Currently viewing the tag: "exercise"


130620_MEDEX_CIGAR.jpg.CROP.article568-large (Copy)A big fat duuuuuuuhhhhhh in the world of health today, as a new study discloses that half of all cardiovascular deaths are due to preventable factors. Why duh? I have been reporting on this phenomenon since I wrote my quintessential health manual, The Six Keys To Optimal Health, a decade ago. Okay, okay, to be fair, many of you have not read it; and I am certain many of you do not peruse the health news in the same manner I do. However, saying that, we all know the risk factors for cardiac events, so why are people not taking heed?

The study, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine online, looked at data from the BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) 2009–2010 of over 500,000 people, ages 45 to 79, to asses risk factors associated with cardiovascular deaths (heart attacks, heart failure, etc). The five primary risk factors were: smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure—and all are preventable. Complete elimination of each of these risk factors would reduce cardiovascular deaths—the leading cause of death in the U.S.—by 54% in men, and nearly 50% in women.

heart disease risk factorsSmoking and high blood pressure led to the highest proportion of preventable deaths, and nearly 80 percent of people reported exposure to at least one of the five risk factors. Despite these risks being preventable, if every state was brought to the level of the best state, only ten percent of the deaths would be prevented. Get it? What this means is that Americans, in general, practice risky cardiovascular behaviors. Yes, eighty percent of the country either smokes, is obese, has high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. And many have several, and some have all! Do you get it? That’s freakin’ abysmal. And we wonder why health is so poor in the U.S. Can’t blame healthcare (sickcare) for this one.

Like I said, we all know the risks, so why do we fail to avoid them? Ummmm…I can take a guess…let’s see: because American citizens have become so spoiled by ease and comfort that we believe we are entitled to live as we please, and then be “saved” by medicine. That’s precisely what universal health care was all about – our inalienable right to have our preventable conditions treated – and this study proves it. Preventable! I know it is hard to hear, and it certainly doesn’t endear me to the masses when I say it, but it’s the truth and we both know it.

So let’s go over it again:

I know we are all going to die, but nobody reading this wants it to be them, not prematurely anyway. So do the right stuff and I promise you will get more out of life, and more life to get things out of. I’ll continue to send out tough love via health information, facts, and no nonsense interpretations meant to wake…you…up. Hope you are listening.


The-Bright-Sun-Blue-Sky-Clouds (Copy)I am one lucky mother…I love the sun, and I live in Southern California. But like many people, believe it or not, I sometimes neglect my sun needs. Nothing is crazier, I know, when so many regions are sun-deprived for much of the year. It’s the equivalent of “starving children…” in the guilt-trip-you-for-not-doing-something-you’re-supposed-to-category. But, believe me, we pay the price for our negligence.

I had been feeling not so great recently, and frankly I was perplexed. I had been working out regularly; in fact, it was first time in long time I have been completely injury-free. Shoulders felt good. Low back good…I was eating well. Lots of vegetables; good portions. Juicing. Quit coffee, so sleeping much better than…ugh months. On purpose professionally and within my dharma…but somehow, I was not feeling “myself”. I was starting to wonder if this aging thing really has something to it. I have never been an ageist. I just believe that you can be in the best shape of your life at any age. I really do. But I was tired, a little blue, and skin as white as some new veneers. I said to myself, “This year, I am going to channel Apollo.” I will commit to daily sun for the entire summer—beach, canyons, festivals, everything, bikes, stilts, pogo sticks, you name it. No more Mr. Pasty guy. Not this year.

Before

So I started last week at the local swimming pool with my kids. I actually wore sunscreen, cos my white-a** skin was extremely vulnerable. I felt immediately different. That night I had that good ol’ familiar sun-glow; you know the one, that buzz around your entire sun-exposed body. And I had a sort of refreshing tiredness, if you know what I mean. Then Sunday, Fathers Day, I took my girls to the beach. It was overcast, but hot and humid. I used sunscreen again. We sat in the sun for about two hours, which was perfect. While I got a teeny bit red (I’m not worried about it) that night, I felt really good—that, “I just did something real nice for my body,” good.

Then this week, I hit the hiking trail — evening hikes, diminishing sun, cooler temps — and really got my coconut stick legs some exposure. In exactly one week that saw me in the sun five of seven days, I already notice the difference. My energy levels have been boosted significantly, so both for physical exertion, and for mental work that comprises the bulk of what I do. Both are different in need and stamina; in other words, just because you have energy to go to the gym, doesn’t mean you have it to sit down and do your taxes for five hours, and vice versa, of course. My sleep has been deep and satisfying, which has me the most grateful because that area has been real wacky for some time. My mood is uplifted, light and enthusiastic, and I look ten years younger (no seriously…stop).

