Research Says: Drinking This Red Juice May Lower Blood Pressure

Research Says: Drinking This Red Juice May Lower Blood Pressure

Claremont Colonnic
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases were responsible for 15.2 million deaths around the world in 2016. Sadly, even if one does not die from a cardiovascular event, it places a tremendous burden on the body and can drastically reduce the quality and duration of life.
The good news is, there are several lifestyle changes that can be made to lessen the risk of a cardiovascular event, including using non-pharmacological methods to reduce blood pressure. A recent study points to a familiar vegetable juice as a possible dietary measure to keep blood pressure in check.

What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of the bloodstream against the inside walls of the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that transport blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The responsibility of the veins is to bring the blood back to the heart.

Out of control blood pressure damages your arteries. When arteries become weak, they are not as effective at moving blood around the body. Cholesterol plaque can also form in the scar tissue that is created by long-term hypertension.

High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular problems in general. It is certainly something you don’t want to leave untreated.

What causes elevated blood pressure?
Essential hypertension, also known as primary hypertension happens when high blood pressure develops over time without any apparent cause. Secondary hypertension can be traced to a specific secondary cause including:

  • Kidney problems
  • Thyroid disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • A heart condition
  • Rare metabolic disorders

In addition, your risk of high blood pressure may also increase with the following factors:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating too much sodium
  • Being older
  • Family history of hypertension

How to treat high blood pressure
There are a number of ways that you can help to lower your blood pressure by making some changes to your lifestyle including:

  • Dropping weight
  • Reducing sodium intake
  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting more sleep
  • Reducing alcohol consumption

Some medications can help to decrease blood pressure; however, they come with risks. The following drugs are commonly prescribed:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers ( ARBs)

What about statins?
It is possible that your doctor may prescribe stains for you to help control your blood pressure. These drugs are generally used to lower cholesterol by lowering the amount of cholesterol plaque that builds up in the arteries.

Statins inhibit the proper functioning of the body at a cellular level. By blocking LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, statins also block essential nutrients such as CoQ10, beta carotene, and vitamin E from reaching the mitochondria of the cells. CoQ10 is essential for a healthy heart, and cholesterol itself is key for brain function and hormonal balance, along with other system-wide processes.

The documentary Statin Nation: The Great Cholesterol Cover Up presents a great deal of research supporting the hypothesis that lower LDL cholesterol does not lower the risk of heart disease. In fact, it creates many additional problems.

Statin Nation references a study from Japan that found that individuals with the lowest cholesterol levels had three times the risk of dying of cancer than those with higher cholesterol. Another large-scale study from Hawaii found that those with low cholesterol levels had a higher risk of early death.

As you can imagine, there is much controversy around the use of statins and whether or not they do, in fact, help lower blood pressure. One thing is for certain, these drugs are not without risks.

Adverse Impact of satins
A paper published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs makes note of 900 studies indicating the adverse effects of statins. However, one issue with statins is that side-effects don’t appear immediately. A person may take a statin drug and experience the desired effect of lowered cholesterol and have the false impression that the drug is doing “all good.”

As side effects of the drug begin to appear, they are often not associated with the drug but rather diagnosed as new problems requiring treatment. This may result in additional drugs and therapy and even more side effects.

Some people who take statin drugs over a long period experience such things as:

  • Cognitive decline
  • Fatigue
  • Neuropathy
  • Anemia
  • Acidosis
  • Cataracts
  • Sexual Dysfunction

In addition, other serious and sometimes life-threatening side effects have been found and include:

  • Immune system suppression
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Muscle tissue degeneration
  • Pancreatic dysfunction

Could tomato juice be the answer?
As mentioned earlier, a new study published in Food Science and Nutrition, found that drinking unsalted tomato juice lowered blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol in Japanese adults at risk of cardiovascular disease. Study authors noted, “To the best of our knowledge, the current study is the first to investigate the effects of tomato or tomato product intake on cardiovascular disease risk markers over the course of a year and over a wide age range.”

