A non human molecule found in red meat and dairy has been discovered in cancer cells and could be a causative link between red meat and cancer. Animals have a version called Neu5gc whilst we have a version called Neu5ac. What does it do to us, well it produces an immune response as it is detected to be an invader. Of course no doubt the drug companies will be on to this, looking for some kind of Neu5gc nuker instead of perhaps simply promoting the reduction of meat consumption.
By the way I posted a video some time ago of a talk by the whacky Dr Michael Greger who was highlighting the B12 problem for veggies. Well I have only just discovered his wonderful FREE web site which has simply tons of short videos where he summarises current nutritional research. I am going to have to make a donation as this is the quite honourable way in which the doctor finances the site and his now dozen researchers.
Finally I am playing around this week with an idea that makes perfect sense and on the odd occasion that I have done it accidently it has proved beneficial. We have developed a habit of eating a large, perhaps the largest meal of the day around 6pm. This is just prior to the time out bodies are starting to close down for vital repair and rest and yet we are tapping it on the shoulder and saying, hold on a minute, sort this lot out first. A more healthful way of eating and ensuring maximum quality of sleep is to eat very well at breakfast and lunch and then either snack or skip the evening meal. I have done this not by design on the odd occasion and felt terrific so I thought I would try a more prolonged stint and see how I feel. In the meantime check out the above web site and the nutrition videos and make a donation to this most worthy of work.
I have mentioned before that my lipid profile is reasonable to good but the one marker that has been out of kilter is the Lp-PLA2. This is a blood enzyme that is believed to be associated with inflammation and more worryingly with inflammation of soft plaques. Contrary to popular belief blocked arteries even up to 90% can be perfectly safe and still allow people to function. What usually kills people when it comes to heart attacks is the rupture of any small soft plaques. These small soft plaques cannot be detected so you only tend to find out if you have any when they rupture and cause a major blockage.
If soft plaques are secreting Lp-PLA2 they are more vulnerable to rupture. Of course other forms of inflammation with access to the blood stream can lift this marker too eg gum disease.
I got my results back today and the marker is still at 210, although down from 235 it is still above the 195 that only puts you in the medium risk range.
It appears that there has only been one study done on lowering Lp-PLA2 and that showed that fish oil significantly lowered it and made soft plaques less prone to rupture. Now I do not take fish oil, preferring Krill oil as fish oil tends to upset my stomach but I am going to try Natures Best which is not only loaded with EPA and the more important DHA but is reputed to be fish burp free and generally kinder on the stomach. If you have found a fish oil that is easy on the stomach do let me know. If I can tolerate one it will be interesting in a few months to see if the fish oil has had any impact.
Just found this study that suggests that Niacin can raise Lp-PLA2 levels
Participants who had raised Lp-PLA2 when taking Niacin were put on Fish Oil, Spirulina, Grape Seed Extract and Pycnogenol. I have used Spirulina in my blending on and off but clearly need to keep using it. With regard to Niacin, it is included in my Vitamin B complex supplement. A possible way round this is to switch to simply a Vitamin B12 only tablet and if this alone keeps Homocysteine in check then I will have at least removed the Niacin. There is an element of whacking crocodiles here as Niacin, as I have blogged before, certainly lowers cholesterol.
Also just discovered the following two studies. The first suggests that lowering Lp-PLA2 does not actually improve end points in patients, in other words no fewer heart attacks. The second study suggests that its the EPA that lowers Lp-PLA2 so although we usually revere the DHA it could well be the EPA that does the trick on Lp-PLA2.
Great article in the Times today (5/1/2016) by Peter Bee who interviews Dr Peter Herbert, director of Human Performance Lab’ at the University of Wales. Herbert is a 70 plus aged guy who has trained all his life but found at he moved into old age that no matter how much training he did, his performance still gradually declined. Up until recently however his training has been of the traditional variety of long aerobic work outs. After looking into HIIT he decided to give it a go and monitor how it affected his fitness and strength profile. HIIT involves doing short but more intense workouts and less frequently. Typical for a runner like me it would involve doing 30 second bursts to around 90% maximum effort and then recovering before repeating. Some months ago I switched to this approach by running up a 200 meter hill and then jogging down to recover. I repeat this about 3 or 4 times. With the jog out and the jog back it takes about 20 minutes.
When the results impressed Doctor Herbert he enlisted a group of volunteers and carried out a similar experiment on them and found the same outcomes in terms of improved strength and general performance. It appears that our bodies as we get older respond better to a different type of exercise regime. Couple this with fact that this type of exertion is much more in line with our ancestral survival than long endurance training. The other plus is that Dr Herbert gained these benefits with just one workout per week. This was in contrast to the three or four sessions he was doing previously, clearly recovery is just as important as work outs as we get older. Testosterone levels also improved in his subjects.
HIIT can be applied to what ever is your chosen training regime. If you prefer cycling or swimming then do it in short intense bursts with recovery.