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יום חמישי, 3 ביולי 2014

Lost more than 50 Kgs in one year

Hi everybody,

Today, one year ago I started my new diet, my new way of life. Back then, 12 months ago I was weighing 139.6 Kgs (308 pounds) and now I today I weight 86 Kgs (190 pounds). That's a loss of 53.6 Kgs (118 pounds) in 12 months.

Now, my special lady was kind enough to help me arrange the pictures in this post using her GIMP skills. Take a look!!!!



I had morbid obessity, my fasting glucose was 129, my HB1AC was 7.2, I had chronic pain in my legs so I couldn't walk more than 100 meters w/o pain, my blood pressure was 170 at the doctor's clinic and I she adviced me to start taking Metformin. 

I didn't know what diabetes was at that time and I saw this book "the end of diabetes" written by Dr. Fuhrman advocating the nutritarian life style. I became vegan, and a healthy one and fats started shedding off me at an unbelievable rate. I lost so many pounds and w/o ever being hungry. It's the super micro nutrients oriented nutrition that provides my body with everything it needs. I am rarely hungry, I don't think about food and how to avoid it - I eat tons of greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, seeds, nuts & fruits.

And look at me today - only one year after starting, my fasting glucose is at 92, my HB1AC is 5.8, I no longer having any pain in my legs and I run between 3 and 8 Km three times a week. 


It's amazing how our body can heal *IF* we just give it a chance to heal!! I encourage every fat person out to read my blog here, there's tons of information, and start his voyage back to health.

Aviel. 



יום שבת, 5 באפריל 2014

yummy walnuts and kale pesto

Hi everyone,

I have to share this with you.

This pesto is so healthy and sooo yum, yum, yummy that I just have to tell you how to prepare... :)

So here goes -

Ingredients:

  • A bucket of kale קופסא של קייל
  • One Cup of walnuts כוס אגוזי מלך
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice רבע כוס מיץ לימון
  • 1 tsp Mustard כפית חרדל
  • 1/2 cup Brewers Yeast flakes כוס פתיתי שמרי בירה
  • 1 tsp salt כפית מלח
  • 1 tsp black pepper כפית פלפל
  • 4 cloves garlic  ארבע שיני שום
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil שתי כפות שמן קוקוס
  • 2 tbsp hemp oil (use olive oil if you are not rich or you are rich and thrifty) שתי כפות שמן המפ 
ואם אין שמן המפ אז אפשר שמן זית

Method:

warm a bit (few minutes) the walnuts and set a side


 Take one package bucket of kale

Warm coconut oil in a wok and add the chopped Kale (no need to get rid of the stems - they are OK)


Cook for maybe 3-4 minutes (cover)


Put in a food processor


Add the walnets, the lemon, the garlic, the salt & pepper, the mustard, the hemp oil and the yeast.
Blend for a minute or two...

And Voilla... - It is delicious, a bit on the sour side


You can add it to the bread that you are eating - but I recommend you don't eat bread... so maybe just munch on it - it's gooood.

Kale is ranked #1 in the ANDI score invented by Dr. Fuhrman - which means it has the highest nutrition value per calorie. 

Coconut oil is easily absorbed into the blood, is satiating, fills you with energy and helping you lose weight!

Hemp oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats, it is actually the ideal source for the two essential fatty acids: Linoleic acid (Omega-6) and Alpha Linoleic Acid (Omega-3) having just the right ratio between the two for human consumption.

And Walnuts... - they too have the above polyunsaturated fats, they are good for your cognition & memory, they make your hair thick and prevent dryness of your skin.

So with all this packed health - what are you waiting for? go spend 5 minutes in the kitchen and enjoy!

Aviel.

יום שבת, 1 במרץ 2014

Slow down your aging - Reduce AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products)

Hiya folks,

How old do you think this guy is? What if I tell you that he’s 27? No way you are saying.



Now how about this woman? How old is she? Is it possible that she’s 72 years old?



Yes you are right the man is clearly 72 years old and the woman is 27 years old. Aging is something that we recognize immediately. Aging is a progressive process that till today we are un-able to stop. Even the health Guros – you look at them through the botox and you know their age. 

Humans don’t need testing for blood pressure in order to gauge quite accurately the age of a person. Actually till today – there’s no test that can provide us with the "biological" age of a person.  We just take a look and we know, it’s the hair color, it’s the wrinkles, it’s the spots on the skin, it’s the color that gets darker brownish, it’s the dowager’s hump that’s develops and sometimes it’s the clogged brain (dementia) that we witness.

But biological aging can be slowed, and actually scientists are starting to explore in the last years the possibilities. Can we slow the formation of wrinkles? Can we delay the onset of Cataracts?  Can we delay the onset of diabetes? Of heart disease?

The answer is that probably yes – and today we are going to explore one of the major age promoting agents – AGEs - Advanced Glycated End products, and we are going to learn how to slow their formation.

What are AGEs?

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are a group of compounds that are formed when sugar interacts with proteins. AGEs are useless debris that results in tissue decay as they accumulate. They provide no useful function, they can’t be burned for energy, and they provide no lubricating or communicating functions. AGEs are harmful compounds that are being accumulated by our body and are thought to be one factor in aging and some age- related chronic diseases.  The more we accumulate AGEs, the more we age.

The pathological effects of AGEs are related to their ability to promote oxidative stress and inflammation by binding with cell surface receptors or cross-linking with body proteins, altering their structure and function [1].

