Saturday, March 03, 2012

Smoking, drinking teens are the unhappiest of all.... and fruit and veg is the secret to a good life

This is just a study of social class. It's mainly working class people who smoke, for instance, and being working class in Britain is not a happy experience

Teenagers who smoke, drink alcohol and eat junk food are significantly more likely to be unhappy than their clean- living counterparts, a study has found.

About 5,000 children were questioned on their appearance, family, friends, school and life as a whole, and had their happiness levels rated. Researchers discovered that those who never drank alcohol were between four and six times more likely to have higher levels of happiness than those who did, while those who shunned cigarettes were about five times more likely to have high happiness scores than young smokers.

The authors of the study, based at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University, used data from Understanding Society, a long-term study of 40,000 UK households, to analyse the home life and health-related behaviour of about 5,000 ten to 15-year-olds.

Their results found that unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and not taking exercise were closely linked to substantially lower happiness scores, even when factors such as family income and parents’ education were taken into account.

Higher consumption of fruit and vegetables, and less eating of crisps, sweets and fizzy drinks, was associated with high happiness levels. Also, the children who played a lot of sport were deemed happier.

Cara Booker, co-author of the research, said that children could be turning to damaging vices to cope with their unhappiness. She said: ‘Another explanation could be that youths who smoke and drink first fit themselves into certain groups that tend to be unhappier, and then they find themselves unhappy. It becomes a vicious cycle.

‘It’s probably a combination of both. Some will take up smoking because they want to feel more adult, but then find themselves hanging out with people who are less happy and then they become less happy.

‘But if you’re participating in sports and have a social group who are also interested in the same things, you’re happier versus not doing much of anything.’

The study found that between the ages of 13 and 15, teenagers’ food consumption became unhealthier – only 11 per cent reported eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day – and their participation in exercise fell. And the figures for alcohol consumption revealed 8 per cent of ten to 12-year-olds admitted having had an alcoholic drink within the last month, rising to 41 per cent among 13 to 15-year-olds.

Dr Booker added: ‘The message [to teenagers] is that you need to be as healthy as possible, and participating in more adult behaviour such as smoking and drinking is not necessarily going to make you happier.’


Bitter orange extract can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and prevent diabetes (?)

Whether the change in blood lipids observed leads to a longer lifespan is the important question and there is no evidence of that below. They are just generalizing from what they believe about statins

That lifespan claims for statins are dubious has been shown by Kauffman and others. The best explanation for most of the claims seems to be that researchers WANT reality to reflect their theories. See also here.

There is also a large issue with therapeutic compliance. Many of the people who are prescribed statins suffer side effects which lead them to abandon the drugs -- thus distorting any trials they may be in

A fruit extract loved by tea drinkers for the aromatic flavour it lends to Earl Grey tea could help you lose weight, lower cholesterol and protect against diabetes. The bergamot orange, grown in the Mediterranean, is being hailed as ‘nature’s statin’. It contains chemicals called citrus polyphenols that appear to block production of blood fats, boost metabolism and prevent cholesterol absorption in the gut.

Doctors who gave the extract to heart patients and diabetics claim dramatic benefits. Some of their patients have avoided taking statins, which may have side-effects.

Research on more than 200 patients with high levels of blood fats, carried out by the University of Cantanzaro in Italy, found ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) reduced by 39 per cent after a month of taking the extract. It also reduced blood sugars by 22 per cent and raised ‘good’ cholesterol by 41 per cent.

But Cathy Ross, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘This was a small study and more robust research is needed.’

The extract, which is marketed as BergaMet and comes from Australian firm NatHealth Solutions, is awaiting approval as a food supplement in the UK.

Given as a 1000mg tablet to be taken before meals it also reduced blood sugars by 22 per cent and raised 'good' cholesterol by 41 per cent. Each tablet is made of the extract and pulp of bergamots grown on the coast of Calabria in Italy.

Lead researcher Dr Vincenzo Mollace, Professor in the faculty of pharmacology at the University of Cantanzaro said: 'Bergamot contains extremely large amounts of polyphenols, as compared to other citrus species.

'Two of these, Brutelidin and Metilidin, directly inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis in a similar way to statins and they are not found in any other citrus derivatives.'

In separate research, a leading cardiologist in Australia is giving BergaMet to more than 700 patients, some of whom have avoided the need for statins, while others are on a reduced statin dose but are still seeing major reductions in harmful cholesterol, but with the added benefit of protection from diabetes because their blood sugars are regulated.

Another benefit is patients have lost weight. In one case, a male patient weighing a staggering 26st lost over 2st in just a month on BergaMet.

Around one in four adults in the UK is thought to have a genetic predisposition to develop insulin resistance, meaning that weight gain and a lack of exercise puts them at a higher risk of raised blood sugars and diabetes. This is often coupled with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a tendency to blood clots - so-called metabolic syndrome.

Dr Ross Walker, of Sydney Adventist Hospital and in private practice in Sydney, said: 'I have found in all of my patients who were overweight, there has been abdominal fat loss with BergaMet.

'It is not as powerful as statins in lowering cholesterol and if you have had a heart attack, vascular disease or have a high family risk then statins are what you should have, but statins do not suit everybody and BergaMet has the added advantage of lowering blood sugars.

'Plus, we have seen a significant reduction in arterial stiffness with the bergamot extract which is helpful in protecting against arterial disease. In some patients I have halved the dose of statins they are on because of BergaMet.

'This is a safe, natural product for combating high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome which is showing very promising results, remarkably with no significant side effects.'

BergaMet blocks the same enzyme responsible for cholesterol production as statins, but works at a different site on the enzyme, meaning it does not appear to have side effects in the muscles and the liver.

It also has a direct effect on cell membranes so that sugar is able to enter the cells of the body and insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome are reduced.

BergaMet is available on the internet and costs around £34 for a month’s supply but is awaiting approval as a food supplement by UK regulatory authorities before it can be sold here. NatHealth Solutions are in talks with major high street pharmacies who are hoping to have it on the shelves by the summer.


No comments: