Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Great article critique] Eating Egg Yolks as Bad as Smoking?

 

From the 14 August 2012 article at Understanding Nutrition

This article refers to the article and paper below:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120813155640.htm
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021915012005047

egg yolksOn August 13, 2012, ScienceDaily.com published an article entitled, “Eating Egg Yolks as Bad as Smoking?” ScienceDaily.com concludes “eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes.”

Unfortunately, ScienceDaily.com and many other news networks fail to accurately describe the details and outcomes of the study. Here, I carefully examine the study and suggest an alternative conclusion from the data.

First, it is important to look at the participants of the study. The data was collected from individuals soon after they had a stroke or transient ischeamic attack (known as a “mini stroke”). This study is not examining healthy individuals or comparing the number of strokes in people who ate lots of eggs vs. those who ate few eggs. All participants in the study already had a stroke regardless of their egg consumption….

 

 

 

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , , | Leave a comment

Red Yeast Rice: An Introduction (A Fact Sheet from NCCAM)

English: red rice3 wine before filtering 2 -mo...

Excerpts from Red Yeast Rice backgrounder Web page (US National Center for Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese culinary and medicinal product. In the United States, dietary supplements containing red yeast rice have been marketed to help lower blood levels of cholesterol and related lipids. Red yeast rice products may not be safe; some may have the same side effects as certain cholesterol-lowering drugs, and some may contain a potentially harmful contaminant. This fact sheet provides basic information about red yeast rice, summarizes scientific research on effectiveness and safety, discusses the legal status of red yeast rice, and suggests sources for additional information.

Key Points

  • Some red yeast rice products contain substantial amounts of monacolin K, which is chemically identical to the active ingredient in the cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin. These products may lower blood cholesterol levels and can cause the same types of side effects and drug interactions as lovastatin.
  • Other red yeast rice products contain little or no monacolin K. It is not known whether these products have any effect on blood cholesterol levels.
  • Consumers have no way of knowing how much monacolin K is present in most red yeast rice products. The labels on these products usually state only the amount of red yeast rice that they contain, not the amount of monacolin K.
….

Safety

  • The same types of side effects that can occur in patients taking lovastatin as a drug can also occur in patients who take red yeast rice products that contain monacolin K. Potential side effects include myopathy (muscle symptoms such as pain and weakness), rhabdomyolysis (a condition in which muscle fibers break down, releasing substances into the bloodstream that can harm the kidneys), and liver toxicity. Each of these three side effects has been reported in people who were taking red yeast rice.
  • Red yeast rice supplements should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Lovastatin can interact with a variety of drugs to increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis; these drugs include other cholesterol-lowering agents, certain antibiotics, the antidepressant nefazodone, drugs used to treat fungal infections, and drugs used to treat HIV infection. Red yeast rice containing monacolin K could interact with drugs in the same way.
  • If the process of culturing red yeast rice is not carefully controlled, a substance called citrinin can form. Citrinin has been shown to cause kidney failure in experimental animals and genetic damage in human cells. In a 2011 analysis of red yeast rice products sold as dietary supplements, 4 of 11 products were found to contain this contaminant.
….

Legal Status of Red Yeast Rice

In 1998, the FDA determined that a red yeast rice product that contained a substantial amount of monacolin K was an unapproved new drug, not a dietary supplement. On several occasions since then, the FDA has taken action against companies selling red yeast rice products that contain more than trace amounts of monacolin K, warning them that it is against the law to market these products as dietary supplements.

The US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) includes the section Herbs at a Glance.

This  series of fact sheets that provides basic information about specific herbs or botanicals—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information.

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information 
Learn about your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Includes side effects, dosage, special precautions, and more.
Browse dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions.


Dietary Supplements Labels Database 

Information about label ingredients in more than 6,000 selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to compare label ingredients in different brands. Information is also provided on the “structure/function” claims made by manufacturers.
These claims by manufacturers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Companies may not market as dietary supplements any products that are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Longwood Herbal Task Force
This site has in-depth monographs about herbal products and supplements written by health professionals and students. It provides clinical information summaries, patient fact sheets, and information about toxicity and interactions as well as relevant links. The task force is a cooperative effort of the staff and students from Children’s Hospital, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Some “Good” Cholesterol May Be Bad For Heart

Fr0m the 20 May 2012 article at Medical News Today

It appears that in some cases, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the so-called “good” cholesterol, does not protect againstheart disease, and may even be harmful. A new study suggests a subclass of HDL that carries a particular protein is bad for the heart.

Previous studies have shown that high levels of HDL cholesterol are strongly linked to low risk of heart disease. But trials where people have been given drugs to increase their levels of HDL cholesterol have yielded inconsistent results: leading to the idea that HDL cholesterol may actually have protective and non-protective elements.

Now, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that when the surface of HDL cholesterol bears a small protein called apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III), there is an increase in the risk of heart disease, and when it is absent, HDL cholesterol is especially heart protective….

May 21, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nutrition Myths to Put to Rest in 2012? [ FOOD, FACTS and FADS]

Nutrition Myths to Put to Rest in 2012? | FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Excerpts from the 2 January 2012 blog item

Myth #1:  High Fructose corn syrup is no worse than sugar.

