Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Citrus nearly all year round

Chatting to the lovely Grandma who we are purchasing our citrus block from. Talked about what other citrus trees are in the orchard. It turns out that you can eat fresh citrus nearly all year long.

Mandarins come on in June - July
Navel oranges in Aug-Nov
Tangelos  Nov - Dec
Late oranges the type that is juiced Jan - Feb

This doesn't count the grapefruit, or other citrus such as limes etc.

So it is only March, April and May that don't have citrus in season. However my understanding is that you can leave citrus on the tree till you need them. Therefore likely that in March you could be still eating fresh oranges.

I new that apples had a long season, but now I know citrus does also.

PS will try and get some pictures up of the adventure. "Lost" the digital camera someplace in the shift into temporary accommodation...... 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why good herbal products cost more

One of the great tragedies of the supplement/nutrition world is that supplements can be purchased at a supermarket. The reason I consider this a tragedy is for two reasons. Firstly you are not guided in your decision making process. Most people purchase a supplement to address as problem. Due to the complexity of the situation, and the mass of products on offer, the chances of getting a good match are slim. Secondly things in supermarket are price sensitive. We consider price as an important factor in our purchasing decisions (I know this otherwise organics and health foods would take up a larger space in our supermarkets). With price being an issue, supplements are likely to be of poorer quality because top notch ingredients and systems cost more.

As a rather extreme example of this was a supplement that had gone off. It was a syrup with herbs in suspension. The suspension didn't have any preservative in it, and it had gone off. In opening up the package an analyzing the contents, a large range of bugs were found. There was the very nasty staphylococcus aureus. This is the "infection bug". It causes pus infections in wounds, creates boils and can be very serious to diabetics causing them to loose limbs. Staphylococcus epidermidis was also found. Not has nasty as S.aureus, but still a significant threat to anybody with a compromised immune system.There were soil bugs like Bacillus megaterium, which are thought not to hard humans, along with seven other bacteria or fungi.

As this was a sealed product, the contaimination must have been present when the product left the factory. Therefore if you were to purchase this product, even though it might have looked or smelt OK, it would have had these nasty bugs in it. So this is why you pay good money, for great supplements. 

So when it comes to supplements the higher cost, and hence higher quality, products are a much better investment.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Zinc: How much should you take a day

Zinc is my current wonder mineral. It seems to be used all around the body. How much zinc do we need a day ? First up we have a graph of zinc intake vs zinc absorption.

This graph shows the absorbed intake along the bottom and the total loss of zinc from the body in the vertical axis.The one to one line is the dotted line running up from zero. This is the line where if all the zinc you ingested was then removed from your body.

One of the two solid lines is the combined male and female data, and the other line is the female data. You can see that they all seem to meet/cross over at approximately 3 mg of absorbed zinc. Now scroll down and have a look at the identical graph, just below the first graph, but with two colored blue and green triangles on it.  

In this graph, which is identical to the graph above, I have highlighted two regions. The first blue region is where the total amount of zinc lost is more than what you have ingested. Therefore you are losing zinc. Clearly over time you will run out and have serious consequences. The green triangle is were you excrete less than your input so you much have enough. From this the human minimum requirement needed is calculated to be approximately 3 mg absorbed a day.     

The logical question is then - how much zinc do I need to take, to absorb 3 mg. Well the graph that answers this is found below. This graph shows absorbed intake on the vertical axis. Drawing a line across, and then down, we can see that we need to digest approximate 9 mg of zinc a day to maintain body zinc levels.    

The good news is that most multivitamin/mineral preparations have 10 -15 mg of zinc, so you are likely getting enough. Of course my next question is what is the maximum zinc level absorbable? This graph below, shows the maximum absorbed is just under 5.5 mg a day. This is when the daily intake is at 25 mg. Likely if the intake continued to increase, then there would be slight increase in absorption.   
What is also good to note is that the zinc from supplements appears to be just as absorbable as zinc from other dietary sources.

It should be noted that this grahs levels are "steady state" that is the approximate same level every day. This is because the process of changing how much of the zinc the body absorbs is a relatively slow changing process. The exact "lead in" time, ie time for the body to change what percentage of zinc it is absorbing is days or a week or two.

