Tuesday, July 30, 2013

OMEGA 3 FATS....silly Research

Absurd Study Claims Omega-3 Fats Raise Prostate Cancer Risk

July 31, 2013 | 

By Dr. Mercola
Omega-3 rich fish oil is one of the most well-researched substances on the market. Its wide ranging health benefits have been repeatedly proven, and animal-based omega-3 is one of the few supplements I recommend for virtually everyone to improve overall health.
But omega-3 fat, naturally found in salmon and krill, which are both excellent sources, has received some undeservedly bad press coverage lately. You may have seen some of the following headlines:
  • Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Increased Prostate Cancer Risk Confirmed (Science Daily1)
  • Omega-3 Supplement Taken By Millions 'Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer' (Huffington Post2)
  • Men who take omega-3 supplements at 71% higher risk of prostate cancer(NY Daily News3)
  • Omega-3 supplements may trigger prostate cancer (Nursing Times4)
  • Hold the salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids linked to higher risk of cancer (Time Magazine5)
These headlines are perfect examples of gross misreporting of science by the media, and it is instances like this that demonstrate why you cannot trust the conventional press to keep you informed about health. In the words of Jonny Bowden,6 PhD, CNS, the media’s reporting on this particular study is “disgraceful, incompetent, and scientifically illiterate.” I couldn’t agree more.

'Omega-3 Fats Involved in Prostate Tumorigenesis,' Researchers Claim

The study raising all this hoopla was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute7 on July 10. This case-cohort study8 examined associations between omega-3 levels in blood and prostate cancer risk among participants in the "Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial," also known as SELECT.9
The researchers concluded that men with higher blood concentrations of animal-based (marine-derived) omega-3s had a 44 percent increased risk of developing low-grade prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest levels.
Specifically, higher blood levels of the omega-3 fat DHA correlated to higher prostate cancer risk, while no correlation was found for EPA and ALA. They also had a 71 percent higher risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer.
The “grade” refers to the level of abnormality found in the cancer cells.10 The more abnormal the cells appear, the higher the grade of the cancer. Based on these correlations, the researchers concluded that “these fatty acids are involved in prostate tumorigenesis.” But just how did they reach that conclusion?
According to Time Magazine:11
“The study measured omega-3 blood levels in the participating men, and did not include information on the volunteers’ eating habits, so researchers could not differentiate between the effects of fatty acids from fish from those of supplements. However, the overwhelming majority of the participants did not take fish oil supplements.
Based on the results, [lead author, Theodore] Brasky says that men with a family history of prostate cancer should discuss with their doctor whether fish oil supplements are safe for them, since these pills tend to contain concentrated doses of omega-3.
Supplements contain between 30% to 60% of a serving of fish, and if a fish oil supplement is taken every day, that adds up to a lot of daily fish oil. Brasky also suggested that men cut down on their fatty fish intake, though not eliminate it entirely.”
Folks, this is some of the most absurd advice I’ve seen in a long time. How they could possibly come to the conclusion that omega-3 supplements might be dangerous based on this study is a mystery in and of itself. Correlation is not the same as causation, first of all.
Secondly, no omega-3 supplements were actually given in this study. In fact, most participants reportedly did not take them. Another immediate tip-off that something’s awry is the finding that participants who had the highest levels oftrans fats in their blood had the lowest risk for prostate cancer... As Dr. Bowden writes in his Huffington Post12 rebuttal:
“How do you explain the fact that reporter after reporter and news outlet after news outlet conveniently equated higher blood levels of DHA with 'fish oil supplement taking?'
There’s almost no other explanation other than a strong anti-supplement bias and a desire for shocking headlines. And any doubt about the objectivity of the researchers should have been abandoned after one of them—Dr. Alan Kristy—told reporters,13 'We’ve shown once again that use of nutritional supplements may be harmful.'”
Indeed, Dr. Kristy sounds like a spokesperson for Senator Durbin’s hypocritically idiotic supplement bill, which threatens the supplement industry by granting the FDA more power to regulate supplements as if they were drugs, potentially putting supplement companies out of business.

