Thursday, April 9, 2015

Zinc for optimal immune function

I often talk about scientists re-inventing the wheel, but this latest research into the role of zinc in immunity is unbelievably frustrating. Have the researchers been living under a rock? I’ve been trumpeting the benefits of zinc for more than 30 years. When I wrote my first book, which will be 20 years old next year, there were already several thousand published papers on zinc and its multiple roles. The research around the effects of zinc deficiency was also very well-established, and even back then zinc deficiency was touted as the most widespread in the Western world!

Compromised zinc status has been linked to a multitude of issues, including both depression and poor taste sensation. Compromised zinc status can affect every aspect of reproduction from how fertile you are to how easily your baby will settle. It’s involved in brain formation and function and of course in immune formation and function. Zinc deficiency is linked to a multitude of chronic degenerative conditions. We’ve known these facts and much more about zinc for a long time! 

If you think you might be zinc deficient (about 2 billion individuals worldwide at recent estimates) there’s a very simple, inexpensive test for zinc status - and you'll find all the details about natural food sources (oysters are fabulous, the placenta is even better) and appropriate supplementation (if placenta stew isn't on your menu) in Healthy Parents, Healthy Baby. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Endocrine disruption anyone?

Talk about closing the door after the horse has bolted! Recent news item advises us that the European Commission will consider 700 chemicals for endocrine disrupting status. 

The irony is, endocrine disruptors are already out there in agriculture, in the food and water supply, in multiple products from multiple manufacturers, they’re especially prevalent in skincare products, they’re also in our systems - bigtime! Their ubiquitous presence has huge potential impact on unborn generations. 

While the move by the European Commission could be applauded as a positive (albeit belated) one ... the only way to avoid the effects of these chemicals (effects which are often synergistic), is to be super-diligent about eating and using organic, chemical-free everything and by taking natural hormone-balancing products, whatever your age or life-stage! 

   

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nearly three-quarters of pregnant women are deficient in essential omega-3s

Study finds nearly three-quarters of pregnant women do not get enough omega-3. Despite being critical for infant development, just 27 percent of pregnant women get enough omega-3 to meet current European Union (EU) recommendations, say researchers.

So, remembering that preconception supplementation will ensure your pregnancy omega-3 status is not in the doldrums like more than 70 percent of the population, which supplemental omega product for you?

Remember that ghastly cod-liver oil that your mother made you swallow? Of course only those of a particular vintage will ... and there’s no need to ’fess up, the value of marine-oil based products is actually about 150 years old! But now that everybody’s in on the benefits, how sustainable are those marine resources?

Fish oil, an ingredient with a 150-year plus history as a nutraceutical, continues to be the mainstay of the world’s supply of omega-3s.  But, with all of the questions hovering over the health of the oceans, how much longer can suppliers and manufacturers rely on this huge, though not inexhaustible source?

I’d actually suggest that populations have always valued what came from the sea. The Incas made treks from the mountains to the coast to harvest fish, which they dried. Dr. Weston-Price wrote about traditional societies who went to great length to obtain fish roe for the young men and women of child-bearing age. Today fish-oil based products for immune, anti-inflammatory, circulatory and other conditions makes the omega market top of the pops in the natural medicine area. The science is undisputed, the doctors have embraced it, the public is fully aware, so now the issue is the best sources of omegas and practising wise husbandry of them.

Currently, major sources of omega-3s are the massive anchovy schools that feed on unicellular organisms in the cold upwelling of the Humboldt Current off the Peruvian Coast. Supposedly sustainably managed by the government, the anchovy numbers are also defined by the El Nino and La Nina events and on a longer cycle, by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. These events are well-known for making management a less than exact science, with experts deeming this source close to reaching its limits.