Interesting enough when I found out I was exceptionally zinc deficient the lady doing the test was very surprised to find out I was on a good multi. From memory I was on 15mg a day. When I took an extra 15 mg a day, I noticed a distinct improvement in mood. Even though the last graph above shows that an extra 15 mg would have resulted in not much zinc improvement, it was very important to me! I then moved onto 50 mg zinc tablets, but took them only when I "felt" I needed them (sniff test of jar). I no longer need extra zinc above my multi, so no longer take any extra zinc.   

Reference .

Take vitamin C supplements post stomach surgery > 500mg a day

One of the bitter ironies is that hospital food, by its nature being bulk produced under a tight budget is totally in adequate for sustaining the optimal healing process. I would love to do a trial where one hospital gave out good quality multi vitamin/mineral supplement. I would bet that hospital would have faster healing times, reduction in secondary infections, less relapses etc etc.

Since I am currently unable to fund such a study, I will continue to post studies that show supplementation is helpful in the hospital situation. Today is it about vitamin C. Parenteral nutrition is feeding via a drip, rather than via stomach processing. This enables people to recover from stomach surgery still being able to have "food". The problem is of course is that the hospital purchasing most likely takes cost into consideration when ordering such products. Therefore the nutrition will have nutrients focused on RDI intakes, not optimal or maximal intakes.

In this randomized study people with gastrointestinal surgery  were either given no extra vitamin C, 100 mg or 500 mg a day. At the 0 and 100 mg of extra vitamin C, there wasn't any, above normal, vitamin C loss via urine. This indicates that the body wasn't getting enough to have left over vitamin C lost via urine. At 500 mg a day there was enough vitamin C to have extra vitamin C showing up in the urine.

Also a marker of oxidative stress (8-isoprostane) was significantly lower in the 500 mg group compared to the 100 or 0 group.

So if you are recovering post surgery and are being feed via a drip, I would get some vitamin C powder (pure stuff, no extra bits) and see if you are allowed to put this into your "food". Give me an email if you can and see what the reaction was from the medical personal.

Obviously if you are able to eat, this is better, I would still take the extra vitamin C though, cause you sure ain't getting much via the food as vitamin C is one of the most easily destroyed nutrients.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Placebo double blind trial: Zinc supplements are beneficial for the elderly.

An excellent placebo double blind trial, which is the best you can do, was undertaken in elderly population. Now elderly in this case was 56 years old - 80 years old. Which in my mind 56, isn't that old. Very importantly they were healthy elderly. That is they were not sick. This means that they had no obvious signs of zinc deficiency, nor any mineral/vitamin deficiency. They were not looking to make unhealthy people well, but look at difference it make to antioxidant markers in so called healthy individuals.

Secondly they used a high daily dose of zinc, 45 mg. To put that is perspective the RDI, depending on country is about the 15 mg level. So this is 3x the RDI of zinc.

Thirdly they supplemented for 6 months. This means that the bodies stores had time to stabilize and the body had a chance to rebuild/repair or overcome any issues that lack of zinc might have caused.

Thus they were focusing on maximizing any effect. This is a great study as often supplement trials aren't double blind placebo, don't focus on already healthy, don't supplement high enough levels and have a very short time frame. Hence the results for supplementation can be variable.

What did they find a reduction in the markers for oxidative stress and inflammation across a whole range of  markers, proteins, cells etc. For those who like the jargon the reduction was across:
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)
  • Iinterleukin (IL)-6, 
  • Macrophage chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1)
  • Vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1)
  • Secretory phospholipase A2
  • Malondialdehyde and hydroxyalkenals (MDA+HAE)
And for the record I can't tell you off the top of my head what these are all are/mean/do. However rest assured with the conclusion of the study was:
These findings suggest that zinc may have a protective effect in atherosclerosis because of its antiinflammatory and antioxidant functions

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Folate can help with depression

 The co-editor for Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience wrote an editorial in 2007 on the importance of folate supplements in treating depression. The title was folate and depression - a neglected problem. He had this to say:
The current explosion of work on serotonin [genetics] ...... is in sharp contrast to the much smaller number of recent studies on an entirely reversible environmental factor known to lower serotonin synthesis—folate deficiency
Ok so current researchers are not looking at the most easily corrected issue. Folate deficiency, or sub optimal levels can be easily changed by a simple vitamin pill.