Do Omega-3s Raise Men’s Prostate Cancer Risk? Hardly!

Foods rich in omega-3 fats have previously been shown to prevent prostate cancer from spreading. One such clinical study (opposed to the featured study, which was observational and therefore cannot establish causality) was published in theBritish Journal of Cancer14 in 2006. This study found that while omega-6 fats (the kind found in most vegetable oils) increased the spread of prostatic tumor cells into bone marrow, the spread of cancer cells was blocked by omega-3 fats, suggesting that a diet rich in omega-3 fats could potentially inhibit the disease in men with early stage prostate cancer.
A more recent meta-analysis15 of available research, published in 2010, found that fish consumption was associated with a 63 percent reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality, even though no association between fish consumption and a significant reduction in prostate cancer incidence could be found. GreenMedInfo.com16 recently discussed this topic as well, listing a number of additional studies that have shown fish/fish oil/omega-3 to be beneficial against prostate cancer.
As pointed out by Denise Minger,17 previous research18 has shown that the higher blood levels of DHA found in the featured study is not necessarily indicative of higher fish consumption. In fact, low-fat diets can increase DHA levels in much the same way omega-3 supplementation can. According to previous research:
“Plasma phospholipid fatty acids have the potential to function as a surrogate measure of the potential effects of diet on a whole range of cell membrane lipids... This difference in fatty acid levels after the consumption of similar proportions but varied content of fatty acids suggests competition among the lipid series [(n-3), (n-6), (n-7) and (n-9)] for the enzymes of elongation and desaturation.
When the relative supply of (n-3) fatty acids is abundant, these fatty acids are preferentially desaturated and elongated relative to (n-6) fatty acids)...
In summary... free fatty acid compositions are responsive to total dietary fat content. Specifically, the consumption of a low fat diet promotes an increase in the level of total and highly unsaturated long-chain (n-3) fatty acids and a decrease in the total (n-6) content of plasma phospholipid and cholesteryl ester fatty acids. The observed modifications in phospholipid and cholesteryl ester fatty acids in response to a low fat diet are similar to those observed when (n-3) fatty acids of plant or animal origin are fed.”

Why DHA Levels in Featured Study May Be Meaningless...

Furthermore, the featured study reported DHA levels based on percentage of total fatty acids rather than the absolute value, which in and of itself can be quite misleading,19 as it actually obscures any real differences. Dr. Bowden illustrates the dilemma well with the following analogy:
“Would you like 90 percent of all the money Mr. Jones has or 10 percent of all the money Mr. Smith has?”
How could you possibly tell how much money those percentages of total represent, unless you know how much money Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith each have to begin with? As explained in a 2009 commentary published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,20 the only time percentage of total might be meaningful is when the total fatty acid content is identical for all subjects, which it undoubtedly was not in this case.
As stated by Dr. Bob Roundtree, MD:21
“Considering the extensive body of literature that supports the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, there is no credible biological mechanism, nor is one suggested in the article, that would explain why these essential fatty acids might increase tumorigenesis.”

Confounding Factors Ignored

Another problem with studies looking at correlations only, is that the factor you’re looking at may only be a minor player, or completely irrelevant, compared to other factors. For example, in this case:22
  • 53 percent of the subjects with prostate cancer were smokers
  • 64 percent of the cancer subjects regularly consumed alcohol
  • 80 percent of the cancer subjects were overweight or obese
According to a 2011 study published in PLoS One,23 aggressive prostate cancer was associated with obesity. More recently, a cohort study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention24 in April of this year found that men who were overweight or obese increased their risk of prostate cancer by 57 percent—a percentage that falls right smack in the middle of that 44-71 percentage range attributed to high DHA serum levels in the featured study. And this association between obesity and prostate cancer held for all cases— low-grade and high-grade, early stage and late, nonaggressive and aggressive prostate cancer........