6685363_xl1

And none of this is surprising to me. Like everybody, I sometimes forget how vital sufficient sun exposure is to health and well being, and thus how vital to the way I feel. It’s so easy to forget, especially since I take 5000 IU vitamin D every day. Supplementing is not the same as the real thing. Supplementing is only to fill in the gaps—the bulk of any nutrient must come from its source (write that down). Vitamin D, as we have seen over the last decade and more, is involved in so many processes that it truly is the wonder vitamin. Being sufficient in vitamin D is as empowering as being deficient is debilitating. From increased cancer risk, to immune dysfunction, to increased blood pressure, a lack of sufficient quantities of vitamin D3 in your blood leaves you susceptible to disease, while optimal levels can make you feel and operate at you highest.

IMAG5061_1

Duh to me…but I am happy to remember the basics when I stop feeling quite right (we all oscillate through high and low health constantly, within our own unique yet variable physiological range). That’s all it takes. Nobody has to feel the need for perfection—it’s up-and-down over and over again—just remain mindful. I challenge any fellow well-meaning hermits to get in the sun daily this summer, even if just for a walk on your lunch break. Eat lunch outside, do your paperwork in the park, drop beats in the heat—whatever you have to do to get your sun in this year. Me…I’ll be at the beach.


Holy Hormones Honey! Interview with @DrNickCampos - Applying Universal Principles to WellnessI spent last Wednesday evening being interviewed by the fascinating Leslie Carol Botha for her radio show, Holy Hormones Honey! The Greatest Story Never Told. The show’s topic was Applying Universal Principles to Health and Wellness (listen to archived show here). While I have written previously on The Four Dietary Principles, I thought I would touch on some more universal principles as they pertain to physical health and wellness here. As a quick review, the four dietary universals are:

  • Food as an energy source
  • Food as a vital nutrient source
  • Food as a source of hydration
  • Food as a source of body composition

Remember that universal health principles are true for everybody no matter what age, gender, creed or color, while health nuances may be true for some people, or more exaggerated than true, as many cases tend to be. Take for instance the above universals—these dietary needs are true for everyone and all living things, no exceptions. Some associated nuances, however, might relate to a way of eating, like vegetarianism, or Paleo, or raw food diets, and so forth. While some people thrive on each of these diets, none is correct for all people.

So what are some other universal health principles? In no particular order:

  •  hydrationHydration — all living things need water; life cannot exist with out the good ol’ H2O. The universal solvent is a must and so getting sufficient amounts (two liters per day minimum) is imperative.
  • Movement — we live in a dimension of movement; movement is the hallmark of the physical universe. If you are not moving, you are stagnating, collecting cobwebs, degenerating, and your time in this plane will neither be long nor pleasant. Get moving regularly—stretching, contracting, and aerobically—and more than half of your physical problems will be solved.
  • Touch — all living things need to exchange energy with other living things; touch is the most effective form of this energy exchange (as well as a source of comfort and security). What would happen to a plant, a pet or a child if it were rarely or never touched? We know that children deprived of touch have different levels of circulating hormones, which has major affects on brain development.
  • Rhythm — this pertains mostly to cycles, although it can also refer to the universal sound (also cycles or oscillations) within space, the oceans, and of course, music. The universe has a multitude of cycles including the orbiting of planets, solar systems and galaxies. Our seasons are cyclical (sun), as are our months (moon) and days (earth). Being mindful of the changes that occur in accordance with these cycles is paramount, and operating within these cycles — sleeping more during winter months, planting seeds (goals) during spring, and so forth — will lead to the greatest growth, fulfillment and wellness.Touch is love
  • Rest — one such rhythmic cycle is the sleep/wake cycle. Getting sufficient rest is of utmost importance, and while everyone is different, we all need both REM and non-REM deep sleep. There was a movement some years back on conscious sleep deprivation, and I must say I have heard of nothing stupider. Many regenerative and storage/sorting processes occur during sleep. Consistent lack of sleep is one of the most damaging acts one can carry out. It is bad enough when one has trouble sleeping, but to deprive oneself when one actually can sleep is pure foolishness.
  • Moderation — which can also be thought of as balance. This is the true essence of a harmonious cycle—fluctuating calmly between two poles, around the center, avoiding the extremes. Extremes are body, mind and soul disrupting, while smooth and small fluctuations are more rhythmically enhancing and growth inducing. We can apply this principle to diet, movement, touch, sex, mind-altering substances, medications, herbs, teas, tinctures, caffeine and other foreign or toxic substances. And most crucially, balance is necessary with regard to the mind.
  • Balanced mindBalanced Mind — The Buddha said, “Whatever an enemy might do to an enemy, or a foe to a foe, the ill-directed mind can do to you even worse.” A chaotic mind is the foundation for all other “problems” and human suffering. We cannot control the circumstances of life but only our perception of those circumstances. A balanced mind is adept at being still. In stillness lies awakened perspective, insight and wholeness. All other aspects of wellness are enhanced by this most powerful of universal principles.

