Is Winter-Dry Skin Driving You Crazy? Omega-7 Is The Answer!

Is Winter-Dry Skin Driving You Crazy? Omega-7 Is The Answer!

  Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are known to be beneficial for, amongst other things, skin health. And when it comes to EFAs, omega-3 and omega-6 are usually top of mind. You may even know about omega-9. But most people have never heard of omega-7, let alone know how good it is for the skin! Omega-7 (also called ‘palmitoleic acid’ in most scientific and clinical publications) is a rare but powerful monounsaturated fat (MUFA) that can be found in animal and plant sources, including macadamia nuts, cold-water fish and sea buckthorn seeds and berries. Sea buckthorn contains the highest concentration of this valuable fatty acid, up to 40% as compared to 17% in macadamia nuts. And whilst I’m going to touch on some of the numerous skin and health benefits, it is also known for its ability to support a healthy weight, as well as cardiovascular and gastro-intestinal health. Sea Buckthorn What makes sea buckthorn so intriguing is its unique composition of numerous nutrients, including omega-7. It’s a rich source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Several sources have placed its combined bioactive substances at 190 for the berries, of which 106 of these are found in the oil alone. Although the fruits of sea buckthorn have been used as a remedy by traditional Tibetan and Mongolian medicine since ancient times, according to Oriental history, the Chinese were the first culture to utilise this berry as a drug. In 1977 this plant was formally listed in the Chinese pharmacopoeia by the Ministry of Public Health. Sea buckthorn’s pharmacological effects were recorded in some 1000-year old medicinal classics, such as the Yue Wang Yao and Sibu Yidian...
Did You Know You Can Make Your Own Antibiotics, With Vitamin D?

Did You Know You Can Make Your Own Antibiotics, With Vitamin D?

Sometimes referred to as sunshine in a bottle, vitamin D (a hormone, in actual fact) is a powerful and essential nutrient when it comes to our wellbeing. Almost every single cell in our body contains a vitamin D receptor (VDR) which highlights just how important this UVB-induced nutrient is to our health and cellular function.[1] One of my favourite properties of vitamin D is how – in sufficient quantities – it enables us to make our own antibiotics. Our Bodies Can Make Antibiotics Yes, you read that correctly. No, this is not a drill. Our bodies are, or more specifically our immune system is, capable of producing specific and not-so-specific responses to various immunological challenges. One of the incredible features of this is, when presented with pathogenic (read disease-causing) microorganisms, we endogenously produce our own antimicrobial medication in response – called antimicrobial peptides. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an ancient arm of the human immune system and these various peptides protect us against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even certain parasites. Virtually all human tissues and cells typically exposed to microbes are able to produce AMPs. Important AMPs belonging to two structurally distinct classes, known as the defensins and the cathelicidins, are produced by neutrophils and epithelial cells.[2] And, these are regulated by vitamin D![3,4,5,6,7] And the reason I have emphasised epithelial cells is – not only does this include skin, but all mucous membranes including the lungs as well. Very important when it comes to cold and ‘flu. Our Lungs Can Fight Off Cold + Flu I want to give a shoutout to cathelicidin LL-37 in particular as this AMP,...
12-Hour Fasting – A Key Strategy For A Longer, Healthier Life

12-Hour Fasting – A Key Strategy For A Longer, Healthier Life

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t know that if you want to be healthy, you should eat primarily healthy food. But what you might not know is, the timing of what you eat matters just as much as what you eat; and there is growing evidence that 12-hour fasting is so protective of health that it can even attenuate the effects of a high-fat diet. What Is 12-Hour Fasting? Also called time-restricted feeding (TRF), 12-hour fasting confines food consumption to a 12-hour window or – put another way – is the practice of, during a 24-hour period, maintaining a 12-hour window where no food is consumed. In practice this may mean that any and all meals/snacks are consumed between 7am and 7pm, with no food being consumed between 7pm and 7am (or 8am-8pm as another example). Some studies actually define time-restricted feeding as an 8-9 hour period, which also shows benefit although not as realistic or easy to achieve as 12 hours. But Why? There has been a lot of research done on many different types and variations of fasting, but I like this particular type of fasting for both what the evidence says, and the logic behind it. There was a time when, in all likelihood, humankind rose with the sun – and days effectively ended with sundown. With no electricity, and only flame for light, food preparation and consumption would have been mostly confined to daylight hours. Nowadays, with access to electricity, we can make meals in the dark well before dawn, and – especially given the long hours some of us keep – make dinner well...
Cancer Prevention Guidelines