Accumulated AGEs are associated with the amount of wrinkles, the general health of the skin, the amount of plaque that fills the arteries leading to arteriosclerosis, the loss of brain cells leading to dementia. AGEs are highly associated with diabetes and other chronic diseases.

They tend to clutter together and sit there in the body as debris, they are resistant to the immune system and the body just can’t get rid of them.


What is the damage that AGEs cause?

AGEs are forming everywhere in the body,  they are the result of proteins being bonded (glycated) with glucose and since we have lots of tissue made of protein and since glucose is flooding our body then this catholic marriage between proteins and glucose occur randomly all the time. But luckily many tissues are being replaced by the body so the AGEs can’t accumulate on those tissues. However there are some tissues that are never replaced in the retina of the eye, in the brain and in some other strategic locations – there the damage is accumulated. If your retina gets AGEs then that's for life!!

So let's go over the damage that these AGEs are causing:

Cardio Vascular diseases

AGEs cause arterial stiffening – healthy arteries can expand and accommodate blood ejected from the heart. This way the arteries kind of smooth the blood stokes into the rest of the body. Arterial stiffness causes the heart to pump harder in order to make them expand – a huge toll on the heart. [2]



AGEs cause atherosclerosis endothelial dysfunction – The endothelium is a thin layer on the artery wall just at the interface between the blood stream and the rest of the artery tissue. When functioning properly it controls the volume of electrolytes and other substances that pass from the blood into the tissues. AGEs  form on this endothelium tissue and cause inflammation there. They also cause generation of reactive oxygen species that bind with low-density lipoproteins (LDL). While cholesterol may not be a problem for your body (yes, yes!) the oxidation of the "bad cholesterol" (small LDL particles) is forming a plaque and eventually blocking the vessels.


As I explained in my blog post about sex - NO (Nitric Oxide) expands the arteries thus counteracting some of the mechanisms for atherosclerosis. AGEs interfere with this activity promoting atherosclerosis and… yes – they are causing erectile dysfunction to.

Semba et al. studied a group of 559 women aged 65 and older for 4.5 years and found that the highest risk for dying of cardiovascular disease were for women with the highest CML – one of the more known AGE compounds. [3]


Muscle Weakness

Muscle weakness is a problem of one third of women and half of men older than 60 in the us. In a study on women over 65 it was found that women with higher concentration of CML had less grip strength than women with lower CML [4]




Kidney failure

AGEs are scarring the kidney's tiny blood vessels that filter urine from the blood (Glomerulosclerosis). It cloggs the blood vessles inside the kidney which eventually end in kidney failure [5].




Alzheimer’s disease

AGEs are throught to be involved in Alzheimer's disease by inducing oxidative stress, inflammation and cell death. Researchers were studying a collections of brain samples from deceased patients who had suffered from Alzheimer's vs. a control group and found evidence for oxidative stress in the hippocampus part of the brain of Alzheimer's patients[6]. 




Eyes diseases

The retina of the eyes is the tissue on which light falls after it goes through the lens. This retina is exposed to lifetime of potentially damaging environmental and physiological factors that make the component cells exquisitely sensitive to age-related processes.  It can cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the western world [7]




It is suggested that advanced glycation plays also a pivotal role in cataract formation – the second leading cause of blindness. Since the lens proteins are long-lived, they too are highly susceptible to damange induced by AGEs. Researches took samples from 44 cataractous eye lenses and 6 non cataractours eye lenses, and found out that AGEs formed in higher degree in cataractous lenses than in noncataractous lenses. [8]




Skin

There is ample evidence that AGEs play an important role in skin aging for example collagen is a major protein in the skin. AGEs impair its function leading to stiffness and decreased flexibility [9]


AGEs and Diabetes

All the above effects of AGEs are illnesses of the elderly, the more we age, the more AGEs we accumulated. It's a progressive thing and the only thing we can do is to try to slow down this process and there are studies that correlate human age with the accumulation of AGEs (10).

Diabetes is this terrible disease that accelerates aging. In diabetes the average level of glucose in the blood is higher than normal people throughout the day which provides more opportunity for this infamous glycation process leading to the accumulation of AGEs. So researchers are studying diabetes because they have this opportunity to see all the above diseases in younger people. And indeed diabetic people suffer from the above, their condition lead eventually to coronary heart disease, to kidney failure, skin aging, cataract, Alzhimer's, etc.

So let's put here some wrinkles to remind you of where you are going to if you continue down the path of diabetis...


What is causing AGEs accumulation?

There are 3 sources in general:
·         Endogenous – AGEs are created internally by a process called glycation on which proteins are bound to carbs.
·         Exogenous –AGEs is input to the body through food that we ingest.
·         Smoking – AGEs are input to the body through the smoke that we inhale.

Endogenous AGEs

Endogenous AGEs are formed inside the body. As explained above they are the result of a process by which proteins are bound to glucose. When we eat , the level of glucose in the body goes up. The glucose is randomly bound to proteins to form AGEs. The higher the blood glucose – the higher the number of AGEs that are formed.

To combat the formation of these AGEs – we should keep the blood glucose level down. Every second that passes the number of AGEs created is linearily proportional to the glucose level at that second. This is why we care about average glucose levels rather than fasting glucose level.

If you eat foods with high glycemic values such as breads then your glucose level shoots up. If you eat the whole wheat ‘healthy’ breads then your blood glucose levels stays high for a long time since the glucose is released slowly to the blood over a long period of time.

