Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guess the date: Anti-oxidant theory of vitamin E

Flicking through material and found this quote:
[cell components] were susceptible to lipid peroxidation and that this could b prevented by the addition of [vitamin E] to the system. The antioxidant theory of vitamin E function postulates that the role of [cellular] vitamin E is to stabilize the [cell] lipids against oxidation damage.
Apologies about so many brackets. Lots of complex science jargon had to be summarized.... Know when did you first understand about the antioxidant theory and that antioxidants such as vitamin E were good for you. I would be surprised if it was before the year 2000. So when was this paper published?

with in the last 10 years?

within the last 20 years ?

or was it 30 years ago?

or 40 ???? - keep on going, almost there......

1966 was the year it was published in the first edition of the journal called Lipids. So our parents or grandparents would have written this article. 1966 was the year that the first man made rocket to land on the moon. No not carrying a person, but just landing a simple rocket onto the moon surface. It was the year that the US decided to scale up Vietnam operations..... this was quite some time ago folks. It is a very vivid illustration that it takes a long time for science information to filter into the public space/sphere.

 The next logical question I have is - if it has taken approximately 40 years for this theory to be known, what theory's are being postulated and created today that would make a big difference to my life. Hence my reading and blogging. To try and cut down this time. I don't have 44 years to wait !!!! 

Reference: A. Mellors and A. L. Tappel Quinones and quinols as inhibitors of lipid peroxidation Lipids Volume 1, Number 4, 282-284, DOI: 10.1007/BF02531617

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vitamin E is higher in grass feed beef

Following on from yesterday, vitamin E is higher in grass feed beef. This increase is from double to 5 times the level and on average 2.8 times higher. These was enough data to give an average, where as yesterdays beta carotene there were only 3 data points, so average couldn't be calculated. 

This is important because vitamin E is one of the hardest vitamins to obtain your RDI. Therefore eating meat from grass feed animals would be a good source of vitamin E.

The paper also stated:
Vitamin E (a-tocopherol) acts post-mortem to delay oxidative deterioration of the meat; a process by which myoglobin is converted into brown metmyoglobin, producing a darkened, brown appearance to the meat. In a study where grass-fed and grain-fed beef
were directly compared, the bright red color associated with oxymyoglobin was retained longer in the retail display in the grass-fed group, even thought the grass-fed
meat contains a higher concentration of more oxidizable n-3 PUFA.
 This tells me that the brown colored meat is less healthy for you as it has used up the antioxidants that keep it red, hence will be less nutritious. It also tells me that even though grass feed beef has higher omega-3 which are easily damaged by oxidation make it into your system because the higher vitamin E protects them.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Medication is more dangerous than driving a car

We think of our road toll as bad, however deaths directly related to medical errors are just under 3 times higher, than deaths from our roads. That is right folk 1500 people die yearly from medication errors. To put this in perspective:
  • 86 deaths due to melanoma, so you are 17 times more likely to die from medication errors than melanoma (skin cancer). This is no excuse not to get your moles checked!  In fact the death from medication is approximately the same number of people (1 896) who are diagnosed with skin cancer.
  • Over twice as likely to be killed by medical errors as diagnosed with breast cancer (644 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in NZ a year)  
  • Approximately twice as likely for you men to be killed from medication, than suicide. 
  • The number of people who die from heart disease is 5461. So medication errors kill approximately a third of the death rate of heart disease.
So think about how much media attention and money is spent on breast cancer, skin cancer and heart disease. Yet a relatively simple to solve killer is wiping out a large chunk of NZ'ers every year, yet no body wants to talk about it..... talk about a conspiracy of silence.

Reference: NZ herald 13th December 2005

Up to 160 times more beta carotene in grass feed beef

Previous post stated that there was more beta carotene in grass feed beef, compared to grain feed beef. This increase is anywhere from 4 to 160 times higher. Need I say any more? !   

