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Have You Heard of HBOT?

Have you heard of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)? If not it’s about time you do.

After my blog discussion these last two weeks on FMT (https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/human-hosts-transplants-promote-health-12/,https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/human-hosts-transplants-promote-health-22/, I cannot possibly think of another more appropriate topic to talk about this week.

HBOT is a not so new medical therapy.  British physician Nathaniel Henshaw created an oxygen chamber in 1662. Yet clinical use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy did not really start until the mid 1800s. In the early 1930s, the military developed and tested hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) for purposes specifically in the area of deep sea diving and aeronautics. And of course we cannot forget the most famous HBOT user, Michael Jackson. Do you remember the picture above from 1986?

Today HBOT is approved by the FDA for the treatment of 14 medical conditions.

  1. Air embolism
  2. Gas embolism
  3. Acute traumatic ischemia
  4. Burns
  5. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  6. Smoke inhalation
  7. Diabetic foot ulcers
  8. Exceptional blood loss
  9. Decompression sickness
  10. Gas gangrene
  11. Necrotizing infections
  12. Severe anemia
  13. Skin grafts and flaps
  14. Wound healing

But there are more “off label” uses for HBOT. “Off-label” means the prescription medication or medical treatment is being used in a manner that is not FDA approved. Off-label prescribing by physicians is legal and very common. More than one in five outpatient prescriptions written in the U.S. are for off-label therapies, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/off-label-drug-use-what-you-need-to-know#1.

HOW HBOT WORKS

A patient breathes in 100% oxygen, normally we breathe in 21% oxygen, while resting in a pressure chamber. The atmospheric pressure is kept up to three times (3 ATA) the norm (1 ATA is normal, ATA is one atmosphere absolute, the average atmospheric pressure exerted at sea level, or 14.7 psi.). This helps to “super saturate” the body’s tissues as the oxygen dissolves in the blood at a 10-15 times a greater rate than normal.

Body tissues that are saturated in oxygen with HBOT help heal damaged external skin conditions and wounds and internal tissues that may have been deprived of oxygen as well. HBOT helps restore blood supply to tissues and aids in developing new networks of capillaries. “Re-oxygenation”, its’ direct influence on genes, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4499900/, and its anti inflammatory actions are reasons HBOT is therapeutically successful and may prove to be safer than many conventional medications that have the potential to pose bodily harm. 

HBOT OFF-LABEL USES

  • ADHD
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lyme Disease
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Migraines
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Strokes

Internationally HBOT is used to treat even more conditions.

My particular interest in HBOT is in its ability to act as an anti-aging tool. Personally, I get an oxygen facial once a month. If I could bathe my whole body in an oxygen chamber instead of just my face, I would do it.

We typically think of food supplying energy from fats, protein and carbohydrates. Vitamins and minerals are catalysts to the process. Oxygen is also converted to energy via cellular metabolism, so to reemphasize it works on the cellular level.

Like water, oxygen is necessary for life. As you breathe, the lungs filter the air and blood carries oxygen to every tissue, every organ and every cell in your body for life.

However oxygen also has the potential to negatively affect health when free radicals are produced and are out of control (ionized oxygen). HBOT can aid in neutralizing ionized oxygen bringing back balance to unstable elemental oxygen.

Based on the role oxygen plays on cellular life, body tissues, hormones, the brain, DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA is a molecule that contains the genetic instructions an organism needs to develop, live and reproduce.) and, like protein, its involvement in growth and repair are important anti-aging processes), HBOT would seem to be an optimal anti-aging tool that works on both the inside (preventing mental decline and promoting cellular re-oxygenation) and protecting the body’s largest organ on the outside (your skin).

Now you know a little more about a very big player, HBOT, in health and wellness. Explore the benefits of oxygen therapy. It is likely a much safer option than the conventional alternative.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2017 in health, Oxygen, Uncategorized

 

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Human Hosts Transplants Promote Health (2/2)

 Image result for image microbiota transplant

Last week in “Human Hosts” part 1, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/human-hosts-transplants-promote-health-12/, I described the safety and efficacy of fecal microbiota transplantation.  But poop is not the only place healthy microbiota bacteria live. Microbiota transplants (MT) from different body regions have  proven equally helpful.

Scientists are studying the relationship between diseases and balancing “good” and “bad” bacteria from different body regions based on 2 simple theories.

