Whew that was close! I almost didn't get my October newsletter out in the month of October!
Spring is also late this year but what I am really looking forward to is berry season. We really should eat fruits and vegetables that are in season if we want to be sure they are still nutritious. In supermarkets, you may be able to get most berries throughout the year but if they are not in season in South Africa then you do have to wonder where they have come from, how long it took to get them here and what has been done to them to keep them looking good. One berry you are not likely to find in the supermarkets is the much-maligned mulberry but I do hope that after reading this newsletter you will go all out to find some.
Roll on mulberry season!
Are you fortunate enough to have a mulberry tree in your back yard? I know they are messy but it’s time to stop cursing it and get on with enjoying the mulberries as a powerhouse of nutrients with amazing health benefits. Fact is, the more a fruit or vegetable stains your fingers, the higher its content of anthocyanins, the polyphenols responsible for giving it its strong colouring and the major contributors to the antioxidant activity of all berries. As you know, antioxidants attract and neutralize highly reactive free radicals that could otherwise damage body cells in ways that initiate cancer development, heart disease and age-related eye damage.
Apart from having an abundance of these phytochemicals, mulberries and all other berries are also an excellent source of vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant, with one cup of most berry varieties giving almost half the daily requirement of vitamin C for an adult. Vitamin C aids the formation of collagen, helps maintain healthy gums and capillaries and promotes iron absorption and a healthy immune system.
And then there’s resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red grapes and red wine, that has been heavily publicised for its positive health benefits. These benefits include lowering cholesterol, preventing cancer, blood clots, diabetes and aiding in weight loss. A fact that is not well publicised is that resveratrol is abundant in mulberries!
Like all berries, mulberries are also an excellent source of vitamin B, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron and just a handful of most berry types can help you meet your daily fibre requirement. A study done in 2010 using a mulberry extract even showed that it may prevent and treat Parkinson’s Disease.
Sadly, in the past, very little research has ever been done on mulberries. However that is all changing with mulberries now set to become the new super-food. Unfortunately the mulberry tree has been categorized as an invasive alien in South Africa and even though it may only be a problem in some areas such as KZN, you probably won’t be able to buy a mulberry tree at any nursery anywhere in the country. So do look after what you have!
Unlike mulberries, blueberries have been the subject of many a study and their health benefits, although probably very similar to mulberries, are well documented. Strawberries, another powerhouse of anti-oxidants and more, are also abundant and delicious this time of the year. But I will deal with these two berries next month.
The Tocopherol and Tocotrienol Truth about Vitamin E
I promised in September to tell you more about vitamin E in this months’ newsletter so here it is. There are eight different forms of Vitamin E – four tocopherols and four tocotrienols – named alpha, beta, gamma and delta. Most vitamin E in foods is gamma-tocopherol and in supplements alpha-tocopherol. But is this good enough?
Vitamin E's therapeutic benefits have primarily been attributed to its antioxidant effects i.e. preventing the formation of free radicals. In order to understand why this is so important we need to understand how oxidation works in cardiovascular disease. Atherosclerosis is a condition where the walls of the arteries are damaged and narrowed by deposits of plaque usually made up of cholesterol and other fatty substances, calcium and fibrin, Eventually, this blocks the flow of blood and a heart attack or a stroke may occur. Oxidation of LDL is believed to be the key event in atherosclerosis suggesting that it may be possible to reduce the risk by antioxidant supplementation. This is where tocotrienols come into play. The tocotrienols differ from the tocopherols in the chemical nature of the side chain or tail but I won’t go into this complicated pharmacology here. Fact is all the tocotrienols are lipid soluble, chain-breaking, radical scavengers and as such can inhibit LDL oxidation.
Gamma-tocotrienols have also been shown to have a profound effect on serum cholesterol concentrations. Studies done using gamma-toctrienols from palm oil have found that after supplementing for 8 weeks, total cholesterol decreased 15% and LDL decreased 8%. A follow up study concluded that the impact of gamma-tocotrienol on cholesterol may be due to its ability to down-regulate HMG-CoA reductase, the enzyme responsible for cholesterol production in the liver. This makes a lot of sense, because it is well understood that diet is responsible for only 20% of cholesterol in our blood, the liver makes the other 80%.
