Health tips from Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen for 12-14-21 – The Commercial Dispatch

Do you really know what measles, rubella and polio are?
If you got 100 people together (wearing masks) and asked them to explain exactly what measles, rubella and polio are, almost no one under the age of 60 to 70 would have much of an idea. The measles vaccine came in 1963, rubella in 1969 and the polio vaccine in 1955.

Since 2008, there have only been 3,469 cases of measles in this country — 1,282 were in 2019.

But prior to the vaccine? Three to 4 million people (mostly kids) in the U.S. were infected annually; 400 to 500 people died; 48,000 were hospitalized. For polio? In the late 1940s, an average of over 35,000 people were disabled by polio annually. Parents were frightened to let their children go outside. Travel and commerce between affected cities were sometimes restricted (sound familiar?). But thanks to vaccination, polio hasn’t been seen in the U.S. since 1979. And rubella is scarce — with 10 cases a year reported these days (in 1963-1964, there were 12.5 million cases in the U.S.).

We mention all this to remind you of how remarkable vaccines are: lifesaving and life-changing.

A vaccination rate of 93 percent to 95 percent is needed to keep measles (and many other diseases) at bay. Unfortunately, a recent survey found that only 71 percent of U.S. parents felt the measles vaccine was “absolutely necessary.” Let’s not lose ground that we’ve gained through extensive childhood vaccination programs … and let’s extend it. New data shows ever-younger children — and society — have much greater benefits than risks from the COVID-19 vaccines.

Restoring your sense of smell
“The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking,” said Lewis Thomas, physician, poet and author of “Lives of the Cell.” Smells evoke layers of sensations, stimulate memory and lead to pleasure or repugnance. Without a sense of smell, everything from food and flowers to air, water, even other people, becomes far less engaging. For some folks, it also causes distortions in odor and taste; what was previously pleasant becomes distasteful or repulsive.

Up to 1.6 million people may be having chronic difficulty detecting smells because of COVID-19, according to a research letter published in JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery. That’s in addition to the 13.3 million adults age 40 and older in the U.S. who have a non-COVID-19-related loss of ability to smell (olfactory dysfunction).

There are many potential causes of olfactory dysfunction, beyond COVID-19, including head trauma, diabetes and some cancers, zinc deficiency, nasal polyps, viral infections or allergies. If the loss of smell persists or isn’t treatable with medications (for allergies, say) or surgery (to remove polyps), it can trigger depression (in 40 percent of patients), inappropriate weight loss (food has no taste, so why bother) and nutritional deficiencies.

That’s why experts recommend that after two weeks of loss of smell, folks start olfactory training for at least three months. It involves sniffing a set of odors — typically lemon, rose, cloves, eucalyptus, plus coffee — for 20 seconds each (with eyes open) at least twice a day. You can set up new neural pathways and retrain your brain!

Diet beats drugs when it comes to anti-aging powers
When the 216-pound sumo wrestler from the Czech Republic Takanoyama Shuntaro went up against a 387-pound Brazilian opponent, no one thought he’d win. But he flipped the big guy on his back in a few seconds, proving that coming out on top is about choosing the right technique, not outweighing the opposition.

The same is true when it comes to having good metabolic health and staying younger than your years. A lab study in the journal Cell Metabolism found that coming up with the right balance of proteins, fats and healthy carbs in your diet actually empowers your cells to function longer and stronger. That’s because they improve metabolic pathways in the liver and strengthen basic cell functions. And that protects you from premature aging, obesity, heart disease, immune dysfunction and risk of metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes.

In contrast, the study found that anti-aging drugs, such as the diabetes medication metformin; an immune-modulating, anti-inflammatory medication called rapamycin; and resveratrol, which is know for its anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-viral and phytoestrogenic powers, just dampen the bad effects of an unhealthy diet. They don’t empower your cells and metabolism to undo the damage.

You can become younger with every bite: High-quality protein from plants, salmon and skinless poultry — not a bad idea even at breakfast — healthy fats from salmon and olive oil, and unprocessed carbs can do the trick. Dr. Mike’s book “What to Eat When Cookbook” or his new book, “The Great Age Reboot,” out in 2022, can guide you.

The anti-aging power of vitamin C — inside and out
When Leonard DiCaprio bought his Greenwich Village residence (for a cool $10 million in 2014), he redid the plumbing so that his showers sprayed out vitamin C-infused water. That may seem like money down the drain, but a less-drenching topical application of vitamin C can help slow or even reverse the signs of sun damage and aging, such as wrinkles and dull, saggy skin.

One study in the journal Nutrients found that applying vitamin C formula for three months reduced fine and coarse wrinkles on the face and neck and improved skin texture. Another study in the Journal of the American College of Dermatology found that when topical vitamin C is combined with vitamin E that is stabilized with ferulic acid, it reduces skin redness and protects against sun damage. For teens: One study found that the topical application of sodium L-ascorbyl-2-phosphate (APS) — a stable vitamin C derivative — helps manage acne.

See about C: If you’re shopping for a vitamin C serum, buy it directly from your dermatologist or a verified online retailer. The formula should contain an active form of vitamin C (for instance, L-ascorbic acid), have a strength of 10 percent to 20 percent, and a pH lower than 3.5. Tip: Apply at night.

However, to get the full range of skin benefits from vitamin C, various studies have demonstrated that you also have to ingest ample levels of the vitamin (75 to 90 milligrams daily — the upper daily level for adults is 2,000 milligrams) from fruits and vegetables and, if needed, supplements.

Dealing with an eating disorder? Lots of people are these days
We’ve all heard about how singer and songwriter Elton John struggled with bulimia for 16 years. He got treatment in 1990. And “Good Morning America” personality Ginger Zee contended with anorexia as a child from age 10 to 14, following her parents’ divorce. “It was a horrendous spiral that could have taken my life,” Zee revealed.

There’s no age or group that escapes the risk for eating disorders. In fact, almost 28 million of you will contend with an eating disorder in your lifetime. And the pandemic seems to have increased the prevalence of the problem substantially. The National Eating Disorders Association has seen their helpline calls increase 70 percent to 80 percent during some time periods recently. In a survey of people diagnosed with anorexia, published in July 2020, participants said their symptoms were getting worse. Binge eaters have also reported that they’ve increased binging by 30 percent.

If you feel like you are binge eating — that’s eating without control for quantity or quality — or are experiencing bulimia (you binge eat then purge by vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, or diuretics, fasting and/or excessive exercise), or you’re persistently reducing your food intake and obsessed with avoiding weight gain (signs of anorexia), you should get help pronto. The long-term physical and emotional repercussions are serious.

So, whether you’re sliding into disordered eating or it’s an ongoing issue, call the Eating Disorders Helpline at 888-375-7767. They can help you join a support group, find a recovery mentor and get medical care.

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

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