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Q&A: Should otherwise healthy people take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures? PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Richards, D.C., M.D.   

For men and women eating a healthy diet, there is no need to take calcium supplements or multi-vitamins with calcium in them. Calcium supplements increase the risk of cardiovascular events, especially heart attacks.1,2

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Q&: I just turned 40 and am worried about developing breast cancer. Do you suggest I get a mammogram? PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Richards, D.C., M.D.   

There are two types of mammograms: a screening mammogram detects breast cancer in a woman who has no symptoms; a diagnostic mammogram evaluates a breast lump that has been detected by other means. My answer to your question specifically applies to screening mammograms in women at average risk for breast cancer. The term "average risk" means that you don't have a known genetic mutation that predisposes to the development of breast cancer, and you don't have a history of radiation to the chest for prior cancer. While having a family history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative (i.e., mother or sister) does make a woman more likely to develop breast cancer, the absolute increase in risk is not considered significant enough to influence the decision to do a mammogram.1

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Q&A: I read on the Internet that taking folic acid during pregnancy is dangerous. Is there any truth to this? PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Richards, D.C., M.D.   

While I do not recommend that people take supplements without a clear medical indication, there are situations where they are appropriate. Taking 0.4 mg of synthetic folic acid daily (in addition to eating folate-rich foods such as green vegetables) starting at least one month before conception and continuing for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, is recommended by multiple organizations to reduce the risk of congenital defects known as spina bifida and anencephaly. With a doctor's prescription, prenatal vitamins containing 0.4 mg of folic acid can now be obtained free of charge in many pharmacies. Because there is some misinformation on the Internet regarding the use of prenatal folic acid, let's look at some of the claims regarding the alleged dangers of folic acid supplementation in pregnant women.

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Q&A: I struggle to find the time to fit exercise into my life. I want to find a balance with my daily responsibilities and stay healthy without spending an hour in the gym each day. Do you have any tips? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tiffany Esser   

It sounds like you want to make exercise a priority in your busy schedule. Taking the time to map out exactly when you will work out is a strong starting point to focus your calendar in line with your goals. When time is limited to 20-30 minutes, go for maximal intensity with interval training.

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Q&A: Should otherwise healthy men who have no symptoms take saw palmetto or a multivitamin with saw palmetto in it? PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Richards, D.C., M.D.   

It is important to understand that saw palmetto is not a nutrient that is necessary to the prostate; it is a foreign substance just like a prescribed drug. Do not be fooled by false claims about saw palmetto such as "supports prostate health," as it does nothing of the sort. If a man is having symptoms referable to the prostate, such as urinating at night or straining to urinate, and the symptoms are bothersome to him and interfere with his quality of life, then medication that is effective at relieving symptoms can be considered. Unfortunately, saw palmetto does not fall into that category because it has been shown in numerous studies (including a recent one that used three times the usual dose) to be of no value.1,2

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Q&A: Should otherwise healthy people take a multivitamin every day? PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Richards, D.C., M.D.   

There is zero evidence that in otherwise healthy people multivitamins or multiminerals provide any benefit whatsoever. They may be associated with harm, despite what the person or company selling them tells you. There has never been a study of a multivitamin or other supplement that matched the positive effects of eating a healthy diet.1 Whole, natural foods such as fruits and vegetables contain far more health-promoting and disease-fighting chemicals than the relatively few that have been discovered and can be packaged into a multivitamin. Certain plant foods have literally hundreds of antioxidants, many of which may act synergistically,1 making the idea of taking a pill with three or four, or even ten, antioxidants nonsensical.

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Work Out Program For Hips PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tiffany Esser   

Q: I want to find a quality workout program for my hips. At my age (let's just say I'm over 50) many friends have had hip surgeries or replacements. I want to prevent any injuries and keep my legs strong. Please advise me on a hip strengthening program.

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