Spring has arrived early in our neck of the woods and Mother Nature is making desperate attempts to restore my garden to its former beauty before much of it got frosted into the ground in June. Living on a river bank has its drawbacks in Winter and I can only hope we’re not hit with anymore severe frosts that will simply burn up all the delicate new growth.
Due to popular demand......
Last month I ran a special on the new See Yourself Well 300EPA/200DHA product and demand was way beyond expectations. However a few subscribers missed the July 31 deadline, so being the softy I am they still got their order at the special price. Now to be fair to everyone I have extended the special until 31 August but please be aware stocks are not unlimited. Here it is again:
See Yourself Well Omega-3 - 300mgEPA:200mg DHA
Triglyceride form with 5 Star rating from IFOS
Normal price: R410 per 150 capsules Until 31 July:
R375 for 1 bottle – postage R25
R700 for 2 bottles – postage R25
R1950 for 6 bottles – postage R50
Don't miss the boat this time round - it definitely sets sail on 31 August!
Are you iodine deficient?
Believe it or not, many of us are! The scare-mongering about salt elevating blood pressure is at fault here and how many of us eat seaweed! Vegans are particularly at risk as they don’t eat fish, eggs or dairy. Iodine is critical for healthy thyroid hormone production. If you suffer from Fibrocystic Breast Condition you most definitely need to have your iodine levels checked. Fortunately there is a quick test you can do at home to find out your status: Using Lugol’s Iodine solution which is a blend of iodine and potassium iodide (See Ocean Power on my price list), simply dip a clean ball of cotton in the tincture and paint a 2-inch circle of tincture on soft skin tissue, such as the tummy, inner arm or thigh. Now wait – if the yellow-orange stain takes more than 6 hours to disappear, you are probably OK but if the stain is absorbed quickly (within 1–3 hours), your body may need a higher iodine intake.
Getting High on Hemp
If you're looking to seeds for a good protein and fat source that can do no harm, hemp seeds may be the answer. And no I’m not trying to turn us all into spaced-out junkies! It is because of the psychotropic properties that have been wrongly attributed to hemp that so little research on the physiological effects of hempseed have been published.
Yes, hemp is a variety of Cannabis Sativa L. and does have a botanical relationship to drug/medicinal varieties of Cannabis, however, hempseed does not exhibit psychotropic action and instead may provide significant health benefits. The drug-type of Cannabis Sativa L., also known as marijuana, hashish or Cannabis tincture, contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in concentrations up to 20%, high enough to exhibit psychoactivity. Most governments, while continuing to penalize the growing of marijuana, have legalized the growing of industrial hemp which has THC concentrations < 0.3. As such it is freely available to us in our health shops, as seeds or oil.
Apart from being very rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) and other polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), it has almost as much protein (24.8g/100g) as soybean and is also rich in Vitamin A, D and E and high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron and zinc. It’s also a great source of soluble and insoluble fibre. Take a look at its amazing nutrient profile here.
Most of the benefits are due to its excellent content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and their beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. These essential fatty acids can improve the Total:HDL cholesterol ratio, may lower blood pressure in hypertensive patients, prevent plaque build up in the arteries and hence strokes and heart attacks.
Hempseed oil contains all of the essential amino acids and also contains surprisingly high levels of the amino acid arginine. In the body, L-Arginine is used to make nitric oxide, which reduces blood vessel stiffness, increases blood flow and improves blood vessel function. A study that included 13 401 participants, showed a relationship between the dietary intake of L-arginine and levels of C-Reactive protein, a marker strongly correlated with the risk of cardiovascular disease. Hempseed is also a rich and unusual source of the polyunsaturated fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) to the body which can inhibit inflammatory responses.
Another study showed that dietary hempseed supplementation can result in a significant inhibition of platelet aggregation and a lower rate of aggregation. This is an important result as we are well aware of how blood clots can initiate heart attacks and strokes. So, if for no other reason, the daily consumption of hempseed to inhibit clot formation has obvious appeal. This does mean, however, that if you’re going for surgery, you either need to stop eating hempseeds a few days before or let your surgeon know about your hempseed usage, so as to avoid excessive bleeding.
