Researchers studying vitamin E as a method to prevent prostate cancer instead found a shocking result: the supplement slightly increases the chance of prostate cancer in men. The new findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study was a follow-up of an earlier large-scale cancer prevention trial conducted three years ago. The trial was stopped after researchers couldnâ€™t determine that supplements of vitamin E, selenium or a combination of the two nutrients could prevent prostate cancer. In the follow-up, about half the trial’s original 35,000-plus participants found a 17% increase in prostate cancer, compared with men who took a placebo. For every 1,000 men, 76 who took vitamin E supplements got prostate cancer, compared with 65 men who took placebo.
The study authors werenâ€™t clear on why vitamin E appeared to raise the risk of cancer. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E is currently 15 milligrams for adults. Prostate cancer is the cause of about 34,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.
If youâ€™re one of many health-conscious women who take vitamins, you may want to pay attention to the findings of a recent University of Minnesota study. According to the 20-year study, women who take multivitamins are 6% more likely to die earlier than women who donâ€™t take them.
Yes, you read that right. Researchers explained that many of the supplements contain high amounts of specific compounds, and high doses could be potentially toxic. “If you combine several supplements, or a multivitamin with supplements, then you reach even higher potentially toxic doses,â€ the lead researchers said.
In recent years, studies have shown that vitamins such as A, C and E, which were supposed to lower risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer, didn’t provide a significant benefit. But many patients kept taking them anyway, and few doctors publicly discouraged it, since the studies didn’t show that taking vitamins did much harm either.
The 38,000 women who participated in the study, average age 62, were surveyed three times about whether they took multivitamins or 15 other types of supplements, and in what doses. Although the higher death risk was noted, researchers found that a bright spot: women in the study who took calcium had a nearly 10% lower risk of death over the study’s follow-up period, compared with those who didn’t take calcium supplements.
Do you take a multivitamin?
Gentle yoga classes may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a small study of middle-aged and older adults. Study participants lost several pounds and kept blood sugar levels steady during the three-month study.
Among the 60 study participants who took yoga classes several times a week, the average BMI — a measure of weight in relation to height — declined from 25.9 to 25.4. A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight.
The study also tracked how levels of oxidative stress declined in the yoga group. Oxidative stress occurs when levels of reactive oxygen species rise above the bodyâ€™s ability to neutralize them. Long-term oxidative stress can contribute to disease and other negative health outcomes.
Vigorous exercise is still more effective in helping people with diabetes shed pounds. The study findings do not suggest that yoga should replace regular exercise for people with type 2 diabetes.
If youâ€™re planning to chow down on potatoes in the near future, know that color makes a nutritional difference: purple ones can help lower blood pressure and protect body cells against free radical damage.
Recent research tracked 18 overweight or obese subjects who ate six to eight small purple potatoes as part of their lunch and dinner. On average, diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number in a blood pressure reading — dropped by a statistically significant 4.3 percent and systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — dropped by 3.5 percent.
Whatâ€™s the best way to eat these powerful purple plants? Microwave them, like the subjects of the study did. This method of cooking preserves plant chemicals, including polyphenol antioxidants that protect body cells against free radical damage that can increase disease risk. Higher cooking temperatures destroys many of the healthy substances naturally found in potatoes and leaves only starch, fat, and minerals.
The study, not yet published, was presented this week at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Denver.
- Macyâ€™s is recalling 960,000 Martha Stewart Collectionâ„¢ casserole dishes because of a laceration and burn hazard. The enamel coating on the cast iron casseroles can crack or break during use.
- Office Depot is recalling 34,000 desk chairs due to a â€œpinching hazardâ€ discovered after a man got his finger caught in an opening in the chairâ€™s tilt mechanism.
- New Zealand-based manufacturer phil&teds recalled 54,000 clip-on chairs whose missing or worn vice clamp pads allowed them in some cases to detach from tabletops, potentially crushing childrenâ€™s fingertips. Five injuries have been reported.
- Winn-Dixie stores recalled its “Winn-Dixie Choco Charm Chocolate Drink,” sold at its in-store dairy departments, because the product may be mislabeled and may contain the undeclared allergen of wheat.
- Porsche recalled a recall of several model year cars due to a possible seatbelt problem. Potentially affected vehicles include the 2012 911 Carrera, 2012 Boxster S and Boxster Spyder, 2011 911 Speedster, and 2012 Cayman.
- Johnson & Johnson recalled about 2.45 million packages of Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom Nighttime Rapid Release Gelcaps after detecting slightly higher-than-expected levels of a compound known as chlorpheniramine ammonio acetate, or CPAA, in certain capsules.
- C. O. Lynch Enterprises Inc. is recalling Itasca Fusion Hiker boots sold exclusively at Big 5 Sporting Goods Stores from March 2011 to June 2011. The boots could fail to provide the intended protection against impact.
- Umarex USA is recalling Browning 800 Mag Air Pistols sold nationwide from July 2006 to February 2008. Under a variety of circumstances, the safety will not prevent the gun from firing.
- Radio Flyer is recalling Scoot â€˜n Zoom childrenâ€™s riding toy sold from August 2010 to August 2011. The toy can tip over, allowing a child to fall backward while riding.
