WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES
Yo! All kinds of news you’ll want to check out today, Apples. Here’s the best of it:
Bite My MDA
The FDA says it wants stricter warnings on the dangers of over-the-counter pain pills like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxin sodium. Since thousands of people die every year from painkiller-related problems (even when following dosage directions!), this is a good thing, but we’re still not forgiving the FDA for what we feel is a moronic decision yesterday to allow Celebrex for tiny tots. It’s not at all about being anti-drug – drugs serve a tremendously important role in improving human health and survival. But we think it’s short-sighted to approve the prescription of a very problematic drug to the wee ones.
There’s no clear-cut data on just how many people die from painkillers, according to the FDA. Sure. If you believe that, you’ll also believe the FDA’s claim that they wanted to issue stern warnings back in 2002, but it just takes so long to write warnings. Yes, that’s right – your eyes do not deceive you. It has taken over four years to deal with this because, well, writing a few paragraphs for pill bottle labels just takes a really, really long time. We know there are things like rules, regulations, and procedures. But don’t lives take precedence? Nope – lobbyists do, and that’s why it takes so long. That’s why they get paid the big bucks, Apples.
Feed Those Kids Some Sushi!
While this is a small, simple study, it’s certainly interesting news for your little ones’ health that isn’t the least bit fishy. Read up.
Why Supplements Are Important As We Age
Here’s a good study out of Cornell University that discusses the importance of supplements for older women. Stay healthy, ladies!
Trans Fats Make It to State
First, Chicago and NYC had to start in with the fat bans. We’re still waiting on Los Angeles to join the city competition, but in the meantime, an entire state – Massachusetts – is all set to ban trans fats, too. They always have to be first, don’t they? However, we’re glad to see the trans fat issue finally getting some serious political sizzle (we know, we know…bad pun).
The latest study doesn’t look good for black cohosh. Here’s the clickativity.
Our take: The study was performed by the National Institutes of Health (your friendly government agency), and looked at just over 300 women – so, not exactly a conclusive study. However, size does not always matter – a good study is a good study. The researchers found that women taking black cohosh for hot flashes had a half-episode less per day than women on the placebo treatment. This marginal difference might be enough for some women to take the herbal supplement, but it’s not significant enough to pass scientific muster (and that’s really a good thing – that’s why science rocks).
Black cohosh has been used for hundreds of years and was a traditional Native American medicine. If you suffer from hot flashes and find that black cohosh has helped you, there’s probably nothing to worry about as it is a fairly harmless herb (though it can cause headaches and stomach discomfort in some).
The study designers did state that the jury’s not out and larger studies need to be conducted.
About a year and a half ago, a big study was released on echinacea. The report was that the herb did nothing to prevent or alleviate cold and flu viruses. The study was certainly well-designed: participants were locked up dorm-style in a completely controlled environment for the duration of the study. But despite the strict parameters, the scientists forgot something: the echinacea plant has different parts that can be utilized for medicinal purposes. Because herbal supplements are not regulated the same way as drugs are regulated, the type of echinacea in the assortment at your local GNC can literally vary from bottle to bottle. Other studies testing different sources of echinacea have proven a benefit. It just goes to show that “the latest study” is almost never the last word.
WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES
Howdy! Here’s the latest & greatest from the world of health news (of course, with our views):
Where Studies Get Tricky
More breast cancer news. A study of about 2,400 women found that non-hormone-receptor breast cancer survivors who ate 20% fat in their diets had a lesser chance of cancer relapse than those who ate just under 30% fat in their diets. The lower-fat group had 238 relapses, while the higher-fat group had 302 relapses. What’s unclear about this is if the weight loss is what spurred better survival rates, or the actual percentage intake of fat. Or, if there were other factors unforseen (smoking rates, family history, pregnancies). Or, if a difference of about 60 is enough to make a claim. This is where studies get difficult…clickativity. Let’s discuss, Apples.
Food Poisoning? I’ll Take That to Go, Thanks.
Again? Seriously, again? We’re starting to think restaurants just really hate their customers.
It’s a Good Day for Alcohol…Is That a Good Thing?
We’re not exactly impressed. Liquor is medicine now? (Well, it is a drug…)
We still say be careful with the alcohol hype. Better to get your antioxidants from something that can’t also poison you (like a good multivitamin). However, because we’re big proponents of moderation here at the MDA, we do agree that a glass of wine with dinner is probably nothing to worry about, and may even be good for you. We’re also glad to hear this news.