There are other “boutique” sources of fish-sourced omegas, and as extraction techniques improve, as currently discarded viscera are utilised and as our understanding of the “other” omegas improve (e.g. omega-9, omega-11 from Alaskan salmon), supplies look reasonably secure. Also from the sea, Antarctic krill, managed uncharacteristically well by an International body, nowhere near its maximum limit ... just yet. Finally, the quickly evolving, but still largely untapped source of premium-priced omegas - algae! With benefits undisputed for all ages and life stages, especially during pregnancy and foetal development, it’s a question of do your homework and pick your omega product! Take it regularly!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

There’s no doubt in my mind that the battle against obesity begins in the gut (or to be more precise, with the whole microbiome). And that optimally healthy microbiome is established during a normal, vaginal birth and is supported by ongoing breastfeeding. Watch the Microbirth documentary - you won’t be disappointed. 

Of course taking the microbiome’s establishment back a step further, the work I’ve been doing for more than 30 years to get prospective parents into great shape (including optimising their gut health) before conception makes more sense than ever. So scientists tinkering with the bacteria that inhabit the gut, as a means to deal with the obesity epidemic is a bit creepy. It's also shutting the door after the horse has well and truly bolted!

I’m right in the middle of reading Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public. This is Steven Druker’s riveting exposé of how GM organisms have been released on an unsuspecting public under the GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) clause, when there has never been consensus amongst scientists about their safety (an absolute prerequisite for GRAS). The subtitle of this excellent book really sums it up.



Saturday, March 14, 2015

Aging passionately

Yes you can keep the show on the road to vitality and longevity with the help of a healthy gut, great nutrition, clean water, regular exposure to sunlight, reduced chemical load, daily exercise, sound sleep, satisfying sex (all the stuff I write about in this blog) but at the end of the day, attitude is everything. Eloquently put by Isabel Allende! Watch her!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Your skincare routine - is it healthy or harmful?

Way overdue to resurrect the Better Babies blog! No better time than to share my new endeavour ... PR for a chemical-free, locally-made, professional range of skin care products. 

Often forgotten in the desire for smoother, plumper, younger looking skin is the potential for chemical-exposure. It's
 estimated
 that
 an
 average
 woman
 using
 12
 personal
 care
 products 
every 
day 
will 
expose herself 
to 
175 
chemicals! When
 you’re
 shopping
 for
 personal
 and skin care
 products
 ‐
 look
 for
 ones
 that
 are
 free
 of 
the ingredients 
in 
the 
following 
list.
Alcohol 
or 
isopropyl
 alcohol 
Collagen

DEA,
MEA,
TEA
 

Formaldehyde 

Fragrances

Imidazolidinyl
urea 
and 
DMDM 
hydantoin

Lanolin
Methyl,
 propyl,
 butyl
 and 
ethyl
 paraben

Mineral
 oil
 

Padimate‐O
 also 
known 
as
 octyl
 dimethyl
 PABA
(found
 mostly 
in 
sunscreens) 
Petrolatum
Phthalates
Propylene
 glycol
Sodium 
lauryl 
sulphate
 (SLS)

Synthetic 
colours

David Deans is available online and will not only reduce your chemical-exposure, but you will be supporting an Australian family business that involves three generations and has total of over 100 years experience and expertise in this area!


 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Married to our bacteria

What better way to break the Better Babies Blog drought than with a post on one of my favourite topics...the gut microbiota. Katrina Ray, Acting Chief Editor of Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology poses the question “are we more microbe than man?” then answers that while we are outnumbered 10:1 on a cellular level by microorganisms, the microbial and human cells actually work intimately together to foster optimal physical and mental health! Ray also emphasises the vital part that the mother plays in establishing a healthy gut population in her infant. She suggests this process actually begins in utero, which confirms my recommendation that the mother must ensure her own gut health well before conception. Only then can she hope to establish the healthiest possible gut population in her child, which should be healthily well-established by age 2-3 years. It also makes sense that the best probiotic for the job is one that contains multiple human strains, and that those strains are the most fragile ones, those most easily destroyed by modern diets and lifestyles. Progurt ... for the whole family, 15 billion good bacteria in one teaspoonful of a yoghurt you simply make at home.