Exercise As Beneficial As Drugs

A study published in the prestigious British medical Journal, reports that exercise can be as effective as prescription drugs. The study raises important questions about whether our health care system focuses too much on medications, it does, and too little on activity to combat physical ailments-exercise, diet, stress reduction techniques, etc. The researchers compared how well various drugs and exercise succeed in reducing deaths among people who have been diagnosed with several common and serious conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

So Huseyin Naci, a graduate student at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Dr. John Ioannidis, the director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine, decided to create a comprehensive comparison of the effectiveness of drugs and exercise in lessening mortality among people who had been diagnosed with one of four diseases: heart disease, chronic heart failure, stroke or diabetes.

The results consistently showed that drugs and exercise produced almost exactly the same results. People with heart disease, for instance, who exercised but did not use commonly prescribed medications, including cholesterol lowering statins, high blood pressure medications-angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors or even antiplatelet drugs (Plavix), had the same risk of dying from — or surviving — heart disease as patients taking those drugs.

Similarly, people with diabetes who exercised had the same relative risk of dying from the condition as those taking the most commonly prescribed drugs. On the other hand, people who once had suffered a stroke had significantly less risk of dying from that condition if they exercised than if they used medications — although the study authors note that stroke patients who can exercise may have been unusually healthy to start with.

Only in chronic heart failure were drugs noticeably more effective than exercise. Diuretics staved off mortality better than did exercise.

Over all, Dr. Ioannidis said, “our results suggest that exercise can be quite potent” in treating heart disease and the other conditions, equaling the lifesaving benefits available from most of the commonly prescribed drugs, including statins. 

Antibiotics In Livestock Contribute To Drug Resistance

A CDC report confirms a link between the routine use of antibiotics for livestock and growing bacterial resistance. Surprisingly, about 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given in low, prevention-oriented doses, to farm animals in an effort deter potential disease. If the CDC is right, this practice is one of the main reasons people are becoming drug resistant, increasing the numbers from infections that simply won’t respond to treatment anymore. The bacteria have evolved and become resistant to our drugs as fast as we can develop them.

While grass fed cattle and free range chickens may cost more, they are antibiotic free, and certainly safer.

Antacid Drugs May Cause Dementia

New research, published Monday in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), shows that certain acid reflux drugs are “significantly associated” with vitamin B12 deficiency. In turn, vitamin B12 deficiency causes serious health consequences including anemia, osteoporosis, depression, memory loss, dementia, neuropathy and cardiovascular disease.

Acid reflux drugs, like Nexium, Prilosec, and Zantac, have long been known to cause some very serious side effects. Among them are problems such as anemia, heart problems, hypertension, depression, osteoporosis and further digestive problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In fact, drugs used to treat acid reflux do not treat the condition itself but only the symptoms. They are not designed to correct the cause of the problem. As a result, the problem continues to worsen over the years.

The study implicated proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec – and histamine 2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) – Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac. Proton pump inhibitors proved to be the worst. You can read more about heartburn and reflux, including my protocols, at my website: Digestion and GI Disorders: Heartburn, Reflux, and GERD.

Tea Is The New Feel Good Drug

According to 12 new studies published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming tea on a daily basis can boost weight loss, bone health, concentration, and problem-solving skills, even your mood.

“Although we’re a nation of coffee drinkers, tea is the oldest beverage in the world and its health properties are indisputable,” Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, a registered dietitian and a media resource of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Yahoo Shine. “To experience the health benefits of tea, people should aim to drink 3 to 5 cups per day.” Behold, five benefits of the brew:

It boosts productivity:  The research found that sipping two to three cups over a 90-minute period improves alertness, attention span, and focus, helping people produce more accurate work. “One possible reason is that the combination of an amino acid called L-theanine and caffeine stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, giving drinkers a shot of energy, without that jittery feeling,” says Upton.

L-theanine helps produce the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. “There’s also something uplifting about anticipating a daily pleasurable ritual,” says Upton.

It Boosts Your Metabolism

Research shows that green tea drinkers have lower body mass indexes (BMI’s), waist-to-hip ratios, and body fat than those who abstain. Compounds in green tea, called a polyphenols, increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and antioxidants called catechins, increase a person’s basal metabolic resting rate (the rate at which one burns calories.

“Green tea isn’t a miracle weight-loss method; however, the average person will burn 100 more calories doing what they would normally do throughout the day, just by drinking it,” says Upton. In fact, studies on green tea catechin supplements have found that subjects lost about three pounds in 12 weeks without changes to their diet or exercise routines.

Good For Your Bones

“Polyphenols increase the production of bone-building cells for people of all ages and antioxidants called flavanols slow bone loss in postmenopausal women,” says Upton. Tea may also make you buffer — although scientists aren’t sure why, tea drinkers tend to be more toned than those who don’t partake.