Tocotrienols also display an antithrombotic effect due to their ability to inhibit platelet aggregation.
We should not forget the role of inflammation which has been well established in theories describing the atherosclerotic disease process with all stages considered to be an inflammatory response to injury. This is where gamma-tocotrienol as well gamma-tocopherol come into play, both believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition to the three mechanisms—antioxidant activity, lowering cholesterol, and anti-inflammatory activity – studies have shown that mixed-tocopherols are able to increase nitric oxide, which is a key player in vasodilation and blood pressure reduction. Studies have also shown that mixed-tocopherols show greater antioxidant activity than alpha-tocopherol alone. It is clear, therefore, that for optimum antioxidant activity we do need to provide our bodies with the complete spectrum of E vitamins.
Now the following is really interesting: Looking at plasma levels of the different fractions of vitamin E in coronary heart disease patients it was found that:
When compared to controls, the gamma-tocopherol levels were significantly lower in the plasma of CHD patients.
Decreased gamma-tocopherol was significantly associated with the presence of CHD.
No decrease of plasma alpha-tocopherol was detected in those with CHD.This is interesting because it suggests that gamma-tocopherol is much more beneficial to cardiovascular health than alpha-tocopherol, YET alpha-tocopherol is the main vitamin E available in synthetic supplements.
But wait! There is more to this:
Supplementation with alpha-tocopherol seems to lower the levels of gamma-tocopherol (but not the reverse), which may explain why those that supplement with isolated alpha-tocopherol alone, were shown not to have any increased protection from cardiovascular disease.
Qureshi et al. (1996) found that the HMG-CoA reductase inhibition was reduced when alpha-tocopherol was added to the “blend.” Maximum efficacy was found in those blends without alpha-tocopherol.
All of the above suggest that supplementing with just alpha-tocopherol may actually be detrimental to cardiovascular health. This is why it is so important to ensure, for safety purposes, that a vitamin E supplement is not just alpha-tocopherol, but a mix of all 8 forms of vitamin E.
To improve absorption vitamin E supplements must be taken with a meal and should be in the natural form. Synthetic vitamin E is only half as active and therefore twice as much is needed. Super Natural "E", a Natural Vibrance product, is such a supplement and by taking just 2 to 3 of these capsules a day one achieves the 100mg of tocotrienols that a study in 2002 found may be the optimal dose for controlling the risk of coronary heart disease in hypercholesterolemic patients.
An apple a day – What could be easier?
A new study suggests that eating an apple a day can bring down serum cholesterol levels! The researchers claim that the polphenols in apples are responsible for the results where plasma concentrations of oxidised LDL (which you have just learnt is a serious risk for CVD) were significantly reduced in just 4 weeks of eating an apple a day. Well how hard can it be for us to get down one apple each day? Apples have so many other health benefits so let’s just do it!! If you want to know more about this study click here.
Coenzyme Q10 News!
While I bent your ear over the last 4 months on the benefits of taking a CoQ10 supplement, I have all the time also been working on importing a special CoQ10 supplement from Canada. Yes you guessed it - it falls under the See Yourself Well banner owned by Nutratec Life Sciences who make the unequalled omega-3 fish oil that I import. My main reasons for wanting to import this CoQ10 supplement is that it is the emulsified form of CoQ10 that I have always wanted to recommend, rather than the powdered form, and the brands available here are just too pricey. I know that without overheads and middle-men I can now offer you an excellent CoQ10 supplement at an affordable price.
