Coffee drinkers seem to live longer

Coffe seems like one of those things that scientists can’t make up their minds about. Like chocolate, or whether koalas are cute or terrifying. To be fair, the way reporters cover coffee studies does make it feel like every coffee researcher out there changes their mind every few years. But the medical community has held pretty much the same position for years now: coffee is, if anything, good for you.

The question isn’t whether your caffeine habit is beneficial, the question is how much it actually helps you. And if we’re going by this latest study, published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the answer is… not a ton. Yes, it does cut your risk of getting liver cancer. Yes, it seems to protect against various digestive diseases. Maybe it helps you fight cardiovascular disease or even cancer, though those connections are less clear. But the margins of improvement here are fairly tiny. And oh yeah, we’re talking about correlations here. Yes, people who drink coffee tend to live ever-so-slightly longer—but we don’t really know that it’s the coffee that does it. Coffee drinkers could have plenty of other things in common that contribute to health

Vegetarian diets aren’t necessarily more healthy

Eliminating meat from a terrible diet doesn’t really make it any healthier, according to a study released today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In fact, the study found that participants whose mostly-plant-based diets (think vegetarian or vegan) included a lot of processed foods, such as sugary beverages and French fries, were more likely to develop heart disease or die during the study period than people who avoided processed food—even if that meant eating a little meat.

Previous studies have found that people who adhere to vegetarian or vegan dietshave better cardiovascular health. President Bill Clinton, who was once famous for jogs that detoured through McDonalds, went vegan to cope with heart disease. But those studies tend to lump all plant-based diets together into one group. The real world is a little more complicated.

“These studies of vegetarian and vegan diets haven’t distinguished between different qualities of plant food,” says lead author Ambika Satija, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. “Certain plant foods, like whole grains and fruits and vegetables, are associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But other

Lodized Salt

According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, tests have shown that the population in the United States is “iodine sufficient.” Most Americans who eat a varied diet get enough iodine even if they don’t use iodized salt. They are at little risk of iodine deficiency, which can lead to goiters (swollen thyroid glands in the neck) and dwarfism and is a leading cause of mental impairment worldwide.

However, some pregnant women are at risk of low iodine levels, which potentially endanger their babies. The need for iodine increases during pregnancy, and women who do not eat dairy products or do not take the vitamin supplements that doctors typically prescribe are at risk.

Other than iodized salt, sources of iodine include fish, dairy products, grains (including bread) and fruits and vegetables. Fish get it from the ocean floor and seaweed, and plants get it from growing in soil with iodine in it. That’s why it is present in the grass that cows eat, which then shows up in cow’s milk and dairy foods.

Iodine is also added to some cow feeds, and it is used in disinfectants

My Mom Was Feeling Run Down

My mom is not the type of person to stay inactive for very long. She may be in her 70s, but age has not slowed her down at all. If anything, she is more active in some ways. When I went to visit her not long ago, she was actually taking a nap. I was surprised because I had never known her to do that other than when she is sick, which she assured me she was not. I had been trying to get her to see my chiropractor in San Rafael for some time, because I knew what a difference he had made in my own life.

She was very resistant though, mostly because she just was not familiar with what they could do. When she told me she was feeling run down and low on energy, I knew that one of two things was probably going on.

Protein Foods that Fight Disease & Boost Weight Loss

1. Natto

Natto is a type of fermented soybean consumed most often in Japan. At 31 grams of protein in one cup, you can probably see why it ranked No. 1 on my list. It’s also a complete protein.

While I don’t recommend most soy products to my readers (due to the high prevalence of GMO options and phytoestrogen complications), natto is a fermented soy product that I think is worth the hype.

The smell and texture of natto often turn off people to trying it, but I enjoy the taste and don’t mind using it as a side dish — especially with all the benefits it provides.

2. Spirulina

This algae superfood looks a little bizarre, but this plant protein powerhouse has some unbelievable benefits, like heavy metal detox, HIV/AIDS improvement and cancer prevention.