I am certain that these universal principles will get you farther than any particular diet, extreme fitness regimen, supplements, special pH water, or any other nuance you’ve been sold as the answer. Take it from me — I’ve studied health and wellness for going on three decades; I’ve met many of the masters. These universal principles are the common themes of all great teachings as they apply to wellness; they also happen to be common themes present throughout the entire universe in various forms. Apply these principles and forget about the fads. If you find a nuance that works for you, it is because it fits in a greater universal scheme as applied to your unique individuality; but in the end it is the universal aspect that nuance falls within that is bringing the most benefit. Think about it, and I believe you will see the truth behind this statement.

Listen up wrestlers, boxers, body builders, brides to be and anybody else who makes a habit of losing significant weight quickly–rapid weight loss can lead to mental confusionAw big deal, right?  Yes, it is–it could mean the difference between a win or loss, increase your risk of injury , or even be a matter of life and death!

Researchers at Cal State Fullerton recently looked at 16 collegiate wrestlers to determine if losing weight rapidly before a match had negative strength implications.  But what they found might have surprised them: although they found no changes in strength, the wrestlers that lost 4% or more of their body mass had significantly higher levels of confusion on the day of the competition.  No increased confusion was observed in those who lost less than 4% body mass.  No wrestler lost more than 8% of their body mass (avg. wt. loss = 6 lbs).  The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

So you might be wondering why anybody needs to lose weight quickly.  Fighters must ‘weigh-in’ before each bout, so it is common to lose weight right before the match or weigh-in, to come in lighter than their actual weight.  This has the advantage of fighting a smaller opponent if you can get your weight below a certain level.  In fact, most of the wrestlers in the study lost nearly all their weight in the two days before the match.  (They were allowed to choose the desired amount of weight to lose before the match, using methods such as exercise, calorie restriction and fluid deprivation).

The drawbacks were not benign.  According to researchers, “a sport which requires split-second decision making, a higher state of confusion and tension can detrimentally affect the wrestler’s performance.”  No kidding.

Lots of people want to lose weight overnight.  Shows like The Biggest Loser only perpetuate that desire, as they demonstrate how effective rapid weight loss under controlled conditions can be.  But for the most part, rapid weight loss can be dangerous.  Most people that lose weight rapidly gain it back quickly, and the physiological changes that go along with this type of weight loss can have deleterious effects on the body–cardiovascular, neurological and mental.

I never understand when clients tell me they expect their latest weight loss plan (diet or exercise program) to net them 100 lbs. in a year or less.

What?!?! 

Yes, a year or less.

You are crazy–first it probably won’t happen and second, you don’t want it to.  A pound a week is healthy; 50 lbs in a year.  But they are convinced.

I’m not suggesting that this study has anything to do with the type of weight loss I just describe, but it does have a correlation.  Simple–any super-rapid weight loss is going to have physiological effects.  Now extrapolate that to “if it has short-term effects in athletes, what does it do over the long-term in the obese?”  I think that’s a question worth asking.

Achy, sore neck and upper back following a long day in front of the computer?  Work at a desk and at day’s end feel like your head weighs a ton?  Perhaps you’re a student, head down, nose in the books all day long…that can certainly cause a stiff neck.  Architect?  Lots of driving?  T.V. in bed?  All these activities are common causes of neck and upper back pain and discomfort.

A perfect exercise to help the office worker, student, computer junkie, or couch crasher is something called the Brugger relief position.  This position works by engaging the postural muscles of the spine, holding the body upright.  While it may be uncomfortable for a few people at first (habitual slouchers), engaging the postural muscles takes pressure off the ligaments, which hold the spine up during slouching, and ultimately leads to upper back pain relief.

Watch the video below to see how to properly do the Brugger relief position at home or at work.  Do this exercise every day, minimum five times, until your body is used to the posture.  Then you can do the exercise whenever you start to feel stiff or sore in the neck or upper back.  This exercise does wonders for low back pain, too.

http://www.drnickcampos.com/

When it comes to healthy lifestyle behaviors, regular bodywork is right up there with good diet and exercise.  And in the realm of bodywork, nothing beats chiropractic for keeping people healthy and full functioning throughout their lifetime.

