patent medications

  1. Singing the Praises of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Singing the Praises of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    Omega-3 = alpha medicine

    One more feather in a cure-all's cap

    For years, you've heard me singing the praises of Omega-3 fatty acids.

    In various studies, they've been shown time and again to support optimum heart health, enhance brain function, slow dementia, and even help unruly children to be better behaved (sparing some from being hooked on Ritalin, I can only hope). In my opinion, Omega-3s from dietary fish, grass-fed red meats, and nuts are as close to a natural "cure-all" as anything on Earth

    And now, some Japanese research reveals yet another common affliction that Omega-3s helps to combat: COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). COPD is the 5th leading cause of death on Earth. It causes inflammation of airways in the lung, excessive mucous production, and obstructive fibrosis. There is no cure. But now, it seems, there's at least some hope.

    The 2-year study, published in a recent issue of the Chest medical journal, divided COPD sufferers into 2 groups. One group was fed a diet rich in Omega-3s polyunsaturated fatty acids, the other a "normal" diet (what defined normal I could not deduce from the study's summary)

    At the 15-month point, the prevalence of pulmonary inflammation markers were significantly lower among the Omega-3 group than in the "control" group that ate normally. Also, shortness of breath and capacity for exercise also showed marked improvement among the Omega-3 eaters.

    The study didn't pinpoint exactly WHY these positive effects manifested themselves in the Omega-3 group, but theories posited by the study's authors propose a variety of reasons - from enhancing gene expression and cellular "signaling" to the repression of inflammation-causing cytokines.

    Whatever the actual, biological reasons are behind Omega-3s positive effects on COPD, this study is just another feather in the cap of one of my favorite "cure-all" nutrients. And it isn't the first time Omega-3s have been shown to help the lungs - previous research from the University of Indiana showed that Omega-3 supplementation helped reduce symptoms of asthma and other forms of bronchial constriction.

    But that's not all the good news from the Far East on the Omega-3 front. Keep reading

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    Something's fishy in the Far East

    I've long advocated the daily consumption of Omega-3-rich fish oils for keeping your heart healthy - and why not? It WORKS, as study after study has shown

    But the American medical mainstream all but ignores Omega-3s and fish oil. What's their solution for heart health? Statin drugs (and bypass surgery, of course). These drugs (Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor, etc.) are the most commonly prescribed patent medications on Earth. Chances are that you or someone you know is currently taking one of these right now - they're that common.

    Yet lo and behold, it seems that statins alone aren't nearly as effective at preventing heart attacks as statins fortified with ordinary, centuries-used fish oil!

    That's the finding of some new Japanese research. The study, unveiled at the American Heart Association's most recent annual meeting, followed over 18,000 patients over more than 4.5 years - and found that those who took daily doses of the same omega-3 fatty acid found in most fish oils along with their prescribed statin drugs enjoyed a 19% reduction in the risk of adverse coronary events than those taking statins alone.

    Naturally, the study didn't measure the effects of fish oils alone. I suspect if it did, there would have been a similar effect among those only taking daily fish oil and eschewing the drugs altogether

    But hey, it's a small victory, right?

    My advice: Take a daily dose of Omega-3-rich fish oil (or an equivalent supplement) each day, no matter what your heart health - but especially if you're taking statin drugs. Previous studies have shown that statins actually leach Omega-3s from your body, so it's extra important to keep these levels up if you're taking these pills.

    Better yet, shelve the pills for a few months and see what aggressive fish oil Omega-3 supplementation can do for your cholesterol (not that you should even worry about it until it reaches 300 or more) and heart health. Time and again, research points to it as a miracle rivaling any drug - and with no side effects other than increased energy, sharpened mental acuity, more flexible skin and joints, and a longer life span.

    Always dish-y on matters fishy,

    William Campbell Douglass II, MD

  2. Good news from the land of brandy-wine

    Good News From the Land of Brandy-Wine

    Urgent dispatches from the "brandy-wine" valley

    Good news from the land of brandy-wine!

    Well, not literally from that fabled, historic region of southeastern Pennsylvania where the revolutionary continental regulars fought a valiant (albeit losing) day-long campaign against the British redcoats in September of 1777, but rather from the realm of science - a landscape that more and more often in the last decade prominently features encouraging research about the benefits of alcohol. Most recently, these studies have focused on two of my favorites

    Brandy and red wine.

    Technically, both of these beverages are grape-based - which may in part explain the findings of a pair of recent studies, one Australian, and one European. According to the down-under research (appropriately released just before Christmas), a nightly shot of brandy packs an antioxidant punch equal to the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. This is similar to a glass of red wine, which derives its antioxidant power in large part from the polyphenols in grape skins.

    What's really interesting is that the research maintains the better quality the brandy, the greater the antioxidant benefit. Their theory is that the liquor leeches extra antioxidants from the copper in the stills during the distillation process - which tends to be longer for better quality brandy. Also interestingly, the study found similar benefits in shots of whiskey, which is made with no grapes (or any other fruits) at all, yet very definitely distilled in copper

    Meanwhile, a separate study in Italy found that adding red wine to the daily diets of a group of non-drinking test subjects spurred a decrease in inflammatory bio-markers, and a boost in plasma antioxidant levels, which translated into lower LDL levels (something mainstream medicine believes is good for the heart), and a more desirable (again, by mainstream standards - not mine) LDL/HDL ratio. But no matter how you interpret the LDL/HDL ratio, increased blood antioxidants is a good thing for your ticker.

    What's all this add up to? Something I've been telling everyone for years: Moderate daily alcohol consumption - be it wine, brandy, beer, whiskey, or whatever - is good for the heart, body, soul, blood and mind, for all kinds of medically relevant reasons!

    But leave it to the mainstream press to find the cloud in the silver lining. Find out what I mean in the next Daily Dose

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    LDLderly medicine

    Remember above, when I was qualifying the red wine studies conclusions about what the mainstream calls "good" (HDL) and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol? You might be wondering why I did this. It's because the true role and value of cholesterol is misunderstood by most of the medical establishment. Case in point

    A recent Italian research study of 3,120 subjects over 12 years concludes that for both men and women above age 65, the risk of fatal heart failure DECREASES as LDL cholesterol levels INCREASE.

    Hmmm. I've only been saying this for 30 years or so.

    Reported in the Journal of the American Geriatric Association, the study's findings argue against the use of lipid-lowering drugs (the world's most common patent medications) in the elderly of either sex.

    My advice on this topic is the same as it's always been: Unless your cholesterol's OVER 300 or more, ignore it. And if it plummets to less than 200 - either naturally or from the use of those cursed statin drugs - you better start chowing down on some foods rich in animal fats and proteins if you want to dodge a heart attack

    Especially if you're over 65.

    Distilling the liquid truth from the lipid lies,

    William Campbell Douglass II, MD

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