If you eat 3 meals per day and you don’t eat nothing between meals then you can see that typically your blood level goes up at the time of the meal, reaches the maximum about one hour later and after two hours it’s back to normal.  This is the point where your psych leads you to the coffee corner to get your dose of coffee with sugar and if you are proud of not adding sugar then you add milk and this milk contains lots of glucose. And perhaps you taste a little cookie – you don’t really let your glucose level go down down to the required zone between 70 and 85, you always keep it above  100 and you are promoting AGE formation every second of your life… well except for when you are sleeping.

Yea - yumm, yumm, yummy eh? And I also watch closely at my work place after these people taking serials with the 3 clock's coffee...




Measuring Endonenous AGEs formation

There are many types of proteins binding to glucose. The most famous of them is called HB1AC. An HB1AC level below 5 is considered excellent, until 6.5 is regarded as normal, beyond 6.5 is already full blown diabetes. This HB1AC is linearily associated with your average blood glucose level in the past 60-120 days !!! The following table shows the linear relation.


I found the table in (11) and it says that actually there's a simple linear relation between your HB1AC and your average blood glucose level (eAG): eAGE(mg/dl) = 28.7*HbA1c - 46.7.
Now think about it – while the AGEs are the accumulated glycation over time, the HB1AC is the velocity… Remember what you learned in physics? S = v*t or AGEs goes like HB1AC * time. If you want to get older faster, then drive your life with a high HB1AC. I am currently measuring my glucose before and after every meal on top of fasting glucose that I measure in the morning. I want to find out which of my meals is increasing the velocity of my aging. Yes, people just don’t get it – they continue snacking between meals, they enjoy good tasty fiberless, processed food and they drive fast to their DEATH. I don’t, I try my best to live slowly. Yes, measuring my blood glucose costs me money (~0.5$ per test) but I am learning valuable information about my body as I am striving for  health excellence.




I am proposing here a hypothesis. Indeed it has to be proven yes I know but let me say it. If HB1AC is the velocity as explained above and we take HB1AC=4.5% as the optimal HB1AC and 120  years is the time we are expected to live if all goes well then the road ahead of us from the day we are born is 4.5%*120 years = 540 years%. As simple as that. Now you can look at the table below and see your life expectancy as a function of your HB1AC measure provided that Endogenous AGEs are the only life shortening effect. Yes Indeed you could be dying from cancer before you reach you AGEs induced life expectancy but if you don’t then you are expected *on average* to live as much as written in this table.
 

Exogenous AGEs


AGEs can be input to the body through the food we eat.  A 2010 study contains tables of foods and their AGEs.  You might want to take a look – it’s interesting. (12)

I averaged the amount of AGEs per serving according to different categories and the following table summarize that.



The highest amount of AGEs per serving can be found in meat products, that is poultry with 4,790 Kilo units per serving, Beef with 4,445 Kilo units per serving and Pork with 3,658 Kilo units per serving.  See the brown thing forming on the chicken? That's a high concentration of AGEs... And... no, if you remove the skin you will are going to meet lots of AGEs in meat.




Fish, cheese, fats and lamb follow with about 1000-1500 Kilo units per serving.

The least amount of AGEs can be found in fruits, eggs, breads, vegetables, milk, fruit juice and vegetable juice – up to 150 Kilo units of AGEs per serving.



But inside the groups there’s lots of variance because the amount of AGEs is a function of how you cook, at which temperature and for how long. If we take the poultry group for example and focus on a serving of chicken breast then broiling dry gets the highest amount of AGEs – 7922. The higher the heat, and the less liquids involved – the higher the AGEs intake. Actually any time you see sear marks on steak, a crispy coating on fried chicken, or a golden crust on bread, you’re looking at AGEs (13).

Deep frying is also a bad option, Grilling too.

Eating the chicken breast raw is the best option (692) followed by steaming, then poaching and boiling.
Sometimes once you fry your food it doesn’t really matter much if you do it for 7 minutes (3,726 KU/serving of chicken breast) or for 13 minutes (4,444 KU/serving of chicken breast). But cooking Paste for 12 minutes double the AGEs than cooking the same pasta for 8 minutes.

The temperature of cooking matters a lot. Cooking chicken breast for one hour yields 1011 KU/serving AGE while broiling it for 15 minutes yield 5,245 KU/serving.


The amount of processing also affects the AGE levels. For example popcorn has 40 KU/serving while perzels have 537 KU/serving !!! This is because of the different processing that these two products are undergoing.




A few studies about intestinal absorption of different AGEs have been conducted. However, the complete extent of absorption of each individual AGE is not well known. The most studied dietary AGEs are CML, pyrraline and pentosidine. Several studies have shown different rates of absorption of each of them. However, their metabolic pathways have not been elucidated. More studies on this area are needed to understand the impact of dietary AGEs on health and aging (14)

If indeed there is a significance absorption rate of exogenous AGEs then it negates the claims made by  those promoting diets based on intake of fat and proteins from meat (Paleo and such).