While not a complete protein on its own, spirulina has a whopping 39 grams of protein in just a serving (part of why it’s a delicious part of a morning green smoothie). To supplement the methionine and cysteine it’s missing, just pair it with a whole grain or some nuts.

Spirulina also includes the highest amount of glutamine found in a plant food. Glutamine is an amino acid that is

Killing Lyme Disease Better than Standard Antibiotics,

Stevia kills Lyme disease? While it sounds too good to be true, there is legitimate evidence suggesting a beneficial stevia side effect could include killing Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen responsible for Lyme disease. Here, we’ll dive in to the University of New Haven study that opened our eyes to the stevia herb’s possible Lyme-killing properties, what’s happened since that study’s release in 2015 and if it’s too soon to recommend stevia as a Lyme treatment in humans.

Lyme is a stealthy infection, commonly called “The Great Imitator” because its symptoms often mimic other ailments like thyroid disease, lupus, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Complicating matters, most doctors’ offices rely on the ELISA test when Lyme is first suspected, even though some studies indicate the test misses up to 50 percent of Lyme cases. Most people never recall a tick bite or see Lyme’s telltale bull’s eye rash, either. Now, if you are a Lyme patient who actually is properly diagnosed, getting effective treatment is a challenge, too. According to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, no study has ever shown that a short course of antibiotics effectively treats the infection. (1)

Clearly, we need better options. A 2015 study published in the European Journal

Whether fasting can lose weight?

Alternate Day Fasting vs. Intermittent Fasting (or Time-Restricted Eating)

Technically, alternate day fasting is just another type of intermittent fasting. The most popular type of intermittent fasting is time-restricted eating (TRE). When you follow TRE, you limit your eating to a certain window of time — perhaps 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. — and refrain from eating the rest of the time. Using this example, your fasting time would be 18 hours a day.

Time-restricted eating seems to seriously affect the hormone levels that regulate our metabolism, blood sugar and fat-burning — in a good way, and it’s often combined with a ketogenic diet to affect significant weight loss. See, our bodies prefer working on a regular, clock-like schedule to maintain necessarily bodily functions. When you spend the day grazing through meals and snacks, it’s not really sure what’s happening: Will you be eating again in a few hours, or can it get started on the necessary repairs and maintenance?

But when you’re practicing time-restricted eating, the body learns that it’s on a schedule and that it can maximize those fasting hours to get stuff done. The results are higher fat burning, lower levels of inflammation (which is at the root of most diseases!) and more stable blood sugar

Chemicals in Mac and Cheese

The coalition sent 30 U.S. purchased, unopened mac and cheese packages to an independent lab. Nine of those included products from the market leader in packaged mac and cheese. The report did not name all of the brands in the study, but focused on this particular cheese product because researchers recently identified diary as the No. 1 food source of phthalates.

Here are the major takeaways of the chemicals-in-mac-and-cheese testing:

  • These packaged mac and cheese products are laden with phthalates.
  • Lab testing confirmed 10 different phthalates in the samples.
  • One single product even tested positive for six different phthalates.
  • 89 percent of the market-leading products tested contained phthalates.
  • Phthalates levels were about four times higher in macaroni and cheese powder compared to cheese in other forms, like natural cheese in block form.
  • All 10 cheese powders contained toxic DEHP, one of the most harmful phthalates that’s banned in countries around the world.
  • DEHP accounted for nearly 60 percent of all phthalates found in the cheese product items that were tested. (2)

The eye-opening report highlights the need for food manufacturers to test products for phthalate contamination — and figure out how to get it out of the food system.

Phthalates are ubiquitous in

Plyometric exercise to keep your body fit

Plyometrics is a term coined by former U.S. Olympic long-distance runner, Fred Wilt and Michael Yessis, a biochemist, sports trainer and academic in 1975. While Wilt was warming up, he noticed that the Russians included different jumps into their warm-ups prior to competing. This was in stark contrast to the Americans, who warmed up with static stretching. Wilt theorized that one of the reasons the Soviets were so competitive was because of the plyometric exercises they had practiced and perfected.

