From the monthly archives: "April 2008"
Seems like everybody today is on statins–13 million Americans to be exact. And only 12 million more worldwide. Hey, how can more Americans be on a drug than the rest of the world combined? Seems fishy doesn’t it? Does to me, except for one fact: America is prime and ripe for marketing manipulation; and no drug has been more hyped than the statins. Can you say best selling drug of all time?

We look at the very interesting mathematics behind the marketing of statins on the latest episode of the Dr. Nick Show (Episode 7). In it we discuss NNT, the number needed to treat for one person to benefit from a drug. Lipitor, the most popular statin (see the commercial here), accounting for approximately $14 billion in sales annually, has an NNT of 100 in its clinical trials. That is, it takes 100 people taking the drug for one to benefit. In other words, 99 out of every hundred (99%) people taking Lipitor get no benefit from the drug. What? That’s right, NO BENEFIT!

So what gives? I mean these drugs have been touted as simply miraculous. They are the answer to high cholesterol, that supposed villain responsible for many heart attacks (listen, I debunk this myth in my new book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health; please pick up a copy). Well, these latest findings sure put a dagger into that nonsense. And am I the only one frightened by the notion that “statins should be added to the water supply“, as some researchers have suggested? Hell no.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, nobody is going to care as much about your health as you do. Not your doctor, not the government, and not the pharmaceutical industry. Drug manufacturers will always try to portray their product in the best light. And doctors simply don’t have time to scrutinize every drug that comes out, so they rely on drug reps to give them the skinny on the latest drugs. When drug reps tell doctors that their statins reduce heart attacks by 36%, doctors believe these numbers. Add to that a certain dogma that has its way of infecting all large institutions and well…I guess it takes the public to be on its own toes.

So there you have the truth. Listen to the latest episode of the Dr. Nick Show for more information on the fallacy of statin drug efficacy. And keep tuning into this blog for the latest in health news and information. I promise, you won’t get this information from your medical doctor. No time. Sorry.

You all know how I feel about vitamin D–I think supplementing with it is essential to good health. Vitamin D is necessary for bone growth and maintenance, proper immune function, and the regulation of many important metabolic functions like sugar regulation and parathyroid function. Now new findings suggest that vitamin D may protect against peripheral arterial disease.

Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, is a disease of the blood vessels where blood flow is diminished due to hardening of the arterial walls which leads to narrowing or occlusion of the vessel. Diminished blood flow of PAD occurs most often in the leg and can lead to cramping, numbness and discoloration. Left untreated it could eventually lead to amputation.

The research was based on a government survey of 4,839 adults. Vitamin D levels were measured in the adults, and they found that the people in the lowest 25 percent of vitamin D levels were 80 percent more likely to have PAD than those in the highest 25 percent. Hmmm…very interesting.

It might be a little premature to make the connection between high vitamin D levels and a lowered risk of PAD. These findings may simply be due to the people with the highest vitamin D levels were just healthier overall. Perhaps they were regular exercisers, and perhaps they spent a lot of time outdoors. Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Perhaps the group with the highest vitamin D levels eat well and perhaps some of them take supplements. These are all things which would need to be distinguished in a more specific research project. But these recent results are encouraging. Hey, I wouldn’t be surprised. Vitamin D is amazing; and there are probably many other health benefits that we don’t know of yet with some known vitamins and nutrients. I take vitamin D supplements regularly and so should you. If these findings regarding PAD are found to be correct, then you’ll be ahead of the game.

Every year thousands of elderly women (and men) fall and break a hip. Many of these women die as a result. Balance, or the loss thereof, is a serious health issue. I find it so important that I do lots of balance training with my clients, old or young. And now some great research out of Temple University in Philadelphia is showing that yoga–yes, my favorite form of physical fitness–is stupendous for bringing back one’s state of balance.

In the study, 24 women aged 65 and older were taken through an hour and a half yoga session two times per week for nine weeks. The intensity of the sessions increased gradually over time. They found that after the program, the women walked faster, used longer strides, and could stand for a longer time on one leg. The women also felt more confident in their ability to balance while standing and walking.

One other incredible result is that the women increased one centimeter in height on average following the program. Wow! Researchers seemed perplexed in finding a reason for this and concluded that “The only explanation may be that they are standing more upright, not so much crouching,” said study chief Dr. Jinsup Song. This seems obvious to me. Stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak ones will lead to a more upright posture. Throw in a little chiropractic care to open up stuck joints and you might even get two centimeters.

