Thursday, October 17, 2013

Should You Exercise part 1

What if we were to tell you that we could write a prescription that would make you feel better, curb your appetite, help you lose weight, reduce stress and anxiety, help you sleep better, improve your self-image, increase your confidence, increase your sex drive, decrese your risk of having a heart attack or developing cancer, and slow down every aspect of the aging process?

You might say too good to be true. We understnd this kind of skepticism because we hear it all the time. The truth is that such a magic prescription does exist. This prescription will do more for you than any fad diet, herbal remedy, or any other single health aid to improve your overall sense of wellness. This magic prescription is exercise.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Is There A Cure For The Common Cold? Part III

In the two previous blogs we discussed the lack of substantiating data for taking Airborne or Echinacea as a proven treatment for the common cold. Now one of us would like to discuss the value of vitamin C. This gained popularity in the 1970s based upon the claims of Linus Pauling. Since then numerous studies have failed to confirm any benefit in reducing the severity or duration of cold symptoms. So where does that leave us. Based upon the two previous blogs you would probably conclude that I would not recommend taking vitamin C to alleviate cold symptoms. Not so.

When I was a first year resident at the University of California San Francisco I was having a horrible year adjusting to the damp climate of San Francisco after spending three years in the Air Force in San Antonio. I was having one respiratory infection after another and was besides myself. At that time in the 1960s one of the professors had a nobel laureate for a patient. His name was Linus Pauling.  I had the opportunity to talk to him.  He was a delightful gentleman. He told me that he took vitamin C regularly and if he was feeling like he was coming down with a cold he increased the amount that he took.

I decided there and then that if it was good enough for a nobel laureate it was certainly good enough for me. I began taking vitamin C a gram or two a day depending on how I felt. I had no more respiratory infections that year. Since then I infrquently have a cold.

Where does that leave us? My positive experience with vitamin C was not based on a carefully designed study. The results of a single person can not be expected to be transferable to others so I will let each of you decide for yourself whether or not you should supplement with vitamin C.

I would appreciate your comments on this subject.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Is There A Cure For The Common Cold? Part II

In the previous blog we discussed the evidence for and against using Airborne. Our decision was for you to save your money. The reason is that their is no sound evidence that Airborne is effective in fighting a cold or in boosting your immunity. The problem in sorting out the facts from the fiction is that it is easy to make a claim but extremely difficult and expensive to prove it .

What about Echinacea. There is some lab research that suggests that this herbal compound can stimulate the immune system and have antiviral effects. Human studies have had inconsistent results. In fact two large studies in 2010 and 3022 found that echinacea was no better than a placebo at preventing or reducing the severity of a cold. The placebo effect can never be overlooked in medicine. A significant % of subjects will respond to a placebo if they believe that it has medicinal benefits.

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