inflammation

  1. Feds light controversy over medical marijuana

    The U.S. Department of Justice has finally responded to a 2002 petition to reclassify marijuana as a medical treatment.

    Nothing like a sense of urgency, right guys?

    Of course, after sitting on this for nearly a decade, the department responded with the same old line -- ruling against medical marijuana under no uncertain terms.

    The DOJ even went as far as to state that "marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision."

    Sorry -- as serious as this is, I can't help but find that a little funny. Replace the word "marijuana" with the name of the useless Big Pharma med of your choice, and you might have something.

    Antidepressants, painkillers, and ADHD drugs all spring immediately to mind.

    In fact, studies have shown that medical marijuana is not only effective for many forms of pain, including cancer pain, it comes with few side effects -- unlike the dangerous and addictive opioid painkillers openly and legally abused across the country.

    Back in 1999, the Institute of Medicine -- a part of the National Academy of Sciences -- told Congress that pot can help keep pain and vomiting in check, and that even with all the risks we've come to associate with this stuff, it's worth a try when other meds have failed.

    The FDA has even approved of at least two synthetic drugs based on the ingredients in marijuana -- which only proves
    that if marijuana itself could be patented by Big Pharma, it would have been approved ages ago.

    After all, the science is there: In addition to cancer pain, it's famously effective against glaucoma -- and studies have
    shown that it can fight inflammation, mental illness, Alzheimer's disease and more.

    One review last year found that marijuana can even help multiple sclerosis patients with both pain and mobility issues. (Read about it here.)

    But this is a political battle, not a scientific one -- and all the research in the world won't convince those who are against it otherwise.

    The one bright side to the Department of Justice's recent ruling is that medical marijuana backers can now take the issue to court -- and maybe now we won't have to wait a decade to see the science finally overcome the politics.

  2. The natural way to beat inflammation

    Inflammation has gone from a condition you should worry about to a marketing buzzword used to sell everything from drugs to juice to cereal.

    Well, at least they got it half right: You should worry about inflammation, and do what you can to bring your own levels down.

    But forget the drugs, juice and cereal - because none of those things will ever beat the anti-inflammatory powers of plain old fish oil, and the latest research proves it again.

    A new look at data on 702 patients who took part in one of 11 clinical trials finds that people who take fish oil supplements have lower blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammation marker linked to everything from heart risk to dementia to bone breaks, according to the study in Nutrition.

    Other studies have also found that fish oil can put the hurtin' on homocysteine.

    One published in 2009 found that omega-3 supplements reduced levels of the inflammation marker by 22 percent in diabetics - versus just one percent among those who took a placebo.

    And that's really only the beginning of the benefits.

    Studies have found that healthy omega-3 fatty acids can help protect your heart, eyes, and gums while raising levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering levels of deadly triglycerides.

    Fish oil can also help boost the mood and beat depression - especially among seniors. (Read more here.)

    The best sources of these omega-3s are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and herring - and the highest concentrations are often in the one part of the fish you're probably not eating: the liver.

    Researchers looked at a dozen fish commonly eaten in Spain and found all had livers rich in the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids you need for good health.

    And if you like anchovies, good news: The livers of these famously oily little fish had some of the highest omega-3 levels of all.

    But why stick to the liver when you can eat anchovies whole?

    OK, I know that's not for everyone - but if you don't like anchovies, fish livers or even fish itself, there's a simple solution: a high-quality fish oil supplement from a company you trust.

    Some can leave a fishy aftertaste or, even worse, a case of the "fish burps," but don't give up - refrigerate your capsules instead.

    And if that doesn't work, try a different brand until you find one that leaves you with all the benefits... but none of the burps.

  3. Stress and rejection linked to disease

    It's no secret--stress and sickness usually go together like doctors and prescription pads.
  4. New warning for obese children

    The latest research finds that obese kids, some as young as 7 years old, already show indications that heart trouble might be in their adult future, according to a study presented in June at a meeting of the Endocrine Society.
  5. Cure asthma with broccoli?

    A recent study, published in Clinical Immunology, found that broccoli sprouts may help control the symptoms of asthma.

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