Turmeric Is Way More Beneficial Than You Think Science Confirms

Turmeric or Curcumin is a wonder herb, and it has many health benefits.It’s bright orange, bitter and powerful.

Turmeric is the vibrant ingredient that gives curry it’s memorable hue. If you’ve tried Indian cuisine, you’ve likely tasted it and loved it.

This predominant spice is used generously in nearly all Indian meals. Perhaps that’s why India has among the lowest rates of lung, colon, prostate & breast cancer,

Curcumin, the active agent in turmeric, as been used in Ayurveda, the Ancient form of Indian Medicine for thousands of years and Western Science is catching on. Turmeric has matched and outperformed many modern medicines.

This potent spice is packed with anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants. Turmeric has been proven to fight free radicals, rejuvenate the cells, cleanse the liver, protect the heart, boosts moods and support the brain.

Sound too good to be true? There’s more.Turmeric has been shown to lift levels of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. With a stronger cocktail of these neurochemicals, we’re all a little happier.

Turmeric has ten neuroprotective actions that support better memory, focus, and cognition. This multifunctional spice is also used to regulate fat metabolism, alleviate IBS, regulate bile flow, reduce joint pain and bring luster to the skin.

Turmeric or Haldi as they call it in Hindi is revered for its spiritual significance. Often referred to as The Golden Spice or The Spice of Life, turmeric is a common accessory in wedding rituals and prayer ceremonies. Originally the spice was used in rites and rituals intended to promote fertility, prosperity, and spiritual purification.

Turmeric is incredibly purifying. As a sure source of anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial extracts, this spice can help you fight infections and boost immunity. Dense in vitamins and minerals this magical spice promotes overall well-being.

In this article, you shall read different aspects of turmeric.

Turmeric, The Healthiest Food

Turmeric, The Healthiest Food

Turmeric is used for centuries in the kitchen and medicinal treatments.

It is a golden spice of the life. It has various health benefits. Widely used in different medicines for curing health problems.

Other names of turmeric are CURCUMA LONGA, CURCUMIN, and TUMERIC.

The botanical name of turmeric is CURCUMA LONGA L.

Composition Of Turmeric:

The important chemical component of turmeric is a group of compounds namely curcuminoids that includes methoxy curcumin, curcumin diferuloylmethane, and bisdemethoxycurcumin.

Along with these elements, it contains volatile oils like atlantone, turmerone, and zingiberene. Other components are proteins, sugars, and resins.

  • Turmeric contains an essential oil.
  • Dry rhizomes yield8 % of essential oil.
  • Fresh one’s yield24 % oil which contains zingiberene.
  • Alcohol and Ketone are also obtained by volatile distillation.

Famous Varieties Of Turmeric:

The famous varieties of turmeric are:

  • Thodopuza
  • Local Haldi
  • Red streaked
  • China scented
  • Alleppey

Nutritional Value Of Turmeric:

Almost everyone uses turmeric while cooking food. But, have you ever thought of its nutritional value? Below we shall read it

Nutritional value of 2 teaspoons of turmeric is:

  • Iron: 88 milligrams
  • Dietary fiber: 96 grams
  • Vitamin B: 08 milligrams
  • Manganese: 36 grams
  • Potassium: 48 milligrams

How Is Turmeric Powder Prepared?

Turmeric powder is a bright yellow colored spice from the rhizome of CURCUMA LONGA plant. Turmeric powder has various traditional and commercial uses.

Dried turmeric rhizomes are useful in making turmeric powder. The integral component of turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin, an antioxidant is the most bioactive soothing part of the turmeric herb.

It is useful for cosmetic activities, coloring, flavoring and medicinal purposes. The bright yellow color is because of curcumin and other components present in turmeric.

It also helps in promoting the flow of bile from your liver. Bile helps in excretion of fat-soluble toxins from your body.

Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Uses Of Turmeric In Ayurveda

There are a lot of benefits of turmeric.

Uses Of Turmeric In Ayurveda

  • The main organs on which turmeric operates are heart, skin, lungs, and liver.
  • It is widely used for bleeding disorders, epilepsy, to purify body-mind and skin diseases.
  • It helps the lungs to expel Kapha.

ACTIVITIES OF TURMERIC:

  • Antibacterial
  • Iterative
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-allergic
  • Analgesic
  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-tumor
  • Antioxidant
  • Appetizer
  • Antispasmodic
  • Cardiovascular
  • Cholagogue
  • Astringent
  • Carminative
  • Diuretic
  • Digestive
  • Stimulant
  • Vulnerary

THERAPEUTIC USES:

  • Cancer
  • Digestion
  • Food Poisoning
  • Anemia
  • Indigestion
  • Poor Circulation Diabetes
  • Gallstones
  • Parasites
  • Wounds
  • IBS
  • Staph Infections

Other therapeutic uses of turmeric are:

  • Turmeric helps in regulating women reproductive system and also in purifying breast milk and uterus.
  • It helps in purifying and making of semen in men, which acts as counterintuitive for pungent bitter.
  • It aids in reducing the effect of diarrhea, fever, insanity, urinary disorders, cough, poisoning, and lactation problems.
  • Turmeric is also used to cure external ulcers.
  • Another benefit of turmeric is that it decreases Kapha. Hence, removes the mucus from the throat, pus from eyes and wounds and moreover in watery discharges such as leucorrhea.

Ayurvedic Benefits Of Turmeric:

  • Detoxify the liver
  • Balance cholesterol levels
  • Fight allergies
  • Stimulate digestion
  • Boost immunity
  • Enhance the complexion

As turmeric is an antioxidant due to this property, Ayurveda recognizes turmeric as a warm spice, astringent and pungent taste and bitter.

Home Remedies To Cure Different Diseases Using Turmeric

Home Remedies To Cure Different Diseases Using Turmeric
  1. Asthma:

  • Turmeric is effective in curing asthma.
  • Add one teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of warm milk and drink it.

Ayurveda also helps in treating Asthma. There are some herbal remedies. You can give them a try.

  1. Anemia:

  • Another benefit of turmeric is it helps in anemia.
  • Mix one tablespoon of turmeric juice and honey and consume it every day.
  • Take this concoction once in a day.
  1. Burns:

  • To cure burns mix one tablespoon of aloe gel and turmeric and apply it to the affected area.
  1. Complexion:

  • Take a turmeric paste and apply it to your skin before sleeping.
  • Wait for few minutes and then wash it off.
  • If you see next morning any yellow tinge remaining on your skin, then remove it with the help of oil and chickpea flour (Besan).
  1. Conjunctivitis:

    Conjunctivitis can cure through following remedies.

  • Take a mixture of 1 tablespoon of crushed raw turmeric and 1/3 glass of water.
  • Boil and sieve it.
  • Apply 2-3 drops of the mixture in each eye for three times in a day.
  1. Dental Problems:

  • Take a mixture of the ½ tablespoon of salt and one tablespoon of turmeric. Now add mustard oil to it and make a thick paste.
  • Rub your teeth and gums using this paste.
  • Repeat this twice in a day.
  1. Diabetes:

  • Take ½ -1 tablespoon of turmeric for three times every day.
  1. Diarrhea:

  • To cure diarrhea takes ½ – 1 tablespoon of turmeric juice and powder with water.
  • Use this remedy thrice daily.
  1. Pain:

  • Make a mixture of 2 tablespoons of ginger, one tablespoon of turmeric and water and make a thick
  • Spread it over a cloth and place it on the affected area and then bandage it.
  • Take one glass of milk with one tablespoon of turmeric before sleeping.
  1. Eyes, Ears, Mouth & Nose:

  • Mix Turmeric dust and alum in the ratio of 1:20, when blows through the ears it cures chronic otorrhea.
  • It aids in maintaining the integrity and shape of our eyes.
  • Make a mixture of organic ghee and a pinch of turmeric. Now, apply it to your mucous lining of the nose to end the sniffles.
  • It also assists in eliminating nose bleeds, cures sinus, purifies your mind and brain. Also, restores an acute sense of smell.
  1. Turmeric For Intestine & Stomach:

Turmeric cures the complete Gastro-Intestinal system. It is helpful in treating-

  • Poor digestion
  • To help digest protein
  • Weak Stomachs
  • Normalizes metabolism
  • Dyspepsia
  • It improves the bio-availability of your food. It enhances the ability of your stomach to withstand the digestive acids.
  • Turmeric is an excellent carminative. It can provide a calming effect to an upset digestive system. It eliminates excessive gas and distention.
  • Carminatives also increase absorption and nurture of the intestinal flora.
  • Taking turmeric will help to balance your upset digestion. Mix 1 teaspoonful of turmeric in a cup of yogurt, consume it after taking lunch.
  • It also helps in curing piles. Apply the mixture of turmeric, mustard oil, and onion juice.
  • To eliminate rectal bleeding consume 2 – 3 tablespoons of turmeric in every ½ – 1 hour until bleeding stops.

Medicinal Uses Of Turmeric

Due to the various benefits of turmeric, its use as a medicine is rapidly increasing. The normal flowering plant from ginger family is now an excellent remedy to cure various diseases. Earlier it was used for food coloring and flavoring.

But, now it is widely used to cure health problems such as digestive disorders, liver problems, wound healing and skin diseases. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory agent in medicines. The vital part of turmeric, curcumin has various therapeutic effects.

  1. DIGESTIVE DISORDERS:

  • Turmeric acts as a carminative and digestive bitter.
  • Its use in foods along with bean dishes and rice improves digestion and reduces bloating and gas.
  • It stimulates the production of bile in your liver and also encourages its excretion through gallbladder. And, hence improves your body’s ability to digest fat.
  • For digestive weakness and congestion, turmeric is excellent.
  1. LIVER DISEASES:

  • It is helpful for curing liver diseases.
  • In monsoon consumption of foods and herbs strengthens your liver.
  • Turmeric has same liver protection components that artichoke leaves and milk thistle contain.
  • It shrinks engorged hepatic ducts. Hence, can be helpful to cure liver conditions like cirrhosis, and hepatitis.

Ayurveda can also help you cleanse the liver. It can also help in dealing with liver diseases.

  1. CANCER:

  • Turmeric helps in preventing the growth of different types of cancer.
  • It helps in curing skin cancer and pre-cancerous conditions.
  • Both, internal and topical uses are effective.
  1. ATHEROSCLEROSIS:

  • It also helps in stopping blockage of blood vessels. Intense blockage of blood vessels can lead to heart attack.
  • It lowers the cholesterol levels of your body and inhibits the oxidation of bad cholesterol called LDL.
  • Oxidized LDL accumulates on the walls of arteries and forms atherosclerotic plaque.
  • It also prevents the building of platelets around the injured arteries. Platelets can lead to the formation of blood clots or the blockage of the blood
  1. OSTEOARTHRITIS:

  • It helps in reducing the effects of osteoarthritis.
  • It can reduce disability and pain.
  1. MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS:

  • Turmeric helps in reducing menstrual cramps. Use turmeric bitters or extract two times every day, before 15 days of the expected date.
  • It is an antispasmodic and hence helps in smoothing of muscles and turn, reduces menstrual cramps and digestive problems.
  1. BACTERIAL INFECTION AND WOUNDS:

  • Turmeric is an antibiotic.
  • It aids in reducing bacterial infection and better healing of your wounds.
  1. EYE DISORDER:

  • The important component of turmeric, curcumin is as effective as corticosteroids in Uveitis, the kind of eye disorder.
  • Uveitis is the inflammation of uvea. The uvea is the middle layer of the eye.
  1. OTHER HEALTH DISORDERS:

  • It decreases inflammation and congestion from the stagnant mucous membrane.
  • It is anti-inflammatory to mucous membrane that coats the lungs, throat, intestines, and stomach.
  • Everyday use of turmeric can cure Crohn’s disease, Colitis, post giardia and diarrhea effects.
  • The inflammation and itching due to anal fissures and hemorrhoids can be overcome by using turmeric.
  • Skin problems like psoriasis, eczema, and acne are all curable by the use of turmeric.

