Wednesday, June 26, 2013

'Don't take vitamin pills': U.S. doctor warns that some supplements could harm health

  • Dr Paul Offit, who has written a book about 'alternative medicine', says that the trend for super-strength supplements are dangerous
  • Said that multivitamin pills are unlikely to do harm but may be of no benefit
  • But pediatrician added that in certain cases, such as during pregnancy, certain supplements, such as Vitamin D, can boost health
  • Said that Apple founder Steve Jobs might be alive today if he hadn't used 'alternative therapies' as 95% of those with his cancer survive with surgery
By Rachel Reilly
A U.S. doctor is has warned people against taking health supplements, saying they could pose a risk to health.

Dr Paul Offit, who has written a book called 'Do You Believe In Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine', said that very few alternative health supplements are of any benefit and could in fact carry health risks.

He added that people often believe that supplements are harmless but that this simply isn't true - particularly in the case of super-strength supplements which are becoming increasingly popular.

'When you take large quantities of vitamins - 5-fold, 10-fold - greater than the [recommended daily allowance], I think the data is clear - it increases your chances of heart disease, cancer and can shorten your life,' said the doctor in an interview with CBS This Morning.

The doctor, who is based at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, went on to explain that he had recently seen a television advertisement that told viewers you would need to drink two gallons of orange juice to get as much Vitamin C as was in the supplement being promoted.
He said that there's probably a good reason why nature doesn't provide that much Vitamin C ni one hit.

The UK market for vitamins and supplements was estimated to be worth £385million last year, up 2.7 per cent on the previous year.
Dr Offit went on to explain that he didn't think that multivitamins would do any harm however, although it is not really known whether or not they actually do any good.

When asked if he thought it was worth taking any nutritional pills, he said that there were four cases.

He recommended pregnant mothers to take folic acid to prevent babies developing spina bifida, a condition that causes the spine to become deformed.

He said that Vitamin D was important for babies, particularly in those who are exclusively breastfed and do not get much exposure to sunlight.

Elderly women should take calsium and Vitamin D and calcium to help prevent bones thinning and he concluded that omega-3 fatty acid oils might be beneficial to heart health, but that current studies are inconclusive.
Dr Offit also blasted the term 'alternative medicine and said: 'There's no such thing as alternative medicine - if it works it, is medicine. If it doesn't work it's not an alternative'

When asked what his views on alternative therapies such as acupuncture were, he said that it could be helpful but not because the needles were inserted into the skin. he added that the 'ancient Chinese didn't know anything about the human anatomy'.
Finally he said that Apple found Steve Jobs might be alive today if he has sought expert medical help sooner.

He explained that the type of pancreatic cancer Jobs had - a neuroendocrine tumour - is cured in 95 per cent of patients by undergoing surgery, but that his choice of esoteric therapies including bowel cleanses and acupuncture ultimately cost him his life.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ditch the hand dryer: Paper towels are MORE hygienic because they remove more germs

  • Study found paper towels are more efficient because they dry hands quicker and prevent transfer of germs
  • Paper towels also physically remove bacteria
  • Previous studies have found that dryers harbour microbes and can blast germs into atmosphere
By Daily Mail Reporter

Scientists have worked out the best way to dry your hands – and paper towels win, erm, hands down!

It appears that paper towels not only dry hands quicker than electric driers, they are also more hygienic.

While the importance of washing hands is obvious, the benefits may be undone if they are not dried properly, experts said.

Looks can be deceiving: Despite having a reputation for being messy, hand towels are more hygienic than dryers because they dry hands more quickly and physically remove germs
Looks can be deceiving: Despite their reputation for being messy, hand towels are more hygienic than dryers because they physically remove germs

This is because wet hands are better at passing on germs than dry ones, biomedical scientist Cunrui Huang said.
His review of 12 studies found that, overall, paper towels were ‘superior’. One study found they leave hands 96 per cent dry after just ten seconds. After 15 seconds, the hands are 99 per cent dry.

By contrast, a drier takes at least 45 seconds. The amount of time is important because most people spend only a few seconds on drying their hands.

One study found men spend 17 seconds using hot-air driers and women 13.3 seconds – a fraction of the time needed.

Paper towels also scored higher because the rubbing motion may physically remove germs.
Previous studies have found that hand dryers harbour bacteria and can blast germs into the atmosphere promoting infection
Previous studies have found that hand dryers harbour bacteria and can blast germs into the atmosphere and promote infection
By contrast, air driers may blow them on to the body – a concern in public toilets, where regular flushing of cisterns disperses germs in the air.

'This can increase the number of germs by an astonishing 255 per cent,' said Keith Redway, senior academic in Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Westminster University.

Bacteria are then blown on to the hands of users and into the atmosphere.
This leads to the potential for the spread of organisms such as salmonella and E. coli, as people often dry their hands before cleaning them properly.

In the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal, Dr Huang, of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, said: ‘There is a risk of persons standing at air driers acquiring the bacteria dispersed in the air current towards them.’

Scientists say that whatever drying method you use, it is important to wash hands thoroughly. They added that there is no need to use an antibacterial soap unless in special situations such as in hospital
Scientists say that it is important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap before drying them
Cloth towel rolls were marked down because of the sheer numbers of people using them.

Although antibacterial washes are essential in high-risk environments such as hospitals and beneficial on cruise ships and on planes, they are not necessary in daily life.

Previous studies have shown that hand dryers are often contaminated by bacteria in the outlet nozzle and the heat from the dryer is the perfect temperature to encourage their growth.

Keith Redway's research has shown that disposable paper towels remove 58 per cent of bugs and cotton roller-towels 45 per cent.

'The message has to be to wash and then dry your hands thoroughly, using paper towels, not the hot-air dryers, explained Redway.

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