The information available on caffeine these days is very confusing. Some sources advocate caffeine drinks as “energy” drinks. Some recommend caffeinated drinks but suggest avoiding the “additives” in caffeinated drinks – sugar, fat, vitamins, and amino acids. Others claim that caffeine is addictive with nasty side-effects. Others condemn caffeine in all forms and for all purposes. What’s the truth about caffeine?
First fact: Caffeine is not an “energy” producer! True energy comes from a source of calories which can be burned by the body. Caffeine does not produce energy.
Lifestyle changes make a difference and need to be maintained for maximum benefit.
Patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or at high risk for developing CVD were placed on a year-long very low-fat vegetarian diet, 180 minutes/week of moderate aerobic exercise, one hour of stress management daily, and weekly group support. Hypertension, dyslipidemia and obesity all dropped compared to the controls. Researchers identified 143 genes that showed significant change in their expression, mostly downregulated resulting in lower vascular inflammation.
PositiveTip: Healthy lifestyle changes seem to induce positive changes at the molecular level--stick with them!
Men received no preventive benefit from selenium or vitamin E supplements.
"Men using these supplements [selenium and/or Vitamin E] should stop, period." These are the words of Alan Kristal, author of a new study examining why some men are at increased risk of prostate cancer when taking these supplements. Men with high selenium levels at baseline who took selenium supplements increased their risk of high-grade cancer by 91% (P=.007).
PositiveTip: Dietary supplements may not be helpful or innocuous--they may be harmful.
Toddler obesity rates have dropped dramatically in the last 9 years
Obesity researchers looked at trends from 2003-2012 and have found there's been a 43% drop in obesity rates amongst US children aged 2 to 5. Researchers theorize that increased breastfeeding trends and reduced consumption of sugary beverages are primary reasons. Unfortunately these findings are the lone improvement in obesity trends. Researchers found that obesity rates for infants, children 2-19 and adults remain unchanged over the past 9 years.
Positive Tip: Obesity CAN be beaten - one healthy choice at a time.
Exposure to secondhand smoke significantly increases pregnancy risks.
Women exposed to second hand tobacco smoke are at significantly increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy--almost as much as if they were active smokers. This data comes from the very large Women's Health Initiative. The added risk ranged from 17% to 61% and was highest with the largest exposures in childhood, adult life, or at work.
PositiveTip: Avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible!
How you view and are viewed by your spouse may influence your risk of CHD.
How do you perceive your spouse? Helpful or upsetting, or both (ambivalence)? A small, preliminary study of couples who had been married an average of 36 years found coronary calcification scores were highest in those who viewed and in turn were viewed by their spouses as "helpful and upsetting". This held true after control for confounders.
PositiveTip: "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves" Philippians 2:3.
Shorter shifts and strategic napping could improve nurses' performance.
Analysis of data from a careful survey of critical care nurses found those who are fatigued, lose sleep, and have difficulty recovering between shifts are more likely to report "decision regret" (lack of confidence in decisions made) compared to rested nurses. This was highest among those who work 12 hour shifts. Inadequate sleep increases the risk for mistakes and poor outcomes.
PositiveTip: Prioritize sleep and plan fatigue countermeasures into your life to stay at the top of your game.
Antioxidant supplements may protect the cancer cells instead of us.
New research in mice that already had lung cancer suggests antioxidant supplements decrease the activity of a gene (p53) which destroys defective cells, including cancer cells. The supplements caused the number of tumors in the mice to triple, grow faster and become more aggressive. This has not been studied in humans, but it does raise a cautionary flag.
PositiveTip: Sticking with a healthy diet rich in antioxidant sources and skipping the supplements may be the best.
Youth who eat a poor breakfast are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome in adulthood.
A new study from Sweden adds more evidence to the importance of a healthy breakfast. Researchers surveyed 889 adolescents's breakfast habits and then checked their health 27 years later. They found that youth who missed breakfast or ate a nutritionally deficient breakfast were 68% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than students who ate a hearty, healthy breakfast.
PositiveTip: Eat a healthy breakfast every day and you may prevent cardiovascular health risks later.
Due to accumulating evidence, the U.S. FDA is reassessing the safety of "T".
On this day of hearts, new information questions the safety of testosterone or "T" supplements. A large observational study compared those who received prescriptions for "T" with those who took Cialis (sildenafil and tadalafil). In younger patients with previous myocardial infarctions (MIs), and in older patients without a history of MI, the rate of MI was about two times that of those on Cialis within the first three months of use.
PositiveTip: Think carefully before considering supplemental "T".