Speeding up your metabolism

I have spoken before about how Atkins is only a short term solution but raising the protein in your diet is a great way to speed up your metabolism and accelerate weight loss.. A study here shows that this is in fact true.

There have been countless studies performed on the role of protein in the muscle growth process to try and determine exactly how much protein you should consume to build muscle mass. Recently, several studies have looked at the role that dietary protein plays in helping you lose fat, and more importantly, helping you keep it off!

One thing scientists have discovered is that eating lean protein foods is important for regulating body composition because it decreases your appetite.

In a 2003 study reported in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition And Metabolic Care, protein was shown to be more satiating (made you feel fuller) than both carbohydrate and fat both in the short term and the long term.

Eating more lean protein foods has also been proven as an effective strategy to help you burn fat and keep it off because of something called, dietary thermogenesis (also known as the thermic effect of food).

In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2005 (93(2): 281-289), researchers followed a group of 113 over subjects after 4 weeks of a very low calorie diet, through a 6 month period of maintenance. The subjects were divided into a protein group or a control group. The protein group was simply given an extra 30 grams of protein per day on top of their usual diet.

The researchers found that during maintenance, the group with the higher protein intake was less likely to regain the lost weight, and any gain in the protein group was lean tissue and not fat. The results were attributed to higher thermic effect and a decrease in appetite.

Although calories will always be the bottom line when it comes to fat loss, studies such as these are confirming what bodybuilders have known for a long time: That calories are not the only factor that can influence your body composition. Your protein intake and your ratios of protein relative to carbohydrate and fat can clearly play a key role in helping you lose fat and keep the fat off.

None of this is news to bodybuilders or to anyone who is already familiar with bodybuilding-style nutrition programs such as Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle. But its interesting that such positive results were achieved in studies where protein was increased so conservatively – as little as 30 additional grams of protein per day or a 20% increase above traditional protein recommendations.

Many bodybuilding-style diets call for as much as 30%-40% of the total daily calories from protein and some competitive bodybuilders jack up the protein (temporarily) to as much as 50% before competitions.

Im curious to see if any research is ever conducted with these more aggressive protein intakes. If so, my guess is that we will find once again, that the bodybuilders are ahead of the science when it comes to the manipulation of diet for improving body composition.

The take home lesson is simple: If you remove some carbs and put in some protein – nothing too radical; even as little as 30 grams per day – this small change in your diet may decrease your appetite, decrease your body fat and help you keep the fat off after you lose it.

– Tom Venuto

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How To Get A Great Suntan

We all know the dangers of getting too much sun and I wrote about both how to get rid of a sunburn as well as the danger of getting too much sun.

Today I wanted to live out a bit of a dream and write about how to get your best suntan ever.

Why get the best suntan possible? Well as Chris Stephens, the DJ on the television show Northern Exposure once said

“Sometimes you have to do something bad – just to know you’re alive.”

My Suntan History

How To Get A Great Suntan

How to get a Great Suntan

Back when I was 15 to 20 I tried every Summer to get the greatest suntan ever and I used to tell my buddy Darin White and I would one day write a book about how to get the best suntan.

Well, this is not a book but it is an opportunity to spill everything I ever learned over the years about how to get the best suntan.

I believe that there are 10 steps and then I will end with a bunch of tips of what I think are important tips on how to get the best tan this summer that you have ever had.

Here are the 10 steps first that you will need to do in the first place to get a good tan.

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Lufa and Exfoliate

Exfoliating your skin is a very good idea. When you are getting a suntan the color that you get is a result of the skin reacting to the sun.

If you have dead skin on top of your good skin then it will be blocking the sun.

When exfoliating your skin be sure not to scrub hard, you may want to get the dead skin off but you do not want to hurt your good skin underneath so be sure to just lightly scrub your skin.

Lather on the Suntan Lotion

How To Get A Great SuntanI know that you may think that using suntan lotion may be against the idea of getting a dark tan it is really a requirement.

First of all, choose a suntan lotion that has a lot of moisturizer in it.

What I would recommend if you want to get a dark tan is to make sure that you have about an SPF factor of 8 or 10 and make sure that you spread it all over, do not miss any spots.

The good thing about wearing a suntan lotion is that it allows your body to gradually get a tan instead of tanning very quickly and then getting a burn.

You want to go slow getting a great tan as it will last longer and be easier to get dark without burning. Remember that suntan lotion does not do anything for about a half an hour so you must but the sun tan lotion on a little while before you go out.

Tan For Only One To Two Hours Per Day

How To Get A Great SuntanYou do not need a lot of hours of sun but it is important if you want a good tan to make sure that you get one to two hours a day EVERY day as the consecutive days are going to give you that good tan not the number of hours in one day.

The important thing in your suntanning time is to make sure that you are getting your whole body tanned. Do not miss any spots and make sure that you follow this for at least a few days so that you body can gradually get color.

