Q: I’ve all the time heard that reasonable ingesting is sweet for the center, however I lately learn that it won’t be so. True or false?
A: The notion that reasonable ingesting is sweet for the center is, at this level, a cultural meme. I definitely grew up believing it, it was taught in vitamin college and it’s nonetheless broadly taught at the moment. A big physique of analysis has proven again and again that individuals who drink reasonably have decrease danger of coronary heart illness, and that led to the broadly accepted conclusion that reasonable ingesting is definitely heart-protective.
Now it seems we could have been mistaken. A brand new examine assessment that examined 45 earlier research on the connection between alcohol and coronary heart illness concludes that there’s scant proof of the heart-protective powers of alcohol.
I’ve all the time questioned about that myself. In spite of everything, for those who’re evaluating reasonable drinkers to heavy drinkers, it’s no contest – the moderates are going to have much less coronary heart illness. However – as the brand new analysis reveals – it’s a giant bounce to go from that reality to the presumption that reasonable ingesting is sweet. It’s doable it’s simply much less unhealthy. One other complication of evaluating reasonable drinkers to nondrinkers is that a lot of nondrinkers are nondrinkers as a result of they have been alcoholics or on heavy meds that work together with alcohol.
Since these elements are not often accounted for within the alcohol analysis, the nondrinkers could not essentially be presumed to be “more healthy” than the moderates. The reasonable drinkers could drink reasonably as a result of they’re inherently more healthy – not essentially the opposite manner round.
Solely time will inform. There may be now an enormous $100 million US Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH) scientific trial underway to find out if a drink a day can actually stop coronary heart assaults. There’s some concern not solely that the analysis is being paid for by the alcohol business, but additionally that the alcohol business was behind publicizing the notion that alcohol is sweet for you within the first place.
Proper now, we simply don’t know. As somebody who hasn’t had a drink since 1982, I can solely let you know my private opinion: I don’t assume I’m lacking any well being advantages by abstaining.
Q: My husband typically takes over-the-counter heartburn medication like Prevacid, however now I’m listening to that they’re not secure. Is that this true?
A: Over-the-counter medication marketed for heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux illness (GERD) embody proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid. PPIs are probably the most broadly prescribed class of medicines within the US and account for over $10 billion a yr in annual health-care prices. However they’re very removed from innocuous.
Warnings about associations between PPI use and heart problems began surfacing a couple of years in the past. In 2015, a headline on the mainstream medical web site WebMD warned, “Standard Heartburn Meds Tied to Coronary heart Illness Danger.” That was due to a examine funded by NIH that checked out 300,000 adults with GERD. The examine discovered that the danger of coronary heart assault was barely increased amongst these utilizing PPIs. Extra analysis adopted, linking PPIs to a 44% enhance in dementia and an elevated danger of kidney illness. And simply this yr, one other examine reiterated that PPI use might truly predict coronary heart assaults.
Right here’s my tackle this. GERD – or persistent acid reflux disease – shouldn’t be managed by counting on medication that scale back acid manufacturing. You want acid. With much less acidity, many microorganisms that might usually be destroyed (reminiscent of Salmonella or C. difficile) could make it into the intestine. What’s extra, PPIs have numerous unintended penalties, reminiscent of shutting off acid manufacturing in lysosomes, that are vital mobile constructions that clear waste merchandise. When uncovered to PPIs, lysosomes don’t produce sufficient acid to clear waste, which in flip causes cells within the intestine to age quickly. Deal with heartburn by altering the weight loss program. The occasional use of an acid-blocking drug in an emergency most likely isn’t going to kill you, however long-term use appears to me to be a probably poisonous Band-Assist resolution. Continual heartburn and acid reflux disease is just not regular, however it may be helped by far more mild and pure means than a drug. place to begin: The Acid Watcher Food regimen (Concord, 2017) by Jonathan Aviv, MD, FACS.
Q: What are “telomeres,” and why do they matter?
A: Telomeres are to chromosomes what plastic protecting ideas are to shoelaces. They’re actually little caps that sit on the information of the chromosomes, defending them from fraying. They usually matter as a result of telomere shortening is an indication of growing older. Telomeres shorten each time a cell divides. Once they get too brief, the cell can’t divide anymore and finally dies, which isn’t what you need in any respect! Telomere size has additionally been proven to be a fairly good predictor of most cancers in addition to of mortality.
There’s an enzyme known as “telomerase,” which truly helps stop telomere shrinkage. Drawback is, telomerase manufacturing begins to close down as you grow old. (Fascinating factoid: Lobsters produce telomerase without end, which is why they will dwell ridiculously lengthy lives – they die by getting eaten, by getting sick or of overexertion from exoskeleton shedding.)
Telomere size might be affected by myriad elements, together with stress, irritation, lack of sleep and smoking, all of which shorten telomeres, whereas analysis has indicated that train, multivitamin use and curcumin are all related to longer telomere size. Curcumin has additionally been proven to induce telomere shortening in most cancers cells (the one cells the place you need brief telomeres!). Take-home level: Even issues that appear genetically destined are fairly modifiable with life-style selections.