Thursday, September 12, 2013

Deranged: What Artificial Sweeteners Are Doing To You

iStock 000009453083Small What Artificial Sweeteners Are Doing To You

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

What's The Magic Behind The Mediterranean Diet?


Med-Flat-Bread
The Mediterranean Diet seems to be good for whatever ails you.  Every month brings more data showing how this approach leads to low weight, healthy hearts, and longer lives. Despite the luscious creams, cheeses, butters, breads, chocolates, and wines they eat and drink, they’re still thinner and healthier than us.
So what’s the magic, then? What’s the secret that makes all this make sense?
First of all, think of how we approach diet. Many people in the UK are overweight or obese. And this one single marker of poor health contributes to cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and a closet of disastrous consequences.
And everyone knows that we need to live a healthful lifestyle, without resorting to fad diets. But even though the phrase, “Diets don’t work,” has been said so many times that it is now a tired, overused mantra, no one really seems to know what that even means.
Extra virgin olive oil in a glass jar with freshly picked greenDon’t eat out? Don’t eat fats? Don’t eat carbs? Don’t eat at all?
That’s where magic of the Mediterranean approach can help. They are thinner and healthier, but they didn’t get this way by following any of our diets d’jour: they never wore fat-be-gone rings; they never ate margarine; they never avoided eggs; they never ate low fat foods; they never avoided carbs; they never wrung their hands about their blood type; and they never felt like they had to eat every three hours because some theory told them to. They were made thin and healthy by living the same lifestyle they’ve enjoyed for centuries.
It’s who they are, not what they do.
And the promise of the Mediterranean approach is that we can adapt and adopt their eating system as an observational model for ourselves. After all, if we do what they do, we’ll get lower weight, healthier hearts and longer lives. Just like them.
There’s just one problem: We don’t live there.
Bummer, right? We don’t have 2½ hours to eat our lunch, fresh markets on every corner, five weeks of mandatory vacation, and a culture that works to live rather than lives to work. Double bummer. Yes, they are living a healthy lifestyle—but how are we supposed to make that work for us? How are we supposed to “Rosetta Stone” their cultural habits into our lives here at home?
Cheese-Olive-BreadThree Keys To Unlock The Magic:
The first key to translating the success of the Mediterranean lifestyle is to stop being so detailed and specific. Followers of this lifestyle don’t care how many carbs are in their baguettes, how many points are in their crème brulee, or how many calories they burn when they take a walk. Micromanaging molecules— whether calories or carbs, points or proteins—is the very definition of a diet, and is never practiced by any healthy culture.
The second key is to focus on principles you know to be true. For example, the Mediterranean people eat food, not synthetics (that’s sugar, not non-nutritive artificial sweeteners; olive oil, not hydrogenated oil; and vegetables, not supplements). Even in the UK, we can adopt the Mediterranean habit of choosing items that are real food, made with real ingredients.
The third key we can adopt is to learn to love our food again. Yes, you need to LOVE your food. It’s a common misconception that the love of food is equivalent to the consumption of food. We are coached to believe that the more you eat, the more you love it. This idea is certainly not one applied by healthy cultures in the Mediterranean. For them, the love of food is less about the quantity eaten and more about the quality enjoyed.
Win, win, and win.
With these keys you can unlock the magic of the Mediterranean approach. And the only thing standing between you and smaller trousers may just be getting past the lessons that this culture has trained you to believe.
willBio
Dr. Will Clower is the founder and CEO of Mediterranean Wellness. He applies his neuroscience training to teach people how to eat well, lose weight, and love their food again. Based on the principles of the Mediterranean Diet, Dr. Clower reaches people all over the world through his successful programs, two books on the Mediterranean Diet, national television interviews on The Dr Oz Show, and many other radio and print appearances. His passion and authenticity is inspiring this generation to live life they love again.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Let The Flames Begin!! How To Grill Healthfully This Summer


Grilling can be great, or it can introduce carcinogens to your food ... depending on nothing more than what you cook, and how you cook it. 



