Sunday, July 31, 2011

Robbing elderly of nutrients because we don't know basic botany ?!

Our elders are most loved and we want the best for them. We all know that heart medication, along with other medication, is strongly affected by grapefruit. So they are instructed not to eat grapefruit.

As you also likely know that we have purchased part of a citrus orchard. This does not contain any grapefruit trees. However in reading books about citrus i have come across the fact that NZ grapefruit may not be grapefruit at all.

So it could be that doctors and other "medical experts" have been telling people on medication to cut nutrients out of their diet without any justification! I will however look into this more and make sure that this is actually correct, so don't change anything yet!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Elderly people - keep taking your supplements

Calcium and vitamin D supplements are known to increase bone density in elderly people. A study published in year 2000 looked at elderly bone density when they stopped supplementing for 2 years found that for woman there was a loss of all the bone density they gained through the calcium and vitamin D supplementing. For men most, but not all of the gains were lost.  

Conclusion: Keep taking your calcium and vitamin D supplements when you are aging....... personally I would reccomend that you take them throughout your life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Minerals deliberately removed from unsaturated oils

Due to a number of reasons the Western diet is low in minerals. Found buried in a paper  that to increase shelf life tranisition minerals are deliberately removed from unsaturated oils. Transition minerals are a large group of minerals lower down in the periodic table. This group contains a lot of important trace elements/minerals that humans need. For example zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, iron and cobalt among others.

Unsaturated oils are the liquid oils that you purchase in the supermarket. Oils such as canola oil, "vegetable" oils, sunflower oil, etc. etc

So people wonder why I champion taking a supplement with a large range of trace elements. Its cause our food is deficient !

Monday, July 25, 2011

Knowledge without wisdom

I see yet another article linking gum disease to Western disease in NZ herald today. This time it is gum disease and difficulties getting pregnant. In the last paragraph they list that "Periodontal disease [gum disease] has been associated in previous research with miscarriage and premature birth, as well as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, respiratory and kidney disease"

This is a classic case of knowledge without wisdom. If you look back to the start of the vitamin discovery Albert Szent-Györgyi who got the Nobel prize for his vitamin C research 

always believed that vitamin P, P for permeability, was more important. This is because this vitamin stopped gum disease (gum bleeding) were as pure vitamin C wouldn't. It turned out vitamin P were bioflavonids (plant compounds) and they were not essential to human life, so never became a vitamin. However we know know that the "extra plant goodies" are very powerful and helpful in maintaining health.

Therefore in my mind, if you eat poor levels (or quality) fruits and vegetables your body becomes weak. This either causes bleeding gums, which bacteria then colonize or weak body allows bacteria in your mouth which then causes bleeding gums. 

Either way bleeding gums is a sign of poor nutrition. Therefore it is not a surprise that bleeding gums is associated with Western degenerative disease. 

To make the statement that:
if they've got gum disease, that should be treated
In the belief that treating gum disease will help you not get Western disease (or in this case help you get pregnant) is total stupidity and shows the lack of wisdom that researchers have. It's not going to help if you get pregnant by treating gum disease with some medication! It is changing your lifestyle so your gum disease self heals, and in that process your whole body will benefit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Glad I have copper in my supplement

Copper is one of the minerals you don't hear much about. However it is important to have it in your diet/supplement. If your multi has zinc in it, but no copper then stop taking it! Zinc and copper interact together so you need to take both of them.

Reading a 1998 review paper. Turns out that lack of copper can cause / exasperate:
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis   
  • More copper is needed when females (and likely males) loose weight 
  • Reduction in the bodies tolerance for glucose (type two diabetes)
Two rather important issues in the Western world !

It also turns out that we are overestimating copper levels in our diet, thus our actual intakes are lower than nutritionists / dietitians estimate. This is ontop of a diet that is typically low in copper anyway.

