Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Medical Evidence that Demands a Verdict - Should You be taking Nutritional Supplements?‏

You will hear the argument that we need to supplement our diet because of the depleted nutrients in our food today. This is true; however, it is not the main reason to supplement your diet. The main reason is because of the tremendous number of free radicals we produce. Our stressful lifestyles, polluted environment, and over-medicated society causes this generation to handle more free radicals than any previous generation. Remember, it is about balance. You need enough antioxidants available to manage the number of free radicals you produce.

The medical literature now shows us that the optimal level of the antioxidants and their supporting nutrients needed to prevent or decrease the risk of chronic degenerative diseases is much greater than the amount we can obtain from our depleted food supply. Our best option to prevent or slow down this process of oxidative stress is to take high-quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements the rest of our lives.
Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

A Mini-Guide to Plastic Bottles

Plastics have become such a pervasive part of our daily lives that it can be difficult to do without them, even when we are concerned about their safety. But most of the plastic bottles and containers we use carry a recycling symbol that can be a help in deciding how to use them.

A Mini-Guide to Plastic Bottles

You’ve been hearing all kinds of bad news reports about toxic chemicals leaching from plastic bottles and containers. If you heat these bottles or re-use them, you might be increasing your exposure to hormone mimics or any of a number of other chemicals.But plastic is all around us, and not all of it is hazardous to your family’s health. How do you know which types of plastics are worse, and which are not as bad? One clue is the number inside the recycling symbol on the bottom of the bottles or containers. The numbers indicate which are accepted by recyclers, but they also indicate the class of plastic and its chemical characteristics:

No. 1 PETE or PET (polyethylene terephthalate)

No. 2 HDPE (high density polyethylene)

No. 3. V (vinyl) or PVC

No. 4. LDPE (low density polyethylene)

No. 5. PP (polypropylene)

No. 6. PS (polystyrene)

No. 7. Other or miscellanous

To sum up, if the bottle has the number 1, 2, 4, or 5 on the bottom, it’s made from one of the safer plastics. If the number says 3, 6, or 7, there is a greater likelihood that the bottle will be leaving a chemical residue in your beverage. Category No. 3, PVC or polyvinyl chloride, is the worst, followed by No. 7, which may contain polycarbonates (bisphenol-A).

Another rule of thumb is that the softer the plastic the more likely that leaching can occur. You can also use your nose. If you sniff a hint of plastic, find another container. Of course, your best bet is to avoid plastics for food and beverage altogether, and use glass, metal, or ceramic refillable containers whenever possible.


Calcium, vitamin D and cancer risk

In a study conducted in 2007, researchers found that women taking a combination of calcium and vitamin D supplements had a 60 percent lower incidence of all cancers than women not taking the tested supplement.

Research in the June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown a reduction in cancer rates among postmenopausal women taking vitamin D combined with calcium.

This four-year, double blind, randomized placebo-controlled study involved over 1,100 postmenopausal women who were divided into three treatment groups. The first group received a supplement containing calcium and vitamin D, the second group received just calcium, and the third group received a placebo. The researchers found that the women taking the calcium and vitamin D supplement had a 60 percent lower incidence of all cancers than women not taking the supplement.

This new study takes an important step in extending several decades of research involving the role of vitamin D in health and disease. The results further strengthen the case made by many specialists that vitamin D may be a powerful cancer preventive and that it is commonly found lacking in the general population, particularly the elderly.

Source: Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial, Lappe et al, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007 June;85(6):1586-91

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Where Do We Get Our Antioxidants?

Our body has the ability to make some of its own antioxidants. We are also able to get additional antioxidants from the foods we eat, especially from our fruits and vegetables. This is why you will usually see the recommendation of consuming 6 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. However, today we are now able to get optimal levels of antioxidants by supplementing a healthy diet. Remember it is all about balance. To avoid oxidative stress, you want enough antioxidants to handle the free radicals produced.

