Dr Mirkin .com
Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D. brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology.
Dr. Mirkin hosted a popular call-in radio show on fitness and health that was syndicated in more than 120 cities. He has written 16 books including The Sportsmedicine Book, the best-selling book on the subject that has been translated into many languages. His latest book is The Healthy Heart Miracle, published by HarperCollins. He wrote the chapter on sports injuries for the Merck Manual (both lay and physicians’ editions), the largest selling book worldwide with over one million copies in print. His daily short features on fitness have been heard on CBS Radio News stations since the 1970’s.
Nobody has presented good evidence that eating meat from grass-fed animals is more healthful than the meat from corn-fed animals.
Nobody can correct a faulty diet just by taking pills.
A review of 18 studies, following more than two million men and women for an average of 12 years, shows that vitamin and mineral pills do not reduce risk for dying from heart disease or strokes, or even getting a stroke, regardless of age (Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, July 2018;11(7)).
Another study followed almost 30,000 people in China, aged 40-69, 25 years after they had taken vitamin and mineral pills for 5.25 years. They gained no reduction in death or cancer rate from vitamin or mineral pills (J National Cancer Institute, July 11, 2018).
A study of 58,000 patients (over 55 years of age) diagnosed with dementia (and 225,000 people of the same age without dementia) found a 50 percent increased risk of dementia among people who used a strong anticholinergic drug daily for about three years within the 10-year study period (JAMA Intern Med, published online June 24, 2019).
Anticholinergic drugs include:
• antidepressants (paroxetine-Paxil)
• anti-Parkinson’s drugs
• antipsychotic drugs (clozapine)
• urinary bladder relaxers (Enablex)
• some anti-nausea drugs (scopolamine), anti-asthma drugs (ipratropium), muscle relaxants (tizanidine), antihistamines (diphenhydramine-Benadryl), and anti-seizure drugs.
A second major class of prescription drugs that have been associated with increased risk for dementia in people over 55 are the benzodiazepines, which are often used to treat anxiety and to help people sleep ... people who took benzodiazepines for 6+ months had an 84% increased risk. Also, the long-acting benzodiazepines were associated with greater risk: diazepam (Valium) or flurazepam (Dalmane).
High blood pressure (>130/90 before bed) increases risk for heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and premature death (more than 80,000 U.S. deaths each year). Your blood pressure is partially regulated by the 100+ trillion bacteria in your colon, and what you eat determines which bacteria grow in your colon. Healthful colon bacteria help to lower blood pressure and harmful colon bacteria can raise it. A high-plant diet helps to lower high blood pressure since foods that come from plants have lots of soluble fiber, which encourages the growth of healthful colon bacteria.
You cannot absorb whole foods. Food is first broken down into carbohydrates, fats and proteins, but you can’t absorb these either. Before they can be absorbed, carbohydrates must be broken down into single sugars, fats into fatty acids, and proteins into single amino acids or chains of amino acids. Enzymes in your intestines do much of this work, but you do not have the enzymes to break down fiber, so it passes to your colon. There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber, which gets broken down by the healthful bacteria in your colon so it can be absorbed; and insoluble fiber, which cannot be broken down and is eliminated in your stool.
Healthful gut bacteria have the enzymes necessary to break down soluble fiber into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that pass from the colon into the bloodstream and then to the kidneys, which lowers high blood pressure (also strengthening immunity and reducing risks of heart attacks & cancer). The kidneys have special SCFA receptors that affect the production of hormones that control blood pressure. SCFAs can reduce kidney secretion of renin that constricts blood vessels and raises blood pressure.
Unhealthful bacteria try to get food by invading the cells lining your colon. Your immune system then responds by producing white blood cells and cytokines to destroy these invading bacteria, which over the long-term causes inflammation (your own body attacks itself). Inflammation damages tissues and increase your risk for heart attacks, cancers, strokes, diabetes, autoimmune diseases. Pro-inflammatory foods (sugar-added, fried, red/processed meat) encourage the growth of harmful bacteria which increases inflammation and thus can raise blood pressure.
High blood pressure can often be prevented and treated by:
• eating a high-plant diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds.
• restricting red meat, processed meats, fried foods, sugar-added foods, and all sugary drinks (including fruit juices).
• losing weight and exercising.
Predicting High Risk for a Heart Attack
If you have three or more of these factors, you are at increased risk for a heart attack. Your doctor can examine you and order all of these tests:
• Blood pressure >120/80 at bedtime (when blood pressure is lowest)
• LDL (bad) cholesterol>100
• HBA1C>5.7 (diabetes)
• CRP>1 (inflammation)
• Abdominal obesity
• Small hips
• Resting heart rate >70
• Lp(a)>125 (blood test for a genetic disorder)
• Triglycerides >150
• HDL (good) cholesterol<40
• Homocysteine>10 (genetic or vitamin deficiency)
• Small LDL particle size (an indicator of diabetes)
• Family history of heart attacks