Last year, it was already reported that findings from Copenhagen University contradicted the findings of observational studies that antioxidants improve health.

Goran Bjelakovic of the Center for Clinical Intervention Research, Copenhagen University Hospital and colleagues said that “There are several possible explanations for the negative effect of antioxidant supplements on mortality. Although oxidative stress has a hypothesized role in the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases, it may be the consequence of pathological conditions. By eliminating free radicals from our organism, we interfere with some essential defensive mechanisms . Antioxidant supplements are synthetic and not subjected to the same rigorous toxicity studies as other pharmaceutical agents.” They concluded that “Better understanding of mechanisms and actions of antioxidants in relation to a potential disease is needed

Now, the researchers there are telling us that taking vitamin supplements can make us die faster. The risk of premature death is up to 16% – yes, because we are interfering with our body’s natural defense system.

Can 67 studies involving 230,000 healthy people really be the truth for all people in the world that there is “no convincing evidence that any of the antioxidants (beta-carotene, Vitamin A and Vitamin E) helped to prolong life expectancy” but instead “showed increased rates of mortality” ?

A supplement-industry trade group questions both the review conclusions and the study selection process for the analysis. Andrew Shao, Ph.D., vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a supplement industry trade association in Washington, D.C. maintained that antioxidant supplements are safe additions to a healthy diet.

He said that “Four hundred five studies which showed no deaths were excluded from the meta-analysis, which if included, clearly would have altered the outcome of the meta-analysis.

Meanwhile, the earth continues to turn and supplements continue to be popped in.

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First it was about Taoist’s enlightenment, meditation and self-defense in the 13th century, then it was seen as an exercise for the old and those who got nothing else to do. Now, it might be the easy exercise that one can practice to effectively curb diabetes and thus saving and prolonging one’s life.

Tai Chi, better known as Tai Ji Quan (太极拳) was founded by Master Zhang San Feng (张三丰), one of my most admired heros in Chinese history. Since then,  it has more than 100 possible movements and positions and is now enjoyed by people all over the world.  Many Community Clubs (CC) in Singapore have regular Taiji or Qigong classes and there are also many free video online. Unlike many exercises, this dance-like exercise can be done by people of all ages as it is slow (some movements are fast paced), gentle, graceful self-paced kind of exercise and does not required any equipment. It can be done at any permissible open space with clean air.

Yin Yang - Taiji symboltaijimove.jpg

It is easy yet not that easy as it combines movements with meditation to align the body and the mind. Those who had been practicing it can attest to its benefits of reducing stress; increase agility, flexibility, energy, stamina as well as improve muscular strength. Overall, it is a great feeling and makes one sleeps well.

 The British Journal of Sports Medicine has just reported that studies by researchers in Taiwan and Australia indicated that Tai Chi exercises can help people control type-2 diabetes, the disease suffered by some 250millions people worldwide and which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, high blood pressure and heart disease.

 Of the group of 30 diabetics involved in the Taiwanese study, at the end of the 12 weeks (3hours per week) program in which they learned 37 Tai Chi movements, their blood sugar level had dropped. The levels of glycated haemoglobin  (excess sugar carried by red blood cells) fell significantly. Thus, the researchers suggested that Tai Chi may prompt a fall in blood glucose levels, or improve blood glucose metabolism, which in turn sparks a drop in the inflammatory response

 In Australia, 11 diabetic patients were put to a 12 week sessions of Tai Chi and Qigong 气功(Chinese Yoga) for 60 to 90 minutes three times a week. The result was they have less craving for food, slept better, experienced less pain but more energy, lost weight averaging 3kg, waist line reduced by almost 3cm but most importantly, their insulin resistance improved, blood sugar level dropped and blood pressure dropped significantly.

 It was explained that “the relaxation element of Tai Chi may help to reduce stress levels, preventing the release of adrenalin which can lead to insulin resistance and high blood glucose levels”.

 Long live the tradition of Tai Chi which promotes maintaining optimum functioning of the body’s self-regulating systems to restore the body to its natural state of health through the cultivation of inner strength and calming the mind.

In the absence of the Viagra/Cialis alternative, N-Hanz that the Malaysian researchers have reported to have developed last year using walnuts, the only available walnut-based anti-erectile dysfunction solutions should be those from China, one of which was exhibited in last year’s Canton Fair.

Yesterday, the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has issued a warning against a product called ‘Power 1 Walnut’. The name of the product must have misled ignorant sexually dysfunctional people into thinking that it contains natural herbal ingredients, not knowing that this Power 1 Walnut contains 2 potent ingredients, glibenclamide and sildenafil which can be deadly if mishandled. These 2 are strict prescription medicines – glibenclamide is used for treating diabetes and sildenafil is the drug found in Viagra which treats impotency.

Power 1 Walnut’, supposedly manufactured by a company in Guangzhou, China is one of the 36,000 illegal sexual enhancement pills seized by police and HSA 2 evenings ago.

At the time of the report by ChannelNews Asia, 6 male people who had consumed ‘Power 1 Walnut’ suffered a serious adverse reaction, resulting in hypoglycaemia (very low blood sugar levels) and if untreated in time, could lead to unconsciousness, seizures and sometimes death. Although the 6 patients were discovered and treated, one of them is critically ill and is under close observation in a hospital.

