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Book “Doctor Chopra Says” Contains Useful Medical Information

Updated on February 24, 2012

The book Doctor Chopra Says: Medical Facts and Myths Everyone Should Know published in 2010 contains some useful medical information based on scientific facts rather than television commercial hype.

Dr. Sanjiv Chopra is professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He believes in the benefits yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. And of course he definitely believes in exercise (as any doctor can tell you). He says …

“Ask your doctor to give you an exercise prescription — with unlimited refills!” [page 203]

So he also has a sense of humor too. This is further confirmed when he was asked which is better: exercise or coffee. And he said both. The best thing is to "run to Starbucks". [page 14]

Coffee is Good For You

And yes, it does turn out the coffee can be good for you by offering some protection against heart disease, from developing type II diabetes, and liver cirrhosis, and some types of cancers. He writes about this in Chapter 1 ...

"In the past, drinking too much coffee supposedly had been linked to a variety of health problems including heart attacks, birth defects, pancreatic cancer, osteoporosis, and miscarriages. We do know that coffee can cause insomnia, tremors, and it can raise blood pressure and increase urination. But more recent evidence indicates that rather than being dangerous, coffee may also offer substantial benefits, including protection against heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver cirrhosis, Parkinson’s disease, cavities, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and even suicide."

Note that coffee may decrease the risk of developing type II diabetes. However, if you are already diabetic, then the caffeine in the coffee will not be good for you because caffeine makes it difficult for cells to regulate blood sugar. How can coffee prevent diabetes, but bad for diabetics?

This is because caffeine is bad for diabetics. But there are other ingredients in coffee that may be beneficial in controlling blood sugar. These includes magnesium, chlorogenic acid, and quinides. Coffee is also a power antioxidant.

Read article Coffee May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, But Bad for Diabetics. And also coffee may also be protective against Alzheimer's Disease.

But coffee does have it downside. Don't drink coffee if you are pregnant due to increase risk of a miscarriage and lower-weight babies. Coffee is a stimulant and can keep people awake at nigh. People with sleeping problems should avoid. Some people are more sensitive to coffee and should avoid if you are just not able tolerate it (such as upset stomach, etc). Coffee can increase irritability and worsen heartburn and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. It can raise blood pressure and can be dangerous for people with serious heart arrhythmias.

Vitamins and Supplements

He believes real food is much better than vitamins and supplements. But he does believe in taking vitamin D3. Because that is the only one he takes on a daily basis. As a guide, the Institute of Medicine recommends adults under age 50 to take 200 IU daily. And 400 IU if between age 50 and 70. And even more, if older than that. He does not mention his age, but he says that he take 1000 IU daily. [reference: page 98]

It is possible to overdose on vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin D. Vitamin D3 can be toxic when taken at 60 times the daily recommended allowance. [page 163]. The liver of some animals can have too much vitamin A.

Fish and Mercury

For those who don’t eat fish, omega-3 supplements can confer similar benefits.

He covers medical topics that many people are confused over. For example, should I eat fish or is it too much mercury? Should I remove my dental amalgam fillings?

Yes, you should eat fish — a moderate amount. He says about twice a week. Unless you are pregnant, nursing, or a young child, in which case you want to avoid those fish that are high in mercury. In general, smaller fish will have less mercury.

It is true that fish has mercury, but he says …

“based on the amount of mercury currently found in fish it would be very difficult for anyone to eat enough of it to be at risk for mercury poisoning. … the decreased risk of heart disease gained from eating fish more than offsets any potential increased risk of mortality from mercury poisoning, cancer, or other ailments.” [page 47, 48]

And no, you don’t have to remove your dental amalgam fillings. He says not to worry about getting mercury poisoning from fish nor about the mercury in the dental amalgam fillings.

“While apparently these fillings do release a very small mercury vapor, there is little evidence it causes any harm.” [page 399]“

And vaccines are safe and you should have your children vaccinated.

The book provide useful advice such as avoiding water bottles with the numbers 3, 6, or 7 in the recycling triangle and to never microwave plastic bottle or container with liquids or foods.

Easy Way to Remember These Health Tips

In the conclusion of the book, Dr. Chopra provides us with a mnemonic to remember some helpful health tips.   It is "ACED LIFE" which spells out the things we should do for health.  A is for aspirin. C is for coffee.  E is for exercise. D is for vitamin D.  L is for laughter.  I is for looking inward (such as in meditation).  F is for fish oil.  And E is for empathy.  And he say don't go "nuts" trying to remember this mnemonic.  Nuts (as in the fruit) being good for you.


Doctor Sanjiv Chopra also happens to be the brother of Deepak Chopra, who is also a doctor and a famous writer that some of you may be familiar with.


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