California's Unexpected Longevity Hotspot

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

The U.S. is known for its skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes. But there's a pocket of people (around 9,000) who have been found to live relatively longer and healthier life, on average. They are the Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda, California.

People from this region tend to live about 4–10 years longer than the average Californian and make up one of the longevity hot spots in the world.1

So what is it about this community that makes them special? Below, we’ll examine their lifestyle and habits.

How Do They Compare to Other Americans?

The Loma Lindans are the longest living Americans in the US. The earliest research on them, conducted in the 1950s and ‘60s showed they had significantly lower rates of death from colon cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer compared to other Americans.2

Later research gave further insight into their longevity. For example, it was revealed that choosing whole wheat bread over white bread, eating nuts, and drinking five or more cups of water reduced their risk of heart attacks.3,4

Loma Lindans Follow a Healthy Diet

The Adventist community of Loma Linda follows the dietary guidelines of Ellen G. White, one of the cofounders of the religious movement. Inspired by visions she claimed to be divine, her teachings emphasize treating the body as a holy temple which meant eating a wholesome diet and exercising. 

The seventh day Adventists of Loma Linda California avoid caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, stimulating spices, and pork. Their diet is plant-based, consisting mostly of vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, and beans. Many follow a vegetarian diet.

Dinner is light and consumed in the early evening, and junk food isn’t popular, to say the least. Fast food restaurants are almost nonexistent in the community.

Loma Lindans Exercise, Rest, and Socialize

The Adventists of Loma Linda are a tight-knit community. They emphasize helping others through volunteering. Saturdays are a time for rest, relaxation, and family gatherings.

Exercise (particularly walking) is a common activity. Even the oldest community members, those well into their 90s, are seen frequenting the gym. They are surprisingly active for their age.

The Bottom Line

Unlike the centenarians of Japan or Greece, perhaps we can assimilate some of the habits of the Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda.

After all, they are our closest neighbors. And if you think about it, they are living the lifestyle that health experts have suggested all along.


  1. Available at: Accessed July 8, 2015. 
  2. Available at: Accessed July 8, 2015. 
  3. Am J Epidemiol. 2002 May 1;155(9):827-33. 
  4. Available at: Accessed July 8, 2015.


A Natural Hope For ADHD

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a difficult condition to manage in children.

Treatment can be especially challenging, as the use of psychotropic drugs at such an early age raises a number of questions.

Fortunately, a more gentle and natural approach may be an option, according to the results of a study.

Researchers have discovered that a combination of valerian root and lemon balm may help to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD in children. The results were published in the journal Phytomedicine2.

Valerian Root and Lemon Balm Lessen ADHD Symptoms

Previous studies show lemon balm and valerian root lessen the symptoms of anxiety.1

For the current trial, children with ADHD who didn’t qualify for conventional treatment or didn’t match the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, were recruited for the study.

At the beginning of the trial, the parents reported high levels of impulsiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and restlessness. For a period of seven weeks, the children were given 640 mg of valerian root and 320 mg of lemon balm extracts daily.

Questionnaires were administered to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and symptoms were tracked.

According to the results of the study, there were significant improvements in sleep, concentration, and behavior.2 The parent burden (meaning the difficulty in interacting with the affected child) decreased from 58% to 18%.

Fifty-eight percent of the parents rated the effectiveness of treatment as good or very good. Focus issues decreased from 75% to 14%, hyperactivity from 61% to 13%, and impulsiveness from 59% to 22%. In addition, the therapy was well tolerated with little-to-no side effects.

Overall, parents ranked the tolerability of the natural treatment at a high 95.1%. There were limitations to the study, such as the lack of a control group, but overall the investigators recommend valerian root and lemon balm as an alternate option, along with education and counseling, for children struggling with ADHD-related symptoms.

The Bottom Line

With the growing incidence of ADHD in the United States, it’s reassuring to know that alternative treatments are effective and available.

Previous studies show a wide range of nutrients may help children with ADHD including fish oil, GLA, and ginkgo.3-5

For more information on this topic, consider reading our detailed ADHD protocol.


  1. Med Sci Monit. 2009 Nov;15(11):RA256-62. 
  2. Phytomedicine. 2014;21(8-9):1098-1103. 
  3. J Atten Disord. 2009;12(5):394–401. 
  4. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 May;21(2):61-7. 
  5. Przegl Lek. 2007;64(2):100-2.


Eat Your Carbs Last

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Tempted to eat a slice of bread right before eating your meal? You may want to rethink that strategy. As it turns out, saving the carbs for last may very well be the smarter option when it comes to your health.

According to the results of a recent study, the order in which carbs are eaten can make a difference on the effects they have in your body.

The results were published in the journal, Diabetes Care.

Eating Bread Last Linked to Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetics and health conscious people often limit their carbs to prevent blood sugar spikes. White bread with a high glycemic score of 70 is often avoided.

For the current study, 11 middle-aged people with diabetes were given a meal of white bread, salad, and grilled chicken. Blood sugar and insulin levels were measured before the meal and 30, 60, and 120 minutes afterwards.

On one occasion, the roll of bread was eaten at the beginning of the meal. A week later, the same meal was eaten, but the bread was given in reverse order.

Interestingly, eating bread at the end of the meal was associated with an almost 30% drop in blood glucose levels compared to eating the bread prior to the meal.1

Significant reductions were also seen in insulin levels, showing a potential improvement in insulin sensitivity.

The trial is limited since it evaluated a small group of people. Larger studies should be conducted to confirm the results of the study.

How to Be Carb Smart

While this study doesn’t give us full license to indulge in white bread, it shows that certain dietary tricks may help to prevent blood sugar spikes. For example, cooking and then cooling white pasta in the refrigerator makes it more diabetic-friendly.