Tan Your Whole Body

If at all possible get some kind of reflective blanket to lie on when you are suntanning so that your sides, as well as the insides and outsides of your legs, get a tan.

The sun comes from above and the most impressive tan is one that is smooth and even around your whole body.

It is easy enough to get your front and back tanned but how about your sides and the back of your arms?

When tanning your front have your arms up and your head slightly back so that you can tan under your arms as well as the back of your arms and get your neck tanned as well.

When on your stomach keep your arms out as well so that you are tanning the tops of your forearms and shoulders. Flip every 15 minutes to half hour.

Shower After Your Suntanning Time

Do not over shower. This means that if you have a shower in the morning and then suntan in the afternoon have only a very quick shower to wash off the suntan lotion.

If at all possible do not have a shower in the day until after you have had your suntanning time so on the weekends perhaps you can tan in the morning instead of the afternoon.

Also, when you shower never use soap except on stinky areas such as your underarms I say no soap on your skin as soap will dry your skin and may peel off some of that skin that are getting color.

Moisturize Day and Night

Moisturizers are very important for keeping your skin healthy. Use a good moisturizer when you get up in the morning as well as after your sun tanning session and then at night before you go to bed.

The more moist that your skin is the more radiant is look and feels and the longer that you will be able to keep your tan as your skin will stay alive and healthier for longer.

Drink lots of water

Sun tanning is all about the outer layer of your skin so make sure that skin is healthy. One of the best things that you can do for your skin is to drink a lot of water.

Water will keep your body hydrated and therefore will keep your skin hydrated as well.

Do not just drink water while you are out in the sun working on that tan but make sure that you start your day with a big glass of water and drink water throughout your day.

Tan for consecutive days

One day of sun will not do a lot and a long day of sun will just lead to a burn. Have you ever noticed that when people go skiing in the winter and get a suntan or sunburn that it goes away in just a couple of days?

The important thing to do to get a deep tan and to have it last is to get suntanning time for as many consecutive days as possible.

If you tan one day and then again a couple of days later then that first day’s base tan has been wasted, this is why most people can not get a deep tan, all they do is get suntime on the weekends and do not try to get sun during the week.

Never get a sunburn

A sunburn is a condition that will kill the skin cells that you are trying to get color for. Never ever let you skin get burned as you will need to wait for this skin to naturally lose its color and then start your consecutive days of sun again.

I have failed at this point time and time again by not being patient about my suntanning and by being careless with my suntan lotion. Don’t make that mistake, it is really up to you to be careful.

Stay Away From Extra Sun

You have a plan that you can follow for getting a suntan and on the weekends what will happen is that you will have plenty of opportunities to get extra sun and this can and will inevitably lead to getting too much sun and a sunburn.

The best way to avoid this extra sun is to plan ahead. Have a very strong SPF 30 suntan lotion that you put on often, wear a hat, wear well covering but loose fitting clothes and of course sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Some Extra Sun Safe Tips to Remember

Now that you have the 10 point plan to get a good suntan I thought I could get a few tips in that do not really fit into those ten points for suntanning but nonetheless are important anyway.

When tanning cover your head when tanning your back. This is important because when you tan your face it gets enough sun. When you are tanning your back you do not want your face to get yet more sun.

The most sensitive parts of your body are the neck, backs of legs and on the face are the nose, forehead and under the eyes, make sure that you always have a good layer suntan lotion on theses spots so that you can get a tan before these areas would burn.

Watch your waistband. Try to make sure that you legs and waistband are in the same spot in each of your tanning sessions, this way you will have a pronounced tan line and will also be able to tell how tanned you have got.

I know some people that will let the waistband move an inch up or down on consecutive days so that they can tell how today is tanning compared to yesterday.

Your full tan will not show up for four hours or more. When you are out in the sun do not get too concerned about how little color you are getting, the bulk of it will show up four to six hours later. As you probably remember from the past if you get a burn that sunburns will not sometimes show up or will definitely get worse in the evening after you were out.

I hope these tips all help you this year to get your best suntan ever.

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Fitness Goal Setting

Fitness Goal SettingSetting goals for your fitness is a very good idea and I have posted a couple of guides on how to do this well. I found the following information that I thought was valuable from the Federal Trade Commission on setting goals for fitness.

There are lots of reasons for people who are over or obese to lose weight. To be healthier. To look better. To feel better. To have more energy.

No matter what the reason, successful loss and healthy management depend on sensible goals and expectations. If you set sensible goals for yourself, chances are you’ll be more likely to meet them and have a better chance of keeping the off. In fact, losing even five to 10 percent of your is the kind of goal that can help improve your health.

Most over people should lose gradually. For safe and healthy loss, try not to exceed a rate of two pounds per week. Sometimes, people with serious health problems associated with obesity may have legitimate reasons for losing rapidly. If so, a physician’s supervision is required.