It’s great–I love to see real health measures being researched. Yoga is an all encompassing health and fitness practice. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. Take a class or two every week for an entire year and I promise that your life will change. Don’t take my word for it–just do it.

Think exercise is just for adults? Think again–it’s for teenagers and children and unborn babies too! Unborn babies? Yes…aerobic exercise benefits babies still basking in the womb. How so?

Through the autonomic nervous system, that part of the nervous system beyond our conscious control, baby gets cardiac benefits same as Mama does. Isn’t that the coolest? Mothers who performed regular aerobic exercise–at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week–showed lower heart rates and higher heart rate variabilities (as did their fetuses), than did mothers who were inactive. These were the results of a pilot study presented to the 121st annual meeting of the American Physiological Society, part of the Experimental Biology 2008 scientific conference.

Heart rate is the frequency of the heart cycle, or how often the heart contracts in a given period of time. Lower heart rates are desirable while at rest (not too low, though), as rapid heart rates mean the heart is working harder than it should be. Heart rate variability is the heart’s ability to adjust to varying levels of demand, so the higher the better. In fact, a low heart rate variability can be dangerous. Regular aerobic exercise improves both. And now we know how much it benefits baby too.

Keeping up with one’s exercise regimen while pregnant is important, and although many routines will need to be modified, getting in some brisk cardiovascular work is always a plus. Here are some ways in which you can keep things moving throughout your entire pregnancy:

  • hiking–if you live in Los Angeles, there are lots of places to do this
  • walking laps at a park–try to build up a sweat
  • yoga–many studios offer prenatal yoga classes
  • swimming–great way to take the load off
  • go to the gym–light weights should be fine; use the treadmill

My pregnant wife does four days a week of cardio, yoga, and light weights. She looks great. She feels great, and now I’m calmly satisfied that my baby is getting his or her cardio work in too. Very good. It’ll be needed..to keep up with this family.

Who was it that said they don’t want no one minute-man? Well then how about a three-minute man? Five-minute dynamo? If current research is right, then there should be a lot of smug studs out there relishing the notion that 15 minutes of love making is a damn near marathon.

According to experts, the optimal amount of time for sexual intercourse is 3 to 13 minutes. Woohoo boys, no more need for explaining, everybody’s doing the Flashdance. That’s right, a survey of sex therapists showed that the average coital time between couples is a lot shorter than we all think. In fact, 7.3 minutes is the median time for sexual intercourse (found in a study of 1,500 people where the women held stopwatches).

The results were not gender specific–both women and men want foreplay and sexual intercourse to last longer–and they were not age specific, as both older and younger men had difficulty making sex last much longer. I know, I know, we’ve all seen the movies, but they’re loopin’ film, I tell ya. But for anyone who has suffered more than just a little anxiety over this matter, you can finally put it to rest, not many people are doing much more that. According to Marianne Brandon, a clinical psychologist and director of Wellminds Wellbodies in Annapolis, Md., “There are so many myths in our culture of what other people are doing sexually. Most people’s sex lives are not as exciting as other people think they are.”

Amen, sister. Look, it’s just about mutual fulfillment. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 13.3 minutes, if that’s what it takes, then that what it takes. Sometimes one partner is into it and the other one isn’t–2 minutes. Or God forbid, 30 minutes! Oh well, you’re just not in sync, try again another time. Or even better, wait till you’re both down with it. Or…you can talk about it and learn each other’s parameters (not advisable, however, on a first date). Either way, chill out about your staying power, it’s really not that big of a deal.

The best part of this story is a comment by lead author Eric Corty who said, “People who read this will say, ‘I last five minutes or my partner lasts 8 minutes,’ and say, ‘That’s OK.’ They will relax a little bit.” All I can say is my wife better not be having any of those discussions with anybody. And if any of you feel the need to tell me, well…I’m not interested.

As I was perusing some of my favorite blogs today, I came across the Blog Cuss-O-Meter. This nifty little tool analyzes your blog for cuss words. Cussing is an easy way to get a reaction from readers, good or bad, and it isn’t lost on me how many people resort to it. I’ve got no problem with a well placed expletive, but when that’s the entire gist of a dialog, I question the writer’s talent.