According to a 2000 wellness study,

Chiropractic patients ages 65 and older who were under chiropractic care for five or more years experienced 50 percent fewer medical provider visits than their comparable peers and spent only 31 percent of the national average for health care services.  The health habits of patients receiving maintenance care were better overall than the general population, including decreased use of cigarettes and decreased use of prescription drugs.

I hope Obamacare bureaucrats are paying attention.

One of the biggest messages I try to put forth in this blog is that human beings are amazing self-healing, self-regulating life forms.  We operate under the laws of the universe, and as such, by obeying some very fundamental principles regarding life, our ability to experience great physical health and well-being is magnified.  It doesn’t matter whether you have any particular genetic, anatomic or physiologic disposition–you can experience great health, as well as a fulfilling life, by observing basic principles.

This is as true for the “normal” individual as it is for the ADD-labeled person.  Whenever somebody comes to me with this or that problem, my first investigation as a doctor is to find out if they are observing the basics.  So that’s what I want to finish off with regarding ADD.  It’s of mega-importance that your ADD-labeled child is practicing the healthiest lifestyle possible.  But take note, and do not mistake this very crucial point: What I discuss here is NOT a treatment regimen for ADD.  I do NOT believe that an attention deficit is a disorder, therefore nothing needs treating, especially as we would think in a mechanistic sense.  Instead, what I put forth here will allow any child to thrive physically and mentally, because these are fundamental health principles.

There are no absolutes when it comes to health.  No one practice is more important than another–let’s just get that straight right from the beginning.  Instead, health is like a puzzle, and each practice is a piece to that puzzle.  I will for brevity’s sake only touch upon each puzzle piece.  If you want more, then I highly recommend reading my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health.  In it you will find most of these points discussed in full detail, along with tips on how to best implement and maximize each practice.

First and foremost is diet and nutrition.  It should go without saying that good nutrition is paramount to a healthy functioning body, but I wonder sometimes.  Too many parents feed their children foods that are, well…suspect.  Here is a basic: foods should be whole and natural.  I’m not saying organic or hormone free or anything like that.  If that’s what you prefer, awesome!  But what I mean is “not processed”.  Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and dairy, wholesome grains, minimal sugar, minimal fast food (or none at all, like my kids), and definitely, with no exception: NO SODA!

Soda consumption should be the biggest no-no for an ADD-labeled child.  No, I don’t think soda causes ADD.  Soda is garbage for anybody, and that much sugar consistently cannot be conducive to mental sharpness.  Sad fact is that many parents will have to kick their own liquid garbage habit, too, if they want to keep their kids off it.

Next is exercise*.  Kids need to spend time playing and moving!  Period.  It is a standard recommendation for ADD-labeled kids to exercise often, and I couldn’t agree more.  Get your kids moving everyday–that’s what our bodies (and all life forms) are meant to do.  Don’t try operating outside of universal laws and then also expect good health. *Check out this interesting article on children, exercise balls, and focus.

Next, bodywork.  If you haven’t taken your ADD-labeled child to see a chiropractor, then you are doing them a great disservice.  Subluxations (misaligned and stuck vertebrae) are extremely disruptive to the nervous system and the mind.  I have seen hundreds of children go into a state of ease and calm following a chiropractic adjustment.  Time to learn more about chiropractic and give it a try if your knowledge and experience are limited.

**Throughout these posts, a regular reader and friend, has been kind enough to share her understanding and insight of primitive movement patterns and neurological development.  I am so fascinated and intrigued by this field of study that I intend to investigate it further.  She swears by its benefits, and I respect her knowledge and judgment.  I will keep you informed as I learn more.  Thank you K.O.

Sleep is next.  But we could just as well call this rest and recuperation.  If your child is not sleeping properly, then they are aging faster and breaking down more quickly.  Sleep is essential to life.  Many metabolic and regenerative processes occur while we sleep.

And don’t discount dreaming.  Although we still understand little about this ubiquitous function, I believe it has an important role in our mental brain states (no, I do not think dreams are symbolic).

If your ADD-labeled child is on Ritalin, then I would expect his or her sleep to be disrupted, particularly deep and REM sleep.  Think about that–it’s just another way that these dangerous drugs can hurt your child.  If they are also hopped-up on soda…(sigh) heaven help them.