There is solid evidence that our food supply is depleted in nutrients. Because of our depleted soils, green harvesting, cold storage, processing, and food preparation methods, our foods have a significant decrease in nutritional value. This is certainly true of the micronutrients, especially the antioxidants. The decreased nutritional value of food is definitely a good reason to supplement your diet; however, our next email will explain what I believe is the main reason we need to supplement our diets.
Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Oxidative Stress—You Are Rusting Inside‏

When you produce more free radicals than you can manage, you create what is known as oxidative stress. Oxygen is essential for life itself; however, it is also inherently dangerous for our existence. The same process that causes a cut apple to turn brown or metal to rust also causes your body to rust inside. This process of oxidative stress is the underlying cause of the overwhelming majority of chronic degenerative diseases.

Oxidative stress is literally the dark-side of oxygen. However, we are not defenseless against this process. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralize a free radical. Balance is the key. You need to have enough antioxidants available to handle the number of free radicals produced. Then you are able to prevent oxidative stress from occurring.
Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Vitamin D reduces the risk of certain cancers

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health explains that vitamin D deficiency may account for several thousand premature deaths annually.

The researchers reviewed 63 studies (from 1966 to 2004) that examined the worldwide relationship between vitamin D and certain types of cancer. The majority of studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D status and lower risk of cancer, especially in cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, and ovary.

Vitamin D is acquired through either the diet or exposure to sunlight. Food sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified orange juice. A typical serving provides approximately 100 international units (IU). Researchers suggested that people might want to consider a vitamin supplement to raise their overall intake to 1,000 IUs per day. Supplementing with additional vitamin D could be especially important for people living in northern areas, where shorter days and longer nights result in less vitamin D from sunlight.

The evidence suggests that improving vitamin D status through diet and supplements could reduce cancer incidence and mortality with few or no adverse effects and very low cost.

Source: The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention, Garland et al, American Journal of Public Health. Feb 2006. 96(2):252-61.

Additional recently published studies show vitamin D exerts anti-cancer benefits for both men and women in regards to breast, prostate, and lung cancer:

Vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women: the Iowa Women's Health Study, Robien et al, Cancer Causes Control. Sep 2007. 18(7):775-82. Epub 2007 Jun 5.

Protective role of 1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 against oxidative stress in nonmalignant human prostate epithelial cells, Bao et al, International Journal of Cancer. Jun 2008. 122(12):2699-706

Vitamin D receptor expression in normal, premalignant, and malignant human lung tissue, Salgia et al, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. May 2008. 17(5):1104-10

Use Caution With Baby Rice

As if young mothers didn’t have enough to be concerned about. A new study has shown that baby rice can be contaminated by arsenic, a known carcinogen. A third of commercial brands tested higher for arsenic than is allowed in public drinking water supplies. More study is needed to determine the health threat, but there are precautions that mothers can take now.

Weaning Your Baby From Breast Milk or Formula to . . . Arsenic?

A leading environmental chemist has recently published a study indicating that baby rice—a precooked, dried, and milled rice product that is a staple for weaning infants—may contain unsafe levels of arsenic. Dr. Andrew Meharg found high levels of arsenic in more than a third of commercial rice milk brands available in the United Kingdom. A child eating three servings a day of the rice with the highest levels would consume up to six times the maximum safe level of inorganic arsenic in drinking water under EU regulations.

Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water causes cancer of the skin, lungs, bladder, and kidney. Increased risk of lung and bladder cancer has been observed at drinking-water concentrations of less than 0.05 mg/L. That’s why arsenic contamination of water supplies is closely regulated. Now some scientists and authorities are recommending arsenic testing for foods as well. Food products are not required to be tested for arsenic in the United States or the EU.

For now, not all authorities agree that these findings constitute a health hazard, but parents can take steps to ensure the safety of their young children until the issue is settled. Shopping for organically grown rice, which contains much less arsenic than rice grown by conventional methods, can help to reduce exposure. Oatmeal is another popular food for weaning infants. You can also vary your infant’s diet by alternating rice or oatmeal with purees of fruits and vegetables. Starting your baby on fruits and vegetables provides her with a wide variety of important natural nutrients early in life.


