Artificial Sweeteners Linked to Obesity, Heart Disease and Diabetes

Posted August 16th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

Artificial sweeteners may be associated with long-term weight gain and increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose , is widespread and increasing. Emerging data indicate that artificial, or nonnutritive sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite.

To better understand whether consuming artificial sweeteners is associated with negative long-term effects on weight and heart disease, researchers from the University of Manitoba’s George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation conducted a systematic review of 37 studies that followed over 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.

 The longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss.

“Despite the fact that millions of individuals routinely consume artificial sweeteners, relatively few patients have been included in clinical trials of these products,” said author Dr. Ryan Zarychanski, Assistant Professor, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.

“We found that data from clinical trials do not clearly support the intended benefits of artificial sweeteners for weight management.”

“Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterized,” said lead author Dr. Meghan Azad, Assistant Professor, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.

“Given the widespread and increasing use of artificial sweeteners, and the current epidemic of obesity and related diseases, more research is needed to determine the long-term risks and benefits of these products,” said Azad.

Did you know?

Posted August 16th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke
  • While germophobe is the common expression, the actual phobia of dirt and germs is known as mysophobia.
  • If you concentrate on a smell, you cannot taste at the same time. Similarly, focusing on a taste blocks your ability to smell.
  • The oldest, most primitive part of your brain is called the hindbrain. It is nearly identical to the brain of reptiles, hence its more common name “the reptilian brain.”
  • Snake venom is being studied as a treatment for many diseases, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Want quick weight loss? Weigh yourself when the moon is overhead. Due to gravity shifts, you will weigh slightly less during this time.
  • There are seven types of white blood cells, two of which are primarily involved in the inflammation process. Eosinophils control allergic responses, while basophils release histamine during an inflammatory response.
  • Be careful in the tropics! Falling coconuts kill more people than sharks.
  • In an average lifetime, a person sheds and grows new skin about 1,000 times.
  • Bone marrow is the fastest growing tissue in the body.
  • Ketchup was originally created as a drug, not a hamburger topping.

Plastic Food Packaging Chemicals Linked to Chronic Diseases in Men

Posted August 16th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

Chemicals found in everyday plastics materials have been linked to increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure in men, according to a new study by Australian researchers investigating potentially harmful chemicals known as phthalates.

Phthalates are a group of chemicals widely used in common consumer products, such as food packaging and wrappings, toys, medications, and even medical devices.

Researchers found that of the 1500 Australian men tested, phthalates were detected in urine samples of 99.6% of those aged 35 and over.

“We found that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure increased among those men with higher total phthalate levels,” says senior author Associate Professor Zumin Shi, from the University of Adelaide’s Adelaide Medical School.

“While we still don’t understand the exact reasons why phthalates are independently linked to disease, we do know the chemicals impact on the human endocrine system, which controls hormone release that regulate the body’s growth, metabolism, and sexual development and function.

“In addition to chronic diseases, higher phthalate levels were associated with increased levels of a range of inflammatory biomarkers in the body,” he says.

Age and western diets are directly associated with higher concentrations of phthalates. Previous studies have shown that men who ate less fresh fruit and vegetables and more processed and packaged foods, and drank carbonated soft drinks, have higher levels of phthalates in their urine.

“Importantly, while 82% of the men we tested were overweight or obese – conditions known to be associated with chronic diseases – when we adjusted for this in our study, the significant association between high levels of phthalates and disease was not substantially altered,” Associate Professor Shi says.

“In addition, when we adjusted for socio-economic and lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol, the association between high levels of phthalates and disease was unchanged.”

Associate Professor Shi says that although the studies were conducted in men, the findings are also likely to be relevant to women.

“While further research is required, reducing environmental phthalates exposure where possible, along with the adoption of healthier lifestyles, may help to reduce the risk of chronic disease,” he says.

Energise Yourself!

