The Health Cloud https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk "...Inspiring Good Health" Fri, 24 Aug 2018 10:22:53 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/cropped-square-32x32.jpg The Health Cloud https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk 32 32 What are Exogenous Ketones? (BHB Salts, Esters & MCT) https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/what-are-exogenous-ketones-bhb-salts/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/what-are-exogenous-ketones-bhb-salts/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 15:17:03 +0000 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37781 The post What are Exogenous Ketones? (BHB Salts, Esters & MCT) appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Exogenous ketones are rising in popularity as a supplement. Amongst other benefits, they are claimed to help with the transition into ketosis when following a keto diet. This should help eliminate the groggy/ brain fog experience that is common during the transition. It has also been suggested that people can experience all the benefits of ketosis without the extremely restrictive diet by taking exogenous ketones. So, in this article I’ll go through what exogenous ketones are, how they work in the body, and look at the evidence supporting their claims.   What are exogenous ketones? (Salts, esters & MCT)   Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) The most common exogenous ketone is BHB (which is not strictly a ketone). BHB is naturally produced in the liver during fasting states. […]

The post What are Exogenous Ketones? (BHB Salts, Esters & MCT) appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post What are Exogenous Ketones? (BHB Salts, Esters & MCT) appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Exogenous ketones are rising in popularity as a supplement. Amongst other benefits, they are claimed to help with the transition into ketosis when following a keto diet. This should help eliminate the groggy/ brain fog experience that is common during the transition. It has also been suggested that people can experience all the benefits of ketosis without the extremely restrictive diet by taking exogenous ketones. So, in this article I’ll go through what exogenous ketones are, how they work in the body, and look at the evidence supporting their claims.

 

What are exogenous ketones? (Salts, esters & MCT)

 

Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)

The most common exogenous ketone is BHB (which is not strictly a ketone). BHB is naturally produced in the liver during fasting states. It gets converted into acetoacetate (a true ketone) in cells, and ultimately into energy. The BHB molecule in supplements is the same as the liver naturally produces. It generally comes in 2 different forms:

BHB salts – These are BHB bonded to a mineral, usually sodium, calcium, potassium or magnesium. There isn’t much difference between the mineral variations in terms of absorption, so there is no need to look for a specific BHB salt. However, BHB sodium salts will obviously increase sodium levels, which could be a concern for some. Equally, the BHB magnesium salts would also increase magnesium, which you could see as being beneficial. In terms of BHB digestion and delivery there is no difference. BHB salts are easily absorbed, and are the most common form.

The minerals will slightly impact the amount of BHB you get in a given serving. A 15g serving of BHB salts for example will contain roughly 1g of minerals, whereas BHB esters (see below) won’t. This is worth bearing in mind when making detailed price per dosage comparisons.

BHB esters – This is ‘raw’ BHB. These esters are absorbed faster than salts, but because they taste horrible, they are not commonly used. BHB esters are not bonded to minerals or other carrier molecules.

 

Medium chain triglycerides (MCT)

MCTs are a special group of fats that can move straight into the mitochondria and get converted into ketones with relative ease. Both MCT powder and MCT oil can cause stomach discomfort (which ranges from a bloaty feeling to severe cramp), and so taking MCTs in large dosages isn’t recommended. Some people have reported that MCT powder doesn’t cause as much stomach discomfort as liquid MCTs do, but both do pose this problem to some extent. MCTs are often taken alongside BHB. MCTs do not come bonded to carrier molecules.

 

Why take exogenous ketones?

You’d take exogenous ketones such as beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) for a number of reasons:

  1. Help the body transition into ketosis easier/ quicker than if you just adopted a ketosis diet.
  2. Avoid the groggy feeling that you experience during the transition into ketosis.
  3. Experience the health benefits of ketosis without the restrictive diet.

 

BHB vs MCT

Both BHB and MCTs are talked about in a similar context, but there are some key differences. BHB is chemical the liver produces when going into ketosis. It not only acts as a signalling molecule for the body that fat is to be the primary fuel source, but acts as precursor for ketones. Amongst other things, it is the BHB molecule that signals to lower blood glucose, and the presence of BHB is thought to benefit the body in a number of ways, even if the body is not truly in ketosis. Think of BHB as a signalling molecule first, and an energy source second.

MCTs on the other hand are simply a good energy source. They can pass straight into the mitochondria and get converted into ketones for energy. The presence of MCT and the ketones it is broken down into will undoubtedly do some signalling too, and can stimulate natural production of BHB in the liver. Think of MCT as an energy source first, and a signalling molecule second.

 

There is obvious synergistic potential to taking both MCT and BHB together.

 

How do exogenous ketones work?

Once ingested the minerals are cleaved off the BHB (in the case of BHB salts) and they are absorbed into the blood stream. Here they can enter cells throughout the body (including brain cells as it is able to cross the blood/ brain barrier) and act as precursors to ketones. The ketones are then used as a source of energy.

The body only ever produces BHB during times of starvation or carbohydrate restriction. It signals the body that fats are the new source of energy rather than carbohydrates. By artificially increasing BHB levels in the body it can ‘trick’ the body into thinking it is already in ketosis, and so starts metabolising fats, even though it may not need to.

MCTs are a type of fat that is easily converted into ketones (and so energy) without being in a ketosis state. With this in mind, BHB/ MCTs should be able to help reduce or completely eliminate the ‘groggy’ feeling you get from transitioning into ketosis.

As BHB is a source of energy, it will obviously have a calorific value. Oddly, (and interestingly), there seems to be some discrepancy about what this actually is. KetoSports BHB salts offer 55kcals per 11.7g of BHB, whereas Perfect Keto’s BHB salts offers 15kcals per 11.38g of BHB. This represents a difference of about 73%, which is quite a lot. There isn’t a satisfactory explanation for this difference other than testing for calorie difference in ketones may not be as simply as that of fats/ carbs etc.

It is worth mentioning that although the products vary dramatically in calorie content, both provide essentially the same amount of BHB per serving, and I would say that neither is better than the other. The variation in calorific value is just something that stands out as unusual, and worth highlighting – there are still some blind spots.

 

Do they work?

There is a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that BHB and MCTs do work.

 

BHB

Taking BHB for 4 weeks significantly lowered blood sugar in rats (see graph)1.

You can see that in the first week, blood glucose was on average around 100mg/dL, and after 4 weeks, it drops to around 80 mg/dL. This represents roughly a 20% drop in blood glucose. Interestingly, after 4 weeks of BHB supplementation blood BHB levels also went down. This could be because the body had transitioned into using BHB as a source of energy, and so less was circulating the body.

In another study blood BHB levels rose to just under 1mmol/L an hour after consuming BHB salts, before dropping down to normal levels after 4 hours. In this example the subject was a 100kg male and they took a 18g blend of BHB salts. This represented a 5 fold increase in blood BHB2.

 

 

The reduction in circulating glucose and increased blood BHB levels are clear signals that the body thinks it is going through a fasting/ carbohydrate restrictive phase. The lower blood BHB levels shown in the rats after 4 weeks strongly suggests that the body is easily using the BHB as a source of energy, suggesting a transition into a ketogenic state.

 

MCTs

In the same rat study mentioned above, supplementation with MCT oil had some interesting results. MCT supplementation clearly did increase BHB levels, which is correlated with a lower blood glucose level. However, the results are much less consistent than with BHB salts. Even after 4 weeks of taking MCTs there were blood glucose readings of 100mg/dL with very low circulating BHB levels. The results are quite spread, but do show that MCT supplementation has the ability to increase BHB levels, although unreliably.

 

In human tests, 30ml of MCT oil was able to raise blood BHB levels to about 0.55 mmol/L. This is just over half the effect that BHB salt supplementation had. MCT oil supplementation spiked blood BHB levels at just under an hour, and drops to normal levels after 3 hours. Interestingly, BHB levels continue to fall below normal levels of 0.20mmol/L to 0.12mmol/L. The low blood BHB levels show no real indication of normalising after 8 hours.

So MCT oil supplementation does look like it can increase blood BHB for a short time, but may also reduce it below normal levels over a long period of time. This may be detrimental to those trying to transition into ketosis. Perhaps regular administration of MCTs would prevent this, but there isn’t the research to support it (and there is the risk of digestive discomfort). Although there clearly could be more research on MCTs, it looks like in isolation, they are not as effective as BHB salts.

 

 

BHB + MCTs

BHB and MCTs are commonly taken together. BHB + MCT (the green line) raises blood BHB levels much higher than BHB or MCT in isolation, with a peak just over 1.30mmol/L. Even more important is that blood BHB levels do not seem to readily fall back to the normal levels of 0.2mmol/L. Even after 8 hours blood BHB levels are 0.5mmol/L, which is over double the normal level, and they look to be only very gradually falling. Blood BHB levels look like they will be elevated for the best part of a day, but the most significant rise being between 1 and 4 hours after ingestion.

 

 

What does elevated blood BHB do?

All this supplementation is tailored towards increasing BHB in the blood without (or alongside) the usual extremely carbohydrate restrictive diet. But why do you want high levels of BHB?

The most common reason is to help transition into ketosis, which it does help with. The below graph shows how blood glucose changes after taking BHB salts. Blood glucose levels drop to the lower end of what is considered to be normal and healthy (72-106mmol/L)3. This is a result of the body no longer wanting/ needing carbohydrates, and using ketones as an energy source to replace them. BHB and MCTs certainly do help to transition into a ketosis state, and help the body ‘run’ on fats.

 

 

In addition to supporting ketosis transitions, there are other benefits. Even when not truly in ketosis, elevated BHB levels reduce circulating glucose levels can help people lose weight. It can even offer some help to diabetics, and could reduce the risk of blood clots through the reduction of atherosclerosis4. BHB also has the potential to boost moods by acting as a weak agonist for GABA receptors5. It can also help protect against seizures and other similar disorders6, which shows it could be good for brain health overall. BHB also inhibits pro-inflammatory pathways. Seeing as inflammation is often a cause (or a propagator) of many problems, this could benefit a whole host of people.

 

Summary

Exogenous ketones offer a number of benefits. First and foremost, BHB helps the body transition into ketosis by tricking the body into thinking it is already in a ketosis state, and that fats need to be metabolised. In addition to this, BHB salt supplementation can give people some of the benefits of being in ketosis, without eating a highly carbohydrate restrictive diet. These benefits include weight management, mood improvement and even cardio-protective properties.

When taken in isolation, but BHB and MCTs do offer some benefit in transitioning to ketosis. However, they are most effective when combined and compliment each other very well. How they impact blood BHB levels, and the resulting impact on the body is quite well documented. However, there is always room for more research.

 

References:

  1. Shannon L. Kesl. (2016). Effects of exogenous ketone supplementation on blood ketone, glucose, triglyceride, and lipoprotein levels in Sprague–Dawley rats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 13 (9).
  2. Patrick Arnold. (2015). Compositions and methods for producing elevated and sustained ketosis. Available: https://www.google.co.uk/patents/US9138420?dq=9138420&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidoImPpanVAhUCMhoKHSesBFIQ6AEIKDAA. Last accessed 3/8/17.
  3. (2017). Blood Sugar Level Ranges. Available: http://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes_care/blood-sugar-level-ranges.html. Last accessed 3/8/17.
  4. Clay F. Semenkovich. (2006). Insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. J Clin Invest. 116 (7), 1813–1822.
  5. Brown AJ. (2007). Low-carb diets, fasting and euphoria: Is there a link between ketosis and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Med Hypotheses. 68 (2), 268-71.
  6. Andrew Lutas. (2013). The ketogenic diet: metabolic influences on brain excitability and epilepsy. Trends Neurosci. 36 (1), 32-40.

