Sunday, January 30, 2011

Nutritional Supplements

Many nutritionists believe that most people should take multiple vitamins the year round as supplements to their diets.

Today, there is a growing trend among health-conscious individuals to take a proactive approach to their own health by taking vitamins, minerals and antioxidants daily.

But why the keen interest in supplements?

There are many reasons: poor quality of food supply; loss of nutrients in cooked food; not eating a healthy diet; stressful lifestyle; and sickness. The supplements are also used by many to slow down the aging process and strengthen the immune system to prevent chronic diseases, like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes.

A few years ago, California Institute of Technology, aided by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, offered proof that most people can benefit from extra vitamins the year round.

They tested a group of healthy men whose ordinary diet was as good as average. Each man was given tablets five days a week for a whole year. Half the men were given multivitamin tablets, while the other half were given placebo (fake tablets of no value).

For the first two months there was no observable difference between the two groups.

But during the following six months, the men who had been receiving vitamin tablets forged ahead. They were absent less and scored higher in merit-rating. The vitamin tablets seemed to have the greatest effect on the workers' emotional well-being. They seemed happier, more alert.

Tidbits. "Most of our dyspepsia or indigestion is simply the irritation due to too much food or drink. It is not a disease, and medicine only adds insult to injury," claims Dr. Peter P. Chase in his book, Your Wonderful Body.

Dr. Victor Heiser, in You're the Doctor, illustrates the dangers of overeating as follows:

"It is as though you owned a boiler designed to burn a ton of coal a day, the amount sufficient to generate steam enough to run your plant. Instead of following instructions, you constantly burn two tons daily. The safety valve is then always blowing off unused steam. You are not only wasting your coal but burning out the boiler. Something similar to this is taking place in the bodies of people who overeat."

Exercise of the week. Here is an excellent reliever for office workers who sit hunched over a desk all day:

Stand erect with both arms stretched out in front. Inhale as you stretch them out to your sides. Then exhale as you slowly swing them back together in front of you. Keep the hands relaxed and feel the pull and stretch from the chest area.

Tighten your abdominal muscles and your buttocks during the process and you will also do wonders for your posture.

Do 8 repetitions the first day, adding a few repetitions each day until you reach 20 reps.

Do the exercise every hour to relieve shoulder and neck tightness.

Lack of sleep can affect your mental abilities. In a series of studies on college students, Dr Robert A. Hicks, Ph.D. found that sleeping less than 6 hours a night can reduce your ability to think creatively, lessen your ability to cope with stress and erode your problem-solving talents.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Alcohol Causes Brain Damage

Alcohol can cause brain damage. If you are a heavy drinker of beer and been lately noticing some inefficiency in doing things you have been used to before, then don't be surprised because drinking only three glasses of beer a day is enough to damage the human brain. So claims Australian neurologist, Dr. Lesley Cala in a research project she has undertaken and published in HR, the management magazine.

"To stay young, drink plenty of water. The older one gets, the more important it is to drink water," said Dr. Bernhard Steinmann at a geriatric convention in Hamburg, Germany.

"Increasing one's liquid intake prevents dehydration and premature aging; nonetheless, older people become less thirsty than younger people,'' he added.

"Lack of water in the body results in exhaustion, heart trouble and other upsets. Older people should drink from one up to one-and-a-half liters of water a day,"
concluded Dr. Steinmann.

"To prolong life, stress is also necessary," said gerontologist Erhard Olbrich. Experiments with animals in Russia have shown that too little stress and too much of it, shortens one's life. Olbrich however did not explain how much stress a person can take. Moreover, persons react differently to stress. He cited the example of a couple undergoing divorce. One could come out of the tense divorce proceedings a better person, while the other may just crumble under the strain.

Another gerontologist, Erich Lang, reported that low blood pressure in elderly patients is just as dangerous as having high blood pressure. Both increase the risks of having a heart attack.

"When an elderly patient has high blood pressure, it must be lowered through medication gradually, not drastically," Lang added.

Tidbits. Do you know that "heartburn," blighting the life of many elders, is better controlled not with antacid but with acid--hydrochloric acid--which when deficient permits food to ferment and putrefy, producing those "burpy" acids that can bubble up in the throat?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dr. Omar G. Arabia II, Integrative Oncologist

During my recent trip to Manila, I had the privilege to interview Omar G. Arabia II, M.D., who operates the Paracelsus Integrative Medical Clinic in Quezon City, Philippines.

Dr. Arabia has been practicing Family Health, Biological Medicine and Integrative Oncology for more than 20 years. Talking to him was educational, and the information that follows is an eye-opener.

"The human body, given the right conditions, has miraculous powers to renew itself...," so says the good doctor.

According to Dr. Arabia, the gentle art and science of healing is to provide biological, non-toxic, integrative health care through the maintenance of health and optimal wellness--and most important--the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer and other chronic, degenerative diseases.

Talking about the present state of health of Filipinos, Dr. Arabia enumerated the following findings:
  • Over a quarter of the Philippine population will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime, and one of five will die of it.
  • While cancer has risen over the last four decades (even more drastically in the last 10 years) there has been scant overall improvement in treatment and survival.
  • This recent 'cancer epidemic' has been paralleled by the phenomenal growth of the petrochemical industry and the resulting introduction of a wide range of synthetic carcinogens into the workplace and the environment, especially the food supply.
  • Most independent experts now agree that the overwhelming majority of all human cancers are environmentally-induced or related--and just preventable.
On his method of treatment, Dr. Arabia shares his views:

"The longstanding, generally accepted medical approach to the treatment of cancer has been to destroy the cancer cells by radical methods. Cancer is regarded as a foreign body that has to be removed either by surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Though some cancers may respond to this approach, many others do not. In fact, in a number of cases, this type of treatment does more harm than good because of the unpredictable, unwanted side effects. Although the standard treatment approaches might reduce the tumor burden, they would do nothing to change the underlying conditions that had encouraged this abnormal growth to occur and recur in the first place.