Monday, July 29, 2013
























EXERCISE  IS  KEY  TO  BETTER  HEALTH,  BETTER  ENERGY,  AND  A  BETTER  MOOD, From Dr. Amen.........................PART  TWO 

Exercise promotes better health and helps you live longer. Regular exercise increases the chemical nitric oxide, which tells the smooth muscles in your blood vessels to relax and open, allowing blood to flow more freely throughout your body. You probably never think of your blood vessels as having muscles, but they do. Every time you exercise, you give your blood vessels a workout too. With consistent exercise, your blood vessels become more robust. That helps keep blood pulsing to your heart, organs, and tissues. This boosts the health of vital organs and reduces the risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease all of which have been linked to cognitive decline.
Physical activity also enhances insulin's ability to prevent high blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. In addition, exercise increases the production of glutathione, which is the major antioxidant in all cells. Pumping up the levels of glutathione protects muscles and other tissues from free radical damage and premature aging. Research has also shown that mild to moderate exercise reduces your risk of developing osteoporosis, breast cancer, and colon cancer. For the elderly, physical activity improves muscle tone and endurance, which lowers the risk of falling. When you make exercise a habit, it also pumps up your energy levels and keeps you from feeling lethargic. Instead of sprawling on the couch all day, you will have a good helping of get-up-and-go. That makes you more likely to go out and do the things you love to do, which burns even more calories and keeps you looking and feeling good.
What's good for the brain is good for the heart is good for the genitals is good for the skin. Exercise improves blood flow to every organ in your body, so it makes sense that it would benefit your skin, which is the largest organ. Thanks to increased circulation, greater amounts of oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your skin cells. This encourages cell renewal and the production of collagen, the supportive protein that helps keep your skin from sagging and wrinkling. It also helps skin battle back against the daily assaults from pollution and other environmental toxins. Some forms of exercise, such as yoga, help keep acne breakouts at bay. How? Yoga and other types of exercise reduce stress, which ndnimizes the production of stress hormones that are often associated with acne flare-ups. Improved blood flow also gives your skin a rosy-looking glow. According to a team of researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, people perceive a rosier complexion as healthier and potentially more attractive. The study, featured in the journal Psychological Science., involved having college-age participants alter the color of faces in digital photos to make them appear healthier. The researchers found that the students almost invariably added redness to the faces to enhance the appearance. This is more evidence that exercising does more than just improve your shape-—-it makes you more attractive. In an animal study conducted at the University of Illinois, researchers found that moderate regular exercise has another benefit for the skin: it speeds the wound-healing process. The researchers concluded that exercise speeded healing times by decreasing inflammation. For people such as diabetics who typically have poor wound healing, this study shows that exercise can be especially beneficial.