HSA founded that this ‘wonder‘ pill is more like a diabetes drug than a sexual enhancement one as it contains 90mg of glibenclamide – about 5 times the amount prescribed to a diabetic patient – and only 7mg of sildenafil, far below the 25mg to 100mg needed for any sexual enhancement effect.

This kind of unscrupulous company who“挂羊头卖狗肉” (displays goat’s head but sells dog’s meat) should be severely punished as it again also tarnishes the reputation of honest manufacturers and also other decent “Made in China” brands of health enhancement products.

(see comments for more interesting updates on this “killer”)

Where do you want to be in March 2008 ?

It was last April when the news appeared that we’ll be able to view 360% of Singapore as well as neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia on the world’s tallest observation wheel – the Singapore Flyer.

Singapore Flyer

Instead of the stated date of public opening on 1st March, 700 lucky people got the first spin yesterday up the 165meters ferris wheel which is 30meters higher than the London Eye. They were guests of the 17 companies who coughed out $8,888 for each of the 28 capsules booked.

Until 1st March, the flyer is opened only for private functions. Judging by the sold-out response for the next few days, even at the normal S$29.50 (adult fare) for the 30 minutes ride, it will definitely be a mad rush for the 20% seats allocated to walk-in.

To prevent your blood pressure from shooting up, book online at their website www.singaporeflyer.com.sg.

Come to think of it, will patrons breathe in fresh air, or circulated air-con?

If anyone is between the ages of 30 and 60 and especially for men, gout (a type of arthritis caused by uric acid) is increasing becoming a risk. To reduce the risk, traditionally, the public is advised to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol as well as avoid eating food high in purines (see chart).

gout-creators.jpg

Now, medical researchers in the US, UK & Canada are putting the blame on sweet drinks (non-Diet soft drinks) which contains a type of sugar called fructose.

They said that the increase in gout cases had coincided with a substantial rise in the consumption of soft drinks. A 12-year study covering 46,000 men aged 40 years and over with no history of gout concluded that with an intake level of five to six servings of sugary soft drink per week, the risk of developing gout was significantly increased.

The study suggests that “Men who consume two or more sugary soft drinks a day have an 85% higher risk of gout compared with those who drink less than one a month“.

Apart from sweet drinks, researchers said that fruit juice and fructose rich fruits (apples and oranges) were associated with a higher risk. So, they are advising patients with gout to reduce intake of apples and oranges.Last year, it was reported that coffee drinking reduces risk of gout. So for sure, coffee should now be preferred over sugary soft drinks, but over fruit juice?

Desire : Reduce weight, prevent high blood, reduce cholesterol, relieve pain

Remedy : Kissing 3 times a day, 20 seconds each

A Russian newspaper quoted a scientific research saying that kissing can stablize heart artery behavior, prevent high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and in the long run can result in weight loss. No details given.

The research also reported that during kissing, the massive saliva released in the mouth which is high in calcium and phosphorus can protect against tooth decay as well as reduce the probability of gum inflammation. I wonder who is cleaning who ?

On the other hand, kissing is good for facial beauty as passionate kissing exercises 30 muscles on the face, promotes blood circulation, thus resulting in smoother skin. Is that how those skin beauty equipments were simulating ?

Kissing relieve pain as the saliva contains pain relieving properties and the more passionate the kissing, the more saliva will be released. The researcher joked that if ever pain is unbearable, try kissing instead of pain killer medicine. Are the manufacturers of Panadol, Tylenol, Aspirin, etc. laughing away ?

For those who buy in this research, please share the result. For those who are not taking the chance on kissing or weight loss pills, try tea.

For those calories watcher, the annual temptation is around the corner. For those who are ignorant, read on.

Chinese New Year aka Lunar New Year is the time when Chinese will go nuts with all the cookies (nuts, seeds, beans, “love letters“, all kinds of drinks, beer, wine, bak-kua (sweet-salty barbeque meat), etc to indulge in during each visitation to relatives, friends and business associates, etc.

.Bak Kwa

I for one love peanuts, black melon seeds & broad beans with my beer much more than those expensive pistachio and cashew nuts. I don’t count calories. I like fried but hate oily food.

Now, I was kinda of shocked when told of how much oil these nuts contain. Eating 12 of my favorite peanuts (approx 20grams) will mean an intake of 110 calorie or 2.75 teaspoons of oil. So, that is why the peanut cooking oil in older days which was so fattening are finally replaced by alternatives such as sunflower cooking oil.

peanuts.jpgpistachio.jpg

From the information, the worst goodies to eat too much is probably the cashew nuts. Just 10 pieces (also approx 20 grams) of the cashew nuts and it will be equivalent to 2.85 teaspoons of oil or 115 calorie.

So what is the problem when each day men consumed from 1,500-4,000 total calories and the total for females varies from 900-2,500 ?

As long as we burn what we eat, we will maintain our weight but if we don’t burn off the excess calorie, we are likely to gain weight. 1,100 calorie a day for a week can gain 1kg of weight.

Are you likely to gobble up 1,100 extra calories easily during this Chinese New Year period ?

growing Belly

Now, according to a nutritionist, to burn off 184 calories for a 60kg adult, it will need 30 minutes of swimming or 1 hour of walking. In other words, if one eats 20 cashew nuts and accumulate 230 calories, it will need more than half an hour to burn off.

For the nuts lovers, during your visitation, ask for oil-dissolving beverages such as green tea, roselle tea instead.