What you weigh is the result of several factors:

  • how much and what kinds of food you eat
  • whether your lifestyle includes regular physical activity
  • whether you use food to respond to stress and other situations in your life
  • your physiologic and genetic make-up
  • your age and health status

Successful loss and management should address all of these factors. And that’s the reason to ignore products and programs that promise quick and easy results, or that promise permanent results without permanent changes in your lifestyle. Any ad that says you can lose without lowering the calories you take in and/or increasing your physical activity is selling fantasy and false hope. In fact, some people would call it fraud. Furthermore, the use of some products may not be safe.

A Realistic Approach to Dieting

Many people who are over or obese have decided not to diet per se, but to concentrate on engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining healthy eating habits in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, emphasizing lowered fat consumption, and an increase in vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Others who try to diet report needing help to achieve their management goals.

Fad diets that ignore the principles of the Dietary Guidelines may result in short term loss, but may do so at the risk of your health. How you go about managing your has a lot to do with your long-term success. Unless your health is seriously at risk due to complications from being over or obese, gradual loss should be your rule  and your goal.

Steps In A Weight Loss Program

  • Check with your doctor. Make sure that your health status allows lowering your caloric intake and increasing your physical activity.
  • Follow a calorie-reduced, but balanced diet that provides for as little as one or two pounds of loss a week. Be sure to include at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, lean meat and low fat dairy products. It may not produce headlines, but it can reduce waistlines. It’s not “miracle” science  just common sense. Most important, it’s prudent and healthy.
  • Make time in your day for some form of physical activity. Start by taking the stairs at work, walking up or down an escalator, parking at the far end of a lot instead of cruising around for the closest spot. Then, assuming your physician gives the okay, gradually add some form of regular physical activity that you enjoy. Walking is an excellent form of physical activity that almost everyone can do.
  • Consider the benefits of moderate weight loss. There’s scientific evidence that losing five to 10 percent of your and keeping it off can benefit your health  lower your blood pressure, for example. If you are 5 feet 6 inches tall and weigh 180 pounds, and your goal is 150, losing five to 10 percent (nine to 18 pounds) is beneficial. When it comes to successful loss and management, steady and slow can be the way to go.

For many people who are over or obese, long-term and healthy management generally requires sensible goals and a commitment to make realistic changes in their lifestyle and improve their health. A lifestyle based on healthy eating and regular physical activity can be a real lifesaver.

Determining Your Weight/Health Profile

Over and obesity have been associated with increased risk of developing such conditions as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.

For most people, determining the circumference of your waist and your body mass index (BMI) are reliable ways to estimate your body fat and the health risks associated with being over, overfat or obese. BMI is reliable for most people between 19 and 70 years of age except women who are pregnant or breast feeding, competitive athletes, body builders, and chronically ill patients. Generally, the higher your BMI, the higher your health risk, and the risk increases even further if your waist size is greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women. There are other ways, besides BMI, to determine your body fat composition, and your doctor can tell you about them, but the method recommended here will help you decide if you are at risk. Use the chart to determine your BMI. Then, measure your waist size. Now, with your BMI and waist size determined, use the table below to determine your health risk relative to normal .

Several other factors, including your medical history, can increase your health risk.

How your Doctor Can Help You Lose Weight

See your doctor for advice about your overall health risk and the loss options that are best for you. Together, decide whether you should go on a moderate diet (1200 calories daily for women, 1400 calories daily for men), or whether other options might be appropriate.

Once you and your doctor have determined the type of diet that makes the most sense for you, you may want to choose a product or a plan to help you reach your goal.

Consider: If your doctor prescribes a medication, ask about complications or side effects, and tell the doctor what other medications, including over-the-counter drug products, and dietary supplements you take and other conditions you’re being treated for. After you start taking the medication, tell the doctor about changes you experience, if any.

If your treatment includes periodic monitoring, counseling or other activities that require your attendance, make sure the location is easy to get to and the appointment times are convenient.

Some methods for losing have more risks and complications than others. Ask for details about the side effects, complications or risks of any product or service that promotes loss and how to deal with problems should they occur.

Where appropriate to the program, ask about the credentials and training of the program staff.
Ask for an itemized price list for all the costs of the plan you’re considering, including membership fees, fees for weekly visits, the costs of any diagnostic tests, costs for meal replacements, foods, nutritional supplements, or other products that are part of the loss program or plan.

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Seven foods never to eat

I just found an article over at Ediets of seven foods never to eat.

1. Doughnuts It’s hard to resist the smell of a Krispy Kreme doughnut, which is why I never step foot in the store. Doughnuts are fried chock-full of sugar and white flour and loads of trans fat.

According to the Krispy Kreme website, an average 3.5 ounce sugar doughnut weighs in with about 400 calories and contains few other nutrients besides fat. These sugary treats may satisfy your craving but it won’t satisfy your hunger as most of the calories come from fat.

“Eating a lot of refined sugar contributes to blood sugar swings or extreme fluctuations, eDiets Chief Nutritionist Susan Burke said.