Anyway, I ran my site and I came in at a very respectable 1.1% swear factor. Basically, 88% of all the blog sites out there swear more than mine does. Cool. I’m satisfied. If I can’t get health information over to you without MF’n up a storm, then I better turn in my blog permit. But thank you for appreciating a cuss word here and there for emphasis–got keep it real, too, you know.

If you want to check your own blog, click on the photo below.

@#$@!%^&! Just kidding.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

Afraid of bad breath–yours, not somebody else’s? If so, you suffer from halitophobia. Halitophobia is the fear of halitosis, or severe bad breath. Up to 25% of people claiming to have halitosis actually don’t; they are simply halitophobic.

But bad breath is a problem. 25% of all adults have chronic bad breath, while the numbers might be as high as 50% in older adults. Fortunately, scientists think they may have found a solution. A group at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine have found that brushing twice a day with a toothpaste containing triclosan and scraping the tongue surface eliminated halitosis. The researchers tested people before and after using they toothpaste and tongue scraper by measuring mouth air levels of odor-causing bacteria and analyzing tongue scrapings for 20 species of bacteria known to cause bad breath. They found odor levels to decrease by 75%.

Nice. Let’s all let out a big shout for the Bad Breath Busters. We all know some people who can use a little triclosan, and we all know some that we’d like to send a barrelfull. But for now we can rest assured that some very serious scientists are on the halito-patrol. And I can go have that garlic omelet in peace.

If I had to guess the lazy man’s ultimate fantasy, I would have to say that it’s probably a “lose weight while you sleep” program. How does that sound? Do absolutely nothing and shed pounds while you snooze. Ooh, I like the sound of that: Losing weight while sleeping. Well, now your dreams can become reality. So says a study out of Europe showing that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. Hey, that’s not the same thing. I know, but I had to get your attention somehow.

According to French scientists, sleep deprivation has an effect on two principle appetite-controlling hormones, grehlin and leptin. Grehlin makes people hungry, slows metabolism and decreases the body’s ability to burn body fat, and leptin, a protein hormone produced by fatty tissue, regulates fat storage. In the study, sleep deprived people (only four hours sleep two nights in a row) showed an 18% loss of the appetite-cutting leptin and a 28% increase of appetite-causing grehlin. The people also showed about 25% increased hunger. according to lead author, Karine Spiegel, this translates into an additional 350 to 500 kilocalories a day, “which for a young sedentary adult of normal weight could lead to a major amount of added weight.”

Add to this a second study which discloses that children who lack adequate sleep (and those who watch more television, but that’s another story) have double the chance of being overweight, raises the chances of later anxiety and depression. Looking at 915 children in Massachusetts, researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that those who slept less than 12 hours a day in the first two years of life were twice as likely to be overweight at age 3 than children who slept longer.

These stories bring out two predominant thoughts for me: First, when it comes to weight management, it really is all about lifestyle choices. It’s not solely about genes or foods–it’s about how we choose to live our lives. I push the principle that sleep is absolutely necessary to a well-functioning mind and body. I see the effects of sleep deprivation every day in my patients, and I’ve got plenty of my own experience, and I know, it’ll kill you.

But it will also lead to poor energy utilization and, as a result, more weight gain. Think about it: You don’t sleep, you are tired, your body get discombobulated and starts using your stored energy rapidly to keep you going. You secrete the appetite-stimulating hormone, grehlin–your body’s way of saying, “more food, more fuel”. The hormonal imbalance leads you to crave foods heavy in fats and sugars–foods that are high in energy and efficiently stored as fat. And on your way to the bulge.

The second predominant thought is that losing weight for the long-term isn’t often correlated with following a particular fad diet. It really is about the lifestyle changes one makes, like:

  • eating healthy, wholesome foods
  • exercising regularly
  • getting sufficient sleep
  • getting rid of pain that prevents exercise–try chiropractic, it rocks!
  • balancing one’s perceptions

These are the true tricks to trimming down. It’s not rocket science, but it can be hard work. I tell you though, it is worth the effort. Start today by getting enough sleep, and your lazy fantasies can become reality. Isn’t it great to know that not all healthy habits are a pain in the rear?

Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are two disorders taken very seriously during pregnancy. Both disorders can lead to and might even cause the death of the unborn fetus. Many women who suffer from these maladies blame themselves and their stress levels; they think that if they just weren’t as stressed-out during their pregnancies, they could have probably prevented the disorders and the subsequent deaths. A recent study, however, shows otherwise.

