandma hunches over like she’s perennially searching for a dropped penny. The hump on the back of the elderly – called the dowager’s hump because it occurs mostly in women – results from small bone fractures on the front of the vertebrae, usually upper ones. As the fractured edge of a vertebra compresses, the vertebrae above it shift forward, curving the spine. The spine’s forward tip results in a hump, or kyphosis (which means "bent over").

As more vertebrae crack or collapse, the hump becomes more pronounced and painful, limiting activities as well: A woman may have to crane her neck to look someone in the face and breathing becomes more difficult because the new spinal position makes it harder for the lungs to expand.

Other common results of osteoporosis are fractures of the hip and wrists in a fall. Hip fractures – 300,000 per year – are the most serious. About 24% of hip-fracture patients – and a third of elderly men with hip fractures – die within a year, often because they can’t regain mobility.

Women are particularly vulnerable: Their bone loss accelerates in the first few years after menopause as estrogen, which stimulates bone growth, declines. Small, thin-boned women are at greatest risk. Other factors include:

  • Caucasian or Asian ancestry
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Anorexia
  • Low calcium and vitamin D intake
  • Long-term use of steroids
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Inactivity

When Bone Loss Becomes a Problem
As with many trends in medicine, the prevailing wisdom on bone loss is shifting. This is affecting recommendations on when bone-loss treatments should begin.

Normal bone mass is defined as the average bone mineral density of a white woman between 20 and 29 years old. Based on that, researchers developed a T-score: A zero score was baseline (ideal), anything between zero and negative 1 was normal; negative 2.5 or lower indicated osteoporosis.

But scores between negative 1 and negative 2.5 fell into a grey area called osteopenia, which involves low bone density and mass. It became a catch phrase for bone density scores falling outside the "normal" range.

In 2004, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) advised women who scored negative 2.0 or lower (or negative 1.5 or lower if they had certain risk factors such as family history, smoking etc.) should get osteoporosis treatment.

That shift increased the number of aged 65-plus women recommended for treatment from 6.5 million to 11 million. For women 50 to 64 years old, the treatment group expanded from 1.6 million to 4 million.

Now women’s health experts question whether those diagnosed with osteopenia need medical treatment. The medications are expensive and can have significant side effects, such as chest pain severe joint, bone or muscle pain or heartburn.

The new standard raised questions: How much would the extension of treatment reduce serious fractures? At what point along the continuum of bone loss – from osteopenia to osteoporosis – should treatment begin and when do the benefits outweigh the cost and risks?

Your Bone-Saving Options
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for doctors to weigh in to protect yourself. Here are seven ways to strengthen your bones:

1. Eat for better bones. Bulk up on foods high in calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is the major bone builder, but it needs vitamin D to do its job. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium that would otherwise flush out in our urine. Foods high in calcium include dairy products, tofu, sardines, salmon, turnips and leafy greens. Foods high in vitamin D: salmon, tuna and other saltwater fish, fortified milk, egg yolks, liver and fish oils.

2. Get some daily sun. Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D in our skin. So get about five to 30 minutes of sun – without sunscreen – at least twice a week. (But don’t overdo it because too much sun raises the risk of skin cancer.)

3. Exercise. Just like muscles, bones need exercise to stay healthy. Strength training with weight-bearing exercises (such as walking, jogging and dancing) helps prevent or slow progression of osteoporosis. Strength-training increases the tug of muscles on the bones and weight-bearing exercise also stresses bones, which keep them strong.

4. Consider supplements. If you can't get enough calcium from food or sunshine, take a daily supplement that includes 1,000 milligrams calcium and 400 I.U. (international units) of vitamin D. But don't take it all at once: The body can only absorb 500 milligrams of calcium at a time.

5. Get a bone density test. A bone mineral density test – a DEXA scan, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry – will show how your bone mass is holding up. The NOF advises women older than 65, and those with risk factors (like thinness, family history, history of fractures) to get one earlier. Because bone loss accelerates after menopause, doctors also recommend getting a baseline bone scan, especially if you’re not planning to take estrogen. At the very least, discuss the test with your doctor.

