Vitamin B may prevent atherosclerosis

Vitamin B may prevent atherosclerosisScientists believe that B vitamins have the power to lower the blood level of homocysteine, a compound that contributes to atherosclerosis.

A group of Taiwanese researchers recently conducted a study in which they divided 506 healthy people 40 – 89 years old into two groups: one which took a combination of folic acid, B12 and B6, and the other that took a placebo.

They observed that among the group that took the vitamins, the individuals with highest levels of homocysteine benefitted the most and lowered their risk of developing clinical-stage atherosclerosis.

The researchers believe that high levels of homocysteine are dangerous even in those who have normal levels of vitamin B in their blood, and suggest that those individuals use nutritional supplements.

However, they also admit that more studies need to be done to examine the exact nature of this association.

The results of the study were published in the December issue of the journal Stroke.

According to the National Institutes of Health, heart attack, to which people with atherosclerosis are particularly prone, is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
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Medical Privacy Lost in Stimulus

With the banging of the gavel in the U.S. Senate on the vote for the “Economic Stimulus” bill, your right to medical privacy vanished completely. For hidden in the minutia of the economic boondoggle was a provision to create electronic health records for every U.S. citizen. And under the law you can’t opt out.

This means that people and corporations—including insurance companies and the government—will be electronically linked together to share any information in your health records. This includes the most personal information about you like mental health treatment, surgeries and abortions, as well as whatever complaints you’ve discussed with your physician.

This moves beyond the privacy hit you took when the spuriously named Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule was passed in 1996.

Without the ability to opt out of the database “Americans’ electronic health records could be shared—without their consent—with over 600,000 covered entities through the forthcoming nationally linked electronic health records network,” said Sue A. Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom.

An equally egregious provision in the bill would require your physician to clear with the government any treatments he would prescribe to determine if they are cost-effective based on your health condition and age. Similar laws are in place in the U.K., and seniors or those with serious health problems are often denied treatment for their ailments.

For instance, at one time a person with macular degeneration was required to wait until he is blind in one eye before treatment on the other eye could begin. After a loud hue and cry by the British masses, that particular regulation was changed. But there are other similar ones in existence.

This is what is wrought when Big Brother is in charge. Nothing is private and nothing—not even your own body—is yours.

U.S. teens at risk of vitamin D deficiency, scientists warn

U.S. teens are at risk of vitamin D deficiencyA new study has suggested that one in seven American adolescents is vitamin D deficient.

To perform their analysis, researchers from the Department of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College used the recent recommendation that the minimum acceptable serum vitamin D level be raised from 11 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) to at least 20 ng/mL.

They concluded more than half of African-American teens are vitamin D deficient and girls had more than twice the risk of deficiency compared with boys.

In addition to that, overweight teens had almost double the risk of their normal-weight peers.

"These are alarming findings," says Dr. Sandy Saintonge, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics and assistant professor of clinical public health at Weill Cornell Medical College. "We need to do a better job of educating the public on the importance of vitamin D and the best ways to get it."

She suggest that a diet rich in vitamin D would includes salmon, tuna, eggs and fortified cereals. Alternatively, vitamin supplements containing 400 IU of vitamin D may be used.

Vitamin deficiency in children can lead to bone problems, including rickets, and in adults it has been linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, impaired immunity and hypertension.
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Vitamin C may prevent some types of arthritis

Vitamin C may prevent some types of arthritis Researchers believe that higher intake of vitamin C may reduce the risk of developing gout, a type of arthritis, in men.

Dr. Hyon K. Choi, currently at Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues surveyed 46,994 men between 1986 and 2006 from the point of view of vitamin C intake.

Over the 20-year period, they found that men with a daily intake of 500 to 999 milligrams had 17 percent less chance of developing gout compared to those who took less than 250 mg. Those who took more than 1,000 mg reduced their risk by 34 percent.

A daily intake of 1,500 mg was associated with a 45 percent decrease.

It is believed that the mechanism behind vitamin C’s beneficial effect lies in its ability to reduce the level of uric acid in the blood, preventing a buildup of crystal deposits in and around joints which leads to the pain, inflammation and swelling associated with gout.

"The identification of the risk factors for gout that are modifiable with available measures is an important first step in the prevention and management of this common and excruciatingly painful condition," says Dr. Choi.