Arsenic in drinking water,, World Health Organization (Accessed 05/05/08)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Number of Free Radicals You Produce is NOT Steady‏

There are a certain number of free radicals produced when you simply metabolize your food. However, there are many things that increase the number of free radicals you produce:

Excessive Stress
Excessive Exercise
Pollutants in our air, food, and water
Cigarette smoke

Because of our stressful lifestyles, polluted environment, and over- medicated societies, this generation must contend with more free radicals than any previous generation. This leads to a problem known as oxidative stress.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Supplemental lutein and DHA may help prevent macular degeneration

Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) is a measure of retinal concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants acquired from the diet. Docosahexanoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in the retina of the eye. New research shows that supplementing with lutein and DHA may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by increasing MPOD.

In a study recently conducted at Tufts University in Boston, researchers randomly assigned 49 women (between 60 and 80 years old) to one of four groups: placebo, DHA (800 mg/d), lutein (12 mg/d), or a combination lutein + DHA supplement. The objective of this four month study was to determine the effects of lutein and DHA on the women's serum concentrations and macular pigment optical density (MPOD).

In all supplement groups, blood nutrient levels were higher at two and four months than at the beginning of the study. DHA supplementation resulted in central increases of macular pigment density, while lutein was associated with eccentric, or away from the center, increases.

Supplementing lutein and DHA may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by increasing MPOD, helping protect the macula from oxidative damage, and increasing lutein transport into the macula.

Source: The influence of supplemental lutein and docosahexaenoic acid on serum, lipoproteins, and macular pigmentation, Johnson et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 87, No. 5, 1521-1529, May 2008

The Enemy—Free Radicals

In the process of creating energy within the furnace or fireplace of a cell, occasionally a charged oxygen molecule is created called a free radical. A free radical is an oxygen molecule that has at least one unpaired electron in its outer orbit. This literally gives the molecule an electrical charge, which creates very rapid movement as it tries to find an electron from the tissue around it. If it is not readily neutralized by an antioxidant, it can go on to damage the cell wall, vessel wall, proteins, fats, and even the DNA nucleus of the cell.

The medical and scientific literature has shown us beyond a shadow of a doubt that the root cause of over 70 chronic degenerative diseases is the result of oxidative stress from excessive free radicals. These are diseases like heart disease, diabetes, strokes, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, and the list goes on and on. These diseases concern us, and we would certainly like to avoid them. You will learn in future emails why taking nutritional supplements gives you the best opportunity to prevent or delay these diseases.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Fluoride Could Affect Child’s Development

The tap water of 66 percent of the population of the United States and Australia, 40 percent of the population in Canada, and 10 percent of the population of the United Kingdom is treated with compounds of fluoride with the intended purpose of reducing tooth decay. Only 2 percent of the population in Mexico receives fluoridated water, but table salt in Mexico is treated with compounds of fluoride with the intended purpose of reducing tooth decay. However, intake of excessive amounts of fluoride can have negative effects on bone and teeth. According to recent studies of populations in China, exposure to high levels of fluoride may also alter brain development. Young children are the most vulnerable to the neurodevelopmental effects of excessive fluoride.

Fluoride in water associated with low IQ scores in children

The results from a 2007 study in China’s Shanxi province show that excess fluoride exposure can result in lower scores in intelligence tests. A total of 524 children were examined for intellectual functioning and growth. One group of children was exposed to naturally occurring high concentrations of fluoride in well water while a control group of children was from nearby villages with low concentrations of fluoride in well water. In the group drinking high fluoride well water there were lower overall IQ scores, a greater number of lower scores, and fewer high scores. The test result differences were enough to negatively affect a child’s ability to perform in school. This report corroborates the results of a 2003 study performed in Jiangsu province warning that drinking water with fluoride levels greater than 1.0 mg/L may adversely affect the development of children’s intelligence.