Dutch researchers have found that a woman’s stress levels during pregnancy do not increase the chance of developing either of the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Although increased psychological stress is not great during pregnancy–it can wear a woman down and lead to postpartum depression–expecting mothers should not fear getting preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.

Preeclampsia is a hypertensive condition with significant protein concentrations found in the urine (proteinuria). Gestational hypertension is preeclampsia without proteinuria. Hypertension is high blood pressure (HBP), and elevated blood pressure can force substances, like protein, through the kidneys and into the urine–not a good situation. Obviously, HBP can be dangerous for a developing fetus. Both hypertensive disorders are asymptomatic–that is, they have no outstanding symptoms leading to their discovery. Therefore, blood pressure must be checked regularly during pregnancy. Both hypertensive disorders can develop after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but preeclampsia is often seen after week 32. The only solution to this dangerous situation is emergency cesarean section, induced labor, or abortion. Because of the high risk to mother and fetus, one of the above options must be exercised.

I found this an important piece to do since so many pregnant women in America seem to be stressed out. According to another recent study, 20% of all new mothers in the U.S. suffer from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is linked to many risk factors including tobacco use late in pregnancy, physical abuse before or during pregnancy, partner-related stress during pregnancy, trauma during pregnancy, and financial stress.

Hey, life can be tough. And it’s hell of a lot harder to deal with when feeling big, bloated, uncomfortable, hormonal and unable to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I get it. I see my wife dealing with it now during our second pregnancy. It ain’t all fun and games. But at least when times get real tough, and the stress seems to know no bounds, please rest assured that you can “feel crazy” and not worry that you’re damaging your baby–at least not as far as it’s blood supply is concerned. Any other hypothesis regarding Mama’s stress stressing baby out is still up for analysis. But for preeclampsia–not a chance.

Rah, rah, rah! Three cheers for Thalidomide! Three cheers for the morning sickness pill of the 1950′s that led to thousands of birth defects.

Three cheers? Yes, because if it were not for the tragedy of Thalidomide, we wouldn’t have the regulations we have today for new pharmaceutical drugs. And we certainly wouldn’t be aware of the practice of withholding relevant and crucial information by pharmaceutical drug companies trying to pass their products off at any and all costs. Please take the time to read the history of Thalidomide here, and of the lone voice who refused to approve the drug for sale in the United States, FDA reviewer Frances Oldham Kelsey. When you do, you’ll see how lax our earlier laws were concerning drug approval.

At that time, pharmaceutical companies needed only to show that a drug was safe, and with a little trickery, it was easy to get things through. After the Thalidomide tragedy, though, the FDA changed the rules and required drugs to be both safe and effective. That means that manufacturers had to show that the drug actually did something beneficial–this prevented drugs from being “tried” on the public, as Thalidomide was in the U.S. Although it was never approved for sale, about 20,000 Americans received Thalidomide on a trial basis, including several pregnant women. Most birth defects were seen in Europe, but there were seventeen Americans born with birth defects caused by this drug.

We also have to thank Thalidomide for keeping us on our toes today. It’s exactly what I think about when I hear of antidepressant manufacturers hiding results. If you’ve got to hide ‘em, there has got to be something terribly wrong. As I’ve said a thousand times over–when there’s big money involved, don’t count on human decency to make right decisions. And if it weren’t for Thalidomide…we might not know the full extent of that statement. So thank you Thalidomide for opening our eyes.

I just love when these stories come out. You know, the ones that say a particular physiological fact is false. Take, for instance, the claim that taking vitamin supplements is unnecessary. Always the claim, “…there’s no proof.” Or how about the efficacy of chiropractic–”…no proof.”  Yeah, yeah, the proof’s there–it’s in the pudding as they say.

But back to the silly notion of claiming certain physiological facts to be untrue. A new study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology apparently “debunks” the myth that drinking lots of water is better for your health. I tell you I just love these stories. Start off with a subject matter that is fact–All living things need water to survive–add a corollary which is nonsensical, and then disprove it. Next take the faulty conclusions derived from the debunking, and use them to deflate an entire principle, one which we can easily deduce as true. The only thing I don’t get is…why? Well, let’s figure it out.

