Tuesday, July 2, 2019


Most people think of sunscreen use only during the summer months.  However, successful sunscreen use is to apply a lot of sunscreen liberally, repeatedly, and often to the body when exposed to the sun’s rays regardless of the time off the year.  Sunscreens are best applied 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the active ingredients to dissolve into skin layers.  Epidemiologic data indicates that a history of five episodes of sunburn per decade increases risk for melanoma (a type of skin cancer) by threefold.

There is much confusion regarding the SPF (sun protective factor) values.  SPF is primarily an indication of UVB protection as this type of radiation causes more skin redness than UVA radiation.  Damaging effects from UVB occur mostly in the summer as sunburn, but damage resulting in skin aging and skin cancer can occur throughout the year from UVA as well as UVB.
SPF of 15 blocks 93% of UVB radiation.  SPF of 30 blocks 97% and an SPF of 50 blocks 98% of UVB radiation.  Sunscreens can no longer be labeled witn an SPF greater than 50 and are now labeled as SPF50+.  A “broad spectrum” sunscreen with protection from UVB and UVA is the most helpful and is recommended.

Use a “broad spectrum” product with SPF of 15 or 30. Apply to all exposed body parts.  The amounts used should be 4 tablespoons/12 teaspoons, a shot glass full, or an amount to fill a child’s cupped hand.  Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours while outside and more when swimming.  A large bottle of sunscreen will not last a whole family during the summer months.  If it does, not enough is being applied.  Sunscreen is available as liquid creams, sprays, gels, and sticks.  Sprays are easy and convenient, but may cause too little sunscreen to be applied.  Spray an adequate amount into hands and then apply.  Gels may be good for the male chest or the scalp.

Sunday, June 9, 2019


Sunburn is a concern during the summer months.  The radiation from the sun causing sunburn is UVB (ultra violet B).  UVA1 and UVA2  age the skin.  The burning question, both literally and figuratively, is which type of sunscreen is best.  The most commonly used sunscreens are “chemical absorbers,” which the FDA prefers to refer to as organic because they contain carbon compounds.  Broad spectrum sunscreens are meant to protect against a range of radiation wavelengths.  The chemical absorbers absorb the active UV rays and release their energy in harmless ways.  The FDA recommends using sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. 

Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are physical blockers.  They do not decompose through sun exposure and theoretically will remain on the skin longer.  When UV rays hit skin coated in physical blockers, they are reflected and cannot penetrate the skin.  A concern is whether blocking the sun’s rays can result in vitamin D deficiency.

A sunscreen of some type should be put on the skin before going out in the sun.  It should be reapplied every two hours as long as you are out in the sun.  No sunscreen of any type should be used on babies younger than 6 months, and they should be kept out of the sun.  People with broken skin or rashes should talk to a physician before applying sunscreen to the affected parts of the body.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

When/How Do I Take My Medication?

There is an optimal time and way to take medications to receive the most benefits from them.

  • Between meals is an hour before or two hours after eating.

  • Blood pressure medication is more effective when taken at night.  Should you miss a dose, do not take it at a different time in attempt to make up for your missed dose.  Take it again at your regular time.
  • Thyroid medication should be taken on an empty stomach with water.  Wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything.
  • Never exceed the prescribed dose for a pain killer.  If the dose you are taking does not control the pain, talk to your doctor.  Do not try to adjust the dose.
  • If you are taking a tetracycline and you also take a calcium supplement, be sure not to take them at the same time.  Calcium inactivates tetracyclines.
  • If you take Fosamax, you must not lie down for 30 minutes after taking it.
  • If you take a prescription amount of potassium, do not lie down for 30 minutes after taking it.
  • Antibiotics and probiotics should not be taken at the same time.  Take them at different times such as taking one of them an hour before taking the other, or two hours afterward.
  • Grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit can interfere with the action of some prescription drugs including some statin drugs, some blood pressure lowering drugs, some antianxiety and antiarrhythmia drugs, and some antihistamines.  Ask a pharmacist or physician to find out if a drug you are taking is affected.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Where Did That Come From?

In May we acknowledge the role of women as mothers when we celebrate Mother’s Day.  Through the centuries women from all countries and of many races have made significant contributions in all fields.  Some of them have been celebrated and acknowledged such as women in science and medicine.  Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman doctor in the US.  She graduated from medical school in 1849.  Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross and cared for soldiers during the Civil War.  Rosalyn Sussman Yalow developed the technique making it possible to scan blood donations for infectious diseases.

However, there are women who are “Mothers of Invention” and whose ideas have made a major impact on our day-to-day life.  These women all belong to the group of great American tinkerers who have made our lives easier and more efficient.  Most people are unaware of their contributions.  

  • Margaret Knight – the square bottom paper bag
  • Mary Anderson – the windshield wiper
  • Florence Lawrence – turn and brake signals
  • Katherine Blodgett – nonreflecting glass
  • Marion O’Brien Donoyan – disposable diapers
  • Stephanie Kwolek – kevlar (synthetic fabric stronger than steel of the same weight)
  • Josephine Cochrane – dishwasher
We should all consider these outstanding women and the many more worldwide who have affected our lives so significantly.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

When/How Do I Take My Supplements?

Supplements must be taken judiciously to receive maximum benefit.  Swallowing them all at one time will cause the benefits of some of them to be negated.

