Coffee’s Potential Health Benefits

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and the Harvard Heart Letter. Please share your thoughts below…..

cupcoffeeCoffee is a nearly calorie-free beverage brimming with antioxidants. It might ease artery-damaging inflammation and deliver substances that support heart health.

Coffee drinkers around the world savor the bitter brew on a daily basis. But are there any grounds for concern regarding coffee’s effects on the heart? On the contrary: the case for drinking coffee seems to be growing, reports the March 2015 Harvard Heart Letter. Coffee — minus the cream and sugar — is a nearly calorie-free beverage brimming with antioxidants. It also might ease artery-damaging inflammation and deliver a substance that helps the body regulate blood sugar.

“The evidence for the benefits of coffee consumption is even more convincing than it was five years ago, especially when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Although caffeine is by far the most studied compound in coffee, the beverage is a complex brew that contains hundreds, if not thousands, of bioactive components. Among these are vitamins, minerals, and potent, plant-based anti-inflammatory compounds known as polyphenols. Most likely, it’s the combination of these substances, rather than caffeine itself, that confers coffee’s potential health benefits.

Caffeine, a mild stimulant, triggers a short-term rise in blood pressure and heart rate. While some coffee drinkers welcome the stimulant effect, others complain that caffeine causes daytime jitters and sleepless nights. Now, researchers acknowledge that a moderate amount of caffeine is fine for most people with heart disease as long as they don’t have a heart-rhythm problem.

“People develop tolerance to caffeine within a few days, so the effects cannot be extrapolated to the long term. Over time, caffeine does raise the resting metabolic rate and increase energy expenditure, albeit modestly, so it may actually turn out to be helpful in controlling body weight,” says Dr. Hu.

Read the full-length article, “A wake-up call on coffee”

Also in the March 2015 Harvard Heart Letter:

* A big belly is bad news for the heart

* Education, memory loss, and stroke risk

* Device-guided breathing for blood pressure

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

18 Signs You Can See On Your Body Of Potential Disease

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By Dr. Michael Wald

healthywords1. Cracked lips could be an indicator of diabetes because blood sugar grows Candida, a yeast-like fungus, in thin-skinned areas.

2. Creamy white patches on the tongue and gums can be signs of thrush, or yeast.

3. Loss of hair at the outer part of the eyebrows can indicate a thyroid problem.

4. Acne on the chin and upper lip is linked to hormone imbalance. This could be an indicator of PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

5. Unexplained nosebleeds could mean that the blood is not clotting properly due to a lack of vitamin K, protein and prothrombin.

6. Pale lower eyelids could indicate a lack of iron. Droopy eyelids could indicate a muscular and nerve problem or even a stroke.

7. A yellow tinge to the whites of the eyes could be a sign of liver problems.

8. A white ring under the iris (colored part of the eye) could be a sign of high cholesterol.

9. The Institute of Cancer says that men whose index fingers are longer than their ring fingers are less likely to acquire prostate cancer.

10. Men whose index finger is shorter than the ring finger may have longer penises.

11. Bad breath could be an indicator of heart disease, tonsillitis, GI disease or cancer.

12. Skin tags may indicate diabetes.

13. Loss of sense of smell may indicate a predisposition to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

14. Small calves may indicate a hidden cardiovascular risk.

15. A diagonal earlobe crease may indicate a hidden cardiovascular risk.

16. Bulging neck, hair falling out and fatigue may indicate low thyroid.

17. Adult acne is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

18. A 5 o’clock shadow indicates higher testosterone levels and a lower risk of heart disease.

– Dr. Michael Wald, aka The Blood Detective, is the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, located in Westchester New York. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Channel 11 PIX, Channel 12 News, CNN, The Food Network and other media outlets. Dr. Wald earned the name Blood Detective for his reputation to find problems that are often missed by other doctors. He earned an MD degree, is a doctor of chiropractic and a certified dietician-nutritionist. He is also double-board certified in nutrition. He has published over a dozen books with three additional titles due for release late 2013 including: Frankenfoods – Genetically Modified Foods: Controversies, Lies & Your Health and Gluten-A-Holic: How to Live Gluten Free and the Blood Detective’s Longevity Secrets. Dr. Wald can be reached at: or or by calling: 914-242-8844.

Diabetes Drug Metformin Finally Understood – Leading To Potential New Diabetes Drugs

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By Philip Tucker

diabetesglucoseWhen it comes to reporting on diabetes the news has been almost unrelentingly grim. The number of people with type-2 diabetes has skyrocketed across the globe, and while a better understanding of how diabetes works has led to extended life spans, the mortality rate is also rising. Which is why an article rather cryptically entitled, Biguanides suppress hepatic glucagon signalling by decreasing production of cyclic AMP is such good news – at long last scientists have deciphered the way in which metformin controls the levels of blood sugar in diabetic patients – and opened new potential pathways to developing even better treatments.

One of the most serious challenges facing diabetics is controlling their levels of blood sugar. Overactive glucose production in the liver can lead to serious health problems, as diabetic patients are unable to produce enough insulin to keep this process in check. This is where metformin came in. It lowered the production of liver produced glucose, but nobody quite understood why.

For awhile it was theorized that metformin reduced glucose production by activating an enzyme called AMPK, but this theory was demolished when Nature published a study showing that genetic manipulated mice who had no AMPK still responded to metformin. Enter senior author Morris J. Birnbaum, MD, PhD and Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor of Medicine. Along with his team from the Perelman School of Medicine, they have found through research on mice that metformin works by actually suppressing the liver hormone glucagon’s ability to generate an essential signaling molecule.

Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas which raises blood sugar levels.

Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas which raises blood sugar levels. Think of it as the anti-insulin; it does exactly the opposite job. Glucagon causes the liver to release glucose, and it is exactly this process that Dr. Birnbaum and his team discovered that metformin interrupted. Metformin causes the accumulation of AMP in mice, which prevents the signaling peptide adenylate cyclase from acting, reducing cyclic AMP and protein kinase activity, which eventually blocks the production of glucose.

Why are these details important? Because metformin is like a sledgehammer, and causes a wide array of side effects in those who take it, like affecting the mitochondria in cells, impeding their ability to make energy. Our new understanding of how it acts on glucagon could now allow us to take a shortcut and target adenylate cyclase directly, making for a more specific drug that could cut out many if not all of metformin’s side effects—and perhaps even work for those patients on whom metformin has no effect at all.

– Phil Tucker is a sports enthusiast and blogger. Check out his blog to learn more, or visit his site!