Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Watch Out: "Corn Sugar" On its Way Into Your Kitchen

Earlier this month, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petitioned the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow food and beverage manufacturers to label high fructose corn syrup ‘corn sugar.'

Do you believe this? Instead of doing something about the problems caused by High-Fructose Corn Syrup in childhood and adult obesity, this "association" is doing all they can to confuse the issue, by getting a new name and brand for the same old product.

Corn Sugar is simply High Fructose Corn Syrup. Don't be fooled. Avoid it like the plague.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Omega 3 Products Vary Dramatically in "Bioavailability"

I know that you are probably taking fish oil supplements, because anyone reading this site is particularly health-savvy. But did you know that there is a great deal of difference in the "bioavailability" of the different kinds of fish oil products?

First off, let me explain what this term means. Many times when we take our vitamins and supplements only a fraction of the ingredients actually get ingested and used by our body. Much of the vitamin pill, or omega-3 supplement, goes right out the digestive tract and exits the body. In other words, the "bioavailability" of the supplement isn't very high. This happens all the time with certain products like Co-Q 10, fish oil, and even certain herbs. Some manufacturers include additional ingredients in with their products to ensure that more of the actual product becomes available to the body. For example, I take a Co-Q 10 that has a substance added to it that increases it's absorbability. Another product with improved absorption is Verde Botanica's Rhodiola product, Mind Body & Spirit, which contains a trace amount of a clinically-tested ingredient made from an extract of pepper, and this increases the bioavailability -- making the Rhodiola effect much more noticeable.

But in fish oil, it's always been questionable which variety of oil has the most impact on the body. Now, a new report shows that a certain type of processing of the oil can improve its bioavailability as much as 50%. That form of oil is called ""re-esterified triglycerides." That's a mouthful, but basically if you ask your supplier how they process their omega 3 oils, they'll be able to answer you, and it will be one of three types.

These various forms of fish oil include free fatty acids (FFA), ethyl esters (EE) or as re-esterified triglycerides (rTG). The latter term refers to products made from fish body oil in which the approximate 30 percent TG content is transferred to ethyl esters and then molecularly distilled to remove the short chain and the saturated fatty acids increasing the EPA and DHA contents to around 60 percent. This is a long way of saying that researchers using different oils have found that if you take one additional step in the processing of that oil, you can give the product 50% more bang for the buck.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Want to Kill Garlic Mouth?

The BBC has recently reported that drinking a glass of milk can stop garlic breath.

It seems that there are sulphur compounds in garlic which make it particularly difficult on the breath. If you are worried about this problem, there may be relief in your refrigerator. "Drink a glass of milk" say scientists who claim it can stop the lingering odor issues.

In tests with raw and cooked garlic cloves, milk "significantly reduced" levels of the sulphur compounds that give garlic its flavor and pungent smell. This research recently showed up in the Journal of Food Science. They say it is the water and fat in milk that deodorizes the breath.

For optimum effect, drink a glass of the milk as you eat the food with garlic, they say. For me, that's tough, because often the food containing garlic goes better with a glass of fine wine than it does with milk.

Mixing milk with garlic in the mouth before swallowing had a higher odor neutralizing effect than drinking milk after eating the garlic in the trial that scientists performed. And full-fat milk provided better results than skimmed milk or just water, according to breath samples taken from a volunteer.

Although garlic is good for you - containing several vitamins and minerals - once eaten, it can cause bad breath and body odor lasting hours or even days.

Plain water, and some foods, such as mushrooms and basil, may also help neutralize garlic smells, the study authors Sheryl Barringer and Areerat Hansanugrum say.

But it is the mixture of fat and water together that works best, the Ohio State University team say.

"The results suggest that drinking beverages or foods with higher water and/or fat content such as milk may help reduce the malodorous odour in breath after consumption of garlic and mask the garlic flavor during eating," they say.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blown out rotator cuffs? New surgeries can help!

I can hardly lift my arms up over my shoulders, and just reaching into the back seat of the car can send shooting pain throughout the entire side of my body. For me, I've been living with the pain, but now I've read that there are some solutions to what is called a "rotator cuff injury."

A new study conducted at Rush University Medical Center has shown that minimally invasive, or arthroscopic, surgery can significantly improve pain and function for people like me. The most difficult persons to treat, however, have been senior citizens, because these older adults often have had complications. Surgeons often recommend against surgery for seniors because circulation and bone quality are poorer. Many elderly patients also often have other diseases that can compromise the healing process. But the arthroscopic surgery in the cases studied proved remarkably successful.

The study has just been published online in Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery and will appear in the October issue.

"In people over the age of 70, pain is the main issue, and pain relief is a fairly reliable outcome after surgery," said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nikhil Verma, who led the study. "Patients do not require that their shoulder function be fully restored. They just want the pain to be gone." Verma is assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Rush.

Tears in the rotator cuff, the complex of four muscles that stabilize the back of the shoulder joint, occur in about 20 percent of the population over the age of 65 and typically result from chronic degenerative changes. The tears in the musculature cause considerable pain and loss of range of motion.

A total of 39 patients over the age of 70 underwent surgery to repair full-thickness tears in the rotator cuff after more conservative treatment, such as pain medication and debridement to remove fragments of tissue, had failed. The patients were followed for two years after surgery and their shoulder function was compared with that of similar individuals of the same age who had healthy, normal shoulders.

Their range of motion improved significantly -- no longer did reaching across the table, or into the back seat of the car, send pain raging through their limbs. Patients were able to raise their arm in front and rotate it to the side – something that for many was difficult or impossible before the surgery. Muscle strength also improved. Pain was reduced significantly in 96 percent of the patients, many of whom had undergone the surgery because their pain was so bad they were unable to sleep. Almost all the patients reported improved function in their shoulder, and 94 percent said they were satisfied and would undergo the surgery again if they had to make the decision over.

When these post-operative results were viewed in light of the normal aging process, the majority of individuals had a shoulder that functioned nearly as well as a healthy shoulder for that age group and gender.