- Maserati has recalled hundreds of cars in the U.S. and Canada to fix a potential rear suspension defect, including 763 Granturismo and Quattroporte models in the U.S. and 38 in Canada that were manufactured between July 3, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2008.
Popping daily multivitamins during pregnancy could lower the risk of women going into labor prematurely or having a smaller-than-normal baby, according to a new study. The study contradicts some current health guidelines: U.S. health officials advise women who are expecting against taking regular vitamins, which could harm the baby. Instead, they recommend that pregnant women supplement their diet with folic acid.
The new study examined multivitamin use around the time of conceptionâ€”four weeks before and eight weeks after a womanâ€™s last period. Among women who said they had taken a multivitamin at least 8 out of the 12 weeks, there were 4.3 percent preterm births. Among those who didnâ€™t take supplements, that number increased to 5.3 percent.
The study is one of only a few to look at the effect of vitamins on babiesâ€™ health, so researchers stop short of urging women to take multivitamins while trying to get pregnant. One possible explanation for the finding could be that the women taking supplements tended to be healthier overall, leading to healthier pregnancies.
Would you take a multivitamin while pregnant?
Colon cleansing has been billed as a trendy way to get rid of toxins touted by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities. But Georgetown researchers recently looked at over 20 studies to determine thereâ€™s little evidence to support colon cleansing as a health practice. Instead, they found that it caused dozens of problems, including bloating, vomiting, renal failure, electrolyte imbalance, and even death.
One method of colon cleansing relies on herbal concoctions to be taken orally or in the form of a suppository. However, none of these potent potions are regulated by the FDA, and some may cause serious side effects like liver toxicity.
Another technique called colon hydrotherapy involves a â€œcolon hydrotherapistâ€ flushing out toxins via a rubber tube inserted into the rectum. Researchers found that water intoxication and rectal perforation could potentially occur during this risky cleanse. Contaminated equipment could lead to a parasitic infection called amebibiasis, according to the study findings.
The researchers warn those intrigued by the idea of a colon cleanse to wait for scientific evidence of its benefit. Otherwise, steer clear to preserve your health.
Would you do a colon cleanse?
A supplement is being marketed as a way to boost brain power and give kids an extra edge in the classroom. Based on the claim that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an important nutrient for the brain and other organs of the body, BrainStrong is touting a gummy formula with plenty of the stuff.
Amerifitâ€™s BrainStrong contains 100 milligrams of DHA in each softgel gummy. Itâ€™s being sold for around $15 at drugstores and grocery stores. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid naturally found in cell membranes throughout the body, seems to be effective in helping brain cells communicate.
Although BrainStrong doesnâ€™t make any specific claims about making kids smarter, its commercial campaigns suggest that it serves as â€œnutrition for the brain.â€ It might help kids focus in the classroom, some studies show. But the findings are controversial: A 2010 study of 450 children ages 8 to 10 found that taking a supplement containing 200 mg of DHA every day for 16 weeks had almost no measurable effect on thinking skills or academic performance.
Even with the uncertainty, some parents are pledging to stick with the DHA supplements until evidence supporting its benefits is found.
Ditching the alarm clock in favor of setting a phone alarm on your iPhone could lead to a better nightâ€™s sleep, especially after the invention of the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app. The device uses the iPhoneâ€™s accelerometer to analyze your movement through the night and monitor sleep patterns.
After downloading the $0.99 app, all you need to do is place your iPhone by the side of the bed, under the fitted sheet to keep it from sliding around. Over the course of two or three nights, Sleep Cycle records activity and gradually learns your sleep patterns. A sleep cycle graph shows you the different phases of sleep from previous nights. Beginning about 30 minutes before your alarm is set to go off, the app begins watching for the lightest portions of your sleep cycle and gently prods you awake with your choice of preset sounds.
The app isnâ€™t meant to be a scientific tool for people with medical sleep issues, but could help curious consumers pinpoint their best sleep strategies.
Would you use the Sleep Cycle app to improve sleep quality?
A team of researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York recently claimed that phthalates, a chemical ingredient found in 70 percent of cosmetics, could be contributing to weight gain. Daily exposure to phthalates could disrupt the bodyâ€™s natural weight control system off kilter, contributing to childhood obesity and weight gain problems in adults.
The researchers conducted a long-term study on girls living in the inner-city area of East Harlem, measuring levels of phthalates in their urine. The highest levels of the chemical were found in urine belonging to the heaviest children. The results of the East Harlem study are supported by a University of Rochester study conducted in 2007, in which scientists studied the phthalate levels of 1,451 men. Those with the highest levels of phthalates had more belly fat and insulin resistance than their peers with lower levels.
Phthalates are often used as gelling agents in cosmetics, cleaning products, and plastic bottles. Theyâ€™re not the only controversial substance upping your calorie count: Bisphenol-A (BPA), also present in containers and plastics, has been found to provide chemical calories. Phthalates and BPA are classified as â€œendocrine disruptorsâ€ due to their impact on glands and hormones.
How can you reduce your exposure to phthalates and BPA? Start by examining the products you use on a daily basis. Choose cosmetics and toiletries labeled phthalate-free, and eat organic foodsâ€”that way, you can tack on a few extra calories without worrying about the chemical ones.
Do you come into contact with phthalates on a daily basis?