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MORE than 7 million people in the United States burn candles each year.

In the Philippines, it is conceivably a lot more.

When paraffin candles burn, they produce benzene and toluene, two toxic solvents used to manufacture glossy paint and glue.

Benzene is a carcinogenic (cancer-producing) agent.

Smoke and soot from burning candles can trigger allergies, throat and lung irritation, contributing to asthma.

They also have deleterious effects on the brain, other nerve tissues and on the reproductive system.

Candle smoke and smoke from diesel fuels pollute the air with these dangerous substances and about 10 other toxins.

A lit paraffin candle in a home or a room that is not well-ventilated exposes the occupants to great health risks.

Candles made from soy or beeswax are biodegradable and not toxic.

Bariatric surgery and diabetes

Gastric bypass procedures known as bariatric surgery have been devised to help treat morbid obesity (severe state of overweight that does not respond to conventional treatment).

The resultant effects on weight reduction following bariatric surgery have been impressive compared to medical therapy.

On top of its good benefit on the person’s weight, a five-year study on 217 morbidly obese individuals with diabetes and elevated hemoglobin A1c level, revealed that gastric bypass also lowered the A1c level, an indication that diabetes was under control, responding to treatment.

There were also bonus benefits discovered following gastric bypass: reduction in the LDL (bad cholesterol), better control of the blood pressure, lesser number of anti-diabetic drugs and insulin dosage required.

Gastric bypass has been shown to be better than sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding.

The procedure “induces a significant and sustainable remission and improvement of Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic risk factors in severely obese patients.”

Those who had gastric bypass within five years of diagnosis had “higher rate of long-term remission,” according to this study.

How to combat stress

One vital component of a healthy lifestyle is effective stress management.

The armamentarium we have in our war against stress includes any or a combination of the following: laughing, singing, owning a pet, practicing religion, doing exercise (walking, jogging, swimming, etc.), organizing clutter around us, eating fruits or drinking their juice, being with friends, making rest and relaxation a regular part of your schedule.

Doing any of the above induces our body to release feel-good hormones (serotonin, dopamine, oxytoxin and prolactin), and at the same time reduces the secretion of stress hormones, like adrenalin, cortisol, etc.

The overall positive effect of stress management provides inner joy and peace, lowers blood pressure, and boosts the immune system.

Safer, cheaper colon cleansing

There are hundreds of pills, potions, lotions and enemas in the market today which claim to be effective in colon, liver and kidney cleansing.

Almost all of them are actually dangerous to health by causing electrolyte and fluid imbalance, and some are even toxic.

And worst of all, they are really unnecessary and very expensive.

Deceptive marketing are rampant and we must be vigilant against these to protect not only our pocketbook but our health and safety.

To cleanse our body system, all we have to do is to eat and a lot of vegetables, spices, nuts, grains and fruits.

Now, if you wish to be fancier, you can do “health smoothies” at home, cheaply, safely, custom-tailored to your own taste (in variety and proportion to satisfy your individual taste), at a fraction of the cost, and minus the “unknown, potentially dangerous, ingredients” present in those made commercially.

The basic ingredients in them are the five items I listed above, including malunggay, sili (pepper) leaves, cilantro (kin-chay), etc.

Among the fruits, all the berries are great.

Using even a simple blender, can mix anything you want and then “season” (with agave, honey, cinnamon or other species you like, sweetener, etc.) your own creation to your personal taste.

Voila!

A health drink by you, for you and your loved ones!

Diabetics or not, we must be aware of the calories from these preparations.

NAD to reverse aging?

Is the fountain of youth almost here?

In the journal Cell, Harvard professor of genetics, Dr. David Sinclair, re which reported for the first time “a special compound naturally made by young cells in the body that were able to revive older cells, making them energetic and youthful again.”

In an experiment in mice, Sinclair and his team discovered that “giving older mice a chemical called NAD for just one week made two-year-old mice tissue resemble that of a six-month-old mice (in human years, that would be akin to a 60 year old’s cells becoming more like those belonging to a 20-year-old).”

Sinclair also studied the anti-aging effects of resveratrol, a potent antioxidant in red wine, we wrote about in this column on Oct. 26, 1999 (www.philipSchua.com).

These are all encouraging preliminary discoveries, too early for any conclusive evidence.

The studies are still ongoing.

In the meantime, the best available source of our “fountain of youth” today is from living a healthy lifestyle.

Slimming products scam

Entering a health and nutrition store might be hazardous to your health, goes a common warning from health advocates.

This critical advice has great merit in it.

While a regular pharmacy carries mostly drugs approved by the FDA, almost all, if not all, “food supplements,” herbals and other items in health and nutrition store are not FDA-approved.

One popular product is marketed as “slimming or weight loss substances,” in various forms: capsules, tablets, juices, teas, etc.

These, alone, in themselves, without dieting and exercise, are not effective, and generally unsafe, with side-effects that could be life-threatening.

Nothing beats calorie and quality control and daily physical exercise when it comes to weight control and body sculpting.

Animals have good sense

Are we humans more sensible than animals when it comes to health?

For one thing, animals in general, including pigs, and especially dogs and cats, will not touch any food mixed with tobacco or alcoholic beverage, to most notorious chemicals that cause a lot of diseases among humans, including cancer.

Animals eat only what is good for them, unlike us, humans, self-proclaimed “the most intelligent creature” on planet Earth.

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