Many studies, going back to the 1960s, show an elevated incidence of folate deficiency in patients with depression. Studies vary depending on the criteria used to define folate deficiency, but often, about one-third of depression patients were deficient. Given that depression is often accompanied by decreased appetite and weight loss, the high incidence of folate deficiency in depression patients is not surprising. However, there is some evidence, though not conclusive, that folate deficiency may be involved in the etiology of depression in a minority of patients. Alternatively, depressed mood may decrease appetite, lower folate levels and thereby help to prevent recovery from depression.
So for over 50 years we have know that depressed patients might have folate deficiency, yet doctors still don't recommend folate supplements to depressed patients. This really makes me mad and drives my motivation to blog. For I don't speak, then who will ?! Furthermore if you don't have folate deficiency when you begin your depression journey, due to eating habits you are likely to develop it, which then can keep you depressed !    
The conclusion was that daily dosages of 0.8 mg folic acid or more, in addition to dietary intake, are typically required to achieve the maximal reduction in plasma homocysteine concentrations (about 25%). Vitamin B12 (0.4 mg/day) produced a further 7% reduction
So any supplement should be at least 0.8 mg

Given the low cost of folate tablets (1 mg folic acid tablets can cost less than 5 cents each), there is no economic reason to avoid giving folate to all patients with depression, 
This  is the insanity of not using supplements. Supplements are very cheap compared to a drug. In NZ drugs are subsidized, so we don't directly see the cost of medication. This often means that a good multi supplement is more expensive to the consumer, than some prescribed drug.
Several concerns have been raised about the supplementation of food with folate. The main concern relevant to the short-term use of folate supplements in depression patients is the possible masking of vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms. For this reason, it might be prudent to add a vitamin B12 supplement to the folate
Ok, so take B12 as well. I would recommend a good B multi instead of just folate (or folate + B12). This means you cover your bases so to speak.
What about the recommendation that 2 mg of folate be given during the acute, continuation and maintenance treatment of depression? The actual dosage may be debatable; 1 mg may suffice, particularly in countries where there is voluntary or compulsory fortification of food with folate, and the addition of a vitamin B12 supplement may be prudent, but the general principle is reasonable. With our current knowledge, the potential benefits seem to far outweigh any disadvantages.
So in summary, take folate for depression, in high doses as part of a B multi that has B12 in its formulation. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Breat milk from cows, further thoughts

Earlier in the week I blogged about breast milk from cows. After mulling it over some more, I have a few more comments:

Immunity. It is a well known fact that breast feed babies get sick less. Now breast milk has lots of anti bad bug bits in it. But also the immune response of mother also effects the breast milk. If mum catches (or fights off without realizing) a cold, her body produces the anti virus proteins. These proteins make it into her breast milk. Therefore baby gets these proteins, thus enabling baby to fight the infection. Hence when mother catches sickness often baby will not due to the immunity via the milk.

Clearly if the milk comes from a cow this immunity isn't going to occur. Thus one of the significant advantages of breast milk is eliminated. 

Bacteria. One of the fascinating things is that, something like 80% of all breast feeding women throughout the world have a specific bacteria in their milk. Now this shouldn't be the case, and people can't figure it out. But whatever the reason, nearly every mum has these bugs. We don't know where the come from, how they get into the milk, and any effect it has on baby. Are these bugs good? Who knows. The question I have is do these cows have the bugs in their milk? Is this is a good thing? I suspect that due to so many women, across so many cultures, that the bugs in the milk have some purpose, what I don't know, but I think it is safe to assume that there is some reason.   

Cow disease. tying into the immunity point above, any cow fighting an infection is going to have the antibodies in the milk. I don't know what diseases cows get - can they catch a cold? Do they have diseases that human don't. I suspect most likely. Diseases are often species or animal group specific. For example the AID's virus is human (actually primate) specific, while other AID's like virus in other animals do not infect humans.

So a few more reasons I don't support this genetic engineering.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Do we limit our childrens fruit intake ?

We are very excited to be purchasing part of a citrus orchard. Over time we will move it from a semi monoculture to a vast verity of fruiting trees, shrubs, vines etc. I want to plant fruit, cause we don't need encouragement to eat it. When was it you heard, come on kido, open wide, time for your strawberries.... no we just eat strawberries, we don't need any encouragement. So lets focus on yummy food !

