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April 2013

PSA Testing - When to Start, Is it Necessary, and Questionable Recommendations

PSA Testing - When to Start, Is it Necessary, and Questionable Recommendations

PSA Testing - When to Start, Is it Necessary, and Questionable Recommendations
By Michael Teplitsky

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA, October 21, 2009) questioned whether the routine practice of checking PSA in every man over 50 makes sense. The authors pointed out that PSA testing does identify more men with prostate cancer but it does not save lives. Here is why.

Prior to PSA introduction in 1980s, most men with prostate cancer did not know that they had it. But that did not stop them from living a normal life and eventually dying from heart disease or another cause, but not from prostate cancer.

That happens because almost all prostate cancers are not aggressive. They do not spread, but stay inside the prostate gland and in the long run they do not affect man's health in any way.

But before PSA, as now, there were cases of aggressive prostate cancers that grew quickly, spread rapidly and eventually killed. The number of such cases was usually between 25,000 and 30,000 a year, just like today.

For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 185,895 men developed prostate cancer in the year 2005 and 28,905 men died from it. It is clear to see that the vast majority did not die. And, despite PSA, about the same number of men dies every year.

Men who lived before PSA testing were lucky, because they did not know that they had a problem and they did not do anything to solve it. But these days, if a man has high PSA (more than 4), he will have a prostate biopsy, an invasive procedure. If no cancer is found, he may have another biopsy 6 to 12 months later. He may also get an ultrasound or a CT scan.

If a cancer is found, doctors definitely recommend some kind of treatment, from radical prostatectomy (complete surgical removal of the prostate), to radiation or seed implantation. Some men get hormonal treatment, which is known as "chemical castration" because it suppresses the production of testosterone, which is the most important "male" hormone.

And these are the men who previously would not have had any treatment at all.

Tens of billions are spent on treating the men who do not need treatment. But money is not even the worst of it. Many of these men develop complications, such as bleeding, problems with ejaculation, impotence and incontinence. Imagine having to wear a diaper for the rest of your life, just because your PSA was a little high.

The authors of the JAMA article also pointed out that there is no routine PSA testing in Great Britain, yet their mortality is just about the same as in the US. The authors have suggested revising the existing policy.

The American Urological Association (AUA) has done just that (urologists are doctors who usually deal with prostate cancer). They have issued new recommendations in the Journal of Urology (November 2009). Did they recommend postponing the age of testing to, say 60 or older? Did they suggest avoiding PSA testing at all, except when prostate cancer is definitely suspected, the way it is done in Great Britain?

No, they now recommend PSA testing in men starting at age 40! This flies in the face of all the available evidence and the only reason for this proposal is to increase the workload of urologist, who will now diagnose even more prostate cancer and treat even more men who do not need treatment.

Michael Teplitsky, MD has been practicing alternative and holistic medicine for over 20 years. He has treated thousands of patients using nutrition and nutritional supplements. His book Nutrition and Your Health explains complex and confusing nutritional concepts in an easy to understand layman language. Please visit the to get the book, a Free Report 7 Health Myths That Can Hurt You, health news, and other valuable information.

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Americans Are Cutting Back On Fast Foods



Fewer Americans are eating fast foods than years ago, a new government study finds. According to a report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during 2007-2010, 11.3% of Americans' daily calories came from fast foods which is down from 12.8% for years 2003-2006. Although these numbers are promising, the data reveals that Americans still rely heavily on fast foods to satisfy their nutritional needs.

Cheryl D. Fryar and R. Bethene Ervin from the CDC's Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted a cross-sectional survey of American adults belonging to three age groups: 20-39, 40-59 and age 60 years and older wherein participants were asked about foods and beverages consumed during a previous 24 hour period.


Younger People Consumed More Calories from Fast Food

The statisticians learned that among young adults aged 20-39 years, nearly one fifth of all all calories consumed by non-Hispanic blacks came from fast foods, but fast food consumption was decreased among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics of the same age group.

The researchers noted that people aged 40 - 59 years followed a similar pattern but among persons age 60 and older, the study found no racial or ethnic differences in calories from eating fast foods.