Beauty Benefits Of  Turmeric:

Beauty Benefits Of Turmeric

Also of medicinal and traditional benefits turmeric also has cosmetic uses. Now,  lets read about the cosmetic uses of turmeric.

SKIN CARE AND COLORING:

Skin is the largest organ of your body.

The barrier function of skin protects you from microorganisms, UV radiations, and harmful chemicals.

  • Turmeric is effective in healing skin disorders like acne and eczema.
  • It also reduces the oil secretion from the sebaceous gland.
  • Moreover, keep your skin younger by retarding the aging process.
  • Turmeric works miraculously for both oily and dry skins.
  • Women may apply turmeric paste on their face for the natural glowing skin.
  • Turmeric is also used in creams for coloring purposes.
  • Various herbal products use turmeric as their integral natural ingredient.
  • Turmeric helps in retaining the glow of your skin and thus make you look beautiful forever.
  • It helps in removing wrinkles from your face.
  • It aids in reducing the stretch marks.
  • Turmeric oil is also used in sunscreen creams and biopesticides due to its effectiveness.
  • It also helps in purification of your blood.
  • It reduces the skin pigmentation and removes dead cells from the skin.
  • Turmeric is skin friendly and is an integral ingredient of various creams and lotions.
  • It is also used to treat cracked heels.
  • Combine one tsp of turmeric with 1tsp of chickpea flour; add a dash of tea tree oil and enough water to create a paste (about two tsp of water). Apply the paste to the entire face, keep it on for 15 minutes, then rinse it with warm water. Your skin will look radiant.

Turmeric For Hair:

Turmeric For Hair
  • Turmeric is effective in treating dandruff problems of your hair.
  • It is also used as dyes and hair colorants. It also stimulates the growth of your hair.
  • It provides the necessary nutrition to your hair follicles and hence helps in growth of hairs.
  • Curcumin, an integral component of turmeric, is widely used in natural dyes to provide yellow and deep orange color.
  • Mix turmeric powder and olive oil, apply it on the hair. Leave for about half an hour and wash it. This will help to prevent dandruff from the hair.
  • Turmeric, when mixed with honey and milk and applied on the hair, can reduce hair fall.

 SKIN DISEASE:

  • Turmeric juice and paste are used in treating leprosy skin disease.
  • It also effective in chickenpox and smallpox. Apply the turmeric paste on your skin to stimulate the processing of scabbing.

 

Why Should You Use Turmeric While Cooking

Why Should You Use Turmeric While Cooking
  • The healthiest spice food is an essential ingredient of the curry powder.
  • It is also used for flavoring and coloring of butter, margarine, cheese, liquor, pickles, fruit drinks, cakes, fruit dishes, mustard, table jellies, and another foodstuff.
  • Turmeric oil is widely used for flavoring food items and perfumes.
  • It adds mild aroma and yellow color to the food.

SOME COOKING TIPS:

  • Turmeric is strong and gets stronger while cooking. So, it’s better to use it in a regulated manner.
  • You can use one teaspoonful of turmeric in place of 1 teaspoonful of dry mustard.

How To Store & Use Turmeric Powder With Ease?

  • You should keep turmeric powder in a cool and dry place away from sunlight.
  • Excessive heat volatilizes and dissipates turmeric’s aroma.
  • High humidity will make a cake of turmeric powder.
  • You should use the older stock of turmeric if any.
  • Prolong exposure to air will lead to loss of aroma and flavor of turmeric.

USE OF TURMERIC IN RECIPES:

ADD IT TO FRITTATAS AND SCRAMBLES:

  • You can take a pinch of turmeric and use it in scrambled eggs, tofu scramble, or in a frittata.

GREENS:

  • Sprinkle turmeric powder into braized or sautéed greens like collards, kale, and cabbage.

ROASTED VEGETABLES:

  • Turmeric’s peppery and warm flavor goes great with potatoes, root vegetables, and cauliflower.

RICE:

  • A pinch of turmeric powder brings a mild taste and color to a cup of plain rice or fancier pilaf.

SOUPS:

  • The taste of chicken or vegetable is enhanced when made with turmeric powder.

How To Prepare Turmeric Tea?

THINGS THAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • One tablespoon of butter
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • One tablespoon of honey
  • 1 cup of water
  • One tablespoon of Turmeric either grated root or powder

PROCEDURE:

  • Take a saucepan and pour water and coconut milk in it.
  • Boil it for 2 minutes.
  • Now add butter, turmeric powder, and honey and again simmer it for 2 minutes.
  • After that pour the tea into a cup and drink it.

How To Prepare Golden Milk

Turmeric Milk Golden Milk
  • Golden milk is an ancient health elixir: Combine 1/2 tsp of organic turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp of organic ginger powder and a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom into one cup of hot almond/soy/rice or hemp milk.
  • If you’re using a liquid with low-fat content, you can add 1/2 tsp of coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter) to guarantee maximum absorption. Drink this daily.

With Spices

Combine turmeric with black pepper to amp up the effect.

  • Cook with turmeric, black pepper, and ginger. These heating, metabolism charging spices have a synergistic effect that will increase the bioavailability by 1,000 times. Make sure to dissolve the spices in ghee or coconut oil while cooking.

Pour it into your smoothies.

  • Dissolve a full teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of black pepper into hot coconut oil and pour it into your smoothie or juice.

Optimize Your Use of Turmeric

Doses Of Using Turmeric In Different Ways

1.Always buy certified organic.

2.Make sure your spices are free of chemicals, preservatives, fillers, and additives.

  1. Skip the pill.
  • If you’re taking the capsule version at least take it with 1 cup of hot water. In the bowl of warm water, add one tsp of ghee or connect oil and a generous pinch of black pepper.

Curcumin/Turmeric Capsules, Not Nearly As Effective

Curcumin or Turmeric Capsules

The active agents in turmeric are fat-soluble, meaning you need fat in the carrier to absorb and assimilate the benefits efficiently. To make the most of your turmeric, you must take it with a source of fat.

The spice has stood the test of time as a form of medicine because it’s used in cooking and oil is almost always present in the recipe. The fat from the oil is the consort ingredient.

The vitamin and supplement industry is steadfast and ever growing. Well, it doesn’t always work that way. The bedrock of Ayurveda and Eastern Medicine is that we are more than the total of our parts.

Holistic medicine stands firm on a platform that demonstrates the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and soul.

Just as there is a delicate and intelligent interplay between the mind, body, and soul, there is a delicate and intelligent interplay between the brain, gut, and formation of tissues.

A capsule version of turmeric (aka curcumin) will get the spice into your body, but it won’t guarantee the digestion and absorption of the nutrients into your system.

According to Ayurveda, there are seven layers of tissues: plasma, blood, muscles, fat, bones, nervous tissue and reproductive tissue.

Each tissue is nourished in sequential order based on how well food is digested, absorbed and assimilated. If you want the benefits of turmeric to touch all your tissues, a capsule just won’t cut it. The body simply doesn’t integrate capsules as it would food.

Side Effects Of Using Excessive Turmeric

Turmeric doesn’t cause any severe side effects in your body. But depends on person to person how turmeric reacts to their body.

Sometimes it causes-

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach Upset
  • Diarrhea

Turmeric gives energy and purifies the chakras. Thus, include it to lead a healthy life.

Does NR break down to NAM before NAD+


As we age, our levels of the Co-enzyme Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide NAD+ drop significantly in multiple organs in mice and humans  (5,8,10).

NAD+ decrease is described as a trigger in age-associated decline(23), and perhaps even the key factor in why we age (5).

In 2013, research published by Dr David Sinclair demonstrated that short term supplementation with Nicotinamide MonoNucleotide (NMN) replenished NAD+ and reversed many aspects of aging, making the cells of old mice resemble those of much younger mice, and greatly improving their health (8).

The quotes below are directly from that research:

NMN was able to mitigate most age-associated physiological declines in mice”

“treatment of old mice with NMN reversed all of these biochemical aspects of aging”

Since Dr Sinclairs landmark 2013 study, dozens of others have been published investigating the efficacy of supplementation with NMN and Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) in treatment and prevention of a wide range of disease including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and more (5,6,7,9,10,11,13,14,15,16).

According to Dr Sinclair:

“enhancing NAD+ biosynthesis by using NAD+ intermediates, such as NMN and NR, is expected to ameliorate age-associated physiological decline”

WHAT IS NR

chromadex niagenNicotinamide Riboside (NR) and NMN are precursors that are used by our bodies to replenish NAD+ levels.

In 2004 Dr Charles Brenner published a paper showing that the enzyme Nrk1 can catalyze NR directly to NMN (100) which might make it a more effective precursor to NAD+ than the previously known NAM, NA, or Tryptophan.

Although NR is unstable by itself, Dartmouth University has patented production methods that combine it with Chloride which makes it stable.

Chromadex has licensed this technology and has been selling NR commercially since 2014 under the brand name “Niagen”.

Tru Niagen is the brand name used by Dr Brenner’s company ProHealthSpan to market their Niagen product.

WHAT IS NAD+

NR benefits chartNAD+ is a key co-enzyme that the mitochondria in every cell of our bodies depend on to fuel all basic functions. (3,4)

NAD+ play a key role in communicating between our cells nucleus and the Mitochondria that power all activity in our cells (5,6,7)

NAD+ LEVELS DECREASE WITH AGE

NAD+ levels decreaseAs we age, our bodies produce less NAD+ and the communication between the Mitochondria and cell nucleus is impaired. (5,8,10).

Over time,  decreasing NAD+ impairs the cell’s ability to make energy, which leads to aging and disease (8, 5) and perhaps even the key factor in why we age (5).

NAD+ METABOLISM IN HUMANS

The NAD+ supply is not stagnant – it is constantly being consumed and replenished, with the entire NAD+ pool being turned over 2-4 times per day (14).

NAD+ is synthesized in humans by several different molecules (precursors), thru 2 different pathways:
De Novo Pathway

  • Tryptophan
  • Nicotinic Acid (NA)

Salvage Pathway

  • NAM – Nicotinamide
  • NR – Nicotinamide Riboside
  • NMN – Nicotinamide MonoNucleotide

This constant recycling of NAD+ is through the salvage pathway, where the enzyme Nampt catalyzes NAM to NMN, which is then metabolized to NAD+.