"There is a growing consensus in medicine today to investigate other approaches, like strengthening the immune system through nutrition, detoxification, biological medicine, meditation, and many others.

"Our approach rests on the assumption that cancer is a systemic, not a local disease, even before it reaches advanced stages. Our strategy is to support and enhance the body's defense functions, to mobilize internal healing forces--all to assist the body in neutralizing and/or breaking down the cancer. Patients with cancer may often survive for long periods of time beyond expectations, as long as their defense systems are kept nourished and strong."

Expect more cutting-edge preventive/holistic medicine "gems" from Dr. Arabia and other alternative doctors and health researchers from around the world. Stay healthy and fit!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sugar: Food or Poison?

More children are being poisoned with sugar and excess salt than ever before, according to an intensive shocking study at Louisiana State University made a few years ago.

Dangerous high blood pressure in millions of children is caused by sugar. Deadly hypertension in adults, causing crippling heart attacks, strokes and kidney failures, is also caused or made considerably worse by sugar, the study disclosed.

Sugar increases the amount of harmful cholesterol in a person's blood and also adds to the dangerous effects of too much salt. This sugar damage answers an old mystery that doctors have wondered about: What causes high blood pressure in people who are otherwise healthy?

"Refined sugars do not contain the essential nutrients necessary to even metabolize them properly. Sugary processed food are also unlikely to contain much fiber, so the high consumption of sugar-laden foods contributes to a harmful, low-fiber diet," says James Braly, MD.

"While cookies, cakes, candies, ice cream and soft drinks predictably contain high amounts of sugar, surprisingly, so do salad dressings, cereals, yogurt, catsup and relish. In general, food that is frozen, canned, cured, and processed is likely to be high in sugar. Sucrose is sugar(cane sugar to be specific), so is lactose (milk sugar), and maltose (grain sugar). Other sugar derivatives, including fructose and corn syrup, contribute to the excessive sugar load.

"Sugar provides empty calories and is a cheap way to get a boost of energy since it is metabolized by the body into glucose. But too much sugar swamps the body, which is incapable of processing the sugar effectively. With continued overuse of sugar, the pancreas eventually wears out and is no longer able to clear sugar from the blood efficiently. The blood sugar level rises and diabetes may result," continues the study.

And here's an eye-opener: Thirty minutes after consuming sugar, the immune system is measurably suppressed, losing as much as 50% of its capacity, so says Jon D. Kaiser, author of Immune Power (NY: St. Martin's Press, 1993).

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Vegetarian Option

"You're a vegetarian?" asked a friend, with such horrified look that I thought I had suddenly transformed into a goat or some strange sea creature. "Yes," I answered.

"Why?" asked my friend, with an even more daunting tone. And I began to explain for the nth time…

Living the life of a vegetarian is not easy. You have to adjust to a society where 90% of the population eats animal flesh. The reality is that when you attend parties, your main course ends up being dessert. Or, you would be limited to a glass of water.

I completely understood my friend’s reaction. It’s actually quite amusing to observe different reactions from people. Some would think that I’m going to die of malnutrition soon. And who’s dying of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other degenerative diseases these days? What kind of food do doctors tell their patients to avoid when they have diagnosed their patients of serious diseases? Of course, we can guess: Meat.

I’d rather start living a healthy life now than wait for my doctor to tell me that I’m dying of mad cow disease, cancer, or whatever kind of disease that may develop in the future.

Looking at it from another perspective, there are the laws of nature. If a man, who doesn’t know anything about gravity, jumps off a building, he’s off to the next world. His ignorance of the law of gravity doesn’t exempt him from its effects. I’m sure you know the biblical passage: “What you sow, so shall you reap.” And in science, the law of thermodynamics states that, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Well, I’m not saying that the chicken you just ate will return from the dead and eat you. But isn’t it right to say that the pain inflicted in the animal you are eating will also be returned to you?

It’s not easy to be a vegetarian. You have to believe in your principles with utmost conviction to be able to resist the temptation of eating meat again.

Now, in case you don’t know, there are different types of vegetarians. There’s the pesco-vegetarian – one who doesn’t eat meat and chicken, but eats fish. The ovo-vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, chicken and fish, but still eats eggs. There’s also the lacto-vegetarian (that’s me!) – one who doesn’t eat meat, chicken, fish, or eggs, but consumes milk and other dairy products. Then there’s the vegan – the complete and full vegetarian. No milk, no honey, nothing that comes from animals at all.

A lot of famous people in the world were and are vegetarians, and their reasons range from ethical to health – to everything in between – including Karma. Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Dustin Hoffman, William Shatner, Brook Shields, Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Portman – and others too many to mention – were all vegetarians.

Yes, living the vegetarian way seems hard. But a path becomes easy if you know the way; if you truly believe in it. There may be obstacles but if you know what awaits you in the end, it will give you the determination – and the courage – to stand up each time you fall.

Now, the question, why am I a vegetarian? It’s because I respect life.

(Note: The author of the above article is Architect Virna Liza V. Padua, my youngest daughter, who is currently a partner of 3rd Cube Architects (website: and is a member of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Camarines Chapter. She is also a Past President of the Rotary Club of Midtown Quezon City, Philippines. – J.Padua)