Health Talk Today

Healthy Living

Understanding the Latest Media Attention on Multivitamins

Guest post by Jamie McManus, M.D., FAAFP. Chair of Medical Affairs, Health Science, & Education at Shaklee Corporation

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Many of you have probably seen the headlines regarding multivitamins and their inability to prevent chronic disease in the past few days – the result of three studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Starting from a 30,000-foot view, the premise of these studies is the first problem: looking at the use of a multivitamin alone as a way to prevent disease. The purpose of a multivitamin is to fill in nutritional gaps and provide optimum levels of vitamins and minerals. It is well established that the vast majority of Americans fail to obtain even adequate levels of these nutrients.

Prevention of any disease is a multi-factorial process that has to include diet, weight management, and lifestyle. To expect to see disease prevention accomplished by virtue of taking a daily multivitamin is a flawed premise. So, why are these large-scale (and very expensive) studies undertaken? It is simply the model of research that scientists and physicians understand – studying a single drug to determine what effect it may have on a single disease. Studying nutrition is far more complex.

While a drug has a primary effect (usually something positive), they also have a myriad of side effects (which are usually negative and even life threatening). Every year pharmaceuticals are removed from the market because of these serious side effects. A study published in JAMA in 1998 showed that as many as 125,000 Americans die each year of properly prescribed pharmaceuticals – wow! When was the last time a vitamin was removed from the market?

Vitamins and minerals all have multiple positive functional roles to play in our bodies – which is why so many Americans pop a multi each day. People simply feel better when they take a multi because they are filling in those all too common nutrition gaps.

All three of these studies showed that multivitamins have an excellent safety profile. Well, of course they do! The only “potential harm” that continues to be mentioned every time we have a study such as this published is the slight increased risk of lung cancer in smokers who took beta carotene. My response to that is – smokers: stop smoking!

Let me quickly summarize these studies. The largest one is another report from the Physician Health Study – previous publications of data from this large government funded study did show an association of reduced cancer associated with multivitamin usage.

The next study looked at cognitive decline in physicians – who are at the upper end of the intelligence scale and pretty well nourished. Showing a significant change in cognitive decline in this population is going to take some intervention beyond a multi – as this population is most likely doing lots of the right things to protect their brain function.

The third study tried to show that higher doses of specific vitamins decrease the likelihood of a second heart attack in folks who have already had a heart attack. Hmmm. Maybe we should look at weight reduction, cholesterol, blood pressure lowering, and blood sugar management as opposed to putting the burden of prevention of a second heart attack in someone with heart disease on vitamins!

I have been recommending a multivitamin (and beyond) to my patients, and consumers in general, for my entire 30 years as a physician – and nothing in these studies changes my mind. The statistics on inadequacies in our American diet are clear – most everyone is deficient in multiple nutrients. Here at Shaklee, we have the Landmark Study, published in the journal Nutrition in 2007 that showed a nice correlation of better health with multiple supplement usage, starting with a multivitamin. We have over 100 published studies that validate the connection of nutrition and health. I urge you to continue taking your Shaklee supplements – but also, to remember the importance of eating healthfully, avoiding fast foods, and getting to a healthy weight on your journey to better health.

Be well!

The Landmark Study

Jamie McManus, M.D., FAAFPChair of Medical Affairs, Health Science, & Education
Dr. Jamie McManus is an acclaimed author, board-certified family physician, and highly regarded educational speaker who has been featured in numerous radio and television shows. She is responsible for ensuring best practices in clinical research, scientific design, product development, and product messaging. A longtime advocate of preventative medicine, Dr. McManus is most passionate about inspiring others to take charge of their health through simple lifestyle changes and proper nutrition. In her downtime, she enjoys running, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and playing with her 3-year-old granddaughter.

She doesn’t go a day without taking her Shaklee products, starting her day with a Shaklee 180™ Shake and Shaklee Vitalizer™.

Do you take vitamins every day?
Are they synthetic or all natural and organic?
Does it matter to you whether you take them or not?
Leave a comment with your opinion.

Never Leave the Playground

Stephen Jepson | Never Leave the Playground | How to stay young in mind and body #video

Stephen Jepson is 71 years young. He’s on the go all day long. It’s what keeps his body and mind in great shape.

Stephen is an inventor, a retired college arts professor and a ceramic artist. But today, his focus is balance. As people age, they begin to lose their ability to balance. Stephen believes the activities he spends his day doing, has helped him keep his balance. It has also kept his mind sharp.

Every time I watch this video I see something new. The last time, I noticed he has 2 different colored shoe laces! Isn’t that just like a kid?