Posted July 12th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

Lost Your ‘Get-Up-and-Go?’Image result for fatigue

Most people have experienced low energy or fatigue at some point in their lives. After juggling home, work and family life, it’s no wonder there is little energy left for yourself! Anyone can feel tired at the end of the day, but ongoing fatigue can sneak up on you and become your ‘new normal’ – even though it’s not normal to be tired all the time. Persistent fatigue can often be misunderstood, as diagnostic procedures (such as blood tests) may not show any imbalance within your body. If you have persistent fatigue, don’t accept this as normal.

Why Am I So Exhausted?

When you’re feeling fatigued, it is important to consider whether you have the nutrients required for optimal energy. If your not providing your body with the nutrients it needs, it can be hard to jump out of bed feeling refreshed.

The energy powerhouses within your body are known as mitochondria, and are present in almost all of your cells. During a busy day, your mitochondria produce all of the energy you need, however, producing energy relies on a steady stream of nutrients. If your mitochondria do not receive adequate nutrition, they cannot perform at their best!

Nutrients That Energise

When your body needs energy, it calls on the following nutrients to keep you energised:

Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10): is a vital nutrient used by your mitochondria in the process of energy production. It also protects against daily damage;

Magnesium: helps your body transform the food you eat into energy. Once created, units of energy must also bind to magnesium before they can be used by the body;

B group vitamins: enter the mitochondria, where they are used to synthesise energy, and assist the mitochondria; and

Acetyl-L-carnitine: Brings fats into your mitochondria to burn for energy.

Want To Be Bursting With Energy?

Energising yourself also means creating a diet and lifestyle that supports your energy stores:

  • Eat foods rich in unrefined and unprocessed carbohydrates, protein and fat; the primary ingredients for energy production.
  • Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, which can ultimately drain your energy and deplete vitalising nutrients including your B vitamins.
  • Sleep for seven to nine hours each night.
  • Destress by spending time in nature, meditating and having fun! Being busy and feeling stressed places increased pressure on your mitochondria.
  • Exercise four to five times per week. Exercise stimulates your body to make new mitochondria, resulting in more energy! When feeling very fatigued, go for a regular walk, swim or yoga class which will be beneficial for your energy levels then staying sedentary.

Time to Rediscover Your Spark

 

Did you know?

Posted July 12th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke
  • Rats that ate genetically modified corn and consumed trace levels of the Roundup brand of fertilizer developed horrific tumors, had widespread organ damage and suffered from premature death.
  • That roar of the ocean you hear in a seashell is actually the echo of your blood pulsing in your ear.
  • The average person sheds 40 pounds of skin in their lifetime.
  • 80 percent of people who see someone yawn or read the word yawn feel the need to yawn.
  • Your skin, laid out, would stretch the length of six tennis courts, yet is only one cell thick.
  • The smell of fear is real. The aroma is produced in your sweat.
  • Want to lose weight? Pay cash for your groceries. Research shows that people are less likely to buy junk food at the grocery store if they use paper over plastic.
  • Your hair cannot be destroyed by cold, water, many acids and decomposes at a very slow rate. It is virtually indestructible.
  • Black pepper has antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic properties.
  • Your small intestine is four times as long as you are tall.

‘Are You Inflamed?’

Posted July 12th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

Inflammation can be a good thingImage result for inflammation

Everyone has experienced the remarkable phenomenon of acute inflammation – a sprained ankle, splinter, or cut – and as a result have witnessed the affected area turn red, puffy and hot as your immune system rushes to your aid to assess the injury and fight any pathogen that might have entered your body. A normal, healthy inflammatory response should flare up and die down again a short time later, as the healing process resolves the inflammation and the injury heals. Pain and inflammation should not be chronic, it should go away – but what if it doesn’t?

Inflammatory snowball effect

Imagine if you kept injuring yourself in the same location repetitively. The result would be unresolved ongoing inflammation. However, not all inflammation has a visible injury. For example, if there is inflammation in your gut, the only symptom may be some niggling gut issues, yet you cannot ‘see’ the problem. Nevertheless, there may be an inflammatory snowball effect occurring inside.

