In the current issue of “O”―The Oprah Magazine, Dr. Oz tells readers that to stay on top of what cutting edge research has to say that could affect his and the health of others, that he keeps himself informed by constantly reading new studies involving potential health risks with products or treatments we use every day. Unfortunately, however, often times these studies contradict each other and lead to consumer confusion.
To help others stay abreast of some controversial research that science has not reached a conclusive recommendation for or against on some common everyday products or treatments, Dr. Oz reveals 5 common health risks that he recommends that you should avoid for now.
The following is a summary of his article and his recommendations:
Health Risk #1: Toothpaste that contains triclosan
Triclosan is an antibacterial agent used in several brands of toothpastes, which currently is under FDA review because of reports of studies showing that triclosan in test animals can interfere with thyroid hormone levels. Furthermore, other studies suggest that triclosan may add to the growing problem of creating superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics.
Dr. Oz’s recommendation is that consumers should check the labels of their toothpaste and avoid those listing triclosan among its ingredients.
Health Risk #2: Radiation from medical tests
According to Dr. Oz, research shows that a single neck, abdominal or pelvic CT scan can provide up to five times the amount of radiation you are normally exposed to in one year’s time from a combination of the sun and from naturally occurring radioactive elements in the soil. Because radiation can damage your DNA and cause a cancer to develop, it is important to limit the number of times you are given a medical scan. Some studies estimate that medical radiation may be the cause of thousands of incidences of breast cancer a year.
Rather than totally avoiding having any medical procedures or tests involving radiation, Dr. Oz recommends that you should help limit your yearly exposure by keeping an accurate record of when and what type of test you had done to show to your doctor or other physician who may be considering recommending a test involving radiation.
Health Risk #3: Radiofrequency (RF) energy from cell phones
Although recent studies looking at the incidences of brain cancer in people who used a cell phone regularly for ten years show no measurable risk between cell phone use and developing a tumor in the brain, the consensus of the medical community is that additional research is needed to prove that this or any other health consequence does not exist.
To reduce the amount of radiofrequency energy exposure from your cell phone, Dr. Oz offers these recommendations:
• Do not place the phone against your ear. Instead, use the speakerphone feature or a hands-free headset.
• Use only during a strong signal due to that more RF energy is used when a phone is operating with a weaker signal available.
• Don’t place your phone on the nightstand beside your head while you sleep—RF energy is still emitted when the cell phone picks up e-mails and text messages.
Health Risk #4: Ulcer-causing OTC painkillers
OTC (over-the-counter) painkillers can inhibit an enzyme that protects the lining of the stomach from its acidic contents, which then makes you vulnerable to developing an ulcer. However, other studies show that taking an OTC painkiller such as aspirin can significantly lower your risk of cancer by 37 percent.
Dr. Oz recommends that OTC painkiller medications should be limited to only once per week if possible. If the pain is from a headache, try drinking plenty of water first to see if that makes the pain go away. If not, then try a more naturopathic way such as fresh ginger in a cup of tea, or a capsaicin cream for muscle and arthritic pain. To maintain the heart health benefits of aspirin without risking an ulcer, take two baby aspirins a day instead of one or two adult aspirins.
Health Risk #5: Chemicals in unfiltered drinking water
Although U.S. public drinking water is the safest in the world―thanks in large part to the EPA who monitors and regulates our water systems―some contaminants not-yet-recognized by the EPA, but suspected by other agencies as potentially harmful may be present in your water. In fact, chlorine used in purifying water has been linked to bladder and colon cancer in some studies and has raised concerns.
Dr. Oz recommends that all of your water used for both drinking and cooking should be further purified at home with a home-filtration unit installed at the tap or in your water line attached to the sink to ensure removal of heavy metals and chlorine by-products.
Image source: Courtesy of Wikipedia
Reference: “The Health Risks I Won’t Take” by Mehmet Oz, MD; “O”―The Oprah Magazine (March 2013), pp. 70-71.