The remainder of the orchard is also available for sale, but a section is being kept by the current elderly, and very nice, owners. Currently on their land they have sweet juicy mandarins ripe and ready for eating. Every week or so they offer us a bucket full, and we eagerly accept - I am now helping them pick our mandarins so must be on the inner circle :) 

We got some over the weekend, and we hoed into them. After half a dozen each, we limited the kids intake. We simply didn't want them gone in a day. It make me think. If we had purchased them from the local supermarket were they are approximately $3/kg, we would have been far more stingy. Firstly likely to have purchased say 1 - 2 kg in total. Quick weigh check and our mandarins are around 100 grams each. So if purchased 2 kg, that would be 20 fruits. We are a family of five, so had a total of four each. So once the kids had consumed four, we would have said no more, till we purchase some again, likely in a weeks time. Yet because they are free, once limiting the first go, they can now eat as much as they like (and so can I!)

So in conclusion we often limit our children (and our own) fruit consumption due to the perceived cost of the fruit (an sandwich is cheaper and more filling, but less healthy) 

Therefore as a family we should obtain significant volumes of fruit for free, so we don't limit our children, or our own, intake. For me the focus is on growing my own, to maximize the nutrient levels. However if you don't have a green thumb, and have no desire to grow your own. I suspect with a bit of searching you can source your own fruits from friends, neighbors etc. Most people are very happy to share with you, as when fruit comes into season there is plenty for all. One of my first posts was about the plenty that was around.......  waiting to be consumed.... so ask around and maximize your fruit intake

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Human breast milk from cows: Thoughts

Last week there was a news item on the Chinese using GE to producing human breast milk from cows. My thoughts are:

a) The studies that show cows milk is bad for you are all done on pasteurized milk. This destroys many enzymes and massively reduces the nutritional value of milk.Therefore if you are making human milk, and you pasteurize it, you will lose the health benefits

This is why Peter Hartmen from Perth is working on a low temperature pasteurization process for human milk. This means milk can be donated to the hospital, then pasteurize to remove any infections eg hepatitis, before feeding to new borns. Because standard pasteurization doesn't keep the nutrients in milk.   

b) Human milk is low in protein and high in sugar. Calfs grow exceedingly fast compared to babies. From memory a calf increases its weight by 8 times, is the same time a baby doubles its weight. Therefore human milk is low in protein and high in sugars (so baby has easy energy and grows a little bit). Hence you can't make cheese from human milk as it is to low in protein. 

Therefore I struggle to see how a low protein, high sugar, fluid would be advantageous over cows milk (or goat or sheep milk) to an adult or older child. 

c) On the positive side human milk from cows would be great for mum's who have trouble lactating, or supplying human milk banks. The evidence for babies, especially premature babies, having human milk reduces risk of death by a factor of approximately 2.5 times, and reduces sickness risk by 8 times (from memory). So with these overwhelming benefits to babies, the question is is GE the most cost effective way to produce human milk. My thoughts are is that you would be much better to have mothers lactating  and donating (or being paid to donate) milk and the hospital setting up a milk bank (which they did have until 80's with the AID's scare). 

d) Effect of diet. The diet impacts the composition of milk. So if a mum eats lots of carotenoids, the milk produced contains them. I know when Tiffany when on a high vitamin B2 supplement here milk became greener due to the riboflavin. Riboflavin used to be called lactochrome, lacto from lactation as it is in high quantities in milk and chrome as a reference to the color change. It is also the vitamin that makes your pee yellow.

Back to the topic: If the cows have a diet that is made up of fresh green grass (for B vit's and carotenoids etc), mixture of green herbs/different plants, combined with natural seeds, then they will produce milk that may be nutritionally better than a mum on poor western diet. 

However I suspect, from looking at the video, that cows are barn housed. This means they are feed hay and "chicken food" ie dry grains. This is nutritionally very poor thus they will produce milk that is low in carotenoids, vitamin E, B vitamins, and likely lower in omega 3's. Therefore this is likely to be milk of low nutritional value.        

d) I used to be totally against GE of any kind. However I worked with a bloke, whose wife worked in a GE lab. She was making bacteria secrete some human protein. Before the bacteria were modified, they had to inject sheep with some substance. The sheep would then produce the correct protein. The sheep was then slaughtered and the blood extracted and processed to obtain the protein. This was then given to humans with a rare genetic disease which rendered them unable to produce this protein. This clearly is an expensive and complex process. Therefore the protein was expensive, and had a high risk of supply interruption if anything went wrong.