Practical Advice

So after introducing you to AGEs and going through all the pathologic consequences as well as the why and how's... let's give you a practical advice - how and what you should eat to reduce AGEs :)

  1. Most people start to care about their health when they are old and when the damage has already accumulated. Start Today, oh no no... start YESTERDAY!
  2. Get yourself familiar with the table of glycemic indexes – avoid those with high glycemic values.
  3. Notice that whole wheat bread has the same glycemic value as white bread – eat wheat very rarely or better yet - don't eat wheat at all.
  4. Don’t eat white rice, pasta, instant oat meal, fruit juices, raisings, bagels, white potatoes and junk processed foods,
  5.  Don’t add sugar or fructose to your foods.
  6. Reduce your intake of grains and starches - rice, pasta, etc.
  7. Go test your Hb1Ac– if it’s above 5 then you should do something about it.
  8. Measure your glucose level before eating and 1 hour after eating - study how you respond to different meals. 
  9. Avoid meat & cheese because of their exogenous AGEs.
  10. If you insist on consuming meat then eat it raw or steamed or poached or boiled.
  11. Reduce your intake of Soy and Tofu products because of their exogenous AGEs content.
  12. Avoid fish except for raw salmon, or perhaps canned tuna (Exogenous AGEs again)
  13.  Make greens & beans the center piece of your diet.
  14. Never eat foods that were cooked for a long time. Prefer your food cooked Al-Dante.
  15. Always cook with moistures (e.g. water): steaming, braising and blanching
  16. Avoid deep frying, roasting, broiling and grilling.
  17. Reduce your intake of nuts/seed to about an once a day (Exogenous AGEs again)

AAviel.


Sources

  1. Albert S Eblez, et. al "Nonenzymatic Glucosylation and Glucose-dependent Cross-linking of Protein". (PDF)
  2. Claudia Luevano-Contreas et al "Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products and Again, Nutrients 2010, 2, 1247-1265; doi:10.3390/nu2121247 (PDF)
  3. Semba, R.D.; Ferrucci, L.; Sun, K.; Beck, J.; Dalal, M.; Varadhan, R.; Walston, J.; Guralnik, J.M.; Fried, L.P. "Advanced glycation end products and their circulating receptors predict cardiovascular disease mortality in older community-dwelling women" (LINK)
  4. Dala M et. al "Elevated serum advanced dlycation end products and poor grip strength in older community-dwelling women", J Geronotol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2009 Jan; 64(1): 132-7. (LINK)
  5. Jurgen M. Bohlender et. al "Advanced glycation end products and the kidney" (PDF).
  6. F.F. Cruz-Sanchez et. al "Oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease hippocampus: A topographical study (PDF)
  7. Glenn JV et. al "The role of advanced glycation end products in the retinal ageing and disease", Biochim Biophys Acta 2009 Oct; 1790(10), 1109-16. 
  8. Frank S, et. al "Increased levels of advanced glycation end products in human cataractous lenses" (Link)
  9. Paraskevi Gkogkolou et. al "Advanced glycation end products" (LINK)
  10. Daniel G. Dyer et. al "Accumulation of Maillard Reaction Products in Skin Collagen in Diabetes and Aging" 6-1-1993 University of South Carolina Scholar Commons (LINK)
  11. HbA1c and Estimated Average Glucose (eAG) (LINK)
  12. Jaime Uribarri, MD, et. al "Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to Their Reduction in the Diet" (LINK)
  13. Alisa Bowman "Grill, Interrupted" April 8, 2008 Women's Health (LINK)
  14. Claudia Luevano-Contrearas et. al "Dietary Advanced Glycation End Products and Aging" (LINK)










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יום שבת, 1 בפברואר 2014

My 7 days fast

Hi guys,

Here's me after 7 days of fast + 1 day of trying unsuccessfully to eat.... 


What a mess....

I think I owe an explanation....

Let me get back to the basics, 6 months ago I weighted 139.6 Kg and was diagnosed with Metabolic syndrome which means: Diabetes, Hypertension & Morbid obesity. I decided to follow Dr. Fuhrman's nutritarial diet basing my diet on his book - "The end of diabetes". I lost weight, my Hb1aC went down from 7.2 to 5.8, my fasting glucose went down from 126 to 98 and of course all the rest of the parameters are extra ordinary better than they used to be.

But the big question is - 

Am I still diabetic?

What is the definition of being diabetic? Well according to the american diabetes association it's enough if your fasting glucose was measured twice, on two separated days 126 or above. It's like if ANY time during your past you measured like this then you diabetic no matter what, no matter if you removed all symptoms, no matter if you are thin, muscular, can run a marathon. It doesn't matter if you are sorry about your nutrition in the past - you are diabetic.

Am I diabetic?

Read on!

My 7 day fast started on Friday 24/Jan/2014 at 17:04 and ended on Friday 31/Jan/2014. During my fast I ate nothing and drank water as much as I wanted. I did this fast in order to let my body rest. I wanted to give my body a long period w/o having to digest food. During this time the body can detox, fix, and do whatever it needs to do w/o energy being wasted on digestion. Many chronic illnesses were reversed with fasting because at last you give your body opportunity to deal with the problems. For example during this specific fast my body fixed an eczema that I had in my right foot. It's totally clean now and only in one week. 

Specifically I wanted to help my cells become more sensitive to insulin. When we eat food containing glucose such as sugar, ice cream, bread or rice insulin is being secreted. Insulin is helping the glucose molecules get into the cells. When we flood the body with too much glucose then over the years the cells are becoming resistant to insulin, when the insulin is knocking on the rusty doors of the cells - they don't open and the glucose stays in the blood. My thinking was that if I deprive my body from food then the cells will try to get their glucose, they will beg for glucose and maybe become a little bit more sensitive to insulin. 

Did I succeed at this plan?

Read on!