Seven foods never to eat2. Cheeseburger with fries The age-old classic may be delicious but think twice before sinking your teeth into that Big Mac. The saturated fat found in cheese burgers has been linked to heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer.

In fact, fast-food portions are gargantuan, almost double the calories per meal compared to 20 years ago,” Susan says. “Twenty years ago the average fast-food cheeseburger had about 300 calories. Today’s BK Whopper with cheese has 720. To burn the excess 420 calories, you’d have to run for 40 minutes. For example, in 1985 a medium French fry had 240 calories, 2.4 ounces. Today’s medium is 6.9 ounces and 610 calories.

“This fast-food meal of cheeseburger and fries has way too many calories and fat grams, not to mention grams of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and sodium.

Let’s break down this meal. First, take the white-flour bun (refined carbohydrates), then add some processed cheese (saturated fat and trans fat, plus lots of additives and preservatives) and then top off with fried red meat (cholesterol and saturated fats). And let’s not forget about the condiments such as the always fattening mayonnaise.

Not sounding so appetizing anymore, huh? Oh, and let’s not forget about the infamous side dish. You cheeseburger will most likely come with a side of French fries, which is sadly the most popular vegetable dish in the U.S. Don’t kid yourself, French fries are not vegetables, they are extremely high in fat and contain a tiny amount of nutrients.

3. Fried Chicken and Chicken Nuggets With the recent class-action lawsuit between The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and KFC, the health risks posed by fried foods are becoming more public. The CSPI is suing the food chain for their use of cooking oil containing unhealthy trans fats. The lawsuit seeks to order KFC to use other types of cooking oils and to inform customers how much trans fats KFC’s food contains.

Foods cooked in highly heated oils (most notably partially hydrogenated oil) have been known to cause cancer, gain and other serious health risks if ingested regularly. A 10-piece chicken McNugget from McDonald’s has 420 calories, 24 grams of fat and 1120 milligrams of sodium. One Extra Crispy Chicken Breast from KFC has around 420 calories and eight grams of saturated fat. So unless you want to super size yourself, it’s best to make a clean break with fried foods.

4. Oscar Mayer’s Lunchables Sure they are convenient and easy, but boy are they unhealthy! These kid-marketed lunches are loaded with saturated fat and sodium. They usually contain highly processed meats and cheeses, white flour crackers and sugary treats. Lunchables get two-thirds of their calories from fat and sugar. And they provide lopsided nutrition since they contain no fruits or vegetables.

They insidiously promote obesity by making kids think that lunch normally comes in a cellophane-wrapped box,” Susan says. “Parents are promoting their children’s obesity by buying these items. They’re expensive, too. Pack a sandwich and save dollars and health.

5. Sugary Cereal – Not all cereals are created equally. And while your kids might beg for the latest cookie or marshmallow chocolate surprise cereals, it is a safe bet they are about as healthy as a dessert. Keywords to Seven foods never to eatlook out for are puffed, dyed and sweetened.

Most kids cereals are so highly processed they no longer look like the grains they were originally made from. A healthy alternative is oatmeal. Although, if you are buying pre-packaged oatmeal make sure to check the label and see how much sugar it contains, you might be surprised.

“A little sugar isn’t a problem but when the first ingredient on the box is sugar, then watch out,” she said. “There is no fruit in Froot Loops. But the unsweetened original Cheerios or Rice Krispies are fine, and you can sweeten them naturally with blueberries and strawberries.

6. Processed Meats. What falls under the category of processed meats? Hot dogs, sausage, jerky, bacon, certain lunch meats and meats used in canned soup products. Almost all processed meats have sodium nitrite added as a preservative.

A recent study conducted at the University of Hawaii found that sodium nitrite can act as a precursor to highly carcinogenic nitrosamines — potent cancer-causing chemicals that accelerate the formation and growth of cancer cells throughout the body. So eliminate these meats from your diet before they eliminate you!

7. Canned soup. Sometimes regarded as a healthy food, soups can be very deceiving. You must stay on your guard because many canned soups have high levels of trans fats, sodium and artificial preservatives such as MSG. Just one serving (which is roughly one cup) can have almost 1,000 milligrams of salt. Also, steer clear of soups that are cream-based, they can be high in calories and fat.

Susan says it is important to read labels from back to front. Ignore the health claims, and instead focus on the ingredients and serving size. Watch out for hydrogenated fat (trans fat) and sodium. If you’re buying bread to go with you soup, the first ingredient should be whole grain — either whole wheat, rye or other grain. If it just says wheat bread, that doesn’t mean whole wheat.

We all want our family to be healthy and happy, so steer clear of these foods. Think its difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Think again! Ediets make it simple to find healthy foods with the correct nutritional balance for you and your family. Our customized diet plans will help you lose and feel great!

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Is getting sun OK for you?

