Calcium Supplement: Health Claims Under Fire


In a combined analysis of 5 studies, investigators found that calcium supplements were associated with about a 30% increase in the incidence of heart attack.


That’s why it’s important to keep current on the latest research.  Things change as our research capabilities progress.  Here are the details: The risk of heart attack with calcium supplements was greater in those with higher dietary calcium intake.   Age, sex, and type of supplement made no difference. But, in this study, 88% were women, this being significant because heart disease differs greatly between sexes.

It’s suggested that the calcium in supplements may cause the fatty plaques in your arteries to harden, causing atherosclerosis.  And although much data shows that vitamin D is protective from a cardiovascular standpoint, studies with vitamin D were omitted.

And if that’s not bad enough, the study also revealed an alarming fact that calcium supplements play a limited to no benefit at all in reducing the risk of compression bone fractures!  We should be asking why then has there been such a push for calcium supplementation over the last ten years?



So, now what do we do?  We still have a problem with osteoporosis.  More than half of the women over 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their remaining lifetime.  What are our doctors telling us?  They’ve been as caught off guard with this new research as we have.  The lead research physician concluded:


  • In most cases, discontinuation of calcium would seem appropriate
  • For most older people, the risks of calcium supplements outweigh the benefits
  • For patients at risk for heart disease, with multiple risk factors, or a strong family history, perhaps calcium supplementation should not be considered
  • Patients with osteoporosis should generally not be treated with calcium supplements, either alone or combined with vitamin D, unless they are also receiving an effective treatment for osteoporosis for a recognized indication
  • Patients with high risk for fractures will continue to take calcium supplements


Before making any changes make sure to discuss these finding with your doctor.  But, of course, remember that strength training and eating foods high in calcium and Vitamin D are still important to bone health.  Here are great food alternatives: non/low-fat dairy (milk, cheese, and yogurt), green leafy veggies (spinach, swiss chard, kale, turnip, mustard, or collard greens), broccoli, sesame seeds, Chia Seeds, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, oranges…. Lots of tasty things.  Amazing how it all comes down to exercise and eating healthy!




Weight loss and sexual enhancement supplements…more than you bargained for?


An article was published in the New York Times a few months ago written by Natasha Singer about supplements that may be tainted with unlabeled medications and shipped to this country.

The most common offenders are weight loss supplements and sexual enhancement supplements.

Sibutramine is the most common illegal additive to weight loss supplements. Sibutramine was available in the US as Meridia until October 2010 when it was removed from the market after research showed it could cause an increase risk of heart attack and stroke. Consider this: you’re taking a diet supplement that’s not supposed to have a risk of heart attack and stroke, but because a supplier added sibutramine to it without labeling it as such, you can be putting yourself at risk without even knowing it!


Sexual enhancement supplements are also common targets for adding medications or analogues without being truly labeled as such. They may contain Viagra or components similar to it. Many patients purchase sexual enhancement supplements when there are medical reasons they can’t use Viagra or other prescription erectile function medications, such as taking nitrates or have certain heart problems. For a patient to be using tainted supplements, they may be putting themselves at a greater risk than even using regulated medications as doses can be varying and unknown in many of the supplements.


Ms. Singer’s article keeps the integrity of most supplements in mind – these contaminations are outliers but are real possibilities. All supplements shouldn’t be disregarded because there are issues with some manufacturers and some types of supplements. Buying especially these types of supplements from a reputable store with quality brands is important.


One point not addressed in the article, but that is important – if you think you’ve had any sort of reaction to these types of supplements – let your healthcare practitioner know regardless of the outcome. Lastly, remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!



Does the HCG diet really work? NO, and here is why


Diets, diets everywhere…. As we prepare to commit to new health or weight loss schedule, many of us tend to take stock of our waistlines and make that resolution to lose a few pounds (or pants sizes).

A diet trend that has been widely talked about is the “HCG diet.” Before you consider using that for your New Years resolution, read this!


Weight gained or loss is a result of calories in (or eaten) vs. calories out (or burned). Eat more than you need, you gain weight. Exercise and a sensible diet is truly the best way to care for your body. But what about when you can’t find time/motivation/energy to exercise but still want results? Many people have turned to “the HCG diet” to find results in recent years.


Nutrition is a subject that is sometimes overlooked in health courses. Whether future medical professionals take  health science classes  online or in the classroom, more than a few of them learn very little about the body’s nutritional needs. You may ask a doctor for advice about a diet program, but don’t necessarily expect a useful response. Programs like the  HCG diet  may not even be recognized by most doctors


HCG is a hormone naturally produced during pregnancy. Theoretically, using it as a supplement along with a restricted diet promotes rapid weight loss. The recommended calorie intake with this diet is a measly 500 calories a day. I was taught somewhere along the way that your brain, just your brain, needs 600 calories a day to do its job. Average caloric intake is 2000 calories a day, modified in small increments as needed for each individual person. The real truth is that a 500-calorie diet will produce a dramatic, but unhealthy, weight loss regardless of what supplement(s) a person is using.