The third goal for this fast was to expedite my weight loss - yes I am still over weight, yes there's still visceral fat that I can get rid of and this fat is blocking the way of glucose to the cells - this fat is promoting insulin resistance, so I am going to get rid of it to the point that I shall be so thin and ugly that even my mother is not going to recognize me.

I did all of this fast while working normally. And when I work normally - it means lots of brain power, debugging, solving engineering problems, dealing with customers problems - lots of concentration and focus and I did this while the brain has no glucose....

You see? On the first day of the fast - there's still some glucose in the blood, in the liver, in the muscles stored as glycogen, that's still fine. On the second day the body starts burning fats & muscles in order to get glucose. After 3 days of this - the body says 'enough is enough' and the liver starts producing ketones. These little puppies are the alternative energy source for our body and especially the brain. Research is indicating that when the brain is working on ketones the cognition is raised by 25%!! So that's why I could play Lumosity and break my records even if I was deep into the fast.

My glucose levels went down. I was so happy... I mean before this fast I was measured 98 after 8 hour fast, I measured myself at all sorts of numbers from 82 to 106 and all of a sudden I past by the 82 mark and I continue lower, lower, lower. About one day of fasting I measured 61, 2 days after starting the fast I measured 65, after 3 days I measured 58, after 4 days I measured 51 and I stayed there. And indeed normal people's glucose level is 40-65 during such long fasts.

During the fast I was not hungry, was not fatigue, maybe a little bit dizzy when getting out of bed for the first 10 seconds but that's all - but still there was this uncomfortable feeling, especially on the last fasting day.

I already explained that normal people have this false hunger and therefore they always need to eat something, they are in a vicious cycle, they are in a trap that will lead to their death. I am not. I am over it, I had it in the first days of July when I started my diet and it's gone. So going into this fast was very easy and smooth for me.

But going OUT of this fast... was quite... dramatic.

In his book "Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease" Dr. Fuhrman explains that it's very important to go out of the fast verrrry slowly. For his 3 week fasters he provides additional 5 days of recuperation until they are able to go home...

Well I decided to do it slowly and to monitor my blood glucose every hour.

I started drinking half a cup of a lemon drink - Guys I swear to god this was the best drink I have EVER drank in my life. WOww.... it felt sooo good. After one week of not eating anything your taste buds are becoming sooo sensitive that you learn to appreciate anything - even lemon.

Then I waited one hour and measured my glucose - it went up from 52 to 56 so I told myself - that is a very calm and slow awakening. And indeed some calorie restriction practitioners are breaking their fast with such a teaser drink. The idea is to tell the pancreas -  'hey, get your insulin pumps going, there's gonna be some more'.

I ate 200 grams sweet potato puree with 1 tbsp coconut oil + 1 tbsp olive oil and it was SO GOOOD... I almost fainted with joy. Wow you learn to appreciate the little things, the good things, your body becomes sensitive.

I waited one more hour and I measured my glucose - it was 72 and I was delighted, wow that's nice, I am sensitive, I really got rid of my diabetes, I can eat small amounts and still have my glucose at 72 after one hour.

I then drank a vegetable soup and waited one more hour.

When I measured my blood glucose this time I was absolutely astonished to find out that it was no less than 149 !!!!! How come that from such a smooth transition I get this? I think it's the carrot. For some reason some of Dr. Fuhrman's soup recipes contain carrots although they are notorious for their super high glycemic value. This is scary - this jump from 72 to 149 and for nothing - it wasn't a cake, it wasn't coffee with sugar - it was soup with cooked carrot juice. If my body reacts like this then something must be wrong.

I decided to wait exactly one more hour.

I measured again - 156 !!!!

Do you understand what's going on here?

I am after 7 days of fast where my body is not 'trained' in digesting food yet, the enzymes are still not active so much and here I am with glucose in my blood that I can't get rid of. It's either that the pancreas doesn't release enough insulin, which I doubt, or it is that the cells are still telling me - you and your fasting and your Doctor Fuhrman and all the vegan and nutritarial stuff - can kiss our ass - we are NOT opening the doors.

I was in panic.

I decided to go outside for a brisk walk, it was Friday night, the streets were empty and I was pacing briskly, running up up the stairs, down the stairs, trying to make my cells that they don't have any option but to get the glucose in because I don't have any medications for this crap - I need those cells to be good girls and to open up.

I measured exactly after one hour - it was 79! That's what I call hypoglycemia at its best - after letting all the glucose into the cells, the insulin is still walking in the corridors of your veins telling all the glucose "who wants to mess with me?".

I read again the relevant chapter of Dr. Fuhrman's book - he meant to do it VERY slowly... so I am now under the following regime: every 2 hours, if my blood glucose is below 100 then I am allowed to drink exactly one cup of either fruit juice or one cup of vegetable juice. 

Today, 14 hours after I broke my fast, I woke up with a glucose level of 82. That was great. Two hours after that I drank one cup of vegetable juice. Two hours after that I drank one cup strawberries+bananas+pineapples juice.  I had to wait 3 hours till my glucose could go down below 100 and measured 95 - it means that I am still insulin resistant, no matter all my efforts, I just can't consume glucose like I used to. At 15:00 I drank one cup of vegetables, waited two hours and yes... my glucose is at 93, so that's good - after such a fight, I am in control again - I can eat a little, make sure it doesn't blow my glucose level and then wait a little and so on, and my glucose level goes back to 93 which means I am sensitive... as long as I don't wake up the lion....

