Whole Life Magazine

June/July 2019

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/1124077

Contents of this Issue


Page 10 of 31

June/July 2019 11 healthy living By Laura G. Owens Rock Body YOUR Y ou'd be hard pressed to find a supplement that's gotten more attention than vitamin D. Low levels of the sunshine vitamin have been linked to higher risk for virtually every disease: cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, depression, cognitive impairment, bone health, autoimmune conditions, heart attacks, and more. But in November, in one of the largest and most rigorous trials ever conducted on D, researchers concluded that supplementation had no impact on cancer, heart disease, or stroke. Why? It turns out how you get your D, that is directly from the sun vs. supplementation, is likely the difference. Dermatologist Richard Weller found that our skin uses sun to create nitric oxide which lowers blood pressure. Earlier studies found that mortality rates are higher the farther people live from the sunny equator. But the dermatology community has long warned of the sun's dangerous rays, notably for deadly melanoma. The more we slather on sunscreen, the more we lower our risk for skin cancer, yet lose the sun's disease- prevention benefits. So what do we do? Depending on your skin tone (fair vs. darker) consider taking a calculated risk. The vast majority of skin cancers aren't deadly. Lethal melanoma is relatively rare and strangely enough, tanned people have lower rates. Melanoma risk may correlate to intermittent sunshine and sunburn, especially while we're young. The most common by far are basal-cell carcinomas and squamous-cell carcinomas, which are rarely fatal. In fact, says Weller, "When I diagnose a basal-cell skin cancer in a patient, the first thing I say is congratulations, because you're walking out of my office with a longer life expectancy than when you walked in." L ogic dictates if you're a pot smoker and you get the munchies, you're more likely to pack on the pounds than people who don't smoke pot. Nope. A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found the opposite. "It could be something that's more behavioral like someone becoming more conscious of their food intake as they worry about the munchies after cannabis use and gaining weight," said study lead author Omayma Alshaarawy. "Or it could be the cannabis use itself, which can modify how certain cells, or receptors, respond in the body and can ultimately affect weight gain. More research needs to be done." Alshaarawy cautions that marijuana should not be considered a diet aid. "There's too many health concerns around cannabis that far outweigh the potential positive, yet modest, effects it has on weight gain," she said. "People shouldn't consider it as a way to maintain or even lose weight." POT USERS NOT MORE LIKELY TO BE OVERWEIGHT SUN, NOT D SUPPLEMENTS, LOWERS DISEASE RISK SMILING IMPROVES MOOD I t's sort of annoying when someone, especially a stranger, tells you to "Smile!" But the fact is, smiling does improve mood, even if only a little. Smiling is a free, convenient, mild mood booster. Research has been inconclusive but a 2019 meta-analysis that combined 138 studies and 11,000 participants found a small positive effect. "We don't think that people can smile their way to happiness,"said Nicholas Coles, a UT Ph.D. student in social psychology and lead researcher on the paper. "But these findings are exciting because they provide a clue about how the mind and the body interact to shape our conscious experience of emotion. We still have a lot to learn about these facial feedback effects, but this meta-analysis put us a little closer to understanding how emotions work."

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Whole Life Magazine - June/July 2019