Calories From Fast Food Declined as Incomes Rose

Overall, the survey did not find a relationship between income and fast food consumption, but when looking at the youngest age group, interestingly enough, as income levels increased, the percentage of calories from fast food significantly declined.

The reason why that is interesting goes back to reports that find a relationship between income and junk foods. Junk foods (which includes fast foods) are usually cheaper than nutritious foods thus making them very attractive to people on fixed incomes. According to the survey, obese people across all age groups tended to consume the highest percentage of calories from fast foods.

Several years ago, Jens Ludwig, a researcher at the University of Chicago, found a correlation between obesity, diabetes and environment. In that study, people living in poor neighborhoods had more stress which led to weight gain, but when participants were relocated to more affluent neighborhoods, they tended to lose weight.  When you look at the results of the CDC survey - in particular that calories from fast food dropped as income increased - the data becomes easier to understand.

Moreover, young people tend to be busier than middle aged and older persons. Hectic schedules make dining in much more difficult, therefore relying on fast foods for nourishment becomes a matter of convenience.


What This Could Mean for the Future

By and large, the CDC study was promising. Americans are eating less fast food than they did several years go. In the long run, this could have profound implications for our efforts to reverse the epidemic obesity trend.

As it stands, according to Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data, by 2030 America will be a predominately obese nation - that's less than two decades from now. 

So, any evidence that Americans are eating less junk food is positive news, but more work needs to be done to make healthy eating available to everyone.


We must never mistake the grace of God to be permission to commit sin. God grants grace so that we can repent of our sins and draw closer to Him.

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Article Sources

NCHS Data Brief

Diabetes And Obesity Are Linked To Where You Live,Study Finds

Why Is America Getting Fatter?

Obesity Will Become Even More Prevalent By 2030, Report


"Americans Are Cutting Back On Fast Foods" copyright 2013 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.


Choices That Need To Be Made While Undergoing Breast Implant Surgery

Choices That Need To Be Made While Undergoing Breast Implant Surgery

Choices That Need To Be Made While Undergoing Breast Implant Surgery
By Daniel Golshani

For a woman, undergoing a breast augmentation can be very exciting and life changing. Although the choice to have the operation may seem simple, there are many factors to be considered and choices to be made from incision site and placement to precise details regarding the implants. During the consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon, specific decisions are made during the course of the history and physical examination. Initially, the focus is addressing the psychological and emotional issues which the patient might have with respect to her breast followed by the physical findings, all which help create a path in choosing the best type of implant as well as type of procedure for the patient. Aspects considered include the type of implant, the texture of the implant, placement of the implant, incision site, and the dimensions of the implant.

Currently, the types of implants available are saline and the new cohesive silicone gel implants. Silicone gel implants have now been available for almost 4 years to the general public. After undergoing a series of prospective randomized studies, the FDA has approved silicone gel implants for the use of breast implants. The new silicone gel implants are cohesive, meaning they are designed in such fashion that even with a rupture of the implant shell, very minimal amounts of silicone may leak from the implant due to the nature of the silicone gel. Both types of implants are safe. The decision to have silicone or saline is generally based on preference of the patient as well as recommendations by the plastic surgeon.

Breast implants are available either smooth or textured. Generally speaking, smooth implants are most often used because they are able to move freely in the pocket, have thinner shells, longer implant life, and less risk of rippling. Textured implants, on the contrary, adhere to the skin in the pocket and prevent the implants from moving. Textured implants were originally designed to reduce the risk of capsular contracture, though it has not been conclusively proven in medical studies. Anatomical implants are solely available with a textured surface to prevent the implants from turning in the pocket. On the downside, textured implants have a higher rate of leakage and rippling in the breast post operative compared to smooth implants.

The decision to place the implant beneath or over the pectoralis major muscle are often times affected by the patients features such as the presence of very large pectoralis major muscles in an athletic patient, the presence or absence of breast tissue, and body contour and form. In general, it is accepted that placement of implants beneath the pectoralis major muscle yields a better contour and natural shape over longer periods of time as compared to implantation on top of the muscle. Also, patients are generally happier with the implant placed in a subpectoral position. On the contrary, in a patient who is a body builder or very athletic and where elevation of the pectoralis major muscle might result in potential functional issues for the patient as well as increase the chances that the implant may be displaced as a result of pectoralis major muscle over time, the implant would be placed in a subglandular location over the muscle.