Doing so rearranges the molecular structure of the pasta, converting some of it into resistant starch. The enzymes in your body are not capable of breaking down the resistant starch, which then results in fewer blood sugar spikes.

Either way, it makes more sense to eat complex carbs and not the refined stuff. The latter will definitely get you into more trouble. But if you do go for them occasionally (and many of you probably will), at least you’ll know how to eat them a little more wisely.


1. Diabetes Care. 2015 Jul;38(7):e98-9.


Can Marijuana Treat Cancer?

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant native to Central and South Asia. Its fiber, otherwise known as hemp, has a long history of usage in rope and paper products.

Equally long is the plant's history as a religious sacrament or recreational drug, due to the effects of its psychoactive component, tetrohydrocannabinol (THC).

Although its effects are reportedly mild when smoked or ingested and its rare potential for addictiveness is believed to be psychological in nature, the plant was demonized in the United States during the early part of the 20th century and classified as a narcotic, right alongside heroin.

The Gateway: Marijuana Increases Appetite

In contrast with its early reputation as an inducer of "reefer madness", a number of positive effects have been consistently attributed to Cannabis. One well-known effect is increased appetite.

This property led to the investigation of Cannabis as a possible source of an appetite-stimulating pharmaceutical, which resulted in the development of the drug known as Marinol (dronabinol). It’s prescribed to cancer patients and others who lack an appetite.

Marijuana Alleviates Cancer Pain

Not only does Cannabis improve appetite, but it also helps relieve pain and distress, giving cancer patients another reason to use it.

Although many individuals have illegally used Cannabis for pain, it’s only recently that it’s been decriminalized by some states.

In addition to cancer patients, accident victims, arthritics, those with gout or neuropathy, and many more have used Cannabis to relieve pain and anxiety.

Marijuana Has Anti-Cancer Properties

While it is evident that Cannabis can relieve several side effects of cancer and its therapies, another intriguing possibility has emerged. What if Cannabis could actually treat the disease itself?

A recent study showed the nonpsychoactive component in Cannabis known as cannabidiol has been shown to inhibit the progression of glioblastoma (a type of brain cancer), breast, prostate, colon and lung cancers, as well as prevent metastasis.1

In a study involving 84,170 men, the use of Cannabis was associated with a 45% reduction in the risk of bladder cancer over an 11 year period in comparison with no use. The finding was in sharp contrast with the use of tobacco alone, which increased bladder cancer risk by 52%.2

In cultured prostate cancer cells, endocannabinoid treatment increased apoptosis (cancer cell death), leading the authors to suggest that the compounds could benefit difficult cases.3

A study that involved mice that received implanted prostate tumors revealed that cannabis extract enriched with cannabidiol inhibited the growth of tumor cells in a manner similar to chemotherapy.4

Another nonpsychotropic cannabinoid known as cannabigerol promoted apoptosis and reduced cell growth in mice induced with colon cancer.5

The Bottom Line

Note that the medicinal benefits of Cannabis do not cancel out its potential for abuse. For example, it’s not recommended to drive a car or operate machinery after using it, due to its psychoactive effects. Furthermore, possessing it in a number of states could lead to some jail time.

Nevertheless, recognition of the therapeutic benefits of Cannabis is growing like . . . a weed. Increased support of the right to use it as a treatment should result in the legalization of medical marijuana in more states and increased research into its cancer-fighting properties.


  1. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2015 Apr 28. 
  2. See comment in PubMed Commons belowUrology. 2015 Feb;85(2):388-92. 
  3. Oncol Rep. 2015 Apr;33(4):1599-608. 
  4. Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Jan;168(1):79-102. 
  5. Carcinogenesis. 2014 Dec;35(12):2787-97.


Vitamin D Toxicity is Rare

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Despite the research showing the benefits of higher amounts of vitamin D, many doctors continue suggesting 400 IU daily. The common fear is that higher amounts will result in toxicity.

However, a new study conducted by the Mayo clinic may just put these fears to rest. The study found that vitamin D toxicity is, in fact, quite rare.

The results were published in the journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Higher Blood Levels of Vitamin D Proved to Be Safe

Previous research shows higher amounts of vitamin D protect against age-related diseases including heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. Based on these studies, between 5000 to 7000 IU are suggested daily. This dosage generally provides blood levels in the 50–70 ng/ml range.

For the current study, the authors took a total of 20,308 vitamin D measurements from the participating individuals. The majority of participants were white and lived in areas that received little sunlight during the winter. Information was collected about vitamin D and calcium supplementation.

The Mayo researchers were screening participants for signs of vitamin D toxicity. The primary sign, hypercalcemia, is high blood calcium levels.

According to the results of the study, about 8% of participants had vitamin D blood levels above 50 ng/ml. A total of 37 participants (0.2%) had blood levels above 100 ng/ml. Only 4 participants with vitamin D levels over 50 ng/ml had high blood calcium levels.

The key finding was that blood levels above 50 ng/ml were not associated with high blood calcium levels or toxicity.1

Traditional doctors suggest that blood levels not reach above 30 ng/ml. Around 5000 IU of Vitamin D daily corresponds to a blood level of 50 ng/ml.

Don’t be Scared of Taking Higher Amounts of vitamin D

Previous fears about vitamin D toxicity are unfounded. The concern is that vitamin D will accumulate to harmful levels in the body, which rarely happens.

Nevertheless, there are some individuals that need to be cautious in taking higher amounts of vitamin D. This includes individuals with existing kidney disease.


1. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 May;90(5):577-86.

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