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What Supplements Do You Take? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed nutrients and minerals necessary for vision and eye health: What Nutrients Can Help Protect Vision? Check out the article and let us know what supplements you take as part of your daily routine.


Strange But True: Cell Phone Allergy

Unexplainable itchy rash on your face? A recent investigation indicates the possibility that you – and your kids – may be allergic to the metal in your cell phones. A literature overview published in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology, reports that many cell phones release low levels of metals. Mobile phone users have potential exposures to nickel and chromium, both of which can cause allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), which typically presents as red, itchy rash in adults and children. The review states that nickel sensitization is common in kids and that the rash can appear on the face, neck, hands, breast, or anterior thighs, which the investigators note are often exposed to cell phones. Nickel release from mobile phones appears to be common and has been reported in both cheap and expensive mobile phones, the reviewers reported. However, they also commented that nickel can be released from a wide variety of items we use every day including jewelry, belt buckles, zippers, buttons, snaps, glasses, coins, and keys. In addition to mobile phones, nickel sensitization – and ACD - can come from the metals in laptop computers, video game controllers, and other technology accessories, according to the reviewers.

Jacob Thyssen et al, “Mobile Phone Dermatitis in Children and Adults: A Review of the Literature,” Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology, doi: 10.1089/ped.2013.0308.


Prudent Diet to Prevent Prostate Cancer

The latest word on this subject comes from researchers at Duke University who found that men whose diets were high in complex carbohydrates and fiber had a risk of prostate cancer that was 70 percent lower than men whose diets were lowest in complex carbs. These findings were applicable to both the African-American and Caucasian men in the study, and spoke to the risk of both low-grade and high-grade prostate cancer. The researchers also reported that high fiber intake was linked to a “significant reduction” in the risk of high-grade prostate cancer, noting that men whose fiber intake was highest had a 50 percent lower risk of high-grade prostate cancer. The findings were presented at a meeting of the American Urological Association. The research team additionally reported that carbohydrate foods with a high glycemic index might increase the risk of prostate cancer among African-American men. The report was derived from an ongoing study at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center and included data on 156 men with diagnosed prostate cancer and 274 without prostate cancer.

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Charles Bankhead, “Carbs May Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer,”, accessed May 23, 2014


How’s Your Circadian Rhythm Treating You?

If your sleep schedule and mealtimes are irregular, you can upset the balance of your circadian rhythm, which is responsible for the 24-hour cycle of our physiology. Add poor diet to that and you may risk triggering harmful inflammation in your body, a recent study suggests.

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center looked at the effect of circadian rhythm disruptions in male mice fed two different diets. To alter circadian patterns, investigators reversed the cycles of exposure to light and dark in the test mice. Then they fed some of the mice regular mouse chow, and put the others on a high-fat, high-sugar diet. The combination of the circadian rhythm disruption and the high-fat, high-sugar diet led to higher concentrations of bacteria known to promote inflammation in the digestive systems of that group of mice. No such changes occurred in the mice that stayed on the usual mouse diet despite the same alteration of their circadian rhythm. The researchers concluded that to trigger inflammation a “second hit” (such as poor diet) must be present along with circadian rhythm disruption. They suggest that humans whose circadian rhythms are out of sync with daylight because of shift work or “social jet lag” (a normal schedule during the week but late nights and sleeping late on weekends) might mitigate risks of inflammatory damage by eating and sleeping on a regular schedule, and by taking prebiotics or probiotics to “normalize the effects of circadian rhythm disruption on the intestinal microbiota to reduce the presence of inflammation.”

My take? Almost without exception, wherever I am and whatever I am doing, I go to bed early enough to get eight hours of sleep and wake up at dawn. I could still get my eight hours by retiring later and rising later, but the pattern I follow does more than just give me sufficient sleep - it syncs my own circadian rhythms with those of the sun. I have found that this routine is best for my overall energy and well-being. My colleague, sleep expert Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., tells me that most people are underexposed to darkness by night and get insufficient light by day, particularly in the morning. He adds that most of us spend the bulk of our waking hours indoors in what is relatively dampened light, while healthy levels of light naturally energize us, drawing us outward into the world. Healthy patterns of light exposure also help us maintain normal circadian cycles, Dr. Naiman reports.

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Robin N. Voigt et al, “Circadian Disorganization Alters Intestinal Microbiota,” PLOS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097500


What Fruits and Vegetables Do You Always Peel? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed if peeling the skin from fruits and vegetables also removes the nutrients of the produce: Peel Away Nutrients? Check out the article and let us know what fruits and vegetables you peel the skin from before eating.


Sports and Energy Drinks: No Good for Kids?

Teenage boys who regularly consume sports and energy drinks aren’t only expending energy on sports. Instead, a new study has found that these kids spend more time playing video games than boys who consume energy drinks less than once week. Worse, the study found a link between teenage consumption of sports and energy drinks and such unhealthy behaviors as smoking, high dietary intake of other sugary drinks, and prolonged time spent watching TV in addition to playing video games. The researchers, from the University of Minnesota and Duke University, gathered their data from 2,793 adolescents across 20 public middle and high schools in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area during the 2009-10 school year. The researchers reported that despite a decline in the prevalence of soft drink and fruit drink consumption, kids have tripled their intake of sports and energy drinks in recent years. These drinks are high in both sugar and caffeine. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) kids should consider consuming sports drinks only after vigorous and prolonged physical activity. As for energy drinks, the AAP’s position is that kids shouldn’t drink them at all because they offer no health benefits and pose risks for overstimulation of the nervous system, which can lead to increased anxiety and disturbed patterns of sleep.

Nicole Larson et al, “Adolescent Consumption of Sports and Energy Drinks: Linkages to Higher Physical Activity, Unhealthy Beverage Patterns, Cigarette Smoking, and Screen Media Use. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2014; 46 (3): 181 DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.02.008


How to Make Turmeric Tea (Video)

Turmeric tea is a delicious and healthy drink that provides anti-inflammatory properties through turmeric. Dr. Weil shows how to quickly brew a batch of turmeric tea with only a few ingredients - water, turmeric, and lemon or honey to taste.

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Should Kids Take Vitamins?

I am often asked whether children should take vitamins. The answer is yes, I believe the evidence is clear that most children will benefit from an antioxidant and multi-mineral formula. Many kids don’t eat enough vegetables and fruits, and their diets are often full of processed and refined foods. However, vitamin supplements shouldn’t be substitutes for whole foods, and children need a full complement of healthy fats, slow-digesting carbohydrates and body building proteins.

You can help encourage a healthy diet by eating meals together, focusing on whole, fresh foods, and discouraging your children from eating too much fast food, processed food, sugar and caffeine (in cola and other drinks).

As far as supplements are concerned, give children a complete antioxidant formula as well as multiminerals. Try to find versions that do not have a lot of excess sugar, small tablets if they can be swallowed, or powders that can be blended into a smoothie. Be sure to keep the vitamins out of the reach of young children – some supplements for kids taste and look like candy and there is a danger of overdosing, especially when supplements contain iron.

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