Health Buzz: Body-Building Supplements’ Health Risks and Other Health News

Swine flu hits pregnant women harder; flexibility in diets for diabetics.

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FDA Says Supplements W ith Steroids Pose Health Risk

The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Tuesday that body-building supplements containing steroids or similar substances are not safe for use, the Associated Press reports. The FDA warned about eight products that include TREN-Xtreme and MASS Xtreme, which are manufactured by American Cellular Labs. The products, labeled as dietary supplements, might be closer to synthetic steroids. Serious liver damage and other health effects from those and similar products have been reported to the FDA, according to the AP.

Find out which vitamins and supplements actually work as weapons in fending off chronic and age-related diseases. And learn what experts say about whether you can get vitamins and minerals through diet alone.

Swine Flu Hits Pregnant Women Harder

As a government panel decides who should be among the first to get the swine flu vaccine, many experts are calling for pregnant women to step to the front of the line, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz reports. That's because new research shows pregnant women who get swine flu are more likely to develop severe complications that result in hospitalization or even death, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Lancet. Of the 45 deaths from swine flu reported in the study, six were pregnant women; that group represented 13 percent of the deaths. That's far higher than expected, since pregnant women make up only 1 percent of the population. What's more, the women who died were young and healthy and had low-risk pregnancies, Kotz writes. Read more.

Earlier, Kotz discussed whether pregnant women should line up for the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available in the fall. Here are 14 things you should know about swine flu and 5 ways to prepare your family.

It's OK to Incorporate Flexibility Into Your Diabetes Diet

For those newly diagnosed with diabetes, the recommended lifestyle changes can be intimidating. Among the first guidelines are to eat a low-fat diet to help control cholesterol levels and to watch carbohydrate intake in order to keep glucose levels in check. It turns out, however, that diabetics don't have to strictly adhere to a spartan eating regimen, U.S. News's January Payne reports.

There are several eating tools that diabetics can use to help manage their condition. Among them: counting carbs and the create-your-plate method, which involves drawing imaginary lines on your plate to divide it into three sections (two small, one large), then putting nonstarchy vegetables onto the largest section of the plate and starchy foods and meat/protein into each of the smaller sections. Also helpful in planning meals is the glycemic index, which measures how much a carb-containing food increases blood sugar levels. These tools are best used as aids, not as a rigid rulebook that must be followed, one expert says. A person's cultural preferences, work schedule, family situation, and willingness to change his or her diet should be taken into account, Payne writes. Read more.

Try these 4 tips for a low-carb diabetes diet along with 2 ways to lower your A1C levels without medication. Diet, in particular, has the strongest nonpharmaceutical effect on A1C levels, says one expert.

—Megan Johnson

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