The best part of this nutrition advice is that it's the same advice I would give you to make your food taste better!!

Take it easy on the Woolly Mammoth 
One of the main problems is grilling over a very high heat. I know we love the flames because it makes us feel all CAVEMAN and all, tossing a woolly Mammoth on the Barbi, and all. But this is exactly what can convert proteins found in red meat, pork, poultry and fish into heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These chemicals have been linked to breast, stomach, prostate and colon cancer.
This is what we call "the danger from within", because it arises from the meat itself. The other danger comes from outside the meat, in the form of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). This arises (literally) from the smoke that forms when fat drippings drip their drippage onto the coals.

The Good News. 
You don't have to give up grilling. Just follow a few simple rules this summer (adapted from US News & World Report). 
  • Choose meats wisely. Avoid grilling high-fat meats, like ribs and sausages. Instead, choose lean meats, which create less dripping and less smoke. Always trim excess fat and remove skin. It's also a good idea to choose smaller cuts of meat, such as kabobs, which require less cooking time.
  • Try thin marinades. Thicker marinades tend to char, which could increase exposure to cancer-causing agents. Choose marinades made with vinegar or lemon, which will form a protective layer on the meat.
  • Reduce grilling time. Always thaw meat before cooking. Meat and fish also should be partially cooked in the microwave before grilling. This will reduce cooking time and the risk for smoke flare-ups.
  • Flip often. Flip your flipping burgers once every minute will help prevent burning or charring.
  • Consider food placement. Be sure to place food at least six inches away from a heat source.
  • Create a barrier. Do not allow juices to spill and produce harmful smoke. Line the grill with aluminum foil or cook on cedar planks.
  • Consider veggies. Try grilling your favorite vegetables since they do not contain the protein that forms harmful HCAs. Char your veg if you like, because it's only the protein combined with the sugars that create them. 


For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A little knowledge

I'm traveling, just landed in Milwaukee. There was a Starbucks, and since I woke up at 4:10 am to get here, I wheeled in for a small back jolt wakefulness before heading to my parade of meetings.

Noshy, I really really wanted a muffin or something (my mouth wanted it, mainly). But there below the muffin label was the calorie count (480 calories!!). That's basically a 2-hours-on-the-treadmill flavored snack!

With that little bit of shock and awe-ful information, I opted for a banana.

Bottom line: If we give people solid, simple health information, they can be empowered to make better informed choices. Net calorie savings, about 400 calories!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chocolate and "fat bloom" ... it's not what you think

When you hear these two things together -- "chocolate" and "fat bloom" -- you're thinking ... oh I see, I eat chocolate and then my fat blooms.

Actually, fat bloom is like sugar bloom in your chocolate. All it means is that either the fat or the sugar crystallizes together and forms something you can visually see.  


Your chocolate SHOULD be shiny, and have a snap to it when you break it. 

However, if you have Bloom, it will have a whitish sheen or coating or spottiness to it. It's okay and it doesn't necessarily mean the chocolate has gone bad, although fat bloom is worst than sugar bloom. 

Sugar bloom is the crystallization of the sugar crystals and occurs when moisture hits your chocolate. Very common. Very normal. Fat Bloom happens when the chocolate hasn't been made well (tempered correctly by the manufacturer). 

How can you tell the difference? With a simple test (from the Amano chocolate website, great summary article here)

One way you can easily check to see if a piece of chocolate has undergone sugar bloom or fat bloom is to lick your finger and touch it to the chocolate. If the dusty appearance disappears, then it is sugar bloom. (The moisture on your finger dissolved the sugar crystals on the chocolate.) If the bloom remains, then it is fat bloom.
And, of course, if you don't want to work up your own personal "fat bloom", the bottom line (pun, totally intended) is to eat really good chocolate but eat it in control. 