Is getting sun OK for you?
After writing about how bad the sun is for you I have found this very balanced article by Robert Bazell at MSNBC that offers a great counter point to how good or bad the sun is for you. As always I believe that some good research is the most important way for anyone to decide weather they are doing the right thing or not as everyone has a bias as far as this subject goes.

The heresy: the sun can be healthy. The heretic: Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University, a seemingly gentle, but combative scientist-physician who studies the beneficial effects of Vitamin D, produced by our skin when exposed to the sun.

Report a story about Holick’s research and a reporter can expect to get — as I did — a rocket in the name of the president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) alleging that the information endangers America’s health.

This battle is not about facts

It is more akin to arguments that erupt over advice that a drink or two of alcoholic beverages a day can help the heart. If we give those who are addicted an excuse, the argument goes, we’re handing them a ticket to excess.

To understand the debate, one must appreciate the AAD’s enormous success in recent years persuading Americans to either avoid the sun altogether or to slather on a lot of sun block if they can’t. Then, along comes Holick alleging that the campaign has gone overboard leaving millions of Americans Vitamin D deficient.

Not long ago medical wisdom held that Vitamin D deficiency only matters if severe enough to produce rickets, a horrible disintegration of the bones seen in children living in severe poverty. But research by Holick and others in recent years proves that Vitamin D plays a key role in avoiding osteoporosis, the bone thinning that often occurs with aging.

In addition, every cell and tissue in the body requires Vitamin D so a lack of it can increase the risk for conditions including heart disease, breast and prostate cancer and high blood pressure.

Many experts now say we need at least 1,000 international units a day of Vitamin D, and it is almost impossible to ingest that much from the typical American diet. Large doses of supplements or moderate sun exposure are the alternatives. One can argue the sun is the far more natural alternative.

Even Holick’s critics agree his science is sound. But that did not stop the dermatologists from pressuring him to resign from the Dermatology Department at Boston University. (He remains on the faculty in the endocrinology department).

“The concern,” argues Dr. Thomas Kupper, a dermatologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who speaks for the AAD, is that if “people hear 10 or 15 minutes is OK, then a little more is better and then 30 to 40 minutes becomes an hour and then an hour-and-a-half.”

Holick’s response: “They’re promoting abstinence and abstinence campaigns usually don’t work.”

The argument gets even trickier when we consider how dangerous the sun really is. There is no doubt that sun exposure increases the rate of basal and squamous cell carcinomas. These are called skin cancer. Having them removed frequently can be bothersome and even disfiguring, but they almost never threaten your life.

Murky role
With melanoma, the potentially deadly skin cancer the role of the sun gets murkier. Research also shows that people who build up and maintain a constant tan such as those who work outdoors are less at risk from melanoma than those who get sudden, rapid exposure. A history of sunburns can be especially dangerous.

A review article in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine concludes that the strongest risk factors for melanoma are a family history, multiple “nevi” skin lesions that can become melanoma, and a previous history of the disease. Exposure to ultraviolet light, the harmful rays from the sun are a more distant “additional risk factor.” People often get melanoma on parts of the body never exposed to the sun.

Scientists are elucidating the specific genes that make up that family history. Just last week researchers from the National Cancer Institute, and other institutions, reported in the journal Science that inherited variations in a gene called MC1R can increase a person’s risk for melanoma up to 17-fold. In the not too distant future, we may have blood tests to reveal who is truly at risk for melanoma from sun exposure.

Meanwhile, there is no escaping the data proving a little bit of skin exposure is actually beneficial — no matter what the dermatologists say.

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Eat more protein and fat

A study by Johns Hopkins University has shown that a regular high-carb diet that is changed to include a little more protein or healthy oils can further curb heart disease risks, say researchers who had volunteers try three variations of the same diet.

This is a validation to many athletes diets that are slightly lower in carbs and slightly higher in protein but not as extreme as either end of the scale as a vegitarian diet or an Atkins style diet.

The Testing
But the study involving 159 adults with borderline or mild high blood pressure found the best results with diets that replaced some carbohydrates with protein like nuts and dairy, or with healthy fats, like olive oil.

The findings don’tt mean you should gorge on meat, or that carbs should be shunned. But the study involving 159 adults with borderline or mild high blood pressure found the best results with diets that replaced some carbohydrates with protein like nuts and dairy, or with healthy fats, like olive oil.

All three diets were low in saturated fats and required plenty of fruits and vegetables, and all improved blood pressure and cholesterol readings.

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Pills or food?

Many people understand the importance of good nutrition, but believe that a daily vitamin pill will substitute for actually eating the fruits and vegetables that they know are good for them.

The more we learn about nutrition and the human body, however, the more we realize the importance of eating whole foods. That is why the American Dietetic Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture still recommend that we eat two to four servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables a day.

Here is an example of what science has found. During the last 15 years, a number of studies have shown that people who eat a diet rich in beta-carotene have a lower rate of several kinds of cancer. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant chemical naturally found in foods such as sweet potatoes, winter squash and carrots, and is also available in a pure, synthetic form.

