Is Your Smartphone Making Your Eyes Tired?

August 29, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Health, Medical Research & Studies

I sometimes feel like the last person on the planet who has a mobile phone that does just that – make phone calls. The rise of the new so-called ‘smartphones has been fast and furious and although we know of the dangers of over use of mobiles, it seems the new technology is throwing up another problem.

Several reports indicate that prolonged viewing of mobiles and other stereo 3D devices leads to visual discomfort, fatigue and even headaches. As more people are using smartphone, ipads, kindle readers and 3D game players this situation is going to get worse, not better. According to a new study reported in the Journal of Vision, the root cause may be the demand on our eyes to focus on the screen and simultaneously adjust to the distance of the content.

This is technically known as vergence-accommodation, and it this conflict and its effect on viewers of stereo 3D displays that the study has reported on.

Martin S. Banks, professor of optometry and vision science, University of California, Berkeley is the lead author of the study and comments: “When watching stereo 3D displays, the eyes must focus — that is, accommodate — to the distance of the screen because that’s where the light comes from. At the same time, the eyes must converge to the distance of the stereo content, which may be in front of or behind the screen.”

Through a series of experiments on 24 adults, the research team observed the interaction between the viewing distance and the direction of the conflict, examining whether placing the content in front of or behind the screen affects viewer discomfort. The results demonstrated that with devices like mobile phones and desktop displays that are viewed at a short distance, stereo content placed in front of the screen — appearing closer to the viewer and into the space of viewer’s room — was less comfortable than content placed behind the screen. Conversely, when viewing at a longer distance such as a movie theater screen, stereo content placed behind the screen — appearing as though the viewer is looking through a window scene behind the screen — was less comfortable.

At the moment we are talking discomfort, and the study was on adults, but presumably long term use and by youngsters will have a more serious impact. My local cinema now offers virtually every film as 2D (or what we used to call just film) and 3D and it is to the latter that the younger audience are drawn as when the new Harry Potter film was launched the 3D showing sold out faster. There has been an explosion of stereo 3D imagery in all areas, not just film and tv, but communication and medical technology as well.

“This is an area of research where basic science meets application and we hope that the science can proceed quickly enough to keep up with the increasingly widespread use of the technology,” added Banks.
The authors also propose guidelines be established for the range of disparities presented on such displays and the positioning of viewers relative to the display but in a world where we want colour, excitement and pzazz from our entertainment it may be that self – or parental – control might be the first step to avoid eyestrain and headaches.

More on the Diet Front – herbal and emotional!

August could be the time when you are ready to lose a few pounds as you gaze lovingly at yourself in the mirror – more on that later – but first news of a herbal based diet much loved by models, actors and ballet dancers. Created by Dr. Pamukoff, who has been studying the active ingredients of plants for more than 65 years and one of the founders of the discipline of scientific phytotherap, which is another name for modern herbalism. He has devised SLIMPAM® which is a natural product made with rare grades of roses and herbs including liquorice, peppermint and dandelion.

He ought to know what he is doing as he has won many international awards and treated over half a million patients since first working with herbs in 1942. Consisting of a two part regime of capsules daily and herbal tea it is an effective slimming natural supplement that helps to regulate metabolism, digestion, constipation and the cardio-vascular system with long- lasting results.

This is not a diet plan based around food but on taking a tea and supplement that are based on natural herbal ingredients and award-winning research and most people are able to lose 4 to 7 of fat can be lost in 4 weeks in a natural way by following a healthy eating regime without exhausting diets or exercise.
Sounds like a dream scenario, but it starts in the engine room by cleansing the colon and this has an accumulating effect. One warning if you have never done a colon cleanse then it can have a sudden and dramatic effect on your visits to the loo, but if that occurs you can reduce the daily dose, but never exceed the maximum recommended. Dr Pamukoff says that on this plan you will see changes in your metabolism in week 3 and then significant weight loss in week 4

If you are after a faster weight loss then this is not for you as Dr. Pamukoff is in tune with contemporary thinking as after more than 30 years of research he has found that losing weight faster can be achieved but this is not advisable. Anyone who has been on a crash or very low calorie diet knows that when you lose weight too quickly your skin may not adapt to your new shape and it may end up being loose with wrinkles, so SLIMPAM® contains herbs rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins A, E and C to help maintain skin elasticity.

