The top health news of 2010 begins and ends with vitamin D

High noon

This year, we saw a dramatic “high noon” face-off between the medical mainstream and the world of complementary and alternative medicine. It didn’t get a lot of media coverage, and that’s too bad, because it was nothing less than a showdown between the number one Big Kahuna of pharmaceuticals and the current Big Kahuna of CAM…

Statins vs. vitamin D.

A little background: Last year I told you about new research that revealed what we should have seen coming:
Many cases of statin-associated muscle pain are actually the result of statin-associated muscle damage.

Researchers at the Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati believe that low vitamin D levels might contribute to the damage.

The Cincinnati team gave high doses of vitamin D supplements to about 80 statin users who reported muscle pain. Another group received a placebo. The result: Muscle pain was COMPLETELY ERASED in more than 90 percent of subjects in the D group.

Score that a sold win for vitamin D.

Meanwhile, this study raises a crucial question: Does statin use deplete vitamin D levels? If so, the potential to rob the body of vitamin D may turn out to be the very worst of all the drawbacks of statin use.

And now, on to the rest of the…

Top health news of 2010

Don’t Overthink It

The serious health problems linked to statin use just keep on coming… Researchers analyzed 13 large statin trials to compare rates of type 2 diabetes among placebo subjects and statin users. Their conclusion: For every 255 patients treated with statins for four years, one additional case of diabetes would develop. Acceptable? Let’s do the math: About 20 million people take statins in the U.S. So one case of type 2 diabetes for every 255 patients comes to well over 78,000 people who will develop or already have developed diabetes as a statin side effect. Two words:
Completely unacceptable. But you don’t have to be the next victim…

Stealing sound

Common painkillers may significantly damage your hearing. In a new analysis of the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study, researchers found that men who took acetaminophen at least twice each week DOUBLED their risk of hearing loss. And compared to men who used painkillers infrequently, regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen increased hearing loss more than 60 percent.

Get unzapped

Electropollution is the invisible pollution, and it’s everywhere. Every day, we’re all getting thoroughly zapped with hazardous electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by the numerous electrical and wireless devices in our homes, offices, schoolrooms, cars, restaurants, stores – just
about everywhere. In a new book titled “Zapped,” HSI Panelist Ann Louise Gittleman reveals the most dangerous EMF sources and the steps you must take to minimize exposure.

Hard to swallow

Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel and other bisphosphonate osteoporosis drugs have been shown to increase bone fracture risk when used for several years. Irony aside, that’s bad enough. But new research from the British Medical Journal reports that extended bisphosphonate use
(about five years) nearly DOUBLED the risk of esophageal cancer. If bisphosphonate pills aren’t swallowed properly, the esophagus becomes inflamed, setting the stage for cancer. Find out the one way to make these dangerous drugs a little safer.

Brace yourself!

If your kids or grandkids have braces, you MUST check with the orthodontist immediately to find out what scanning method is used. If the answer is “cone-beam CT scan,” request an alternative screening method. A New York Times investigation reveals that cone-beam scanning emits a massive radiation dose – much more radiation than a conventional x-ray. And it’s a huge risk for kids, because children – especially adolescents – are much more vulnerable to the effects of radiation than adults.

Borrowing some time

We’ll finish up where we started – with another impressive vitamin D study. And this one, I admit, is close to the heart. For more than two decades my father suffered with chronic lymphocytic leukemia before his death last year. Like most CLL patients, he was told that this type of cancer grows slowly and chemotherapy is started only when symptoms begin. Just last month, a Mayo Clinic study showed that when a patient’s vitamin D levels are high, the interval between CLL diagnosis and the start of chemo is longer than in patients with low D levels. There’s no firm evidence yet that use of a D supplement can prolong that interval. But other research already suggests that cancer growth may be slowed by ample D intake from sunlight exposure, dietary sources, and supplements.

And that’s just the tip of D iceberg. We’re really learning that there is almost nothing this vitamin can’t do!

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