Cancer Prevention Guidelines

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) have established guidelines that they say could significantly reduce the risk of dying prematurely. The results of a study described in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (online 03-04-13) suggests that following these guidelines really works! European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study A team of European researchers examined data from 378,864 people, which included men and women between the ages of 25 and 70. During the study (1992-2000) men were scored on their adherence to six WCRF/AICR recommendations (see image to the left). Women were scored on the same criteria, with the addition of breastfeeding their infants for up to six months. Over a median of 12.8 years, 23,828 deaths occurred. Among men whose scores were highest at 5-6 points and women who scored 6-7 points, the risk of dying over follow-up was 34 percent less than those whose scores were lowest at 0-2 points for men and 0-3 points for women The reduction was greatest for respiratory disease, followed by circulatory disease and cancer Each point increase was associated with a 13 percent lower risk of dying over the follow-up period “Results of this study suggest that following WCRF/AICR recommendations could significantly increase longevity,” authors Anne-Claire Vergnaud and colleagues conclude. My Thoughts I think, for the most part, these guidelines are very doable. Here’s my take: Daily physical activity is certainly a healthy habit you want to cultivate, and this coupled with choosing high quality, nutrient-dense foods will ensure your body maintains a healthy weight Avoid energy-dense, nutrient-less items masquerading as food – they are highly...
Preserve and Protect Your Brain with Fish Oil

Preserve and Protect Your Brain with Fish Oil

Fish oil is the biggest selling nutraceutical supplement in the world, and for good reason. There is an incredible amount of evidence for its health benefits and, given omega-3 fatty acids are an essential component of every single one of our cells’ membranes, it’s no surprise that I believe everyone should be taking it either! One of the key indications for fish oil is cognition and brain health. Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA for short, is a prominent fatty acid in our brain that is critical for optimal function. And this report just adds to what we know about how good omega-3 fatty acids are for our brain. Higher Omega-3 Levels = Less Brain Shrinkage With Age On January 22nd of this year, the journal Neurology® published an online report that  revealed an association between higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and greater brain volume in older age. “These higher levels of fatty acids can be achieved through diet and the use of supplements, and the results suggest that the effect on brain volume is the equivalent of delaying the normal loss of brain cells that comes with ageing by one to two years,” commented lead author James V. Pottala, PhD, of the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls. The study included 1,111 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, which was a subset study of subjects enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative. Subjects were between the ages of 65 to 80 years upon enrollment. Blood samples were analysed for red blood cell fatty acid levels (the best way to measure...
Stress Transformation; 7 Tips from Deepak Chopra

Stress Transformation; 7 Tips from Deepak Chopra

If you were to eavesdrop on the conversations taking place around you, stress would likely be one of the most common words you would hear. People talk about feeling stressed about their work, the economy, global politics, deadlines, their relationships, and just about everything else. Many suffer from the emotional and physical consequences of chronic stress, which include accelerated ageing and increased rates of heart disease, anxiety, cancer, depression, migraine headaches, and other serious disorders. While stress is considered an epidemic problem, I’ve never believed that it exists in the environment or in external situations. At the Chopra Center, we define stress as our response to what is happening. It’s not the overdue payment, traffic jam, or fight with our spouse that causes stress – it’s our thoughts and the story we tell ourselves about an event or circumstance that create the emotional upset, racing heart rate, shallow breathing, surging adrenalin, and other symptoms of the stress response. The analogy of a surfer is useful here: If you’re a skillful surfer, every wave is an exhilarating adventure or at least an opportunity to learn something new. If you’ve never learned how to surf, on the other hand, every wave is a terrifying potential disaster. Surfing the Waves of Change Fortunately, learning how to deal effectively with stress doesn’t require any athletic ability – it’s a skill that anyone can learn. With a little practice, instead of continually being triggered into a stress response by outside situations and thoughts in your mind, you can learn to spend more time in your own natural state of well-being. Here are a few...