Through her work, the protein became massively cheaper, it took a who lot less time and effort in harvesting the protein and also saved some sheep:) So this GE had a very positive benefit for those who had this genetic disease. And saved us tax dollars as the cost of the protein was much lower. 

So I have changed my stance on GE. GE research maybe good, however GE research into modifying our food  I am still staunchly against
The argument in the video was that GE would help feed the masses. However most studies that I have seen looking at the cost benefit, they would be much better spending the money on helping rural farms. for example through micro loans, clean water supply, fertilizer, education on how to increase yields, diversification of income etc. etc. GE is very expensive and does not help the people who are purposed to benefit. 
Conclusion: If the milk is going to be unpasteurized, used to feed babies that would otherwise be on formula,  produced by cows on a high nutrient diet, and has a significant cost benefit over a "normal" milk bank then
I would support this technology. 

However I strongly suspect that none of these conditions would be meet (except for may the babies who would have been on formula). Furthermore it opens up the dangerous possibilities that this milk could be marketed to mums. So mums who don't want to breast feed, can't be bothered, somehow think their milk is inferior (it never is), or are swayed by clever marketing that they should be purchasing this milk over breast feeding will result in babies going onto the GE milk without real need. Therefore I cannot in good conscious, knowing how scientific advances are marketed, support this GE project.      

Friday, June 10, 2011

Low in iron - try supplementing with riboflavin (vitamin B2)

The body is incredibly complex with multiple interactions. That is why you should always take a multivitamin/mineral before taking just one nutrient.

It turns out that riboflavin is involved in iron absorption! So a study looked at supplementing riboflavin and its impact on iron status. The iron levels, as measured by blood hemoglobin, increased significantly. Yet iron intake did not change over the study period.  

The study gave women 2 or 4 mg of riboflavin a day over 8 weeks. Both groups saw the iron levels increase. Also of interest is the statement:
Moderate riboflavin deficiency is prevalent in certain population groups in affluent countries
So what this paper was saying is that we are not getting enough riboflavin in our diet. Yet another reason to take a supplement.

Also of interest is that they measured "erythrocyte glutathione reductase activation coefficient (EGRAC)" as a measure of riboflavin levels. I will do more research into this compound as I (a) don't know what this is and (b) unaware that there was a blood marker that indicated riboflavin status.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Silicon: Help build bones by drinking mineral water and beer (or supplement)

Supplementation of minerals, in the form of a drink is logically a good idea. Clearly in a fluid the minerals need to be in suspension, not as a solid layer sitting at the bottom. What is rather disturbing is that bottled water, is typically just purified tape water. In the purification process all the minerals are removed from the water thus purified water has not mineral benefit. However mineral water, or artesian well water contains significant levels of minerals. Often one of these minerals includes silicon.   

Over the long term intake of silicon is thought to help bone density, thus reducing risk of osteoporosis. Thus drinking mineral water may help with increasing your silicon intake.

Interestingly beer is high in silicon. This is because beer often has minerals added to the water to give a better feel/taste. As a home brewer I often add mineral salts, calcium carbonate and other minerals to make the water softer/harder etc. Unfortunately large beer consumption is associated with increased risk of osteoporosis so it may not be a good idea to rely on beer intake to get your silicon intake.

Of course you can also supplement with silicon to make sure you are getting enough......  reference.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Depressed: try 125-300 mg of Magnesium - 4x a day

When you body is not well, it is highly likely to be lacking in some nutrient. The difficulty when it comes to disease such as depression is that we don't/can't measure the nutrients levels to determine which nutrient(s) you could be lacking.

Therefore it is my advice you need to keep trying things until you find what works for you. Something you should try if you suffer from depression is a magnesium supplement of 125 - 300 mg as "glycinate and taurinate with each meal and at bedtime." So that is a large dose of magnesium throughout the day. Personally I would suggest taking a multi product, say twice a day, and increase the dose so that the magnesium reaches the suggested levels. Then at the other meals/bedtime just take the magnesium product. This means you are getting not just the magnesium.

