Health News: Sun, Salt, Stents, and …Buckwheat

Here’s what we’re talking about this morning, gang. We want your two cents’ worth on:


Though you only need a few minutes’ exposure, here’s yet another compelling reason to get a little sunshine daily if you are able to take advantage of it. Vitamin D appears to help prevent both breast and colon cancer, and doctors say the best source is natural sunlight. Experts disagree about ideal exposure times. Fair-skinned recommendations range from 3 minutes to 15 minutes, while darker-skinned individuals may be fine with up to an hour of sunlight daily. Don’t fry to a crisp, though – and a tanning bed is not the same thing.


An excellent study finds that high levels of salt in processed foods are unnecessary: whether processed food has high or low levels of the preservative has no impact upon the likelihood of spoilage. This is being lauded as great news for national heart disease reduction, because processed foods can be made with less sodium yet will still be safe for consumption. Still safe for consumption? If by safe we are talking about technically edible, and if by edible we are talking about will not kill you, and if by will not kill you we are talking about will not kill you right this second, then hooray! Yay processed foods! Now they will be made with less sodium and still be safe!


This morning we observed a moment of silence for Boston Scientific’s stock prices. Researchers have discovered that drug-eluting stents increase a heart attack patient’s risk of dying by a factor of 4.7. Oops. Of heart attack survivors at a high risk for thrombosis – about one per cent of total survivors – half who use drug-eluting stents will die from complications. The experts say drug-eluting stents, which help prevent arterial narrowing, should still be used in other patients. (Note: Johnson & Johnson is also a producer of drug-eluting stents.)


Rats fed a high-cholesterol diet supplemented with buckwheat protein containing quercetin saw their cholesterol reduced (they were totally relieved). Kidding aside, this study is valuable because it suggests that a synergistic protein and quercetin dietary supplement may reduce cholesterol in humans. The take-away message here: sterols are swimming up the wrong artery. Now don’t be too sad, but you might start seeing fewer heart health claims from the middle aisles (aka the Corn Rows). We’re here for you. Of further note, this treatment exerted a significant protective effect on the colon.

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