Nampt is the rate-limiting step in the salvage process (97).

Many studies have confirmed the importance of Nampt in maintaining sufficient NAD+ levels, such as the quote below from a 2016 study that used mice lacking Nampt in muscle fiber:

“NAD content of muscle was decreased by ~85% confirmed the prevailing view that the salvage route of NAD synthesis from NAM sustains the vast majority of the NAD” (97)

These mice exhibited normal muscle strength and endurance while young, but deteriorated rapidly as they aged which confirmed Nampt is critical to maintaining NAD+ levels.

As we age, Nampt enzyme activity is lower, resulting in less NAM recycling, less NAD+, more disease and aging (97,101).

NMN and NR SUPPLEMENTS CAN BYPASS NAMPT

NR had been known for decades, but was not thought to be that important until 2004 when Dr. Charles Brenner discovered the enzyme NRK1 can phosphorylate NR directly to NMN, bypassing the Nampt “bottleneck” (100).

This newly discovered “shortcut” in the NAD+ salvage pathway found that NR can be metabolized directly to NMN to boost NAD+ levels more effectively than NAM.

MOST NR IS FIRST METABOLIZED TO NAM

When taken orally as a supplement, most NR does not make it through the digestive system intact, but is broken down to NAM (97,98,99).

Even when taken at very high dosages, NR has not been detected in the bloodstream in any research (97,98,99).

“This evidence indicates that NR is converted to NAM before absorption occurs and that this reaction is the rate-limiting step ” (98)

“NR has been shown be converted to Nam before being absorbed or reaching tissues” (99)

“oral NR dosing increased circulating NAM ~40-fold while NMN remained unchanged” (97)

“we were surprised to find that NR exerts only a subtle influence on the steady state concentration of NAD in muscles. Our tracer studies suggest that this is largely attributable to breakdown of orally delivered NR into NAM prior to reaching the muscle. ” (97)

Note:NAM does elevate NAD+, but is on the “wrong” side of the Nampt bottleneck, which limits it’s effectiveness

HUMAN STUDY ON NR BIOAVAILABILITY

The following five charts are all from the thesis published by Samuel Alan Trammell in 2016 under supervision by Dr Brenner:

Nicotinamide riboside is uniquely and orally bioavailable in mice and humans


This chart above shows the impact on NAD+ metabolites over time for a 52 year old human after ingesting 1000mg of NR daily for 7 days.

NAD+ levels begin to rise at 4.1 hours, and peak at 8.1 hours.

NAM levels double at .6 hours and have a second peak at 7.7 hours, long before NAD+ levels are elevated.

This chart at right shows metabolites found in urine of the subject from the same experiment as above.

The red box shows NAM  is elevated more than 10x baseline at the same time point that NAD+ is elevated, which implies that NR has elevated NAM to such an extent that excess NAM is excreted in urine.


This chart a left shows impact of NR, NA, and NAM supplementation on blood plasma NAD+ (b), and NAM  (d) levels in 12 human subjects.

The red line at 2 hours shows NR supplementation increases NAM perhaps 3x (d), but has not yet elevated NAD+(b).

The 2 hour mark also is the point at which NAM supplementation begins to increase NAD+ levels (b).

The blue line at 8 hours is when both NR (b) and NAM (d) supplementation reach peak NAD+ increase.

Lastly, the green bar and black bar in chart b show that NAM elevates NAD+ slightly less than NR.

NR elevated NAD+ slightly more than NAM, but is much slower acting

MOUSE STUDIES ON NR BIOAVAILABILITY


The chart above shows the result on NAD+ metabolism of 15 mice fed NR by oral gavage at a dose of 185 mg/kg of bodyweight.

The NR was synthesized with heavy atoms of deuterium at the ribosyl C2 and 13C on the Nam side, to allow tracking.

The measurement at 2 hours shows 54% of the NAD+ has the single heavy molecule (white bar, M+1). This 54% was likely broken down to NAM first, losing the second labelled heavy atom.

At the same time point, 5% of the NAD+ had both labels (Grey bar, M+2).

This 5% of NR made it through the digestive tract intact and was metabolized through the shortcut from NR -> NMN -> NAD+, vs 54% that had been through NR -> NAM -> NMN -> NAD+.

The chart above shows the impact of the same double labeled NR on mouse liver, but this time after IP (Intraperitoneal) Injection.

Note the dramatic difference in the ratio of labelled M+2 over M+1. IP results in much higher levels of intact NR (M+2) being metabolized to NAD+, whereas Oral NR shows far more M+1 labelled NR to NAD+.

This different behavior in IP vs oral NR supplementation also implies oral NR is partially metabolized to NAM before conversion to NAD+.

The above chart shows the resultant increase in select NAD+ metabolites of mice fed NR (unlabeled) at 185 mg/kg of bodyweight.

As noted by the authors, NR and NAR are the only NAD+ precursors tested that did NOT result in elevated levels of the precursor in the liver.

Here is one last quote in discussion section from the Trammell thesis:

“NR has not been detected in the blood cell fraction nor in plasma …NR varied and displayed no response to NR administration … but was detected after IP of double labeled NR in liver (Figure 5.7) and muscle (Figure 5.9), revealing NR does circulate”

They are saying that NR is found in small quantities in the liver, but is not detectable in bloodstream.  Oral supplementation with NR did not show any increase in NR in the body.  However, Injection (IP) of NR does result in a detectable increase of NR in muscle and Liver. So NR does circulate in the bloodstream when injected, but has not yet been detected upon oral supplementation.

The timing and amplitude of the increases in metabolites noted above imply that:

  • Oral NR does not result in a detectable increase of NR in the body
  • It’s likely a majority of the increase in NAD+ is due to NR->NAM->NAD+.

Note: NAM does elevate NAD+, but is on the “wrong” side of the Nampt bottleneck, which limits it’s effectiveness

NMN QUICKLY RAISES NAD+ IN LIVER AND BLOOD

mouse-single-dose
In this 2016 study, mice were given a single dose of  NMN in water.

NMN  levels in blood showed it is quickly absorbed from the gut into blood circulation within 2–3 min and then cleared from blood circulation into tissues within 15 min

 

 

 

The chart at right shows levels of a double labeled NAD+ (C13-d-nad+) in liver and soleus muscle at 10 and 30 minutes after oral administration of double labeled NMN.

This clearly shows that NMN makes its way through the liver, into muscle, and is metabolized to NAD+ in 30 minutes (23) .

 

Orally administered NMN is quickly absorbed, efficiently transported into blood circulation, and immediately converted to NAD+in major metabolic tissues (23).

NMN INCREASES NAD+ and SIRT1 DRAMATICALLY IN ORGANS

In this 2017 study, NMN supplementation for 4 days significantly elevated NAD+ and SIRT1, which protected the mice from Kidney damage.

NAD+ and SIRT1 levels were HIGHER in OLD Mice than in YOUNG Mice that did not receive NMN.

LONG TERM SUPPLEMENTATION WITH NMN

mouse-long-term-research

In a long-term experiment documented in the 2016 study (23) , mice were given 2 different doses of NMN over 12 months.

Testing revealed that NMN  prevents some aspects of  physiological decline in mice, noting these changes:

  • Decreased body weight and fat
  • Increased lean muscle mass
  • Increased energy and mobility
  • Improved visual acuity
  • Improved bone density
  • Is well-tolerated with no obvious bad side effects
  • Increased oxygen consumption and respiratory capacity
  • Improved insulin sensitivity and blood plasma lipid profile

Here are some quotes from  the  study:

NMN suppressed age-associated body weight gain, enhanced energy metabolism, promoted physical activity, improved insulin sensitivity and plasma lipid profile, and ameliorated eye function and other pathophysiologies

NMN-administered mice switched their main energy source from glucose to fatty acids

These results strongly suggest that NMN has significant preventive effects against age-associated impairment in energy metabolism

NMN effectively mitigates age-associated physiological decline in mice


LOWER FAT AND INCREASED LEAN MUSCLE MASS

Researchers found that NMN administration suppressed body weight gain by 4% and 9% in the 100 and 300 mg/kg/day groups.

Analyses of  blood chemistry panels and urine did not detect any sign of toxicity from NMN.

Although health span was clearly improved, there was no difference in maximum lifespan observed.

These results suggest that NMN administration can significantly suppress body weight gain without side effects

INCREASED OXYGEN CONSUMPTION AND RESPIRATORY CAPACITY
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Oxygen consumption significantly increased in both 100 and 300 mg/kg/day groups during both light and dark periods (Figure 3A).

Energy expenditure also showed significant increases  (Figure 3B).

Respiratory quotient significantly decreased in both groups during both light and dark periods (Figure 3C),

This suggests that NMN-administered mice switched their main energy source from glucose to fatty acids.

The mice that had been receiving NMN for 12 months exhibited energy levels, food and water consumption equivalent to the mice in the control group that were 6 months younger.

NMN administration has significant preventive effects against age associated physical impairment

HUMAN STUDIES – LONG TERM SUPPLEMENTATION WITH NMN

The first clinical trial of NMN in humans is currently underway by an international collaborative team between Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo and Washington University School of Medicine (33).

Participants are 50 healthy women between 55 and 70 years of age with slightly high blood glucose,BMI and triglyceride levels.

Using a dose of 2 125mg capsules of NMN per day over a period of 8 weeks, researchers are testing for:

  • change in insulin sensitivity
  • change in beta-cell function
  • works to control blood sugar
  • blood vessels dilate
  • effects of NMN on blood lipids
  • effects of NMN on body fat
  • markers of cardiovascular and metabolic health

According to the study:

“Data from studies conducted in rodents have shown that NMN supplementation has beneficial effects on cardiovascular and metabolic health, but this has not yet been studied in people”

Testing of metabolic parameter will continue for 2 years after supplementation has ended, so final results will not be published for some time yet, but preliminary results are expected to be announced in early 2018.


ProHealth is currently the best price for Niagen.

The 2 bottles for $119 works out to 30 cents per mg – whereas HPN and others are 33 to 37 cents per mg.

We also like the 333mg capsule size, since that is thought to be the most effective dosage for NR

You can find it here on Amazon

NMN PLUS – THE COMPLETE NAD+ BOOSTER


We believe NR has tremendous health benefits.

However, we also believe that research shows NMN makes it’s way through the liver and is metabolized into tissue more quickly and effectively than NR.

Read about the science behind NMN.

NMN exhibits the most dramatic benefits in research with mice, likely because it is the Immediate Precursor to NAD+, and is not limited by NAMPT.

However we believe including all four of these NAD+ precursors makes this far more effective at boosting NAD+ throughout the body as they:

  • utilize different pathways
  • are metabolized at different rates
  • vary in the organs they are effective at raising NAD+

According to Dr. Charles Brenner:

“Not every cell is capable of converting each NAD+ precursor to NAD+ at all times…the precursors are differentially utilized in the gut, brain, blood, and organs” (R).

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References:

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Few Things To Consider Before Going Low-Carb!