Sunday, September 26, 2010

If you proccess cow's food carotenoids are reduced

Hay: Its processed western food for cows
Way back in the beginning of my wellness quest I discovered in a dairy publication a blood test to determine if you cow had optimal levels of beta carotene. It turned out that if you feed your cow 100% on fresh grass / plants that the cow had optimal levels of beta carotene. However if you processed the cow food you reduced it carotenoid levels. It was a seminal moment for me as I saw the direct comparison between cow diet and nutrition level, and the same parallel changes occurring in the human diet. I will have to search around and see if I can find this article.

Anyway in reviewing the cow article the paper stated:
Green grass/stuff: Good for both cows and us !
Plant species, harvest methods, and season, all have significant impacts on the carotenoid content of forage. In the process of making silage, haylage or hay, as much as 80% of the carotenoid content is destroyed.      
Funny how we can objectively say that processing cow food, reduces it nutrition. And that the nutrition depends on the plants, harvesting, season etc. However we cannot have the same discussion about human food before people get up in arms about the mythical "good diet" and we can eat enough...... these people need to go study farm animals to learn the truth!


Friday, September 24, 2010

"Fish oil" in your beef

EPA and DHA, the two "fish oils" are found in numerous places in nature. One such place is beef. Now grain feed cows and grass feed cows have different levels of these essentially fatty acids. The following two graphs demonstrate this. What these graphs clearly show is that the EPA fatty acids are anywhere between double and 12 times higher in grass feed cows. With DHA there may or may not be an increase.... and if an increase occurs it is a smaller relative increase of up to 3.5 times the level.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Free range cow's produce healthier meat

Beef produced by this steer/bull will be higher in good stuff
I have always believed that the studies that showed that red meat was unhealthy was done on barn housed / grain feed animals.

This animal diet produces cows with low carotene levels. By logical deduction it would also have love vitamin E levels. I believe that cattle feed this processed food diet (silage, hay, corn, gains, etc) is equivalent to eating a Western Diet. Where as the free range cattle (like in NZ) would produce meat that is much healthier for you.

Well I have been proved right (I love that feeling). Grass feed cows have higher levels of:
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Carotene
  • Vitamin E 
  • Grain feed animals are kept in cages without fresh  green foods
  • glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) two powerful antioxidants 
It also had lower fat content. 

So you can see that free range or grass feed cattle produce healthier meat. I will be unpacking this information over the next few blog posts.

Reference: Cynthia A Daley, Amber Abbott, Patrick S Doyle, Glenn A Nader and Stephanie Larson. A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:10doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Sugar consumption been high before

    I'm sure that you have heard that our sugar consumption is really bad and that we eat way more sugar than we ever used to. Now this is somewhat true. However have a look at the line graph. It shows that sugar consumption massively increased from about 1860 to 1915. Before WWI occured and sugar consumption went down. It then again massively increased to pre war levels before WWII. However after WWII the increase was much slower and it wasn't until the 70's that the sugar consumption level reached that of 1915 or pre WWII.

    Now since the 70's - ie over 40 years, the sugar consumption has continued to rise. As the graph below shows the total sugar intake as gone from 55 kg / person to 69 kg / person. This increase is with line with the trend of the above graph. Also note that the types of sugar have changed from sugar (sucrose) to glucose and high fructose corn syrup. Neither glucose or fructose corn syrup are found in large quantities in nature (or not at all with high fructose syrup).

    Therefore given that historically sugar intake has been at high levels, without the levels of degenerative diseases seen today. One could conclude that high sugar is not the issue - it is the type of sugar. Or you could conclude that it takes decades of high sugar intake to create degenerative disease. Or sugar doesn't create degenerative disease. My money would be on the long term exposure to sugar is the real issue. 


    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    Garlic and Grape Seed extracts - good for you but need high volumes

    As I have written before, it is one thing to say a food or product is good for you. It's another thing to eat the level required. Today we look at garlic oil and grape seed extract.