To melt away fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume, and exercise can help. A quick review of the scientific literature on the effect,of exercise on fat reveals thousands of studies showing that physical activity helps you lose weight. Engaging in aerobic exercise also increases your body's metabolism, which boosts your calorie-burning power. Metabolism is a complex process that converts the foods you eat into energy and also determines how quickly you burn that energy. Daily exercise and activity that builds muscle tissue help you burn more calories, which allows you to prevent weight gain or to shed a few pounds if that's your goal. When you exercise, your body looks and feels better, which makes you feel better about yourself. Other physical benefits include better coordination, agility, speed, and flexibility.
Did you know that when you are physically active, you are more likely to eat foods that are good for you, to get more sleep, and to take better care of your health in general? One study examined the effects of a twelve-week exercise program on sixty-two university students. At the end of three months, the students who engaged in physical activity reported eating a healthier diet, taking more responsibility for their own health, seeking out more social support, and managing stress better.
In a remarkable study that was published in a 2006 issue of Pediatrics, researchers found that compared to teens who watch a lot of TV, those who take part in a wide variety of physical activities are less likely to engage in risky behavior, such as drinking, smoking, drugs, violence, sex, and delinquency. This fascinating study also revealed that teens who participated in physical activities with their parents were the least likely to get into trouble with such behavior. These teens also tended to have higher self-esteem than both sedentary teens and active adolescents who didn't exercise or play sports with their parents. Conversely, the study showed that teens who spent a lot of time watching TV or playing video games tended to be at higher risk for engaging in all of these risky behaviors and had lower self-esteem.
This research reinforces what I've been advocating for years: Turn off the TV and the video games, and get active.
Adopting a sedentary lifestyle is one of the worst things you can do for your brain, your overall health, and your body. Lack of physical exercise negatively affects blood flow in the body. When you don't get your blood pumping thanks to aerobic activities, the levels of nitric oxide drop. This causes the blood vessel walls to become distorted, which limits blood's ability to pulse freely. This puts you at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Without adequate blood flow, the blood vessels in the deep areas of the brain also become distorted, increasing the risk of tiny strokes. As the years go by, these tiny strokes accumulate and cause these deep brain areas to shut off and stop working. The deep brain areas control leg movement, coordinated body movement, and speed of minking and behaving. These are some of the areas of the brain that are affected by Parkinson s disease, which explains why these strokes produce a clinical picture that closely resembles this disease. This explains why people over the age of forty who don't exercise aren't as mentally sharp as those who are physically active.
Being a couch potato also makes you more vulnerable to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of developing other brain-related health problems. New research in the journal Neurology shows that people as young as forty-five with hypertension are more likely to experience problems with memory and minking skills. In particular, middle-aged people with high diastolic blood pressure (the number on the bottom) are at greater risk than people with normal readings. For every 10-percent increase in the diastolic reading, the odds of an individual having cognitive problems jumped by about 7 percent. With nearly twenty thousand people involved in this study, it is the largest to investigate the link between hypertension and memory problems. These findings support those of the Honolulu Study of Aging, which concluded that middle-aged people between the ages of forty and sixty who have untreated high blood pressure are at greater risk for developing dementia. For middle-aged people with a systolic blood pressure of 160 mmHg or higher, or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or higher, the risk of dementia after age seventy was 3.8 to 4.8 times greater than for those whose hypertension was treated. The damage from inactivity can be devastating. Basically,when you shun exercise, you can say good-bye to all the brain, health, and body benefits you read about earlier in this chapter.
The best exercises combine aerobic activity to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping, resistance to strengthen muscles, and coordination to activate your brain.
Cardiovascular exercise Aerobic exercise is one of the keys to brain health and plays a role in neurogenesis, or new cell growth. Ideally, aerobic exercise involves a brief warm-up period, twenty to forty-five minutes of sustained moderate to intense activity, and a cool-down. Some evidence suggests that higher-intensity activity-—-even for shorter periods of time—is also beneficial to the brain. Running, fast walking, swimming, rowing, and stair climbing are just some of the many aerobic exercise options available.
Your brain will benefit whether you get your heart pumping outdoors or in the gym. Animal studies show that running on a treadmill produced a significant enhancement in memory, similar to the cognitive improvements seen in outdoor aerobic activities. One of the best things about many aerobic activities is they don't require a lot of expensive equipment—you just throw on a pair of running shoes and go.
Resistance training For many years, experts have been touting the benefits of aerobic activity on the brain. According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it appears that resistance training may also have protective powers for the brain. After a review of three exercise trials, researchers concluded that resistance training may prevent cognitive decline in older adults. Resistance training builds strength and tones muscles by working against any type of resistance, such as dumbbells, medicine balls, resistance tubing, or your own body weight. For example, you can use your own body weight to build strength by doing push-ups, pull-ups, or squats. Some resistance-training exercises-—rowing, swimming, and stair climbing—double as aerobic activities, which makes them even more beneficial to your brain.

Coordination activities Exercise that requires coordination activates the cerebellum, which is located at the back of the brain and enhances thinking, cognitive flexibility, and processing speed. This means that participating in activities like dancing, tennis, and basketball, which require coordination, can make you smarter! And that's not all. Animal studies have shown that physical exercise that involves the planning and execution of complex movements actually changes the brain's structure.
Researchers from Brazil put this theory to the test when they compared the.brains of competitive judo players and non-judo participants. Judo is a form of martial arts that relies on quick reactions and cunning to outsmart and outmaneuver an opponent. (I think judo is a wonderful activity as long as you don't engage in any sort of contact that could result in a brain injury.) Results of the study showed that the judo players had significantly higher gray matter tissue density than people who didn't practice judo. More gray matter translates into more brain cell bodies, which equals better brain function.
Combo exercises It is a good idea to engage in various types of exercises. Aerobic activity spawns new brain cells, which might make you think that if you want to boost your brainpower, you should limit your workouts to high-intensity aerobics. But it is coordination exercises that strengthen the connections between those new cells so your brain can recruit them for other purposes, such as thinking, learning, and remembering.......



