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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Love to Tan? You Could be a Sun Junkie

A few posts back, I talked about breaking your smoking addiction with exercise. Well, it looks like there's a new addiction making the rounds that might be even harder to resist with summer coming up: tanning.

FoxNews reports that in a study conducted last year, frequent tanners (8-15 times a month) showed signs of withdrawal when given a drug that blocked a narcotic-like substance that is produced when skin tans. Symptoms included nausea and nervousness, and were not observed in infrequent tanners given the same drug.

The study also revealed that indoor tanners were often more susceptible to the tanning addiction. Researcher Mandeep Kaur, MD, says, "If you are tanning yourself eight or more times a month, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.---if you are baking yourself, this is going to affect you...And that goes for tanning beds, too. They say they are safe, but there is no such thing as safe tanning."

Now, aside from the fact that it's hard to believe someone is going to tan 8 to 15 times a month, is there any more reason to keep sun exposure down to a minimum? Sunlight can improve moods and benefit your health through the creation of Vitamin D, but a little goes a long way. The advice seems to be to slap on some sunscreen (like TiO2 Sunblock SPF 30) now, or your next stop may be a rehab center filled with patients that sport tans that would make Coco Chanel envious.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Debate Over Nutritional Supplements Rages On

There has always been a lot of belief and scepticism over the benefits of nutritional supplements, but it seems like the debate has become even more of a roller coaster ride in the last few months.
One recent study declared that not only are antioxidant supplements worthless, but research actually points to some of them increasing people's mortality rates.

For the legions of Americans and those around the globe who do take a supplement high in antioxidants, this is fearsome news indeed.

But NBC Today Show nutritionist, Joy Bauer, recently released another interpretation of this study that puts the little pills in a slightly better light. While she does say that most nutrition should come from foods and people should avoid "mega" doses of antioxidants, she does recommend that people fill out their nutrition with multi-vitamins from trusted sources.

From the article:

"That being said, I say people should stop taking MEGA-doses of antioxidants unless there's a real reason for taking them... and that's something to work out with your personal doctor.

On the other hand, I do think most people will benefit from a basic multivitamin to fill in any potential nutrient gaps in their diets (most importantly you'll get 100% daily value for Vitamin D---an important vitamin that most people do not get enough of). Think of it as an "insurance policy."..... Finally, I really like omega-3 fish oil supplements because they're so good for overall heart health. If you don't eat enough omega-3-rich fish---like salmon and sardines---you may want to consider a supplement. Always speak with your physician first."

To find supplements you can trust, she suggests you look for the following:
  1. What's on the label is in the bottle---no more, no less.
  2. It doesn't contain harmful levels of contaminants.
  3. It will break down properly in your body.
  4. It has been made under good manufacturing processes.

Keeping sources pure and doses manageable are two things MenScience Omega 3 Supplement Formula and Advanced Antioxidants can definitely fulfill. There's no recipe for long life that can be found in a little pill, but I have a feeling the benefits of nutritional supplements will continue to be debated for years to come.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Men of MenScience: Bill "Tuna" Fontana

To kick off the new Men of MenScience series, we're spotlighting skier/windsurfer Bill "Tuna" Fontana. At 61 years old, Tuna's year is spent between two locations most men would give their left arms to even visit: Aspen and Maui, Hawaii.

For half of the year, Tuna is a ski instructor at an Aspen ski school. He holds master's degrees in Education and Mental Health Counseling, and jokes that it was to maintain his own mental health that he moved to Aspen from Pennsylvania in 1971. His day there consists of waking up at 6:00 AM, doing yoga and eating a light breakfast, then heading up the hill to his job, where he greets his first students at 9:00. Often after skiing or teaching during the day, he can be found cross-country ski-skating by night, and he's well-known for tirelessly skiing every single one of the 180 days he's there, never missing a day. He's commited to the Aspen community and has volunteered with the Aspen School for the Deaf.

For the second half of his year, Tuna is an accomplished windsurfer in Maui. After visiting Santa Barbara 23 years ago, Tuna got hooked on the sport and has been pursuing it ever since. He's won the Hawaii State Windsurf Championship and continues to be a player in the windsurfing community.

Hard work and a healthy lifestyle have given Tuna an opportunity to live out his dreams in a way most men will never experience, and he appreciates every minute.

"I have a job people would love to do as a vacation!" he says.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kick the Habit with Exercise

Although we're currently dealing with an "obesity epidemic," I like to think that most men realize (even if they don't put into practice) the fact that regular exercise is necessary for good health and a long life. We can argue many things, but the benefits of exercise just don't seem to be one of them.

Well, chalk one more benefit up to an active lifestyle: a new study shows that exercise can actually help people quit smoking. Led by Dr. Adrian Taylor, a research group found "that moderate exercise, such as walking, significantly reduced the intensity of smokers' nicotine withdrawal symptoms."

Based on research taken from several papers connecting exercise and nicotine withdrawal, the team realized "just five minutes of exercise was often enough to help smokers overcome their immediate need for a nicotine fix."
However, exercise shouldn't be the only route taken when trying to kick the habit:

"West cautioned that it was unknown how long the effects of exercise would last. 'You could in theory use exercise to deal with short bouts of nicotine cravings, but we don't know if it would help in the longer term,' he said. It is likely that exercise would have to be combined with a larger strategy of other anti-smoking techniques to be successful in helping people quit."

But even if exercise can't help you quit, how many other anti-smoking devices can provide you with as many tangible benefits....even when they don't work?


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

See Ya Down at The Sony Ericsson Open

We talked about the benefits of drinking wine, and moved down to laser-combs, and now it's time to talk about tennis.

The Sony Ericsson Open, if you will.

Maybe I'm just a tennis and beach freak, but I really love this tournament. Where else can you enjoy the best tennis in an inexpensive way, be surrounded by beautiful beaches and blue-green waters, and get a great experience at the same time?

The world's #1 player Roger Federer will be there, of course, along with Rafael Nadal (Vamos!) and Gustavo Kuerten. And they're all relaxing and getting ready for this awesome open.

I think there is nothing more entertaining than spending a week under the sun in Key Biscayne, Florida.

I am taking my favorite sunscreen, TiO2 Sunblock SPF30 with me. It's an ultralight, non-greasy waterproof sunblock that is also moisturizing.


Lasers! Combs! Welcome to the Future!

A Florida-based company has released a new type of comb that utilizes a low-level laser to promote greater hair growth on men with thinning hair. Sound too good to be true? The FDA recently allowed the product to be used as a treatment for the most common form of male baldness.

The comb comes with a hefty price tag and is only available online, which might deter some men from picking it up. Then again, there's some guys who'd wade through a lake of sulfuric acid for a thick head of hair they can get just by combing.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Wine-Drinkers Live Longer?

A new Dutch study reveals that men who drink red wine on a daily basis live about four years longer on average than non-drinkers. While red wine has long been touted as having benefits for heart health, it's only through recent research that the effects of the beverage have been tested for how it effects longevity.

But, before you load up on that case of merlot, be aware that the study focused on men who only drank half a glass of wine a day, and drinkers should be cautious:

And medical professionals caution that these results are not final; continued testing needs to be done to come to any sort of conclusive evidence.

Will red wine one day become the secret to a longer life? Or will the health risks associated with alcoholism override its benefits?
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