The ingredients come primarily from Bulgaria: the roses used are the same as used in Chanel No 5 and are apparently excellent for regulating the digestion and the herbs come from the same valley. The dandelions give excellent support for your metabolism and is rich in vitamins A, E, C, B1, B6 and B12. Another interesting ingredient is flax seeds which are one of the richest sources of omega fatty acids.

There are two variants – one for men and one for women – and his herbal combination has been effective and successful for more than 30 years. I tried it and found it had a good detox effect but at first was puzzled as to the instructions as they differ for odd and even days.

Days 1, 3, 5….29 before your evening meal you put 2 to 3 SLIMPAM® herbal sachets in a mug of boiling hot water and allow to steep for 30 minutes for maximum benefits, then squeeze the herbal sachets before drinking. Drink this before your meal together with 1 to 2 of the capsules.

Days 2, 4, 6 (even dates) in the morning on getting up you take 1 SLIMPAM® capsule.

I found 2-3 teabags too strong a taste for me and so only had 1 and I sweetened it with a little honey so I do wonder if the initial pack of 30 herbal teabags and 30 capsules would last as suggestedfor a month, as it must be less if take the maximum dose. As this is a full month programme, and you only see real weight loss in week four then I would have thought a bumper pack might be more sensible. However, it relieves you from any worries about counting calories as you eat normally, but sensibly.

If you would like to know more visit and as for that loving your body I mentioned earlier it seems from new research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity that if you improve your body image then you will enhance the effectiveness of weight loss programs based on diet and exercise.

Researchers enrolled overweight and obese women on a year-long weight loss program and half were put on weekly group sessions where issues such as exercise, emotional eating, improving body image and the recognition of, and how to overcome, personal barriers to weight loss and lapses from the diet were discussed. This group lost more weight than the control group and in particular were able to reduce their ‘comfort’ eating and maintain the weight loss. Researchers also saw a considerably reduced amount of anxiety about other peoples’ opinions, and positive changes in eating behavior in this group.

Retraining Your Hunger Molecules Helps Lose Weight, Look Younger and Stay Healthy

August 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Diets, featured, Food & Nutrition, Health

Ori Hofmekler is not a name that trips lightly off the tongue, but he is the author of The Warrior Diet and The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, and an expert on how to improve your health with food. His latest advice focuses on the genes that regulate your biological age because they are highly sensitive to your diet, as they’re triggered or inhibited by what you eat, how much you eat, and how often.

One of the most detrimental causes of aging is excessive calorie intake and scientists speculate that we have an overly strong drive to eat when food is readily available – and that has never been more true than today. So you should restrict your calories? Well, no actually because of your individual makeup: you can be on a low calorie diet and fail to lose weight, and you can be on a high calorie diet and yet manage to slim down.

What you do need to do is control your hunger-satiety system which consists of multiple neuro-peptides that act to initiate or terminate your eating. These are your hunger-satiety hormones and their signals are integrated in your brain to modulate how you consume, spend or store energy. The balance between these signals dictates whether your body is in a fat-burning or a fat-storing mode. In order to maintain a healthy body weight, your hunger and satiety signals must continually adjust your food intake to your energy expenditure and any imbalance between these two will affect your fat stores and physical shape.

Your hunger and satiety hormones are constantly seeking precedence over each other and the consequences of that hormonal clash are manifested in your body. Hunger hormones tend to slow your metabolism and increase your body fat whereas satiety hormones tend to boost your metabolism and decrease your body fat. So what this means is that if your hunger hormones get out of control, you’ll be prone to suffer from a sluggish metabolism and excess body fat but if your satiety hormones take over, they will counteract the effects of your hunger hormones to allow you greater energy and a leaner healthier body.

Your hunger hormones are part of your ancient survival apparatus: they keep you alert and give you the drive to search for food along with the desire to achieve. And they balance the actions of your satiety hormones which tend to calm you down. But if you let your hunger hormones get out of control, you’ll experience chronic hunger, diminished energy, metabolic decline, decreased libido and increased tendency to gain weight.

How to manipulate your hunger hormones
You need to know how to manipulate both types of hormones to work for you, and you certainly need to keep your hunger hormones under control. Your hunger-satiety system can only function well as long as your diet is adequate. If your diet is high glycaemic and your feeding episodes are too frequent, your hunger-satiety system will be utterly disrupted.