The post What are Exogenous Ketones? (BHB Salts, Esters & MCT) appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/what-are-exogenous-ketones-bhb-salts/feed/ 0
Bountiful Sea Conference – Giveaway! https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/bountiful-sea-conference-giveaway/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/bountiful-sea-conference-giveaway/#comments Tue, 11 Jul 2017 09:42:26 +0000 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37745 The post Bountiful Sea Conference – Giveaway! appeared first on The Health Cloud.

This September the University of Oxford is hosting The Bountiful Sea Conference – a blend of historic information, culinary delights and academic discussion. To support the event, we are giving away tickets and accommodation for 2! (see details below).   The conference Over 3 days, attendees will learn about the history of fishing and fish processing by the Romans, and enjoy some of the food and drinks they created. You will even get to enjoy a Roman Seafood Dinner. It will be an exciting experience for both the mind and the body, where you will undoubtedly experience tastes that you have never known before.  The conference starts at 3pm on the 6th Sept, and the full program can be downloaded here. […]

The post Bountiful Sea Conference – Giveaway! appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post Bountiful Sea Conference – Giveaway! appeared first on The Health Cloud.

This September the University of Oxford is hosting The Bountiful Sea Conference – a blend of historic information, culinary delights and academic discussion. To support the event, we are giving away tickets and accommodation for 2! (see details below).

 

The conference

Over 3 days, attendees will learn about the history of fishing and fish processing by the Romans, and enjoy some of the food and drinks they created. You will even get to enjoy a Roman Seafood Dinner. It will be an exciting experience for both the mind and the body, where you will undoubtedly experience tastes that you have never known before.  The conference starts at 3pm on the 6th Sept, and the full program can be downloaded here.

Aside from learning about history and tasting some interesting foods, the conference will offer a unique insight into historic food preparation and production. Before the time of preservatives, freezers and farmed fish, people had to find different ways to keep their food nutritious and safe to eat. Seafood posed one of the biggest challenges of all. It is a source of highly nutritious but very reactive omega-3 fatty acids, and the Romans discovered some very novel (and sadly largely forgotten) ways to preserving it. The foods they created through these preservation methods were extremely nutritious, and were the inspiration for the creation of Green Pasture’s Fermented Cod Liver Oil. We have long been advocates of Green Pasture’s Cod Liver Oil – it is unique among all other cod liver oils, and I believe the extent of its health benefits have not yet been fully realised yet.

 

The giveaway

The information provided in this conference is of great importance and relevance to the understanding of good health. Not only do we want to support the conference and the message they are giving, but we also want to help spread the information. So, in collaboration with Green Pasture, we are offering a conference give-away for 2 people, which includes:

  • Tickets to the entire conference (Wednesday 6th – Friday 8th September) worth £100 each.
    • Including keynote lecture, Roman fish tasting dinner, conference pack, academic sessions, sauce tastings, wine receptions, two lunches, tea & coffee.
  • Accommodation for 2 for the duration of the conference (in the historic Oxford University). More information on these rooms can be found here.
  • Some financial contribution for travel (UK only).

 

How to enter

To enter, simply comment on this article (scroll down below the article to see the comment section) with which Green Pasture product you like the most, and why. We will pick the winner at random on the 17th of August, by replying to their comment. The winner should automatically get an email notification when we reply to their comment. When you sign up to comment, use an email address that you check.

The post Bountiful Sea Conference – Giveaway! appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/bountiful-sea-conference-giveaway/feed/ 9
Oceans Alive Phytoplankton https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/oceans-alive-phytoplankton/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/oceans-alive-phytoplankton/#respond Thu, 06 Jul 2017 14:15:28 +0000 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37743 The post Oceans Alive Phytoplankton appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton is the latest algae sourced health supplement. It follows the great (and continuing) popularity of similar products such as spirulina and chlorella, both of which spearheaded public interest in the health benefits of phytoplankton. It has its differences from these products of course – and I’ll get to those – but it has claims such as ‘superfood’ and ‘powerful antioxidant’, which we (sadly) see on many pseudo-health products. As people (hopefully) get more wise to marketing buzz words it can be difficult to understand what this product is, and if it does any good for your health. So in this article we will have a good look at Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton, and see how it […]

The post Oceans Alive Phytoplankton appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post Oceans Alive Phytoplankton appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton is the latest algae sourced health supplement. It follows the great (and continuing) popularity of similar products such as spirulina and chlorella, both of which spearheaded public interest in the health benefits of phytoplankton. It has its differences from these products of course – and I’ll get to those – but it has claims such as ‘superfood’ and ‘powerful antioxidant’, which we (sadly) see on many pseudo-health products. As people (hopefully) get more wise to marketing buzz words it can be difficult to understand what this product is, and if it does any good for your health. So in this article we will have a good look at Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton, and see how it stacks up against similar, and more familiar phytoplankton products.

 

What is in Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton?

It was surprisingly difficult to get a definitive answer to this, but after some time I can say with a high degree of confidence that it is a type of phytoplankton called Nannochloropsis. Or more specifically, 2 strains of Nannochloropsis (one of which is proprietary to Oceans Alive). They also add sea minerals to their product too. The ingredients list is quite small (when you can find it), which is always nice to see.

 

Oceans Alive vs other plankton

Although 2 strains of Nannochloropsis are included in the Oceans Alive product, we can assume they are relatively similar in terms of nutritional content. In most literature various strains of Nannochloropsis are studied together, which gives a good all round picture of their contents/ benefits. So for the purposes of this article, it is quite safe to assume they are similar. Unsurprisingly, Nannochloropsis contains a very broad spectrum of nutrients, from minerals to fatty acids, which is typical of phytoplankton.

 

Minerals

Below you can see a table of how Nannochloropsis stacks up to chlorella in terms of mineral content. There obviously will be some natural variation in both, but it gives a good picture of the potency of the phytoplankton.

NutrientOceans Alive content/100g dry weight) (% RDA)Chlorella
Calcium972mg (138%)221mg (32%)
Potassium533mg (15%)1360mg (39%)
Magnesium316mg (105%)315mg (105%)
Zinc103mg (1084%)71mg (747%)
Iron136mg (1511%)130mg (1444%)

*references 1,2,3

For the minerals tested, they are pretty similar. There isn’t anything to make a song and dance about for either product. Both are good, but neither stands out from the other. The additional sea minerals that Oceans Alive add to their supplement may increase the overall concentration of some minerals.

 

Vitamins

Like other types of phytoplankton, Nannochloropsis contains a range of vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin A (as beta-carotene), B vitamins, and vitamin ENannochloropsis doesn’t contain any vitamin D, but this is common in phytoplankton.

The vitamin content in Nannochloropsis is similar to other phytoplankton, and some are found in quite reasonable quantities. It will contain up to 3mg/g (8% RDA) of vitamin C and 0.29mg/g (6% RDA) of vitamin E. These values are all quite similar to other types of phytoplankton4, and so there is little that makes Nannochloropsis stand outThe vitamin content is nutritionally significant, just nothing particularly special in terms of phytoplankton.

 

Omega-3

Nannochloropsis does beat all other algaes, including chlorella and spirulina, when it comes to omega-3 content. Nannochloropsis comprises of up to 40% omega-3 fatty acids, the most abundant being EPA5. Tests on rats have show that supplementation with this algae can raise blood EPA levels, which may mean it has cardioprotective properties.

 

Other nutrients

Sadly, this is a grey area, not only for Nannochloropsis, but all phytoplankton. I can say with some confidence that these phytoplankton will contain a variety of polyphenols, and there is a very good chance that they will be quite highly concentrated. Polyphenols are a large group of non-essential nutrients found in plants that have demonstrated a number of health benefits in clinical trials. They are what give green tea its health benefits, and are often responsible for the pigments of fruits such as berries. As they are non-essential (and also quite complex), they tend not to attract as much attention as essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. However, they have demonstrated cardioprotective, antioxidant, anti-cancer and even prebiotic properties6,7. Although they are non-essential, they have great significance for health.

Phytoplankton like those found in Oceans Alive will be highly concentrated in a variety of polyphenols. Which ones they contain, and in what concentration isn’t known, but it is likely that any health benefits attributed to these phytoplankton will largely be from the polyphenols they contain. It is possible that Nannochloropsis contains a higher concentration or some unique polyphenol that isn’t found in other phytoplankton, but we don’t know.

 

Additional information

Oceans Alive claim that their product has an enhanced nutritional profile due to their growing technique, which is altogether possible, although equally, it may be marketing. Growing phytoplankton in optimal environments can improve the nutritional profile though. They also claim that the nutrients are more bioavailable and natural because the phytoplankton cells do not undergo any kind of extraction or processing, and are simply stabilised in a mineral solution. Other algaes, like spirulina will be freeze dried and powdered to increase shelf life and make easier to take.

Again, it may be true that Oceans Alive’s delivery system is superior to powder forms, but we cannot say for sure. It certainly is a novel, and more natural way to ingest phytoplankton though.

This lack of information is not a criticism of Oceans Alive, and merely an observation. Finding out if Oceans Alive actually does have a superior nutritional profile and delivery system to others isn’t something that can easily be done. It would require quite a lot of research, which costs money, and the only company which would be interested in doing it would be Oceans Alive, who would have a conflict of interest that would taint any results. It is a catch 22.

 

Summary

Overall, it is an interesting product which has lots of mystery surrounding it. There is nothing to say that it is significantly different from other marine algae in terms of vitamins and minerals, although it does contain more omega-3s. This of course isn’t to say it isn’t rich in other nutrients – it is, but only on the same level as other algaes, as far as I can tell. It is possible that the way Oceans Alive grown and process their product makes its nutrients more bioavailable, but exactly how much differences this makes is difficult to determine.

I’d have thought that any significant difference in health benefits between Nannochloropsis and other phytoplankton will come from any polyphenol difference, if indeed there is one.

 

References

  1. Unknown author. Chlorella’s Nutritional Analysis. Available: http://www.naturalways.com/chlorella-nutritional-analysis.htm. Last accessed 5/7/17.
  2. Abeille d’Or. Chlorealla – The most exciting nutritional discover on planet Earth. Available: http://www.terapiaclark.es/Docs/free_chlorella_report.pdf. Last accessed 5/7/17.
  3. H. Beheshtipour. (2013). Supplementation of Spirulina platensis and Chlorella vulgaris Algae into Probiotic Fermented Milks. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 12 (2), 144-154.
  4. M.R. Brown. (1999). The vitamin content of microalgae used in aquaculture. Journal of Applied Phycology. 11 (3), 247-255.
  5. Megan Kent. (2015). Nutritional Evaluation of Australian Microalgae as Potential Human Health Supplements. PLOS. (2).
  6. Yue Zhou. (2016). Natural Polyphenols for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer. Nutrients. 8 (8), 515.
  7. Kanti Bhooshan Pandey. (2009). Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2 (5), 270-278.