The report was published in the March 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.
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Moderate alcohol consumption may still raise cancer risk

Moderate alcohol consumption may still raise cancer risk British scientists have found evidence that even moderate alcohol intake may be associated with a higher risk of developing certain types of cancer.

During the study nearly 1.3 million women were survey by Oxford University researchers about their alcohol consumption habits, and their health was subsequently tracked for seven years.

The women reported an average of one drink per day, and when the researchers compared that to those who have more than two drinks per day, they found that each extra drink increased the risk of breast, rectal and liver cancer.

In all, the researchers concluded that 13 percent of those cancers in Britain may be attributable to alcohol.

The study was reported in the March 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, but fails to settle the debate on the overall health benefits (or damage) resulting from alcohol.

For example, it found that moderate consumption in fact lowered the risk of thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and renal cell cancer.

Moreover, it did not address the conclusion of many other studies which have found heart benefits from the consumption of certain alcohol types, in particular wine.
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Two Body Acids—One in Your Stomach and One In Your Cells

Excess of acidity, or acidosis, has two meanings, depending on where the acidosis is. The pharmaceuticals have made billions leading the public to believe that “acid stomach” means we have too much stomach acid. Instead, “acid indigestion” means lack of stomach acid—not too much stomach acid. So we are persuaded, through advertising, to buy acid neutralizers (very high priced calcium tablets under many names). They destroy stomach acid and create digestive problems. The Catch-22 is that these antacids give temporary relief—confusing cause and effect.

Further, there are now super antacid pills (high priced) that actually shut down the acid pump in the stomach for 24 hours. All acid is neutralized giving symptomatic relief, but destroying the digestive capacity of the stomach. If this antacid consumption continues, assimilation of food ceases and stomach cancer eventually occurs. We might think of this tragedy as pharmaceutical chemistry.

Our stomachs are created as acid machines, which is nature’s requirement to digest food and assimilate nutrition. Any violation of this acid balance can lead only to deterioration of general health. I might add that there is a multi-trillion-dollar pharmaceutical industry that gains its profits on the destruction of stomach acid. This is a crime of manipulating people to destroy their health for big pharma profits. They propagandize us to dump calcium in an all-acid functioning stomach. The human stomach was designed to function without alkalinity.

Now where is the second acidosis? This second acidosis has to do with lack of diffusible calcium in the body cells. Lack of diffusible calcium simply means that the body—as opposed to the stomach—is too acidic. We would live less than a minute if our bodies were as acid as our stomach is by nature.

Our body tissues, to be healthy, have to be slightly alkaline or plus or minus 7.2 on the pH scale of 0 to 14. Most people who enter the hospital are low in tissue calcium. Low tissue (cell) calcium means sickness and disease. Adequate calcium in the body is anti-pathogenic.

You remember that in “The Calcium Wave: A Miracle for Me!” (Jan. 9, 2009 Personal Liberty) I revealed how I had discovered a health miracle after taking 3 tablespoons of calcium lactate powder a day in a desperate attempt to cure a long-term sub-clinical infection. In addition to curing my infection, the collateral benefit of taking large amounts of calcium lactate was a total disappearance of all symptoms of “acid indigestion,” or “heartburn.”

I should have known that these symptoms meant that my body tissues were starving for calcium. In other words, I was in a state of acidosis. Since most of our refined food diets are acid, I suspect that most people are in a state of acidosis. Our pH has to balance in favor of alkalinity for there to be health. Are we a sick people?

Death is the end result of the progressive saturation of acid in the body.

Calcium is the body’s main acid buffer. This is precisely why there is a health crisis in America. Here is the formula: Low pH=High Acidosis=Lower Oxygen in the blood and in the cells=more calcium loss (to buffer the acidosis). All the water we drink should be slightly alkaline. Tap water and bottled water are usually acidic. An easy way to correct the acidity of water is to use alkaline supplement drops to make it alkaline. It is a natural way to neutralize acidity and help the body rid itself of acidic wastes.

High acidity levels in the body lead to disease and illness. Most packaged commercial foods and drink contribute to high acidity.

Strawberries may help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol

Strawberries may help reduce cholesterol New information has emerged about the cholesterol-fighting properties of strawberries.

The sweet fruit is a known source of antioxidants which have anti-cancer benefits. But, according to a study conducted at the University of Toronto, they also help improve and maintain the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering diets.