 

 

Over the years, low-carb diets have come and gone in many different forms. Atkins, Paleo, and other ketogenic diets each promise effective weight loss through a simple plan, but few people talk about the other things you may experience by cutting carbs. Carbohydrates are our body’s natural energy source, so naturally, taking them away is going to have some side effects – some good, and some bad.

If you’re thinking of going low-carb for the first time, here’s what you need to know.

What Is ‘Low-Carb’?

Depending on where you’re getting your diet plan from, everyone has a different definition of low-carb. Generally speaking, low-carb diets tend to range from 0 to 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. One gram is equal to four calories, so you’re working with about 400 calories of carbohydrates or less daily.

To some, that might sound like a reasonable range, but to give you an idea of how many grams of carbs are contained in common foods, here’s a quick cheat sheet (numbers are averaged):

  • 1 banana = 30g
  • 12 oz. soda = 35g
  • 1 mango = 50g
  • 1.5 oz. raisins = 34g
  • 1 medium bagel = 55g

As you can see, your carbohydrate count can easily get out of hand if you’re not careful, which is why it’s always important to plan your meals so you don’t have too much fluctuation in your diet (more on why this can be an issue in the “drawbacks” section discussing the induction period).

Benefits Of Going Low Carb

The most notable benefit of going low-carb is weight loss – by now, we’ve got that figured out. But how does that work, exactly? And what are the other positive effects?

Weight loss

As noted above, weight loss is the biggest benefit and most popular reason why people choose to start a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Here’s a brief explanation of how it works. Carbohydrates are our body’s main source of energy. When we eat them, they are turned into glucose, which our body uses as fuel. If you have more glucose available then your body can use, the excess is stored as fat. However, if your glucose levels are low, then once it’s done using glucose for energy, it will use fat instead. So, to sum things up: the less carbs you eat, the more your body will use fat for energy, thus reducing weight.

Regulating insulin and blood sugar levels

Carbohydrates are one of the main stimulants in insulin release, so by reducing your carb intake, you’re also helping your body reduce insulin levels. Now, it’s important to note that reduced insulin levels can also be a drawback if they’re too low, but low-carb diets generally don’t put them that far down. They just bring things down to a more reasonable level.

Insulin regulation is beneficial for several reasons. First, it provides a little more aid in weight loss. Insulin is the body’s main fat-storing hormone, so by reducing carb levels, you’re also influencing the body to stop storing fat as much and instead start using it. Second, it also helps manage blood sugar. This can be especially helpful for diabetics; in fact, some people have actually been able to reverse diabetes due to a low-carb diet alone.

Reduced hunger and cravings

Many of us know what it’s like to have a sudden craving for a certain type of food. Whether it’s a bite of ice cream or a slice of pizza, both are bad news for our health. Low-carb diets tend to eliminate these cravings because your body will have lower glucose levels, so for anyone with a keen sweet tooth, expect that to change!

Drawbacks Of A Low Carb Diet

Although many people make carbohydrates out to be this horrible evil that should be avoided at all costs, carbs are our friend, and there are actually several negatives to going low-carb that can make this diet plan undesirable for some.

Induction period

When you take away your body’s natural source of energy, it needs some time to adjust. During the first week, many people experience flu-like symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and more (often referred to as the induction flu). For most people, these symptoms dissipate after the first week is over as the body learns to adapt to its new state of energy-burning. However, this isn’t the case for everyone.

Some people’s genetics just need carbs, so no matter how hard they try, they’re never really able to fully adapt. With that said, the main reason why one may experience continued symptoms past the first week is due to ketosis fluctuation. Ketosis is the name of the process where your body is primarily using fats as energy instead of carbohydrates. It’s most commonly talked about in the Ketogenic diet (referred to as the ‘Keto flu’), but other low-carb diets inherently influence ketosis as well because your body is no longer used carbs for energy.

Ketosis fluctuates based on several factors, but it mainly has to do with how much of each nutrient you’re eating (carbs, protein, fat). Since everyone has different daily intake requirements, it’s nearly impossible to say, “As long as you’re eating ‘this many’ grams of each nutrient, you’ll be in ketosis.” Instead, you have to measure it. Measuring ketosis is important for most low-carb dieters, not only to make sure your diet is working as intended, but also so you don’t find yourself continually experiencing the pitfalls of the induction period.

Keep in mind: just as some people’s genetics just need carbs, other people just can’t get into ketosis. If you think you may have any trouble with this before starting, talk to your doctor to figure out if this is right for you.

Reduced performance

When it comes to morning jogs or workouts in the gym, your body usually relies on the glucose from carbs to provide it with enough energy to endure. If that glucose is in limited supply, your body then turns to fat for more energy. Performance levels affect everyone differently; some report no change in physical ability on a low-carb diet, but others experience fatigue more rapidly and general sluggishness throughout the day. Supplements can be a good answer to the issue if you’re in the latter group.

Cramps, constipation, and bad breath

There are some minor side effects that you may just not be able to escape. Cramps, constipation, gas, and bad breath are all examples of these minor affects as your body is trying to get used to its new nutritional intake. For some people, these are limited or go away over time, but others aren’t as fortunate. As mentioned before, always make sure to check with your doctor if you’re worried about experiencing these issues.

Should you go low carb?

Low-carb diets are not for everyone. While you might see massive success within a few months of carbohydrate restriction, the next person might not. Furthermore, most people can’t adhere to an extremely low-carb diet long-term; it’s simply too restrictive. The important thing to remember here is to listen to your body above all else. Only you can know for sure whether your body is capable of sustaining carbohydrate reduction over time.

Consider the pros and cons discussed above, and keep them in mind when trying a low-carb lifestyle so that you keep yourself in check at all times.

A better compromise for most people is to enjoy the right kinds of carbs in moderation, rather than adhering strictly to a no-carb or low-carb diet, so consider this a good option if low-carb isn’t working for you.

Collagen Supplements Found To Be Best For Overcoming Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterized by the breakdown of cartilage within joints.

Pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce symptoms, but their impact on arthritis is limited.

Dietary supplements containing collagen may also be effective. Recently, scientists examined the effects of undenatured type II collagen on symptoms of osteoarthritis.

COLLAGEN SUPPLEMENTS

Collagen Supplements

BACKGROUND

Type II collagen is found in articular cartilage, which helps the joints move smoothly and prevents the bones from rubbing together when you move.

Previous studies indicate that taking type II collagen supplements may reduce joint pain and stiffness for people who have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

However, the collagen in supplements is sometimes processed by heating. This type of collagen is referred to as denatured collagen, which may be less beneficial than undenatured collagen.

Undenaturated type II collagen (UC-II) is a patented dietary supplement produced from chicken bones.

Several previous studies have found that UC-II may significantly relieve symptoms in people with arthritis. Below is an overview of their findings from over the years:

  • 2002: Taking 10 grams of UC-II for 42 days significantly reduced pain and morning joint stiffness.
  • 2009: Supplementing with 40 grams of UC-II for 90 days improved symptoms of osteoarthritis by 33% — significantly more than glucosamine plus chondroitin.
  • 2013: Supplementing with 40 grams of UC-II for 120 days improved knee joint mobility. However, joint pain did not decrease.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

Scientists from Interhealth Nutraceuticals and the University of California examined the effects of UC-II supplements on knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

STUDY DESIGN

The purpose of this double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was to examine the effects of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) on symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

The study, which lasted for 180 days, was conducted at 13 research centers in southern India. The 191 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups:

  • UC-II: Participants took two capsules, containing 40 mg of a UC-II supplement, every day. This dose provided 1.2 mg of bioactive UC-II.
  • GC: This group took capsules containing a mixture of glucosamine hydrochloride (1500 mg) and chondroitin sulfate (1200 mg) each day.
  • Placebo: Participants in this group took a placebo, which had no effects on osteoarthritis.

At the beginning and end of the study, the researchers assessed the symptoms of osteoarthritis using the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC).

Other measurements included knee mobility, joint function, subjective ratings of pain and circulating levels of inflammatory markers.

164 arthritic men and women completed the study, or 86% of those who started.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, controlled trial examining the effects of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) on osteoarthritis symptoms.

FINDING 1: UC-II IMPROVED SYMPTOMS

Osteoarthritis symptoms were calculated from the results of the WOMAC questionnaire, which contains three subscales: pain, stiffness and knee function.

The score ranged from 0–2400, from no symptoms to severe pain and dysfunction.

Supplementing with UC-II improved the overall WOMAC score by 39%, significantly more than the placebo or GC. These results can be seen in the chart below.

When the subscales of the WOMAC were examined separately, UC-II significantly improved symptoms in all of them.

Conversely, participants in the GC group experienced no statistically significant improvements.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II, 40 mg/day for 180 days, significantly improved subjective ratings of knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

FINDING 2: UC-II IMPROVED KNEE JOINT FUNCTION

Knee joint function was estimated using the Lequesne Functional Index (LFI), which is a 10-question survey assessing pain, walking distance and activities of daily living.

The LFI score ranged from 0–24, from no symptoms to a severe condition.

For the participants who supplemented with UC-II, the LFI score improved by 37%, compared to the start of the study.

This improvement was significantly greater than in the GC group or the placebo group, which can be seen in the chart below.

These results were consistent with the results of the WOMAC questionnaire, which showed that supplementing with UC-II improved knee joint function by 39% and stiffness by 41%.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II significantly improved knee joint function and stiffness.

FINDING 3: UV-II REDUCED KNEE PAIN

Knee pain was assessed using a visual analog scale (VAS) questionnaire, which included 7 pain-related questions.

Supplementing with UC-II improved ratings on the VAS scale by 39%. This was greater than both the GC group or the placebo, as shown in the chart below.

These results were supported by the pain subscale of the WOMAC questionnaire, showing a 41% reduction in knee pain.

However, despite improvements in pain, inflammatory markers did not decrease significantly.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II significantly improved knee joint pain, compared to the GC or placebo supplements.

LIMITATIONS

The study had a few potential limitations. First, the results were based on subjective ratings of symptoms, which are prone to bias.

Second, the study was solely funded by InterHealth Nutraceuticals, the company that owns the patent for UC-II.

Additionally, all study materials were supplied by Interhealth Nutraceuticals, and two of the paper’s authors were employees of the company.

However, the study was independently conducted by an Indian company, Laila Pharmaceuticals. Also, an independent statistician performed all analyses and calculations.

Although there is no specific reason to doubt the findings, the results should be confirmed by an independent research group.

Bottom Line: The study’s main limitation was a potential conflict of interest. However, apart from funding the study and writing the paper, independent partners conducted the study itself.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

In short, this study showed that supplementing with 40 mg (two capsules) of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) improved symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Specifically, UC-II improved knee function and reduced pain and stiffness.

Simply put, if you have osteoarthritis, taking UC-II could make a difference.

Eating Dairy Products Can Help Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Many studies indicate that dairy products may protect against heart disease.

To expand and update the evidence base, a team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis, combining the results of 31 previous observational studies.

Below is a detailed overview of their results, recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

EATING DAIRY MAY REDUCE HEART DISEASE RISK

BACKGROUND

Many studies suggest that dairy products may protect against heart disease. Yet most of the available evidence is based on observational studies, which can’t prove causation.

