Thursday, June 16, 2011

DrMirkin's eZine: Sunscreens, statin pain, more

Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine
June 19, 2011

Preventing Skin Cancers

Any direct exposure of the skin to sunlight increases risk
for skin cancer. The sun emits ultraviolet rays that are
classified mostly into UVA and UVB. Most sun screens protect against
only UVB rays, which are the primary cause of sunburn and skin
cancer, but UVA rays penetrate deeper into your skin, to cause
wrinkling, thinning, aging, and brown spots. Any exposure to the
sun's rays can cause sunburns and skin damage. Long-term exposure
to either UVB or UVA, or both, can cause skin cancer.
VITAMIN D: People cannot meet their needs for vitamin D
unless they expose their skin to sunlight or take vitamin D
supplements. Food sources are inadequate and vitamin D pills may
not supply all the benefits of sunlight. If you do not allow the
sun's rays to reach your skin, you will not be able to gain all
the benefits of sunlight. You can meet your vitamin D requirements
by exposing a small area of skin for about half an hour.
exposure to sunlight over a lifetime is what causes skin cancers,
always cover the areas that have had the most sun exposure: face,
hands, arms and tops of the ears, Most basal and squamous skin
cancers occur on the face, ears, neck, forearms, and hands, but
melanoma occurs most commonly on the upper back for men and the
lower legs and upper back for women. Expose your legs or other
areas of your body that have received little cumulative sun
exposure over your lifetime. However, any sunlight exposure
increases risk for skin cancer and aging. Take care to avoid
sunburn, as a single sunburn increases risk for melanoma.
study, participants completed questionnaires on the frequency
with which they used sun screens, wore a hat or long sleeves, or
stayed in the shade, in comparison to their number of sunburns in
the past year. Although using sun screens is the most common sun
protective behavior, use of sun screens does not reduce risk for
sunburns. Those who avoid the sun by seeking shade or wearing
long sleeves are far less likely to suffer sunburns (Cancer Causes
and Control, June 2011). Wear a hat that covers your ears, a shirt,
and arm coolers on your arms when you exercise outdoors.
ARM COOLERS: Arm coolers are made of special materials
that evaporate water quickly so that your arms will feel cool
when sweat evaporates. You can even make your arms feel cold on
hot days just by pouring water on them. You can buy arm coolers
in sports stores or online.
CLOUDS DON'T PROTECT YOU: Up to 80 percent of the sun's UV rays
can pass through clouds to damage your skin.
GLASS DOES NOT PROTECT YOU: Glass blocks UVB rays that are
the primary causes of skin cancer and sunburns, but they do not
block UVA that can also cause skin cancer and aging.
towards you from sand and water. Studies show that you get up to
84 percent of the exposure to UV radiation under an umbrella that
you receive in the open sun.
COLORS: The colors that block the most UV include black, deep
blue, orange and red.
Hold the material up to a light source. The more light that
passes through a fabric, the more UV will also pass.
around the eyes, mouth, ears and nose are among the most
difficult to treat and cure and are also the ones most likely to
recur after treatment. Cancers in these areas can tunnel
underneath the skin and not be obvious to the naked eye.
Sunglasses block UV light and therefore help to prevent cancer in
skin around your eyes.
PROTECTION PRECAUTIONS: Skin pigment reduces the amount of UV
rays that pass into skin, but it does not prevent sunburns or
skin cancer.
SAFETY OF SUN SCREENS: We do not know how safe sun screens
are because they have never been tested systematically. For example,
oxybenzone in sun screens has been shown to be absorbed into the
bloodstream in humans, and to disrupt hormones in animals. A critique
of 1700 sun screens was conducted by the Environmental Working Group.
Their findings, with brand name listings and recommendations for 2011,
are available at
SPF: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) on sun screen labels tells
you how long it takes to burn your skin underneath that sun screen.
It does not tell you how much protection you are getting. A SPF 30
sun screen blocks 97 percent of UVB rays, compared to an SPF 15
sun screen that blocks 93 percent. No sun screen blocks all UV rays.
Broad-spectrum sun screens provide some protection against
UVA and UVB rays, but the SPF (sun-protection factor) rating
refers only to the level of protection from UVB rays. The FDA
just ruled that as of the summer of 2012, sun screen labels that
claim to be "broad spectrum" must protect against UVA as well as
UVB. The new rules also prohibit any sun screen from claiming
that it prevents skin cancer or aging because no sun screen
blocks all UV rays. Sun screens cannot claim that they last for
more than two hours, unless proof of longer protection is submitted
to the FDA.
effective sun screens contain zinc or titanium. These sunscreens
are generally thicker and whiter. You do not need to reapply
these as long as there is a visible white paste on your skin.
RE-APPLY SUN SCREENS OFTEN: Many sun screens contain the
filters octylmethoxycinnamate, benzophenone-3 or octocrylene,
which reflect ultra violet rays away from your skin to protect it
only when they are on the surface of the skin. When these sun
screens are absorbed and the skin is not re-coated, they increase
skin production of harmful oxidants that can cause skin aging and
cancer (Free Radical Biology & Medicine, September 2009).
screens in your eyes, wash your hands after each application and
do not apply sun screen above your eyes. Use a hat whenever you
can, covering your forehead and the top of your ears.


