Monday, September 26, 2011

Sobering Thoughts About Social Drinking, Part 1

Drinking, like smoking, is bad for the health.

The obvious ill effects from excessive drinking, such as kidney damage, cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. are familiar to everyone. However, most drinkers believe that alcohol is completely harmless when taken in moderation. This misconception is even disseminated by many physicians and psychiatrists who see alcohol problems originated in the drinker and seldom in the bottle. But alcohol is a toxic chemical that can damage the body's cells even in small amounts.

According to the U.S. National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, alcohol was labeled the nation's most abused drug. Because objections to alcohol are generally confined to its influence on behavior, the effects of social drinking on health and disease are often ignored.

The speed with which alcohol alters consciousness in its ability to cause relaxation, light headedness, and drunkenness occurs because of its rapid solubility. Unlike foods, it is not necessary for alcohol to be digested. It is absorbed through the walls of the stomach and small intestines directly into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, it goes to all organs and cells in the body. The higher the fluid content of an organ, the higher the rate of absorption. This explains why the brain, with its high percent of water, responds so quickly to alcohol.

Drinking on an empty stomach increases absorption, causing at least 90 percent of the alcohol to enter the bloodstream within an hour. Once a maximum alcohol-blood level is reached, it remains fairly constant for about five hours.

The ability of alcohol to relieve tension, remove inhibitions, and provide a sense of well-being is due to its depressive action on the central nervous system. With the cerebral cortex dulled, there is an initial feeling of exhilaration, followed by the dulling of the senses and impairment of judgment. Eventually, if the intake continues, motor centers in the brain are depressed and muscle control is decreased. By this time, the exhilaration may be reversed and melancholy set in.

Brain damage in alcoholics is well documented, but Drs. Knisely, Moskow, and Pennington of the Medical College of South Carolina, told the 28th International Congress on Alcohol and Alcoholism, that even moderate social drinking destroys brain cells.

Dr. Knisely and his associates found that alcohol thickens the blood. The more alcohol present, the slower the blood flows in small vessels until they are plugged, causing the brain cells to die from a lack of oxygen. As many as 10,000 brain cells can be destroyed in a single drinking bout, and although the brain has 17 billion cells, the destructive effect of alcohol are cumulative.

(Part 2, which discusses the effects of alcohol on nutrition and exercise, will be posted on Monday, October 3, 2011)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Smoking Affects Fitness Level

If you think the risks of cancer , hardening of the arteries, heart attacks, stroke, and emphysema are the only negative effects of smoking, you're wrong.

Your body's capacity for physical work depends on the amount of oxygen it can take in. Without oxygen the body cells cannot burn food for energy. And the only way oxygen can get into the body cells is through the process of respiration, which occurs on two different levels. In external respiration (what we call breathing) the lungs exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen from the atmosphere. Internal respiration involves the same exchange of gases between the bloodstream and body cells.

As the blood flows through the capillaries, it releases oxygen into the cells. Simultaneously, carbon dioxide passes from the cells into the bloodstream. The blood then goes to the lungs to expel its load of carbon dioxide and picks up a fresh supply of oxygen. Because the body tissues cannot store oxygen, they must be continuously resupplied by the blood stream.

Studies have shown that some cells are unable to carry oxygen for more than 12 hours after transporting carbon monoxide. If you smoke about 20 cigarettes, the oxygen supply in your circulatory system is reduced by five to ten percent. As a result, oxygen transport (the carrying of oxygen throughout the body by the blood cells) is limited considerably. This reduction in the oxygen-transporting capacity results in the corresponding reduction in the physical performance capacity during heavy work.

A non-smoker who trains regularly can expect a 10 to 20 percent increase in his maximum oxygen absorption. However, this training improvement is cut in half for the smoker whose oxygen uptake goes up only five to ten percent. Cigarette smoking has also been linked to an increased oxygen debt after exercise.

Perhaps the most conclusive evidence of smoking's effect on performance was revealed by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, author of Aerobics, in a 1968 study of 419 Air Force recruits. Cooper and his colleagues evaluated the airmen during their first six weeks of active duty by having them perform the 12-minute maximum running test. Although both smokers and non-smokers improved by the end of six weeks, those who smoked 10 to 30 cigarettes a day showed a significantly smaller change in fitness levels than did the non-smokers. Cooper concluded that smoking causes chronic problems which affect endurance and performance improvement during training.

Cooper also proved what other researchers have been saying for years--that the airmen's smoking increased their pulse rate and oxygen consumption during rest, raised their blood pressure, constricted certain blood vessels, decreased defusing capacity (the lung's ability to exchange gases with the bloodstream) and lung capacity and incurred a larger oxygen debt during exercise. Any or all of these symptoms can cut down on your body's overall efficiency.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gallstones Risk Can Be Reduced

Dr. Olin Thurston of Alberta, Canada, says that the risk of gallstones can be reduced significantly simply by eating a bowl of bran cereal everyday.

