New Under the Sun:
Volume 1, Issue 12
Greetings!! The year is ending. It is time to take stock of how we have done during the year. We should give ourselves praise for the successes we’ve achieved and the progress we’ve made. And we should give ourselves encouragement for the goals we have yet to achieve.
Whatever is flexible and loving will tend to grow;
Whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die.
News Updates: Vascular Diseases:
Vitamin C and Heart Disease: One of the side effects of a high fat (800 calories and 50 g fat) meal is reduced blood flow to the heart. Research on patients suffering from coronary heart disease (CHD) and those without risk factors for the disease found that those who took 2 g of vitamin C following the high fat meal had no significant reduction in blood flow, while those who did not follow the meal with vitamin C did have significant reductions in blood flow. [Both groups were subdivided into those who received vitamin C and those who did not.] Reduced blood flow could precipitate heart failure. Ling L, Zhao SP, Gao M, Zhou QC, Li YL, Xia B. Vitamin C preserves endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease after a high-fat meal. Clin Cardiol 2002 May;25(5):219-24.
Vascular Dysfunction and Amputations: Diabetes and heart disease can lead to circulatory problems which may result in such diminished blood flow to the limbs, particularly the legs, that amputation is required of the effected limb. Researchers in Maryland found that Americans with West African ancestry were at particularly high risk of having a limb amputated due to vascular dysfunction. Those younger than 45 were at twice the risk of amputation than were those in other populations, while among the oldest age group, Americans with West African ancestry were at three times the risk of undergoing amputation for vascular dysfunction. The researchers stated that further research was needed to determine the cause of this disparity. Dillingham TR, Pezzin LE, Mackenzie EJ. Racial differences in the incidence of limb loss secondary to peripheral vascular disease: a population-based study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2002 Sep;83(9):1252-7.
Stroke: Vascular diseases appear to be associated with elevated blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid. Homocysteine levels become elevated when the diet is unbalanced and inadequate amounts of fruits and vegetables are eaten. Research comparing normal controls with individuals suffering from stroke, vascular dementia, or Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) found that those with disease had significantly higher levels of homocysteine, even when controlling for other risk factors such as cholesterol levels, hypertension, age, sex, or smoking. Elevated homocysteine levels, therefore, are another risk factor associated with vascular disease although it is unclear what effect the elevated levels have on the course of the disease. McIlroy SP, Dynan KB, Lawson JT, Patterson CC, Passmore AP. Moderately elevated plasma homocysteine, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase genotype, and risk for stroke, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer disease in Northern Ireland. Stroke 2002 Oct;33(10):2351-6.
Preventing Vascular Disease the AnthroHealth way: Based on the research cited above, it appears that good diet, a healthy weight, and the absence of diabetes play important roles in preventing vascular disease. Therefore: Eat the AnthroHealth way including around ten servings each day of richly colored fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C and will also lower homocysteine levels. Prevent obesity and the resulting diabetes by: Walking 2 – 3 miles each day. Eliminating refined grain products and white potatoes from the diet. [These foods elevate glucose levels and add calories while having little nutritional benefit.] Eliminate high fat dairy foods. Eat plenty of fish, tree nuts, sunflower seeds, and fruits and vegetables. [See previous issues of AnthroHealth News on the importance omega 3 fatty acids.]
Fertility Knowledge Gaps: Researchers have found that healthcare providers (physicians and nurses) in the United States have important gaps in their knowledge related to fertility. These knowledge gaps could have a significantly negative impact on a woman’s ability to conceive and carry to term an infant. Of approximately 15,000 healthcare provider respondents to an online survey on fertility, only one respondent answered every question correctly. Another survey of 370 OB/Gyn physicians and nurses attending a healthcare conference found that the majority believed that male and female fertility declined at much later ages than is actually the case. Women on average believed that female fertility declined at about 38 years, while men put it at 33 years. Women believed that male fertility declined at age 54, while men thought it was at age 50, on average. These older ages are based on outdated data. The newest information on the ages at which fertility begins to decline put it at age 27 for women and age 33 for men, much earlier than previously thought. K.R. Hammond, 2002, Research presented at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Comment: Knowledge changes rapidly in the healthcare field and it is difficult for healthcare providers to stay current on every topic. Therefore, it is imperative that each individual take an active role in his/her healthcare, such as subscribing to this newsletter for the latest information. Reliance on outdated fertility information has led many women/couples to believe that it is OK to delay childbearing into their 30s or even 40s. The result is that ever larger numbers of women are having difficulty conceiving or carrying a fetus to term. Vast sums of money and time are spent at fertility clinics with the small hope that an infant would be the eventual outcome. Much as we may wish to do so, our biology cannot be ignored with impunity.
Fertility the AnthroHealth way: If you plan to have children, the ages at which fertility begins to decline must be taken into serious consideration. The optimal time period for least difficulty in conceiving and for best birth outcomes is during a woman’s 20s. A decision to delay childbearing into one’s 30s must weigh the risks of reduced fertility and increased chances of poor birth outcomes against the benefits of advancing one’s education and/or career. For more information on the risks of delaying childbirth, this month’s suggested book is Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children by Sylvia Ann Hewlett. Hewlett’s main point can be summarized as: Women who wait to have children until they are in their late 30s or 40s are setting themselves up for heartbreak. Her brisk, readable style, coupled with quotes from her interviews with high-achieving women, drives this point home. Despite advances in assisted reproductive technologies (ART), biology will not be denied: only a tiny fraction of women who seek to become pregnant via ART actually succeed in giving birth to a healthy baby, and at a very high emotional and economic cost. Hewlett urges young women, particularly those in their early 20s, to seriously heed her warnings and consider having their children before age 35.
AnthroHealth Tip of the Month: It is the season when we give more thought to our friends and loved ones. We write to them, or call, or plan visits. We wonder how they are doing, perhaps how their health is. It is also a time when we give presents to others. During this season of giving, why not give your friends and loved ones the gift of health by signing them up for a subscription to AnthroHealth News? Just click on the Newsletter link below. Type in the recipient’s name and e-mail address and your name as the giver in the message area. The recipient will receive an email notifying them of your gift and that their subscription to AnthroHealth News will begin in January 2003.
© 2001-2009 Kathleen E. Fuller, PhD. All rights reserved.