Can you do what Stephen Jepson does?

No matter what your age, it’s never too late to start. Begin with something simple and gradually increase repetitions and difficulty. If you think it’s work, you probably won’t keep doing it. Take a lesson from Stephen. He’s having fun. He’s like a kid, playing in the playground.

What are you doing to keep moving and learning?

Leave a comment with your favorite staying-young activity.

Marilyn Kvasnok

Office Exercises

Whether you work in an office cubicle, a private, corner office with a view or your home business office, you’re probably doing a lot of sitting. Several times during the day, it would be a good idea to get up and DO SOMETHING … And I don’t mean going to the employee lounge for coffee and a donut or outside for a smoke. If there’s no where you need to go, like to another office or walk upstairs for a meeting, at least get up and exercise.

Here’s a chart with easy office exercises that will inspire you to stand up, stretch, reach and do a short exercise routine.

Office Exercise Poster

Download the full size Office Exercise Poster.

See how to do each of these exercises and rate them yourself.
Washington Post article: A workout at work?

Leave a comment with your favorite exercise routine.

Marilyn Kvasnok

Effective and Fun Exercise Ideas For Seniors

Guest post by Felix Marsh, team member at Heritage Independent Living.

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It is vitally important for seniors to exercise regularly in order to maintain a good level of health, fitness and independence. And it is a mistake to think that because you are getting older it is less important to exercise!

If muscles are not used regularly, they will begin to shrink. And unfortunately, because people have a tendency to slow down and do less as they grow older, this can become a problem and overall health can suffer. With regular gentle exercise however this can be avoided and joints and muscles can remain healthy and flexible for much longer.

I am not necessarily talking about going to the gym or jumping up and down in an aerobics class. Although, if you are fit and energetic enough, this would be an brilliant way to keep fit. There are a number of different types of exercise for seniors to choose from. And as well as being good for your health, exercise can be great fun and open up all kinds of social opportunities.

It is important to be aware of your limits when participating in any kind of exercise. Take it at your own pace so as not to overdo it. Seniors who have pre-existing health conditions are advised to consult their medical practitioner to discuss any doubts or worries they have before taking part in any strenuous activities that could potentially compromise their current level of health or fitness.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking…

Effective & Fun Exercise Ideas For SeniorsWater
Exercising in water is a great way to stay in shape. Even those with limited mobility can take part in this type of exercise due to the great support and resistance water provides for the joints and limbs.

Swimming is of course, an excellent way to stay healthy. But even if you cannot or would prefer not to swim, another option would be to take part in exercise classes in a pool, which can be great fun and good for your health.

Effective & Fun Exercise Ideas For SeniorsWalking
Getting out for regular walks is easy and of course this option is completely free! Just a short stroll around your neighborhood a few times a week can help to keep unwanted weight at bay and strengthen your bones. Stopping to chat or say hello, or even better, walking with a buddy can be beneficial socially, too. Simply getting outside in the natural sunlight avoids the risk of many health conditions including osteoporosis which is caused by a lack of calcium, leading to weakness in the bones.

Effective & Fun Exercise Ideas For SeniorsYoga
Joining a yoga class for seniors is a wonderful choice as yoga offers both physical and psychological benefits through its combination of gentle cardiovascular exercise, relaxation and breathing techniques. Having mastered the basics, it is possible to fit in a little yoga practice at home, too, as yoga requires nothing more than a mat and some comfortable, loose clothing!

Many seniors have a great time strutting their stuff in local groups. And even if you were only blessed with two left feet, this is a highly sociable way to stay fit whilst meeting friends and having a lot of fun whilst listening to some ‘proper music!’

Effective & Fun Exercise Ideas For SeniorsCycling
Cycling doesn’t have to mean lycra shorts and shiny space age bikes despite what a lot of the cyclists one sees racing around this summer would tell you. Nipping down to the shops or going out for half an hour for a ride around the neighborhood every few days on a comfortable bike is a brilliant way to get some fresh air and work your muscles.

Take it easy at first if it has been a while since you got on a bike. But once you get the hang of it again, you will discover the freedom of the road without a scrap of lycra or Kevlar required! The final thing to say on bikes is that nowadays they all come with lots of gears as pretty much standard, so don’t worry too much about the hills!

Many seniors already do this activity perhaps without realizing the health benefits. Gardening is a low impact form of exercise with a wide range of positive physical and psychological side effects. Stretching, bending, pulling, digging, squatting are all part and parcel of gardening. And therefore, as you complete the activities you can say to yourself that you are keeping the garden looking good and staying fit at the same time. Perfect!