For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Newsflash: Egg White Protein May Help Lower Blood Pressure


Isn't it crazy that we have to "discover" that eggs are good for you? We've been eating eggs forever, and all healthy cultures eat eggs. In fact, the heart-healthiest people on planet earth eat eggs, to the tune of about 1 every single day. And it's not JUST the egg whites, they eat the yolks too. Healthy people.

Crazy right? Haven't those heart healthy people read our theories about how eggs -- and especially their yolks -- are actually harming their hearts? In stead of being so heart healthy all the time, they should hop on the newest trends and start eating Egg Beaters.

I actually like this article because it validates the observations we can all see are true. Egg whites are good for you. Just note, however, that just because egg whites are good for you doesn't mean the whole egg is not.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Healthy Foods You Should Eat. Every. Day!

You know those little "champagne" mangoes? They're out right now!! 

Go find them. Eat them. You can eat them on a boat, you can eat them with a goat, you can eat them on a train, you can eat them in the rain!! 
If you want to add a wonderful food to your life, which will make you happy every. single. time. it happens, get these little mangoes and slice them up every chance you get.

Here's What You Do
Just take the skin off with a potato peeler. Then, you can cut the meat off with a knife, along the long edge of the seed (it's oblong, meaning that it's wide on one side and skinny on the other). After you've carved off the mango meat off the front and the back side of the seed, you have two choices:

1. trim the bit of meat that remains around the outside of the seed.
2. just chew on it ... for quality control, you know, to, um, make sure it's safe for everyone else, you know.

Use mango as a dessert, use it as an addition to your salad, or add it to avocado/lime/cumin to make the best salsa on the planet!!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, April 12, 2013

Official Recommendation From Health Authorities? Take Pills For Life.

When that's all you've got, that's when you know you're lost. 

When your official recommendation (these are from Canada, eh?) defaults to pharmaceuticals over lifestyle changes that free you from those pills, you're committed to Treatment over Prevention. 



CDA Guidelines (Link To Full Guidelines Here )All patients with diabetes should start taking statins when they turn 40 and blood pressure drugs when they turn 55, even if they have no other risk factors at the time, according to new Canadian guidelines.

The guidelines also recommend that those over 30 who have had diabetes for at least 15 years also should start on statins, according to Alice Cheng, MD, of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, who is chair of the guideline committee.

Here is my version:
Pills are for sick people. If you are sick, take your meds. However, if you are taking pills,  your body is broken and you should direct your activities to "right the ship" with the goal of being pill-free as quickly as possible, for as long as possible. Here's the logic: if people never ever have to take a pill, then they are healthy. That is our goal. 

Toward this end, all patients with diabetes should be counseled by their physician to eat real food only. Whether at 30, or 40, or 55, patients should be counseled by the physician to eat in control, and control excess eating volume through their behavior. Patients should be counseled by their physician on best-practices to be more active, and control stress. 

The resultant weight loss, glucose control, and cholesterol stabilization should be monitored through subsequent visits. By all means, our official recommendation is to still take the free swag from the pharmaceutical reps, just don't prescribe the products unless the ongoing preventive remedies have failed, and there is no other choice.  

But that's just me. I believe Prevention is cheaper than Treatment. If we get people off meds, some company may lose market share, but patients will be healthier, our health care system will be cheaper. Win, win. 

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chocolate Made With Fruit Juice Has Half The Fat Content Of Conventional Products


Why mess with my chocolate? Sure you CAN do it, but why?

The cocoa butter they are trying to eliminate helps control cravings by stimulating satiety hormones. That same fat turns out to be heart healthy! See this article from the Cleveland Clinic (http://bit.ly/EpneD)

Better Living Through Chemistry definitely doesn't apply in this case. Just have your solid dark chocolate, have it in control, and your heart (and mouth!!) will be happier for it :)
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Healthiest sources of caffeine ... corrected

This AOL infographic is interesting, but misleading. Of course, plain black coffee is wicked healthy for you, as is Green, Black, and Oolong tea. 

