Reality Health Check

Cannabis outperforms opioids yet again

In my view, it’s a complete tragedy that doctors still prescribe opioids. Because these notorious pain drugs aren’t just dangerous. They also don’t even work especially well. (And this is true even with steadily increasing dosages.) In fact, as I’ve shared here before, opioid drugs have the opposite effect: They actually increase pain sensitivity over […]

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These common medications can steal your memory

Well, here we go again. Another year, another shocking new report on the risks of anticholinergic drugs. This huge class of medicines includes allergy medications (antihistamines), drugs used to treat overactive bladder, and antidepressants, among others. But guess what? Anticholinergics have also emerged as a potential culprit behind some 50,000 dementia cases per year. And […]

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COVID-19: This is a marathon, not a sprint

There’s a lot of ground to cover on the subject we started yesterday, and I don’t want to skip a beat. So let’s dive right in—and talk some more about why, even if one of the multiple coronavirus vaccines in development works, it still won’t mark the end of this pandemic. And why we’re likely […]

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Push back prediabetes with this fall spice

With coronavirus still upending business as usual all over the country, it can be hard to focus on anything else. But after devoting the rest of this week’s Reality Health Check articles to news of the pandemic, today I want to switch gears. Because it’s important not to forget about other threats to your health—and […]

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COVID-19: Decoding the updated numbers

At the beginning of this pandemic, I wrote about the numbers quite often. Mostly because there was a lot of confusion as to what the statistics really meant versus how they were being portrayed in the headlines. Back then, I also mentioned it will take some time before we know the true extent of the […]

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Even the lightest exercise can keep binges at bay

The news about exercise just keeps getting better for people on either side of their weight loss journey. In fact, another study—published early this year in the journal Health Psychology—showed that even light exercise can keep you from overeating. And if you ask me, an evening walk is an awfully small trade-off for clinically proven […]

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Just keep moving… literally

If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while now, then you probably know that I don’t subscribe to the “calories in, calories out” theory of weight loss and maintenance. For the simple reason that not all calories are created equal—and not all metabolisms are, either. You’ll also recall that I am a huge […]

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The hazards of too much sleep

If you caught yesterday’s Reality Health Check, then you know that a good night’s sleep can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. So now, allow me to issue a serious caveat to those findings: When it comes to shuteye, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. In fact, […]

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A good night’s sleep offers heart protection

Earlier this week, we talked about the relationship between genetics, nutrition, and metabolic health. But what you eat isn’t the only thing that matters. In fact, sleep habits matter, too—a whole lot more than most people might think. Sure, getting a good night’s sleep is critical to everyone’s health. But a study recently published in […]

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COVID-19: Will obesity sabotage our recovery?

This may be one of the trickiest Reality Health Check e-letters I have ever written… Not because the topic is new to me—I write about the risks of obesity all the time. (That’s just one reason why I talked about the extra complications it could introduce to the coronavirus pandemic months ago.) In fact, I […]

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A sharp memory depends on strong microcirculation

Yesterday, I shared a list of simple, lifestyle-based strategies to reduce your risk of dementia. And today, I want to take that conversation a step further to talk about one key factor those researchers didn’t highlight: microcirculation. That’s because, among many critical roles, the tiny blood vessels that make up your microcirculatory system are responsible […]

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Ten tips for keeping dementia at bay

I talk a lot about preserving memory. Mostly because, in my experience as a doctor, memory loss is the number one thing that people are afraid of. (Other than cancer, and now coronavirus, of course.) But you know what? It’s also one of the most preventable. In fact, a new report suggests that, if people […]

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Warning: Air pollution shrinks your brain

These days, we all have one major health concern that’s top of mind: the big C. (And this time, I don’t mean cancer.) But even in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we still need to focus on our overall health—and that includes our brain health. So today, I want to talk about one […]

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The lifesaving power of positivity

On Monday, I took a moment to reflect on the roles that empathy, compassion, and positivity can play in helping us all navigate these troubling times. Today, I want to piggyback on that discussion and talk a little more about what positivity can do for you, personally. Because optimism is powerful. In fact, it’s powerful […]

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Women: Sexual satisfaction may be just four letters away

In a day and age where the term “little blue pill” exists in common parlance, I don’t think the medical community pays nearly enough attention to sexual function in women. Perhaps the subject makes doctors and patients uncomfortable. Or maybe primary care doctors just think it should fall under the purview of the gynecologist. Whatever […]

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Just say NO to that daily low-dose aspirin

Yesterday, I talked to you about the hazards of acetaminophen. So, today, let’s look at another common painkiller: aspirin. Many people take aspirin every day—for minor aches and pains, fevers, or even to help promote heart health. In fact, aspirin therapy has been a common mainstream recommendation for years. But based on years of accumulating […]

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Is this common drug stealing your emotions?

Lots of people pop over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers like candy, without considering the potential consequences. But those consequences reach a lot farther than you might think. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol®), for example. Not only is it the leading cause of liver failure in the United States, but now, recent research shows it may actually reduce feelings of […]

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Are you sleeping with a carcinogen?

Yesterday’s conversation about thyroid testing got me thinking about another recent study dealing with this tiny butterfly-shaped gland. And this one may be even more concerning—especially  if you’re someone who uses a cell phone every day. Let’s dive right in… A carcinogenic combo Yale researchers looked at more than 900 subjects in Connecticut. And they […]

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Why most doctors get thyroid testing all wrong

The sad fact is, conventional doctors have been taught to look at one number—and one number only—when evaluating a patient’s thyroid function. And that’s their thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. As a result, many people have an underactive thyroid that goes unrecognized. So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a recent article suggesting […]

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The 45-minute cure for pandemic anxiety

I think we can all agree that one of the most troubling aspects of this pandemic is the psychological trauma associated with it. People are afraid and unsure of how to keep safe—and there are conflicting messages virtually everywhere. All of this has created challenges with day-to-day mental functioning—whether it’s decision-making, planning, or focusing on […]

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Vegetable Soup

Serves 2 Ingredients: 1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil 1/4 white onion, finely chopped 2 large scallions, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 celery stalks, finely chopped 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped 2 cups vegetable broth 1 cup broccoli florets 1/4 cup chopped fresh purslane 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1 […]

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A simple way to beat allergies—at any age

As you know, I’m a big fan of probiotics—and I have been since long before they became fashionable. (I even wrote a book about them, called Boost Your Health with Bacteria.) But since I wrote that book, there has been so much new information to support just how important the gut microbiome is to our […]

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COVID-19: Welcome to the “new normal”

We’re several months into this pandemic now, and everyone wants answers to the same questions: When is this all going to end? When will life be back to normal? And frankly, I can’t blame them. But I think it’s about time we all start accepting the fact that, like it or not, this is just […]

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REVEALED: More truths about COVID-19

Let me ask you a question: Would you rather this pandemic continue to be politicized… or would you prefer for science to lead us out of our current national disaster? I know which side I’m on—and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. After all, Americans are literally dying right now because of politicians. […]

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Wake up and smell the diabetes prevention

Since I spent so much of this week talking about the healthy habits that could save your life, I thought I’d spend today talking about an “unhealthy” habit that could actually do the same: your morning cup of coffee. Because as I’ve shared here before, it’s not actually unhealthy at all. In fact, according to […]

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