Tuesday, April 7, 2015


For some time now I have found that a vegan restaurant located not far from my home is not only convenient, but also healthful.  But are there other reasons for choosing to go vegan in today's world?  

According to a recent federal report by a federal panel that helps to set federal dietary guidelines, eating less meat is also good for the environment.  Needless to say, according to the article which appears in the April 5 online issue of The Hill, this has not made the nation's purveyors of beef, pork and poultry, happy!  And of course they are fighting back.

But does the federal panel have a point?  The scientific evidence would appear to say emphatically "yes."  In this day, when water is becoming ever more valuable and important, it does seem to be essential to understand that it takes about 1600 - 1900 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef!  Compare this to the small amount of water it takes to raise beans (200 - 300 gallons) which may produce all the protein you body may need.  And then there is the carbon footprint caused by cattle, pigs, and poultry. The UN report says the following: The livestock sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the planet as a whole. Globally it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.Food and Agriculture OrganizationLivestock's Long Shadow And compare that to the carbon footprint of raising veggies. Maybe that is why The Hill entitles its article: Federal Report: Vegan diet best for planet.  Think about it!

-- Wayne Young

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The May 1995 Journal of the American Medical Association contained an article entitled, “Should Physicians Prescribe Prayer for Health?”  In recent years several hundred studies have been done concerning the relationship of prayer/religious lifestyle and health.  Dr. Larry Dossey, M.D., former chief of staff at Humana Medical City Dallas and former co-chair of the Panel on Mind/Body Interventions, Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, in his book Prayer is Good Medicine, shares some of the findings of surveys and research.

“When we investigate prayer scientifically we can show only that it works, not how or why it works.  This means there is a threshold beyond which science cannot pass.  These limits are illustrated in the following interchange between a science professor and the student-candidate he was examining:

             Examiner: What is electricity?
Candidate:  Oh, sir, I’m sure I have learn’t what it is – I’m sure I did know – but I’ve forgotten.
Examiner: How very unfortunate.  Only two persons have ever known what electricity is, the Author of Nature and yourself.  Now one of them has forgotten!

Science raises more questions about prayer than it answers.  Science cannot measure the unmeasurable.”  P. 20, 21

“Recent surveys show that 75 percent of patients believe their physicians should address spiritual issues as part of medical care, and 50 percent want their doctor to pray not just for them but with them. . .  ‘Statistically, God is good for you,’ says David B. Larson, M.D., of the National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, Maryland, which studies the relationship between spirituality and health.  Larson, a former senior researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health, says, ‘I was told by (medical school) professors that religion is harmful.  Then I looked at the research, and religion is actually highly beneficial.  If you to to church or pray regularly, it’s very beneficial in terms of preventing illness, mental and physical, and you cope with illness much more effectively.  If you look at the research, in area after area, it’s 80 percent beneficial.  I was shocked.’”  P. 2,3

“A recent survey by Dr. David B. Larson and his colleagues at the National Institute for Healthcare Research in Rockville, Maryland, found that 43 percent of American physicians pray for their patients.”

For better health, why not try praying to the Creator God who knows all about us?

--  Wayne Young

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vitamin D -"The Sunshine Vitamin"

Vitamin D is important for bone health and for preventing cancers -especially breast and prostate cancer. Vitamin D helps maintain healthy levels of calcium in the blood. It increases calcium absorption in the small intestine and decreases calcium excretion in the urine. A deficiency of vitamin D can can cause increased demineralization of bone, leading to weak and soft bones.

Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with weight gain and increased risk for dementia and Parkinson's disease.

What is the status of most Americans? Most Americans are below the optimal vitamin D levels of 35-50ng/ml, and half are below 20ng/ml which may be dangerously low.

What is the RDI for vitamin D? It is 400IU/day. However, most persons taking only this amount of vitamin D (which is the amount in most multivitamins) will be deficient in vitamin D. For most people to achieve adequate levels of vitamin D they need to take between 1500-2500IU of vitamin D per day. (I usually take a multivitamin + 2000 IUdaily).

How do you know how much you should take? You need to get your levels checked. Dr Joel Fuhrman (Eat to Live) states that he believes this test is as important as checking your cholesterol. Before I took extra vitamin D (in addition to my multivitamin) my levels of vitamin D were low in the winter especially.

Which brings up another question. Can't I get enough vitamin D from sunshine. If you live in northern latitudes the sun is not at a sufficient angle between mid-September to mid-March to get enough vitamin D produced from your skin. Also sun blocks decrease vitamin D production from the skin and also persons with dark skin tend to not make as much vitamin D from sun exposure. If you spend most of your working hours indoors you may not even get enough vitamin D in the summer months.