Two nephrologists (kidney doctors) out of the University of Pennsylvania have “reviewed the scientific literature” and have found no conclusive evidence that drinking more water equals better health. Oy vey. First off, the idea that drinking “lots” of water is healthy is absurd. It is quite well known that one can drink too much water. This can lead to hyponatremia–low sodium concentration–which can kill you. So there probably isn’t any credible health care practitioner recommending this practice. “Hey Vern, drink five gallons of water every day–you’ll be Superman.” It’s so stupid, it’s almost embarrassing; but clearly it has to be addressed.

Then there’s the idea of drinking “more” water. More than what? Do the esteemed researchers mean more than necessary? Well then, of course one doesn’t need to drink more. Is it too much to ask of our scientists but to pose viable questions? Because if we are talking about the average American, the one that imbibes soda more than any other beverage, then the notion of more water probably means “more than what you’re drinking now.” As even the two medical investigators point out in their paper: people who live in hot, dry climates, athletes, and people with certain diseases do better with increased fluid intake. So, basically, we can extrapolate these facts to anybody who exercises, sweats a lot, takes meds that make them urinate (diuretics), drinks beverages that make them urinate (coffee, tea, alcohol), or in other words…just about everybody.

Wait Campos. That’s not true. No evidence.

What evidence do we have? That they haven’t done any significant studies on hydration levels of populations; nor have they done any looking at the effects of water replenishment in people who are subclinically dehydrated (read my book); nor have they done any measurements on organ function or dysfunction at different hydration levels. But they have looked at hydration levels and endurance in athletes. Did the two doctors look at these studies? I know, I know, those are athletes. But I think it applies to everyone–we just don’t have the studies showing it, yet. And because it would simply be dangerous (and thus unethical) to knowingly deprive humans of water (can you guess why?), we probably will never see those studies.

So here’s my problem: Why even publish such rubbish? I mean, even the authors admit that, “If someone enjoys it…that’s wonderful, keep doing it. They’re not doing anything that’s going to hurt them.” Bingo! So why bother? If what they say is true, then why go through the trouble of debunking a so-called myth. I really don’t know; but I can tell you one thing: the doctors who wasted their valuable grant money putting together this deficient drivel didn’t really think about water’s full role in the body, or in life itself. They certainly didn’t ask any revealing questions. All they did was ask if certain beliefs about water had been studied, and found that they had not–that’s all. They didn’t prove or disprove anything about this elixir of life. But, unfortunately, they are passing their findings off as an unveiling of great truth; and I just don’t think they’ve come anywhere close.

Anyone familiar with the martial art Tai Chi Chuan knows the many physical benefits it provides. But now the rest of us have proof. New studies coming out of Australia and Taiwan show that the ancient martial art lowers weight, helps curb type 2 diabetes, and increases immune function. Wow! It does all that? Yup. Check it out.

In the Aussie study, conducted at the University of Queensland, researchers led middle-aged and older participants through 12 weeks of Tai Chi. The program consisted of three 1.5 hour sessions per week, and participants were also encouraged to practice on their own at home. At the end of the study period, participants were found to have lost an average 6.5 pounds, and their blood glucose levels improved (all had metabolic syndrome–a triumvirate of medical conditions including diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure). Participants also showed significant decreases in blood pressure, more than what could be accounted for by simple weight loss.

In the Taiwanese study, participants were also taken through 12 weeks of Tai Chi. Researchers found an increase in both helper T-cells (important immune system cells) and interleukin levels (immune system mediators) in the participants. And as an added benefit, researchers found a decrease in levels of glycated hemoglobin–excess sugar carried by red blood cells–in participants that had diabetes.

These findings are huge. By doing moderately paced exercise–as Tai Chi Chuan is–one can significantly decrease their chances of developing type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome; or even improve one’s chances of managing the disorders if already affected. Excellent. I studied Tai Chi myself very briefly about 15 years ago (the school I attended in San Francisco and, in my opinion, the very best). I found it a stupendous form of exercise. However, I do wish to point out, just as the authors of the Australian study have, that any form moderate exercise will accomplish the same results. It’s just that the benefit of Tai Chi Chuan come from its slow, flowing pace and wide sweeping, rhythmic motions. These types of movements, I think, connect us to a Universal rhythm, which have deeper, spiritual effects on us. Other than that, though, doing Tai Chi should also help you kick a little ass–and that never hurts now does it?