Unresolved inflammation, visible or not, becomes more problematic the longer it keeps interfering with the normal workings of your body, and has been linked to many types of chronic disease such as arthritis, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Stop inflammation going ‘through the roof’

 

Nobody wants to be in pain, and for optimal health it is important to stop abnormal inflammation in its tracks. Pharmaceutical anti-inflammat

Safe and natural solutions for inflammationories are commonly used to help relieve persistent pain, however some medications may be accompanied by unwanted side effects if used ongoing. Fortunately, there is a range of natural anti-inflammatory and pain relief solutions that can be individualised for your situation, whether you need acute care or more ongoing support.

Many people are aware that fish oils reduce inflammation and can assist with joint conditions such as arthritis; however there are also herbal ingredients that offer safe and effective antiinflammatory support, for example:

• Turmeric – this traditional anti-inflammatory Ayurvedic herb has a long history of use for injuries, whilst recent research demonstrates it also helps reduce the swelling and pain of arthritic conditions.

• Boswellia – another Ayurvedic herb, Boswellia has analgesic, antirheumatic and anti-inflammatory qualities. Boswellia can be used for all types of pain, but particularly arthritic or traumatic pain associated with inflammation.

The herbs Devils claw and Jamaica dogwood,  not only help reduce pain, but decrease spasms and improve blood flow, therefore support the healing process.

• These anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving herbs are ‘gut friendly’ and safe for long-term use.

Factors that sustain inflammation

It is important to learn which diet and lifestyle behaviours may be adding to inflammation in your body, such as:

1. Smoking;

2. Being an unhealthy weight;

3. Eating a diet containing refined/processed carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, pasta, white rice, cereals);

4. Consuming ’trans’ fats (e.g. fried or fast foods, packaged baked goods, vegetable fats used in some margarines);

5. Being sleep deprived;

6. Regularly consuming alcohol, coffee, excess sugar and/ or salt;

7. Experiencing ongoing digestive issues that upset the balance of ‘good’ bacteria (e.g. stomach pain, bloating, diarrhoea);and/or

8. Experiencing ongoing psychological stress (unhappy employment situation, social isolation, caring for a loved one with a serious disease).

Modifying any or all of these is an important step in a holistic approach to reducing inflammation that may be contributing to your pain or illness.

Put an end to inflammation!

Don’t let visible or invisible inflammation be a perpetuating problem! There are a range of safe and effective natural medicines, along with the knowledge needed to help you address any pain and inflammation you may have. Addressing inflammation can not only improve your quality of life now, but reduce your risk of chronic disease in future.

Insecticides That Mimic Melatonin Can Affect Sleeping Patterns

Posted May 19th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

Synthetic chemicals commonly found in insecticides and garden products bind to the receptors that govern our biological clocks, University at Buffalo (UB) researchers have found. The research suggests that exposure to these insecticides adversely affects melatonin receptor signaling, creating a higher risk for metabolic diseases such as diabetes and disrupting sleep patterns.

Published online on Dec 27 in Chemical Research in Toxicology, the research combined a big data approach, using computer modeling on millions of chemicals, with standard wet-laboratory experiments. It was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Disruptions in human circadian rhythms are known to put people at higher risk for diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

This is the first report demonstrating how environmental chemicals found in household products interact with human melatonin receptors.

The current research focuses on two chemicals, carbaryl, the third most widely used insecticide in the United States but which is illegal in several countries, and carbofuran, the most toxic carbamate insecticide, which has been banned for applications on food crops for human consumption since 2009. It is still used in many countries, including Mexico and traces persist in food, plants, and wildlife.

“We found that both insecticides are structurally similar to melatonin and that both showed affinity for the melatonin, MT2 receptors, that can potentially affect glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion, “That means that exposure to them could put people at higher risk for diabetes and also affect sleeping patterns.”

