Friday, September 17, 2010

Supplements for joint pain?


Supplements are having a hard time of it lately, and this is another indication of the errant nature of our pill-preferring culture.

So. Here's another pill bottle to clean out of your medicine cabinet, following research on the claims behind the most popular supplements prescribed for joint pain.

Got Joint Pain?

You could take glucosamine and chondroitin ... but it won't do any good, according to a review of trials involving 3,803 patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis.

According to the researchers, the two supplements do not work and should not be paid for by health authorities or insurers.

That's because the Swiss researchers found there was "no clinically relevant effect" of chondroitin, glucosamine, or the two in combination on perceived joint pain.

"Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs for these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged," said Peter Juni of the University of Bern, whose study was published in the British Medical Journal on Friday.



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Review of Forks Over Knives


The movie "Forks Over Knives" is like Mark Twain's description of golf:

A Good Walk, Spoiled.

The documentary film starts from a great premise -- eat real food and you can reverse many of the chronic diseases we see in our dismal culture of health.

Love it.

That said, the film makers don't consider meat, dairy, or even eggs to be something you should eat. For example, consistently, they make an elemental confusion that makes it feel more like a giant serving of Op Ed Pie with an ax to grind than any shade of even-handed attempt to improve health through food.

Eating a wild caught salmon is equivalent, in their eyes (and camera lenses), to going to McDonalds and having a deep fried fish puck. Having a fillet -- whether grass fed, free range, or doped up on hormones -- is exactly the same for them.

This sin of omission could be called an oversight early on, but by the half way point, it was clear that this was an agenda rather than a balanced diet of information. While it was not the informational junk food equivalent to the corn growers insisting that their HFCS product is unrelated to obesity, I found myself over-sated all too quickly.

They used cultural comparisons just as selectively, pointing to countries that are healthy (and don't eat a lot of meat or dairy) as examples of why these items "turn on cancer in your body". They studiously avoided the steer in the room, a.k.a., Argentina. Argentina has some of the highest beef consumption in the universe, but still has lower rates of colon cancer than the US. (Cancer Res 35:3513 1975)

Here are some more links to scientific research that was not on the menu, if your dander is up and you care to get lost in the weeds on the issue:

Bottom Line
If you're a cheerleader for the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle and you want to feel warm and fuzzy about it ... this film is for you. Otherwise, like Twain's "good walk, spoiled", the documentary Forks Over Knives takes a wonderful idea, and spoils the broth by studiously avoiding balance.

There's sizzle to the idea, but no steak behind it.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Screening

I'm at the advance screening for the upcoming documentary, Forks Over Knives. It will be released in March of 2011.

The picture is of the narrator who also has a book called the Engine 2 Diet.

I hate being such a skeptic, and I really am willing to be convinced otherwise, but the subtitle says that you should eat more to weigh less. In just 28 days, you too, can blah blah blah.

I presume he means that you should eat real foods ... And I hope this is not a big pile of more-of-the-same. We'll see.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cancer Survivors Talk2


The talk last night was great. There's something that I really love about being in front of people and blathering away about the topics that I'm passionate about.

In this case, you should have seen these wonderful people, who were all so laser-focused on making sure they can live healthy productive lives.

Along those lines, get this. Dr Kristin Zorn was leading the discussion and pointed out that a full 90% of your risk of breast cancer IS NOT from genetics, but from something else.

Environment maybe? Diet maybe? Lifestyle maybe?

Hence, do you know what they honed in on the most? Getting the synthetics out of their foods as a key to preventing the recurrence of cancer. I love that, because this group really understands the importance of eating clean every day.

Massive kudos to Magee Women's Hospital, who did a great job in putting this together.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cancer Survivors Talk


I'm speaking this afternoon at the Cancer Survivorship Conference this afternoon. I love speaking because it's like reaching people and making a difference for them.

Of all the silly things I do in my day, that part is the aspect I love the most. You know what else is funny? I say many of the same things, but they don't seem to get old because the people change with each new audience.

This is going to be a terrific conference (estimating about 250 folks), and the speakers are all so talented that I know that they're going to walk away rejuvenated to live a healthier life. I hope so anyway.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Little Things


It's funny how little things can take the wind out of you some times. I'm working with a wonderful organization, Magee Women's Hospital (love them), to bring our program to cancer survivors, menopausal women, and bariatric patients.

It's a top-shelf, absolutely first class organization. But in our first attempt to approach their patients with our program, it flopped. Only a handful of peeps signed up. Not nearly enough to do the program.

Even though I've had some successes in getting our message out to change the culture of health, I found myself winded by this one. Yes, it was marketed somewhat passively; yes, it was in the summer when schedules are crazy; and yes, this is not the best time of the year for peeps to resolve to handle their weight and health issues.

But still.

So, I'll just have to breathe, and be at peace with the way the world is, and not how I wish it had been. At the risk of sounding like Scarlet O'Hara (who was lame, in my opinion), tomorrow is another day. There are ups and downs and you just have to keep moving forward.

Talk to you soon,
Will

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