Friday, November 7, 2014

The Three Little Pigs...

I'm all in favour of medical advances, but must admit that all the efforts at CURES for this, that and the other degenerative diseases seem a bit bass-ackwards to me.   That's putting more and more ambulances at the bottom of the cliffs instead of building fences at the top. 

Better, surely, to PREVENT cancers (and all the other degenerative diseases) as best you can, with optimal supplementation to ensure that your body's cells have the right type, balance and levels of the vitamins, minerals and cofactors they need to do their job as well as possible. 

If your body needs to make more cells (and so needs some fats for building permeable cell walls), it will darn well build them out of whatever fats YOU have made available to it.  And if those fats are crappy (pardon my French) saturated fats or trans fats, that's what it will use.  BUT those cells can't possibly function at optimal levels because those FATS are not very good building blocks.  They won't be as permeable as they should be, and so there will be less "good stuff" getting into those cells and less "bad stuff" being removed from them.

Like the houses of the three little pigs, those cells ("houses") will be easily damaged ("blown down") by oxidation ("the big, bad wolf") and you'll end up with degeneration...  

It's simple, really.

My two-cents' worth for the day...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Health and Weight: More is Not Necessarily Less!

Many of yesterday's truths become outdated as time goes on.

One of these truths is that being overweight and obese are BAD and will lead to disease, disability and death.

People who know me also know that I dislike generalities: one of my tenets in life is that absolutely everything is relative!  (Yes, I love the irony.)

I'm one of the many people who has "always" been overweight--well, since puberty, anyway.  There have been two periods in my life when I was near "normal" weight parameters: once after a several-month holiday spent on bicycle in Europe, and once after a marathon effort to lose some severely excess poundage.  In 2001-2002, I managed to drop from 112kg (247lb) to 78kg (172lb), mainly by eating more frequently, but smaller portions and and include optimal nutritional supplementation.  

That was a drop of almost one-third of my body weight!  Boy, was I pleased--and I felt SOOO good!  I regained some of that and popped back up into the 90s, but now manage to stay in the low-mid 80kg range (about 180lb), which is a BMI of just under 30.

Yes, I'm still overweight, especially since I'm only 165cm (5'5").  I've always said I have big bones and, apparently, I do: my lean body mass was calculated to be about 73kg (160lb). (My loving sister says it's because I'm so very dense!)

I do spend a lot of time sitting at a computer, but I don't smoke, very rarely drink alcohol, drink lots of fresh, clean water and use very high quality nutritional supplements (including dietary fibre) to ensure that my somewhat mediocre diet doesn't cause my body problems.  I'm still quite strong and have lots of staying power, though I don't do much exercise, per se.  

And, over the past few years, there is science coming in which indicates that making healthy lifestyle choices can provide enough benefits to counteract the negative effects of being overweight or obese.  

The four "healthy options" studied include 
  • eating enough fruits and vegetables,
  • exercise three times a week,
  • not smoking, and
  • drinking in moderation. 
With no healthy habits, obesity is hugely unhealthy; but with just two of the four habits, there's only a small effect and, with all four, virtually no effect.  (This graph is from the JABFM study cited below, which studied almost 12,000 people.)

I'm on no medication of any kind and have had no illnesses (not even a cold or flu) in more than a decade.  Several years ago I chose to make some healthy life options and to NOT worry about my weight.  I step on the scales every few weeks just to be sure I'm not sliding up, but am happy at where I am and my level of health and wellness.

"You can take control of your health by taking control of your lifestyle, even If you can't lose weight and keep it off" (Sandra Aamodt, see below). 

I'm still "fat", but boy, oh boy, am I fit!

For more information on this topic, visit 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Omega-3 Fats and Heart Disease

Are you confused about Omega-3 fatty acids?

There have been literally hundreds of clinical trials done in the past few years on the potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for (among other things) the prevention of heart disease. These have resulted in conflicting results and left consumers confused.

Scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute (Oregon State University) have sorted through many of these findings, and were able to explain why so many of the studies apparently arrived at differing conclusions.

Their conclusions:
  • Both fish consumption and consumption of dietary omega-3 fatty acids may help prevent heart disease; 
  • Certain types of fatty acids are more effective than others; 
  • These fatty acids may also mitigate serious health problems other than heart disease; and 
  • The effectiveness of modern drugs developed for heart disease may partially explanation some of the conflicting findings on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. 

“We still believe the evidence is strong that the EPA and DHA content in heart tissues and blood is important to health and to the prevention of cardiovascular disease,” Jump said. “To meet the current recommendations for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, individuals are advised to consume 200-300 milligrams of combined EPA and DHA per day.”

Read more at:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Vitamin D: the Sunshine Vitamin

The major biological function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D increases absorption of calcium from the small intestine, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It promotes bone mineralization in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones.

