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Pre-Diabetes: What It Is And What To Do

Most physicians, myself included, jot a personal comment on a patient’s lab tests. My favorite is “Everything’s excellent!” which can be typed quickly and concentrates good news into two words that I hope trigger a smile. According to a recent New York Times article, doctors are writing the sentence “Your tests show you’re now in […]

All Hail The Bean!

What a pleasant surprise to open this week’s Archives of Internal Medicine and find the results of a trial on the benefits of eating legumes–beans, lentils, and chickpeas. This was a real clinical trial, working with a group of people who had mild Type 2 diabetes. During the three-month study period, half the enrollees ate […]

Death By Cupcake

Happy Valentine’s Day! People who know me will say today’s health tip on the dangers of sugar is just typical, badgering innocent people on a holiday dedicated to love, romance, and dessert. Before we get started, let me pull out my two favorite passive-aggressive chestnuts: “I’m just looking out for your best interests” and “I […]

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is by far the most common cause of infertility in women, and the number of women with diagnosed and undiagnosed PCOS is best described as “vast.” Experts estimate that as many as 10% of women of childbearing age may have the disorder.

Prickly Pear

A symbol of the Rio Grande valley, the prickly pear cactus (genus Opuntia) boasts thorny pads, colorful large flowers, and succulent fruits, and its distinctive image is proudly displayed on the Mexican flag. For centuries, native peoples living in the deserts of Mexico, the southern United States, and parts of South America relied on this robust desert plant for food and healing. Many of these traditions were carried on by European settlers, who then also transported the plant’s seeds to Europe and around the world.

Ginseng (Panax)

Look at the nutrition label on your orange juice or multivitamin and you may notice that ginseng has been added. That’s because smart marketers have caught on to this Herb’s 2,000-year-old reputation as a “feel good” tonic that can boost energy, combat the physical effects of stress, empower the immune system, improve concentration, and provide Antioxidant actions. Its legendary properties, particularly as an aphrodisiac, were once so prized in China that only the emperor was allowed to gather the herb. Today some men still take it to treat impotence and infertility although it’s unclear whether it actually improves these conditions.

Zinc/Copper

The minerals zinc and copper can be purchased as single products, but there’s good reason to consider a combination product that pairs the two.

Zinc blocks the absorption and enhances the excretion of copper when taken over time. So, when zinc is recommended long term (over many months) for any condition–from arthritis to prostate problems or even Alzheimer’s–it’s important to get some copper as well. A combination product will help prevent a copper deficiency and the anemia that can develop as a result.

Vitamin B Complex

A high-quality vitamin B complex supplement will provide, in one convenient pill, a full range of B vitamins, including biotin, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), and the six “numbered” B vitamins–vitamin B-1 (thiamin), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin), B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine), and B-12 (cobalamin). Combination products can simplify the process of taking individual B vitamins for a range of ailments including alcoholism, depression, diabetes, hair problems, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and stress.

Niacin

Also known as vitamin B3, niacin has earned a reputation (in supplement form) as a natural cholesterol-lowering agent that often rivals prescription drugs in mild to moderate cases. It may also help to prevent or treat a number of other disorders, from arthritis and depression to diabetes. Three forms of niacin supplements–each with a specific therapeutic role–are commercially available: nicotinic acid (also called nicotinate), niacinamide and inositol hexaniacinate, a compound of niacin and inositol (another B-family vitamin).