6. Move to medications. If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, discuss drug therapy with your doctor. Medications include biphosphonates (alendronate, risedronate and ibandronate), raloxifene, calcitonin, teriparatide and estrogen/hormone therapy. Biphosponates, the most widely used medication for osteoporosis, increase bone mass and reduce the incidence of spine, hip and other fractures.

But they have drawbacks: They’re tough to swallow and hard on the GI tract, leading to heartburn and gastric ulcers. Some meds can be given intravenously, but they can cause side effects such as flu-like symptoms, muscle and joint pains and headaches.

7. Protect yourself from falls. Remove slippery area rugs, salt icy pathways, wear snow and ice traction cleats on your shoes (buy them online or at sporting stores) – and use a cane or walker if you need one. This won't keep you from getting osteoporosis. But given the devastating repercussions of hip fractures, it doesn't hurt to skid-proof your house.

7 Best Bone Building Foods

1. Seeds
Think of bone-building minerals and calcium first comes to mind. Our skeleton is largely made of calcium, but other minerals play a key role too. In fact, 50% of the body’s magnesium resides in our bones. Low levels are linked to fragile bones and calcium loss, research shows.

All seeds are good magnesium sources, but pumpkin seeds outshine the rest.

Here are a few ways to eat seeds:

  • Measure a 1-ounce portion to take to work for an afternoon pick-me-up.

  • Sprinkle a tablespoon or two onto your mixed green salad.

  • Toss some with green beans or sautéed spinach.

  • 2. Nuts
    Bones aren’t hard and brittle; they’re living organs with live cells and fluids. Every day, bone cells break down and build up. That’s how they remain strong and heal after a break.

    Walnuts – rich in alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid – decrease the rate of bone breakdown and keep bone formation constant, according to a 2007 Nutrition Journal study. Brazil nuts are also great sources of magnesium.

    So grab a small handful for a snack or sprinkle a couple tablespoons into your oatmeal. Keep in mind that nuts are high-fat and high-calorie, so limit your daily serving to one ounce – about 1/4 cup. Other foods with alpha linolenic acid include: flaxseed oil, ground flaxseeds, walnut oil, soybeans, soybean oil and canola oil.

    3. Tap Water
    Fluoride, famed for its role in preventing cavities, is also a component of your bones and adds to their density. Many communities add this mineral to drinking water to help dental health. So if you drink only bottled water, you may not get enough fluoride to protect your teeth or bones.

    4. Leafy Greens
    Make green your new favorite color. Your salads and steamed greens are packed with bone-building nutrients, particularly calcium, magnesium and vitamin K.

    Vitamin K is critical in forming bone proteins and cuts calcium loss in urine. Too little of this fat-soluble vitamin increases risk of hip fractures, research shows.

    Just one cup of raw or a half-cup of cooked greens provides several times the recommended intake of 90 micrograms per day. Here are a few ways to sneak some extra greens in today:

  • Add lettuce to your sandwiches. Even iceberg has vitamin K.

  • Slip spinach leaves between layers of noodles in homemade lasagna.

  • Start your dinner with a salad of spinach or mixed greens.

  • Try dandelion greens or Swiss chard for dinner.
  • 5. Beans
    Have beans for supper tonight, especially pinto, black, white and kidney beans. You’ll get another good boost of magnesium and even some calcium. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 2-1/2 cups of beans and other legumes (peas, lentils) weekly.

    Bean-eaters reduce their risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Problem is, most people don’t know what to do with them. Here are a few ideas:

  • At the beginning of the week, open and rinse a can of beans, and store them in your refrigerator. Each night, toss a heaping spoonful into your mixed green salad.

  • Top nachos with red beans.

  • Mix any canned bean into vegetable soups.

  • Add black beans or kidney beans to pasta salads.

  • Instead of coleslaw or potato salad, take a bean salad to your next potluck supper.

  • 6. Fish
    When it comes to bones, calcium is nothing without vitamin D, which we need so our bodies can absorb calcium. As with vitamin K, vitamin D deficiency also is linked to hip fracture. In fact, 50% of women with osteoporosis who were hospitalized for hip fracture had signs of vitamin D deficiency, according to a scientific review by the American Medical Association.