    Garlic oil protected rat brains from nitrates that are found in preserved meats. Sounds good to me. However the level of garlic was 5 ml / kg of body weight. So for a 100kg human that would be 500ml of garlic oil/extract. Now suddenly the study doesn't look very promising - are you going to drink two full glasses of garlic oil extract a day??? I think not. However on the flip side the nitrate levels feed to the rats were 80 mg / kg of body weight. So again the same average 100 kg person would need to eat 8 000 mg or 8 grams of nitrate. Now what level does this mean. Taking the maximum nitrate level allowed in the US is 1 pound per 100 pounds of dry cured meat. Converting this into grams and applying the maths, this results in having to eat 750 grams of meat to obtain the 8 grams of nitrate. Clearly this is a very high level.

    However assuming the dose effects were linear...... if had 75 grams of bacon or other nitrated meat, which is not unreasonable as 100 grams is standard meat portion in a meal. This is a reduction of a factor of 10. Therefore 50 mls of the garlic oil extract would be taken. Even 50 mls is a huge amount of oil, that is almost 6 tablespoons of oil. Gross!!!!

    OK so we can safely say that people are not going to eat enough garlic or garlic extracts to obtain the benefits.

    So how about the Grape Seed Extract (GSE). From this study they concluded:
    intake of GSE may be a feasible therapeutic strategy for prevention of a high-fructose diet-induced insulin resistance and oxidative stress
    This is good news, but what level was the GSE? It was 1 % of the diet. Apparently we eat about 2 kg of food a day. Thus 1% would be 20 grams, which would be quite a large supplement tablet!! Tablets typical range from 100 mg to 300 mg. So to obtain 20 grams of GSE you would need to take between 200 to 70 tablets.   

    References: Wannaporn Suwannapheta, Aramsri Meepromb, Sirintorn Yibchok-Anuna and Sirichai Adisakwattana. Preventive effect of grape seed extract against high-fructose diet-induced insulin resistance and oxidative stress in rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 48, Issue 7, July 2010, Pages 1853-1857

    Hanaa A. Hassana, Hani S. Hafezb, and Fawzia E. Zegheba. Garlic oil as a modulating agent for oxidative stress and neurotoxicity induced by sodium nitrite in male albino rats. Food and Chemical ToxicologyVolume 48, Issue 7, July 2010, Pages 1980-1985

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Feedback loop now working !

    Some of you would know that due to my burnout and depression I am on rather powerful sleeping medication combined with what would be "complementary" medicine. This was good move as it got me sleeping, instead of waking up in the middle of the night screaming, or waking feeling worse than going to bed. However in the long term I need to move off the medication.

    I have cut down the drug does from 120 unit to 100 units. Have now hit a snag as the 50 unit pills seem to induce better sleep than 5x10 pills.

    The other thing I am on are melatonin - both normal release - and long term release for helping getting to sleep and staying asleep respectively.

    One of the issues with such strong medication is that it didn't matter what I did (apart from having lots of dark chocolate just before bed) I would be knocked out and sleep really well. Hence I lost my motivation to stay fit. Before the powerful drugs I was taking herbals, the would work, but if I didn't exercise, I didn't sleep properly.As I lost my need to exercise I started to gain weight and have done a very good job at gaining weight.

    So very pleased, I have cut down my melatonin to 1/4 of a tablet. If I am unfit I don't drop off to sleep easily. However being fit - straight to sleep. So this has got me out exercising again. Hopefully this will stop the weight gain!

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    Cheese making gear in NZ !

    Hauraki Homebrew supplies, the company supplies me the hard to find beer making materials has now go into supplying cheese making ingredients (except of the milk). Way COOL !

    Sorry about light posting. This week has been madness !