The location of the incision varies depending on which type of implant is selected and what the patients breast shape is like. For example, a patient who has a very well formed areolar margin and has very minimal contour present beneath her breast, a peri-areolar incision might be the best location for the scar and usually yields almost invisible scars over a long period of time. Patients who present with a very well formed inframammary fold or crease beneath their breasts see great results with an incision in the inframammary fold and silicone gel implants because the scar can be hidden within the crease almost always yielding a scarless breast after surgery. The transaxillary or armpit approach is useful for patients undergoing saline augmentation mammoplasty as the passage of a silicone gel implant through the axillary incision could potentially jeopardize the integrity of the implant and nullify any warranties which may be included with the implant. When an implant is placed through the armpit, it is important for the surgeon to utilize a surgical scope to perform the procedure endoscopically, ensuring excellent placement and outcome. This also applies to the transumbilical approach where obviously silicone gel implant placement would be impossible. The integrity of a saline implant might also be questionable depending on the technique of placement. The decision for the incision location will be made with the plastic surgeon in order to achieve the desired outcome of the patient.

Finally, the type of dimensions, namely high profile vs moderate plus vs moderate profile, is selected in relation to the patients desired outcome as well as their anatomical features. High profile breast implants are more narrow in width and have more height as compared to moderate profile which is wider and less height. Moderate plus profile implants are in between high profile and moderate profile. During consultation, patients will have the option to try on different implants, including implants with different dimensions, in order to make a well informed decision.

Breast augmentation surgery is a complex procedure that involves a lot of decision making and choices to ensure excellent outcome for the patient. Consulting with a board certified plastic surgeon and having a clear idea of your desired outcome as well as realistic expectations can almost always guarantee great results.

Daniel Golshani, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a double board certified Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon, a diplomat of both the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. Learn about breast augmentation and implant surgery today.

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Energy Eating

Energy Eating

Energy Eating
By Yuri Elkaim

If you are looking for ways to increase your energy levels, one of the most important considerations in what sorts of fuel you are putting into your system. Much like a high performance car, your body will run on lesser fuel sources - but don't expect it to run as well. Many people, when they feel an energy decrease coming on, will reach for sugary snacks and fatty fast foods. But if you're serious about your health, you know you can do better. Here are some food items that you should be eating and what you should be replacing them for.

Berries are a wonderful food for energy, particularly blueberries and acai berries. Besides the natural sugars they contain, there are a host of vitamins and anti-oxidants that are essential to your continued good health. If you want to find a place for more berries in your diet, try dropping the energy bars. These high-sugar bars might give you a temporary sugar high, but they'll leave you feeling empty in no time flat.

Nuts are another great snacking option. Filled with good fats and oils, these bite-sized wonders will help to fill you up, in both energy and in feeling well fed. If you want to add more nuts to your diet, simply replace the candy you eat. Instead of reaching for a little sugar treat, keep a bowl of almonds and walnuts handy for anytime snacking.

You might have heard bad press about the next item, avocados. People see this fleshy fruit and worry about the high fat content. But really, the fats contained in an avocado are the sorts you want more of in your diet. The contents of an avocado are rich and delicious, and make any salad seem like a real treat. If you want to eat more avocados, you might consider it as a replacement for your pre-processed salad dressing, which is filled with processed oils, fatty creams and extra sugars that will do absolutely nothing good for your energy levels.

Another great anytime treat are bananas. Full of potassium and nutrients, bananas are particularly good for after a hard workout, so that the potassium can help to repair your worn and worked muscle tissues. If you need to leave something out to make room for bananas, try leaving the ice cream at the store. Still want a cool, creamy treat? Freeze a whole banana overnight, then peel and blend. Serve immediately, and you'll be shocked by how similar it is to ice cream!

