aerobic exercise

  1. Statins don’t improve physical fitness levels

    How statins undo exercise

    "No pain, no gain!" That's what they say about exercise, right?

    But cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can turn exercise for physical fitness into an exercise in futility -- because new research shows they can actually undo all your hard work and even block some of the most important benefits.

    In other words, all pain -- with no gain.

    In the study, two groups of overweight, sedentary, and unhealthy volunteers were put onto physical fitness programs. Half got statins, half did not.

    After 12 weeks, the ones who didn't take the drugs got all the expected benefits, including a 10 percent improvement in physical fitness and a 13 percent increase in the activity of an enzyme used to measure the health of muscle mitochondria -- or the part of the cells that produce energy for the muscle.

    The ones who took the statins, on the other hand, went in the opposite direction. They had virtually no gain in physical fitness, with an average improvement of less than 1 percent. Some of the volunteers even saw their aerobic fitness levels worsen.

    Imagine that -- working hard for three months, and getting worse!

    And it doesn't end there, either. Remember those all-important mitochondria? The enzyme levels actually fell by an average of 4.5 percent.

    The study has shocked some in the mainstream, but it's consistent with the rest of the research on statin drugs. We know, for example, that marathon runners on statins suffer more muscle damage during a race. We also know that lab animals given the drugs don't run as far as animals not on the drugs.

    And of course one of the most notorious side effects of statin drugs is muscle pain -- in some cases, pain so severe it can be debilitating.

    My suggestion is to make sure you get your exercise no matter what. But if you're on statins, speak to a holistic doctor about finding a way off -- because most people don't even need the drugs in the first place.

    If you want to know more about why, read my free report on cholesterol here.

  2. Turn down the heat with therapy

    It's one of the Holy Grails of the drug industry: A pill to end hot flashes.

    Think that's a big market? You bet it is! Up to 80 percent of all women battle hot flashes during menopause, making a would-be treatment a billion-dollar dream for the drug industry.

    But for women, that dream is more like a nightmare as they play guinea pig. Instead of being given safe, natural, and proven treatments for their hot flashes, they're given unproven antidepressants, risky anti-seizure drugs, and even blood pressure meds... and almost all of them are being used off-label.

    It's a massive public health experiment that's hurt far more women than it's ever helped.

    But you don't need to swallow those pills, or face side effects, to get some relief, because the latest research points to a pair of easy, drug-free solutions: ordinary group therapy and self-help.

    Researchers recruited 140 women who reported hot flashes and night sweats at least 10 times a week and assigned them to either group therapy, self-help, or no treatment at all.

    The groups met four times a month, while those who got self-help had one meeting and a phone call with a shrink, but after that relied on a book and CD.

    Six weeks later, 73 percent of the women who got self-help reported meaningful improvements, compared to 65 percent of those in group therapy, and 21 percent of those who got no treatment at all.

    And six months later, those improvements held.

    Of course, therapy didn't quite work for everyone. But therapy isn't your only option here, either, because there are other proven natural ways to get safe drug-free relief from the worst symptoms of menopause.

    One recent study found that aerobic exercise can slash the number of hot flashes -- and a recent follow-up finds that getting sweaty four days a week can beat the other signs of "the change" as well, including night sweats, mood swings, irritability, and more.

    Other safe options backed by science include acupuncture -- which beat sham acupuncture in one study on hot flashes -- as well as a combination of St. John's wort and black cohosh. And, of course, many women get through menopause with the help of custom-made bio-identical hormones.

    An experienced naturopathic physician can help find which option is best for you.

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