Quality of Life
There are of course, many other kinds of exercise you could get involved with. The important thing is to choose something that you will enjoy and make it part of your daily or weekly routine. If you don’t enjoy it and it feels like a chore you will feel less motivated and be less likely to exercise regularly. Should this happen just try something new. Simple!

Being part of a club or group, getting out regularly and participating in any activity you love is good for you. So, if you know you could be doing more to maintain your health, look locally to see what is available and go for it!

Getting into good habits early on is the key, but better late than never definitely applies to exercising at any stage of our lives whether young or old.

Eating a healthy diet and keeping fit whilst enjoying a hobby, sport or class of your preference will ensure you enjoy a good quality of life throughout your senior years, keeping both your mind and body active and you happier and healthier to boot!

Felix Marsh, Heritage Independent LivingHeritage Independent Living is a respected Live-in Care introductory agency. We match experienced live-in or daily companions and carers with a wide range of people from elder citizens, wishing to maintain an independent lifestyle, to physically or mentally disabled clients of all ages.

Whether you’re a senior or not, what fun exercise do you recommend?
Leave a comment with your effective and fun exercise ideas.

Make Preparations to Keep a Healthy Diet When You Go on Vacation

Guest post by Cole Millen, an avid traveler and foodie.

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Going on vacation is an event that most families look forward to all year long.  For many people, family vacations are only possible once a year due to available finances and work and school schedules.  When vacation time rolls around, there are numerous outings and activities to look forward to.  Many people enjoy eating out and enjoying some of their favorite foods while they are away from home as part of their favorite activities.

Healthy Fruit

Plan Your Travel Time Meals and Snacks in Advance

In order to prepare yourself and your family to stick to a delicious but healthy diet, it is a good idea to plan out the majority of your snack and meals for your travel time.  If you will be spending a lot of time in a vehicle, taking along a cooler and packing healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, trail mix and homemade granola bars will help you to stay away from fast food restaurants and convenience stores for snacks.

Staying away from convenience stores while you are on the road will eliminate the temptation to purchase fat-filled foods such as candy bars and potato chips.  For family meals on the road, consider adding deli sandwiches consisting of BLTs or turkey sandwiches on whole wheat with lettuce, mustard and cucumbers. 

Finding a Health Friendly Hotel

Not all hotels are designed with healthy living in mind, but there are some establishments that cater to a healthy lifestyle, which are terrific choices for anyone who wants to maintain their diet while on vacation. These hotels are often tough to find so it is important to do some research prior to traveling. I have found that reading reviews from other travelers on the hotels and areas provides the most unbiased and honest opinion. I stumbled upon a great site where I was recently able to find a list Las Vegas hotels with a number of amenities including a vegetarian restaurant primarily because of the reviews from healthy conscious travelers such as myself. Such hotels will not only offer exercise facilities, but there may also be healthy food options from restaurants and room service. In addition, some hotels will offer active gatherings such as aerobics classes or group sports for guests to remain active during their stay.

Eating Out

If you have been avoiding eating out lately, familiarize yourself with the restaurants you will be visiting on your vacation. If possible, review menus online so you have an idea of what is available. One of the greatest pitfalls that diners and travels may face is dining out at restaurants, which can be accompanied with fatty appetizers, wine and spirits as well as caloric masses of food. Avoiding heavy appetizers and skipping the breadbasket is the first way to prevent overindulgence. It can be very easy to eat an excessive amount while waiting for a meal to arrive and chatting with fellow diners. Starting the meal with water or seltzer water flavored with lemon can help prevent mindless eating while enjoying conversation. Many restaurants offer a section on menus where healthy options are highlighted, which can be extremely helpful for travelers looking to separate unhealthy options from their healthy counterparts. While a salad may seem like the best choice, heavy dressings, cheeses and croutons can make salads a tricky pitfall that many diners become confused by. Instead, seek out grilled fish and chicken surrounded by steamed vegetables. When in doubt, diners monitoring their nutrition while traveling should never hesitate to ask servers and wait staff about the method of cooking, dressing options and fats used in a dish. Simply questioning a prospective meal may help diners save hundreds of calories by allowing them to pick another option or request alternative cooking methods, such as steaming, baking and grilling.

Cole MillenCole Millen is an avid traveler and foodie who never forgets that life’s best memories are made through real life apprehension of legitimate “experiences.” Some people plan a trip to “get away,” while others realize benefit of adding something greater to their current repertoire of knowledge, thought and emotion. Through my writings, I hope to influence the earlier, and connect with the latter.

Visit Cole’s blog: Cole’s Mill.

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