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News In Review: Major Health Stories of 2012

By , Staff Writer
Monday, December 31, 2012
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2012 is nearly wrapped up, but the major health news events will no doubt inspire countless New Year's resolutions. Before you head off to the gym to kick off your own new health and wellness plan, take a moment to look back at the supplements and scares that made headlines this year.

Miracle Supplements
Ever since Dr. Mehmet Oz first said the words "raspberry ketone," the weight loss supplement industry changed. No longer would people look solely to high energy supplements containing ephedra to help them shed the extra pounds. Rather, the reign of the superfood as weight loss aide began. Preliminary studies (conducted on animals) suggested raspberry ketone, the compound within raspberries that gives them their scent, can help shrink fat cells and increase fat burn for weight loss.

The two other supplements that contributed to this buzz, also featured on "The Dr. Oz Show," were green coffee bean extract and satiereal saffron. Green coffee bean extract contains chlorogenic acid, shown to boost metabolism for greater fat burn. Satiereal saffron increases the capabilities of a person's metabolism while improving their mood to decrease the need to "stress eat." By cutting down on the amount a person overeats, the person becomes more likely to shed unwanted pounds.

Research continues examining the effectiveness of these supplements. As a rule, plan to give them at least 30 days to take effect, since they're all natural and free of stimulants.

The Safety of Energy Drinks
It's 2 p.m. and you're dead tired but you have so much work to do. We've all seen the commercials prompting us to reach for an energy drink to help us get through the day. Are they truly safe though?

Recent studies published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implicated Monster Beverage Corp. and 5-Hour Energy for the possible death and hospitalization of multiple individuals. With 5-Hour Energy controlling 90 percent of the market share for 2011, any direct relation between the deaths and the drink could lead to a drastic shift in not only the company's future, but the future of the entire industry.

While this may seem terrifying to think of, there's one word that can keep you safe: moderation. There can be 550 mg of caffeine per energy drink, equivalent to 12 cups of coffee. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of caffeine is between 200 and 300 mg for an adult, which equals three to four cups of coffee.

For sugar, it's about 24 g per day for women and 36 g for men, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Most energy drinks contain double that amount. In terms of vitamins and nutrients, a majority of the B vitamins included in these drinks have little to no impact and are washed away in your urine. The taurine included also isn't found in a concentrated enough amount to have any antioxidant properties.

The reported deaths may seem scary at first, but these investigations are ongoing.

The Meningitis Scare
Bacterial superbugs are resistant to most types of antibiotics, so when word that one had claimed the lives of 39 people with 620 reported cases, panic set in. In October, a rare type of fungal meningitis not commonly seen in the United States put everyone on high alert.

Typically, this disease isn't contagious and is believed to spread through inhaling microscopic amounts of contaminated soil or bird droppings. This wasn't the case in this event -- Aspergillus meningitis was found to have contaminated vials of a prescription steroid used for back pain. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting and an altered mental state. As the bacteria progresses within the body, more serious symptoms can occur, such as brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities, speech complications, seizers, paralysis and death, if left untreated.

Fortunately, the situation was contained and the lab responsible identified.

The Truth Behind Fish Oil
For millions of Americans, taking a daily fish oil supplement has been part of their routine for years. Fish oil, chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, is believed to increase the health of one's heart, reducing the risk for heart attack, sudden death and stroke.

However, a study conducted by the American Medical Association (AMA) found no direct correlation between omega-3 and a reduction of those risks. This doesn't mean people should just stop taking fish oil all together -- there are still positives about fish oil and studies continue. Fish oil is also not known to have any negative side effects.

Another reason for further investigation was the duration of the study. Many of the patients were only observed for three years, whereas many doctors believe at least five years are needed to get a clear grasp of the situation.

We'll be back next year with all the important health news you need to know to keep feeling your best! Shop for the supplements mentioned above at eVitamins and happy New Year!

Products you may like:

Natural Research Innovation Raspberry Ketone Extreme  Natural Research Innovation Raspberry Ketone Extreme 
Why you may like this product? Contains only two ingredients -- raspberry ketone and green tea -- extract to help you shed those unwanted pounds.
Source Naturals Green Coffee Extract 500 mg  Source Naturals Green Coffee Extract 500 mg 
Why you may like this product? Besides being able to help with weight loss, green coffee is full of antioxidants, can help keep cholesterol in check, promotes liver function and can help mitigate pain like migraine headaches.
Dr. Christophers Cold Season Immune Formula  Dr. Christophers Cold Season Immune Formula 
Why you may like this product? Specially formulated to fight back against the symptoms of cold and flu. Also helps strengthen the immune system against threats of viral or bacterial infection.
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