So that's it for now, I am still trying to get out of this fast w/o harm but had to write about it cause I get so many questions. 

I just ate one banana, and in two hours I shall measure again....

And what's the conclusion for you out there?  DON'T GET DIABETIC !!!   :)


Aviel.  

יום שני, 20 בינואר 2014

Why you should care about your Omega-3 intake and why am I only 99% vegan

Hello everyone,

If you are sure you getting enough Omega-3 - Kudos. But I think that still this article can help you realize how good you are doing to your body.

If you are not getting enough or perhaps you don't know or are not sure - please read on! it's important!!

Why am I saying that it's important? 

Because one should nourish his body with everything that that the body needs. If one nutrient is missing, be it a vitamin, a mineral, a fatty acid or a phytochemical - then we are not even in a position to say exactly what is the damage. You see - each nutrient is being used in multiple functions in our body. It's not about 'eat this nutrient in order to improve your blood circulation' - no! if you eat 'this nutrient' - it's going to enable your body to do multiple functions and most of them are not even related!! If you don't provide the nutrient then your body is disabled, you are crippling your body.

Now most of my readers are young enough not to care - they are saying that if they managed to live 30-40 years w/o omega-3 then everything is going to be cool in the future too and there's no need to worry about it. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you misbehave nutritionally then your body can tolerate it for years before you discover that you are in for a big problem.

So after this 'positive' introduction - let's focus now on Omega-3 fatty acids. But first let's get to know the players - the fatty acids.

What is Omega-3? What is Omega-6? What is DHA? What is EPA?

All of the above are unsaturated fatty acids.

Let me explain… 

A fatty acid is a long molecule containing a tail built of many C (carbon) and H (Hydrogen). It can be either saturated or unsaturated and the following figure demonstrates the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. 



Carbons in saturated fatty acids are always attached to two hydrogens except for the end of the tail. Unsaturated fatty acids contain at least one carbon-carbon double bond (The '==' in he figure).

The following table shows the fatty acids that we are going to talk about today. In the table you can see one omega-6 fatty acid and 3 omega-3 fatty acids. 


One end of the chain is always CH3 and is called the methyl end or omega. The right end side is always COOH and is called alpha.

If you count the number of carbons ('C') from the omega side of an Omega-3 fatty acid to the first link then you will see 3 such carbons - hence the name: 'Omega 3'. If you do the smae for an Omega-6 fatty acid then you will see that there are 6 carbons.

What are the main benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids? 


The Omega-3 fatty acid ALA is defined by the medical world as an essential fatty acids. That is the body needs it but can’t create it – the body needs to get them somehow from an external source be it through food or supplementation.

ALA's major role is to convert to EPA & DHA - which are Omega-3 fatty acids. There's a debate whether it has other roles but with your permission let's focus on the DHA today because this *is* a really important fatty acid.

DHA plays an important role in neural function. Decreases in plasma DHA are associated with cognitive decline in healthy elderly adults and in patients with Alzheimer's disease.



A 2010 research conducted over 24 weeks period on 485 elderly people suffering from age-related cognitive decline (ARCD) demonstrated  improved learning and memory functions which proves that DHA is a beneficial supplement that supports cognitive health with aging. [1]

A 4 years study involving 815 individuals, reported in the July 2003 archives of Neurology, concluded that "dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids and weekly consumption of fish may reduce the risk of incident Alzheimer's disease" [2]

n-3 fatty acid is the  most abundant fatty acid in the mammalian brain. More than 2/3 of the dry weight of the human brain is fat and ¼ of this is DHA.  Structurally it’s an important building block for the membranes surrounding the brain cell and in particular the synapses which lie at the heart of the brain function. It is a precursor of membrane lipids and as such is an important component of brain growth and myelination. [3]

Our brain contains ~100,000,000,000 neurons and these neurons are communicating through synapses. Synaptic plasticity is the capability of these synapses to strengthen or weaken over time in response to their activity. Since memories are assumed to be represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain - synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory.



Our brain has a protein called  BDNF, short for "Brain-derived neurotrophic factor". This BDNF supports the survival of existing neurons and encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses.

Exercise and DHA are linked to the action of BDNF and thus promoting memory and cognition. The following chart says it all [4]


Look! If you are given two options: (1) work on a mathematic puzzle (2) go for a brisk walk - which of the two is going to contribute more to your brain? The correct answer is (2) - indeed! Going into the details of this is beyond the scope of this essay - but I encourage you to read more about it or just to... well.. trust me!


DHA is also essential for eye function (Retina) [5]. It also protects against cardio vascular risks as result of diabetes [6] and has many other functions. As I said generally - one single nutrient can affect multiple functions in the human body. You can't ask what a specific nutrient is good for... because each nutrient is good for so many functions. 

How much EPA+DHA do we need?

The American heart association are recommending about 1 gram of EPA+DHA per day for patients with document coronary heart disease. Other patients are advised to eat fish at least twice a week. For people without heart problems they recommend two oily fish meals per week which would provide 400-500 mg EPA+DHA per day.[7]


The Australians heart foundation recommends that people with heart disease consume 1000 mgs omega-3 per day.[8]

The European Food Safety Authority published a scientific opinion in their 2012 journal were they state that Dietary recommendations for EPA and DHA based on cardiovascular risk considerations for European adults are between 250 and 500 mg/day. 