  • Minerals are better absorbed when taken at night. 
  • Vitamins should be taken in the mornings. 
  • Do not take B vitamins after 4 in the afternoon to avoid their preventing your going to sleep. 
  • Amino acids should be taken 30 minutes before meals.
  • If taken with meals, proteolytic enzymes act as a digestive aid.  If taken between meals they act as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Between meals is an hour before a meal or two hours afterward.
  • Very few people need a multivitamin containing iron.  Women are more likely to need iron than men because of blood loss during periods.  Check with your physician to see if you need a multivitamin containing iron.
  • Quercetin (400mg to 500mg) taken between meals acts as a powerful antihistamine
Many people cannot take B-Complex because they do not tolerate one or more of the B vitamins contained in the complex mixture.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Nutritional Supplementation

Nutritional supplements consist of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, or amino acids.  They are intended to supplement nutrients that are missing or are not in the diet in sufficient amounts.  In the US the Food and Drug Administration regulates supplements as a food category and not as drugs.

Americans are said to have the richest urine in the world because many people take nutritional supplements in a form the body cannot utilize, causing them to be excreted in the urine.  Despite this, many Americans improve their health by taking nutritional supplements their bodies can utilize.

  • Purchase supplements only in forms that are more readily absorbed.
  • Powders: rapidly absorbed, contain no fillers or binders.  Excellent form for those who have difficulty swallowing capsules or tablets.
  • Liquids: useful for children and for people who cannot swallow capsules or tablets.  Absorbed rapidly, but may contain sugars, coloring agents, and additives.
  • Chewables: suitable for children, but may contain sugars, coloring agents, and additives.
  • Time-release tablets: nutrients released over a period of time.  Sufficient stomach acid necessary to dissolve the tablet coating and release the supplement.
  • Tablets: longer shelf life, but not absorbed as rapidly as powders, liquids, or capsules.  Be cautious of binders (frequently corn starch) and fillers.
  • Capsules: easier to swallow and generally contain fewer binders and fillers.  Capsules may be made from pork, beef, or vegetable gelatin.

Bioavailability varies with the brand, and the quality of the nutrient depends on the source material from which it is extracted.  Choose brands that are free of the common allergens such as milk, corn, wheat, egg, soy, sugar, and yeast.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Smoking Damages DNA

 Smoking tobacco products causes damage to DNA that may last as long as 30 years.  While much of the damage from smoking may be healed within the first five years after stopping smoking, some DNA damage does not appear to revert to normal.  Some people use e-cigarettes in an attempt to find help to stop smoking.  There are also those who believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.  However, vaping, or smoking electronic cigarettes has a list of negative health effects, trading one serious health risk for another.

Smoking affects DNA methylation.  Genes are made up of DNA.  Changes to DNA called methylation affect how genes are expressed and may modify the way the genes affect health.  This can also affect the way the body responds to the environment.  Smoking can change DNA and increase risk of disease.  This type of DNA change has been linked to the development of cancers and the expression of cardiac disease.  DNA methylation is also linked to prenatal cigarette exposure and development of chronic disease when a child reaches adulthood.  Breathing secondhand smoke triggers health conditions that can be much like actual smoking.  It is also believed that nicotine from the air is absorbed through the skin.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Little Known Facts

Little Known Facts

·         Studies suggest that children have stronger, more satisfying relationships with pets, especially their dogs, than with their siblings.
·         Because of overpopulation that strains both food supplies and living spaces, some researchers predict that in the future flesh-and-blood pets will be replaced by companion robots.
·         Drilling holes in the skull to “let the madness out” was once a common treatment for mental illness.
·         Ten percent of pedestrian injuries involve people who are texting or otherwise focused on cell phones.
·         Hot air hand dryers in public restrooms disperse bacteria laden water droplets than can spread disease.
·         Oils, fats, coffee grounds, eggshells, flour, rice, and pasta can clog the drains of garbage disposals.
·         The cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is currently $233,610, or $14,000 per year.
·         For some people home sleep apnea tests have been shown to be as reliable as over-night sleep lab testing.
·         A new study has shown that psychoactive chemicals have been found in children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke.

Did You Know That?

·         An anti-inflammatory diet protects women against fractures and bone loss.
·         Drinking wine is associated with increased possibilities of melanoma.
·         Half of adults and two-thirds of children drink one or more sugary drinks every day.
·         Processed food and fast food tend to be high in salt and sugar and low in fiber.
·         More than a third of injury-related emergency room visits are attributed to falls.
·         Peppermint oil has been shown to reduce tension headaches when applied to the temples.
·         Sesame oil has significant cardiovascular benefits.
·         Urinary bladders can hold more than two cups of urine.
·         Most people blink about 15 times a minute, which amounts to around 15,000 times a day.
·         Although used culinary as grain, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are not grains. Grains are seeds of the plants in the grass family, and these plants are not in the grass family.  They are more accurately classified as pseudo-grains.
·         A berberine herbal supplement works as well for lowering blood sugar for some diabetics as metformin.  Research suggests it may also reduce risk in developing diabetes.
·         Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Monday, January 7, 2019


 Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.  It accounts for 1 out of every 5 of these deaths.  Damage to DNA caused from smoking stays with a person for decades and in some instances does not revert to normal even after they stop smoking.  Many people believe electronic cigarettes are a healthier alternative than smoking.  Vaping, or smoking electronic cigarettes that produce vapor instead of smoke, has its own list of negative health effects.   People are just trading one serious health risk for another.

E-cigarettes or e-cigs came to the US about 2007, and are not a safe alternative to smoking regular cigarettes.  An e-cig uses heat to create an aerosol that contains nicotine, flavorings, solvents, and other chemicals.  The flavorings were developed to satisfy taste buds.  Diacetyl is an artificial flavor also used for adding a buttery taste to microwave popcorn.  It can cause respiratory damage, including inflammation and permanent scarring of the airways.  It is just one of the many chemicals used to flavor e-cigarettes.  Vape flavorings like bubble gum, Dr. Pepper, and cotton candy entice young people to use e-cigarettes.  E-cigarettes may damage the lung tissue as well as affecting and damaging the brain.