Saturday, July 27, 2013


ON ABC NEWS TONIGHT:  There is a small Greek island [about 25 square miles] where people live into their 90s AND STILL ACTIVE!  What is their secret? Pretty simple when ABC went there to find out; natural organic foods, fish, fruits, vegetables, tea, AND no cars, no buses, natural work in gardens, walking everywhere, and an overall normal active life, like it was for most of the Western world back in the 19th century.



From the book: "Change your Brain Change your Body" by Dr. Amen

Exercise Your Body to Strengthen Your Brain
Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.
—Edward Stanley, former prime minister of the United Kingdom
Physical activity was a natural part of daily life for our ancestors. They hunted animals for food, tended to their gardens, built their own homes, and walked wherever they had to go. In our thoroughly modern world, we drive to work, sit at a desk all day, drive home, and loaf around on the couch. We've almost completely eliminated movement from our day-to-day lives. This is bad news for our brains—not to mention our bellies, our butts, and our backs.
If you want to have a healthy brain and body, you've got to get off your butt and move! Physical activity is the single most important thing you can do to enhance brain function and keep your body looking young. Whether you are six years old or ninety-six years old, exercise acts like a fountain of youth. If you can only follow one of the solutions in this book, make it this one.
Physical exercise acts like a natural wonder drug for the brain. It improves the heart's ability to pump blood throughput the body, which increases blood flow to the brain. That supplies more oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to the brain, which enhances overall brain function. The number of ways that physical exercise benefits the brain is truly remarkable. Here are just some of the things exercise can do for your brain and body.