On the other hand, some scientists have suggested that high-fat dairy containing saturated fat may increase the risk of heart disease by raising LDL-cholesterol.

This is controversial, since dairy products have also been shown to raise HDL-cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.

What’s more, emerging evidence indicates that saturated fat does not increase heart disease risk — its effect may simply be neutral.

Other studies suggest that milk fat may have different effects on risk factors for heart disease, depending on what dairy product it comes from.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

A group of researchers from EpidStat Institute, USA, did a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies examining the association of dairy products and heart disease.

Dairy consumption and CVD: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

STUDY DESIGN

This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies examining the association between dairy products and heart disease.

A total of 31 prospective cohort studies, including over one million adults, were selected using strict inclusion criteria.

A prospective cohort study is a type of observational study that follows individuals over time, investigating how certain factors affect the rates of a certain outcome.

In the present meta-analysis, the included studies assessed dairy consumption using food frequency questionnaires. They then followed the participants for 5–26 years, while recording all heart disease events.

Outcome values included:

  • Heart disease: Diseases of the heart and blood vessels are collectively known as heart disease, or cardiovascular disease. This includes conditions such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD): This disease is characterized by the clogging of the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen. It may eventually lead to heart attacks or heart failure.
  • Stroke: Also known as brain attack, stroke is when blood flow in the brain is interrupted, leading to cell death. This may be caused by clogged or ruptured blood vessels.

In addition to examining the association of total dairy intake with heart disease, the researchers divided dairy products into categories and did sub-analyses on each of the groups.

These categories included milk, cheese, yogurt, calcium from dairy products, low-fat dairy and full-fat dairy.

Bottom Line: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the association of dairy consumption with heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

FINDING 1: EATING DAIRY REDUCED THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE

This study suggests that total dairy intake is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

In fact, the reduction in risk may be as high as 5–15%, regardless of fat content.

Additionally, there were no significant differences between intake levels. One serving per day appeared to be as beneficial as three servings.

These results are also supported by previous meta-analyses on the association of dairy products with heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Bottom Line: Total dairy consumption was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

FINDING 2: EATING CHEESE REDUCED THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE

Previous studies indicate that eating fermented dairy products, such as cheese, may protect against heart disease.

The present study supports earlier findings, suggesting that cheese may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 18% and stroke by 13%.

All levels of intake appeared to be protective.

Bottom Line: Eating cheese was significantly associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

Several additional findings were reported, including:

  • No benefits from milk: Drinking milk was not associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease or stroke.
  • Calcium reduced stroke risk: Calcium from dairy products was not significantly linked with coronary heart disease. However, it was associated with an estimated 31% reduction in the risk of stroke, on average.
  • Yogurt is inconclusive: Due to lack of data, the study couldn’t form any conclusions about the effects of consuming yogurt. More studies are needed.

Bottom Line: Milk consumption was not associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, whereas dairy calcium seemed to protect against coronary heart disease. The effects of eating yogurt are still unclear.

LIMITATIONS

This systematic review and meta-analysis appears to have been well planned and implemented. Nevertheless, it has one important limitation: it used data from observational studies, which can’t prove causation.

For example, people who eat a lot dairy products may simply have healthier lifestyle habits, compared to those who eat less dairy.

However, most of the studies included in this meta-analysis adjusted for dietary and lifestyle factors, and other studies have consistently reported similar associations.

This indicates that the observed associations are at least partly due to the direct effects of dairy consumption on heart disease risk.

Finally, it would have been interesting if the study had looked into the effects of different dairy fats. For example, butter appears to raise LDL-cholesterol to a greater extent than cream, as discussed in our previous research review.

Bottom Line: This study was both well planned and implemented. However, it was based on observational studies, which can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

This study suggests that consuming dairy products may reduce the risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Among the different types of dairy products, cheese seems to be an especially good choice.

Simply put, eating dairy appears to be healthy for your heart and blood vessels. But note that if you’re on dieting to loss weight you must limit your dairy consumption and diversify your food with fruits, vegetables, and lastly supplements that may include garcinia cambogia, probiotic or cumin.

Dieting and Gut Microbiota in Intestinal Inflammation and Other Diseases

Emerging evidence links chronic intestinal inflammation with obesity and metabolic disorders like insulin resistance.

What’s more, this association seems to be affected by changes in the gut microbiotacaused by diet.

Recently, a group of researchers summarized the available evidence in a review published in Cell Metabolism. Below is an overview of the review’s main points.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

This article discusses the association of intestinal inflammation, obesity, metabolic syndrome, the gut microbiota and dietary factors.

The Intestinal Immune System in Obesity and Insulin Resistance.

WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?

Inflammation is the immune system’s response to infection, injury or toxins. There are two types of inflammation: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.

ACUTE INFLAMMATION

Acute inflammation starts immediately after an injury or infection.

Its purpose is to eliminate foreign substances or invaders, such as bacteria or viruses, as well as to remove dead or injured cells that are no longer functional.

Although it causes the swelling and redness associated with wounds and infections, it is an essential process that helps the body heal and protects it against further harm.

CHRONIC INFLAMMATION

Chronic inflammation lasts longer than acute inflammation. For this reason, it damages living tissue. This increases the risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Many conditions may lead to chronic inflammation, including infection, toxin exposure, autoimmune diseases, age, high blood sugar levels or an unhealthy diet.

Low-grade, chronic inflammation is an underlying condition in obesity, insulin resistance and many other conditions.

Bottom Line: There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a beneficial process, while chronic inflammation is associated with obesity and metabolic diseases.

OBESITY IS ASSOCIATED WITH DYSBIOSIS

Obesity and metabolic syndrome are associated with dysbiosis, a term that refers to an imbalance in the gut microbiota.

Some scientists even believe that dysbiosis plays a key role in the development of obesity.

This idea is supported by animal studies, showing that mice without any bacteria in their intestines had lower amounts of body fat, and did not become obese or insulin resistant when put on a high-fat diet.

However, when the intestines of these same mice were colonized by gut bacteria from normal mice, they started to gain fat and develop insulin resistance.

What’s more, intestinal bacteria from obese mice increased fat gain more than bacteria from lean mice.

Consistently, killing the intestinal bacteria of obese mice with an antibiotic treatment reduced body fat and improved insulin sensitivity.

However, obese people should not resort to taking antibiotics, as there are other, healthier approaches. Human studies have shown that weight loss may restore gut microbiota balance and improve metabolic health.

Bottom Line: Different types of bacteria are predominant in obese people’s guts. These bacteria make it easier for them to absorb calories and gain fat.

DYSBIOSIS MAY CAUSE INTESTINAL INFLAMMATION

Studies indicate that obesity-associated dysbiosis may promote weight gain. This is because obese people may have greater numbers of bacteria that improve calorie absorption.

Dysbiosis also seems to be characterized by low numbers of beneficial, anti-inflammatory bacteria.

These bacteria feed on fiber, especially prebiotic fiber, and produce short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. Butyrate improves colon health and reduces inflammation.

For this reason, a lack of butyrate-producing bacteria may promote intestinal inflammation.

Transferring gut bacteria from lean, healthy donors to those with metabolic syndrome increased the butyrate-producing bacteria, which improved insulin sensitivity.

This also seems to be related to diet, in that obese people tend to have lower bacterial diversity and richness in their guts. However, one study showed that bacterial diversity can be restored by eating less.

Bottom Line: An imbalance in the microbiota of obese individuals leads to intestinal inflammation. This imbalance is characterized by low numbers of beneficial, anti-inflammatory bacteria.

DYSBIOSIS WEAKENS THE GUT WALL

Intestinal permeability is an essential function of the gut wall. It allows nutrients to pass across the gut barrier into the blood circulation.

But the gut barrier should not be too permeable, since it needs to prevent potentially harmful substances from entering the body.

However, excessive intestinal permeability is an unfortunate consequence of dysbiosis and intestinal inflammation.

This leads to the leakage of bacteria or bacterial toxins across the gut barrier, worsening systemic inflammation and metabolic disease. This condition is called metabolic endotoxemia.

Endotoxemia is associated with high calorie intake, high intake of saturated fat, abdominal obesity and an increased risk of diabetes.

Conversely, getting enough fiber might help prevent endotoxemia by increasing the numbers of beneficial bacteria and strengthening the gut barrier.

Nevertheless, further studies are needed before any solid conclusions can be reached.

Bottom Line: Dysbiosis and intestinal inflammation may also increase intestinal permeability, allowing harmful substances to “leak” across the gut barrier. This may worsen inflammation and metabolic disorders.

DIETARY FACTORS AFFECT INTESTINAL INFLAMMATION

Intestinal inflammation is not only associated with dysbiosis and a “leaky gut.” All of this also appears to be linked to dietary habits.

Dietary factors that may worsen intestinal inflammation include:

  • A diet high in saturated fat: A diet high in saturated fat has been associated with intestinal inflammation in mice. This effect appears to be mediated by the gut microbiota, since bacteria-free mice showed no effects.
  • Food emulsifiers: Another mouse study suggests that two commonly-used food emulsifiers may change the gut microbiota and worsen inflammation.

Other dietary factors may protect against inflammation:

  • Losing weight: One human study showed that losing weight reduced intestinal inflammation, while also improving blood sugar levels and blood lipids.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: A study in mice found that saturated fats from lard increased inflammation, whereas polyunsaturated fats from fish oil protected against inflammation.
  • Probiotics: Several types of probiotic bacteria may reduce intestinal inflammation and strengthen the gut barrier.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant polyphenols from fruits and vegetables may also reduce inflammation.
  • Prebiotic fiber: Eating plenty of prebiotic fiber encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria that produce anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate.

Several studies have also examined the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs on intestinal inflammation and metabolic conditions.

Apart from reducing inflammation, anti-inflammatory drugs may improve insulin sensitivity, decrease fasting blood sugar, reduce endotoxemia and increase gut bacterial diversity, without any effects on body weight.

Taken together, these findings support the idea that diet-induced inflammation plays a key role in the development of chronic diseases in obesity.

Bottom Line: Dietary factors may either worsen or improve intestinal inflammation. Many of these effects seem to be mediated by the gut microbiota.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

Obesity and many metabolic disorders are associated with chronic intestinal inflammation. Dietary factors and the gut microbiota also play a key role.

Fortunately, dietary strategies may be able to prevent or reduce these problems. These strategies may also improve many obesity-related metabolic conditions, such as insulin resistance.

Effective strategies include losing weight, eating less saturated fat or more omega-3s, and taking prebiotic fiber and probiotics.

How fiber changes other foods

When we consider the nutritional benefits of food, we think about the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they contain. We think about components in the food that nourish the body. Fibre is completely different. The key to understanding fibre’s effect is to realize that the benefit lies not as a nutrient, but as an anti-nutrient. If you have a disease of excess nutrients, as in obesity or type 2 diabetes, then anti-nutrients are useful therapeutic options.

In contrast to most food, fibre has the rare ability to reduce absorption and digestion. Fibre subtracts rather than adds. In the case of sugars and insulin, this is good. Soluble fibre reduces absorption of carbohydrates, which in turn reduces blood glucose and insulin levels. In one study, type 2 diabetic patients were given liquid meals containing 55% carbohydrates with or without the addition of dietary fibre.

