Safeguarding your health has become complicated and confusing. We aim to help demystify and guide your quest to experience vitality. To that end, The Health Examiner provides leading-edge, research-backed articles written by revered physicians, scientists, nutritionists, and academics that discuss the most relevant health and wellness news.
‘“It’s like nothing we’ve seen since World War II,”’ he [Steven Woolf, MD] said. ‘“1943 was the last time the US had such a large decrease in life expectancy.”’
Virginia Commonwealth University released a report examining the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on life expectancy worldwide. The study, led by Woolf, reveals US statistics that are lower than those of 16 peer countries and that expose racial disparities, with life expectancy dropping 3.88, 3.25, and 1.87 years for Hispanics, blacks, and whites, respectively.
A study from West Virginia University researchers reveals that unrepaired DNA damage, caused by exposure to cigarette smoke, industrial chemicals, ozone, and other pollutants, triggers the body to produce free radicals that accelerate aging. Poor nutrition and other unhealthy lifestyle factors also increase free radicals, as do normal metabolic processes. This coupled with excessive toxin exposure overpowers the body’s ability to eradicate free radicals and advanced aging manifests.
Botox is a protein created from the Botulinum toxin that causes botulism, a poisoning characterized by difficulty breathing, paralysis, and even death. In fact, Botox itself can cause breathing difficulties, anaphylaxis, and other perilous side effects.
To avoid these health risks and still achieve smooth, taut skin, maintain a lifestyle that includes anti-aging practices, foods, and nutrients, such as exercising, eating berries and greens, and applying non-toxic sunscreen, and use natural, age-defying skincare products.
Research from Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute indicates that the gut microbiome not only influences stroke severity but also affects functional impairment after a stroke. Dietary choline and to a greater extent TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), which gut microbes produce when digesting animal products, amplify stroke size and severity as well as post-stroke motor and cognitive deficits. Scientists note that dietary changes could lower TMAO levels and consequently stroke risk.
An elderly person’s physical pain could be attributed to financial stresses experienced decades earlier during mid-life, says University of Georgia researchers, who conducted an in-depth study involving 500 families and twenty-seven years of data. Scientists explain that financial hardship depletes psychological resources that in turn impact the body and nervous system to ultimately engender physical pain and limitations as well as cardiovascular disease.
A study in Nature Medicine avows that systemic chronic inflammation fuels the leading causes of disability and death typically associated with aging, such as cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and neurodegenerative conditions.
Poor sleep quality fuels depression among older adults suffering with minor or major depression. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers observed that adults with worsening insomnia during the year, compared to those experiencing improved sleep, had nearly 30 times the odds of being diagnosed with major depression at the year’s end. Suicidal ideation was also more prevalent. Those with persistent insomnia, though not worsening, exhibited similar results.
Survey finds very short sleep duration in this population was associated with double the risk of dementia
New research from investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital explores the connection between sleep disturbances and deficiencies among older adults and risk of dementia and death, finding that risk of dementia was double among participants who reported getting less than five hours of sleep compared to those who reported 7-8 hours . . . The team also found associations . . .
The journal Gut released telling research avowing that imbibing two or more sugar-sweetened beverages—soda and sports, energy, and fruit-flavored drinks—per day doubles bowel or colorectal cancer risk before age 50 among adult women. Researchers note that in addition to the foreboding cancer threat, these liquid sugar bombs promote insulin resistance, inflammation, and obesity as well as type 2 diabetes.
Nature Communications published a study demonstrating that nicotine, a non-carcinogenic compound in cigarettes, enables the spread of cancer cells from the breast to the lungs.
The doctor orders a CT scan for your recurring abdominal pain. When you ask about radiation, she assures you that the dose is low and that CTs are safe. But are they? Is there a connection between CT scans and cancer? . . .
Computed tomography, or CT, scans can provide valuable diagnostic information, but at a cost—they deliver ionizing radiation, a known human carcinogen. The radiation breaks chemical bonds in tissue molecules, which frees charged ions that can damage DNA . . .
Every week on the news, online, in a magazine, we hear or read about the ever-elusive “cure for cancer.” . . . I also want people to focus on an equally important part of their health management:
The best way to beat cancer is to keep from getting it altogether.
Even if you’re genetically programmed to develop depression or cancer, the way you eat, supplement, and move can change – for the better – the expression of your genetic code. This is also known as epigenetics . . .