    The best fish? Salmon. A small serving of salmon – only 3-1/2 ounces – gives you 90% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D. If you want a double-whammy of bone-building nutrients, don’t just look to fresh fish. Canned salmon provides vitamin D and calcium… as long as you eat the bones. (Don’t worry, they’re soft.)

    7. Dairy
    Many of us forget about milk once we outgrow crazy straws and strawberry powder, but bones don’t stop developing in our teens. We add bone mass even in our 20s, but only if we consume enough of the nutritional elements.

    Once we reach menopause and begin to lose estrogen, our bones lose calcium more rapidly than at any other time in our lives. Here again, calcium and vitamin D can help delay the loss of bone mass.

    Milk is a good source of vitamin D because it is fortified. Cheese, yogurt and ice cream generally aren’t; they contain little vitamin D. Drink nonfat or 1% milk; the others have high saturated fat and cholesterol content. Pour a nice cold glass and enjoy – with or without a cookie.

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Warning: Testoserone Gels get FDA Black Box Warning

    Testosterone Gels Risky to Children

    FDA Orders 'Black Box' Warning for AndroGel 1% and Testim 1% After Reports of Kids Affected by Adults' Use
    By Miranda Hitti
    WebMD Health News

    May 7, 2009 -- The FDA today warned about the risks that testosterone gel products can pose to children inadvertently exposed to those products by adults.

    The FDA is ordering a "black box" warning, the FDA's sternest warning, for two prescription topical testosterone gel products, AndroGel 1% and Testim 1%.

    The FDA is requiring the boxed warning after getting reports of at least 20 children exposed to testosterone through contact with an adult using AndroGel 1% or Testim 1%.

    Those children's adverse events included inappropriate enlargement of the genitalia (penis or clitoris), premature development of pubic hair, advanced bone age, increased libido, and aggressive behavior.

    In most cases, the signs and symptoms regressed when the child was no longer exposed to the product. But in a few cases, enlarged genitalia did not fully return to age-appropriate size and bone age remained modestly greater than the child's chronological age.

    In some cases, children had to undergo invasive diagnostic procedures and, in at least one case, a child was hospitalized and underwent surgery because of a delay in recognizing the underlying cause of the signs and symptoms.

    The FDA is also concerned about unapproved testosterone products, including those sold online. Those products carry the same risk to children. But because they're not supposed to be on the market in the first place, they can't get a black box warning.

    About AndroGel 1% and Testim 1%

    These prescription testosterone gels are approved by the FDA for use in men who either no longer produce testosterone or produce it in very low amounts. Both products are applied once daily to the shoulders or upper arms. Only AndroGel 1% is approved for application to the abdomen.

    The FDA hasn't approved any testosterone gel products for use by women. But of the 1.4 million U.S. prescriptions filled in 2007 for AndroGel, about 25,000 were dispensed to women, the FDA notes.

    AndroGel 1% and Testim 1% already have precautions on their labels about proper use of the products, such as where to apply it and covering the skin and washing hands afterward.

    But in most of the cases in which children were affected, adults didn't use the gels correctly.

    In some cases, adults forgot to wash their hands, or to cover the exposed area of their skin, or they applied the gel to their chest (which isn't an approved area for use), and then picked up or held infants or kids, FDA officials said in a news conference today.

    The new boxed warning will provide additional information about the risk of secondary exposure (exposing someone other than the patient using the gel) and the steps that should be taken to reduce that risk.

    AndroGel 1% is made by Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which pledges to work with the FDA regarding the black box warning, notes Neil Hirsch, a spokesman for Solvay Pharmaceuticals, in an email to WebMD.

    A spokesperson for Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, which makes Testim 1%, was not immediately available for comment.

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    Warning: Synthetic Sweeteners are Poison

    Duty to Warn - Diet Sodas are Poison
    By Gary G. Kohls, MD
    May 4, 2009

    I was on a long road trip last week and, feeling rather drowsy, stopped at a convenience store for some coffee and refreshments. As I walked up and down the aisles to find something to munch on for the next leg of the trip, I discovered nothing that seemed to be real food on any of the shelves. So I thought I would at least buy some chewing gum, something I used to do decades ago when gum only cost a penny a stick. I fondly remembered the refreshing taste of Wrigley’s Doublemint, Juicy Fruit or Spearmint gum.

