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A New Life For an Old Idea

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
July 5, 2011
File under: Diet, Health Concerns, Illness Prevention, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Nutrition, Sustainable Food, Uncategorized

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In the same way that a broken watch is right twice a day, every once in a while the nutrition beliefs of the natural health community and the academic community line up in unexpected ways. This is the case with the reanimated recommendation of Meatless Monday.

The concept of a Meatless Monday as a means of conserving scarce resources is nearly 100 years old. It was developed in response to food shortages during World War I, and was revived during World War II. But once peacetime rolled around, the programs were placed in the same mothballs as the Send Over Smokes program and the Liberty Bond.

In 2003, as part of the Healthy Monday series of campaigns, the guy responsible for the advertising catch-phrase “don’t squeeze the Charmin” revived the Meatless Monday program. …read more of A New Life For an Old Idea here

 
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A New Class of Antidepressants Looks Like an Old Dietary Supplement

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
May 24, 2011
File under: Health Concerns, Medical Care, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Supplements

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An article scheduled for publication in the next issue of the Lancet looks at the efficacy of a new class of antidepressant. This medication class includes a number of new melatonin-like molecules, none of which are currently approved for therapeutic use in the United States.

But melatonin is widely available over-the-counter in this country. Would melatonin supplements potentially have the same therapeutic effect as the pharmaceutical versions? Maybe, but let’s take a little detour first.

For the past 50 years, drug therapies for depression have focused on a group of neurotransmitters called monoamines. In particular, serotonin has been the major therapeutic target, so much so that many modern theories about the cause of depression focus on disruptions in production of this chemical. …read more of A New Class of Antidepressants Looks Like an Old Dietary Supplement here

 
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A Hard Lesson To Learn

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
April 19, 2011
File under: Medical Care, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Supplements, Uncategorized

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One of the reasons that being a doctor is hard is that patients want to feel better RIGHT NOW. There is a natural temptation toward intervention vs conservative treatment, more medication vs less.

But there is a problem with this. Every time a doctor makes a health intervention, there can be a potential downside. Sometimes, the downside is immediate and obvious (think major surgery). Other times, the risks may come much later, and may not even be known.

Every once in a while, we see a research study that highlights this uncertainty. …read more of A Hard Lesson To Learn here

 
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Fish Oil Improves Chemotherapy Outcomes

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
March 10, 2011
File under: Health Concerns, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Supplements

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A new study published this month in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer journal offers some of the most definitive evidence yet that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil offer significant benefits during cancer chemotherapy.

In this new study, lung cancer patients taking fish oil had a stronger tumor response to treatment, maintained their weight better, and were more likely to survive longer than people taking placebo.

For this research trial, the authors recruited 15 people treated with carboplatin-based chemotherapy regimens for locally-advanced or metastatic lung cancer. Each of these patients took 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil every day. They were compared to 31 similar patients taking a placebo medication. …read more of Fish Oil Improves Chemotherapy Outcomes here

 
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Are Diet Sodas Safe?

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
February 25, 2011
File under: Diet, Health Concerns, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Nutrition

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A new study reported at the American Stroke Association’s annual meeting has reached a provocative conclusion. Based on the dietary patterns of over 2500 New York residents followed for nearly a decade, they correlated regular diet soda intake with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

After correcting for the effects of obesity, smoking, and other critical risk factors, diet soda consumption was associated with a nearly 50% increase in risk.

This type of research cited here makes for better headlines than clinical guidance. Demonstrating a correlation between dietary patterns and health problems in a smaller study like this is really a first step toward building a hypothesis, and certainly doesn’t prove anything. …read more of Are Diet Sodas Safe? here

 
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USDA Makes Dramatic Change to Dietary Guidelines

By Matt Brignall ecomii.com
February 1, 2011
File under: Diet, Food Allergies, Health Concerns, Natural Alternatives, Natural Health, Nutrition

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Well, this is unexpected. The USDA today issued their 2010(?!?) Dietary Guidelines for Americans update. For the first time, this report tells Americans to eat fewer calories.

The new guidelines also specifically target added salt and sugar, dietary cholesterol, and what they refer to as solid fats. In addition, the guidelines suggest reducing land animal foods in favor of seafood.

To anybody who has followed the politics of the Food Pyramid over the past three decades, this is a welcome surprise, as it represents complete reversal from previous versions. …read more of USDA Makes Dramatic Change to Dietary Guidelines here

 
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