  1. “bad” bugs cause inflammation
  2. “good” bugs support the immune system

Consider the emerging evidence:

  • Patrice Cani at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels fed a high-fat, “junk food” diet to mice, the community of microbes in their guts changed much as it does in humans on a fast-food diet. But Cani also found the junk-food diet made the animals’ gut barriers notably more permeable, allowing endotoxins to leak into the bloodstream. This produced a low-grade inflammation that eventually led to metabolic syndrome. Cani concludes that, at least in mice, “gut bacteria can initiate the inflammatory processes associated with obesity and insulin resistance” by increasing gut permeability,” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html.

In other words, no matter what your weight is, even for those who are thin, no matter what your age, even a child, male or female,  American or not, no matter who you are and where you are from,  junk food can actually cause inflammation that makes unhealthy changes to your gut.  And in turn, you become ill…heart disease, diabetes, obese…

  • ” When gut microbes from easygoing, adventurous mice are transplanted into the guts of anxious and timid mice, they become more adventurous. The expression “thinking with your gut” may contain a larger kernel of truth than we thought. Our gut bacteria also play a role in the manufacture of substances like neurotransmitters (including serotonin); enzymes and vitamins (notably B vitamins and vitamin K) and other essential nutrients (including important amino acid and short-chain fatty acids); and a suite of other signaling molecules that talk to, and influence, the immune and the metabolic systems. Some of these compounds may play a role in regulating our stress levels and even temperament.”

There is also emerging evidence linking colic, allergies/asthma, eczema, type 1 diabetes, obesity and celiac disease with differences between the microbiota of infants delivered vaginally and those that come into this world through C-section. It seems that Lactobacillius (“good” bugs that help digest milk) in the vagina increases prior to birth. Newborns pass through the vagina and absorb the bacteria. C-section babies are lacking the gut flora and are more prone to colic. So it should not be surprising that in the United States with a 32.7 percent c-section rate in 2013 (well above the “medically necessary” target of 10 percent to 15 percent that WHO says is ideal), that the medical conditions mentioned above are on the rise. 

From birth to near death,  all over the body microbiota transplants that live in healthy humans can help unhealthy humans live healthy lives!

Who would have thought that medical strides would include using human hosts as a treatment options for undesirable temperment and stress, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, allergies/asthma, eczema, celiac disease,  obesity and probably much much more.

 As hosts to trillions of microbes, both good and bad, we may find that the answer to good health and longevity truly rests within ourselves.

 

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Just Eat It: You (and Mary) Should Have A Little Lamb

 

AmericanLambArugulaSalad

Photo: http://www.americanlamb.com/consumer/american-lamb-arugula-salad-with-blackberry-vinaigrette/#sthash.Pls88TPC.dpuf

When I ask clients to provide me with a diet history, it typically includes beef, poultry, pork or fish. Rarely is lamb on the list. Why?  Lamb is affordable. The shoulder is about $6.00 a pound at the grocery store or you may find owning your own livestock share more enticing; Over the grass farm, a 420 acre preserve for native plants and animals and a farm producing grass-fed and finished beef, lamb, and dairy cows, offers livestock sharing so you can buy your own right off the farm, http://www.overthegrassfarm.net/grass-fed-finished-beef-lamb-and-poultry.

Lamb can be grilled, broiled, sautéed or stewed in a slow cooker. Here are some recipes:

Truth is, it does not matter how you eat lamb, just EAT IT.

Lamb tastes delicious and provides:

  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats help to lower body fat, regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation and boost the immune system like monounsaturated, omega-3 and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, may also have anti-cancer) fatty acids; and saturated fat supporting the heart, brain, lungs and body cells.

 

  •  Minerals: Zinc (healthy immune system, hair, nails skim) and iron (helps form red blood cells) from lamb is more easily absorbed by the body than from other sources. Copper (helps form collagen, an important nutrient for anti-aging supports nerve function),  manganese (brain, bone and nerve support, blood, sex hormones, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation),  selenium (antioxidant and thyroid function), thiamine( helps metabolize fats and protein), niacin (helps control cholesterol and supports good heart health.

 

With all the health benefits of lamb, there are situations where one should avoid it because it contains purines. If you are having an acute gout attack or have kidney stones, you may want to avoid it.

Otherwise, enjoy the added bonus of knowing that lamb is raised without using antibiotics in the United States, http://www.americanlamb.com/lamb-101/nutrition/. So you at least know you are safe when it comes to that “poison”.

Despite the fact that Americans are not eating enough lamb, it has been a delicacy consumed by the Romans, Greeks and Chinese for thousands of years. According to Chinese medicine (TCM), lamb is a “warm” food. Warm referring to heat in the body not the actual temperature of the food.  Lamb is considered a yang food that helps promote wellness  by supporting memory, the immune system, hormone balance, low sex drive and fertility (sperm count too), warming the blood and body (i.e. cold hands and feet) especially in the winter, pain in the lower back, knee and pain and increasing energy.