Image courtesy of NOAA MESA Project

The post Oceans Alive Phytoplankton appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/oceans-alive-phytoplankton/feed/ 0
Is Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C Fake? https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/is-mercola-liposomal-vitamin-c-fake/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/is-mercola-liposomal-vitamin-c-fake/#comments Fri, 09 Jun 2017 13:58:02 +0000 http://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37178 The post Is Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C Fake? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Dr Mercola has enjoyed a long reputation of developing a range of high quality supplements, and is generally well trusted. However, one product, his liposomal vitamin C, has had some criticism and confusion around it. After spending plenty of time looking at liposomal vitamin C and the issues revolving around Dr Mercola’s product, I’d like to shed some light on the issue of if Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C is fake, and if so, what alternatives are available.   Overview of liposomal vitamin C Liposomal vitamin C differs from other vitamin C products because the vitamin C is encapsulated in a phospholipid layer. This helps to bypass the digestive system and deliver the vitamin C directly into the bloodstream by fusing […]

The post Is Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C Fake? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post Is Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C Fake? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Dr Mercola has enjoyed a long reputation of developing a range of high quality supplements, and is generally well trusted. However, one product, his liposomal vitamin C, has had some criticism and confusion around it. After spending plenty of time looking at liposomal vitamin C and the issues revolving around Dr Mercola’s product, I’d like to shed some light on the issue of if Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C is fake, and if so, what alternatives are available.

 

Overview of liposomal vitamin C

Liposomal vitamin C differs from other vitamin C products because the vitamin C is encapsulated in a phospholipid layer. This helps to bypass the digestive system and deliver the vitamin C directly into the bloodstream by fusing with the cells of our digestive system, which are also made up of a phospholipid layer. There is some reserach showing that this can improve the delivery and increase absorption of many substances, including vitamin C. To understand how liposomal vitamin C differs from conventional vitamin C supplements you can read this comparison article, which discusses their various pros and cons.

 

Mercola liposomal vitamin C – fake?

If you are expecting the capsules from this product to contain liposomes of vitamin C, then yes, the product is fake, or at least, very misleading. Mercola’s product is called ‘liposomal vitamin C‘ and so it is only natural to expect vitamin C liposomes. However, despite a misleading name, Dr. Mercola has made no secret of the fact that his product doesn’t contain liposomes. In his long product description he says: “phospholipids in the capsule can form liposomes in the stomach1. In other words, he is giving you all the ingredients to form a vitamin C liposome in your stomach, but not actually giving you vitamin C liposomes. Customer support at Mercola.com have even suggested to people that they should take their vitamin C with water to help support the production of liposomes in their gut2.

This process is relatively similar to how liposomes are created commercially,sup>3, but only slightly. It is more closely related to home-made liposome methods4 but the amount of liposomes that are actually made like this is very poor, and it isn’t a reliable way to produce liposomes. Some even claim that these home-made methods produce no liposomes. The point is, they are unreliable, and not stardardised.

There is no research to suggest that mixing these ingredients in the stomach would create any liposomes. If it does (which it may) you can be sure that it will not create many, and it is unreliable.

So Dr. Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C is really a vitamin C emulsion, not a liposomal product. This doesn’t mean it is useless – it is still a potent and easily absorbable vitamin C supplement. However, even if it does produce a small amount of liposomes, it won’t produce enough to achieve the high blood vitamin C concentrations that people expect from liposomal vitamin C.

 

Alternative liposomal vitamin C supplements

Vitamin C liposomes are quite a new and innovative product, so there are not too many manufacturers to choose from. Aside from Mercola, which isn’t really a liposomal product, there are 2 other brands that I am aware of:

Lipolife – Founded in 2009, Lipolife creates a range of liposomal products, including vitamin C. They manufacture their products in Europe. The quality, as far as you can tell without going to a lab, is good. Their liposomes are provided in a liquid form.

LiveOn Labs – A USA based company that was founded in 2002. LiveOn also produce a liquid liposomal vitamin C. Again, their product seems to be of a high quality. They trade in Europe under the Altrient brand.

There are no manufacturers that I know of that produce liposomal vitamin C in a capsule – perhaps this isn’t something that is easily done.

 

Summary

Dr. Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C does not contain any liposomes. Dr Mercola suggests that liposomes of vitamin C will form in the stomach when taken with water. Whilst this may be possible, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it would happen. If it were to happen, there would be very few liposomes formed, and it would not be the same as taking a real liposomal product. Mercola’s liposomal vitamin C is still a good source of vitamin C, but it will not give you the high spike of vitamin C that many people want from a liposomal product. This is a real shame, and casts a shadow on the Dr Mercola range, which is known for producing very high quality supplements.

If you are looking for a liposomal vitamin C, then there are still some options. Lipoife and LiveOn labs/ Altrient are both companies that specialise in producing liposomal products.

 

References:

  1. Dr Mercola. Beware: Many Vitamin C Supplements Contain These 6 Red Flags. Learn Why Liposomal Vitamin C Is a Superior Form. Available: http://products.mercola.com/vitamin-c/vitamin-c-v1/. Last accessed 9/6/17.
  2. Unknown author. (2013). Dr Mercola Liposomal Vitamin C is fake. Available: http://www.curezone.org/forums/fm.asp?i=2072011#i. Last accessed 9/6/17.
  3. Unknown author. Liposome Preparation. Available: https://avantilipids.com/tech-support/liposome-preparation/. Last accessed 9/6/2017.
  4. Philip . (2017). Liposomal Vitamin C – Mixing Formula. Available: https://www.quantumbalancing.com/liposomalC.htm. Last accessed 9/6/17.

 

The post Is Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C Fake? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/is-mercola-liposomal-vitamin-c-fake/feed/ 1
Is Winterization Bad For Cod Liver Oil? https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/is-winterization-bad-cod-liver-oil/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/is-winterization-bad-cod-liver-oil/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 13:34:03 +0000 http://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37263 The post Is Winterization Bad For Cod Liver Oil? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Winterization is a commercial process used on many food oils. It is a process by which waxes and fatty acids with a high melting point are removed from the oil. It is often done for aesthetic reasons, because it makes the oil look very clear, but there are other reasons too. People have claimed that winterization of cod liver oil is a bad thing, and damages the oil, so in this article we will have an objective look at the process of winterization, and how it impacts oils.   How does winterization work? The aim of winterization is to remove the stearin (solid) fraction of oil from the olein (liquid). These are broad terms, and the composition of each fraction will […]

The post Is Winterization Bad For Cod Liver Oil? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post Is Winterization Bad For Cod Liver Oil? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Winterization is a commercial process used on many food oils. It is a process by which waxes and fatty acids with a high melting point are removed from the oil. It is often done for aesthetic reasons, because it makes the oil look very clear, but there are other reasons too. People have claimed that winterization of cod liver oil is a bad thing, and damages the oil, so in this article we will have an objective look at the process of winterization, and how it impacts oils.

 

How does winterization work?

The aim of winterization is to remove the stearin (solid) fraction of oil from the olein (liquid). These are broad terms, and the composition of each fraction will depend on the oil. However, in all oils, the sterin will contain the longer chain fatty acids and saturated fatty acids whereas the olein will contain the poly-unsaturated fats and short chain fatty acids.

This separation is done by slowly lowering the temperature of the oil. This causes the saturated fats/ long chain fatty acids to crystallise and form stearin. These solids can then be filtered out/ removed. You can see a similar process if you warm up butter and slowly cool it – the parts of butter that solidify first are the saturated and long chain fatty acids.

The temperature that the oil gets lowered to will determine which fats become solid. A lower temperature will cause more fatty acids to solidify for example, which may include mono-unsaturated fats too. Some commercial oils will also use solvents such as methanol to help with the extraction process, which will be removed after winterization. This solvent stage is not always used, and winterization can be done easily without it.

You can tell if an oil has been winterized by conducting a ‘cold test‘. To do this, store the oil between -1°C and 5°C (a fridge is perfect) for 1-3 hours, and see if any solids appear. (The time may need to be a little longer depending on the oil). If the oil remains clear then it has undergone winterization.

 

How does winterization affect cod liver oil?

Use of solvents

It is important to note that solvents are not needed for the winterization process. Some manufacturers don’t use it, where as others will, and it is not clear which ones do and don’t (you can make a fairly safe bet that some of the large commercial brand will). The solvents will always be removed, and their presence will be tested in the oil. Tests on oil that have used solvents have shown ‘pharmaceutical grade cod liver oil’1. This means it is very safe, although there is undoubtedly tiny tiny trace amounts in the oil. However, the process of using solvents and removing them can damage the fatty acids. Steps can be taken to reduce the damage, and the tiny amounts of solvents probably have no noticeable impact on health. Knowing if manufacturers take these steps is impossible to find out, and most people don’t want tiny amounts of these solvents in their supplements. So although the use of solvents is accepted as being safe, it still leaves you feeling a little concerned about their use in oils.

 

Omega-3 fatty acid content

The important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are both polyunsaturated fats, and so do not get removed by winterization. In fact, the concentrations of both EPA and DHA increase because the saturated/ long chain fatty acids get removed. The concentration of these omega-3 fatty acids can increase by as much as 20%2 although the increase will be dependant on the conditions used, and may be less. This can only been seen as a beneficial result of the winterization process.

 

Vitamin Content

Cod liver oil is known for its high levels of vitamin A and D. Winterization has no significant impact on vitamin A concentrations (in fact, it shows a slight increase in concentration)3. The study makes no mention on vitamin D levels, and research on this is sparse. However, it is quite a reasonable assumption to make that that vitamin D levels would remain similar during winterization too.

There are some sources (without any figures, research or references) which claim that winterization can reduce vitamin A and D concentrations. Although I’m not dismissing these claims, they aren’t supported with any evidence, and possible based on belief that any kind of processing must damage the oils4 (which it often does). However, the research, limited though it is, suggests that vitamin concentrations in cod liver oil remain unchanged after winterization.

 

Oil stability

Winterization is a cold process, and so the oil will remain stable. Assuming care is taken, there is no reason to believe that the oils will oxidise or the vitamins will degrade, and the low temperatures should help maintain the stability. However, if solvents are used there is a possibility that small amounts of fatty acids will become damaged.

 

Winterized VS non-winterised cod liver oil

Green Pastures cod liver oil is a great example of a non-winterized cod liver oil, and Dropi’s Icelandic Cod liver oil is a great example of a gently winterised product. However, there are other factors that have a greater impact on their nutritional profile than winterization. For example, Dropi has about 8% more DHA than Green Pastures, but Green Pastures has about 55% more EPA than Dropi. This variation is due to where the fish were caught, the season, their age, and how the oil is extracted. Winterization is a very small step in the extraction process, and although it can help to concentrate the omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are more concentrated than other products.

You can read more about how these 2 products compare, as well as many others, on the Fish Oil Showdown.

 

Summary

Winterization is a process that removes saturated fats and longer chain fatty acids from oil. It is done to produce an aesthetically pleasing oil, but also has the benefit of concentrating important omega-3 fatty acids and producing an oil with an even consistency. If done without the use of solvents, it can produce a clean, concentrated and undamaged oil that is very healthy. Even if solvents are used, the oil produced is of good quality, but a small amount of the fatty acids may have been damaged, and there very small amounts (undetectable) of solvent may be present.