Another significant study showed that healthy individuals given 4 tablespoons of hempseed a day for 4 weeks, exhibited a lower total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. So there is plenty of data to support the hypothesis that hempseed has the potential to beneficially influence heart disease, and it is unfortunate that a mix of legal issues and misunderstandings has slowed research progress in this area. Let’s hope for continued investigation into the therapeutic efficacy of dietary hempseed and in the meantime give this seed the credit it deserves by including it in our smoothies, salads, cereals and baking.
Low Stomach Acid
I have acid! This is a complaint I hear all too often. Well yeah??? I should hope you have acid .…and enough of it too! We’re talking here about stomach acid, the “villain” blamed for a myriad digestive disorders with labels such as heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion, abdominal pain, flatulence, nausea, hiatal hernia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), dyspepsia, Barett’s esophagus, the list goes on. And there is an all out war being waged against this villain in the form of suppressive medications that neutralise the acid, or surgical procedures on the oesophageal valve which was designed to allow food to enter your stomach while prohibiting the reflux of gastric acid up into the esophagus.
Why are we are so quick to forget that our bodies are brilliantly designed and any of the symptoms above are simply warning signs that something is not as it should be and the underlying cause needs to be found and corrected. Simply suppressing the symptoms with proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) and antacids is not going to resolve the underlying problem, never mind the nasty side-effects of these medications. PPIs like Nexiam (exomeprazole) and Prevacid (lansoprazole) have been shown to both block nutrient absorption and inhibit the production of necessary stomach acid, which can cause a host of other health problems, including an increased risk of bacterial diarrhea, magnesium and calcium deficiency and osteoporosis. Suppressive medicines are designed to suppress or camouflage the symptoms, not heal, and if we ignore alarm bells we will pay dearly in the long term for not correcting the underlying cause. Most PPIs are not meant to be taken for more than 4 weeks and yet people are taking them for years. Why? Because symptoms return with a vengeance the minute the medication is stopped.
It is seldom that too much stomach acid is the cause of the problems. Most cases of reflux or gastric esophageal reflux disease (GERD) or gastric ulcer are actually due to too little stomach acid. Too little stomach acid causes food to remain longer in the stomach, which putrefies, causing toxic gases to be produced. These gases must be released and it is these, together with stomach acid, that are then pushed up into the esophagus, causing the burning sensation.
Low stomach acid presents its own set of problems, including malabsorption of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, iron, calcium, folic acid, vitamin B12, zinc, and others. The most nutritionally sound diet is a complete waste if you don’t have sufficient stomach acid. This is when supplemental hydrochloric acid such as Betaine HCL with Pepsin is recommended to actually increase the acidity of the stomach acid, thereby allowing proper and rapid digestion to occur. Xymogen's GastrAcidis such a product.
There are many possible reasons for hydrochloric acid insufficiency. HCl is produced only in the presence of proteins and is inhibited by the presence of sugars and starches. High carbohydrate diets such as in vegetarian diets, are an extremely common cause of HCl insufficiency. Certain nutrient deficiencies can also be culprits since Vit B1, zinc and vit C are needed for HCl production. Other culprits are overeating at meals, inappropriate foof combinations, excess alcohol consumption and chronic stress and anxiety particularly at meal times.
Our digestion is the seat of certain emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, confidence, sensitivity to criticism. This is why a child gets a sore tummy before their first day of school or a teenager before an exam, also why the high-powered executive is so reliant on anti-acid tablets and an important public speech can bring on an untimely bout of diarrhea for the nervous presenter. To correct any digestion disorder it is essential to address all underlying physiological, mental and emotional imbalance and we therefore need to look carefully at improving lifestyle, diet and eating habits and most importantly avoidance of suppressive medicines such as antacids and PPI’s.
Other symptoms of low stomach acid? Apart from the usual heartburn etc, look out for bloating after eating, gluten sensitivity, weak, peeling or cracked fingernails, skin disorders, food allergies, gas, iron deficiency, nausea and reflux after taking supplements, bone fractures, restless legs, leg cramps, rosacea, sore or burning tongue, difficulty digesting fatty foods, undigested food in stool, feeling easily full, poor appetite, belching / burping after meals, feeling fatigued immediately after meals, prone to bacterial infections and fungal overgrowth, depression, gallbladder disease, autoimmune disease, arthritis, early aging and more.
