Antioxidants

  1. Kidney disease linked to pollution

    How to stop poisoning your kidneys

    The sky might LOOK blue... and the air might SMELL clean.

    But don't step outside and inhale a lungful of that crisp autumn air just yet -- because it might not be as fresh as you think.

    It could be full of hidden pollutants, and an urgent new report reveals a direct link between the quality of your air and your risk of kidney disease.

    That's one of the nation's top 10 leading killers, hitting men and women alike and responsible for more deaths than breast and prostate cancers combined.

    While it's often linked to high blood pressure and diabetes, doctors have noticed that an alarming number of patients with neither condition have been developing the disease in recent years.

    Now, the new study of nearly 2.5 million American veterans shows one of the reasons for it: Folks who live in areas with higher-than-normal levels of particulate matter in the air have a much higher risk of developing both kidney disease and kidney failure.

    The risk is so high that the study finds roughly 45,000 new cases of kidney disease and 2,400 cases of kidney failure are caused by pollution alone every year.

    Obviously, the biggest risks are in areas with factories, coal mines, and other heavy industries.

    But don't breathe easy if you're not near one of those places.

    The new report finds these kidney-damaging levels of pollution are found all around the country -- especially in the South, Midwest, Northeast, and even right here in Southern California.

    That puts much of the nation's population right into the danger zone -- and, along with increasing the risk of kidney disease, the toxins from pollution can increase your odds of other chronic health problems.

    Obviously, you can't stop breathing. And I'm sure you don't want to live in a bubble or move (even if moving is pretty tempting sometimes).

    Fortunately, there are some simple actions you can take to cut your exposure and minimize your risk.

    First, know your air. The EPA and other online resources can tell you about the particulate matter levels in your area and even the types of pollutants you might have.

    Second, if you live in an area with moderate to heavy pollution, use caution going outside, especially on days when the air quality is low. You may even want to consider wearing an anti-pollution mask on those days.

    And third, invest in an air purifier for your home -- ideally one with a HEPA filter -- and be sure to wash or replace it regularly.

  2. Vitamins C and E are safe, Harvard confirms

    No, your vitamins won't hurt you

    Sometimes, I can't believe the nonsense I read in the mainstream media -- like reports that claim essential nutrients such as vitamin C and E might be dangerous.

    Want to know what's really dangerous? Falling short in these disease-fighting antioxidants.

    That's the real risk for most people. I know, because I see the lab results here in my clinic all the time -- and I urge many patients to begin supplementing these and other critical nutrients.

    But they've seen those same reports in the media too. When I tell them to take a supplement, some of them get nervous and ask me straight out if they're safe.

    Of course they are (I wouldn't offer them if they weren't). And now, a major new study offers even more reassurance, proving yet again that vitamins C and E are perfectly safe.

    And this study doesn't just come from any old research institute.

    It comes straight from Harvard University, where researchers crunched the numbers from a large-scale double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial -- the famous Physicians' Health Study II -- and found that neither nutrient will harm you.

    They certainly won't increase your risk of cancer -- as one of those headline-making, panic-inducing studies claimed -- and vitamin C can actually cut your risk of colon cancer nearly in half.

    That's good news. Reassuring news.

    But let me make this even better, because the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition used Centrum Silver and synthetic vitamin C and E supplements.

    In other words, hardly the highest-quality supplements or even the best possible doses.

    For example, the vitamin E supplement used in the study contained just 400 IU, or far short of the 1,200-2,000 IU of vitamin E that I recommend. In addition, that low-dose E supplement contained a single tocopherol -- not the eight tocopherols and tocotri┬Čenols that you really need. (Read the label carefully.)

    The same goes for vitamin C. The study used supplements of just 500 mg per day -- but most people need at least double that amount, and many people can use even more.

    The only "risk" here is relatively minor and easy to fix: Higher oral levels of C can upset the stomach in sensitive people, leading to gas and diarrhea. If that happens to you, take smaller doses two or three times a day instead of all at once.

  3. Organic foods contain more antioxidants

    Organics really are more nutritious

    Sometimes, I can't believe the nonsense I read.

    The other day, I saw an article that claimed organic foods are a waste of money -- and that you should buy whatever's on sale instead.

    I've seen these reports before, and most of them cite shoddy studies conducted by researchers with ties to Big Food. Y'know, the very companies that lose money every time a consumer makes the switch to fresh organic fruits and vegetables.

    Don't fall for it. Continue reading

  4. Vitamin D can slow Parkinson's

    Vitamin D can slow the cognitive decline that often comes with Parkinson's disease and may even help relieve some of the physical symptoms.

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