Build good health by adding lamb to your weekly nutrition plan. Eat it! Bring in new and exotic flavors and even more nutrients to your typical eating regimen.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in FAT, Food, health, minerals, Uncategorized, vitamins

 

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Trust Your Gut Instinct: Leading to Mind & Body Wellness

 

Credit: Shutterstock

” Always trust your first gut instinct. If you feel something is wrong it usually is”. Getting in touch with your “inner gut feeling” can be a matter for survival in more ways than just one.  It can be a an innate sense of a good or an evil action and your gut is also at the center of your health and well-being.

What we are finding today is significant evidence that supports eastern medicine philosophy which focuses on a whole body balanced approach (mind and body coming from the same energy (Qi) source vs. western medicine which treats the mind and body, even body systems, separately.  As we learn, we now have a better understanding of the intricate role your mid-section and its micro flora (bacteria that inhabit the small and large intestines/gut) or “landscaping” play in weight and wellness.

Gastrointestinal (GI) health is not just about digestion and absorption of nutrients there are 100 trillion microorganisms living in your intestines and research links gut health with:

brain function

appetite/weight gain

metabolic function/dysfunction

moods/depression

immune system

neural function

hormonal regulation

allergies

headaches

autoimmune disease

ADD

arthritis

acne

and yes even autism, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20337404

Starting at the time of birth, your gut health is programmed by the type of delivery at birth, diet (formula vs. breast milk), antibiotics/medications and even activity level.

Recent research published in the journal Immunology and Cell Biology, suggests engaging in exercise at a young age “can alter (gut health) that microbial community for the better, promoting healthier brain and metabolic activity over the course of a lifetime.” http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/vaop/naam/abs/icb2015113a.html.

While exercise seems to have a positive effect on the gut, consuming “pumped up” foods that contain additives can be detrimental. You think eating seemingly “healthier” sugarless food options are good for you. Yet, foods that contain maltodextrin seem to precipitate ill gut health, such as Chron’s disease . And, maltodextrin is not the only food additive causing stomach distress, “xanthan gum was also linked to feeding intolerance, increased gastric residuals, abdominal distension and bloody stools in premature infants”. There are more food additives that are guilty of wreaking havoc on  your gut and immune system, http://suppversity.blogspot.com/2015/04/no-sugar-foods-with-maltodextrin-mess.html?spref=fb&m=1

So my point to this is, while you are trying to stay healthy by improving on what you eat, be proactive eat to strengthen your gut.  Avoid sugar, processed foods, antibiotics, anti-acid blockers and anti-inflammatory medications when possible. There are natural alternatives.

Consume

  • lactic acid-fermented foods to boost healthy gut bacteria: real Greek yogurt, real sauerkraut, kefir, Korean kimchi, miso, buttermilk more examples can be found here: http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/traditional-fermented-foods-examples/. Nourished kitchen is a great website for gut friendly foods recipes or shopping guide, http://nourishedkitchen.com/where-to-buy/.
  • Cruciferous vegetables broccoli kale, cabbage, and cauliflower contain glucosinolates which are broken down by microbes to release substances that reduce gut inflammation and cancer risk

·      Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, leeks are considered a prebiotic because inulin ferments in the colon into good bacteria

·      Blueberries may help to diversify gut bacteria and build immunity

·      Probiotics. If you’re not sure what to buy, this may interest you, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/beneficial-body-bugs-health-and-exercise-performance/

Your gut is an important piece of the whole health puzzle. Eat real food as part of a daily health care routine, not commercially created additives, to nourish your gut, strengthen healthy gut bacteria and to maintain an effective immune system.

 

 

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Why Eat Fat? 15 Undeniable Reasons

 

I am sure you have all heard the reasons as to why you should not eat fat. So I have gathered information and am providing reasons why you should eat fat, and saturated fat at that.

For those who manage eating between 5-20% of calories from healthy veggie, cheese, fruit (avocado)…carbs, eating fat will help catapult anti-aging (via the limitation of advanced gylcated end-products), lower heart disease risk, annihilate diabetes and its complications as well as balance any blood sugar or  hormone issue and burn fat faster. If you elect to eat a lot of carbs for example 60-80% calories as carbs, you should minimize fat and may want to reconsider.

