Posts by Category : Health

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How the Pieces Fell into Place – part 2 0

In How the Pieces Fell into Place – part 1 I described how I discovered the negative impact on nutrition of sugar/carbohydrates on good health, but where, and how, did it fit in to the elaborate jigsaw puzzle known as life ? In part 2, I will delve a little deeper on the topic of sugar (and carbs) and some of the problems arising from over-consumption.

 

Jigsaw Brain v2.0 (sugar)

 

Sugar, is the common name for sucrose, a disaccharide composed of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. The chemical formula is C12H22O11.

 

Sucrose is rapidly absorbed following ingestion and prompts a rapid elevation of blood sugar levels, which in turn initiates a powerful endocrine response that is designed to mitigate the increases in blood glucose. Hormones released from the pancreas and adrenal cortex include insulin, glucagon, epinephrine and cortisol. Insulin lowers blood glucose level and glucagon elevates it – they work antagonistically attempting to maintain it within acceptable bodily limits.

 

Let’s take a step backwards to help us better understand the present and the future…

 

For thousands of years, humanity’s exposure to sucrose was typically limited to the content found in fruit. Prior to the late 18th/early 19th century sugar consumption was usually less than 25lbs per year, however mechanization of the production process reduced the cost and created vast new untapped markets ready to be exploited. All of which led to today’s massive consumption of on average, between 130 and 150 lbs of sugar each year in the US. Many people do not realize that sugar is frequently used as a cheap filler in processed foods and can be as addictive as cocaine ! It also possesses no nutritional value beyond pure calories.

There are several modes of action by which sugar can impact normal bodily function, including tooth decay and direct irritation of Gastro-Intestinal tissues. However, it is increased hormonal responses – of which higher insulin levels appear to be the primary instigator of degraded health – that are the most significant.

 
 
GI pic

Many people are familiar with The Glycemic Index or GI, (a measure of the rate of increase of blood sugar following ingestion of a specific food, expressed relative to the standard, glucose, which is defined at a GI of 100). A few years ago there began a push to focus dieters on the GI for the various foods being consumed. Now in the absence of better nutritional information, the index would help, but unfortunately it is not a panacea and leaves a lot to be desired. For example, it takes no account of the size of the serving of the individual food item, rather it is based on testing 50g of the said item. Clearly many foods are eaten in greater or lesser quatities per serving. The GI also considers foods in isolation, rather than in the traditional meal setting consisting of multiple food items eaten together. Finally, different food storage and preparation methods which can influence the GI number are not taken into consideration.
 
To counter the serving size issue the Glycemic Load was developed which merely takes the GI value and multiplies it by the typical serving size.

Well this is better than the GI alone, but still has some glaring deficiencies, primarily the fact that there are several foods with low GI/GL scores that can instigate unexpectedly high insulin responses. At this point I was getting very frustrated as I could not find a clear answer to my nutritional dilemma. Enter the Insulin Index and a closer examination of the effects of insulin on the body.

 
 
 
 
 

Coming next : How the Pieces Fell into Place – part 3…Insulin, the hormone that quite literally shapes your life.

 
 

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Psoriasis Relief 2

Psoriasis clickthru

 

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that manifests as scaly, red, inflamed and itchy patches that can cause considerable discomfort. The condition is considered a genetic disorder with five typical forms that occur in around 2% of the population. The most commonly observed form is plaque psoriasis which is characterized by scaly, red plaques that frequently occur on the knees, elbows and the scalp. A significant proportion of plaque psoriasis sufferers will develop psoriatic joints where inflammation creates an arthritis-like condition.

psoriasis plaque

Plaque Psoriasis

Modern medicine states that there is no cure and the causes are not well understood, however it is believed to be an auto-immune disorder triggered by environmental influences.

 

I, and members of my family, have endured plaque psoriasis on and off for quite some considerable time. During those years, numerous different doctors have attempted to control the condition with a wide array of pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications and natural remedies with limited success or risks of significant side-effects. With my background in biochemistry and a strong interest in natural medicine, I decided to carry out my own research and try to formulate my own concoction. I spent many, many hours trawling through the PubMed database (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and this is a list of some of the research that piqued my interest…

 

If you are not interested in the research then please skip this section !

PMID 20212509   Topical isoflavonoids reduce experimental cutaneous inflammation in mice.

PMID 20221619   Control of cutaneous antimicrobial peptides by vitamin D3.

PMID 20218931   Itk inhibitors: a patent review.

PMID 20192957   Psoriasis and extra domain A fibronectin loops.

PMID 20188517   Neutrophil-dominant psoriasis-like skin inflammation induced by epidermal-specific expression of Raf in mice.

PMID 20173395   The first decade of biologic TNF antagonists in clinical practice: lessons learned, unresolved issues and future directions.

PMID 20171437   The role of dendritic cells in auto-inflammation seen in psoriasis.

PMID 20163421   1,24-Dihydroxyvitamin D₃ (tacalcitol) prevents skin T-cell infiltration.

PMID 20128791   Interleukin-1 from epithelial cells fosters T cell-dependent skin inflammation.

PMID 20074471   Proinflammatory cytokine production in HaCaT cells treated by eosin: implications for the topical treatment of psoriasis.