The levels of fluoride in well water in this study are likely well above concentrations in U.S. drinking water supplies. However, at this time the total intake of fluoride by the average child—from drinking water, soft drinks, bottled water, toothpaste, mouth rinses—is unknown. Additional studies are needed to measure overall fluoride exposure in children to prevent potential neurodevelopmental deficits, as well as fluorosis, an abnormal condition caused by excessive intake of fluorides, characterised in children by discolouration and pitting of the teeth and in adults by pathological bone changes.


Monday, May 12, 2008

It Only Creates Expensive Urine

I have been involved in a private family practice for over 30 years. For over 23 years, I did everything possible to keep my patients from taking nutritional supplements. After all, this is how I was trained at the University of Colorado Medical School. Even though I really did not receive much, if any, training in nutrition during my medical school years, I certainly remember my professors telling us that supplements only created expensive urine. They insisted that patients only needed to eat a healthy diet to receive nutrients necessary for optimal health.

During the past 12 years, I have researched the medical literature and the scientific studies to learn if there are really any health benefits for my patients who take high-quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements. This was certainly not something I heard from the pharmaceutical reps who were always invading my office. This is something I had to research on my own. I will be presenting the medical evidence that demands a verdict—should you be taking nutritional supplements? These "Health Nuggets" will allow you an easy, convenient way to learn how to become proactive in protecting your health or even possibly regaining your health.

Source: Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dr Ray Strand's Health Nuggets

Health Nuggets

Welcome to "Health Nuggets", which are periodic emails that have been written by Ray D. Strand, M. D. and sent from his "online" medical practice. Dr. Strand is a family physician who has been involved in a private family practice for over 30 years. For the past 12 years, he has focused his practice on nutritional and preventive medicine. He has written several best selling books like What Your Doctor Doesn't Know about Nutritional Medicine, Death by Prescription, and Healthy for Life. He has lectured across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore on preventive and nutritional medicine. He has also appeared on many radio and television shows.

His primary focus is to guide and educate those individuals who desire to become more proactive in protecting their health or regaining their health. His "online" medical practice is located at*** where he shares a wealth of information in regards to those healthy lifestyles that have been shown to truly protect your health or even allow you to regain your health if you have already lost it. Members of his "online" medical practice also have personal access to Dr. Strand via email and phone consults at a very reasonable fee. Members also have access to his specific nutritional recommendations for over 100 different diseases and his bi-monthly newsletter.

You will receive short and concise emails approximately twice each week. These "Health Nuggets" are intended to share the health benefits of taking high-quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements. You will also receive information about what constitutes a healthy diet and exercise program. When you combine a healthy diet, along with a modest, consistent exercise program and nutritional supplementation, you give yourself the absolute best chance of protecting your health. You will find that Dr. Strand's personal guidance through these short, concise emails will certainly be valuable in helping you protect your health.

There is so much information that is now available on the Internet today and it is hard to know what is true and what is not. Dr. Strand's mission is to be that health care provider that you can trust. He will share his clinical experience along with his extensive research of the medical literature as he presents the medical evidence that demands a verdict—Should you be taking Nutritional Supplements?


- all these health nuggets are sourced from Dr. Strand Health Nuggets (


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Keep Your Baby Safe from Toxins in Baby Bottles

We are constantly being exposed to numerous toxic compounds from air, water, and consumer products. Young children are especially vulnerable to toxins because they have immature organ systems, high metabolic rates and are going through rapid physical development. A recent study shows that infants in the U.S. may be exposed to toxic chemicals even from their baby bottles.

Toxic Bisphenol A Leaches from Popular Baby Bottles

Two recent reports have found that six major brands of popular baby bottles leach bisphenol A, a hormone-disrupting chemical used in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastic. Bisphenol A is used to make numerous plastic products soft and flexible and is also used in the linings of metal food cans. It is a developmental, neural, and reproductive toxicant that mimics estrogen and can interfere with healthy growth and body function.