What are some of the risks of deficiency? One study showed a 75% increased risk for all-cause mortality (death) in those whose intake was in the lowest quartile. Another study showed a 50% decrease risk of breast cancer in just 4 years in those who had adequate levels from supplementation.

This brings up another question-can I take too much vitamin D? In the study on breast cancer the lowest risk was found in the persons whose levels were between 35-50ng/ml and as levels went above 50 then cancer risk also increased again.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman had an interesting patient who was having repetitive vomiting for 3 years (and was eating a healthy vegetarian diet). He had been to 3 separate GI specialists who had each recommended different types of treatment. He then came to see Dr Fuhrman and he checked the patient's vitamin D level and it was only 7ng/ml. He started supplementation and all his vomiting went away in just a few weeks.

So the bottom line is get your vitamin D level checked. If you are low then consider supplementing with 1500-2500IU/day and then check your levels again to make sure they are in the optimal range.

Dr. Jerry Fessler

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Religious Faith and Coping with Depression

Depression is a major public health problem.  Based on a joint study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and WHO, depression was the leading cause of disability in the world (measured by years of life lived with disability) in 1990 and, in 2020, is expected to be the world’s second leading cause of disability, surpassed only by cardiovascular disease. See the following website at Duke University to view the ongoing study of religious versus conventional psychotherapy methods being used in treating depression: http://www.spiritualityandhealth.duke.edu/resources/pdfs/Psychotherapy%20paper.pdf.

This article of ongoing research in this field strongly suggests that since recent polls have shown that some 65% of the United States’ population indicates that religion is very important to them, and since some 80% of those suffering from depression would like for their therapists to use religious approaches in helping them to deal with their depression, that it is important for therapists to include such methodologies in treating depression in person’s of faith.  Former studies have already shown that one’s religious beliefs may be a real help in coping with depression.

In a book by Dr. Koenig of Duke University, he says the following: “Most of the adult population of the US experiences personal or emotional problems at some point or another during the course of a year. . . In any given month of the year, about 10-15 percent of the population suffers from depression or anxiety severe enough to warrant some form of treatment. Is there a relationship between these emotional problems and religion?  Does religion help people to cope better?

Between 1987 and 1989, our research group examined the relationship between the use of religion as a coping behavior and depression in a sample of almost 1,000 hospitalized medically ill men. . . . People who used religion as a coping behavior were then compared with those who said they coped in other ways (staying busy, visiting friends or family, and so forth).  Patients who depended heavily on their religious faith to cope were significantly less depressed than those who did not. . . . The only characteristic that predicted lower rates of depression was not the level of support from family or friends, not physical health status, and not even income or education level.  Rather, it was the extent to which patients relied on their religious faith to cope.  This was the only factor that predicted significantly better mental health six months later.  These findings were later published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and in Psychosomatics.”   Is Religion Good for Your Health?  (Harold G. Koenig, MD, Duke University Medical Center)

To what extent do you depend upon your faith to cope with physical or mental illness?  More and more studies are indicating that one’s religious faith may play a vital role in such coping.  Yours for a happier and healthier tomorrow.

-- Wayne Young

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Religion and Your Health
Over the past couple of decades there have been many studies showing that religion has a positive benefit for those desiring better health.  The following two paragraphs are quoted from the January 2010 issue of Vibrant Life online edition which may be found at http://www.vibrantlife.com/?p=218 for those who would like to read the entire article.
"One of the first studies to examine the specific pathways by which religion affects health was done by Dr. Harold Koenig, a researcher at Duke University Medical Center. In a study of 1,718 older adults in North Carolina who attended church at least once a week, he found they were only half as likely as nonattendees to have elevated levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an immune system protein involved in a wide variety of age-related diseases. It was hypothesized that if religious commitment could reduce stress, it would keep down the production of substances that impair the body’s ability to fight disease. One such substance was to be determined IL-6. Dr. Koenig’s findings were reported in a 1997 article in the Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine.
Koenig says he has run the numbers and found that religious people spend less time in the hospital, are healthier, recover faster, have fewer heart attacks, and generally handle life’s ups and downs in more positive ways. Other studies report that religious people tend to live 30 percent longer and experience better physical and mental health. They also have better marriages, use addictive substances less, and have stronger support systems. Even the skeptics, he says, should pay attention to his latest findings because of the practical results in terms of savings for insurance companies and hospitals. He advises that doctors need to factor in the patient’s religious beliefs and use their faith to help them recover."

Yours for better health!

-- Wayne Young

Monday, August 13, 2012

Social Relationships and Health

An article which was recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (http://hsb.sagepub.com/content/51/1_suppl/S54.full) entitled, “Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy, points clearly to the importance of social relationships for good health.