    Fail blog supplements

    This is why you want reputable supplements

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Zinc - blood levels not a good indicator

    Metals are stored up in the body for release when needed. This is because you would die without the minerals. Zinc has over 200 functions in the body. If these were to remove all zinc from your body you would be dead very quickly. Now metals don't get "used up" like vitamins. Therefore turnover is lower. One of the way minerals get lost is though urine. Because we pee out urea - from excess protein / protein break down and sulfuric acid. Both are nasty and acidic. Therefore the body balances these out with metals, typical calcium, hence peeing doesn't acid etch out our body.

    When you go for an iron test they take your blood and analyze it for its current iron content. They also measure your iron stores (or infer it from blood levels? I actually don't know). This clearly works.  Is a blood test a valid way to measure your zinc levels?

    As mentioned above zinc is really important to the body. Hence measuring your bodies zinc levels would be an important step to determine if you are low on zinc. However the following methods don't work:
    • Urine analysis 
    • Blood analysis. This is the most common way of determining zinc status. However this is not a accurate method. 
    • Zinc levels in red blood cells, again it doesn't correlate.
    So basically we have no idea about how to measure your zinc levels.

    The RDI for Zinc is 15 mg a day. A study looked at supplementing zinc at 0 (control), 15 mg and 30 mg per day. After 6 months they did some fancy measurements to determine the total zinc in the body (zinc being "used" and zinc being stored). They found that the control group at total of 2.15 mg, the 15 mg group had 12.7 mg and the 30 mg group had 100.5 mg.

    These results tell me that supplementation of zinc is a good idea. Having only 2.15 mg in total body when you are supposedly on a healthy diet (of 15 mg a day) seems rather low. Hence people in Europe were the study was undertaken are not getting enough zinc in their diets. The large jump between 0 mg supplementing and 15 mg supplementing is large. I would prefer to have the large total level of zinc so that all my enzymes and processes run well, not just at minimal levels.   

    There is also a massive increase, by factor of approx ten, in body stores between the 15 mg and 30 mg group. This tells me that 15 mg was actually too low and 30 mg to high. Therefore the optimal level of supplementation is somewhere between these two numbers. Hence make sure your multi tablets have about 15 mg in them.

    Reference: Christine Feillet-Coudray, Nathalie Meunier, Mathieu Rambeau, Marion Brandolini-Bunlon, Jean-Claude Tressol, Maud Andriollo, Andrzej Mazur, Kevin D Cashman and Charles Coudray Long-term moderate zinc supplementation increases exchangeable zinc pool masses in late-middle-aged men: the Zenith Study American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 82, No. 1, 103-110, July 2005

    Palm Oil and Health: A Case of Manipulated Perception and Misuse of Science

    In the 1980s, a combination of forces came together to convince the public that food products containing tropical oils contributed to their risk of coronary heart disease. Tropical oils were competing with the U.S. soy bean oil market as an alternative vegetable oil, yet they were higher in saturated fat, which had become the target of the health promotion community for its theoretical association with coronary heart disease risk. Successful national campaigns were undertaken to force food manufacturers to remove tropical oils, including palm oil, from their products and to replace them with hydrogenated vegetable oils, resulting in increased intakes of trans-fatty acids, which later became the target of the same advocacy groups. Today palm oil is being touted as a suitable replacement for hydrogenated vegetable oils.
     Nothing else to say really. Quite sad really, that people have a negative impression of a healthy oil.

    Reference: Donald J McNamara, Palm Oil and Health: A Case of Manipulated Perception and Misuse of Science Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 29, No. 3_Supplement_1, 240S-244S (2010) 

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Zinc - it helps your bones

    Everyone knows the calcium is essential for bone health in our older years. What amazes me is that there is a host of other nutrients that directly impact bone density/health that people are not aware of. Vitamin D and magnesium are the ones that immediately come to mind.