And lastly, but most importantly, is water. You might look at water and see nothing but an empty fluid, but keeping your body properly hydrated is essential to keeping you energized. A dehydrated athlete is one that is not performing at their peak. Simply switch out your usual energy drink or sports drinks, and add more water to your daily diet. You�ll be surprised at how much better you feel when you don't feel thirsty.

These are just some of the food choices you can make to give yourself more energy. The best rule of thumb here is, the less processed and cooked, the better.

Yuri Elkaim is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and author of the raw food diet book Eating for Energy. Visit to get started with his FREE "Energy Secrets" e-course and discover what your diet has been missing.

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Arthritis Treatment: Five Neck Exercises That Work Wonders!

Arthritis Treatment: Five Neck Exercises That Work Wonders!

Arthritis Treatment: Five Neck Exercises That Work Wonders!
By Nathan Wei

A common complaint heard by rheumatologists from their patients is, "My neck hurts." If you have ever had neck pain you know how debilitating this can be. The neck consists of a column of seven vertebrae separated from each other by true joints (uncovertebral joints) in back and discs in front. This column is supported by a complex arrangement of ligaments and muscles.

While most neck pain is due to muscle strains- for example, the "crick" in the neck that can come on if you sleep in an awkward position- most people with neck pain after the age of 40 also have osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease as well.

Here are five simple exercises you can do to help your neck feel better. Do not do these exercises until you consult with your physician or physical therapist. If possible, apply moist heat to the neck for five minutes before doing these exercises. That helps to loosen the muscles up.

#1. Stand up straight. Slowly turn your head as far as possible, slowly, to the right. While you're turning, count slowly to eight. That's about the right cadence for this exercise. Hold this position for a five count. Return to a neutral position. Then repeat the same motion to the left side. Do a total of five repetitions each side.

#2. Stand straight up. Slowly lower your chin to your chest. Hold this position for a five count. Slowly raise your head up and look at the ceiling. Do not force this. If it hurts, stop. Hold this position for a five count. Return to neutral and repeat this set of motions five times.

#3. Stand up straight. Slowly bend your head to the side bringing your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for a count of five. Return to a neutral position. Repeat the same motion to the left side. Do five repetitions to each side.

#4 Stand up straight. Slowly and evenly roll your head clockwise in a wide circle up to the right, then down to the left. Then repeat the same motion in a counterclockwise fashion. Do this slowly. Repeat five times.

#5. Stand up straight. Take a deep breath in and with your arms down at your sides, slowly lift your shoulders up towards your ears. Pull your shoulders back as far as they will go at the very top of this maneuver, then rotate your shoulders forward again and exhale. Repeat this ten to twenty times.

Don't expect overnight miracles. These exercises will help you over time.

Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR is a rheumatologist and Director of the Arthritis Treatment Center He is a former Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and consultant to the National Institutes of Health. For more info:

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Type 2 Diabetes - How Your Kidneys Are Affected by Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes - How Your Kidneys Are Affected by Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes - How Your Kidneys Are Affected by Diabetes
By Beverleigh H Piepers

When it comes to Type 2 diabetes, your kidneys are one of the most commonly affected areas of your body. Damage inflicted on your kidneys, which can range from mild to severe, can cause your kidneys to actually stop working entirely. One of the problems is much of this damage occurs before you are even aware it is occurring. That's why it is important to understand how diabetes and kidney damage are linked.

The most serious complications of diabetes involving the urinary tract is nephropathy which involves the kidneys. Nephropathy usually occurs in people who have had diabetes for a long time.

How serious is kidney disease among diabetics? Statistic show kidneys are damaged by diabetes more than any other condition. But it isn't just older adults who have to be concerned: Type 1 diabetics are more than a dozen times as likely to experience kidney damage as Type 2 diabetics.

What exactly does diabetes do to your kidneys? The delicate blood vessels of the kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste from your body. As blood flows through the kidneys, these blood vessels, known as capillaries, capture and remove toxins and waste from your blood. Diabetes, or unstable and high blood sugar, ravages these delicate capillaries and slowly destroys them, thus reducing and, ultimately, stopping the kidneys from being able to accomplish their duties.

