freelance journalist, print journalist, online journalist, copywriter, content editor, freelance editor, health and lifestyle, blogger Vitamins and meditation: the upside (for a change) | Christine Morgan - Journalist
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Hurrah! There are two news stories doing the rounds today that focus on things that are GOOD for you, rather than warning you what might affect you in a negative way. Now that’s the kind of news I like.

So to the first one. Vitamins. Usually the kind of story you see in the press concerning vitamins has more of a shock-horror angle (think ‘Vitamins might kill you’ or words to that effect) rather than promoting the positive effect of some supplements when taken by certain people. The general exceptions to the rule are, of course, folic acid – which has a good press, overall – and, in more recent times, vitamin D (UK health officials actually recommend certain people – such as the very young, elderly and pregnant – supplement their diet with vitamin D tablets, such is the deficiency problem we have here in the northern hemisphere).

Well today vitamin D, in combination with calcium, is in the news again, as US experts suggest such supplements could cut a woman’s risk of developing malignant melanoma – which, as every riskfactorphobe knows, is the most deadly form of the disease. The study looked at women who have a high risk of developing malignant melanoma, in other words those who have a history of other, less deadly forms of skin cancer.

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the Stanford University-based researchers discovered those who took a calcium/vitamin D combo supplement were 57 percent less likely to develop malignant melanoma as those who had the same risk level but who didn’t take the supplement.

But if you don’t have a high risk of developing melanoma the supplements won’t offer the same benefit. There again, if you are living with the knowledge that your risk for developing the deadly form of skin cancer is higher than normal, it’s a very interesting discovery.

And now onto meditation. This time, the risk reduction concerns heart disease. According to scientists from the Iowa-based Maharishi University of Management, if you have a high risk of heart disease, practising transcendental meditation (TM) may reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by up to 66 percent – again, a not too shabby improvement, don’t you agree?

Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the study describes how a group of 201 African Americans – all of whom were suffering from narrowing of the arteries – were divided into two groups. One group was taught TM, the other wasn’t. Meditating for 20 minutes twice a day, the study found, reduced the risk of stroke and heart attack by 47 percent, while the volunteers who were particularly strict in keeping to their meditations benefited from up to a 66 percent risk reduction.

The Maharishi University of Management has carried out numerous studies involving TM, and having read quite a few of them I’m almost tempted to take up TM myself. Maybe next year…