    Well we need to add Zinc to the list. It turns out that:
    Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is a component of >200 enzymes and is known to be necessary for normal collagen synthesis and mineralization of bone. In animals, zinc deficiency has been associated with abnormalities in bone growth, bone formation, and mineralization. A significant positive correlation between human bone zinc content and bone strength suggests that zinc may play a role in bone health. Low zinc intake has been reported to be associated with low bone mass in women. Furthermore, reduced serum or plasma zinc concentrations and increased urinary zinc excretion have also been reported in women with osteoporosis 
    This is taken from an introduction to 2004 paper. Hence this information is at least 6 years old. Now last time you saw anyone about your bone health - did they tell you about the importance of zinc. Not likely. Medical professionals are to busy to be keeping up with the latest nutritional information.......

    The study then went onto show that zinc plasma levels in elderly men are correlated with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is actually serious in men as well as women. With 1 in 8 men over 50 having a bone fracture due to this disease. 

    Reference: Taisun H Hyun, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor and David B Milne Zinc intakes and plasma concentrations in men with osteoporosis: the Rancho Bernardo Study American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 3, 715-721, September 2004 

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    feeling down - maybe take some more thiamin...... in a supplement....

    Doing some research connecting nutrition to sleeping issues. Picked up my first edition of Vitamins and Hormones, printed in 1943. Came across this quote:
    Recent knowledge concerning thiamin [thiamine] shows that many symptoms are produced by deficiency and exist long before the development of clinical beriberi...... there earlier symptoms are usually classified under the heading of a neurasthenic syndrome and consist  essentially of the triad of anorexia, fatigability and sleep disturbances...... other symptoms are produce such as .... queer feelings in the abdomen [had to include that LOL], constipation, backache, headache....
    This sounds like chronic fatigue, or depression or general blahness. I know headaches are the bane of GP's as there is normally no concrete reason/diagnosis.

    Well how much thiamine do you need daily to prevent these symptoms? 1.8 mg of thiamine. (The current RDI is 1.0 mg to  1.4 mg.) I used the Linus Pauline Institute data on high vitamin B1/thiamine foods. The table below is the levels you need to eat to obtain 1.8 mg of thiamine :

    Food   Food amount Units
    Wheat germ breakfast cereal  0.4  cup
    Fortified breakfast cereal  1.8  cup
    Peas (cooked)  4.3  cup
    Lentils (cooked)  5.3  cup
    Long grain white rice, enriched (cooked)  6.9  cup
    Cantaloupe  8.2  fruit
    Long grain brown rice (cooked)  9.5  cup
    Spinach (cooked)  10.0  cup
    White bread, enriched  16.4  cup
    Whole wheat bread  18.0  cup
    Orange  18.0  fruit
    Milk  18.0  cup
    Long grain white rice, unenriched (cooked)  45.0  cup
    Egg (cooked)  60.0  egg
    Pork, lean (cooked)  210.0  g
    Pecans  265.3  g
    Brazil nuts  280.0  g

    I like eggs - but 60 of them?! Or have some milk, 18 cups worth that is only 4 and 1/2 liters!What I find somewhat ironic and rather disturbing is that one of the best sources of thiamine is fortified cereal. This is a blatant statement that we need to supplement. We can't get enough through our normal food so we have to add a vitamin to cereals - This is supplementing, just hidden supplementation. So to all of you who don't think you need to supplement - answer this - why do they fortify cereals?  And secondly how do you achieve your 1.8mg of thiamine ?!

    To make sure that I was only using one set of data I then used the data from Worlds Healthiest Foods to create this table:

