Whole Life Magazine

June/July 2013

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/133640

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 43

whole living YOUR Rock Body By Elizabeth Barker MUSHROOM MAGIC W hen it comes to boosting levels of vitamin D—a nutrient found to fight diseases ranging from diabetes to depression— munching on mushrooms might be just as helpful as popping a supplement. In a new study from Boston University School of Medicine, a group of healthy adults given either vitamin-D-rich mushroom powder or vitamin D capsules for three months during the winter had a similar increase in their levels of the sunshine vitamin. Just as sun exposure revs up vitamin D synthesis in your own skin, explains study author Michael F. Holick, soaking up ultraviolet light prompts mushrooms to produce significant amounts of vitamin D. Although many mushrooms are grown sans sunlight, during the spring and summer months you can bump up the vitamin D content of storebought fungi by letting them sit in the sun for about 60 minutes between 10 am and 3 pm. RED MEAT: ARTERY CLOGGER M ore motivation to cut back on beef: A study published in Nature Medicine earlier this year shows that a red-meat compound called carnitine can speed up clogging of the arteries and raise your risk of heart disease. For the study, researchers tested nearly 2,600 people for their levels of carnitine and trimethylamineN-oxide (or TMAO, an artery-hardening substance created when your body metabolizes carnitine). Results revealed that those with high levels of both carnitine and TMAO had increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and death from cardiac events. What's more, researchers discovered that consuming carnitine appears to accelerate the growth of bacteria that assist the body in churning out TMAO. Found not only in red meat, carnitine is often included in energy drinks and dietary supplements. But while proponents claim that upping your carnitine intake can help build stamina and boost endurance, lead study author Stanley Hazen warns against loading up on it. "Carnitine is not an essential nutrient," Hazen notes. "Our body naturally produces all we need." E A S E B A C K PA I N WITH OSTEOPATHY T o ease back pain without turning to meds, give osteopathic medicine a try. In a recent University of North Texas study of about 450 adults with chronic low back pain, those assigned to three months of treatment with osteopathic medicine experienced greater pain relief and used less prescription medicine than study members who underwent ultrasound therapy. An alterna- tive treatment that aims to stimulate the body's selfhealing abilities, osteopathic medicine involves using handson manipulation (such as stretching and applying gentle pressure) to enhance function in the musculoskeletal system. To find a practitioner near you, go to www.osteopathic.org, or consult WLT's Professional Services Directory. FASTING FOR HEALTH A n increasingly trendy approach to weight loss, the dietary regimen known as "intermittent fasting" may help fend off major health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. That's the finding of a new report from the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease, for which scientists sized up the available research on intermittent fasting and its health effects. Popularized by such plans as the 5:2 diet (in which dieters eat normally five days a week and fast for the remaining two days), intermittent fasting is often touted as an alternative to conventional diets based on calorie-counting and portion control. In their review of animal-based studies and several small clinical trials, the authors of the recent report found that intermittent fasting may help improve blood pressure, lower heart rate, curb cholesterol, and shield heart health by raising levels of adiponectin (a protein involved in regulating fat metabolism). One of the most extensively studied types of intermittent fasting is a plan known as alternate-day fasting, an every-other-day regimen that involves continually switching from fasting to regular eating. In a research review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, scientists determined that alternate-day fasting may help keep blood sugar in check, strengthen defense against heart disease and possibly protect against cancer. While intermittent fasting holds promise for shoring up health, some medical experts caution that the approach may pose harm to certain populations, including diabetes patients, those taking blood-pressure-lowering medications, pregnant women and anyone with a history of an eating disorder. june / july 2013 FINAL REDESIGN WLT-5-27-11pm.indd 13 13 5/28/13 11:11 AM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Whole Life Magazine - June/July 2013