The study included 184 males and 297 female participants who were provided with an unlimited supply of unsalted tomato juice throughout the course for a year. When the study was finished, the blood pressure in 94 participants with untreated prehypertension to hypertension dropped significantly. The systolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 141.2 to 137.0 mmHg, and the diastolic blood pressure lowered from an average of 83.3 to 80.9 mmHg.

What’s so great about tomatoes?
Tomatoes contain a number of potent bioactive compounds including carotenoids, vitamin A, calcium, and gamma-aminobutyric acid which all play a part in maintaining physical as well as psychological health, including the prevention of CVD.

Lycopene is a carotenoid in tomatoes that gives pink and red-colored fruits and veggies, including tomatoes their hue. Lycopene has been widely studied for its role in protecting against cancer, and has also been found to improve heart health.

Research from the University of Cambridge found that lycopene improves blood vessel function in patients with cardiovascular disease. Patients who took 7 mg of oral lycopene improved the widening of blood vessels by 53 percent. This improvement was comparable to other studies that found improvement with 20 mg of the drug simvastatin.

There have also been studies indicating that lycopene can have a positive impact on blood pressure. Previous reports have shown that drinking unsalted tomato juice for eight weeks improved elevated triglyceride levels in middle-aged Japanse women.

How much tomato juice should I drink?
Most of the participants in this new study consumed about 7 ounces of unsalted tomato juice per day over the course of one year. Be sure that you purchase organic, unsalted tomato juice with no additives. As always, enjoy a diet that is loaded with colorful fruits and veggies.

Contributor: The Alternative Daily

As More Young People Get Colon Cancer, it May Be Time for a Colonoscopy

As More Young People Get Colon Cancer, it May Be Time for a Colonoscopy

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
Colon cancer may seem like a distant concern for some, but with the growing trend of younger people being diagnosed, staying informed and proactive is crucial. March marks Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time to educate people about this prevalent and potentially lethal disease on the rise.
As a surgeon, I’m acutely aware of the impact cancer can have. I lost a dear friend — a doctor, father and husband, just like myself — to colon cancer in 2017. He was only 38. His memory is a constant reminder of the importance of awareness and early detection in the fight against colon cancer.

Just one year after I lost him, I started experiencing sharp abdominal pain and a change in my bowel habits. Never mind that I’m a urologist; I still freaked out and feared the worst. I consulted my doctor and underwent a CT scan, which thankfully showed no major cancers. Still, my doctor recommended that I have a colonoscopy.

I was in my 30s, so I didn’t meet the criteria for a screening colonoscopy, but he needed it for diagnostic purposes to complete my workup for abdominal symptoms. Technically the colonoscopy was optional, but with my friend’s memory always on my mind, I did not hesitate.

Most people should start screening with colonoscopies by age 45, experts recommend. A select group may need to start earlier than 45; beginning a conversation with your primary doctor can help with a road map on when to start and at what frequency.

The risks of colon cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 106,590 new cases of colon cancer in the United States this year, nearly evenly split between men and women. The rate of diagnosis for colon cancer has been dropping overall since the mid-1980s, mainly because people are getting screened and changing lifestyle-related risk factors. However, this downward trend is mostly seen in older adults. For individuals younger than 55, rates have been increasing by 1% to 2% a year since the mid-1990s.

Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 25 for women. However, each person’s risk might be higher or lower than this, depending on their risk factors for colorectal cancer. Not everyone needs an early colonoscopy, but everyone should be aware of the signs, symptoms and benefits of screening.

Understand your colon

The colon, or large intestine, plays a crucial role in our digestive system, acting essentially as the waste processing and recycling center of the body. After the stomach and small intestine break down food and absorb nutrients, the colon manages what’s left. Its main job is to remove water and salts from this material, transforming it from a liquid state into solid waste or feces, or as my kids like to call it, poop.

