atherosclerosis

  1. Control blood sugar with the benefits of fish oil

    Fish oil can help slash diabetes risk

    Just as one study claims to find no benefits off fish oil,  another one finds some very real benefits: Fish oil can boost the body's level of adiponectin.

    Now, if you're like most people, you've probably never heard of this hormone -- but trust me, you don't just want it.

    You need it.

    This hormone helps control blood sugar, which is why other studies have found that people with higher levels of it have a lower risk of both diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

    And that's not all it can do.

    Adiponectin from the benefits of fish oil. It can also help control inflammation, which may be why higher levels of adiponectin have also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and other serious heart problems.

    It's also a pretty handy fat-burner, and can reduce your risk of obesity. And if all that's not enough, this hormone can also slash your risk of both atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

    It's pretty important stuff -- and so far, science hasn't identified too many ways to boost your levels of it other than with the benefits of fish oil. We know from animal studies that higher omega-3 intake seems to stimulate adiponectin production, but the new research is one of the first human studies I've seen to make that connection.

    In this one, a Harvard University team looked at data from 14 gold-standard clinical trials and found that higher omega-3 intake can boost your adiponectin levels by an average of 0.37 micrograms per milliliter of blood.

    I realize that number might not mean much to most people, but it's a respectable (if modest) boost -- and the researchers say some people may see even bigger gains via increased omega-3 intake.

    Call that yet another good reason to boost your own omega-3 levels and get more benefits of fish oil. You can do so by simply eating more fatty fish, but the best way to make sure you get what you really need each day is with a supplement.

    Be sure to stick with a quality supplement from a maker you trust -- one that's been purified to remove contaminants such as mercury.

  2. Poor sleep habits raise stroke risk

    Boosting your stroke risk -- every single night

    Doesn't matter how good your habits are during the day. Eat all the right food, take the most important supplements, and exercise to your heart's content -- but if you're not getting enough sleep, you're undoing all that hard work every single night.

    Poor sleep habits raise the risk of disease and an early death, and the latest research confirms that people who don't get enough shuteye have a much higher risk of a stroke.

    So much higher, that you might want to make sure you get to bed early starting tonight -- because poor sleep habits can more than quadruple that stroke risk.

    Interestingly, the study of 4,666 people found that the increased risk of stroke only applied to people who had normal weights -- not the overweight and obese. But since obesity is a stroke risk factor of its own, I wouldn't rest easy over that.

    I'd lose the weight instead, if I were you -- and one way you can start shedding pounds is by simply getting more sleep, since studies have shown that poor sleep habits lead to weight gain.

    It's a vicious cycle, to be sure, but whether you're normal sized or extra large, you can face any number of risks from poor sleep habits -- including an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, atherosclerosis, cancer, and an early death.

    Yes, all that.

    When it comes to sleep, there's no one-size-fits-all formula. Most people need around seven or eight hours, with most of those risks I mentioned increasing as your nightly sleep falls below the six-hour mark.

    Just don't go overboard, either, because other studies have shown that too much sleep can come with almost as many risks as too little. In today's fast-paced, work-late, check-email-all-night environment, however, I'm willing to bet that most people only wish their problems included too much sleep.

  3. New erection pill packs the same old risks

    The last thing we need is yet another erection pill with the same risks as the old ones -- but that's just what the FDA is giving us.
  4. Hidden dangers of heart scans

    Not only are these scans useless when it comes to saving lives or preventing heart problems in healthy patients, but they also lead to more tests, drug prescriptions, and even invasive catheters.
  5. The statins in your produce aisle

    A study has found that lycopene, an antioxidant, can cut the building up of plaque that leads to atherosclerosis.

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