But soda? With its phosphoric acid that can contribute to brittle bones? They list this as "even better". Weird. I'm guessing that this should NOT be on any list that that has the word Healthy in it, unless it is immediately preceded by the word NOT.



The energy drinks at the bottom are also not recommended, making me wonder just who put this list together. 

Finally, a note about the caffeine content in chocolate. This is a persistent confusion between caffeine itself and theobromine, which is a very similar alkaloid. The pharmacological effects of theobromine are about 100x weaker by comparison (see http://1.usa.gov/12NU0KT). 


For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

L-Carnitine, Nutrient In Red Meat, Linked With Heart Disease


Does red meat cause heart disease? Who knows? There are associations between high red meat consumption and heart disease, but there could be reasons for that correlation -- it's not so simple to proclaim or even implicate that "Red meat causes heart disease."

All this article does (http://huff.to/10LnQiP) is give a molecular pathway to explain how L-carnitine could, hypothetically, harden your arteries. Whether it's a dietary darth vader for your heart, in vivo, for a person eating a nice filet mignon once per month or even once per week as a part of a normal dietary mix of veg/fruit, is not explored at all. In fact, another weakness in this article is that they talk about high consumption of red meat, but don't say what "high consumption" even means.

The more worrisome part to me is that the mice given the same kind of supplements we sell in, quote, health food stores produced hardening of the arteries -- not some metabolic bi-product that could have a downstream effect if all the variables of all their theories turn out to be correct. Actual hardening of the arteries, to the tune of double, 2x, twice, 100% more actual arterial effects. ... "We saw that carnitine supplements doubled the rates of atherosclerosis in the mice"

I think that if we just ate food, and ate small, the impact of the carnitine on actual artery hardening might not be an issue. But again, that study hasn't been done.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Chocolate Weight Loss? Cool Data:

I'm writing my next book at this moment, which is going to be on chocolate and weight loss. 

This morning I ran across this article that has just been pubbed (see below): "Cocoa polyphenols suppress adipogenesis in vitro and obesity in vivo ..."

SCIENCE-TO-ENGLISH DICTIONARY:
The healthy stuff in cocoa reduces the creation of fat cells in laboratory experiments. And, it lowers obesity in live animal models. 

Is this perfect? I have tons of references showing the impact of chocolate on weight loss, diabetes, heart health, and on and on. It's a Super Food. But this article is spot on. Not only does the cocoa in chocolate help inhibit the formation of fat in the lab, it does it in living animals as well. 

Hey, we're living animals? I think I'll have some chocolate and think this over. 

International Journal of Obesity - Abstract of article: Cocoa polyphenols suppress adipogenesis in vitro and obesity in vivo by targeting insulin receptor


For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Diabetes Research Focuses Heavily On Treatments, Not Prevention, Study Finds


Diabetes prevention strategies. Check out the things in this article associated with diabetes prevention -- like, cheese, nuts, wine, a walk. Sounds a lot like the Mediterranean dietary approach. Interesting, too, that those who live a lifestyle close to this pattern tend, statistically, to have a reduced risk of getting diabetes.

Within the corporate wellness programs I run, even those participants who aren't living in Spain or Italy or Greece can still learn to eat well, manage their blood sugar, control eating volume and add activity to their daily lives.

We can do this. We can reverse the curse. I believe the population-wide slide into overweight, diabetes, and heart disease can be overcome. But, honestly, it requires improving our disordered Culture of Health by educating people -- at a grassroots level of normal people living everyday lives. The change must come from us, from below.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

April Superfoods: 5 In-Season Picks


Stunned spinach is amazing. Just throw it in a pan with EVOO, S&P, until they're just soft. Of course, some sliced almonds and dried cherries wouldn't hurt either! By the way, your non-heme sources of iron require a little Vitamin C on board to help them be more fully absorbed into your body. So, when you serve the stunned spinach, squeeze half of an orange over the top. Mmmm.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, April 08, 2013

Healthy Breakfast Roundup: Your Favorite Morning Eats (PHOTOS)


Best breakfast ever? Southwestern huevos.