When your kidneys are no longer able to function properly these toxins begin to build up in the blood and slowly poison your body. Since they are found in the blood they are subsequently carried throughout the entire body via the bloodstream.

But the damage doesn't stop there. Damaged kidneys are also unable to remove excess fluid from your body in a timely manner. This fluid has to go somewhere, so it begins to be absorbed into tissue. The result is retained water. Not a problem, you say? It is when it begins to collect around the organs of your body, including your heart. As the volume of water increases, so does the pressure that it applies to your heart.

There's also another component that is retained within your body: salt. Since the body can't excrete this excess salt as it should, it remains in your body. This increases your blood pressure and raises the risk of stroke and heart attack.

There is one more problem: excess sugar is also allowed to remain within the body. Instead of being able to get rid of it through urination it piles up in the body from tissue to blood. The excess sugar wreaks havoc on your blood vessels, nerves, tissue and organs.

Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. It need not slowly and inevitably get worse. You can take control of the disease, take back your health and prevent damage to your kidneys.

For nearly 25 years Beverleigh Piepers has searched for and found a number of secrets to help you build a healthy body.

The answer isn't in the endless volumes of available information but in yourself.

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Home Gyms Need Not Cost The Earth

Home Gyms Need Not Cost The Earth

Home Gyms Need Not Cost The Earth
By Stewart Wrighter

With our lives getting ever busier, a lot of people these days are opting to do work out routines at home. Since many choose to do this now, there is a growing demand for home exercise equipment which allows us to spend every minute we can spare just getting on the move. Home fitness equipment is big business now but those who want to install it should also remember to have gym flooring put in to. This saves on damage to the surface and also allows the user to have a non slip area to practice on.

Since most of us are on tight budgets these days, used machines have also become very popular. This, however, is not the prime reason for having second-hand machines. We sometimes do not know which ones are suitable for our needs and getting the wrong one could prove to be very expensive. Of course, if we use a second-hand one for a while to see if we get along with it then we can always upgrade later on when the time is right.

We also need to think about what kind of routine will suit us too. We may just want to stay supple or bring back an element of strength and health that we had some time ago. All have different needs so it is good to think about this for a while before opting to choose one machine over another.

Many people think that just having bulging muscles is enough but this does nothing for the heart and lungs or gives them the stamina that is needed for short runs. Indeed, even the most muscled of people will need to expand their lung power if they are to be considered to be in the peak of health.

For those who are aging, weight-bearing routines are perfect particularly for women who can suffer with osteoporosis. Bone density thins out as women age and if they are not careful they will suffer from brittle bone disease. Adding more calcium to their diets too is a good way of ensuring that they stay in peak condition.

Second-hand goods of this nature are always available on the internet. Indeed, some companies specialize in refurbished machines and will guarantee the good for some time. However, for those who are buying weights, do not forget to factor in the cost of shipping too since this could be quite hefty if this is a full set.

One other small point which should be considered is the place where these machines or weights are going to be set up. Is the door wide enough for the things being brought in, and will the foundations in the room take the weight? All very obvious for sure but points that must be considered nevertheless.

Although it is said that any routine is better than none, this is not strictly true. Being involved in some routine which puts the back or muscles in danger can actually cause more harm than good. Make sure to check first if the routine is recommended for all.

Stewart Wrighter recently checked out gym flooring to have installed in his home gym he is building. He purchased a full set of home exercise equipment for his local high school.

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Depression - Fight it With Food Therapy

Depression - Fight it With Food Therapy

Depression - Fight it With Food Therapy
By Helena Ederveen

Feelings of fatigue, tiredness, sadness, and a general lack of interest in life can all be symptoms that a characteristic of depression. There are two main classifications of depression.

1. External depression: This type of depression is caused by external forces on your body and life. Circumstances that happen to you such as injury, death, divorce, loss of a job, and even moving to another city can cause external depression. Even though this is a painful condition to endure, it is usually temporary. And, after a period of mourning you are able to heal and move on with your life.

2. Internal depression is caused by what's going on inside your body. Even the food and drink that you consume can be responsible for contributing to the chemical imbalance in your body that ultimately leads to depression.