It has been shown that social relationships – marriage, religious meetings, volunteer agencies, etc. – both quantity and quality – “affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk.” It goes on to say that “Adults who are more socially connected are healthier and live longer than their more isolated peers.” 

The results of the studies that have been done over the last few decades indicate clearly the benefits for those who have social connections.  For Christians who attend a fellowship regularly and develop many good and wholesome relationships, this should be good news!  You might even find that your health will improve and you will live longer!

- Wayne Young

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to keep your Eyes Young

Your eyes are one of the most important organs in your body.  Blindness is the most scary condition humans fear short of cancer.

The eyes act as little video cameras that are constantly taking pictures of our world around us. The film of the eye (camera) is a layer of tissues called the retina, composed of rods and cones. The retina converts light energy into electrical impulses that travel in the 1 million strands of the two optic nerves to the area in the brain at the back of the head. A person “sees” with his brain. A stroke in the brain can cause blindness.

 In order for the cells in our eyes to be healthy they must receive sufficient oxygen, water, nutrients and antioxidants to counter oxidative damage(ageing and degeneration).

Lets look at two diseases associated with ageing of the eyes that can be prevented or progress slowed by lifestyle change. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataract (cloudy lens).

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
The area in the center of the retina is called the macula lutea.  The lens in your eye focuses the image on this central focal point just as when using a magnifying glass (in fact one can burn paper and even start a fire with the magnifying glass and sunlight- right boy scouts?) The macula is where we see color and the area we use for reading. The maculae cells have the highest rate of metabolism in the body. More oxygen free radicals (damage) occurs here than anywhere else in the body.
Macular degeneration occurs in two forms: either a dry (cells die) or wet (new blood vessels develop that leak). The wet form causes the most severe visual loss.
Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of irreversible visual loss in the western world.

If you have AMD, your eye doctor may prescribe for you a vitamin-antioxidant pill to prevent progression of moderate dry macular degeneration or if you have the wet form, advise laser or injections of medication into the eye.

Cataract (cloudy lens) occur when sunlight or other insults damage the proteins in the lens. Not protecting your eyes from the sun and smoking clearly increase your risk.  Dark green leafy veggies and a variety of whole foods, eaten whole, decrease the risk of cataracts.

How can I protect the cells in my eyes from degenerative damage?

            1.  Get sufficient oxygen. Exercise increases oxygen in the body, smoking
decreases it.

2.   Whole plant foods eaten whole (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts),
They are abundant in energy nutrients as well as loaded with vitamins,  minerals, phytochemicals (plant chemicals) and antioxidants (prevents oxidative damage)

The following are a few studies that have shown the undeniable connection between a proper diet and exercise with a lower incidence of AMD and cataract.

Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS), an ancillary study of the Women’s Health Initiative showed that the women who ate diets highest in fruits and vegetables and lowest in fat demonstrated 37% fewer cataracts and a 46% reduction in odds for AMD than those with diets low in fruits and veggies and high fat.
         And those who exercised the most demonstrated a twofold decrease in risk of AMD

Beaver Dam Eye Study, participants that consumed the most lutein, an antioxidant, (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.) demonstrated nearly 50% less cataract compared to those who ate the least.
Also there is a 50% decreased incidence of AMD in high dark green leafy veggie consumers.

Smoking is the principal known, preventable risk factor associated with any form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The risk is two to three times higher in current-smokers compared with never smokers.

A paper published in the Arch Ophthalmol 2003 by Seddon, et al “Progression of AMD Assoc with Body Mass Index, Waist circumference, and Waist-Hip Ratio” reported that individuals who are overweight face double the risk of developing AMD compared to those with normal body weight, and those who performed vigorous physical activities at least three times a week reduce their chances of developing AMD compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle.

The same lifestyle that prevents and reverses hardening of the arteries, coronary heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, etc. is the same lifestyle that will keep your eyes young and healthy.

The Lifestyle is:

·   Do not smoke.

·   Eat a large variety of whole foods, foods as grown. 5 to 9 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens.

·   Avoid refined and concentrated foods that come in “crinkly bags and or cans. (soda pops, chips, pastries, ice cream).

·   Limit carbs that raise blood sugar quickly (sugars, potatoes, white bread).

·   Eat low fat (reduce or eliminate meat, dairy products and oils).

·   Eat Omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week (especially fatty fish like salmon or ground flax seed or chia seeds).

·   Lose (or don’t gain) excess weight.

·   Do moderate exercise ½ hour  5-6 days/week

·   Wear blue blocking U-V sunglasses – especially at high exposure situations: mid-day, and (high altitude, snow, water).

·   Normalize – Blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipids(cholesterol, triglycerides) preferably through lifestyle or by medications if needed.

George D Chen, MD, MPH