    Reading the fine print on the gum labels (a habit I always urged my patients to adopt whenever making purchases in grocery stores), I was annoyed and a bit alarmed to find that NONE of the 20 flavors had good old dextrose or sucrose in them. Instead, 100 percent of the choices contained, as their sweetener, a synthetic chemical called aspartame, a.k.a. NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful.

    Now I have read the book Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, written by Russell Blaylock, MD one of the neuroscientists who has thoroughly studied the toxicities of the common food additives aspartame and monosodium glutamate (MSG). I have also seen the sobering video documentary about aspartame poisoning entitled: Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World, which proves without any doubt how dangerous this synthetic sweetener can be.

    Aspartame, which is in thousands of processed food products that are usually labeled “lite” or “diet” products, was synthesized in 1965 by a G. D. Searle chemist who, when he was trying to create an anti-ulcer drug, combined two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine and found that the resulting dipeptide (a molecule consisting of two amino acids) had an intensely sweet taste to the tongue. Searle soon saw aspartame as a product that could compete in the low calorie food industry and obtained, in 1974, FDA approval for its use in dry foods. However the FDA approval was rescinded within six months because of toxic reactions and widespread concerns by a number of scientists.

    These scientists knew that aspartame was a lethal poison! In fact, in a 1996 report compiled from 10,000 consumer complaints obtained during the pre-marketing testing period, the FDA listed 92 aspartame-related symptoms, ranging from seizures to death!

    Still, the tenacious Searle, led by its cunning management team, refused to give up its effort to obtain FDA approval and denied that they had a sweet poison on their hands.

    Interestingly, Searle’s CEO at the time was Donald Rumsfeld (which is why some prefer to call Aspartame Disease Rumsfeld’s Disease).

    Here is an excerpt from an article entitled: Aspartame (NutraSweet): Something Evil This Way Comes written by Betty Martini, of Mission Possible World Health International, an organization devoted to exposing aspartame as the dangerous substance it is:

    “Listen to Attorney James Turner who, with famed Dr. John Olney, tried to prevent aspartame’s approval. Turner tells what it took to get a deadly poison approved. The FDA attempted to have Searle indicted for fraud and making false statements. Both U.S. prosecutors hired on with the defense team and the statute of limitations expired. For 16 years, the FDA refused to allow it on the market. When Reagan was elected, Don Rumsfeld, CEO of Searle, said he’d call in his markers to get aspartame approved. This is documented by a UPI investigation and congressional record. The day after Reagan took office Arthur Hayes was appointed as FDA Commissioner to get it approved.

    ”Reagan knew it might take 30 days to get Hayes installed, so he wrote an Executive Order making the outgoing FDA Commissioner powerless to act against aspartame before he departed. Then the FDA set up a Public Board of Inquiry (PBOI) that revoked Reagan’s petition for approval because it had not been proved safe and causes brain tumors. Hayes overruled the PBOI and let slip the hounds of disease, disability and death on an innocent, unwarned population. Soon he became a consultant for the NutraSweet Company’s public relations outfit on a 10-year contract at $1,000/day. Hayes then refused to talk to the press.”

    In 1981, the Reagan FDA approved aspartame in dry food and in 1983, aspartame was approved for use in soda pop. In 1985 Rumsfeld’s Searle was acquired by Monsanto, making Rumsfeld rich and Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries! And the rest, as they say, is history.

    Suffice it to say, I passed on the chemically-contaminated chewing gum. I have learned to avoid swallowing synthetic flavor enhancers (or other chemicals in food) whenever I am able, preferring to use natural, unrefined and unbleached table sugar if I feel the need to sweeten tea or coffee. Understanding the chemical breakdown products of aspartame informed my decision long ago and will help the readers to try to break their diet pop habits also. It is my professional duty to warn.