The pure form of beta-carotene has become a popular dietary supplement, either by itself or as an ingredient in multi-vitamin pills. A number of recent studies, though, have not shown that taking beta-carotene in pill form lessens the risk of cancer.

Why should a nutrient in a pill be less effective than the same nutrient obtained from food?

Scientists are still studying this issue, but one thing seems clear: beta-carotene and other nutrients are most beneficial to health when they are consumed in combination with each other, as naturally found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.

These foods contain not only the well-known vitamins (A, B, C, etc.) that are often found in vitamin pills, but also hundreds of naturally occurring substances, including carotenoids, flavonoids, isoflavones and protease inhibitors.

These substances appear to protect against cancer, heart disease and other chronic health conditions. They work in different ways, and we are only beginning to understand their healthy role. Often, though, they work best when in combination with each other.

There is nothing wrong with taking multi-vitamin supplements to help ensure that we get certain nutrients every day. Pills, however, will never be able to give us the healthy combination of phytochemicals and other substances found naturally in food.

These can only be gotten from eating a varied diet, rich in plant foods. Fruits and vegetables in particular are virtual gold mines of health-enhancing substances. Don’t cheat yourself of their benefits by relying on supplements that contain just a few of the better-known nutrients.

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Facts about Botox

The promise of a more youthful look was too tempting for 53-year-old Mary Schwallenberg to pass up. So, when the Food and Drug Administration approved a product that temporarily improves the appearance of frown lines between the eyebrows, the Orlando, Fla., resident took a shot at it. And it wasn’t long before she became one of many people clamoring for regular treatments that often include refreshments and friendly conversation, as well as injections.

What are the Facts About Botox?


Facts about Botox

Facts about Botox

Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox Cosmetic) is a protein complex produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which contains the same toxin that causes food poisoning.


When used in a medical setting as an injectable form of sterile, purified botulinum toxin, small doses block the release of a chemical called acetylcholine by nerve cells that signal muscle contraction.

By selectively interfering with the underlying muscles’ ability to contract, existing frown lines are smoothed out and, in most cases, are nearly invisible in a week.

Botox injections are the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the industry, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). In 2001, more than 1.6 million people received injections, an increase of 46 percent over the previous year. More popular than breast enhancement surgery and a potential blockbuster, Botox is regarded by some as the ultimate fountain of youth.

Schwallenberg, a pharmaceutical sales representative who is excited about her next round of injections, says she wants to look her best for her job. “That’s corporate America for you,” she says. “I have a lot of energy and I just wanted to look good.”

Botox was first approved in 1989 to treat two eye muscle disorders–uncontrollable blinking (blepharospasm) and misaligned eyes (strabismus). In 2000, the toxin was approved to treat a neurological movement disorder that causes severe neck and shoulder contractions, known as cervical dystonia.

As an unusual side effect of the eye disorder treatment, doctors observed that Botox softened the vertical frown (glabellar) lines between the eyebrows that tend to make people look tired, angry or displeased. But until this improvement was actually demonstrated in clinical studies, Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif., was prohibited from making this claim for the product.

FDA Approval of Botox

By April 2002, the FDA was satisfied by its review of studies indicating that Botox reduced the severity of frown lines for up to 120 days. The agency then granted approval to use the drug for this condition.

The FDA regulates products, but not how they are used. Approved products are sometimes used by a licensed practitioner for uses other than those stated in the product label. Botox Cosmetic, for example, is currently being used by physicians to treat facial wrinkles other than those specified by the FDA. Consumers should be aware, however, that this “off-label” use has not been independently reviewed by the agency, and the safety and effectiveness of Botox injections into other regions of the face and neck, alone or in combination with the frown-lines region, have not been clinically evaluated.

Ella L. Toombs, M.D., a dermatologic medical officer in the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors, says, “Careful deliberation, investigation and evaluation is undertaken by the agency before any prescription product is approved.”

Drugs such as Botox, which are not indicated for serious or life-threatening conditions, “are subject to a greater level of scrutiny because of the benefit-to-risk ratio.” Toombs says this means that the FDA may allow someone to incur a greater risk from products that treat medical conditions, rather than from those that are approved for cosmetic purposes.

Considering Facts about Botox Cosmetic?
* Be sure that a qualified doctor performs the procedure.
* Make sure that the doctor is trained and qualified in cosmetic skin surgery of the face.
* Ask questions and be informed about the benefits and risks involved in the procedure.
* Avoid alcohol and remain upright for several hours following the procedure.
* Choose a medical setting using sterile techniques. Necessary equipment should be available to respond to any potential problems.

Source: The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery

What are Botox Parties?

Facts about BotoxThe recent rise in the popularity of Botox has much to do with the manner in which it is frequently marketed. Some practitioners buy the toxin in bulk and arrange get-togethers for people receiving their treatments. As in business, volume discounts can be found in medicine.