Foods Associated with an Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Death in Middle-Age Identified
Oxford University discovered two different diets that increase cardiovascular disease risk, one that includes little fresh produce and is high in confectionaries, butter and low-fiber bread and a second diet that is also high in confectionaries as well as fruit juice, sugar-sweetened drinks, and table sugar but low in dairy. Higher disease risk persisted even though those following the second diet maintained an overall healthier lifestyle.
A global study led by Hamilton scientists has found a link between eating processed meat and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. The same study did not find a similar link with unprocessed red meat or poultry.
The information comes from the diets and health outcomes of 134,297 people from 21 countries spanning five continents, who were tracked by researchers for data on meat consumption and cardiovascular illnesses.
Everybody knows excess alcohol is hard on the liver and that drinking too much adversely affects your brain . . . But what about alcohol and heart health? Isn’t alcohol good for your heart? . . .
I know you can find studies showing that “moderate” alcohol use—up to one drink a day for women and two for men—improves heart health. Yet, the latest research suggests this level of alcohol consumption is linked with an increased risk of accidents, falls, several types of cancer, and numerous cardiovascular problems.
Risk rises with each additional weekly 114 g serving, pooled data analysis shows
Fried-food intake is linked to a heightened risk of major heart disease and stroke . . .
[The researchers’] analysis showed that compared with the lowest category of weekly fried food consumption, the highest was associated with a 28% heightened risk of major cardiovascular events; a 22% heightened risk of coronary heart disease; and a 37% heightened risk of heart failure.
Many of us spend a good amount of time thinking about our physical fitness.
But what about our mental fitness?
Sometimes in our quest for a healthy, vibrant body, we can forget that our minds are a critical piece of the puzzle of our health. Our brain is an incredibly complex organ and is responsible for movements, mood, and thoughts.
So, if we hit the gym to work out our quads and biceps, why can’t we also work out our brains as well? Well, we can — and we should! Here are five ways . . .
The brain’s primary fuel is glucose. And one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive failure of the brains ability to use this source of fuel, basically a situation in which brain cells are not able to utilize glucose for energy.
Recently, technology has evolved to allow researchers the ability to visualize, using PET scans, how the brain is able to utilize another fuel, ketone bodies. Ketones . . .
Researchers have linked low-level toxin exposure to many diseases including cancer, cardiovascular, and kidney disease. [There is a] . . . growing body of medical literature that demonstrates that certain toxins . . .
Losing your train of thought mid-sentence? Forgetting why you entered the room? Blanking out on the name of the show you watched last night on Netflix? You may think it’s just the normal aging process, but it could have something to do with the foods you eat. Your brain uses 20% to 30% of the calories you consume, making it is the most energy-hungry organ in your body. Everything you put on the end of your fork matters in terms of your cognitive function. And if you eat a fast-food diet, you’ll have a fast-food memory.
Exercise may not enable significant weight loss but it will otherwise profoundly benefit health according to countless studies. Hitting the gym will help to thwart and reverse diabetes, hypertension, dementia, and impaired lung capacity. Individuals losing bone density, characteristic of osteoporosis, can utilize physical activity to obviate this condition as well. Pounding the pavement also quells the systemic inflammation that facilitates chronic illness generally. And the list continues.
A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that consistent exercise may drastically lower the risk of COVID-19-associated hospitalization, intensive care unit admission, and death.
The first large study showing that leisure time physical activity and occupational physical activity have opposite, and independent, associations with cardiovascular disease risk and longevity is published . . . in European Heart Journal, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
“We adjusted for multiple factors in our analysis, indicating that the relationships were not explained by lifestyle, health conditions or socioeconomic status,” said study author . . .
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), also called hepatic steatosis or liver steatosis, is the most prevalent liver disorder globally and involves fat accumulating in the liver. NAFLD can ultimately lead to liver failure. Researchers at the University of Tsukuba discovered that moderate to vigorous intensity exercise alone, absent weight loss, helps prevent and reverse NAFLD.
Is plant protein comparable to animal protein? Protein quality, explains Dr. Mark Smith, PhD, is determined by the source's amino acid profile and digestibility. Regarding the former, there are nine essential amino acids and plant protein generally lacks one or more whereas animal protein does not; still, it is possible to obtain these amino acids from plants with calculated food combining. Examining the latter demonstrates that certain plant foods do rival the protein bioavailability of animal products.