Reports from

Arthritis treatments

Varicose veins

Principles of training


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Why do cholesterol-lowering statin drugs cause
muscle pain and muscle damage?

We don't know. Only a small percentage of those who take
statin drugs suffer muscle pain and damage, those most likely to
have muscle pain from statins are the ones who exercise. The more
vigorously you exercise, the more likely you are to suffer muscle
pain and damage from statins.
A recent study from Texas A&M shows that among older men who
start a muscle strengthening program, those who have the highest
rise in blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol are the ones who
gain the most muscle strength and size (Journal of Gerontology.
May 6, 2011). Every cell membrane is made up of millions of
cholesterol molecules. This study implies that the so-called
"bad" LDL cholesterol can be good because it brings cholesterol
to the damaged muscle to hasten healing and promote muscle
All training for strength involves taking a workout so
intense that it damages the muscles and causes soreness on the
next day. Then you are supposed to take easy workouts for as many
days as it takes for muscles to heal and the soreness to diminish.
When your muscles feel better, you take another hard workout that
damages your muscles again. Statin drugs block the bad LDL cholesterol
and delay healing, so it can take longer for athletes to recover
from their hard days and they are not able to be as competitive
as they would be if they were not taking these drugs.
If you take statins, you should realize that most people
can lower their bad LDL cholesterol without taking drugs. However,
many people are not willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes:
*lose excess weight
*avoid sugared drinks and foods with added sugar
*eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables.
*avoid red meat
*get blood levels of vitamin D3 above 75 nmol/L (30 ng/L)
*check with your doctor and start an exercise program or increase
the intensity of your current exercise. People with blocked
arteries leading to the heart can suffer heart attacks when they
exercise intensely.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can obesity cause impotence and loss of
interest in lovemaking?

Yes! Obesity lowers testosterone to cause loss of sexual
interest and function in men. Surgery that causes weight loss
in these men raises testosterone markedly and improves their
sexual interest and function (presented at The Endocrine
Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston, June 4, 2011).
Seventeen men who had weight-loss surgery lost an average of 90.2
pounds. One year after surgery, their testosterone levels
increased significantly to a normal range.
Furthermore, the higher the level of physical fitness in
young men, the less likely they are to suffer from impotence and
loss of interest in making love (International Journal of
Impotence Research. May 12, 2011)
A man's endocrine glands produce both male and female
hormones. The liver removes the female hormone, estrogen, from
the bloodstream. However, obesity causes the liver to fill with
fat. This prevents the liver from removing estrogen from the
bloodstream. Estrogen levels rise to shut off the brain from
producing FSH, the hormone that stimulate the testicles to make
the male hormone, testosterone. Since the testicles are not
stimulated by FSH, they make very little testosterone, which is
necessary for sexual interest and function. Loss of sexual
interest and function is often caused by a fatty liver; see


Recipe of the Week:

Two-Bean Cabbage Slaw

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in
The Good Food Book


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