The results suggest that there is a need to assess environmental chemicals for their ability to disrupt circadian activity, something which is not currently being considered by federal regulators.

The UB database contains about 4 million chemicals reported to have some level of toxicity. “From those, we identified hundreds of thousands of compounds that had readily available chemical structures so that we could study them. After grouping the chemicals in clusters according to their similarity, they found several with functional groups similar to melatonin.

Take out Insurance Against Colds and Flu this Winter

Posted May 18th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

For many people the shortening days and cooler weather heralds not only the start of winter but also a string of absences from work and a backlog of tasks as you or your loved ones succumb to winter illness. What if you could take out a wellness ‘insurance policy’ against colds and flu, and gain back that precious time for winter sports and family fun instead of being stuck at home, rugged up and sniffling, with a box of tissues for company? This year, arm yourself with the tools you need to boost your immune function and help insure against illness.

Key Nutrients for a Strong Immune System

Remember when your mum told you to eat oranges in winter to help keep colds at bay? She was right! Citrus fruits of all kinds are rich in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that plays a key role in the mobilisation of your immune system defences. However, vitamin C is not the only nutrient beneficial to your immune system.

Zinc is another powerful immune system supporter, found in meat, eggs, seafood, nuts and seeds. Zinc helps infection-fighting white blood cells to be deployed at the first sign of a disease-causing invader, such as a virus or bacteria. These two nutrients form an essential immune system foundation to help reduce the incidence and severity of colds and infections.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in the overall function of your immune system, working behind the scenes to help ‘marshal’ your immune cells to the site of an infection. During winter your stores of vitamin D can decline as you spend more time indoors and less time soaking up the sunshine required to manufacture your own supply. At this time of year supplementing with this important vitamin can help maintain your infection fighting capacity over the winter months.

Looking After Your Gut = Looking After Your Immunity

Believe it or not, your gastrointestinal tract contains approximately 70% of your immune system, so ensuring your gut is populated with plenty of beneficial micro-organisms (‘good bugs’) is central to you maintaining optimal immune function. These beneficial bacteria or ‘probiotics’ are now understood to have very different health benefits depending upon their subset or ‘strain’, with certain specific strains able to support your immune system and help keep it in top form.

Simple Lifestyle Tips to Support Good Health this Winter

Busy people often forget to prioritise regular ‘down-time’, but the stress of being on the go all the time can significantly drain your immune function and leave you more susceptible to falling prey to any viruses you may come in contact with. Help yourself recharge by scheduling regular relaxation and ‘me time’ such as reading a good book, getting a massage, or perhaps a yoga class followed by a long soak in a warm bath. Ensuring you get sufficient sleep also enables your body to rest and repair, keeping you ready to fight whatever battles you may encounter tomorrow.

A Penny of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Rather than succumbing to yet another cold or flu this winter, change tack and take out a wellness ‘insurance policy’ to help support your immune system and keep you enjoying what the winter season has to offer. Speak to your Practitioner today about boosting your infection-fighting capacity with high quality, clinically effective vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D and immune-boosting probiotics. Remember —- prevention is always better than cure!

Is Iron on Your Side?

Posted May 18th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

Iron is essential for maintaining good energy levels and optimal health. It is arguably one of the most important minerals, particularly as it is involved in carrying oxygen to every cell in your body. Haemoglobin is the body’s oxygen-carrying protein and where you find approximately two-thirds of your iron; therefore, without adequate iron the transportation of oxygen is affected. As iron is involved in maintaining healthy immunity, it’s no wonder you don’t feel great when your levels are low!

Symptoms of Low Iron The following symptoms could be signs of low iron levels:

  • Fatigue and lethargy;
  • Frequent colds and flus;
  • Paleness inside the mouth and lower eyelid;
  • Fuzzy head, not thinking clearly;
  • Low body temperature;
  • Dizziness;
  • Restless legs or leg cramps at night.