Exercise encourages the growth of new brain cells. Aerobic activity that gets the heart rate up for extended periods of time boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a chemical that plays a role in neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells. Think of BDNF as a sort of Miracle-Gro for your brain. When you exercise,.your brain sprouts new cells. When your brain doesn't create as many new cells as it loses, aging occurs.
Research studies on laboratory rats show that exercise generates new brain cells in the temporal lobes (involved in memory) and the prefrontal cortex (involved in planning and judgment). These new cells survive for about four weeks, then die off unless they are stimulated. If you stimulate these new neurons through mental or social interaction, they connect to other neurons and enhance learning. This indicates that it is necessary to exercise consistently to encourage continual new cell growth in the brain. It also explains why people who work out at the gym and then go to the library are smarter than people who only work out at the gym.
Physical activity enhances cognitive ability at all ages. No matter how old you are, exercise increases your memory, your ability to think clearly, and your ability to plan. In Dr. John J. Ratey's book Spark, he details how a revolutionary physical education program at a school in Naperville, Illinois, has transformed the student body into some of the smartest kids in the nation. In 1999, eighth graders there took an international standards test called TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), which focuses on math and science. For years, U.S. students have been lagging far behind pupils from other nations—including Japan, Korea, Singapore, and China—in these two subjects. The Naperville eighth graders defied that trend, ranking first in the world in science and sixth in math. Compare those results to U.S. students' national rankings of eighteenth in science and nineteenth in math.
What's so special about Naperville's PE program? It sidelines traditional sports in favor of high-intensity aerobic activity-—-a brief warm-up, a one-mile run, and a cool-down. The only rule: Students must keep their average heart rate above 185 for the mile-long run. The burst of activity is obviously paying off. I hope other schools from around the country take notice and start implementing similar PE programs. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Spark to learn more about the many ways this fitness program is benefiting the students.
There's a lot more evidence that exercise boosts brainpower. In 2005, the California Department of Education (CDE) released a study that compared the relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement. The study revealed that students in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grades with the highest fitness levels also scored highest on standardized reading and math tests. On the other end of the scale, the students in these grades who were the-least physically fit had the lowest academic test scores.
In a 2005 issue of Pediatrics, a panel of thirteen researchers published the results of a large-scale review of 850 studies about the effects of exercise on the nation's youth. The panel concluded that for optimal academic performance, school-age children should participate daily in one hour or more of moderate to vigorous exercise that includes a variety of physical activities.
Another study, published in Brain Research, found that physically fit thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds showed significantly greater cognitive processing ability than their couch-potato peers. A host of other studies have found a laundry list of benefits tied to exercise. Physical activity boosts memory in young women aged eighteen to twenty-five, and it improves frontal lobe function in older adults. Getting your body moving also protects the short-term memory structures in the temporal lobes (hippocampus) from high-stress conditions. Stress causes the adrenal glands to produce excessive amounts of the hormone Cortisol, which has been found to kill cells in the hippocampus and impair memory. In fact, people with Alzheimer's disease have higher Cortisol levels than do normal aging people.
Exercise enhances your mood. People who exercise consistently report a general sense of well-being that people who lead a sedentary lifestyle do not experience. Getting your heart pumping allows more of the natural mood-enhancing amino acid L-tryptophan to enter the brain. L-tryptophan is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which balances moods. It is a relatively small amino acid, and it often has to compete with larger amino acids to cross the blood channels into the brain. With exercise, the muscles of the body utilize the larger amino acids and decrease the competition for L-tryptophan to enter the brain, which makes you feel better.
Exercise helps alleviate depression. In any given year, almost fifteen million American adults and about 5 percent of children and adolescents experience major depressive disorder. Millions of these adults and children turn to prescription medication for help, and antidepressants have become the most commonly prescribed drug in the nation, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What would you say if I told you that exercise can be as effective as prescription medicine in treating depression?
I teach a course for people who suffer from depression, and one of the main things we cover is the importance of exercise in warding off this condition. I encourage all of these patients to start exercising and especially to engage in aerobic activity that gets the heart pumping. The results are truly amazing. Over time, many of these patients who have been taking antidepressant medication for years feel so much better that they are able to wean off the medicine.
The antidepressant benefits of exercise have been documented in medical literature. One study compared the benefits of exercise to those of the prescription antidepressant drug Zoloft. After twelve weeks, exercise proved equally effective as Zoloft in curbing depression. After ten months, exercise surpassed the effects of the drug. Mfnnnizing symptoms of depression isn't the only way physical exercise outshined Zoloft.
Like all prescription medications for depression, Zoloft is associated with negative side effects, such as sexual dysfunction and lack of libido. Plus, taking Zoloft may ruin your ability to qualify for health insurance. Finally, popping a prescription pill doesn't help you learn any new skills. On the contrary, exercise improves your fitness, your shape, and your health, which also boosts self-esteem. It doesn't affect your insurability, and it allows you to gain new skills. If anyone in your family has feelings of depression, exercise can help.