We’re a Little Scared to Let the Big Apple See This One
And in another genius decision, the FDA approves Celebrex for tots. Terrific. What’s especially terrific is that, while these folks voted 15-1 to approve the drug for kids, they only voted 8-7 to approve it as safe. Basically, what this boils down to is that they don’t know for sure that it’s safe, but they’re going to allow it anyway, and Celebrex has to keep tabs on the situation. While we would like to believe that Celebrex has kids’ best interests at heart, that’s kind of like telling a criminal who is out on parole that he should monitor himself in case he gets into trouble. Mind-boggling, is it not? Truth really is stranger than fiction.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT:
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA)
WHAT IT IS: Not to be confused with alpha linoleic acid, which is flaxseed’s famous precursor to Omega-3 fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid is an antioxidant found in the body’s cells. It works in concurrence with several other antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.
Studies show: ALA, like other antioxidants, fights free radicals that ravage the body. When free radicals attack our cells, this is known as oxidative stress, which ALA prevents. But ALA goes a step further than other antioxidants.
This compound helps to regulate blood sugar and insulin. For this reason, ALA plays a vital role in energy, health and weight maintenance. Many diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, are linked to unhealthy blood sugar and insulin production levels.
ALA is also one of the only antioxidants that is both fat and water soluble, which is just one more reason why experts consider it to be such a valuable nutrient. Studies have shown that ALA both fights oxidative stress and helps improve the metabolism. Specifically, ALA has been shown to fight the destructive free radicals that contribute to aging.
In a recent study, ALA improved energy levels significantly. And ALA helps its buddies: at least two other antioxidants have been proven to work more effectively in conjunction with ALA.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like ALA because of its potential for great energy improvement and age-fighting effects. ALA helps fight oxidation, is fat and water soluble, and improves the effectiveness of other antioxidants.
While the body does produce ALA within its cells, scientists have discovered a unique and wonderful side effect when an additional ALA supplement is taken – the ALA “free floats” to any area in the body suffering from oxidative stress, whether it be water, fat or blood. How cool is that? This is special because other antioxidants (like C and E) remain in particular cells, and often just the fatty section, at that.
Furthermore, ALA supports other antioxidants, increasing their effectiveness. And because high blood sugar and insulin irregularity are both problems for Americans, we believe ALA is crucial to managing your health. That’s why Mark includes a big dose of ALA in his world-class Damage Control Master Formula.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT:
WHAT IT IS: Quercetin is an antioxidant flavonoid present in everything from wine and tea to onions and garlic. Apples, green vegetables and leafy greens also contain this powerful antioxidant. Quercetin is particularly helpful for overworked blood vessels, meaning it may help those seeking optimal heart health.
WHAT IT DOES: Quercetin is one antioxidant of many; other flavonoid antioxidants include polyphenols, red wine’s resveratrol, and tea’s catechins. All are vital to good health. In general, antioxidants destroy the dangerous free radicals that are responsible for many health problems that have roots in cellular damage. Quercetin is unique because it does more than the typical antioxidant – in addition to destroying free radicals and supporting cardiovascular health, quercetin may boost cellular energy levels.
STUDIES SHOW: Well-documented studies show that quercetin is capable of blocking an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase (or COMT). By inhibiting this enzyme, the level of a substance called norepinephrine is raised, creating several neat effects. Scientists think some of these may include increased energy expenditure and possibly more. It’s recently been shown that quercetin appears to support LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation. This makes it a terrific supplement to support a healthy cardiovascular system.
In addition, quercetin is known to have antihistamine effects, making it a valuable antioxidant supplement for those troubled by allergies. Recent research has theorized that quercetin may also be beneficial to asthmatics for this very reason.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We really dig quercetin for its antioxidant properties and subsequent role in overall health. Since quercetin may help to fight heart problems (though this theory is not conclusive), we think it’s important for everyone.
Quercetin is also great for those with allergies because of its antihistamine effects. An important vasodilator, quercetin supports the cardiovascular system and may strengthen blood vessels. In addition, quercetin’s known ability to increase norepinephrine levels in the brain leads many scientists to believe quercetin may help to increase one’s cellular energy output. That’s one hard-working antioxidant!
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