Fibre reduced both the glucose and the insulin peaks, despite consuming exactly the same amount of carbohydrates. Fibre acts as an anti-nutrient. Because insulin is the main driver of obesity and diabetes, reduction is beneficial. In essence, fibre acts as a sort of ‘antidote’ to the carbohydrate, which, in this analogy, is the ‘poison’. Carbohydrates, even sugar, are not literally poisonous in normal amounts, but this comparison is useful to understand the effect of fibre.

It is no coincidence that virtually all plant foods, in their natural, unrefined state contains fibre. Mother Nature has thus pre-packaged the ‘antidote’ with the ‘poison’. This is how traditional societies may eat diets high in carbohydrate without evidence of obesity or Type 2 Diabetes. The Okinawans, for instance, base their diet upon the sweet potato, and consume an estimated 80% of their calories as carbohydrate. High fibre protects against obesity. Until recently, they were one of the longest-lived peoples on earth. The Kitavans of New Guinea followed a diet estimated to be close to 70% carbohydrate with no evidence of ill health. The one critical difference is that these carbohydrates are all unrefined. The toxicity lies in the processing.

Western diets are characterized by one defining feature. It is not the amounts of fat, salt, carbohydrates, or protein that distinguishes the Western diet from all other traditional diets in the world. It is the high levels of processing of foods. Typical Western supermarkets are filled with highly refined foods in boxes, cans or frozen — refined carbohydrates, but also refined oils and refined proteins. Traditional Asian markets are instead full of fresh meats and vegetables. Many Asian cultures buy fresh food daily so processing to extend shelf life is neither necessary nor welcome. North Americans will buy groceries for weeks or even months at a time. The large volume retailer Costco, for example depends upon this.

Fibre and fat are two key ingredients removed in the refining process. Fibre is removed to change the texture, and make food taste ‘better’. However, the satiating effect is lost. When fibre bulks up the foods we eat, this activates stretch receptors in the stomach that signal the body (via the vagus nerve) that we should stop eating. When you eat too much at the buffet, all the food is not yet digested and sitting in your stomach. So, your body doesn’t yet have any idea how many calories of food you’ve eaten. But your stomach is overdistended like a ripe melon, and you feel full and perhaps slightly sick/ nauseated.

Natural fats are removed to extend shelf life since fats tend to go rancid with time. For example, white flour has virtually all the natural fibre and fat removed during processing. This exposes us to the full danger of the naked carbohydrate, which causes the ensuing high insulin levels. The ‘poison’ is ingested without the ‘antidote’. The protective effect of the fibre and fat are removed.

Where whole, unprocessed carbohydrates virtually always contain fibre, dietary proteins and fats contain almost no fibre. Our bodies have evolved to digest these foods without the need for fibre. The ‘antidote’ is unnecessary without the poison. Here again, Mother Nature has proven herself to be far wiser than us.

Natural foods have a balance of nutrients and fibre that we have evolved over millennia to consume. The problem is not with each specific component of the food, but the overall balance. For example, suppose we bake a cake with a balance of butter, eggs, flour and sugar. Now we decide to remove completely the flour and double the eggs instead. The cake tastes horrible. Eggs are not necessarily bad. Flour is not necessarily good, but the balance is off. The same holds true of carbohydrates. The entire package of unrefined carbohydrates, with fibre, fat, protein and carbohydrate is not necessarily bad. But removing everything except the carbohydrate may destroy the balance and make it harmful to human health.

Removing protein and fat may lead to overconsumption. There are natural satiety hormones (Peptide YY, cholecystokinin) that respond to protein and fat. Eating pure carbohydrate does not activate these systems and leads to overconsumption. For example, a glass of orange juice requires 4–5 oranges. It is difficult to eat 4–5 oranges, with all the associated pulp. However, by only drinking the carbohydrate portion, and discarding the rest, you may over-consume that carbohydrate. Another problem arises because the relatively pure carbohydrate results in increased speed of digestion. The rapid rise in blood glucose will result in the rapid rise in insulin.

The toxicity lies not in the food, but in the processing.

Nutritionism, where foods are considered based on their macronutrient content hid the dangers of refining for many years. Whole grains, vegetables as well as sugar were all considered similar because they happened to all be classified as carbohydrates. But the refined and unrefined carbohydrates were not alike.

Fibre and Type 2 Diabetes

Both obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are diseases caused by excessive insulin. Insulin resistance develops over time, with persistently high insulin. If fibre can protect against elevated insulin, then it should protect against Type 2 Diabetes. That is exactly what the studies show.

The Nurse’s Health Studies 1 and 2 monitored the dietary records of thousands of women over many decades. Overall, the risk of Type 2 Diabetes increases as the glycemic index increases. This is no surprise. This study was also able to confirm the protective effect of cereal fibre intake. Women who ate a high GI diet but also ate large amounts of cereal fibre are protected against Type 2 Diabetes. In essence, this diet is high in ‘poison’ but also high in ‘antidote’ at the same time. The two cancel each other out with no net effect. Women who ate a low GI diet (low ‘poison’) but also low fibre (low ‘antidote’) was also protected. Again the two cancel each other out.

But the deadly combination of a high GI diet (high ‘poison’) and a low level of fibre (low ‘antidote’) increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by a horrifying 75%. This is the exact effect of processing carbohydrates — increased glycemic index and decreased fibre.

The massive Health Professionals Follow-up studied 42,759 men over 6 years, with essentially the same results. A high GL and fibre diet confers no extra risk of type 2 Diabetes. A Low GL and low fibre diet also has no increased risk. But the diet high in glycemic load (poison) and low in fibre (antidote) increases the risk of disease by 217%. Yikes! The Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis study confirms that fibre is an important protective factor against insulin resistance.

The Black Women’s Health Study demonstrated that a high glycemic index diet was associated with a 23% increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. A high cereal fibre intake, by contrast was associated with an 18% lower risk of diabetes.

One of the key steps in weight loss is the addition of fibre. Even better, do not remove fibre from the natural foods that contain it.

The toxicity lies in the processing.

Carbohydrates in their natural, whole, unprocessed form, with the exception of honey, always contains fibre. This is precisely why junk food and fast food is so harmful. They are the very definition of highly processed foods. The processing of foods and addition of chemicals changes the food into a form that our bodies are not evolved to handle. That is exactly why they are junk.

Avoiding Micronutrient Deficiencies is a Key to Healthier And Longer Lives

What if we are consistently attributing poor health to the wrong things? Focusing too much on fats and carbohydrates, all the while, important cellular processes in our body are hampered by micronutrient deficiency.

For someone who’s interested in nutrition, I’ve spent a heck of a lot of time obsessing over protein, carbohydrate and fat. And very little time understanding micronutrients.

I don’t seem to be alone in this matter. Popular diets such as Atkins, Weightwatchers & ketogenic diet ALL focus on things other than micronutrients.

So this post is to highlight an issue I didn’t know we had. Which is, by not taking micronutrients ‘seriously’ – we are shortening our potential life span and introducing the risk of illness far earlier into our lives.

The general rhetoric when it comes to micronutrients are:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Eat your vegetables
  • Eat a diet with lots of color (e.g. colourful vegetables vs chicken nuggets and fries type food)

Which is good advice, and should work.

But in practice, we have widespread micronutrient deficiency across the globe. It’s particularly concentrated in under developed countries, but is also found in developed countries like the US, in particular in the poor, young children, the obese and the elderly.

But first… what are micronutrients?

Micronutrients come under 2 categories; essential and non-essential.

Essential micronutrients are elements or compounds that our bodies can’t construct from other ingredients (our body is generally very good at synthesising the things it needs). They are used for processes such as energy production, cell repair and enzyme activation (to name just a few). And naturally, without them, we have a problem (!)

Below I’ll focus on the 40 micronutrients essential to humans. Beyond this list, there are more micronutrients, although they are not considered essential humans. That doesn’t however mean they don’t have uses within the body.

Micro vs Macro Nutrients

Macronutrients are widely talked about. They consist of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Essentially they are the energy and building blocks for our bodies’ metabolism.

But we can’t run our bodies on macronutrients alone. There’s a range of 40 micronutrients that are essential. They can be categorized into vitamins, minerals, omega-3s and amino acids. Their roles are crucial to perform all kinds of biological functions in our bodies.

Micronutrients come bundled up with the foods we eat. By eating a varied diet, incorporating vegetables, nuts and animal products, we can generally get enough of these micronutrients to live healthily.

But one curious thing about micronutrients, is that we can continue functioning relatively well, even if we’re very low on them.

And that is part of why they get often overlooked. Lets take the comparison of vitamins to coffee.

If a regular person (not a coffee junkie), drinks a coffee, they quickly feel the affects of the caffeine from the coffee in their body.

Compare that to a regular person taking a vitamin pill, packed with micronutrients, they are unlikely to feel anything at all.

Similarly, if you’re deficient of a particular micronutrient for a period of time, you’re also unlikely to feel anything different.

It takes a long time to feel the effects of micronutrient deficiency. But this doesn’t mean the shortage isn’t doing damage. It turns out it is.

What happens if we don’t get enough micronutrients?

We’re generally all familiar with examples of extreme micronutrient deficiency. For example, the story of early sailors who needed to pack limes onto their boats in order to avoid getting scurvy. They only realized the necessity of vitamin C when attempting to subsist for long periods of time on basic foods like potatoes, and then would get sick. Back then they hadn’t isolated the benefits of limes to vitamin C, they just knew limes prevented them getting sick.

Fortunately these days, extreme micronutrient deficiency is rare. But what is happening is long term micronutrient deficiency.

This can have varying effects.

At an extreme, for example, being deficient in folate (a micronutrient found in green vegetables), can lead to DNA damage comparable to that of high dose radiation. This was figured out through experimentation in cell cultures.

And then more subtilely, we have what Bruce Ames named ‘Triage Theory’. And its a much bigger deal than it’s being credited for.

Similar to how hospitals have to triage patient injuries, treating the most life threatening ones first, in order to ensure maximum patient survival. Our body triages how it uses micronutrients, prioritizing the most important functions, to ensure its short term goals of survival and reproduction.

This means that processes useful for living longer take a back seat.

Why do we care about Triage Theory?

Generally speaking, we all want to live as long and as healthy a life as possible.

If we accept what Triage theory posits, then we can help live longer and healthier by avoiding micronutrient deficiencies. Thus giving our bodies the optimum chance to prosper.

What ARE the 40 Essential Micronutrients?

In this section I’m going to do the amazing, but perhaps mind numbingly dense thing of presenting tables of the different micronutrients. If you’ve time and energy, this can be used to compare your diet and vitamin supplements against the list (!). Or perhaps bookmark it and later refer back.

Without identifying the essential micronutrients, we have little hope of remedying their deficiency.

One thing that’s worth noting, is that for many of the micronutrients, there are different sources available. So for example with Vitamin A, its direct form is retinol, but when we consume plants containing carotenoids (the most well known carotenoid being beta-carotene) our body can later convert them into retinol. This idea personally confused me. I was previously of the mindset that each vitamin was a single compound, and you need to consume that compound to meet your needs. Another term for compounds that can be converted into vitamins, is provitamins.

