Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mum's influence childrens pain level

Pain is very difficult to quantify and the physiology and physiology of pain isn't always clear cut. I have observed with my children that response to pain can vary depending on a number of internal circumstance. For example when they get hungry or tired little knocks become big deals, little knocks that wouldn't worry them normally.

Once a close friend of mine who is grandfather material, theorized that a lot of the crying due to "hurt" babies/toddlers was due to the attention they got if they had an accident. So he used to ignore young children that fell unless they really did themselves a mischief. And it seemed to work somewhat, kids used to pick themselves up and move on if he was looking after them, instead of crying. 

Anyway an article with the wonderful title "Parental catastrophizing about their child’s chronic pain: Are mothers and fathers different?". Parental catastophizing has such a neat mental image and rolls of the tongue. What the study found was that dads behavior didn't have an effect on the child's pain. 

However mums had significant impact. Not only did the catastrophize more, mums "contributed significantly in explaining the child’s pain intensity". In simple terms this means if mum was freaking out and working up about how bad the pain was, the child felt more pain. Where if the mum was chilling then the child's pain was less.

So mum's chill out a bit when your child gets hurt. This will help decrease the pain for the child. 

Reference: Tanja Hechlera, Tine Vervoortb, Maximiliane Hamanna,  Anna-Lena Tietzea, Silja Vocksc, Liesbet Goubertb, Christiane Hermannd, Julia Wagera, Markus Blankenburga, Sandra Schroedera and Boris Zernikowa. Parental catastrophizing about their child’s chronic pain: Are mothers and fathers different?.European Journal of Pain doi:10.1016/j.ejpain.2010.09.015 |

Friday, October 29, 2010

Maybe it is genetic that you don't like vegetables

I unfortunately have my mothers genetics when it comes to vegetables. We don't like them! We try to eat them because we know they are healthy. However it isn't by choice..... found an article yesterday which talked about super-tasters.  

Approximately 25% of people have extra high number of taste buds, high enough that they are categorized super-tasters. Because this people have more taste buds they taste flavors at about 3 times more intense than non super tasters. This results in:
Because of this, supertasters tend to hate green vegetables, grapefruit juice, certain alcoholic beverages, coffee, green tea, soy based products, overly sweet things, and generally are just considered “picky eaters”. 
So there you go. It could be genetic that your don't like vegetables. I don't like green vegetables, nor grapefruit juice that is store purchased (I can taste the bitter pith). Not to keen on coffee, don't have soy products so don't know about that. I also don't like artificial sweeteners because they are to sweet and don't like sugary soft drinks for the same reason. And yes my wife would call me a picky eater!

Next time I must choose the right genetics....... lol

And I'm back

Life has somewhat returned to normal after a mammoth and all consuming few weeks at university. Hopefully I will now have the mental space to blog. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Supplemented zinc makes it into your blood stream.

One of the biggest myths is that supplements gives you expensive urine/fecal matter. This is one of the reasons I wrote the book. Anyway research published today shows that supplemented zinc makes it into your blood stream, well at least if you are a "healthy" adult male. A placebo double blind trial looked at zinc blood levels between a placebo, 10mg and 20 mg of zinc sulfate a day. The zinc blood levels rose within 5 days to be massively statistically different to the placebo (P < 0.0001).

Interestingly enough the blood levels between 10 and 20 mg dose were not significantly different. This means that say if you were eating lots of oysters and you were getting your 10 mg of zinc through your food that supplementation wouldn't effect it. However as this study shows healthy men on Western diet aren't getting enough zinc. So you need to supplement! and when you do supplement the zinc makes it into the blood.

Now I would assume that if you are getting zinc into your blood stream that your body uses it.....

Reference: K. Ryan Wessells, Joshua M. Jorgensen, Sonja Y. Hess, Leslie R. Woodhouse, Janet M. Peerson and Kenneth H. Brown  Plasma Zinc Concentration Responds Rapidly to the Initiation and Discontinuation of Short-Term Zinc Supplementation in Healthy Men J. Nutr. (October 13, 2010). doi:10.3945/jn.110.122812

Sorry lite posting....

Hi, note about the lite posting. Currently working on two big projects. A review paper for our national lactation consultants magazine about the bioavailability of nutrients in breast milk. Secondly I am planning a you tube video around the food pyramid. Plus all my other work...... so posting is a bit lite at the moment.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Farmed fish have lower omega 3 essential fatty acids

I have always proposed that farmed fish have lower levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids. I.e. wild fish are better for you than farmed fish. This is because I have the belief that the omega 3's found in fish come from their food. Don't know why I believe that, suspect either logical deduction or I read it someplace that has been lost in the mists of time.

Anyway glancing through a 1990 journal and found:
The ratio of n-3 to n-6 polyunsaturates was significantly lower in cultured than in wild fish
This was across the three fish they measured trout, eel and salmon. So my gut feel has been validated. Therefore we need to be asking our suppliers of fish oils - are they farmed fish? Because if they are the oil you are taking is likely to have less omega 3's than stated on the bottle. Also we need to ask if our salmon and other fish are wild ( and sustainably harvested).   