Chances are, inspecting any bottled, bagged, or otherwise packaged food will reveal a longer than expected ingredient list that includes foreign substances, known as food additives, that the typical consumer does not recognize. Three of the most common, yet underdiscussed additives are xanthan gum, guar gum, and sodium benzoate. Find out what these substances really are, discover their uses in the pharmaceutical and food manufacturing industries, and most importantly, determine whether they elicit negative health effects.
Arugula, spicy and fragrant, delights the taste buds while bolstering health. This salubrious cruciferous vegetable possesses anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective properties. Plus, its laudatory nutritional profile boasts rich mineral content, including calcium, potassium, and other minerals, and high levels of vitamins C and A.
From children’s lunchboxes to trendy breakfast cafes, yogurt is a staple. In fact, individuals in the United States consume, on average, fourteen pounds of dairy yogurt each year. Still, with emerging research raising questions regarding dairy’s health implications, is yogurt really the health panacea it has been characterized to be?
In a comprehensive study involving more than 87,000 COVID-19 patients, scientists at the University of Washington in St. Louis concluded that COVID survivors had a 60% increased risk of death during the six months following the initial infection compared to those in the general population. Moreover, long-term COVID-related health issues affected every organ system, including the respiratory, nervous, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal systems as well as the skin, metabolism, and more.
Do you know what’s been called “the most successful pathogen in human history?” It’s a type of bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and it’s been around for at least two hundred thousand years.
According to the CDC, about 66 percent of the world’s human population is infected with Helicobacter pylori. . . . But, having this bacteria living in your body can make your risk of developing gastric cancer up to six times higher. Plus, H. pylori bacteria is often at the root of other major digestive problems . . .
Dietary changes can help bolster your natural immunity against viruses.
No diet can reduce your risk of catching COVID-19. . . . [I]t is largely the health of your immune system that ultimately determines your fate.
Yet even with a grand total of zero dietary studies available thus far, it would be a mistake to conclude that diet doesn’t matter in a pandemic. . . . [This is] because the majority of people who suffer serious consequences from COVID infections have something in common: poor metabolic health.
Study explores toilet flushing and disease transmission, including that of COVID-19, via aerosolized droplets
Flushing a toilet disperses microbe-containing aerosols that can spread diseases such as Ebola and COVID-19. Scientists from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science examined the droplets generated by flushing toilets and urinals in a public bathroom, given its customary high foot traffic and poor ventilation. The research indicates a potential high risk of disease transmission.
Findings from Duke scientists investigating childhood air pollution exposure and mental illness upon entering adulthood show a greater incidence of mental disorders among children exposed to higher traffic-related air pollutants. This environmental threat compares in severity to that of childhood lead exposure. According to researchers, one explanation for this phenomenon is that air pollution, a neurotoxicant, provokes brain inflammation that makes it challenging to regulate thoughts and emotions.
For people who live near industrial animal feedlots, the stench, flies and day-and-night rumbling of trucks are more than a nuisance that impairs the use and enjoyment of their own property. Concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs – whether swine, cattle or poultry – also pose serious health threats. . . .
[A 2018 study] found that . . . North Carolina communities located near hog CAFOs had higher total and infant deaths, deaths due to anemia, kidney disease, tuberculosis, septicemia . . .
Neurology reports that living in a more affluent community with residents who have achieved higher educational levels and occupational status results in less disability and depression and a higher quality of life following a stroke.
Plastics are ubiquitous. They fill the air and consequently the body, from that of a human to the that of a tiny insect. Insoluble plastic particles contaminate the oceans and the roads, enabling them to enter and permeate the atmosphere, and even the soil via fertilizers. This study exploring environmental microplastics, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, acts to create greater awareness so as to discover avenues to reverse or halt the threat that plastics pose.
Therapists More Likely to Call Back ‘Allison’ than ‘Lakisha’ with Messages Promoting Mental Health Services
If you leave a message with a therapist seeking mental health services you have a better chance of getting a callback that promotes care if you have a white-sounding name than a black one, according to one of the first racial audit field studies set in the context of the mental health profession.
Research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign demonstrates that a greater number of green spaces in a community lowers racial disparities in COVID-19 infection rates between Blacks and Caucasians. Even after controlling for income, chronic conditions, and urban density, study results persisted. Green spaces improve air quality while also encouraging physical activity and boosting mental health, all of which support the immune system. These and other factors may explain study findings.