Reasons for Low Iron

Iron deficiency can be mild, however when it is very low you can become ‘anaemic’. Low iron can be a result of not obtaining enough from your diet. Factors that may cause low iron include tea and coffee intake, blood loss, pregnancy or poor absorption as a result of underlying gut problems. Certain populations have been identified as potentially more at risk of low iron levels, including teenagers, the elderly, pregnant women, vegetarians and vegans.

Test – Don’t Guess

If you suspect you may be low in iron, it is important to speak to your healthcare Practitioner or Doctor about a simple blood test to assess your iron levels, especially if you are at increased risk. Testing can ensure your safety, as symptoms of iron excess may be similar to signs of iron deficiency and in some circumstances, high iron intake can be detrimental.

Dietary Sources of Iron

Include plenty of iron-rich foods in your diet to maintain a healthy intake. Animal foods provide a good source of iron, including beef, lamb, kangaroo, turkey, chicken, fish, oysters, liver and sardines. The redder the meat, the higher the iron content. Plant-sources of iron include molasses, shiitake mushrooms, dark green leafy vegetables and lentils. Vegetarian sources of iron may not be as well-absorbed as animal sources.

Iron Needs a Little Help from its Friends

Iron works best in your body with the help of other nutrients:

  • B vitamins: Vitamins B6, B12 and folate are involved in iron transportation and red blood cell production. Taking an essential B vitamin can help you build healthy cells and move energising oxygen around your body.
  • Vitamin C: It has long been known that vitamin C increases the absorption of iron; therefore when taking iron, ideally pair it with vitamin C.

Forms of Iron Matter

Side-effects, such as constipation, are commonly complained about with certain forms of iron. Therefore it is important to choose a highly absorbable form of iron to minimise the chance of gut symptoms. Your Practitioner can recommend a suitable iron formula with all the necessary nutrients needed to restore your energy levels and maintain healthy immunity.

Are Chronic Infections Compromising Your Health?

Posted April 10th, 2017 in Uncategorized by Luke

Are You Feeling Your Best?

Think back to a time to when you were at your healthiest. Do you still feel the same way? Can you pinpoint a moment in time when your health started to go downhill? Many people have not felt 100% since having a virus or other infection. If you have never fully recovered, your condition may progress from being a short-term acute infection into a longer-term chronic health complaint. Chronic infections can leave you feeling tired with muscular aches and pains and lowered immunity, making you more susceptible to catching every bug that goes around. Even a sniffily nose or cough that doesn’t clear can indicate the presence of a low grade infection.

Getting the Right Support

It takes a strong immune system to overcome persistent infections. The following herbs and nutrients help boost immunity and support your recovery:

• Medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps, coriolus, reishi and shiitake are potent immune enhancers for chronic or recurrent infections.

• Astragalus possesses anti-viral activity and assists in the prevention and treatment of chronic infections.

• Zinc helps reduce the severity and duration of colds and flus; however zinc deficiency can compromise immunity. Ensure you have adequate zinc levels to help your immune system fight against infection.

• Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system. Surprisingly high numbers of adults have inadequate vitamin D levels, so have your levels checked regularly.

• Vitamins A, C, and E are all beneficial for supporting healthy immunity.

The Gut – Immune Connection

In order to have a healthy, thriving immune system, you need to ensure your digestive system is also healthy. With 70% of your immune system in the gut, the microflora or friendly bacteria play an important role. Probiotics are beneficial strains of friendly bacteria that can boost your immune system function.

The Journey to Wellness

A chronic condition was once acute. If your body is unable to successfully recover from an acute infection, it may develop into a chronic health concern that your immune system can’t get the better of. Allowing your body to heal from a chronic infection can take time; the longer you have been sick, the longer you may need to get well again. Whilst you may feel relief in the short term, persisting with herbs and nutrients can provide long term relief from the nagging symptoms you have grown accustomed to. Remember how great it feels to be 100% healthy again!