Friday, May 22, 2015

Our bacteria affect our brain function

Been bleating about importance of the gut microbiome for ages, but here’s a new connection that should give seniors cause for pause - our bacteria affect our brain function.


Of course, this is not exactly related to Better Babies, but if you’re worried about those increasingly frequent senior moments - a forgotten word or phrase, a face you can’t put a name to, no recollection of what you did yesterday - listen up!

If you want the Better Babies version of the microbiome story - the infant gut and skin are inoculated with good bacteria during the baby’s journey down the birth canal, and with exclusive breastfeeding until at least six months. Then an organic whole food diet, purified water, probiotic supplementation and no antibiotics, are other factors needed to ensure an optimally healthy microbiome in the child, which should be well-established by the age of two or three.

Lots more details in both my books


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Getting iron levels up to speed ... before pregnancy


Yet another one of those hugely frustrating studies that leaves me wondering how many more years must pass before the importance of preconception care is shouted from every rooftop and promoted by every health care professional worldwide! 

For thirty years I’ve been promoting serum ferritin levels as the test of choice for iron status and of establishment of optimal iron levels well before conception. It’s simple, if the mother begins her pregnancy in an iron-depleted state, no amount of supplementation can make up for the deficit. End of story! Oh actually, not quite …

When supplementing to restore iron status, iron must be in an organic form (not the cheap and ever-popular ferrous sulphate) and must be accompanied by all the other trace minerals and co-factors such as vitamin C. While the authors are talking about the need for personalised nutrition, I hope they recognise and promote the vital importance of an all-organic, whole food diet. Much more in my easy to read mini ebooks.

          

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!