The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published a study that demonstrated racial disparities at hospitals and their intensive care units (ICUs), an analysis that included data spanning a decade. Study results pinpointed a consistent decline in ICU deaths in non-minority hospitals with no similar trend in minority infirmaries and longer ICU and hospital stays at minority versus non-minority medical centers.
A University of Southern California study that was published in Cancer Medicine provides insights into racial disparities and pancreatic cancer risks. Among Latino, African American, Japanese, European, and Native Hawaiian Americans Hawaiians have the highest risk for pancreatic cancer, a 60% increased risk compared to Europeans. The research pinpoints various factors that could be fueling these differences.
A good night’s sleep, exercise, and raw fruits and vegetables is the winning strategy to boost mental health and well-being according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology. Sleep quality, more so than sleep quantity, and physical activity were specifically linked to lower depressive symptoms as well as enhanced well-being while a diet including abundant fresh produce correlated with improved well-being only.
Insufficient levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, gamma-amino butyric acid, can trigger anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Studies show that this calming chemical also influences gastrointestinal activity and helps to maintain robust BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels to stave off dementia. While the body produces GABA, depressed levels can occur. Foods and lifestyle factors, such as green tea and exercise, naturally boost this neurotransmitter’s production.
Studies indicate that positive emotions reduce inflammation in the body and consequently bolster the immune system. Research in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine demonstrated an association between positive mood and lower levels of C-reactive protein, a widely-used indicator of systemic inflammation. Moreover, research from the journal Emotion showed a strong correlation between low levels of interleukin-6, an important inflammatory marker, and feelings of awe.
Someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts. What can you do?
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with almost 45,000 victims every year. Approximately 123 Americans die from suicide each day . . .
Suicide is a serious and complicated issue. There isn’t a foolproof fix for suicidal thoughts, and it’s not always easy to see when someone is contemplating suicide.
Allergies indicate problems with the body’s detoxification, respiratory, and immune systems. Certain essential oils support these systems and help to alleviate congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, and other allergy symptoms. Peppermint oil is one of these, as it soothes bronchial and nasal passages and quells inflammation. Similarly, thyme reduces inflammation in the sinuses and lungs. Tea tree, frankincense, eucalyptus, and lemon oils exhibit additional allergy-fighting properties.
As many as 20% of women experience postpartum depression. Miscarriages, excessive stress and insufficient sleep post birth as well as other factors can trigger this condition. Dr. Angela Potter, ND, examines pregnancy and postpartum depression, discussing nutrition, fitness, yoni steaming, pelvic health, and additional topics that influence mom’s health.
Americans, and children particularly, consume abundant added sugar. Scientists from the Universities of Georgia and Southern California examined dietary sugar consumption and cognitive functioning. They discovered that a high-sugar diet during one’s formative years impairs learning and memory as an adult via changes in the gut microbiome.
Erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to get or maintain an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse, can affect men of all ages. Common causes include hypertension, kidney disease and prostate cancer as well as stress, depression, and anxiety. The Journal of Urology reports that low vitamin D is associated with ED; consequently, sunshine, the best source of vitamin D, can address this condition. Studies indicate that sun exposure, for example, enhances sleep and reduces inflammation. Such health improvements help to ameliorate ED.
From obesity and brain fog to Alzheimer’s disease, fasting helps combat numerous conditions but can be challenging for many. In his book, The 17 Hour Fast, Dr. Frank Merritt, MD, empowers readers with a practical and sustainable approach to fasting that anyone can implement. Merritt champions fasting as a long-term strategy to help all experience robust health.
Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations worldwide are allowing employees to permanently work from home, even if only for a couple times per week. This facilitates well-being by enabling a greater work-life balance for many, though an improperly designed home workstation can create health issues, such as headaches, eye strain, back and neck pain, and even brain fog. The right equipment and physical setup can help to maximize working from home’s benefits.
Psychological research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition
Research indicates that taking time to enjoy nature is largely a panacea. From reducing stress and psychiatric disorders to enhancing empathy and cooperation to boosting working memory to providing a sense of purpose, experiencing green and blue spaces facilitates mental and physical wellbeing. A study in Environment and Behavior demonstrates that even simply looking at images featuring natural settings provides healthful benefits.
The sun emits natural blue light and that type of exposure promotes health and wellness. Modern technology, however, bombards people with excessive artificial blue light from computer screens, smart phones, and other gadgets. This blue light can negatively impact sleep, depressing melatonin production that is necessary for restorative sleep and promoting insomnia. Some evidence exists indicating that wearing blue-light blocking glasses does support a good night’s rest.