This myth is probably the most controversial. According to the Corn Refiner’s Association, sugar and high fructose corn syrup have the same number of calories and both contribute 4 calories per gram. They are also equal in sweetness. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup contain nearly the same one-to-one ratio of two sugars-fructose and glucose: …

 

Myth #5   Egg yolks raise your cholesterol.

Dietary cholesterol has almost nothing to do with blood cholesterol in healthy people….

Myth #7  Granola is good for you.

Granola is oats with added sugar and baked in oil for crunch.  …

Myth #10 Low-fat foods are better for you.

Low fat is associated with salt and refined carbohydrates.  …

January 3, 2012 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Can Eggs Be A Healthy Breakfast Choice?

From the 4 August 2011 Medical News Today article

Eggs, one of the most commonly consumed breakfast foods in the United States, have long been a subject of controversy. Are they healthy or are they a high-cholesterol trap? The answer depends on what the hen eats, says a Tel Aviv University researcher.

Dr. Niva Shapira of Tel Aviv University’s School of Health Professions says that all eggs are not created equal. Her research indicates that when hens are fed with a diet low in omega-6 fatty acids from a young age – feed high in wheat, barley, and milo and lower in soy, maize and sunflower, safflower, and maize oils – they produce eggs that may cause less oxidative damage to human health. That’s a major part of what determines the physiological impact of the end product on your table.

Her findings were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Read entire article

 

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , | Leave a comment

High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol (CDC Vital Signs Feature Issue)

CDC Vital Signs™ – Learn about the latest public health data. Read CDC Vital Signs™…

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Signs offers recent data and calls to action for important public health issues.

CDC launched a new program called CDC Vital Signs, which includes an MMWR Early Release, a fact sheet and website, a media release, and a series of announcements via social media tools.

Vital Signs will be released the first Tuesday of every month. Issues include colorectal and breast cancer screening, obesity, alcohol and tobacco use, access to health care, HIV testing, seat belt use, cardiovascular disease, teen pregnancy and infant mortality, healthcare-associated infections, asthma, and foodborne disease.

EKG representation showing that 68 million US adults have high blood pressure (37 million are uncontrolled and 20 million are untreated) and 71 million US adults have high LDL cholesterol (48 million are uncontrolled and 37 million are untreated).Graphic: Body

The feature issue High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol includes and overview, latest findings, outline of what can be done, and links to related social media (as Facebook and Twitter)

Related news items


February 12, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Reports Most Americans with High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol are Not Being Treated Effectively

Main complications of persistent high blood pr...

Image via Wikipedia

CDC Reports Most Americans with High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol are Not Being Treated Effectively
http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p0201_vitalsigns.html?s_cid=2011_p0201_vitalsigns
Two out of three U.S. adults with high cholesterol and half of U.S. adults with high blood pressure are not being treated effectively, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among the findings in the Vital Signs Report:

  • By the Numbers – High Blood Pressure
    • 1 in 3 Adults has high blood pressure
    • 1 in 3 Adults with high blood pressure does not get treatment
    • 1 in 2 Adults with high blood pressure does not have it under control
  • By the Numbers – High Cholesterol
    • 1 in 3 Adults has high cholesterol
    • 1 in 2 Adults with high cholesterol does not get treatment
    • 2 in 3 Adults with high cholesterol do not have it under control
  • Is Your Medication Raising Your Cholesterol? (everydayhealth.com)
  • Study Suggests That ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Is Not As Bad As People Think (6 May 2011, Medical News Today)

    “The so-called “badcholesterol” – low-density lipoprotein, commonly called LDL – may not be so bad after all, shows a Texas A&M University study that casts new light on the cholesterol debate, particularly among adults who exercise. “

    “Riechman and colleagues examined 52 adults from ages to 60 to 69 who were in generally good health but not physically active, and none of them were participating in a training program. The study showed that after fairly vigorous workouts, participants who had gained the most muscle mass also had the highest levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, “a very unexpected result and one that surprised us.

    “It shows that you do need a certain amount of LDL to gain more muscle mass. There’s no doubt you need both – the LDL and the HDL – and the truth is, it (cholesterol) is all good. You simply can’t remove all the ‘bad’ cholesterol from your body without serious problems occurring. “

    “”Our tissues need cholesterol, and LDL delivers it,” he notes. “HDL, the good cholesterol, cleans up after the repair is done. And the more LDL you have in your blood, the better you are able to build muscle during resistance training.”

    Riechman says the study could be helpful in looking at a condition called sarcopenia, which is muscle loss due to aging. Previous studies show muscle is usually lost at a rate of 5 percent per decade after the age of 40, a huge concern since muscle mass is the major determinant of physical strength. After the age of 60, the prevalence of moderate to severe sarcopenia is found in about 65 percent of all men and about 30 percent of all women, and it accounts for more than $18 billion of health care costs in the United States.

    “The bottom line is that LDL – the bad cholesterol – serves as a reminder that something is wrong and we need to find out what it is,” Riechman says.

    “It gives us warning signs. Is smoking the problem, is it diet, is it lack of exercise that a person’s cholesterol is too high? It plays a very useful role, does the job it was intended to do, and we need to back off by always calling it ‘bad’ cholesterol because it is not totally bad.”

  • Diagnosing High Cholesterol (everydayhealth.com)
  • Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet for High Cholesterol (everydayhealth.com)

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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