Identifying which oils have been winterized and which haven’t can easily be done with a ‘cold test’. However, the details of how the winterization is conducted is not easy to find.

In  determining the quality of a cod liver oil, winterization is not a big priority. Sourcing, extraction and other processing methods have a much larger impact on quality.

 

References

1. Qiong Lei. (2016). Enrichment of omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil via alternate solvent winterization and enzymatic interesterification. Food Chemistry. 199 (5), 364-371.

2. Ana Mendes. (2007). DHA Concentration and Purification from the Marine Heterotrophic Microalga Crypthecodinium cohnii CCMP 316 by Winterization and Urea Complexation. Food Technol. Biotechnol.. 45 (1), 38-44.

3. George E. Éawe. (1993). Significance of Stearin Content of Cod Liver Oil. The Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association . 22 (2), 109-112.

4. DAVID WETZEL. (2006). Cod Liver Oil Manufacturing. Available: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/cod-liver-oil/cod-liver-oil-manufacturing/. Last accessed 25/5/2017.

Image courtesy of Denis Collette.

The post Is Winterization Bad For Cod Liver Oil? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/is-winterization-bad-cod-liver-oil/feed/ 0
The Multivitamin Showdown https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/the-multivitamin-showdown/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/the-multivitamin-showdown/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 14:28:56 +0000 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37572 The post The Multivitamin Showdown appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Following the success of the Probiotic Showdown and Fish Oil Showdown, here is the Multivitamin Showdown! Generally, multivitamins are treated as a ‘nutritional blanket’ for your diet – they should cover all the key nutrients that your body needs. However, some are tailored for more active lifestyles, some have a more comprehensive nutrient list, some contain very high quality nutrients, and others contain the ‘bare bones’. The quality of multivitamin supplements can vary massively, and it is not always clear to consumers what makes a good one, or which ones are most suitable for you. So in this article I will review a range of multivitamins, comparing quality and price, to help you understand what it is that makes a […]

The post The Multivitamin Showdown appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post The Multivitamin Showdown appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Following the success of the Probiotic Showdown and Fish Oil Showdown, here is the Multivitamin Showdown!

Generally, multivitamins are treated as a ‘nutritional blanket’ for your diet – they should cover all the key nutrients that your body needs. However, some are tailored for more active lifestyles, some have a more comprehensive nutrient list, some contain very high quality nutrients, and others contain the ‘bare bones’. The quality of multivitamin supplements can vary massively, and it is not always clear to consumers what makes a good one, or which ones are most suitable for you. So in this article I will review a range of multivitamins, comparing quality and price, to help you understand what it is that makes a good multivitamin.

 


 

Centrum Men

Centrum offer a range of multivitamins for men, women and the elderly. For the purpose of this article, I will compare the multivitamin for men, which is one of their most popular. However, you can be sure that the other formulas will have similar pros and cons. Manufacturers rarely make too much difference in their formulas, and generally use the same ingredients. Generally, all that will change is the quantity of some nutrients, and the addition or removal of 1 or 2 minor ones.

On the right is the nutritional profile of Centrum’s Multivitamin for Men. Some key points:

  • Price per serving: ~ £0.20
  • 13 vitamins
  • 11 minerals
  • Most vitamins/ minerals are roughly at the RDA

On the whole, this is a very basic multivitamin. It covers the bare minimum that a multivitamin should cover, both in terms of spectrum of nutrients and their dosage.

 

Vitamins

Click to enlarge

Information about the vitamins is scarce, and the manufacturer hasn’t replied to enquiries for elaboration. This make it hard to comment on the quality, but considering the minimalistic approach to formulation, limited information (most companies make a song and dance about quality if they can) and low cost of the product, I feel I can make some safe assumptions about it:

Vitamin D and vitamin K will be the inferior D2 and K1 versions, rather than the D3 and K2 forms. This means that they are poorly utilised/ absorbed in the body. There is only 1 form of vitamin E, (α -TE). This is the most abundant form in humans, which is good, but it lacks the full spectrum of vitamin E, of which there are at least 8 forms. As these vitamins are all probably all in their inferior form, and mostly synthetic, you can assume that absorption is poor1/

 

Minerals

Minerals come in various forms and complexes, and this impacts how well they are absorbed. Food complexes of magnesium for example are absorbed 2.2 times more than magnesium oxide, and 1.6 times more than magnesium chelate2. The label of this product offers no insight into the mineral forms, and this is generally an indication of inorganic forms. Inorganic minerals are generally very poorly absorbed in the digestive system. A common form of magnesium used in many multivitamins is magnesium oxide, which is inorganic.

Oddly, this multivitamin contains iron. Typically, multivitamins designed for men do not contain iron, because men require less than women, it is not something that men are commonly deficient in, and excess iron is actually harmful to health. This is an indication that not a lot of thought has gone into the product.

 

Summary

Centrum multivitamin is on the whole, a poor multivitamin. Low quality vitamins/ minerals which won’t be absorbed very well, and no other nutrients. It provides very little useful information on the product, and the company provides even less (actually – none) when asked about it. Most vitamins and minerals are provided roughly to the RDA, but you will likely only absorb a fraction of them. It probably does very little for your health. It looks to be made to entice laymen into thinking it will help achieve the RDAs of the more common nutrients, which it probably won’t. I would say it is a cheap and cheerful product, but actually it isn’t that cheap at £0.20 per serving (see Briofood below), and isn’t all that cheerful either…

 


 

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men

Optimum nutrition is a brand that specialises in bodybuilding/ athletic supplements. The only multivitamin that they offer is the ‘opti-men’, which highlights how focused they are on their target market of bodybuilders. To the right you can see the label for their multivitamin. Some key points from the label are:

  • Price per serving: ~£0.50
  • 13 vitamins
  • 10 minerals
  • Amino acid blend
  • Plant extracts

 

Click to enlarge

Vitamins

The label and company provide less information about the form of the vitamins than Centrum, and so for the purposes of this discussion, I will have to make the same assumptions. The vitamins are probably provided in a poorly absorbed form. However, the dosages that they contain are generally higher than that of Centrum. For example, this supplement contains 225mg vitamin C and 9μg of vitamin B12, which is 1.8x and 3x more than Centrum contains, respectively.

 

Minerals

Again, very little is provided about the minerals content, so we will have to assume they are the poorly absorbed inorganic forms. Again, we see a greater amounts included than Centrum’s multivitamin. This multivitamin contains 10 minerals, whereas Centrum contains 11. This missing mineral in this formula is iron, which as I’ve already mentioned, is common for men’s multivitamins.

 

Additional Nutrients

Men’s multivitamins often contain amino acid complexes, especially when they are tailored for athletes. Amino acid complexes like this are associated with anabolic properties, and can help recovery of sore muscles. Although these amino acids are not particularly essential, they do add to the value of the multivitamin.

This formula also contains some plant extracts such as lycopene, olive leaf extract, ginger extract and green tea extract. These plant extracts are all associated with combating oxidative stress and so should help the body recover from the additional stress of exercise3. They are all provided in quite small quantities. For example, the Primal Master Formula (see end of article) which is also designed for athletic individuals contains 20 times more lycopene. However, despite the low amounts, it is still good to see them included in the formula, and they will offer some benefit.

 

Summary

If Centrum is designed for a ‘average Joe’ Opti-Men is designed for the ‘average Joe that likes the gym’. The quality of all the nutrients is very similar to Centrum, but all generally provided in larger quantities. It also contains additional nutrients like amino acids and small amounts of plant extracts. It is still a poor quality multivitamin, but an improvement on Centrum.

 


 

Seven Seas Simply Timeless

Seven Seas are well known for the fish oil they produce. With this in mind, it is no surprise that their ‘Simply Timeless’ multivitamin product also contains 500mg of fish oil, which is quite unique amongst the multivitamin products out there. A full break down of the ingredients can be seen on the right, but they key points from the label are:

  • Price per serving: ~£0.14
  • 13 vitamins
  • 0 minerals
  • 500mg fish oil

 

Click to enlarge

Vitamins

As with the previous 2 multivitamins discussed, there is very little information provided by Seven Seas about the forms of vitamins they use. The vitamins are all provided at the RDA (with the exception of vitamin K, which is 15% the RDA), and this is very reminiscent of the Centrum multivitamin. To people who are not familiar with nutrient absorption and the various forms, this looks like it provides all you need. In reality, the likely poor form and relatively low dosage means that very little of these vitamins are absorbed.

 

Minerals

Contains no minerals. This is the only multivitamins that omits all minerals from its formula.

 

Additional Nutrients

This is the only multivitamin to contain 500mg of fish oil. This would make it quite an attractive product if the quality of the fish oil was anything to be excited about. However, upon closer inspection of the label, you can see that the 500mg fish oil only contains 95mg of the important omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These omega-3 fatty acids are then only provided in the poorly absorbed (but cheap to make) ethyl ester form, which means very little is absorbable. You can read more about the fish oil in Seven Seas products here, but needless to say, it isn’t the best quality.

 

Summary

Despite being quite an interesting idea with some promise, this product is rather disappointing. It is a blend of poor quality vitamins and poor quality fish oil, which unsurprisingly results in a poor quality multivitamin with fish oil. Absorption of these nutrients will be poor, and any benefit you get from it will be hard to measure.

 


 

Tesco A-Z Multivitamins + Minerals

Tesco’s own branded products are typically thought of as being budget product. No frills, just the essentials, but at a low price. You can see the contents of this product to the right, and some key points from the label are:

  • Price per serving: ~£0.04
  • 13 vitamins
  • 10 minerals

 

Click to enlarge

Vitamins

Again, very little information is provided, so we have to make the same assumptions as the previous products. Low quality/ poorly absorbed vitamins. All the vitamins are provided at exactly their RDA, but seeing as they are poorly absorbed, they will not meet the RDA.

 

Minerals

All minerals are provided at their exact RDA, same as the vitamins. You can also be sure that they will all be in an inorganic (and so poorly absorbed form). This product covers most minerals, but of the commonly included minerals, it is missing phosphorus. Phosphorus is important for cellular growth and repair, and most multivitamins will contain it, so it is surprising to see it missing here. However, deficiency of phosphorus is quite rare, so its omission is of little concern.

 

Summary

Bare bones. This really does just cover the bare bones of what you expect out of a multivitamin. I don’t know how much of each nutrient you will absorb, but you can be sure it will be quite low. However, for £0.04 per serving it is pretty fairly priced. Nutritionally I would say it is slightly better than Centrum, but costs 5 times less. If, for some reason you were looking for a pretty poor multivitamin, then this would be it.

 


 

Briofood Day-To-Day Men’s Multi

Briofoods offer a range of multivitamins, but they are all relatively similar. So, for the purpose of this review, we will look at the Men’s Wholefood Multivitamin. To the right you can see the nutritional profile. Key points of this product are:

  • Price per serving: ~ £0.08
  •  13 vitamins
  • 8 minerals
  • Blend of powdered whole foods
  • Amino blend (100mg)
  • Probiotics
  • Most vitamin/ minerals exceed RDA

 

You can see already that this multivitamins is a bit more thorough than the previous one, and contains various plant blends, enzymes and probiotics.