Reference: T van Vliet and MB Katan Lower ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids in cultured than in wild fish. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 51, 1-2

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quaility of fish oil supplements

The quality of fish oil supplements is very important. It is well established that fish oils are beneficial to your health. Every brand and every shop seems to have some fish oil on special, shouting out to the world to purchase. However the quality of supplements have received scant attention.

Firstly I understand that fish obtain their fish oils from their food. In the wild this is other fish, insects or plankton. Therefore farmed fish which are feed fish meal products may, or may not, have a high level of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Therefore the first question to ask is - have the fatty acid levels actually been measured in this product.

Secondly fish oils are typically made from salmon or other fish that are at the top of the food chain. Being at the top end of the food chain means that pollutants can also be concentrated up. The latest study looking at fish oil contamination in Canadian fish oils found that PCB and dioxin levels in salmon, tuna, herring and seal (?!) oils exceed daily tolerable limits. They conclude with "The results of this study suggest that it is prudent to consume supplements derived from small, cold-water fatty fish."

So either make sure your supplements are from small fatty fish or that you supplement company tests the supplements to make sure contaminates (including heavy metals as well). I am also aware of a supplement company which distills the oil under vacuum (so boils a low temperature) to eliminate the contaminants. So make sure you ask some hard questions next time you purchase your fish oil supplements to make sure the quality exceptional.     

Reference: J.A. Bourdona, T.M. Bazinetb, T.T. Arnasonb, L.E. Kimpeb, J.M. Blaisb and P.A. Whitea, Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contamination and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist activity of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements: Implications for daily intake of dioxins and PCBs. Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 48, Issue 11, November 2010 doi:10.1016/j.fct.2010.07.051

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frozen chicken - Less B vitamins

A study looked at fresh and frozen chickens. They had a "surprising result" with only 10% of vitamin B5 and only 25% B3 (niacin) and B9 (folic acid) of vitamins remaining. It was surprising as previous studies didn't show this. It is a reminder that we really don't know how to preserve the nutrients in food when we process them. 

Reference: van Heerden S. et al. Nutrient content of South African Chickens. Journal of food composition and analysis (2002) Vol 15 pg 47-64.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Treatment of milk or lactose intolerance

Some people are dairy intolerant. A section of these people are intolerant due to a inability to break down lactose. Because this milk sugar is not broken down it is free to be used by the kilogram of bacteria you have in your digestive system. These bacteria produce gas as a waste product. The gas then causes you to have gas/bloating and the other symptoms of lactose intolerance.

The enzyme needed to break down the lactose is called lactase.The groovey thing is that if you take lactase with a meal that contains lactose, the lactase will break down the lactose as it passes through your digestive system. This is an over the counter health product and can be purchased in NZ online or at other online stores.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crunchy apples

I have two comfort foods, chocolate (no surprise) and crunchy apples. There used to be a gap between end or winter and the middle of summer / end of summer where no crunchy apples existed. So when apples from the local orchard stopped being crunchy quite a few weeks (months?) ago I assumed that crunchy apples were off the menu until last summer / autumn. However in the last week or so we have been purchasing apples mainly for the kids to eat or to juice. The kids don't mind soft apples (go figure!). However when I tried them they were still crunchy. Really strange given that they look like early apples! Thought it must have been a random thing. However purchased today a bag of Pacific Rose from another supermarket, again crunchy.

Very excited as someone clearly has figured out how to keep apples crunchy for longer! I know that nutritionally they might not be very good, but there is something special about eating a crunchy apple that I find very enjoyable. So big thank you for who ever has figured this out.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ethical dilemma in food modification

I found today yet another example of the ethical dilemma in food modification. Let me start first with a story. A few years ago we got to know a couple. The guy was addicted to smoking. He also was on ACC (off work) for back problems. Therefore the couple didn't have much money. Seeing some tobacco seeds for sale I contemplated growing some tobacco (I enjoy gardening) so they could save money instead of paying absorbent prices for cigarettes. However would this be helping, or helping support his addiction? I never could resolve that question....... so hence I never did grow tobacco.

So the same ethical dilemma occurs in food modification. Do we take our modern, processed, dead food and add stuff to it, to make it healthy. Or would that support the infatuation we have with unhealthy food. The example that set this off was a review paper that discussing adding fish/marine products into breads and pastry's. The logic being that marine products are good for us, we eat a lot of bread, so adding good stuff to what we already eat. Other examples abound, for example cows can be feed on fish oil and the fish oils make it into the milk, but without having any fishy smell. There is an army of researchers out there investigating ways to make our unhealthy eating choices "more healthy".

Ethically I have come to the conclusion that this is misguided. A better value for money would be training/coaching people how to change their lifestyle eg how to stop eating so much white flour (says he who has just had a white flour sandwich as my wife purchased a loaf of white bread for a holiday treat). My logic is that improving foods that are unhealthy would give people an excuse to continue eating them. For example chocolate, everyone likes to justify eating chocolate cause it is good for you. However they forget that it must be dark chocolate and only one or two small squares a day. Now who actually does this? Nobody!

Friday, October 1, 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