Topic 2

  1. Why you need more vitamin C

    Time to boost your C intake

    Everyone knows how important vitamin C is. It says so right on the orange juice container.

    But not everyone knows how much they should get -- because the "100 percent US RDA!" listed on the OJ package isn't close to what you need for good health and a strong immune system.

    Now, there's a big push to change the RDA as researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University call on health officials to more than double the current recommended guidelines, to 200 mg a day for adults.

    That's up from the current RDA of 75 mg a day for women and 90 mg a day for men.

    Writing in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, the researchers say there's no risk at all to raising those C levels -- but plenty of benefits.

    One recent study found that people with the highest C levels have a 60 percent lower risk of death by heart disease. Another found that people with low C levels are 62 percent more likely to die of cancer than those with high levels.

    As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C can fight off the damage of oxidative stress and protect the body from chronic inflammation as well as the all the conditions that come along for the ride.

    It's also a world-class immune booster that can help keep away illness, including the common cold. If that's not enough, this vitamin can protect the lungs, eyes, and skin and lower blood pressure.

    Delivered intravenously, it can help fight infections and even kill cancer cells.

    Personally, I think 200 mg a day is still a bit on the low side. You can take 1,000 mg or more daily -- speak with your doctor about how much you need and the best way to get it.

  2. Vegetables with the power to beat cancer

    There's something about broccoli

    It has the power to stop breast tumors from growing... and you can find it in your local supermarket for less than $2 a pound.

    Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have long been recognized by science for their cancer-fighting powers, especially when it comes to breast cancers, but researchers have taken it to the next level by isolating the main compound believed to help put the brakes on tumors.

    It's called glucoraphanin, and on its own it doesn't do much.

    But when the vegetable is damaged -- like when you eat it -- it gets converted into a molecule called sulforaphane that can boost antioxidant levels in the body and even fight off the enzyme that allows tumors to grow.

    There's even evidence it can stimulate the production of other cancer-fighting enzymes in the body.

    Put it all together, and you can see why one recent study found that women who eat the most cruciferous vegetables are 62 percent less likely to die of breast cancer and 35 percent less likely to have a recurrence than those who eat the least.

    And that's also why there's a race to turn broccoli into a cancer-fighting "drug."

    In two promising clinical trials under way right now, researchers are giving different levels of sulforaphane to cancer patients, and you can bet I'll keep you posted on the progress of those studies.

    But in the meantime, you can get the same levels of this molecule -- and more -- without making too many changes to your diet. In fact, researchers say just three or four servings of cruciferous veggies a week should be enough to do the trick.

    The best sources of glucoraphanin are broccoli sprouts, especially young sprouts, but you'll also find it in regular broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Cooked right, they're also delicious.

    But if they can beat cancer, I'd say they're worth eating even if you don't love the taste.

  3. Big Pharma racks up big fines

    Pfizer has agreed to pay out $60 million to settle charges it bribed overseas doctors to use its drugs.
  4. Walnuts can boost sperm quality

    It's the nutty way to boost fertility: Men given walnuts for 12 weeks had better sperm quality than men told to avoid all nuts.
  5. Shift work can harm the heart

    Working the night and other irregular shifts can increase the risk of serious heart problems.
  6. Apples can cut cholesterol levels

    Want to lower your cholesterol? Don't try drugs -- try plain old apples. A new study shows how this fruit can help lower LDL and even raise HDL levels.
  7. Vitamin D can help ward off death

    Seniors with low levels of vitamin D have a higher risk of frailty and an early death, according to new research.
  8. Obesity linked to erection and urinary problems

    Obese men have triple the risk of ejaculation problems and double the risk of erection problems as thin men, as well as a higher risk of urinary problems.
  9. Fake butter ingredient linked to Alzheimer's damage

    An ingredient used to make the fake butter flavor in popcorn and baked goods has been linked to the type of brain damage seen in dementia patients.
  10. Magnesium helps control insulin and cut cancer risk

    The mineral magnesium can slash the risk of colon cancer, especially in overweight patients.
  11. Vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation

    Vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation, slashing your risk of everything from heart disease to dementia all at once.
  12. Vitamin D may help asthmatics get the disease under control

    Vitamin D can boost lung function, and a new study finds it can even help asthmatics who take meds get better control of their disease.
  13. Depression drugs can harm mother and baby

    There's not much data on what antipsychotics do during pregnancy -- but new research finds these meds can hurt mom and baby alike.
  14. The caramel color in sodas may be carcinogenic

    A key ingredient, caramel color, used in many colas and other soft drinks can increase your risk of cancer.
  15. Tuna caught off California found to have radiation from Japan

    New tests on tuna caught in California waters finds high levels of radiation, a result of last year's nuclear disaster in Japan.
  16. Phone calls therapy can help chase depression away

    Telephone psychotherapy is almost as effective as face-to-face treatments for beating depression and easier for patients to stick too.
  17. Ginseng can ease fatigue in cancer patients

    Up to 90 percent of all cancer patients battle fatigue, but new research shows that ginseng can help restore those energy levels.
  18. Common tooth pain ingredient benzocaine can be deadly

    One of the most commonly used teething remedies, benzocaine, found in products like Orajel and Anbesol can increase the risk of a potentially fatal condition.
  19. Chia seed is rich in the essential fatty acid ALA

    Chia seed is an excellent source of the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) your body needs
  20. Poor sleep habits raise stroke risk

    Poor sleep has been linked repeatedly to poor health, and new research shows how not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of a stroke.

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