Rebooting the gut can be simple. The path begins with a wholesome diet void of processed foods, seed and vegetable oils, and other harmful fare. Consuming fermented foods and gut-restorative nutrients like L-glutamine further support this restorative process.
New research emerges every day revealing the connections between the gut and overall health.
Gut health is influenced by two related variables: the intestinal barrier and the gut microbiota. Disturbances in either one of these factors can induce gut inflammation, inciting a chain reaction of damage that begins locally and may spread systemically throughout the body.
The intestinal barrier is a multilayer system made up of intestinal epithelial cells, proteins, protective mucus . . .
Dr. Taz, MD, discusses candida, a yeast that resides in the gut. When under control, candida is innocuous; however, when there is an overgrowth of this fungus caused by stress, adulterated foods, and other lifestyle factors, candida can trigger numerous maladies such as thyroid disorders, brain fog, skin and gut issues, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and other health problems. Taking the simple steps that Dr. Taz outlines can help to facilitate candida elimination permanently.
In this video, Dr. David Perlmutter discusses a study conducted by Stanford researchers that explores osmotic laxatives such as MiraLAX, which according to the company itself is the “#1 doctor recommended” laxative to help alleviate constipation. Such interventions provide quick relief but at what cost? According to the research, osmotic laxatives can cause long-term negative changes in the gut. Dr. Perlmutter explains.
Higher body mass index (BMI), characteristic of overweight and obese individuals, relative to a low-normal BMI during teenage years and young adulthood drastically raises the risk of experiencing a stroke before age 50. The research, published in the journal Stroke, indicated that even individuals with BMIs in the high-normal range exhibited an increased likelihood of stroke compared to their low-normal BMI counterparts. Type 2 diabetes prevalence did not explain the elevated risks observed.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Excess weight raises the risk of numerous chronic health conditions, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and many other maladies. Weight loss requires achieving an energy deficit, which a paleo diet affords, and research shows that it facilitates healthy weight loss. Rich in high-fibrous foods that provide maximum nourishment and are satiating, paleo is an effective means to lower calories without feeling deprived and shed unwanted pounds.
A high carbohydrate diet spikes insulin and blood glucose levels, facilitating fat storage. Consequently, to stay lean, eliminating processed dietary carbohydrates is prudent. This can create a void for many. Some try to substitute breads, candy, and cereals with protein but this too poses a problem, as excessive protein is converted to glucose and therefore its overconsumption will cause weight gain. However, eating fiber-rich plant foods and wholesome fats is satisfying and beneficial, keeping one svelte and nicely supplanting processed carbs.
Physical activity does not undo the negative effects of excess body weight on heart health. That’s the finding of a large study published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
“One cannot be ‘fat but healthy’,” said study author Dr. Alejandro Lucia of the European University, Madrid, Spain.
Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, is largely caused by Grave’s Disease, an autoimmune condition that provokes thyroid growth and hormone secretion. This condition can cause sexual dysfunction, anxiety, increased blood pressure as well as other ills. Research suggests that gut dysbiosis, gluten sensitivity, chronic infections, and other lifestyle factors and conditions fuel hyperthyroidism. A paleo diet, thyroid-supporting nutrients like selenium, vitamin D, and other natural therapies can treat this issue.
University of Minnesota Medical School’s Dr. Melissa Simone explains that “eating disorders have one of the highest mortality rates across all psychiatric health concerns,” and COVID-19-related stressors and financial challenges have fueled unhealthy eating patterns that could ultimately jeopardize lives. Individuals from diverse ethnic and lower socioeconomic backgrounds are particularly vulnerable.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that control metabolism as well as influence other essential systems in the human body, such as the cardiovascular system, the immune system, and calcium homeostasis.
Those with autoimmune thyroid disorders and those with low thyroid function . . . are often advised to avoid consumption of cruciferous vegetables, spinach, radishes, peaches and strawberries due to their goitrogenic properties. Because the consumption of cruciferous vegetables correlates with diverse health benefits . . .
You are likely familiar with the serious consequences of anorexia for those who experience it, but you might not be aware that the disorder may not be purely psychological. A recent review from researchers at the University of Oxford in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychiatry examines the evidence that gut microbes could play a significant role in anorexia by affecting appetite, weight, and psychiatric issues . . . [T]he study also examines the potential for microbial treatments for anorexia . . .