Next is minimizing toxins.  Lot’s of things are toxins, but the ones I find most prevalent and damaging are…drum roll pleaseprescription and over-the-counter drugs.  Nothing wrong these meds periodically when needed, but as a society, Americans are way too over-medicated.  Just look at the Ritalin numbers: 90% consumed in the U.S.  Sad.

Finally is the mental health.  When it comes to your ADD-labeled child, they want what every child (and every person, for that matter) wants–love and acceptance for who they are.  So, again, help them find what they love–they know what it is, because they do it all the time.

Be it sports, be it music, be it socializing, be it fashion–find it, nurture it, and help them be inspired by it.  Pressuring your kid–directly or passively–is not going to help.  When a child senses that you are worried, frustrated, or disappointed, they know it; and trust me this only will add to their stress and inability to perform.  Let them know you love, honor and support them in whatever they love doing, and they will reward you by excelling.  No, they may never excel in school, but plenty of people live amazing lives that were not the result of traditional schooling.

There you have it–like pieces to a puzzle.  Each one important, but neither more-so than any of the others.  In fact, they work synergistically, but I’ll leave that topic for you to read in my book.

Once again, I sincerely hope I’ve helped people facing some tough decisions regarding their own ADD-labeled child.  If I can have helped you see your beautifully unique and gifted genius in a new light, then I am pleased.  If I’ve influenced you to reject the dangerous chemical poisons that the ADD establishment wants to numb your child on, then I am honored.  If I’ve given you some ideas on how to inspire your child to be all that they can be, then I am utterly grateful that I could contribute.

Thank you for reading.

Short and sweet.  I’ve never bought the bull that obesity is genetic.  Too easy, removes personal responsibility or accountability, and dishonors all overweight people by telling them its beyond their control.  I make the point in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, that even if genetics has a role in obesity, one is still bound by the laws of physiology–more calories in than out…weight gain; more calories out than in…weight loss; equal calories in and out…maintenance.  Gene or no gene, that’s the truth.

A new British study confirms my point: Exercise cuts a person’s genetic predisposition to obesity by 40%Well, no freakin’ shit-take mushrooms.

Researchers looked at over 20,000 people in Norwich, England and focused on genetic variants known to increase the risk of obesity.  Most people had inherited 10 to 13 of these variants from their parents.  Those obesity inheritors that exercised had 36% less weight gain per genetic variant than sedentary inheritors, and each additional obesity-susceptibility variant increased the odds of obesity by 1.1-fold.   This risk, however, was 40% lower for active people compared to inactive people.

In a nutshell: Fat genes or not, exercise obliterates obesity.  No more excuses.

Probably no surprises here, but regular exercisers have more lift to their libido.  So says a recent study out of the VA medical center in North Carolina.  According to the research, men that worked out regularly (and quit or refrained from smoking) reported better sexual function.  This was true even after adjusting for age and race.  Nice. A related Finnish study showed that women who exercised regularly and quit or refrained from smoking had better urinary health.  These findings are scheduled to be released tomorrow at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Francisco.

photo-1427384906349-30452365b5e8 (Copy)Although the benefits of exercise and disadvantages of smoking are pretty evident for most people, many do not realize how quickly they can benefit by just getting started now.  I’ve done it, quit smoking after twenty years.  I loved tobacco; but without a doubt, my greatest gains have been in my cardiovascular endurance, and that alone was worth quitting. I do not miss the feeling of being out of breath on the slightest brisk walk or run.  Sure, I continued to work out, play sports and be relatively active, but I was entirely aware of my cardiopulmonary limitations, simply because I’d get winded.  However, since I was smoking from a very early age, I didn’t realize how much it effected my endurance until I quit.  To this day I say it’s the greatest effect I’ve noticed, and that benefit alone keeps me from ever restarting.

When it comes to sexual health, the cardiovascular system is everything.  For men to get and maintain an erection, receiving proper blood flow to the penis is imperative.  That’s how Viagra works, by increasing penile blood flow.  But you can do it naturally: Kick the nicotine habit, and work out, both anaerobically (resistance training), and aerobically (treadmill, bike, hiking, elliptical, etc.).  I guarantee if you do both these actions (keys #2 and #6 in my book The Six Keys to Optimal Health), you’ll feel results almost immediately.  You know they say a hard man is good to find…well, it’s good for the man, too.


It’s not just American children sitting on their rumps these days–children all over the world are chronically inactive. So says a recent study that looked at over 70,000 teens in 34 nations.

Children from Argentina to Zambia are not getting enough exercise, and are spending three or more hours a day watching TV or playing on computers. Whether a country was rich or poor made no difference to the inactivity of their youth; dismal news on the state of modern culture. No knock on technology, but parents of all nationalities need to limit the amount of boob tube and web surfing their children do, and push them more toward physical activity.