As you can see it is rather important for us to have sufficient stomach acid – acid is not the villain that we are lead to believe.
Grassfed versus Grainfed?
A lot of people today are horrified by how animals are treated in feedlots and as a result, there is a decided trend toward pasture-raised animals. There are many reasons why grass-fed is indeed better, not the least of which the fact that putting beef cattle into feedlots and feeding them grains, goes completely “against the grain” for these animals. Grazing animals such as cattle, sheep and buck are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which we humans cannot digest, into flesh that we are able to digest. They can do this because they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats. They are very inefficient at converting corn and other grains, so we have to do this feedlot thing on a massive scale to feed all the meat-eaters of the world. But it’s still cheaper and faster, so our meat supply is now almost all feedlot meat.
But the unnaturally fast weight gain could not be achieved without enormous quantities of corn, soy-based (read GM) protein supplements, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones. Apparently up to 70% of all antibiotic use around the world is on animals. This leads directly to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria with new “superbugs” increasingly rendering our antibiotics ineffective for treating disease in humans.
We are brainwashed into believing that “grain-fed” beef is nutritionally superior, but is it?. Producers are even rewarded higher grades for well-marbled flesh which is what you will get in grain-fed beef, however is this better for us? Marbled flesh is simply fat that can’t be trimmed off, as it lies within the flesh. A sirloin steak from grass-fed beef may have as little as half the fat of a steak from feedlot beef. However what’s even more important is the kind of fat. The high, imbalanced levels of omega-6 fat in grain and corn-fed animals tends to promote inflammatory processes, insulin resistance and interference with omega-3 fat metabolism. By contrast the fat in grass-fed meat is rich in desirable omega-3 fats also found in fatty fish, flaxseeds and walnuts. A grass-fed steak typically has about twice as many omega-3s as a grain-fed steak. Sadly when cattle are taken off grass, though, and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on grain, they immediately begin losing the omega-3s they have stored in their tissues. Meat from pastured cattle may also be up to four times higher in vitamin E than feedlot meat, and much higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a nutrient associated with lower cancer risk.
There are also environmental benefits to grass-fed beef - it is far less polluting, with their droppings becoming nutrients for the next pasture. Grain we feed our feedlot cattle accounts for a staggering amount of fossil fuel energy and vast quantities of chemical fertilizer.
So grass-fed beef certainly has its advantages, but it is typically more expensive, and I’m not at all sure that’s a bad thing. Most of us eat far too much meat anyway!
***Meatless Mondays? What a brilliant idea!***
Grassfed vs Organic vs Natural It’s important to remember that organic is not the same as grass-fed. You may find organic beef and dairy products that are hormone- and antibiotic- free but the animals still spent their lives in a feedlot simply eating organically grown grain.
What about the “natural” label? All that usually means is that the animal was raised in a feedlot but without growth hormones and antibiotics added to their non-organic feed. There can still be as many as 100 cattle, weighing from 350 to 600kgs, living in a pen the size of a basketball court.
Tips for choosing the right supplements
Yes it’s a mine-field out there and there are some cheap and nasties but applying a few basic rules will help you to make better choices:
Don’t sell your health to the lowest bidder. If the manufacturer is cutting corners to get the price really cheap, they are probably dropping standards too.
If you want to get the most accurate product for your needs, look for the bottles with the more descriptive labels. For example if the label on an omega-3 fish oil supplement doesn’t give the breakdown of EPA and DHA content, put it back on the shelf where it can do no harm.
If the label doesn’t state the source of the vitamin or mineral, be suspicious. For example if it just says “Calcium” you can be sure it is the cheapest and least absorbable calcium carbonate.
The manufacturers details should be clearly displayed and they should be accessible and available to answer any of your queries.
Finally: Don't expect supplements to make up for a bad diet. Vitamins and minerals may prevent deficiency, but won’t make up for chronic disease risks that come with an unhealthy diet.
I had many requests for my product list last month after I did not attach it to the newsletter. It seems most people want it to come with the newsletter, so that is what we'll do.
Till we chat again, happy springcleaning!
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
The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. It is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or in any way replace qualified medical supervision. For any medical conditions, consult with your healthcare provider before using any products. Abundant health to you all.