Plastic surgery events known as Botox parties–also seminars, evenings and socials–are a key element of Botox marketing in much of the United States. The gatherings are thought to be a convenient means of providing Botox treatments more economically, and may help reduce the anxiety that normally goes along with getting an injection. Doctors are finding that treating people in groups allows them to make the procedure more affordable to their patients.

Here’s how a “party” typically works: A group of often nervous, but excited, middle-aged men and women mingle in a common area. Sometimes refreshments are served. One by one, as their name is called, each slips away for about 15 minutes to a private exam room.

He or she pays a fee and signs an informed consent agreement. Anesthesia is rarely needed, but sedatives and numbing agents may be available. The practitioner injects about one-tenth of a teaspoon of toxin into specific muscles of the forehead most often targeted for the effect. The person then rejoins the group.

Scott A. Greenberg, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in Winter Park, Fla., has been hosting monthly “Botox Happy Hours” in his medical office since the drug’s approval in April. Greenberg feels that these by-invitation-only events to previous patients “are an opportunity to treat a lot of people at one time in a relaxed but professional atmosphere.” Greenberg says there is no difference between treating 10 people during individual office visits throughout the day and treating 10 people individually, but in a more socialized setting.

“The important thing is that the identical standards of medical care are maintained at these gatherings as in a routine daytime office consultation.”

Facts about BotoxJulianne Clifford, Ph.D., of the FDA’s Division of Vaccines and Related Products Applications, explains that “Botox is licensed for marketing and distribution as single-use vials.” This means that as packaged, “each vial is intended to be used for a single patient in a single treatment session.” Botox does not contain a preservative against potential contamination of the product through repeated use of a single vial.

Once opened and diluted, Botox must be used within four hours. Treating multiple people with one vial violates product labeling, which is stated on the package insert, the vial and the carton.

“We lose something when we mass treat,” says Franklin L. DiSpaltro, M.D., president of the ASAPS. “One of my concerns is that these parties are a marketing tool–gathering as many patients as possible trivializes a medical treatment, which could deteriorate over time into a nonprofessional environment.” DiSpaltro says there’s more to medicine “than just dispensing drugs.”

Schwallenberg, however, insists that “Dr. Greenberg was very professional. It wasn’t a cattle call,” she says. “And I don’t think I’d go to a doctor I didn’t know.”

The FDA is concerned that Botox has the potential for being abused. The ASAPS recently reported that unqualified people are dispensing Botox in salons, gyms, hotel rooms, home-based offices, and other retail venues. In such cases, people run the risks of improper technique, inappropriate dosages, and unsanitary conditions. “Botox is a prescription drug that should be administered by a qualified physician in an appropriate medical setting,” says Toombs.

Greenberg agrees. “Patient safety has to be of prime concern,” he says. “People need to be in the right hands when complications arise.” That’s why Greenberg does not allow his staff to administer Botox treatments. Even the most skilled health-care providers, he says, can have complications as well as dissatisfied customers.

Although there is no chance of contracting botulism from Botox injections, there are some risks associated with the procedure. If too much toxin is injected, for example, or if it is injected into the wrong facial area, a person can end up with droopy eyelid muscles (ptosis) that could last for weeks. This particular complication was observed in clinical trials.

Other common side effects following injection were headache, respiratory infection, flu syndrome, and nausea. Less frequent adverse reactions included pain in the face, redness at the injection site, and muscle weakness. These reactions were generally temporary, but could last several months.

While the effects of Botox Cosmetic don’t last, still, people don’t seem to mind repeating the procedure every four to six months in order to maintain a wrinkle-free look. Battling the signs of aging in a non-invasive way, after all, is part of the allure of the product–that and the fact that there are no unsightly scars, and that there is very little recovery time with the procedure.

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FDA Celebrates 100th Anniversary

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today will celebrate the centennial of the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906 at an event dedicated to the agency’s past, present and future service to the nation.

The ceremony, which will be held at the FDA’s Harvey W. Wiley federal building, will feature U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt and Acting FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D. Also in attendance will be senior leaders of the agency, and scores of current and former FDA employees and special guests including former Commissioners of Food and Drugs, representatives of consumer and trade groups, and descendants of Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, the scientist whose early support of food and drug regulations earned him the title of “Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act.” Dr. Wiley served as the first director of the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States Department of Agriculture, which later became the FDA.

In addition to presentations by Secretary Leavitt and Acting Commissioner Dr. von Eschenbach, the program’s highlights include an overview of the coming public health opportunities and challenges by FDA’s Deputy Commissioners and other senior leaders of the agency. Sean K. Sullivan, Associate Publisher of Good Housekeeping magazine, will speak about Dr. Wiley’s work following government service as Director of the Bureau of Foods, Sanitation and Health for Good Housekeeping magazine.

The modern FDA dates its origin to June 1906, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act and Congress embarked on a policy of continuous strengthening of public health protections and of their enforcement, first by the Bureau of Chemistry, and later by the FDA. Since then, Americans have benefited from increasingly comprehensive, science-based safeguards for a myriad products essential for health, survival and high quality of life.