Frequent consumption of high glycemic meals impairs your key satiety hormones insulin and leptin, leaving your hunger hormones unopposed and dominant. When insulin is impaired ghrelin levels remain elevated even after you have eaten and leads to chronic hunger (mostly for carbohydrates), excess food intake and undesirable weight gain. You need to know how to boost your satiety hormones and let them take control over your metabolism and it could not be simpler:

1. Eat satiety foods
2. Avoid hunger foods
3. Train your body to endure hunger

1 Eat Satiating Foods
This element is what the success of the Atkins and similar diets has been based on as the food that promotes satiety most is protein and the one with the fastest satiety impact is whey protein. Studies reveal that consumption of whey protein before meals can swiftly boost the satiety peptides CCK and GLP-1, which have been shown to decrease food intake and increase weight loss.

Other satiety-promoting foods are low glycemic plant foods including raw nuts, seeds, legumes, roots, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, eggplants, grasses and green leafy vegetables.

2 Avoid Hunger Foods
Stay away from high glycaemic foods including all refined carbohydrates, sugars, fructose products, baked goods, sweets and sugary beverages. Fructose in particular has shown to cause leptin resistance, lipid disorders, hypertension, obesity and diabetes. Studies reveal that the liver has a limited capacity to utilize it; so excess fructose is converted into triglycerides and body fat.

The worst combination is that of high sugar and high fat and it has been found that this can cause insulin and leptin resistance even before any change in body composition. You know the usual suspects: biscuits, cakes, ice creams and chocolates need to be removed or seriously restricted.

3 Train Your Body to Endure Hunger
Now this doesn’t sound so good, but hunger should be treated like physical exercise because both are perceived by your body as survival signals to adapt and improve. Allowing yourself to undergo repeated (temporary) hunger, such as in periodic fasting, allows your body to naturally adjust itself by decreasing the number of hunger receptors in your brain and thus making you increasingly resilient to hunger.

Take note that only real hunger can benefit you that way which is what you experience while fasting or undereating, not the kind of craving you can feel even after finishing a meal.
There are different ways to train your body to endure hunger: gradually increase the gap between your meals or alternatively put your body in an undereating state by minimizing your food intake during the day to small, low glycemic, fast assimilating protein meals such as quality whey (every 3-5 hours), which could be served with (or substituted with) small servings of fruits and vegetables and have your main meal at night.

For most of us, undereating is preferable to complete fasting because although it challenges your body in a similar way it allows you to nourish your body with protein and antioxidants, and you won’t feel the desire to eat as intensely as when you completely avoid food. Whichever you choose, it is important not to chronically restrict your calories as your hunger must be acute, not chronic. Treat yourself with sufficient food in your main evening meal to compensate for the energy and nutrients you spend during the day.

A Tastier Green Tea Option?

You know how fond I am of green tea for all its many health benefits – and if you are trying to lose weight then it is helpful in that area as well as taking care of your heart – but I know many of you don’t find it entirely palatable. Happily, there are ways around it from adding lemon and honey to finding a tea which has a taste you enjoy and I might have just the thing for you that comes from Vietnam.

If you have ever visited that country then you may have been given Vietnamese lotus tea – a type of green tea flavoured with the scent of the Lotus Flower. It is a specialty product of the Vietnamese tea industry and drunk as part of celebratory events or festivals as it seen as something rather special. The unique floral taste adds a whole new dimension to green tea and if you are fond of jasmine tea after a Chinese meal then it could hit just the right spot for you.

The traditional way to produce Lotus Tea involves using only the stamen of the Lotus flower and infusing it with green tea leaves and although there are several modern versions of the tea on the market now they are using flavourings or perfumes. For the authentic taste of Vietnamese lotus tea you need the actual ingredient, not a flavour, and that has become available in the UK for the first time from Natural Boutique.

They have a wide range of health giving teas, including an Artichoke tea which helps digestion and a rare and exotic Green and Java tea for aiding weight loss. If you can’t find Natural Boutique’s Vietnamese Lotus Tea in your local health store then visit the website at

What Can Double or Triple the Risk of DVT’s for Women?

July 19, 2011 by  
Filed under At Home, At Work, featured, Health, Natural Medicine, Travel

The risk of blood clots and DVT’s are well publicized in relation to air travel, but what you may not be aware of is that just prolonged sitting around at home or the office can also be potentially life threatening – particularly for women.

