Apple Cider Vinegar Tests Lead to Warning Labeling

A bottle of apple cider vinegar in the morning sun, with apples in the background

Written by Tod Cooperman, M.D. 

ConsumerLab.com recently tested apple cider vinegar in bottles and pills and the results were discussed Monday on the Dr. Oz Show. We discovered that one apple cider vinegar supplement contained a very high concentration of acetic acid – over 20 percent, which is about four times the concentration in popular apple cider vinegars (which we also tested).

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A Closer Look at the Turpin Family’s Dark Secrets

Danger on the street. Blue flasher on the police car at night.

On January 14, 2018, a 17-year-old girl escaped her family home in Perris, California and called 911 to report that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive by their parents, 49-year-old Louise Turpin and 56-year-old David Turpin. When police arrived they found several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks, and they appeared to be “malnourished and very dirty”.

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In the News: Impact of Marijuana on Teenagers Revealed, Very Moderate Exercise Can Decrease Dementia Chance, Caffeine During Pregnancy Contributes to Childhood Obesity

A new study reveals the impact of marijuana on teenagers. This JAMA Psychiatry study analyzed 69 different studies on young cannabis users in the hope of establishing overall patterns and more concrete conclusions to inform the continuing changes in marijuana laws. Overall, young people who were frequent marijuana users showed lower scores for memory, learning and retaining new information, and higher-level problem-solving. However, the shocking part was that while there are biological factors that would suggest marijuana would affect the brain long-term, all of the most credible studies on young users indicated that those negative effects on brain function actually went away after three or more days of abstinence. The most frustrating part for marijuana researchers is the near impossibility of proving causality, and this group was only looking at information on recreational users, not medical users, but this newest indication that marijuana only has short-term negative brain effects is encouraging to those hoping to expand its credibility for medical use. (TIME)

Even a small amount of exercise can significantly decrease your chance of developing Alzheimer’s. There has been an influx of research linking exercise to brain health, but a recent study conducted in Sweden (on 191 women over 44 years) suggests that being just “moderately fit” made women a lot less likely to develop dementia later on than the women who could barely exercise at all. The fittest women participating were 90 percent less likely to develop the disease than those who could not complete any fitness test. Though they could not show cause and effect, the findings indicate that improving fitness levels at middle age has hugely positive effects on mental health later. Best of all, that means that middle age is not too late to start in order to make a difference. Laura Baker of Wake Forest University conducts similar research and says that moderate exercise is if “you can hear yourself breathing and you are starting to sweat and your heart rate is just getting up.” You do not have to be at athlete-level training – just become active enough to fit those criteria each day. The research shows that exercise has had a far greater impact on positive memory and cognitive function than any existing medicine. To further prevent Alzheimer’s, try this meal plan. (NBC)

Caffeine intake in pregnant mothers has been linked to excessive childhood weight gain. In a new study, over 50,000 women reported their daily caffeine intake once during their pregnancy and their children’s weights were monitored intermittently for six months to eight years. Women with a “very high” intake had a 66 percent higher chance of their child being overweight in the first year of life than those with a low intake; women with “high” or “average” intake had a 30 percent higher chance. This is significant because 75 percent of pregnant women drink coffee and our obesity epidemic is only rising. For reference, an eight-ounce cup of coffee has around 150 mg, the “average” level for this study was 50-200 mg a day, and the current guidelines for pregnant women suggests not surpassing 200 mg a day. The good news is that only the children who had been exposed to “very high” levels of caffeine during pregnancy still had a greater chance of being overweight at eight years old, which is when other factors like diet and exercise being to have a much greater effect in utero. However, researchers are pushing for the official caffeine intake guidelines for women to be lowered and recommend as little as possible for your baby’s optimal health. If you are trying to cut back your caffeine intake, watch out for these foods as well. (CNN)

How to Take a Healthy Break From Technology

Late night messaging

Written by Catherine Price

Is your smartphone the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you touch before bed? Do you often find it in your hand without knowing how it got there, or pick it up “just to check” only to look up 45 minutes later wondering what happened?

If so, you’re not alone. According to Moment, a time-tracking app with nearly five million users, the average person spends four hours a day on their smartphone. That’s a quarter of our waking lives—a full 60 days per year.

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How to Buy Organic Groceries Without Exceeding Your Budget

Woman shopping for candy grocery store

Written by Laura Batcha CEO/Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association

I hope you’re among the millions of individuals and families across our nation who have discovered how good it is for you and your family to eat organic food and use organic products in your daily lives.

I get lots of questions on how we can save money when buying organic. Organic products can sometimes be more expensive than conventional, and we all want to find ways to economize while still choosing organic. The good news, I have found, is that there are many ways to live an organic – and thrifty! – lifestyle.

