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Important health-related topics and discussions with Sam Benjamin, M.D.

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The Truth About Supplemental Calcium

Posted by Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D. has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, July 04, 2011
in Calcium

As I mentioned on my radio show today, the issue of how much, if any,  supplemental calcium you should take is unknown at this point in time. What is known is that there are many different uses, types, dosages, and risks of which the general public is shockingly unaware.

For instance, supplemental calcium may play a role in weight loss, possibly controlling lipids (fats in the blood like cholesterol and triglycerides), blood pressure and, of course, in maintaining healthy bones. However, in a number of studies taking more than approximately 800 mg of elemental calcium daily could increase the risk of a heart attack by 30%.


Current Medicine: Assumption vs Reality of Some Popular Topics Today

Posted by Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D.
Sam Benjamin, M.D. has not set their biography yet
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on Saturday, June 11, 2011
in Current Medicine

The problem with trying to do good medicine is balancing PROCESS vs. OUTCOME. Let us discuss some current assumptions currently circulating in medicine and their respective realities. You may be surprised at the realities of what you "know".....

Assumption: If you "thin" the blood out, you will have less chance of clots and therefore decrease the risk of heart attacks. Aspirin inhibits platelets (they help form clots), so everyone at risk should take a baby aspirin to prevent heart attacks.
Reality:This may NOT be the case. There is NO definitive study to support the assumption. BUT, we DO know that aspirin (even a baby aspirin daily), increases your risk of a stomach bleed, kidney disease and congestive heart failure!
The aspirin manufacturers will weave a web of disinformation to discredit this and your doctor is still recommending it- right?

Assumption: Low HDL cholesterol is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Niacin (Vitamin B3, sold as many brands, including DrB and Niaspan) can raise HDL and therefore will decrease risk of heart attacks.
Reality: An NIH (National Institutes of Health) study was stopped before completion because Niacin was shown to increase the risk of stroke and DID NOT effect the risk of heart attack at all. (In other words increasing HDL made no difference to your risk!)
Reality 2: ALL of my patients are going to be advised to STOP niacin. The Dr B brand will take a hit and toss my recently produced order of Niacin that cost me a lot of $ out! I will bet that the manufacturers of the $900 million/ year business of niacin will weave a web of disinformation to discredit this data they will go on selling Niacin (so will the natural supplement companies) and many of your doctors will continue to recommend it (brainwashed yokels) saying things like "let's wait for more data" OR the study methodology was not valid. (The spin masters of pharmaceutical companies are working overtime to hold off the inevitable decrease in sales. They answer to STOCKHOLDERS- NOT YOU!)
Reality 3 None of my patients have been prescribed nor will they be prescribed Trilipix or Tricor by the way. They have NOT been shown to decrease the risk of heart attacks although they DO decrease triglycerides, etc. So what? The process has NOT changed the outcome. The dangers of the drugs outweigh the fact that they have NO demonstrated contribution to your longevity.The spin doctors are double talking physicians about this right now while pharma lobbyists are keeping the FDA at bay. "Bada Bing, Bada Bong!" The drugs will remain on the market. How long did it take the FDA to get the killer Vioxx off the market? Years! One of the most respected scientists in the FDA was threatened (from it is believed WITHIN the FDA) because he was trying to save lives for years because he KNEW that Vioxx was a killer and should be yanked from the market.

Assumption: The FDA still allows NASAID's (Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Celebrex, etc.) on the market for arthritis, even after the Vioxx debacle because they are safe; because they are easy on the stomach, because they do not cause heart disease and heart failure or death from a sudden heart attack or kidney disease- NOT!!!!!!!!!!
Reality:They are dangerous. They bring in a lot of $ to the pharma business and there is NO WAY that they are going to allow this crap to be taken off the market! Many docs know this, but, most do not know. They are sampled (by pharma) to death with this class of drugs and given lots of useless disinformation handouts to be sure that they suggest and/or prescribe these over the counter and/or prescription (Celebrex) drugs. I recommend MUCH safer products like SAM-e, Devil's Claw, Glucosamine,Turmeric etc. The brain washed docs argue that these natural supplements are not "evidence based" (As if they had a clue what was really evidence based or not!). My patients RARELY, if ever, use these poisons.

There ARE answers with regard to cutting risks for lipid (blood fat) troubles. many are natural. BUT, the first step is healthy eating (Mediterranean Diet is indisputably the best.) , exercise and meditation. Occasional Dark Chocolate is great. A laugh (South Park?) goes a long way.Socialization (friends), massage, a hug, healthy sex, prayer and POSSIBLY (I said POSSIBLY.) marriage are all important facets of living longer and optimizing well being. Popping ANY pill or supplement can't replace the basics of life.