New research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) shows that although the greatest risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is surgery, most people associate it with long-haul flights and the Pill but they could be tragically mistaken. The amount of time spent sitting every day – wherever you are – means you could be putting yourself at risk of developing potentially life-threatening blood clots.

This study was done in the USA, and found that women who sat for a long time every day had double or even triple the risk of a dangerous blood clot in the lungs.
While the women most at risk had sat for more than 41 hours a week (on top of their work hours), the research is the first to prove a sedentary lifestyle increases the dangers.

DVT is caused when the wall of a blood vessel is damaged through injury, such as a broken bone or surgery, or if the blood clots more easily than normal as a result of medication or genetics. They fact here though is that it can also be triggered by the blood flow slowing down considerably — such as when you’re immobile for a long time through lying or sitting down.

What Can Help?
First of all realistically monitor how much time you do spend sitting down and reduce it in simple ways. First of all bin the TV remote and get up to change channels, if you work at a desk or on a computer get up every hour and just move around for five minutes. If you have the choice of stairs or a lift, use the stairs for at least part of the way.

When travelling try to drive no more than two hours without a break, even if you just pull into a car park and walk round it for a few minutes. By air, it is not now frowned on to get up and walk round the plane, though your way may not always be clear it is worth the effort to avoid the duty free carts or if stuck in your seat try tensing and releasing the muscles in your buttocks, legs and feet. By curling or pressing the toes down, which causes the muscles to contract and squeeze on the leg veins, helps to pump the blood along. Another way to help move blood to the heart is to wear compression stockings, which put gentle pressure on the leg muscles as studies in healthy people have shown that wearing compression stockings minimizes the risk of developing DVT after long flights. Avoid socks, or knee highs for women that have very tight elastic bands at the top and do not sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time, which constricts the veins.

Keep the fluid flowing:
Sorry, not alcohol but you need to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration as this causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the risk for DVT. Reducing alcohol and coffee consumption, which both contribute to dehydration, is also recommended.

If water is not your thing there is also a new fruit juice which has been proven to benefit blood circulation. Sirco™contains a tasteless tomato extract, Fruitflow®, that has been scientifically proven to have heart and circulation health benefits because in several clinical trials it has been shown to help maintain a healthy blood circulation by preventing the “clumping” of blood platelets which can lead to blood clots. The blood platelet smoothing action of Sirco™ takes effect within 1 ½ to 3 hours from drinking it and lasts up to 18 hours and is suggested as a natural alternative to a daily aspirin that many people take for this action. It fits well into the healthy Mediterranean diet eithos and comes in two 100% pure fruit juices mixes; Pomegranate/Orange and Blueberry/Apple.

You should find it in your supermarket or local health store or go to

Salt Is Not Always A Negative Health Factor

July 12, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Health

Salt, like butter, has become a bit of a ‘health demon’ in recent years – though not by me. Obviously drowning your food in salt is not a good idea health wise – or taste wise – but in moderation I don’t have a problem with it and now new research backs that up and indicates it can be just as dangerous to have a low intake.

Salt In Pregnancy:
The link between high salt intake and high blood pressure is well established, but a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology has found that consuming too little sodium is also damaging. According to researchers from both the University of Heidelberg in Germany and the University of Aarhus in Denmark, women who consume too much or too little sodium during pregnancy can end up with children with poorly-developed kidneys, which in turn can cause a lifetime of heart problems.

Building upon previous studies that identified a link between excessive sodium intake and low birth weights, high blood pressure, and kidney problems, the new study identifies similar developmental deficits from too little sodium intake. Mothers who had both too little, and too much, were affecting their babies development during between the crucial developmental period of 1 – 12 weeks. Principally, this concerned the kidneys and ability to carry out their vital function of filtering the blood and creating urine waste.

If you are concerned about diet in pregnancy then there is an excellent website which gives good information provided by the British Nutrition Foundation. It is a free online resource for parents and health professionals at

Salt In Adulthood:
If you have been virtuously ‘passing’ on the salt to reduce your risk of heart disease then the bad news is it won’t have made any difference. The good news is that a sensible amount won’t reduce your chance of dying early.

A systematic review of nearly six and a half thousand patients, published in the latest edition of The Cochrane Library, has shown that a moderate reduction in the amount of salt you eat doesn’t reduce your likelihood of dying or experiencing cardiovascular disease.