As for the upper bound they are saying that there's not enough data however taking combined EPA & DHA at doses up to 5 g/day do not raise safety concerns for the adult population. [9]

While there's a debate whether Omega-3 supplementation can help with diabetes, it is well established already that Omega-3 doesn't have bad effect on diabetes. Among those taking Omega-3 fatty acids, triglyceride levels were significantly lowered and no significant change was registered in total cholesterol, HDL cholesteol, HbA1c, fasting plasman glucose, fasting insulin or body weight. [10] This fact allows me, as someone who was diagnosed as diabetic - to double down my DHA consumption :)

How can we increase our DHA ?


There are two solutions:

1.       Eat foods rich in ALA and rely on the body converting from ALA to DHA
2.       Eat foods or consume supplements rich in DHA directly.

Let’s explore the two options.


The ALA to DHA path 

Using this solution we consume food rich in ALA and rely on our body to convert from ALA to DHA. There are two problems with this solution:

  • The sources for this ALA are limited and unstable
  • The conversion is poblematic and in the process ALA is competing against LA over the same enzymes.
Let's dive in - 

Sources of ALA are limited and unstable

ALA is found in green leaves and some oils used for cooking such as rapeseed oil and soybean oil. Some nuts are particularly rich in ALA. I constructed the following table based on the USDA data base as it is presented in the nutritiondata.com web site:



Omega-3
Omega-6
mono
saturated
sum
Sunflower Seeds
100 grams
0.07
23
18.5
4.5
46.07
Flax Seeds
100 grams
53.3
12.7
20.2
9.4
95.6
Chia Seeds
100 grams
17.5
5.8
2.1
3.2
28.6
Cashew nuts
100 grams
0.06
7.8
23.8
7.8
39.46
Almonds
100 grams
5.7
11.5
29.3
11.5
58
Brazil Nuts
100 grams
0.018
20.5
24.6
15.1
60.218
Peanuts
100 grams
0.19
10.535
31.4
6.9
49.025

According to the above table flax seeds are a very potent source for ALA that can later be converted to DHA. But apparently not so… flax oil is oxidized in 20 minutes at room temperature [11]. Flax oil absorption is problematic. If you do want to consume flax seeds then you have to grind them and then store them in an opaque container in the fridge. Unsaturated fats are oxydized very fast at room temperature. 


A rare type of oil extracted from Clary sage (Salvia Sclarea) was discovered after a 7 year research conducted at the Volcani Institute by a team of researchers headed by Dr. Nativ Dudai. This plant is native to the middle east with some areas in north Africa and central asia. It’s much more stable and can be absorbed more efficiently by the body.



If we to follow the World Health Organization (WHO) for an intake of 1-2% of calories from omega-3 fatty acids [12] then for a diet of say 2000 calories per day we shall have to consume 20-40 calories from ALA. Dividing by 9 calories per gram (one gram of fat equals 9 calories), we get 2-4 grams of ALA source per day.

The price for 300 grams Clary sage is 1000 IS here so for a daily consumption of 3 grams one has to pay 10 IS or 3650 IS per year =~ 1000$. I think this is prohibitive.

ALA is competing against ALA for the same enzymes used for the conversion


Humans are not good in the absorption of ALA into EPA & DHA. A paper [13] aggregating data from several studies points out that only 8% of ALA turns into EPA and only 4% of ALA turns into DHA and claims that “Overall, ALA appears to be a limited source of longer chain n-3 PUFA in humans. Thus adequate intakes of preformed long chain n-3 PUFA, in particular DHA, may be important for maintaining optimal tissue function”

Enzymes that are used for the conversion of ALA are also used for the conversion of LA, so these two fatty acids are competing on the same enzymes.



Further more – papers are showing that ALA to DHA conversion is reduced by 40% if LA consumption is doubled. Apparently both ALA to DHA and LA are fighting for the same de-saturate and elongate enzymes. It means that there should be a ratio between LA and ALA consumption in order that conversion shall succeed.[14]

Moreover – some people are limited in their ability to produce these enzymes, e.g. people with diabetics [15]

As I already mentioned the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an intake of 5-8% calories from omega-6 fatty acids, and 1-2% of calories from omega-3 fatty acids. This means that the recommended amount of omega-6 fatty acids relative to omega-3 fatty acids (or the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3) is 2.5:1 to 8:1.  This is a recommendation made for the general public – and is based on direct intake from EPA and DHA.

Unfortunately the ratio in the standard American diet (SAD) is between 1:5.5 (In Denmark) and 1:28.8 (in Spain…)[13]. 



This ratio doesn’t get better with standard vegetarian/vegan diet. Vegans consume tons of nuts and seeds and you can see from the above table that most of them contain tons of omega-6 (LA) and not enough enough omega-3(ALA).  And indeed a research conducted in 1992 shows that the EPA plasma levels for vegans were 38% [16]. That's one common mistake for vegans - they think that if they are vegans then they can enjoy as many cashew nuts as they want. No! One should always limit the amount of omega-6 oils.



Consuming DHA directly

Fish are a very good source for DHA which is good news… however the bad news is that all of them contain mercury which is a very poisonous metal. Some fish contain more and some fish contain less. For example Mackerels, sharks, swordfish and Tuna have the highest mercury concentration while Anchovies, clams, crabs, herrings, oysters & salmons for example have the least amount of mercury. [17]. By the way other mammals and birds are very low on Omega-3.

