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Health & Medicine.

Hearty Advice

According to the American Heart Association, almost 45% of all female deaths in America are caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease kills more than 505,440 women in America every year--twice the number of deaths from all forms of cancer combined. The association has added a page to its women's Web site explaining how to reduce the risks. Visit their Web site at www.women.americanheart.org/self_care/fs_reduce_risk.html.

Sweet Stuff

According to the Sugar Association, sugar isn't bad for you. Surprisingly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) also have a few good things to say about sugar. In their opinion, it's OK for healthy people to consume sugar in moderation. In their Evaluation of the Health Aspects of Sugars Contained in Carbohydrate Sweeteners, the FDA affirms sugar does not cause diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypoglycemia, childhood hyperactivity or nutrient deficiencies. "Other than the contribution to dental caries, there is no conclusive evidence sugars is hazardous to the general public when consumed at current levels," says the FDA. The American Dietetic Association echoes that conclusion.

STEROID SAVVY

The Endocrine Society recently released the following statement on androstenedione (sometimes referred to as "Andro"), the steroid used by Mark McGwire when he established the single-season record of 71 home runs:

"Presently, it is not known whether Andro is safe or effective. For these reasons, the Endocrine Society believes more research is needed before any use of this agent can be recommended."

Some unanswered questions about Andro include:

* Does Andro improves athletic performance?

* How much Andro is converted to male or female sex steroids when taken orally or injected?

* How much Andro is absorbed by the body and its destination within the body?

* Does Andro shrink testicular size like androgens (male sex steroids such as testosterone) do?

* Does Andro cause liver cancer and heart disease like oral androgens do?

* How do you detect Andro through drug testing?

We do know this, however:

1. Andro is converted to testosterone in the body. It can also be converted into estrogen in boys and girls.

2. The purity of commercial Andro is unknown, unregulated and probably varies greatly. Andro users have no way of knowing what they are ingesting.

Teeth Talk

If anyone were to tell you in graphic, painful detail what it's like to have your gums scaled and your roots planed, chances are you would floss your teeth at least once, if not twice a day. It's amazing how a few minutes a day spent running a thin, waxed string between one's teeth can prevent periodontal disease, the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Luckily, for the estimated 50 million people who haven't found the motivation to floss and, therefore, suffer from receding gums and bacteria-filled pockets, a new pharmaceutical gel called Atridox[TM] offers a new treatment option which, according to Dr. Connie Drisko, University of Louisville, "is painless, inexpensive and easy to administer." When applied to the affected area, Atridox molds to the shape of the periodontal pocket, solidifies and releases the antibiotic doxycycline. Of course, there are possible side effects such as tooth sensitivity, gum soreness and respiratory infections, so don't forget to floss.

The Best D-fense

Preliminary research indicates vitamin D may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, including those in the breast and prostate. Vitamin D--which is actually a hormone--is manufactured in the body. Sunlight causes skin cells to make vitamin D. "Ten to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms and face, two or three times a will probably manufacture enough vitamin D to meet your needs," g to the Wellness Letter from University of California, Berkeley. "[But] sunscreen can reduce or even shut down the synthesis of vitamin D. to get 15 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen in the early or late afternoon, when the sun is less damaging." In the dark inter months, however, or as we grow older, we may need to look elsewhere vitamin D production. "It's a good idea to drink milk," says the Wellness "Milk is fortified with vitamin D. Each cup contains 100 IU. Other foods containing vitamin D are fatty fish (such as salmon and sardines) egg and fortified breakfast cereals."

If you don't drink milk, you may require a supplement. However, supplements are tricky because even small overdoses of vitamin D can lead to kidney stones, kidney failure, muscle and bone weakness and other problems. According to the University of California, Berkeley, the danger dosage starts at 2,000 IU a day. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences advises 200 IU for those under 50, 400 IU for ages 50-70 and 600 IU for those over 70.

For more information, discuss your risk of vitamin D deficiency with a health professional.
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Publication:American Fitness
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 1999
Words:802
Previous Article:Wellness & Lifestyle.
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