The brands of baby bottles tested included products made by Evenflo, Gerber, Dr. Brown’s, and Playtex, and were purchased at major retailers such as Babies R Us, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. Laboratory testing showed that 5-8 ng/ml (parts per billion) of bisphenol A leached from all the bottles when heated to 80 degrees C (176 degrees F.). Scientific studies have shown that bisphenol A levels as low as parts per trillion may alter cell function. Heating bottles, pouring hot liquids into them, or using them to give babies acidic or basic beverages have all been shown to increase the rate of bisphenol A leaching from bottles. The use of bisphenol A in the manufacture of baby bottles should be phased out immediately.


Omega-3 fatty acids vs. statin drugs for reducing mortality risk

A recent meta-analysis (involving almost 100 clinical trials and more than 250,000 individuals) reviewed mortality risk reduction from both statin drugs and omega-3 fatty acids. The results were impressive: statins reduced overall mortality risk by 13%, while omega-3 fatty acids reduced it by a dramatic 23%.

A review published in the April 11, 2005 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine analyzed the effects of various lipid-lowering regimens on overall mortality and mortality from coronary heart disease. Researchers reviewed 97 clinical trials that included 137,140 men and women receiving treatment and 138,976 control subjects. This analysis compared the mortality risk associated with diet, lipid-lowering drugs, omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish oils), and niacin.

Statins (a class of lipid-lowering drugs) and omega-3 fatty acids significantly lowered both overall and coronary heart disease mortality risk during the trial periods. When compared to controls, overall mortality risk was reduced 13 percent by statin drugs and 23 percent by omega-3 fatty acids. When the risk of mortality from heart disease alone was examined, the use of statin drugs and omega-3 fatty acids were found to lower the risk by 22 and 32 percent, respectively.

Since omega-3 fatty acids did not reduce cholesterol levels significantly, researchers suggest that protection against heart arrhythmias, in addition to known anti-inflammatory properties, may be responsible for the reduction in mortality risk.

Source: Effect of different antilipidemic agents and diets on mortality: a systematic review, Studer et al, Arch Intern Med. 2005 Apr 11;165(7):725-30

Thursday, May 01, 2008

When "recent studies" contradict conventional wisdom

A recent study has generated negative headlines worldwide and caused consumers to question the efficacy and safety of antioxidant supplements. Many health professionals and nutrition experts have been highly critical of this study, and they have been quick to respond with refuting analyses and firm rebuttals.

Earlier this month, an updated meta-analysis was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews entitled Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. Almost immediately, scores of headlines and articles appeared stating that antioxidant vitamins were not only useless, but that they also shorten life span.

The Cochrane study is not new research. Rather, it is a slightly adjusted version of a meta-analysis published in 2007 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That JAMA study received very stern criticism at the time of its publishing for many of its methods and conclusions, and this newer version of the study hasn't been any better received.

But unfortunately, with the onslaught of sensationalist headlines and scare tactics it is often difficult for the average person to know what to believe, and even harder to know how to defend those beliefs. To make matters worse, health professionals and physicians are often just as susceptible to these scare tactics, and many seldom get past the headlines, making it even more difficult to discuss nutrition, diet, and preventive health in a reasonable manner.

What follows are links to analyses and rebuttals of the most recent Cochrane study. A greater understanding of this and similar studies should assist you in future discussions with your contacts and health professionals.

Council For Responsible Nutrition (CRN) comments and analysis.

Stephen Daniells, PhD, the science editor for and Dr. Daniells received a PhD in chemistry from Queen's University of Belfast.

Health First: Notes from Dr. Wentz

The first step in leading a healthy lifestyle is awareness of the latest health information, which can allow you to make informed decisions.

USANA Founder Dr. Myron Wentz shares his expertise on the latest research to help you put your health first.