The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, looking at 72,845 schoolchildren aged 13 to 15 from North and South America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The children were surveyed between 2003 and 2007. Children that spent three or more hours a day watching TV, playing on computers or chatting with friends–outside of school time or doing homework–were considered sedentary. Only 25% of boys and 15% of girls worldwide were getting enough exercise. Girls were overall less active than boys in every country except Zambia.

Some of the numbers:

  • Uruguay had the highest percentage of active boys, at 42%, while Zambia had the lowest, at 8%.
  • Girls from India were the most active, with 37% meeting exercise recommendations, while girls from Egypt were the least active, with just 4% getting adequate exercise.
  • Children in Myanmar were the least sedentary, with 13% of boys and 8% of girls classified as sedentary.
  • The most sedentary nations were St. Lucia and the Cayman Islands, with 58% of boys and 64% of girls spending at least three hours a day in sedentary activities.

Once again, parents would be wise to get the kids kicking, playing and using their bodies. Technology is a great thing; but with every great thing comes a downside, and in this case it’s the risk of becoming couch potatoes. Inactivity and the associated risk of childhood obesity is no longer an American phenomenon–it’s gone global. Time to change.


Get this: Up to one third of breast cancer cases can be avoided through diet and fitness. You don’t say? Yes! Eating less and exercising more can reduce the incidence of breast cancer, said experts at the European breast cancer conference in Barcelona yesterday.

Although better treatments, early diagnosis and mammogram screenings have dramatically slowed breast cancer, researchers estimate that 25 to 30 percent of cases could be avoided if women were thinner and exercised more. The numbers come from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, the WHO estimates that one third of ALL the world’s cancers are preventable.

Please digest this, people: Cancers are preventable. Hmm. One more time: Cancers are preventable. Geez…

Is this concept a part of our new world health order? Not yet, too avant garde. Let me point out the discrepancy between current medical thinking and the most up-to-date health research and information. This should make us all rest easy since we now have equal access to medical care. Our country’s lawmakers have found it in our best interest to give us more of the system that has brought us medical dependence. We’ll call our current system the “old way,” and the newer, not yet accepted by medical standards (and this includes the Congress and POTUS) approach, the “new way.” Here we go.

New way: “What can be achieved with screening has been achieved. We can’t do much more,” Carlo La Vecchia, head of epidemiology at the University of Milan, said in an interview. “It’s time to move on to other things.”

Old way: Any discussion of weight and breast cancer is considered sensitive because some may misconstrue that as the medical establishment blaming women for their disease.

New way: Dr. Michelle Holmes of Harvard University, who has studied cancer and lifestyle factors, said people might wrongly think their chances of getting cancer depend more on their genes than their lifestyle. “The genes have been there for thousands of years, but if cancer rates are changing in a lifetime, that doesn’t have much to do with genes,” she said.

Old way: Tara Beaumont, a clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, a British charity, said her agency has always been careful about giving lifestyle advice. She noted that three of the major risk factors for breast cancer–gender, age and family history–are clearly beyond anyone’s control. “It is incredibly difficult to isolate specific factors. Therefore women should in no way feel that they are responsible for developing breast cancer,” says Beaumont.

New way: Karen Benn, spokeswoman for Europa Donna, a patient-focused breast cancer group, said it is impossible to ignore the increasingly stronger links between lifestyle and breast cancer. “If we know there are healthier choices, we can’t not recommend them just because people might misinterpret the advice and feel guilty,” she said. “If we are going to prevent breast cancer, then this message needs to get out, particularly to younger women.”

Frickin’ duh!

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. A woman’s chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime is one in eight. Obese women are 60% more likely to develop any cancer than normal-weight women. Many breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, a hormone produced in fat tissue, so experts suspect that the fatter a woman is, the more estrogen she’s likely to produce, which in turn could feed breast cancer. Even in slim women, exercise can help reduce the cancer risk by converting more fat into muscle.

Drinking less alcohol might also help lower the risk. Experts estimate that having more than a couple of drinks a day can boost the risk of breast cancer by 4-10%.

Further, searching for magic bullets is counter-productive. There is no one pill or therapy that will make you healthy and live forever. Please wake up. Women who jumped on hormone replacement therapy to bypass the down-side of menopause increased their risk of developing breast cancer. In the ’80s and ’90s breast cancer rose steadily as obesity and the use of estrogen-containing hormones after menopause increased.

A sharp drop in breast cancer rates occurred as women abandoned hormone-replacement therapy due to a discovered link between the treatments and breast cancer. Experts said a similar reduction might be seen if women ate healthier and exercised more.