In the UK, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Guidance (NICE) has recently called for an acceleration of the reduction in salt in the general population from a maximum intake of 6g per day per adult by 2015 to 3g by 2025 and most food manufacturers are working to remove it from their products so your intake is being gradually reduced by external circumstances.

So which salt is best?
Moderation seems to be the key – as it is with most health food issues – and it’s really important to know that not all sodium is the same. The ones to avoid are processed table salt and chemical salt derivatives like monosodium glutamate because these are the true culprits that bring about heart disease.

The best option is to go for full-spectrum sea and mineral salts like Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt as these contain beneficial trace minerals and elements that are vital to health.

Doctors Warn of Dangers of Energy Drinks for Children

July 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Childrens Health, featured, Health

There are times we all need a pick me up, and with the young – particularly teenagers the new energy drinks are a fast fix. Usually full of sugar, caffeine and other ingredients such as ginseng and taurine they are easily available and very attractive to the eye. However, in a new report, experts are now urging children and teenagers to avoid them because of possible health risks.

“Children never need energy drinks,” according to Dr. Holly Benjamin of the American Academy of Paediatrics who worked on the new report. “They contain caffeine and other stimulant substances that aren’t nutritional, so you don’t need them.” Experts fear that kids are more vulnerable to the contents of the drinks than adults because if you drink them on a regular basis, it stresses the body. You don’t really want to stress the body of a growing person.”

The report speaks of the jumble of ingredients in the energy drinks which include vitamins and various herbal extracts which could have potential side effects that are not yet entirely understood. The report acknowledges that while there are not many documented cases of harm linked directly to the drinks, the stimulants contained within can disrupt the hearts rhythm and in some rare cases can lead to seizures.

Benjamin states that she recently saw a 15 year-old boy with ADHD who came to the hospital suffering from a seizure after drinking two bottles of Mountain Dew, a soft drink containing caffeine. The boy had also been taking stimulant ADHD medications and perhaps the combination of the drug and the extra caffeine had pushed him over the edge.

Which Foods Will Give You Most Weight Gain – and Loss?

June 29, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Food & Nutrition, Health

This is one of those studies from the US that will either cheer you enormously, or cause you to rethink your shopping trolley. It seems that the humble potato crisp may be the most dangerous food for your hips.

The man responsible for this – and other news – is Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Schools of Medicine and Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. He has laid out weight-associated foods by the pound and has calculated that roughly half of the average 3.35 pounds a healthy, non-obese American gains over four years could be chalked up to eating more potato crisps – though he doesn’t say exactly hw many so does one small bag of Smith’s non-salted really count?!

His results were reported in the June 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and the foods most strongly associated with weight gain are these:

• Potatoes
• Sugar-sweetened drinks
• Unprocessed red meats
• Processed meats
• Alcohol

What is interesting to me is that there is little difference in his analysis between processed and unprocessed meats, but if you are looking to lose some pounds then over a four-year period the most weight loss was associated with these foods:

• Yogurt
• Nuts
• Fruits
• Whole grains
• Vegetables

This pretty much follows the well-known data that a vegetarian/vegan diet will generally help you lose weight and be healthier all round. In fact as we age, and tend to put on weight, such a diet may have only a slight creeping gain of 0.8 lb on average per year.

Two non-food items that will put on the weight are giving up smoking and too much television watching. If either of these is a factor for you then not surprisingly, physical activity will help you lost some of that extra weight effectively and healthily.

A Healthy Alternative:
If you want a savoury snack, then instead of crisps what about a brand new concept? Savoury Veatable bars are eaten fresh from the fridge and are soft and chewy. They only have 99 calories per bar and although I have to say I was not keen on the idea, once I tried one my favourite was the Tomato Pizza version which contains tomatoes blended with onions, cheese olive oil and mixed herbs and really was very tasty.

You might prefer the other two varieties: Roasted vegetable or Thai Sweetcorn. They are made from diced and roasted vegetables, 100% natural, gluten and wheat free, high in fibre and count as one of your five a day.

You should find them in health stores, or direct from

And if you are serious about weight loss, make sure you get a good night’s sleep as a lack of it can slow the rate at which you burn calories, increase blood sugar levels and make you feel hungrier. Researchers at the University of Chicago recently studied a group of dieting men and women, some of whom had 8.5 hours sleep a night, the others just 5.5 hours, they found that those that got adequate sleep lost over 50% more weight than their sleep-deprived counterparts.