Beyond waste management, the colon also houses a complex microbiome, which plays a key role in overall digestive health, immune function and even mood regulation. The entire colon is about 5 feet (150 centimeters) long and divided into five major segments, with the rectum as the last anatomic segment before the anus. That’s why it’s called Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and not just colon cancer awareness. Cancer can occur in any of these segments, highlighting the importance of a comprehensive colonoscopy when indicated.

The great colonoscopy prep adventure

The preparation for a colonoscopy might be the most memorable part of the process. It’s less of a medical procedure and more of a rite of passage. The day before, you start on a bowel-cleaning cocktail meant to clear out the colon for optimal visualization during the colonoscopy.

The “prep” is not as bad as one might think. Dehydration and exhaustion can occur, and I remember being unable to sleep the night before, still feeling the need to “go.” It was quite the experience but essential for a successful colonoscopy.

The colonoscopy procedure

A colonoscope, a camera on a flexible tube, takes a tour through your colon, transmitting live images that allow the doctor to spot any abnormalities. It’s akin to sending a rover to explore the moon or Mars. If doctors find something suspicious, such as a polyp, they can biopsy and/or remove it on the spot, preventing potential future complications. This proactive approach isn’t just diagnostic; it’s a powerful form of prevention that can offer peace of mind and actionable insights into your health.

Fortunately for me, the colonoscopy revealed no signs of cancer, and my symptoms had already resolved by then. Although my procedure was primarily for diagnostic reasons, regular screenings are essential for many, serving as a key preventive measure.

What should you do next?

The US Preventive Services Task Force advises adults ages 45 to 75 to undergo regular colorectal cancer screenings, emphasizing the importance of early detection.

Those with an elevated risk, perhaps due to family history or other factors, should consult their health care provider to determine the best screening schedule and methods tailored to their specific needs.

Despite these recommendations, a significant portion of the eligible population hesitates to participate in screenings. Common deterrents include the discomfort associated with stool-based tests, the preparation required for procedures, and anxiety surrounding colonoscopy examinations.

This apprehension may contribute to only about 60% of those eligible for colorectal cancer screenings staying up to date on the recommended tests. If it weren’t for the memory of my friend, I would have likely been in the “I’ll skip all this” group.

In a promising development, a new blood-based screening test for colon cancer boasted an 83% effectiveness in detecting the disease, according to a study published March 13 in The New England Journal of Medicine. This test identifies DNA markers released by cancer cells in the blood, specific to colorectal cancer. While not a replacement for a colonoscopy, a positive result from this test indicates the need for further examination. The hope is, once approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, this blood test would increase screening for colorectal cancer.

If you have any abnormal symptoms anywhere in your body, get checked. The earlier you do so, the longer you will likely live thanks to getting proactive care.

Contributor: Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, CNN

L.A. County Has it’s First Measles Case Since 2020: What to do if You’re Exposed

L.A. County Has it’s First Measles Case Since 2020: What to do if You’re Exposed.

Claremont Colonic Newsletter
A recently arrived traveler at Los Angeles International Airport is the source of the first case of measles in L.A. County since 2020.
Measles is a highly infectious disease, and health experts say the best way to evade infection is immunization.

The Los Angeles resident was a passenger on a Turkish Airlines flight that arrived at 5 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, Gate 157. Anyone who was at Terminal B from 5 to 9 p.m. may have been exposed and could be at risk of developing measles.

L.A. public health officials are notifying Turkish Airlines passengers who sat close to this flier about possible measles exposure.

The measles virus can live in the air for up to two hours after an infected person has left the area, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which works with the L.A. Department of Public Health to investigate communicable disease exposure on international flights to the U.S.

Following the flight, the infected person made a stop at a Northridge Chick-fil-A.

Patrons who were at the restaurant at 18521 Devonshire St. between 8 and 10:30 p.m. may be at risk of developing measles, county health officials said.

Additional locations where possible exposures may have occurred are being investigated by the health department.