New way: Dr. Michelle Holmes, the Harvard expert, said changing diet and nutrition is arguably easier than tackling other breast cancer risk factors.

Well no shiitake, Samurai! That’s the new way; yet, we’re still stuck in the old. But at least we’re ALL stuck in it together.


Some people are driven by their bodies, and others by their mind. Despite the age-old argument of whether the two entities are separate and distinct, we know one thing for sure–working out the body does wonders for mental health. Take that, Descartes!

A recent study out of Duke University showed that regular moderate exercise and healthy diet together can improve scores on cognition tests. The four-month study conducted by Duke’s nueropsychology department looked at 124 fifty-two year old men and women with high blood pressure (HBP) who were a minimum of 15 pounds overweight, on average. The study was originally designed to look at diet, exercise, and HBP; but the researchers decided to throw in cognitive function as an interesting side investigation.

One third of the participants followed the DASH–Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension–diet, which emphasizes low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, in combination with regular exercise. One third, followed the DASH diet along with a weight-management program and aerobic exercise. The final third went about on their regular dietary and exercise regimens.

The exercise conducted was moderate–30 minutes three to four times a week, “enough to put the heart up to 75 to 80 percent of its maximum rate,” as one of the researchers said. The weight-management programs were split between two strategies–one centered on reducing portion size and cutting the snacking habit, while the other focused on appetite awareness training, which provided guidelines on food quantity (how much one ate) as well as food quality (types of food). The cognitive tests focused on executive function, learning and psychomotor speed.

Researchers found that the group that exercised regularly and ate well had an overall 30 percent improvement in mental function by the end of the four-month period. They also lost an average of 19 pounds and lowered systolic blood pressure (the higher of the 120/80 reading) by 16 points and diastolic pressure by 10 points. Shazam! All by diet and exercise.

As one of the researchers concluded, “There are neurochemical changes that happen with exercise. There is increased production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates connection with other brain cells, but also there is some evidence that it helps grow new brain cells.”

On top of that, as I point out in my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, regular exercise increases circulation, oxygen and nutrient transport to the brain; it reduces depression and anxiety; and it leads to increased production of phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the body’s natural opiates…so it FEELS GOOD! Oh yeah, give it to me, baby!

There you have it: Another study showing the enormous benefits of diet and exercise. Now, before you say, “Big deal, tell me something I don’t know,” understand that these finding should shed some light on the notion of mass use of nootropic drugs, otherwise known as smart drugs. When 7% of all college students and 20% of polled scientists using them to enhance memory, problem solving, attention, and mental endurance, I think it’s time to start discussing alternatives.

No drugs are free of side effects, and the notion of the world’s scientists being tweaked out on designer speed is, well….scary (think Norman Osbourne). So that’s why I post these seemingly obvious studies. Yes, we all know that diet and exercise have wide-ranging benefits. But then why isn’t everybody doing them?

Time to get serious, people. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. Listen up: 4.8 million cancer cases do not have to happen. Get it? You are in charge of your health. Health is NOT random. If you are living by that philosophy, you’re sunk.Is there a health care crisis? You bet. The crisis lies in the idea that you are not responsible for your own health, or your health care. Forty percent of all cancers are preventable. This from a report by the Geneva-based International Union Against Cancer (UICC). As UICC president David Hill says, “If there was an announcement that somebody had discovered a cure for 40 percent of the world’s cancers, there would quite justifiably be huge jubilation.” No kidding.

OK, so what can you do? First, let’s look at the top three cancers:

What can you do today that can help prevent these cancers tomorrow?

The first thing you want to do is observe your diet. Minimize processed foods, or better yet, get rid of them altogether. Whole and natural is best. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Take your vitamins. Drink lots of water (two liters per day, minimum).

Next, minimize or quit smoking. Minimize smoking? Exactly, most people that smoke can’t do so moderately, so kick it altogether. Try breathing clean air, too. How about an air purifier? Don’t minimize their usefulness. If you own a home in Los Angeles, contact me, I’ve got a guy that can set you up.

Minimize alcohol, recreational drug, and pharmaceutical drug consumption. These substances are toxins to the body. Stress the liver and kidneys and you’ll be increasing your cancer risk (among other illnesses) exponentially. Alcohol can cause many different forms of cancer–2-4% of all cancers to be exact–including esophageal, stomach, liver, breast, colon and others. And don’t underestimate the drugs your doctor gives you; they’re poisons, too.