Time for a snooze, then?

Saffron & Resveratrol Could Help Fight AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration)

June 21, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Health

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye condition that affects a tiny part of the retina at the back of your eye. It causes problems with your central vision, but does not lead to total loss of sight and is not painful so you notice it when you’re reading, looking at photos or watching television. AMD may make this central vision distorted or blurry and, over a period of time, it may cause a blank patch in the centre of your vision.

At the moment, the exact cause for AMD is not known, but some things are thought to increase your chances of developing it. It gradually develops with age, starting at around 50 and is most often seen in people over the age of 65. More women have AMD than men, and there may also be a genetic link. Smoking also greatly increases the risk as does lifelong exposure to high levels of sunlight for outdoor workers.

Symptoms vary from person to person, but usually the first problems people notice are with their ability to see detail. You may have problems reading small print, even if you wear your usual reading glasses, or you may find that there is a slight smudge in your sight or that your vision has a small blurred area in the centre. Straight lines may look distorted or wavy or as if there’s a little bump in them. You may also find you become sensitive to bright light or that you see shapes and lights that aren’t actually there. Sometimes people may only notice these changes in one eye.

Regular eye tests will establish whether you have AMD and prevention is something you can pay attention to. Minimising your risk factors through not smoking or exposing your eyes to bright sunlight without sunglasses are things you can control, though sadly aging and family history are not.

A new supplement that offers help in this area is Saffron 2020 which has been designed to tackle the eye disease in its early stages helping to reduce the risk of vision loss and improve a sufferer’s quality of life from the onset of the disease. The nutritional supplement is made up of a unique formulation of saffron, the macular pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin A and resveratrol. It also contains vitamin C, E and B2, zinc and copper, all of which work together to help protect DNA, proteins and lipids from damage and help maintain healthy eyes and normal vision. You may only know saffron as a cooking ingredient but the yellow powder that is derived from from the stigma of the saffron crocus has been used across Europe and the Middle East to promote health.

More information on the supplement at and for help with AMD the Macular Disease Society has local groups which meet throughout the country and also offer a telephone counselling service.

Thyroid Drug Increases Risk of Bone Fractures in Women

June 14, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Health, Womens Health

Many women suffer from underactive thyroid, but a common drug taken to relieve it can have serious effects on bone strength according to a recent study for the British Medical Journal.

Hypothyroidism is a fairly common disorder, caused by low levels of thyroid hormones. With the availability of either natural hormones taken from animals, or synthetic hormones (levothyroxine), doctors now treat the disorder by replacing the missing thyroid hormones. A found that elderly people with high levels of the artificial hormone may have an increased risk of bone fracture.

Hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are critically important to health because they affect the metabolism of every cell in the body. Thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism of glucose to release energy, as well as affecting protein synthesis and metabolism of fats.

Because the body creates thyroid hormones by using iodine, a healthy level of iodine in the diet is important because as well as being vital for general metabolism, there is also evidence that iodine in the diet can help in avoiding cancer.

The study was done at the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto, where researchers looked at 213,500 people aged 70 or over. Patients in the study received at least one prescription for levothyroxine (the synthetic hormone) between 2002 and 2007. Results showed a significantly increased risk of fracture in people who were either taking or had recently taken levothyroxine.

As people grow older, there is a greater likelihood of diminished levels of thyroid hormones, with possibly as many as 20% of older people receiving treatment for hypothyroidism. But as doctors treat the disease by administering hormones, one of the possible side effects is a decrease in bone density. In some cases, bone density may reach the point that broken bones become more likely.

A researcher from the British Medical Journal study said that the condition needs more study, as not enough is known about the link between thyroid hormone and bone density in the elderly. A study published in 2010 on the link in elderly men did not find a decrease in bone density, but a study the same year in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism did find such a link in postmenopausal women. A 2010 review article looking at drug-induced osteoporosis also noted high doses of thyroxine as a possible cause of low bone density in postmenopausal women.

Patients who are receiving hormone therapy should have hormone levels checked regularly, to see that levels do not grow too high, or for that matter too low. Some patients may not wish to take hormones acquired from animals, but the synthetic form of the hormone, levothyroxine, like any artificial drug, has the potential for side effects.

If you are taking a thyroid supplement then discuss with your doctor as to whether you would benefit from taking a different form.

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