While medication may be the answer for some people suffering from depression, or at least a temporary solution; believe it or not, eating the right kinds of food in the right quantities can cure and prevent internal depression.

All foods can be divided into two groups, acidic and alkaline. Our bodies need a certain amount of each in order to maintain the proper chemical balance, thereby feeling our absolute best and avoiding depression. The ideal balance between acidic and alkaline foods in our bodies is 30% acidic and 70% alkaline.

But, perhaps the biggest culprit of the excess amount of acidic foods that many people consume are the processed, deep fried, micro-waved fast foods. Items like soda pop, coffee, caffeine, sugar, and chocolate are also considered part of the acidic group. And, in a society of busy schedules and the need for convenience, it is easy to fall into the trap of choosing only acidic foods.

External sources of acidity can also affect your body. Items in this category are cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, medications, shampoo, lotions, and even stress. So now, that 30% of acidity that you should be allowing your body each day is spread even thinner.

The problem with an over consumption of acidic foods is that they do not provide the minerals and enzymes needed by your body for cell production and regeneration. So as your body deteriorates, you are not giving it anything to rebuild itself with. Eventually a weakened immune system and overall poor diet can lead to depression because your body senses that you do not value it enough to give it what it needs.

Alkaline foods contain those all-important minerals that your body needs for healthy living. Foods in this group are all fruits and vegetables. That makes it easy to identify them. Alkaline foods work to neutralize the acid in your body and keep it balanced.

All this information probably sounds like common sense, nutrition 101, right? Well, that may be but the fact of the matter is that once you are equipped with this information it is up to you what you do with it. Your belief system about the way you eat is translated into action. And, if you really believe it is healthy for you to pursue a change in your diet toward eating primarily alkaline food, then you will take the necessary steps to do so. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Keep a journal for one week of everything you consume. Don't forget to include beverages other than water. At the end of the week analyze the foods you ate and decide how you could change the acidic ones and supplement them with something alkaline.

2. If you smoke, then consider giving it up. No don't consider. Do it now, how much convincing do you need that it is bad for you.

3. Create a menu for the week that is 30% acidic and 70% alkaline. Consider starting with a solid breakfast, which means a complete protein source such as eggs, and a good fat source such a butter.

4. Eat some protein, good fats, a salad or piece of fruit with each major meal.

5. Diet, or the type of foods that you eat ( not the calories), is critical for gaining lifelong health. Essential in your diet are carbohydrate, protein and fat. But how much? This depends upon your lifestyle, your genetics and your needs according the demands placed upon you. Your blood chemistries holds the secrets to how much carbohydrate, protein and fat your body requires at this specific time.Usually greater protein is required if you have had surgery, if you are pregnant, if you have chronic inflammation or a toxic exposure.

For more in dept information you can go to Holistic health practitioner

Helena Ederveen is an Associate Member Australasian College Nutritional & Environmental Medicine; Clinical Nutritionist; Certified Master Practitioner NLP & Advanced Practitioner Eriksonian Hypnosis; Counsellor. 25 Years Experience. Are You Serious About Discovering Your Own Individual Blueprint Of Health? Free "Health Blueprint" Assessment.

My own health is what has driven me to become supremely qualified as a holistic health practitioner.

By 2002 I was involved in looking at pathology profiles with completely different eyes. It deepened my understanding of certain scientific laboratory technologies that can define and suggest how to rectify health imbalances before they mature into full-fledged disease.

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Too Much Calcium Can Be Deadly, Study



Regular followers of this website will recall that in September 2011, the BMJ published a report that found a link between calcium supplements and increased heart attack and stroke risk in women. The respected journal has now released a new report citing further evidence that excess calcium can fatal to women, thus raising concerns about whether it is truly beneficial to supplement the diet with calcium in the hopes improving one's health.

In the current study, Swedish researchers led by Karl Michaelsson of Uppsala University selected 61,433 Swedish women born between 1914 and 1948 whom participated in a study designed to look for a link between dietary calcium supplements and deaths from all causes including cardiovascular disease.