"By feeding gallstone patients added fiber in their diet in the form of bran, we were able to reduce the cholesterol saturation of their bile," explains Dr. Thurston.

Researchers recommend drinking celery juice to prevent the formation of gallstones.

But how do we develop gallstones?

Medical studies tell us that when cholesterol in the liver or gallbladder solidifies with the bile that is secreted by the liver to help digest fat, gallstones form.

Gallstones are formed in the gallbladder , a membrane sac attached to the liver where excess bile (or gall) is stored; they may pass through the body unnoticed, but if the gallstones get lodged
in the cystic duct--a small passageway from the liver to the gallbladder--they may eventually cause intense pain. Symptoms of the disease may vary from mild discomfort to severe pain. Nausea, jaundice, or fever may result when the patient's bile duct is blocked by the gallstones.

To help prevent gallstone formation, please follow these health tips:
  • Eat omega-3 fatty acids, like chia seeds and flaxseed oil.
  • Take lecithin daily, supplemented by vitamin E, to lower gallstone formation.
  • Drink enough water to help prevent gallstones. (Water keeps the gallbladder clean)
  • Do not eat animal fat as it can cause gallstones.
  • Avoid processed foods, fried, sweet or junk foods.
  • Do not use alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco.
  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits daily, instead of refined carbohydrates, to prevent stone formation. (Richest food sources of vitamin E are: wheat germ; whole wheat; safflower nuts; sunflower seeds; walnuts; hazelnuts; almonds; brazil nuts; cashew; olive oil; cabbage; spinach; asparagus; broccoli; oats; barley; avocados--and more)
  • Exercise. (Cholesterol is excreted more rapidly by the liver and bladder with regular exercise)
  • Maintain an ideal weight. (Overweight women over 40--not to mention those having several children--have the most gallstones, compared with men of the same age bracket, according to studies)
TIDBITS... Speaking of acid-alkaline balance, Organic Consumer reports that the relationship of about 80% alkaline-forming foods (fruits and vegetables) to 20% acid-forming foods (protein) will maintain a healthful balance--if the stomach produces sufficient hydrochloric acid (HCL).

Hydrochloric acid is but one component of the stomach's digestive juices and enzymes. The pancreas manufactures and secretes not only pancreatin, but a wide spectrum of enzymes and ferments, active in the small intestine, the primary site for food absorption into the blood stream.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dangers of Cell Phone Radiation

In a timely article, Cell Phone Radiation Triggers Measurable Brain Cell Damage In Mere Minutes (originally published in Mike Adams' website,, we are reproducing the following report by David Gutierrez:

As little as 10 minutes on a cell phone can trigger changes in brain cells linked to cell division and cancer, suggests a new study conducted by researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and published in the Biochemical Journal.

Previously, advocates of cell-phone safety have maintained that the phones cannot cause brain damage because the microwave radiation that they emit is at a level too low to heat the body's cells. But in the new study, changes in biological processes began at an energy level even lower than that used by a typical phone, even without heating occurring.

"Safety guidelines assume (that) health effects from mobiles can only occur when significant heating of body tissue occurs. (But) this study shows biological changes in response to low-level mobile phone radiation--something that could potentially have implications for health," said Graham Philips of the British nonprofit Powerwatch.

Researchers exposed both human and rat cells to low-level radiation at a frequency of 875 megahertz, a similar frequency to that used by most cellular phones. The intensity of the radiation was far lower than that used by most phones, however.

Even so, within 10 minutes the scientists observed changes within the cells. A chemical switch regulating cell division was switched on--a switch that has been linked to a variety of cancers.

There was no direct evidence of cancer inducement in the current study . However, the researchers point out that the changes occurring at the low radiation level were non-thermal in nature, something previously said to be impossible. Thus, the study challenges the entire the entire basis on which cell phones' presumption of safety has been based.

"The significance lies in showing cells do react to cell-phone radiation in a non-thermal way," said co-author Rony Seger. "We used radiation power levels that were around one tenth of those produced by a normal mobile. The changes we observed were clearly not caused by heating."

"This helps explain why mobile phone radiation has been linked to increases in cancer tumors," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams. "Until now, skeptics have said the radiation wasn't intense enough to cause cells to overheat, but now we're learning there can be significant cellular changes taking place at far lower levels of exposure."

(Our profound thanks to Mike Adams for sharing with us this important report which we have considered as a health "gem."--J.P.)