Over the next few years, Wilt and Yessis would continue their work in the sport of track and field and more specifically, running. And with the help of Yuri Verkhoshansky, a fellow biochemist and sports trainer out of the Soviet Union, the pair eventually brought this information to the masses in 1984 with their first book, “Soviet Theory, Technique and Training for Running and Hurdling.” But why did Wilt and Yessis seek out Verkhoshanksy? Because of his work with the depth jump, also know as the shock method.

The depth jump is a tested plyometric exercise, which starts an athlete on a box of a chosen height. They jump off the box, quickly rebound and jump

Causes and symptoms of hepatitis b and its natural treatments

Hepatitis B is caused by a viral infection. The virus can survive outside of the body for at least seven days. During this time, it can infect a person if it enters his or her body. It can be detected within 30 to 60 days after infection. It can persist and develop into chronic hepatitis B, especially if someone is infected at a young age.

It can be transmitted or spread in several ways, including (8):

  • Perinatal transmission: One of the most common ways that it spreads in endemic areas is by transmission from mother to child at birth.
  • Exposure to infected blood: Another common cause of hepatitis B is exposure to infected blood. Transmission from an infected child to an uninfected child during the first 5 years of life is especially common. Some scenarios that put a person at risk of transmitting the virus through exposure to blood include sharing razors, toothbrushes or any sharp instruments with an infected person. If infected blood comes into contact with open sores of an uninfected person, this can spread hepatitis B.
  • Sexual transmission: Sexual transmission of hepatitis B occurs when the body fluids, such as semen or vaginal secretions, of an infected person enter the body of an uninfected person. According to

Mediterranean style diet

Meals from the sunny Mediterranean have been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and longer life, along with a reduced risk for diabetes and high blood pressure.Now you can add lowering your risk for dementia to the ever growing list of reasons to follow the Mediterranean diet or one of its dietary cousins.

New research being presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International conference in London this week found healthy older adults who followed the Mediterranean or the similar MIND diet lowered their risk of dementia by a third.
“Eating a healthy plant-based diet is associated with better cognitive function and around 30% to 35% lower risk of cognitive impairment during aging,” said lead author Claire McEvoy, of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.
McEvoy stressed that because the study was conducted in a nationally representative older population “the findings are relevant to the general public.”
“While 35% is a greater than expected decrease for a lifestyle choice, I am not surprised,” said Rudolph Tanzi, who directs the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and recently co-authored a book with Deepak Chopra on

Physical Therapy Helps Ankylosing Spondylitis

Even though medications provide much relief from AS symptoms and could even slow down its progression, physical therapy can be a valuable part of your ankylosing spondylitis care. Physical therapy components, like stretching, exercise, improving posture, and even strategies such as selecting the right mattress and workplace chair, focus in on your specific needs to improve your quality of life.

Since ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that affects your spine and functions associated with your spine, using the supporting modalities make sense, says rheumatologist Daniel Clegg, MD, chief of the division of rheumatology the University of Utah Healthcare in Salt Lake City. “Physical therapy for range of motion and posture are really important, because if you aren’t in a good posture and have the unfortunate outcome of fusing in that position, that can be even more debilitating.” Physical therapy can help maintain your quality of life, adds Dr. Clegg.

Romanian researchers screening nearly 100 people with AS confirmed that a postural assessment along with correcting any misalignments should be part of the physical therapy strategy for people with ankylosing spondylitis.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for AS

“The most important thing physical therapy can provide is helping with respect to self-management of ankylosing spondylitis,” says physical therapy expert and

Artificial sweeteners won’t help you lose weight

If you’re gonna call something “diet,” it should have to actually help you lose weight. But like dieting itself, diet foods don’t work as well in practice as they do in theory.