The power of exercise to combat depression is yet another reason why I think schools need to make physical education a requirement for all grades. If 5 percent of kids and adolescents suffer from depression, why not get them to try exercise as a way to reduce or eliminate their need for medication? Getting depressed kids to take part in PE could even prove to be a life-saver. Consider this fascinating report from the Secret Service: National Threat Assessment Center on school shootings. The researchers examined thirty-seven school shootings involving forty-one perpetrators between the ages of eleven and twenty-one. Aside from the fact that all the shooters were male, what was the one and only characteristic they shared? A history of depression. More than half of the shooters reported having experienced feelings of depression. In fact, 75 percent of them had threatened to commit suicide or had actually tried to kill themselves before they carried out their attacks.
Exercise calms worries and anxiety.. Anxiety disorders are very common in the United States, affecting approximately forty million adults and as many as one in ten young people. Millions more of us spend far too much time worrying about the little things in life. When worry or negative thoughts take over, exercise can provide a welcome distraction. Research shows that high-intensity activity can soothe anxiety and reduce the incidence of panic attacks. If, for example, you or your family members are stressing out about an upcoming test or dwelling on an argument you had, physical activity can help clear your mind.
Exercise helps prevent, delay, and lessen the effects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Canadian researchers conducted a large-scale, five-year study to determine the association between physical activity and the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. From 1991/1992 to 1996/1997, they gathered information on 4,615 men and women sixty-five years or older. The researchers evaluated the participants at the study's debut and again at its conclusion five years later. The results showed that 3,894 participants remained without cognitive impairment, 436 were diagnosed as having cognitive impairment but no dementia (mild cognitive impairment), and 285 were diagnosed as having dementia. Physical activity was associated with lower risks of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia of any type. High levels of physical activity were associated with even further reduced risks. The researchers concluded that regular physical activity could represent an important and potent protective factor against cognitive decline and dementia in elderly people.
A number of other studies support these findings and show that physical exercise prevents or delays the cognitive decline associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Research has shown that in people over sixty-five, mild to moderate exercise reduces the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia due to Alzheimer's disease by about 50 percent. A study conducted at Case Western Reserve University examined how much TV people watch each day, which correlates inversely to their exercise level—the more TV people watch, the less they tend to exercise. People in the study who watched two or more hours of TV a day (couch potatoes) were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. In contrast, people over forty years of age who exercised at least thirty minutes per session two or more times a week reaped many protective benefits.
People already suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease may also see rewards from physical activity. Australian researchers found that memory-impaired older adults who followed a six-month exercise program experienced a decrease in cognitive decline over an eighteen-month follow-up period.
Exercise eases symptoms of ADD. The best natural treatment for ADD is physical exercise. In my experience, I have seen a direct correlation between the level of exercise a person gets and the severity of their symptoms. I have noticed that when my patients exercise on a regular basis, their ADD medication works better. In particular, I work with a lot of children and adolescents with ADD. In the spring, these patients will sometimes complain that their medications aren't working as effectively as before. When I hear this, I always ask them if they've changed their exercise routine. Often, they will tell me that they had been playing basketball, a highly aerobic sport, but the season ended, so they aren't doing any physical activity at the moment. When I get them to exercise again, their medication starts working better again. I could just as easily raise the dosage of their medication, but there are side effects associated with that. Exercising has no side effects and a wealth of benefits, so I prefer trying that route first.
If you want more proof that exercise is a great natural treatment for ADD, look at Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Diagnosed with ADD at the age of nine, Phelps had trouble concentrating in class and struggled with his schoolwork. He started taking prescription stimulant medication for ADD to ease his symptoms. In the sixth grade, he told his mother he wanted to stop taking the medication. By then, he was spending hours a day swimming in the pool, and thanks to the intense aerobic activity, he managed to stay focused without medication.
Physical fitness sparks better behavior in adolescents. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, studied 146 healthy adolescents to determine the effects of physical exercise on their lives. The results showed that teens who were more physically fit were less impulsive, felt happier, and were more likely to do good things with their lives than their less-fit peers.
People who exercise regularly sleep better. Regardless of your age, engaging in exercise on a routine basis normalizes melatonin production in the brain and improves sleeping habits. If you've ever watched your kids horse around in the backyard for hours and then collapse into bed at night; you know how true this is. In Chapter 10, you will learn why sleeping is critical for maintaining optimal brain function throughout your lifetime. Remember, although regular exercise is advised, it is best to avoid doing vigorous exercise too close to bedtime. Try to complete physical activity about four hours before going to bed.
Exercise helps women cope with hormonal changes. Evidence shows that regular exercise tends to minimize symptoms associated with PMS. It also helps women deal with the hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause.
Exercise promotes better health and helps you live longer. Regular exercise increases the chemical nitric oxide, which tells the smooth muscles in your blood vessels to relax and open, allowing blood to flow more freely throughout your body. You probably never think of your blood vessels as having muscles, but they do. Every time you exercise, you give your blood vessels a workout too. With consistent exercise, your blood vessels become more robust. That helps keep blood pulsing to your heart, organs, and tissues. This boosts the health of vital organs and reduces the risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease—all of which have been linked to cognitive decline.
Physical activity also enhances insulin's ability to prevent high blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. In addition, exercise increases the production of glutathione, which is the major antioxidant in all cells. Pumping up the levels of glutathione protects muscles and other tissues from free radical damage and premature aging. Research has also shown that mild to....