The study looked at 28 men and women with high cholesterol who were on a diet to lower it. One half of the group was asked to add three cups of strawberries per day.

The researchers found that those who consumed strawberries showed evidence of reduced oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol. LDL is the ‘bad’ cholesterol that is even more damaging when it becomes oxidized.

It is responsible for arteriosclerosis which can lead to a heart
attack, the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S.

"As more Americans embrace healthy eating trends to promote their own health and guard against illness, these types of findings are important," says Dr. David J.A. Jenkins, the author of the study.

"Diet plays a crucial role in lowering cholesterol and including antioxidant-rich strawberries in a healthy diet is a behavior change that’s simple and delicious to make," he adds.
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Cholesterol treatment may be effective against cancer

Cholesterol treatment may be effective against cancer There may be a link between lower cholesterol levels and prostate cancer prevention, researchers from Boston have announced.

A team of scientists from Children’s Hospital fed mice a high fat/high cholesterol "Western" diet and found that high cholesterol level promoted prostate tumor growth.

They then tested an anti-cholesterol medication on the mice and found that it blocked the cholesterol-induced growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis).

According to the researchers, this suggests that reducing cholesterol levels may inhibit prostate cancer growth specifically by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis.

"We are in the process of working with clinicians to translate these findings into potential human studies," says Dr. Michael Freeman, senior author of the study.

He adds, "If we can demonstrate the effects noted in our pre-clinical studies in human patients we may be able to save lives and improve the quality of life."

Besides anti-cholesterol drugs, there are also numerous natural methods that can help patients at risk, including regular exercise and nutritional supplements.

Such supplements include niacin, omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and red yeast rice extract, many of which have the dual benefit of reducing LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, and increasing the levels of the healthy HDL.

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Report: Political contributions prevented Wall Street regulation

Political contributions prevented Wall Street regulationA new report issued by Essential Information and the Consumer Education Foundation concluded that multibillion-dollar contributions to Washington politicians have resulted in deregulatory decisions that led to the current financial crisis.

Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America reveals the financial sector hired some 3,000 lobbyists over the last ten years and invested more than $5 billion to buy political influence.

The report also found that 142 of the lobbyists the financial industry employed from 1998-2008 were previously high-ranking government officials.

"Congress and the executive branch responded to the legal bribes from the financial sector, rolling back common-sense standards [and] barring honest regulators from issuing rules to address emerging problems," says Robert Weissman of Essential Information.

He adds that the contributions also prevented enforcement of the existing rules leading to an erosion of regulation that opened the door to the bad loans and bets that now litter the financial landscape.

"Washington systematically sold out to Wall Street," concludes Harvey Rosenfield, president of the Consumer Education Foundation. "Americans were betrayed, and we are paying a high price – trillions of dollars – for that betrayal."
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Screening, exercise and diet key to colon health

Screening, exercise and diet key to colon healthAs we mark the National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, experts have offered advice on screening and proposed some simple steps that may enhance colon health into old age.

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy says that colon cancer is one of the most preventable diseases if pre-cancerous conditions are diagnosed and treated in time, and intense awareness campaigns in recent years have had a clear impact.

"The good news is that death rates are declining from colorectal cancer,” says Dr. John L. Petrini, the society’s president, "The bad news is that only about half of those who should be screened are doing so."

Meanwhile, Dr. Kim Turgeon, a gastroenterologist at the University of Michigan Health System, has drawn attention to diverticulosis, a benign condition affecting as many as one in three Americans over the age of 65.

While not dangerous in itself, diverticulosis, if not controlled, may lead to inflammation which in turn increases the risk of developing colon cancer.

According to Dr. Turgeon, lifestyle changes, such as exercise, can go a long way towards preventing or relieving symptoms associated with diverticulosis.

Moreover, people can reduce complications by keeping bowels moving well by drinking lots of fluids and making sure that their diet is rich in fiber.

For those who are unable to achieve proper fiber intake from food, nutritional supplements may be a good option.
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Probiotics an increasingly popular alternative to medications

Probiotics an increasingly popular alternative to medications Doctors have suggested that not all digestive problems are related to food consumption and not all of them need to be treated with medication. Meanwhile, a new study has found that the number of products containing probiotics has grown substantially in the past year.

A study conducted by Datamonitor, a market research firm, has found that more than 200 new food products now contain probiotics, the bacteria that normally live in the digestive tract and help improve digestive health.