Which leads us to our next point of potential confusion, bio-availability. Its possible to have different forms of the same thing, and find that one is more optimal than another. For example, with magnesium, there are a large number of different forms, including magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate. Magnesium oxide has poor absorption, whereas magnesium citrate has better absorption.

So, onto our micronutrient lists. I’ve broken this up into somewhat arbitrary delineations such as water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. There are 13 vitamins, 25 minerals, 2 omega-3’s, 9 amino acids and choline, all of which are essential.

Vitamins

Water Soluble Vitamins

Count Vitamin Good Food Sources RDA* or AI†
1. Thiamin (vitamin B1) Yeast, pork, sunflower seeds, legumes 1.1mg*
2. Riboflavin (vitamin B2) Beef liver, meats, eggs, yogurt, ricotta cheese, nonfat milk 1.1mg*
3. Niacin (vitamin B3) (nicotinic acid, nicotinamide) Tuna, beef liver, veal, chicken, beef, halibut, peanut butter 14mg*
4. Pantothenic Acid Widespread in foods 5 mg†
5. Biotin Synthesisedby microflora of digestive tract; liver, soybeans, eggs  30 μg†
6. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine) Steak, navy beans, potato, salmon, banana, whole grains 1.3 mg*
7. Folate Brewer’s yeast, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, lima beans, beef liver, fortified grain products 400 μg*
8. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) Meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, milk 2.4 μg*
9. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) Papaya, limes, oranges cantaloupe, broccoli, brussels sprouts, green peppers, grapefruit juice, strawberries 75 mg*

Fat Soluble Vitamins

10. Vitamin A (retinol, retinal, retinoic acid)
Provitamins: Carotenoids, particularly β-carotene
Beef liver, dairy products, sweet potato, carrots, spinach, butternut squash, greens, broccoli, cantaloupe 900 μg RAEa
700 μg RAEb
11. Vitamin D
Provitamins: 7-dehydrocholesterol (ergocalciferol) Vitamin d3 (cholecalciferol)
Synthesised in skin exposed to ultraviolet light; fortified milk 15–20 μgc,d 
12. Vitamin E
Tocopherols
Tocotrienols
Vegetable seed oils  15 mg α-tocopherolc
13. Vitamin K
Phylloquinones
Menaquinones
Synthesised by intestinal bacteria; green leafy vegetables, soy beans, beef liver 120 μga,e
90 μgb,e

aAdult males
bAdult females
cBoth males and females
dVaries with age for adults
eadequate intake

Minerals

Electrolyte Balancing
Count Mineral Approximate Body Content Good Food Sources AI
14. Sodium 105g Table salt, meat, seafood, cheese, milk, bread, vegetables (abundant in most foods except fruits) 1,500 mg
19–50 years
15. Potassium 245g

Avocados, bananas, dried fruits, oranges, peaches, potatoes, dried beans, tomatoes, wheat bran, dairy products, eggs

4,700 mg
19+ years

16. Chloride 105g

Table salt, seafood, milk, meat, eggs

2,300 mg
19–50 years

Major Essential Minerals

17. Calcium 1,400g Milk, milk products, sardines, clams, oysters, turnip and mustard greens, broccoli, legumes, dried fruits 1,000 mg,19-50 years
18. Magnesium 25g Nuts, legumes, whole-grain cereals, leafy green vegetable 400 mg males;
310 mg females;
19–30 years
19. Phosphorus 850g Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, milk products, nuts, legumes, grains, cereals 700 mg, 19+ years
20. Sulfur 175g Protein foods: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, legumes, nuts Not established

Trace Essential Minerals

21. Chromium 4-6mg Mushrooms, green peppers, organ meats, whole grains, brewer’s yeast 35 μg* male;
25 μg* female
22. Copper 50–150 mg Liver, shellfish, whole grains, legumes, eggs, meat, fish  900 μg
23.  Iodine  15-20mg Iodized salt, salt-water seafood, milk, liver, eggs, yogurt, legumes  150μg
24.  Iron  2-4g Organ meats (liver), meat, molasses, clams, oysters, nuts, legumes, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, enriched/whole grains 8mg male;18mg female
25.  Manganese  10-20mg  Wheat bran, legumes, hazelnuts, blueberries, pineapple, seafood, poultry, meat 2.3 mg* male;
1.8 mg* female
26.  Molybdenum  2mg  Legumes, meat, poultry, fish, grains  45μg
27.  Selenium  20mg  Oysters, tuna, meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, brazil nuts  55μg
28.  Zinc  1.5g-3g  Oysters, wheat germ, beef, liver, poultry, whole grains 11 mg male;
8 mg female
Typically, lists of micronutrients will stop at the above list of 28 vitamins and minerals. However, Dr Bruce Ames includes omega-3’s, amino acids and choline in his list also. Deficiency in these for humans is very bad.

Fish Oils

Count Oil Good Food Sources RDA
 29.  Omega 3 Fish, fish oil, krill oil, walnut, edible seeds, flaxseed oil, hemp oil No current RDA for omega 3, however 500mg seems to be about minimum necessary.
30. Omega 6  Poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds Again, no RDA, but ideally we want to have a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. In practice, our modern diets contain significantly more omega 6 than omega 3.

Essential Amino Acids

Count Amino Acid Good Food Sources RDA for Adults
mg per kg body weight
31. Isoleucine Fish, meat, eggs, dairy, nuts 19
32. Leucine 42
33. Lysine 38
34. Methionine  19
35. Phenylalanine  33
36. Threonine 20
37. Tryptophan 5
38. Valine  4
39. Histidine 14

Additional Essential Nutrient

Choline is an interesting one. Whilst you won’t find it on a wikipedia list of essential micronutrients (yet), it was included by Dr Bruce Ames in all his talks. There is evidence to suggest it is an essential nutrient. Summarising from the papers abstract, choline is required to make essential membrane phospholipids, and is a pre-cursor for biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. If its good enough for Bruce Ames to list, we should take it seriously.

Count Nutrient Good Food Sources RDA
40. Choline Cod fish, beef liver, eggs, soybeans, wheat germ The is no RDA, however adequate intake guidelines published suggest adults consume at least 500mg per day.

How do we use this micronutrient knowledge to live longer?

If we go back to the year 1900, we knew a bit about minerals, but almost nothing about vitamins. It took us until 1912, when Casimir Funk, found the first vitamin (niacin). As the 1900s progressed, we gradually unravelled a list of 40 essential micronutrients.

Going forward there are a number of things we can anticipate happening:

  • We identify more nutrients that are extremely beneficial to humans (even if they are not necessarily ‘essential’)
  • We clarify in more detail the desired amounts of micronutrients we need (although much of this work has already been done)
  • We develop better tools for mass analysis of micronutrient deficiencies (versus the hard to obtain, and often expensive blood panels that we have currently)

But working with what we have today, there are steps an individual can take to safeguard themselves against micronutrient deficiency:

Step 1: Eat a diet rich in micronutrients

Firstly, and this should be the #1 priority, aim to eat a diet rich in vegetables (raw and cooked), fish, meat (especially organ meats), eggs and nuts.

Step 2: Add supplements

On top of your healthy diet, you can “cover your ass” by taking supplements that cover the full spectrum of essential micronutrients.  Thus safeguarding yourself against any dietary omissions. We want to take reasonable, but not excessive amounts of these micronutrients, because too much of them can have negative health consequences.

Step 3: Get blood tests

Due to variation in

In researching this article I was surprised to find there is no blood panel that covers all of the essential micronutrients. The closest thing I was able to come across is the SpectraCell Laboratories micronutrient test, which covers most micronutrients. It covers all 13 vitamins (yay!), and  7 of the 15 essential minerals. Although I’m not sure how important it would be to test sodium, potassium & chloride in a healthy individual (responsible for electrolyte balance). So that leaves 5 minerals; phosphorus, sulfur, iodine, iron and molybdenum that it misses out. It also doesn’t test essential amino acid deficiency or choline deficiency. I don’t think the amino acids and choline are as important, but I’ve emailed SpectraCell to learn a bit more about why these are skipped the aforementioned minerals, and will update the post as I learn more.

This test is only available in the US, and costs $390 – which I thought was quite reasonable. Of course, it will be amazing in the future to get this down to a price that everyone could afford comfortably.

Alternatives to that test are to piece meal various tests together from what you can find available. Additionally, it may be possible to 80/20 the testing, by only getting testing commonly deficient, yet high consequence micronutrients tested. At the time of writing, I don’t know enough to say which micronutrients would cover the 80/20 approach.

Micronutrients and the future

Despite the fact that the information mentioned above has been out in the public domain for some time, its clear that it hasn’t been absorbed by our collective consciousness just yet. This is evidenced by a few things:

  • Extremely popular multivitamin supplements that don’t cover even close to the full range of essential micronutrients.
  • Hospitals (at least the NHS in the UK) not providing in-patient supplementation so that they hit their necessary micronutrient intake on a daily basis.
  • Extremely limited availability of blood test panels that cover the full range of essential micronutrients.
  • Lack of routine micronutrient blood testing.
  • A general societal focus on the macronutrient composition of the diet.

This means that we can expect a lot of changes in the future. Generally speaking, I anticipate micronutrient testing and supplementation to become more thorough and routine in order to maintain optimal human health.

Questions & Answers

This whole theory is quite a lot to swallow. Because if its true, it suggests we can make huge strides towards better health (as a population) with some relatively simple steps. I say “simple”, because a lot of health innovation is predicated upon advanced biological breakthroughs (think gene sequencing, editing and programming). Whereas for this we already have all the technology we need.

So this section is to try and tackle some of the questions that may come up.

Q: What needs to be true (scientifically speaking) for this theory to be accurate?

A: Two things:

  1. There needs to be actual micronutrient deficiency in the population. And then as an extension from that, the greater the micronturient deficiency problem, the greater effect fixing the deficiencies could have.
  2. The “triage theory” itself needs to be watertight. Specifically, it means that the experiments that were ran by Ames et al. need to be repeatable. And, the negative effect of micronutrient deficiency (in some shape or form) should apply across more of the micronutrients (their paper only cites experiments done with vitamin K and Selenium.

Q: What exactly do we mean by ‘micronutrient deficiency’?

A: Deficiency could refer to two things. The first is extreme long term deficiency, which results in ilness or bad side effects. For example, a common cause of blindness in developing countries is vitamin A deficieny. The second type of deficiency is less extreme, for example, you could be deficient in vitamin A for just long enough to start getting reduced night vision – one of the early warnings for vitamin A deficiency. According to triage theory, both of these deficiency types could be problematic for long term health.

To know for sure what the specific long term effects of minor vitamin A deficiency are, we would need to run experiments.

Question: What examples do we have to show micronutrient deficiency in the population?

Answer:

Firstly, its worth noting that obtaining data about the worlds micronutrient deficiences is by its very nature; difficult. Due to the relative expense and invasiveness of the number of blood tests it would take to get an accurate picture. So whatever data we can piece together, it won’t be a complete picture.

