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Healthy Humility

August 26, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

This past year I’ve devoted a considerable amount of time establishing a presence on Twitter – the premiere social networking website on the Internet. I find that it’s a good way to stay in touch with like-minded people and it also allows me to supplement the more in depth columns I post here with a form of mini or micro blogging. All told, I’m able to reach a wider audience in a format that suits the time constraints that are common in modern life. Another benefit of immersing myself in Twitter is that I’ve learned a great deal from the messages or tweets posted by numerous health experts and non-professionals alike. Here are some of the latest examples that I found interesting.

A few days ago Dr. Mehmet Oz relayed the following information: “Too much weekend basketball = back spasms. Lucky for me, @LisaJaneOz cured me with: arnica gel, magnesium pills/bath, and bromelain”. This may seem like rather frivolous material to some, but I think posts such as this are quite enlightening. For one thing, we get an insight into the life of one of the most influential integrative physicians in the world. We learn that he finds the time to exercise and have fun on weekends despite his busy schedule. In addition, the good doctor relies on his non-physician wife, Lisa Oz, to administer and guide him about natural remedies. What’s more, it turns out that Lisa’s recommendations are evidence-based: (1,2)

  • A study presented in the July 2010 issue of Phytotherapy Research describes that “bromelain, an enzyme extracted from the stem of the pineapple plant” may promote healing in an animal model of Achilles tendon injury. (3)
  • Two other studies from 2009 and 2008 report that bromelain “may attenuate muscle strength losses after eccentric exercise” by combating inflammation (serum cyclooxygenase 2, interleukin 6, and interleukin 12) in part by regulating immune response (leukocyte activity and neutrophil migration). (4,5)

The reality is that I usually don’t find the time to watch The Dr. Oz Show, so it’s unlikely that I would have learned about this compelling glimpse into the Oz household without Twitter. Along the same lines, it’s highly improbable that I would have ever discovered Rick McGuire, a writer/producer with an emphasis on health and medical multimedia. Rick regularly posts cutting edge wellness content that I “retweet” to the people who follow me. A good example is a message he recently posted about the importance of drinking extra water prior to meals if you’re trying to lose weight. The study in question was just presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. Here are some of the encouraging details: (6,7)

  • 48 adults with ages ranging from 55 to 75 took part in the trial. All were asked to follow a low-calorie diet for 12 weeks.
  • Half of the subjects drank two 8-ounce glasses of water prior to meals. The remainder did not supplement with added fluids of any kind.
  • At the end of the trial, those drinking added pre-meal water lost an average of 15.5 lbs. Those drinking normally lost approximately 11 lbs.

What sets this study apart from others is that it’s one of the first carefully controlled scientific trials of its kind. However, it isn’t the only evidence suggesting a weight reducing effect of added water consumption. Another paper published in the February 2010 issue of the journal Obesity similarly found that drinking 500 ml (about two glasses) of water resulted in a “44% greater decline in weight” over a 12 week period. That trial also paired the increased water intake with a hypocaloric diet. (8)

Increased Water Intake Leads to Greater Weight Loss Irrespective of Diet Plan
Source: Obesity (2008) 16 11, 2481–2488. (a)

Leave it to Neatorama, a supremely entertaining source for factoids and outlandish humor, to keep me level headed. Over the past several months I’ve been fortunate enough to find over 7,000 Twitter users who have decided to “follow” me. That’s a lot of people! But not nearly as many as the top ten tweeters according to an ego-busting post from Neatorama. The list goes something like this: #10) Katy Perry – 3,491,410 followers; #9) John Mayer – 3,602,876 followers; #8) Taylor Swift – 3,970,319 followers; #7) Oprah – 4,060,639 followers; #6) Kim Kardashian – 4,514,040 followers; #5) Justin Bieber – 4,681,996 followers; #4) Ellen DeGeneres – 5,072,270; #3) Ashton Kutcher – 5,569,167; #2) Britney Spears – 5,690,685; #1) Lady Gaga – 5,714,890. (9,10)

Well I guess a little humility never hurt anybody. That’s why I especially liked the first item about Dr. Oz. He may be a big shot, celebrity doctor. But at home, he’s just an ordinary husband looking for his wife’s guidance when he strains a muscle playing basketball with the boys. The second story that came courtesy of Rick McGuire caught my eye because the researchers involved had to admit that something as elemental and inexpensive as water is capable of accomplishing what most medications can’t – weight loss without side effects. Finally, to the aforementioned “top ten” tweeters I have only this to say: I’m gaining on you! But I need your help, folks. I’ve got a long way to go!

Be well!

JP

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2 Comments & Updates to “Healthy Humility”

  1. anne h Says:

    Hmmm.
    Sound like I need to try the water thing.
    Any liquid? Or just water?

  2. JP Says:

    I’d stick with purified water, Anne. That’s what the evidence currently supports. It’s also the least expensive and safest option around. :)

    Be well!

    JP

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