Start with a bed of black beans, steaming hot and spiced with some chili powder, cumin, S&P. On top of this is placed, with love, crumbled feta to give it a little salty somthin somethin. Next in this pile of wonderfulness is your egg, which should honestly be is done over easy so you get that nice yellow yolk of yumminess throughout.

Now, top the egg with a salsa made with a lovely duo of diced tomatoes and diced onions. But they're made even tastier by bathing them in a basic salad dressing mix of EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Finally, you'll need a little green snap to round things out. So, if you have them, add a sprinkle of either scallions or chives.

You're going to love this!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Stress and Disease: It's Personal


Stress comes from the outside (events, accidents, etc). But it's effect is on your inside (cortisol, getting sick, and on and on). However, an event can be stressful or not, depending on whether the person lets it get to them.

Granted, keeping external events, stupid drivers, and rampant hormonal teenagers with attitude on your outside, and not letting them affect you, is not always easy. But we have to start thinking about stress in an empowered way -- that the stress I feel is to some degree under my control -- and not in a passive way -- this stress is happening to me and I am powerless to stop it.

When we do that, we will be more likely to adopt some measure of control over events, start taking time for ourselves, seeking (as pointed out in this article) stress counseling, and owning our own health again.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, April 05, 2013

What NOT to drink, apparently.

Thirsty for good health? I just posted an article here on coffee as a healthy drink, and immediately ran into this CNN piece highlighting research on soda. These are data from Harvard, and it's crazy. 

Get this: 
Sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to more than 180,000 obesity-related deaths worldwide each year, according to new research presented this week at an American Heart Association conference.

"This means about one in every 100 deaths from obesity-related diseases is caused by drinking sugary beverages," says study author Gitanjali Singh, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health.

It sounds like what they're saying is NOT that sodas kill you. However, if your goal is to become obese, they can definitely help you with that. If you want to "live large", "go big or go home", turn to sugar sweetened beverages to help you out there. 

As you approach your massiveness objective, you're more and more likely to die of a heart attack. What the Harvard guys did is the rigorous epidemiology math to show that your death will be linked directly to the sodas you consumed to get you there. 

Make sense? 



From the CNN story: 
Recently the American Heart Association came out with a scientific statement about sugar intake and heart health because it says there is new evidence about the relationship between the two. The statement says some research has found a link between sugar consumption and cardiovascular disease, while other research has not found a direct link.

The AHA says that the best way to maintain a healthy weight and to decrease the risk of heart disease is to eat a healthy diet and to limit added sugar to no more than 100 calories a day for women and 150 for men.

Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the main source of added sugars in the American diet, according to the statement. One 12-ounce regular soda contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and has about 140 calories.

Sugary drinks linked to 180,000 deaths worldwide - CNN.com

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

National Walking Day: 5 Ways Walking Helps To Relieve Stress


I love it that we have a National Walking Day. It's crazy, though, that every day is National Drive To Work And Sit In Your Car day.

This article is a good summary of some benefits of walking. And the bottom line is that walking can seem for some people like something they HAVE to do, rather than a gift, a miracle, that they GET to do.

But as soon as you can't walk any more, as soon as you have to be cared for by your family and friends because you can get your self, under your own power, from A to B ... you are going to miss this most pedestrian (pun entirely intended) activity.

If you want to be able to walk when you're old, to be in charge of your own movement. Walk now. Walk often. The more you walk, the more you can walk.

That would make every day National I Am Blessed To Be Able To Walk day.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Future of Chocolate


About that chocolate processing. Good summary article from a woman who is a strong proponent of bee colonies. She didn't add, though, the interesting way bees interacted with chocolate traditionally.



