I know, I'm a little late
I'm sure you missed me, but more importantly, I hope your
new year is off to a good start. Unfortunately, the Tsumani
that hit South Asia overshadowed the joy of the holidays but
not the thankfulness of our own fortune
my heart aches
for the loss of life and the families broken apart. My only
hope is that this war torn part of the world will find their
more common human bond than ideological differences. My two
favorite organizations are Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam
- so I split my gift up between them.
This month's deal will add a little more
to the relief effort. For EVERY retail order we receive this
month, not just from the newsletter, we will donate $3.00
to Doctors Without Borders. At the end of January, we'll list
everyone's name and state (no city so they can't find you
and send you mail) and send a letter and check for the entire
amount. Please let us know if you would like a copy of the
letter - we are happy to provide it.
The leading women's health news this month
has to do with the treatment of breast cancer - and since
most of us know someone with breast cancer or will, it's always
good to hear the latest information. I also will take a look
at this big hoopla over Vitamin E - is it really dangerous?
Finally, good news for us women who enjoy our glass of wine
- the health benefits for light to moderate drinking are quite
NEW TEST TO HELP DECIDE IF CHEMOTHERAPY
HALF OF BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS
Following surgery, many women struggle with the decision of
whether to follow it up with chemotherapy. The issue is that
only a small number of these women will benefit, while all
will put themselves at risk of nausea, blood clotting and
infection -- not to mention the psychologically damaging effects
of hair loss. As an individual, how do you know if you are
one of the ones that chemotherapy works for? There is new
test, called OncotypeDX, and while we wish this test could
be given to all women with breast cancer, it's only valid
for those whose breast cancer is estrogen sensitive, has not
spread to the lymph nodes and the woman takes the drug Tamoxifen.
(50% of women diagnosed with breast cancer) This test shows
that it can predict which tumors were most likely to return
after surgery. The higher the score, the most likely the cancer
will return AND the most likely the woman will respond to
chemotherapy. For more information go to:
or the study in the New England Journal of Medicine:
ABOUT THE VITAMIN
It was all over the place in November
(I had other, more
important WOMEN issues to talk about then) Vitamin E in high
doses could cause death. All the media picked it up, and in
my humble opinion, this is a perfect example of really bad
reporting. Just for the record, I certainly don't defend irresponsible
companies of the industry and I do understand the frustration
of consumers who feel the need to question the quality of
what they are buying in supplements. However, it's no excuse
for bad reporting about such a valuable vitamin such as E.
According to supplementinfo.org, about 18% of elderly people
may stop taking vitamin E because of this report, and that's
really a shame. http://www.supplementinfo.org/contentman/anmviewer.asp?a=188&z=6
The study was presented be Dr. Edgar Miller
in the Annals of Internal Medicine and looked at 19 different
research projects that included approximately 135,000 people
that included vitamin E use. The studies included vitamin
E as a potential treatment for, or prevention of diseases
such as heart disease, Alzheimer's and cataracts. In order
to be included in Miller's study, the patients needed to be
taking vitamin E for at least one year, and each study had
to have at least ten deaths during or after the time of the
The conclusion of the authors was that lower
doses of vitamin E may be slightly protective, but that higher
doses may slightly increase the patients risk of death and
that vitamin E used in high doses is dangerous. I admit it
sounds scary, but if you look closer it's simply not the truth.
As many editorials and letters have pointed out (I like the
about.com the best, see the link below) here's blanks that
were not filled in.
- The populations
studied were old people with chronic diseases and were also
on pharmaceutical drugs. It is common knowledge to health
care professionals that Vitamin E is a blood thinner --
interactions with pharmaceuticals were not explored.
- Miller does point out that this population
may not equate to younger or healthier populations but that
- The study didn't take into consideration
the different dosages and protocols of the 19 studies.
- There is a difference between natural
and synthetic Vitamin E. This distinction was not made.
- Even with all these issues, the study
claims that the relative risk is 1.05 - when 1.0 is neutral.
Any one of the above reasons could account for such a low
increase in risk.
It's obvious that to call high dosages (over
400 I.U.) dangerous is premature. At issue for me is that
if one takes natural Vitamin E (only take the natural) there
are very beneficial Tocotrienols that are very difficult to
find in food
for us women, they are very beneficial
for breast health and bone health. (the synthetic E does not
have these tocotrienols) Without getting too technical, here's
what to keep in mind:
- Vitamin E is a complicated one as it
exists in eight different forms. It is a powerful antioxidant
and there is lots of evidence (not necessarily proof)
of its benefits.
- The upper limit is established at 1500
International Units (IU's) I stick with about 400 IUs/day.
- Vitamin E does thin the blood - so if
you are taking pharmaceuticals, your health care professional
should be made aware. Also it should be stopped before surgery
so advise your doctor.
- Make sure it's Natural Vitamin E - The
synthetic form is labeled "D,L" and the natural
is labeled just "D".
For more information about all this go to:
The study can be found at http://www.annals.org
- it was published November 10th but I couldn't find it there,
I had to type in "Miller and Vitamin E" in the search
A good explanation of the different components
of Vitamin E can be found at
in their December 2004 issue - their site is down at the time
of this writing so I can't get you the link.
FOR US WOMEN WHO
ENJOY THE WHITE WINE
There does seem to be something about women and their white
I'm not sure what it is, but if we keep it to a
glass or two, it appears that those of us who drink a LITTLE
may be healthier in the long run. It's not just wine, but
the consumption of a limited amount of alcohol. The benefits
are the same for men. According to the Wall Street Journal,
scientific research keeps coming up that a small amount of
alcohol each day is better than not drinking at all. Those
women who have six or seven drinks a week have significantly
higher bone density than teetotalers. The best drink for osteoporosis?
It's wine (phytochemicals) for women, beer (silicon) for men.
What else does a little alcohol help? There's a 37% lower
risk of a heart attack in men who have a drink a day - 34%
lower risk of developing diabetes for both men and women,
40-60% lower risk of a stroke and 42% lower risk of dementia.
There is a down side - small amounts of alcohol can increase
the risk of oral cancer, esophageal cancer and a slight increase
in colon cancer. Breast cancer risk is closer to 30% higher
for women who drink. Overall, though it appears that there
are more benefits than harm. One note that it's important
to be clear on, this is not a free ticket to "just one
more" at Friday Happy Hour - for women who go above three
drinks a day, (for men, it's three or four) they put themselves
are a much higher risk for other alcohol-related problems
and any benefit we just talked about is virtually eliminated.
And our staff is available to answer any
questions you may have at 1-888-596-5154. That's right-real
people, not some electronic menu-happy to answer questions,
give opinions, take orders, or just listen. (Business hours
are 9:30-6 p.m. E.S.T.)
That's it for this month! As always,
check out our website for lots more information at www.oonahealth.com.
In Good Health,
The Oöna Team
Questions or comments? Write firstname.lastname@example.org