Probiotics can also alleviate symptoms association with irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.

They can be found not just in yogurts but also in other dairy and non-dairy products and even sauerkraut, according to the Des Moines Register.

Meanwhile doctors from Baylor University Medical Center have suggested that not all digestive problems are related to food intake. They can also stem from factors such as stress.

For this type of digestive discomfort, they say, lifestyle chances such as exercise as well as natural remedies may be the best option.

Similarly, for those who are too busy to derive probiotic benefits from their diet, pills containing the nutritional supplement may be a good solution.

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Obama tax hikes may total $2.2 trillion

Obama tax hikes may total more than two trillionThere has been no shortage of critical voices in response to President Obama’s new budget proposal, and one organization claims there may be more than a trillion dollar in hidden taxes.

According to Gassfire.org, an organizing center for activists for traditional and conservative values, the official level of new taxation at $1 trillion may overlook as much as $1.2 trillion due to items such as carbon tax being passed off as "climate revenues."

The organization has estimated that the $645 billion in carbon taxes pushes the total tax increases in President Obama’s budget to at least $1.64 trillion.

Referring to a recent speech by President Obama, Steve Elliott, president of Grassfire.org, said, "The president is right that a ‘day of reckoning’ is coming, but that reckoning will take the form of citizens who are fed up with politicians expanding the tentacles of government deeper and deeper into our lives and our pocketbooks."

On February 26, President Obama unveiled his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2010 which predicts that government spending will reach 24.1 percent of GDP, financed by $5 trillion in new debt and $1.4 trillion in new taxes.
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Prostate Cancer—Treatment Do’s and Don’ts

Men who have prostate cancer have autoimmune disease. This means that the body begins to view the prostate as foreign and so the body attacks its own prostate. The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test reveals this self attack or malfunction of nature.

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2nd Edition, 1993) defines autoimmune disease as “a disease resulting from a disordered immune reaction in which antibodies are produced against one’s own tissues, as systemic lupus, erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis.” And we add BPH, or benign prostate hypertrophy, possibly leading to prostate cancer.

These are inflammatory diseases and doctors usually treat with immunosuppressive drugs and steroids, and yes, surgery.

So what do we “rational beings” do? Our immune system attacks our prostate and so we attack the prostate also with surgery, radium, androgen-blockage, etc. Yes, medical orthodoxy blocks testosterone production. This is in every way against prostate and cardiovascular health.

It is not our prostate’s fault so why make all out war on it?

Royal Lee, M.D., developed a product that he named Prostate Protomorphogen or Prostate product PMG. This is a uniquely formulated nucleoprotein-mineral that promotes healthy cellular division, function and growth. This product does not attack the prostate but neutralizes the attacking antibodies.

This is not a nutritional product. Its designed function is to stop the immune antibodies from attacking the prostate thereby lowering the PSA.

However the prostate does need specific nutrition such as Cataplex F, Zinc Liver Chelate, Calcium Lactate and Organic Iodine.

Vitamin D protects against prostate cancer. In one study involving 1,029 men with prostate cancer, researchers analyzed the men’s blood looking for several factors including levels of vitamin D. They found that the men with the highest levels of vitamin D had significantly lower overall risk (45 percent) of prostate cancer, including aggressive prostate cancer.

Concerns over drug companies’ political donations

Concerns over drug companies' political donationsConsumer Watchdog (CS) has revealed that politicians in Washington have received multimillion dollar donations from drug and health insurance companies.

According to CS, a nonpartisan and non-profit organization, the health industry contributed more than $5 million to the top 10 recipients in Congress during the last two election campaigns.

The organization’s breakdown shows that those recipients received $2.2 million from health insurers and $3.3 million from drug manufacturers.

Altogether, health insurers and drug manufacturers have contributed more than $24 million to the current members of the Senate and House of Representatives since 2005.

The top recipient is democratic Senator Max Baucus, a leading proponent of health care reform and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He received $183,750 from health insurance companies and $229,020 from drug companies.

"When the engineer of the health care reform train is getting more fuel from the HMOs and drug companies that any other Democrat on Capitol Hill, you have to wonder who is really driving the train and whether average Americans will be tied to the tracks," says Carmen Balber, Director of Consumer Watchdog’s Washington D.C. office.