Perhaps the very first additive flavor put into chocolate was actually vanilla, which is derived from an orchid that must be pollinated by bees. This was one of the early hurdles to bringing chocolate to the old world from new. Sure, you could bring the plants (cocao trees and Vanilla orchids), but you couldn't bring the ecosystem, the bees, and replicate the environment. Grrr.



But by the mid-1800's, it was discovered that you could hand-pollinate the flower -- which is wicked time consuming, frees the need for bees, and a main reason it's expensive. In the native ecosystem, you need bees. However, once they figured out how to do it by hand, only THEN could they distribute it globally as a flavoring for their beloved chocolate.



Isn't it funny that chocolate and vanilla are often seen as opposites. However, from the very very beginning, they were married and melded into one delicious, makes-you-moan-out-loud food of wonderfulness.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Health Benefits Of Eggs


Eggs are good food! The idea that they are not good for you came from nutritional theory about the effect of cholesterol, not from an observation that egg-eating leads to heart attacks (see my interview re: eggs www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuvdNoV79Hc).



For example, the culture with the healthiest hearts on Earth are, in this order, Taiwan, China, Japan (#heart attack deaths/100,000 people).



The culture which eats the most eggs per person per year is, in this order, Taiwan, China, Japan (363/person/yr, 360/person/yr, 358/person/yr). That's approximately 1 egg per day, which agrees with the recommendations from the Nurses Health Study from Harvard.



With all your leftover eggs from this past weekend, you should make deviled eggs -- they're "angelic"!!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Savory Coconut Milk Recipes To Spice Up Winter's End (PHOTOS)


Coconut milk is amazing. And if you read the research on its health effects, well in can be all things to all people.



For example, this research (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10948851) showed how terrible it is for your lipid profile and therefore your heart. "the possible negative effects of the saturated fatty acids ... from all coconut constituents suggest that the coconut milk, oil and cream should not be used on a regular basis in adults."



And, because objective science always makes sense, this research (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15329324) showed just how wonderful that very same coconut oil is for you lipid profile, and therefore your heart. "The results demonstrated the potential beneficiary effect of virgin coconut oil in lowering lipid levels in serum and tissues and LDL oxidation by physiological oxidants."



It's good for you, it's bad for you. How confusing!



So, while they're figuring out who's study beats who's ... just take the coconut milk and use it to make polenta. It's amazing, and dirt simple. Use a ratio of coconut milk to corn meal of 1:3. Bring the milk to a simmer, sprinkle in the corn meal, stirring, a little at a time until it's all in. Add a little butter, salt, pepper, and if you have peppered salami, chop it up in there and your heart will be truly happy indeed!!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, April 01, 2013

Oleocanthal, Compound In Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Could Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease


I love this study showing that the phenols in EVOO may be protective against Alzheimers. And NO, this study is not definitive proof, and YES there is more research work to be done. That said, this report is pretty good, and supports other research saying the same thing.



Nice summary here: "Olive oil phenols and neuroprotection." www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23406576



In the recent research showing that adherence to a Mediterranean Diet lowered your risk of stroke and death by ~30% (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23432189), participants were to consume 4 extra tablespoons of EVOO every day (or an ounce of nuts, such as walnuts and hazelnuts). Every day!



Again, there is a very strong association between EVOO consumption and optimal health. And I am well aware that these data are all correlations, and not shown to be causal yet. But it does seem that there are so very many accumulating data points showing a relationship between extra virgin olive oil and good health ... just do a quick pubmed search and prepare to be inundated.



I believe we should do what healthy people do -- those who commonly consume EVOO, for example -- and not wring our hands in worry over it, just because it doesn't fit someone's theoretical models about fat consumption.



The bottom line is this: find success. Do that. Because if you do what healthy people do, you will get their results. Even if those healthy people are taking EVOO every day.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Our new website is almost ready!

I'm so psyched!! This is the look of our new website ... which will go LIVE by the end of the week!! 