So put down that Coke Zero and listen up. Maybe you think the jury is still out on artificial sweeteners. Someone once told you they cause cancer. Someone else said they could help you kick your sugar habit. Yet another person claimed that only natural sweeteners are healthy, so you considered switching to stevia. Well, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that the scientific verdict on this stuff is actually pretty clear. The bad news is that none of those artificial sweeteners will help you lose weight. Oops.

This may be a revelation to you and that sanctimonious stevia sipper in your yoga class, but it’s not news to the medical community. Years of research has shown little benefit to switching from the real deal to a sugar-imitator. It’s just in the news now because of a meta-analysis published on Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. A meta-analysis is basically when a group of researchers search for all the studies done on a certain topic and gather them to see whether there’s some overarching consensus. In this case, they searched

Vaccines could help the immune system fight cancer

The two teams of researchers conducted independent Phase I trials of personalized vaccines designed to prime the patients’ immune systems against melanomas, a category of skin cancers. In a scientific double whammy, both studies found that their vaccines—sometimes in combination with other immunotherapies—were able to prevent recurrence of the cancers in nearly all their subjects.

“We can safely and feasibly create a vaccine that is personalized to an individual’s tumor,” says Catherine Wu, senior author of one of the studies and associate professor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “It’s not one-size-fits-all—rather, it’s tailored to the genetic composition of the patient’s tumor.”

Wu carried out her study with colleagues in Boston at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute. The other study was conducted in parallel by researchers in Germany, led by study first author Ugur Sahin, the co-founder and CEO of BioNTech, a biotechnology company that focuses on personalized immunotherapy treatments.

Both studies targeted the same type of cancer: melanoma. These skin cancers (best known for their link to UV radiation from tanning) are a good first target, Wu says, because scientists have a good understanding of the mutations that cause them. These mutations are the key, says Mathias Vormehr, a co-author on

sleep problems

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, maybe you can rest easy knowing that if you just had a sense of purpose in life, you’d already be dreaming. But probably not. In all likelihood, that anxiety-inducing thought is actually going to make it harder for you to get enough sleep. That’s not stopping some neurologists from recommending “purpose” as a solution to your insomnia.

That may sound ridiculous to you. Good! You’re appropriately skeptical. You may have recently seen some far-fetched headlines about drifting into dreamland more quickly once you find your purpose in life, and you may have even read some of the attached articles. So let’s talk about the actual study behind all this coverage.

These findings found their way into trending Google News headlines by way of Northwestern’s School of Medicine, where three neurologists decided to take a look at whether a sense of purpose correlated with better sleep quality. Their results were published in Sleep Science and Practice on Monday. The study involved a lot of statistical analysis, but it basically relies on two things: a survey that attempts to quantify whether a person has a purpose in life, and a survey that attempts to quantify sleep quality. Both rely on self-reporting, meaning that study subjects

Mac-n-cheese isn’t more toxic than other foods

There’s one meal guaranteed to meet the needs of picky toddlers, harried parents, and broke college students alike, it’s mac-n-cheese. Whether you prefer the classic stuff in the blue box or the organic brand famous for its pasta bunnies, you probably realize that mac-n-cheese isn’t healthy, exactly. But given the fast food alternatives, we tell ourselves, it’s isn’t that bad. And yet, because everything we love is secretly conspiring to kill us, a recent report suggests that each serving of America’s favorite processed cheese food also serves up a hefty dose of phthalates, a class of chemicals increasingly thought to interfere with the body’s hormones. But does this mean that you should give up eating that orange goo?

Phthalates, which includes chemicals such as di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and Diethyl phthalate (DEP), help make rigid plastics more flexible and less breakable. In cosmetics, phthalates help chemical components better bind to each other. Unfortunately, a growing body of research links them to genital birth defects, the disruption of some hormones, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems.

