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By Dr Melyni Worth

Did you know that only about 38% of women over age 19 exercise regularly! This is especially concerning when fitness and exercise are critical in the menopausal years. These are times when a woman is at a dramatically increased risk for osteoporosis and fracture, heart disease, and chronic diseases such as diabetes. From age 35 onwards, women lose bone mass at a rate of about 0.75% to 1% per year. Regular exercise may decrease the incidence and severity of hot flashes, which occur in 75% of menopausal women. In one study, aerobic training reduced the severity of hot flashes in 55% of postmenopausal women.

Source: Burghardt M. Exercise at Menopause: A Critical Difference. MedGenMed 1(3), 1999.

Every patient in the cardiac care unit at the San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome who survives a heart attack goes home with a prescription for purified fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids. In a large number of studies, prescription fish oil has been shown to improve survival after heart attacks and to reduce fatal heart rhythms. The American College of Cardiology recently strengthened its position on the medical benefit of fish oil, although some critics say that studies have not defined the magnitude of the effect.

A study published last month in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that only 17 percent of family doctors were likely to prescribe fish oil to their patients, including patients who had suffered a heart attack.

In a study conducted on behalf of the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) , researchers reviewed data from the National Institutes for Health (NIH), and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), involved data from approximately 7,000 Americans, taken in 1999-2000 and 2001-2002. The aim of the study was to determine whether diabetics who use dietary supplements differ from those who do not in a number of health and behavioral indicators. The data was pooled and the results showed that Use of dietary supplements is significantly associated with reporting oneself to be better health than a year before.

While the majority of diabetics (52%) perceive their health as fair or poor, as compared with non diabetics, the majority of whom felt that their health was good to excellent, of the diabetics who took dietary supplements 54% felt that their health was good to excellent.

Diabetics who take supplements generally scored higher on the NHANES Healthy Eating Index and were less likely to be heavy alcohol users.

Scientific literature showed promising evidence for several nutritional ingredients, including magnesium, omega3 fatty acids and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Among the popular dietary supplements taken by diabetics were chromium, calcium, folate and Omega-3 faty acids.

The full report, A Study of Dietary Supplement use among people with Diabetes, is available online as a .pdf from the DSEA


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