1. Want stronger muscles? Try a little cholesterol…

    Want stronger muscles? Try a little cholesterol

    Can you name a bigger medical boogeyman than cholesterol? In recent years, it's become more and more notorious in the public mind thanks to Big Pharma's many TV ad campaigns for everything from cholesterol-lowering pills to cholesterol-fighting breakfast spreads (yuck!). But now, there's a new study that's found that low levels of cholesterol can actually reduce the beneficial muscle gain from exercising.

    Another great medical myth bites the dust! Fire up the griddle and break out the bacon and eggs!

    The researchers looked at 55 healthy men and women in their 60s. Overall, the study concluded that there was a significant link between dietary cholesterol and the increase in strength: Those with the higher cholesterol intake had the most muscle strength gain. What's more, the test subjects who were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs showed lower muscle gain than those who were not.

    Yeah, yeah I know I'm always telling you that excessive exercise is bad. But having healthy, strong muscles is good. And staying active in order to maintain those muscles is one of the best things you can do for yourself. But if you think you're doing yourself a favor by taking statins or cutting out burgers and eggs, well, think again.

    Naturally, the researchers conducting the study were stunned. "Needless to say, these findings caught us totally off guard," said lead researcher Steven Reichman, a professor of health at Texas A&M University. But they stopped short of saying that cholesterol is actually beneficial. A statement like that would cause too much of a meltdown in medical circles.

    I find it amusing that the researchers seem nervous about the results, and already seem to be to bracing themselves for the avalanche of criticism from the mainstream medical community (and the inevitable assault from Big Pharma, which has too many billions of dollars invested in anti-cholesterol meds to take even the slightest positive cholesterol press lying down).

    Of course, I'm not shocked by the results. I've known just about forever that the entire cholesterol paradigm is way off base

    I consider a cholesterol level between 200 and 300 to be within the normal range. Only if it's above that level does it indicate that something is broken. And even then, elevated cholesterol levels are simply a sign, just like an elevated temperature is a sign, a protective measure against whatever is broken.

    Most people who've been to the doctor have had their cholesterol tested and re-tested to the point where it's absurd. If you listen to these "cholesterol cowboys," they soon turn your health into a numbers game, equating your well being with the number of your cholesterol level. Then they start prescribing you every cholesterol-lowering statin they can think of in the quest for the perfect number. The rest of your health? Well, it's just not that important.

    Unfortunately, most doctors will pin an increased cholesterol number on a bad diet. The second the results come back (and your wife finds out about them), no more bacon cheeseburgers for you!

    According to Reichman, "Because cholesterol is negatively associated with cardiovascular health, we need further study in this area." Yet in spite of all the hedging, Reichman was forced to admit that, at the very least, these results show that "there is still a lot about cholesterol that we don't know." Yeah no kidding.

    Whether or not this little nugget of truth will cost them millions of dollars in research money remains to be seen. As for me, I don't get research money, so I'm always happy to give you actual facts.

  2. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of chores

    Topless tasks and other Topics

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of chores

    All right, ladies - don't shoot the messenger here. Remember, I'm just a conscientious, unbiased reporter of the news that impacts your health. And so, in the spirit of keeping you healthy and cancer-free, I want to say

    Clean the kitchen, do the laundry, and fix some dinner!

    Of course, I'm kidding with the tone here. But that doesn't change the fact that according to some new German research, the rigor of housework and cooking is better at preventing breast cancer than work-related exertion OR leisure-time exercise.

    Now, if you've been a reader of mine for any length of time at all, you know I don't cotton to the mainstream's notion that strenuous exercise - in and of itself - does much of anything for your health, except harm it. Other than a walk for some daily fresh air, some moderate playing of sports or games, or the vigor of regular sex, I firmly believe the exertion of everyday life is exercise enough. But I digress

    We're talking about what mainstream medicine thinks - and they think that heart-stressing, joint-murdering exercise is a panacea for good health. And this newest research shows they're wrong, at least when it comes to breast cancer prevention.

    The study, which is actually quite scientifically "rigorous," focused on a pool of 200,000 European women aged 20-80, controlling for such factors as age, education, location, date of first pregnancy and menstruation, substance use, oral contraception and hormone replacement therapy. Published in a recent edition of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention and conducted by staff of the German Institute of Human Nutrition, the research followed the subject women for 6.4 years, during which time 3,423 invasive breast cancers occurred within the group.

    The scientists' findings: That 16-17 weekly hours of housework alone reduces the risk of breast cancer among pre-menopausal women an average of 19% - and among post-menopausal women by a full 29%! Conversely, the research found NO significant link between work-related or leisure exercise and breast cancer risk.

    Which basically means that yet again, I'm right: The rigor of everyday life is sufficient exercise for optimum health.

    The article didn't say whether a similar study on housework was being conducted among men to see if it reduced their risk of prostate cancer.

    But in the meantime, girls, if you want your household chores to ALSO boost your man's health, perhaps you should consider doing them topless.

    One for the "too good to be true" file

    While researching an unrelated topic, I stumbled across an item on the Internet about some other German research - ostensibly published in a past issue of the New England Journal of Medicine - that claims staring at women's bare breasts is as healthy for men as any exercise regimen could be.

    The study's lead researcher claimed to have conducted a 5-year study on 200 male subjects, concluding that those who ogled for 10 minutes daily had lower blood pressure, slower heart rates, less heart disease, and around half the risk of heart attack and stroke as those who didn't get a daily eyeful

    Boy, the news is coming up snake-eyes today, right guys?

    Well, leave it to me to be a stickler for the facts - even if they spoil a great story. As it turns out, THIS bit of German research is bogus. Numerous "urban legends" web sites refute the study, and the NEJM lists no such research in its archives

    But hey, there's no research saying a daily eyeful of your one-and-only's assets HURTS your heart's health, either - and it would no doubt occasionally lead to some very beneficial types of calorie-burning activities for both of you

    So better safe than sorry, I say!

  3. Dancing - and romancing in the "air"

    Italian researchers (speaking of the romantic) have discovered that there's an especially "lovely" form of exercise for cardiac rehabilitation patients that's every bit as beneficial for them as mainstream staples
  4. Singing the Praises of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    For years, you've heard me singing the praises of Omega-3 fatty acids.
  5. Give yourself a lift

    If you have a good diet, low in carbohydrates and vegetable fats and high in animal fats and animal protein and if you supplement with testosterone as needed, exercise isn't really needed at all to maintain muscle mass and good health.

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