September 24, 2018

490 Liposomal Glutathione [24 Sept 2018]

The company that makes the liposomal vitamin C that I wrote about last week also makes several other liposomal products. The one that caught my attention is glutathione.

Back in 2015 I wrote several columns on glutathione: #304 Glutathione; #318 How to Raise Glutathione, #319 Increasing Glutathione – Who Can Benefit? Glutathione has several properties that make liposomal glutathione an amazing product.

Glutathione (GSH) is the most important antioxidant in our cells. It protects our mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from free radical damage, helps the liver detox chemicals, boosts the immune system, and slows or even reverses aging. Glutathione declines as we age and with illness. Anything we can do to increase our cellular glutathione levels will improve our health in many different ways.

The problem is in supplementing glutathione. If we take it orally, as in a capsule, it is broken down in our digestive tract before it can be absorbed. So we are left with supplementing the precursors (“building blocks” that make up a biochemical) and cofactors (nutrients required in the synthesis of a biochemical) [see #318], and hoping that our cells will use these nutrients to manufacture glutathione.

One of the most limiting precursors is the amino acid cysteine. Like glutathione, cysteine is broken down in the digestive tract so must be supplemented in one of two special forms: N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC); or cystine (occurring in specially prepared whey).

Liposomal glutathione avoids these problems entirely. As with vitamin C, the phospholipid balls protect the glutathione in the digestive tract and facilitate its absorption through the gut walls into the blood and from there into the cells.

Why is increasing glutathione so important? In his book “Master Defender” Dr. Thomas Levy summarizes the benefits this way: Research conclusively shows that boosting GSH levels can defend the body against free radicals, toxins, poisons, ionizing radiation, microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites), emotional stress, physical stress, and premature aging.

Both the liposomal Vitamin C and Glutathione come in a box of 30 packets. Each contains a thick viscous liquid which is squeezed into a small glass of water or flavored liquid and swallowed quickly. The taste is a little unpleasant but the results will be deliciously wonderful.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

September 17, 2018

489 Liposomal Vitamin C [17 Sept 2018]

A problem with vitamin C is its low bioavailability. With oral supplements some of the vitamin C is broken down by stomach acids before it even reaches the small intestine. An active transporter is required to move vitamin C across the intestinal wall into the blood stream. This transporter is dose-dependent - at low doses of up to 180mg about 70-90% of vitamin C is absorbed into the bloodstream; at higher doses above 1000mg (1g) it is less than 50%. At doses between 5g and 10g daily, abdominal cramping and diarrhea may occur creating an upper limit to daily oral dosage of C. Even then, only a percentage of vitamin C is absorbed from the blood stream into the cells. This absorption into the cells is inhibited by high blood glucose, so is even more a problem for diabetics.

For certain therapeutic purposes much higher doses of vitamin C are required. One way around this is intravenous vitamin C (IVC). This is expensive and requires supervision by a trained health professional, so is used only for serious conditions like cancer [see #375], sepsis [#436], polio [#23], and other serious viral infections.

Now there is another form of vitamin C that allows high doses, is relatively inexpensive, and can be administered at home. It’s called liposomal vitamin C.

With liposomal C, the vitamin is encapsulated inside a tiny phospholipid ball which provides several advantages: 1) it protects the vitamin C from breakdown in the stomach; 2) it increases the absorption from the intestine into the blood stream; 3) it increases the absorption into the cells; and 4) it does so very quickly. Nearly all of the liposomal C ingested makes its way quickly into the cells where it is needed. In this regard liposomal C is superior to IVC which increases C in blood plasma but then relies on transporters to get it into the cells.

The phospholipid coating itself is used by the body to repair or build new cell membranes. It is because the coating is similar to cell membranes that it passes quickly and easily through the intestinal wall and then again through the cell membranes into the cells without the need for active transporters.

The big advantage of liposomal vitamin C is that it allows you to take, and absorb, a high dose of C when you need it, without experiencing intestinal discomfort. It’s perfect for fighting a cold or the flu, if you’re a smoker or subject to second-hand smoke, if you are diabetic, or for those days when you're under a lot of stress.