Thanks to a 2008 bill, phthalates are now banned in the production of children’s products (like toys). But they’re still abundant. You’ll find phthalates in vinyl flooring, aftershave, nail polish, and increasingly in

Vitamins D

Vitamins seem like something you can’t have too much of. Like too much ice cream on a sticky summer day—sure, you can technically go overboard, but the limit is so high, and what’s the worst thing that happens anyway? And unlike ice cream, we know that vitamins help keep us healthy.

But just like ice cream, vitamin D can have negative side effects when taken in large doses, the impacts can really sneak up on you, and obesity is a concern. Really.

The tricky thing about “medicines” like vitamin D is that you don’t immediately overdose on them. If you take too much Tylenol, you end up in the hospital pretty fast. That giant vitamin capsule isn’t likely to land you in the ER tomorrow or even a month from now. But vitamin D, unlike many of the other vitamins you may be taking, is fat soluble. That means that if you take too much of it, you won’t just pee it out like you would a water soluble vitamin. Instead of being carried out in your body’s wastewater, the vitamin will cling to your body fat for later use—which can compound the effects of daily overdosing. But it’s easy to think of supplements as harmless

England’s Health Experiment

England is in the midst of a unique national experiment, the world’s most ambitious effort to treat depression, anxiety and other common mental illnesses.

The rapidly growing initiative, which has gotten little publicity outside the country, offers virtually open-ended talk therapy free of charge at clinics throughout the country: in remote farming villages, industrial suburbs, isolated immigrant communities and high-end enclaves. The goal is to eventually create a system of primary care for mental health not just for England but for all of Britain.

At a time when many nations are debating large-scale reforms to mental health care, researchers and policy makers are looking hard at England’s experience, sizing up both its popularity and its limitations. Mental health care systems vary widely across the Western world, but none have gone nearly so far to provide open-ended access to talk therapies backed by hard evidence. Experts say the English program is the first broad real-world test of treatments that have been studied mostly in carefully controlled lab conditions.

The demand in the first several years has been so strong it has strained the program’s resources. According to the

Scrutinizing city sewage to study our health

Sewage offers a few advantages as a pool of information. For one thing, it’s anonymous. And yet it captures a little something from everyone. “You can pretty much guarantee that most people are going to be using the sewer system,” says Dan Burgard, an environmental analytical chemist at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

And it’s fast. To find out about health and drug use, researchers typically rely on surveys and data collected by hospitals or during arrests. “There’s often a substantial lag time, as many as two or three years sometimes, before that data become available,” says Kevin Bisceglia, an environmental chemist at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Besides, “If you ask someone about their illegal behavior they’re not necessarily going to tell you accurately.”

Sewage offers a more immediate—and honest—snapshot of what the city is up to. “Sometimes a million people or more are represented in a single 24-hour sample,” Halden says.

He and his colleagues have examined how chemicals in our waste can seep into the environment. In 2002, they found that triclocarban, an ingredient in antibacterial soaps, was not broken down during wastewater treatment. It showed up in sewage sludge, the solid muck left after treatment

Develop ‘Utterly Transformative’ Gene Therapies

The approval of gene therapy for leukemia, expected in the next few months, will open the door to a radically new class of cancer treatments.

Companies and universities are racing to develop these new therapies, which re-engineer and turbocharge millions of a patient’s own immune cells, turning them into cancer killers that researchers call a “living drug.” One of the big goals now is to get them to work for many other cancers, including those of the breast, prostate, ovary, lung and pancreas.

“This has been utterly transformative in blood cancers,” said Dr. Stephan Grupp, director of the cancer immunotherapy program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and a leader of major studies. “If it can start to work in solid tumors, it will be utterly transformative for the whole field.”

But it will take time to find that out, he said, at least five years.

This type of treatment is now also being studied in glioblastoma, the aggressive brain tumor that Senator John McCain was found to have this week. Results of a study at the University of Pennsylvania, published Wednesday, were mixed. In the first 10 patients treated there, one has lived more