We've added lots of new stuff, tracking, community, you can create your own news feed ... it's pretty cool. 

Once it gets on its feet, I'm going to open it up to the public so everyone can take a look!! 

I'll let you guys know once it's opened up. Talk to you soon!!

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Get Needled to improve your allergy symptoms ... just a bit.


(Reuters Health) - Acupuncture may help improve seasonal allergy symptoms in some people with runny noses and watery eyes, according to a new study - but the effect seems to be small.
Researchers found 71 percent of people reported an improvement in their allergies after eight weeks of acupuncture. But so did 56 percent of allergy sufferers who were treated with sham acupuncture instead as a comparison.
"It works, but there are a couple of caveats (for) people who might think of using it," said Dr. Harold Nelson, who treats allergies at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado.
For example, "This is pretty invasive, particularly when you compare it to something like spraying a nasal steroid in your nose once a morning," he told Reuters Health. It's also more time consuming, and requires finding a qualified, licensed acupuncturist, he noted.
"I wouldn't personally go that route," he said.
Previous studies have conflicted on whether acupuncture may help relieve runny noses and other seasonal allergy symptoms, researchers wrote Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Led by Dr. Benno Brinkhaus from Charite-University Medical Center in Berlin, Germany, they randomly assigned 422 people with seasonal allergies to receive real or sham acupuncture or to only take antihistamines as needed.
After eight weeks and 12 treatment sessions, average allergy symptom scores dropped among people in the acupuncture group from 2.7 to 1.7 points on a 0-to-6 scale, where lower scores indicate fewer symptoms.
Among patients treated with sham acupuncture, symptom scores improved from 2.3 to 1.8 points, and from 2.5 to 2.2 in the medication-only group.
However, by another eight weeks after treatment ended, there was no longer any difference in the degree of symptom improvement between groups.
People with allergies would likely notice about a half-point change on the symptom scale in their daily lives, the researchers said - the difference between the real and sham acupuncture groups after eight weeks in the current study.
Researchers aren't sure why it might help people with seasonal allergies, other than its possible beneficial effect on the immune system.
Nelson, who wasn't involved in the new study, said antihistamines might not have been the best drug comparison for acupuncture - since daily use of nasal steroids is better at preventing symptoms.
For people with allergies, "I would suggest they use conventional medication on a daily basis, and I certainly prefer nasal steroids over antihistamines," he said.
But medication doesn't work perfectly for everyone, the researchers pointed out.
"We mostly saw patients in our outpatient practice who have had this disease for years," Brinkhaus told Reuters Health. "They are not very happy taking the medications every day, and some of them suffer from side effects of medications."
For those people, acupuncture could be a good add-on option, said Brinkhaus, an acupuncturist and internal medicine doctor.



Will Clower Audicles Will Clower Recipes For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Friday, January 04, 2013

How To Walk Back Rising Healthcare Costs

Politicians futz and fume over rising healthcare costs, honestly seeming like schoolyard children sometimes. Short of putting them in "Time Out", I have a suggestion that is super cost effective as well as being, well, just effective! 

Take STROKE as an example. 

Here's The Economic Cost of Stroke Every Year

How To Reduce Those Treatment Costs
  • Women who walked briskly for 210 minutes or more per week (that's only 30 minutes per day for only 6 days per week!!) had a lower stroke risk than inactive women
  • This translated to a whopping 43 percent reduction in stroke risk (article just pubbed in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke. Full Article is here)

Cost of the "prevention medicine"? 

  • Maybe $25 for a pair of shoes

Cost savings? 

  • 42 Billion, 999 Million, 999 Thousand, 975 dollars

This amounts to a 171.9 BILLION PERCENT return on investment (ROI). Investors hope, hope, hope for a consistent return of 10% or so. If you could produce a 171.9 billion percent return ... every year ... you would have a winning formula. 

Maybe we should start with that. Just thinking out loud.



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