 

Vitamins

Click to enlarge

More information is provided about these vitamins than previous brands. We can see that vitamin D for example is in the superior D3 form, and that vitamin A is made up of beta-carotene and palmitate. We can also see that the dosage of most vitamins/ minerals is higher than previous products. Vitamin D for example is 200% the RDA, and is in the D3 form, and the B vitamins are 10 times higher than the dosage found in Centrum. This is important when you consider that most people are in need of more vitamin D.

Vitamin K however is in the K1 form (phytonadione), which is inferior to K2, and vitamin E is also only in the alpha-tocopherol. Still, as a whole, the vitamin profile of Briofood’s multivitamin is extremely good for the price per serving.

 

Minerals

The mineral content is a mixed bag of quality. We do see a lot of chelated minerals such as zinc chelate and manganese chelate, which is good to see. These forms of minerals are organic and the body is able to absorb them much easier than inorganic forms. However, we do still see some inorganic minerals such as magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate. Considering the importance of both these minerals in the Western world, this is a shame, especially when this multivitamin provides them in quite small quantities.

This formula is also missing iron, which as previously mentioned, is quite common in multivitamins for men.

 

Additional nutrients

It is good to see a variety of plant complexes included. These provide a whole range of various nutrients that are often neglected, but are very important not only for health, but nutrient absorption. The citrus bioflavinoids for example, will help with the absorption of the vitamin C4. However, these plant based blends comes to a total of 275mg, which is a very small amount. Yes, the bioflavinoids will help with vitamin C absorption, but it suggests that you would be getting some meaningful amount of omega-3s from the 100mg of seeds blend, and some nutritional benefit from the 150mg of vegetable/ herbal blends. Perhaps you do, but I don’t imagine it would be a measurable.

 

Summary

The basic vitamins and minerals are generally all provided in meaningful quantities and are in easily absorbable forms, but there are some exceptions, such as vitamin K. This multivitamin also includes a variety of plant complexes which is great to see, but I am sceptical that the quantity provided will have much impact. Overall, for less than £0.10 a serving, this seems a very reasonably priced product. It covers the basics quite well and then a little more. For the money, this is a very good multivitamin.

 


 

Dr Mercola Whole-Food Multivitamin

The Mercola brand has long enjoyed a good reputation for producing high quality supplements. Aside from a children’s multivitamin, Mercola only offers 1 multivitamin. Below, you can see the nutritional content of the product, but to see a bigger picture, click here.

Some key points from the label:

  • Price per serving: £0.80-£1.60
  • 12 vitamin (No vitamin K)
  • 13 minerals + trace elements (from seaweed)
  • Range of powdered whole plant
  • Range of plant extracted nutrients
  • All nutrients with an established RDA meet or exceed the RDA

 

You can see the label contains lots of information, and a lot more nutrients than previous multivitamins. Also, with the exception of the ‘special blend’ you can see the quantity of all the nutrients, whereas in Briofood’s, you are only told the total quantity of plant blends. This can be misleading, and allows manufacturers to pad out on cheap products, and skimp on the expensive ones.

 

Vitamins

Click to enlarge

The vitamins are all in good quantity and are good quality. Vitamin C is provided in 4 forms providing a total of 500mg. This ensures a meaningful amount will be absorbed (aided not only by the diversity, but also the bioflavinoids). Vitamin D is provided in very high dosages in the D3 form. Vitamin E comes with a variety of tocopherols – the first time we have seen a vitamin E come with various other forms. The B-vitamins are all provided in high dosages and in natural forms.

This formula is missing any form of vitamin K, which has been included in all other multivitamins, and this is disappointing. However, this aside, the quality and quantity of the vitamins provided in this multivitamin are very good indeed.

 

Minerals

All the minerals are provided in a highly absorbable organic forms, and often as a variety. For example, magnesium is found in a complex with vitamin C, and a chelate complex. Virtually all the minerals are chelated to amino acids which is a very absorbable and natural form to find minerals. The dosage of all minerals is quite high, and this is particularly important for minerals like magnesium, which typical Western diets lack in.

Mercola’s multivitamin also contains minerals which are not commonly included in multivitamins – strontium, boron, vanadium and various trace elements extracted form seaweed. These minerals are extremely important for a variety of biological functions. They have been linked with improving bone health, blood pressure and a variety of other benefits.

It is also worth noting that this is the only multivitamin that contains potassium. Potassium is very rare in multivitamins because the body needs quite a lot of it (around 3g) and it can be quite toxic unless provided in the right form. Mercola’s multivitamin contains potassium in a healthy form, and seeing as much of the population has low potassium levels, it is good to see it in this multivitamin. The potassium content of supplements is restricted to 99mg, which is why Mercola’s only contains 3% RDA (99mg).

 

Additional Nutrients

The total of other nutrients (either whole plants or plant extracts) comes to over 2,600mg (2.6 grams). This is 10 times more than Briofoods. Mercola has an excellent diverse range of plant based nutrients, providing a massive spectrum of beneficial compounds. Mercola’s multivitamin contains too many nutrients to go into detail on all of them in this article, but there are a few key ones that stand out. Lycopene, spirulina, chlorella, broccoli, wheat grass and green tea are well researched, extremely nutritious, and not often found in your daily diet. The dosages of these foods is still a lot less than if you were to actually eat the food, but these supplements are not designed to replace your food, just supplement it.

 

Summary

Mercola’s wholefood multivitamin is a very high quality multivitamin. It contains vitamins in meaningful dosages and in high quality forms. The mineral profile is extremely diverse and contains trace elements that often get over looked. All vitamins and minerals are in absorbable forms, and in meaningful dosages. However, what makes it stand out more than others is the amount of plant sourced nutrients (2.6 grams). The variety of phenolics, co-factors and other plant based nutrients is extremely impressive. The only negative I can draw against this multivitamin is the lack of vitamin K2.

There is no doubt that this is a very high quality multivitamin, however, there is the drawback of the cost. At the full dosage, it comes in at about £1.60 per serving. This often is prohibitive to many people, but some find that half dosages (of £0.80) make it more affordable. The dosage that suits you the most will depend on your diet/ exercise, but even half dosage provides very meaningful amounts of vitamins and minerals.

In the interest of full disclosure, we do sell Mercola’s Multivitamin in our webstore, but I’m not saying that this cod liver is great because we sell it, we sell it because it is great.

 


 

Primal Master Formula

Primal Master Formula is a creation of Mark Sisson – a strong advocate (creator, even) of the primal lifestyle. In addition to eating unprocessed foods, the primal lifestyle requires lots of exercise. With this in mind, the Primal Master Formula is tailored to provide nutrients that will support a very active lifestyle.

Some key points from the label:

  • Price per serving: £1.80 – £3.66
  • 13 vitamins
  • 11 minerals + trace minerals
  • Variety of plant extracted nutrients
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Variety of specialised fibres
  • Variety of specialised nutrients/ compounds

As with Mercola’s multivitamin, this label contains lots of information about the nutrients. It also contains a wide variety, ranging from vitamins to fibres, and provides the quantity of each.

 

Vitamins

Click to enlarge

The quality of vitamins in the Master Formula is unparalleled in any other multivitamin. The Master Formula contains the full spectrum of vitamins, all of which are in their most absorbable form. We see vitamins like C, A and E in a variety of different forms, and it is the first time we have seen the tocotrienol group of vitamin E added to a formula. The dosages of the vitamins are also all in very large amounts. Vitamin C for example is 1000mg (500% your RDA) and vitamin D3 is 2000 IU (500% RDA). The particularly high vitamin C is likely added to the formula to help people who do lots of exercise recover from the additional oxidative damage that exercise can cause5.

 

Minerals

Unsurprisingly, the mineral content of the Master Formula is very good. All 11 minerals that are listed are in large and meaningful dosages, and in a very absorbable form. In addition to the 11 on the label, the Master Formula contains an additional 100mg of 72 trace minerals. These trace minerals are only needed in extremely small quantities, but are important for a number of functions.

The Master formula is missing 2 minerals that the Mercola Multivitamin does have. These are strontium and potassium. Strontium is primarily associated with bone health, and is found in teeth and bones. Nutritionally, it isn’t a priority for most people, so its omission isn’t too much of a concern. As discussed previously in the Mercola write up, potassium is rarely found in multivitamins, so although its omission is a little disappointing, it is understandable. The maximum allowed in supplements is 3% the RDA, so its impact on nutritional requirements is quite small.

 

Additional Nutrients

The Primal Master Formula contains no powdered whole plants like Mercola does, but does contain lots of plant extracts. These include ginko bilobo, curcumingreen tea and milk thistle, to name a few. These plant extracts all well researched, and are known to combat oxidative stress. Many are also associated with fighting the ageing process.

The Primal Master Formula also contain a number of specialised plant fibre such as beta-glucans (commonly found in oats) and arabinogalactan. These fibres are thought to help boost the immune system as well as support digestive health.

Finally, this product contains a range of nootropics (brain boosters). These include phosphatidylserine, DMAE, acetyl L-carnitine and vinpocetine6 , all of which have some potential in improving mood, sharpening memory, helping focus and even fighting depression. Phosphatidylserine is also associated with fighting the ageing process, improving physical performance and combating stress7.

 

Summary

The Primal Master Formula certainly is a very thorough supplement. It takes the concept of a ‘multivitamin’ to another level with its inclusion of a vast array of other nutrients like co-Q10, specialised fibres, powerful plant extracts and a variety of nootropics.

It is the only multivitamin that contains all 13 vitamins in their optimal form (and often in the highest concentration) and the only one to contain nootropics. The formula also opts for highly potent extracts rather than powdered whole foods (such as curcumin instead of turmeric). This reduces the amount of trace nutrients you get, but ensures a powerful punch from the extracts.

Overall, the Primal Master Formula is a very specialised and high quality supplement, designed for a very active lifestyle. There is a lot of focus on reducing radical damage and fighting stress as well as providing a exceptional coverage of essential nutrients and improving mood. The only draw back is the high cost, with a full dosage costing £3.66/ day. This would put it out of budget for most people, but is a great example of a supplement where no compromises have been made.

In the interest of full disclosure, we do sell the Primal Master Formula in our webstore, but I’m not saying that this cod liver is great because we sell it, we sell it because it is great.

 


 

Summary

Overall, you get what you pay for, but there are a few over-hyped and over marketed products which cost more than they are worth. If you are looking for a good cost effective multivitamin, then I would look at BrioFoods. For the price, it is pretty good quality. If you can afford something a bit more complete then the Mercola Multivitamin is a great, broad, and high quality multivitamin that contains a wide variety of plant based foods. If you are quite athletic and live a busy life, then you may want to consider the Primal Master Formula.

At the very least, I hope that this showdown has helped you to understand multivitamins in a bit more details, and highlighted what makes a good multivitamin.