PMID 19459144   Potential skin antiinflammatory effects of 4-methylthiobutylisothiocyanate (MTBI) isolated from rocket (Eruca sativa) seeds.

PMID 19383492   Study on the levels of trace elements in mild and severe psoriasis.

PMID 19218914   Aloe vera in dermatology: a brief review.

 

This list is far from exhaustive, but the possible mode of action by which plaque psoriasis impacts the epidermis was becoming clearer to me. More importantly, from this new understanding I was better equipped to research natural compounds that could negate these objectionable activities. Following more lengthy investigation, including analysis of Western, Traditional Chinese, Orthomolecular and Natural medical systems, I settled on a blend of botanical and orthomolecular ingredients. All components selected were natural, and free of synthetics and pharmaceuticals. I had high hopes and was eager to test my theories.

 

To cut a long story short, I found that the optimum blend was a mixture of dry powders and filtered water that was delivered to the skin as a ‘mudpack’ of sorts. My results were amazing. A smaller test patch (several square inches) was diminished in a few days and completely eradicated after a couple of weeks of continuous application. My method of application was to apply the ‘mud’ prior to sleep and cover it with a piece of gauze. The following morning the mud was washed off and the area moisturized with petroleum jelly, aloe vera or coconut oil. A pleasant surprise was that the plaque did not reappear after treatment was discontinued. The only way the plaque would return was following trauma to the original area that broke the skin and prompted bleeding. Thereafter, another cycle of treatment, once the broken skin was healed, would reverse the psoriasis breakout once again.

 

Further information can be found here :

>>Psoriaphree Page<<

 

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How the Pieces Fell into Place – part 1 0

It was always a mystery to me – a brain-twisting, utterly frustrating mystery that appeared to defy logic. How could I exercise so much yet never quite eliminate all of the chub around my belly ? It was disheartening, but thankfully never turned into an unhealthy obsession. It was all the more irritating because I had studied biochemistry and human physiology at university and believed that I should be capable of solving this ‘corporeal conundrum’. To this end I read several very highly regarded books that certainly improved my understanding of the dynamics involved, but never fully resonated with me as I was always left with a key unanswered question, or two. Of course it doesn’t help that we are all so unique in our design and function that one person’s resolution does not necessarily apply to another.

 

Some years ago, I was immersing myself in the teachings of the leading proponents of Orthomolecular Medicine (Linus Pauling, Abram Hoffer et al) when I was compelled to read ‘Mega-Nutrition’ by Richard Kunin. Published in 1980, it detailed the author’s program which was designed to utilize vitamins and minerals to optimize health. Within the over 300 pages, there are two very interesting chapters related to diet – the first implicating sugar intolerance in many disease states and the second a brief outline of Dr. Kunin’s recommended diet, the Orthocarbohydrate diet, that suggests reducing carbohydrate intake to improve health. I found the entire book fascinating, but in the context of weight-control those two chapters succeeded in tightly focusing my attention on the potential harmful effects of sugar (carbohydrates) on my body. There are even several paragraphs contrasting today’s ‘Standard American Diet’ with that of primitive man’s !

Jigsaw Brain v2.0 (sugar)

So now I had the first big piece of the puzzle, sugar/carbohydrates, but where, and how, did it fit in to the elaborate jigsaw puzzle known as life ?
 
 

Coming next : How the Pieces Fell into Place – part 2…

 

 

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Reconnecting with your Inner Troglodyte 1

Prehistoric, Primeval, Primitive, Primal conjure up images of an archaic period when dinosaurs and troglodytes ruled the Earth. Times were so much easier then, they really were – if you ignored the daily fight for survival and constant threat of debilitating and often fatal infection. If not a safer time then a simpler time that curiously offers a multitude of life lessons and nutrition guidance that we can absorb and assimilate in to our daily routines on our quest for enhanced function and higher quality of life…

 

Primal Nutrition Journey

The Journey to Primal Nirvana

 

For pretty much my entire existence I have been the less than proud ‘owner’ of excess fat around my belly. During my twenties and thirties I was extremely active (running, biking, hiking and duathlons to name a few) and even at my peak there was still an unwelcomed expanse around my middle that refused to burn off.

 

As I entered middle-age I switched over to soccer as my main sport which endowed me with an impressive anaerobic base but slowly diminished my previously strong aerobic capacity. It also didn’t help that I moved to the US in a Sales role and spent too much time in hotels, airports and restaurants. As a consequence my fitness levels dropped and concurrently my weight and body fat increased.

 

I have spent much time researching the mechanics and biochemistry of weight loss but I was never fully satisfied with what I learned – it always felt like there was a missing piece to the jigsaw and this was demonstrated in vivo repeatedly when any changes I made to my lifestyle ultimately failed to deliver the desired outcomes.

Enter my Brother-in-Law, Mario, who eulogized about a ‘new’ Primal lifestyle approach that had drastically improved his conditioning. He was the epitomy of good health and had a six-pack that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of 300 ! I decided to investigate.

 

I quickly discovered that he had immersed himself in the Paleo way of life and was particularly consumed with The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. Following his lead, I bought my own copy and very quickly realized that within Sisson’s writings lay the missing piece of my puzzle.

 

Coming next…How the Pieces Fell into Place.