Bruce Ames quotes some interesting US figures on nutritional deficiency in his triage theory paper. Initially when I looked into them, I was hopeful they were based on actual blood test data. It turns out however, its data based on surveys of people’s dietary intake, which is then extrapolated upon. When I hear ‘survey’ in science, I immediately want to face palm. However… this isn’t your average survey, so its worth at least hearing out. The data comes from an organisation called NHANES (The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), who are run under the umbrella of the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention). This particular data set came from 2003 to 2006 time periods, and covered 18,063 people who submitted complete 24-hour survey data. It shows:

Nutrient % Ingesting less than Estimated Average Requirements (Inc Fortified Food + Supplements)
Magnesium 45%
Calcium 35%
Zinc 8%
Vitamin D 70%
Vitamin E 60%
Vitamin K 35%
Vitmain A 34%
Vitamin C 25%
Omega-3 Very High %

Source: Fulgoni et al. (2011)

…Will expand on this section further as time goes by. Research is super time consuming, and I don’t want to delay posting what I’ve synthesized so far, in pursuit of making this whole article “perfect”. Already there is enough to be useful to the reader.

An Anti-Aging Drug Cocktail

 

Drug combinations work to synergistically extend the life- and healthspan in worms.

The most successful drug combination tested almost doubled lifespan, a feat never reported before. Furthermore, more than half of the worms receiving the drug combination were still in optimal health after all control animals had died! Finally, the authors show that these drugs also extend the lifespan of fruit flies and in fact the same combination that almost doubled worm lifespan was also the most successful one at extending the lifespan of fruit flies.

In a new paper published on the preprint server bioRxiv Jan Gruber and colleagues test various combinations of life extending drugs in worms.

Preprint servers allow scientists to publish their article to the wide world for anyone to criticize before submitting it to a classical journal for publication.

Furthermore they allow for rapid dissemination of research results as the publication in a peer-reviewed journal can take months to years between submission and publication.

While around a thousand compounds have been found to extend lifespan in at least one study in a model organism few studies have been conducted using combinations of two or more compounds.

A rare example includes the combination of rapamycin with metformin which was shown to outperform either drug alone in mice.

The authors started by identifying well known mechanisms for lifespan extension based on a literature review. Then they looked for drugs that influence these mechanisms and had previously been found to extend lifespan leading to the selection of 12 compounds for testing in this study.

Next the researchers tested these compounds in roundworms, a common model organism in aging research. When tested in isolation five drugs significantly extended mean and maximal lifespan: Psora-4, rifampicin, rapamycin, metformin, and allantoin.

Next the researchers tested all pairwise combinations of these five compounds. The combination of metformin and rapamycin, both at optimal doses, did not lead to a further increase in lifespan.

However if the combination was tested at suboptimal doses than lifespan was further increased.

Given that the optimal dose of metformin and rapamycin in mice is unknown the beneficial effect of the combination observed in the mice study mentioned before could possibly be the result of suboptimal concentrations of both drugs.

Two combinations, rifampicin + rapamycin and rifampicin + Psora-4 all at optimal concentrations did result in synergistic increases in lifespan.

Next the researchers tested triple combinations of the various compounds. As testing all combinations would be impractical (220 different lifespan tests would be necessary) the researchers decided to first try the combination of the 3 most successful compounds so far (rapamycin + rifampicin + Psora-4).

However this combination resulted in a shorter lifespan than the two successful pairwise combinations. Next, the researchers decided to test the two pairwise combinations from before with allantoin added as the third drug.

They chose this combination because allantoin shares no mechanistic overlap with the other drugs. Both of these triple combinations resulted in a significant extension of mean and maximal lifespan with the most successful one (rapamycin + rifampicin + allantoin) resulting in a doubling of mean lifespan! The authors remark that this is the largest lifespan extension ever observed by a drug intervention initiated in adult worms.

Abbreviations: Rif = rifampicin; Rap = rapamycin, Allan = allantoin. Image credit: Sven Bulterijs Certain interventions that result in lifespan extension reduce fertility but neither of the triple drug combinations reduced total fertility and actually slightly extended the fertile period of life.

Furthermore, both drug combinations extended the period of life spend in good health (= the healthspan).

In fact, more than half of the worms receiving the triple drug combination were still in optimal health after all control animals had died! Old animals on the triple drug combinations were indistinguishable from young control worms when judged by spontaneous movement.

Worms really show a significant decrease in spontaneous movement with age. Finally, the two successful triple drug combinations also significantly increased resistance to oxidative and heat stress.

Total mortality is made up of two distinguishable parts: age-dependent and age-independent mortality. The age-dependent mortality is a measure for the rate of aging.

So the authors tested which mortality rate was reduced by the drug combinations. Interestingly, the rifampicin + Psora-4 + allantoin combination significantly reduced the rate of age-dependent and age-independent mortality showing that this drug slows down aging in addition to making them more robust at young ages.

Abbreviations: Rif = rifampicin; Rap = rapamycin, Allan = allantoin. Image credit: Sven Bulterijs

The evolutionary distance between fruit flies and worms is larger than between fruit flies and humans. Hence the fact that the drug combinations worked in both fruit flies and worms offers hope that their lifespan extending effect may be conserved in humans.

The two drug combinations (Rap + Rif and Rap + Rif + Allan) significantly extended mean and maximum lifespan in fruit flies.

High Amounts of Fat May Improve Insulin Sensitivity – New Study

Studies show that calorie-reduced diets improve insulin sensitivity, regardless of their fat content.

However, it’s unclear if this is due to the composition of the diet or weight loss.

For this reason, a group of scientists compared the effects of high- and low-fat diets, while maintaining stable weight.

Below is a review of their findings, published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

BACKGROUND

Insulin sensitivity refers to how sensitive the body is to the effects of insulin.

Low insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance, means the body doesn’t respond to insulin efficiently. This adverse condition characterizes type 2 diabetes and can lead to abnormally high blood sugar after meals.

It’s unclear exactly what causes insulin resistance, but several studies have examined how diet composition affects insulin sensitivity.

Two short-term studies compared the effects of diets high in fat (50–55% of calories) and low in fat (20–25% of calories) on insulin sensitivity. They found no significant differences in insulin sensitivity between diets.

Another study in older individuals showed that a 4-week, high-fat diet (42% of calories), high in saturated fat (24% of calories), did not cause significant changes in insulin sensitivity.

What’s more, an 11-day study found that a very-high-fat diet (83% of calories) had no effects on insulin sensitivity, compared to a diet that contained no fat.

However, the evidence is not entirely conclusive. Some studies indicate that low-fat diets may improve insulin sensitivity.

In short, it seems that eating high amounts of fat does not increase your risk of becoming insulin resistant, but more research is needed.

ARTICLE REVIEWED

Researchers from the University of Washington in the US compared the effects of a very high-fat diet and a low-fat diet on insulin sensitivity.

A high‑fat, high‑saturated fat diet decreases insulin sensitivity without changing intra‑abdominal fat in weight‑stable overweight and obese adults.

STUDY DESIGN

The main purpose of this small, randomized, controlled trial was to examine the effects of a high-fat diet, rich in saturated fat, on insulin sensitivity.

The study included 13 overweight or obese men and women, aged 18–55 years.

For the first 10 days of the study, all of the participants followed a standardized diet. It provided 47% of calories from carbs, 18% from protein, and 35% from fat, including 12% from saturated fat.

Then, the participants were assigned to two 4-week diets in a random order:

  • Low-fat diet: 20% of calories from fat, including 8% from saturated fat, 62% from carbs and 18% from protein.
  • High-fat diet: 55% of calories from fat, including 25% from saturated fat, 27% from carbs and 18% from protein.

These two diets were identical, apart from their varying fat and carb content. The major sources of fat in both diets were butter and safflower oil, high in oleic acid.

The study kitchen provided participants with all food, and they were weighed twice weekly to ensure weight stability.

The study had a crossover design, meaning that the participants followed both diets on different study periods, separated by 6 weeks.

At the beginning and end of the diets, the researchers measured insulin sensitivity, abdominal fat and fasting levels of very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs).

Only 7 participants completed both diets, or 54% of those who originally started.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, crossover trial comparing the effects of a very high-fat diet and a low-fat diet on insulin sensitivity.

FINDING 1: A HIGH-FAT DIET REDUCED INSULIN SENSITIVITY

Insulin sensitivity is often assessed by injecting people with insulin and then measuring blood sugar clearance, or how quickly blood sugar levels drop.

During the high-fat diet, insulin sensitivity decreased, whereas it remained constant during the low-fat diet.

The chart below compares the differences in the change in blood sugar clearance during each of the two diets. The blood sugar response is shown for both low and high doses of insulin.

These results cannot be explained by changes in body weight or abdominal fat, since the participants’ weight remained the same during the study.

The researchers speculated that the saturated fat in the high-fat diet may have contributed to the decrease in insulin sensitivity, which is supported by other studies.

In one study, when healthy participants followed a diet high in saturated fat (17% of calories) for three months, insulin sensitivity decreased by 12.5%.

Other studies have shown that single meals or diets high in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat improve insulin sensitivity, compared to saturated fat.

These studies indicate that insulin sensitivity is influenced by the type of fat eaten, rather than the total dietary fat content. However, further studies are needed.

Bottom Line: The high-fat diet reduced insulin sensitivity, whereas it remained constant on the low-fat diet.

FINDING 2: INCREASES IN SKIN FAT WERE ASSOCIATED WITH HIGHER INSULIN SENSITIVITY

Why the high-fat diet reduced insulin sensitivity is unclear. However, the researchers observed a few significant associations.

During the low-fat diet, the researchers found that increases in the amounts of skin fat were associated with better insulin sensitivity.

Although there was a similar trend during the high-fat diet, the association was not statistically significant.

Conversely, on both diets, an increase in the content of omega-6 docosapentaenoic acid in very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) was associated with reduced insulin sensitivity.

Yet it should be noted that these were observational findings, and do not prove a causal relationship.

Bottom Line: Increased skin fat was associated with increased insulin sensitivity. Conversely, high blood levels of omega-6 docosapentaenoic acid were associated with reduced insulin sensitivity.

LIMITATIONS

This study was nicely designed, but had a few minor limitations.

First, the study was very small, including only 13 participants. For this reason, it may not have had the statistical power to detect smaller differences as significant.

Second, the dropout rate was very high, or 46%, indicating that dietary adherence may have been difficult.

Third, the study was designed to compare the effects of high-fat and low-fat diets oninsulin sensitivity. Therefore, it does not provide any evidence for the effects of saturated fat on insulin sensitivity.

Finally, the study included individuals with normal blood sugar control, and the high-fat diet contained higher amounts of fat than are typically consumed. As a result, the findings may not apply to diabetics or those who consume lower amounts of fat.

Bottom Line: This study was very small and the dropout rate was high. Additionally, the findings may not apply to normal real-life settings or people with type 2 diabetes.

SUMMARY AND REAL-LIFE APPLICATION

In short, this study suggests that a diet very high in fat, or saturated fat, make the body less sensitive to the effects of insulin.

However, the results may only apply to very high amounts of fat or specific types of fatty acids.