 


 

References

  1.  Thiel RJ. (2000). Natural vitamins may be superior to synthetic ones.. Med Hypotheses. 55 (6), 461-9.
  2. Robert Thiel. The Truth About Minerals in Nutritional Supplements. Available: http://www.doctorsresearch.com/articles3.html. Last accessed 24/05/2017.
  3. Klebanov GI. (1998). The antioxidant properties of lycopene. Membr Cell Biol. 12 (2), 287-300.
  4. Vinson JA. (1988). Comparative bioavailability to humans of ascorbic acid alone or in a citrus extract. Am J Clin Nutr. 48 (2), 601-4.
  5. Maryam Taghiyar. (2013). The Effect of Vitamin C and E Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Oxidative Stress in Female Athletes: A Clinical Trial. Int J Prev Med. 4 (supp 1), s16-s23.
  6. AO Ogunrin. (2014). Effect of Vinpocetine (Cognitol™) on Cognitive Performances of a Nigerian Population. Ann Med Health Sci Res. 4 (4), 654-661.
  7. Pepeu G. (1989). Nootropic drugs and brain cholinergic mechanisms.. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 13 (supplement), S77-S88.

The post The Multivitamin Showdown appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/the-multivitamin-showdown/feed/ 0
Genetic Testing – Diets of the Future https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/genetic-testing-diets-of-the-future/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/genetic-testing-diets-of-the-future/#comments Wed, 26 Apr 2017 14:59:39 +0000 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37584 The post Genetic Testing – Diets of the Future appeared first on The Health Cloud.

This article was kindly sponsored by Dante Labs. It is widely accepted that genetics not only shape the way we look, but are the blueprint for what we should eat. This is the premise for the famous ‘Paleo Diet’, and although there is some debate over what this diet truly looks like, the idea is spot on. The only problem is that everyone’s genetics are significantly different. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule. The ideal diet for me, won’t be the ideal diet for you. However, because discerning individual dietary needs has been near impossible, we have had to follow a one-size-fits-all rule – the RDA’s. Fortunately, genetic research is progressing rapidly and testing is becoming more and more accessible. Just […]

The post Genetic Testing – Diets of the Future appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post Genetic Testing – Diets of the Future appeared first on The Health Cloud.

This article was kindly sponsored by Dante Labs.

It is widely accepted that genetics not only shape the way we look, but are the blueprint for what we should eat. This is the premise for the famous ‘Paleo Diet’, and although there is some debate over what this diet truly looks like, the idea is spot on. The only problem is that everyone’s genetics are significantly different. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule. The ideal diet for me, won’t be the ideal diet for you. However, because discerning individual dietary needs has been near impossible, we have had to follow a one-size-fits-all rule – the RDA’s.

Fortunately, genetic research is progressing rapidly and testing is becoming more and more accessible. Just this year Dante Labs announced that you can have your whole genome sequenced for €850 – making it accessible to the public for the first time. It won’t be long before diets and medicines will be personalised for individuals.

 

Unique nutritional requirements

You might be tempted to think that genetics don’t have a massive impact on your nutritional requirements. Or if it does, it would only be a few mg’s of vitamin C here, and a few IU of vitamin D there, but you would be wrong. Here are just a few examples to show how greatly genetics impact your nutritional needs:

 

Milk – lactase enzyme

Milk is a very well known example. For many, milk is a pretty healthy food. It contains essential vitamins, minerals, good quality protein and important fats. Of course, all foods have pros and cons, but on the whole, the pros greatly outweigh cons (especially raw full fat milk). However, if you lack the gene to make lactase – the enzyme that digests the sugars in milk – the cons heavily outweigh the pros. You experience bloating, stomach cramps and become quite sick!

 

Vitamin C – SLC23A1 gene

A mutation in the gene that makes vitamin C transport proteins (SLC23A1) can cause circulating vitamin C levels to differ greatly from person to person. These proteins reabsorb vitamin C from the kidneys, which prevents it being passed out in urine. By doing this, higher circulating level of vitamin C can be maintained in the body1, which is particularly important considering your body cannot store it.

A small mutation in this gene can impair its ability to transport vitamin C by as much as 75%. This means that circulating levels of vitamin C will drop much quicker in individuals with this mutation2, putting circulating vitamin C at sub-optimal levels. With high levels of vitamin C being strongly association with lower risks of cancer and heart disease 3, carrying this mutation may mean you require more vitamin C, or ingest vitamin C more regularly than those who don’t, to keep healthy. This genetic mutation is found commonly in individuals of African origin, is less common in Caucasians, and is rare in Asian populations.

Conversely, a different mutation in the same gene has been shown to slightly increase circulating vitamin C levels4. This mutation is also associated with a reduced risk of follicular lymphoma5, which, considering vitamin C’s role in helping protect against cancers and its importance for skin health, isn’t too surprising. This mutation has been found in British and American populations, although because these studies were conducted in these regions, we cannot say if the mutations are isolated to them.

 

Magnesium – TRPM 6 gene

A mutation in the TRPM 6 gene, which encodes the protein responsible for absorbing magnesium in the small intestine, can reduce absorption of dietary magnesium to 35%6. With the gene acting normally, absorption of magnesium is usually 70%, meaning this mutation causes a 50% reduction in absorption. This single mutation is enough to cause serious magnesium deficiency, and in order to counteract it, magnesium consumption needs to be increased 5 fold7.

With magnesium being such an essential nutrient in the body, and already low in most Western diets, identifying this mutation could be important for health.

 

Coeliac/ Non-Celiac Gluten sensitivity

Although Coeliac disease can be tested for, Non Coeliac Gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and similar disorders are quite difficult. These disorders can increase intestinal permeability8, but lack the immune response of Coeliac disease. There are often few external symptoms, and this makes it is very hard to conclusively identify, so people can suffer from NCGS without really knowing it.

The intestinal wall covers an impressive 400m2.. It acts as a barrier against pathogens/ toxins and absorbs our food. Damage or reduced function to the intestinal wall can have far reaching health implications such as increased stress on the immune system, risk of infection, poor nutrient absorption, fatigue, and so on. Being able to identify the genes responsible for NCGS could improve the quality of life of many people.

These are just a handful of examples to highlight how genes impact your nutritional requirements, but already you can see how this can develop into a personalised diet. Perhaps you have the mutation on the SLC23A1 which causes a reduction in vitamin C circulating, but have no sensitivity to gluten? Time you looked into Amla9 sandwiches! (Amla, or Indian gooseberry, has one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C).

 

 

Prevention and personalised medicines

Genes can not show you what you need to eat, but what diseases you have a heightened risk for. For example, mutations in the BRCA 1 gene greatly increase your risk of developing breast cancer10, there are several genes which have varying impact on the development of cardiovascular disease and heart disease11, and some gene variations increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by 40%12.

Cardiovascular disease alone accounts for more than a quarter of all UK deaths13, 27% of all cases of breast cancer are preventable14 and by 2025 over 1 million people in the UK will have Alzheimers Disease15. With all these diseases (and many more), early detection and treatment is key to preventing and beating them. With current methods, early detection is not always very easy, and these diseases are often only detected when they have started to develop. With genetic testing, the risk of these diseases can be identified very early on, and steps can be taken to either completely prevent the disease, and treat it at the earliest signs of development.

The ever decreasing cost of genetic testing

The price of genetic testing is dropping quickly. The first time the human genome was sequenced it cost around 2.7 billion dollars, and it took the best part of a decade16. In 2007 the price came down to $350,000 dollars, which is a dramatic drop, but still an incredible sum of money – enough to buy a nice house and still have change. In 2010, the price to get your DNA sequence was $50,000. Another big drop, but still not affordable.

Now, thanks to Dante Labs – a direct-to-consumer genetic service – genome sequencing is at a price that the public can afford. You can have your whole genome sequenced for €850, or have your risk of developing breast cancer tested for €349. Although this is still a meaningful amount of money, complete genome testing is now in reach for most people. Reading your personal blueprint to life, and understanding your risk of diseases has never been easier. You can now, for the first time, develop a truly personal diet, understand your future risk of disease, and even understand your genetic ancestry.

 

Summary

For a long time we have followed the RDA’s and medicine recommendations which are designed to be suitable for the entire public in a one-size-fits-all model. This was the best we had for a long time, but because everyone has a unique genetic code, everyone has unique requirements. Broad nutritional recommendations and medicines are soon to be a thing of the past. With genetic testing coming on in leaps and bounds, personalised diets and medicines will take over – and at the rate genetic testing is developing, this isn’t too far in the future. Already full genome testing available to the public for €850, and our understanding of our genome is rapidly advancing.

 


 

References

  1. Alexander J. Michels. (2013). Human Genetic Variation Influences Vitamin C Homeostasis by Altering Vitamin C Transport and Antioxidant Enzyme Function. Annu Rev Nutr. 33, 45-70.
  2. Corpe CP. (2010). Vitamin C transporter Slc23a1 links renal reabsorption, vitamin C tissue accumulation, and perinatal survival in mice. J Clin Invest. 120 (4), 1069-83.
  3. Melissa A. Moser. (2016). Vitamin C and Heart Health: A Review Based on Findings from Epidemiologic Studies. Int J Mol Sci. 8 (17), 1328
  4. Cahill LE. (2009). Vitamin C transporter gene polymorphisms, dietary vitamin C and serum ascorbic acid. J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics. 6 (2), 292-301.
  5. Skibola CF. (2008). Polymorphisms in the estrogen receptor 1 and vitamin C and matrix metalloproteinase gene families are associated with susceptibility to lymphoma. PLoS One. 7 (3), e2816.
  6. R Swaminathan. (2003). Magnesium Metabolism and its Disorders. Clin Biochem Rev. 2 (24), 47-66.

  7. Konrad M. (2003). Recent advances in molecular genetics of hereditary magnesium-losing disorders.. J Am Soc Nephrol. 1 (14), 249-60.
  8. Carlo Catassi. (2013). Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: The New Frontier of Gluten Related Disorders. Nutrients. 10 (5), 3839-3853.
  9. Praveen Sharma. (2013). Vitamin C Rich Fruits Can Prevent Heart Disease. Indian J Clin Biochem. 3 (28), 213-214.
  10. NIH. (2015). BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing. Available: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics/brca-fact-sheet#q1. Last accessed 25/4/2017.
  11. Hiroyuki Morita. (2005). Genetic causes of human heart failure. J Clin Invest. 3 (115), 518-526.
  12. Chia-Chen Liu. (2013). Apolipoprotein E and Alzheimer disease: risk, mechanisms, and therapy. Nat Rev Neurol. 2 (9), 106-118.
  13. British Heart Foundation. (2015). Heart statistics. Available: https://www.bhf.org.uk/research/heart-statistics. Last accessed 25/4/2017.
  14. Cancer Research UK . (2014). Breast cancer statistics. Available: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/breast-cancer#heading-Four. Last accessed 25/4/2017.
  15. Prince, M et al. (2014). Dementia UK. Available: https://www.dementiastatistics.org/statistics-about-dementia/prevalence/. Last accessed 25/4/2017.
  16. National Human Genome Research Institute. (2010). 2003 Release: International Consortium Completes HGP. Available: https://www.genome.gov/11006943/human-genome-project-completion-frequently-asked-questions/. Last accessed 25/4/2017

Images courtesy NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Rowan University Publications.