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In the News: Music Shown to Enhance Effects of Hypertension Medication, Morning People Appear to Live Longer, Depressed Mothers May Have Children with Lower IQs

A new study shows that certain music enhances the effects of hypertensive medication. New research has proven that music lowers heart rate and blood pressure on its own without any medication. However, a study conducted at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil has recently demonstrated that the effects of music go even further to augment the effects of medications for this condition. Thirty-seven participants who had been taking hypertension medication for six months to a year listened to music for 60 minutes after taking their normal daily dose, and researchers took their vitals at the 20, 40, and 60-minute marks. The heart rates of the participants dropped significantly after an hour when listening to music, and not at all on the days that they sat without music. Researchers believe this could be due to music activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that slows heart rate, or the gastrointestinal system, causing the drug to be digested and absorbed faster. The study must be replicated with more participants with varying degrees of severity in their hypertension, but these results suggest that some musical intervention is worth a shot for anyone wishing to see more improvement without changing their prescription. If you have high blood pressure, here are five surprising reasons why. (MNT)

Night people are shown to have a 10% higher risk of death from any cause than morning people. This conclusion was formed after researchers controlled for age, sex, smoking, body mass index, sleep duration, and other variables presumed to affect life expectancy, in a sample of 433,268 people aged 38 to 73. Participants classified themselves as “definite morning”, “moderate morning”, “moderate evening”, and “definite evening” people and the researchers followed each of them for about six years. Not only did “definite evening” show a 10 percent increased risk of death than the “definite morning” group, each of these intervals between the two types in classification saw a significantly increased risk of disease. Night owls were 30 percent more likely to have diabetes and twice as likely to have a psychological disorder than morning people. The size, length, and statistically significant results of this study make it credible; night people can decrease risk by gradually making their bedtime earlier and not bringing smartphones to bed with them to make it more likely that they fall asleep right away. Want to become a morning person? Try these six tips. (NYT)

A new study suggests a mother’s depression has long-term effects on her children’s learning and development. The study spanned from birth to adolescence, tracking the mother’s depressive symptoms, the child’s cognitive development, and aspects of the home life to indicate the level of engagement between the two. The results showed that if the mother had depression when the child was one, it led to decreased developmental levels in the child through the age of 16, coupled with the fact that depressed mothers were less likely to engage and provide learning materials. Researchers also found the opposite to hold true: Early signs of low IQ in a child made mothers become less likely to engage, and actually increased the mother’s depressive symptoms after the child entered adolescence. The study was done in Chile, and researchers worry that the results may not be applicable across nationalities and cultures, but they do stress the importance of early enrichment programs for kids to reach their full potential regardless of home life. (ABC)

In the News: Updated Alzheimer’s Definition Could Lead to Faster Diagnosis, Yoga in School Helps Young Children with Anxiety, One Gene Can Make You Increase Sugar Intake While Decreasing Body Fat

Scientists are leaning towards using biological methods to diagnosis Alzheimer’s 15-20 years sooner. Rather than waiting until cognitive decline reveals itself in a patient to start testing and diagnosing Alzheimer’s, doctors can diagnose the disease using objective and biological evaluations from brain scans. Dr. Clifford R. Jack Jr. of the Mayo Clinic led a few of his fellow experts to change the guidelines in The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association to include these objective brain characteristics in the signs of the disease, meaning that a lot more people will be correctly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 20 years sooner than they otherwise would have been. These brain scans haven’t been approved in the mainstream treatment of Alzheimer’s, only in studying it, but this evaluation tactic has huge implications. This disease currently has no cure, only treatments that temporarily and slightly ease symptoms, and experts believe it is because the disease is often caught too late, similarly to cancer. Because doctors can now use this improved, objective definition of the disease to identify it and study patients before symptoms develop, they may be able to develop treatments to prevent the eventual cognitive decline. Stock up on these anti-Alzheimer’s foods to further stave off this condition. (NBC)

Study finds yoga and mindfulness activities greatly improves well-being in third-graders. Researchers from Tulane University worked with a public school in New Orleans to add yoga and mindfulness activities to the curriculum for an experimental group of children, while a control group continued regular care such as counseling and interaction with the school social worker. The researchers chose to do the study with third-graders because previous child studies have already found this to be a significant year for increased academic challenges and related increased stress and anxiety for kids. Before and after the changed curriculum, researchers evaluated the children’s quality of life; kids who underwent the intervention using yoga and mindfulness while at school saw significantly improved psychosocial and emotional quality of life scores after eight weeks, and teachers confirmed a noticed difference in the well-being of students in this group. The larger implications are that mindfulness and related activities are extremely valuable at any age for improving quality of life and that the stress or anxiety in young people in your life should not be underestimated. Check out Dr. Oz’s favorite yoga moves here. (SD)

In an enormous UK study, researchers find one gene that makes people eat more sugar without increased body fat. Researchers in the UK recently studied the biological data of 451,099 people; this size study lends itself to concrete confidence in their findings, which included the conclusion that there is one gene that many of us may call the “lucky gene.” Called FGF21, it makes people who have it want and need to intake a higher level of sugar than anyone else, while also increasing metabolic rate, resulting in lower body fat levels than most people. However, they also looked at the effects of this gene on people’s diets, body compositions, and blood pressures, concluding that people with this gene aren’t entirely lucky: their bodies hold more fat in their upper body, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and compromised heart health. They also are more likely to drink more alcohol, due to their taste for sugar. Researchers hope to use this information to explore potentially treating diabetes with the manipulation of this gene. However, the largest takeaway is that, while you likely don’t know if you have this gene, a healthy diet is important for anyone, regardless of whether there is evidence of risk on the scale! (MNT)