Maintain a healthy weight. I’m not one to lay on the guilt trips, so simply put, if you are overweight, just lower it by something. My dad dropped from 225 to 190. He’s still about 25 pounds overweight, but that drop he made was significant to his health.

Exercise regularly. C’mon now, if you are not doing this you are missing out on so many health benefits that, well…you’ve got nobody to blame but…OK, no guilt trips. Just do it.

Get plenty of healthy sun, but don’t overdo it. Listen, we all need the vitamin D, and we now know more than ever how much so. But sun worshiping, tanning beds, Jersey Shore…puleeze! Be smart, protect yourself–safe sunning is the only way to go.

There you have it: You are in control of your health. Health is not random. There is a health care crisis, and it’s that far too many people neglect some very basic health enhancing behaviors. My book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, has these and hundreds of other tips to prevent cancer and live a life of health and vitality. You can direct your health: you are responsible for the health you have and maintaining it. Nobody else.



I just happened to see this commercial on T.V. today for an osteoporosis drug being plugged by The Flying Nun. I have to say, it got me a little PO’d. Here’s why: The opening line is a blatant distortion of the truth, and with a little investigation, one will find that Ms. Sally Field isn’t being exactly honest about her story, either. But, distortions are precisely what these commercials are geared for…to sell more drugs.“I always thought calcium and vitamin D and exercise would keep my bones healthy, but I got osteoporosis anyway, so my doctor started me on once a month Boniva…,” is how the piece begins. Hmm. As far as I was taught, that’s exactly what women must do to prevent osteoporosis. Was there something I missed in doctor school?

Let me do some fact checking, I thought.Sally Field, also known as Norma Rae, was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2005. She was, according to her own accounts, a regular exerciser. But did she really keep up with the nutritional requirements necessary to prevent the bone-thinning disease? Not according to this article on WebMD, which discloses that her vitamin D levels were, in fact, LOW!!! Thank you, I thought so.When I saw the commercial, the first thing coming to mind was that people who don’t know better are going to think that their current preventive routine of good diet and exercise isn’t enough. And in truth, if you are missing a step—women or men—you aren’t doing enough. You must take daily calcium (1,000 mg for women under 50, and 1,200 mg thereafter), daily vitamin D (1,000 mg) and do weight bearing exercises regularly (so cardio alone is not enough, ladies). Asian and Caucasian women are at the highest risk, but don’t be fooled my African American and Hispanic sisters, you can get osteoporosis, too. Pharmaceutical companies want you to question what you are doing currently, so that you will go ask your doctor if you need Boniva (way too many people asking their doctors for drugs by name these days). That leads to the greatest amount of drug sales. It’s called DTC (direct-to-consumer) marketing, and we know it works. Pharmaceutical sales have skyrocketed since the practice started. From Source Watch:

A November 2006 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office report noted that “studies we reviewed found that increases in DTC advertising have contributed to overall increases in spending on both the advertised drug itself and on other drugs that treat the same conditions. For example, one study of 64 drugs found a median increase in sales of $2.20 for every $1 spent on DTC advertising. Consumer surveys suggest that DTC advertising increases utilization of drugs by prompting some consumers to request the advertised drugs from their physicians, who studies find are generally responsive to these requests. The surveys we reviewed found that between 2 and 7 percent of consumers who saw DTC advertising requested and ultimately received a prescription for the advertised drug.”

And the use of celebrities, and now celebrity doctors, increases the likelihood that consumers pay attention to a drug campaign; thus the use of Gidget in GlaxoSmithKline’s Boniva commercials.Now you might say, “Isn’t DTC better for public health, to become better aware of illnesses and to catch them early?” To that I’d say, “Catching illness early is always better than catching it late, but prevention is even better. And best of all is living a lifestyle that promotes and maintains good health. That is done by getting proper nutrition, hydration, rest, exercise and bodywork, not by taking drugs.”Taking drugs is useful as a last line of defense. But the pharmaceutical industry, and let’s face it, the entire medical paradigm, pushes drug use as a first line of defense. Oh, they’ll pay lip service to healthy behaviors, but that’s all they’re doing. Nobody is paying Jack LaLane big bucks to sell gym memberships (yes, I know, but the juicers are his).So I appreciate Nora Walker’s dedication to fighting osteoporosis. But being dishonest about her experience to make the story sound better and get people to ask their doctors about Boniva, a post-menopausal osteoporosis drug, isn’t helping the public health at all. It’s simply perpetuating an already faulty paradigm that has people trying to maintain their health from the outside in, instead of the inside out, the way it’s supposed to be.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. Nick Campos - All Rights Reserved. Web Services by David Cosgrove Los Angeles Web Design