Now it is very important to get the right type of magnesium. Generally speaking your body finds chelated minerals eg minerals bound to proteins the easiest to absorb, then salts and lastly oxides. The price is correlated, the amino acid bound minerals are the most expensive. Therefore if you are going to trial this magnesium for depression you MUST obtain the chelated/amino acid bound magnesium. Preferably the glycinate or taurinate as this is what they studies used. However other amino acid bound magnesium is likely to produce the same result.  

What type of time frame would you expect to see a change? "rapid recovery (less than 7 days)". That's right you should see a result very quickly!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Purified sea slugs good for your bones

As you are aware osteoporosis is an issue with aging people. It is common to recommend supplements to people at risk. A company in the US is taking sea slugs from South American coast line and extracting their minerals, combining this with some vitamins, to make an anti-osteoporosis supplement. This supplement does not only contain calcium and magnesium but 12 other trace elements which may also support bone health. There were two types of supplements tested,  one just contained the sea slug concentrates, the other included additional vitamins, plus slightly higher mineral levels. The levels of key ingredients are in the following table, with major differences highlighted:

Supplement                                                     1        2
Strontium Citrate (mg)   680   680
AlgaeCal Bone-health Supplement 2 400 2 520
Trace Minerals in AlgaeCal (mg) 1 608 1 688
Calcium (mg)   720   756
Magnesium (mg)*     72     75
Magnesium from magnesium carbonate (mg)       0   275
Vitamin D-3 (IUs of Cholecalciferol)   800 1 600
Vitamin K-2 as MK-4 (mg)       1.5       0
Vitamin K-7 as MK-7 (mcg)       0   100
Boron (mg)       0       3
Vitamin C (mg)       0     50
 Now over the 6 month period that this supplement was tested, it was calculated that the subjects if not on any supplement would typically lose 0.6% of their bone density due to normal aging effects. However test group 1 had a 2.27% increase and test group 2 a significantly higher 3.72% increase.

Therefore we can conclude: (a) that supplementation with ingredients concentrated from natural source (sea slugs) helps prevent bone density decrease, and in fact increases it. (b) that a supplement with a larger range of elements, such as vitamins and additional minerals increases the bone density further.

This highlights a key issues with supplements. You are much better to take a supplement that has a range of nutrients, not just high levels of one nutrient. The body needs a whole variety of nutrients to do even a simple task, like increasing bone density. Hence when people supplement with just calcium, you are not going to improve your bone health that much. You need a range of nutrients so that the whole process of bone strengthening can occur. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Canadians benefit from vitamin D supplementation - through out the year

Canada, stereotypically a cold and wintery place. Except that in summer it is warm and sunny. A study has come out and stated that supplementation works in Canadians. The levels of vitamin D required are as follows:
  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D are blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, with deficiency when this is below <30 nmol/L
  • Estimated Average Requirement (40 nmol/L)
  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA; 50 nmol/L)
Amazingly, though not surprisingly the study states "The Canadian population has not yet been assessed according to these recommendations". That is right folks, no body has looked at what actually is happening to Canada's population when it comes to vitamin D levels. What the study found again is amazing, but no surprising. The key statements are:
  • In winter 24.5% of white population had blood levels of <50 nmol/L. That is one quarter of the population are not getting the RDA/RDI in winter. 
  • For none whites, who generate less vitamin D with the same sunlight exposure the percentage was 53.1%. That is half the population are not achieving the RDA/RDI intake. 
  • Supplement users had significantly higher 25(OH)D concentrations than did nonusers, and no seasonal differences were found.
  • The use of vitamin D supplements contributed to a better 25(OH)D status
Therefore if you live in Canada you should be supplementing with vitamin D. I believe that this result to be generalized to countries where in winter people spend a significant amount of time indoors. For example NZ winter most people are cocooning inside in front of a fire engaging with electronic media.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fake laughter - still a good medicine ?!

Laughter is the best medicine is a well known proverb. Even though I have not researched the topic there appears to be enough "common knowledge" to show that laughter is helpful to the physical and emotional well being (always a dangerous assumption).

Have you ever thought about forced or faked laughter? A review just published mentions although the mind can tell between spontaneous/real, laughter and fake/simulated laughter the body cannot.

Therefore there could be positive outcomes from a physiological point of view when we simulate laughter. I suspect this could happen, it like feeling better when you smile, even when you force a smile.