However, it is quite clear that vitamin D does far more than promote optimized bone health. In addition to the strong evidence provided about prevention of cancer, vitamin D has also been associated with improvement in the following conditions:
• Diabetes
• Heart Disease
• Arthritis
• Infertility and PMS
• Fatigue, Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder
• Autoimmune Disorders
• Obesity
• Syndrome X

Vitamin D is not "just" a vitamin: it regulates steroidal hormones that influence literally thousands of different genes in your body. Vitamin-D receptors are found in almost every type of human cell, from brain tissue to your bones.

Vitamin D up-regulates your ability to fight infections and chronic inflammation by producing over 200 antimicrobial peptides, including a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic. For this reason, it can be highly effective against colds and influenza.

The best place to get vitamin D is from sunlight; but darker-skinned people require 10 to 20 times more sun exposure than lighter-skinned people do to build up the same amount of vitamin D.  Light-induced synthesis occurs in the skin when ultraviolet light reacts with a form of cholesterol, converting it to cholecalciferol. This molecule is then altered by the liver and kidneys to form the physiologically active vitamin D.

Some key points to remember

The vitamin D in supplemented milk and in many cheap vitamins may be vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). It is not nearly as good as the vitamin D created in your body when you expose your skin to sunlight or that found in animal-based food sources (like cod liver oil, fish and egg yolk) which is called vitamin D3 (calciferol).

It is also very important to realize that the RDA of vitamin D of 600 IU (recently upgraded from 400IU) is absolutely inadequate for most people who do not have exposure to regular sunshine. Remember that RDA values were established to prevent deficiency diseases--not for optimal health!

Most people who are deficient will need up to 10,000 units per day for a short time to build their vitamin D levels up to healthy ranges.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Healthy Gut --> Healthy Body

The healthier our gut is, the better able nutrients can be absorbed.  This just makes sense... 

Probiotics reduce the duration and severity of respiratory tract illness in healthy children and adults 

“In a newly published meta-analysis probiotics, specifically lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains, decreased the length and severity of the common cold in otherwise healthy children and adults.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, respiratory infectious disease results in significant health and economic burden on society with over 20 million school days and adult workdays a year lost to the common cold. Several studies have evaluated the effectiveness of probiotics on the symptoms and incidence of common infectious respiratory diseases.

In a new study published online in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers reviewed research on the effect of probiotics on the duration of acute respiratory tract infections (RTI) in otherwise healthy children and adults.

In this meta-analysis, researchers identified twenty randomized controlled trials of good quality from eight medical and scientific databases. Only studies utilizing lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains were analyzed. In the included trials, three main outcomes were reported: duration of illness episodes; number of days of illness per person; and absenteeism from day care/school/work.

These results show that when compared to participants who didn’t take probiotics, the duration of illness episodes was decreased between one half to one day in those that took probiotics. Subjects that used probiotics also reported significantly fewer days of illness per person and lower absenteeism from day care/school/work than those who had taken a placebo.

 This new review provides evidence that probiotics, specifically lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains, may reduce the duration and severity of respiratory tract illnesses in otherwise healthy children and adults.

 King S, Glanville J, Sanders ME, et al. Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 29:1-14.

I was once dowsed by an energy worker who was most surprised to find my gut function was over 90% efficient, when most of the people he'd checked were usually around 20%.  I told him the nutritional regimen I use, and he replied "Oh, you're one of them!  No wonder."  

Friday, May 30, 2014

Wellness Advisory Services

What do you do when you need some wellness or healthcare advice? Where do you go?

There's a new service coming to town: Wellness Advisory Services. This is an online information directory of trusted local wellness practitioners who work collaboratively to provide answers and options to those seeking information and support on their wellness journey. Although newly created, there is already a wealth of wellness information available on their website, with more practitioners joining the group every week.

Currently only available in the Hawke's Bay region, WAS will be expanding to incorporate more of Aotearoa soon.

Here's a link to an interview with the founder, June McCarthy:

Eyes Need Vitamins, Too!

Do you realise that you can protect your eyes from degeneration, just as you can the rest of your body? It's rather cool! Antioxidants vary in concentration in different body systems, so replenishing those that work within the eyes is a no-brainer for me...

It's been known for a few years now that Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye disease that causes damage to the macula (central retina) of the eye, impairing central vision. In a recent large study, participants with the highest intakes of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin had significantly lower risk of AMD compared to those with low intakes.

Check out for some eye-health tips.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Probiotic Supplementation May Assist Women's Weight-Loss Efforts

This makes a lot of sense: the healthier your gut function is, the more able your body will be to get the nutrition it needs to do what it needs to do! A new study shows that probiotics, while beneficial to the digestive process, may also help women lose weight. I take my fibre supplement every day, and replenish my gut flora with high-quality probiotics on a regular basis. Read about it via the link here...