Today, these products represent almost 25% of all U.S. consumer spending and include 80% of the national food supply as well as all human drugs, vaccines, blood products, medical devices, tissues for transplantation, radiation-emitting equipment, and animal drugs and feed.

The FDA’s centennial celebration, which include conferences and special forums in cities from coast to coast, have the following aims:

Observe FDA’s role — past, present and future — domestically and internationally in protecting and promoting the health of the public; Inspire future efforts to advance science, innovation, and public health through partnerships and alliances with key FDA stakeholders; Attract new generations of regulatory scientists; and
Salute the contributions of FDA employees, alumni, legislators, academicians, industry, consumer groups, and public health leaders to fulfilling FDA’s mission.

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FDA approves generic Zoloft drug Sertaline

Sertraline is used medically mainly to treat the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It has also been prescribed for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, panic disorder, and bipolar disorder. It was first approved by the FDA in 1991. The patent for this brand-name drug expired in December 2005. It is anticipated that the generic drug will be available in the United States in June of 2006, manufactured by Andrx, Aurobindo, Genpharm, Ivax, Mylan, and Roxane. In Scandinavia a generic drug called Sertralin, manufactured by HEXAL is available. The price differences between Zoloft and Sertralin are as high as 1.50 dollars per pill.

Sertraline can have a number of adverse effects, including insomnia, asthenia, gastrointestinal complaints, tremors, confusion, dizziness, anorgasmia, and decreased libido; it can induce mania or hypomania in around 0.5% of patients. It has also been known to cause minorweight loss. It is contraindicated in individuals taking MAOIs or undergoing electroconvulsive therapy.

Until 2003 Zoloft was only approved for use in adults ages 18 and over; that year it was approved by the FDA for use in treating children ages 6 to 17 with extreme obsessive compulsive disorder. In June, 2004, Britain banned the use of Zoloft by minors and in February, 2005, Pfizer was forced to change the labeling of Zoloft to include information regarding increased incidences of suicidal behavior and depression in adolescent users of the drug.

According to mentalhealth.com, Zoloft is not currently recommended or advised for use in individuals under the age of 18. After these changes, multiple incidences and at least one medical study showed an increased risk of suicide in seniors who were taking Zoloft. In response to these findings, the FDA released a public health warning. This warning indicates that anyone currently using Zoloft for any reason has a greater chance of exhibiting suicidal thoughts or behaviors regardless of age. This warning is questionable, however, due to the types of illnesses Zoloft is used to treat, it is impossible to determine if these tendencies are a side effect of the drug or the illness the drug is meant to treat.

Zoloft and Pregnancy

Zoloft has long been seen as the best option for breastfeeding mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding and be able to take their antidepressants. Despite its apparent safety and effectiveness during the breastfeeding period, recent studies and consumer complaints have seen a need to alter Zoloft’s labeling regarding use during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Though there are no teratogenetic defects associated with Zoloft, there is reason to be concerned about its effects on infants who were exposed to sertraline during the third trimester in utero. It seems that Zoloft use in late pregnancy significantly increases the potential need for hospitalization and breathing assistance in the newborn period and has also been shown to cause an increased risk of neonatal death.

In light of this increased risk it is still being used due to the greater potential risk of a seriously depressed mother to herself and her unborn child. Like all other medications Zoloft’s use must be decided only after carefully weighing out all potential risks and benefits.

As part of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) on-going efforts to increase the available generic drug alternatives for American consumers, the agency today approved the first generic version of Zoloft tablets, sertraline, as well as a liquid concentrate, sertraline hydrochloride, version of the product.

Sertaline is for Depression

Sertraline tablets are indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults and the liquid concentrate is approved for the treatment of MDD and some anxiety related disorders. In 2005, Zoloft was the sixth highest-selling brand-name drug in the United States, with retail sales totaling $2,561,069,000.

“Generic drugs are safe and effective alternatives to brand name prescription products and can provide for significant cost savings for the American public,” said Gary J. Buehler, Director, Office of Generic Drugs. “Our office is committed to increasing the number of approved generic alternatives as quickly as possible.”

The FDA Generic Drug Process

The economic benefits of FDA’s generic drug approval program are significant because generics can cost a fraction of the price of the brand name drugs and generic drugs represent about two-thirds of total prescription doses sold in the United States in 2004, according to IMS data on U.S. retail sales. Competition from generic drugs that are safe and effective alternatives may quickly lead to reductions in spending. The savings would likely increase as more competitors enter the market (See https://ift.tt/2pRtL9K).

FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs (OGD) continues working expeditiously to review and take action on generic drug applications. For more information on other first generic versions, please see https://ift.tt/2ISxEnA.

For additional information related to FDA’s Office of Generic Drugs, please go to: https://ift.tt/2pRtMdO.

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