Healthy dose of natural sunlight may aid weight loss
Photo: Fotolia, Woman Meditating
Researchers say people are more likely to lose weight by reducing the number of hours they are exposed to artificial light at night and increasing their exposure to daylight.
Researchers say people are more likely to lose weight by reducing…
Rosanne Barr, Al Roker and Rosie O’Donnell are outspoken about their weight-loss surgery and its life-changing benefits. Barr was a pioneer in 1998 when she hit 350 pounds on her 5-foot-4 frame; Roker lost 150 pounds, regained 40, and has lost some again. O’Donnell chose the surgery after a heart attack at 50 scared her into action.
Not for you? Well, if you’ve been struggling to achieve a healthy weight, you may want to give nine servings of fresh produce daily, 10,000 steps a day, and 7-8 hours of sleep nightly another try … but add this newly discovered, weight-loss step into the mix: Get more natural light during the day and a lot less artificial light at night (those glowing screens are following you).
A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that exposure to more than three hours of artificial light at night resulted in a 10.2 percent gain in waist-to-height ratio and a 10 percent gain in BMI over 10 years! And that’s independent of calories eaten, physical activity or sleep patterns.
Also true: The longer a person was exposed to just 500 lux (a measure of luminosity) of natural sunlight and the longer nighttime light registered dim to dark, the greater the slim down. FYI: Indirect sunlight on a clear day delivers 10,000 to 25,000 lux; below 3 lux it’s nicely dark; twilight is around 10. Clearly, this is a bright idea that’ll make it easier for you to lighten up!
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Some acid reflux meds have unwanted risks
A serious flare of acid reflux can feel like a heart attack. Luckily, proton pump inhibitors and histamine 2 blockers ease the discomfort. But a new study in the journal Gut found that folks who use PPIs (Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium) for extended stretches are at risk of developing stomach cancer (even after taking antibiotics to eliminate H. pylori infection, a known cause of stomach cancer).
The risk goes up five-fold after more than a year on the meds, more than six-fold after two-plus years, and over eight-fold after three-plus. Another study indicated that prolonged PPI use is associated with a doubling of heart attack risk. H2 blockers, such as Pepcid and Zantac, were found to have no link to stomach cancer or increased heart attack risk.
The scoop: PPIs are generally safe if taken as directed. Prilosec advises you to use the product once every 24 hours, for up to 14 days; four months later, you may repeat a 14-day course. But many folks use over-the-counter PPIs for months or years.
The right moves:
1. Don’t take PPIs for extended periods of time without your doc’s permission.
2. Try easing heartburn by making changes to your diet and reducing alcohol or coffee intake.
Q: I have chronic back pain from a car accident, and my doctor prescribed oxycodone. I don’t want to take it. I hear there’s an effective pain-relieving extract from marijuana that doesn’t get you high or addicted. Is it legit?
Michael J., Provo, Utah
A: That’s an important question. We’ve been talking recently about how this country needs to encourage high-quality scientific research into the pain-relieving powers of cannabis/marijuana. It just makes sense to help people like you, who don’t want to take opioids and need effective pain relief! But the bottom line is, we don’t yet know the answer to your question.
What we kinda know: When it comes to using a marijuana derivative for pain relief, the best option appears to be an extract called cannabidiol, or CBD. It’s a nonpsychoactive component of marijuana (you don’t get high); early research indicates that it can suppress chronic inflammatory and nerve pain without triggering addiction. And a lab (animal) study found that transdermal CBD reduces chronic arthritis pain. But we still need more data on its use for noncancer-related pain.
On top of that, there currently are no Food and Drug Administration-approved applications for CBD, even though as of 2016, D.C. and 36 states had legalized medical cannabis and another 16 had allowed limited access to low-THC/high-CBD products.
Where does that leave you, Michael? Well, probably thinking about buying CBD online.
Beware! A new study in JAMA found that more than 42 percent of CBD products contained a higher concentration of CBD than indicated; 26 percent contained a lower concentration of CBD; and only 30 percent contained CBD that was within 10 percent of the amount listed on the label.
So, talk to your doc about alternative pain-reducing options, including: meditation; acupuncture; nutritional and supplement choices, such as DHA-omega-3; aspirin and other NSAIDs, such as cox-2 inhibitors; and cognitive behavioral therapy. Also, ask if it makes sense to try CBD, if a safe and legal (locally) source is available.