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Friday, June 4, 2010

Learning can be fun... (for me, at least)...Part 1

Today I went to a Women's Health Conference and heard an amazing speaker.  His name was Dr. Mark Moyad and he works in the field of Alternative Medicine at The University of Michigan. He addressed MANY different questions about diets, dietary supplement and alternative therapies.  His talk was funny, informative, and frankly, he was one of the best speakers I have ever heard.  I was so excited about what I learned that I couldn't wait to share it with all of you.  So below are some of the highlights, a top 10 if you will.  Divided by 2 so you are not overwhelmed.  His ideas, interpreted by me.  So here goes starting with the first 5, check back tommorow for part deux.

1.  LESS IS MORE.  Supplements can lead to toxicites and just like anything else, too much of a good thing is bad.  So, look at your diet.  Look at your vitamins.  Figure out what you are eating and what you are missing before you beging supplementing.  Talk to your doctor before starting a vitamin with more than 100% of any of the ingredients. Too much may lead to toxicities which have real consequences (ie. too much selenium can cause diabetes, too much vitamin E can thin your blood).

Of interest, Dr. Moyad's vitamin of choice for himself?  A children's multi-vitamin.  Because it does not exceed the RDA of any one ingredient.

2. This industry is a business.   A BIG business.  Americans spend 22 BILLION (with a B) on dietary supplements yearly and another 13 Billon on other alternative therapies.  So if you don't think that they are trying to sell you something...think again.

3.  Where is the oversight? Alternative therapies, supplements etc. are not subject to the same scrutiny under the FDA as our pharmaceuticals. They can, and do, make claims that are unsubstantiated.  The best way to evaluate ANY drug is to test it against a placebo (or sugar pill).  WHY?  Because there IS a mind body connection that does crazy things and some of their results may be merely a placebo effect.  Some examples he sited...

  • 25% of patients with Erectile Dysfunction will improve with sugar pill
  • Sugar pill results in a net weight loss of 6 pounds in clinical studies
  • 42% of patients with hair loss, yes, hair loss, respond to placebo


So, buyer beware!  You may benefit from these products, but you may also benefit just by believing that they are actually working.

4.  Its all about the heart.  Cardiovascular disease has been the #1 killer of men and women for the last 108 out of 109 years (only outmatched one year by the INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC).  So, we NEED to focus on cardiovascular health.  And luckily, what is heart healthy tends to make brains healthy, joints healthy, skin healthy, breasts healthy...etc.  So if you want to pick one "diet", think about a heart healthy one like the DASH diet.

And, as it turns out, all supplements and drugs for that matter also need to be either heart healthy or "heart neutral" to be beneficial.  If they are not, you will hear about it.  Every night on the news.  This is our number one killer and if a supplement or drug messes with the heart, it will increase deaths and will then have black box warnings or be pulled from the market.  Case in point, Vioxx.

5.  A MIRACLE DRUG? Would you be willing to take the following PILL if it were free and had NO side effects?  Here's what it does...

  • Reduces premature death by 30-50%
  • Reduces heart disease and osteoporosis by 40-50%
  • Reduces stroke, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer by 30-50%
  • Reduces breast cancer by 20-30%
  • Reduces depression by 50%, better than ANY anti-depressant...


So, would you take it?  I'm in....

    Oh, by the way, this is available TODAY.  Its just not a pill.  It's EXERCISE! So go for it!

    That is part one of two.  Stay tuned for part 2 to learn more about living healthy.  Will this be you?