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Arsenic in Water — EPA Approved Standards Linked to Heart Disease


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

When taken over the course of many years, arsenic can result in lung, bladder and skin cancers, as well as heart disease, diabetes and neurological damage. In the U.S., many locations are known to have groundwater containing arsenic concentrations in excess of the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard of 10 parts per billion.

But new research suggests that the EPA’s supposedly “safe” level of arsenic allowed in water supplies for public consumption isn’t safe at all. In fact, water laced with the federally-approved amount of arsenic could be causing high blood pressure and artery-clogging atherosclerosis.

A study has shown that arsenic at EPA-approved levels for drinking water causes pores in liver blood vessels to close, potentially leading to cardiovascular disease and hypertension. This study calls into question whether present Environmental Protection Agency standards are stringent enough.
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Exercise Prevents Age-Related Brain Changes


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

It’s well worth remembering that regular exercise brings benefits that no present medical technology can match — and at a fraction of the cost of medicines that do far less.

This Eurekalert! article notes a study in which researchers compared brain scans of older adults who exercise to brain scans of those who do not. They recruited 12 adults, age 60 to 76. Six had participated in aerobic exercise for three or more hours per week over the last 10 years, and six exercised less than one hour per week.

All of the volunteers underwent MRI and MR angiography to depict blood vessels in the brain. Researchers were able to make 3-D models of the blood vessels and examine them for shape and size. The results showed that the inactive group exhibited fewer small blood vessels in the brain, along with more unpredictable blood flow through the brain. The active adults had more small blood vessels and improved cerebral blood flow.

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Stevia: The ‘Holy Grail’ of Sweeteners?


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

The U.S. FDA may soon decide the future of what some in the food industry are calling the holy grail of sweeteners — a low-calorie, natural substance derived from the South American stevia plant.

Stevia has been used in Paraguay for centuries and in Japan for decades. It is currently available in the United States only as a nutritional supplement. The FDA must decide whether stevia is safe enough to be used as an additive in processed foods, where consumers may not realize it is there. If approved, it would likely be used in massive quantities of processed foods and drinks.

There is some concern about stevia. “Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean that it’s safe,” says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “That’s why tests should be done.” Stevia may be linked to genetic mutations in lab animals.

But Cargill, which makes a stevia-based sweetener called Truevia, and Merisant, which makes another named Pure Via, both said their products are safe and are applying for FDA approval. International scientists associated with the World Health Organization agreed that these forms of stevia sweeteners are safe.

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