She adds, "HMO and drug company money will sour the President’s plan for affordable, accessible health care if these industries’ backers on Capitol Hill allow their financial interests to drive the debate."
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President lifts stem cell research ban

President lifts stem cell research banOn Monday, President Obama signed an executive order reversing the Bush administration’s ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Scientists have hailed the reversal as the dawn of new hope for those suffering from currently incurable diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or spinal cord injuries.

Others, however, have called the move a triumph of politics over science and ethics.

Prior to the signing, Obama talked about the promise such research offers doctors, patients and their families. To allay the fears of his critics, he also underscored the strict ethical guidelines the administration would enforce which will prevent any abuses of the science such as human cloning.

Obama also stressed the promise of new medical technologies as an engine of economic growth.

However, not everyone was convinced. Many Republicans, conservative organizations and church representatives expressed their dismay with the policy reversal.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (Republican – Ohio) said in advance of the signing that focus should be on developing promising stem cell techniques that do not destroy human embryos.

Meanwhile, Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council called the new executive order "deadly."

The new directive supersedes the one signed in 2001 by President George W. Bush that prevented the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond the 60 cell lines that existed at the time.

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Justice Department releases foreign policy memos

Justice Department releases Bush's foreign policy memos Under pressure from civil liberties groups, a government agency has released documents vital to the understanding of the Bush administration’s prosecution of the war of terrorism.

The Justice Department has released nine secret memos and opinions that authorized some of the Bush administration’s national security policies, including a memo written by a department’s lawyer John Yoo that argued the Fourth Amendment does not apply to military activities inside the United States.

"These memos essentially argue that the president has a blank check to disregard the Constitution during wartime, not only on foreign battlefields, but also inside the United States," commented Jameel Jaffer, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

He added, "We hope today’s release is a first step, because dozens of other OLC memos, including memos that provided the basis for the Bush administration’s torture and warrantless wiretapping policies, are still being withheld."

According to the ACLU, the full release of requested documents will help bring an end to "a lawless era."

In addition to the ACLU’s request for the memos, a coalition of human rights groups – including ACLU, Amnesty International USA, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch – wrote to President Obama to request access to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

And a number of political and community leaders have called on President Obama to create a commission to investigate the detention, treatment and transfer of detainees during George W. Bush’s administration.

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Value of pension funds continues to fall

Value of pension funds continues to fall A new survey has revealed that the funding status of moderate risk pension portfolios fell by more than six percent in February.

This represented the 14th consecutive month of decline as the value of assets has dropped due to the weakness of the stock market, based on research conducted by the Bank of New York Mellon Asset Management.

"Rapidly falling equity values continue to inflict pain on U.S. pension plans," says Peter Austin, executive director of BNY Mellon Pension Services. "U.S. stocks fell for a second straight month and have dropped 18 percent so far this year."

He added that the international markets have fared even worse.

According to the BNY Mellon Pension Liability Index, over the past year, the funding ratio of the typical pension plan has declined by one percentage point. Since January 2008, the funded ratios for these plans have fallen by 32.3 percentage points.

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation is a financial services company operating in 34 countries. It has $20.2 trillion in assets under custody and administration, $928 billion in assets under management, services more than $11 trillion in outstanding debt and processes global payments averaging $1.8 trillion per day.
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Massive pharma merger on the horizon

Massive pharma merger on the horizonPharmaceutical company Merck has just announced that it will merge with a major competitor Schering-Plough creating a multinational pharmaceutical giant.

The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the agreement under which they will combine in a stock and cash transaction under the name Merck.

The value of the merger is estimated at $41.1 billion.

"The combined company will benefit from a formidable research and development pipeline, a significantly broader portfolio of medicines and an expanded presence in key international markets, particularly in high-growth emerging markets," says Richard T. Clark, Merck chairman, president and CEO.

He adds, "The efficiencies we gain will allow us to invest in strategic opportunities, while creating meaningful value for shareholders."

According to the Fortune 500 2008 ranking, Merck is the world’s fourth largest pharmaceutical company with total revenue of $ 24.2 billion, while Schering-Plough is ranked ninth at $ 12.6 billion.

The announcement comes on the heels of recent complaints by natural products industry groups about the FDA practice of classifying dietary supplements as drugs if they are an ingredient of newly approved medications.

As such, they can no longer be sold without a prescription, boosting profit opportunities of pharmaceutical companies.

The critics believe that the FDA’s approach favors big pharma interest at the expense of natural supplements producers.
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