    Each molecule of NutraSweet, when it reaches a temperature of 86 degrees F (recall that the body’s normal temperature is 98.6 and warehouses in the summer’s sun can reach temperatures far higher than that)) breaks down into its two amino acids (a molecule each of phenylalanine and aspartic acid, both excitotoxins) and a molecule of methanol (wood alcohol!) which then metabolizes into formaldehyde (embalming fluid and a known carcinogen), formic acid (the acid that causes the intense itching from the prickles of burning weed) and diketopiperazine (a known carcinogen).

    Perhaps a small amount of any of these toxins can be tolerated by some people, especially those who are well nourished, but I wouldn’t want to take the chance, for there is too much evidence for its being a poison. The long list of neurodegenerative, psychological and other health problems aspartame can cause can be found here. They include seizures, multiple sclerosis, headaches, lupus, insomnia, fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression, anxiety and dozens more.

    If that isn’t enough to convince readers to gradually withdraw (diet soda is also addictive) from your NutraSweet habit, it might give you extra motivation if you recall the list of evil geniuses listed above that have played a part in this tragedy.

    There, you’ve been warned.

    (Coming up soon, an expose on another toxic artificial sweetener that is in a lot of food products, the trichlorinated sucrose molecule sucralose (Splenda), once marketed as a pesticide in Japan.)

    Artificial sweeteners of all stripes offer consumers several choices

    Posted by Molly Kimball, Eating Right, The Times-Picayune May 08, 2009 6:00AM

    It's the eternal question for calorie watchers: Blue, pink, or yellow?

    Aspartame (Equal), saccharine (Sweet' N Low), and sucralose (Splenda), along with the lesser-known acesulfame potassium (used in Coke Zero) and neotame (used in Detour protein bars), make up the five artificial sweeteners that are currently approved by the FDA.

    Far sweeter than sugar, these synthetic sweeteners can be used in such small quantities that they are essentially calorie-free.

    But the fact that these sweeteners are man-made has some people feeling a little apprehensive. All have had potential health warnings, some substantiated, others speculative.

    Enter stevia, the newest player in the big leagues of low-calorie sweeteners.

    Positioned as a natural alternative to artificial sweeteners, this plant-based sweetener has been sold in health food stores for years but was not widely used for two main reasons: It was often perceived as too bitter, and it was classified exclusively as a dietary supplement. That meant it couldn't be used as an ingredient in mainstream foods and drinks, nor sold as a sweetener alongside sugar substitutes on supermarket shelves.

    Things changed for stevia in December, when the FDA approved rebaudioside A (also called rebiana or Reb-A), the purified form of stevia, for general use in foods.

    Immediately, packets of stevia-based sweeteners flooded supermarket shelves, with names such as Truvia, PureVia, and SweetLeaf. The bitterness is much less noticeable, since the newer stevia-based products are often blended with other natural, low-calorie ingredients to provide a taste and texture more like real sugar.

    The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo already have introduced stevia-sweetened beverages, and huge amounts of marketing dollars are quickly making stevia a household name.

    Stevia's FDA approval was not universally welcomed, however. While the manufacturers of stevia-based products insist it's safe, others say the FDA gave approval too quickly, and that more testing is needed before it is used as a sweetener in mainstream diet products that will be consumed in large quantities.

    Other options for natural, low-calorie sweeteners are also available, though usually found primarily in health food stores. These typically contain ingredients such as erythritol, xylitol, and luo han guo, ingredients that haven't been studied nearly as extensively. So far, the main adverse effect appears to be potential gastrointestinal upset.

    So what is the best low-calorie sweetener? It's too soon to know for sure, but at least consumers now have more options. Individual preferences will vary, so sample a few of the natural sweeteners to see how you think their tastes measure up.

    But no matter what sweetener you choose, be mindful of how much you use. Not only do you want to minimize any potential health risks but also, some research shows that a high intake of calorie-free drinks may actually stimulate your appetite.

    Try cutting back just a little at a time to give your tastebuds time to adapt. Rethink the multiple packets of sweetener in your coffee (or opt for a less bold coffee so that you won't need as much sweetener). Trade in a few diet drinks for plain water. And really, do you need to add more sweetness to those already perfect strawberries?

    Even with the wide range of sweetener options available, pure and unprocessed are always your safest bets. With just 16 calories and 4 grams of sugar per teaspoon, even the occasional spoonful of plain old sugar is no big deal.