 

The post Genetic Testing – Diets of the Future appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/genetic-testing-diets-of-the-future/feed/ 2
Olive oil vs Coconut oil for Skin https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/olive-oil-vs-coconut-oil-skin/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/olive-oil-vs-coconut-oil-skin/#comments Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:02:26 +0000 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37510 The post Olive oil vs Coconut oil for Skin appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Both coconut oil and olive oil are both plant derived oils that are hailed for their many benefits. Both are certainly healthy, and we have discussed how they compare nutritionally and when to use them in cooking here. Consumption aside, both oils are known for their nourishing properties on the skin. Despite both being plant based oils, their fat and micro-nutrient profiles are distinctly different, and so it this article I’ll discuss how the two compare for skin health, and look at the supporting research.   Moisturising the skin Clinical trials have shown that coconut oil is as effective as mineral oils (conventional moisturisers) when it comes to moisturising the skin1. This arguably would mean that coconut oil is better than conventional moisturisers as […]

The post Olive oil vs Coconut oil for Skin appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post Olive oil vs Coconut oil for Skin appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Both coconut oil and olive oil are both plant derived oils that are hailed for their many benefits. Both are certainly healthy, and we have discussed how they compare nutritionally and when to use them in cooking here. Consumption aside, both oils are known for their nourishing properties on the skin. Despite both being plant based oils, their fat and micro-nutrient profiles are distinctly different, and so it this article I’ll discuss how the two compare for skin health, and look at the supporting research.

 

Moisturising the skin

Clinical trials have shown that coconut oil is as effective as mineral oils (conventional moisturisers) when it comes to moisturising the skin1. This arguably would mean that coconut oil is better than conventional moisturisers as it doesn’t contain any chemicals that conventional skin products do, which are not healthy. This particular study was a randomised double-blind controlled trial, which is considered the ‘gold standard’ in research. Other research also supports this study’s findings, and there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence also supporting these claims. You just need to see the vast number beauty blogs promoting coconut oil as a moisturiser to see how popular it is.

Olive oil is not as well researched as coconut oil for moisturising skin. It has been tested in moisturising ‘blends’, but these blends also contain other ingredients which are also thought to have moisturising properties such as aloe vera2. This makes comparison very difficult. Additionally, there is very little anecdotal evidence showing olive oil is a good moisturiser.

The limited research on olive oil doesn’t help, but as the evidence stands, coconut oil is by far the most effective at moisturiser the skin. On its own, coconut oil is as effective as commercial skin creams, which are designed and engineered to moisturise. This clearly shows how effective coconut oil is!

 

Protecting the skin against bacteria & infection

Skin problems such as acne are strongly linked to bacteria on the skin3 (but diet/ hormones also have a role important too). A good skin care product needs to help control bacteria, and also help the healing of wounds and sores to prevent infection.

About 50% of coconut oil is a fatty acid called lauric acidwhich has been shown to have quite strong antibacterial activity against a broad range of bacteria4. Additionally, coconut oil has been shown to increase skin healing and increase antioxidant enzymes in the skin5, which will help fight of and prevent infection. Its ability to improve healing and improve enzymes is attributed to micro-nutrients found in the oil such as vitamin E, and not the oil itself.

 

Olive oil has also demonstrated strong antibacterial activity, although there isn’t a great deal of research testing this on skin. Olive oil can inhibit a number of foodborne pathogens, and its ability to do this is thought to be due to the variety of phenolic compounds it contains. Phenolic compounds are well known for their antibacterial properties, and are the reason why ingredients like green tea are found in natural antibacterial creams. Olive oil has also been shown to improve healing (specifically in ulcers) and reduce inflammation at sites of damage on the skin6. Again, this is attributed, at least in part, to the phenolic compounds found in olive oil, although some of the fats in olive oil are also known anti-inflammatories.

Both olive oil and coconut oil seem to have meaningful antibacterial properties. However, when compared for antibacterial activity when applied to the skin, coconut oil appears to be the more powerful. A double-blind controlled trial tested the 2 oils against Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on the skin. After 4 weeks only 5% of the subjects who used coconut oil were positive for Staphylococcus aureus, whereas 50% of the olive oil users were positive7.

The evidence points to coconut oil being the stronger of the two oils when looking at protecting the skin from bacteria/ infection. Both oils have also been shown to help the skin heal, but without a good comparative study, it has hard to say which is better than the other. Interestingly, these oils seem to help skin healing in different ways, and may complement each other. A combination of coconut and olive oil might have greater healing potential than either oil in isolation, but sadly this hasn’t been tested.

 

General skin health

Improving skin health and ‘youthful’ features is possibly one of the most desirable properties of skin creams. Moisturising/ protecting the skin as discussed above is a key part to improving skin health (and so youthful looks), but that’s not the whole story.

Collagen is a protein found in skin, and it gives skin its elastic properties and a smooth ‘plumped’ look. There is some evidence that coconut oil can increase collagen production in the skin5, but there isn’t a great deal of research on this.

Interestingly, olive oil is often used as a control oil when testing oils on collagen production. This implies that olive oil has no effect, but in fact it does improve skin elasticity a small but measurable amount8. This suggests that olive oil is helping improve collagen production. There are no good quality comparative studies between olive oil and coconut oil for collagen production, but it would appear they both do increase collagen to some extent.

Olive oil is also commonly used as an after-sun treatment to reduce damage from prolonged exposure to the sun. This is supported by quite a bit of research. There are studies which show that regularly treating your skin with olive oil protects it from damage9, and applying it after spending time in the sun reduces oxidative damage to the skin10. This again may be more down to the phenolic compounds that it contains. Both coconut oil and olive oil have been shown to block about 20% of UVB rays from the sun11, which shows they have comparable preventative effects, although olive oil is seems to be the better after-sun treatment, and has better protective effects.

Both oils are very good for skin health. On the whole, coconut oil appears to be better at causing collagen production (and so improving skin appearance), and olive oil is better at protecting the skin from sun damage.

 

Summary

Both olive oil and coconut oil are good for your skin, and benefit it in different ways. On balance, it looks like coconut oil is better at moisturising, controlling bacteria, and improving skin health than olive oil. However, olive oil is a stronger antioxidant, and so is a more effective treatment for sunburn.

 

References

  1. Agero AL. (2004). A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Dermatitis. 15 (3), 109-16.
  2. Anisha Sethi. (2016). Moisturizers: The Slippery Road. Indian J Dermatol. 61 (3), 279-287.
  3.  Ajay Bhatia. (2004). PROPIONIBACTERIUM ACNES AND CHRONIC DISEASES. The Infectious Etiology of Chronic Disease.
  4. Carpo BG. (2007). Novel antibacterial activity of monolaurin compared with conventional antibiotics against organisms from skin infections: an in vitro study.. J Drugs Dermatol. 6 (10), 991-8.
  5. Nevin KG. (2010). Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats.. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 23 (6), 290-7.
  6. Morteza Nasiri. (2015). The effect of topical olive oil on the healing of foot ulcer in patients with type 2 diabetes: a double-blind randomized clinical trial study in Iran. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 14.
  7. Verallo-Rowell VM. (208). Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 19 (6), 308-15.
  8. Kenza Qiraouani Boucetta. (2015). The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity. Clin Interv Aging. 10, 339-349.
  9. Ichihashi M. (2000). Preventive effect of antioxidant on ultraviolet-induced skin cancer in mice.. J Dermatol Sci. (Supp), s-45-50.
  10. Budiyanto A. (2000). Protective effect of topically applied olive oil against photocarcinogenesis following UVB exposure of mice. Carcinogenesis. 21 (11), 2085-90.
  11. Radava R. Korać. (2011). Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation. Pharmacogn Rev. 5 (10), 164-173.

Images courtesy of Paolo Restifo and Stew Dean.

The post Olive oil vs Coconut oil for Skin appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/olive-oil-vs-coconut-oil-skin/feed/ 1
How much weight loss is realistic in 1 week? https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/realistic-weight-loss-1-week/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/realistic-weight-loss-1-week/#comments Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:22:32 +0000 https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37461 The post How much weight loss is realistic in 1 week? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Weight loss is big business, and looking at health trends, it will continue to be in the future too. People want weight loss fast, and people are more than happy to promise it to others. We had a reader contact us a few weeks ago asking how much weight loss is realistically possible in a week after reading an article in The Sun. The article claimed that someone was able to lose 1 stone (6.35kg) in a week by only eating 400kcals/ day. Fortunately our reader wasn’t the typical ‘The Sun reader’, and questioned it. So, for a bit of fun, I thought I’d do some quick calculations to see how plausible this weight loss is, and then have a look […]

The post How much weight loss is realistic in 1 week? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post How much weight loss is realistic in 1 week? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Weight loss is big business, and looking at health trends, it will continue to be in the future too. People want weight loss fast, and people are more than happy to promise it to others. We had a reader contact us a few weeks ago asking how much weight loss is realistically possible in a week after reading an article in The Sun.

The article claimed that someone was able to lose 1 stone (6.35kg) in a week by only eating 400kcals/ day. Fortunately our reader wasn’t the typical ‘The Sun reader’, and questioned it. So, for a bit of fun, I thought I’d do some quick calculations to see how plausible this weight loss is, and then have a look at what is actually a realistic expectation for weight loss.

 

1 stone in 1 week

Lets start with the assumption that all the weight lost is pure fat, and not muscle (or brain matter…). Fat contains about 10% water by weight, so of the 6.35kg she lost, 5.72kg was fat and 0.64kg was water. Fat contains roughly 9 calories per gram, so the amount of calories she lost is weight was 51,480 calories, which represents 7,254 calories a day!

This person is only eating 400kcals a day, and the guideline requirements are 2000kcals for women. This 2000kcals represents the amount of calories the average woman needs to maintain healthy weight, so she is living on a deficit of around 1600kcals as day. This represents just under 200g of fat tissue (including water weight), over a week, this would represent 1.4kg of weight. Some how she has lost an extra 5kg of fat. She somehow needs to burn an extra 5,645kcals a day to reach the kind of weight loss being claimed.

This is the equivalent of cycling 192 miles in 12 hours EVERY DAY. That is like cycling the height of Wales everyday (which Google says would take 17 hours).

Hats off to her if she did manage to do that everyday for a week, and not die. But I have a feeling that she is not the cycling type.

I know I have made some assumptions in this calculation (e.g just losing fat) and done a little bit of rounding, but even if I was out by 50%, I still don’t think she would have cycled 96 miles every day for a week. In fact, I doubt this woman would even give cycling 1 mile a go, but that is beyond the point.

The article claims that by just eating 400kcals a day you will lose 1 stone (6.35kg) of weight in a week, which is impossible. The worry is that some people will believe this and give it a go. Not only is eating 400kcals a day not very healthy, but it won’t work!

At best you can expect to lose in the region of 1.4kg of fat mass if only eating 400kcals a day. If you did this kind of 400kcals diet though you will definitely lose some muscle mass too. So you may well lose more weight, but muscle mass is not the aim of weight loss.

 

How much weight loss is realistic?

A reasonable calorie deficit to work with is about 300kcals a day, meaning the average woman would eat 1,700kcals. This represents about 37g of fat tissue a day, which over a week is 259g. Over a month you can expect to lose around 1kg of fat tissue just from a 300kcal deficit. Chances are, you won’t just burn fat, and are also likely to lose muscle too, so you probably would lose more weight than this. If you have a greater calorie deficit then you will lose more weight (and more muscle mass).

