Are You Taking Statins?

Hypercholesterolaemia is a condition characterised by an excess of cholesterol in the blood. An alternative term is dyslipidaemia, which encompasses elevated triglycerides, low levels of HDL-C, and high LDL-C (1).

Hypercholesterolaemia is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and arterial disease and is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States (2).

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How SAD is the Standard American Diet?

America is in a troubled place right now.

Leaving aside the recent chaos that began in Minneapolis, and the leadership crisis they have in the White house, its 328 million people are under siege from their own food choices. While the temporary nature of the rioting will pass when the media eventually gets bored of covering it or it no longer stimulates clicks, likes, posts and reactions across the fickle social media world, the deep systemic problems arising from the food culture in America will be its ultimate demise in my opinion.

I once heard the fantastic Dr. Zach Bush tell Rich Roll on his podcast, that the Russians now believe that the biggest threat to US national security is its healthcare system as over time, as the health of America declines rapidly due to its toxic and disease promoting food culture, the healthcare system will suck every available dollar up from government department budgets, leaving national security underfunded and vulnerable. If that scenario does indeed come to pass, the dark days of today will seem like shining lights of the past.

So what is the SAD anyway?

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Is Turmeric Good For You?

Following on from Is Resveratrol Worth The Hype? comes the mighty Turmeric. Turmeric is a plant from the same family as ginger and grows natively in the India and Southeast Asia region. It looks very similar to the ginger root, with the bright orange colour of turmeric being the main physical difference.

It comes in many forms now – ground up spices, capsules to pop just like pills, shot drinks and many other forms.

So what is it about this strange little orange spice that seems to benefit us humans?

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Is Resveratrol Worth The Hype?

Much has been touted about the benefits of this little plant compound over the years with lots of claims about its protective influence against cancers, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. The headlines seem to always revolve around drinking wine, unsurprisingly – it’s almost as if we just want to be told to drink more wine, it’s good for you!

It reminds me of the ballsy ad campaigns from Guinness back in the day claiming all sorts of crazy benefits. It was an advertiser’s dream to work for Guinness back in the old days, not so much anymore with all the advertising regulations.

You could claim anything for your product back in the old days…
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The Mediterranean Diet: It’s Not Just the Food

While the exact mechanisms by which the components of this diet may improve cardiovascular health does require further research, the cumulative effects of higher fibre intake, antioxidants, healthy fats including the essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein and complex carbohydrates all appear to contribute to an overall reduction in inflammatory markers (hs-CRP, IL-6,7,18), oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, blood pressure, insulin resistance, blood glucose dysregulation, LDL, HDL, total cholesterol levels and body weight (3, 4, 6, 7).

Legumes, specifically beans are good sources of potassium and magnesium, which may help reduce BP (21, 22) and due to their low glycaemic load, they are likely to result in lower postprandial insulin levels, associated with lower salt retention and lower BP (23, 24).

So what’s different about the MD?

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The Mediterranean Diet

Cardiovascular disease is a favourite topic of mine so when it comes to dietary interventions to prevent and reverse heart disease, the Mediterranean diet (MD) is right up there, alongside a whole-food plant based diet low in sugars as the best dietary choices available.

The MD has been extensively studied, going back as far as the 1990s with the Lyon Diet Heart Study. A PubMed search for the term “Mediterranean diet” yields over 5,000 results. When you include “cardiovascular disease”, the search returns over 1,600 results. There is a lot of information on this out there so it can be hard to distill the reliable, trustworthy sources from the rest of the noise in the world of nutritional science.

Here’s my take on this dietary approach.

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To Test or Not To Test

Nutritional therapy often involves diagnostic testing to help us figure out what’s going wrong with our clients. Diagnostics may include stool tests, adrenal stress tests, hormone tests like thyroid, urine, bone resorption…the list goes on. They are a very useful component to any NT protocol.

I have been reviewing and studying the GI-MAP stool based test from Invivo Healthcare in the UK recently.

Here’s a quick overview.

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So What Exactly is Functional Medicine?

The area of functional medicine is an emerging area. It is probably in the storming or forming stages of establishment and development as it rubs up against conventional medicine and it remains to be seen how the two can co-exist.

I like this definition:

Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.

ifm.org

This approach makes much more sense to me in terms of trying to avoid disease rather than waiting to be affected and then trying to deal with the disease once it has taken hold.

But how is if different to conventional medicine?

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Finding the Truth in Nutrition

My interest in nutrition started with a single question.

Did diet and lifestyle choices have any bearing on my Dad’s heart disease and ultimate passing in 2011?

I watched my Dad goes through 4 (yes 4) quadruple bypass surgeries where they moved healthy veins from his legs and transplanted them into his chest to restore blood flow to his heart that was being negatively impacted by blockages in his arteries. It is a deeply invasive but life saving surgery that arguably kept him alive for another 10 or so years.

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Reflections on Cancer

Cancer: the mega disease predicted to affect 1 in 2 of us in the coming years, if not already. It’s a scary topic, almost everyone I know has been affected in some shape or form by this disease or their family has. It appears to be rampant and getting worse with each passing year.

So when I read that we were going to spend an entire day diving into this very topic as part of my Nutritional science qualification, I was super excited.

Cancer: uncontrolled cell division with the ability to invade other tissue, either adjacent or distant sites (metastasis)

IINH 2019
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The Magic of the Nervous System

I’ve just started back into Year 3 of nutritional science and my first module is the Nervous system. Every system I study just blows me away with it’s complexity and how it functions and the nervous system is no different. It is amazing what is going on inside the billions of nerve cells (called neurons) inside our brains and bodies every millisecond of the day. There is no computer or AI in the world that can even come close to performing at the same level as the human nervous system.

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