Herbs and Supplements

  1. The good news about java

    The good news about java

    This average Joe's king of the antioxidant hill

    I love it when there's good news about java - almost as much as I like a nice hot "cuppa Joe" (or three) every morning.

    After all, I've been championing the joys and "bean-efits" of java since long before the marketing geniuses behind Starbucks came along and made hot coffee cool again. I was singing the praises of the caffeine, vitamins, and antioxidants in Juan Valdez's favorite drink back in the 70s and early 80s - when the mainstream was doing everything it could to malign this "black gold" for health. And lately, there's plenty to crow about on the Java front

    According to a 2005 study by researchers at the University of Scranton, Americans now get more healthy, cancer-fighting antioxidants from coffee than from any other dietary source. Overwhelmingly so, in fact. This includes the litany of largely needless (and sometimes downright harmful) vegetables, grains and fruits the mainstream pundits seem always to recommend INSTEAD of a cup or three of delicious Joe.

    The research, presented at a recent national meeting of the American Chemical Society (the world's largest scientific society, according to Medical News Today), compared the relative antioxidant content of 100 different food items and beverages in the American diet - including mainstream darlings corn, grapes, and beans.

    Interestingly enough, dates topped the list from an antioxidants-per-serving standpoint. But since dates are not widely considered a staple of American eating habits, the top honors went to the much more commonly consumed coffee (more than half of Americans drink it). It wasn't clear from the research summary I read whether red wine or dark beer was considered in the study. These are the only two things I can think of that might give java a run for its money, antioxidant-wise.

    Of course, the ever-PC authors of the study were quick to point out in the summary that high levels of dietary antioxidants don't necessarily correlate to high levels in the body, owing to the poorly-understood process by which these polyphenols are absorbed into the bloodstream. They also stated that Americans still don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, and that these are better sources overall for antioxidant nutrition

    But they're wrong on both counts. They'd have more credibility if instead of modifying the study's real findings to mollify the mainstream, they'd just admit that once again, hard evidence shows that coffee carries with it major health benefits - like protection against liver and colon cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's and more, not to mention the great lift it gives to the mind and spirit every day.

    And that lift must really be something for one Omaha man. Keep reading

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    Java Journey-man

    I've heard of mythic quests to see a big-league ballgame in every major-league baseball stadium in North America. I've heard of similar quests to play every one of the top 100 golf courses in the world. But I've never heard of anything quite like this:

    One Nebraska man is on a quest to visit every single Starbucks location on the planet.

    He's already 5,000-deep in the effort, with only a little more than 700 more to go. Apparently, he even went to an incredible 29 Starbucks stores in one day (even I'll concede that's unhealthy - especially if he's drinking one of their trademark high-calorie coffee-and-sugar concoctions at every stop). But with Starbucks seemingly springing up in every burg big enough for a traffic light, he may never hit them all. This java junkie started his mission back in 1997, according to an AP item on the man's journey

    Why is he doing this? He doesn't really know, if quotes from the article are any indication. Perhaps he just REALLY LIKES Starbucks coffee.

    He'd have to. By my calculations, he's probably already spent as much as $25,000 on coffee alone in his quest. That's before travel expenses - and assuming he's only drinking ONE cup per location.

    Enjoying my healthy state of bean,

    William Campbell Douglass II, MD

  2. High-fat foods may reduce health problems

    High-fat foods may reduce health problems

    On burgers - and buns

    In defense of the all-American food

    Except the kind you get at the drive-thru (which are nothing but soy-filled junk-patties), I'm a big fan of the cheeseburger - especially one made with fresh, high-quality grass-fed beef and cheese made from raw, un-pasteurized milk, served sans-bun, of course

    And finally, such a glorious meal is getting at least a little bit of decent press, albeit in the "trades" of the medical field. According to Dutch research published in the October 17th issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, high-fat foods (cheeseburgers were used as an example) helped reduce stomach inflammation, which in turn helps keep the gut resistant to penetration by harmful bacteria.