    Food Food level units
    Sunflower seeds, raw 0.5  cup
    Sesame seeds 1.6  cup
    Black beans, cooked 4.3  cup
    Green peas, boiled 4.4  cup
    Split peas, cooked 4.9  cup
    Navy beans, cooked 4.9  cup
    Corn, yellow, cooked 5.0  cup
    Lentils, cooked 5.5  cup
    Pinto beans, cooked 5.6  cup
    Lima beans, cooked 6.0  cup
    Kidney beans, cooked 6.4  cup
    Oats, whole grain, cooked 6.9  cup
    Asparagus, boiled 8.2  cup
    Spinach, boiled 10.6  cup
    Brussel sprouts, boiled 10.6  cup
    Winter squash, baked, cubes 10.6  cup
    Pineapple 12.9  cup
    Watermelon, diced 15.0  cup
    Carrots, raw 15.0  cup
    Tomato, ripe 16.4  cup
    Oranges 16.4  cup
    Cabbage, shredded, boiled 20.0  cup
    Broccoli, steamed 20.0  cup
    Green beans, boiled 20.0  cup
    Eggplant, cooked, cubes 22.5  cup
    Summer squash, cooked, slices 22.5  cup
    Collard greens, boiled 22.5  cup
    Grapes 22.5  cup
    Kale, boiled 25.7  cup
    Celery, raw 30.0  cup
    Mustard greens, boiled 30.0  cup
    Bell peppers, red, raw, slices 30.0  cup
    Turnip greens, cooked 30.0  cup
    Swiss chard, boiled 30.0  cup
    Romaine lettuce 32.7  cup
    Cauliflower, boiled 36.0  cup

    Now at least this table has some intakes that might be obtainable. I could have 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds in a shake or on top of my cereal.  But 4 cups of beans..... I don't think so. How about juice asparagus and spinach cooked are 8 and 10 cups respectively. There would be loose in cooking, however there is also lose in juicing as it is impossible to get all the nutrients out of the vege's (if we could get it all the waste would be white). So let us say lose is same between cooking and juicing. Therefore need to juice 8-10cups. This is a rather large amount! When we make juice at home we have 1/4 - 1/3 of the juice as green stuff, otherwise it gets a bit over powering. So odds of doing 10 cups, slim and non.

    Therefore if you ware not feeling 100%, bit tired, not sleeping quite right, having not much of an appetite, take some vitamin B supplements (well a multi would be better).

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Addicted to carrots - Seriously !!!!

    You can get addicted to carrots !!!!! I would have never thought..... it was an Australian...... so a inter Tasman dig would go well here.To quote the conclusion (she stopped eating carrots when she stopped smoking):
    Compusive carrot eating, regarded as a rare condition, has received scant documentation, unlike hypercarotenemia due to unusual diets or food fads. Nervousness, craving, insomnia, waterbrash and irritability are associated with withdrawal from excessive carrot eating. The basis for the addiction is believed to be beta carotene, found in carrots. Does carrot eating, an aggressively oral activity, merely act as a behavioural substitute for smoking? Or does beta carotene contain a chemical element that replicates the addictive component of nicotine?
    So there you have it folks - another addiction to watch out for!

    Reference: Kaplan R.Carrot addiction.Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 1996 Oct;30(5):698-700.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Sleep hormone helps with sleep!

    This kind of goes in the "thanks but I already know" file. However it is now official that melatonin helps with poor sleep aka insomnia.

    To my mind it obvious - melatonin is a sleep hormone - taking a sleep hormone would help you with yours sleep. Sure you don't know if the melatonin is absorbed across the stomach/intestinal wall, then transported in the blood to the brain boundary, makes it across the brain boundary and activates the right part of the brain.

    So I guess it shouldn't be a given, the effect might just be placebo...... however I have really enjoyed using it!

    copper - worth its salt reference

    Last year I blogged about how copper in supplements must be a copper salt or amino acid chelate. Never ever take a supplement with copper oxide in it. This is because you can't absorb it.

    However in writing the post I was unable to find the original paper that I read so couldn't find the reference. Hunting in my office again for the paper last night uncovered it in the file called "metals". I love old fashioned paper filing systems, however the are a lot harder to search than an electronic one.

    Great news is putting this posting in I can record the paper details so if I ever lose it again it is a click away (plus a trip to my local hospitals library).

    Go and grab your multi and have a close look at the label - if it has copper as copper oxide (CuO or CuO2) then tip it down your sink (or donate to homeless)

    Reference: Baker, D., Cupric oxide should not be used as a copper supplement for either animals or humans. Journal of Nutrition vol 129 pg 2278-79. 1999.