Fat nourishes the body and optimizes many body functions. The benefits of eating healthy natural fats from meat, nuts/seeds, butter, olives etc… include assisting cells, organs, hormones and body systems.

Here’s a quick list of 14 health reasons to eat fat:

  1. The Brain– Fats compose 60% of the brain and are essential to brain function, including learning abilities, memory retention and moods. Fats are especially important for pregnant women, since they are integral to fetal brain development.
  2. Cells– Fatty acids help your cells stay flexible and are responsible for building cell membranes.
  3. The Heart– 60% of your heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Specific fats are also used to help keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm.
  4. Nerves– Fats compose the material that insulates and protects the nerves, isolating electrical impulses and helping to send communication signals.
  5. Lungs– Lung surfactant, which requires a high concentration of saturated fats, enables the lungs to work and keeps them from collapsing.
  6. The Eyes– Fat soluble vitamins are essential to eye function.
  7. Digestion– Fats in a meal slow down the digestion process so the body has more time to absorb nutrients.
  8. Organs– Fats cushion and protect all your internal organs.
  9. Immune System– Fats can aid in reducing inflammation so the immune system remains healthy and functions.
  10. The skin- daily fat consumption can help keep skin moist and prevent wrinkles.
  11. Sex and steroid hormones- are manufactured from fat.
  12. Metabolic hormones-fat will not trigger the release of insulin or counter-regulatory hormonal backlash like carbohydrates and therefore can also help give relief to over- worked organs like the pancreas or liver when large amounts of carbs are consumed.
  13. Satiety-fats keep you full longer by providing a constant level of energy, no need to be hungry.
  14. Fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K)- absorption cannot happen or may be limited without fat:
  • Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin  healthy
  • Vitamin D works to strengthen the immune system, helps in muscle function and involved in strengthening bones
  • Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals
  • Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting

The health benefits are undeniable but you cannot ignore the fact that taste (reason #15)  is another important reason to eat fat; sautéed veggies, a rib-eye steak, coconut or the taste of lobster dipped in real butter are reasons enough to eat fat. The other 14 health reasons mentioned above might just be considered an added bonus.

Why eat fat? Because it is healthy and tastes good, why else?

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in anti-aging, antiaging, appetite, diet, health, hormones

 

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You and Marijuana: The Common Ground

Image result for marijuana

http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/cannabis/

What do you and marijuana (weed, pot, grass, ganga, dope, herb, joint, blunt, cannabis, reefer, mary jane, buds, stinkweed) have in common?

Both the marijuana plant and the human body contain cannabinoid chemicals  that affect well-being. Our bodies have a cannabinoid system (named after the active compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa). This system may work similarly to the traditional eastern philosophy of yin and yang where opposite forces are complimentary and create balance because cannabinoids seem to act as a “bridge” between mind and body, http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system.

The cannabinoid system (CS) which includes natural chemicals (THC, CBD), receptors (CB1 and CB2)  and fat cells work to maintain harmony for health via 4 main routes, through:

  1. presynaptic neuronal (a neuron from the axon terminal of which an electrical impulse is transmitted across a synaptic cleft to the cell body or one or more dendrites of a postsynaptic neuron by the release of a chemical neurotransmitter.) chemical messages responsible for communication between cells that affect organs like the heart, the brain and consciousness, the gut and appetite; how we feel emotion and sense pain, how we sleep, move and even exercise, http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/38/5/536.full, as it may play a role in “the runners high” and “the body’s response to exercise” due to its relationship with dopamine.
  1. its complex role affecting a cells life in its entirety; maintaining a steady balance in all stages of cellular development (synthesis, degradation and recycling of cellular products).
  1. the endocannabinoid system itself with its intricate involvement in the helping to “bridge” the gap between consciousness and physical health.
  1. neurogenesis (the growth and development of nervous tissue) and neuronal plasticity (allows the nerve cells in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in the environment) enabling one to overcome trauma or push past physical limitations for example.

Twenty states have legalized the medical use of marijuana. According to The Business Insider, http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4, there are over 20 medical benefits to smoking pot including:

  • ADD
  • Glaucoma
  • Anxiety
  • Lung capacity
  • Gut function
  • Immune responses
  • Combination drug therapies
  • Auto immune disorders
  • Pain relief
  • PTSD
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chron’s disease
  • Alzheimers’ disease

One of the most important findings for health, it seems, may be that marijuana has been shown to help kill certain types of cancer cells and reduce the size of others, http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2014/11/12/1535-7163.MCT-14-0402.abstract or just read, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141114085629.htm.