The team noted that during 19 years of follow up, nearly 12,000 of the participants died. More specifically, cardiovascular disease (3862), ischemic heart disease (1942) and stroke (1100) accounted for nearly 60 % of the 11,944 deaths during the course of the study.


The Dangers of Excess Calcium were Quite Clear

According to the report, adding calcium supplements raised mortality risk in a dose dependent fashion. In the Swedish study, deaths from all causes were most closely associated with women with a calcium intake that exceeded 1400 mg/day. In fact, Michaelsson and his colleagues said women with higher intakes of calcium were two times more likely to die than women whose calcium supplements ranged from 600 to 999 milligrams per day.

People often take supplements on their own volition or under recommendation by their doctor. But often times, folks are unaware that they can meet and even exceed their recommended daily allowance simply by consumption of common foods. According to the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily allowance of calcium for women aged 19 - 50 years is 1000 mg.

Foods rich in calcium include dairy products, orange juice, sardines, tofu, calcium fortified cereal, and mozzarella cheese. Just looking at that short list, it becomes very easy to exceed the RDA for calcium.

When people think of calcium, they often think of strong bones. But bone mineralization is only one of calcium's biological functions. Heart muscle, for example, uses a special gate known as the calcium channel that helps the muscle to contract. Excess calcium can interfere with muscular contractions.

In the Swedish study, many of the people who had higher intakes of calcium died from cardiovascular related events. In addition to consuming high amounts of calcium in their regular diet, these individuals also took calcium supplements.

The researchers point out that calcium enriched meals can lead to vitamin D suppression which can cause a host of problems including increased size of vascular and cardiac muscle cells, while high circulating levels of calcium can make the blood highly susceptible to clotting. 

Michaelsson's study raises concerns about how much is too much. Since most folks normally get plenty of calcium in the regular diet, is it really a good idea to take calcium tablets without at least discussing it with their doctor?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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Article Sources

 Michaëlsson K, Melhus H, Warensjö Lemming E, Wolk A, & Byberg L (2013). Long term calcium intake and rates of all cause and cardiovascular mortality: community based prospective longitudinal cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 346 PMID: 23403980

Study: Calcium Supplements Can Cause Heart Attacks

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium - Health Professional Fact Sheet. Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health


"Too Much Calcium Can Be Deadly, Study" copyright 2013 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.


Should We Just Be Counting Calories?

Should We Just Be Counting Calories?

Should We Just Be Counting Calories?
By Asma B Omer

One of the major drawbacks of calorie counting, often promoted in dieting strategies, is that it distracts one's focus from ensuring they are having an adequate intake of essential nutrients and can render a balanced diet unimportant. It is fundamental to bear in mind that the human body needs an array of nutrients; it's not just about calories. There are six essential nutrients, fat; protein; carbohydrate; vitamins; minerals and water; each with a specific function and designated role. What is also important is the synergy between various nutrients such as that between vitamins and minerals.

When assessing the healthiness of any diet, including those designed for weight loss, it is worthwhile to ask questions such as, does it add value to my health? Is it nourishing, balanced and varied? Is it adequate to my individual needs? Is it free of additives, flavouring and colouring? Does it contain any artificial sweeteners or preservatives? Does it contain GM products and/or high levels of pesticides? How much trans and/or hydrogenated fat does it contain per portion? Will it have a long-term detrimental effect on my health? Is it suitable to my individual physiological needs? And who is behind it?

The above questions should be of some relevance to the health and wellbeing of almost all individuals, regardless of age or health status, and are indubitably more meaningful than simply concentrating on how many calories and grams of fat the food contains.

If we were to follow the same format described in some dieting books, which has persisted over the years, we should also be asking how many milligrams of fibre, calcium or vitamin E a product contains.

Calorie counting tends to shift the balance towards quantity rather than quality or type; even though the former is of equal or more significance when it comes to fat related illness. Such a practice encourages certain sectors of the community, usually women and teenage girls, to base their food choices solely on the fat and calorie content cited on the food label, without paying enough attention to the rest of the nutrition information or the list of ingredients as a whole.

