health as it happens

Health tips from Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen for 12-28-21 - The Commercial Dispatch

The LIFE diet may give migraine sufferers back their life If you’re a migraine headache sufferer, there’s no relief in knowing you share your misery with Ben Affleck, Serena Williams and Kristen Chenoweth. These headaches can shut you down for many hours at a time and cause severe pain, nausea and emotional distress.

While there are new medications that work some of the time for some folks (and that’s a great relief), a case study in BMJ Case Reports says that a plant-based diet seems to ease chronic migraine severity quite effectively. The man in that case had migraines 18 to 24 days a month. He had tried two meds and cut out potential trigger foods, including chocolate, cheese, nuts, caffeine and dried fruit. Nothing had worked — until he adopted the Low Inflammatory Foods Everyday diet.

LIFE’s menu includes eating at least 5 ounces of raw or cooked dark green leafy vegetables every day; drinking one 32-ounce green LIFE smoothie, made from banana, dark leafy greens, frozen berries and soy milk, daily; and limiting the intake of grains, starchy vegetables, oils and animal protein, particularly dairy and red meat.

After two months on the LIFE diet, the man had only one migraine a month; he stopped taking his migraine meds. Even when he tried certain “challenge” foods, such as egg whites or iced tea, the headaches they triggered were much less painful and much shorter in duration than before. After three months, his migraines stopped completely, and they haven’t returned in 7.5 years. Sure sounds like it’s worth trying.

Keeping your senses — and your wits — about you The recognition of five basic human senses — vision, hearing, touch, smell and taste — is often traced back to 350 B.C. when Aristotle wrote “De Anima.” The senses intrigued him because they’re what fuel our interaction with the outside world and with our inner voices, with external objects and the tender sensation of compassion (that healing touch!).

It’s little wonder that if you neglect your hearing and visual health — allowing yourself to disconnect from the information your senses transmit — you up your risk for cognitive decline.

That’s the conclusion of two studies. One, in JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at 3,000 adults with cataracts and found that folks who had cataract surgery had nearly 30 percent lower risk of developing dementia from any cause than those who didn’t have cataract surgery. Your brain wants — and needs — the stimulation that comes with good vision.

Another study out of Johns Hopkins Medicine followed 639 adults for almost 12 years and discovered that mild hearing loss doubled a person’s risk of dementia, while moderate loss tripled the risk, and severe hearing impairment meant a person was five times more likely to develop dementia than someone with normal hearing.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure and rarely risky. So schedule an eye exam if you haven’t seen an eye doctor in the past year, especially if you are age 55 or older. And make an appointment with an audiologist if you find that you strain to hear clearly. You can do a preliminary hearing evaluation online through United Healthcare at

Vitamin D and your heart health — a new partnership revealed When Stevie Wonder sang “Ain’t No Sunshine When You’re Gone,” he was lamenting a broken heart. Well, turns out when the sunshine vitamin — the big D — is gone (or at least deficient), you are risking a broken heart, too.

A first-of-its-kind study, published in the European Heart Journal, found that folks with a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (risk factors for heart attack and stroke), and those with the lowest of vitamin D levels had double the risk of heart disease as folks with healthy levels.

This new role for D in your health comes on top of everything else it does for you: Although we don’t know if, in the short term, increasing your vitamin D level into the normal range benefits you, we do know that long term, if you sustain a level above 35 ng/ml you’re likely to have healthier heart, brain, bone, muscle and immune-system function and glucose metabolism.

Around 24 percent of folks in the U.S. have very low levels (below 13 ng/ml) of D, and another 50 percent have levels below 35 ng/ml. So you want to get a blood test to see if you’re deficient. Also, up your intake of oily fish like salmon and sea trout, and foods (whole grain cereals) fortified with D.

Then if your blood test shows you are low — take a daily supplement as prescribed by your doc. Dr. Mike eats salmon daily and takes 2,000 IUs of D3 a day to keep his level up.

Protecting your heart — start by eliminating ultraprocessed foods In a 1964 episode of “The Lucy Show,” Lucy takes a job as a process server, and her first assignment is to serve another main character in the show, bank president Mr. Mooney. But after trailing him all over town, she somehow ends up as a stowaway on a ship headed for a 28-day cruise. Process serving wasn’t dished up again as such a catastrophe until Seth Rogan, as Dale in 2008’s “Pineapple Express,” took on that career choice and ended up dodging a drug lord!

If you’re serving up processed foods — that almost invariably leads to disaster. A 10-year study published in the European Heart Journal found that folks with cardiovascular disease who’ve had a heart attack or stroke and continue to eat ultraprocessed foods are 66 percent more likely to have a second — and fatal — heart attack or stroke and 40 percent more likely to die from any cause than people who make sure to send ultraprocessed foods out to sea!

Eating healthfully part time and downing ultraprocessed foods other times didn’t help diminish the dangers of the deadly dishes. You can spot ultraprocessed foods: They have hydrolyzed proteins, maltodextrins, hydrogenated fats and additives like dyes, preservatives, anticaking agents, flavor enhancers and sweeteners listed on ingredients labels. Remember: Check ingredients labels on theoretically “healthy” foods, like breakfast cereals and fruit yogurt.

My recommendation: Take this list of ultraprocessed ingredients with you when you grocery shop and check that they aren’t in what you buy, even if you haven’t had a heart attack or stroke — yet.

Stoned sperm and other bad side effects of smoking cannabis All the peace-and-harmony mythology that surrounds smoking marijuana is better off in the movies than in real life. It was pretty funny watching Jack Nicholson as George in “Easy Rider” trying pot for the first time and stammering, “You — you mean marijuana?!” But new research shows it’s not really a laughing matter.

A lab study in Toxicological Studies found that intense but short-term exposure to pot smoke (you don’t even have to inhale from the joint, just be in the room) lowers sperm count and slows sperm motility in male mice and in their future offspring. This just reinforces previous human studies that showed stoned sperm reduces fertility.

There’s also evidence that more and more women are smoking pot while pregnant. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there has been a significant increase in the number of pregnant women seeking treatment for marijuana abuse over the past 10 years. And one study found that about 20 percent of pregnant women ages 24 and younger screened positive for marijuana.

Animal studies suggest that using marijuana while pregnant increases the risk of miscarriage. Some associations have been found between marijuana use during pregnancy and developmental and hyperactivity disorders in kids, and research has shown that pregnant women who use marijuana have a 2.3 times greater risk of stillbirth.

So ask yourself — do you want healthy children? If the answer is yes, Dr. Mike believes you shouldn’t smoke or vape anything, cannabis included. That’s a real act of peace-love for yourself and your future family.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit