Health Benefits of Church

People who attend religious services a couple of times a week may live longer, a new study suggests. Harvard University researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a survey of 74,534 healthy, primarily Christian women. At the start of the study in 1992, participants were all asked how often they went to church; the researchers then tracked them for 20 years. By 2012, 13,537 of the women had died. After adjusting for other risk factors, it turned out that the ones who attended services more than once a week were 33 percent less likely to have died of any cause than those who never went at all. Overall, going to church at least once a week was associated with a lifespan increase of about five months. “There is evidence that it provides social support, discourages smoking, decreases depression, and promotes optimism or hope,” study author Tyler VanderWeele tells MedicalDaily.com. (Read More)

Meds Tied to Depression

As the U.S. suicide rate ticks up, a new study has found that more than a third of Americans are taking at least one prescription drug that could raise their risk of depression. Researchers analyzed medications taken by 26,000 adults from 2005 to 2014 and identified more than 200 widely used drugs that list depression or suicidal thoughts as possible side effects, including hormonal birth control pills, antacids like Prilosec and Zantac, beta-blockers, and the anti-anxiety pill Xanax. About 37 percent of people took at least one of the drugs, and researchers discovered that the more of these drugs participants used at the same time, the greater their likelihood of depression. Some 15 percent of people who used three or more of the drugs—but didn’t take an antidepressant—had depression, while only 7 percent of those taking one and 5 percent who weren’t taking any had the condition. Columbia University psychiatrist (Read More)

Sluggish? Tired? Foggy? Iodine May Hold The Key

Maybe it’s time to rejuvenate your thyroid – that master of metabolism. When your thyroid is functioning at less than optimum, you can bet that you will feel sluggish, tired and foggy. It is estimated that as high as twenty percent of all adults have hypothyroidism that has not been clinically diagnosed. And when the condition is diagnosed, the drugs used to combat it often yield little or no results. You see, the thyroid produces four different hormones and the drug addresses only one of these by replacing it. If you had four bad tires on your car, would you only replace one? Even worse, the “hormone replacement” drug actually depresses the thyroid from producing any hormones because it begins to feel as if “someone else” is doing its job, so why work?

Critical Vitamin C Absorption Facts

Did you know that vitamin C intravenous infusions range in price from $125 to $160 per treatment? Yes, you read that right. There is a reason that many people desire to maximize the absorption of vitamin C for general health or when battling a chronic disease. The sad truth is, even the best liquid or capsule form of vitamin C is only absorbed at 19-22%. Liposomal delivery allows you to have the best of both worlds – High absorption of vitamin C in the bloodstream without the expense of IV infusions.  Plus you can determine how often and how much vitamin c you take without needing to set an appointment (not to mention – a needle stick) every time you get an infusion. The liposome protects the vitamin C as it goes through the digestive tract so that it is intact as it enters the blood stream.  In addition, because (Read More)

Some of the Things They Said Were Good For Us… and Some of the Things We Were Told to Avoid

Some of the things they said were good for us… Nature Walks can make you healthier and happier by driving out obsessive, negative thoughts. A Stanford University study found that strolling in a natural setting decreases activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a brain region particularly active during rumination. “It was pretty striking that a 90-minute walk had this much of an impact,” says author Gregory Bratman. For people with a tendency to brood, interrupting an endless stream of negative thoughts reduces the risk for depression and other mental illnesses. Green spaces may also make kids smarter. A separate study of roughly 2,600 fourth-graders in Barcelona found that those with greater exposure to nature were more attentive and experienced a 5 percent increase in working memory. Awe-inspiring experiences can help you live longer. Gazing out over the Grand Canyon or beholding an artistic masterpiece can trigger positive emotions with immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory effects (Read More)

The Perils of a Wealth Shock

Suffering a major financial loss could lead to an early death, a new study suggests. Researchers at Northwestern University analyzed the financial history and health records of nearly 9,000 Americans between ages 51 and 61, from 1994 to 2014. During that period, about 25 percent of the subjects experienced a negative “wealth shock,” measured as a minimum 75 percent drop in their net worth over a two-year period. The median net-worth decrease was just over $100,000. The researchers found that the people who lost their nest egg were 50 percent more likely to die than their peers during the study period, and had the same risk of premature death as those who were poor or in debt. “This is something millions of people go through,” lead researcher Lindsay Pool tells Time.com. “It’s not really a rare event.” Pool and her team say a sudden reversal of fortune can lead to depression, (Read More)

Size Really Does Matter

Short men and overweight women are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to education, career opportunities, and earning potential, a new study shows. After examining the DNA of about 120,000 adults, researchers at Exeter University in England found that men who are genetically predisposed to be short generally have less schooling and lower wages than those with tall genes. For every additional 2½ inches in height resulting purely from genetics (rather than diet or economic status), a man’s annual income increases by nearly $2,300. A similar analysis of body mass index (BMI)—a measure of body fat based on height and weight—reveals that heavier women face even greater obstacles than short men. When a woman has a genetically predicted weight 28 pounds more than another woman of the same height, she is on average paid $4,300 a year less. “This is the strongest evidence by far that there is a (Read More)

Popular Medications Tied to Brain Damage

Your favorite cold medicine could be shrinking your brain. A new study reveals that drugs used to treat colds and a range of other common health issues, including allergies, heartburn, hypertension, insomnia, and depression, may erode gray matter and increase the risk for dementia and other cognitive problems in older adults. Over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as Tylenol PM, Benadryl, Claritin, Dimetapp, Paxil, Xanax, Zyrtec, Lasix, and Coumadin, belong to a class of drugs known as anticholinergics. They work by blocking acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits electrical impulses between nerve cells. Using PET and MRI scans, researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine examined the brain structure and metabolism of 451 people with an average age of 73. The study found those taking anticholinergic drugs had smaller brains and lower levels of glucose metabolism, particularly in the hippocampus—a brain region involved with memory that is vulnerable to earlystage Alzheimer’s disease. (Read More)

Enhancing Antidepressants

Antidepressants are only effective for about one-third of people who take them. But new research has found that combining these drugs with certain supplements, including fish oil, could boost their positive effects and offer new hope for people struggling with depression. Scientists analyzed the results of 40 clinical trials that investigated the effects of pairing certain nutritional supplements with several major classes of antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants. The naturally occurring compound SAM-e, vitamin D, and methylfolate all enhanced the efficacy of antidepressants, but omega-3 fish oils had the most dramatic effect, significantly reducing symptoms of depression, ScienceDaily.com reports. Researchers speculate that supplements help by easing inflammation associated with depression, or by targeting brain processes similar to those targeted by antidepressants. “This is an exciting finding,” says the study’s lead author, Jerome Sarris. “Here we have a safe, evidence-based approach that could be (Read More)

U.S. Suicide Rate Soaring

Suicide rates in the U.S. have hit a 30-year high, surging 24 percent in just 15 years, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Since 1999, the suicide rate increased about 1 percent each year before accelerating to 2 percent annually from 2006 to 2014. Suicides increased among men and women in virtually all age groups, The New York Times reports, with sociologists speculating that the economic troubles of the working class and increased “social isolation” due to family breakdown and divorce were playing a role. But the sharpest rise in suicide rates was among young girls. The federal report reveals that 150 girls between 10 and 14 years old committed suicide in 2014 alone— a 200 per cent surge in that age group since 1999. “I think it may be a reflection of access to social media, internet, and (Read More)