Furthermore, counting calories may lead to unintentional nutritional imbalances, which could manifest as sub-clinical nutritional deficiencies. For example, an average daily requirement of 1500 kcal could easily be met by consuming a bar of chocolate, a packet of crisps, a big Mac, a can of fizzy drink and a serving of ice cream. Such a way of eating may well satisfy the individual's daily calorie demands, but it's likely to fall short of meeting their needs for all the essential nutrients, which are paramount for future health. Overall calorie counting does not take into account important dietary considerations such as meal pattern, nutritional adequacy or particular individual needs. A point to remember is that children have different nutritional needs to adults, as do pregnant and lactating women due to their different physiological requirements. Thus, applying the general healthy eating guidelines set for adults to children can be detrimental to their health. In short, the fat and calorie saga has not only taken the joy out of food, but also created an obsession with dieting amongst the female population at large, which is hard to overcome. The law of thermodynamics still stands, 'energy can neither be created nor destroyed'. Energy does not only come from fat; it also comes from carbohydrates, protein and alcohol. However, the fact that excess food energy is stored as fat regardless of the source is generally overlooked.

My belief is that in order to counteract the forces imposed upon us by modern society; we need to consciously change our attitude towards food, nutrition and health. We need to think in terms of energy density rather than solely focus on the amount of calories we are consuming. We should moderate the quantity of food we consume through reducing our portion size and be selective when it comes to quality. Our diet needs to be varied, balanced and adequate to our needs; taking into account our individual lifestyle factors and thinking in terms of health and weight management, rather than mere slimming and weight loss. We need to examine our food purchasing habits, our eating behaviour and our meal pattern. We need to look at the type of fat, the grams of fibre and the amount of water we drink each day. Our approach to health needs to be wholesome and integrative and most importantly geared towards achieving and marinating health, rather than just losing weight.

The question that arises here is how can scientists, healthcare professionals, fitness experts, policy makers, business consultants and owners convince the public at large that the above method is simple, effective, attainable, less frustrating and long lasting? In another words, how can we win the dieting battle?

We can continue to debate this issue for decades to come, but it will not solve the problem of horizontal growth and the gradual increase in waistlines. A realistic and wholesome approach that reverts from dieting needs to come into play. In other words, what is needed is an initiative based on sound science and common sense, i.e. a weight loss strategy or strategies that take into account all the factors governing and surrounding the individual's lifestyle. So far, most of the well-publicized weight loss strategies and dieting books only emphasize dieting or slimming, because that is what accounts to the bottom line, with little or no consideration to sustainable physical exercise, which directly impacts weight loss, weight maintenance and the prevention of weight gain.

It is time for the public at large to realize that controlling food intake per se, separating protein from carbohydrate, adopting unusual forms of eating or creating new modes of eating (a high protein diet, green and red days, etc) that are not conducive to most people's daily life, have all failed in achieving sustained weight loss, albeit they are usually associated with immediate, rapid but often short term weight loss. My experience is that a wholesome approach, which incorporates physical exercise and tackles issues such as inactivity, along with a healthy eating approach that emphasizes balance, moderation and variety is not only effective, but also realistic with long lasting health benefits at all stages of the weight management cycle. Indeed, the answer may lie in what people do not do rather than what they do!

Dr Asma B Omer, Founder & Managing Director of Therapia, is a highly qualified and experienced Consultant in Human/Clinical Nutrition, with more than 20 years experience in university teaching, research and health industry. She has been very successful in the treatment of Overweight and Obesity, and has much practical experience in the management of nutritionally related diseases in both the National Health Service (UK) and prestigious organizations in the private sector.

Academically, she holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry and an MSc in Human Nutrition from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK. Professionally, she is a Fellow Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, a full member of the British Nutrition Society (NS) and the British Dietetics Association (BDA) and a professional member of the Association of the Study of Obesity (ASO), Diabetes UK and HEART UK. In addition, She is a founder member of The Medical Advisory Committee of ISPA Europe, a member of the Institute of Directors (UK) and a former consultant nutritionist for the WHO.

Dr Omer can be contacted on Email:

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