In 10 minutes or less, you should gather from this newsletter at least one practical way to improve your health today; otherwise, I've failed the goal of the letter.
Charles Runels, MD
In elderly subjects, omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish and soy oil help prevent sudden death according to a recent study. Increase heart rate variability (HRV), a measure of cardiac autonomic regulation (ability to adjust rate and force as needed), was improved by taking a daily fish or soy oil supplement therefore reducilng the risk of arrhythmia or sudden cardiac death (which can happen when the automatic mechanisms don't work properly).
Lead investigator Dr. Fernando Holguin, at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues followed 52 people age 60 or older who were randomized to one of the oil supplements, given as 1 gram capsules b.i.d. for 6 months (following a baseline 2-month period on nothing). The subjects underwent 6-minute supine HRV measurement every other day.
"Our study group showed improvements in heart function in as little as 2 weeks," Dr. Holguin commented in a press release.
"A diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids derived from either soy oil or fish oil in conjunction with other factors known to increase HRV such as exercise, weight loss, stress reduction, and restoration of normal sleep could be part of an effective way to improve cardiac autonomic function," Dr. Holguin's group suggests. Bottom line: fish oil or soy oil supplements may help reduce chance of sudden death. Though the risk reduction is small compared with that gained from regular walking in the 20-mile-per-week range, the reduction is still enough to warrant the trouble of taking that extra supplement.
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While wandering through the Birmingham public library as a teenager 30 years ago, I came accross Victor Frankl's classic book (considered by the Library of Congress to be one of the 10 most influential books ever published).
Dr. Frankl was a practicing physician before being sent to a war camp in WWII where he saw friends and family destroyed. His writings about how he saw some people find meaning and dignity and others behave as "swine" haunted me as a teenager and haunts me still. But, the message helped me cope with everything from work as a janitor in high school to dealing with the death of innocents in the ER.
Though it seems to me that it should be simple for me to find meaning in daily life if people could find meaning in the unspeakable German war camps where Dr. Frankl made his observations, sometimes "meaning" still evades me when considering the unpleasant or the mundane.
A brilliant clinician, Dr. Alex Pattakos, PhD, recently wrote a book that makes Dr. Frankl's teachings practically obtainable in the workplace: rather than look for pleasure or power at work, look for meaning and so possibly uncover both pleasure and power. The title of the book is Prisoner of Our Thoughts.
Peace and meaning improve immune function and hormonal balance and metabolism (not to mention just opening the door to happiness). Dr. Pattakos offers tools and advice and the book on his website, prisonersofourthoughts.com (click link below).
If you haven't read Dr. Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, you may want to read it alongside Dr. Pattakos' book. There's a 24 hour discussion of the book to be found at www.globaldialoguecenter.com
Thank you to those who have written about how you've been helped by the 15-day course, "Anytime...for as Long as You Want." If you have the book, please continue to pass the word by giving away the audio CD that comes with the course to someone whom you think might be helped.
Want a high protein, low-calorie but fun, T.V. snack that kills your appetite and takes less than one minute to prepare? 1. Dip a small bowl of cottage cheese (O.K., if you don't like cottage cheese you can stop reading now...because it's about to get really gross for you). 2. Dip low fat Tortillia chips into the cottage cheese. 3. Spoon your favorite salsa on top of the cottage cheese.
This sounds horrible to many but it's the same basic ingredients as a pizza, tastes delicious, and kills the appetite without expanding the abdomen.