I have just found a Canadian supplier so will soon have it on the shelf. It comes in packets of 1000mg which you add to water and drink. I’ll be the first to try it and let you know what it does for me.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

September 10, 2018

488 Exogenous Ketones [10 Sept 2018]

A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent popularity of ketogenic diets [#482 30 July 2018]. These are very low carb diets with either low dietary fat for weight loss or higher dietary fat for other purposes. With both types of ketogenic diets, the main fuel burned for energy is fat – either your own stored fat or fat you eat. The metabolic state of burning fat for fuel is known as ketosis because the fat is first converted to ketones which are then converted to ATP energy in the cells’ mitochondria.

More recent is the promotion of ketone supplements – called exogenous ketones as opposed to endogenous ketones produced within the body. These supplements are purported to have similar benefits to ketogenic diets, but without the dieting. The theory sounds attractive but I’m not buying it. I believe it is the diet, with the reduction of carbs leading to a reduction in blood insulin levels, which provides most of the benefits. The ketones are just a byproduct of the process.

There may however be some benefits from ketone supplements. In a post on the blog The Diabetes Coach, titled “Are Exogenous Ketones Beneficial for Blood Sugar?” Dr Brian Mowll suggests that ketones enhance insulin sensitivity. He cites a small study from Oxford which showed lower glucose spikes with an oral glucose tolerance test for the group who had consumed a ketone drink.

But another ketogenic diet study, with obese diabetics, that Mowll cites as support that ketones increase insulin sensitivity did not include a ketone supplement. There is no evidence that it was the ketones, not the ketogenic diet itself, which provided the benefits.

In any case, if weight loss is the goal, adding extra fat or taking ketone supplements will only reduce the amount of body fat burned. And that, after all, is the whole idea.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

September 3, 2018

487 Fitbit Data Study [3 Sept 2018]

Do you wear a Fitbit? One of those wrist bands that records your heart rate, activity and sleep? Millions of people do and Fitbit recently looked at 150 billion hours of data to see what it could tell us about our health. Since this only includes people who own a Fitbit, the data may not apply to everyone. And relax, the data is anonymous – the researchers know your location, gender, age, height, weight, activity level, sleep habits, and continuous pulse rate, but not your name.

From previous studies we know that resting heart rate (RHR, measured in beats per minute) is a significant measure of our overall health. Most people fall in the range of 60 to 100, with athletes 40 to 50. The Copenhagen Heart Study found that, compared to someone with an RHR of under 50, your risk of death from heart disease is twice as high if your RHR is 80 and three times as high if over 90. A study from China found that for every RHR increase of 10, the risk of developing diabetes increased 23%.

This is what the Fitbit study learned:
• As we age, our RHR increases to a peak about age 40-50, then continuously declines from there for unknown reasons.
• On average, women have a higher rate than men, by 5 beats at age 20, and 2 to 3 beats from age 35-80. This is because women have smaller hearts.
• The optimal Body Mass Index (BMI) for heart function seems to be 20 to 25. RHR increases with increasing BMI above or below that range.
• RHR decreases with exercise (no surprise). After 300 minutes a week (an hour daily for 5 days), however, the decrease is small.
• The reduction in RHR from exercise declines with age. Increasing activity by 3 hours a week will lower your RHR by about 7 beats in your 30s, 40s and 50s, but only by 4 beats in your 60s and 3 beats in your 70s. Still, this shows that getting more active is beneficial at any age.
• Sleep lowers your RHR but only to an average of 7 hours after which it rises again. So get your sleep, then get out of bed and get moving!
• There are other unknown factors affecting heart rate. For the same activity level, the average RHR in the USA is 3 beats higher than Italy, and Canada is 2.5 beats higher than Ireland. Perhaps it’s our junk food diet?

See "Fitbit's 150 billion hours of heart data reveal secrets about health" by David Pogue, yahoo Finance, 27 Aug 2018 for more details and graphs that reveal these trends.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. Find this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.