Healthy Bits: October 2015

By AFM Staff – October 1, 2015

 The Perils of Protein Powder 

While steroids used to be the common drug in gym culture, over-the-counter supplements are starting to surge in popularity among men seeking to build muscle quickly. Despite the legal status of performance-enhancing protein like whey, creatine and L-carnitine, excessive use has been found to lead to emotional and physiological damage. In a study presented at the American Psychological Association's annual convention, it was revealed that men who overused legal supplements suffered from adverse health effects and showed signs consistent with clinical eating disorders. The study recruited 195 men ages 18 to 65 who went to the gym at least twice a week and regularly consumed legal appearance—or performance-enhancing drugs. Participants—who were all men—completed a questionnaire regarding supplement use, body image, self-esteem, eating habits and gender roles. Forty percent of the participants increased their supplement usage over time, while 22 percent replaced meals with protein shakes. Eight percent were cautioned by their physician to cut back, and three percent were hospitalized for related kidney or liver problems due to excessive consumption of supplements.


Medicine in Melodies

Who needs pills when there’s a powerful—and very affordable—healing tool within reach? According to an analysis of multiple related studies published in The Lancet, relief from post-surgery pain can come from listening to music. The core idea for this analysis came from Dr. Catherine Meads of Brunel University, who focused her attention on 73 previously conducted clinical trials regarding the role of music among surgery patients. After thorough examination and comparison of these studies, Dr. Meads and her colleagues found that patients who listened to music either before, during, or after surgery benefited from the beats—in terms of patient satisfaction, reduced pain and less anxiety. More importantly, most patients who listened to music used less pain medication in recovery. However, there is one “side effect” of music that can occur during surgery. With operating rooms already being noisy and doctors needing to clearly communicate with their team, there is concern that music could be distracting and give way to misunderstandings.


Sleeping Off the Sickness

As the weather begins to change, there’s another kind of cold that’s lurking: the common cold. Germs are everywhere, and although we are often exposed to the virus, we avoid sickness because of the strength of our immune systems. According to a study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, building a defense can be done by sleeping. Psychologists coordinating this study gathered 164 healthy men and women—their average age was 30—to participate. Sleep habits and activity were tracked through journaling and a device similar to a Fitbit, and then assessed after a week. Scientists then sprayed a live common cold virus into each participant’s nose. The differences were substantial, as they noticed that the people who were sleeping the least were far more likely to develop a cold. The ultimate analysis of the study revealed the adults who averaged only five or six hours nightly during the study were four times as likely to catch the cold as people who slept at least seven hours per night.



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