I’m thrilled to tell you that my application to bring this complementary medicine in has been lodged with Medicines Control Council and my first shipment has arrived. See Yourself Well CoQ10 is emulsified in an MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil extracted from 100% natural coconut oil, which has the unique characteristic of being able to penetrate the membranes of the cells in our bodies, thereby maximizing CoQ10’s bio-availability. This unique feature provides See Yourself Well’s CoQ10 with a distinct advantage over any competitive CoQ10 brands. CoQ10 emulsified in oil is apparently about 8 times more absorbable than the powdered form.
The retail price in the future will be R350 for 60 x 100mg capsules. However the introductory price which I'll run till the end of November is R300 per bottle - so don't miss out!
Need I remind you of the health benefits that I have waxed lyrical about over the past 3 months:
Supports cardiovascular health and heart function
Promotes physical energy and stamina
Fights free radical damage throughout the body
Promotes immune and cellular health
Supports normal blood pressure levels
Supports healthy blood vessels and endothelial lining
My other new import is See Yourself Well Krill Oil with CLA. This may come as a surprise to you since I have always preferred fish oil to krill as you know and have never regarded krill as a substitute for fish oil. However that is because the DHA and EPA (essential fatty acids) content of a good fish oil is so much higher. However the anti-oxidant properties of krill are amazing and so Nutratec have done a very clever thing and added fish oil to this krill oil capsule. So now you have the best of both – a very high antioxidant content with an increased fatty acid content. On top of this they have added Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), much sought after by those of us who have developed a little extra covering around the tummy area this Winter. CLA helps reduce body fat, especially abdominal fat, and builds lean muscle. So athletic types and bodybuilders are going to love this combination of anti-oxidants, omega-3 and CLA!
Needless to say the purity of the krill oil is of paramount importance to me, just as it is of any fish oil supplement I recommend. The krill in this See Yourself Well capsule has received a 5-star rating from International Krill Oil Standards (IKOS) Program which certifies: The quality of this oil product exceeds international standards established by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Read more about this product here.
Labelling kids with bogus mental disorders
A mother brought her son to me recently and by the time they left I was deeply saddened but also furious. This good-looking young man is in his mid-twenties and had been on anti-depressants for a few months. He has clearly lost his sparkle, is hopelessly demotivated and lacking enthusiasm for anything. Knowing how much my 3 sons are enjoying the magic years between 22- 31 years, made my heart ache for this mum and son, as what should be the most wonderful years of his life, are being wasted.
How I wish the drugging of youngsters could be stopped. I honestly believe there are very few cases where it is necessary and can be of any benefit. If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher or a health professional working with children, please give up just 2 minutes to watch this video clip that says it all. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights who posted this clip say: “20 Million Kids & Adolescents are labeled with “mental disorders” that are based solely on a checklist of behaviors. There are no brain scans, x-rays, genetic or blood tests that can prove they are “mentally ill”, yet these children are stigmatized for life with psychiatric disorders, and prescribed dangerous, life-threatening psychiatric drugs. Child drugging is a $4.8 billion-a-year industry. Get the facts about this multi-billion dollar industry that is labelling and drugging kids for profit.”
Food Marketing Translations
I saw these translations in a newsletter sent to me recently and just had to pass them on: 1) No sugar added - Instead we have included a variety of sweet tasting carcinogenic chemicals. 2) Artificial flavouring - A horrible mix of chemicals that will trick your brain into thinking you are eating something healthy. 3) Natural flavouring - A tiny drop of lemon or something added to the toxic chemicals listed in item two. 4) Low Fat – Instead of fat we have added a chemical cocktail worse than fat ever was. 5) An essential source of vitamins and minerals – We have added a salad of unavailable vitamins and minerals to hide the rest of the garbage that we are feeding you and your children.
Never a truer word said in jest. Please read labels carefully and don’t be brainwashed.
Till next time find a place in the sun and enjoy! In the meantime I'll work on getting my November newsletter out in November!
Latest Product List attached showing a number of new additions.
Nutritional Therapist (BSc (Hons) HDE, Dip Clin Nutr) The Orchards Nutrition Centre - Somerset East Tel: 042 243 0339 Cell: 084 531 0786 Email: email@example.com