Health benefits of orgasms, mortality rate, statins and cholesterol, glycation, healthy spices, Hinohara

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

...having orgasms is not only pleasurable, it's healthy? Researchers examined the relationship between the frequency of orgasm and mortality in 918 men aged 45 to 59. An inverse relationship was found between orgasmic frequency and mortality. In fact, men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed half the death rate of the men with the lowest rate of orgasm, with a dose response relation throughout the group. (BMJ 1997;315:1641-1644)

Jennifer Lynch

...a review conducted by the University of California's School of Medicine in San Diego, CA, cites nearly 900 studies showing the adverse effect of statins, which are widely used in treating high cholesterol? Researchers report that muscle adverse effects are the most commonly reported problem in the literature and by patients. Adverse effects are dose dependent, and risks are amplified by drug interactions, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and genetics. The risk of adverse side effects goes up as age goes up, and this helps to explain why the benefits of statins have not been found to exceed their risks. Unfortunately, researchers report the physician awareness of statin side effects is low.

Statin side effects may include: Increased cancer risk; sexual dysfunction; immune system suppression; cognitive loss; neuropathy (numbness and tingling in extremities); anemia; cataracts; hepatic dysfunction; and pancreatic dysfunction. (American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs)

Pete's accepted that strength is a key component to living a long healthy life, yet there is not much evidence that correlates the two? Several studies that have been performed have stopped short of showing any real correlation between strength and longevity because they are of very short duration, and/or use inappropriate measures of strength. Taking these shortcomings into consideration, researchers have now shown a relationship between strength and longevity via a study of 8,762 men aged 20 to 80, who took part in a 19-year study examining the association between muscular strength and mortality from all causes in men. Muscular strength was assessed with a one rep maximum bench press and a one rep maximum leg press. The participants were divided into three groups based on their levels of strength at the end of the study. Those who were the strongest, in the upper third, reduced their risk from all causes of death by 32 percent, cardiovascular disease by 44 percent and cancer by 40 percent compared to the weakest in the lower third. An analysis of the combined effects of muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness showed the age-adjusted death rate in men with the highest levels of both was 60 percent lower than the death rate in the men with the lowest levels of strength. Conclusion: get on a progressive resistance training program. (BMJ 2008;337:a439)

…if you're apprehensive about aging (and I'm sure almost everyone reading this is) then should glycation be a concern? Glycation is a process in which sugar bonds with proteins and forms Advanced Glycation End-products, or AGEs. A fitting acronym, it's one of the major molecular mechanisms that damage your body, leading to aging, disease and death. It's been known for centuries, the more carbohydrates a society eats, the more unhealthy they are.

When we consume carbs, the resulting glycation causes inflammation and damages the tissues in your body. This is why there is such a strong correlation between Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. People with diabetes get heart disease on average 15 years earlier than non-diabetics, and lose about 18 years in life expectancy.

Besides reducing starchy carbohydrates and simple sugars, how do we combat glycation? Researchers from the University of Georgia tested 24 herbs and spices, and found which ones are best at inhibiting glycation. The researchers found a direct correlation between the phenol content of the extracts and their ability to block glycation.

The top 10 most potent herbs and spices are:
Cloves (ground)
Cinnamon (ground)
Jamaican allspice (ground)
Apple pie spice (mixture)
Oregano (ground)
Pumpkin pie spice (mixture)
Gourmet Italian spice

So do yourself a favor and spice up your life.

Pete Docter…at the age of 97 years and 4 months, Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world's longest-serving physicians and educators? He has been healing patients at St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo and teaching at St. Luke's College of Nursing since 1941.

He has published around 150 books since his 75th birthday, including one, "Living Long, Living Good," which has sold more than 1.2 million copies. As the founder of the New Elderly Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, and the following are some of his recommendations:

Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot. Hinohara says we all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. He believes that we can keep that attitude as adults too, and that it's best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.

All people who live long -- regardless of nationality, race or gender -- share one thing in common: None are overweight.

There is no need to ever retire, but if one must, it should be a lot later than 65. The current retirement age was set at 65 half a century ago, when the average life expectancy in Japan was much lower.

Share what you know.

To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff. He takes two stairs at a time, to get his muscles moving.

Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients, and we all want to have fun.

Don't be crazy about amassing material things. Remember: You don't know when your number is up, and you can't take it with you to the next place.

Find a role model and aim to achieve even more than they could ever do. Hinohara's role model was his father, who went to the United States in 1900 to study at Duke University, in North Carolina.

It's wonderful to live long. Since the age of 65, Hinohara has worked as a volunteer. He still puts in 18 hours, seven days a week, and loves every minute of it. (

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