    In layman's terms, here's what this means: The intestinal tract of an intelligent American cheeseburger-eater - with plenty of healthy animal fat - is MORE IMMUNE to bacterial assault (like deadly post-traumatic septic shock) than the digestive system of a vegan tofu-eater.

    But that's not all the good "cheeseburger" news

    Another recent study has indicated that a higher fat content in the diet (coupled with lower carbohydrates) may have a beneficial effect in the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease. This runs contrary to widely held notions about the relationship between diet and dementia. But that's because previous research correlating high fat to increased Alzheimers' risk also featured diets high in carbohyhdrates! This new study would seem to squarely implicate the carbs, not the fats.

    Previous research has shown both a cognitive improvement and a decrease in mental decline from a diet high in fats - especially Omega 3's (plentiful in beef) and fish oils, which slowed dementia's progression by an impressive 10% PER YEAR in at least one body of research.

    What this all means is: You'd have to have lost your marbles NOT to chow down on a cheeseburger or two for optimum gastric and mental gymnastics.

    And speaking of fat and buns

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    Maximus gluteus

    In past Daily Doses, I've written to you about the super-sizing of medical equipment to meet the needs of our growing public. At various points, I've reported on new EMT stretchers and hospital beds meant to carry and hold at least 600 pounds - I've even made mention of the trend in outsize coffins (we certainly do need them)

    And in the latest story of that vein, there's this recent headline from Reuters health:

    Longer needles needed for fatter buttocks

    Yup, that's right. European researchers have concluded that standard needles used for injecting liquid forms of common drugs are of insufficient length to reach the muscle tissue buried under the blubber of many of today's plus-sized people.

    In their 50-person study group (including 23 of the 25 women involved), a full dose of one liquid drug failed to reach the bloodstreams of two-thirds of patients via injections with standard-sized needles into their gluteus maximus regions. Instead, the drugs became lodged in pockets under their fat.

    What's the solution? Of course, it's to cut out the refined grains, simple sugars, soy products (or by-products) and nutrition-less vegetables - and eating a few bun-less cheeseburgers instead. But if I know anything about the mainstream, they'll warn us to cut animal fats and cholesterol-heavy foods even further

    Oh, and they'll buy bigger needles, too.

    Always "needling" the establishment,

    William Campbell Douglass II, MD


  3. Folate may offer blood pressure control for women

    Also, you can choose from a great number of folate or folic acid supplements on the market. You can get them at grocery stores, health-food stores, or through the mail.
  4. Protect yourself from the flu this season

    I've got a better one. Steer clear of the government's flu lines altogether. You're far more likely to catch influenza from the sickies that flock to these things than you are to get any actual protection from the flu.
  5. Singing the praises of a good ol' cuppa Joe

    But this month, I've got good reason to once again sing the praises of a good ol' cuppa Joe - one of my favorite nutritious drinks (along with red wine, dark beer, good scotch and raw milk).
  6. Contrasting Treatments for Anxiety and Depression

    What follows is a comparison of two contrasting treatments for today's epidemic of self-pity and neediness - er, I mean anxiety and depression.
  7. The Alternative Medicine Battle Part II

    In the last issue of the Daily Dose, I remarked about the likely future of the state of medical care in the U.S. - a litigious, pill-and-scalpel dictatorship-of-the-dollar that's not a very pretty picture, from where I'm standing.
  8. The Alternative Medicine Battle

    On both sides of the Atlantic, a war now rages. Not an armed conflict against an outside aggressor (although that's happening, too), but a contest of citizens against their respective sovereigns… The battleground: Alternative medicine.
  9. Folate May Increase Bone Strength and Serve as an Aid to Heart Health

    For the last 5 years or so, folic acid (folate) has been often recommended by the medical establishment as a boon to bone strength and an aid to heart health.
  10. Homocysteine in the Bloodstream

    Increased homocysteine in the bloodstream is strongly associated with the occurrence of heart disease. This correlation has been common knowledge in alternative medicine circles for years.

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