Do I Really Need to Drink 200 Ounces of Water Every Day?

The word on the street is that we need to drink eight to ten eight-ounce glasses of water (8×8) every day to keep hydrated and healthy. The word on the street is wrong. The myth says: 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated In 37 percent of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that

Why Physical Activity Does Little to Control Weight

There are things we know we don’t know and things we know we know; but sometimes the things we know we know aren’t so. An article by Herman Pontzer in the February 2017 issue of Scientific American, “The Exercise Paradox,” describes new research findings that challenge our conventional wisdom about diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Turmeric/Curcumin: The “Natural Remedy of the Century” or a Waste of Money?

Turmeric is a yellow spice used in Indian cuisine; its active ingredient, marketed as a dietary supplement, is curcumin. It is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is said to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, to kindle agni, and to help reduce kapha and ama. It allegedly supports the blood, liver, joints, immune system,

Self-Hatred: The Cause of Autoimmune Disease?

When we get sick we naturally want to understand what is happening to us. Our first question is: What is it? We want to put a name to our suffering by establishing a diagnosis. Then we ask: “Why is this happening to me?” “What caused it?” “Could I have done something to prevent it?” For

The Screening Test that Caused an Epidemic

There is a worldwide epidemic of thyroid cancer. South Korea has been hit the hardest; in 2011, the rate of thyroid cancer diagnoses was fifteen times what it was in 1993. There have also been dramatic increases in other countries including the United States, France, Italy, the UK, and Japan, and lesser increases in Scandinavia

A Questionable Letter of Recommendation for Ear Candling

The New York Times Magazine has published a remarkable article by Kathryn Jezer-Morton: a letter of recommendation for ear candling. It is part of a regular series of “Letters of Recommendation” that the magazine publishes as “celebrations of objects and experiences that have been overlooked or underappreciated.” Jezer-Morton’s article is remarkable for providing insight into

New Superfoods: Kakadu Plums and Cockroach Milk

Can I claim to be psychic? I predicted this. In a previous column, “Superfood Silliness,” I wrote: “At frequent intervals, yet another entrepreneur identifies yet another unfamiliar tropical fruit that can be imported and sold to gullible health nuts at exorbitant prices. I wonder what the next fad will be.” I didn’t have to wonder

Glucosamine and Chondroitin: Do They Really Work?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are widely used for osteoarthritis pain. My daughter even gives them to her elderly horse. Their popularity is puzzling, since the evidence from scientific studies indicates that they don’t work. Wikipedia has a useful survey of the history, studies, criticisms, and systematic reviews ( It includes a long list of references. I

Genius Java: Memory Boosting Coffee

My local newspaper is an unending source of amusement in the form of ads for questionable health products—ads that demonstrate clever marketing tactics aimed at scientifically illiterate and gullible readers. Perhaps it is a waste of time to critique them, but I like to think that consumers can be educated about the deceptive methods these

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