Also on the up side beer contains an unknown substance which increases the absorption of copper. So given that beer is higher in B vitamins than wine, and a pint has the same antioxidant level as a glass or red wine this is a great reason to take your supplements with a [small] beer.

So in the future I think we will be hearing a lot more about this mineral.

Fresh fruit and vegetables don't cost that much - its a character issue

I often hear in the media (though don't hear it from my friends) that fruits and vegetables cost to much. I went to the supermarket today, shopping for some basics and some meat that I enjoy cooking so I can get back into the rhythm of cooking healthy dinners.  (I don't often shop as Tiffany is a walking computer who knows the special prices, when the occur, what is a good deal etc. etc - I on the other hand have no idea of such details).

I wondered though the produce section of the supermarket, which is typically quite a bit more pricey than the local fruit shop, and was struck by two things. Firstly that broccoli was small, looked like dwarf broccoli ($1 each), and that leaks were cheap as they were cheap, being in season (between $1.50 - $2).

As I walked from the check out to my car, I got a thinking:
  • My chocolate fix was equal to five broccoli. That would feed a lot of servings
  • I purchased some pork chops as it is one of my favorite cuts of meat. We don't buy much pork as they are factory farmed (ironic that we don't mind factory farmed chicken) so this was a treat. Got me thinking though, I could have purchased five leeks instead.
So thinking again. If I was broke as broke can be, one could eat kind of ok.
  • A sack of potatoes (better than white bread if you leave the skins on) 
  • A sack of onions
  • A pile of in season vegetables
  • Topped off with what I would call "goodies"  little things that go a long way, and add variety, for instance some bacon, cheese, a sauce or a chutney, olives or sun dried tomatoes. You get the picture 
However when I look at what I purchase, and what others in this wider community, which has a large lower socio-economic group, this is what I would say people purchase from the supermarket:
  • Beer 
  • Potato chips 
  • Breakfast cereals 
  • Cheap / white bread 
  • etc
So why do we, why do others purchase such poor food choices. I would suggest the following reasons.
  • Humans are inherently lazy. Why do we choose as a family to purchase fast food, instead of cooking a vegetable full meal? Because we can't be bothered planning, preparing, cooking... its just easier when it all goes to custard to buy something. It's easier when rushing home to grab a simple semi-ready made dinner, rather than question why are we rushing home in the first place. Thus this is a character issue.
  • Habit / Routine / upbringing. I remember the horror at when Tiffany said her mum used to pop into the butcher on the way home to pick her meat for that nights dinner.  My family purchased in bulk, half or whole beasts at a time. Mum would plan out the week in advance. This was the right way to do it ! (LOL) In reality each way has its own strengths and weaknesses. However if you were brought up on low fruit and vege, high convenience, then you wouldn't know anything else. It has worked out well for us, Tiffany knows how to cook a gastronomic experience, I know how to quickly whip something up that feeds the masses, so our strengths complement each other (thanks parents). It takes a lot of sustained effort to develop a new habit that is counter to our upbringing. This effort, or lack of, is a character issue.   
  • Body used to high fat, high sugar. If you have ever been on a low sugar diet and then purchased a chocolate bar or a soft drink. Isn't the bar sickly sweet or the soft drink overwhelmingly sugary. Same with fatty foods, on a high fruit and vege diet after some fish and chips one feels really gross, ill in fact. However if you are used to a high sugar diet then it is only after the 5th bit of KFC that you start to think had enough. Or need some soft drink cause the water doesn't taste good. As a family, for multi reasons, we are in a poor diet phase. My body has adapted really fast to high flavorings, high sugar and high fat. Vegetables, unless they are covered in a sweet dressing or sauce, taste gross. Hence I would naturally stay away from them. It takes effort and determination to de-tox from the sugar and fat. So my lack of de-tox is an issue of character.  
  • Short term focus. I struggle with this a lot. The feel good factor of a chocolate fix, or my long term health. Unfortunately in my bad days the chocolate looms much larger. True I know that it is a slow suicide, yet I still do it. The stupidity of my own behavior amazes me. I am sure if you asked someone what they should purchase at the supermarket, they would tell you the right answers. However it is the implementation which has issues (the same goes for weight loss, everyone knows how, we just have the problem with implementation). Short term gain, or long term gain..... this is a choice of character 
  • Having no money. This is the problem of paid on Wednesday, broke by Friday. Often people can fall into the trap of hire purchase or overspending. Therefore we cut what we can. Often this is the food budget. These purchases may have to be deferred or eliminated to generate the cash needed to purchase healthy food. Again this is a lack of planning or impulse purchasing, both of these are character issues.        
So to blame the problem on high fruit and vegetables is to me a straw man. A smoke screen that hides the real truth and doesn't help anyone. I say that real reason we don't eat more fresh fruit vegetables is that we lack character. Until we address this issue, nothing we do will change our behavior. There are many things that can help, having a coach or mentor, a buddy to encourage you, focus on long term outcomes eg playing with grandkids........ Once I find my reason and success I will definitely share it here!  

