Health Watch Q & A - Vol 4 Issue 2
THANKS FOR ASKING
Virginia Responds to Reader Questions
From Belly Fat to Belly Flat
Q: Thank you for all that you do for women and men who need help with their hormones. My husband loved your last issue on the prostate. The books you wrote with Dr. Lee are an ongoing treasure trove of information for me and my friends! I recently saw the book From Belly Fat to Belly Flat on amazon.com, and am wondering if you have read it and if so if you think their approach can help with hormone balance and weight loss?
A: I have read from From Belly Fat to Belly Flat and it’s a great book. I’ve known Dr. Randolph for years and have a high regard for his work and his books. He and Dr. John Lee often put their heads together to work out a hormone imbalance puzzle. Dr. Randolph is an Ob/Gyn and pharmacist with a very busy practice in Florida, and was among the first physicians to wholeheartedly embrace Dr. Lee’s approach to natural hormone balance. He has used natural hormones with thousands of women over the years, so he has the wisdom of experience. Clinicians are where the rubber meets the road, because they’re the ones seeing patients every day—they know what works and what doesn’t. The book's co-author, Genie James, is Dr. Randolph’s wife, and brings writing skills, great recipes, a fun feminine perspective, and much more to the mix.
Much of the material in From Belly Fat to Belly Flat will be familiar to readers of Dr. Lee’s books and Dr. Randolph’s first book, From Hormone Hell to Hormone Well, but when the information is specifically applied to weight gain and loss it takes on a new meaning. When you understand why and how eating that cookie or bag of chips will pack on the belly fat, it makes it easier to choose a healthier snack. Randolph and James have spent years refining their approach to helping women balance their hormones and lose weight, and in the book you get to reap the benefit of that experience. This is an especially good read for those who have that persistent extra five or ten pounds they long to be rid of.
You can purchase the book on amazon.com or on Dr. Randolph’s website, HormoneWell.
More News on Cell Phones and Cancer
Q: I saw on the news that cell phones cause tumors in the saliva glands. I’ve also seen articles saying that research in Europe shows that cell phones are perfectly safe to use. I don’t know who to believe. What’s your take on all this contradictory info?
A: My take on cell phones and cancer is that, based on scientific evidence, you can build a case that cell phone use doesn’t cause any health problems, and you can build an equally good case that they do. That being said, most of the studies showing no problems are funded by cell phone companies. One study from Finland showed no increased risk of certain brain cancers when simply comparing a group of cell phone users with nonusers, but when they compared people who had been using cell phones for ten years or more with those who had not, the cell phone users had a 39 percent greater risk of a brain cancer called a glioma on the side of the head that they held the phone. In other words, a lot depends on which questions you ask and how you interpret the answers.
The salivary gland tumors showed up in a study from Israel published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in February 2008. This research found that the heaviest cell phone users had a 50 percent greater risk of benign and malignant tumors of the main salivary gland on the side that they used the phone.
All of the studies that have shown a positive correlation between cell phone use and cancer, have linked it to frequent and long term use. Researchers who find a correlation between cell phone use and cancers universally urge us to be cautious about children using cell phones. Here’s where to find my Tips for Safer Cell Phone Use.
While I was researching melatonin recently I found a study (Int J Radiat Biol 2002 Nov;78(11):1029-36) showing that those who used cell phones for more than 25 minutes per day had reduced melatonin levels, and the longer the use the lower the melatonin levels went. Here’s my Melatonin Main Page where you can find out more about how essential melatonin is to optimal health.
Does “Use it or Lose It” Apply to Prostate Health?
Q: There is one other option men have for a healthy prostate besides what you included in your last newsletter. [See Update on the Prostate]. The prostate is exclusively an organ of sex. The old saying, “use it or lose it” applies here. The first physician I worked for suggested his male patients have two orgasms a week. After being in preventive medicine for over 25 years, this suggestion carries weight. Do you know of any research specifically on this subject?
A: I received a number of e-mails suggesting that lack of ejaculation might contribute to prostate problems. It’s one of those concepts that seems intuitively true, but for awhile there, spotty research was showing just the opposite. Then in 1986 the National Institutes for Health (NIH) decided to put the question to rest once and for all, and used the Health Professionals Follow Up study to survey more than 29,000 (mostly white) men about sexual activity and prostate cancer. It was published in JAMA in 2004. Ejaculation, regardless of how it came about, is what was measured. Overall, men with the highest number of ejaculations per month had the lowest risk of prostate cancer. There are exceptions and caveats to that generalization, and if you’re interested in the numerous variations on the theme that the authors teased out of the data, you can read the full study for free at the JAMA website. (Leitzmann MF, Platz EA et al, “Ejaculation Frequency and Subsequent Risk of Prostate Cancer,” JAMA 2004;291:1578-1586.)
Progesterone Cream, Mid-Section Fat and Fibromyalgia
Q: I am 58 and had a total hysterectomy 10 years ago. I am not taking any kind of estrogen. Can you tell me which progesterone cream I need to use and what I might expect when I use it? I am 5' 5" and weigh 180 lbs with most of it around my mid section. I have fibromyalgia and most of the time am tired with no energy. Help - Help – Help
A: I don’t recommend or promote any one brand of progesterone cream. As long as it contains Dr. John Lee’s recommended dose of progesterone and not a lot of chemicals, it should be fine. My List of Progesterone Creams includes brands that I’ve tried and companies that I’m familiar with—most I've known for many years.
I could write a book about what to expect once you start using progesterone cream—and in fact Dr. Lee and I did (!)—and I’d recommend either Hormone Balance Made Simple or What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Menopause.
Mid-section fat is usually caused by too much sugar in the diet, excess cortisol and/or estrogen deficiency. Again, you’ll find details in our books, particularly in Hormone Balance Made Simple.
Fibromyalgia is still something of a mystery disorder in the sense that we don’t know exactly what causes it, nor do we have a consistently successful treatment protocol. There are a few things that seem to be consistently recommended by clinicians who work with fibromyalgia patients, and those include creating hormone balance, supporting adrenal function, taking vitamin D supplements (and/or getting more sun exposure), taking melatonin before bed, and acupuncture treatments. I know that exercise can be uncomfortable when you have fibromyalgia, but moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga and Tai Chi can make a big positive difference.