So while we want to boost our memory & cognition by consuming more DHA, the mercury in the fish has an adverse effect. A research actually compared the impact of 33 fish species on the IQ of children and found out that in total consuming DHA as well as... Mercury had a negative effect of up to 10 points on the IQ score!!! [18] - so eating fish is not such a good idea.



But there’s no need to eat fish – we can consume DHA from supplements. For example an Alsepa supplement that contains 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA in each 1000 mg capsule. Such DHA supplements have no traces of mercury. ConsumerLab performed a survey on 68 companies selling DHA supplements out of which 11 had contamination. Mercury was not found in ANY of the companies surveyed!! [19]

Actually fish don’t produce long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fish get their EPA & DHA from plants of the sea: micro algae and seaweed. The problem is that most of these are not concentrated sources. However micro algae are a good source.  There are many products providing vegan or 'so called vegan' EPA & DHA supplementation of which some are listed in [20]. Some of them are not completely vegan because they are using gel caps. 

O-Mega-Zen by NuTru [21] are totally vegan and contain 300 mg per capsule. These capsules are unfortunately expensive. A combined capsule containing 40 capsules each containing 100 mg EPA and 200 mg DHA costs 24$ here. Consuming two such capsules per day should cost 432$ (2 x 9  x 24$) per year + shipping. 



Comparing this to the fish based alternative of Alsepa – we are talking about 100 capsules by Alsepa each containing 450 mg EPA and 340 mg DHA cost ~90 IS = 26$ and for one year it should cost 26$ x 100 / 30 = 86$.



My personal conclusions

I am going to consume two Alsefa capsule per day in order to get conbind 600 mg Omega-3 oil per day. This is even more than recommended but surely far from reaching the upper intake limit.

The alternative of converting ALA to EPA/DHA is not efficient, not stable and not is not for anyone. The ALA sources such as flax seed are not reliable and the clary sage option costs 1000$ per year.
As for the alternative of getting DHA directly – the alga vegan option costs 432$ per year comparing to a fish based supplement that costs only 86$ per year. Getting DHA from micro alga is probably an expensive business and it indicates that this is not the natural way of consuming DHA. Our ancestors didn’t collect esoteric micro alga – they were eating fish. Fish mercury level may be problematic these days so getting the DHA from a quality supplement makes more sense.

As for the moral aspect of killing fish. I am vegan and I feel very bad about murdering animals – there’s not a single reason in the world to eat a poor turkey, I can survive and flourish without the poor turkey, but if by avoiding these marine based DHA capsules – I may suffer cognitive decline and memory loss and there’s no reasonable way out of it – then yes, in this case I shall consume these capsules. In this very specific case - it’s either me or them.

So by taking 2 grams of fish oil for Omega-3 and 545 mg for Vitman D - I am taking 2.545 grams of fish oil fat per day which translates to 22.9 calories out of ~2500 calories per day - which makes me only 99% vegan...



Aviel. 


Sources:
  1. Yuro-Mauro K. Beneficial effects of docasahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimers Dement 2010 Nov ; 6(6) (LINK)
  2. Morris MC Consumption of fish and n-3 fatty acids and risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol 2003 Jul; 60(7) (LINK)
  3. Petra S. Huppi Nutrition for the brain Pediatric research 2008 (PDF)
  4. Aiguo Wu DHA dietary supplementation enhances the effects of exercise on synaptic plasticity and cognition. Neuroscience 2008 June 17 (LINK)
  5. Brett G. Jeffrey, The role of docashexaenoic acid in retinal function; Lipids Sep 2001, volume 36, issue 9, pp 859-871 (LINK)
  6. McEwen B, Effect of omega-3 fish oil on cardiovascular risk in diabetes. Diabetes Duc. 2010 Jul-Aug 36(4) (LINK)
  7. American Heart Association Fish 101 Updated Mar 20, 2013 (LINK)
  8. Australian Heart Foundation Q&A Omega-3: General.
  9. European Food Safety Authority, Scientifi Opinion on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docasahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA). (PDF)
  10. Suzanne Hendrich (n-3) Fatty Acids: Clinical Trials in People with Type 2 Diabetes, Advances in Nutrition, an international review journal. (LINK)
  11. GOTOSEE.co.uk The health & Therapy guide Clary sage seeds - a unique Omega-3 source (LINK)
  12. WHO Technical Report Series 916 Diet, Nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases, Geneva 2003
  13. Graham C. Burdge, Conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human adults, February 2005 (PDF)
  14. Emken EA Dietary linolic acid influences desaturation and acylation of deuterium-labeled linoleic and linolenic acids in young adult males. 1994 Aug 4 (LINK)
  15. Artemis P Simpopoulos Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease, 1999 American Society for Clinical Nutrition
  16. Sanders, T.A.B. & Roshanai, F. (1992), Platelet phospholipid fatty acid composition and function in vegan compared with age- and sex-matched omnivore controls, Euro. J.Clin. Nutr., Vol 46, 823-31. (LINK)
  17. Natural resources defense council - protect yourself and your family consumer guide to Mercury in Fish. (LINK)
  18. Zeilmaker et. al. Fish consumption during child bearing age: a quantitative risk-benefit analysis on neurodevelopment, Food Chem Toxicol 2013 Apr 5 (LINK)
  19. Natural products Insider - ConsumerLab Tests show Omega-3 Contamination (LINK)
  20. Tanya Carr - Nutrition and health - Current Topics, table 2 on page 38 (LINK)
  21. NuTru manufacturer of O-Mega-Zen Web site (LINK)