In fact the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) holds patents on two drugs in pill form containing cannabinoids that act to stimulate appetite for AIDS patients and help prevent nausea related to cancer treatments. An oil form is also currently under investigation for pediatric epilepsy.

While I do believe that marijuana may help to balance an unhealthy or an “in need of repair” health condition, there can be negative side effects especially if it is overused or abused by someone who does not have this similar “need”.

Smoking too much grass can be addictive and have negative mental health and societal consequences.

Marijuana has potential to be a safe, effective and powerful solution to illness that will aid in fighting against disease and promote the bodies’ own natural healing abilities.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in cancer, health, Marijuana

 

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A Statin Standoff or Much More?

Statins, one of the most popular class of drugs prescribed today has been around over 25 years supposedly helping to lower high cholesterol levels. Statins work by inhibiting the production of cholesterol via an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase). “Their (statins) benefit is remarkably  greater than their risk, and there is simply no doubt that these medications are safer than drugs such as aspirin”.

I happen to disagree. According to the Mayo clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/statin-side-effects/art-20046013, noted side effects include:

  • muscle pain, soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles;
  • nausea, gas, diarrhea or constipation;
  • abnormal liver tests;
  • memory loss or confusion;
  • elevated blood sugar and even type 2 diabetes.

And these side effects are more common in the very groups that statins are supposed to help most (people with diabetes and those who are taking multiple drugs to help lower cholesterol), those who are over the age of 65, those who drink more than 1-2 drinks a day, women and individuals with a small body frame.

For others who have had a heart attack and are trying to prevent another or those who have cholesterol levels above 350 mg/dl and are diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, the benefits of taking a statin may outweigh the risk.

We have spent nearly 19 billion dollars on statins over the years and they are linked to poor health consequences including diabetes,  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/medical/health/medical/diabetes/story/2012-01-09/Study-links-statins-to-higher-diabetes-in-older-women/52470838/1.

“Statins Stimulate Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure: Pharmacological Mechanisms” explains how statins may interfere with more natural body functions than just liver enzymes. The article published in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology (March 2015) supports the belief that statins cause heart disease via a few different mechanisms:

  1. Inhibits vitamin K2 (protects arteries from clogs via calcium deposits) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24936265http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/dr-dennis-goodmans-vitamin-k2-book-links-missing-nutrient-to-heart-and-bone-health-1997508.htm
  2. hinders selenium production (http://www.internationaljournalofcardiology.com/article/S0167-5273(08)01296-5/abstract?cc=y)
  3. Depletes coenzymeQ10 (http://www.healthline.com/health/coq10-and-statins#Effects6); the information here mentions ” CoQ10 can lower blood sugar, so diabetics need to be careful or avoid it.” If this is the case, do not avoid CoQ10. Speak with your doctor about lowering diabetes medication dosage.
  4. causes toxicity to the body cells (mitochondria) that produce energy

Back in 2012, Nakazato R., et. al. published study results in  Atherosclerosis  (Nov;225:148-53) entitled, “Statins use and coronary artery plaque composition: results from the International Multicenter CONFIRM Registry”. They concluded ” Statin use is associated with an increased prevalence and extent of coronary plaques possessing calcium.”

Despite this information, physician prescriptions continue to be written without consideration but there are practicing physicians who have spoken out against the massive rush to prescribe statins:

Dr.Eric Topol, interviewed by Forbes is a cardiologist and professor of genomics at Scripps Research Institute; http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2012/03/04/top-cardiologist-argues-we-should-dial-back-on-statins-because-of-diabetes-risk/

And, Barbara H. Roberts, M.D., director of the Women’s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I. and associate clinical professor of medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She was involved in the first clinical trial that demonstrated a beneficial effect of lowering cholesterol on the incidence of heart disease. She is the author of two books warning against statin use, “The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs” and  “How to Keep From Breaking Your Heart: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Cardiovascular Disease”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/martha-rosenberg/statins_b_1818370.html.

Eating healthy and exercise can help obtain normal cholesterol. Stop eating packaged food. Go back to nutrition basics. Eat protein, non-starchy vegetables and low glycemic fruits. Add fat foods and supplements found to help lower cholesterol and LDL such as nuts and seeds, olive oil, fatty fish, avocado, and supplement: plant sterols, red rice yeast extract, vitamin K2.

Take home message: statins can help prevent heart attacks for specific groups of individuals but should not be used as a blanket treatment for everyone. If you are prescribed a statin, speak with your doctor about any questions or concerns you have.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in cholesterol, Diabetes, health, Uncategorized

 

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