“Measles is spread by air and by direct contact,” said Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County health officer, in a news release. “Even before you know it, you have it, and [it] can lead to severe disease.”

Those who haven’t been immunized against measles, or are not sure whether they’ve had the vaccine, and were at these sites during the date and times listed above are at risk of developing measles. Symptoms appear from seven to 21 days after exposure to the virus. Those who have been free of symptoms for more than 21 days are no longer at risk.

The CDC reported a recent rise in domestic measles cases. Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 23, the agency was notified of 23 confirmed U.S. cases of measles, including seven direct importations of measles by international travelers and two outbreaks with more than five cases each.

If you think you were exposed

Public health officials recommend:

  • Review your immunization and medical records to determine whether you’re protected against measles. People who have not had measles infection or received the measles immunization previously may not be protected from the virus and should talk with a healthcare provider about receiving the measles, mumps and rubella immunization.
  • Contact and notify your healthcare provider as soon as possible about a potential exposure if you’re pregnant, if you have an unvaccinated infant who may have been exposed or if you have a weakened immune system.
  • Monitor yourself for illness: a fever and/or an unexplained rash from seven days to 21 days after exposure.
  • If symptoms develop, stay at home and avoid school, work and any large gatherings. Call a healthcare provider immediately. Do not enter a healthcare facility before calling and making the provider aware of your measles exposure and symptoms.

Last month, the CDC released an alert for healthcare providers for measles cases after there were 23 confirmed cases throughout the U.S.

The best way to prevent measles infection is by getting the MMR vaccine, which covers measles, mumps and rubella. Children need two vaccine doses, one when they are 12 to 15 months old and the second between the ages of 4 and 6. Teenagers and adults who have not yet been immunized need one dose.

How measles can spread

The virus is highly contagious and lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person, according to the CDC. It can spread through coughing and sneezing.

The CDC says the virus is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people who are not immune and are in close proximity to that person will also become infected.

Measles can also spread when other people breathe the contaminated air or touch an infected surface, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

The infection can be spread four days before symptoms begin or four days after signs of the virus.

Measles symptoms

The first symptoms of measles infection will appear in seven to 14 days of contracting the infection.

We know measles as a rash on the skin, but it can be dangerous especially for babies and young children. Measles typically begins with high fever (which could spike to more than 104 degrees), cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes.

Two to three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth.

In three to five days after having symptoms of measles infection, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face and at the hairline, then spreads downward to the back, trunk, arms, legs and feet.

Contributor: Karen Garcia – Los Angeles Times

Smell These 16 Things to Lose Weight

Smell These 16 Things to Lose Weight

Eat right and exercise — that’s the conventional weight loss wisdom. Unfortunately, this limited view discounts the power of many other mechanisms which we can harness to create the body and health that we want.
Forward-thinking research is revealing the ability of aroma and our sense of smell to help us shed unwanted pounds. We’re not saying you should swap your gym membership for an aromatherapy diffuser, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt to integrate this tool into your weight loss arsenal.

Smell triggers responses in the body

You might be wondering how aromas in the environment could possibly affect the size and shape of your body. The fact is the perception of scent causes reactions in various bodily systems. For example, researchers found that inhaling the body odor of an ovulating woman caused men’s bodies to excrete more testosterone, while the scent of women in a non-fertile part of their cycle didn’t elicit this response. It’s clear that smells have subtle yet complex and powerful effects on the function of the human body.

This is even true whether the smell is real or imagined. You can observe this phenomenon right now while reading this article. Think about a juicy lemon, holding the firm yellow fruit, then cutting into the lemon and some juice sprays out. Imagine picking up the lemon and inhaling that fresh, sour scent. Is your mouth starting to water?

You may not be aware of them, but there are other bodily processes that also kick in when you begin to salivate. The pancreas and liver start producing bile and enzymes, and the whole system gets ready to digest food and burn calories. Grasping this opens the doors to understanding how smelling certain foods could ignite bodily responses which, in turn, can result in weight gain or weight loss.

