As I type this, I am gazing out my home office window, looking at the river running down my street. The rain is coming down hard, we had golf-ball sized hail earlier, and the promise of more to come. When you live in the desert, these things make you smile, and dance in the street. Props to Al Gore, since it rarely rains in October, and we never get several inches in two days. God Bless.

I had my physical last week, and just got my blood work results today. All is well, except for my CRP levels, which are high. CRP stands for c-reactive protein, and is a marker of inflammation in the body. In most cases, CRP levels are used to monitor your risk for heart attack or stroke. Not so with me. Since I have an inflammatory arthritic condition in my hips and spine known as ankylosing spondylitis, my CRP levels are high, and cannot be used for cardiovascular risk. But, there is some good news. Two years ago, my level was 51, last year it was 42, and this year it is 33. Normal is < 8. I think what is helping me lower it is my daily intake of turmeric powder (curry). I take 1 tbsp (~2000 mg) of turmeric powder every day, along with 5 dashes of black pepper (piperine in black pepper makes turmeric 1500-2000 times more bioavailable) in pomegranate juice. It’s not as good tasting as a cold Fat Tire beer, but I muscle it down, and it seems to be working. Among its myriad of benefits, it is a strong anti-inflammatory. If you have any of the itis’s, give it a try.

A quick not about vitamin D. Adults 65 and older with low blood levels of vitamin D are 60% more likely to experience substantial mental decline, according to a study in the July 12, 2010, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Exercise tip: for a great, inexpensive workout tool, fill a sturdy bag, like burlap, with sand. If you leave a little space in it, it will shift as you use it, creating more of a need to stabilize on your part. Plus, if you happen to drop it, it is less likely to cause injury.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.