Protein powders and supplements have become popular among Americans interested in increasing muscle, losing weight or just being healthier. An estimated 11 percent of people in the U.S. took protein supplements last year, and analysts expect annual spending on the supplements in the U.S. to rise from $4.7 billion in 2015 to $8 billion by 2020.

A 2013 study for the U.S. military deemed such protein supplements generally safe for healthy adults. WebMD advises the following:

— Because such products are unregulated, the contents and effects could be negligible. Buying from trustworthy brands is advisable.

— In some tests, protein drinks contained potentially harmful amounts of heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury, more cholesterol or sodium than labeled and/or less protein than labeled.

— People at risk of kidney disease, including those with diabetes, may risk harmful kidney buildup when ingesting extra protein.


New study: Yoga can create pain

The practice of yoga to gain physical strength and flexibility continues to grow, with a whopping 36 million practitioners in the U.S. alone.

A new study in Health Day indicates that some who turn to yoga for physical relief end up with more aches and pains instead. While two-thirds of respondents who practice yoga in the U.S. say they’ve improved existing lower back and/or neck pain through the practice, 21 percent point to worse muscle or joint pain. Nearly 11 percent report yoga has caused new pain, most commonly in the hand, wrist, elbow or shoulder — and about 5 percent note their pain cropped up during yoga class.

The study doesn’t address which complaints were due to temporary muscle soreness and which represented serious or long-lasting problems.


Study: Exercise can’t counter over-sitting

Sitting for too long may increase your risk for an early death — no matter how much you exercise, according to new Columbia University Medical Center research, cited by Hitechfacts.com.

Long sitting intervals and greater overall time spent inactive each day are linked to increased risk of death. “There wasn’t a threshold or cut-off where one’s risk for death dramatically increased,” says lead researcher Keith Diaz, citing studies showing the average American is sedentary nine to 10 hours daily. “You have to do more. Besides exercising, you also should be mindful of moving (and not being sedentary) throughout the day.”



Researchers say opioids could cause harm for developing infants

According to a recent study by researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital, opioids used in anesthesia for infants born critically ill could cause harm to their developing brains. Researchers said they found multiple brain abnormalities in those children who were born critically ill and received repeated anesthesia and long periods of sedation as part of life-saving surgery. Through the use of MRI scans, researchers found that higher doses of sedatives meant more MRI abnormalities, having more brain fluid and a smaller brain volume compared to healthy infants.

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