If you are exercising too, it is a slightly different story because you might be losing more fat, but adding muscle too (or at least not losing as much). Muscle weighs more than fat, so weight change might not be as noticeable as much as body shape/ composition.

These calculations are pretty close to the Mayo Clinics guidelines of losing 0.5kg a week at 500kcal deficit, which are also the same as the NHS’s guidelines. Considering my calculations are assuming 100% of the weight loss is fat, when in reality muscle mass will also be lost, I’m pretty happy with the accuracy.

 

Summary

The media will always make outlandish weight loss claims. These should always be taken with a large pinch of salt, and a healthy dose of scepticism. Realistic and healthy weight loss goals are to lose around 0.25kg -0.5kg of fat mass a week. This is healthy, sustainable, and will help to minimise muscle loss.

Image courtesy of Chris Jones.

The post How much weight loss is realistic in 1 week? appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/realistic-weight-loss-1-week/feed/ 1
Skate vs Ratfish Oil https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/skate-vs-ratfish-oil/ https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/skate-vs-ratfish-oil/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:22:28 +0000 http://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/?p=37211 The post Skate vs Ratfish Oil appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Skate liver oil and ratfish oil are relatively similar products in terms of nutrient content, but do have some important differences. They differ significantly from other marine oils like cod liver oil and krill oil, although it is often not so clear as to why or how. This article will highlight these differences, look at what makes skate and ratfish nutritionally unique, and help you decide which is most suitable for your needs.   Ratfish, skate & cod Both skate and ratfish belong to the taxonomy class of Chondrichthyes, which means their skeleton is made of cartilage. This class includes a variety of species, the most recognised being sharks and rays. Skate are most closely related to the rays, and although they look similar to […]

The post Skate vs Ratfish Oil appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
The post Skate vs Ratfish Oil appeared first on The Health Cloud.

Skate liver oil and ratfish oil are relatively similar products in terms of nutrient content, but do have some important differences. They differ significantly from other marine oils like cod liver oil and krill oil, although it is often not so clear as to why or how. This article will highlight these differences, look at what makes skate and ratfish nutritionally unique, and help you decide which is most suitable for your needs.

 

Ratfish, skate & cod

Both skate and ratfish belong to the taxonomy class of Chondrichthyes, which means their skeleton is made of cartilageThis class includes a variety of species, the most recognised being sharks and rays. Skate are most closely related to the rays, and although they look similar to rays with their characteristic ray ‘wings’, they have very distinct differences in their physiology and biology, and tend to live in much deeper water than rays do. Ratfish on the other hand are more closely related to sharks, and share many characteristics with them, but like skate tend to live in the deep ocean.

Cod on the other hand belongs to a completely different class called Actinopterygii, whose skeletons are made of bone. Cod also tend to prefer much shallower water than skate and ratfish, and so live in a very different environment in the oceans. Considering the stark differences between the habitat and genetic relationship between these fish, it is no surprise that the oils of skate/ ratfish are significantly different to cod.

Cod liver oil is extremely well researched, the benefits are well understood and as such, it is a popular product. As a result, the cod liver oil market is extremely competitive, and there is a lot of variation between products. This has lead many manufacturers to improve their processing methods, and provide lots of information about their product to highlight why theirs is so good. This information includes processing temperature, regular and public lab tests and general transparency (it has even lead to some shady and underhand marketing practices too). The competition has generally has been a good thing for cod liver oil supplements though. There is now lots of lab tests for omega-3/ vitamin content, types of vitamins added (if any) and information on sourcing of fish. You can make a very informed decision about which cod liver oil you buy.

Skate and ratfish oils are less well researched and much less competitive, so there is much less information on them. With this in mind, if you are looking for a good omega-3 supplement, then a good quality cod liver oil is a much safer bet simply because of the wealth of information. Also, because of the presence of other compounds found in ratfish and skate oil which are discussed below, the content of omega-3 is likely to be much less than that of cod liver oil.

 

Nutritional content of skate and ratfish

Ratfish

Like cod liver oils, both ratfish and skate liver oil contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D (although the quantity of any is not very clear). In addition to this, both ratfish and skate liver oil contain vitamin E, various other omega fatty acids, and various quinones (possibly including co-enzyme Q10). Most of these nutrients have been covered elsewhere on the site (follow the links if you are interested), and although good for your health, they are not what make these oils unique. Both skate and ratfish contain significant amount of vitamin K2 and large amounts of compounds called alkoxyglycerols and alkylglycerols, which although chemically different1 are often interchanged in literature.

Vitamin K2

The amount of vitamin K2 in these oil isn’t known, but is thought to be high. One manufacturer claims that testing for vitamin K in marine oils isn’t very accurate, and so don’t test for it. Vitamin K testing has been done in other marine oils, but not to a high degree of accuracy, and is not common practice. Despite unknown quantities, the vitamin K2 content of these oils is thought to help decalcify the pineal gland. Calcification of the pineal gland can affect its function which is related to the production of various hormones and the regulation of the circadian rhythm2. Currently, there isn’t any research into the effect of vitamin K, skate or ratfish oil on decalcifying the pineal gland. However, we do know that vitamin K is involved in the regulation of calcium in the body, so it does have the potential to do so. Both skate and ratfish oil are thought to have comparable amounts of vitamin K2.

To support this claim, there are many anecdotal reports of these oils helping to decalcify the gland. The evidence of this being vivid dreams when taking these supplements, which is a typical result of decalcification of the gland. Although anecdotes are far from conclusive, all the current (albeit limited) evidence does suggest that these oils can help decalcify the pineal gland.

Alkoxglycerols/alkylglycerols

Species of fish like skate and ratfish which are related to sharks are a great source of these compounds. It is these compounds which are found in high quantities in shark oil, and give shark oil its anti-cancer properties. Both compounds are well documented for supporting the immune system, acting as a remedy for the effects radiation therapy, and as a treatment for some cancers. In particular, these compounds have been shown to stimulate to activity of immune cells called macrphages which ‘engulf’ and destroy foreign material in the body, including cancer cells and bacteria. In mice, oils containing these compounds has shown to reduce cancer proliferation by as much as 39%, demonstrating quite remarkable effects3.

The amount of alkoxglycerols and alkylglycerols in both fish isn’t something widely tested. It can be as high as 50% of the oil, but testing for concentrations of these chemicals isn’t very common4. One producer of ratfish oil has tested levels of 14%-30%5, which although less than 50%, is still a very meaningful amount. There isn’t any reliable figure for the amount found in skate oil, but considering ratfish are more closely related to sharks than skate, the content in skate is likely less than ratfish.

Squalene

Skate

The content of squalene in skate and ratfish oil is very variable. The limited amount of research in this area suggests that squalene content of these fish ranges from 0 – 20% of the oil6. This could be due to the accuracy of the measurements taken (similar to vitamin K content) or the life cycles of the fish. Other similar fish (such as the catfish) have had squalene concentrations of as much as 40% tested in the oil, which would be expected to be similar to skate/ ratfish. Researches do comment that other molecules in the oil could be preventing accurate measurements, and I believe that this is the main cause for the range of readings. Generally speaking, skate liver oil is thought to contain more squalene that ratfish, but there isn’t a great deal accurate research to support this.

With regards to the oil supplements there will almost certainly be squalene present. The supplements are made from a large number of fish, so if some don’t contain squalene (which is unlikely, but possible) it doesn’t matter. People have reported that taking skate liver oil greatly improves their skin health, which may well be due to the squalene content7.

Squalene is a potent antioxidant, and has attracted the attention of the scientific community for its cancer treatment potential. It is much less researched in this area compared to alkoxglycerols/alkylglycerols, but the current research has shown that increasing squalene intake boosts the immune system, helps protect against cancer and helps to keep the skin hydrated7. Squalene concentrates mostly in our skin, where it is able to protect the skin from oxidation by UV light8. It is something we naturally produce is sebum (oil produced by the skin), and makes up about 13% of the sebum.

Chondroitin

Chondroitin is known for improving joint health, and reducing pain in joints. It is relatively well researched, and studies have found that it is more effective than a placebo8, but most effective when taken in conjunction with other supplements such as glucosamine. The content in skate or ratfish isn’t known. There is little research into chondroitin, and although its content in skate/ ratfish is thought to be considerable there are cheaper sources available.

 

Summary

Skate and ratfish oil are extremely interesting marine oils. In truth, I think there will be more nutritionally beneficial compounds identified in them as research continues. However, judging if they are a suitable supplement for you or not has to be done on this ‘tip of the iceberg’ research, which isn’t ideal. The compounds that have been found in them do offer some interesting and rather unique benefits for the immune system, and they contain a range of important nutrients (albeit in unknown quantities). Current evidence does suggests they can help to decalcify the pituitary gland, but there is no question that much more research is needed.

Nutritionally, both skate and ratfish oils are similar. If push came to shove, I would say that ratfish contains more alkoxglycerols and alkylglycerols, whereas skate contains more squalene and chondroitin. The primary purpose of both as a supplement would be to promote the immune system (particularly against cancer), and decalcify the pituitary gland. If these ailments are of concern for you, then either of these supplements are a good choice, particularly when considering the variety of other nutrients they contain. However, if you are just looking for a good and natural omega-3 supplement, then perhaps a good cod liver oil would be more suitable.

 

References:

  1. Nestec S.A. (2010). Method for increasing endogenous plasmalogen levels in mammals . Available: https://www.google.com/patents/WO2010100060A2?cl=en. Last accessed 26/01/2017.
  2. Macchi MM. (2004). Human pineal physiology and functional significance of melatonin. Front Neuroendocrinol. 25 (3-4), 177-95.
  3. Tommaso Iannitti. (2010). An Update on the Therapeutic Role of Alkylglycerols. Mar Drugs. 8 (8), 2267–2300.
  4. Heimat. AKG Deep Sea Shark Liver Oil. Available: www.heimat-ltd.com/en/resources/akg-shark-liver-oil.html. Last accessed 26/01/2017.
  5. Rosita. Rosita Ratfish Liver Oil™ Nutrient data from independent analytical testing. Available: Rosita Ratfish Liver Oil™ Nutrient data from independent analytical testing. Last accessed 26/01/2017.
  6. JOHN ARNOLD LOVERN. (1930). THE COMPOSITION OF THE FATTY ACIDS PRESENT AS GLYCERIDES IN THE LIVER OIL OF THE THRESHER SHARK (ALOPOECIA VULPES). Biochemical Journal. – (6), 867-869.
  7. Kim SK. (2012). Biological importance and applications of squalene and squalane. Adv Food Nutr Res. 65, 223-33.
  8. Bill_4. (2012). Cod liver or skate liver oil? Available: http://www.paleohacks.com/cod-liver-oil/cod-liver-or-skate-liver-oil-12167. Last accessed 08/02/2017.
  9. Kelly GS. (1999). Squalene and its potential clinical uses. Altern Med Rev. 4 (1), 29-36.
  10. Singh JA. (2015). Chondroitin for osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. unknown (1), unknown.

Images courtesy of id-iomEd Bierman and Adrien Sifre.

The post Skate vs Ratfish Oil appeared first on The Health Cloud.

]]>
https://www.thehealthcloud.co.uk/skate-vs-ratfish-oil/feed/ 5