The frustration of knowing to much

My type of depression manifests itself as ruminating. Ruminating on the bad in the past or the bad that could occur in the future. The last weeks ruminating was about our neighbor and the ethics around inaction.

Early last week while I wandered down the road to dig out stumps I stopped and chatted to a bloke coming the other way. Turns out he is our neighbor. Neighbor in the loose sense of the word, more a resident of the Ohinewai hamlet. Talked for a bit, observed the lit cigaret, the missing front teeth and rather stilted talking / interaction. Assumed that he had lived a rather "hard" life and didn't think any more of it as I wasn't going to invite him around for a cup of tea (my friends only rarely get invited over as I am a rather private person).

A few days later got chatting to the old timer couple that we are buying the land from. Asked them about which local owned a ute that I had seen around a bit, and at their place. Turns out it was the guy I meet on the road. So they then tell me about his story. He broke his fore arm bones 18 months ago. And it has never healed. Apparently he can hold this wrist, pull slightly and his fore arm goes in length! The hospital / medical system have tried multiple operations (it is quite a saga/drama) and nothing has worked. Basically it is a mess and in my mind amputation isn't far away given the now heaverly degraded bone system.

This also explains the slightly stilted interaction I had with the neighbor, as he would have been doped up to his eye balls on pain killers. 

Now given the long list of operations and procedures the medical people have given him, and nothing has worked. This in my mind points to a nutritional imbalance. Something is missing from his body. Without fixing this deficiency I struggle to see any positive outcome.

So I ran through the following thoughts:

a) Frustration and anger at the medical system. Why hasn't he had a check for common bone healing minerals and vitamins. Surely a decent multi would help the poor guy, not to mention save a truck load of health care dollars given the high number of operations. Furthermore feel sorry for the guy and this family. He has been off work, no doubt a bit off mind to ! It astounds me how simple things can be so missed

The problem of course is that there is unlikely any studies looking at bone healing  and micro nutrient levels. If there are studies, they are likely to be pilot studies that medical staff cannot be convinced is "real" science.

I would love to take a regional hospital and put everyone who is admitted onto a good multi. Then compare outcomes to benchmarks. I am convinced there would be an improvement in recovery time, secondary reinfections, sooner discharge etc. enough saving should be made through improved health outcomes, to pay for the supplements.

b) Realizing that I should likely talk to the neighbor / his family. This is a potential mind field. You can't claim that supplement will help (because it might not), this claim would be taken very seriously if word got to the medical watchdogs. Furthermore a decent multi cost money. Given that (i) he is off work and (ii) smokes he is unlikely to have the money to spend. However on the other hand to not offer advice is dooming him to (almost) certain failure.

Complicating this is that I am rather introverted. Ironic given I love to speak to an audience. So it takes a large amount of emotional effort for me to go meet someone who is new, let alone someone who I don't really like. The two outcomes of a visit would be (1) rejection, my offer for help is rejected. This hurts! or (2) offer accepted and now I would be on tender hooks as I would be worried that nutrients wouldn't help.