Hey parents: Give Junior a break! He’s tired all the time for a reason. Don’t knock him for napping until you’ve read this: Most teens don’t get enough sleep and suffer in their school work because their internal clock makes them night owls. So says an Australian study showing that the average teenager misses up to an hour of sleep at night and wakes up 2.5 hours earlier than their naturals rhythms dictate.

According to researchers, a teenager secretes melatonin–the hormone responsible for causing drowsiness–later in the evening than adults and children do; and they are thus more alert during the evening hours, leading to their greatest productivity. Furthermore, ambient light–the type of light given off by computer screens–actually decreases melatonin secretion causing even less drowsiness. So teenagers working at night on computers will be even more likely to stay up late.

I talk extensively about melatonin and sleep inducement in my new book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health. Since I believe that getting sufficient sleep is one of the main ingredients of great health, naturally I’m inclined to support teens in their unique circadian rhythms. An excellent solution to counter-balance poor performance in schools would be to start classes at 10am and finish at five in the evening. I’ll bet most high schoolers would welcome the later schedule and I’ll even bet some teachers would dig it too. And just think how positively it would impact big city traffic.

Without a doubt, teenager need adequate sleep. If their natural rhythms run a little later than our own, let’s honor that and start treating high schoolers like college preps. It’ll help their academics and it’ll be healthier for them–isn’t that purpose and benefit of doing research? to understand truth and then apply it? If nothing else, give Junior a break if he wants to sleep in on the weekends–it’s his rhythm.

High stress leads to high blood pressure. You don’t say.

Stressed out? Boiling mad? About to lose your lid? Chill out, man…relax. Really, it’ll save your life if you do.

Stress management techniques have been shown to reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure (HBP), if learned and practiced regularly. And even more exciting is that reducing stress through effective techniques can reduce the need for blood pressure drugs in elderly people with a special type of HBP called isolated systolic hypertension. Nice. So says a study out of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

High blood pressure, not a disease in itself, but a warning that disease is looming, can lead to such maladies as heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure. Dang–doesn’t it make sense to learn a few stress reduction techniques? I think so. Here are the best:

  • Creating mental balance through a special technique called the collapse process (ask me about it, I’ll be glad to explain).
  • Meditation (there are many techniques to choose from–all good in my opinion)
  • Pranayama (yogic breathing technique)
  • Working out (especially hitting the heavy bag)
  • Sex

That’s right–learning a few of these powerful techniques can add years to your life by preventing some of today’s most prevalent disorders. And in the case of isolated systolic hypertension, which often afflicts the elderly and is hard to treat with medications, these findings are stupendous.

So don’t delay. Learn some stress management techniques today and you’ll find life a little easier to deal with.

Question: you’ve caught a big salmon and you’d like to cut it up as sashimi. Upon cutting it open, you see that it is infested with worms. Can you still eat it? Does the answer seem obvious?

Eating raw fish is a delicacy, and preparing it is an art. Sushi chefs spend many years training in art of choosing the proper fish to be served raw. And as sushi restaurants have exploded in the U.S. and Europe, more an more untrained individuals are opening sushi restaurants. This can be a problem.

Not every fish is suitable to be eaten raw–many amateurs don’t know this. Many forms of seafood can cause illness if not prepared properly. Take, for instance, baby crabs. “Fake” sushi restaurants often serve them raw. Bad idea. But deep fried baby crabs are suitable for consumption. And how about salmon? Salmon is prone to parasitic infection, therefore, it should never be eaten raw. Salmon should always be cooked, marinated, or frozen before being consumed.

Heh! Who knew? That’s why sushi chefs get paid the big bucks. I’ve always had an inherent respect for sushi chefs, and I personally would never eat in a sushi restaurant that isn’t run by a top-quality, highly-trained sushi chef. But it wasn’t until I saw this great piece on 60 Minutes on the tuna trade that I really developed respect for people who make fish purchases and preparation their life’s work–just fascinating.

Here’s the bottom line: Do your research. Find sushi restaurants with properly trained artisans preparing the goods. Steer clear of fly-by-night operations attempting to capitalize on the popularity of this exotic delicacy. And never–and I mean never–prepare raw fish on your own, because “it must be easy to do.” It isn’t. If it were, would it take as long to master?

As far as the opening question is concerned: Yeah, you can eat it–throw away the infected parts and cook the rest.

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