HCG supplements sold over-the-counter are sometimes labeled as “homeopathic” meaning they have very small amounts of HCG in them, if any at all. These products are making claims for dramatic weight loss without the evidence, without the science to support these claims. Furthermore, the recommended diet along with these supplements can be dangerous. Extreme, restrictive diets put people at a higher risk of gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, and electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are required to keep the body’s muscle and nerves functioning properly.


If I have a patient that is currently eating 2000 calories per day and maintaining weight, but wants to lose weight, taking an average of 500 calories per day less will equate in a 3500 calorie/week deficit, resulting in a pound per week weight loss. When patients lose more than 1-2 pounds per week, I start getting concerned about what they’re losing – water, fat or muscle. Water drops off first, and then we get to the nitty gritty. If someone is eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly - fat will usually then be lost. But without the balanced diet and exercise, muscle is as likely to go as the fat. So what, you wonder?


If you’ve lost muscle you have less calorie-burning tissue and when your “diet” is over and you resume “normal” eating, you’ll have an excess of calories. When you have an excess of calories, you body converts the extra to fat. It usually means you gain the weight back quicker than you lost it and usually gain more than you had lost to begin with. You may be able to fit into that dress for the special occasion, but not for long.


Restrictive diets  are also not sustainable – not something you can do for a lifetime. Eating a balanced, healthy diet is something that can be continued lifelong, as is exercise. Make the better choices for you health, for your lifetime, not just for a short-term result.



1.M.R. Professional Trainer Supplement Review


1.M.R. by BPI is hands down the greatest pre-workout supplement I have ever taken.   As a professional trainer with over eight years in the field I have always personally tested and recommended only the absolute best supplements and products to my clients.

I go behind the product, dig through reviews, research the research and studies, verify labels and nutrition information, and use myself as the human guinea pig! I do not get paid or profit from selling one type of product or company over the other, and I will keep it that way! I myself, want the best out there not only for me, but my people.


1.M.R. unlike other pre-workout formulas, offers no caffeine jitters, headaches, or out of your mind, brain splitting, odd feelings like you just mixed an evil concoction of meth and crack cocaine with coffee. 1.M.R. noticeably elevates your overall mood and energy, really causing you to get busy and get after ‘it,’ whatever that may be. The amount of L-Arginine in it provides and unbelievable pump and great bloodflow. That combined with the mood and energy enhancement and you get some of the best workouts in your life.


The serving size of 1.M.R. is drastically smaller than it competitors, so you don’t have to lug around a giant container or mix up some giant scoop of dirt that smells and tastes like a shotgun blast. The taste, by the way, is great and it comes in a variety of  delicious flavors.     There is no bitter tongue lashing aftertaste or a burning sensation in the chest like you just drank pure gasoline. A unique blend of red wine and grape seed extracts add to this taste as well as the effects.


Just a simple scoop mixed with water and shaken up (no need to worry about your bottle top exploding off either) and you are good to go. 7.2 calories a serving with only 1.8g of carbs. Affordable and reasonable as any other pre-workout supplement. BPI has a great product here; no mass marketing scheme, no unrealistic product claims, just an affordable formula that works and tastes great! Simple!

9 Health Rules to Buying & Taking Medication

Prescription medications are widely used. I’ve worked in pharmacies for nearly 15 years and compiled a list to help you make the most your medications. Below are some tips to remember when taking medication to get the most out of your therapy:


1. Your medicine is for you. Just you. Not your brother. Or aunt. Or mom. Or son. If the bottle has your name on it, it’s for you only.   If your family member or friend needs the same prescription as you, they need to talk to their health care provider. There may be many reasons they do or do not need the exact same medicine.


2. Know the names of your medicine and what you’re taking it for. Asking for “the little white pill” drives me nutty. And it’s dangerous; there are many little white pills out there.


3. Take a list (or the medicine itself) every time you go to see your health care provider(s). This helps ensure they have an updated list and know exactly what you’re on.


4. Ask questions if you’re unsure about something regarding your medication, even if you think it’s a stupid question. Your health is at stake. It’s worth asking your health care provider (including your friendly pharmacist)—that’s why they’re there.


5. Take your medication exactly as directed. If the antibiotic states to take it three times daily for 10 days, take all of the pills. Period. Even if you’re feeling better after 3 days. If you’re taking a heart medication twice a day, take it morning and night.


6. Don’t skip around to several different doctors and several different pharmacies. Seeing many different practitioners increases your risk of adverse events and interactions from medicine potentially prescribed by different doctors and filled by different pharmacies.   Specialists are, of course, an exception. Seeing a cardiologist for your arthritis doesn’t make any sense. Still, make sure the other providers know who you’re seeing and for what purpose.


7. Ask about interactions between medicines you are taking, especially when a new one is added. Asking questions keeps your healthcare providers thinking about it.


8. If you think you’re experiencing an adverse reaction, ASK. Diarrhea with an antibiotic may be common or it may be something more severe. That rash that started yesterday may be just a rash or it may be a very serious reaction.


9. Continue taking all of your medication even when you feel it’s not necessary. Some health conditions you can’t “feel.” Discuss stopping any and all medications with your healthcare providers BEFORE stopping the medication. 10. Keep all medications in their original bottles. It has your name, doctor’s name, drug name and directions on it. Combining medication bottles can be troublesome: you can forget what medication is what and how you’re supposed to take it.