Needless to say this lose/lose situation does excite me! Now the extroverts are probably wondering why all the dithering...... and the personal success people saying visualize a positive outcome..... neither of which I dispute. I will have another chat to Tiffany tonight and see if I can work though the issue

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Miracles can happen with drugs

As would expect most of my associates are rather keen on "complementary" medicine. So I hear lots of stories about people who the medical system failed and they found success with some other system. This could be vitamins, herbals, an "alternative" treatment, some special diet etc.

So it is rather rare for me to pick up a story about a medicine creating an unexpected miracle. This article in NZ herald is very heart warming and worth a read. I do find it fascinating that the effects wear off after a short period of time as the drug leaves the system. And even more fascinating that no one can explain it. Either way it is a blessing for them both. Enjoy the love :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The negative placebo effect : Nocebo

Just read an article on Nocebo. The Nocebo is the negative placebo effect. This is when you get given a sugar pill, and you get told that this medication might have some side effects. You then go onto develop these side effects. Kind of like a bad placebo effect!

The article explains more about this, but what I find very disturbing is the story were a guy gets misdiagnosed with liver cancer. He then develops all the signs of liver cancer and dies. Upon autopsy he has no cancer and nothing is wrong with his liver!

From the selected studies in the article it seems that the nocebo runs at approximately 50% which is close to the placebo figure of approximately 60%. Maybe this is why people prefer herbal medications as they often have less side effects, so less likely to generate nocebo side effects.  

I also talked about the nocebo in this post

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Radioactive nuts and long life sandwiches

Most people would be award that brazil-nuts are high in selenium. They also only grow in South American and have not yet been successfully gown in plantations. The reason that they are high in selenium is that they are a metal accumulator. That is they have very large network of roots that suck the metals out of the soil into the nuts. This is great when it comes to selenium. However just found out today that the same process means that bazil-nuts are the most "normal" radioactive food. Normal, by means of naturally occurring radium in the soil. So I guess that selenium by supplement doesn't carry the risks of radioactivity. However these levels of radioactivity are very low and I would encourage you to eat lots of brazil-nuts!

Another headline caught my attention today, 14 day old sandwiches. British researchers have developed a way to keeping sandwiches "viable" for 14 days. The sandwiches are packed in a oxygen free package, which is full of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Thus oxidation doesn't occur. They also use an acidic mayonnaise so the filling is fresh.

I find this rather horrifying, yet not doubt this technology will be successful...... and then exported around the world. I bet you that no analysis has been undertaken on the nutritional effects! Another reason to pack one own lunch, with fresh food from local sources.....

Choline - If Tiffany goes pregnant she will definitely take it

If Tiffany gets pregnant again, not that we are planning it, but not discounting it either, she will definitely be supplementing with choline. This is because a recent review had this to say:
A recent study in a mouse model of Down Syndrome reported improvements in cognitive function and emotion regulation in mice born to mothers supplemented with choline during the perinatal period (41). This work expands upon earlier work in rodents showing that extra exposure to choline during the perinatal period yielded long lasting beneficial effects on memory, learning and attention (42).
That "long lasting beneficial effect on memory, learning and attention" is something I want for my kids! Choline is a very recent addition to the vitamin family, coming on board in 1998, hence it isn't that well known. It took me quite some time to realize that it wasn't chlorine! Couldn't figure out why chlorine would be an essential nutrient as it is poisonous! Reminds me that I thought Emblems NZ a shop in Hamilton was actually Embalmers NZ. I had visions of bodies being shipped from around the country to be embalmed. I never could figure out why they would advertize themselves with such big signage. Tiffany was in hysterics when I mentioned they were embalmers NZ. The joys of being dyslexic.

Anyway back to choline. The good news is that it is relatively inexpensive as a supplement ingredient so good multi's will have it including in their ingredient list.