Your sense of smell could be making you fat

Science has shown that a sense of smell can contribute to weight gain, either directly or indirectly. A 2016 study demonstrated that smelling a sweet smell like vanilla increased study participants’ craving for junk food like chocolate and candy while inhaling a fresh scent (a citrus and mint blend) made them less likely to want to indulge in these foods.

While a sense of smell informs the body about the type of calories we are consuming and helps us enjoy our food, this can be a blessing and a curse. A 2017 study performed on mice found that the group of animals with their sense of smell removed stopped gaining weight, and experienced improvements in fat mass and insulin resistance.

On the contrary, a healthy sense of smell can be influenced in such a way as to reduce the desire to consume calories. That’s what a weight loss product called Sensa does. It consists of sprinkles which, when applied to a meal, are designed to enhance the smell and taste of the food and trigger the eater to feel full sooner. This concept is built on research that has identified a feedback loop whereby food smells and tastes different once we have eaten to satiety.

While removing or intentionally manipulating our sense of smell may be a bit drastic, we can perhaps influence these powerful bodily systems in a positive direction by using scents that naturally ignite the fat-burning response.

16 scents that can trigger weight loss

Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years in traditional wellness and medicine to create an atmosphere, aid relaxation and support healthy body functions, one of which is a balancing body composition. We can access these fat-busting aromas whether through whole foods or with extracts like essential oils.

1. Lemon

Scientists have found that the bright and energizing scent of lemon triggers lipolysis, which is the breaking down of body fats.

2. Peppermint

Research indicates that inhaling peppermint helps control appetite and cravings, which facilitates weight loss.

3. Grapefruit

This bitter citrus fruit is a well-known appetite suppressant that revs up metabolism and helps balance cholesterol.

4. Coffee

Just inhaling the aroma of ground coffee increases energy and focus and may ignite fat-burning processes.

5. Lavender

The classic scent of lavender, or other blossoms, like jasmine, fosters relaxation, which shuts down the production of the stress hormone cortisol and thus facilitates the shedding of extra body fat.

6. Cypress

Many woody scents such as cypress, spruce, frankincense, eucalyptus and sandalwood are known to be beneficial in traditional healing like Japanese Forest Bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Studies show that this practice is beneficial in lowering stress and inflammation, which can be underlying factors that cause the body to hold on to excess body weight. We can simulate the experience by simply inhaling these forest aromas.

7. Cucumber

This classic spa vegetable aids in relaxation and could help prevent stress-induced eating.

8. Green apple

Research has shown study subjects who sniffed green apples and bananas were able to curb weight gain.

9. Olive oil

A study found that the aroma of olive oil can trigger satiety reactions in the brain, so not only is eating this healthy oil beneficial but smelling it is too.

10. Clementine

Citrus aromas like clementine, wild orange or bergamot are powerful mood-boosters to stop emotional eating, and have also been shown to balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

11. Rosemary

Smelling this aromatic culinary herb could suppress the desire to eat. Sniff rosemary essential oil when you feel a craving coming on.

12. Cinnamon

This warming spice is known to balance blood sugar levels and prevent cravings, helping prevent weight gain.

13. Ginger

Research shows that ginger directly prevents the storage of body fat and the development of obesity.

14. Fennel

Animal research has shown that the inhalation of fennel aroma results in improved digestion and fewer calories consumed.

15. Juniper berry

This oil is rich in antioxidants and could optimize detoxification pathways, supporting the shedding of excess pounds.

16. Lemongrass

The fresh scent of lemongrass has been found to combat mental fatigue and lack of energy, and is traditionally used for detoxification which could support weight loss.

Now that you know which scents can trigger weight loss, it’s time to choose your favorites and set yourself up with an aromatic toolbox. Create a healthy habit of inhaling your favorite fat-fighting scent whenever you feel like reaching for a junky snack, or before a meal to prevent overeating.

Contributor: Liivi Hess – Alternative Daily